01.21.10 – A Thursday

WORD

maudlin [mawd-lin] adj. 1. tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental: a maudlin story of a little orphan and her lost dog 2. foolishly or mawkishly sentimental because of drunkenness

BIRTHDAY

Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson (1824), Christian Dior (1905), Benny Hill (1924), Wolfman Jack (1938), Jack Nicklaus (1940), Plácido Domingo (1941), Richie Havens (1941), Edwin Starr (1942), Jill Eikenberry (1947), Billy Ocean (1950), Paul Allen (1953), Robby Benson (1956), Geena Davis (1956), Charlotte Ross (1968), Cat Power (1972)

STANDPOINT

Thankfully, I’m not as angry as I was yesterday. I normally don’t allow the moronic workings of the world invade my brain but, for whatever reason, last night was an exception.

And, truly, I’ve no real reason to complain. I don’t do much in the way of helping any of these national problems get better. And that’s to say I don’t much at all.

So, I’ve got no business griping. You might even say I’m part of the problem. Due to cosmic circumstances completely out of my control, I was born into what would eventually become an upper class family. And, traditionally, that means I should be using the advantages I’ve been afforded to help out whenever I can. But I don’t.

And so I’m culpable and I’m at peace with that. Really. I spend a lot of time thinking and I’ve consciously orchestrated my life in such a way that I’m more than OK to fly under the radar.

But what I’m not doing is taking my life, and those things that work best for me, and applying it to anyone else. I guess what I’m getting at here is I’ve no particular beef with government. What makes my skull rattle is political ideology and, more so, the practice of those ideologies.

So when I read about this victory for the GOP or that victory for the Democrats, well, it makes my fucking blood boil. This country is so busy fighting with itself, while simultaneously fighting with entire other nations. So when I envision future scenarios, none of it makes me considerably chipper.

At this point, you might be asking what I’m going to do about all of this.

Nothing. That’s what I do. Or don’t do. Shit. Now I’m all turned around.

QUOTATION

We are all esquires now, and we are none of us gentlemen any more. → Samuel Johnson

TUNE

For the first time ever, I’m starting to get into R&B. First Mayer Hawthorne and now Lee Fields. He’s been around since the 70s and Fields is still at it. Check out “Honey Dove.”

GALLIMAUFRY

Anyone who’s driven on, ridden on or even casually observed The Schuylkill Expressway will completely understand why it’s been rated the 20th worst commute in the nation. 205 hours of weekly congestion? That’s 27 more hours than are actually in a week.

Nichelle Nichols, Lt. Uhuru from the original Star Trek, was actually talked out of leaving the show after the first season by Dr. Martin Luther King. Reading her recollection of it is pretty amazing.

→ It’s nice to see former ballplayers coming out against steroid-using dipshit Mark McGwire. Read what legendary Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk has to say to both McGwire and Roger Clemens. Go, Pudge.

09.18.09 – A Friday

Word

querolous [kweruh-luhs, kwer-yuh-] adj. 1. full of complaints; complaining 2. characterized by or uttered in complaint; peevish: a querulous tone; constant querulous reminders of things to be done

Birthday

Trajan (53), Samuel Johnson (1709), George Read (1733), Greta Garbo (1905), Jack Warden (1920), Robert Blake (1933), Frankie Avalon (1939), Fred Willard (1939), Dee Dee Ramone (1952), James Gandolfini (1961), Holly Robinson Peete (1964), Lance Armstrong (1971), Jada Pinkett Smith (1971), James Marsden (1973), Xzibit (1974), Jason Sudeikis (1975)

Standpoint

If you’re an avid reader of this blog, and it’s shame if you’re not, you’ve come to the conclusion that I’m an above-average humorous individual. To put it mildly.

And, after reaching  that conclusion, I’m betting you’ve wondered, “Hey. How’d that guy get so goddamn funny? What his secret?” Well, it stems from all kinds of places. I will say that, coming from a family with five other siblings competing for attention at the dinner table, it didn’t take a genius to figure out the the proper execution of well-timed humor earned you a little more time at the podium during the nightly palaver.

But that wasn’t all there was to it. I had my influences. At a young age, I decided every single person in the entertainment business was essentially just borrowing material from somewhere or another, and presenting it as their own original ponderings. But, once in a while, I’d see something that either (a) was borrowing shit from so many different places it did actually became original content, or (b) was original content. Watching anything that fell into one of those categories represented a possibility of, for me at least, a tiny shred of hope the world wasn’t doomed to watch garbage like “Charles In Charge” or “Who’s The Boss?” for the rest of eternity.  

Here are a few things you can watch if you want to see exactly what I’m talking about. (Note: It’s a coincidence that Dave Foley is in two of the three clips here. Or maybe not. He’s a funny motherfucker.) (Another note: I was going to embed the videos but I couldn’t with some so just hit the link.)

Clip OneNewsRadio“The Cane”

Phil Hartman has my vote as the funniest person ever to put two feet on Earth’s soil. This scene from “NewsRadio” with Dave Foley represents most of the range Hartman possessed. Foley is great, too.

 Clip(s) TwoKids In The Hall“King of Empty Promises” and The State“Porcupine Racetrack”

“Kids In The Hall” is debatably the funniest sketch comedy show of all-time. Other might say it was “The State.” I lean towards the latter, but, really it all depends on my mood. Both were unendingly funny. Both went places similar shows (“SNL“MADtv”) either weren’t allowed to go or were incapable of. These two sketches helped convinced me there were other like-minded lunatics out there in the world.

Clip ThreeBlack Books“Bernard Black Drunk”

This clip from “Black Books” – the British sitcom that aired on the UK’s Channel 4 for three seasons and the US’ Comedy Central for about one hour late some random Sunday night – is representative of the completely hilarious work Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey did on this unfortunately still-unknown classic.

 Sadly, if you don’t find any/all of this funny, there’s only one thing wrong with you. You would fail to recognize humor if it walked up and kneecapped you.

Quotation

A drunk driver’s very dangerous. Everybody knows that. But so is a drunken backseat driver – if he’s persuasive. ← Demetri Martin

Tune

Yesterday, I revealed that I’m a sucker for a song with well-written lyrics. Well, there’s something that can make a song with well-written lyrics even better. And that’s a multi-part harmony. When done the right way, multiple harmonies can turn an ordinary song into an anthem. The multiple harmony song usually starts off kind of slow, but that’s not a requirement. There is one steadfast rule, though, each harmony, and its corresponding lyrics, has to be introduced separately. A byproduct of that is the song can travel all over the rythmic spectrum, producing the effect of several songs contained in one. The result of the crescendo is an overlapping vocal harmony where all the separate vocal sections are woven into each other and the best parts of each accompanying melody are grooved into one. The final minute of such a song should make you want to turn up the volume, roll down the windows and hit the gas pedal. That’s how you know it’s a good one. I have five favorite songs falling into that category. But, I think I’ve decided that “See These Bones” by Nada Surf is the greatest. The best part is when Matthew Caws comes in with “The lights in the city are more or less blinking/Which side of the story decides what you’re thinking.” It’s the beginning of the end. But in a really good way. Listen to it. I’m not wrong. Right?

Gallimaufry

→ Man, am I glad I never got around to removing the PEOPLE SUCK sticker from the interior of my car. Because, I’m really sorry, it’s one of the indisputable truths of this world. Need more proof than the cool sticker in my car? Check out WhyTheFuckDoYouHaveAKid.com. As Jonathan Schmock, the actor who played the Chez Quiz Maitre D’ in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (click that link to watch the original movie trailer.), stated so very snootily, “I weep for the future.”

→ You know what’s a really great thing? When the mayor of one of the largest cities in the country plays chicken with the state legislature using innocent peoples’ jobs as a bargaining chip. That’s what Philadelphia’s mayor, Michael Nutter, did with the jobs of 3,000 municipal workers in an attempt to pry money out of Pennsylvania. It worked. But still. Kind of shitty.

→ All right. Need to make a teensy tiny request of the fashion world here. Please make the fucking Snuggie go away. I’ll help in whatever way I can. Just let me know where to be and when to ber there. For centuries, individuals have made an easy time of having a blanket on top of them as they relax. It’s kind of like Basic Human Knowledge 101.  We don’t need one that slips over our heads. We are not Old West Mexican gunfighters.

04.15.09 – Wednesday

Word: claque [klak] n. 1. a group of persons hired to applaud an act or performer 2. a group of sycophants

Birthday: Leonardo da Vinci (1453), Henry James (1843), Bessie Smith (1894), Roy Clark (1933), Emma Thompson (1959), Linda Perry (1965), Samantha Fox (1966), Seth Rogen (1982)

Occurence: 1755Samuel Johnson‘s A Dictionary of the English Langauge is published in London.

Standpoint: Recently, I found StumbleUpon (or “SU“). I’d seen the SU icon on various sites, so I wanted to find out what it was all about. I signed up for a free account. Touting itself as “the best way to discover things you like on the web,” StumbleUpon is both (a) a very unique way to explore the internet, and (b) an incredibly simple way to waste three hours of your life. After signing up and completing my profile, I was asked to pick my favorite “Topics.” There’s a bunch to choose from. After clicking everything that interested me, and installing the SU toolbar on my internet browser, I was ready to “Start Stumbling.”

Below is a list of the first ten web sites I “stumbled upon.”

1. Things People Said: Courtroom Quotations – A site that finds funny or embarrassing statements made during courtroom trials. This was a good way to start it off. Some of the quotations were pretty entertaining. (Example: A lawyer asks the question, “How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?”) Grade: B+
2. Bibliomania: Free Online Literature and Study Guides – Sites like this seem to come up frequently on SU. Probably pretty handy for high school and college students but just because I picked “Literature” as one of my Topics doesn’t mean I want to read David Copperfield online. Grade: C-
3. Viralnerd.com Random Photo – A three-panel cartoon of The Mario Brothers applying for a job to rescue a captured princess. They get the job when they write the word “Super” above the words “Mario Bros.” on their business card. I don’t know. I’m not buying it. Grade: D
4. Bookstove.com: Why I Hate Twilight – A 95-item list of “reasons why you shouldn’t read Twilight posted by a Bookstove.com user. I’ve never read the book. Or seen the movie. I can’t hold that against this particular site. I suspect that if you know anything about Twilight, the list is meaningful. The page took, what I thought to be, an inordinate amount of time to load. Grade: B+
5. Word Perhect – Confusing. I was asked three different questions with multiple options, none of which made sense. After I did what it asked, a word-processing template came up with my results in the text area. This might be useful to someone, somewhere. But I don’t see how. Grade: F
6. TimeTicker and the Time Tickers – This would be an awful name for a musical act, but as a web site, it’s kind of cool. It allows you to find the time anywhere in the world. I found it useful because it allowed me to finally figure out how to correctly set the time on my WordPress profile. Only problem was an annoying pop-up. Grade: A-
7. Authspot.com: Whispers Softly – A poem named “Whispers Softly” by someone calling themselves FJ McCarthy. Not a huge poetry fan, but I know a good poem when I read one. Good job, FJ. Grade: A
8. Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines – Tons of information here. I really like this site. I added it to my RSS feed. Grade: A+
9. CatStuff: Cat Facts and Trivia – A list of facts, some historical trivia and diet tips. All for cats. Dog people probably won’t like this site. Grade: B
10. Random Photograph from NationalGeographic.com – Beautiful aerial shot of Chicago at night. This happens a lot on SU. Random photography is a good way to kill time. But not very useful. Unless you’re from Chicago and want a kickass background for your laptop. Grade: C+

All of that took me about 10 minutes. What did I get out of the StumbleUpon experience? Well, I did find some useful information (see Truthdig and TimeTicker). I found some completely useless junk (see Word Perhect and Viralnerd’s Random Photo). And I found some cool stuff to read and look at (see Things People Said: Courtroom Quotations and CatStuff). 

The only negative issue I encountered during my “stumbling” was that my computer slowed down significantly while using the toolbar. Overall, though, I’m happy with how it all turned out. I’ll use it again. 

Quotation: How would you like a job where, every time you make a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?Jacques Plante, former NHL goaltender

Tune: I heard “Call and Response” by Or, the Whale a short time after the Hurricane Katrina disaster. I think it’s a great thing when a song can convey how an entire group of people is feeling. Bonus: Or, the Whale looks like it rocks in concert.

Gallimaufry: Recently, Jamie Foxx slammed Miley Cyrus during his radio show after he learned that the teenage superstar said she was “going to ruin” the band Radiohead after they refused to meet with her at the Grammy’s. In an attempt to demonstrate how insignificant he thought she was, Foxx advised Cyrus, who was not present, to “make a sex tape” and “do some heroin.” Probably out of line. Last night, Foxx publicly apologized to Cyrus on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Fair enough. Now, where’s Cyrus’ apology to Radiohead?…For all you bloggers out there wondering if frequent posting will increase your traffic, read “Blog Post Frequency Results” from Life of Justin: The Blog of a Digital NomadNewt Gingrich eyeing a possible run at the Presidency in 2012? I like it. President Obama won’t even have to campaign to get another four years. Thanks, Newt.

Incoming: TomorrowAnnoying Sayings and Misused Words. Friday3 Things To Do in Philadelphia When You’re Dead and 5 People I Wish Would Move To Another Planet. And for those of you who have been giving me One-Word Movie Title suggestions on Twitter and Facebook, fear not. Monday’s post will reveal the results of that data.

Lastly: Let’s Go Flyers!