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.

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09.23.09 – A Wednesday

WORD

amalgamate [uhmal-guh-meyt] v. 1. to mix or merge so as to make a combination; blend; unite; combine: to amalgamate two companies 2. Metallurgy. to mix or alloy (a metal) with mercury 3. to combine, unite, merge, or coalesce: The three schools decided to amalgamate 4. to blend with another metal, as mercury

BIRTHDAY

Euripides (480 BC), Kublai Khan (1214), Mary Mallon (1869), Mickey Rooney (1920), John Coltrane (1926), Ray Charles (1930), Julio Iglesias (1943), Bruce Springsteen (1949), Jason Alexander (1959), Elizabeth Peña (1961), Ani DiFranco (1970), Jermaine Dupri (1972), Layzie Bone (1975), Rachael Yamagata (1977), Melanie Oudin (1991)

STANDPOINT

Two things I’ve always been gifted at are (a) making drinks and (b) convincing people I’m actually interested in the words coming out of their mouths. So, I’m a natural bartender.

And I love bartending. For the most part. But there a few annoying people who might appear during any given night I’ll always be unhappy to lay eyes on.

  • “The Loud Dude Who Is Totally Fucking Wrong About Pretty Much Everything” – This guy lives in every bar you’ve ever been to. He offers his opinions on just about everything in earshot, reciting  facts and statistics that are completely false. People put up with this kind of guy because, although he’s stupid, he’s no idiot and eventually offers to buy drinks for other customers. Sadly, people accept because, hey, free alcohol. As the bartender, and therefore the only sober person present, I’m forced to listen to the guy’s conspiracy theory about how Jack Ruby didn’t kill Lee Harvey Oswald, despite that being the one fucking fact in the whole JFK conspiracy everyone knows is absolutely true.
  • “The Wishy-Washy Individual Hankering For Some Dream World Elixir” – OK, here’s a tip for all you who plan on ever going to a bar again. Don’t pepper the bartender with an endless ingredient list of a drink that could never possibly exist. “Well, I want something fruity, but I don’t want it too sweet, and I don’t want to really taste the alcohol, but I want it to be strong because I’m only gonna have, like, one. Or maybe two.” You might as well ask me to serve that drink in the Holy Grail and have it personally delivered by Brad Pitt. Because that’d be easier than making your fantasyland cocktail. What do you like to drink? Just tell me. I’ll make it. As long as the ingredients don’t involve pixie dust or the breath of an angel.
  • “The Ultra-Demanding Dolt Who Doesn’t Truly Understand The System” – If you are finicky, that’s perfectly fine. That’s what I’m there for. If you want what you want the way you want, I’m on board. I’m the same way. However, if you make me shuck and jive, groove and dance, run around like a hopped-up chimpanzee, hey, it’s cool. I’m in the service industry and that’s exactly what I’m there for. But if you run up a tab of, say, $320 and you leave me a $30 tip, I’ll deal with it. Life will go on. BUT, the next time you come and sit at my bar, prepare to be placed at the very bottom of my priority level, somewhere between making sure my floor is clean and checking my cell for text messages. Tip well, and you’re gonna get treated well.
QUOTATION

The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfillment of that hope never entirely removes. Thomas Hardy

TUNE

In Philadelphia, there’s not a much greater place to watch a band you love than Johnny Brenda’s. Here’s a video of Rogue Wave‘s “Kicking The Heart Out.” I was at the show. My friend Danielle and I were busy getting hammered at the bar. But still, I was there.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ The video of Will Ferrell and a bunch of other celebrities imploring the American people to help out this country’s health insurance execs was yesterday’s big internet draw. Regardless of you position on the issue, this is some pretty funny stuff. I love Thomas Lennon‘s remark at the very end.

→ Apparently, 60% of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck. Welcome to my world, people. Glad to have you aboard.

→ Dude, are you fucking kidding me? GLENN BECK DAY? Mt. Vernon, you suck.

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.

The 2009 MTV Movie Awards – Good & Bad

Sunday night, I sat down to watch the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. Funny thing. Once upon a time, I’d steer clear of all award shows, but I like Andy Samberg (who hosted this year’s show) and so I decided to check it out.

I watched it in its entirety. And while it felt kind of dirty, I’m glad I did. I was equally entertained and disgusted – usually alternating back and forth between the two feelings in the span of just under a minute. At times, I was pleased – usually by something involving Samberg. Just as often, however, I was displeased – usually by something involving the movie Twilight, which won just about all the awards. (Even Samberg and some of the presenters seemed a little put-off by all the attention the tweener vampire flick was receiving.)

Here are me thoughts on some moments from the 2009 MTV Movies Awards:

  • “Cool Guys Don’t Look At Explosions” – My second favorite part of the show. Samberg and Will Ferrell (as Neil Diamond) perform something typically spoofy proclaiming, “the flames are hot but their hearts are chill,” amidst a montage of cool guys (Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Iron Man) not looking at explosions. I think the keyboard solo actually tied the whole thing together for me.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen-Eminem FiascoSacha Baron Cohen is fucking annoying. I know. I’m supposed to watch his prankster antics and find them unbelievably mortifying/clever. But I don’t. If that lessens me in your eyes, I’m prepared to deal with that. When Cohen (as his gay alter-ego Bruno) descended onto Eminem and proceeded to plant his ass in the rapper’s face, I was hoping that Slim Shady’s entourage was going to make the whole night worthwhile and murder Cohen. No such luck. The douchebag survived.
  • Forest Whitaker Singing “Dick in a Box” – Easily my favorite part of the show. LeAnn Rimes and Chris Isaak were great paying homage to Samberg’s Digital Shorts “Jizz In My Pants” and “Lazy Sunday” but Whitaker’s interpretation of “Dick in a Box” was almost better than the original. Truly. I think it’s safe to say everyone is now in on the whole absurdist comedy wave.
  • Miley Cyrus Wins “Best Song In A Movie” Award – She beat out four other songs she shouldn’t have. Her acceptance speech illustrated why we as a society need to ban against the talentless, unsexy hack. “I wanna thank God! Hellllooooooo? The only reason I’m here!” Thanks, God. We owe you one.
  • Ben Stiller Receiving the “MTV Generation Award”Kiefer Sutherland, Zac Efron and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog presented the award to Stiller. It was very much like a roast with Efron saying things like, “You sell out the theaters without selling out.” Triumph obsessed over Stiller’s resemblance to different primates. Sutherland broke down, sat on the edge of the stage and addressed Stiller directly in a “heartfelt” testimonial of his admiration. Sutherland went on for about two minutes too long. To his credit, Stiller sat through the whole thing without choking any of them. If I was him, I would’ve at least made a run at the dog.

Overall, the show spanned the canvas of everything pop culture. And, while there were some truly sickening/moronic people and ideas out there, it was proof to me there are things happening that just might be worthwhile. Still, when I saw the likes of Cyrus and the dude with the hair from Twilight mixed in with performers with actual real talent, I was forced to wonder if the world of entertainment wasn’t free-falling to some dark, evil place.

03.05.09 – Thursday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: wonky [wong-kee] adj. British slang 1. shaky, groggy or unsteady  2. unreliable; not trustworthy

Birthday: Rex Harrison (1908), Tommy Tucker (1933), Dean Stockwell (1936), Eddy Grant (1948), Penn Jilette (1955), Andy Gibb (1958), Joel Osteen (1963), Michael Irvin (1966), John Frusciante (1970), Kevin Connolly (1974), Eva Mendes (1974)

Occurrence: 1836Samuel Colt made the first production model .34-caliber revolver, facilitating murders everywhere.

Irksome: Yesterday, I caught a little bit of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” As usual, I was entertained. During one of the segments of the show, Stewart was openly mocking President Obama’s new timeline for removing our troops from Iraq. Later in the day, I was telling a friend of mine about it. His reaction? “Dude. That’s messed up. Obama hasn’t even been in office two months and Stewart is already turning on him?” My response? Absolutely. I think the initial overwhelming joy that the people of this country felt (including me) seeing a man like Barack Obama assume the role of President has made them lose sight of something. We are supposed to question our leaders. When we blindly follow the directives of your leader(s), we will inevitably find ourselves in the exact predicament we were in the past eight years. This is the United States of America, after all. Even a man like President Obama needs to be closely scrutinized by the people he is governing. As you were, Mr. Stewart.

Quotation: A critic is a legless man who teaches running.Channing Pollock

Tidbit: Apparently, right-handed people live an average of nine years longer than left-handed folks. After much deliberation, I could think of nothing clever or witty to say about that fact. Except that I’m right-handed. Sucks for all you lefties out there.

Song: Ever hear a song and think that, even though the person who wrote it has never met you, you could’ve written it yourself? Sure you have. That is exactly what I thought the first time I heard “Beautiful Beat” by Nada Surf.

Link: Funny Or Die – A wide assortment of clever stuff including Literal Video and the Will Ferrell landlord sketch. Check it out.

Gallimaufry: SHAMELESS PLUG – Ezgi is a good friend of mine who writes a very entertaining blog about what goes on in her most-cynical mind. Click HERE and get an insight into a one of the greatest, strangest people I know…Speaking of President Obama, click HERE to read Helene Cooper’s article in the New York Times about how the guy is already starting to get gray hairs from the stress…Updating my thoughts on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”, I am still on the fence but closer to liking it than I was before. I know you all were wondering.