04.14.10 – A Wednesday

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word

pastiche [pa-steesh, pah-] n. 1. a literary, musical, or artistic piece consisting wholly or chiefly of motifs or techniques borrowed from one or more sources 2. an incongruous combination of materials, forms, motifs, etc., taken from different sources; hodgepodge

birthday

Anne Sullivan (1866), Thomas Schelling (1921), Rod Steiger (1925), Loretta Lynn (1935), Pete Rose (1941), Richard Jeni (1957), Brad Garrett (1960), Robert Carlyle (1961), Anthony Michael Hall (1968), Adrien Brody (1973), Sarah Michelle Gellar (1977), Win Butler (1980),

standpoint

Tomorrow, the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin. And I’m certain not too many of you are overly concerned about that but I thought I’d share some facts here anyway.

→ No team has repeated as Stanley Cup Champs since the Detroit Red Wings did it back in 1997 and 1998.

→ The Chicago Blackhawks are in possession of the longest streak of not winning a Stanley Cup – 47 years. They’re the second seed in the Western Conference this year, and it’s not out of the question they could make a run for it.

→ The Philadelphia FlyersBlair Betts is the current owner of the individual streak for games without a playoff point at 24. He hasn’t registered on the score sheet since April 12th, 2007.

→ Teams trailing 3-1 in a seven games series have come back to win it only 8.97% of the time. Flyers fans would like to forget when the New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia’s current first-round opponent, did it back in 2000. I still don’t have the strength to get into the Scott Stevens hit on Eric Lindros.

→ The record holder for most overtime playoff goals in NHL history is Joe Sakic with 8. Of players actually in this year’s playoffs, the leader is the New Jersey Devils’ Jamie Langenbrunner with 4.

→ Of this year’s playoff goaltenders, the Washington CapitalsJose Theodore has the highest winning percentage at .630, 17 wins and 10 losses.

Those are stats I thought pretty interesting. Of course, the stats don’t matter much in hockey.

My prediction, I’ll be shocked as hell if the Washington Capitals don’t win the Cup. But, even though I know more about hockey than you, the knowledge never translates into being right.

quotation

If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’ll change. John A. Simone, Sr.

tune

I’m aware of the lack of love out there for in the hipster music community for North Carolina band Jump, Little Children. But I think they’re pretty damn solid, especially in lyrical terms. The part of  “The House Our Father Knew” where Jay Clifford shouts out, “Don’t you hear the deafening roar?,” is something I know I’m supposed to dismiss as cheesy, but I just can’t.

gallimaufry

→ What was Ben Roethlisberger thinking? After the authorities failed to bring him up on charges no one was going to come out and say what we all know he did was wrong? Usually, I think Terry Bradshaw is a windbag, but he I think he got it on the money here.

This country is facing a shorting of 150,000 doctors in 15 years? It’s just one thing after another, isn’t it?

→ I, for one, wouldn’t have blamed Donovan McNabb if he’d actually said all of this. It would’ve been completely understandable if he’d “apologized for his failure to shore up the Eagles defense and his inability to keep Brian Westbrook healthy while leading the team to five NFC Championship games.”

02.08.10 – A Monday

word

ebullient [i-buhl-yuhnt, i-bool-] adj. 1. overflowing with fervor, enthusiasm, or excitement; high-spirited: The award winner was in an ebullient mood at the dinner in her honor 2. bubbling up like a boiling liquid

birthday

Samuel Butler (1612), John Ruskin (1819), William Tecumseh Sherman (1820), Jules Verne (1828), Kate Chopin (1850), Lana Turner (1921), Jack Lemmon (1925), Neal Cassady (1926), James Dean (1931), John Williams (1932), Ted Koppel (1940), Nick Nolte (1941), Robert Klein (1942), Mary Steenburgen (1953), John Grisham (1955), Vince Neil (1961), Joshua Kadison (1963), Gary Coleman (1968), Mary McCormack (1969), Seth Green (1974)

standpoint

I’m a football fan but not a huge one. I halfheartedly participate in two (2) fantasy leagues and have a moderate interest in my hometown Philadelphia Eagles, but I’m much less emotionally invested in the NFL than I let on. Most years, I watch the Super Bowl more out of some misplaced obligation to some archaic sense of manhood. But I didn’t feel the same way this year. I actually had a mildly strong desire to watch last night because I like both the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, along with their respective quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

But I was curious to see how Super Bowl XLIV would be a different experience for me. And, lucky for you, I chronicled it. Here goes.

Note: I was reasonably sure that the Colts would win and cover the spread (+5.5) and the over (57 pts.) would become a matter of fact.

Pregame

» Not going to lie, I watched golf until just about the start of the game so I didn’t get to see what inane crap led up to the actual footage from Miami.

» But I did tune in time to see the Colts get introduced onto the field to the same song by The Who that opens up every episode of CSI:Miami, which turned out to be all of The Who I needed.

» Queen Latifah sang America The Beautiful with a choir and musical accompaniment. It didn’t really work all that well. Looked like she was never really in sync. Carrie Underwood sang The Star-Spangled Banner and it was better. During all this, cameras were on Peyton Manning, who looked amped to the point he was cursing the fact Francis Scott Key and Katharine Bates were ever born.

» The next class of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame were introduced as honorary whatevers to the coin toss. Emmitt Smith was the honorary coin tosser. Saints called heads. Smith flipped the coin directly at the Saints players, who sidestepped it. It was heads. Saints got the ball.

1st Quarter – 6:20(ish) PM

» Betty White and Abe Vigoda starred in a clever ad for Snickers. I’m completely sure those two actors were used because about 99% of viewers thought both had died years ago.

» The ad for the Boost Mobile Shuffle, featuring prominent members of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears, was awful.

» In keeping with Hollywood’s trend of recycling, there’s another Robin Hood movie coming out starring Russell Crowe. Looks like both Braveheart and Gladiator ate a bunch of bows and arrows and vomited on each other. I’ll probably go see it.

» First quarter came to a close. Colts-10. Saints-0. I wasn’t paying much attention to the actual game.

2nd Quarter – 7:00 PM

» Pretty fast 1st quarter. At this point, I was certain the Colts were going to run away with the game.

» A Cars.com ad came on, detailing the life of a boy genius type doing all sorts of amazing boy genius type stuff. But when it came time to buy a car, he was at a loss. He looked to his mobile device for answers and, you guessed it, Cars.com came to the rescue. At one point during the ad, the boy genius delivered a baby Bengal tiger while on safari. That kicked off a conversation between my girlfriend and I where we discussed her desire to bring a baby panther into the apartment. Negotiations reached a stalemate after she refused to budge on the name of the baby panther. Oh well.

» The Saints began to make a game of it. Pretty sure they kicked a field goal.

» One ad had Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman on the same couch talking about something. I’m not sure what because I was distracted. Leno didn’t look like he was actually there. The next ad (maybe) had Brett Favre making fun of the fact he never actually retires. I like it when celebrities/athletes know to do that.

» The Colts stopped the Saints on a 4th and goal from the 1-yard line with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half. See? I pay mind to the important stuff.

» I wasn’t quite sure how it happened but the Saints kick another field goal just as time expires on the 1st half. Colts – 10. Saints – 6.

Halftime – 7:50 PM

» The Who played. The Who sucked. I monitored Twitter feeds instead. Best Tweet? “Wake up your great grandma. The Who is on.”

3rd Quarter – 8:22 PM

» The Saints began the 2nd half with an onside kick. Which they recovered. Which turned out to be huge. Saints – 13. Colts – 10.

» According to a new Volkswagen ad, the classic car game, Punch Buggy, has now been expanded to include the entire Volkswagen fleet. As a matter of fact, it seems whatever substance it’s painting its cars with nowadays is so cutting edge, even Stevie Wonder can see it. Much to the chagrin of an arm sore Tracy Morgan. Classic.

» The Colts’ Joseph Addai ran in for a touchdown. Colts – 17. Saints – 13. I was a little disappointed about how good of a game it was becoming. I’m not used to the Super Bowl being about the Super Bowl. Not being able to run out of the room in between commercials was messing with my head.

» Two commercials gave me pause in different ways. First, the new E*TRADE baby wasn’t half as funny as the original. Second, Google aired its first ever television ad. I think.

» The Saints kicked another field goal which flew under my radar. End of the 3rd quarter. Colts – 17. Saints – 16.

4th Quarter – 8:56 PM

» Honestly, I should’ve been playing closer attention. The Saints started scoring. They took the lead. They intercepted a very important Peyton Manning pass at a crucial time. I watched the whole thing. I swear. But, as happens more than not, I became embroiled in a debate that made the game take a backseat.

» Super Bowl XLIV ended at 9:45 PM. The New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts by the score of 31-17. If I bet the game the way I thought it would go, I would’ve been dead wrong. Yet another reason why I’m not a gambling man.

Overall, a most exhilarating football contest. The best Super Bowl in years. Congrats, New Orleans. Call me when you’re done partying. That should be around June.

quotation

Everybody gets told to write about what they know. The trouble with many of us is that at the earlier stages of life we think we know everything- or to put it more usefully, we are often unaware of the scope and structure of our ignorance.Thomas Pynchon

tune

One band from the 80s that doesn’t get enough credit is The Housemartins. I like to think of them as a sort of catchier version of  The Smiths. Also, they’ve got one of the best titled songs ever – “The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death.” Actually, after just listening to it, it seems to work nowadays as well.

gallimaufry

→ I just got done reading King of Russia: A Year in the Russian Super League, and it was simple and great. Former NHL head coach and current Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Dave King narrates his experiences as the first ever Canadian coach in Russia. The guy really knows his stuff and he provides great insight into Russian hockey and its players, especially Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeny Malkin.

→ Speaking of the Pittsburgh Penguins, yesterday afternoon’s game between them and the Washington Capitals was just about as complete as you could ask for. Caps won it in overtime 5-4 after being down 4-2 going into the third period.

12.07.09 – A Monday

WORD

popinjay [pop-in-jey] n. 1. a person given to vain, pretentious displays and empty chatter; coxcomb; fop 2. British Dialect. a woodpecker, esp. the green woodpecker 3. Archaic. the figure of a parrot usually fixed on a pole and used as a target in archery and gun shooting 4. Archaic. a parrot

BIRTHDAY

Richard Sears (1863), Louis Prima (1910), Eli Wallach (1915), Ted Knight (1923), Noam Chomsky (1928), Ellen Burstyn (1932), Harry Chapin (1942), Johnny Bench (1947), Tom Waits (1949), Priscilla Barnes (1955), Larry Bird (1956), Tim Butler (1958), Rick Rude (1958), Peter Laviolette (1964), C. Thomas Howell (1966), Terrell Owens (1973), Damien Rice (1973)

STANDPOINT

Today, instead of spouting off about this thing or that, I’m putting the ball in your court.

I’ve been considering a particular scenario. I’ve proposed it to a few of my close friends and they all agree it’s an interesting situation to ponder. So I thought I’d offer it all of you.

Here it is: Due to some kind of crazy set of circumstances, you find yourself in a room with nine strangers. A man (or woman) enters the room and delivers the following set of instructions:

1. Everyone in the room will be granted five picks. Each pick will be a particular music act you can completely remove from the face of the Earth, including any memory of their existence.

2. However, there’s a possibility one of the other nine in the room could choose to obliterate a music act you hold near and dear. So, instead of using all your picks to erase music acts you despise, you’re free to use some, or all, of them to protect music acts you feel you can’t live without.

Here’s what I’m wondering: When confronted with this kind of choice, do you opt to banish or preserve? Would you see to it you never again hear the music you hate the most? Or would you safeguard the music you love the most?

Think about it. I’m still unsure of what I’d do.

QUOTATION

I think you should be a child for as long as you can. I have been successful for 74 years being able to do that. Don’t rush into adulthood, it isn’t all that much fun.Bob Newhart

TUNE

 So this past Saturday night, I’m hanging out with my kind of people, meaning a bunch of people who know a lot about good music. I was playing some stuff off of my iTunes and Pete Townshend‘s “Let My Love Open The Door” comes on. All present agreed it was a solid tune. I agreed but asked everyone how they felt about the slow version – “Let My Love Open The Door (E. Cola Mix)” – off the Grosse Pointe Blank soundtrack. No one had heard it before. Which I thought was weird but not altogether impossible. There’s a shitload of music out there.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ Dude. When it comes to hockey, I’m all for a guy dropping the gloves and participating in a little hand-to-hand combat to try to motivate his team. But Philadelphia Flyers’ winger, Daniel Carcillo, experienced a severe lack of judgement when he almost knocked out Washington Capitals’ winger, Matt Bradley, late in the first period. It was awfully stupid because (a) Bradley had barely shook off his gloves (if he did at all) before Carcillo popped him, (b) it was the first game for new Flyers’ coach Peter Laviolette (who’s probably half-heartedly celebrating his birthday today), and (c) he gave the Capitals an unheard of nine-minute power play that turned a close game into a 8-2 loss for his team. He’s been suspended for four games and with the Flyers currently in a mid-season freefall, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’d seen the last of “Car-Bomb.”

→ Looking for a new blog to follow? (Don’t answer that. I know you are.) Check out PhilaLawyer.net. Also, I’ve just started reading his book, Happy Hour Is For Amateurs. And you should, too.

→ Tonight, at 10pm, I’ll be watching the new TNT “serious comedy” Men of a Certain Age. Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher. Yep, that’s pretty much all I need to become intrigued. Sad? No, not at all.  

07.16.09 – Thursday

Word: aberrant [uhberuhnt, ab-er-] adj. 1. departing from the right, normal, or usual course 2. deviating from the ordinary, usual, or normal type; exceptional; abnormal n. 3. an aberrant person, thing, group, etc

Birthday: Samuel Huntington (1731), “Shoeless” Joe Jackson (1888), Orville Redenbacher (1907), Barbara Stanwyck (1907), Ginger Rogers (1911), Cal Tjader (1925), Dick Thornburgh (1932), Desmond Dekker (1941), Jimmy Johnson (1943), Stewart Copeland (1952), Tony Kushner (1956), Michael Flatley (1958), Phoebe Cates (1963), Phil Hellmuth (1964), Will Ferrell (1967), Barry Sanders (1968), Rain Pryor (1969), Ed Kowalczyk (1971), Corey Feldman (1971), Jeremy Enigk (1974), Taj Anwar (1978), Adam Scott (1980)

Quotation: In the country the darkness of night is friendly and familiar, but in a city, with its blaze of lights, it is unnatural, hostile and menacing.  It is like a monstrous vulture that hovers, biding its time.Somerset Maugham

Tune: In many conversations/monologues I’ve been party to on the subject, I’ve often been referred to as a “music snob.” It’s an unfair accusation, however. Exhibit A? I still enjoy the entire musical catalog of 90’s alternative band Toad the Wet Sprocket. Judge me if you will. But only after you listen to “Crazy Life.” After you do, your opinion probably won’t have changed in the least bit. And you’re entitled to your (completely wrong) opinion.

Gallimaufry: Ever read something that makes you wonder how in the fucking world anyone ever saw fit to publish it? Well, if you haven’t, check out ESPN’s Scott Burnside’s “Winter Classic has right venue, wrong team.” In it, Burnside criticizes the NHL for picking the Philadelphia Flyers to play the Boston Bruins in Fenway Park for this year’s NHL Winter Classic. Instead, he’s arguing the Washington Capitals, and their star forward Alex Ovechkin, should’ve been the team chosen. He complains the Bruins-Flyers matchup isn’t in line with last year’s – a game that pitted two of the Original Six teams against each other, the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks. So, in keeping with Burnside’s logic, how in the world does it make sense to pick the Capitals? Granted, they’ve had their good teams in the past, but they’ve got nothing in terms of hockey history and tradition held up next to the Flyers. Sorry. Usually, I try to stay clear of homer nonsense, but I need to make an exception here. Burnside, you’re flat-out wrong. Next. Ukraine is under fire by some for its decision to ban the movie Brüno. It’s a move perceived as a bit of uptight. But, really, maybe Ukrainians are just exercising their right to watch only worthwhile movies. I support the decision. Sacha Baron Cohen is not funny. He represents the basest, but unfortunately most popular, form of comedic entertainment – neither original or thoughtful, mainly inane.

05.20.09 – Wednesday

Word: swagger [swag-er] v. int. 1. to walk or strut with a defiant or  insolent air 2. to boast or brag noisily ∞ v. t. 3. to bring, drive, force, etc., by blustering ∞ n. 4. swaggering manner, conduct, or walk; ostentatious display of arrogance and conceit

Birthday: Honoré de Balzac (1799), John Stuart Mill (1806), James Stewart (1908), Gardner Fox (1911), Lee “Scratch” Perry (1936), Joe Cocker (1944), Cher (1946), Ron Reagan (1950), Jane Wiedlin (1958), Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1959), Bronson Pinchot (1959), Ted Allen (1965), Mindy Cohn (1966), Busta Rhymes (1972)

Standpoint: Monday night, as I was watching the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it was impossible to miss Sidney Crosby. Even when he was doing absolutely nothing, the spotlight shown in his direction. He’s the new poster boy for the NHL, who would love for him to become the next Wayne Gretzky, whose combination of pure skill and squeaky-clean good looks brought the league into prominence in this country two decades ago. The problem is Crosby is no Gretzky. Even in this early stage of his career, he’s not popular with the fans or among his peers. And here’s why.

Most professional sports are just a live enactment of good vs. evil. In any contest, there are the good guys – those we ‘re all waiting to see win in dramatic fashion – and the bad guys – those we are waiting to fall miserably on their faces. And we enjoy watching either one because wishing for a team to lose is just as much fun as wishing for it to win. Sometimes even more so.

Take Joe Montana. With a name like that, he was destined to occupy a place among the good guys. Besides the name, the man possessed all of the qualities that one needs to become one of America’s heroes. In short, Joe Montana was a guy that no one thought would be anything more than a capable quarterback. Of course, as is often the case, people ended up eating their words as he led the San Francisco 49ers to some of the most famous comebacks during one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. His losses were sometimes just as spectacular as his wins. We all rooted for him. Whichever team was playing against Joe Montana became the enemy.

 Then we have Kobe Bryant, who was marked by the NBA to be its replacement for Michael Jordan, its most celebrated good guy. But things went wrong. The Los Angeles Lakers‘ superstar distinguished himself by openly feuding with Shaquille O’Neal and being the only guy in human history capable of pissing off Phil Jackson. Oh yeah, being accused of sexual assault didn’t really help, either. Still, Kobe prevailed and is currently one of the top basketball players in the world. But no one is happy about it and we all root against him. Whichever team is playing against Kobe Bryant becomes the favorite.

So we all loved Montana. And we all love to hate Bryant. But what about Crosby? What group does he fit into? Well, he’ll probably never be shown the kind of love the good guys enjoy. At least not outside of Pittsburgh. On the other hand, he’ll never earn a spot with the bad guys as one of professional sports’ villains. And that’s because he’s more disliked than he is hated. And you might think that being disliked doesn’t sound as bad as being hated. But it is.

Because, no matter what the particular sport or situation, what we’re all looking for is entertainment. And being a human highlight reel is only so entertaining for so long. Here’s what the San Jose SharksJeremy Roenick has to say about Crosby: I think he’s too quiet, too hum-drum, too cliched. I love the kid as a hockey player, but I think he can be more spectacular if he steps up and shows a little personality. Now while the outspoken Roenick might not be the best judge about the proper use of “personality,” his remarks mirror the public sentiment. Mainly, we find the guy boring. Outside of whining to officials about everything imaginable (he complained to the referee during a recent game against the Washington Capitals because he thought the fans were throwing an excessive amount of hats on the ice after a hat trick by rival superstar Alex Ovechkin), and his admittedly sick amount of talent, Crosby is vanilla. And while vanilla is good it doesn’t get anyone fired up.

The impression that he gives is a neutral one. Like maybe he’d be OK playing out the season in spectator-less arenas and simply concentrating on hockey. And, while that may not be true, it’s the vibe he gives off and one thing sports fans won’t tolerate is an athlete who refuses to acknowledge their part in the process.

What really sucks about all of this is, if the Penguins somehow manage to win the Stanley Cup, when Crosby lifts it over his head, most hockey fans will fill ripped off because we;ll feel neither the good guys or the bad guys triumphed. The boring whiner did.   

Quotation: By night, an atheist half believes in God. Edward Young

Tune: On advice from my brother Jeremy, I’m attempting to get into Say Hi To Your Mom. So far, I like what I hear. Try “The Death of Girl Number Two.”

Gallimaufry: Declining honeybee populations represent a potentially disastrous problem for the world’s ecosystem. And no one’s really been able to explain how it’s happening. But it looks like there might be hope. ∞ Hollywood is one step closer to completing its mission of destroying everything from my past. The most recent victim? Footloose, the 1984 Kevin Bacon classic that was so dorky-cool most guys didn’t seem to mind it was about dancing. If the initial casting choices for the remake are any indication, this movie is going to absolutely blow. ∞ Blink-182 has reunited and I’ve watched them the past two nights on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I’m a huge fan of the band’s albums. Ask anyone. But they’ve always been considered a shitty live act and, from what I’ve seen, that’s not a perception in danger of going away anytime soon.

Incoming: TomorrowAnnoying Sayings & Misused Words. Friday3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead and more.