March 28th, 2012

word

chelonian [ki-loh-nee-uhn] 1. adj. belonging or pertaining to the order Chelonia, comprising the turtles 2. n. a turtle

birthday

Dianne Wiest (1948), Reba McEntire (1955), Vince Vaughn (1970), Nick Frost (1972), Julia Stiles (1981), Lady Gaga (1986),

standpoint

The Trayvon Martin case is a true tragedy. And, like everything that happens these days in this country, it’s become so mired in ridiculous details that it’ll most likely never arrive at a proper resolution.

Here’s what I’ve figured out so far:

(1) Martin was walking down the street, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and in possession of both a bag of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea when George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watchmen, started following him.

(2) After just a few minutes, Martin was dead, apparently shot by Zimmerman, who, according the guidelines set forth by the national Neighborhood Watch, shouldn’t have been armed while on patrol.

(3) The police arrived to find Zimmerman with a bloody nose and minor head wound, standing over Martin’s body. He stated he killed Martin in self-defense. The police believed him and he’s free to go.

Those are the only things I know to be undeniably true about the actual event. The rest of it is mostly just fodder for those who feel turning a tragedy into a nationwide debate, while dragging all involved through mud, is a good way to kill time and push a particular political agenda.

Yes, Trayvon Martin was suspended from school three times. Yes, he was found at one time or another to be in possession of marijuana. So what? He made some bad decisions. He was 17. And how many other 17 year olds are out there making bad decisions? The answer is mostly all of them.

Yes, Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie. Is this really something we’re talking about? I wear hoodies quite often. But I’m going to climb out on a limb here and say that if George Zimmerman saw a white, 37 year old male walking down his street donning a hooded sweatshirt, he probably wouldn’t have decided to follow me. The whole hoodie aspect is asinine.

Yes, every politician and activist in the country has made a comment on this tragedy. And the way this country is nowadays, no one can say anything right at any time. Because, no matter what anyone says, there’s a large group of people who are ready to pile on. But politicians can’t simply decline to comment on any issue and so they’re forced to perpetually piss off lots of people. And we wonder why no one of merit is stepping up to run for public office in this country.

Bottom line is this: Zimmerman shot Martin. Let him stand trial for it.

quotation

Genius ain’t anything more than elegant common sense. ↔ Josh Billings

tune

Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That” being covered by Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers as they’re driving around in a van? Yes! That does sound good!

gallimaufry

Stupid people apparently love other stupid people.

How could being in 3-D possibly make Titanic better? Unless a giant pair of hands come out of the screen and put me out of my misery by choking the life out of me, there’s simply no way.

NHL hockey continues to be one of the least popular sports in our country. But John Buccigross wants you to reconsider your opinion.

06.01.09 – Monday

Note: All right, so I’m back. I took a week off to take care of some personal stuff and work on my other writing projects and in doing so I realized something: I can’t do this blog every weekday in the way that I was and still have time to pursue other goals. Now, don’t worry, there will still be daily content on here every Monday through Friday. It’ll just be a little different. Since the “Standpoint” section seems to be the one you all like the most, I’m separating it from each daily post. It will appear by itself and only three days a week. It was getting a little difficult to write five “Standpoints” per week and maintain the quality. This way, I’ll be able to write about more of the issues you really want to read about. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Word: pithy [pith-ee] adj. 1. brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression; full of vigor, substance, or meaning; terse; forcible: a pithy observation 2. of, like, or abounding in pith

Birthday: Jacques Marquette (1637), Brigham Young (1801), William S. Knowles (1917), Nelson Riddle (1921), Andy Griffith (1926), Marilyn Monroe (1926), Charles Wilson (1933), Pat Boone (1934), Morgan Freeman (1937), René Auberjonois (1940), Ronnie Wood (1947), David Berkowitz (1953), Teri Polo (1969), Alexi Lalas (1970), Heidi Klum (1973), Alanis Morissette (1974), Brandi Carlile (1980)

Quotation: Live your life so when the times comes for the funeral the preacher won’t have to bullshit the peoples. Babatunde Olatunji

Tune: I watched Zack and Miri Make a Porno last weekend. (It was better than people told me it’d be.) Anyway, during the scene where Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks first…ahem…actively participate in relations with one another, a song came on that was unmistakably by the band Live. After 1994’s Throwing Copper, I stopped listening to Live. (Except “Simple Creed.” I love that song.) They stopped making good music. Turns out that the song in the movie was “Hold Me Up,” a b-side from the Throwing Copper album. I liked the song a lot. And I’m OK with that because, even though I’d never heard it before, it was from an era when I thought Live was still kind of worthwhile. Plus, a good song is a good song no matter who’s performing it. All right, that’s not true. I don’t really believe that. Still, good stuff. I don’t think Live released the song anywhere. It’s not on the Zack and Miri Make a Porno soundtrack. But, as I’m known to, I was able to find a site where you can download “Hold Me Up” for free.

Gallimaufry: Despite disliking the movie Titanic on an almost undescribable level, I’ve always been kind of fascinated by the real-life story. Sadly, the last survivor of the tragedy, Millvina Deans, died yesterday. Dean was only 2 months old when the Titanic sank. ∞ Tone-Lôc, the rapper behind such megahit classics like “Funky Cold Medina,” “Wild Thing,” and, well, I guess just those two, collapsed during a concert in Florida on Friday. He reportedly suffered a seizure due to “flight delays and heat.” He’s expected to make a full recovery.  ∞ Lastly, I’m pleased to announce that the Detroit Red Wings are up 2-0 on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals. As usual, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby is proving to everyone what a douchebag he can be. Crosby aside, the Red Wings deserve the Cup again. Simply the better team.  

Incoming: Tomorrow – I’ll discuss the 2009 MTV Movie Awards.

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.

04.20.09 – Monday

Word: euphemism [yoo-fuh-miz-uhm] n. 1. the substitution of a mild, indirect or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh or blunt 2. the expression so substituted: “To pass away” is a euphemism for “to die.”

Birthday: Napoleon III (1808), Adolf Hitler (1889), Lionel Hampon (1908), Tito Puente (1923), George Takei (1937), Ryan O’Neal (1941), Jessica Lange (1949), Luther Vandross (1951), Clint Howard (1959), Don Mattingly (1961), Crispin Glover (1964), Carmen Electra (1972), Joey Lawrence (1976)

Occurence: 1999Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide during the Columbine High School Massacre.

Standpoint: Last week, I polled all my friends on Facebook and Twitter. I asked them to name the best movie with a one-word title. Also, I was asking everyone I talked to, including my co-workers at The Chestnut Grill, who came up with a ton of them. (Special thanks to Ezgi and Adina on that one.) So, I compiled over 200 suggested titles and whittled (Colleen, you were right. I misused “wheedle”. Live and learn. 4/21/09) the list down to 15 movies. Here is the list (alphabetically) of 15 Great Movies with a One-Word Title, followed by the reason each film made the final cut. Enjoy.

There you have it. Just in case you’re wondering, it’s pretty difficult deciding the best 15 out of 200. The Honorable Mentions are too many to list. I can give you a few movies that never stood a chance. Titanic. Volcano. Twister. Accepted.

I’m sure you can think of a few movies I overlooked or discarded. Tell me which ones and why.

Quotation: Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all of the time. Chuck Klosterman

Gallimaufry: Falling into the “How-Pathetic-Can-I-Possibly-Get” category, Spencer Pratt (“The Hills”) has challenged Ashton Kutcher to a 30-day contest to see who can get the most Twitter followers. Dude, you’re a little late. I suggest concentrating your efforts on something that doesn’t involve some crappy show like “The Hills.” Look into it…All season long on “American Idol,” people have been asking the question, “Why in the hell did they bring Kara DioGuardi on as a fourth judge?” It appears she’s wondering the same thing. Could this be a sign of her exit?…Yesterday was a good day in Philadelphia for sports. The Phillies beat the San Diego Padres, 5-4, off a two-run homer in the ninth inning by Raul Ibanez. The 76ers beat the Orlando Magic in the Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on a last-second jumper by Andre Iguodala. But the highlight of the day in sports, for me at least, was sitting at my brother Jeremy’s new house and watching the Flyers spank the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-3. Claude Giroux registered a Gordie Howe hat trick. He’s the real deal. (Thanks to Phinally Philly for the link.)

Incoming: This week is up in the air. Besides more of your suggestions for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words, we’ll have to see where the wind takes us.