04.19.10 – A Monday

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word

proxy [prok-see] n. 1. the agency, function, or power of a person authorized to act as the deputy or substitute for another 2. the person so authorized; substitute; agent 3. a written authorization empowering another person to vote or act for the signer, as a meeting of stockholders 4. an ally or confederate who can be relied upon to speak or act in one’s behalf

birthday

Roger Sherman (1721), Eliot Ness (1903), Dick Sargent (1930), Jayne Mansfield (1933), Dudley Moore (1935), Tim Curry (1946), Mary Jo Slater (1946), Paloma Picasso (1949), Suge Knight (1965), Dar Williams (1967), Ashley Judd (1968), Jesse James (1969), Kate Hudson (1979), Hayden Christensen (1981), Maria Sharapova (1987)

standpoint

I’ll admit I didn’t think the Philadelphia Flyers, after barely squeaking in, would do much of anything in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. After last night’s 3-2 overtime win against the New Jersey Devils, it appears I may have been mistaken. The Flyers look hungry and, unlike the last couple weeks of the regular season, ready to play like a team.

So I thought now would be as good a time as any to share my Top Five Flyers Of All Time. I do want to concede here that I only got into the Orange and Black fifteen years ago, so my list isn’t going to include fan favorites like Bobby Clarke, Tim Kerr or Pelle Lindbergh. But, it’s my list and not yours, so deal with it.

5. Roman Cechmanek – Drafted by the Flyers at ripe age of 29 in 2000, he played three seasons before being shipped out to the Los Angeles Kings. During his short stint he had 92 wins, 20 shutouts and GAA of 1.96 and was the Vezina Trophy runner-up in his first season.

4. Jody Hull – The right wing played from 1998 – 2001 and wasn’t exactly a scoring machine but was the consummate defensive forward, one of many I feel the team discarded too soon.

3. Eric Desjardins – Coming to the Flyers in the historical 1995 trade with the Montreal Canadiens that brought him, John LeClair and Gilbert Dionne for Mark Recchi, he became one of the best ever blueliners, finishing only second in overall points behind the legendary Mark Howe with 396 points in 738 games.

2. Shjon Podein – November 12, 1998 was one of the saddest of all the days I’ve been a Flyers fan. That was the date Podein was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for Keith Jones, another player I became a big fan of. But I’ve always missed the personality and grit “Pods” brought to every game. A truly stand up individual.

1. Eric Lindros – I’ll just say this about Lindros: If he started out now in today’s NHL, with Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, he may just be the guy to break all the unbreakable records set by Wayne Gretzky.

You may agree or disagree with my picks but, hey, you’re entitled to your opinion.

quotation

The bed is a bundle of a paradoxes: we go at it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret; we make up our minds every night to leave it, but me make up our bodies to keep it late. ↔ Charles Caleb Colton

tune

As far as jazz goes nowadays, there’s not much new being brought to the table. One band who’s bucking that trend is The Bad Plus. At least, the last time I checked in on them, they were. Here’s “Big Eater.”

gallimaufry

→ As soon as everyone involved in this debacle realizes it’s not going away, the quicker it actually will. Just come clean, Lower Merion Township.

→ A few weeks ago, we were all joking around about this but I think it’s time we got a little more focused. No Thomas Jefferson?

→ Why this dude is trying to admit to this is something I’ll never understand.

03.04.10 – A Thursday

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word

plethora [pleth-er-uh] n. 1. overabundance; excess: a plethora of advice and a paucity of assistance 2. Pathology Archaic. a morbid condition due to excess of red corpuscles in the blood or increase in the quantity of blood

birthday

Antonio Vivaldi (1678), David “Robber” Lewis (1790), Channing Pollock (1880), Knute Rockne (1888), Shemp Howard (1895), John Garfield (1913), Paul Mauriat (1925), Gloria Gaither (1942), Bobby Womack (1944), James Ellroy (1948), Catherine O’Hara (1954), Patricia Heaton (1958), Steven Weber (1961), Evan Dando (1967), Chastity Bono (1969), Buck 65 (1972), Jon Fratelli (1979)

standpoint

I know. Excuses. I’m full of them. But I’ve been looking forward to watching some NHL and there were more than a few games on last night and, well, you know what happened. Plus, I’m trying to get better sleep lately and all that crap. But, I promise, there will be a new Standpoint tomorrow. I’d stake my fortune on it.

quotation

Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.Mary Ellen Kelly

tune

As the story goes, Conrad O. Johnson, the music teacher at Kashmere High School in Houston TX, went to an Otis Redding concert one night back in 1967. The next day, he decided to transform the style of his music program and – bam – that’s how the Kashmere Stage Band came to be.

gallimaufry

As much as I have a low opinion of Pittsburgh Penguins‘ superstar Sidney Crosby, it sucks when something like this happens. Seriously, people, have a little respect. This, however, is a demonstration on how Canadians can get a little too jacked for hockey. Settle down, will ya?

Dallas Cowboys owner/meddler Jerry Jones is a gigantic douchebag. I know it. You know it. And, apparently, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton knows it. Very nice job. I’m sure Payton meant the whole thing in fun but, still.

→ People are getting dumber. Especially when it comes to their kids. Seriously. I’d venture to say that 90% of parents under 40 are complete and utter morons. That number may be wrong, but, based on my exposure to this problem, I don’t think so.

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.

06.15.09 – Monday

Word: sylvan [sil-vuhn] adj. 1. of, pertaining to, or inhabiting the woods 2. consisting of or abounding in woods or trees; wooded; woody: a shady, sylvan glade 3. made of trees, branches, boughs, etc n. 4. a person dwelling in a woodland region 5. a mythical deity or spirit of the woods

Birthday: Nicolas Poussin (1594), Sam Giancana (1908), Yuri Andropov (1914), Mario Cuomo (1932), Waylon Jennings (1937), Harry Nilsson (1941), Xaviera Hollander (1943), Simon Callow (1949), Jim Varney (1949), James Belushi (1954), Julie Hagerty (1955), Helen Hunt (1963), Courteney Cox (1964), Ice Cube (1969), Leah Remini (1970), Jake Busey (1971), Justin Leonard (1972), Neil Patrick Harris (1973), Gary Lightbody (1976)

Quotation: Failure and success seem to have been allotted to men by their stars.  But they retain the power of wriggling, of fighting with their star or against it, and in the whole universe the only really interesting movement is this wriggle.E. M. Forester

Tune: Rolling Stone had this to say about Blitzen Trapper‘s latest release, Furr – “Throughout the album, Blitzen keep their songs highly tuneful, making Furr a breakthrough worthy of toasting with a microbrew, or several.” Check out the title track – “Furr”

Gallimaufry: What a fucking mess. Friday’s presidential election in Iran has left the country in turmoil with many, both inside and outside, calling the election a farce. Apparently, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad beat his opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, by a large margin. The newly-elected President said Sunday, “Some believed they would win, and then they got angry.” He then likened the riots in his country to those of  “the passions after a soccer match.” (I thought we Americans were the only ones who called it “soccer.”) He furthered with, “In Iran, the election was a real and free one.”  He was so confident in his victory he shutdown text-messaging capabilities and dissenting newspapers. Dubai-based news network Al Arabiya was warned repeatedly on Saturday to “be careful in reporting ‘chaos’ accurately.” Seems totally normal to me. Just like every other “real and free” election.   Kim Kardashian is looking to switch gears by – you guessed it – launching a pop music career. Here’s her vision – “I would like the music to sound a bit like Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and J-Lo with a bit on an R & B twist to it.” Awesome. Sounds like she’s talking about something completely new and different and not at all about something 600 other idiot celebrities are currently working on. It’s refreshing when a real musician talk about real music for a change. Last Friday, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins won The Stanley Cup. Last night, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers won The NBA Championship. Both are proof that good things happen to shitty people. What an encouraging weekend it must’ve been for dipshits everywhere. 

Incoming: We’ll see what happens. Stay tuned.

06.01.09 – Monday

Note: All right, so I’m back. I took a week off to take care of some personal stuff and work on my other writing projects and in doing so I realized something: I can’t do this blog every weekday in the way that I was and still have time to pursue other goals. Now, don’t worry, there will still be daily content on here every Monday through Friday. It’ll just be a little different. Since the “Standpoint” section seems to be the one you all like the most, I’m separating it from each daily post. It will appear by itself and only three days a week. It was getting a little difficult to write five “Standpoints” per week and maintain the quality. This way, I’ll be able to write about more of the issues you really want to read about. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Word: pithy [pith-ee] adj. 1. brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression; full of vigor, substance, or meaning; terse; forcible: a pithy observation 2. of, like, or abounding in pith

Birthday: Jacques Marquette (1637), Brigham Young (1801), William S. Knowles (1917), Nelson Riddle (1921), Andy Griffith (1926), Marilyn Monroe (1926), Charles Wilson (1933), Pat Boone (1934), Morgan Freeman (1937), René Auberjonois (1940), Ronnie Wood (1947), David Berkowitz (1953), Teri Polo (1969), Alexi Lalas (1970), Heidi Klum (1973), Alanis Morissette (1974), Brandi Carlile (1980)

Quotation: Live your life so when the times comes for the funeral the preacher won’t have to bullshit the peoples. Babatunde Olatunji

Tune: I watched Zack and Miri Make a Porno last weekend. (It was better than people told me it’d be.) Anyway, during the scene where Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks first…ahem…actively participate in relations with one another, a song came on that was unmistakably by the band Live. After 1994’s Throwing Copper, I stopped listening to Live. (Except “Simple Creed.” I love that song.) They stopped making good music. Turns out that the song in the movie was “Hold Me Up,” a b-side from the Throwing Copper album. I liked the song a lot. And I’m OK with that because, even though I’d never heard it before, it was from an era when I thought Live was still kind of worthwhile. Plus, a good song is a good song no matter who’s performing it. All right, that’s not true. I don’t really believe that. Still, good stuff. I don’t think Live released the song anywhere. It’s not on the Zack and Miri Make a Porno soundtrack. But, as I’m known to, I was able to find a site where you can download “Hold Me Up” for free.

Gallimaufry: Despite disliking the movie Titanic on an almost undescribable level, I’ve always been kind of fascinated by the real-life story. Sadly, the last survivor of the tragedy, Millvina Deans, died yesterday. Dean was only 2 months old when the Titanic sank. ∞ Tone-Lôc, the rapper behind such megahit classics like “Funky Cold Medina,” “Wild Thing,” and, well, I guess just those two, collapsed during a concert in Florida on Friday. He reportedly suffered a seizure due to “flight delays and heat.” He’s expected to make a full recovery.  ∞ Lastly, I’m pleased to announce that the Detroit Red Wings are up 2-0 on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals. As usual, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby is proving to everyone what a douchebag he can be. Crosby aside, the Red Wings deserve the Cup again. Simply the better team.  

Incoming: Tomorrow – I’ll discuss the 2009 MTV Movie Awards.

05.20.09 – Wednesday

Word: swagger [swag-er] v. int. 1. to walk or strut with a defiant or  insolent air 2. to boast or brag noisily ∞ v. t. 3. to bring, drive, force, etc., by blustering ∞ n. 4. swaggering manner, conduct, or walk; ostentatious display of arrogance and conceit

Birthday: Honoré de Balzac (1799), John Stuart Mill (1806), James Stewart (1908), Gardner Fox (1911), Lee “Scratch” Perry (1936), Joe Cocker (1944), Cher (1946), Ron Reagan (1950), Jane Wiedlin (1958), Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1959), Bronson Pinchot (1959), Ted Allen (1965), Mindy Cohn (1966), Busta Rhymes (1972)

Standpoint: Monday night, as I was watching the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it was impossible to miss Sidney Crosby. Even when he was doing absolutely nothing, the spotlight shown in his direction. He’s the new poster boy for the NHL, who would love for him to become the next Wayne Gretzky, whose combination of pure skill and squeaky-clean good looks brought the league into prominence in this country two decades ago. The problem is Crosby is no Gretzky. Even in this early stage of his career, he’s not popular with the fans or among his peers. And here’s why.

Most professional sports are just a live enactment of good vs. evil. In any contest, there are the good guys – those we ‘re all waiting to see win in dramatic fashion – and the bad guys – those we are waiting to fall miserably on their faces. And we enjoy watching either one because wishing for a team to lose is just as much fun as wishing for it to win. Sometimes even more so.

Take Joe Montana. With a name like that, he was destined to occupy a place among the good guys. Besides the name, the man possessed all of the qualities that one needs to become one of America’s heroes. In short, Joe Montana was a guy that no one thought would be anything more than a capable quarterback. Of course, as is often the case, people ended up eating their words as he led the San Francisco 49ers to some of the most famous comebacks during one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. His losses were sometimes just as spectacular as his wins. We all rooted for him. Whichever team was playing against Joe Montana became the enemy.

 Then we have Kobe Bryant, who was marked by the NBA to be its replacement for Michael Jordan, its most celebrated good guy. But things went wrong. The Los Angeles Lakers‘ superstar distinguished himself by openly feuding with Shaquille O’Neal and being the only guy in human history capable of pissing off Phil Jackson. Oh yeah, being accused of sexual assault didn’t really help, either. Still, Kobe prevailed and is currently one of the top basketball players in the world. But no one is happy about it and we all root against him. Whichever team is playing against Kobe Bryant becomes the favorite.

So we all loved Montana. And we all love to hate Bryant. But what about Crosby? What group does he fit into? Well, he’ll probably never be shown the kind of love the good guys enjoy. At least not outside of Pittsburgh. On the other hand, he’ll never earn a spot with the bad guys as one of professional sports’ villains. And that’s because he’s more disliked than he is hated. And you might think that being disliked doesn’t sound as bad as being hated. But it is.

Because, no matter what the particular sport or situation, what we’re all looking for is entertainment. And being a human highlight reel is only so entertaining for so long. Here’s what the San Jose SharksJeremy Roenick has to say about Crosby: I think he’s too quiet, too hum-drum, too cliched. I love the kid as a hockey player, but I think he can be more spectacular if he steps up and shows a little personality. Now while the outspoken Roenick might not be the best judge about the proper use of “personality,” his remarks mirror the public sentiment. Mainly, we find the guy boring. Outside of whining to officials about everything imaginable (he complained to the referee during a recent game against the Washington Capitals because he thought the fans were throwing an excessive amount of hats on the ice after a hat trick by rival superstar Alex Ovechkin), and his admittedly sick amount of talent, Crosby is vanilla. And while vanilla is good it doesn’t get anyone fired up.

The impression that he gives is a neutral one. Like maybe he’d be OK playing out the season in spectator-less arenas and simply concentrating on hockey. And, while that may not be true, it’s the vibe he gives off and one thing sports fans won’t tolerate is an athlete who refuses to acknowledge their part in the process.

What really sucks about all of this is, if the Penguins somehow manage to win the Stanley Cup, when Crosby lifts it over his head, most hockey fans will fill ripped off because we;ll feel neither the good guys or the bad guys triumphed. The boring whiner did.   

Quotation: By night, an atheist half believes in God. Edward Young

Tune: On advice from my brother Jeremy, I’m attempting to get into Say Hi To Your Mom. So far, I like what I hear. Try “The Death of Girl Number Two.”

Gallimaufry: Declining honeybee populations represent a potentially disastrous problem for the world’s ecosystem. And no one’s really been able to explain how it’s happening. But it looks like there might be hope. ∞ Hollywood is one step closer to completing its mission of destroying everything from my past. The most recent victim? Footloose, the 1984 Kevin Bacon classic that was so dorky-cool most guys didn’t seem to mind it was about dancing. If the initial casting choices for the remake are any indication, this movie is going to absolutely blow. ∞ Blink-182 has reunited and I’ve watched them the past two nights on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I’m a huge fan of the band’s albums. Ask anyone. But they’ve always been considered a shitty live act and, from what I’ve seen, that’s not a perception in danger of going away anytime soon.

Incoming: TomorrowAnnoying Sayings & Misused Words. Friday3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and more.