02.23.11 – a wednesday

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word

esoteric [es-uhter-ik] adj. 1. understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest; recondite: poetry full of esoteric allusions 2. belonging to the select few 3. private; secret; confidential 4. (of a philosophical doctrine or the like) intended to be revealed only to the initiates of a group: the esoteric doctrines of Pythagoras

birthday

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868), Peter Fonda (1940), Patricia Richardson (1951), Howard Jones (1955), Kristin Davis (1965), Emily Blunt (1983), Aziz Ansari (1983), Dakota Fanning (1994)

standpoint

Since I started this blog, one of my favorite features to write has been The Wishing Well. It’s been a while since the last one, so let’s get to it.

I WISH every time I played Angry Birds I wasn’t reminded of “The Game,” an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in which the entire crew becomes addicted to a very simple, handheld computer simulation. Once again, the creative folks behind the Star Trek franchise reveal their prognostic talents.

I WISH that when I do actually ignore my better judgement and pay attention to the news, it didn’t make me feel that this planet and the human race are headed toward becoming the universe’s greatest punchline. (I don’t have a link for this entry. There’s just too many to choose from.)

I WISH there was a law that made it legal for people like Tania Head to get pushed down a flight of stairs three times a day. If you think that’s a harsh statement, read this article and tell me you don’t agree.

I WISH I could watch one more Flyers game with my best friend Harv, followed by a beer or two at Dawson Street Pub. (For those of you who don’t know, Harvey died this past November. Sorry to bring the room down but it’s my list, after all, so deal.)

I WISH and I’m counting on all of you to come here tomorrow and read my thoughts on modern-day parenthood, easily the most requested topic among the emails. Come back tomorrow for some more. Thanks for reading.

quotation

It is not worth an intelligent man’s time to be in the majority. By definition, there are all ready enough people to do that. ↔ G. H. Hardy

tune

If Mumford & Sons has failed to gain your notice as of yet, you need reevaluate your music listening protocols. Here’s “The Cave.” After you’re done, go listen to the rest of their catalog.

gallimaufry

So apparently one of the little girls from the album cover of Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream is the band’s new bassist. And, get this, she didn’t share that little nugget with her new bandmates until after she was brought on. Truly, the world has gone mad.

→ For all of you who bitch and moan about how you wish you’d never joined a social networking site because you’re just “so over it,” and it’s “beneath” you, here’s instructions on how to delete yourself from some of the more popular ones. Happy trails on your noble path.

→ I wish this email from former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was a fabrication but it’s real. So so so sad.

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03.09.10 – A Tuesday

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word

repartee [rep-er-tee, –tey, -ahr-] n. 1. a quick, witty reply 2. conversation full of such replies 3. skill in making such replies

birthday

Amerigo Vespucci (1454), Samuel Barber (1910), Mickey Spillane (1918), Ornette Coleman (1930), Raúl Juliá (1940), John Cale (1942), Bobby Fischer (1943), Charles Gibson (1943), Robin Trower (1945), Jeffrey Osborne (1948), Bobby Sands (1954), Linda Fiorentino (1958), Steve Wilkos (1964), Juliette Binoche (1964), Emmanuel Lewis (1973), Thor Halvorssen (1976), Julia Mancuso (1984), Brittany Snow (1986), Bow Wow (1987)

standpoint

Two nights ago, we were all once again treated to the annual hullabaloo that is The Oscars. Lots of us were watching the show. 41.3 million of us. Granted, that’s not even 10% of the United States’ population but it’s still a large group of people, the largest in five years. Whoopdee-doo.

But why were we all watching? I suspect some of you actually watched out of your sheer love for the art of cinema. Or maybe you watched in an attempt to make sure you weren’t the only one in the office the next morning who couldn’t participate in the endless post-Oscar debates and be forced to, like, do work or something. Or maybe you flipped through the channels and happened upon the show and became immediately engaged by the obvious sexual tension between Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, this year’s co-hosts. Or maybe you’re like me and you simply watched the damn thing to beleaguer yourself with one of the prime examples of how crappy our culture has become.

I watched it, albeit in my usual offish fashion. But I did notice some amusing peculiarities.

→ In what’s being dubbed a “Kanye Moment,” some woman named Elinor Burkett, apparently one of the producers of  something called Music By Prudence, stormed the stage and stole the allotted speech time from the film’s director, one Roger Ross Williams. Some described it as “uncomfortable to watch.” Uh…all right. Now Burkett has two things in common with Kanye West: They both display an irreverent attitude toward award show decorum, and they both look like dudes.

Neil Patrick Harris needs to pull in the reins a bit. Does the guy know he’s allowed to turn down offers? At this rate, we’re all going to be sick and tired of him sometime later this week. Hey, NPH, maybe just be a homebody for a while, do a crossword puzzle (or maybe you’re a sudoku man, I have no idea) or repaint the living room like you’ve been saying you’re going to since forever. Or, here’s an idea. Maybe watch some television and try to find a channel you won’t see your own face.

Fisher Stevens, the guy who played that goofy scientist in Short Circuit and was in that episode of Friends that time won an Oscar for a documentary that had something to do with dolphins. Johnny Five is indeed alive.

→ Always the cutup, Ben Stiller came onstage to present the award for Best Makeup all done up as a character from Avatar. I thought he looked a lot like what Michael Jackson might’ve looked like twenty years down the road.

→ Throughout the entire show, George Clooney had a look on his face that, I swear, made me think the guy has some sort of beef being stuck in a chair with a camera up his nose for four hours. What’s up with that? Lighten up, buddy, you’ve come a long way since Booker Brooks.

The Hurt Locker won 6 times. Two of them involved sound and were accepted by some guy who looked like a recovering zombie. Also, the lady who directed it won Best Director and Best Film but all anyone wanted to talk about was that she was once married to fellow nominee James Cameron. I was glad she was able to get back at the Academy for what’s still considered one of history’s biggest snubs when it completely ignored Point Break. Not even a courtesy Best Supporting Actor nod to Gary Busey, for crying out loud. But Kathryn Bigelow showed them. Now who’s laughing? Definitely not Busey and, even if he is, he’s laughing about something only he fully understands.

→ I liked that thing they do when 5 actors get up on stage and say something seemingly heartfelt and ostensibly accurate about the nominees for Best Actor and Best Actress. Oprah Winfrey spoke about Gabourey Sidibe from Precious in the way she does about everything. No matter what Oprah’s prattling on about, she’s really just talking about herself. Sidibe probably didn’t care as she was most likely couldn’t stop thinking about hunky Gerard Butler, who she met and delivered the proposition, “Let’s grab a bottle of champagne and see where the night goes!” Later, she told more than one reporter, in regards to her attraction to Butler, “I’d hit that.” Whatever happened to playing hard to get? Gabourey, it’s all about the hunt and the chase. Don’t just throw it out there.

→ One of my favorite actors, Jeff Bridges won for Best Actor. Of all the movies mentioned during the show, Crazy Heart was one of two I’d actually seen. (Star Trek was the other.) Kudos to Bridges, by the way, who, in giving his acceptance speech, contributed yet another item to the long list every stoner keeps of shit you can still do when you’re high.

Overall, I enjoyed watching The Oscars. I might even watch next year. Hell, I might even get out there and see some relevant movies for a change. Who knows?

quotation

These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves.  From each of them goes out its own voice… and just as the touch of a button on our set will fill the room with music, so by taking down one of these volumes and opening it, one can call into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space, and hear him speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart.Gilbert Highet

tune

Sometimes, I’m resistant to things for no good reason. What can I say? I’m hardheaded. You love that about me, by the way. In any case, my wonderful girlfriend asked me to watch the new OK Go video about five times before I had the good judgment to trust her. I learned an important relationship lesson: Believe her when she tells me I’m definitely going to like something she’s sent me. (Five times.) Not only did I realize that (a) I like OK Go and, as is the case from time to time, I miss out on good music due to a some sort of stigma I’ve created out of thin air, and (b) I can’t ascertain how I’ve managed to escape the incredible ingenuity of Rube Goldberg Machines. They’re absolutely fucking nuts. Here’s the new OK Go offering titled “This Too Shall Pass.”

And if you suddenly find yourself yearning for some more Rube Goldberg Machine videos, worry not, I’m happy to provide them. Check these out.

gallimaufry

Reunited and it feels so good. T.O. and D-Nabb put aside their differences for (What else?) money. Poor Antonio Gates, stuck with those two as teammates.

→ Some may argue that Facebook made this possible. I’d say FB made it easier would be more accurate.

→ I didn’t need another reason not to vacation in balmy Alaska. But I got one anyway.

02.22.10 – A Monday

word

pejorative [pi-jawruh-tiv, –jor-, pejuh-rey-, pee-juh-] adj. 1. having a disparaging, derogatory, or belittling effect or force: the pejorative affix -ling in princeling n. 2. a pejorative form or word, as poetaster

birthday

Rashi (1040), George Washington (1732), Jules Renard (1864), Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892), Buddy Tate (1913), Don Pardo (1918), Clarence 13X (1928), Ted Kennedy (1932), Jonathan Demme (1944), Robert Kardashian (1944), Harvey Mason (1947), Julius Erving (1950), Kyle MacLachlan (1959), Steve Irwin (1962), Vijay Singh (1963), Rachel Dratch (1966), Bradley Nowell (1968), Jeri Ryan (1968), Thomas Jane (1969), James Blunt (1974), Drew Barrymore (1975)

standpoint

The 2010 Winter Olympics are clearly invading my usually cynical mindset. As of last night, the USA had the most medals at 24 (7 gold, 7 silver, 10 bronze). So far, we’re kicking ass. And, for once, I’m paying attention and, as a result, I’ve learned a few things. Both about the actual games and myself.

→ First and foremost, I’d like withdraw my summary assassination of curling. Originally, it was irksome that everybody at my bar wanted to watch it. I tried to ignore it because customers are quirky in that they’re less likely to tip a bartender all that well when he makes sarcastic remarks about the program they requested he put on. And so I started watching it. While I still don’t think it’s technically a sport, I can’t deny it has a certain degree of entertainment value. It’s confusing to me why curling isn’t more popular in this country. It doesn’t seem to take a ton of energy, the strategy is pretty straightforward and, most likely, could be turned into one hell of a drinking game. Fellow citizens, what are we waiting for? By the way, even though I’ve altered my position on curling, I still maintain the brooms are superfluous.

→ From what I can tell, our country excels at sports involving a high risk of injury. We’re all over any event where the slightest wrong move or miscalculation could easily result in a broken neck. If it entails strapping some contraption(s) to your feet, going really fast and/or flying defenselessly through the air, we are more than eager to sign up. The ones in which we seem to be insufficient are those that seem less exciting. We’re not particularly enchanted with the idea of skiing up a hill. Rather, we’d like to be headed down it, preferably with the help of some rocket propulsion and there had better be some sort of ramp at the bottom so we can, like, do some kickass midair shit, you know?

→ Even in the Winter Olympics, it seems no one cares about the sport of ice hockey except the actual players and coaches. Oh, and also the entire population of Canada. And that’s a shame because there’s some high quality hockey being played right now so if you’re not watching, you’re missing out. To all you Canadians out there, I’d like to send some sympathy your way. It must’ve been hell on Earth to watch Team USA hand Team Canada that 5-3 loss last night. If you’re completely unaware of how seriously our friends to the North take the sport of ice hockey, just imagine if your football team lost in the Super Bowl and your baseball team lost Game 7 of the World Series. On the same day.

We’ve got one week left. Hopefully, our athletes can keep up the stellar work and give the citizens of every country in the world yet another reason to hate the good ole USA.

quotation

Don’t listen to those who say, you taking too big a chance. Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out by today. Most important, don’t listen when the little voice of fear inside you rears its ugly head and says. they all smarter than you out there. They’re more talented, they’re taller, blonder, prettier, luckier, and they have connections. I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity, and cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts, and do not make success or failure the criteria by which you live, the chances are you’ll be a person worthy of your own respects.Neil Simon

tune

In honor of Bradley Nowell’s birthday, I’m giving you my favorite son by his band, Sublime. Aptly, it’s titled “Greatest Hits.”

gallimaufry

Andrew Koenig, the son of Star Trek actor Walter Koenig, known primarily for playing the role of “Boner” on the 80s sitcom Growing Pains, has been missing since Valentine’s Day. If you know anything about his whereabouts, get in touch with the authorities. Here’s hoping the guy returns home safely.

→ If dolphins ever gain the ability to walk upon land, there’s a good chance they would achieve world domination. Don’t believe me? Watch this video and tell me I’m wrong. I dare you.

→ Only five episodes into the first season of the HBO series The Wire and I’m tempted to declare it the best cop show in the history of the world, a title currently held by my beloved NYPD Blue.

01.21.10 – A Thursday

WORD

maudlin [mawd-lin] adj. 1. tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental: a maudlin story of a little orphan and her lost dog 2. foolishly or mawkishly sentimental because of drunkenness

BIRTHDAY

Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson (1824), Christian Dior (1905), Benny Hill (1924), Wolfman Jack (1938), Jack Nicklaus (1940), Plácido Domingo (1941), Richie Havens (1941), Edwin Starr (1942), Jill Eikenberry (1947), Billy Ocean (1950), Paul Allen (1953), Robby Benson (1956), Geena Davis (1956), Charlotte Ross (1968), Cat Power (1972)

STANDPOINT

Thankfully, I’m not as angry as I was yesterday. I normally don’t allow the moronic workings of the world invade my brain but, for whatever reason, last night was an exception.

And, truly, I’ve no real reason to complain. I don’t do much in the way of helping any of these national problems get better. And that’s to say I don’t much at all.

So, I’ve got no business griping. You might even say I’m part of the problem. Due to cosmic circumstances completely out of my control, I was born into what would eventually become an upper class family. And, traditionally, that means I should be using the advantages I’ve been afforded to help out whenever I can. But I don’t.

And so I’m culpable and I’m at peace with that. Really. I spend a lot of time thinking and I’ve consciously orchestrated my life in such a way that I’m more than OK to fly under the radar.

But what I’m not doing is taking my life, and those things that work best for me, and applying it to anyone else. I guess what I’m getting at here is I’ve no particular beef with government. What makes my skull rattle is political ideology and, more so, the practice of those ideologies.

So when I read about this victory for the GOP or that victory for the Democrats, well, it makes my fucking blood boil. This country is so busy fighting with itself, while simultaneously fighting with entire other nations. So when I envision future scenarios, none of it makes me considerably chipper.

At this point, you might be asking what I’m going to do about all of this.

Nothing. That’s what I do. Or don’t do. Shit. Now I’m all turned around.

QUOTATION

We are all esquires now, and we are none of us gentlemen any more. → Samuel Johnson

TUNE

For the first time ever, I’m starting to get into R&B. First Mayer Hawthorne and now Lee Fields. He’s been around since the 70s and Fields is still at it. Check out “Honey Dove.”

GALLIMAUFRY

Anyone who’s driven on, ridden on or even casually observed The Schuylkill Expressway will completely understand why it’s been rated the 20th worst commute in the nation. 205 hours of weekly congestion? That’s 27 more hours than are actually in a week.

Nichelle Nichols, Lt. Uhuru from the original Star Trek, was actually talked out of leaving the show after the first season by Dr. Martin Luther King. Reading her recollection of it is pretty amazing.

→ It’s nice to see former ballplayers coming out against steroid-using dipshit Mark McGwire. Read what legendary Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk has to say to both McGwire and Roger Clemens. Go, Pudge.

03.11.09 – Wednesday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: obviate [ob-vee-ayt] – transitive verb to prevent by interception; to anticipate and dispose of or make unnecessary

Birthday: Lawrence Welk (1903), Rupert Murdoch (1931), Sam Donaldson (1934), Antonin Scalia (1936), Bobby McFerrin (1950), Jerry Zucker (1950), Joey Buttafuoco (1956), Peter Berg (1964), Jesse Jackson Jr. (1965), Wallace Langham (1965), Lisa Loeb (1968), Terrence Howard (1969), Johnny Knoxville (1971)

Occurrence: 1989 – The television show Cops makes its debut. All over the United States, guys in wife-beater tank tops tremble in fear.

Irksome: In its infinite wisdom, Nickelodeon is keeping Chris Brown as a nominee for the 2009 Kids’ Choice Awards. Brown, arrested for beating up his girlfriend and fellow pop star Rihanna, is up for Favorite Male Singer and Favorite Song. Despite Oprah’s protests, Rihanna and Brown are back together so I guess Nickelodeon figures it’ll be all right. In my humble opinion, the people over at Nickelodeon are certified morons. What a great message to send to the youth of America – Hey, kids, it’s OK to beat up your girlfriend as long as you’ve got an exceptional singing voice. Way to drop the ball, Nickelodeon. Hopefully Dwayne Johnson, the host of this year’s Kids’ Choice Awards, will have the good sense to throw Mr. Brown off the stage should the singer win.

Quotation: After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is musicAldous Huxley

Soupçon: Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are witren, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. I took this directly from HERE.

Tune: Some people say that the 1980s produced some of the worst music ever. Debatable. I think when Train debuted “Drops of Jupiter”, it showed everyone that bands in the 1990s were capable of making some pretty awful music as well.

Link: Eats – nice website for finding a place to dine out in your area.

Gallimaufry: For you readers who live in Philadelphia, here is some information about the imminent SEPTA strike. Hope things get resolved before that. What a hassle…Marc Shuster is a talented Philadelphia writer. His novel, The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl, is launching May 9th 2009. Check out Marc’s blog, Abominations…At the risk of revealing myself as a complete nerd, I will admit right here and now that I’m excited to see the new Star Trek movie.