05.09.11 – a monday

word

élan [ey-lahn, ey-lan] n. dash; impetuous ardor: to dance with great élan

birthday

J. M. Barrie (1860), Mike Wallace (1918), James L. Brooks (1940), John Ashcroft (1942), Candice Bergen (1946), Billy Joel (1949), Rosario Dawson (1979), Andrew W. K. (1979),

standpoint

A few weeks back, I wrote about mental floss, a fact-filled magazine my roommate subscribes to, and shared a sampling of the nuggets of knowledge I’ve come across since reading it. I like factual information and, apparently, I’m not alone because I received quite a few thankful emails from those of you who subscribed to mental floss after reading that post. And, all I can say is, you’re welcome.

Here’s a few more tidbits I’ve come across since then.

→ Back in 1896, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average was created, it was based on the 12 most successful companies in the USA. Today, the Dow Jones is based on 30 companies including American Express and The Home Depot. The only surviving company of the original 12 is General Electric.

→ Each night after Disneyland closes, the park is invaded by hundreds of feral cats.

→ Every sports team in the country that featured the word “red” in its name in relation to Native Americans has changed it to something more innocuous. Only one refuses to join the rest of us in our attempts to forward civilization: the Washington Redskins.

George W. Bush’s Wikipedia page is the all-time most edited with 44,169 changes.

→ There are some out there who estimate that Americans are sitting on $30 billion worth of unused gift cards.

That’s all for this installment.

quotation

If the whole world were put into one scale, and my mother in the other, the whole world would kick the beam. ↔ Lord Langdale

tune

I don’t really like driving. It’s pretty frickin’ annoying. I mean, if it was just me on the road, I would absolutely love driving. But I’m not alone out there and most people haven’t got the slightest clue as to how to conduct themselves when behind the wheel. The only aspect of driving that makes it remotely bearable is music. And some songs are really good to drive to and almost make the experience of driving from one place to another enjoyable. Case in point, “Alex Chilton” by The Replacements.

gallimaufry

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is threatening to creep onto the list of my top-20 movies ever. There’s something about it that makes me want to watch over and over. I don’t care if that makes me uncool.

→ Often, I find stories for this blog on Drudge Report. It’s kind of useful but also kind of freaky. I imagine its headquarters underneath a secret mountain somewhere and everyone who works there is convinced they’re the only people who’ll survive whatever it is they’ve decided that day is going to cause Armageddon. Also, those dudes definitely play lots of online role-playing games.

→ Hey, news media types, I think we can take the “Breaking News” tag off the whole Osama bin Laden thing. It’s been a week now. How long can news actually break?

04.06.10 – A Tuesday

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word

sojourn [n. soh-jurn; v. soh-jurn, soh-jurn] n. 1. a temporary stay: during his sojourn in Paris v. 2. to stay for a time in a place; live temporarily: to sojourn on the Riviera for two months

birthday

Raphael (1483), Jean-Baptiste Rousseau (1671), Pasquale Paoli (1725), James Mill (1773), Gerry Mulligan (1927), Merle Haggard (1937), Billy Dee Williams (1937), Barry Levinson (1942), John Ratzenberger (1947), Marilu Henner (1952), Michael Rooker (1955), John Pizzarelli (1960), Frank Black (1965), Jonathan Firth (1967), Paul Rudd (1969), Zach Braff (1975), Candace Cameron (1976)

standpoint

Ah, the end of an era. Capitulating to the wishes of the majority of its fans, the Philadelphia Eagles finally traded longtime quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins for a second-round draft pick this year and a conditional one next year.

True to their nature, Philadelphia sports enthusiasts, given exactly what they wanted, began to grumble. Did the Eagles get enough for McNabb? Will Kevin Kolb be the starter some think he can be or will he be the next Bobby Hoying? Why would the two teams make the deal on the eve of MLB’s Opening Day, one when the two cities’ baseball counterparts, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals, were set to square off?

People, please shut the hell up. From the start, you griped about the poor guy for eleven straight years. When he was chosen ahead of running back Ricky Williams at the draft, Eagles’ “fans” in attendance booed him. And, instead of buckling under the criticism, McNabb simply led the Eagles to five NFC Championships and one Super Bowl appearance. Just in case you’re slow, I’ll elaborate. That means during roughly half of his tenure in Philadelphia, the Eagles were at least the fourth best team in the NFL. They made the playoffs eight of those eleven years. In total, he’s won 92 games and is third on the list of current quarterbacks with a .651 winning percentage, wedged in between Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. It’s hard to imagine how much more all of you spectacular would’ve hated him if he actually did suck.

And now, Eagles fans, you have Kevin Kolb and you’ve no choice but to be happy with him. But, let’s face it, if Kolb comes out and has a bad start to the season, you’ll all be screaming for Michael Vick to come in and save the day. And if he doesn’t get it done, you’ll be asking for some other poor schmuck to give you the Super Bowl ring you desperately need to validate all those pathetically wasted Sundays, sitting on your couch wearing your “DAWKINS” jersey and begging anyone in earshot to answer the question, “Why doesn’t Reid run the ball more?” I hope Kolb gets it done. He seems like a quality fellow. But his stomach for bullshit is about to get tested. If the guy he’s replacing was only outmatched in terms of wins in the past decade by Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, and still deemed a shitty quarterback, what chance does Kolb stand? Is he going to be better than Brady or Manning? Not likely.

And, please, let’s not lament the terms of the trade. It’s ironic all you sports gurus claimed McNabb was junk on a daily basis, and now you’re the same nitwits who are bitching the Eagles didn’t get enough for him. It’s one or the other, people. Pick a side and stay on it for once, you wishy-washy nutjobs.

As for the timing of the trade and the fact it coincided with the first day of baseball, please give me a break. I’m not the most business-oriented of minds but even I understand the McNabb trade was a business deal, conducted between two businesses. There was millions of dollars at stake. When would’ve been a suitable time to make the trade? After the baseball season? Ridiculous.

By the tone of this rant, I hope it’s obvious that, while I don’t hate the NFL, I don’t have much respect for a lot of the people who play it and even less who make it their life’s devotion. But I do have respect for Donovan McNabb because he’s always been the underdog, even when he squarely didn’t deserve the role. Next season, I’ll be pulling for him. Even when he plays the Eagles. Because there’s nothing I like better when one guy proves a million idiots wrong.

quotation

It takes a kind of shabby arrogance to survive in our time, and a fairly romantic nature to want to. Edgar Z. Freidenberg

tune

Normally, I’d proffer there’s too many videos on YouTube made by people with nothing better to do. But in this instance, I’ll need to back down from that stance. A montage of The Office set to Ben Folds‘ “There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You” is located directly in my wheelhouse. And it should be in yours, too.

gallimaufry

→ I think our country is fantastic. This shitball church changed the wording of their sign when faced with proper political pressure. I’m going to speak more on this tomorrow but, for the time being, I hope everyone reading this understands our nation is in serious trouble.

How funny is this? Does this company have meetings? Wouldn’t it stand to reason at least one person present would say, “Wait, I’m not sure but I think someone told me lead paint is apparently bad for you now.”

→ On Philadelphia’s latest decision to relax about pot, District Attorney Seth Williams said, “We can’t declare a war on drugs by going after the kid who’s smoking a joint on 55th Street.” In an unrelated development, 55th Street property values are skyrocketing.

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.

10.01.09 – A Thursday

WORD

anathema [uhnathuh-muh] n. 1. a person or thing detested or loathed: That subject is anathema to him 2. a person or thing accursed or consigned to damnation or destruction 3. a formal ecclesiastical curse involving excommunication 4. any imprecation of divine punishment 5. a curse; execration

BIRTHDAY

Richard Stockton (1730), William Boeing (1881), Helio Gracie (1913), Walter Matthau (1920), Jimmy Carter (1924), William Rehnquist (1924), Roger Willams (1926), Tom Bosley (1927), George Peppard (1928), Richard Harris (1930), Julie Andrews (1935), Randy Quaid (1950), Youssou N’Dour (1959), Esai Morales (1962), Mark McGwire (1963), Christopher Titus (1966)

STANDPOINT

Short and sweet today. Listening to all you Philadelphia Eagles “fans” talk about Kevin Kolb and how unimpressed you were with his two starts makes me want to drown you.

The dude becomes the first QB ever to throw for over 300 yards in each of his first starts and, still, you’ve got negative shit to say.

In my humble opinion, you people are lucky to have any sports teams at all. You suck.

QUOTATION

I like when they bring a comedian on stage, they always tell you what else they do. But fuck, this is enough, isn’t it? He’s here tonight performing, because that is his job! But no, it’s gotta be, “He laid bricks in Philadelphia. And he repaired a car in Oklahoma. He has an umbrella store in Philadelphia. That’s the only city that comes to mind right now. Philadelphia, ’cause you can say “Philly” and the people from Philadelphia will not get mad. Like if you say “Frisco,” San Francisco people say, “Fuck off!” But if you say “Philly” they say, “Alright!” Because I don’t always have time to say “Philadelphia.” Sometimes I just need that word to be two syllables. Phil-a-del-phi-a. Fuck, five! Your town would be called Philly too if it had five syllables!Mitch Hedberg

(Note: While I think Mitch Hedberg’s stuff is supremely kind of funny at times, I disagree with the whole “Philly” thing. I’ve never liked it. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, how much longer does it take to actually pronounce “Philadelphia?” Maybe about .2 seconds? And, if you’re from here, how often do you really have to say the actual name of the city? “Hey, next Tuesday, let’s meet in Northern Liberties. It’s a neighborhood in Philadelphia, where you and I both live. Just wanted to clarify.” For the record, if someone said that to me, I would stand them up. I can’t hang with that person.)  

TUNE

“Tim and Sam make music for the entrance foyer to heaven.” Those are the word of Megan Vaughan from manchestermusic.co.uk. She’s referring to Tim & Sam Band. And, possibly, Megan is right. Check out “Summer Solstice.”

GALLIMAUFRY

→ Man, things have gotten shitty for Washington Redskins fans. I can’t believe there are bids on this guy’s eBay offering. But, when your team loses to the Detroit Lions, there may be few other recourses.

→ For all the people out there who were worries, and I know that’s like almost all of you, my current health problems were due to an oversight in medications conflicting with one another. I’m fine now.

→ Earlier this week, I tried to explain my take on the problems with individual’s personal music tastes. And, I was wrong. Just a little. But I was mostly right. But Blender.com’s list of “The 50 Worst Artists in Music History” is more off than I was. Toad the Wet Sprocket? Spin Doctors? Blind Melon? The Doors? Crash Test Dummies? Oingo Boingo? Not the best bands in the world, but I’m betting this list was written by a bunch of people who attended college in the 1990s and spent every weekend watching everyone else go out and have fun while they sat around with their friend and argued about which reruns of The Simpsons to watch. Also, they probably argued about whether James T. Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard was the better captain of the USS Enterprise. Just so you know, it was Picard.