05.04.09 – Monday

Word: ostensible [o-sten-suh-buhl] adj. 1. outwardly appearing as such; professed; pretended: an ostensible cheerfulness concealing sadness 2. apparent, evident or conspicuous: the ostensible truth of their theories

Birthday: Horace Mann (1796), William H. Prescott (1796), Ron Carter (1937), Dick Dale (1937), Mr. Fuji (1937), Paul Gleason (1939), Robin Cook (1940), Roger Rees (1944), Mick Mars (1951), Pia Zadora (1954), Randy Travis (1959), Oleta Adams (1962), Ana Gasteyer (1967), Gregg Alexander (1970), Will Arnett (1970), Lance Bass (1979)

Occurence: 1972 – The Don’t Make A Wave Committee officially changes its name to Greenpeace Foundation.

Standpoint: “I’ll never date a girl who reads those idiotic celebrity gossip magazines.” I made that statement (or something similar) one night over some beers to a buddy of mine. Eventually, I came to realize, if I stuck to my guns and only dated females who didn’t read periodicals such as US Magazine and People, I’d be limiting my dating pool to roughly 14 women. As I’ve done numerous times in my life, I was forced to go back on a statement I completely believed at the time of its utterance.

All women read “idiotic celebrity gossip magazines.” Lots of men do, too, though it’s not something any of us will admit to each other. Everyone loves exploring the surreal arena that is celebrity gossip. And why? The reason’s not exactly forthcoming. How do you explain someone with two master’s degrees getting school-girl excited about the arrival of a  magazine which contains twice as many pictures as complete sentences? It makes little sense that individuals who can speak on many educated topics will drop whatever they’re doing to find out what crazy capers Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie are currently mixed up in. Logic comes up short in providing a definitive answer.

Online, the genre is best described as logjammed. Blogging about the day-to-day (and often minute-to-minute) ongoings of celebrity life is as widespread as it is unchecked. Let’s blame it on Perez. While I estimate I’d last about 10 seconds in a conversation with Hilton before the guy uttered something unforgivingly bothersome, his “reporting” is – at the very least – (a) perchance on the level and (b) marginally readable. Sadly, I can’t offer the same quasi-praise for his colleagues in the celebrity blogosphere. In their world, the Swine Flu isn’t newsworthy until Amy Winehouse contracts it. In the battle of what’s really important. Somali pirates finish a distant second to David Hasselhoff’s drinking problem.

The “Blogroll” on TMZ.com contains scores of sites dedicated to the pursuit of celebrity exposure. Yesterday, after immersing myself in their vocation, I concluded that, minus those who stalk or pass for celebrities, the population of Los Angeles may very well reside at about 700 people. Here’s some of the hard-hitting journalism I encountered along the way.

  • “Kelly Osbourne on Cocaine Diet”AnythingHollywood – At first, I thought the title suggested Kelly Osbourne was actively using blow to shed some unwanted pounds. After further delving  into the two-paragraph article, I discovered it contained her poignant inner thoughts on celebs who do employ the use of cocaine for weight loss. Ozzy‘s daughter is tired of reading about “how fat” she is. “It’s not like I’m like all the other celebrities in Hollywood that’s going to do a line of cocaine to lose weight.” Osbourne makes no mention of the fact that an exercise regimen might be a valid consideration. Nor does she offer a solid explanation as to how exactly she continues to think of herself as a celebrity.  AnythingHollywood concludes the article with encouragement for the former reality television star, “Stay happy, Kelly, that’s what matters.” I’m reasonably sure Osbourne’s message is meaningful to someone out there: “Hey, the best way to deflect unwanted discussion on being unhealthy and overweight is highlighting a worse thing you could be doing. Like habit-forming drugs.” When you read it about a dozen times in the right kind of light, it’s almost inspirational.
  • “Alyson Hannigan & Alexis Denisof Take Satyana For A Stroll”Pink is the New Blog – Let’s do a breakdown. “It really looks like the Hannigan-Denisofs are taking things nice and easy these days so that they can enjoy being a new family unit with their just over a month-old baby girl. It’s clear that parenthood really suits the couple.” I’m not disagreeing with that, but I’m hoping that the author has a little more to go on than the pictures. Not much more than Hannigan pushing a futuristic stroller with Denisof ambling along, hands in pockets. More: “…the serenity and calmness that they show whenever they are out and about belies that notion that new parents are frazzled and nearly driven to insanity.” I’m a little skeptical. Perhaps “the serenity and calmness” displayed might be better described as “the bewilderment and stupefaction” of two people faced with the reality of a casual walk turning into a spectator sport. “Frazzled?” “Nearly driven to insanity?” Inevitable, if you ask me…Finally, “…of course, we don’t get to see what they look like at 3AM when little Miss Satyana gets hungry/wet and/or poopy.” Patience, Pink is the New Blog. I’m sure one day, with the right set of circumstances, you’ll get the pictures needed to scoop the exclusive on the “Miss Satyana Was Hungry/Wet and/or Poopy” story that the world is on-the-edge-of-its-seat to read. Personally, I would’ve rather read a few sentences on how naming your daughter “Satyana” is somehow (a) acceptable or (b) not creating an uphill battle for the child.
  • “Get That Money, HoHan!”Dlisted – So poorly written that I’d wager Lindsay Lohan could’ve written something a bit more coherent. Annoying in the fact that someone is making money off maintaining and contributing to Dlisted. Encouraging in that, if whomever is at the helm of this nonsense is profiting in any way whatsoever, odds are that you can make money doing nearly anything. Lohan is one of the most inconsequential people that I (unfortunately) know about. Dlisted is her blog equivalent. Unfair? Maybe. But I think I’m standing on pretty solid ground here.

The fun/absurdity doesn’t end there. I could go on. But I think I’ve adequately shown my intent here. If we could bottle the collective energy spent daily on the gathering of celebrity gossip we’d have the means to quickly solve all the world’s problems. At the very least, we could figure out some way for Kelly Osbourne to achieve her goal of drug-free weight loss.

Quotation: Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity. Desmond Tutu

Tune: As a rule, I dislike remixes. However, this version of Soul Coughing‘s “Circles” has been a long-time exception.

Gallimaufry: Congratulations to everyone who ran in the 2009 Blue Cross Broad Street Run yesterday. Special congrats go out to my roomie who ran 10 miles in an hour and a half. Way to go, Kate. All the training paid off…TopCultured.com has published its list of “4 Tell-tale Signs of Douchebaggery.” I recently bought a shirt at Express and I wear a wristband so it turns out I’m half a douchebag. I think that’s more favorable  than some might describe me…The 76ers had a “total collapse.”  The Flyers got outworked by a lesser team. The Phillies are off to a good, but not spectacular, start. Enter the Eagles minicamp and the silence of Donovan McNabb. Ah. I knew that World Series euphoria would wear off eventually. Welcome back, shaky Philadelphia sports scene. 

Incoming: Tomorrow7 Best Movie Soundtracks. Wednesday – Working on something. Stay tuned. Later – More of your entries for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words and 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and much much much more.

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03.18.09 – Wednesday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: intrepid [in-trep-id] adj. resolutely fearless, dauntless

Birthday: Mary Tudor (1496), John C. Calhoun (1782), Grover Cleveland (1837), Neville Chamberlain (1869), Ernest Gallo (1909), Jack Warden (1920), Peter Graves (1926), George Plimpton (1927), John Updike (1932), Wilson Pickett (1941), Bill Frisell (1951), Irene Cara (1959), James McMurtry (1962), Vanessa L. Williams (1963), Bonnie Blair (1964), Jerry Cantrell (1966), Queen Latifah (1970), Dane Cook (1972)

Occurrence: 1850American Express founded by Henry Wells and William Fargo. Probably no one left with “1850” under the little “Member Since” on their credit card.

Standpoint: Nick Schuyler should be left alone to mourn and mend. He was the sole survivor of the ill-fated fishing trip that went wrong when the 21-foot boat that he and his three comrades (two current NFL players and one former collegiate player) capsized about 70 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Originally, Schuyler gave a vague recollection of the events surrounding February 28th but now, after spending some time recuperating from hypothermia at Tampa General Hospital, he apparently has come forth with more details that conflict with his original statements to the Coast Guard personnel who found him. According to him, two of his companions (Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith) became desolate, took off their life jackets and floated off into the water. Will Bleakley, the one who lasted the longest alongside Schuyler, thought he saw a light and discarded his life jacket to swim towards it. Now some people, led by the other men’s families, are questioning the validity of his story. It’s almost not even worth surviving a tragedy anymore because, on top of actually having to survive the rigors of said tragedy, you are forced to spend a lifetime recounting the tale and defending your version. Leave the poor guy alone. He’s been through enough.

Quotation: Perhaps your fear in passing judgment on me is greater than mine in receiving it. – Giordano Bruno

Soupçon: The name “Muppet” was derived from a combination of “puppet” and “marionette” by (who else?) Jim Henson.

Tune: Check out my friend Nicholas Chupein and the rest of the guys in Athens – an up and coming band from Chicago, IL. Drawing from a wide array of influences, Athens has successfully conjured up a unique and enjoyable sound that’s been described as, “Like reading Dr. Seuss while getting hit over the head with a guitar.” You’ll understand more once you buy “What Would We Wear Were We Werewolves?” It’s also available on iTunes.

Link: Overthinking It – A site that examines pop culture, by its own admission, maybe a little too much.

Gallimaufry: Since early 2008, Somali pirates have collected over $200 million by raiding vessels in the Gulf of Aden region. Check out this photo gallery of the pirates’ efforts from The Boston Globe. It’s amazing to me, and I’m sure most of you, the small ships they’re using to overtake the much larger ones…400 million light years away, two galaxies are colliding. Don’t worry, NGC 6240 poses no threat to us. This is the first time that scientists have been able to see, by combining images from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope, a galactic merger in process. It’ll take several million years for the process to complete so we’ve got that to look forward to, right?…Anyone else think it was funny that Martin Brodeur (522 career wins) passed Patrick Roy on the NHL’s all-time career wins list on St. Patrick’s Day?