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.

02.02.10 – A Tuesday

WORD

ardor [ahr-der] n. 1. great warmth of feeling; fervor; passion: She spoke persuasively and with ardor 2. intense devotion, eagerness, or enthusiasm; zeal: his well-known ardor for Chinese art 3. burning heat

BIRTHDAY

Solomon R. Guggenheim (1861), James Joyce (1882), Howard Johnson (1897), Ayn Rand (1905), Stan Getz (1927), Tom Smothers (1937), Graham Nash (1942), Farrah Fawcett (1947), Brent Spiner (1949), Christie Brinkley (1954), Shakira (1977)

STANDPOINT

Last night I heard a story involving a single man and a married woman. To the point, they had a booze-fueled, ill advised night of sexual intimacy. Both the man and the woman are part of a group of people who hang out socially several nights per week.

When I hear such stories, about 284 thoughts race through my head. Is the guy worried about the woman’s husband finding out? Does he panic every time he sees the husband, wondering if the secret if finally out? Does the woman worry about the same thing? In the future, if similar circumstances were to take place, let’s say, ten more times, what percentage of those nights would the two of them commit the same mistake? And would either of them even consider it as such?

But, the idea I struggle with the most, is who, if anyone, is more at fault? Let’s face it. Any time married people cheat on their spouses, however it happens, it’s the ultimate shitty thing to do. On the flip side, a single person who hooks up with a married individual, that’s kind of equally shitty. But, really, who’s more in the wrong? Or are they both essentially and simultaneously bad people?

Seriously, I want to know your take on it. Post a comment and tell me what you think.

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

OK.  I’m not what you’d consider a huge fan of Switchfoot. But, for my money, “Faust, Midas and Myself” is about as kickass a ditty as you can come by. I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for emphatically sung lyrics completely surrounded by strongly strummed power chords. And when Switchfoot lead singer Jon Foreman belts out the lines, “What direction? Death or action. Life begins at the intersection,” well, I think it’s superb.

GALLIMAUFRY

Great news, everyone! Once we’ve destroyed this planet, me might be able to pick up and move to a new one. It appears some scientists are close to discovering a planet that may be capable of supporting human life. And that’s pretty sweet because I’d hate to think the human race would throw in the towel after fucking up just one planet. We’re bigger than Earth. We need to take this show on the road and show the rest of the universe what they’ve been missing.

→ I watch television late at night and am always up when the Emergency Broadcasting System message airs. And I constantly wonder why, after all ready grabbing my attention by disrupting my show with long beeps, there’s a need to play the sound of rolling thunder? Is it an attempt to be creative or dramatic or something?

→ Man, remember when the commercials during the Super Bowl were pretty entertaining? (And most years, the highlight of the evening?) Well, we’ve apparently found a way to make it as controversial as just about everything else. Good job, everyone. Our record of turning absolutely nothing into a big fucking problem is still un

01.25.10 – A Monday

WORD

skulduggery [skuhl-duhguh-ree] n. 1. dishonorable proceedings; mean dishonesty or trickery: bribery, graft, and other such skulduggery 2. an instance of dishonest or deceitful behavior; trick

BIRTHDAY

William Cavendish (1640), Robert Burns (1759), W. Somerset Maugham (1874), Virginia Woolf (1882), Antônio Carlos Jobim (1927), Etta James (1938), Steve Prefontaine (1951), The Honky Tonk Man (1953), Stephen Chbosky (1970), Dat Phan (1975), Alicia Keys (1981)

STANDPOINT

The New Orleans Saints will face off against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.

And people will bitch about that because, let’s face it, bitching about everything is just about all we do anymore. But I like the matchup because, for the first time I can remember, both teams earned the right to be there.

That bothers most people because there’s less of a storyline. If the New York Jets had beaten the Colts, sportswriters would’ve had a field day with many underdog stories that would most assuredly prominently featured the word “scrappy.” If the Minnesota Vikings had beaten the Saints, there would’ve been an onslaught of conjecture about whether this would be Brett Favre‘s last chance to once again win it all.

But neither of those things happened. The two teams that went undefeated for the better part of the regular season are going to meet to see who’s best. That’s the way it should be because it makes this year’s Super Bowl much more meaningful. But the build up before is lessened because what was supposed to happen actually came true. No scrappy underdogs. No fading legend taking his last stab at ultimate glory. No added drama.

Just the two best football teams squaring off against each other. It’s sad that, for most of us, that’s not nearly enough.

QUOTATION

Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together?  I guess that wouldn’t work.  Someone would leave.  Someone always leaves.  Then we would have to say good-bye.  I hate good-byes.  I know what I need.  I need more hellos.Charles M. Schultz

TUNE

Sometimes, I’ve trouble understanding why a song that’s really kind of fucking great isn’t included on a band’s album. Case in point? “Sightlines” by Rogue Wave. It appears on the Spider-Man 3 Soundtrack. How in the world did it not make the cut? In any case, you can click on the “Sightlines” link above and download the song from the band’s website.

GALLIMAUFRY

If you live in California, I seriously suggest you read all about “Frankenstorm.” If it is possible, it’s pretty fucking dire.

→ Late at night, my girlfriend makes me watch Roseanne. A lot. And while I gripe about it from time to time, I secretly like the show. (Not so much of a secret now, I guess.) Roseanne Barr was at her least annoying and John Goodman was, well, really good. Man.

→ My buddy Anthony SanFilippo covers the Philadelphia Flyers for The Delaware County Daily Times and he does it extremely well. One of his latest pieces on former Flyer R. J. Umberger shines a light on Anthony’s true love for the game of hockey as well as Umberger’s outstanding character. If you’re a Flyers’ fan, you should be reading Anthony’s column often. And, for the record, I’m singing his praises despite the fact he trounced me this past week in our fantasy hockey league.