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.

Advertisements

06.02.09 – Tuesday

Word: ephemeral [i-fem-er-uhl] adj. 1. lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory: the ephemeral joys of childhood 2. lasting but one day: an ephemeral flower  ∞ n. 3. anything short-lived, as certain insects

Birthday: Martha Washington (1731), Marquis de Sade (1740), Thomas Hardy (1840), Johnny Weissmuller (1904), Sally Kellerman (1937), Stacy Keach (1941), Charlie Watts (1941), Jerry Mathers (1948), Gary Bettman (1952), Dana Carvey (1955), Lydia Lunch (1959), Kyle Petty (1960), B-Real (1970), Wayne Brady (1972), Nikki Cox (1978), Justin Long (1978)

Quotation: In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. T.S. Eliot

Tune: Lately, I’ve been exploring my iPod and finding songs I’m not sure ended up on it. Some are terrible. Others are quite good. Here’s “Innocent Violent Ordinary” by The Appleseed Cast. It’s one of the good ones.

Gallimaufry: If you play the lottery on any kind of regular basis, this will drive you nuts. More proof there is really no justice out there. I wonder what the inept individuals ended up doing with all the money. ∞ Ghostbusters was one of the most successful movies of all-time. A classic. Irrefutably so. Ghostbusters II was a classic sequel. Kind of shitty, but you watch when there’s nothing else on. Now years later, when everyone is remaking everything, the original creators of Ghostbusters decided to try something a little different. (Although it does seem there might be some interest in making a third movie.) Enter Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Bill Murray (Peter Venkman), Dan Aykroyd (Ray Stantz), Harold Ramis (Egon Spengler) and Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddmore) all contributed their voices to the game, set to come out June 16th for XBox 360, Playstation 3, Wii and Nintendo DS. Also involved were original cast members Annie Potts, Brian Doyle Murray and William Atherton. The game looks to be pretty sweet and has been met with some solid reviews. If you’re wondering, yes, I’ll be getting it. ∞ Hey, remember when Weezer used to be cool? Yeah, I don’t either. But now there’s a Weezer-inspired Snuggie called the Wuggie. Rivers Cuomo had this to say about it: “A Wuggie is basically exactly like a Snuggie, except it says Weezer on it. The people at Snuggie are doing it with us and promoting it with us. It’s a totally legit Snuggie.” If you were worried about it not being “legit,” now you can rest easy. I’m pretty sure if anyone I know buys the Wuggie, I’ll have to pull the plug on our association. You’ve been warned.

Incoming: Later today – I’ll address the debacle that was The 2009 MTV Movie Awards.

05.06.09 – Wednesday

Word: levity [lev-i-tee] n. 1. lightness of mind, character or behavior; lack of appropriate seriousness or earnestness 2. an instance or exhibition of this 3. fickleness 4. lightness in weight

Birthday: Maxmilien Robespierre (1758), Sigmund Freud (1856), Christian Morgenstern (1871), Rudolph Valentino (1896), Orson Welles (1915), Willie Mays (1931), Rubin Carter (1937), Jimmie Dale Gilmore (1945), Bob Seger (1945), Tony Blair (1953), Roma Downey (1960), John Flansburgh (1960), George Clooney (1961)

Standpoint: Recently, I moved from the City of Philadelphia to one of its suburbs, East Norriton. I grew up in the ‘burbs and, throughout my adult life, have gone through several suburban stints. But mostly, in the past decade and a half, I’ve lived in some section of Philadelphia. Obviously, there are differences. Here are three that I’ve noticed so far this time around.

  • Driving – There are  sidewalks out here but they’re used about as often as that Snuggie you got last Christmas. No one walks anywhere from what I can tell. In the city, pedestrian traffic almost drove me insane. Now, it’s the other cars on the road that are filling that hole in my life. Because hardly anyone demonstrates a sense of urgency. Also, gratuitous use of one’s horn is frowned upon. I’m not asking my fellow drivers to hop the curb or run a red light. But the other day I was driving behind a woman talking on her phone and not moving after the light had been green for about five seconds. I was only looking for a little understanding when I gave a little honk, informing her I’d be agreeable if she put down the cell phone and pushed the gas pedal. She did put the phone down. Then she gave me the finger. Then she pushed the gas pedal. In that order. The next morning, the guy in front of me, driving what looked like the first pickup truck made by Ford, didn’t use his turn signal while pulling into the Sears Hardware at a speed that would’ve made a parade procession appear supersonic by comparison. Apparently, I missed the memo about Fred not having to worry about the proper rules of the road when he’s going to drink coffee in the Sears parking lot with the rest of the guys who feel that using a turn signal is just plain bothersome/uncool. Again, my horn use was met with the middle finger. OK. Message received loud and clear. No honking of the horn. Let’s move on.
  • Civility – In the city, I can remember going to Wawa, the local convenience store, collecting my targeted items, taking them to the counter, paying for them and walking out the door. Without uttering a single word. I didn’t know anything about any of the people who worked in a store I frequented at least once a day. And – I’m sure this’ll sound ruder than I intend it -but I really didn’t want to get familiar with the crew at Wawa. I’ve always felt that idle small-talk in a convenience store makes it significantly less convenient. Out here in the suburbs, it appears there is some expectation of chit-chat during the customer-clerk exchange. My first day here, I was in line at 7-Eleven behind a woman who the clerk referred to as “Liz.” She was probably about 30 years older than he and affectionately called the clerk, “Mitchy,” although the name on his shirt clearly read “Mitch.” After their five-minute conversation about her ambitious gardening enterprises and the latest shenanigans of a dog she was “about ten seconds away from driving out to the goddam country,” Liz managed to make her way out of the store. Mitch turned to me, “How’re you doing today, sir?” “Doing well,” was all I could get out. The rest of my time with Mitch was spent in uncomfortable silence. Next.
  • Hours of Operation – Gone are the days of random 3am gunshots from the low-income housing behind my bedroom. No more coming home at midnight to find half the neighborhood still awake, yelling at the television or each other. Besides the McDonald’s and the APlus, it’s tough work finding something open after 10pm. Lights off. It’s bedtime. I’m sure you can imagine how troubling that might be for a night-owl like myself. Last night, I was in bed at 11pm. I don’t think that’s happened since I was actually 11. My only options for going out somewhere were to either (a) do about 50 round trips through the Mickey D’s drive-thru or (b) head down to the 7-Eleven and engage Mitch in a discussion about Liz’s misbehaving canine. Thanks, but no. On the upside, I’ve never gotten better sleep. Hmmm. Think there’s something to that?

That’s all I got for now but I’m sure I’ll be making more discoveries in the course of readjusting to suburban life. Stay tuned.   

Quotation: And all this means you can expect an unrelenting, unyielding effort from this administration to strengthen our prosperity and our security – in the second hundred days and the third hundred days and all the days after.President Obama

Tune: A while back, I heard Marching Band‘s “For Your Love” on an episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” Having a song featured on a TV show or a movie has become the new “making it big.”

Gallimaufry: Yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke informed Congress that the economy should experience an upswing in the second half of this year. He went on to say that all would still not be right with the economy but there would be mild improvement. Hey. It’s a start. ∞ Everyone can rest easy. The Wayne Coyne-Win Butler brouhaha is now officially over. You might recall I covered this back in March. Coyne, lead singer of The Flaming Lips, has apologized: “I wish whatever had been said wouldn’t have been taken as such a defiant statement by The Flaming Lips because it wasn’t…I was talking about the dudes running their stages.” Weird. Compare that with his previous statement: “Whenever I’ve been around them, I’ve found that they not only treated their crew like shit, they treated the audience like shit.” Whatever happened to real rock feuds? I mean, neither Axl Rose nor Vince Neil looked like they could’ve beaten their way out of a wet paper bag, but at least they talked a good game. As of yet, there’s no official response from Butler and Arcade Fire to Coyne’s back-pedaling. ∞ After what must have seemed like an eternity (I know it did to me), the 13th Annual Webby Awards, “honoring excellence on the internet,” were announced. Among this years Special Achievement Award Winners, Jimmy Fallon for Webby Person of the Year and Twitter for Webby Breakout of the Year. No word yet on where I fell in the voting. I’m sure I’ll be receiving a call sometime soon. ∞ After completing this post, I found out that Dom DeLuise died yesterday at the age of 76. My immediate reaction was to watch the outtakes from Cannonball Run. I’m not sure why. Rest in peace, Dom.

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

04.01.09 – Wednesday

Word: hyperbole [hahy-pur-buh-lee] n. 1. obvious and intentional exaggeration  2. an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as in “wait and eternity”

 

Birthday: Otto von Bismarck (1815), Big Jim Fisk (1834), Gordon Jump (1932), Debbie Reynolds (1932), Ali MacGraw (1938), Jimmy Cliff (1948), Gil Scott-Heron (1949), Annette O’Toole (1952), Method Man (1971), Rachel Maddow (1971), Bijou Phillips (1980)

 

Occurrence: 2004Google launches Gmail. This should be enough to make April 1st a national holiday. If you don’t use Gmail, switch now.

 

Standpoint: Well, its April Fool’s Day and guess who’s got something really funny cooking up? Hackers. The Conficker worm is looking to create quite a stir. If you’re reading this, you’re probably safe. Often, I wonder what it would take for me to become a full-fledged hacker. What steps would I need to take?

 

  1. Dump my girlfriend – Sorry, honey, but hacking is time-consuming stuff. No more romantic dinners or movie nights for a while. After all, I’ll be trying to take over the world.
  2. Enroll in a martial arts class – Hackers claim they do this for the mental discipline needed to be successful at the craft. I envision some sort of ornate Japanese spear hanging on a wall in my office.
  3. Change my wardrobe – I’ll need to fit in with my hacker brethren so I’ll need lots of ironic t-shirts with clever statements like, “Big Brother Is Watching You” and “Just Because I’m Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Watching Me.” Also, buying a wide assortment of Converse All-Stars feels like something I’ll have to seriously think about.
  4. Modify my attitude – Right now, I’m not particularly angry enough to do something like, say, hack into the New York Stock Exchange and collapse the economy. Gotta get mean. Or at the very least, gotta get not-so-apathetic.
  5. Create believable back-story – I’ll come up with stories that I can share with my hacker brethren so they’ll better relate to me. One story will chronicle a particularly horrific gym class involving multiple dodgeballs caroming off my face. Another one will be the tale of how I went stag to my senior prom with my buddy Gilbert and we got totally wasted and made fun of everyone else for “participating in elitist bullshit.” 
  6. Actually learn how to hack – I’ll be good at talking the talk but walking the walk will be a totally different story. Most hacker experts estimate that someone with practically no knowledge of hacking (like me) will need to spend 18-24 months training to acquire the basic necessary skills.

 Seems like a lot of work. I probably won’t do it.

 

Quotation: If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner. Tallulah Bankhead

 

Tune: I hear that, in real life, Alanis Morissette is a cool person. Most of her songs, though, annoy the crap out of me. “Hands Clean” is an exception. I like the whole idea of fast forwarding to a few years later.

 

Link: Music Map – Like iTunes’ “Related Artist” feature but about 8,000 times better.

 

Gallimaufry: Not sure which blanket-with-sleeves you should be looking at? You’ve got more options than the Snuggie…Tattletexting? It’s real and coming to a sporting event near you…Hipsters have always been a source of endless amusement for me. For many reasons. Here’s an article by Lauren Alfrey “What Can We Learn by Learning about Hipsters?” Interesting take.