03.02.10 – A Tuesday

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word

brouhaha [broo-hah-hah, broo-hah-hah, broo-hah-hah] n. 1. excited public interest, discussion, or the like, as the clamor attending some sensational event; hullabaloo: The brouhaha followed disclosures of graft at City Hall 2. an episode involving excitement, confusion, turmoil, etc., esp. a broil over a minor or ridiculous cause: A brouhaha by the baseball players resulted in three black eyes

birthday

Sam Houston (1793), Dr. Seuss (1904), Mel Ott (1909), Desi Arnaz (1917), Mikhail Gorbachev (1931), Tom Wolfe (1931), John Irving (1942), Lou Reed (1942), Rory Gallagher (1948), Gates McFadden (1949), Karen Carpenter (1950), Laraine Newman (1952), Jon Bon Jovi (1962), Daniel Craig (1968), Chris Martin (1977), Ben Roethlisberger (1982), Elizabeth Jagger (1984)

standpoint

So the 2010 Winter Olympics Games in Vancouver are officially over and I can honestly I’m going to kind of miss them. For many reasons, I was much more enthralled this time around.

While the rest of the world searches for the next big thing to fixate on, I’d like to dispense my final salvo on this year’s games. And, yes, I completely understand I’m a day late.

→ I’m genuinely curious to see what new oddity people will discuss now that curling won’t be on television 24 hours a day. Check out this article. Maybe one of these will become the subsequent cult sport.

Team USA was, by far, the best in the Men’s Ice Hockey tournament. Hands down. Sure, they walked away with the silver after a hard fought overtime loss to Team Canada, but they played some of the best and biggest hockey ever. Ryan Miller was the tourney’s best netminder but it was the play of guys like Ryan Kesler, Patrick Kane, Zach Parise, Brian Rafalski and Ryan Suter that made it truly special to watch. Hopefully, the NHL and the NHLPA can agree to let its players participate in 2014, when Team USA will be even better and, most likely, the favorite.

Sidney Crosby, the captain of Team Canada and one of the most annoying people on the planet, scored the gold medal winning goal to capture the top spot for his country, further proving my belief the shithead obviously signed some kind of a deal with the devil. Crosby wasn’t that effective in the tournament but, as usual, he managed to to grab the limelight and snatch up a prize he didn’t necessarily deserve. It’s such a weak-minded character flaw to dislike the dude so much, but I just can’t help myself. Also, he looks like SNL cast member Andy Samberg, who I like.

USA snowboarder Shaun White is one of those annoying athletes who knows he’s good, tells people how good he is and then proceeds to never fall flat out on his face. I’m glad he’s on our side.

→ I’m never going to like Ice Dancing. Never. A sport’s got have some sort of attainable points outside the arbitrary opinions of a bunch of strangers. If that’s not a rule, it should be.

→ Watching the Men’s 50K Mass Start Classic Cross Country Race was maybe the longest couple of hours of my life and even made me entertain the notion of maybe putting on NASCAR. Yeah. It was that exhausting.

Overall, I think everyone got what they wanted out of this year’s games. The American people were able to participate in many discussions and enjoy the fine art that is speculative bullshitting. The USA also received the most medals, which again we like because we don’t need to have the best of everything, just the most of it. And Canada won the most gold medals, including the two for ice hockey, which apparently the country desperately needed. Lastly, I’m pretty sure there were some other nations involved in the whole ordeal but, in all the excitement, I didn’t catch any of their names.

quotation

Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour. Walt Whitman

tune

After many years, I’m ready to admit that, in my youth, there was a two or three month period when I was a huge fan of 50s rocker Ritchie Valens. It was most likely right around the same time La Bamba came out. I remember finally seeing an actual picture of the 17-year old Chicano rock ‘n’ roll pioneer and feeling conned – he didn’t look anything at all like Lou Diamond Phillips. Anyway. I always liked “Come On Let’s Go.”

gallimaufry

As much as I became entranced by Olympic hockey, I’m glad the NHL is back in session. Trade deadline is tomorrow at 3pm EST and there should be some serious moves this year. I’m sure close to nine of you are even remotely interested.

→ Last night, I got into a moderately heated debate on Sarah Palin with my mother, who views the ex-governor from Alaska as some sort of victim. For all of you who share that point of view, I offer this. And, for the record, I mean no disrespect to the woman who birthed me. She’s awesome. It’s healthy for people to disagree.

→ Sheesh. Would everyone please get off the back of American singer Elliott Yamin for tweeting during and after the earthquake in Chile? Apparently, the guy helped ease some people’s fears. However, it’s still fair game to make crazy fun out of him for being on Americal Idol.

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05.13.09 – Wednesday

Word: melodrama [meluh-drah-muh, -dram-uh] n. 1. a dramatic form that does not observe the laws of cause and effect and that exaggerates emotion and emphasizes plot or action at the expense of characterization 2. melodramatic behavior or events 3. (in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries) a romantic dramatic composition with music interspersed

Birthday: Joe Louis (1914), Bea Arthur (1922), Jim Jones (1931), Harvey Keitel (1939), Ritchie Valens (1941), Mary Wells (1943), Stevie Wonder (1950), Dennis Rodman (1961), Stephen Colbert (1964), Darius Rucker (1966), Buckethead (1968)

Standpoint: Yesterday, I revealed the results of an experiment I conducted involving Google Image Search. The goal was to see if I could type in just about any word and eventually come across an image displaying inappropriate content. In the interest of saving you from clicking back and forth, I’ll republish how I went about this and my findings:

Here’s a list of  random words that I used – starting with items that were in front of me at the time and continuing with whatever popped into my head – and how many images I had to go through to find some inappropriate content:

  • “camera” – 95th image
  • “bottle” – 5th image
  • “key” – 24th image
  • “phone” – 37th image
  • “book” – Search Expired (Google only allows the first 1000 images to be viewed)
  • “sidewalk” – 188th image
  • “brick” – 262th image
  • “desk” – 467th image
  • “chair” – 223rd image
  • “office” – 16th image
  • “girlfriend” – 11th image
  • “boyfriend” – 42nd image
  • “wife” – 2nd image
  • “husband” – 115th image
  • “pregnant” – 11th image
  • “female” – 4th image
  • “male” – 4th image
  • “woman” – 9th image
  • “man” – 26th image
  • “bear” – 40th image
  • “arm” – 200th image
  • “leg” – 16th image
  • “foot” – 5th image
  • “hand” – 10th image
  • “breakfast” – 924th image
  • “brunch” – 461st image
  • “lunch” – Search Expired
  • “dinner” – Search Expired
  • “snack” –  Search Expired 
  • “love” – 64th image
  • “romance” – 229th image
  • “flirting” – 59th image
  • “big” – 1st image
  • “crazy” – 6th image
  • “fun” – 94th image
  • “great” – 6th image
  • “boredom” – 62nd image

As you can see, some of the words failed to produce what I was looking for. At least not in the parameters of Google Image Search, which is widely considered the industry standard. The word “book” yielded no unseemly results. Neither did the words “lunch” or “snack.”

All but one of the others (“dinner”) did produce some kind of image not suitable for the background of your desktop computer. That’s 34 of 38, or a little over 89%, of the words I used – a pretty high percentage. It would be like Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley having a batting average of .894. That means he would only fail to produce a hit in 1½ of every ten at-bats. So my original hypothesis was only just a little off but mainly right on.

But does it really mean anything? If we look at the results in that words with the lowest numbers (“big”, “female” and “male”) represent higher sex appeal and words with the highest numbers (“office”, “brick” and “romance”) represent lower sex appeal, they don’t make a lot of sense. Wouldn’t it be more feasible that “fun” would produce a quicker result than “boredom?” But it’s not the actual words that matter here. What does matter is the high likelihood of discovering adult material while conducting an otherwise innocent image search.

So exactly what did I learn? Well. Besides that it’s impossible to log all the types of fetishes out there and that pictures of the “girl next door” are apparently infinitely more popular than those taken of “professional” models, I came away with a different sense of the collective human mindset. Maybe some of the experts are right. When it comes down to it, sex could very well be the driving force behind most of how we think and act. I mean, it’s not like I could use the same set of words and eventually happen upon an image of money or mountain lions or Nascar. I tried. It only works for sex.

And is that really a bad thing? Maybe. I wouldn’t say that society is consumed with sexual thoughts, but based on my rudimentary findings, it’s well on its way. And that must be a horrifying concept for those who point a shameful finger at sex the same way the rest of us do at the slaughter of innocent animals. But it’s not scary for everyone. It could be that the internet has provided a vehicle for those, once thought of as sexual deviants, to realize they’re not alone in feeling the way that they do. And that’s got to be more of a good thing than bad. At least, I hope that last sentence is true. And for those who are truly concerned, Google offers many options that filter out most anything you don’t wish to see.  

Now, is any of this truly important? I think so. Educating yourself on the potential dangers of your society is always helpful. Some of what I found could definitely pose a serious threat, not only to young people, but to confused adults as well. Awareness of anything that could be harmful automatically decreases the risk of its pitfalls. The truth is that there’s lots of crazy sexual activity out in the world. You can run from it or embrace it. Or you can simply leave it alone and keep doing your thing. But the bottom line is that while it’s not imperative to start Congressional hearings on the matter of internet porn, it is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

And as a bonus, now we know that a key is considered way more erotic than a desk. So that debate is settled.

Quotation: Television has proved that people will look at anything rather than each other. Ann Landers

Tune: “Blindsided” is one of those mellow songs that won’t put you to sleep. Actually, all of For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver is the same way.

Gallimaufry: Years ago, Mike Jerrick was the offbeat co-anchor of FOX Philadelphia’s Good Day Philadelphia. Now he’s the offbeat co-anchor of  The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet. I’m not usually a fan of morning talk shows but I like this one, especially when they do “The Male Room.” ∞ President Obama is trying to find a way to trim some fat off of the federal budget. Literally. Yesterday, he “met with CEOs of companies that have found innovative ways to lower health care costs and improve employees’ health.” ∞ More so than ever, it appears that celebrities are doing more good things than bad. OK, maybe that’s not entirely true. Or maybe I’m sincerely impressed with the genorosity of Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and James Cameron, who donated $30,000 to the last survivor of the the Titanic. Good stuff.  

Incoming: Tomorrow – Your entries for this week’s edition of Annoying Sayings & Misused Words. Friday – This weekend’s 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and 7 Cover Songs That Are Better Than the Original.