04.19.10 – A Monday

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word

proxy [prok-see] n. 1. the agency, function, or power of a person authorized to act as the deputy or substitute for another 2. the person so authorized; substitute; agent 3. a written authorization empowering another person to vote or act for the signer, as a meeting of stockholders 4. an ally or confederate who can be relied upon to speak or act in one’s behalf

birthday

Roger Sherman (1721), Eliot Ness (1903), Dick Sargent (1930), Jayne Mansfield (1933), Dudley Moore (1935), Tim Curry (1946), Mary Jo Slater (1946), Paloma Picasso (1949), Suge Knight (1965), Dar Williams (1967), Ashley Judd (1968), Jesse James (1969), Kate Hudson (1979), Hayden Christensen (1981), Maria Sharapova (1987)

standpoint

I’ll admit I didn’t think the Philadelphia Flyers, after barely squeaking in, would do much of anything in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. After last night’s 3-2 overtime win against the New Jersey Devils, it appears I may have been mistaken. The Flyers look hungry and, unlike the last couple weeks of the regular season, ready to play like a team.

So I thought now would be as good a time as any to share my Top Five Flyers Of All Time. I do want to concede here that I only got into the Orange and Black fifteen years ago, so my list isn’t going to include fan favorites like Bobby Clarke, Tim Kerr or Pelle Lindbergh. But, it’s my list and not yours, so deal with it.

5. Roman Cechmanek – Drafted by the Flyers at ripe age of 29 in 2000, he played three seasons before being shipped out to the Los Angeles Kings. During his short stint he had 92 wins, 20 shutouts and GAA of 1.96 and was the Vezina Trophy runner-up in his first season.

4. Jody Hull – The right wing played from 1998 – 2001 and wasn’t exactly a scoring machine but was the consummate defensive forward, one of many I feel the team discarded too soon.

3. Eric Desjardins – Coming to the Flyers in the historical 1995 trade with the Montreal Canadiens that brought him, John LeClair and Gilbert Dionne for Mark Recchi, he became one of the best ever blueliners, finishing only second in overall points behind the legendary Mark Howe with 396 points in 738 games.

2. Shjon Podein – November 12, 1998 was one of the saddest of all the days I’ve been a Flyers fan. That was the date Podein was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for Keith Jones, another player I became a big fan of. But I’ve always missed the personality and grit “Pods” brought to every game. A truly stand up individual.

1. Eric Lindros – I’ll just say this about Lindros: If he started out now in today’s NHL, with Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, he may just be the guy to break all the unbreakable records set by Wayne Gretzky.

You may agree or disagree with my picks but, hey, you’re entitled to your opinion.

quotation

The bed is a bundle of a paradoxes: we go at it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret; we make up our minds every night to leave it, but me make up our bodies to keep it late. ↔ Charles Caleb Colton

tune

As far as jazz goes nowadays, there’s not much new being brought to the table. One band who’s bucking that trend is The Bad Plus. At least, the last time I checked in on them, they were. Here’s “Big Eater.”

gallimaufry

→ As soon as everyone involved in this debacle realizes it’s not going away, the quicker it actually will. Just come clean, Lower Merion Township.

→ A few weeks ago, we were all joking around about this but I think it’s time we got a little more focused. No Thomas Jefferson?

→ Why this dude is trying to admit to this is something I’ll never understand.

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01.26.10 – A Tuesday

WORD

myopic [mahy-op-ik, –oh-pik] adj. 1. Ophthalmology. pertaining to or having myopia; nearsighted 2. unable or unwilling to act prudently; shortsighted 3. lacking tolerance or understanding; narrow-minded

BIRTHDAY

Douglas MacArthur (1880), Frank Costello (1891), Maria von Trapp (1905), Paul Newman (1925), Bob Uecker (1935), Scott Glenn (1941), Gene Siskel (1946), David Strathairn (1949), Lucinda Williams (1953), Eddie Van Halen (1955), Anita Baker (1956), Ellen Degeneres (1958), Wayne Gretzky (1961), Suleman Octuplets (2009)

STANDPOINT

Ah. I was going to try something new but I ended up getting my ass whooped in Rummy all night and time simply ran out. Maybe tomorrow.

QUOTATION

Unquestionably, it is possible to do without happiness; it is done involuntarily by nineteen-twentieths of mankind.John Stuart Mill

TUNE

Southern Culture on the Skids is a band whose songs are always hit or miss with me. One song that I’ve always loved is “My Baby’s Got The Strangest Ways.”

GALLIMAUFRY

If you absolutely love paying a lot of money for concert tickets, you better hold onto your lid because I’m about to flip it. The TicketMaster/Live Nation merger has been approved by the U. S. Department of Justice.

→ All this talk about the recession almost being over and there being a light at the end of the tunnel could be just that – talk. According to this article, things may never get better. This could be the way it’s always going to be.

→ Last Friday night, Conan O’Brien did his last episode of The Tonight Show. It was really good. The jam of “Freebird” at the end with Will Ferrell, Ben Harper, Beck, and others (as well as Conan himself) was especially great. Bye for now, Conan. I don’t know what the hell I’m going to watch at 11:30 now but, as always, I’ll figure something out.

12.14.09 – A Monday

Last Friday night, my Uncle Joe died unexpectedly. He was probably the most affable and good-natured guy you’d have the good fortune to come across. Of my five brothers and sisters, I was probably the least close to Joe, and I’m pretty sure I was the only one who’d never gone to visit him at his home in Maryland. And I’m equally sure I’ll regret that for the rest of my life. Just kind of figured he’d be around to hang out with. Life is ruthlessly unpredictable, folks. Get out there and grab what you can from it. 

This post is dedicated to Uncle Joe. 

WORD

nonpareil [non-puhrel] adj. 1. having no equal; peerless n. 2. a person or thing having no equal 3. a small pellet of colored sugar for decorating candy, cake, and cookies 4. a flat, round, bite-sized piece of chocolate covered with this sugar

BIRTHDAY

Nostradamus (1503), Spike Jones (1911), Lee Remick (1935), Patty Duke (1946), Michael Ovitz (1946), Beth Orton (1970)

STANDPOINT

Last week I commented on Allen Iverson’s return to the Philadelphia 76ers.

For the record, I like Allen Iverson. I always have. Even when, in 2002, he threw his naked wife out of their house in Gladwyne, where I grew up. Lots and lots of things happened as a result of A.I.’s actions, including causing me to be over two hours late for some family function due to the fact every TV news van in the country was trying to get into probably the least traffic-friendly town you can imagine.  

In any case, the return of Allen Iverson has left me with mixed emotions. I’m glad he’s back, but as I stated last week, I’m curious as to why everyone else is.

Philadelphia has a history of taking young, talented athletes and making them regret they ever played their respective sport. The Philadelphia PhilliesMike Schmidt was deemed the best third baseman in history. Eric Lindros had a career for the Philadelphia Flyers that placed him, for much of it, in the same company as Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky. On any other team in the NFL, Philadelphia Eagles‘ quarterback Donovan McNabb would be credited for being one of the best at his position in the past decade. Allen Iverson, in his first stint with the 76ers, was a diminutive individual, usually scoring more than double the points of the giants he played against.

And where did it get them? Schmidt retired as a Phillie but left here so damaged it took him almost a decade to return to the fans who booed much harder when he didn’t get the job done as they cheered when he did. Lindros’ story is much more complicated but, even with all the drama and concussions, he’s still a fringe candidate for the debate of who’s the best player in NHL history, even Bobby Clarke thinks so. McNabb still manages to come to work every Sunday and play for a bunch of worthless fans who’ve forgotten the likes of Bobby Hoying, Bubby Brister and Rodney Peete. And Iverson was one of the best in the NBA, while playing for a team that seemed content to let him try to win a championship all by himself.

Which begs the question, why would anyone come play in Philadelphia, a city where even those days when probably capable of better, and those days when you don’t live up to expectations there’s a million people leading the charge for your head? Don’t believe me? This past Phillies-Yankees World Series, I forget which game it was. I was at a bar and Phillies’ slugger Ryan Howard was striking out. A lot. And one of the morons sitting around me said, “Man, would you look at this fuckin’ bum on the goddamn television?” Yeah, genius, I was looking at the TV. At Ryan Howard. A guy who’s managed to hit 220 homers and knock in 635 runs in just five seasons. But Howard, and the rest of the Phillies, didn’t win this past World Series like they did the year before. And so, for that, Howard’s a bum. Just like every other professional athlete in Philadelphia sports’ history who didn’t give their fans the misplaced, instant gratification for which they feel erroneously entitled.

QUOTATION

 This and nothing else is the desperately sought and tragically fragile writer’s process: in his imagination, he sees made-up people doing things–sees clearly–and in the act of wondering what they will do next, he sees what they will do next, and all this he writes down in the best, most accurate words he can find, understanding even as he writes that he may have to find better words later, and that a change in the words may mean a sharpening or deepening of the vision, the fictive dream or vision becoming more and more lucid, until reality, by comparison, seems cold, tedious, and dead.John Gardner

TUNE

I normally have something poignant to say about the song I’m sharing with you. But today I don’t. Listen to “HEERS” by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. It’s good. And that’s that.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ Listen up, country! The people of Houston get it. So why can’t the rest of you clowns fall in line? Annise Parker will become the city’s first openly gay mayor, making Houston the biggest city ever to do so. Is it safe to say it’s pretty fucked up when Texans are breaking new ground?

Tiger Woods, most likely after reading my post last Friday, has announced, “After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf.” In what many are considering the understatement of a lifetime, Woods furthered with, “I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.” You think?

→ OK. Let me get this straight. Donte Stallworth drunkenly drives over, and kills, a guy a few months back and gets 30 fucking days in jail. Meanwhile, New Jersey resident John Wilson is facing up to 20 years for growing 17 marijuana plants for his own personal use to treat his multiple sclerosis. I don’t drink and drive because I’m hesitant to put my life and the lives of others in jeopardy. I do, however, occassionally smoke pot in the privacy of my own home which, until now, seemed relatively innocuous. I guess I had it all backwards and turned upside-down. How naive of me.

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.

04.28.09 – Tuesday

Word: postmodern [pohst-mod-ern] adj. 1. noting or pertaining to architecture of the late 20th century, appearing in the 1960s, that consciously uses complex forms, fantasy and allusions to historic styles, in contrast to the austere forms and emphasis on utility of standard modern architecture 2. extremely modern; cutting edge: postmodern kids who grew up on MTV

Birthday: James Monroe (1758), Oskar Schindler (1908), Ferruccio Lamborghini (1916), Harper Lee (1926), Saddam Hussein (1937), Ann-Margret (1941), Bruno Kirby (1949), Jay Leno (1950), John Daly (1966), Too Short (1966), Kari Wührer (1967), Bridget Moynahan (1971), Elisabeth Röhm (1973), Penélope Cruz (1974), Jessica Alba (1981)

Occurence: 1967Expo 67 opens in Montreal, Canada.

Standpoint: Originality. It’s one of the few qualities someone can possess and gain instant credibility. But one can’t attain originality. Striving for it is pointless since the process one would go through to achieve originality, would automatically make that person unoriginal. It’s confusing. But some have pulled it off. Here’s my 7 Original Individuals:

  • George Carlin – Invented (and perfected) the art of stand-up comedy as we know it today.
  • Tiger Woods – First golfer to be so good, he’s admired outside the realm of his sport.
  • Harvey Milk – Did more for Gay Rights in a short 8-year political career than most could hope to do in a lifetime.
  • Josephine Baker – Singer, dancer, first African American woman to star in a motion picture, Civil Rights activist, French Resistance supporter and recipient of the Croix de Guerre.
  • Chuck Klosterman – Writes the way people talk so effectively that sometimes I forget I’m reading.
  • Andy Kaufman – Should be remembered as more a performance artist than a comedian.
  • Wayne Gretzky – Did more for professional ice hockey than any other one person has done for a sport.

I’m sure you have someone in my mind that I didn’t include on his list. Tell who you think should have been there.

Quotation: A bargain is something you can’t use at a price you can’t resist.Franklin P. Jones

Tune: Another band I know very little about but love what I’ve heard so far. The Record Low. Listen to “The Bottom.”

Gallimaufry: Bea Arthur died over the weekend at the age of 86. Read what the remaining two “Golden Girls” had to say about her passing…Outside of Philadelphia, it’s called the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship. Here we just call it “The Bike Race.” And it’s endangered of being cancelled this year. Here’s what you can do to help…Why is a president judged after his first 100 days? Find out why.

Incoming: No post tomorrow. Got some organizing to do due to the move.