Monday, February 23, 2015

Does the Red Carpet Match the Drapes?*

Every February we’re made to fulfill some sort of unspoken social agreement by taking a few moments out of our lives to pretend to care about something that we instantly forget about by the end of the news cycle. But enough about National Weatherman’s Day.** I’m going to talk about the Oscars instead.

Boy oh boy. So the Oscars are tonight. What is this, the 99,923rd Academy Awards show? I’ve lost both count and interest. And who can blame me?

Typically, if history is any guide, I’d use this opportunity to talk about the movies that are up for awards, and possibly give quick synopses of their plots. But my customary Sunday afternoon ennui is preventing me from rolling out of bed, let alone being bothered to see what movies have been nominated this year. Probably something foreign. Maybe something with Judy Dench in it. Perhaps something historical, or even a biopic? The latest Adam Sandler rom-com? All of those are valid options.

I know one thing for sure when it comes to movies that are up for “Best Picture”: they’re never fun movies that people like. The flicks nominated for that category are usually movies made by one part of Hollywood, for another part of Hollywood. Complete industry insider bullshit. We call that CINEMA. Meanwhile, the popular movies are tossed away as offal for the masses.

Don’t get me wrong. I know the difference between good and popular. Back in the early “naughts” I had an argument with a guy who kept telling me The Strokes were the BEST, because they had the highest-selling album of the year. I laughed at him. For a long time. A decade later and time has borne my truth. Half of you are asking who The Strokes even are!

I also know that there are plenty of award shows and competitions out there where nominees are voted on by the cretinous whims of the Great Unwashed. Hell, that’s how we elect our leaders. But to me, it seems odd that the Oscars are so mainstream for such an insider event.  Why are we supposed to care what filmmakers think about other filmmakers? It certainly doesn’t shame the bad filmmakers into quitting (isn’t that right Brett Ratner?). Are we being guilted into liking movies that don’t really appeal to us? Why do I have to like Whiplash? The concept of jazz drummers has never been interesting to me in the least. And I don’t want to feel bad because my commoner brain was entertained by Lucy.

There are people who do their best to go out and watch each “Best Picture” nominee picture each year. You probably know people like that too. Investing far too much effort, time and energy into watching movies that you wouldn’t normally watch on your own, (and you don’t get paid for it, no less) seems like the height of masochism. Actually, I take that back. Veganism is the height of masochism. And then, when they finish their viewings, these people can sit back and cultivate opinions on things that they never had input in. Sounds productive!

I think movie awards should be given out like Guinness gives records: the award stands until a better movie can beat it. If that means I, Frankenstein is the best movie for three or four years, then so be it. We could go some years with no Oscars being given out at all!

I’m not going to watch tonight. I never watch. Even with the gaffs, the flubs, the snubs, the grubs and the droogs, it’s not worth it. I’ll just have to find out tomorrow morning whose speech was cut short, who was wearing what Italian designer, (whose spring line us normies will run out to buy ASAP) who won for best Key Grip and the reasons behind why Kanye was even at the show in the first place, let alone whose speech he drunkenly interrupted.

And then next year, when February rolls around once more, we’ll poke our heads out of our burrows, like the majestic groundhog, cast our gaze across the barren winter landscape, sniff the fetid air, pretend like last year never happened, and proceed to do it all again.

Let’s just hope that next time, the Academy will stop ignoring Bruce Campbell’s many achievements.

*Could have gone with a period joke. Almost did. But didn’t. You’re welcome.

**A real thing. Never let it be said that you don’t learn shit reading my ridiculousness

Monday, February 09, 2015

A Lovely Partnership (or, How To Get Married and Mean It)

A few weeks ago, in the Washington Post (motto: “Newspapers--not just for lining the bottoms of bird cages!”) I read this fascinating wedding announcement.
  “Woah, woah, woah, Josh,” You’re no doubt saying out loud to yourself like a crazy person. “Why, in the name of Zeus, are you reading wedding announcements in newspapers?” And the answer is simple: I am too weird to even understand myself sometimes. Also, I had finished with the comics but my compulsion to laugh was not yet satiated. And what better way to enjoy a hearty guffaw than by reading about voluntary imprisonment in the name of love?
And then I encountered a story that not only shocked the eyebrows right off of my forehead, it also gave me renewed hope in love, marriage and the knowledge that there are people out there who get it!
I discovered Ann Belkov, 75 and Jerry Lewis, 81. You see, Ann and Jerry met ten years ago, at the young virile ages of 65 and 71 respectively. And after ten years of “dating”* they decided to get hitched. It’s not Jerry’s first time. He’s been shackled to a broad before and got kids and grandkids for his troubles. But I guess Good ‘Ol Jer is a masochist, because he felt the need to marry again.
It’s interesting that Ann has never married before. But much as women these days, in their 20s and 30s, can sometimes feel the internal call for success overpower the call to settle down and focus on family, Ann decided to put her career and desire to enjoy and experience life before her need to get married. For decades she dedicated herself to breaking glass ceilings and manhandling the scrota of her male colleagues. In short, while her lady friends were all busy teaching their children not to eat glue or shit themselves, Ann was off taming lions and doing body shots off of Ernest Hemingway or whatever.
While that alone is intriguing and refreshing, it’s not what caught my attention. To me, what really stood out is the fact that these two fossils have no intention of living together. Think about that for a moment. Let it roll around your simple brain like a fine wine caressing your palette. Open your mind to that concept and let it move in for a spell. Marvel in the simplicity of such a novel, (yet devastatingly brilliant) idea.
We’ve all seen tv shows and movies from the 1950s and 60s where the chaste married couple sleep in separate but equal twin beds (Plessy v. Ferguson v. Serta**). And I once had a girlfriend with whom I had more than one conversation about marriage, and we always talked about having separate bedrooms. Good times. But this couple! Man, they just get it.  They went the next step of separate beds, separate rooms and separate houses.
What’s even better is that they’re only going to hang out and do stuff together on the weekends. On week days, they’ll each do their own thing in their own homes. Though, to be honest, I really have to wonder what things they’re getting into at such advanced ages. Alone. I’m guessing Tinder is involved.
That all sounds so fabulous and smart to me. Far too often I’ve seen relationships destroyed because couples are forced to interact with each other. Sometimes daily. That can be a real strain. But when couples only spend a couple days together a week, they get to keep things fresh and interesting. “Gee, I wonder if Jerry is still alive to come over this weekend,” is probably something that goes through Ann’s thoughts. Now that’s exciting and spontaneous!
Of course, the couple realizes that they’re getting up there in age and won’t be able to commute to love forever. But it’s okay, they have a backup plan for that. When the day comes that Ann needs to live with her part-time husband, she will take up residence in his house.
In the basement.
Yeah. She’s going to move into this guy’s basement (no word in the article on how many floors his house is, but I’m going to guess conservatively and say at least four) and they will maintain the schedule of only seeing each other on weekends. Do you hear me? They will live together in the same building and continue to only see each other on weekends. That’s heavenly. Short of one’s hubby being incarcerated or in a coma, this is the best possible situation for a married person to be in!

Man, I can’t wait to be old so I can shed the time-wasting games and stupidity that overcome people in love and instead focus on being pragmatic and sensible. It doesn’t make love less romantic; it makes the lovers smarter and more in tune with each other and our severely limited time on this planet. More people should consider this vista. I think these two wacky kids have a real future together. And if they don’t, I’m sure I’ll read about it. Because I cruise the obituary section too.

*Seriously though? Dating? That’s got to be an incredibly loose definition of what a date entails. I’m sure there were a lot of oxygen tanks and long rests on park benches involved in whatever they did together.

**This joke brought to you by Black History Month. “Black History Month: it’s that thing that teachers and old people guilt you into caring about.”

Saturday, January 10, 2015



Psssssssst! Hey, you there? Yeah, you there, the one with the face, and ummm…the teeth. Are they gone yet? You know who I’m talking about. The “Resolutioners.” Those sad sacks who follow the annual tradition of making lofty, noble goals at the beginning of each calendar year, only to discover that it’s easier to just be lazy and blame society for all their woes instead. Those people. They’re your friends, your loved ones, your coworkers. Pity them with a moment of silence, then follow me.

Guys (and dolls) if you’re going to make behavioral changes for the future, make them good, valuable and most importantly, fun, for you and those around you. And unlike them ”Resolutioners,” you’ll not only be able to keep these up all year, but you’ll create a sense of wonder and excitement doing them!

• Initiate text conversations with people. Make sure to respond to texts as quickly as possible, to keep the flow going smoothly. As soon as your conversation partners asks a question, ignore them for two and a half hours before responding. They’ll appreciate the level of suspense you injected into an otherwise monotonous social interaction.

• Whenever somebody is taking a picture of you, don’t smile. Don’t make a face either. Not only is it unoriginal, it’s too gauche. Leave that to kids, and ugly people (who aren’t making faces, they just can’t help it.) But don’t just stand there like a chump either.
Instead, set your gaze to the left, or the right. Just a little off from the photographer. Almost as if there’s an imaginary person taking a picture a few feet to the side of the real photographer. Give people minutes of fun, decades later, as they wonder just what the hell is going on next to the cameraman that’s caught your attention. This is also the key plot point to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Now people will think you’re an avid reader!

• When people make any kind of declaration or give you any kind of news, be it the best thing you’ve ever heard (they’re making an Evil Dead TV show!) or the worst, (there’s such a person as Kanye West!) have whatever the appropriate response is, but make absolutely no facial expression. Keep it neutral. Resting Apathy Face. Express yourself verbally. This will keep your visage wrinkle-free when you’re older.

• Pick a common word. Any one will do. Like “sassafras” or “fiduciary*” Spend the next year mispronouncing it. See how long it takes somebody to correct you. Will it be a friend, or a stranger? You may be pleasantly surprised. You can also use this exercise as a way to drop unhelpful people from your life.

• Go to the gym on a regular basis. But only exercise one part of your body. Be it your right ankle, or your left butt cheek, or your neck. Have fun with it!

• Start a social media campaign to have Betty White star in a “leaked” sex video. Encourage others to join in and spread the word. Her career needs a boost. Who will she star with? The power to choose is yours.

• Get a Twitter account, if you don’t already have one. For the next year, only tweet about things you see that are orange. At year’s end, sell the concept of this account to NBC so they can make a sitcom about it, starring Kelsey Grammar.

Try one, or more, of these out and you’ll be surprised by how quickly you’ll see results. Also, probably therapists. You may end up seeing a lot of therapists.

*I use these words at least twice a day. Maybe more if I’m feeling bawdy. 

Thursday, January 01, 2015

21 Things I Learned in 2014

2014 was a hell of a year. I don’t just mean culturally, because that’s a given. It was shit. A shit year. Terrible in most ways. But on a more individual level, it feels as if the weight of the entire, craptastic year was dumped right on people’s heads.

I feel that 2014 was the year where a lot of die-hard optimists removed their rose-colored glasses, looked at the cultural wasteland at their feet and took a collective dump out of fear and resentment.

A lot of people are using the birth of 2015 to look forward to new beginnings and wondrous opportunities. Maybe marriage looms for some; for others children; and for still others My Little Pony sleeve tattoos abound. It’s an exciting future. But before 2015 rears up and does its best Bill Cosby impression* all over our tender, innocent minds, I’m going to try to remember what I learned last year so I don’t make the same mistakes again.

That’s right. I’ve got a future full of new mistakes to make! But, until then I’ll remember that…

1.       Just about everything is overrated. But nothing started out that way.

2.       Stupidity and blind positivity are the new religions. They help people cope with the garbage they slog through every day.

3.       Don’t bother pointing out that stupidity of positivity in those around you. People aren’t fans of others pointing out their mistakes, weaknesses or inconsistencies. Even if you think you’re helping. It pays to be a dummy. Nobody likes a wiseguy.

4.       Having an opinion, point of view or correction to make is never as important as knowing when to express it. Which is typically never. Reality is not always well-received. See point 3.

5.       Everybody knows that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. They’re too lazy to point it out.

6.       You can’t change people until they are receptive to voices other than their own. If you just accept people for who they are, you’ll save yourself oodles of aggravation and flow more freely through life.

7.       People are constantly trying to change each other. Nobody is good enough as they are. Divorces, breakups and apartment building fires result.

8.       People are too busy being the loudest voice filling the void of the internet, to be bothered with things like knowledge, research or facts.

9.       The truth is a dirty slut who can bend more than the most limber of Mongolian contortionists, and is more submissive than a Japanese businessman being threatened with tentacle porn.**

10.   Raising awareness is a far more lofty and noble ambition than actually doing something. Why bother making a difference when you can always tell other people about the problem and hope they do something for the both of you.

11.   Americans also seem to equate throwing money at problems with solving said problems. There hasn’t been a problem man, nor nature, has created that can’t be solved by large quantities of green pieces of paper.

12.   Whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist, how you view life is a choice. You choose to ignore some things and focus on others. Keep that in mind when you write sarcastic blogs. Or mindless tweets.

13.   Everything is horrible and there’s nothing you can do about it.

14.   We try to teach our kids to be themselves, be unique or special. Disney has pretty much cornered the market on those morals.

15.   We teach adults to shut up, fit in and be like the rest of the cogs. To stand out is a defect, an abnormality. Peer pressure is the worst when you’re a kid, it’s vital to the functioning of society when you’re an adult.

16.   If a singer wants to sing about past relationships they win awards and get rich. If I want to just think about the past I’ve got issues and need to let go of stuff.

17.   Perception and superficiality are far more important than substance. We demand words over actions in all arenas. As long as you look like you care about something, people are satisfied. See points 10 and 11.

18.   There is no such thing as equality or fairness. Especial not fairness. Life won’t fit into the rules and laws that we arbitrarily create. Sometimes, no matter what, be it everybody’s fault or nobody’s fault, some things just end up sucking leper taints.

19.   Everybody lies all the time. To themselves most of all. People hate that they lie to themselves, but feel that it's a necessary evil. This leads to crazy brains. We all have those.

20.   Don’t believe all the bad hype about giving up. Don’t listen to all the nonsense about positive thinking.

21.   It’s easier to be part of the crowd. It’s more fulfilling to not.

* A year ago, talking about somebody doing a Bill Cosby impression would have meant a whole other thing. It was a simpler time back then. Birds used to sing, children used to play in parks. Were we ever so naïve?

**Those two random references aside, I love our neighbors to the Far East.


Saturday, December 06, 2014

Dear Santa: Gimme!

Oh boy. Is it December already? Seems like just last week I was shaving my legs for the beach. Well, seeing as it is the HOLIDAY SEASON* and for once I actually managed to get the majority of my present shopping in prior to this month, I’ve decide to help you, the loyal reader (Hi Hank!) with some gift ideas. You know, in case you’re too busy being morally outraged by the state of affairs in this country (America, you chumps) to go out and buy your kids the latest video/boardgame/shoe/phone/hippopotamus. 

However, the one-two punch of my laziness and not knowing your specific situation means that I’ve decided to completely half-ass the whole thing. So I’m going to go to the wonderful (and a bit ridiculous) website, and I’m going to let the site randomly pick some items for me to babble on about. And like that…we begin:

1.       Fake Poop-Shaped Bath Soap: $9.99

Wow. Off to a great start here. Still on the first item and it’s soap that’s shaped like shit. Not just any shit though, it’s realistic human poop with little bits of corn in it. For that extra touch of authenticity. Because I know that when I wash my hands, my feces-shaped soap had better be able to also clean up the vomit I will expel from using feces-shaped soap to wash my hands.* If you’re one of those people who buy Christmas presents for people they hate (everybody has done it at least once) or if you’re a sociopathic secret Santa, then this might be right up your alley. And if it is, seek professional help.

2.       Boyfriend Snuggle Pillow: $28.95

I think we’ve all known about these things for a few years now, right? Pillows shaped like things for lonely people are not a new trend. But it’s still a very stupid one. Anyway, this one comes with a half-shirt that you can remove for “easy care.” One shutters to imagine the stains that could occur during the sleeping process. Perhaps the tears of pathetic people really damage certain materials. Know any pathetic women? Give them this pillow… or my phone number.

3.       “Nubrella” Hands Free Umbrella: $59.99

Look at this picture. There’s no possible way to ever use this umbrella while having any self-respect. Looking over this site I really have to wonder who is the target group. It’s either gifts for people you hate (and will certainly hate you once they get these god awful things) or purchases for people who are so incredibly self-unaware that they wouldn’t understand irony if… (Damn, I can’t think of anything.) Luckily for all of us, (or a sad realization for most of us) they are out of stock and none are available. Did they sell out? Was it such a stupid concept that they just burned the prototype in a raging fire? It does not say, but if you do ever see somebody with one of these, punch them in the nose for their own good.

4.       Crib Dribbler: $7.99

I have to say, looking at the picture, this gift is genius. Admit it, aren’t you tired of babies and feeding them? Sure, we all are. It’s a hassle, they’re ungrateful and my nipples haven’t been right for months! But now, with the crib dribbler, you can just set up a feeding tube in the crib, forget the baby and go back to making meth or whatever. But it isn’t until you notice that the price is far too reasonable for such a prison key, that you realize that there’s no such thing as a “Crib Dribbler.” It’s just a box for a fake product that you put your actual gift in. That’s funny! Wait, it’s not funny? Then somebody please tell my father, he’s been doing that gag to us for decades.

And the last item in this freak parade is:

5.       All My Friends Are Dead: $9.95

“It’s never too early to teach your children about the impermanence of life and the pointlessness of all our hopes, dreams and actions.” --Me to all the Sunday School classes I teach. And it’s true. Your kids are going to learn about death from somewhere, be it their favorite cartoons, seeing what happens when Rover finally catches up to that car he’s been chasing, or the ravages of preschool AIDS, why not learn about it from you? This book is very colorful (Probably. Who cares? If you read it right, your children’s eyes will be too full of tears and their minds too distracted by the idea of their own mortality to notice if the drawings are colored in or not.) Nothing says love like robbing your children of their innocence.

Well, that was a pointless little endeavor, wasn’t it? I hope I was able to inspire you and motivate you to throw your hard-earned money away on material goods that will be forgotten about or accidentally broken within weeks. Happy shopping!

*For fun, do a scary music cue in your head while you read that. HOLIDAY SEASON bum, bum bummm.

**That sentence is a Mobius strip of gross.