07.12.11 – a tuesday

word

thrasonical [threy-son-i-kuhl] adj. boastful; vainglorious

birthday

Henry David Thoreau (1817), George Washington Carver (1864), Pablo Neruda (1904), Milton Berle (1908), Andrew Wyeth (1917), Bill Cosby (1937), Richard Simmons (1948), Topher Grace (1978), Michelle Rodriguez (1978)

standpoint

So, I’m researching The Princess Bride last night for today’s standpoint and I happen upon this. (Sorry, no embedding for some odd reason.) And then this comes up.

Then I started thinking about Star Wars and up pops the original trailer from 1977 and as much as I love the movie now, if I were watching television back then and saw the following preview, I never would’ve gone to see it.

So I’m checking that out, wondering if maybe I spend too much time on YouTube and I occurs to me that I’ve been doing this blog for over two years now (off and on) and I’ve never shared the one and only video featuring yours truly on the internet.

After that, I looked at the clock and it was time for bed.

quotation

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know. ↔ Ralph Waldo Emerson

tune

The dude might whistle too much but I’ve always loved Andrew Bird‘s “Fake Palindromes.”

gallimaufry

The other day, I heard about planking from one of my Sunday (Funday) regulars. It’s one of those simple things that reminds me life can be supremely funny.

→ Why in the world do they have to remake everything? Some movies are perfect just the way they are. Although I will admit that I’m sort of intrigued about this one.

→ Because of this blog, I read a lot of asinine stories. This one is up there on the list of the most ridiculous bullshit I’ve encountered. Also, these fantastic people live right around the corner from me.

06.20.11 – a monday

word

Golgotha [gol-guh-thuh] n. 1. a hill near Jerusalem where Jesus was buried; Calvary 2. a place of suffering or sacrifice 3. a place of burial

birthday

Errol Flynn (1909), Audie Murphy (1924), Martin Landau (1928), Danny Aiello (1933), Brian Wilson (1942), Anne Murray (1945), Bob Vila (1946), Lionel Richie (1949), John Goodman (1952), Nicole Kidman (1967), Josh Lucas (1971), Mike Birbiglia (1978)

standpoint

I’m sitting here watching Return of the Jedi and wondering if SPIKE TV airs anything other than the six Star Wars movies. I’m not knocking it. Just wondering.

By my own estimation, this must be my 50th viewing of Jedi (don’t judge) and it’s one of several movies that I can quote verbatim. And, while I’m an above average fan of most things Star Wars, I dislike most everything about Luke Skywalker. I like the actual character but I think the casting of Mark Hamill might be one of the biggest cinematic blunders ever. Whenever his whiny ass is featured prominently in a scene, my mind wanders.

And now I’m thinking of the other night, while I was bartending, when one of my regular customers asked me a question that people pose when they’re running out of discussion topics: If you could have dinner with five people, alive or dead, who would they be?

First, and I didn’t always feel this way, but I tend to pick people that are alive. It’s drastically more feasible.

Second, depending on what I’m into in terms of reading, music, entertainment in general, I’m likely not to list the same five people from one day to the next. I’m fickle like that.

Third, I don’t want to have dinner with all five people at the same time. That would be awkward and futile. Dinners typically last two hours when they’re going well. 25 minutes per person? No. As long as we’re playing an adult version of make believe, I prefer to name five people I would have dinner with on an individual basis.

IN ANY CASE, here’s the five people I would currently select.

Kevin Nealon – Even though he was on SNL for several years he never struck me as particularly hilarious. But I saw him on Real Time over the weekend and I now think the two of us might hit it off.

Stephanie Courtney – You’re probably asking, “Who the hell is that?” Well, it’s Flo from those Progressive commercials and, yes, I understand she’s playing a part.

Bob Mould – I’m not in love with every song he’s ever made but he’s responsible for more than a few of my favorites and the progression of his career fascinates me. I’m definitely going to read his autobiography, See A Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody.

A. J. Jacobs – If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve figured out I’m a gigantic fan of this guy and his perpetual curiosity. I’m halfway through My Life As an Experiment: One Man’s Humble Quest To Improve Himself and it’s pretty great. (Thanks, Samantha.)

Louis C. K. – I consider him to be the funniest guy around right now and if we had dinner I’d probably be so intimidated I wouldn’t talk at all. And that would be weird for the both of us. I’m really looking forward to the second season of Louie.

All right, that’s it for now, I’m gonna watch the final assault on the Death Star and then head to bed.

quotation

Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. ↔ Erich Fromm

tune

I mentioned him above so I thought I would share one of the songs that first made me dig Bob Mould, “Compositions For the Young and Old.”

gallimaufry

I’m a little late with this but several of you emailed me this video after I wrote about how going to the movies nowadays is a microcosm of what a shitty society we’ve made.

Obviously, I love that the Alamo Drafthouse did this.

→ Even if you’re not a golf fan, you must give props to Rory McIlroy for what he did at the U.S. Open over the weekend. Truly amazing stuff.

→ C’mon, Bill Murray. Get off your high horse and make this happen. I realize you consider yourself above this kind of thing now but it’s what the people want.

09-04-11: A Friday

Word

candor [kan-der] n. 1. the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression; candidness: The candor of the speech impressed the audience 2. freedom from bias; fairness; impartiality: to consider an issue with candor

Birthday

Anton Bruckner (1824), Mickey Cohen (1913), Henry Ford II (1917), Paul Harvey (1918), Forrest Carter (1925), Dick York (1928), Clive Granger (1934), Raymond Floyd (1942), Tom Watson (1949), Khandi Alexander (1957), David Drew Pinsky (Dr. Drew) (1958), Kim Thayil (1960), Damon Wayans (1960), Mike Piazza (1968), Dave Buchwald (1970), Ione Skye (1971), Beyoncé Knowles (1981)

Standpoint

With the return of the NFL season, we are inevitably going to be forced to face the dreaded return of NFL commentary and game announcing. Here are a few things that bug the shit out of me routinely on Sunday and Monday Night (and occasionally Thursday night).

Keys To The Game – Right before the kickoff of each and every game, the expert announcers rattle off something called the “Keys to the Game.” Usually, these “Keys” are the factors the entire production staff has figured out one team will need to do to win the game. Most of the time, it boils down to three bulletpoints that usually translate into (a) limiting the other team’s scoring to as much as possible, while on the other hand, (b) scoring as many points as possible, and (c) not taking stupid penalties. Concepts easily grasped by anyone who has a rudimentary understanding of how a competitive game actually works.

The On-Field Interview – Usually, some newbie sportscaster is relegated to the sidelines for the duration of the game. This person is usually asked, in whatever kind of weather, to comment on things like “the feel of the crowd,” or “the mood on the bench.” But the sideline reporter’s time to shine is definitely the on-field interview where he or she gets the opportunity to ask the coach, either right before the game or the second half starts, a supposedly poignant question like, “Coach, your team is down 42-7. What’s your strategy for the second half.” The coach will normally respond with something like, “Well, I had a talk with the guys during halftime and I think you’re going to see a different football team out there in the second half.” Translation? “Well, I went into the locker room and threatened everyone within an inch of their life and I’m pretty sure the entire team knows I’m absolutely serious about killing them and everyone they know if the other team scores one more fucking point. But, honestly, I gotta say I’m ecstatic you stopped me to chat. Besides picking you up over my head and throwing you as far as humanly possible, it’s difficult to conjure anything else I’d rather be doing right now.”

The In-The-Booth GuestMonday Night Football is the main culprit here. Whatever city the MNF game is in, some famous person gets scheduled to come up and chat about the game with the commentators. A nice idea. The only problem is that everyone involved in the conversation eventually gets wrapped up in whatever the hell it is they’re talking about and we get to hear Kiefer Sutherland talk about all intense action on the upcoming season of 24 while, on the field, some guy is breaking a 90-yard touchdown run.

Tony Siragusa“The Goose” can make even the most exciting game kind of suck. Waddling around the sidelines and making ill-informed, unfunny, random observations is apparently something you can get paid for. Even in this economy.

Quotation

Among creatures born into chaos, a majority will imagine an order, a minority will question the order, and the rest will be pronounced insane.Robert Brault

Tune

Brendan Benson has recently gained fame as part of the Jack White-led outfit The Raconteurs. But he’s been around for years, making outstanding music all by himself. His latest release, My Old, Familiar Friend, is no exception. Try “A Whole Lot Better.”

Gallimaufry

→ About seven years ago, poolside on some cruise ship, I read “Video-Game Character Wondering Why Heartless God Always Chooses ‘Continue'” and became convinced that The Onion was the funniest periodical of all time. I actually spit out my banana daquiri when I read, “But sometimes, like when I suicidally attack dozens of armed guards with only my bare hands, it seems that God is putting me through hell merely to amuse Himself. It just doesn’t make sense.” Trust me. It’s funny in context. Go read it if you don’t believe me.

→ To the depths of my core, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I don’t go to conventions or sleep out for any kind of tickets, but it’s likely I know more about George Lucas‘ epic than you do. Geeky? Yes. Let’s move on. I’m no idiot. Nor am I blind or deaf. So I understand there are fundamental plot faults in everything, including my much beloved Star Wars. For more information on this topic, please read “7 Classic Star Wars Characters Who Totally Dropped The Ball.”

→ I’ve worked in the restaurant business my entire adult life and can testify that most of “Five Secrets Restaurants Don’t Want You to Know” is absolutely true. Except for the “Be Wary of Fish” part. Never once heard of that happening.

05.11.09 – Monday

Word: raconteur [rak-uhn-tur] n. a person who is skilled in relating stories and anecdotes interestingly

Birthday: Chang and Eng Bunker (1811), Charles W. Fairbanks (1852), Irving Berlin (1888), Martha Graham (1894), Salvador Dalí (1904), Louis Farrakhan (1933), David Gest (1953), Martha Quinn (1959), Natasha RIchardson (1963), Laetitia Casta (1978)

Standpoint: Nowadays, everyone has an opinion on everything. It’s nearly impossible to share anything of interest with anyone without a follow-up correlation or some other form of one-upping. During the course of any given day, if you were to count the instances you hear a sentence that starts with, “They say that…”, or “I just read about…”, the number could conceivably end up nonsensically high.

In this day and age, the onslaught of information is dwarfed only by the amount of opinion it generates.  

One problem is many people don’t understand that some (probably most) “information” they’re being fed is based in fact the way that Star Wars was based in fact. Meaning that much of what you’re watching or reading has the potential to be true, but not necessarily right now. Every media outlet, from CNN to The New York Times to Fox News, is working an angle and/or pushing an agenda. Whatever’s behind it, boosting viewer ratings or selling more newspapers or attempting to influence your politics, all of your news stories come with, at the very least, some small degree of slant. 

Another problem is even more people fail to grasp that just because there’s a man on the television screen discussing his thoughts on a particular matter, it doesn’t make him an authority on anything except his own opinion. That goes for Jon Stewart as much as it does Glenn Beck, two individuals who receive equal amounts of  unwarranted credbility. (Although in Stewart’s defense, he understands his show is primarily for entertainment purposes, while Beck seems totally unaware that his show produces just as many laughs.) Television personalities are both charismatic and persuasive. With a viewer-friendly, professional presentation and use of the proper words at the right time, it’s remarkably easy to take in the thoughts of these “experts” and register them as fact.  

From all the reporting we’re led to believe is factual and the infinite amount of commentary that inevitably follows, it’s entirely possible that we’ve come to know so much that we actually know less. The pursuit of the truth has been replaced by the pursuit of who’s right. And it may not be the fault of those presenting the information. It’s likely that, due to the countless variations offered on “what’s really going on,” you are now afforded the opportunity to simply accept whichever version better falls in line with what you truly want to believe, whatever that may be.

For example, in the case of the issue of global warming, you can side with either (a) those who think that the rise of greenhouse gases is manmade or (b) those who think it’s part of the natural cycle of Earth’s ecosystem. There’s no proving the wrong side. Each side employs science, largely assumed to be infallible in terms of fact, to prove its point. In effect, both sides enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they’re right. Therefore, you’re allowed to pick the perspective you’re more comfortable swallowing, and then, you’re also right. One nice perk that stems from such a scenario is that you can switch sides whenever you want, and, like magic, you’re still right. Sounds pretty great, right?

Well. Not entirely. If we’ve created a world where all fact and opinion are simultaneously true, how are we ever going to figure out what’s not working and move forward? We won’t. And, what’s worse, no one really seems to mind. Maybe in those movies about apocalyptic futures, it wasn’t war that destroyed the human race. It might’ve been that we reached a point where we were able to stop one another from doing anything remotely useful.

Quotation: Every improvement in communication makes the bore more terrible. Frank Moore Colby

Tune: Only music snobs will argue that Illinois’ Hum is not a “one-hit wonder.” If I was going to have only one song that everyone would remember, I would definitely want it to sound something like “Stars.”

Gallimaufry: Check out oddee.com’s list of 15 Strangest Foods and decide which one you would definitely not eat. Mine’s the dried lizards. ∞ Meet Saya, the world first robotic teacher. Now students won’t even have to use their brains to come up with clever ways to cheat. Sweet. ∞ It’s official. There are no more conversations in which the topics of Facebook and Twitter aren’t breached. Even Pentagon briefings.

Incoming: Tomorrow – I’ll find out if it’s possible to do a Google image search without eventually running into porn. Later in the week – My first interview, Annoying Sayings & Misused Words and much much more.

05.05.09 – Tuesday

Get your drink on. It’s Cinco De Mayo.

Word: ideologue [ahy-dee-uh-lawg, -log, id-ee, ahy-dee] n. a person who zealously advocates an ideology

Birthday: Søren Kierkegaard (1813), Karl Marx (1818), Blind Willie McTell (1901), Michael Murphy (1938), Lance Henriksen (1940), Tammy Wynette (1942), Michael Palin (1943)John Rhys-Davies (1944), Kurt Loder (1945), Ian McCullough (1959), Brian Williams (1959), Tina Yothers (1973), Chris Brown (1989)

Standpoint: Over the weekend, I re-watched Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. The movie was good but not great. The soundtrack, however, was superb. That got m thinking about how mediocre movies can be saved by an excellent soundtrack. I started to think about movies in which the music enhanced the overall film experience. That was the only criteria. There may be better soundtracks out there but this list of the 7 Movie-Enhancing Soundtracks is all about movies that would have been lessened (in however small a degree) without the proper use of song.

Before you flood my inbox with the mistakes and omissions I made, let me mention some movies that almost made it but I decided to use in some other way on some other list I’m planning for the near future. That’s how the likes of Star Wars, Rushmore and some of your other suggestions came to not be included.

Quotation: Home is not where you live but where they understand you.Christian Morgenstern

Tune: “When They Really Get To Know You, They Will Run” by Pedro The Lion is not only an enjoyable song, but has a great title. I’m not sure what the video is all about but it was the only one with good sound clarity.

Gallimaufry: Robert Duvall vs. Walmart. Who will win the Battle of Locust Grove, Virginia? Only time will tell…The NBA shocked exacly nobody yesterday when it announced LeBron James was the 2009 Most Valuable Player…After what seems maybe a bit too long, Vampire Weekend is working on their second album. Here’s hoping those guys can avoid the jinx.

Incoming: Tomorrow – Still working on it. But it’ll be good. ThursdayAnnoying Sayings & Misused Words. Friday3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead.

04.08.09 – Wednesday

Word: abscond [ab-skond] v. to depart in a sudden and secret manner, esp. to avoid capture and legal prosecution: The cashier absconded with the money.

 

Birthday: David Rittenhouse (1732), Betty Ford (1918), Carmen McRae (1920), Kofi Annan (1938), Stuart Pankin (1946), Tom DeLay (1947), Steve Howe (1947), John Schneider (1960), Izzy Stradlin (1962), Julian Lennon (1963), Biz Markie (1964), Robin Wright Penn (1966), Patricia Arquette (1968)

 

Occurrence: 1992 – Tennis legend and Philadelphia native Arthur Ashe announces he’s contracted AIDS from blood transfusions during one of his two heart surgeries. Because I hail from Philadelphia, I’m ashamed to admit that I thought he had contracted AIDS sexually.

 

Standpoint: So. After I wrote yesterday’s post, I started doing my nightly internet research. While I was flipping through my RSS Reader, I noticed that Glenn Beck was on my TV screen, ranting pretty intensely about Richard Poplawski. He condemned so-called “liberal bloggers” for casting blame on the right-wing portion of our nation and its attitude about gun control. (I was only half-listening, really. A good deal of my attention was being put to use wondering how in the hell the dude ever got a talk show. Why do networks always mistake yelling for charisma?) In any case, he was going on and on about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and casually alluding to the right to bear arms. Something struck me. Society is kind of fucking nuts. Nowadays, people are nearly hysterical about things like cigarettes, artificial sweeteners and Big Macs. (If you didn’t know, they’re bad for you.) People who smoke too much, use too much artificial sweetener or eat too much fast food are likely to die from some horrible disease. Proven facts. I’m not disputing them. But I’m reasonably confident that people who get shot at, even once, are more likely to die from the bullets hurtling at them. So why are tobacco, artificial sweetener and fast food companies under constant barrage and gun companies less so? It’s simple. The Second Amendment to which Mr. Beck was alluding. It says that we all have the right to own guns. No one ever thought to make a Constitutional Amendment about the right to puff on a Camel Light, pour Equal in coffee or woof down a Whopper. But as a United States citizen, Richard Poplawski was able to gather deadly weapons. The Constitution told him it was OK. I wonder if the loved ones of the fallen Pittsburgh Police officers give a rat’s ass about the Constitution right now. I know I don’t. I don’t think laws are made to be broken. I do, however, think laws should be re-examined after a certain amount of time and held up to our current reality. Gun laws need to be changed. Now.

 

QuotationThus the metric system did not really catch on in the States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the 9mm bullet.Dave Barry

 

Tune: Throw Me The Statue is a great band that I’ve had the opportunity to see in concert at least three times but, for various reasons, didn’t. Here’s “About To Walk”. (By the way, Matt Durkin, if you’re reading this, I want my Throw Me The Statue album back, punk. Also, the Elvis Costello album and the David Sedaris book.)

 

Link: 60 Incredible Aerial Photos from 640 Pixels – Simply amazing stuff.

 

Gallimaufry: Blockbuster Video is apparently close to kaput. Maybe that “no late fees” policy wasn’t such a hot idea…The actor who was inside the Darth Vader (James Earl Jones was the voice) suit for the first three Star Wars films (or the last three, depending on what level geek you are) hasn’t been paid residuals for Return of the Jedi yet. LucasFilm claims that David Prowse signed a contract that stipulates he only gets residual money when the film actually turns a profit. The studio claims that Jedi has yet to do that. You read that right…Fans of the FOX show House were taken off-guard last night when Kal Penn’s character, Dr. Kutner, committed suicide. Turns out the star of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is set to become an associate director at the Office of Public Liaison at The White House. Is there any other place Penn could’ve been going to work where that secret would not have been leaked? I think not.

 

Incoming: Tomorrow – Finally. Your Annoying Sayings responses will be addressed. Friday – My “3 Incredibly Cool Things To Do In Philadelphia This Weekend”. (I know. The title is way too long. I’m working on it.)