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.

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03.08.10 – A Monday

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word

narcissism [nahr-suh-siz-em] n. 1. inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity 2. Psychoanalysis. erotic gratification derived from admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development

birthday

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841), Mississippi John Hurt (1892), Alan Hale, Jr. (1921), Lynn Redgrave (1943), Micky Dolenz (1945), Gary Numan (1958), Aidan Quinn (1959), Camryn Manheim (1961), Shawn Mullins (1968), Freddie Prinze, Jr. (1976), James Van Der Beek (1977)

standpoint

I was all ready to go off on The 82nd Annual Academy Awards but if you haven’t yet figured out how much crap The Oscars are, well, then I’m going to have a hard time figuring out a way to let you down easy. So let’s move on, shall we?

“What are your top 5 albums of all time?”

I get this question a lot. Really. For some, this might be something readily apparent. But, for me, not so much. I mean, I’ve albums I’ll never tire of but I’m not sure that’s the proper criteria. I’ve had albums I’ve listened to non-stop for a month or two but inevitably found myself burned out on. There’s also been those I didn’t like at first but sort of grew into and, now, can’t do without. In addition, there’s albums that fit seamlessly into my life at the right place and time but, now, have lost some, if not all, of their meaning.

Listening preferences, from one stage of life to the next, are fickle and subject to change. Or at least they should be. I can’t imagine what it would be like to plug the same exact album into my CD player for the rest of my life. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that if there’s a hell and I make it there, it’ll be my fate to listen to Led Zeppelin or Yes or Journey or The Steve Miller Band or something similarly dreadful for all of eternity.

The way I see it, listening to music goes hand-in-hand with living life. When someone stops searching for that new sound, that new anything at all, that gets their blood pumping at a different rate than what’s come before, that’s the exact moment someone has concluded that, right then and there, life’s offered all it’s going to. That person is content to listen to the same old songs, wear a Pink Floyd concert t-shirt to summer barbecues and preach about the “fundamental soundness” of classic rock.

And that’s fine for that person. But not for me. I’ve been accused of “liking things no one else knows about” just because no one else knows about them. I’ve been told I probably don’t like the music I listen to and I’m just being different for the sake of being different. Fair enough. Guilty as charged, I guess.

But I’ll never be swayed by anything due to a mild degree of likability, or moderate amount of soundness, and I’ll always be looking for new things to recapture my sense of awe in the world, and not just in music but in all things. That’s how you stay young, no matter what you got going on in that crazy life of yours.

quotation

They’re out there. You can see them in the audience – seemingly witty, attractive and cool. You can imagine talking to them about the short stories of Denis Johnson, or explaining the ever-so-multi-layered metaphors in that one song, the one during which you saw them stifling a lip-sync. Will you ever actually speak to them? Doubt it. Most people that are actually like you think bands are too cool to talk to them. ↔ Mike Doughty

tune

Apparently, I don’t pay as much attention to music as I boast. Turns out, The A-Sides, a Philadelphia band that I really like, broke up about two years ago without letting me know. Not exactly sure why but, hey, shit happens. Two of the guys went on to form a band named Sun Airway. In any case, I always liked “Sidewalk Chalk.”

gallimaufry

Dear Professional Athletes, what in the world is wrong with you? You guys got the money, the fame and every other possible advantage when it comes to attracting pretty much any female you want. Get a grip, will you? Not sure if anyone’s ever explained it to you but women simply frown upon sexual assault. And rightfully so, douchebags. Ever see those relatively unattractive dudes who are dating or married to women they’ve most likely have no business with? Yeah, well, they put in the work and if you did a fraction of it, you’d be level-jumping like the champion you are on the playing field. This is just laziness on your part and, for that, you’re not going to get sympathy on either side of the aisle, male or female.

The City of Brotherly Love has finally come into its own. After all the fighting and scratching and clawing, we’ve got it. That’s right, long considered the benchmark for how big a city truly is, the Red Bull Flugtag is going to grace us with its presence. Not only will you get the opportunity to risk your life by careening off a flight deck in a contraption you made with your best buds evenings after work in your backyard, but you’ll also get to test your body’s ability to fight off infection after a dip in the Delaware River. And I’ll probably be there watching it.

→ I know I’m picking on this lady a little too much lately but I’m certain she’ll have no problem falling asleep tonight on her huge money-stuffed mattress atop her gigantic golden bed.