November 7, 2011

word

quean [kween] n. 1. an overly forward, impudent woman; shrew; hussy 2. a prostitute 3. British Dialect. a girl or young woman, especially a robust one

birthday

Leon Trotsky (1879), Albert Camus (1913), Billy Graham (1918), Joni Mitchell (1941), David Petraeus (1952), King Kong Bundy (1957), Dana Plato (1964), Morgan Spurlock (1970)

standpoint

There’s very few bars left that allow smoking, and the place where I work is not one of them but here’s a curious little side effect to the smoking ban: people bringing their small infant or child to the bar. It’s always a younger couple meeting up with childless friends. They’ll come in and announce, “Oh, we don’t need a table, we’re just gonna hang at the bar. Is that cool?” Despite the suggestions of the staff that they might be more comfortable at a table, they insist that (a) their baby is so well-behaved, he or she will be fine in the carrier and will most likely sleep the entire time and (b) other places let them do it all of the time (a lie) and there’s never a problem (another lie).

And 99.9% of the time, the first 30 minutes are uneventful. But inevitably, the crying starts or, worse, the shouting out of incomprehensible words and phrases. Yes, I fully understand this is what children do. It is not lost on me.

But lots of people who come to sit at a bar are doing so precisely because it’s supposed to be a child-free zone. They desire to eat a meal in peace while participating in some adult conversation. And, while they may smile politely each time a baby is disrupting that peace, they secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) wish the people who brought the baby would use a little common sense and remove themselves from the area. But that rarely happens. Instead, they’ll most likely spring the baby from the carrier and place he or she on top of the bar, creating an even bigger spectacle. The parents are under the impression that since they firmly believe their baby is the most amazing specimen to ever draw breath, everyone else will feel the exact same way with the proper exposure. And it never works out that way. The other customers begin to mutter under their breath or ask for their bill and leave. When the couple finally do pack up shop and leave (with the baby, of course) everyone looks at me and asks questions like, “Since when are babies allowed at the bar?” or “How can people be so oblivious?” I have no answer for these questions because to answer them would be violating basic hospitality business axioms that state you shouldn’t badmouth customers to other customers.

But if I allowed myself to say whatever I wanted, it might go something like this: “When you have a baby, one of the main things you’re giving up, unless you find someone to babysit, is the ability to sit at a bar and drink. It’s different if you come in at 2:30 in the afternoon while the bar is empty and want to get a quick bite to eat during off time. But when you come in at 6:00 pm and want to prop your baby up in his or her carrier on a barstool and have multiple drinks, well, I’m sorry but that’s not okay. There’s such a thing as common courtesy and those kinds of parents need to look into it.”

I’ll never say anything like that to my customers but something needs to be said eventually.

quotation

When love is not madness, it is not love. ↔ Pedro Calderón de la Barca

tune

My buddy Tim loves this song. I gotta agree with him, it’s pretty solid. Like Stars meets The Pogues. Here’s “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men.

gallimaufry

→ Holy shit. This clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart would’ve probably been good enough with just Donald Trump’s idiotic comments but Ann Coulter makes me want to move to another country.

→ What a great example of damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t.

→ If you’re looking for an incredibly obvious news story, look no further and just click here.

→ Sorry, everyone, no sports coverage today. I know you were dying for it.

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October 26, 2011

word

bunkum [buhng-kuhm] n. 1. insincere speechmaking by a politician intended merely to please local constituents 2. insincere talk; claptrap; humbug

birthday

Bob Hoskins (1942), Pat Conroy (1945), Pat Sajak (1946), Bootsy Collins (1951), Rita Wilson (1956), Dylan McDermott (1961), Cary Elwes (1962), Natalie Merchant (1963), Seth MacFarlane (1973), Jon Heder (1977)

standpoint

It’s funny to me how people are treating the 2012 Presidential election. First of all, it’s not even 2012 yet. Also, despite what the media is pushing, the race hasn’t even begun yet. And the GOP should be happy about it because if conservative voters keep changing their collective mind about who they want to go against Obama, they’re gonna run out of viable candidates before this whole thing gets properly started.

Every week there’s a new “front runner.” Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and even Michele Bachmann have had their reign as heir apparent. And now it’s Herman Cain.

Herman Cain. Conservative. Black. CEO. Lunatic. I’m not using that last word in a negative way because, to paraphrase the immortal Billy Joel, it might just be a lunatic we’re looking for.

I mean the guy just says whatever the hell he wants, whenever he wants. He’ll make a statement one day, then come back a little later and contradict it. Or maybe he’ll expound on it. Or maybe he’ll just flat out deny he ever said it. It doesn’t matter if what he’s saying from one minute to the next is true because it appears like it is. He speaks in such a way that you just kind of want to believe whatever words happen to be falling out of his mouth are the truth.

Here’s a great article detailing how Cain is clearly the new zen master of shucking and jiving.

Right now, Cain is an amusing figure, a kind of curiosity. He’s an eloquent man participating in debates and interviews in which the subject matter is entirely hypothetical. I’m mostly sure that when it’s time to get serious, when everyone is looking for actual answers, when it’s time to play for real, Cain will be less appealing.

But, while I never want to live in a world where Herman Cain is running anything but his mouth, I have to admit that I kind of dig his whole free-wheeling, in-your-face demeanor. Now if only we could get someone worthwhile to do the same. Finger crossed, folks.

quotation

Forget governments. Focus on the individuals. ↔ Mohamed ElBaradei

tune

A few weeks back, I picked up 12 Desperate Straight Lines by Telekinesis because the sticker on the CD read, “Spin says, ‘If you don’t like Telekinesis, your ears don’t work.'” Strong words. Maybe a little too strong. But it’s still a good listen. Check out “I Cannot Love You”

gallimaufry

→ Dear Arby’s, as a nationwide purveyor of meat sandwiches, I gotta believe you’ve got a pretty sizable marketing department. Furthermore, I find it hard to fathom someone in that marketing department didn’t maybe tell you that no one in Philadelphia calls a cheese steak a “Philly.” It’s not the most important thing going on in the world right now but it’s just bugging the shit out of me.

Here’s yet another example of how The Onion can be more accurate than the actual sports media.

→ This is great. Here’s the media reporting on how the media is losing interest in Occupy Wall Street. Maybe the media should be focusing on why people are losing interest in the media.

03.24.11 – a thursday

word

unctuous [uhngk-choo-uhs] adj. 1. characterized by excessive piousness or moral fervor, especially in an affected manner; excessively smooth, suave or smug 2. of the nature of or characteristic of an unguent or ointment; oily; greasy 3. having an oily or soapy feel, as certain minerals

birthday

Harry Houdini (1874), Joseph Barbera (1911), Gorgeous George (1915), Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919), Norman Fell (1924), Steve McQueen (1930), Nick Lowe (1949), Tommy Hilfiger (1951), Louie Anderson (1953), Robert Carradine (1954), Kelly LeBrock (1960), Star Jones (1962), Lara Flynn Boyle (1970), Megyn Price (1971), Alyson Hannigan (1974)

standpoint

Today, I’m continuing what I like to call My Favorite Music Of All-Time. That’s right. Even if it doesn’t particularly apply for this post, I have a feeling you’ll look past it and appreciate what’s going on here.

Yesterday, I touched on the fact that I have two iPods. The first one is a gigantic clunky thing, it’s screen illegible since the night the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series a few years back. See, I was in the parking lot of the ballpark the night history was being made.  Philadelphia erupted as Harry Kalas called Brad Lidge’s final stike and mayhem ensued. And, Buckley, my little orange tabby cat was not going to sit still while millions celebrated.

Cats are smarter than most dogs. Also, cats are smarter than most humans. Buckley is the exception. You could teach a kangaroo to do algebra before you could teach Buckley not to not put his nose in the flame from a candle. But one thing the dimwit has is heart, and lots of it. There isn’t a soul alive who, within five minutes of exposure to Buckley, doesn’t want to kidnap the little bastard and take him home.

And I tell you that to explain the following. The Phillies had won it all. Philadelphia was teeming at the edges. It was electric. And Buckley was not immune to the pulse of the celebration. I have no other way to explain why in the world the track shelving in my room would suddenly appear new to him, or why he would jump to the fourth tier of that shelving to attack a plate with a burnt-out candle on it, a plate that he would cause to careen off that fourth shelf and land squarely on my iPod, charging in its dock, resting with a false sense of security, unaware of the bullshit Buckley was up to.

That night, I got home earlier than most in the city, I suppose. I was high-fived out and, despite my many shortcomings, tipping over cars and burglarizing electronic stores just ain’t my thing. So I walked through the front door, trudged up the stairs and stumbled into my bedroom with a smile on my face.

The smile lasted roughly three seconds. There was a broken plate on the ground. Next to it, was an iPod dock in two pieces. And, inches away, almost at the foot of the bed was my iPod, holder of close t0 8,000 songs, face down, silver side up.

Out loud I said, “What the fuck is this?” And then I saw Buckley sitting on the bed. Even though he wasn’t capable of understanding much, the look in his eyes, the tightness in his back, the little fucker knew he did something wrong.

I picked up the iPod. The screen was (and still is) fractured in nine different places. I said a bunch of words I would never say in front of my Mom-Mom. I was furious. My hands were literally shaking. And I turned to Buckley and, even though I never had nor would I ever cause him physical harm, he braced himself for what was coming. The only thing I could think to do was to put him in the closet. So that’s where he went. And before you condemn me for whatever reason, Buckley’s bed was in the closet as were his toys and most of Kate’s makeup brushes. For the next fifteen minutes, I looked at my iPod, pushed all of the buttons and slowly realized it was beyond repair.

But it wasn’t. I hooked it up to the speakers and kept pushing the up button. Music came out. I connected it to my laptop and, lo and behold, there was my entire music library. The damn thing still worked.

I reached into the closet and scooped up Buckley. I held him in front of my face and apologized. He’d all ready moved on.

To this day, I can’t see what’s playing on my iPod and the battery lasts about nine whole minutes but if it’s plugged in it still plays all of those almost 8.000 songs. And yesterday, in keeping with the whole music theme of this week’s posts, I decided to try to listen to as many of them as possible with the intention of finding Six Good Songs In A Row.

Here is how it all shook out.

First

“Birdhouse In Your Soul” – They Might Be Giants

Second

“Sweet Pain” – Blues Traveler

Third

“Everywhere” – Billy Bragg

Fourth

“Nobody Weird Like Me” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Fifth

“That Says It All” – Duncan Sheik

Sixth

“Turn On Me” – The Shins

quotation

The next person to honk at me THE SECOND the fucking light turns green, is going to win a very special prize. Good luck, everyone! FYI, I was NOT driving while tweeting. I don’t do that. If I did, I wouldn’t be able to hold my crack pipe and fifth of jack. ↔ Kerri Kenney

tune

This was the seventh song. “Satisfied” by Squeeze. Call me all the names you want. I definitely like this song. Sorry.

gallimaufry

No gallimaufry today. Don’t pry. Just accept it.

02.22.10 – A Monday

word

pejorative [pi-jawruh-tiv, –jor-, pejuh-rey-, pee-juh-] adj. 1. having a disparaging, derogatory, or belittling effect or force: the pejorative affix -ling in princeling n. 2. a pejorative form or word, as poetaster

birthday

Rashi (1040), George Washington (1732), Jules Renard (1864), Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892), Buddy Tate (1913), Don Pardo (1918), Clarence 13X (1928), Ted Kennedy (1932), Jonathan Demme (1944), Robert Kardashian (1944), Harvey Mason (1947), Julius Erving (1950), Kyle MacLachlan (1959), Steve Irwin (1962), Vijay Singh (1963), Rachel Dratch (1966), Bradley Nowell (1968), Jeri Ryan (1968), Thomas Jane (1969), James Blunt (1974), Drew Barrymore (1975)

standpoint

The 2010 Winter Olympics are clearly invading my usually cynical mindset. As of last night, the USA had the most medals at 24 (7 gold, 7 silver, 10 bronze). So far, we’re kicking ass. And, for once, I’m paying attention and, as a result, I’ve learned a few things. Both about the actual games and myself.

→ First and foremost, I’d like withdraw my summary assassination of curling. Originally, it was irksome that everybody at my bar wanted to watch it. I tried to ignore it because customers are quirky in that they’re less likely to tip a bartender all that well when he makes sarcastic remarks about the program they requested he put on. And so I started watching it. While I still don’t think it’s technically a sport, I can’t deny it has a certain degree of entertainment value. It’s confusing to me why curling isn’t more popular in this country. It doesn’t seem to take a ton of energy, the strategy is pretty straightforward and, most likely, could be turned into one hell of a drinking game. Fellow citizens, what are we waiting for? By the way, even though I’ve altered my position on curling, I still maintain the brooms are superfluous.

→ From what I can tell, our country excels at sports involving a high risk of injury. We’re all over any event where the slightest wrong move or miscalculation could easily result in a broken neck. If it entails strapping some contraption(s) to your feet, going really fast and/or flying defenselessly through the air, we are more than eager to sign up. The ones in which we seem to be insufficient are those that seem less exciting. We’re not particularly enchanted with the idea of skiing up a hill. Rather, we’d like to be headed down it, preferably with the help of some rocket propulsion and there had better be some sort of ramp at the bottom so we can, like, do some kickass midair shit, you know?

→ Even in the Winter Olympics, it seems no one cares about the sport of ice hockey except the actual players and coaches. Oh, and also the entire population of Canada. And that’s a shame because there’s some high quality hockey being played right now so if you’re not watching, you’re missing out. To all you Canadians out there, I’d like to send some sympathy your way. It must’ve been hell on Earth to watch Team USA hand Team Canada that 5-3 loss last night. If you’re completely unaware of how seriously our friends to the North take the sport of ice hockey, just imagine if your football team lost in the Super Bowl and your baseball team lost Game 7 of the World Series. On the same day.

We’ve got one week left. Hopefully, our athletes can keep up the stellar work and give the citizens of every country in the world yet another reason to hate the good ole USA.

quotation

Don’t listen to those who say, you taking too big a chance. Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out by today. Most important, don’t listen when the little voice of fear inside you rears its ugly head and says. they all smarter than you out there. They’re more talented, they’re taller, blonder, prettier, luckier, and they have connections. I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity, and cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts, and do not make success or failure the criteria by which you live, the chances are you’ll be a person worthy of your own respects.Neil Simon

tune

In honor of Bradley Nowell’s birthday, I’m giving you my favorite son by his band, Sublime. Aptly, it’s titled “Greatest Hits.”

gallimaufry

Andrew Koenig, the son of Star Trek actor Walter Koenig, known primarily for playing the role of “Boner” on the 80s sitcom Growing Pains, has been missing since Valentine’s Day. If you know anything about his whereabouts, get in touch with the authorities. Here’s hoping the guy returns home safely.

→ If dolphins ever gain the ability to walk upon land, there’s a good chance they would achieve world domination. Don’t believe me? Watch this video and tell me I’m wrong. I dare you.

→ Only five episodes into the first season of the HBO series The Wire and I’m tempted to declare it the best cop show in the history of the world, a title currently held by my beloved NYPD Blue.

02.19.10 – A Friday

word

alacrity [uhlak-ri-tee] n. 1. cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness: We accepted the invitation with alacrity 2. liveliness; briskness

birthday

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473), Lee Marvin (1924), Smokey Robinson (1940), Big John Studd (1948), Jeff Daniels (1955), Dave Wakeling (1956), Falco (1957), Seal (1963), Leroy (1965), Jon Fishman (1965), Justine Bateman (1966), Benicio del Toro (1967)

standpoint

Philadelphia is stoked. Really stoked. Yesterday, was the (un)official beginning of the Philadelphia Phillies 2010 season as pitchers and catchers reported to Clearwater FL for the start of training camp.

And so it begins.

Since winning the World Series two years ago and coming so very close last year, the Phillies have assumed the mantle of bringing the city another world championship, a job they inherited from the Philadelphia Eagles. Most likely, the guys on the team relish their roles as saviors of the city. Why wouldn’t they? They’re professional athletes and that’s what every professional athlete wants, right? At least they should.

After losing to the New York Yankees in the World Series last November, team management didn’t just sit around and wait for next season. In what some are calling one of the biggest baseball trades ever, essentially the Phillies got Roy Halladay and sent Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners. Then they went out and signed some free agents, the biggest one being Placido Polanco, who played for the team from 2002-2005, to a 3-year $16M deal. Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Chad Durbin and Carlos Ruiz were all re-signed. Gone are Brett Myers, Pedro Feliz, Pedro Martinez and Chan Ho Park. Brad Lidge and Cole Hamels appear ready to rebound from their respective disastrous seasons.

So presumably the team is looking pretty good. CBS Sportsline has the Phillies 5th in its preseason power rankings. Most every other baseball authority has them among MLB’s top teams.

But, as they say, there’s a reason they play the games. You never know, the Phillies could let the city down this year. Then again, they could recapture the championship and give Philadelphia the parade its almost unhealthily fixated upon.

Only time will tell. I, for one, hope the players can handle the weight of an entire city’s hopes and dreams riding on their backs. And I, for one, think they will.

quotation

Life isn’t divided into genres. It’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you’re lucky.Alan Moore

tune

The Samples was one of the best bands around back in the 90s. Seemed like a pretty cool bunch of guys, as well. They’d let anyone tape their shows right from the soundboard. One of their best live songs was “Feel Us Shaking.”

gallimaufry

I understand that paintball can be fun and cathartic and I’m not knocking the activity at all. Really. I’m not. But is there any reason for a paintball turret gun that shoots 34 rounds per second?

→ Are you a criminal who likes to break into houses but you hate doing all that pesky legwork? Are they home? Are they not home? Well, now there’s a website that’s going to make your job just a little easier. Check out PleaseRobMe.com. You won’t be sorry. Good luck in your future endeavors.

→ How in the world did Lower Merion Township think they could get away with spying on high school kids through the cameras in the laptops they distributed to them? Better yet, it doesn’t even appear they thought there was any transgression in the first place. Holy shit the world is messed up.

11.10.09 – A Tuesday

WORD

animus [anuh-muhs] n. 1. strong dislike or enmity; hostile attitude; animosity 2. purpose; intention; animating spirit 3. (in the psychology of C. G. Jung) the masculine principle, esp. as present in women

BIRTHDAY

Martin Luther (1483), Winston Churchill (1871), Russell Johnson (1924), Richard Burton (1925), Ennio Morricone (1928), Roy Scheider (1932), Russell Means (1939), Saxby Chambliss (1943), Tim Rice (1944), Sinbad (1956), Linda Cohn (1959), Mackenzie Phillips (1959), Neil Gaiman (1960), Michael Jai White (1967), Tracy Morgan (1968), Warren G. (1970), Brittany Murphy (1977), Eve (1978), Miranda Lambert (1983)

STANDPOINT

While I’m not writing this blog or reading a book or doing something of a social nature or whatever the hell else I feel like, I am a bartender. I like being a bartender. I like serving drinks, talking to people and making them laugh. It’s important to like what you do. For those of you out there who don’t like your chosen occupation, get out while you still can. That’s my advice to you. So there.

In any case, there’s one aspect of bartending that grates on my fucking nerves – listening to people drone on and on about something that matters so little to everyone everywhere and no one yet realizes it.

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of pointless nonsense about one subject in particular. You see, I bartend in a little town called Skippack. Down the road a ways is a slightly-larger, but no more important, town named Collegeville, cleverly because of the fact Ursinus College is located within it.

But nowadays, no one’s talking about Ursinus. To be fair, it’s likely they weren’t anyway. Nevertheless, there’s only one thing everyone wants to talk about no matter what: the grand opening of the Wegmans, a supermarket that, apparently, has the ability to capture the collective consciousness of everyone within a 45-minute drive.

It’s all anyone can talk about. So automatically I hate it. In general, I have a problem with anything that no one has a problem with. That’s mainly my problem with almost everything.

Here’s the thing. I don’t want to talk about a place you can go to buy food. (a) I’m not particularly dazzled by recollections of an, until now, never before seen selection of cheese. Also, (b) I’m not entirely impressed by the fact there’s a pub inside a supermarket. In addition, (c) I’m not remotely interested in the largest selection of seafood in the area. (These three things, by the way, are almost always offered as the main reasons one would ever go to Wegmans, although not the only ones.)

Granted, I am a single, 35-year old male (temporarily) living in an area greatly overpopulated with parents and children. For parents, it is a unique opportunity to provide for your family and afford yourself a few drinks while doing it, instead of having to wait to get home, unload the groceries, make dinner and put the kids to bed before opening a bottle of wine, or four, and get your buzz on. I am not ignorant of this fact. As I’ve been more exposed to parents as an adult, I’ve figured out that good parenting is directly proportionate to the amount of weekly alcohol consumption. It wasn’t that way when I was growing up but that’s the way it is now. At least, for the most part. Not saying all you parents out there are getting bombed every night. But a lot of you are. I can’t blame you. If I were a parent, I would probably be within your ranks.

In any case, hearing people swap stories about their first (and second and third) trip to Wegmans is about as depressing a level of converation that can be reached.

I refuse to participate.

So I’m not going. Even it means never talking to anyone again. Or, at least, until I move downtown in January. Then, I’ll have to talk to all the single folks about how fresh everything at Whole Foods seem to be. But, somehow, it doesn’t seem like it’ll suck half as much.

QUOTATION

The weirder you’re going to behave, the more normal you should look.  It works in reverse, too.  When I see a kid with three or four rings in his nose, I know there is absolutely nothing extraordinary about that person.P.J. O’Rourke

TUNE

Sometimes, all it takes is a killer line in a song to make listen to it about 93 times – over and over. Such is the case with Mike Doughty‘s tune, “I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress To Keep On Dancing.” It’s a good and quick song that features the line, “I’ll assess the essence of the mess…” Not sure why I like that so much. But I do. And that’s that.

GALLIMAUFRY

→ If you haven’t seen the video footage of University of New Mexico’s women’s soccer player, Elizabeth Lambert, you should. This chick is so completely crazy, I’m surprised I’ve never dated her.

→ Just want to officially thank the Philadelphia Phillies for coming oh-so-very-close to winning back-to-back World Series. I know the whole organization has been waiting for me to weigh in. Once again, I will state Philadelphia is a “baseball town.” I will keep saying that until everyone believes it. Because it’s the truth.

→ In a world gone mad, sometimes I read some news that alleviates all the numbness and actually allows me to feel again. The fact Steven Tyler has officially left Aerosmith was not that kind of news. I’m sure there’s a large group of people out there who care when a middle-aged singer leaves a band that hasn’t contributed anything musically solid in decades. I’m just not a member of that group.