04.20.09 – Monday

Word: euphemism [yoo-fuh-miz-uhm] n. 1. the substitution of a mild, indirect or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh or blunt 2. the expression so substituted: “To pass away” is a euphemism for “to die.”

Birthday: Napoleon III (1808), Adolf Hitler (1889), Lionel Hampon (1908), Tito Puente (1923), George Takei (1937), Ryan O’Neal (1941), Jessica Lange (1949), Luther Vandross (1951), Clint Howard (1959), Don Mattingly (1961), Crispin Glover (1964), Carmen Electra (1972), Joey Lawrence (1976)

Occurence: 1999Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide during the Columbine High School Massacre.

Standpoint: Last week, I polled all my friends on Facebook and Twitter. I asked them to name the best movie with a one-word title. Also, I was asking everyone I talked to, including my co-workers at The Chestnut Grill, who came up with a ton of them. (Special thanks to Ezgi and Adina on that one.) So, I compiled over 200 suggested titles and whittled (Colleen, you were right. I misused “wheedle”. Live and learn. 4/21/09) the list down to 15 movies. Here is the list (alphabetically) of 15 Great Movies with a One-Word Title, followed by the reason each film made the final cut. Enjoy.

There you have it. Just in case you’re wondering, it’s pretty difficult deciding the best 15 out of 200. The Honorable Mentions are too many to list. I can give you a few movies that never stood a chance. Titanic. Volcano. Twister. Accepted.

I’m sure you can think of a few movies I overlooked or discarded. Tell me which ones and why.

Quotation: Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all of the time. Chuck Klosterman

Gallimaufry: Falling into the “How-Pathetic-Can-I-Possibly-Get” category, Spencer Pratt (“The Hills”) has challenged Ashton Kutcher to a 30-day contest to see who can get the most Twitter followers. Dude, you’re a little late. I suggest concentrating your efforts on something that doesn’t involve some crappy show like “The Hills.” Look into it…All season long on “American Idol,” people have been asking the question, “Why in the hell did they bring Kara DioGuardi on as a fourth judge?” It appears she’s wondering the same thing. Could this be a sign of her exit?…Yesterday was a good day in Philadelphia for sports. The Phillies beat the San Diego Padres, 5-4, off a two-run homer in the ninth inning by Raul Ibanez. The 76ers beat the Orlando Magic in the Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on a last-second jumper by Andre Iguodala. But the highlight of the day in sports, for me at least, was sitting at my brother Jeremy’s new house and watching the Flyers spank the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-3. Claude Giroux registered a Gordie Howe hat trick. He’s the real deal. (Thanks to Phinally Philly for the link.)

Incoming: This week is up in the air. Besides more of your suggestions for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words, we’ll have to see where the wind takes us.

03.13.09 – Friday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: altruistic [al-troo-is-tik] adj. unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others

Birthday: Walter Annenberg (1902), Sammy Kaye (1910), L. Ron Hubbard (1911), Neil Sedaka (1939), William H. Macy (1950), Dana  Delany (1956), Adam Clayton (1960),  Common (1972), Danny Masterson (1976)

Occurrence: 1954Milwaukee Braves’ outfielder Bobby Thomson brakes his ankle during spring training, allowing then-unknown Hank Aaron a spot on the roster. That is the kind of thing it sucks to be famous for.

Irksome: Once in a while, I read something that puts my daily life in total perspective. Martin Smith’s article in this week’s Philadelphia Weekly was sobering. It’s the story of Michael Kingsley, a homeless man who recently passed away near the corner of 13th and Chestnut Sts. while pedestrians walked on by. These days, we all tend to think of our lives in terms of our hardships. Well, if you are reading this, chances are you won’t ever have it as bad as Mr. Kingsley had it. His story, while potentially reaffirming on an individual level, exposes some glaring problems on a societal level.

Quotation: We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpsesRobert Ardrey

Soupçon: Criminals used to shave the edges of coins to gather miniscule amounts of precious metals. Mints battled these fiends by putting serrated edges around some coins, like the quarter.

Tune: When it comes to employing a song to tell a story, there are very few that can rival Elvis Costello. Check out “God’s Comic” a song about a priest who dies, goes to heaven and meets God for the first time. Best line? When God says to the priest, “I’ve been wading through all of this unbelievable junk, and wondering if I should’ve given the world to the monkeys.”

Link: I Am Fuel, You Are Friends – a superb indie music blog run by Heather Browne. Read it daily.

Gallimaufry: My friend Dawn Tancredi is running for Judge in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Click HERE to see her website. Please vote for her this upcoming May 19th. She’s good people…Do you like to cuddle? Of course you do. So get your affectionate self over to Abington this Saturday, March 14th for a Cuddle Party. Don’t get the wrong idea, though, this event is just about sharing some human contact. Perverts need not apply…The economy is bad shape. We all know this. But – at least in Philadelphia – things could be worse. Read Bruce Schimmel’s current Op-Ed article, “Cant Beat the Grid? Green It.” It’ll make you feel good…Happy Birthday to my younger brother Jeremy, a so-so brother but a great guy. Just kidding about the so-so brother part. Mostly…Sunday night, head down to the M-Room at 15 W. Girard Avenue and check out local Philly band, The Swimmers. You won’t be disappointed… For those of you inquiring about the next addition of True Story, I’m pleased to announce that I’m making strides and hope to have it ready within the next week or so…Have a great weekend (especially those of you braving The Erin Express) and thanks for reading this week. Come back Monday for some more.