02.17.10 – A Wednesday

word

ethos [ee-thos, ee-thohs, eth-os, -ohs] n. 1. Sociology. the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period: In the Greek ethos the individual was highly valued 2. the character or disposition of a community, group, person, etc 3. the moral element in dramatic literature that determines a character’s action rather than his or her thought or emotion

birthday

Aaron Montgomery Ward (1844), Banjo Paterson (1864), Thomas J. Watson (1874), Hal Holbrook (1925), Chaim Potok (1929), Gene Pitney (1940), Huey P. Newton (1942), Rene Russo (1954), Lou Diamond Phillips (1962), Michael Jordan (1963), Michael Bay (1965), Denise Richards (1971), Billie Jo Armstrong (1972), Ralphie May (1972), Jerry O’Connell (1974), Jason Ritter (1980), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (1981), Paris Hilton (1981)

standpoint

Oh, yes! It is time, once again, for another installment of The Wishing Well, a regular column in which I waywardly wish five wishes.

I WISH Google would’ve spent a little more time developing Buzz before releasing it to the world. Last week, Buzz just showed up on my Gmail and, so far, it seems mostly a weak answer to Facebook and Twitter. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong one day but it won’t be tomorrow.

I WISH it was possible for me to tell you I dislike Patti Stanger, the lady from The Millionaire Matchmaker. But it’s not. Despite myself, I think she might actually be a good person. Go figure.

I WISH every website that automatically plays a video or song when you visit it would please cut that shit out. Listen, I’m on your site for a reason. You’ve got my interest. So, maybe you could quit trying to give me a heart attack with your cacophonous nonsense.

I WISH someone would explain to me why in the world CNBC would choose to keep airing the Women’s Curling match/game/whatever between the United States and Japan when there was a perfectly good Men’s Ice Hockey game going on between Canada and Norway. Actually, the hockey game turned out to be a lopsided 8-0 win by Canada. But still.

→ I WISH Pitchfork would diversify its coverage a bit. I mean, honestly, how much do we really need to know about Thom Yorke and Wayne Coyne?

That’s it for this installment. Got any wishes you’d like to share?

quotation

How wrong to have been so negative, how wrong to have been so gloomy, how wrong to have run away from life, how wrong to have said no, again and again, instead of yes. ↔ Jonathan Franzen

tune

Way back in 1998, there were these Philips Electronics TV ads featuring then-unknown English indie-rock band Gomez performing a cover of The Beatles’ “Getting Better.” I remember wanting to hear more of the song and, despite my best attempts, I never did find it and eventually forget about it. Until now. I was never a fan of Gomez but, recently, I’ve been reintroduced to the band and am sort of digging them. As a result, my memory was jogged and I remembered my unfinished mission to find the song from the TV commercial. I found it. “Getting Better” by Gomez. Enjoy.

gallimaufry

So there’s this episode of Family Guy in which there’s a negative depiction of someone with Down syndrome. And, sure, that’s kind of shitty but it’s Famly Guy and exactly no one should be surprised. What I find a tad more offensive is why anyone thinks I care what Bristol Palin thinks about anything at all.

→ The IOC (International Olympic Committee) is really keeping a nice perspective on what’s important at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games as it’s upset over the slogans on the masks of the goalies for the United States Men’s Hockey Team. Especially, Jonathan Quick’s which sports “Support Our Troops” on the back.

→ Does anyone out there have a Powermat? Do they really work? Let me know.

Advertisements

05.06.09 – Wednesday

Word: levity [lev-i-tee] n. 1. lightness of mind, character or behavior; lack of appropriate seriousness or earnestness 2. an instance or exhibition of this 3. fickleness 4. lightness in weight

Birthday: Maxmilien Robespierre (1758), Sigmund Freud (1856), Christian Morgenstern (1871), Rudolph Valentino (1896), Orson Welles (1915), Willie Mays (1931), Rubin Carter (1937), Jimmie Dale Gilmore (1945), Bob Seger (1945), Tony Blair (1953), Roma Downey (1960), John Flansburgh (1960), George Clooney (1961)

Standpoint: Recently, I moved from the City of Philadelphia to one of its suburbs, East Norriton. I grew up in the ‘burbs and, throughout my adult life, have gone through several suburban stints. But mostly, in the past decade and a half, I’ve lived in some section of Philadelphia. Obviously, there are differences. Here are three that I’ve noticed so far this time around.

  • Driving – There are  sidewalks out here but they’re used about as often as that Snuggie you got last Christmas. No one walks anywhere from what I can tell. In the city, pedestrian traffic almost drove me insane. Now, it’s the other cars on the road that are filling that hole in my life. Because hardly anyone demonstrates a sense of urgency. Also, gratuitous use of one’s horn is frowned upon. I’m not asking my fellow drivers to hop the curb or run a red light. But the other day I was driving behind a woman talking on her phone and not moving after the light had been green for about five seconds. I was only looking for a little understanding when I gave a little honk, informing her I’d be agreeable if she put down the cell phone and pushed the gas pedal. She did put the phone down. Then she gave me the finger. Then she pushed the gas pedal. In that order. The next morning, the guy in front of me, driving what looked like the first pickup truck made by Ford, didn’t use his turn signal while pulling into the Sears Hardware at a speed that would’ve made a parade procession appear supersonic by comparison. Apparently, I missed the memo about Fred not having to worry about the proper rules of the road when he’s going to drink coffee in the Sears parking lot with the rest of the guys who feel that using a turn signal is just plain bothersome/uncool. Again, my horn use was met with the middle finger. OK. Message received loud and clear. No honking of the horn. Let’s move on.
  • Civility – In the city, I can remember going to Wawa, the local convenience store, collecting my targeted items, taking them to the counter, paying for them and walking out the door. Without uttering a single word. I didn’t know anything about any of the people who worked in a store I frequented at least once a day. And – I’m sure this’ll sound ruder than I intend it -but I really didn’t want to get familiar with the crew at Wawa. I’ve always felt that idle small-talk in a convenience store makes it significantly less convenient. Out here in the suburbs, it appears there is some expectation of chit-chat during the customer-clerk exchange. My first day here, I was in line at 7-Eleven behind a woman who the clerk referred to as “Liz.” She was probably about 30 years older than he and affectionately called the clerk, “Mitchy,” although the name on his shirt clearly read “Mitch.” After their five-minute conversation about her ambitious gardening enterprises and the latest shenanigans of a dog she was “about ten seconds away from driving out to the goddam country,” Liz managed to make her way out of the store. Mitch turned to me, “How’re you doing today, sir?” “Doing well,” was all I could get out. The rest of my time with Mitch was spent in uncomfortable silence. Next.
  • Hours of Operation – Gone are the days of random 3am gunshots from the low-income housing behind my bedroom. No more coming home at midnight to find half the neighborhood still awake, yelling at the television or each other. Besides the McDonald’s and the APlus, it’s tough work finding something open after 10pm. Lights off. It’s bedtime. I’m sure you can imagine how troubling that might be for a night-owl like myself. Last night, I was in bed at 11pm. I don’t think that’s happened since I was actually 11. My only options for going out somewhere were to either (a) do about 50 round trips through the Mickey D’s drive-thru or (b) head down to the 7-Eleven and engage Mitch in a discussion about Liz’s misbehaving canine. Thanks, but no. On the upside, I’ve never gotten better sleep. Hmmm. Think there’s something to that?

That’s all I got for now but I’m sure I’ll be making more discoveries in the course of readjusting to suburban life. Stay tuned.   

Quotation: And all this means you can expect an unrelenting, unyielding effort from this administration to strengthen our prosperity and our security – in the second hundred days and the third hundred days and all the days after.President Obama

Tune: A while back, I heard Marching Band‘s “For Your Love” on an episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” Having a song featured on a TV show or a movie has become the new “making it big.”

Gallimaufry: Yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke informed Congress that the economy should experience an upswing in the second half of this year. He went on to say that all would still not be right with the economy but there would be mild improvement. Hey. It’s a start. ∞ Everyone can rest easy. The Wayne Coyne-Win Butler brouhaha is now officially over. You might recall I covered this back in March. Coyne, lead singer of The Flaming Lips, has apologized: “I wish whatever had been said wouldn’t have been taken as such a defiant statement by The Flaming Lips because it wasn’t…I was talking about the dudes running their stages.” Weird. Compare that with his previous statement: “Whenever I’ve been around them, I’ve found that they not only treated their crew like shit, they treated the audience like shit.” Whatever happened to real rock feuds? I mean, neither Axl Rose nor Vince Neil looked like they could’ve beaten their way out of a wet paper bag, but at least they talked a good game. As of yet, there’s no official response from Butler and Arcade Fire to Coyne’s back-pedaling. ∞ After what must have seemed like an eternity (I know it did to me), the 13th Annual Webby Awards, “honoring excellence on the internet,” were announced. Among this years Special Achievement Award Winners, Jimmy Fallon for Webby Person of the Year and Twitter for Webby Breakout of the Year. No word yet on where I fell in the voting. I’m sure I’ll be receiving a call sometime soon. ∞ After completing this post, I found out that Dom DeLuise died yesterday at the age of 76. My immediate reaction was to watch the outtakes from Cannonball Run. I’m not sure why. Rest in peace, Dom.

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

03.16.09 – Monday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: syllogism [siluh-jiz-uhm] noun 1. Logic. an argument the conclusion of which is supported by two premises, of which one (major premise) contains the term (major term) that is the predicate of the conclusion, and the other (minor premise) contains the term (minor term) that is the subject of the conclusion; common to both premises is a term (middle term) that is excluded from the conclusion. A typical form is “All A is C; all B is A; therefore all B is C.”   2. deductive reasoning  3. an extremely subtle, suggestive or deceptive argument

Birthday: James Madison (1751), Marlin Perkins (1905), Henny Youngman (1906), Pat Nixon (1912), Jerry Lewis (1926), Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927), Tommy Flanagan (1930), Chuck Woolery (1941), Erik Estrada (1949), Nancy Wilson (1954), Flavor Flav (1959), Todd MacFarlane (1961), Patty Griffin (1964), Alan Tudyk (1971), Wolfgang Van Halen (1991)

Occurrence: 1995 – Mississippi becomes the last state to formally ratify the 13th Amendment, officially banning slavery nationwide. It only took Ole Miss 130 years to jump on that bandwagon. Guess they were waiting to see if the rest of us were going to change our minds about the whole people-not-owning-people issue. Maybe they thought it was going to make a comeback?

Standpoint: We need to start a movement or an online petition or something. You, me and everyone we know need to unite and become a collective consciousness whose sole purpose is the elimination of ONE THING: CAPTCHAS. OK, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic but they are annoying. The folks at captcha.net have this to say about their invention, “a captcha is a program that protects websites against bots by generating and grading tests that humans can pass but current computer programs cannot.” I have news for you, captcha.net, most humans have trouble passing them, too. Take a look at this example. Why so squiggly and elongated? Is all that necessary? It seems that every time I go to make some snarky comment on some poor soul’s blog, I’m confronted with a captcha that looks like something I’m pretty sure must’ve been close to Salvadore Dali’s handwriting. After about 15 minutes of trying to figure out if that one letter is a lowercase “J” or a stretched-out lowercase “I”, I’m no longer impressed with the comment I was going to make and my attention wanders elsewhere.

Quotation: Art is the lie that enables us to reveal the truthPablo Picasso

Soupçon: The Beatles got the idea for the name of their band after John Lennon and Paul McCartney saw Buddy Holly and The Crickets at a show in Liverpool in 1958.

Tune: I’m not a huge singer-songwriter fan anymore but Jeb Loy Nichols is still one of the best around. Have a listen to “As the Rain.”

Link: Pipl – Want to see something spooky? Go this site, type in your name and see how much information there is about you on the internet. Eye-opening.

Gallimaufry: ESPN’s John Buccigross knows more about hockey than you do. Also, the man knows a ton about music and often references a band or artist he likes both on-air and in his weekly hockey column. Overall, Mr. Buccigross is a top-notch guy. Click HERE to see an entertaining video he did with the band Guster…This past Friday night, during a college basketball game, there was an altercation between the mascots of Utah State and New Mexico State. Apparently, a fan offered “Big Blue” (Utah State) $100 to rip off the moustache of “Pistol Pete” (New Mexico State). Utah State officials have stated that the money their mascot collected will be donated to charity…What is with all of these music artists dissin’ each other? In a recent post, I wrote about the feud between Miley Cyrus and Radiohead.  Now Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips is smack-talking Arcade Fire. Click HERE to read what Coyne said and then HERE to read Arcade Fire’s Win Butler’s response…According to this article, a recent breakthrough in battery technology might make it possible to recharge your cell phone in ten seconds…I caved this weekend. I’m now on Twitter. My hypocrisy knows no bounds…Just found this out as I was ready to post, Ron Silver has passed away. Great actor. He will be missed.