Leap Year Birthdays

I intended to write about Leap Year birthdays today, but am slightly deterred now that Parks and Recreation already covered that topic this past week. (Side note: I'm going to a Parks and Rec-themed party tonight, can you think of anything better to do with your bonus day?) All the same, I did once have a friend, Chris, who was born on a Leap Day, so let's do this anyway.

Birthdays are everything when you're little, so considering that, Chris was pretty good-natured about only having a proper birthday every four years. Things would have probably gone better for him, however, had my first grade teacher not taunted him for it. I distinctly remember her leading the class in a chant of, "Chris is only one! Chris is still a baby! Chris is only one! Chris is still a baby!" As six-and-seven-year-olds, it was fun to laugh at a baby.

I used to love my first grade teacher, but looking back, I think I loved her out of fear. She was like an emotionally manipulative dictator. She had a cardboard box known as "The Whiners' Box" that you'd have to go stand in if you were caught crying or complaining (which is the natural result of a teacher-led chant that you are a baby). She'd also announce to the whole class if she caught you picking your nose, which is every little kid's #1 hobby. And there's the time when my friend Vivek, a math prodigy and future Harvard student who was bussed to the high school to take advanced math classes even in elementary school, missed one question on a first-grade level standardized math test we all had to take. Obviously, he was disappointed for making what must have been a careless mistake, but my teacher honed in on his insecurity and had the class chant, "Vivek got one wrong!" until he cried. Then he had to go stand in the Whiners' Box.

As for Leap Baby Chris, he eventually had the last laugh. He proved he was anything but a baby when he hit puberty well before the rest of us. By the end of elementary school, none of us kids were shaving yet, except for Chris, who actually had to shave his face every day out of necessity. Not bad for a "3" year-old.

Anyhoo, Happy 7th birthday, Chris. And I hope my first grade teacher uses her Leap Day to take a flying leap.


Hollywood Celebrating Hollywood for Celebrating Hollywood

So how about them Oscars? It's like they borrowed a page out of The Help and served us a shit pie. I won't criticize it for being a trivial example of Hollywood celebrating Hollywood because that's what the ceremony is by design, but I will criticize it for being a trivial example of Hollywood celebrating Hollywood for celebrating Hollywood. How else can you explain five wins apiece for The Artist and Hugo? Both movies rely heavily on nostalgia for old cinema, practically heralding film pioneers as bigger than Jesus. Do audiences really need more movies about how amazing movies are? No, but filmmakers are going to continue making them to pander to the elderly Academy voters who love rewarding films that deify their life's work.

Movies do matter, but I'm much more convinced of this when a movie speaks to me, not just the Hollywood elite. Therefore I resent the "life is meaningless without movies; hug a filmmaker" thesis of Hugo. Also, The Artist is a gimmick; if that was the best silent film you've ever seen, you've never seen another silent film. I can give you a dozen other silent film screenplays just like it, also known as blank pages.

But whatever, if Hollywood wants to masturbate furiously at the thought of itself, so be it. I'll save my self-pleasuring for the slightest hint of Jennifer Lopez nipple, thank-you-very-much. (I did a little research to see what her nipples look like, and vote that it was in fact a nip.)

Things I was rooting for last night that didn't pan out: the white actress from The Help to win her category over Octavia (does this make me racist?), a Cirque du Soleil performer to fall from the sky and crush someone important, and Billy Crystal to not suck. That hosting was insufferable. Talk about out of touch. And Jonah Hill fat jokes? In the words of Ted, "You don't get to make fat jokes when your face looks like a thumb."

I'd also gripe about the presenters' banter, but we were saying some stupid things at our Oscar party.

Ted: What is Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory?
Me: It's a sequel of a sequel.
Ted: Thanks for explaining what "3" means.

Christopher Plummer wins
Jessica: You said that's the guy from The Sound of Music?
All: Yes.
Jessica: Wait... so now he's just older?

It seems strange having to explain the aging process to a biology teacher. Perhaps we can start with the song "16 Going on 17".

In better news, I beat my friends in our Oscar pool. Whooped them, in fact. My secret? Picking not one winner that I thought deserved it.

But it's not like there were no good movies this past year. I already sufficiently took a dump on the Best Picture nominees, so if I were to replace that list with a better one, it would go like this:
  • Super 8
  • 50/50
  • Being Elmo
  • Ides of March
  • We Need to Talk about Kevin
  • Moneyball
  • The Skin I Live In
  • Win Win
  • Contagion
  • Bridesmaids
Okay, now let's not talk about movies again for a good long while.


My Wood Shop Teacher Tries His (Mangled) Hand at Computers

My 7th grade wood shop teacher looked like a busted Santa Claus. He was a fat old man with a long white beard, tiny spectacles, and rosy cheeks. He was not jolly, though, unless you can stretch "jolly"'s definition to mean grumpy and confused.

The word "busted" also applies to my teacher because he was missing a finger. I know that sounds cliche (remember Mr. Slurm, the shop teacher on Pete and Pete who was missing a hand?), but have an idiot work with power tools for a few decades, and he's bound to lose a digit at some point.

Forget blackboards and textbooks, the best teaching aid Mr. Claus had was his finger - or lack there of. He used his mangled hand to terrify us about the dangers of working with the electric tools. Granted, you must stress safety before letting preteens go wild with rotary saws, but convincing us we were likely to lose a finger was not the right approach. Neither was his other story, which in retrospect was probably as true as it was appropriate, about a girl who didn't use the safety as instructed and they later found her bloody body. It would make for a good campfire tale; maybe Mr. Claus's true calling was as a camp counselor.

I was scared. Not just scared enough to be extra mindful of safety precautions, but too scared to do the assignments. Call me crazy, but I found the idea of constructing a birdhouse less appealing than keeping all of my body parts.

Fortunately for me, the power tool portion of my class was over pretty quickly. It was 1997, and educators were starting to realize that kids needed to learn how to use computers. This class that was once devoted wholly to wood shop had been expanded and redubbed "Technology Education" to also include computer skills.

Rather than hiring a teacher who was computer literate (or even just plain literate - sorry, Mr. Claus), they made my shop teacher instruct the computer portion, too. Mr. Claus looked at computers not just with confusion, but with fear. You'd think it was the computer that stole his finger! "I'm too old to learn computers," he'd tell us, which might be a fine excuse were he not supposed to be teaching us about computers. He'd mess up his computer almost instantaneously and spend the rest of the period "troubleshooting" (i.e. cursing and rebooting), while the students were left to amuse ourselves. This was before most computers had the internet, so we'd just sit there and play Minesweeper or word process dirty things for fun.

Santa's most comprehensive lesson was about using clip art. We spent multiple classes looking through clip art galleries, selecting our favorite images, and printing out hundreds of copies of them. It was an insanely stupid activity, yet still preferable to the dangers of wood shop. Still, I don't know what I expected to learn about computer proficiency from a man who used the hunt and peck method of typing with just his index fingers. On second thought, maybe that's not fair: it's not like Mr. Claus could type with all of his fingers on the proper keys.


Teachers Outside of Class

My yoga teacher friend invited me to a literary/comedy event a weeks ago. It ended up being even trendier than I expected; I saw Megan Amram, Sugar from Survivor, Moby, and enough unconventional hats to fill a Hipster Haberdashery.

However, none of those encounters are as notable as one we had with my friend’s yoga student. (Except for maybe Moby - he didn’t wash his hands after using the bathroom. True story.) My friend went ahead and said hello to her student, which really flustered her. “Oh my god! What are you doing here?” the student said. “I can’t believe I ran into my teacher here, it’s so weird seeing you outside of the studio.”

It was reminiscent of when I ran into one of my high school students at the grocery store. At first he tried to hide from me, but then he wanted to see what was in my basket, in what I believe was an attempt for him to see evidence of my humanity outside of being a teacher. (He eats!) I know when I was little, I bought into that thought that teachers did nothing but teach and slept under their desks at night. (For the record, I have napped under my desk before.)

But this encounter was hilarious because here was a grown-up, maybe a couple of years younger than my friend, looking at my friend in the same manner. She was barely able to comprehend seeing her yoga instructor in another context; she might as well have asked “Shouldn’t you be in the lotus position right now?”

Believe it or not, yoga teachers are people, too.


Best Picture Nominees in 60 Seconds

The Academy Awards are this Sunday, and if you’re like most people, you haven’t found the time to see all nine Best Picture nominees. Heck, I have found the time and – in most cases - I regret it. Still, if you want to know the gist of the top flicks before the Oscars ceremony, check out my sixty second summaries. Think of them as super condensed screenplays. But BE WARNED– these mini-scripts are full of SPOILERS and SARCASM.

The Help
Viola Davis: I am a black maid. By barely emoting, I can show you how much my life sucks.
Emma Stone: I am a young white woman who doesn’t wear makeup, I also know what it’s like to be looked down upon by society.
Viola Davis: I don’t even need to roll my eyes to convey how ignorant that statement is.
Octavia Spencer: I need to poop, so I’ll use my boss’ bathroom.
Bryce Howard: That toilet is for white people’s poop only! You’re fired!
Jessica Chastain: I’m white trash and need a maid, so come poop - I mean work - at my house.
Octavia Spencer: Okay, but the next time I poop, I’m going to keep it and bake it into a pie to feed to my former boss. I am very, very funny like that.
Emma Stone: That’s a great story, I’m going to use it in a book about black maids. Will you share your stories, too, Viola?
Viola Davis: Whatever.
Emma Stone: Hey, that bestselling book you dictated to me just got me a swell publishing job in New York. Now I can get out of this hellhole. Things are finally working out for us struggling gals, huh Viola?
Viola Davis: Actually, I just got fired for no reason, but talk to you never, I guess.

The Tree of Life
Dad: The world is awful.
Big Bang: BANG! The world is created.
Son: What is the meaning of life?
Dad: Shut up! [Hits son.] I treat you awfully because the world is awful and you need to be prepared.
Dinosaur: Hi, just wanted to briefly remind you that I was once here. K, bye.
Son: You’re so mean, Dad, I wish you’d go away.
Dad: Conveniently, I am going on a business trip to travel the world and see all of its awfulness.
Son: Now life will be good!… Wait, it turns out I’m awful, too. Without my awful father around to keep me in line, I do awful things. What should I do, Mom?
Mom: Um… ask your awful father when he comes home. This film is about the history of the whole fucking world, yet apparently evolution does not allow for any strong female characters.
Birds: Hi, we’re just flying by quickly. Don’t forget that we are also a kind of life.
Dad: Son, I’m sorry for being so awful. Maybe the world isn’t so awful.
Sun (not to be confused with son): I am incinerating the awful world. Life is over.
Son: But for some reason, I’m still here. Would it have killed the screenwriter to be a bit more linear? Maybe the film is purposely awful to represent how awful the world is.

The Artist
Title Card: Never before has a silent film said so little.

Midnight in Paris
Owen Wilson: As a writer, I wish I lived in Paris.
FiancĂ©e: Ugh, you’re ridiculous.
Owen Wilson: As a writer, I wish I lived in the 1920s.
Fiancee: Ugh, you’re ridiculous.
Owen Wilson: Oh my gosh, I just inexplicably went back in time to the ‘20s.
F. Scott Fitzgerald: Hi.
Ernest Hemingway: Hi.
Gertrude Stein: Hi.
Pablo Picasso: Hi. Here is my beautiful girlfriend, Adriana, by all means fall in love with her, my time-traveling friend.
Owen Wilson: The past is awesome. I finally have everything I’ve ever wanted!
Adriana: Nothing will stop us from being together forever!
Owen Wilson: Actually, I should probably learn how to live in the present. Sorry.
Gertrude Stein: Look, I’m a feminist and all, but before you go back, you should know that your bitch fiancĂ©e is a cheating whore.
Owen Wilson: [travels back to present day] Are you cheating on me?
Fiancee: Yup.
Owen Wilson: Looks like I’m moving to Paris.

The Descendants
Clooney: Alex, come visit your mother, she’s in a coma.
Wife: [Lies in a coma.]
Alex: Nah, she’s a bitch. P.S. She was cheating on you.
Clooney: What?! We must go have an awkward conversation with my dying wife’s lover. Go get your sister!
Alex: Family vacation!
Clooney: I have spent my wife’s last living days traveling around Hawaii to find you, guy who cheated with my wife, and yet now that I’m here, I have nothing meaningful to say.
Guy Who Cheated with Clooney’s Wife: She loved me and wanted to divorce you. But if it makes you feel any better, I didn’t give a shit about her and was just ruining your marriage for kicks.
Clooney: For nonsensical reasons, that does make me feel better.
Alex: Hey, Dad, remember that subplot where you own a lot of land with your extended family and have all agreed to sell it to become wildly rich? It’s time to sign those papers.
Clooney: Oh that? I’ve changed my mind because I’ve learned an important lesson this past week - you can dick your family around all you want and they’ll still find a way to forgive you in your final hour. [Kisses comatose wife. Removes her life support.]
Wife: [Dies.]

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Oskar: My dad died in the Twin Towers on 9/11. As a result, I am very strange now, right, Mom?
Sandra Bullock: Right. It sure fucked you up. It also doesn’t hurt that you might have Asperger’s. The tests were inconclusive, but we mention that to account for your inconsistent character traits without having to commit to the disorder fully.
Oskar: I’m pretty sure my dad left me a secret message before dying, so I’m going to go behind my mom’s back and invent an elaborate mystery to solve that involves interviewing hundreds of strangers about some key I found. Let’s start with Viola.
Viola Davis: Hey, don’t mind me, I’m just stopping by to give a more profound performance here in just a few minutes than I do in all of The Help.
Oskar: This is hard work talking to all of these people given my potential social disorder and questionable motives. Perhaps I should enlist a sidekick.
Mute Old Man:
Oskar: You don’t talk, but you’ll do.
Mute Old Man:
Oskar: Hmm, I’m starting to deduce that you are actually my grandfather, Mute Old Man, but I have another mystery that I fabricated that needs to be solved first.
Viola Davis: Hey, sorry to pop in again. I know I’m the first stranger you spoke to, but it’s time to admit that I actually know who that key belongs to after all, and it has nothing to do with your dead father.
Oskar: [Cries.] You’ve destroyed my long-running delusional pursuit.
Sandra Bullock: You still have your mother, though, Oskar. And don’t think I don’t care because I actually knew you were running around New York City meeting with strangers to talk about a meaningless key this whole time!
Oskar: So you knew I was repeatedly putting myself in danger and let me do it anyway? Maybe you’re as crazy as me after all - we can be a family again. Plus, I think I’ve now made peace with Dad’s death, so everything’s finally good.
Sandra Bullock: Yup. Except that you probably still have Asperger’s.

General Manager: I love managing baseball! Too bad it’s too expensive to pay for a winning team.
Sports Nerd: Numbers, numbers, numbers.
General Manager: So you’re saying if I hire players based on statistics rather than conventional wisdom, we could win?
Sports Nerd: ###
Players: We are baseball’s bad boys who other teams don’t want because we cause a lot of trouble despite the fact that we get on base a lot.
General Manager: You’re hired! This is a good idea, right?
Sports Announcer: This is a terrible idea.
Sports Nerd: ###
Team: [Loses many games.]
Sports Announcer: This was still a terrible idea.
General Manager: Daughter, you still love me even though my team sucks, right?
Daughter: [Sings horrible song, unabridged, for no reason whatsoever.]
Team: [Wins record-breaking 20 games in a row.]
Sports Announcer: This is an example of some brilliant sports managing!
Ex-Wife: I suddenly find myself attracted to my ex again now that his team is winning. The fact that he’s always looked like Brad Pitt doesn’t hurt either.
General Manager: We are going to rule so hard in the playoffs!
Sports Announcer: Wow, this team has sucked so hard in the playoffs. Bad sports managing!
Sports Nerd: ###

War Horse
Boy: I love my horse! Please don’t sell it to the army, Papa.
British Soldier: Don’t worry, boy, I also love this horse. I promise to take care of him. [Dies.]
Nice German Soldiers: Oh, hey, a horse! We will love this horse forever! [Die.]
Young Girl: Look, grandpa! It’s a horse! Now he is mine forever!
Mean German Soldiers: Not so fast, we are going to steal this horse from you.
Young Girl: [Dies.]
Horse: [Makes friends with another horse.]
Friend Horse: [Dies.]
Horse: [Gets tangled in barbed wire.]
New British Soldier: It is remarkable that this horse survived such a bloody battle.
New German Soldier: It is remarkable that we have managed a temporary truce just to rescue this horse.
New British Soldier: Indeed, this horse has taught us a valuable lesson about war.
Both Soldiers: [Presumably die shortly thereafter.]
Boy: Now that the war is over, I will buy back my miracle horse.
Young Girl’s Grandpa: Actually, I’m going to outbid you for it.
Boy: This horse has survived so much only to be taken away from me again.
Young Girl’s Grandpa: Fine, you can have him. Owning him would probably mean the death of me anyway.

Officer: I am the coyote to your roadrunner, Hugo! [Chase scene ensues.]
Hugo: Woo, I escaped yet again. Hi, I’m an orphan.
Isabelle: Me, too. Friendsies?
Hugo: I guess. Wanna see a movie?
Isabelle: My godfather won’t let me see movies. It’s peculiar how adamant he is about this.
Hugo: Let’s do what most kids our age do and research cinematic history to see if that turns up any clues.
Isabelle: Oh my god, my godfather was once an important filmmaker!
Godfather: That may be true, but no one cares now.
Film Historian: Hey, talk about showing up at the right place at the right time, but I can assure you that your contributions are significant.
Godfather: But none of my films have survived, so let’s just forget about it, okay?
Film Historian: What if I am inexplicably able to find all of the films you thought you destroyed?
Godfather: Then I will feel respected and stop being so grumpy.
Officer: I could stop being grumpy, too, I guess.
Isabelle: Now I get to watch movies all of the time! We did it, Hugo!
Hugo: If by “it” you mean make a pointlessly self-important movie about the magnificence of filmmakers and need for cinema preservation that is designed to fellate Hollywood’s elite while half-heartedly placating the plebeians with 3D effects, then yes we did!


American Presidents

If you got Presidents' Day off of work today and didn't do anything to honor our nation's leaders yet, then you have to watch this video. Yes, the whole thing.

I don't just like this song, I'm going to try to learn it. It's actually really useful since my pub trivia team is trying to memorize all of the Presidents in order to do better on the quizzes.

Plus I just want to be able to rattle off awesome verses ike:
"James Buchanan, fifteen, the one bachelor we've ever seen."
"Grover Cleveland, twenty-two, remember him 'cause he's not through."
"Twenty-seven, Taft we see, biggest man in the presidency."
"Herbert Hoover, thirty-one. Oh no! The depression had begun."
"First to be elected of African descent, Obama our forty-fourth president."

If you want to join my cover band and perform this song at all the hottest club (get that operatic voice revving), let me know.


Overheard at Occupy

Occupier 1: A lot of people would look at us, see our skin color, our clothes, our dreadlocks, and assume we smoke pot and listen to Bob Marley, but...
Occupier 2: I'm not going to lie! I do do that!
Occupier 1: Yeah, me too, actually.


Raise Boys and Girls the Same Way

I'm super into this philosophy. Skip the double standards, skip the gendered expectations, and just parent. Anyone can raise a good boy or girl, but it takes someone remarkable to raise a good person.

Isn't it funny how most parents-to-be say they don't care whether it's a girl or a boy, but then once they give birth, they completely care and raise the kid according to its genitals? "We just want it to be healthy," they say. Because they wouldn't love it if it weren't? Maybe that's a legitimate wish if the parents have been boozing throughout the pregnancy.

"We don't care whether it's a boy or a girl, as long as it has ten fingers and ten toes." This is bogus, too. My cousin was born with twelve fingers, two thumbs on each hand. She was fine, but they had the extra digits amputated anyway to make her more normal. I don't think the bonus fingers made her a mutant, I think they made her a baby from the future. If humans evolved opposable thumbs to become the top creature on earth, just think of how many thumbs we'll need to stay dominant when the aliens finally arrive.

Those aliens are totally going to laugh at us, by the way. They're going to use all forty of their thumbs to point at us and laugh about how silly it is for humans to automatically divide our species into two classes of people based on a body part. And my cousin the Future Baby isn't going to be able to do anything to stop it because she was raised to be just a girl. And a ten-fingered girl at that!


Ultimate Cock

You don’t have to be several drinks in to find this funny, right? Because this is an unaltered view from my barstool at TGIFridays. And you thought it was a family restaurant.

Everyone else in my party couldn’t tell what I was laughing at because they had different views on the words, but from my seat the TV perfectly cropped out “TAILS”.

I know that I’m hardly the first person to discover this treasure because when I took my phone out to take this photo, the bartender goes, “Oh, you got the Ultimate Cock seat.” You can call it that, sir. I’ll call it serendipity.


Why Whitney Houston's Death Especially Affected Me AND How I Blew My Chance at Becoming an African Prince (And Yes, These Topics Are Related)

A year-and-a-half ago, I met a Whitney Houston impersonator in Las Vegas who I super hit it off with. I also ended up hitting it off with a Beyonce impersonator, and at the encouragement of my friends, dropped Whitney for a chance with the hot one. It was probably a mistake, though, because while I could have bagged Whitney, it only went as far as flirting with Beyonce. Since that night, I have blamed my friends for helping me to deride a sure thing with Whitney, but I understand that Vegas is all about gambling, so how could I not take a chance at a superstar like Beyonce?

This past weekend, I went back to Vegas to finally right what I had wronged. I hoped to find Whitney at her job, charm her all over again, and have a hookup that I could laugh about forever. Alas, fate intervened in a major way.

Just a mile from the casino, traffic on the strip was at a standstill, so I texted Jessica who was already at the hotel to complain. She replied, "Maybe it's cuz of Whitney." I, of course, assumed that she meant the Whitney impersonator and joked to my carmates, "Wouldn't it be funny if Whitney was just sprawled out on the road blocking traffic?" A few minutes later after inching forward only a few feet, I received a text from my friend Luie informing me that Whitney Houston had just died.

I WAS DEVASTATED. I'm not normally one to make a celebrity's death all about myself, but this one clearly personally affected me. I had come to Vegas specifically with the intentions of messing around with a Whitney Houston impersonator, and now she was dead (or, you know, the real one was, but same difference.) I was so upset at the bad timing. Surely, the casino would take her off of work that night. If ever a "too soon" moment, this was it, and I was not going to be able to find my darling, darling Whitney.

What I overlooked was that Las Vegas is hella tacky. I was panicking for nothing when I assumed the casino would employ some sensitivity; they still had a Whitney Houston impersonator working Saturday night as if nothing had happened. The problem was that she was a different Whitney impersonator. Unwilling to give up on my prospects so fast, I asked her coworkers, fellow blackjack dealers dressed as famous musicians, for information about her whereabouts.

Tony Orlando, who I don't care about as a famous figure, but I love as a happy-go-lucky dealer, told me that the original Whitney had quit a while ago because she became an African princess. I figured he was joking with me initially because there's no way in hell that was a true story, but he swore on his wife and life that it was legit. Still, I figured maybe Tony had been fooled. Whitney was a drunk jokester when I last met her, so wouldn't it be funny if instead of quitting her job in a normal manner, she gave notice with, "I became a princess, see you never!"?

Subsequent sleuthing, however, led me to learn that "Aretha Franklin" and "Tina Turner" were actual friends of Whitney's who still kept in touch with her, and they both confirmed that indeed, my would-be girlfriend was a princess. Apparently, "Whitney"'s dad became a king in a region of Ethiopia, and so now she was leaving Vegas behind to go be a proper princess, as many people would in that circumstance.

Needless to say, I was no longer upset that I blew my chance with a Whitney Houston impersonator. Now I was even more upset that I had blown my chance with a motherfucking princess! I never knew I wanted to be a prince before, until I realized how close I came to getting to actually be one. I could have gotten in there before even she became a princess, so she wouldn't have to second-guess my intentions and think I was just in it for the royalty. (For the record, I was in it for the pseudo-celebrity laughs.)

I would be the best African prince there's ever been. And it's ruined now! My friends encouraged me to walk away from a princess for some low-rent Beyonce impersonator. (Just kidding Boo-yonce, I'm still about it if you want to holler.)

So in summary, over the course of just a few hours, I went to hook up with Whitney Houston, then she died, then I learned that I missed an opportunity to become a prince. With a day like that, I would have had to get super drunk even if I weren't in Vegas.

Oh, and if anyone wants to travel to Ethiopia to help me find "The Greatest Love of All", let me know. With a crown on my head, I'd be able to repay you and then some.


What About Me?

While waiting at a traffic light in Hollywood, we notice a guy a couple of cars ahead of us leaning out his window trying to chat up a female in a nearby car. I wasn't aware that guys actually hollered at girls from vehicles outside of old TLC music videos, so it's amusing to hear him try to run some pretty un-smooth game in the 60 seconds he has before the light changes. Even better is when we hear him say, "No, not you, I'm talking to your friend." It seems to me that if anyone is responding to your catcalls, you should take what you can get.

After I make that point to my friend Lizzy, without warning and in an act of brazen insanity, she gets out of our car and runs at him. "What about me?!" she screams as she approaches. He gives Lizzy a quick look over before deciding to ignore her (I mean, who hits on someone in traffic?) and then badgers his original target for her phone number repeatedly, to no avail.

She returns to the car and declares, "He didn't want me!" I still have no idea what possessed Lizzy to pull that stunt, as that's pretty out of character for her, but the way she made an even bigger mockery of the scene is commendable. I'm not sure what would have happened if he responded to Lizzy in a positive manner (other than praying for a green light ASAP). Perhaps this is what Rihanna is referring to when she sings about finding love in a hopeless place.

Uh, Happy Valentine's Day?


Two Hands

Ted: How old is your niece?
Melinda: She's about to turn eleven.
Ted: That's great. Now she's going to have to use more than two hands!
Melinda: Uh?
Ted: To count her age on her fingers.
Melinda: Oh, okay. I was really worried about where you were going with that.

(Then again, considering that Melinda's niece is a known rapist, perhaps some commentary on her handsy nature may be warranted.)


In a Comma

In high school, one of my peers wrote a story about his uncle who was in a coma. I realize you're not supposed to laugh about things like that, but it's really hard not to when he repeatedly spelled the word "coma" with two M-s. "He fell into a comma", "He's still in a comma", etc.

Sorry, but it's difficult to sympathize when you're instead picturing the intricacies of falling into a comma. Due to their shape, I imagine it would be easy to slide down one. They also hang out low next to words, so it seems likely that someone might come along and trip on one.

Who knows, maybe it wasn't a mistake after all. Part of me wants to retroactively give him credit for writing such an esoteric story, but I'm pretty sure someone who can't spell isn't a secret grammar nerd who was actually describing my fantasy world of getting to live inside a punctuation mark.


Valentine's Plans

"I'm going to bring chocolate and lube... so the chocolate goes down faster."
- My Valentine's date is planning big things for next week



In my adolescence, I had a friend name Orville. Orville is probably the biggest guy I've ever known. I have plenty of tall friends, but I'm sure strangers were especially amused at our massive size difference when I hung out next to Orville. For real, it would take four of me to dress up as him for Halloween. (Note: That costume would require blackface, so me and my three Kevin clones will not be doing that. Not even the racist clone.)

Orville ran with a large crew of guys, many of whom I met over the years. Each time I'd meet his boys, he'd introduce me to them as his "cousin". After meeting several "cousins", I finally asked Orville how he could possibly have that many cousins. He explained that the they weren't actually his cousins, that's just how he refers to his friends that are as close as family. And that's how I learned that in some circles you could have a "cousin" and not share a grandparent.

A couple of years ago, I caught up with Orville at a party and he had brought a friend I had never met before. Orville introduced his pal to me as "Cousinz", and I took note of the fact that the term had a "z" added to it since I had last seen him. Later, I asked Orville's friend his name. "Cousins," he said. "Okay..." I said before asking, "Wait, that's your real name?" "Yeah, my last name is Cousins," Cousins said.

I looked stupid for questioning his name, but I had initially thought Orville was referring to Cousins as a cousin in a generic sense. I decided to cut myself some slack given the context, however, and continued the conversation anyway. "So how do you know Orville?" I asked. "He's my cousin," Cousins told me. "Right, but how did you meet him?" "I dunno, I've always known him, he's my cousin."

Uh, okay, I thought, believing he had cleared nothing up. But it turned out he was actually trying to clear things up. As I later learned, Cousins wasn't just Orville's cousin in the friend sense, he was his legitimate first cousin. In other words, Orville's mom is Cousins' aunt. So after a lot of confusion, I learned that Orville's cousin-like friend is actually named Cousins and actually his cousin. Got it? Because I barely do.

It's a good thing I think race is just a social construct or I would feel so, so, so white after all that.


Ruin Me

Melinda: Did you know there’s a company that prints out your Facebook history and turns it into a book?
Kevin: No, that sounds awful.
Melinda: If I was going to turn anyone’s Facebook into a book, it would be yours, Kevin.
Kevin: Why, are you trying to ruin me?
Ted: It would be really easy to ruin you, Kevin.

Hearing Ted say that aloud made me realize how true that is. Take this blog, for example. You’ve already found everything you need to ruin me. If you read close enough, however, you’ll realize that I’ve already done a sufficient job of ruining myself.


Bundling Up

When it gets cold in my house, rather than putting the heat on, I layer up. When I can’t find my hat (or am too lazy to go to the other room where I know it is) I will grab a sheet instead to keep my head warm. If you were to peek into my window, it wouldn’t be uncommon for you to see me with a makeshift turban. No really, this is how I do my work on chilly days.


Why Groundhog Day Is a Sham

Before you wish any more people "Happy Groundhog Day", it's time you know what a bullshit holiday it is. And I don't mean that in just a "How can a groundhog predict the weather?" sort of way. I'd actually trust a rodent over some of the goofball meteorologists I see on local TV.

In February, groundhogs in cold regions are still hibernating hardcore. From October until March or April, groundhogs burrow themselves underground and significantly slow their heart and breathing rates. That is no light nap, so what the fuck does the groundhog care if there's six more weeks of winter? He was planning on hibernating that long anyway until his survival-based sleep schedule was interrupted by humans playing make-believe.

The whole tradition rests upon whether the groundhog sees his shadow. Is it sunny out? Can you see your own shadow? Then the groundhog will cast a shadow, too, it's that simple. The lore that the groundhog is "frightened" by the sight of his own shadow is pretty preposterous, too. Groundhogs are scared of dogs, bears, and - in that particularly crucial moment - camera crews and a crowd of nearly 18,000 people booing him for indicating additional weeks of winter. His shadow is the least of his concerns.

But here's the most important thing: the whole thing is a facade. You see, whether the groundhog sees his shadow is determined in advance by a group ominously known as the "Inner Circle". It's irrelevant whether the groundhog casts a shadow, let alone whether he sees it, because a group of old white men in top hats and tuxedos just make up what they feel like saying anyway.

They're rich dudes who have taken over an American tradition. And even with an event that I think most people recognize as being completely arbitrary, they still feel the need to wield their authority and fabricate the results. What's worse is that even with the rigging, they're still only right 39% of the time! They're better off flipping a coin.

Could this "Inner Circle" be any more representative of the 1%? Why are we celebrating lies and manipulation of the elite who prove to be unreliable? Why must they disrupt nature in the process? And how do we get 18,000 people to wake up before dawn and amass for something that actually matters?

Ugh. #OccupyGroundhogDay