03.17.10 – A Wednesday

word

gumption [guhmp-shuhn] n. 1. initiative; aggressiveness; resourcefulness: With his gumption he’ll make a success of himself 2. courage; spunk; guts: It takes gumption to quit a high-paying job 3. common sense; shrewdness

birthday

Lawrence Oates (1888), Bobby Jones (1902), Ray Ellington (1916), Nat King Cole (1919), James Irwin (1930), John Wayne Gacy (1942), James Morrow (1947), Patrick Duffy (1949), Kurt Russell (1951), Gary Sinise (1955), Vicki Lewis (1960), Casey Siemaszko (1961), Rob Lowe (1964), Billy Corgan (1967), Alexander McQueen (1969), Mia Hamm (1972), Mason Jennings (1975)

standpoint

Today is St. Patrick’s Day and most of you, irregardless of whether you have actual Irish roots or not, will go out and get drunk. And I support you in your endeavor. However, being both a bartender and an avid drinker, I’d like to offer the tips designed to assist you in having a fun, but also safe, night out.

Don’t drive. Even if you’re not drinking. There are going to be more idiots out on the road than a tea party protest led by Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Carrot Top letting out. Leave your car at home.

Pick the right spot. Any bar with “Paddy” or “O’Anything” or “McAnything” or anything named similarly Irish is going to be packed to roof with drunk knuckleheads. Select a spot that’ll have a bit of a crowd but one where you’ll still be able to get a drink.

Drink within your safety zone. There will be lots of temptation to consume Irish-themed libations you normally wouldn’t. Green beer. Jameson. Guinness. Don’t get crazy. Drink what you’re used to and you’ll avoid a massive hangover and/or vomiting until the sun rises. Unless you’ve planned appropriately with your place of work, it’s still a school night.

Steer clear of the fisticuffs. The second best way to get arrested on a night like tonight is getting drunk and engaging in a brouhaha. Lots of people in one place means lots of bumping into one another. Don’t sweat it. Just enjoy the evening. And if some drunkard gets in your face, buy him a shot and wish him a happy night. Best money you’ll ever spend. Plus, women, at least the non-skanky kind, frown upon guys who like to fight.

Bottom line, treat St. Patrick’s Day like any other in which you’re planning to get loose and have some fun. Use your head. Keep your wits about you.

quotation

He was a terror to any snake that came in his path, whether it was the cold, slimy reptile sliding along the ground or the more dangerous snake that oppresses men through false teachings.  And he drove the snakes out of the minds of men, snakes of superstition and brutality and cruelty.Arthur Brisbane

tune

It would be completely messed up of me if I didn’t share an Irish tune with you all today. Here’s “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” by The Pogues.

gallimaufry

This section is closed today. Come back tomorrow for some more.

03.20.09 – Friday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: halcyon [hal-see-uhn] adj. 1. calm; peaceful; tranquil  2. rich; wealthy; prosperous  3. happy; joyful; carefree

Birthday: Napoleon II (1811), Henrik Ibsen (1828), Ozzie Nelson (1906), Jack Barry (1918), Carl Reiner (1922), Fred Rogers (1928), Hal Linden (1931), Lee “Scratch” Perry (1936), Jerry Reed (1937), Paul Junger Witt (1943), Pat Riley (1945), Bobby Orr (1948), William Hurt (1950), Jimmie Vaughn (1951), Spike Lee (1957), Holly Hunter (1958), Sting (1959), A.J. Jacobs (1968), Michael Rappaport (1970)

Occurrence: 1985Libby Riddles becomes the first female ever to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Women everywhere rejoice. Dogs everywhere still pissed.

Standpoint: Why? That’s the only question I have for Joaquin Phoenix. Furthermore, that’s probably the question the dude should’ve asked himself before deciding to retire from acting to become the next Matisyahu, with brother-in-law Casey Affleck in tow to film the whole debacle. Has Phoenix never heard of Keanu Reeves? Jared Leto? Juliette Lewis? Don Johnson? They’re all actors who tried their hands in the music biz and came up with less-than-spectacular results. (Oddly enough, the same doesn’t hold true for musicians who make the leap into acting. See Will Smith, Jon Bon Jovi, Queen Latifah, Justin Timberlake.) Hopefully, the talented actor regains his senses and comes back from his trip to Jupiter. Odds are he will. After the novelty of his act wears off, people will stop buying tickets and Phoenix will undoubtedly have to return to acting. Just a matter of time.

Quotation: I don’t think that there are any limits to how excellent we could make life seem.Jonathan Safran Foer

Stupefaction: In Florida, scientists are firing rockets at lightning. Seriously. I hate to ruin the ending for you but the lightning won, remaining the undefeated champ of shit you don’t wanna screw around with.

Tune: Be honest. If you went to high school or college in the 90s, there was at least one time you drove around with the windows down listening to “I’m Free” by The Soup Dragons.

Link: FutureMe – Send an email to your future self.

Weekend (Fridays only): Do you long to hear 80s music sung by an all-male chorus? I thought so. Check out “That 80s Show” performed by the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus at Prince’s Music Theater tonight and tomorrow night…For all of you with little ones, The Berenstain Bears’ Family Matters starts this weekend at the Walnut Street Theatre For Kids and runs through April 4th…Also on Saturday, why not check out one of the few remaining home games of The Philadelphia Phantoms as they take on the Binghamton Rangers at the Wachovia Spectrum – 7:05pm…Amazingly, tickets are still available for Morrisey’s show at The Academy of Music this Sunday (3/22) starting 8:00pm.

Gallimaufry: This week, California took time out of its busy schedule fighting gay marriage (see Prop 8) to debate whether legalizing marijuana would properly stimulate its flailing economy. Now there’s a debate worthy of everyone’s time and energy…March Madness is officially upon us and I still don’t care…I haven’t completely wrapped my head around it (who has?) but this bailout process reminds me of a video I once saw where a log sunk into quicksand…Want to feel better about yourself by listening to an audio clip of someone sounding like a jackass? Check out Lou Dobbs’ rant about St. Patrick’s Day…Following up on yesterday’s post, here is a link to the entire interview Jon Stewart conducted with Jim Cramer on The Daily Show…That’s it for me this week. Come back Monday for some more.

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?

03.17.09 – Tuesday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: stultify [stuhl-tuh-fahy] verb to make, or cause to appear, foolish or ridiculous

Birthday: Nat King Cole (1919), John Wayne Gacy (1942), Patrick Duffy (1949), Kurt Russell (1951), Gary Sinise (1955), Casey Siemaszko (1961), Rob Lowe (1964), Billy Corgan (1967), Mia Hamm (1972)

Occurrence: 1854 – The rubber band is first patented. Interesting, but I would like to know the first time someone figured out how to wrap it around their hand and point at people like a gun.

Standpoint: In today’s NFL, you’re just not a viable wide receiver until ESPN shows a clip of you getting arrested or questioned by the police. Apparently, it’s a rite of passage. This past Saturday morning, Donte Stallworth struck and killed Juan Sanchez, a man who had just finished his shift. Stallworth has now joined the ranks of Plaxico Burress, Javon Walker, Marvin Harrison and host of other professional wideouts who can’t seem to help but get busted for (or suspected of) criminal acts. Originally, it was reported that charges would not be brought up against the Cleveland Browns player, but now it seems a definite possibility. The most amazing aspect of this current trend of “bad boy” wide receivers is that, for the most part, every one of them is, or has the potential to be, an elite player. Randy Moss. Terry Glenn. Brandon Marshall. Koren Robinson. All great talents. All ended up destroying or diminishing their own careers for participation in events that, to the rest of us, seem completely absurd. The problem is well-documented. This is news to no one. So when does Commissioner Robert Goodell drop the hammer and start kicking these guys out of the league? And when do the teams start sending a real message by not signing these guys, no matter what their level of talent may be? The NFL has become a safe harbor for individuals who continually break the law (see Matt Jones), learn nothing from their actions and have the bank accounts to mount defenses O.J. Simpson would drool over. I’ll take drama-queen Terrell Owens over any of these guys. He may be a big problem in the locker room and a seemingly below-average human being but at least I know when I walk out of work he’s not going to run me over in his Bentley.

Quotation: How do I know what I think until I see what I say?E.M. Forster

Soupçon: The original Greek question mark became the English semicolon (;). I know I keep ripping off A.J. Jacobs but can you really blame me? I maintain a daily blog that includes an interesting fact section and I’m reading a book chronicling a man’s search for knowledge. I’ve just gotten to the “R” chapter of The Know-It-All so I’m almost done ripping it off.

Tune: Besides being great guys, Backyard Tire Fire is an outstanding live band. About a year ago, my brother and I went to The North Star to see The Beautiful Girls. BTF was the opening act and they put on a great show. After their set, I had lost my interest in seeing the main act and spent the rest of the night at the bar with the band. Great night. Check out “Corrine”.

Link: Bag of Songs – Superlative Philadelphia-based blog covering the world of music.

Gallimaufry: Not everyone is hurting during the recession. Condom sales are up due to, among other factors, people staying in more and couples holding off on having a child. Read Amanda Ruggeri’s article “10 Winners in the Recession” from U.S. News & World Report to see who else is prospering…Paste Magazine has made a list of the best independent movie houses in the country. Surprisingly, none of Philadelphia’s made the list…Looks like tough times ahead for Atlantic City, NJ. Casinos are experiencing record losses right now. Hope the Borgata is still there May 23rd when I’m going to see Joel McHale for my birthday. Fingers crossed, people…Hope everyone has a SAFE St. Patrick’s Day. Lots of drinking rookies out there. Be careful and don’t drive.