03.10.10 – A Wednesday

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word

mellifluous [muhlif-loo-uhs] adj. 1. sweetly or smoothly flowing; sweet-sounding: a mellifluous voice; mellifluous tones 2. flowing with honey; sweetened with or as if with honey

birthday

Ferdinand I (1503), Bix Beiderbecke (1903), James Earl Ray (1928), Chuck Norris (1940), Robert Llewellyn (1956), Osama bin Laden (1957), Shannon Tweed (1957), Jim White (1957), Sharon Stone (1958), Mitch Gaylord (1961), Pam Oliver (1961), Jeff Ament (1963), Rick Rubin (1963), Neneh Cherry (1964), Jasmine Guy (1964), Edie Brickell (1966), Timbaland (1971), Eva Herzigova (1973), Shannon Miller (1977), Robin Thicke (1977), Carrie Underwood (1983)

standpoint

I like my camera. It wasn’t expensive but, sometimes, it takes some really good pictures. More than a few people have told me I have a good eye for shooting things.

The cool thing about a good photograph is it’s untouchable. It’s static and not responsible for anything more than it portrays. Although every part of my personality would suggest otherwise, I’m drawn to the unchanging nature of still photography.

So, today, I thought that instead of bashing one thing or another I find wrong with the world, I’d share with you some of the beauty I’ve found in it. Hope you enjoy.

From Oscar's Tavern in Philadelphia.

Silverware bin from my brother's kitchen.

East Falls train station in Philadelphia.

The view from the back of the shore house.

Last year's Bike Race in Manayunk.

I’ve got tons more but thought it would be best to start out light. I’ll post more in an upcoming post someday soon.

quotation

You use your money to buy privacy because during most of your life you aren’t allowed to be normal.Johnny Depp

tune

Local Natives make soaring, sky-scraping harmonies, dreamy orchestral melodies, and throbbing tribal beats that bash their way into your soul.” That’s according to the band’s label, Frenchkiss Records. Obviously, the statement’s a bit biased but it’s also pretty dead on. Be on the lookout for constant comparisons to Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire as Local Natives gets bigger. Check out “Stranger Things” off the recently released Gorilla Manor. (Thanks to Ezgi for turning me on these guys.)

gallimaufry

All right, just because you discover something is possible doesn’t necessarily mean you make it happen. I love how this chef pairs the dish with a Riesling. Unreal.

→ For those of you shouting as loud as you can about how your privacy rights are being violated on the Internet by Google or the government or some other establishment you think of as “The Man,” you might want to reconsider your thinking. This woman might’ve gotten away with killing a Swedish artist. If it hadn’t been for those crazy kids at the Justice Department figuring out what she was up to before she had time to make it happen.

→ Yesterday, I was so immersed in Oscar hoopla that I failed to mention it was the 200th post to this blog. Can’t believe it’s been that many. Although, in a way, it’s sort of felt like more. Anyway, thanks for reading.

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01.18.10 – A Monday

WORD

pabulum [pab-yuh-luhm] n. 1. something that nourishes an animal or vegetable organism; food; nutriment 2. material for intellectual nourishment

BIRTHDAY

Montesquieu (1689), Daniel Webster (1782), Thomas Watson (1854), A. A. Milne (1882), Cary Grant (1904), Danny Kaye (1913), Ray Dolby (1933), David Ruffin (1941), Kevin Costner (1955), Mark Messier (1961), Dave Attell (1965), Jesse L. Martin (1969), Joanna Newsom (1982), Seung-Hui Cho (1984)

STANDPOINT

While I type this, NBC and Conan O’Brien are said to be close to a deal that will end the O’Brien’s stint as host of The Tonight Show after a mere seven months.

The complete failure of Jay Leno’s nightly 10pm show on NBC caused the network to move the 60-year old back to his original time slot of 11:35pm, leaving no place for O’Brien.

Everyone’s talking about it and there’s really nothing new to say on the issue but I’d like to encourage everyone who reads this blog to boycott Leno from here on out, in whatever forum the dipshit appears. It’s a heartless thing he’d doing here, not to mention meaningless.

Is NBC expecting everyone to watch Leno just because? Old people will probably go back to watching Leno because most old people, from as much as I can tell, like the kind of dopey crap he presents.

O’Brien will land on his feet. FOX is very interested in talking to him. Plus, he’s probably going to get somewhere near $40 million for his trouble. But still, NBC and Leno should be kneecapped for what’s gone on.

QUOTATION

Everything is handed to society now. Before, you had to dig for it. I like that — digging for it.Al Green

TUNE

In my head, I’ve a list of ten songs of which I will never tire. R.E.M.‘s “The Great Beyond” is one of them. Maybe number three on that list. I’m not sure.

GALLIMAUFRY

My dream of a New Orleans SaintsSan Diego Chargers Super Bowl was destroyed yesterday as the New York Jets (that’s right) beat Philip Rivers and crew in a surprising 17-14 upset. Let’s go, Saints!

→ Dear Mark McGwire, please shut the fuck up. We all know you did steroids. We all know you are now admitting it so that you can get a job in baseball. We all know that you’re a disgrace to athletes everywhere. We get it. Go away.

→ In a shocking development, MTV is actually producing a show featuring (I hope you’re sitting down) – MUSIC! Vampire Weekend did an episode of MTV Unplugged. And there wasn’t even a cameo by the cast of Jersey Shore.

01.08.10 – A Friday

WORD

colloquial [kuhloh-kwee-uhl] adj. 1. characteristic of or appropriate to ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech or writing; informal 2. involving or using conversation

BIRTHDAY

Hans von Bülow (1830), Frank Nelson Doubleday (1862), Larry Storch (1923), Soupy Sales (1926), Elvis Presley (1935), Bob Eubanks (1938), Graham Chapman (1941), Robby Krieger (1946), David Bowie (1947), Mike Reno (1955), Paul Hester (1959), R. Kelly (1967), Ami Dolenz (1969), Sean Paul (1973)

STANDPOINT

As I type this, I’m watching a TNT promo for Southland. Last year, NBC dropped the cop drama before it even debuted. TNT scooped it up and will start running the series, in its entirety, this Tuesday. (TNT is waiting to see how the ratings go for the seven episodes NBC aired plus six never-before-seen ones before deciding to order a new season.)

As I’ve felt in the past, I’m currently confounded why some quality shows get the boot and other crappy shows (According To Jim, The Real World, Judge Judy, JAG) seem to run on forever. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me since quality entertainment seems to be a notion no one concern themselves with.

It got me thinking about some other shows that were inexplicably dropped before their time. The following is a list of my favorite shows abandoned too soon.

QUOTATION

The National Rifle Association says that, “Guns don’t kill people, uh, people do.” But I think, I think the gun helps. You know? I think it helps. I just think just standing there going, “Bang!” That’s not going to kill too many people, is it?Eddie Izzard

TUNE

There’s not a ton of information out there on Seattle-based band The Pale Pacific (formerly The Pale). I came upon the 2005 release Urgency a while back and it became one of my favorite “half albums” – those containing an equal amount of both good and so-so songs. (I’ve got a lot of those, by the way.) One of the better songs is “Identity Theft.” Give it a listen.

GALLIMAUFRY

I’m not so naive to think all of this wintry weather going on is proof-positive that global warming is hogwash. But -50° wind chills in the Midwest don’t exactly help Al Gore’s cause.

→ Someone needs to be in a world of hurt to attempt to stab themselves to death. That’s exactly what Howard Stern’s sidekick, Artie Lange, did. Nine times. Long bouts of depression and numerous episodes of drug abuse apparently led him to it. Here’s hoping the guy can find some kind of peace and shake loose of his demons.

→ The other day, I reported that Vampire Weekend and Spoon were releasing albums next Tuesday. I lied. Vampire Weekend is releasing Contra next week, but Spoon’s Transference won’t come out until two weeks later. In any case, should be a good couple of months coming up for new music with Ben Kweller, Eels, Beach House, David Bowie, Midlake, Hot Chip, Peter Gabriel, Field Music, Jason Falkner, Shout Out Louds, Rogue Wave, The Whigs, Aloha, Frightened Rabbit, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Morning Benders and White Stripes all poised with fresh material.

01.07.10 – A Thursday

WORD

libertine [lib-er-teen, -tin] n. 1. a person who is morally or sexually unrestrained, esp. a dissolute man; a profligate; rake 2. a freethinker in religious matters 3. a person freed from slavery in ancient Rome adj. 4. free of moral, esp. sexual, restraint; dissolute; licentious 5. freethinking in religious matters 6. Archaic. unrestrained; uncontrolled

BIRTHDAY

Millard Fillmore (1800), Kenny Loggins (1948), Steven Williams (1949), Erin Gray (1950), David Caruso (1956), Nicolas Cage (1964), Doug E. Doug (1970), Jeremy Renner (1971), Dustin Diamond (1977)

STANDPOINT

Today, rather than looking back on the year that was, I’d like to focus on the year to come. 2010 (or 2KX as some are calling it) needs to better in lots of ways by eliminating some of the awfulness of 2009. Here’s some people and things I’d like to see go away this upcoming year.

  • War – I’m not exactly the most politically aware person alive but I do know that all the garbage this country is involved with in the Middle East is just that – garbage. Bring our friends and family, serving in the military, home. What good has come from all this bloodshed anyway? Not a goddamn thing.
  • Glenn Beck – I have trouble imagining that even the most right-wing of individuals out there aren’t sick of listening to this jackass get up on his brokedown soapbox and declare how unfit President Obama is with thinly veiled racist commentary. Even the folks at FOX News have to be embarrassed for their involvement with Beck by now.
  • The Bad Economy – I have stated this before: I’ve a very rudimentary understanding of economic matters. It’s true. But I’m smart enough to ascertain a good portion of these hard times is perpetuated by fear. We need to concentrate on good ideas and viable solution in the interest of fixing what’s wrong and stop reporting on and worrying about what’s all ready transpired. Unfortunately, the collective selfishness of our society combined with the total inability of our government to cooperate with each other will pretty much guarantee that won’t happen.
  • Complaining – I am dog tired of finger pointing and whining. If you want something to change, get out there and work to make it happen. Otherwise, I cordially invite you to shut the fuck up and go about your day. Thank you.
  • Celebrity Culture – Even if you’re someone like me, and you actively try to dodge all the nonsense out there being reported as news, it’s unavoidable. It’s bothersome. Do I care that some dude on some reality television show left his wife and eight kids? Sucks for the kids, but it’s not my problem. Does it bother me that professional athletes take performance enhancing drugs? Sure, it’s dishonest but I’m not entirely sure why I should be concerned. Do I really need to know that the guy who played Batman flipped out on the set of some movie? Seems like he has some anger issues but I’ll never meet him so it’s not truly upsetting. The truth is that if we spent as much time concentrating on real problems and less time spying on the entertainers of the world, it might actually be the start of resolving some stuff.
QUOTATION

Let’s be very honest about what this is about. It’s not about bashing Democrats, it’s not about taxes, they have no idea what the Boston tea party was about, they don’t know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up.Janeane Garofalo

TUNE

Been listening to a lot of Blind Pilot. For the time being, “Poor Boy” is my favorite.

GALLIMAUFRY

Actor Gary Coleman was hospitalized yesterday after complaining of not feeling well. Here’s hoping you have a speedy recovery, brother.

→ How could next week possibly suck? Vampire Weekend and Spoon releasing albums on the same day? Shit, yeah.

→ I’ve been trying to find the perfect time to share this piece from The Onion about Michael Vick. I figure, what with the Philadelphia Eagles most likely en route to a first round exit from the playoffs, now’s as good a time as any. It’s meant to be funny and it is. But I think it is the possibly the most honest thing written about Vick in the past year.

11.11.09 – A Wednesday

WORD

verbiage [vur-bee-ij] n. 1. overabundance or superfluity of words, as in writing or speech; wordiness; verbosity 2. manner or style of expressing something in words; wording: a manual of official verbiage

BIRTHDAY

Paracelsus (1493), Abigail Adams (1744), Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821), George Smith Patton, Jr. (1885), Thomas C. Mann (1912), Kurt Vonnegut (1922), Jonathan Winters (1925), Mose Allison (1927), Marshall Crenshaw (1953), Andy Partridge (1953), Stanley Tucci (1960), Demi Moore (1962), James Morrison (1962), Calista Flockhart (1964), David L. Cook (1968), David DeLuise (1971), Adam Beach (1972), Leonardo DiCaprio (1974)

STANDPOINT

Currently, my car horn is damaged. It doesn’t work right. The noise sounds like it might if I was honking it after driving into the deep end of a pool.

It’s pretty ineffective. And the reason why is simple: in my car the horn has been subject to the most use. More than the gas pedal. More than the turn signal. More than the stereo.

During an average 30-minute drive, I’d estimate I employ my horn at least 10-15 times. While you may think that’s overdoing it, you’ll have to forgive me if I disagree. I’m holding myself back. On some drives, I feel like I could lay on the goddam horn from beginning to end.

Some people call this “road rage.” It’s one of those popular terms people love to throw around. But I’m not angry. Well, not the majority of the time. Mainly, I just want people to know they’re fucking up out there on the road. You’re inconveniencing everyone else by driving like Stevie Wonder on heroin.

You see, like all things in our society, everyone feels like they’ve got the right of way. But, in this instance, they’re all taking it quite literally. And it sucks.

I drive like I was taught. Eyes on the road. Aware of my surroundings. I’m basically the best driver you’ll ever meet. I’ve only been in two accidents ever. Neither were my fault. Despite what SEPTA‘s official position was on the first one.

In any case, I’m simply asking everyone out there to drive like they’ve got a brain. Use your turn signal, know where you’re going, get off your fucking cell phone and, most importantly, stay out of my way.

Because, hey, you’ve ruined my car horn and, well, you should feel bad about it.

QUOTATION

Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed.  Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams.  If I didn’t drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered.  Then I say to myself, it is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.Jack Handey

TUNE

After much deliberation, I’ve decided Vampire Weekend‘s best song (so far) is “I Stand Corrected.” At least I think so right now. Tomorrow, however, is a whole other day.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ I’m not going to say one way or another whether I am for or against the death penalty. Mainly, because I’m not sure where I stand on the issue. But I wasn’t sad to hear John Allen Muhammad, one of the two dimwits responsible for D.C. area sniper attacks in October 2002, was put to death last night.

→ I used to think Chad Ochocinco was kind of a strap. But he’s not. Follow him on Twitter and you’ll see what I mean.

→ The new John Cusack movie, 2012, comes out this Friday. Does anyone else think this movie looks like everyone on Earth running for their lives? Christ, when’s Hollywood going to bust out of this? Everything new coming out, including all the inane kid stuff, is either about avoiding the end of the world or humanity’s inability to avoid it.

NOTE: There may not be a new post tomorrow as I’ve dinner plans tonight.  

09.28.09 – A Monday

WORD

inane [i-neyn] adj. 1. lacking sense, significance, or ideas; silly: inane questions 2. empty; void n. 3. something that is empty or void, esp. the void of infinite space

BIRTHDAY

Confucious (551 BC), Ed Sullivan (1901), Max Schmeling (1905), Al Capp (1909), Brigitte Bardot (1934), Rod Roddy (1937), Ben E. King (1938), J.T. Walsh (1943), Steve Largent (1954), Janeane Garofalo (1964), Mira Sorvino (1967), Moon Unit Zappa (1967), Naomi Watts (1968), Joseph Arthur (1971), Bam Margera (1979), Ray Emery (1982), Hilary Duff (1987)

STANDPOINT

When it comes to the world of music, I’m in a bit of a shitty spot.

Because, you see, no matter what your particular music inclinations (and I’m sure they’re fantastic), there’s a 73% chance I feel different. Yes. It’s confusing. Let me clarify a bit.

For me, there are only three sects of music listeners out there.

“I don’t care if it’s cool, I just like that song.” – You’re someone who has uttered the previous statement about 9,233 times. You turn on the radio. You hear a song that begs you to drive faster, tap your foot and sing at the top of your lungs. The song ends. Some smooth DJ informs you that the last song was the newest release by Pink, Nickelback or some similarly dreadful source. For about three seconds, you wrestle with the following contradictory facts: (a) you’re relatively sure the artist is somewhat uncool, and (b) you just don’t care because it made you bounce around and sing. If bouncing around and singing in your car is important to you, you’ll likely choose the last option. And, hey, that’s more than all right. Just don’t go around offering up your opinion when the rest of us are talking about what constitutes good music. You’ve eliminated yourself as trustworthy. Sadly, you’re definitely part of the problem. Yes, you’re a fucking moron if you think the new Green Day album is “really good” just because everyone else is listening to it. You either suck at evaluating music or you just don’t care enough to be discerning. Either way, you’re someone who contributes to the MTV culture and that’s just not OK. Ever.

“Even if I’ve listened to a band for years, once I hear one of their songs during a TV commercial, I think they’re shit.” – OK, I get where you’re coming from. You’re an indie rock enthusiast with a chip on your shoulder. You’re absolutely right. But you’re also absolutely wrong. Unfortunately, the music you like is conveying ideals and beliefs that you own, that you share. And it’s not likely these ideals and beliefs have anything to do with “selling out” or being the song employed in the promo for the upcoming season of fucking “Grey’s Anatomy.” It sucks that millions of people (who’ve done nothing but turn on the TV) have discovered one of your favorites songs of the past three years, a song you found because you do the legwork, you’re constantly researching, looking for good music. You’re head’s up. But your head’s also up your ass if you can’t be happy for Vampire Weekend because the guys in that band, while they probably adore playing the smaller artsy venues in front of you and 100 other people, are looking for maximum exposure. And, while it sucks you gotta hear people you know to be moronic talk about how “it’s great when they curse at the beginning of ‘Oxford Comma,’” deal with it. You owe it to those who’ve brought you so many hours of listening pleasure. The main reason you suck is because you make others feel uncomfortable about their choices. And, hey, who the fuck are you?

“What in the good goddamn is wrong with you people?” – Here’s the group I’m in with most of the people I call friends. It takes work to be in this group. You have to constantly adjust your position. But in a quality way.  Most of you out there see things in black and white. And that’s worse than listening to Creed. The world ebbs and flows, and you gotta ebb and flow with it, brother. Just because an artist is making supremely shitty music right now, doesn’t mean it’s gonna be that way forever. People change. Attitudes get readjusted. We all eventually get shown the light. I’m of the personal unpopular opinion one of my favorite bands, R.E.M., will come back around one day and get back to some seriously good business. You probably disagree. That’s cool.  

Here’s the bottom line: Listen to music you like. It’s fine. But you need to understand, no matter which group you fall into, you’re never gonna be completely right. Unless you’re me. Sorry abour your luck.

QUOTATION

If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.Khalil Gibran

TUNE

In the spirit of my Standpoint, I offer “Sweet Pain.” A 90s song from a Blues Traveler, a band just about everyone’s deemed irrelevant. Listen to it. Do you feel what I can feel?

GALLIMAUFRY

→ I think Esquire sending someone who knows very little about pop culture to interview Gerard Butler had a great result. As a matter of fact, there’s not much Esquire can do that doesn’t meet with my immediate approval.

→ The LAPD is pretty fucking relentless. Just ask Roman Polanski, who’s been wanted by Los Angeles authorities for over 30 years. He was arrested this past Saturday night in Switzerland. Finally. Seriously, how in the world is the USA supposed to bring anyone to justice if it can’t bring down this guy? Top notch work, everyone. Now, how about you all get back to work on shit that really matters? Thanks.

→ Christ. Peter Forsberg wants back into the NHL. The team on the top of his wishlist? You guessed it, genius. My Philadelphia Flyers. Stay away, Peter. We’ve moved on.

06.30.09 – Tuesday

Word: trenchant [tren-chuhnt] adj. 1. incisive or keen, as language or a person; caustic; cutting: trenchant wit 2. vigorous; effective; energetic: a trenchant policy of political reform 3. clearly or sharply defined; clear-cut; distinct

Birthday: John Gay (1685), Georges Duhamel (1884), Man Mountain Dean (1891), Lena Horne (1917), José Emilio Pacheco (1939), Stanley Clarke (1951), David Alan Grier (1955), Vincent D’Onofrio (1959), Yngwie J. Malmsteen (1963), Mike Tyson (1966), Matisyahu (1979), Michael Phelps (1985)

Quotation: I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.Clarence Darrow

Tune: Defy. That’s right. I defy you to find a better song to blast out of your car on a summer evening drive than “A-Punk” by Vampire Weekend. I’ve thrown down the gauntlet. Challenge!

Gallimaufry: Bernie Madoff, the asshole that stole billions of dollars from too many people to mention, received a 150-year sentence in federal prison. He’s 71 now so he’ll be 221-years old when he gets out. Obviously, the Ponzi-scheming douchehag won’t live that long. But wouldn’t it be great if he did? “I’m very excited. The fans are passionate about hockey. The style of play the Flyers play certainly fits mine. They’ve got some great young talent. I hope to help them win a Stanley Cup.” Those were the words of NHL defenseman Chris Pronger after learning he’d been traded from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Joffrey Lupul and blueliner Luca Sbisa. When holding up the $6.5 million salary he’s due this upcoming season, Pronger, 34, didn’t exactly light the world on fire last year (11 goals, 37 assists) for the Ducks but he’s definitely a substantial upgrade to the Flyers’ defense corps, a group that experienced some difficulty (putting it mildly) in their own zone last season. It was inevitable. As a country, we’re a bunch of fickle bastards. Last year, we elected Barack Obama to be our President because we deemed the qualities he possesses necessary. Smart. Charismatic. Willing to administer change. But here we are, a half-year into his (first?) term and – surprise – we’ve grown restless. The bubble has burst. For the first time since as emerging as the Democratic front-runner in 2008, President Obama may now have to operate as a politician in the realm of mere mortals. Or even worse, in the realm of mere politicians. My opinion? (Glad you asked…) The job of being President of the United States has got to be one of the most complicated fucking debacles a person can assume. Let’s give the man a little wiggle room. Most of us hated George W. Bush and we let him do whatever the hell he wanted for EIGHT years. Let’s give Obama more than six months. A little patience might be in order.