Why You Can’t Trust a Stray Cat

There are multiple stray cats in my neighborhood.

One day walking by I saw one stuck in one of those metal cat traps. Now I’m hoping this was just to get the cat spayed or neutered. But I also like to think it’s just someone who figured out the easiest way to get a pet who hates you.

“Well, we were hoping for a tiger, but that’s outside our budget.”

That, or it was set up by the mouse version of the guy from Saw.

The fact that the neighborhood has a dozen stray cats just shows how much more likable dogs are. You know what would happen if a neighborhood had 12 stray dogs? Someone would immediately just get 12 new dogs. Hell I’d turn my own apartment into a no-kill shelter to avoid having every walk to the bodega become having to watch the Tramp from Lady and the Tramp forage for food.

Everyone in the neighborhood loves these cats. “They eat all the pests!” they say. That may be true. But they also hate us. I went within a foot of the one stuck in the trap and it hissed at me like I started reading Mike Huckabee’s tweets off to it.

So yes, they eat mice and rats. But I still don’t think you can trust them. Why? Because it feels like one day they’re going to expect protection money like the Mafia. I’ll end up standing outside my house waiting around like a jackass, holding a manilla envelope stuffed with a dead bird.

The lesson here? Be careful giving food to neighborhood stray cats. Soon they’ll expect payoffs. Then you’ll be pressured to join their cat gang, help them pull off the Lufthansa heist, and end up frozen solid in a meat locker because you brought your wife around their cat hangout wearing a new fur coat.

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Nothing Says “Wedding” Like an Alligator

Recently attended the wedding of a buddy of mine. The whole thing took place on a golf resort in South Carolina. Everything about the venue and resort was lovely.  The room, the fitness, center, the natural conservatory. All of it was breathtaking.

None of that was my favorite part though.

My favorite part? The alligators.

That’s right, alligators. I don’t know if this is a common thing at many golf courses, but this place had warning signs for alligators everywhere. The folio in the room even had a “how-to” guide on dealing with alligators. The fact that it said anything other than, “Just ran away as fast a you can” floored me.

To me, this was awesome. I’ve never been to a wedding that at any point felt like a challenge from the Hunger Games.

I certainly didn’t mind it, but I have to ask the course designers: if you’re building a resort so close to an animal that could eat multiple attendees…don’t you perhaps need to consider another location? “Hey Tom, we’re going to have to move the park. Yeah, pretty much anywhere there aren’t dinosaur-lookalikes who crave human flesh will be fine.”

The whole thing felt like it was symbolic for how rich people don’t feel like regular life is challenging enough. “Well, we’ve got enough money to send our great grandkids to college and have never worried about a medical bill. Plus we’ve been golfing so much even THAT isn’t hard anymore. Hey…what if we put ALLIGATORS on the golf course?” I wouldn’t be surprised if soon the gators were conquered and they just started hunting other human.

It’s the Most Dangerous Game, indeed. Especially after you’ve already proven you can hunt down an alligator.

As much of a safety risk as the alligators present, how great would it be for the PGA Tour? I can’t think of any sports innovation more exciting than that. “Rory McIlroy WAS having a great first round…that is, until he was almost eaten on the 14th hole. While the the tour prays for his recovery, players and fans alike aagreed they’re glad something finally happened.”

One last thought: let’s say these gators remain on the course for generations and generations. They evolve. They learn. They become almost one with the resort’s inhabitants.

What if they just started giving golf tips?

Can you picture it? Some accountant from New Jersey sends one into a sand trap, only to have a gator wearing a Titleist hat come over and tell him to keep his left arm straight when he chips.

I don’t even like golf, and I’d pay for that experience.

 

It’s Time To Admit That Chewbacca is Most Likely a Deadbeat Dad

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Like most human beings, I love Star Wars. But growing up, my favorite character wasn’t Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, or even the hot- shot risk taking pilot, Han Solo.

It was Chewbacca.

That’s right, Chewie. An 8 foot tall dog person? Intensely loyal to his friends, yet ready to rip an arm out of a socket if crossed by someone? As Jerry Seinfeld’s Mom used to say, “How could anyone not like him?”

I liked Chewie so much that my biggest fear going into The Force Awakens was having to watch him die. By the film’s end, while everyone wiped away their tears over Han I was wiping sweat off my brow in relief. “At least he’ll make it to Episode 8. What’s everyone crying about?”

But now with a new Han Solo-focused movie about to hit theaters, the moviegoing public is about to get even more Chewbacca. And after viewing one of the film’s trailers and doing some research, I regret to inform you, my Dear Reader, that I think I’ve realized something awful about our hero.

Chewbacca is a deadbeat Dad.

First, let’s look at the facts:

Fact #1: Chewie Has Been on the Road with Han for a LONG Time
The Star Wars Wiki site Wookieepedia tells us Chewbacca was enslaved by the Empire sometime after the Clone Wars and before A New Hope. We may see this depicted on screen in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which I’m guessing takes place roughly 10 years prior to Episode 4. Chewie then begins paying a life debt to Han after Han frees him. They then proceed to spend the next four decades smuggling and kicking the shit out of the Empire until we see them, still a pair, in The Force Awakens. Since this takes place roughly 30 years after Return of the Jedi, it’s safe to assume Chewbacca has been at Han’s side for roughly 40 years.

Fact #2: Chewie Has a Family
We first meet Chewie’s family in the ill-conceived 1978 TV movie The Star Wars Holiday Special. I’ll let Wikipedia take it from here:

“In the storyline that ties the special together, Chewbacca and Han Solo visit Kashyyyk, Chewbacca’s home world, to celebrate Life Day. They are pursued by agents of the Galactic Empire, who are searching for members of the Rebel Alliance on the planet. The special introduces three members of Chewbacca’s family: his father Itchy, his wife Malla, and his son Lumpy, though these names were later explained to have been nicknames, their full names being Attichitcuk, Mallatobuck, and Lumpawarrump, respectively.”

(Side note: can you believe Lumpy has his own Wikipedia entry?)

“But that’s the Holiday Special!” you say. “Chewie’s family isn’t canon!” The special may not be, the family sure as hell is. For one, there’s a split second clip in the latest Solo trailer that shows Chewie affectionately butting heads with what has to be another Wookiee.

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Go for it, Chewie. 

Unless Chewie’s got a little Wookiee sidepiece, that’s his wife. Also, check this from Malla’s Wookieepedia: “The 2015 young readers novel A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy, a retelling of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope written by Alexandra Bracken, recanonized the existence of Chewbacca’s wife Malla.” 

The Chewbacca clan is canon.

Fact #3: Chewie Was Presumably Not at Home For Most of the Time Spent Fulfilling His Life Debt
The Star Wars universe is vast and expansive. With Han and Chewie out smuggling all the time, there’s no way they were making it back home on a regular basis. I’m guessing the Kessel Run doesn’t have an easy path to Kashyyyk. “Okay Chewie, Waze is telling us to take the left ramp, exit 16A. That’ll put us right onto RRRRRRRRARRRR Boulevard.”

Fact #4: After Han Dies, Chewie Keeps Hanging Out with Rey 
I’ll play devil’s advocate here for a second. Let’s say Chewie staying away from home for the better part of half a century is just him adhering to a code. After all, Han DID save his life. Per Wookiee culture, you owe him a life debt. Fine.

But what does Chewie after Han dies?

Immediately follows Rey to help find Luke.

For anyone keeping score at home, after being released from his honor-bound agreement to loyally serve Han Solo, Chewie opts out of going to see his family in favor of following some woman he met roughly an hour before that.

Verdict: Chewie is DEFINTELY a Bad Father and Husband
It pains me to say it, but there is literally no other logical conclusion. It doesn’t take a math major to figure out ol’ Fuzzball missed a LOT of birthdays.

At some point, Han had to give him the option to go home, right? For all his hotshot bluster, Han Solo was one of the goodest of good guys. No way he makes Chewie fix the engine on the Falcon every day for FORTY YEARS.

“Hey Chewie, man. You know I can just take this thing into Jiffy Lube? You don’t have to keep tinkering with it.”

“Nah, it’s cool. I hate my family.”

The worst part about this is how many thrilling, life-threatening adventures these two got involved in. They’re literally fighing Space Nazis with endless resources and weapons. And Chewbacca STILL found that preferable to spending another Life Day with his wife and kids. “What’s it called? The DEATH Star? Man, you know what? Beats having to watch another game of Wookiee t-ball.”

The true piece de resistance of this theory is what Chewie does after Han’s death. Does he retreat home to mourn?

Nope.

He just starts hanging out with Rey, someone he has absolutely zero life debts owed to. In fact, HE saved Rey’s life by showing up with the Falcon to save her, so SHE owes HIM a life debt!

Instead of leaving, Chewie decides, “Where we going now? To find Luke Skywalker, the Jedi who alienated his nephew, leading to the eventual slaughter of my best friend? In what is sure to be a much more dangerous situation than any I’ve faced before?” Chewie takes a moment, sips his beer, then rubs his hairy chin deep in thought. “Sounds like a good time. Hopefully my last child support check doesn’t bounce!”

Again, it gives me no joy to say all this as Chewie has always been one of my favorite characters. But after doing the research and examing the facts from every angle, I can’t get this thought out of my head: Chewie, in a tanktop, sitting back in his recliner, piss drunk off Coors Light while poor Malla struggles to feed their Wookiee kids dinner.

All I’m saying is that if Episode IX doesn’t have a scene of a graying Chewbacca trying to awkwardly reconnect with a middle-aged Lumpy, I’ll consider my hero unredeemed.

Avengers: Infinity War is the Worst Movie of 2018

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Avengers: Infinity War is the most anticipated film of this year. It’s goes beyond just being a movie. It’s a cinematic event that has most moviegoers on the edge of their seats waiting to see what will happen.

That’s why I’m so sorry to say it is an incomprehensible mess and a letdown of historic proportions.

(Beware: there are spoilers ahead. Though I feel everyone should read it so they don’t make the same mistake I did in seeing this piece of garbabge.) 

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What Will the Title of Avengers 4 Be?

With Avengers: Infinity War set to premiere later this month, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can’t stop speculating on what the title of the series’ NEXT film will be. According to the directors, the Russo Brothers, the title will contain a major Infinity War spoiler and should “terrify” fans. So what’s it going to be? I talked to a few of my Hollywood insider friends, and here are the leading candidates so far:

* Avengers: Thanos Finally Gets the Results of His Colonoscopy

* Avengers: Iron Man’s Wake, Funeral, and Reading of His Will and Testament

* Avengers: Bill Blake is the Man! (Named by Marvel fan Bill Blake, who was the top donor to Marvel’s Avengers 4 IndieGogo campaign)

* Avengers: Nick Fury’s Other Eye Worked This Whole Time

* Avengers: Can You Believe Thanos Impaled Captain America, Hulk, and Spider-Man on Thor’s Hammer Then Roasted Them Like a Kabob?

* Avengers: Sorry We Killed Everyone But Black Widow But This Was the Only Way The Studio Would Let Us Do a Black Widow Movie

* Avengers: Is It Too Late to Get the X-Men in Here Or Are We Pretty Much Finished Filming?

* Avengers: Rise of Hawkeye

Avengers 4 and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again 2 (crossover event)

* Avengers: Even We Thought Having Thanos Feed Groot to a Woodchipper was a Bit Much

* Avengers: At This Point Does It Matter? We’re Pretty Much Guaranteed Your Money

Why MoviePass is Riskier Than You Think

I’m a frequent moviegoer and recent convert to MoviePass. For a reasonable monthly fee of anywhere from $6-11 a month, the card enables you go to one movie per day. It’s a deal so good, you keep wondering what the catch is. Soon I’ll expect to be at a movie and have an usher walk up and say, “MoviePass, right? Okay, time for your one vicious kick in the nuts per year. You had to know this was coming.”

I’ve used it for a few months, and it is a pretty solid deal. But every good deal has to have drawbacks, right? Below are all the ways in which MoviePass’s Faustian bargain isn’t quite as good as it seems:

It Knows Where You’ve Been: The MoviePass CEO got in trouble for saying the app tracks users’ locations. MoviePass doesn’t just know what theater you’re going to. They know where you’re going after. They know where you came from. They probably know where you’ll be next day before YOU even know. The next time you think to yourself, “Where should I go to lunch?” you’re going to get a notification from MoviePass that says, “You’re going to Chick-Fil-A. Trust us. We’re basically the app version of the cops in Minority Report.”

It Wants Your Lonely Existence to Continue: If you’re attending the movies as part of a couple or family, forget it. MoviePass offers options for single accounts only. This means every time my girlfriend and I go to the movies, we have to order our tickets individually. We can’t go to the box office without feeling like we’re having an affair with each other. That or that we’re on a middle school date and one of our Dads is going to be sitting three rows behind us.

No 3D, No IMAX: If you like watching movies on an unconscionably large screen, you’re out of luck. Any non-standard showing is off limits to MoviePass users. Since I get a headache from 3-D movies this isn’t that big a deal for me. It basically saves me  from the experience of struggling to look at a Magic Eye poster for three hours.

Whoever’s Behind You in Line Will Hate You: To get a ticket, you have to be within shouting distance of the theater. Then you log on to the app select your show time, and line up at the box office or ticket kiosk to swipe your MoviePass card and pick up your ticket. If you wait until you get in line to start this process, anyone behind you is sure to hate you. You’ll be more reviled than “I’ll Pick Out Which Movie I’m Seeing Once I Get Up to the Counter” Guy. Buying tickets should be an orderly, Soup Nazi-approved procedure. This turns it into a Process so complicated, Sixers’ management wouldn’t trust it.

Whoever Doesn’t Have MoviePass Will Hate You: For big movie fans like myself, talk of how many more movies you’re seeing combined with how much money you’re saving is sure to rile up non-Movie Pass users. You’ll begin to refer to the Pass (that’s what we MoviePass users call it) in reverential terms, almost as if you’re in a cult. You’ll try to convert non-believers using everything from peer pressure (“You don’t have MoviePass? EVERYONE is doing it”) to cold hard stats (“As this PowerPoint presentation shows, you’ll save up to $2,500 per year”). Don’t be shocked if you save your way into an intervention from friends and family.

There Aren’t Enough Movies Out to Justify Going Once a Day: If you like in a metropolitan area going to a movie per day could be great – there are plenty of options for movies in New York and L.A. But what if you’re a movie fanatic who lives in a smaller town? Nobody wants to go see Tomb Raider 8 day straight. You’ll end up losing your mind, being dragged out of the theater while screaming, “I had to get my money’s worth! Even if it meant seeing an uninspired, largely unecessary reboot to the point of insanity!”

I highly recommend this service for anyone who loves movies, but buyer beware. You may end up moving into your local movie theater. If you end up subsisting on a diet of popcorn and nachos while moving into an Incredibles 2 standee don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Turns Out “Crashing Satellite” is More Than Just a Great Name for a Dave Matthews Cover Band

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Photo Credit: By NASA 

A falling Chinese satellite is expected to re-enter Earth’s surface this weekend. Experts aren’t sure where it will land, but do think significantly large chunks are expected to hit…somewhere. What else do we know about this errant orbiter? I did a little research and here’s what I came up with:

* Clocked in at #23 on Maxim Magazine’s list of 2013’s Sexiest Satellites.

* Its official name? Tiangong-1, which roughly translates in English to “WATCH OUT, THERE’S A GIANT CHUNK OF METAL HURDLING RIGHT FOR YOU!-1.”

* Started its descent shortly after the Russian space station it was hooking up with asked, “So… what are we?”

* Tiangong-1 is China’s first prototype space station. They’re planning to build more once they really nail down the “evil operating system” you see in most movies about a space station with an operating system.

* Defense experts are still trying to determine whether it’s an errant satellite or just a really shitty bomb.

* Eerie bit of music trivia: an unused verse on the 1969 David Bowie hit Space Oddity may have predicted this. Here are the scrapped lyrics included on Bowie’s liner notes. You be the judge:

This is Ground Control to Major Tom
Watch out for that Chinese satellite
It’s floating in a ah-most ah-peculiar waaaa-aay
Actually floating isn’t quite the word for it….to-daaaaaay!
I’d saaaaaay…..it’s doing something closer to falling
Diiiiiii-rectly for the Eaaaaaarth
The satellite’s going to hit you, and there’s nothing you can do….
(guitar riff) OHHHHH….JINGA JANGA JONGA, BAP BAP

Somewhat odd Bowie’s lyrics included the sound of the guitar, but I’m just reporting the facts.

* In honor of Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, the Chinese government is giving $50 to anyone able to catch a piece of it in a baseball glove.

* According to the Washington Post: “The European Space Agency estimates that there are now more than 170 million pieces of space debris in circulation, though only 29,000 of those are larger than about four inches.” In a rebuttal, space debris added that four inches is actually the average size of space debris, and also that that amount is more than enough to satisfy a space woman.

*  Experts are predicting it may hit Earth on April 1, most likely prompting at least a dozen people to say, “Very funny, Dave. Yeah, I’m SURE a piece of flaming space shrapnel is headed directly for me. I’m SURE that’s not some lame April Fools’ prank” while not turning around.