Monday, November 19, 2012

Ten Frames Ain't Worth Ten Games: Andrew Bynum's Knee'r-do-well Season

Here on Mount Drinkmore, a large portion of my posts are sports-based, especially regarding the local Philadelphia teams: the Flyers, Phillies, and Eagles. But I rarely have written about the 76ers, or basketball in general. The reason is simple: I am no longer much of a basketball fan, having lost most interest in the sport after the retirement of Larry Bird and the game’s descent into a me-oriented showcase, to the extent that basketball, for me, is an afterthought.

However, my friend, Julie, requested that I post more about basketball—specifically about the 76ers and their latest acquisition, Andrew Bynum (above, in red shirt, at end of 76ers bench).

Alas, the plain fact is that I don’t keep abreast of the NBA beyond bleary eyed tolerance of basketball scores while awaiting those of the major sports during morning editions of ESPN SportsCenter. So I don’t have a lot of topics from which to choose, particularly about the local hoops team.

However, Andrew Bynum—or rather his absence from the lineup due to a knee injury—does afford a posting opportunity…even if it’s not for what my friend might hope.

After seven seasons as a Los Angeles Laker, during which he won two world championships and earned a spot on the 2012 All-NBA Second Team, Bynum was traded to Philadelphia on August 10, 2012. Bynum has had a history of knee problems; in fact, since playing a full 82 games in 2006-07, he has missed 146 of 410 contests—nearly all due to knee injuries. Now, 10 games into the current season, Bynum has yet to take the court for Philadelphia, having been declared inactive due to a bone bruise and cartilage damage in his right knee.

Adding both insult and injury to injury, Bynum recently admitted to aggravating his other knee by, very foolishly, bowling, thus not only setting back his return to the court, but, as is now being reported, imperiling his entire season—making his night at the lanes an especially brainless act considering he’ll be a free agent after this season.

Apart from that regurgitation of Bynum’s troubles, as well as his recent assortment of peculiar hairstyles, I have little else on which I can expound on the matter…

…except to say that I have been to Bynum, Montana, a speck of a town straddling Route 89 northwest of Great Falls, sitting quietly in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Little more than a break in the monotonous grandeur of Montana’s rolling plains, Bynum (whose downtown you see here) boasts a handful of houses, a small elementary school, post office, general store, and a few shops—including a “dinosaur center,” where one can buy authentic fossils.

Now, normally, comparing the travails of a single individual to an entire community would result in specious deductions; however, with a population of a mere 31 adults (according to the 2010 U.S. Census), Bynum, Montana, clearly is small enough to draw comparison with Andrew Bynum without running into wild assumptions arising from statistical variance.

Although I futilely scoured the Internet for statistics on knee injuries in Bynum, Montana—or at least Teton County, in which Bynum resides—it can be safely assumed that at least 1 resident of Bynum has suffered a knee injury of some sort, especially when one considers that, according to that same 2010 U.S. Census, nearly half of Bynum’s population is 65 years of age or older. Abetted by the fact that Montana winters cover the town’s streets with an abundance of ice, Bynum is a patellar catastrophe waiting to happen.

Potentially compounding Bynum’s natural knee hazards—and posing a threat especially to Bynum residents already hobbled by knee woes—nearby Choteau features the Alley Cat bowling lanes. The only bowling alley in all of Teton County, you can bet Bynum residents flock the 14 miles to the Alley Cat because there is literally nothing to do in Bynum for recreation (unless residents possess unimaginable tolerance for browsing stegosaurus bones).

According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 40.0% of Montanans age 25 to 64 possess a college degree. That means that approximately 8 of Bynum’s 17 residents between the ages of 18 and 64 hold a college degree. Add a few from Bynum’s elderly population, and perhaps a dozen Bynum residents are college graduatesleaving 19 with, at most, a high school education.

Andrew Bynum entered the NBA draft straight out of high school, foregoing a college educationthus, again, he is directly comparable to the segment of Bynum’s population lacking higher education.

Needless to say, one of the first things one learns in college is the importance of knee safety. (Most credible institutions cover it in freshman orientation.) And it’s virtually impossible in the college environment not to gain an appreciation for the basic dangers of bowling on already-damaged legs. (Having taken a bowling class for 4 credits during my senior year, I can attest to this personally—or at least to what a cute tush my teammate Stephanie had.) Therefore, those who do not attend college—such as Andrew Bynum and more than half of Bynum’s citizenry—are highly prone not only to knee injury, but to self-induced worsening of pre-existing knee injury (see artist's depiction above of a Bynum, Montana, resident who did not go to college).

Again, locating statistics on bowling-related knee injuries in Bynum proved difficult, but if the Alley Cat’s close proximity to Teton Medical Center—less than a mile—is any indication, then we can be sure that Bynum residents are suffering bowling-induced knee trauma with almost-epidemic frequency. Furthermore, the Alley Cat’s automated message stating its address and hours of operation well illustrates that its employees are too busy tending to injured bowlers to answer the phone. 

The numbers don’t lie: extrapolations derived from the data being beyond question, it is clear that Andrew Bynum’s sorry saga of bilateral knee injuries acutely mirrors that of Bynum, Montana’s, residents. None of those unfortunate Montanans has ever returned to the NBA. Thus, we need only look to the good people of Bynum, Montana, for a prognosis on the career of Andrew Bynum—and vice versa.

It is my sincere hope that this bit of basketball ephemera served to enlighten Mount Drinkmore readers and satisfy Julie, who, most likely, closed her Web browser four paragraphs ago...

(Photo of Sixers game copyright Comcast; image of Peter Griffin copyright Fox.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ian Anderson, My Friend, Is Blowin' in the Wind...

Hurricane Sandy's wind is really beginning to howl through the trees right now...and I'm thinking that an accurate gauge of hurricane strength would be how the wind would affect Ian Anderson, were he standing outside, playing his flute in his trademark one-legged stance. For example, if he gets blown over, the wind is indeed of Category 1 force. In fact, I propose the following Ian Anderson–based grading system for hurricane-force winds:

Category 1: Ian Anderson, in one-legged, flute-playing stance, blown over but able to retain place once back on both legs.

Category 2: Ian Anderson blown over and rolled across parking lot.

Category 3: Ian Anderson either blown into an open dumpster or smashed against it with force enough for the thud to be heard at a distance of 100 yards.

Category 4: Wind powerful enough to shear Ian Anderson's long, wild, minstrel-in-the-gallery locks down to the businessman-like, salmon-farming buzzcut he has donned since the late 1990s.

Category 5: Ian Anderson taken airborne by wind and never seen again; flute also taken airborne, and force of wind coarsing through it causes the flute to play the intro to "Nothing Is Easy" while it, too, disappears from view.

Another excellent gauge of Sandy's power would have been to put Gary Sandy ("Andy Travis" of WKRP in Cincinnati fame) outside during the storm and observe if Sandy's wind had any adverse effect on his perfect, unmussable hair. Of course, this Gary Sandy–based measurement would only be pertinent for Hurricane Sandy.

Or a future Hurricane Gary.

The National Weather Service would do well to adopt these measurements...

(Photo of Gary Sandy copyright CBS.)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Buy My Black Handbag, Woman

So I come across SPNBC, the home-shopping channel of NBC, last night...and what are they selling? Carlos by Carlos Santana: "A collection of trendy handbags and shoes from designer Carlos Santana."

It's a long way from Woodstock to In Stock...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oye como va, not cheap no
Pluma tote goin' fast, you betcha
Oye como va, not cheap no
Lucero pa', Barrel Satchel


Oye como va, shoes also
Stillettos y flats, look hotta
Oye como va, sold out-a
Not enough peso, from guitar-a

Dah-dah-dah-dah-DAH-duh-dah...HUUH!

 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Camera Never Lies...When It Dies, Man, When It Dies, He Dies...

This 1967 photo of Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor surfaced recently in Elizabeth Taylor: Queen of the Silver Screen, by Ian Lloyd.

But, oh man, this photo should have been one of the dossier photos seen when Capt. Willard leafs through Col. Kurtz's file on the boat in Apocalypse Now. It captures perfectly Kurtz's shattered psyche, and, dating from 1967, inherently possesses the perfect elements of dress, hairstyle, and photographic quality for a snapshot that, in the context of the film, would date from the early to mid-1960s.

Imagine seeing this snapshot among the army photos and documents chronicling Kurtz's rise through the ranks and descent into madness, as Willard narrates, "He broke from them, and then he broke from himself. I'd never seen a man so broken up and ripped apart."

Such verisimilitude portraying that Col. Kurtz had indeed gone totally insane...even if this photo tacitly implies that he broke from himself first.

It's a shame that this photo wasn't available to Francis Ford Coppola during principal photography—but Coppola could re-cut the film to insert it. Why not? There already are so many re-edited and reduxed versions that one more hardly seems a big deal.

Perhaps for Apocalypse Now's 35th anniversary...

I hope Coppola will; this photo would add one more layer of weird to this ultimate tale of the Vietnam War's insanity.

(Photo from Apocalypse Now copyright Zoetrope Studios.)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Two Thoughts I Could Not A-Voight

I was watching some of Deliverance last night, and I got to thinkin' that the Seinfeld episode, "The Mom & Pop Store," in which George believes he bought Jon Voight, the actor's, Chrysler LeBaron convertible should've been about George purchasing a canoe because he thought it once belonged to Jon Voight. After all, the only real on-screen mode of transportation with which Voight is famously identified is a canoe (unless you wanna count FDR's wheelchair in Pearl Harbor or Luke Martin's wheelchair in Coming Home—but a Seinfeld "wheelchair" episode ["The Handicap Spot"] had already been done)...

Every hillbilly's talkin' at me
I can't understand a word they're sayin'
Just rowin' around in Jon Voight's canoe



And in another Jon Voight–related matter, my 35-and-over baseball season recently ended...with my team losing in the semifinals. Batting an even .300 over three games, as well as drawing three bases on balls, I'm satisfied that I pulled my weight in our effort.

Or did I?

It occurred to me several days after we were eliminated that I could have taken the opportunity after at least one of those Ball Four's to yell at the opposing pitcher a Ratso Rizzo–esque "I'm walkin' here!" while running to first base. This most famous quote from Midnight Cowboy—and its accompanying profanities and obscene gestures—likely would have unsettled the pitcher, providing us a chance for a big inning that may well have swung the series in our favor. Ultimately, I don't think I can be faulted for failing to try this tactic...but you can be sure I'm going to study it all winter and practice my "Ratso" intently during spring training so I'll have it ready for Opening Day 2013!

(Image from Deliverance copyright Warner Brothers; image from Seinfeld copyright NBC; image from Midnight Cowboy copyright United Artists.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Knowing: The Rabbits Are Coming, Doomsday! Doomsday!

So I watched some of the Nicolas Cage science-fiction thriller, Knowing, last night. I saw it in the theater, in 2009, and really liked the film's concept, although I thought it bogged down into the formulaic traps of many recent end-of-the-world movies. But last night, I noticed something that eluded me upon first viewing: even though the whispering aliens provided for humanity to survive—our species is still doomed.

As shown in the last scene, on the "Eden" planet, there are about half a dozen ships departing after dropping off their presumed pair of children. So, including Caleb and Abby, there are maybe five other pairs of "Adam and Eves" to rekindle humankind. (Even if there are more ships across the planet, and thus more pairs of children, you will see that this is essentially irrelevant...)

We are doomed because the aliens foolishly—and without the foresight one would assume superior beings to possess—allowed Caleb and Abby to bring that pair of rabbits with them. Forget that the rabbits are likely no more than an afterthought to the aliens, and merely an on-screen symbol of the fertility that these children will one day need to regenerate the human race—we all know the rabbit's well-deserved reputation for rapid breeding.

According to Dana Krempels, PhD, of the University of Miami's Department of Biology, a single female rabbit can birth up to 14 bunnies. Dr. Krempels then goes on to base her estimates (http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/scary.html) of rabbit reproduction on just three female offspring (rather than at least six to eight of that litter likely being female), using, again, a very conservative time frame of six months (a female produces a litter one month after impregnation and, in contrast to Krempels' six-month parameter, can become pregnant again almost immediately after giving birth).

By the end of the first year on planet "Eden," there would be approximately 37 female rabbits. By the end of Year Two, more than 1300 rabbits. Within three years, more than 50,000—and Caleb and Abby haven't yet even reached their teens...

So...keeping in mind that Caleb and Abby—and, likely, the rest of the young Adam and Eves—won't reach childbearing age for at least five years after arriving on "Eden" (probably longer), the rabbit population will be growing exponentially, with no competition from humans. By the time that each pair of "Adam and Eves" can produce one child—making, at most, a half-dozen offspring across this "Eden" planet—rabbits will outnumber humans by the tens of millions, and, as you can see from Dr. Krempels' Year 6 and Year 7 estimates, the population will further explode into the tens of billions, with no end in sight. The ecosystem will be overrun, and eventually destroyed, by rabbits, forcing humanity into extinction. Even if the kids learn how to construct rabbit traps and acquire a taste for hassenpfeffer, they won't put a dent in this leporine ascendancy. Besides, enjoying such dominance, rabbits will probably grow to gargantuan proportions, as in Night of the Lepus, and begin to feed on the humans. Regardless, all traces of human existence would be gone from this rabbit-packed planet in a handful of years.

This nightmare scenario was literally drawn for us in 1946 by Looney Tunes. In "The Big Snooze" (Dir. B. Clampett; Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.), Elmer Fudd's serene dream is invaded by Bugs Bunny, wreaking his rabbit-based havoc. We can see the sleeping Elmer physically shaking in distress as, in his dream, he is trampled by a parade of neon rabbits. Within the dream, Elmer laments, "Billions and twillions of wabbits! Where are they all coming fwom?"

At an adding machine, the quick-witted, and quick-breeding, Bugs retorts, "From me, doc! I'm multiplyin', see? I'm multiplyin'!"

Soon after, Elmer, bound to railroad tracks, cries in a-go-NEE as he's run over by the "Super Chief," a seemingly endless train of rabbits.

Like the 50-year-old page of apparently random numbers that serves as humanity's warning of its doom in Knowing, "The Big Snooze," itself, serves as a warning for those to be spared in Knowing. Of course, Caleb and Abby might be too young to ever have seen "The Big Snooze"—and certainly too young to have grasped its message even if they had—but John Koestler (Nicolas Cage's character), like anyone of his generation, almost certainly had seen "The Big Snooze" at some point in his life and, being a professor of astrophysics at MIT, unquestionably should have understood its dire warning of a race that humanity simply cannot win.

Thanks for nothing, benevolent aliens!

(Images from Knowing copyright Summit Entertainment; images from Looney Tunes copyright Warner Brothers.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fee-Fifield-Fo-Fum...I Hear the Thud of an English Drum!

In Ridley Scott's Prometheus, we see in our introduction to the android, David, that he has modeled his own facial appearance and grooming on Peter O'Toole's Lawrence of Arabia, which is confirmed by David, himself, watching the film with wide-eyed admiration.

Symbolism, both implicit and explicit, abounds in Prometheus, and like David idolizing his celluloid hero, another character clearly has copped the look of a pop-culture legend from their distant past: Fifield, the prickly English geologist, undeniably worships circa-1966 Ginger Baker. Apart from Fifield's mohawk and the geometric tattoos gracing the side of his cranium...well, see for yourself how much the fiery redhead resembles Cream's mighty drummer, right down to their patterned shirts:

Ridley Scott never hints whether rock music still exists in the late-21st century—when Prometheus is set—but we know that at least some of Fifield's generation rocks out to the music of their great-grandparents. In fact, Capt. Janek is seen playing an accordion that he boasts "once belonged to Stephen Stills."

Of course, the expedition to LV-223 would have no need of a rock musician, so why not make Fifield the next-best thing, at least symbolically: a geologist, a studier of rocks? ("I love rocks," Fifield states early into the film.)

Fifield even speaks with the same Cockney accent—albeit slightly softer—as Ginger. (This is little surprise, as the actor who portrays Fifield, Sean Harris, was born in Bethnal Green, about five miles from Baker's home town of Lewisham. And for good measure, Harris was born in 1966—just as Ginger was finding superstardom with Cream.)

Abetting the strong physical resemblance between Fifield and Baker, Cream's music—and Ginger's martial, polyrhythmic drumming with it—easily could have constituted the Prometheus soundtrack. Such songs as "World of Pain"; "We're Going Wrong" (perfectly echoing Elizabeth Shaw's anguished realization, "We were so wrong..."); and especially "Strange Brew" (with its "killin' what's inside of you" nod to the deadly black liquid) would have ideally complemented the on-screen horrors of LV-223. As well, several lines of "Tales of Brave Ulysses" paint a more fanciful—yet just as stark—portrayal of the crew's, and the Engineers', downfall: "But you rode upon a steamer to the violence of the sun" and "Carving deep blue ripples in the tissues of your mind" (as we see happen to the sacrificial Engineer in the film's opening scene), among others.

Even after Fifield is grotesquely mutated by the black liquid, he still bears a resemblance to Ginger—not just aesthetically (see unmutated yet still scary Ginger below), but in behavior, as Fifield goes on a psychotic spree, killing several of the crew with his now-superhuman strength...becoming, like the title of Ginger's recent autobiography, a quintessential hellraiser. Baker, though never killing anyone, became legend for his incendiary temper and proclivity for fighting—Fifield's ultimate fate.

Furthermore, Fifield's contentious relationship with similarly doomed crewmate, Millburn, mirrors Baker's thorny relationship with Cream bassist, Jack Bruce. Fifield coldly countering Millburn's offer of an introductory handshake with, "I ain't here to be your friend—I'm here to make money. You got that?" pretty much encapsulates any studio session or moment on tour between Baker and Bruce in their decades-long, barely tolerated association.

And Fifield also shares Ginger's penchant for drug use. As Fifield and Millburn re-enter the chamber with the dozens of vases containing the black liquid, Fifield's helmet fills with smoke, which he more than tongue-in-cheekly concedes to Millburn is not tobacco. Baker has been very candid about his drug use, including long-time heroin addiction, but, as it would be very difficult to inject smack through a spacesuit or snort coke while wearing his helmet, Fifield's cannabinoid tip of the cap to Ginger seems the best way to go.

Now, it may be too much to contend that the mutated Fifield's creepy "sitting position" owes anything to Ginger Baker's signature drum solo, "Toad," but there can be no doubt that, more than 120 years after Cream's heyday, Fifield is paying interstellar homage to the great Ginger Baker.








(Photos from Prometheus copyright 20th Century Fox.)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Once Hittin'...Bryce, Why?

Bryce Harper, the Washington Nationals’ highly touted hope for the future, recorded his first Major League hit last night at Dodger Stadium. Smashing a Chad Billingsley fastball to the centerfield wall, Harper flung off his helmet while racing toward second base—an action commented upon both by the Nationals’ play-by-play announcer at the time and the ESPN anchorman during highlights the following morning.


Let's set the record straight right off the metaphorical and literal bats: I did this habitually in Little League and Senior League—well, as habitually as a player who hit in the low .200s could—and more because the helmet just annoyed me rather than for any trace of flash.

Yet, incorrectly, this is now a signature moment in Harper’s just-begun career.

I feel a little bit like Sam Rice, the (ironically) Washington Senators' outfielder who made an incredible catch while falling into the bleachers during the 1925 World Series, yet whose accomplishment has faded into near-obscurity because no film or videotape of it exists, unlike Willie Mays' oft-seen 1954 World Series catch.

It would have been nice—and fair—had ESPN mentioned during the highlight that I was discarding my helmet in abandon more than a decade before Harper’s birth. Okay, perhaps the Elias Sports Bureau doesn’t possess documentation on this, but just ask any of my teammates during the 1980-83 seasons. Or better yet, ask Pete Belafsky, the opposing catcher whom I caught napping as he adjusted his gear after a play without calling “time,” while I sprinted to an undefended plate just ahead of the pitcher racing from the mound—throwing off my helmet halfway down the line and signaling myself safe before the umpire did.

It’s been done, Bryce.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Maybe Coke Does Add Life...Where Nature's At Fault

In February 2010, Natasha Harris, a 30-year-old woman from Invercargill, New Zealand, died of a heart attack. This past Thursday, a pathologist testified during an inquest that Ms. Harris probably suffered from hypokalemia, which can contribute to heart problems, and toxic levels of caffeine—both likely resulting from her excessive intake of Coca-Cola.

As the Associated Press reported:

Experts say a New Zealand woman's 2-gallon-a-day Coca-Cola habit probably contributed to her death, a conclusion that led the soft-drink giant to note that even water can be deadly in excessive amounts.

Two gallons a day—that's four to five 2-liter bottles of Coca-Cola from morning til night. Every day.

Now, I'm not one to defend giant, heartless corporations; however, considering that the life expectancy of a New Zealander is probably not much longer than 20 years because the nation is part of the Ring of Fire—the edge of the Pacific tectonic plate highly prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions—you could say that drinking all that Coke prolonged this woman's life by nearly a decade.

Rather than utilizing the sophistic and easily assailable claim that "even water can be deadly in excessive amounts," why is Coca-Cola not defending itself with my highly scientific reasoning?

In other words: WHY HASN'T COCA-COLA HIRED ME AS ITS CORPORATE SPOKESMAN?!

(Photo of Coca-Cola bottles copyright Reuters; Ring of Fire map copyright BBC.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Which Is More Desirable: A High-School Suck or a Cup-Winning Puck?

This photo presently is making the Internet rounds. That's the Boston Bruins' Tyler Seguin grinning like he remembers those two pretty fans. Only twenty years old at present, that sweet memory should still be fresh in Tyler's mind.

I suggest that this placard be hoisted to the Boston Gahden rafters to hang alongside the retired number 4 of Bobby Orr.

Let's face it: Bobby Orr's Stanley Cup–winning leap is about on par with getting one's dick sucked by two high-school girls...



Monday, April 16, 2012

That's the Way Pittsburgh Became The Bylsma Punks

Game 3 of the Flyers-Penguins first-round playoff series degenerated into a barroom brawl between cross-state rivals that love to hate each other. En route to a third-straight loss that would put them on the brink of an early playoff exit, Pittsburgh got downright dirty, prompting several fights and ejections.

Sidney Crosby—long teased throughout the league as "Cindy" for his tendency to whine, and thus positioned in Cindy's square, at bottom-right—precipitated Pittsburgh's cheap play by jabbing several time at a puck already covered in goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov's glove. When Flyers captain Claude Giroux came to his goalie's defense and pushed Crosby, the Penguins captain—who missed more than 100 games over two seasons after suffering a concussion—shoved Giroux's head into the glass and, during the ensuing fight, took a swing at him while Giroux was wrapped up by one of the linesmen.

Then, after Flyer Brayden Schenn blasted Penguins defenseman Paul Martin with a booming hit, Pittsburgh enforcer Arron Asham (Mike Brady's spot, bottom-center) cross-checked Schenn under chin, sending him sprawling to the ice, pounced on him, and punched Schenn while he lay prone. Schenn clearly charged Martin, but for Asham—well known as a fighter—to cross-check a smaller player rather than drop the gloves...and then to hit a man as he lay defenseless on the ice...is the apex of cheap play. Asham received an immediate match penalty, and later a four-game suspension.

Early in the third period, James Neal (Peter Brady's spot, center-right) left his feet and intentionally blindsided Sean Couturier with a forearm to the head, leaving the Philadelphia rookie lying senseless on the ice for several moments. Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette was understandably furious with Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma (Alice's spot, center square) for allowing—perhaps even encouraging—his players to goon it up. Unbelievably, Neal received no penalty.

So, altogether now... 
 
Here's a story
Of a lanky lady
Who whines and moans and knocks away others' gloves
Cindy scores a lot of goals
But like her mother
She cries like a little girl

Here's a story
Of a coach named Danny
Who was bringing up two dozen boys of his own
They were twenty-five men
Skating all together
Yet by the Flyers they were all owned

Til the one day when Cindy came to Philly
And they went head-hunting and threw a sucker punch
That this group might play like the Corleone family
That's the way they all became the Bylsma Punks

The Bylsma Punks
The Bylsma Punks
That's the way they became...the Bylsma Punks

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Younger Generation's Evil Spell

Two grade schools in Cumming, Ga., were shut down yesterday when a student at nearby Lanier Technical College inadvertently sent a text reading, ”Gunman be at West Hall Today.”

Inadvertently because the student intended to text "Gunna be at West Hall Today.”

However, the smartphone's auto-correct changed the first word to Gunman, and the student sent the text before noticing the gaffe.

What really bothers me about this is the student's use of gunna.

Since when has going to ever been incorrectly spelled in any way but gonna?

Gunna is a bastardization far enough from its progenitor that it has no place in made-up parlance. It would be like texting the word for by using a 5...

ÖMphG, what is happening to the state of America's younger generation when it can no longer properly spell incorrectly?

(Image copyright ABCNews.)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones' Locker Is Opportunity's Knocker

Davy Jones, lead singer of The Monkees and the object of fantasy for millions of teenage girls in the 1960s, died of a heart attack earlier today. Only 66 years old, this is a sad passing, both for a man not yet reached the end of the road and for fans of the made-to-order Beatles knockoff group—which actually recorded some very good songs during its brief run in the 1960s.

Yet as the music world mourns Davy Jones' passing, opportunity knocks for David Bowie, who—as is well known—was born David Jones but changed his surname to Bowie so as not to be confused with The Monkees' vocalist. As an aspiring singer hoping to hop the Tin Pan Alley conduit to stardom, little-known David Jones took the surname of the legendary defender of The Alamo, who also gave his name to the knife he used, so as to avoid countless inevitable comments that he was much taller in person than on telly next to Mickey Dolenz.

Sure, David Bowie has achieved great success under his adopted name, and although some might consider it career suicide to return to his birth name after more than forty years as an icon known by his present appellation, when has changing names ever hindered David Bowie a/k/a Ziggy Stardust a/k/a the Thin White Duke a/k/a Moishe McManus (from his aborted 1983 Let's Hora project)?

So we say rest in peace to the man who crooned "Daydream Believer" and wait to see if David Bowie takes this rare opportunity to go home again.

Time may change you, David Bowie
But Davy Jones is covered with lime

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quid Provo Quo: Circumsizing Up Proxy Baptism

Once again, Mormons have “baptized” Anne Frank, the teenage Jewish girl whose diary chronicling her years in hiding from the Nazis stands as a testament both to human spirit and the cruelty and degradation that necessitated it. This baptism took place in the Dominican Republic, although the rite has been performed, in one form or another, many times since the late 1980s. And, in fact, an agreement had to be reached (in 1995) between Jewish and Mormon leaders for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to stop permitting the practice of baptizing Holocaust victims.

Mormons also recently baptized the late Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal’s deceased parents, and they seem geared to do the same for still-living Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel (whose name was entered into the Mormons’ database of proxy-baptism candidates).

Wiesel, himself, recently called on Republican presidential candidate and Mormon Mitt Romney to denounce these proxy baptisms, but Romney has refused comment, so infer what you will about his beliefs and/or his spine. (In turn, Romney can infer that he won’t be getting my vote should he win the nomination.)

Proxy baptism isn’t merely a disgusting affront to Jews—it’s a mandate of our “unworthiness” and the “need” to save Jewish souls. This is really dangerous stuff—tantamount to cultural identity theft and a concrete example of how heretical at least some Mormons regard Judaism. And as history has proved over and over, such attitudes eventually flare into violence and blood.

The Mormon Church has “apologized” for each of these proxy baptisms but has, in practicality, done nothing to stop it. Yet even if it’s just a fringe element of the Mormon Church, a fringe element often represents the tip of an iceberg—just as anti-Semitism or racial prejudice run far deeper into the populace than just bigots uninhibited enough to “go on record.”

So I say dig up the corpses of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and give them a ceremonial bris, the ritual circumcision performed by a rabbi.

Because living Jews shouldn’t take this lying down, especially when deceased Jews can do nothing else.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fourteen-Carrot Ratings Gold

I've never particularly been a fan of Glenn Close—perhaps unfairly holding against her the sacrilegious remake of The Lion in Winter, my all-time favorite film, as well as never warming to The Big Chill—but my respect for Close just spiked.

I don't know the source of this photograph—it certainly has the "feel" of a late-night talk show, which would explain such a goofy stunt as this—but Glenn Close has never looked so good to me. Possessing such a talent, I finally understand what Michael Douglas saw in her in Fatal Attraction.

Now if only I could find a photo of the stunningly attractive Anne Archer doing this—preferably with rutabagas...