07.10.09 – Friday

Word: aphorism [afuh-riz-uhm] n. a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).

Birthday: John Calvin (1509), Camille Pissarro (1830), Adolphus Busch (1839), John Wyndham (1903), David Brinkley (1920), Jake LaMotta (1921), Fred Gwynne (1926), Lee Morgan (1938), Arthur Ashe (1943), Ron Glass (1945), Arlo Guthrie (1947), Greg Kihn (1949), Neil Tennant (1954), Béla Fleck (1958), Chiwetel Ejiofor (1974), Adrian Grenier (1976), Jessica Simpson (1980) 

Quotation: Golf. My God, that’s a mysterious occupation. I know people who are – good friends – who are absolutely smitten, practicing their swing and talking about it. I can understand some sort of sport where your body got a benefit, like marathon running or bicycle racing. That’s not golf. And not only that, but the whole business of standing in the sun- my God. That’s like torture.Christopher Walken

Tune: Houseguest’s pop shuffles and sashays with an off-kilter grace, like a defiant drunk finding his way home. Guitars shamble and rumble with repressed power, rising in hooky swells that call to mind Guided by Voices, Beat Happening, and the Feelies.” That’s how Cleveland Scene feels about Akron, Ohio band, Houseguest. Try “Proud Utility Infielder” and see if you agree.

Gallimaufry: Levi Johnston, the 19-year old who knocked up Bristol Palin, held a press conference Thursday “because Alaskans want to know why Palin has decided to resign, effective the end of the month.” Johnston, who is no longer engaged to Palin’s daughter, feels the reason for her stepping down has something to do with book deals. “She had talked about how nice it would be to take some of this money people had been offering us and you know just run with it, say ‘forget everything else.'” Not sure why he felt like he had to weigh in, but there it is. The Palin family dismissed the aspiring actor’s comments as “a piece of fiction.” Just when you think we’ve come so far as a society. The Valley Club, a swim club in Huntingdon Valley, a suburb of Philadelphia, shows we still got a long way to go. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission is launching an investigation into the events of this past Monday, when an inner city group brought 65 children to swim at the club’s pool facility. Apparently, members were outraged, pulling their children from the pool and holding them protectively from the mostly minority group of children from The Creative Steps, a camp in Northeast Philadelphia. Alethea Wright, the camp’s director, had worked out a deal with The Valley Club to bring the kids to the pool every Monday afternoon. The club is claiming they eventually pulled the minority children from the pool because of “overcrowding.” I’m not buying it and either should you.

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07.06.09 – Monday

Word: crestfallen [krest-faw-luhn] adj. 1. dejected; dispirited; discouraged 2. having a drooping crest or head

Birthday: John Paul Jones (1747), Nancy Reagan (1921), Merv Griffin (1925), Bill Haley (1925), Della Reese (1931), Ned Beatty (1937), Burt Ward (1945), George W. Bush (1946), Fred Dryer (1946), Sylvester Stallone (1946), Geoffrey Rush (1951), Nanci Griffith (1953), Brian Posehn (1966), 50 Cent (1975)

Quotation: I don’t have any big regrets, because I’m pretty happy with my life. But I have lots of minor regrets. I always order the wrong dish in restaurants. Always. No matter what I order, somebody else orders something that’s better. It even got to the point where I was consciously trying to pick things that I didn’t think I wanted, because I thought I would reverse the process and actually pick the things I would later regret not having. But I regret that, too.Chuck Klosterman

Tune: In July of 2005, Wolf Parade’s Spencer Krug started a solo career that, oddly, transformed into another entire band – Sunset Rubdown. Just downloaded their new album, Dragonlayer, and I’m especially digging on “Idiot Heart.” Also, I love band member Jordan Robson-Cramer’s attitude toward how fans actually get the band’s music (legally or illegally), saying, “(Illegal downloading) may not be good from the label’s perspective, but I think it does have its merits.”

Gallimaufry: Another day, another surprising celebrity death. Yesterday, former NFL MVP Steve McNair was found shot to death in his Nashville condo. His mistress was also found dead, also shot to death, with the pistol used to kill both of them under her body. The former Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens quarterback was cheating on his wife with a waitress, Sahel Kazemi, from a restaurant he’d opened recently opened in Nashville. While his murder is an honest-to-goodness tragedy, it pales in comparison to the shock and sadness his wife and four sons must be feeling right now. I realize this might be a little late, but the idea of sitting through a 2-hour “comedy” show performed by Glenn Beck, is just about as close I could come to imagining my worst nightmare. The New York Times‘ Mike Hale wrote an article about what it was like watching The Common Sense show. I’ve written it before – Beck’s daily show on the Fox News channel provides me with all the laughs I need. On Friday, Alaskan governor Sarah Palin announced she will be stepping down from that post. Most are saying last year’s GOP VP runner-up is gearing up for a shot at the White House in 3.5 years. I’m not sure how that’ll work, since Palin has pretty much sucked at just about everything she’s ever done. I still can’t figure out why John McCain picked her as his running mate – she practically assured him a defeat. The job she’s done in Alaska has been classified by most as “ineffectual.” For all her bitching and moaning about the liberal media, she’s done more to hurt her public image than anyone else. Including Tina Fey. Hopefully, this is the first in a series of events that will result, a few years down the road, in people wondering what ever happened to “That Hockey Mom Politician From Alaska.”