Here’s What’s Going to Happen at the Oscars


My predictions for this year’s Oscars:

  • Moonlight will win the Best Picture. The Academy will then take it back and give it to La La Land, reminding everyone All Pictures Matter.
  • This will be the year someone finally discovers the statuettes are all filled with milk chocolate.
  • Manchester by the Sea will NOT win Best Picture due to the entire Academy admitting they didn’t see it because they heard it was sad.
  • Arrival won’t win, but it will go down as the only best picture nominee about aliens whose language consists of queefing ink.
  • Mahershala Ali will win Best Supporting Actor. His speech will be him demanding the audience pronounce his first name at which time they’ll all look down at their feet and mumble about making a run to the concession stand.
  • Hell or High Water will win the new category of “Best Picture with Multiple Characters Who Look Like They Say Dagnubbit.”
  • Another year without a Lifetime Achievement for the guy who played Willie on Alf.
  • Due to the proximity of his death to the event, Bill Paxton’s place in the “In Memoriam” montage will be a YouTube clip of him saying “Game over, man!” from Aliens.
  • Meryl Streep will win Best Actress when she stands up prior to the award being announced, staring down the other nominees in a display of alpha dominance.

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Nothing Draws Your Attention at a Bar Quite Like a Human Skull Ashtray

A few years back I did a show at a bar in Florence, South Carolina. It was a bit of a dive – dimly lit, with an ever present smoke cloud circling around the ceiling. A friend of mine was headlining. It was a late show – supposed to start at 10 – and we got there at 9:30. As soon as I walked in, I freaked out.

Over in the corner, behind one of their many pool tables, was a large ashtray designed to look like a human skull.

It was scary looking, but I’m not sure where this thing belonged. And who is it for? A cult leader who got frustrated with people throwing cigarettes on the floor at his meetings? “I told everyone, if you want to worship the Dark Lord, do it with a CLEAN FLOOR. And if I find so much as ONE BUTT on the sacrificial slab, I’m letting the goat live and we’re going home without Satan’s power.”

I don’t smoke, but if I did I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable using a human skull to put out my cigarette. Even a fake one. What if at the last second it rouses from some kind of ancient slumber after a spell was cast on it by a witch? “Oh my God, I’m back! I can feel again…AHHH! What the hell man? I just wake up from a 200 year old coma and you have the gall to BURN me? Not cool.”

I guess it’s kind of comforting. After all, whatever depraved soul came up with the idea for this thing also opposed littering. He may be all about the dark arts, and exploring the evil side of life, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t also recycle. It takes just as much effort to separate paper and plastics as it does to draw the blood of a virgin, after all.

“Bees Can Sense Fear” Sounds Like Something Bees Made Up to Get Laid at Parties

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Remember when you were a little kid, and your parents told you not to get afraid around bees, because bees can sense fear?

There’s no way that’s real. It sounds like something bees made up to help them get laid at parties.

I’m picturing a bee, in a leisure suit with his shirt opened to expose his bee chest-hair, confidently striding up to a female bee. “Hey. Is this seat taken? What am I drinking? It’s a Jack and honey. Anyway, I just thought we should talk because we seem to be kindred spirits. I know I just met you, but I’m super, super intuitive. I can even sense fear. And right now…I can tell you’re a little afraid, but oddly intrigued by me. So what do you say we get out of here and go back to my honeycomb?”

It ends with her throwing her glass of honey directly in his face, only for him to stand there, use his stinger to wipe it off his eyes, and go, “What? What did I say?”

When Saying “Well, Actually…” Goes Bad

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Don’t you hate people who correct you by saying, “Well, actually…”? I try not to do it, opting to either not correct people or do it in a way where their ego is preserved. However, I do have one experience doing it where I ended up looking much worse than the person I was correcting.

I don’t remember the context around this. I remember talking about superhero movies with someone. Could have been a friend, or a passing acquaintance. When the conversation shifted to the 2002 Sam Raimi Spiderman, the person eventually said, “Yeah, and remember the soundtrack for that one had that shitty song by Nickelback?”

Here’s the video:

An acceptable response on my part would have been, “Yeah, that song sucked.” Or, “I actually liked that song at the time. It’s embarrassing to look back on how shitty our taste was in high school.” (Regrettably true.)

I didn’t say any of that though. What I said was, “Well actually…it wasn’t by Nickelback. It was by Chad Kroeger, featuring the lead singer of Saliva.”

His name’s Josey Scott, if you were wondering. No one was wondering.

This revelation effectively ended the conversation, and rightfully so. Why point that out if you’re me? Knowing that is sadder than attributing the shitty song to Nickelback. It shows a level of Nickelback knowledge that’s borderline unhealthy. What’s next for me, dropping more Kroeger trivia?

“God, Chad Kroeger sucks.”

“Well actually…he was born Chad Robert Turton. Chad Kroeger is a stage name. So a more accurate statement would be Chad Robert Turton sucks.”

“Whatever man, I don’t want to be friends anymore.”

Another sad part about this story: I remembered anything about the band Saliva. Think about it. Hadn’t you pretty much wiped them from your memory? They were one of those post-Limp Bizkit Limp Bizkit tribute bands like P.O.D. that everyone had agreed to forget about. Not if I have anything to say about it.

That’s the other thing: the song was released in 2002. This conversation didn’t occur in 2003, 2004, or 2005. This was like a year or two ago. Over a decade had passed since this atrocity had been unleashed to make society’s ears bleed, and despite this person’s noble attempt to misremember it as a Nickelback single (which for all intents and purposes, it might as well have been), I say no. Like this song or not, I’m going to make sure everyone gets the facts straight on it. And the facts are it was NOT a Nickelback song. It was a Chad Kroeger/Guy From Saliva collabo.

Don’t come around me without doing you research on superhero movie soundtracks. Your best bet if we’re going to hang out? Memorize the lyrics to Kiss From a Rose, for starters.

If you subscribe to my newsletter I’ll pledge to not send you one random Nickelback fact a week for as long as we both live.

We Just Saw A Movie: In-Lawfully Yours

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For the Elizabeth’s birthday edition of We Just Saw A Movie, we found and reviewed the movie In-Lawfully Yours on Netflix. Here’s the IMDB description: “Following both the death of her father-in-law and a divorce, Jesse, a New Yorker, returns to a small town to live with her now widowed mother-in-law. Jesse struggles to fit in with the local townsfolk who don’t welcome her with open arms to say the least. Jesse becomes acquainted with the local pastor, her widowed brother-in-law, falling in love with him, much to the dismay of the community. Things get even more complicated when her ex-husband comes calling, suspiciously trying to win her back. Between her love life and entangled in-laws, Jesse is tested as she seeks the answer to where she truly belongs.” In our review we discuss the main character’s odd relationship with her ex-mother-in-law, a pastor’s odd relationship with his church’s “board of directors” (do churches really have those?) and much, much more.

That Time I Was Savagely Attacked by a Guinea Pig

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The guinea pig pictured above is named LP. Don’t let her adorable appearance fool you. She’s a vicious beast with an insatiable blood lust.

As I’ve written about before, my girlfriend and I own guinea pigs. Today’s her birthday, so I promised I’d write a guinea pig-centric blog. Anyway after years of having them, I finally got bit by one. Here’s the story.

Guinea pigs are generally low maintenance. You throw down some lettuce every day, maybe a cucumber or a piece of green pepper, and that’s about it. It’s a great out for when you don’t want to eat your vegetables. Just chuck it to the rodents and opt for the chips. It’s like having a compost heap where the compost gets rid of everything instead of making a smelly, inconvenient pile.

There are also a lot of them. They’re pack animals, so you have to have a lot of them so they’ll feel comfortable. At least that’s what she told me when we first started going out. Sounds like something the guy at PetsMart told her to clear out his guinea pig surplus. “Look I’m gonna be honest with you, if I don’t sell 10 more of these by next week my kids don’t get Christmas presents. By the way do you need a snake? I can get you a deal. Buy one boa constrictor, get the second half off.”

When you have pack animals that means they have to establish a hierarchy. One of them passed away last fall, leaving three in the cage to battle for who was the new alpha. It’s like a much cuter, cuddlier version of prison.

The day after their fearless leader went to the great guinea pig cage in the sky, I walk by to see two of them getting into a massive, knockdown drag out brawl. It was an absolutely furious battle, like one of those cartoon fights where there’s just a big cloud of smoke with fists appearing outside it every few seconds.

Now I have no idea how to referee a guinea pig fight. Most of the time they’re non-confrontational. It’s not like you see guinea pigs showing up on Worldstar Hip Hop getting into it in parking lots. So I do what I usually do when they squabble with each other: I stick my hand in to shoo them away.

I would soon find out that was a huge mistake.This wasn’t a mere squabble.

LP lept at her combatant pig but was intercepted by my hand. Which she bit into, thinking it was her opponent. Instinctively I drew my hand away. After all, I’d handled being nipped by a puppy before, that’s all this could be like right?

Incorrect.

She sunk her teeth in there deep. So far that as I pulled my hand up, SHE CAME WITH ME. As I pulled back, she came loose and HELICOPTERED DOWNWARDS about two feet back into the cage.

This all happened within a matter of seconds, but it felt like an eternity.

Now I’m freaking out because there’s no way I didn’t just murder this guinea pig. Or even worse, make it into a special needs case. I’m going to be pushing this thing around in a miniature wheelchair and spoon feeding it for years. I can kiss my comedy career goodbye. Hard to get to gigs when you’ve got to spend your evenings cleaning a rodent’s leg braces. Then I’ll have to start a petition to get my vet to build a handicapped accessible ramp installed in front of his building, even though she’d always be transported in a carrier anyway. What does that matter? She should have the option to walk to the vet on her own if she wants.

Much to my relief, and immediately afterwards my chagrin, she rebounded right away. That was the good news. The bad news was she went looking for another fight. She was going on pure adrenaline now, like a boxer who’d come to far to be denied the knockout. This time I was able to corral all three into separate areas of the cage until tensions subsided.

As the ceasefire commenced, I looked down at my left hand. On it I had a giant gash, bleeding pretty bad. You’d think I’d just been shivved in the yard, if shivving was done right above the pinky. It didn’t hurt but it warranted a trip to the doctor’s office. I partition the cage into three separate cages and wrapped my hand in a makeshift bandage of paper towels and pressure. I headed to the nearest urgent care clinic to stretch the limits of the definition of the word “urgent.”

I go to the doctor and show them the wound. It’s deep, but not quite deep enough for stitches. The doctor casually asks me how I got it. I laugh and say, “Oh, it was from our pet guinea pigs. They got into a scuffle and I pissed off the wrong one.” I’m trying to break this up with a little humor. I get that that isn’t the funniest line ever uttered, but you’d think she gave me a little laugh, or a smirk.

She gives me nothing of the sort. “Have they had their shots recently?” This went from a silly household pet mishap to a fullblown trial for my guinea pigs. I almost expected her to start asking me if they’d come after me like this before. “Mr. Eltringham if there’s a problem you can tell us in confidence. We’ll send the Pet Police over now.”

They ended up giving me a ridiculously huge bandage for it. Visual evidence:

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The finale to this story is that I was fine and the offending guinea pig is now set up in her own partitioned section of the cage with frequent visits with the one she didn’t fight with. Whenever I need advice on how to handle the pigs I talk to her her like Clarice consulting Hannibal Lecter.

The takeaway for you? If you are going to buy rodents in bulk, please…make sure they get along. And if they don’t, don’t stick your hand within a ten mile radius of their fight. Just sit back, start placing bets, and enjoy the show.

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I’m No Good in a Protest

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Shia LeBouf is relocating his “He Will Not Divide Us” Trump protest/art installation to New Mexico after New York’s Museum of the Moving Image shut it down due to security concerns. My thoughts on the protest? Great sentiment…but he’s actually done a fantastic job dividing us.

The protest hit close to home for me mainly because…well, it was close to home. Like one block from my apartment and right across the street from the Starbucks I write at every day. I’ve only lived in New York for a few years, but this experience helped me achieve one of my main goals: to see one of the stars of Transformers in a poncho outside a Starbucks.

Second thought: For a number of reasons, I’m horrible in a protest. Here’s why:

* Within 10-15 minutes of the protest beginning, I’m worrying about lunch. “No justice, no peace…and no sandwiches, apparently? Are we on our own or is the head of the protest going to cater this deal? Is there a head of this protest or…you know what, I’m hungry, I’m going home.”

* It does look exhausting, making it all the more impressive when protesters stay protesting for extended periods of time. How do you hold a sign up for more than 5 minutes? I’d be walking around, chanting, “Everyone refer to the sign I’ve set down over there after my arm fell asleep!”

* I’m more likely to be in for a rally. A rally, you’re just standing there. A march involves physical activity, which is much more of a commitment. Plus how do you know everybody in it is really down for the cause if it’s a march? They may just be looking for the exercise. There may be a white supremacist in your midst thinking, “I’ll get 10,000 steps however I can.”

* I’d go to ridiculous lengths to avoid getting pepper sprayed, including (but not limited to) taking up the cause of the opposition. “Look guys, I agree with you but you have no pepper spray. The other side does. Gotta vote with my eyes here.” Plus maybe I could convince the pepper spray guys I was on their side, take a canister of pepper spray, and start using it against them.

* One thing I’ve always wondered about pepper spray: has there ever been a nice cop using pepper spray that’s asked the protester, “Okay, say ‘when.'”

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