12.08.09 – A Tuesday

WORD

phlegmatic [fleg-mat-ik] adj. 1. not easily excited to action or display of emotion; apathetic; sluggish 2. self-possessed, calm, or composed 3. of the nature of or abounding in the humor phlegm

BIRTHDAY

Horace (65 BC), Mary Queen of Scots (1542), William C. Durant (1861), Diego Rivera (1886), Sammy Davis Jr. (1925), Jimmy Smith (1925), Flip Wilson (1933), David Carradine (1936), Jim Morrison (1943), Gregg Allman (1947), Gérard Blanc (1947), Bill Bryson (1951), Kim Basinger (1953), Roy Firestone (1953), Sam Kinison (1953), Ann Coulter (1961), Greg Howe (1963), Teri Hatcher (1964), Sinéad O’Connor (1966), Dominic Monaghan (1976)

STANDPOINT

Last night, I watched Allen Iverson’s triumphant return to the Philadelphia 76ers. OK. Well. I watched about 15 minutes of it until I turned on the ultimately disappointing Flyers-Canadiens game.

But, arguably, I watched the most important part of the Sixers-Nuggets game: the introductory hoopla. Philadelphia, a city that three years ago was collectively shoving Iverson out of town, welcomed him home like no one ever wanted him to go anywhere.

The Wachovia Center was sold-out for a basketball game for the first time this year. Actually, the entire crowd last night almost doubled the total sum of the first eight home games. The starting lineup announcements were conducted in a way a 5-15 team, under any other circumstances, could never gotten away with. After being introduced, Iverson ran out to the 76ers logo at half-court, kneeled down and kissed it. (The crowd cheered like that was totally normal.) 

Iverson seemed truly happy. And I, for one, was truly happy for him. I never disliked the guy. I was always in his corner and have been a huge supporter of his return to Philadelphia.

I’ve had about 349 conversations about Iverson since he left town. Each and every time, I was told I was wrong. He was a poison. He was a selfish player. He was a thug. He had to go.

While I never subscribed the above statements, I always granted them creedence. I figured everyone hated Iverson because he was an asshole. Also, I was pretty sure I liked him for the same exact reason.

What I’m having trouble digesting is why,all of a sudden, everyone gives a shit about (a) the Sixers, and (b) Iverson himself.

I need to collect my thoughts on this one. TO BE CONTINUED.

In the meantime, what’s your take?  

QUOTATION

I used to be friends with Miles Davis. He didn’t like many folks. I lived across the street from him. He would call me up sometimes — “I got some fish I wanna cook up for ya.” I went up there, and he was on a couch, looking out the window. He was just rapt. I said, “What’re you watching, Miles?” He said, “The traffic. Where are all these motherfuckers goin’?”Rip Torn

TUNE

In the interest of getting to know someone better, I’ve recently been exposed to more Belle and Sebastian. I was told by that someone “Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying” is the band’s best song. Turned out to be the truth.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ After being complete cocks about music piracy and crying about how much money they were losing, it turns out the major record labels (Warner, Sony BMG, EMI and Universal) have been doing a little looting of their own. Justice? Maybe. Well, probably.   

→ While I’m of the opinion most people are complete dolts and unknowingly ruining society, there’s an awful, evil flipside. It appears there are enough smart individuals out there doing what they can to not be outdone by the morons. Case in point? This whole Miranda nonsense in The Supreme Court.

→ While I love to point out the inane crap dominating the media these days, I have an actual pleasure when I read some genuinely good news. Drunk driving deaths in the US are, statistically, on a downward turn. Good job, nitwits. I’m pleased some of you might be coming to your senses.

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11.18.09 – A Wednesday

WORD

paragon [paruh-gon, -guhn] n. 1. a model or pattern of excellence or of a particular excellence 2. Printing. a 20-point type 3. an unusually large, round pearl v. 4. to compare; parallel 5. to be a match for; rival

BIRTHDAY

Asa Gray (1810), Dorothy Dix (1861), George Gallup (1901), Imogene Coca (1908), Hank Ballard (1927), Don Cherry (1936), Margaret Atwood (1939), Linda Evans (1942), Graham Parker (1950), Delroy Lindo (1952), Kevin Nealon (1953), Elizabeth Perkins (1960), Owen Wilson (1968), Duncan Sheik (1969), Mike Epps (1970), Chloë Sevigny (1974)

STANDPOINT

OK. What’s irking the shit out of me today is quite simple. People keep asking me, “Why do you write so angry?”

Yes. I write angry. Yes. I am occassionally an angry person. But that doesn’t mean much of anything except I’m one of those folks who’s easily bothered by the people I come into contact with everyday. And you may not be one of those folks. And that’s fine. But maybe you should be.

You see, my problem with people thinking I’m too angry is there aren’t enough of you out there who are remotely angry enough. Being angry or annoyed is not cool because everyone wants everyone to just be cool. But, the truth is, there aren’t enough of you out there acting remotely cool enough.

And, so, if I tend to get a bit animated or a little too passionate about the current state of most everything, you’ll have to forgive me. I’m just not down with everyone being so goddam down about stuff.

QUOTATION

What I’ve learned about teaching is to refer back to the root of that word, which is educo, which means “to pull from.” Education does not mean jamming information into somebody’s head. Rather, it’s that ancient idea that all knowledge is within us; to teach is to help somebody pull it out of themselves.Alan Arkin

TUNE

Tonight, I’m headed down, with Jer and Ezgi, to World Cafe Live in Philadelphia to see Blind Pilot. I hope I hear “The Story I Heard.” I really can’t imagine a scenario where I wouldn’t.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ Suddenly, pharmaceutical companies have come to the conclusion it might be a good idea to get into the preventive medicine business, instead of the curbing and/or curing side of it. In the next five years, there may be vaccines available for such maladies as Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS, Malaria, grass allergies and even something called traveler’s diarrhea. With the soaring prices of prescriptions and the subsequent scramble to find other options like the internet and Canada, maybe someone at one of these companies said somethig like, “Hey, what if we switch gears and actually try to find a genuine way to help people? I mean, we’ve tried everything else, right? Let’s give it a shot.” Funny, how a completely fucked economical situation can bring out the best in people.

A group of Native Americans, who’d filed a suit against the Washington Redskins over the use of the name “Redskins,” had their case tossed out by the US Supreme Court yesterday for, from what I can tell, is a complete technicality. I’m no lawyer, though, so I could easily be wrong. However, what I’m completely unwrong about is that the NFL franchise should just give up the name. We’re headed toward the future here, people, let’s keep our eyes on the ball. (Plus, the Redskins are so bad I’m sure hardly anyone would notice if they became the Washington Suckasses.)

Jonathan Safran Foer, author of one of my favorite books of all-time, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, has a new non-fiction novel coming out titled Eating Animals. Check out his interview with the AV Club.