04.12.10 – A Monday

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word

sardonic [sahr-don-ik] adj. 1. characterized by bitter or scornful derision; mocking; cynical; sneering: a sardonic grin

birthday

Henry Clay (1777), Johnny Dodds (1892), Beverly Cleary (1916), Billy Vaughn (1919), Tiny Tim (1932), Herbie Hancock (1940), John Kay (1944), Ed O’Neill (1946), Tom Clancy (1947), David Letterman (1947), David Cassidy (1950), Jon Krakauer (1954), Andy Garcia (1956), Vince Gill (1957), Art Alexakis (1962), Shannen Doherty (1971), Claire Danes (1979)

standpoint

Man, when Obama was elected, our country was supposed to resemble something like this.

Instead, this is the kind of nonsense going on.

Bottom line is there’s hardly anyone left in this country who wants our government to do anything but make our individual lives better. Let’s stop waving this ridiculous notion of patriotism around. It’s just a forsaken ideal to hide behind while pushing a hollow agenda.

How vocal do you think these “patriots” would be if John McCain had won the election instead? Very few, I’d wager.

quotation

The future is called “perhaps,” which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the only important thing is not to allow that to scare you. Tennessee Williams

tune

All right, I’m beating the dead horse here. I’m fully aware. But I’m hooked on the Local Natives album Gorilla Manor like Pookie was hooked on crack rock in New Jack City. (I love that photo.) My favorite song from the album seems to be changing daily. Here’s today’s – “Camera Talk.”

gallimaufry

→ Despite playing like The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight for the past six weeks, the Philadelphia Flyers have eked their way in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Starting Wednesday evening, the Orange and Black will face the New Jersey Devils in a best-of-seven games series. My prediction? Devils in four.

→ I love it when I read about people like Mike Gallagher. On April 5th, he set out, on foot, from Philadelphia to embark on a cross country journey to San Francisco. He’s not doing it for charity, instead he’s attempting to gain a little perspective. I think it’s a great thing and I wish him all the best. Make sure to check TheWalk 2010 frequently to see what he’s up to. For easy access, I’ve added his site to my bloglist on this very page.

→ As much as the last story inspired me, this next one reminded me once again that the world is full of awful people. This woman should go to jail. In Russia.

01.29.10 – A Friday

WORD

besot [bi-sot] v. 1. to intoxicate or stupefy with drink 2. to make stupid or foolish: a mind besotted with fear and superstition 3. to infatuate; obsess: He is besotted by her youth and beauty

BIRTHDAY

Thomas Paine (1737), William McKinley (1843), Anton Chekhov (1860), W. C. Fields (1880), R. Norris Williams (1891), John Forsythe (1918), Tom Selleck (1945), Marc Singer (1948), Ann Jillian (1950), Tommy Ramone (1952), Oprah Winfrey (1954), Greg Louganis (1960), Nicholas Turturro (1962), Edward Burns (1968), Heather Graham (1970), Sara Gilbert (1975), Jonny Lang (1981), Adam Lambert (1982)

STANDPOINT

Just a message to all of you who subject the rest of us to your uniquely arid and decidedly lopsided views on what’s wrong with this country.

Relocate. Move to a place where, I don’t know, maybe they like self-serving, pseudo-intellectual dipshits who quote The Founding Fathers and think Rush Limbaugh is someone special. The Founders were just greedy fucks who died a couple of centuries back and Limbaugh, as an pundit, inhabits a lower rung on the ladder of purport than Sesame Street‘s resident lovable goofball Elmo. In truth, all the crap you cite is about as irrelevant as quoting The Bible.

You have daily musings about growing up in a simpler time. As likely as not, one, if not both, of your parents were a doctor, lawyer or something similarly lucrative. And now you’re out in the world, and things just aren’t coming so easy, are they? Well, suck it up.

And quit griping. Some advice? You’re never going to get laid on a consistent basis because, let’s face it, most women don’t really like whiny white boys who nightly inhabit some bar stool and lament about how bad they’ve got it. You’re embarrassing white guys everywhere. It’s sadder than the ending of Pay It Forward. So please stop.

You’re fatuous and not concerned in helping anyone save the dope you see every morning in the bathroom mirror. And, I may be going out on a limb here, but presumably you’re not stoked when looking that person in the eye everyday before work.

Shut the fuck up and enjoy everything your privileged lifestyle affords you. You know, lame-ass pub crawls and thematic happy hours and, oh yeah, a life 99.9% of Earth’s occupants would literally kill for.

QUOTATION

Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them. ↔ Paul Valery

TUNE

Paddy Casey released “Whatever Gets You True” in 1999. But it’s one of those songs that could easily been released yesterday. I’m saying it’s timeless. Do I have to explain everything? Read between the lines for crying out loud.

GALLIMAUFRY

This past Wednesday night, J. D. Salinger, author of  the classic novel The Catcher in the Rye, passed away at the age of 91. I understand it’s sad when anyone dies but he lived a full life and will be remembered for as long as people read books. Pretty great legacy.

→ After much hullabaloo, President Obama has ordered the U.S. Justice Department to find another city for the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, one of the alleged orchestrators behind the 9-11 attacks. It was supposed to take place in Manhattan.

→ Once again, I find The Onion‘s sports coverage the most honest and truthful out there. This piece about NFL commentators is pretty much dead-on.

11.30.09 – A Monday

WORD

outlier [out-lahy-er] n. 1. a person or thing that lies outside 2. a person residing outside the place of his or her business, duty, etc 3. Geology. a part of a formation left detached through the removal of surrounding parts by erosion

BIRTHDAY

Jonathan Swift (1667), Mark Twain (1835), Lord Frederick Cavendish (1836), Richard Crenna (1926), Robert Guillaume (1927), Dick Clark (1929), G. Gordon Liddy (1930), Abbie Hoffman (1936), Ridley Scott (1937), Terrence Malick (1943), David Mamet (1947), Mandy Patinkin (1952), Billy Idol (1955), Bo Jackson (1962), Ben Stiller (1965), Clay Aiken (1978), Gael García Bernal (1978)

STANDPOINT

Several years ago, when the reality-television craze began kicking its ugly way into our living rooms, I boldly declared, “This won’t last. It’s a fad. It’ll go away.”

Man, was I wrong.

It has lasted. It’s not a fad. And it refuses to go away. As a matter of fact, it’s continuing to grow. From what I can tell, it’s also making society as a whole dumber. So, of course, that fascinates me.

First off, let me say I don’t think all reality-television is bad. Some of it’s actually worthwhile. Top Chef, The Amazing Race, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Those are some I’ve watched without becoming agitated. And that’s inasmuch as those shows are chronicling individuals doing things I can’t (or won’t) do.

For example, Top Chef. I’ve worked in the restaurtant business for almost two decades, in both the front- and back-of-the-house. I’m no chef, but I know my way around a kitchen. Basically, I can make food people like, but not necessarily rave about. So, when I watch Top Chef, I’m entertained because I’m watching individuals do something I can’t, something I find extraordinary. To me, that’s interesting.

In contrast, when I view programs like Big Brother, The Real World, or The Real Housewives of Atlanta, all I see are a group of unexceptional individuals supposedly living lives we’re expected to perceive as somehow “real.” But it’s not at all. Just a collection of nitwits trying to outsmart one another while simultaneously positioning themselves for more camera time.

From the little I’ve seen of Big Brother, it’s never failed to confuse me. Besides the participants, none of which I feed redeemable, and the events, few of which aren’t orchestrated, being actual, what the fuck is so real about it? The answer is exactly none of it. Everyone in the house has a motive. The producers stage events that, without prodding, would never come about. All the footage gets edited to death so the true sequence is lost. To me, that’s uninteresting.

What truly sucks about all of this is that I’m apparently squarely in the minority. I’m relatively sure most of us find things capable of bothering us daily. Also, I was under the impression watching television was supposed to be fun and less bothersome than our daily routines.

If I’m wrong about all this, I’ll accept it. But, before you start popping off on how I’m completely wrong about reality television, I need you to answer the following question: If these shows are so enjoyable, why is it every single conversation I’ve ever heard about them is basically a discussion on which character is more annoying and why?

QUOTATION

This is what politics is to me: Somebody tells you all the trees on your street have a disease. One side says give them food and water and everything will be fine. One side says chop them down and burn them so they don’t infect another street. That’s politics. And I’m going, Who says they’re diseased? And how does this sickness manifest itself? And is this outside of a natural cycle? And who said this again? And when were they on the street? But we just have people who shout, “Chop it down and burn it” or “Give it food and water,” and there’s your two choices. Sorry, I’m not a believer.John Malkovich

TUNE

MewithoutYou is a band from Philadelphia. That’s here. In Pennsylvania. I’ve heard them mentioned from time-to-time, and I think I may have seen the band live once but that might be entirely untrue. In any case, I was recently introduced to the video for “The Fox, The Crow and The Cookie,” and, to put it mildly, it’s pretty fuckin’ great. The song is solid but the whole concept and execution of the video is pretty unique and remarkable.  

CALLIMAUFRY

→ OK, so the whole Tiger Woods car accident thing. I have two questions. (1) Where was Woods going at 2:25am, the morning after Thanksgiving. (2) Why did the wife, after hearing the accident, decide to head out to investigate with a golf club? Woods is going to live to golf another day. He’s fine and that’s great. Truly. Still, everyone’s going to want to discover what really went down. The truth is no one besides Woods and his wife are ever going to know what happened. And, so far, it appears they’re not going to tell. Sadly, for everyone who’s dying to know, it’s bound to become one of those events marked for countless decades of endless speculation. When you’re a billionnaire, you can crash your car and not be expected to give some valid explanation.

Rush Limbaugh is America’s most influential conservative. Still, who cares?

→ No post tomorrow. If you’ve a problem with that, you’ll need to get in line behind my good friend Joe Taylor, who I’ve started affectionately calling “Boss-Man.” OK, I only did it once, but I plan on doing it again real soon.