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.

Advertisements

05.01.09 – Friday

Word: larceny [lahr-suh-nee] n. the wrongful taking and carrying away of personal goods of another from his or her possession with intent to convert them to the taker’s own use

Birthday: Calamity Jane (1852), Kate Smith (1907), Glenn Ford (1916), Jack Paar (1918), Joseph Heller (1923), Scott Carpenter (1925), Shirley Horn (1934), Judy Collins (1939), John Woo (1946), Tim McGraw (1967), Wes Anderson (1969)

Occurence: 1751 – The first cricket match is played in America. (It hasn’t ended yet. The average cricket match lasts about 300 years. Or maybe it just feels that way.)

Standpoint: Last weekend, I moved. In my old house, I had kind of a central command set up in my bedroom. Cable TV. Stereo. Internet. Obviously, I spent a lot of time in there. Now, however, I come home and there is no cable TV and there is no internet. So it’s just me, my books and my stereo. I’ve realized that my iPod was being neglected. I wasn’t listening to enough music. Now, with no other option, that’s all I’m doing. And as I’ve been revisiting my music library, I’ve come across some songs that may put my title of “music snob” to rest for good. Here are 7 Songs I’m Unhappy Being In My iPod. Enjoy.

  • Ace Of Base“The Sign” – Most likely, when I downloaded this song on 02.11.08, I had some good intentions for doing so. At this time, I can’t recall what in the world they might’ve been. I remember barely liking this song in college. And, even then, I was probably pretending to like it because of some girl.
  • Stroke 9“Little Black Backpack” – I wish I could say this was a straggler from some mix CD that was made for me back in the day. But it wasn’t. Apparently, I downloaded this song at 2:51 one morning back in 2007. I’ll blame it on Jack Daniels.
  • Right Said Fred“I’m Too Sexy” – OK. This one’s not my fault. My mother asked me to DJ a fashion show for her a few years back. I figured this would be a good song to end the show on a high note. I was right. The women loved it.
  • Young MC“Bust A Move” – This song is borderline listenable. But at the end, it all falls apart. His “best friend Harry has a brother Larry/In five days from now he’s gonna marry/He’s hopin’ you can make it there if you can/’Cause in the ceremony you’ll be the best man.” Huh? Who asks his brother’s best friend to be his best man? And a mere five days before the ceremony? It just doesn’t make any sense.
  • James Blunt“You’re Beautiful” – Remember when this guy was supposed to be the next big thing and thenVH1 and every easy-listening radio station in the country ran with this song and played it about 213 times a day? 2006 was the year I first got my iPod and I was obsessed with adding as much music as I could onto it. That’s how this sappy song got on there.
  • Charles & Eddie“Would I Lie To You?” – I have good days. I have bad days. My guess is 03.21.07 wasn’t one of my greatest days. Why else would I have downloaded this song?
  • Club Nouveau“Lean On Me” – Not only do I have this song on my iPod, but I’ve got the extended version weighing in at over 7 minutes. This had to be another alcohol-induced download as it was 4:14am when I added this little gem.

All right. So now you know. Got any embarrassing tunes on your iPod? Why not take this time to purge yourself and share them?

Weekend: Each Friday, I’ll provide you with 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead – my list of events to attend in Philadelphia this weekend as if it’s your last.

Quotation: Always strive to excel, but only on weekends.Richard Rorty

Tune: There are two versions of “Ultimatum” by The Long Winters. One is a faster studio version that appears on Putting the Days To Bed. The other (better) version is slower.

Gallimaufry: Philadelphia Stories is a non-profit literary magazine that supports the written word and, really, all the arts here in The City of Brotherly Love. It’s online auction is running now through 05.09.09. The items include nice getaways, gifts certificates to some of the city’s best spots and excellent works of art. Click HERE to support your local art scene. Unless you don’t live in Philly. And then, still, I think you should do it anyway…Mayor Nutter has announced his plan to make Philadelphia the “greenest city in the United States of America.” Check out his Greenworks PhiladelphiaWorld Health Organization (WHO) officials have declared they will stop using the term “swine flu” in order to stop people from killing pigs. (Some geniuses in Egypt apparently slaughtered 3,000 pigs in order to protect themselves from the epidemic.) Officials say they will refer to the disease by its given name – Influenza A H1N1. Sorry. Don’t see that one catching on.

Incoming: Next week will have some more of your favorite columns along with some new stuff I’ve been working on. Thanks for reading this week. Come back Monday for some more.

04.17.09 – Friday

Word: quixotic [kwik-sot-ik] adj. 1. (sometimes initial capital letter) resembling or befitting Don Quixote 2. extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary, impractical or impracticable 3. impulsive or rashly unpredictable

Birthday: J.P. Morgan (1837), Thornton Wilder (1897), Harry Reasoner (1923), Jan Hammer (1948), Rowdy Roddy Piper (1954), Michael Sembello (1954), Nick Hornby (1957), Maynard James Keenan (1964), Liz Phair (1967), Redman (1970), Jennifer Garner (1972), Victoria Beckham (1974)

Occurence: 1790 – In Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin passes away at the age of 84.

Standpoint: In doing my daily research for this blog, I come across a lot of the same names. Some of these names I would prefer to never hear again. So, I decided to make a list of 5 People I Would Like To See Move To Another Planet. Here’s the first five people (in no particular order) I’d like to put on a vessel headed for another planet and what I’d say to them before I kicked them inside and sealed the hatch.

  • Glenn BeckFOX News Talk Show Host – “I’m sorry, Mr. Beck, but we just don’t need people like you anymore. Once upon a time, we liked it when our TV personalities stirred up the pot and whipped people into a frenzy for no good reason . It was fun to watch. But now, the stakes are too high. I’m afraid we need responsible broadcasting in this day and age. I know what you’re going to say. FOX News will just put someone else in your place. But we’ve all got our fingers crossed that person will be a little smarter and not half as loud. Here’s to hoping.”
  • Miley CyrusTeenage Music and Movie Superstar – “This is really delaying the inevitable, Miss Cyrus. In a couple of years, you won’t be famous anymore and no one will care where you are. So you might as well be on another planet. Maybe there, you can get a fresh start and actually make something of yourself without your dad, Billy Ray Cyrus. We know this will probably break his (achy-breaky) heart, but we’re looking to do what is best for everyone. We’ve packed your Radiohead CDs for the trip. Enjoy.”
  • Tom GreenInternet Talk Show Host – “Mr. Green, I’ve watched your internet talk show. You don’t seem as annoying as you did on MTV, a few years back. You were doing fine, conducting harmless interviews with Andrew “Dice” Clay, Kathy Griffin and other inconsequential celebrities. But you got greedy. You went on “Celebrity Apprentice” and reminded us that you are someone whose only comedic value rests in your ability to annoy. We’ve had enough.”
  • Paris HiltonHotel Heiress – “Miss Hilton, you’re innocuous enough. You seem to enjoy dabbling in all sorts of stuff. Music, television, fragrances. It appears you have a wide array of interests. We’re not sure how you became famous or even how you’ve managed to stay that way. Sadly, this might not even be your own doing. But we gotta get rid of you. There’s just too many people who care about your activities and we have to make you disappear so that those people can do more productive things with their time. Like monitor the Ashton Kutcher-CNN Twitter race.” [Note: The race is over. Ashton Kutcher won.]
  • MadonnaInternational Music Superstar –  “Hey, Madonna, you had a good run. But when you’re a younger woman and you want to, say, adopt a kid from a third-world country, we think you’re doing a great thing. When you’re your age and you seem to be amassing kids for no good reason, we think you’re creepy. We just wanted you to tour once in a while and sing ‘Material Girl’ and other former hits from your impressive catalog.  But you’ve pushed us too far. Don’t worry about your babies. We’re taking them over to Angelina Jolie‘s.”

Weekend: Each Friday, I’ll give you the 3 Things To Do In Philly When You’re Dead – my list of things to do in Philadelphia this weekend as if it’s your last. 

  • Today (04.17) –  3 Dollar Dance PartyWorld Cafe Live – Described as “an up and coming dance party made for everyone regardless of race, sexuality or background.” Since I’ve lost all the weight (50lbs. in the past year), I’ve noticed that I’m not a half-bad dancer. I’m not skilled, but I’m certainly not a liabilty out on the dance floor. And it sounds like it would be a cool crowd. Time: 11pm
  • Saturday (04.18) – Fresh Fish 2.0 Ten Minute Play FestivalWalking Fish Theatre – Often, people say, “Finally! Something for the A.D.D. crowd!” Well, in this instance, it’s kind of true. Brought to you by B. Somebody Productions, Fresh Fish 2.0 boasts “eight different plays with eight different directors and loads of different actors.” Time: 8pm
  • Sunday (04.19) – Cezanne and BeyondPhiladelphia Art Museum – A large collection (40 paintings and 20 watercolors) are showcased “alongside works by several artists for whom Cezanne has been a central inspiration and whose work reflects , both visually and poetically, Cezanne’s extraordinary legacy.” This exhibit is running through May 31st, so you’ve got some time. But why wait? Time: All Day

Quotation: Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless Bill Watterson

Tune: Yesterday, I asked my friend Ezgi to name her favorite song in heavy rotation right now. She replied, “‘Stars of Track and Field’ by Belle and Sebastian.” Take a listen.

Gallimaufry: In Philadelphia, it will soon become  illegal to use your cell phone while operating anything on wheels. Now what will all the drivers in front of me to occupy their time while they go 5mph in a 35mph zone? Ah, why am I worried? I’m sure they’ll figure something out…I’m pleased to say that I’ve discovered the reason reality television was invented. Keshia Knight Pulliam (Rudy from TV’s “The Cosby Show”) is finally getting her own reality show. My only question: What took so long?…After three decades, John Madden is calling it quits. The NFL announcer is retiring to spend more time with his family.

Incoming: Next week’s posts will include my Best One-Word Movie Titles, more Annoying Sayings & Misused Words, and some other great stuff. This was the best week so far for this fledgling blog and that’s mainly due to all of the reader participation I’ve received through comments left here, personal emails and all the involvement on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading this week. Come back Monday for some more.