February 6th, 2012

word

hotchpot [hoch-pot] n. Law. the bringing together of shares or properties in order to divide them equally, especially when they are to be divided among the children of a parent dying intestate.

birthday

Aaron Burr (1756), Babe Ruth (1895), Ronald Reagan (1911), Zsa Zsa Gábor (1917), Rip Torn (1931), Tom Brokaw (1940), Bob Marley (1945), Robert Townsend (1957), W. Axl Rose (1962), Alice Eve (1982)

standpoint

I’ve been posting my heart and soul on the internet for more than a few years now. And if I’ve learned anything at all it’s to share the good stuff and keep the garbage to yourself. Last week had about as much garbage packed into it as possible. And even so, I did have one or two good nights. But I’m not looking to have a week like that again anytime soon. ‘Nuff said.

And, no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I had to watch Madonna during the halftime show of the Super Bowl. Although that didn’t help matters at all.

In any case, I haven’t posted in a while and I’m sorry it wasn’t my best or most positive offering, but I’ll make it up to you guys sometime this week. Promise.

quotation

There are times when two people need to step apart from one another, but there is no rule that says they have to turn and fire. ↔ Robert Brault

tune

I’ve been finding lots of good music lately. This is one of those songs that’s good all around, especially the lyrics. “Coming Back To a Man” by Dawes.

gallimaufry

A Ben Folds Five reunion? Say what? Oh, it’s all too true. Get psyched, music geeks.

→ So I don’t watch a ton of television but I am a sucker for a good cop drama and I thought Prime Suspect was a pretty solid show. But then NBC went and cancelled it. And I find that shitty.

→ How’s this for a feelgood story? “War with Iran is Inevitable” I like that (a) Iran will use “terrorist groups,” and (b) oil prices will be brought to “record highs.” What a fantastic fucking world we live in.

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04.27.10 – A Tuesday

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word

extirpate [ek-ster-peyt, ik-stur-peyt] v. used w/ obj. 1. to remove or destroy totally; do away with; exterminate 2. to pull up by or as if by the roots; root up: to extirpate an unwanted hair

birthday

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759), Samuel F. B. Morse (1791), Ulysses S. Grant (1822), Jack Klugman (1922), Casey Kasem (1932), Frank William Abagnale, Jr. (1948), Kate Pierson (1948), Ace Frehley (1951), Sheena Easton (1959)

standpoint

This past weekend, the NFL conducted its annual draft and it was all anyone could talk about. I didn’t really pay much attention. The only time I care about football is when it’s actually being played. To me, the draft seems to be just another reason for NFL fans, most of whom I regard as whiners, to bitch and moan, ask each other why their particular team took one guy and not another, failed to draft a player at one position and not another, and so on and so forth.

For the past several years the relationship between the NFL and its fans has fascinated me. Football enthusiasts are mostly fanatics, highly devoted folks who expect a lot from their chosen organization. Curiously, though, the same expectations do not extend to the individual athletes. And here’s why I think that’s so.

First and foremost, I’m a hockey fan. Training camp for the NHL begins at the end of each summer and the Stanley Cup Finals usually wrap up sometime in early summer of the next year. By comparison, NFL training camps start in early August and the Super Bowl is usually played the first week of February. In addition, football teams play once a week while hockey (and basketball and baseball) teams might play several times in the same amount of time. Bottom line, football fans feel an urgency, a need to do as much as they can with the little time afforded them. It’s the reason fall/winter Sunday afternoons and, to a slightly lesser extent, Monday nights have been bestowed with an almost venerable aura. There’s an almost obligatory sense to watch football when it’s on. You didn’t watch the game yesterday afternoon? Why not? You’d better have a bulletproof alibi.

The brevity of the NFL season also has an impact on its players. It provides them more time to pursue other interests with the massive amounts of cash they accumulate over the year. The majority of the athletes go home to their families, maybe investing in a hometown restaurant or contributing their time in a charitable fashion. But there are those who don’t make the best choices when it comes to how they spend their money and time in the offseason, getting in trouble with the law in a variety of ways. It seems you can’t turn on SportsCenter without seeing a new feature on some NFL knucklehead being brought up some kind of charges. Their actions are part bad decision making, part too much time and money on their hands. Someone’s bound to get into trouble.

When these stories come out, there’s always a heavy dose of public outrage by NFL fans and pundits. But it’s never sustained. The player always pays the fine or, less often, does the time and then it’s back to business as usual. An odd thing about the NFL is that, despite its massive fanbase, most of its teams flat-out suck, which means there’s always teams out there willing to take a chance on a skilled player. Even if that player beats his girlfriends, or fires guns at nightclubs, or recently completed yet another stint of drug rehab. When a team signs a guy like that, its fans, more concerned with a Super Bowl parade than a strong sense of morality, always jump on board.

In the weeks after Michael Vick was paroled, rumors surfaced about Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones tinkering with the idea of signing him. Every football fan in Philadelphia was laughing, shaking their heads and telling each other how perfect Vick would fit in with the rest of the criminals the Cowboys have gained a reputation for bringing aboard. Then the Eagles signed Vick. For a day or two, people seemed a little put off the organization would sign a convicted animal abuser. But within a week, no one was talking about dogs, but about another animal: the wildcat. As in the “Wildcat Offense” and how Vick would flourish in it. Nowadays, if you bring up the fact the guy used to beat dogs to death people roll their eyes and tell you to give it a rest. No wants to hear it. In essence, he’s been exonerated in the public eye because he puts on an Eagles’ uniform every Sunday (and the occasional Monday) for a few months out of the year.

And Vick’s not even a close to be the only one. He’s a member of a rather large club. Ray Lewis may have been acquitted of his murder charge but everyone knows he at least had something to with the deaths of those people. Baltimore Ravens fans don’t care. Adam “Pacman” Jones has a criminal record detailing a wide array of offenses. Detroit Lions fans won’t care if the team signs him. Ben Roethlisberger most definitely has a problem with sexually assaulting women, although he escaped formal charges. After he serves his upcoming six-game suspension and leads the team down the field for a touchdown, Pittsburgh Steelers fans won’t care. These are guys you wouldn’t want working in your office building, but if they’re playing football, fans will rationalize why it’s okay to forgive, and even cheer, for him.

Sometimes, guys wake up and take advantage of a second (or third) chance like Cris Carter. But, unfortunately, most of them will end up like Rae Carruth.

For the record, I don’t hold the NFL owners in any contempt for signing or retaining criminals. They’re running a business. In terms of dollars and cents, it makes sense for them to take the chances they do and, sometimes, as in the Roethlisberger situation, they have no other choice.

But what’s the fans excuse? How can the rationality of all this be explained? If these guys weren’t playing football, they’d be in jail and no one would give a rat’s ass what they were up to. Lucky for them, that’s not the case. They continue to get the love and respect of millions of people despite the fact, outside playing a game, they’ve done nothing to deserve it.

It’s comical and pathetic.

quotation

Whenever I hear people talking about liberal ideas, I am always astounded that men should love to fool themselves with empty sounds. An idea should never be liberal; it must be vigorous, positive, and without loose ends so that it may fulfill its divine mission and be productive. The proper place for liberality is in the realm of the emotions. Johann von Goethe

tune

I’ve shared this before but I’m going to do it again because, well, I do what I want. I’m of the opinion Chuck D is a pretty solid dude. I present Public Enemy‘s “Harder Than You Think.”

gallimaufry

→ I think Stephen Hawking might be watching Independence Day a little too much. And who can blame him? It’s a good movie mostly. But he may not be completely wrong here.

→ Sometimes something as simple as a sandwich can be a strong indicator of where we’re headed as a society. People, we’re driving in the wrong direction here.

→ My favorite show on ESPN? It’s SportsNation. I’m sure some of you out there now think a little less of me.

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.

01.05.10 – A Tuesday

WORD

riposte [ri-pohst] n. 1. a quick, sharp return in speech or action; counterstroke: a brilliant riposte to an insult 2. Fencing. a quick thrust given after parrying a lunge  v. (used w/o subject) 3. to make a riposte 4. to reply or retaliate

BIRTHDAY

Zebulon Pike (1778), George Reeves (1914), Jane Wyman (1917), Francis L. Kellogg (1917), Walter Mondale (1928), Robert Duvall (1931), Charlie Rose (1942), Ed Rendell (1944), Diane Keaton (1946), Ted Lange (1948), Marilyn Manson (1969), Bradley Cooper (1975)

STANDPOINT

In the spirit of reviewing 2009 (which yesterday I stated I was against but seem to be participating in anyway), I’ve compiled a list of the best music releases from last year, in no particular order. After each review, I’ll post the top track off the album.

Now, obviously, there were other albums released in 2009 that some of you (mainly my buddy Joe) will undoubtedly tell me I was wrong in omitting. Green Day, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Wilco, among others, all released albums recently. I either didn’t like them or didn’t listen to them.

If you feel strongly about it, make a comment and tell me where I went wrong. Music is subjective, of course, and these are just my opinions. Even I can admit my judgment is occasionally subject to bias when it comes to music. But, remember, I’m usually right.

QUOTATION

The problem is not that there are problems.  The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.Theodore Rubin

TUNE

As much as I make fun of it, Canada seems to be putting out some decent indie rock bands recently. Arcade Fire. Broken Social Scene. The New Pornographers. The Rural Alberta Advantage. The Stills. To name only a few. And you can add Human Highway to that list. Made up of singer/songwriter Jim Guthrie and Nicholas Thorburn of the band Islands, the band released Moody Motorcycle in 2008. I’ve recently given it a re-listen and love the song “All Day.”

GALLIMAUFRY

After years of being tabloid fodder and keeping a nation on the edge of its seat, Vince Vaughan has entered into wedlock. Phew!

→ Christ. People. Let’s cease the vacillation. First, the Dallas Cowboys suck and Tony Romo, their quarterback, is a choke artist. Now, since beating the Philadelphia Eagles two days ago, their a Super Bowl favorite? Make up your mind, sports “gurus.”

→ What’s funnier? All the airport security talk or Spike Lee lending his heavy influence to the USA’s bid for a World Cup? Trick question. Neither are funny. Both are equally unimportant.