02.08.10 – A Monday

word

ebullient [i-buhl-yuhnt, i-bool-] adj. 1. overflowing with fervor, enthusiasm, or excitement; high-spirited: The award winner was in an ebullient mood at the dinner in her honor 2. bubbling up like a boiling liquid

birthday

Samuel Butler (1612), John Ruskin (1819), William Tecumseh Sherman (1820), Jules Verne (1828), Kate Chopin (1850), Lana Turner (1921), Jack Lemmon (1925), Neal Cassady (1926), James Dean (1931), John Williams (1932), Ted Koppel (1940), Nick Nolte (1941), Robert Klein (1942), Mary Steenburgen (1953), John Grisham (1955), Vince Neil (1961), Joshua Kadison (1963), Gary Coleman (1968), Mary McCormack (1969), Seth Green (1974)

standpoint

I’m a football fan but not a huge one. I halfheartedly participate in two (2) fantasy leagues and have a moderate interest in my hometown Philadelphia Eagles, but I’m much less emotionally invested in the NFL than I let on. Most years, I watch the Super Bowl more out of some misplaced obligation to some archaic sense of manhood. But I didn’t feel the same way this year. I actually had a mildly strong desire to watch last night because I like both the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, along with their respective quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

But I was curious to see how Super Bowl XLIV would be a different experience for me. And, lucky for you, I chronicled it. Here goes.

Note: I was reasonably sure that the Colts would win and cover the spread (+5.5) and the over (57 pts.) would become a matter of fact.

Pregame

» Not going to lie, I watched golf until just about the start of the game so I didn’t get to see what inane crap led up to the actual footage from Miami.

» But I did tune in time to see the Colts get introduced onto the field to the same song by The Who that opens up every episode of CSI:Miami, which turned out to be all of The Who I needed.

» Queen Latifah sang America The Beautiful with a choir and musical accompaniment. It didn’t really work all that well. Looked like she was never really in sync. Carrie Underwood sang The Star-Spangled Banner and it was better. During all this, cameras were on Peyton Manning, who looked amped to the point he was cursing the fact Francis Scott Key and Katharine Bates were ever born.

» The next class of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame were introduced as honorary whatevers to the coin toss. Emmitt Smith was the honorary coin tosser. Saints called heads. Smith flipped the coin directly at the Saints players, who sidestepped it. It was heads. Saints got the ball.

1st Quarter – 6:20(ish) PM

» Betty White and Abe Vigoda starred in a clever ad for Snickers. I’m completely sure those two actors were used because about 99% of viewers thought both had died years ago.

» The ad for the Boost Mobile Shuffle, featuring prominent members of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears, was awful.

» In keeping with Hollywood’s trend of recycling, there’s another Robin Hood movie coming out starring Russell Crowe. Looks like both Braveheart and Gladiator ate a bunch of bows and arrows and vomited on each other. I’ll probably go see it.

» First quarter came to a close. Colts-10. Saints-0. I wasn’t paying much attention to the actual game.

2nd Quarter – 7:00 PM

» Pretty fast 1st quarter. At this point, I was certain the Colts were going to run away with the game.

» A Cars.com ad came on, detailing the life of a boy genius type doing all sorts of amazing boy genius type stuff. But when it came time to buy a car, he was at a loss. He looked to his mobile device for answers and, you guessed it, Cars.com came to the rescue. At one point during the ad, the boy genius delivered a baby Bengal tiger while on safari. That kicked off a conversation between my girlfriend and I where we discussed her desire to bring a baby panther into the apartment. Negotiations reached a stalemate after she refused to budge on the name of the baby panther. Oh well.

» The Saints began to make a game of it. Pretty sure they kicked a field goal.

» One ad had Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman on the same couch talking about something. I’m not sure what because I was distracted. Leno didn’t look like he was actually there. The next ad (maybe) had Brett Favre making fun of the fact he never actually retires. I like it when celebrities/athletes know to do that.

» The Colts stopped the Saints on a 4th and goal from the 1-yard line with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half. See? I pay mind to the important stuff.

» I wasn’t quite sure how it happened but the Saints kick another field goal just as time expires on the 1st half. Colts – 10. Saints – 6.

Halftime – 7:50 PM

» The Who played. The Who sucked. I monitored Twitter feeds instead. Best Tweet? “Wake up your great grandma. The Who is on.”

3rd Quarter – 8:22 PM

» The Saints began the 2nd half with an onside kick. Which they recovered. Which turned out to be huge. Saints – 13. Colts – 10.

» According to a new Volkswagen ad, the classic car game, Punch Buggy, has now been expanded to include the entire Volkswagen fleet. As a matter of fact, it seems whatever substance it’s painting its cars with nowadays is so cutting edge, even Stevie Wonder can see it. Much to the chagrin of an arm sore Tracy Morgan. Classic.

» The Colts’ Joseph Addai ran in for a touchdown. Colts – 17. Saints – 13. I was a little disappointed about how good of a game it was becoming. I’m not used to the Super Bowl being about the Super Bowl. Not being able to run out of the room in between commercials was messing with my head.

» Two commercials gave me pause in different ways. First, the new E*TRADE baby wasn’t half as funny as the original. Second, Google aired its first ever television ad. I think.

» The Saints kicked another field goal which flew under my radar. End of the 3rd quarter. Colts – 17. Saints – 16.

4th Quarter – 8:56 PM

» Honestly, I should’ve been playing closer attention. The Saints started scoring. They took the lead. They intercepted a very important Peyton Manning pass at a crucial time. I watched the whole thing. I swear. But, as happens more than not, I became embroiled in a debate that made the game take a backseat.

» Super Bowl XLIV ended at 9:45 PM. The New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts by the score of 31-17. If I bet the game the way I thought it would go, I would’ve been dead wrong. Yet another reason why I’m not a gambling man.

Overall, a most exhilarating football contest. The best Super Bowl in years. Congrats, New Orleans. Call me when you’re done partying. That should be around June.

quotation

Everybody gets told to write about what they know. The trouble with many of us is that at the earlier stages of life we think we know everything- or to put it more usefully, we are often unaware of the scope and structure of our ignorance.Thomas Pynchon

tune

One band from the 80s that doesn’t get enough credit is The Housemartins. I like to think of them as a sort of catchier version of  The Smiths. Also, they’ve got one of the best titled songs ever – “The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death.” Actually, after just listening to it, it seems to work nowadays as well.

gallimaufry

→ I just got done reading King of Russia: A Year in the Russian Super League, and it was simple and great. Former NHL head coach and current Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Dave King narrates his experiences as the first ever Canadian coach in Russia. The guy really knows his stuff and he provides great insight into Russian hockey and its players, especially Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeny Malkin.

→ Speaking of the Pittsburgh Penguins, yesterday afternoon’s game between them and the Washington Capitals was just about as complete as you could ask for. Caps won it in overtime 5-4 after being down 4-2 going into the third period.

11.11.09 – A Wednesday

WORD

verbiage [vur-bee-ij] n. 1. overabundance or superfluity of words, as in writing or speech; wordiness; verbosity 2. manner or style of expressing something in words; wording: a manual of official verbiage

BIRTHDAY

Paracelsus (1493), Abigail Adams (1744), Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821), George Smith Patton, Jr. (1885), Thomas C. Mann (1912), Kurt Vonnegut (1922), Jonathan Winters (1925), Mose Allison (1927), Marshall Crenshaw (1953), Andy Partridge (1953), Stanley Tucci (1960), Demi Moore (1962), James Morrison (1962), Calista Flockhart (1964), David L. Cook (1968), David DeLuise (1971), Adam Beach (1972), Leonardo DiCaprio (1974)

STANDPOINT

Currently, my car horn is damaged. It doesn’t work right. The noise sounds like it might if I was honking it after driving into the deep end of a pool.

It’s pretty ineffective. And the reason why is simple: in my car the horn has been subject to the most use. More than the gas pedal. More than the turn signal. More than the stereo.

During an average 30-minute drive, I’d estimate I employ my horn at least 10-15 times. While you may think that’s overdoing it, you’ll have to forgive me if I disagree. I’m holding myself back. On some drives, I feel like I could lay on the goddam horn from beginning to end.

Some people call this “road rage.” It’s one of those popular terms people love to throw around. But I’m not angry. Well, not the majority of the time. Mainly, I just want people to know they’re fucking up out there on the road. You’re inconveniencing everyone else by driving like Stevie Wonder on heroin.

You see, like all things in our society, everyone feels like they’ve got the right of way. But, in this instance, they’re all taking it quite literally. And it sucks.

I drive like I was taught. Eyes on the road. Aware of my surroundings. I’m basically the best driver you’ll ever meet. I’ve only been in two accidents ever. Neither were my fault. Despite what SEPTA‘s official position was on the first one.

In any case, I’m simply asking everyone out there to drive like they’ve got a brain. Use your turn signal, know where you’re going, get off your fucking cell phone and, most importantly, stay out of my way.

Because, hey, you’ve ruined my car horn and, well, you should feel bad about it.

QUOTATION

Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed.  Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams.  If I didn’t drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered.  Then I say to myself, it is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.Jack Handey

TUNE

After much deliberation, I’ve decided Vampire Weekend‘s best song (so far) is “I Stand Corrected.” At least I think so right now. Tomorrow, however, is a whole other day.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ I’m not going to say one way or another whether I am for or against the death penalty. Mainly, because I’m not sure where I stand on the issue. But I wasn’t sad to hear John Allen Muhammad, one of the two dimwits responsible for D.C. area sniper attacks in October 2002, was put to death last night.

→ I used to think Chad Ochocinco was kind of a strap. But he’s not. Follow him on Twitter and you’ll see what I mean.

→ The new John Cusack movie, 2012, comes out this Friday. Does anyone else think this movie looks like everyone on Earth running for their lives? Christ, when’s Hollywood going to bust out of this? Everything new coming out, including all the inane kid stuff, is either about avoiding the end of the world or humanity’s inability to avoid it.

NOTE: There may not be a new post tomorrow as I’ve dinner plans tonight.  

07.07.09 – Tuesday

Word: koan [koh-ahn] (Japanese in origin) n. a nonsensical or paradoxical question to a student for which an answer is demanded, the stress of meditation on the question often being illuminating

Birthday: Giuseppe Piazzi (1746), George Cukor (1899), Sam Katzman (1901), Satchel Paige (1906), Pinetop Perkins (1913), Pierre Cardin (1922), Doc Severinsen (1927), Josef Zawinul (1932), Ringo Starr (1940), Joel Siegel (1943), Joe Spano (1946), Shelley Duvall (1949), Jessica Hahn (1959), Mo Collins (1965), Jim Gaffigan (1966), Allen Payne (1968), Lisa Leslie (1972), Michelle Kwan (1980)

Quotation: Cocktail party:  A gathering held to enable forty people to talk about themselves at the same time.  The man who remains after the liquor is gone is the host.Fred Allen

Tune: My brother’s been telling me to listen to San Francisco based singer-songwriter Kelley Stoltz. So I’m giving the guy a try. You should too. Take a listen to “Memory Collector” off of Below The Branches.

Gallimaufry: In what was already going to be the biggest fiasco in L.A. since the 1992 Riots, the organizers of today’s memorial for Michael Jackson announced yesterday a lineup of performers that include Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey and Lionel Richie. Scheduled appearances include Kobe Bryant, Jennifer Hudson and Martin Luther King III. Can you say mayhem? 1.6 million people registered for a lottery to win tickets to the late King of Pop’s final send-off tomorrow at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. 8,550 of them won a ticket. British Airways is reporting a “huge influx” of Jacko fans flocking to L.A. Since the lottery tickets were dispensed, winners have been trying to sell them on eBay and Craigslist for as much as $2,000. (Both sites have booted the listing off.) Organizers have explained that holders of bought tickets will not be allowed to attend, and authorities have warned Jackson fans there will be no chance of non-ticket holders to get anywhere near the event, but some are speculating millions of people may be descending upon Los Angeles tomorrow to pay their final respects. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be an absolute circus. And, really, would we have it any other way? The Philadelphia Phillies, who were slumping this time last week, have since swept the New York Mets over the weekend and, last night, beat the Cincinnati Reds 22-1. The victory marked the most runs scored by the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park since play started there six years ago. Looks like the World Fucking Champs might be coming around.  Just ask Jens Lekman if the H1N1 virus (or Swine Flu) is a real threat. The Swedish pop auteur is currently enjoying a 10-day quarantine after coming home from a recent tour in South America. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

05.13.09 – Wednesday

Word: melodrama [meluh-drah-muh, -dram-uh] n. 1. a dramatic form that does not observe the laws of cause and effect and that exaggerates emotion and emphasizes plot or action at the expense of characterization 2. melodramatic behavior or events 3. (in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries) a romantic dramatic composition with music interspersed

Birthday: Joe Louis (1914), Bea Arthur (1922), Jim Jones (1931), Harvey Keitel (1939), Ritchie Valens (1941), Mary Wells (1943), Stevie Wonder (1950), Dennis Rodman (1961), Stephen Colbert (1964), Darius Rucker (1966), Buckethead (1968)

Standpoint: Yesterday, I revealed the results of an experiment I conducted involving Google Image Search. The goal was to see if I could type in just about any word and eventually come across an image displaying inappropriate content. In the interest of saving you from clicking back and forth, I’ll republish how I went about this and my findings:

Here’s a list of  random words that I used – starting with items that were in front of me at the time and continuing with whatever popped into my head – and how many images I had to go through to find some inappropriate content:

  • “camera” – 95th image
  • “bottle” – 5th image
  • “key” – 24th image
  • “phone” – 37th image
  • “book” – Search Expired (Google only allows the first 1000 images to be viewed)
  • “sidewalk” – 188th image
  • “brick” – 262th image
  • “desk” – 467th image
  • “chair” – 223rd image
  • “office” – 16th image
  • “girlfriend” – 11th image
  • “boyfriend” – 42nd image
  • “wife” – 2nd image
  • “husband” – 115th image
  • “pregnant” – 11th image
  • “female” – 4th image
  • “male” – 4th image
  • “woman” – 9th image
  • “man” – 26th image
  • “bear” – 40th image
  • “arm” – 200th image
  • “leg” – 16th image
  • “foot” – 5th image
  • “hand” – 10th image
  • “breakfast” – 924th image
  • “brunch” – 461st image
  • “lunch” – Search Expired
  • “dinner” – Search Expired
  • “snack” –  Search Expired 
  • “love” – 64th image
  • “romance” – 229th image
  • “flirting” – 59th image
  • “big” – 1st image
  • “crazy” – 6th image
  • “fun” – 94th image
  • “great” – 6th image
  • “boredom” – 62nd image

As you can see, some of the words failed to produce what I was looking for. At least not in the parameters of Google Image Search, which is widely considered the industry standard. The word “book” yielded no unseemly results. Neither did the words “lunch” or “snack.”

All but one of the others (“dinner”) did produce some kind of image not suitable for the background of your desktop computer. That’s 34 of 38, or a little over 89%, of the words I used – a pretty high percentage. It would be like Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley having a batting average of .894. That means he would only fail to produce a hit in 1½ of every ten at-bats. So my original hypothesis was only just a little off but mainly right on.

But does it really mean anything? If we look at the results in that words with the lowest numbers (“big”, “female” and “male”) represent higher sex appeal and words with the highest numbers (“office”, “brick” and “romance”) represent lower sex appeal, they don’t make a lot of sense. Wouldn’t it be more feasible that “fun” would produce a quicker result than “boredom?” But it’s not the actual words that matter here. What does matter is the high likelihood of discovering adult material while conducting an otherwise innocent image search.

So exactly what did I learn? Well. Besides that it’s impossible to log all the types of fetishes out there and that pictures of the “girl next door” are apparently infinitely more popular than those taken of “professional” models, I came away with a different sense of the collective human mindset. Maybe some of the experts are right. When it comes down to it, sex could very well be the driving force behind most of how we think and act. I mean, it’s not like I could use the same set of words and eventually happen upon an image of money or mountain lions or Nascar. I tried. It only works for sex.

And is that really a bad thing? Maybe. I wouldn’t say that society is consumed with sexual thoughts, but based on my rudimentary findings, it’s well on its way. And that must be a horrifying concept for those who point a shameful finger at sex the same way the rest of us do at the slaughter of innocent animals. But it’s not scary for everyone. It could be that the internet has provided a vehicle for those, once thought of as sexual deviants, to realize they’re not alone in feeling the way that they do. And that’s got to be more of a good thing than bad. At least, I hope that last sentence is true. And for those who are truly concerned, Google offers many options that filter out most anything you don’t wish to see.  

Now, is any of this truly important? I think so. Educating yourself on the potential dangers of your society is always helpful. Some of what I found could definitely pose a serious threat, not only to young people, but to confused adults as well. Awareness of anything that could be harmful automatically decreases the risk of its pitfalls. The truth is that there’s lots of crazy sexual activity out in the world. You can run from it or embrace it. Or you can simply leave it alone and keep doing your thing. But the bottom line is that while it’s not imperative to start Congressional hearings on the matter of internet porn, it is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

And as a bonus, now we know that a key is considered way more erotic than a desk. So that debate is settled.

Quotation: Television has proved that people will look at anything rather than each other. Ann Landers

Tune: “Blindsided” is one of those mellow songs that won’t put you to sleep. Actually, all of For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver is the same way.

Gallimaufry: Years ago, Mike Jerrick was the offbeat co-anchor of FOX Philadelphia’s Good Day Philadelphia. Now he’s the offbeat co-anchor of  The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet. I’m not usually a fan of morning talk shows but I like this one, especially when they do “The Male Room.” ∞ President Obama is trying to find a way to trim some fat off of the federal budget. Literally. Yesterday, he “met with CEOs of companies that have found innovative ways to lower health care costs and improve employees’ health.” ∞ More so than ever, it appears that celebrities are doing more good things than bad. OK, maybe that’s not entirely true. Or maybe I’m sincerely impressed with the genorosity of Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and James Cameron, who donated $30,000 to the last survivor of the the Titanic. Good stuff.  

Incoming: Tomorrow – Your entries for this week’s edition of Annoying Sayings & Misused Words. Friday – This weekend’s 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and 7 Cover Songs That Are Better Than the Original.