Wisdom from Samuel Johnson, Lexicographer

In the harsh climate of endless election cycle, let us spare a brief moment in consideration of the wisdom from the long-dead English lexicographer Samuel Johnson.

Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

This is best demonstrated currently by the odious, orange-visaged canker-blossom of the moment I need not name.

Johnson’s wisdom (and misogyny) are easily internet-viewable. Many a chestnut awaits the curious reader:

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Filed under Being Human, Lexicography


Kalamazoo warrior-improv-poet Dann Sytsma posted this video of our Piebenga Plumbing show in Kalamazoo in March:

Dann Sytsma thank you. Now I know you can use earbuds as micropones that feed into your mobile, which can record audio files, later laid over the video. So we’re looking at some sophisticated multi-track action Dann’s put together here. I am inordinately pleased not only by the slam-bang audio solution (ever the bane of reasonable live improv recording) but for just being reminded that smart phones are mainly computers many times more advanced than the ones with which they staged the moon landings in Burbank. Pocket computers. I know this is blase, but seriously, pocket computers from science fiction.

Dann and I performed together in places like a coffee shop or a wind-tunnel outdoor festival or in the basement of a church. It was actually pretty good practice for the periodic humiliation of being an improvisor.

I remember also being on the phone with him talking about jazz music for about an hour one time. This is not a joke.

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A google search yesterday as a result of randomly rewatching this clip from a 2010 Ginger’s Ale House (now AJ Hudson’s) improvised show with my man Neal Dandade provided a surprising internet revelation. My dubious usage of the made-up and not-real word “ignominiable” prompted said search, and one choice internet hotlink later I was gazing upon this little chestnut:

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Blizzard Limo selfshot

We received over a foot of snow yesterday. And yet, as seen on the streets of snowy Chicago last night:

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Poetry in Telecasting

NBCSN’s Arlo White is a fount of pure wordsmithery. Amuse-toi with this chestnut from the 56th minute of today’s Chelsea-Man City broadcast, wherein he delivered the following crackerjack commentary live:

Fernandinho opens the play up to find Navas. Support arriving from Silva. Tries the give and go. Matic was back but Silva held onto it…then threaded it through to Navas. Here comes the cross  and Fernandinho with the header, it’s AN AWKWARD ONE! The bounce almost deceived Courtois.

His footwork was true.

And he concedes the corner with a fine save.

All the names are Man City players except Courtois, the Belgian Chelsea goalkeeper (he the opposing goalie of last summer’s infamous Tim-Howard-again-etching-his-name-on-our-hearts-matchup). The caps denote volume, the italics a pensive emphasis, and the spaces a tantalizing whisper of a pause. Laid atop live game-play it was a masterstroke.

The immediately following work by Graeme Le Saux was less cogent but almost as compelling during the replay:

That’s quality football again by Navas. Works the one-two really well, that’s an excellent ball in, Fernandinho arriving late. And that downward header…nearly caught Courtois out. And that bounce, it’s just looping and dipping under the bar, isn’t it, Courtois alert to the danger.

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A Wordsmith in East Lansing Makes College Gameday


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Crocodile Lounge

Despite a last minute venue problem, my brother/hero Scott Piebenga has rescheduled our Piebenga Plumbing show tomorrow (Friday Aug 8th) from it’s usual time and location to 9pm at the Crocodile Lounge, 1540 N. Milwaukee Ave right here in Chicawgo. Saved from disaster! Improv! Huzzah!

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This is fascinating

Which domestic league is best represented in the World Cup as it progresses? Feast your eyes!

Highly clickable.


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The irrepressably-enjoyable Rog Bennett of Men in Blazers has been all over this but in the anxious run-up to US-Portugal on Sunday, it’s fun to review how despite Hondouras’ tough losses, the CONCACAF teams are doing unbelievably well! Costa Rica with six points are you kidding me? Mexico holds Brazil? Wow.

It fled my recollection, but I know I looked up the acronym at some point, and it felt like this scrappy display from the top three teams in international football’s longest weirdest-titled body merits some love for our crazy confed.  (The second best name in my book is CONMEBOL, third is OFC, O for Oceania. I told a buddy recently about Mexico squeaking into the World Cup via a two leg playoff with the winner from Oceania and he laughed out loud, “Do they play Atlantis?”  Unbeatable because they’re impossible to find.)

The most sticktuitive lil confed’s acronym stands for the much too-logical (if slightly odd grammatically) “the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Island Association Football.”

CONCACAFés all ’round!


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Life and Death and the World Cup

In the wake of their 5-1 drubbing by der Nederlanden in the group opener, hard-luck (or just bad?) Spanish/Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has claimed that their next game against Chile is ‘life or death.’

Currently Colombia is playing Greece, bringing to mind the tragic 1994 death of Colombian defender Andrés Escobar. His own-goal against the United States lead in part to a 2-1 loss in the World Cup that year, which likely lead to him being shot to death by a bodyguard of a cartel leader.

Colombia 1994 and Spain 2014 are more than a little different, but even still, hopefully Casillas is dead wrong.


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Filed under Association Football, Poor Decorum