05.15.09 – Friday

Word: fulsome [fool-suhm, fuhl-] adj. 1. offensive to good taste, esp. as being excessive; overdone or gross: fulsome praise that embarrassed her deeply; fulsome décor 2. disgusting; sickening; repulsive: a table heaped with fulsome mounds of greasy foods 3. excessively or insincerely lavish: fulsome admiration 4. encompassing all aspects; comprehensive: a fulsome survey of the political situation in Central America 5. abundant or copious

Birthday: L. Frank Baum (1856), Richard J. Daley (1902), Eddy Arnold (1918), Utah Phillips (1935), Wavy Gravy (1936), Madeleine Albright (1937), Brian Eno (1948), Chazz Palminteri (1952), George Brett (1953), Dan Patrick (1956), David Krumholtz (1978), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (1981)

Standpoint: When a music artist performs a new rendition of another music artist’s established song, it’s called a “cover version.” It’s widely accepted that the cover artist’s rendition is the weaker one based on the assumption the original must be better because it’s just that – the original. However, there are certain artists and songs that go against the grain in that regard. After devising my own list and  asking for your suggestions on Twitter and Facebook, I’ve compiled a list of 7 Cover Songs Better Than Their Originals.

While doing the searches for these songs on YouTube, I discovered that in most of the cases, the cover was more popular. This is only a small sample of songs that are better that the ones they’re covering. How about you? Got any favorites you think should’ve been included here?

Weekend: Each Friday, I’ll provide you with 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead – my list of events for spending this weekend in Philadelphia as if it was your last:

  • Today (05.15.09) – MMA Famous Singles Pub CrawlThe Public House – Tired of spending Friday nights without a significant other. Here’s your chance to do something about it. Meet Market Adventures presents a night of “No Covers. No Driving. No Worries.” Riding around from bar to bar on a bus with complete strangers, drinking and mingling? What ‘s stopping you? Get out there and find someone special.  Time: 6:30pm to midnight
  • Saturday (05.16.09) – The Shins – Electric Factory – One of the poster-bands for the indie music scene, The Shins hit the stage with a revamped lineup. I’ve seen them a few times and can testify to the fact that James Mercer and Co. put on one mean live show.  Time: 8:30pm
  • Sunday (05.17.09) – 9th Street Italian Market Festival – South 9th Street from Fitzwater to Federal – In its official press release, the Festival boasts, “halfball, great food, wonderful people and live performances from three stages.” Sounds great. Sign me up. But first, what in the world is halfball? Time: 10am – 5pm

Quotation: A rock show, if it is any good, should make you feel younger.John Sellers

Gallimaufry: Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, the 10-year old star of Slumdog Millionaire, was ordered out of his home yesterday, just before he watched it bulldozed to the ground. An Indian government official called it “a pre-monsoon demolition drive.” I call it pretty shitty to tear people’s homes down in such an abrupt manner. Apparently, the young star has a trust fund set up for him by the makers of Slumdog, but hasn’t received any assistance yet out of fear the money will end up in the wrong hands. ∞ HELP! Paste Magazine is in danger of having to close up shop. For those of you who don’t all ready know, Paste is one of the best music publications in circulation. Help The Campaign to Save Paste! ∞ Is Jordan coming to the Philadelphia 76ers? Maybe. But not “His Airness“. Eddie Jordan is set to interview with the NBA team to fill their head coach vacancy.

Incoming: Next week’s going to be a good one. I can feel it. All right, that’s it for me. Thanks for reading. Come back Monday for some more.

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05.07.09 – Thursday

Word: acrimony [ak-ruh-moh-nee] n. sharpness, harshness or bitterness of nature, speech, disposition, etc.: The speaker attacked him with great acrimony

Birthday: William Bainbridge (1774), Johannes Brahms (1833), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840), Gary Cooper (1901), Eva Peron (1919), Johnny Unitas (1933), Jimmy Ruffin (1939), Thelma Houston (1946), Bill Kreutzmann (1946), Randall “Tex” Cobb (1950), Tim Russert (1950), Traci Lords (1968), Eagle Eye Cherry (1969), Breckin Meyer (1974)Nicole Sheridan (1975)

Standpoint: It’s Thursday and that means I’m addressing your suggestions for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words. Right. Now.

  • “ironical” vs. “ironic” – Mentioned by many of you, I think it’s safe to say that we owe this “irony” debate to Alanis Morissette. “Ironical” is defined as “using or prone to irony.” I hate it when I disappoint my readers but that’s probably just what the next sentence will accomplish. As for “ironic,” the second definition offered by dictionary.com was actually “ironical.” So, unfortunately for all of you grammar hounds out there, you are no longer free to correct people when they use “ironical.” Sorry.
  • “could have” vs. “could of” – I hear this one a lot. Hell, I might even say “could of,” I’m not sure. But if I do, I’m wrong as can be. To quote EnglishPlus.com, “‘Could of’ does not exist.” That’s about the end of the debate right there, I think.
  • “no offense, but…” – In its essence, this is a cowardly phrase that was most likely shortened from another, much longer phrase  like, “Hey, I’m a big wuss and I’m about to say something that may or may not piss you off, but I still want to make my feelings known on this issue without fear of bodily harm or reciprocity via an equally offensive comment launched in my direction.” In my experience, when someone starts out a statement with, “no offense, but…” it’s usually meant to imply the opposite like, “No offense, dude, but you suck.” I think it’s all right when used that way. Kind of ironical. Right?

Well, there you go. I’m starting to get the sense that a lot of these words that we all originally thought were being misused have now been accepted by the word authorities as acceptable usage. Are they simply addressing the evolution of the language or are the bending to the will of a people who are too lazy to speak it properly? What do you think?

Quotation: The internet is the world’s largest library. It’s just that all the books are on the floor. John Allen Paulos

Tune: Colin Hay might be remembered by most for his involvement with the 80s Australian pop band Men At Work, but what he’s done since then is create some amazing singer-songwriter anthems. Check out “Waiting For My Real Life To Begin.” Also, if you are a fan of the show “Scrubs,” this might be worth checking out. And if, for whatever reason, you’re pining for those Men At Work days, here’s Hay’s reworking of “Overkill.”

Gallimaufry: Apparently, our society now has individuals calling themselves “public intellectuals.” Read all about Stu Bykofsky’s experience with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. ∞ Due to all of the driving around I’ve been doing since the new move, I’ve been daydreaming about faster-than-light travel. It’s fun to fantasize about pushing a button and having the world around you turn into a blur as you travel hundreds of miles in the blink of an eye. It’s even more fun to imagine Jean-Luc Picard in the backseat, calmly giving the order to “Engage,” right before you hit the imaginary button. That kind of thing will probably never be possible over land but, out in the cosmos, Space.com seems to think it might be possible sooner than we think ∞ The Shins are back. Well. Kind of. Marty Crandall and Jesse Sandoval are out of the band for what lead singer James Mercer calls “aesthetic reasons.” He’s recruited Ron Lewis from Grand Archives and Joe Plummer from Modest Mouse to join the band for their new tour and upcoming album.

Incoming: Tomorrow3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and, inspired by all of this rain lately, 7 Sunny Songs About Rain.

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.