Thursday, February 27, 2014

Look, I'm BuzzFeed!

I'm addicted to BuzzFeed quizzes. Of course I am. How the hell else would I know what kind of cheese I am or which parallel dimension I should actually live in or how easily amused I am?

I don't simply want to take a quiz any more. I want to be a quiz. Dammit, it's my turn to be Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Fassbender dancing at the Golden Globes. I want random people to be interested in how they stack up against me based on utterly random criteria. I need this.

So, with the help of QuizWorks, I've turned myself into a litmus test for all you dreamers out there who have ever wondered if maybe you have what it takes to be like Chuck.

That's about it, really.

Humor me, people. Take the damn quiz. Click here and take the damn quiz.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

You May Kiss the Messenger

I don't have a post for you tonight.

But I do have this.

Ben & Jerry's have released "Core" flavors.

Two ice creams, plus a flavoricious center. A sundae in a pint container, if you will.

Read about it here.

I don't even eat sweets, and that sounds freaking delicious.

You're welcome. Let me know how they taste.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

This Is What Happens When You Don't Participate

Just some light verse for you all tonight.

Some things are raspberries, some things are not
Don't touch that pepper, it's probably hot
Worms are for fishing unless you're a worm
Ideas and illness both start with a germ.
I'd eat more veggies if they didn't stink
I'd run a squid farm to get the free ink
Never stop dreaming, you'll die without sleep
My life's an open book - come take a Pepys.

All right, stop right there.

That's a deliberately obscure reference to noted 17th century diarist Sameul Pepys. Way to ruin a perfectly good whimsical poem, you snot-nosed poseur.

Nothing brings eyeballs to your blog like a reference
to Samuel fucking Pepys.
Jesus, what the hell is wrong with you? You had a chance to write a popular blog post with a bit of amusing doggerel. But you screwed the pooch with a goddamn reference to a British fucking Naval admiral and member of Parliament that maybe one in 50 readers has ever even heard of.

No wonder no one reads your stupid blog.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Best Picture Blitz 2014, Part 7

The latest Oscar-nommed film Precocious Daughter and I saw is Philomena.

If you're a devout Catholic, spoiler alert: Evil nuns.

Let's face it: No one named Sister Hildegard
is going to be a good egg.
Philomena is the based-on-a-true-story story of Irishwoman Philomena Lee, who had a child out of wedlock in the early 1950s, only to watch helplessly as the convent that took her allowed her son to be adopted away from her. A disgraced journalist agrees to help her find her son, and they embark on an odd-couple road trip in search of answers and a good story.

It's a fairly slim tale, but wonderfully written and acted by Steve Coogan. Along with Will Forte in Nebraska, Coogan has proven this year that comedians can actually be fine dramatic actors. He more than holds his own with Judi Dench, who is typically impressive as the title character. I'll tell you the truth: I think Coogan probably should have gotten an acting nod rather than Dench. He's that good.

Overall, the film is not more than a couple of steps above a made-for-TV movie. I enjoyed it a lot, but at its heart it's a small, intimate story blown up to fit the big screen. And I think the only way to truly enjoy it is if (like PDaughter and I) you go in unaware of the details of the actual events. The plot twists are satisfying and dramatic, but only if you don't see them coming (and honestly, I figured out what was coming pretty early on).

There has been talk of the dramatic license taken with the facts, especially from Catholics who believe the nuns are falsely portrayed in a negative light. But as an ex-Catholic myself, I say evil nuns make great drama, so bring on the license.

I really recommend Philomena as a rental or Netflix-queue film. You'll enjoy it, I think. Forget the Oscar nomination, and enjoy Dame Judi Dench explaining what a "beard" is.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Taking My Victories Where I Can

First, a confession: I just now (well, yesterday), finished reading Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened. Because I'm cheap and I waited for someone to buy it for me. And also because I could only read a chapter or two at a time before hyperventilating and being overcome by feelings of inferiority and depression and having to put it aside for a while. Because this is the book I always wanted to write and felt I could (except for the part about the dead-squirrel puppet), and the Bloggess has written it.

So it took a while to get through it, is what I'm saying.

But I cheered up a lot when I got to the end. I read the bonus chapter (you high-class early adopters who bought the hardback edition didn't get that, neener-neener), and the I read the acknowledgements, which were sweet and funny. And then I came to the Reader's Guide.

The freaking Reader's Guide.

Let's talk about book clubs.

I don't understand book clubs in the least. Regular readers likely have gleaned that I am not a joiner. I subscribe to Groucho Marx' credo of not wanting to belong to any club that would have me as a member. Also, the last time I volunteered for anything at my kid's school - as the result of a blatant dare by Precocious Daughter - God Himself sent an ice storm to North Texas so that the event for which I had volunteered to participate would be canceled.

God totally has my back. Thanks, God.
I really love the idea of sitting around and debating whatever book, movie, TV show, or current event I've recently been exposed to with friends and then getting bored and moving on to other things when I get bored (like work or taking care of my child). I hate the idea of a bunch of people who tangentially know each other setting a strict date and time to discuss a book that everyone has been assigned to read as if we were all still in high school so that we can feel both "social" and "intellectual."

Because why not take something organic and enjoyable and turn it into a forced learning experience?

Book clubs, along with houses like this, are very popular
in Plano, Texas.
Don't give me that bullcrap about how - really - book clubs are just an excuse to sit around and gossip and drink. I don't need an excuse to sit around and gossip and drink, and don't ruin my love of reading by using it to justify your shallow pursuit of pseudo-intellectual legitimacy.

Also: Yes, I have issues.
Getting back to Jenny Lawson's book. I felt a rush of petty and evil superiority when I saw that Let's Pretend This Never Happened concludes with, of all things, a Reader's Guide - a list of suggested "discussion topics" for people who aren't smart or creative enough to actually discuss the freaking book they claim to just finished reading. Wine-guzzling suburban poseurs: If you enjoyed the book, you should be able to talk about it without Cliff's Notes. If you didn't enjoy it, you should have enough confidence in the integrity of your own opinions to state why. If you're really only at the meeting to drink and look smart, go home and binge-watch "Real Housewives of Wherethefuckever," which clearly is where your heart lies.

I may get some hate mail, but I don't want to live in a world
where I'm expected to know who these people are.
I read through every single "discussion topic" in the Reader's Guide, thinking that at some point, the vapid questions would give way to humorous satirical entries - you know, like the closing credits in Airplane!  But no. Somewhere along the line, some editor decided that a funny, profane, irreverent book like Let's Pretend This Never Happened was crying out for a series of vapid talking points to make the dumbest of its readers feel empowered.

Smarter than 94.8% of book club members.
Here are some actual entries from the Reader's Guide from the Bloggess' book (which I can only assume were added without her knowledge while she was drunk or fighting off vultures):

Lawson describes her hometown as “violently rural” and struggles to find a point to its existence. In your opinion, did growing up in this town help or hinder her?

Chuck's Answer: She's a world-famous blogger and bestselling author. What the fuck do you think, suburban housewife whose husband works in finance and probably has three mistresses?

Lawson wrote about her OCD, phobias, and other mental struggles. Did this make her more or less relatable to you? Have you or has someone you know had a phobia or mental illness so severe that it affected your life?

Chuck's Answer: Don't ever admit you might have human frailties, but surely you know some piece of human garbage who is less than perfect. Talk about them in a condescending manner here.

Lawson made the decision to infuse humor into even her most traumatic stories of dealing with infertility, loss, and arthritis. What do you think of this choice? Have you ever used humor for healing?

Chuck's Answer: "Healing" is the word upper-middle-class automatons use when the rest of us mean "finding some damn way to survive." What embarrassing problems have you found socially acceptable euphemisms for in order to marginalize them in your social circle?

Lawson made the decision to infuse humor into even her most traumatic stories of dealing with infertility, loss, and arthritis. What do you think of this choice? Have you ever used humor for healing?

Chuck's Answer: "Humor" is what some people call to the emotion you refer to as "I make fun of what I don't understand." Do you understand that your life in the bubble is not normal?

What do you think Lawson was looking for in her life? Do you think she has found it?

Chuck's Answer: You have no fucking right to tender an opinion on this. Mote, meet beam. Drink some more wine and flirt with the Starbucks barista, you overly-Botoxed bitch.

Seriously, I'm disappointed that Jenny Lawson even allowed a Reader's Guide to be appended to her book. Drunkards, I promise you now:  When/if my book gets published, the only discussion questions tacked on to the end will be penned by yours truly and will mostly address your opinion of monkeys, squirrels, and politicians with great big hair.

And my book will be the better for it. I promise.

Friday, February 21, 2014

In Case You Haven't Noticed, This Is a Chick Blog

Just a couple of fortysomething chicks talking about menstrual cycles:

Bestest Friend: PMS in perimenopause bites hard, doesn't it? Why can't we do what the generation before us did? Why can't we just take some Valium and hormone replacement therapy and just smile our way through the Change?

Me: Really? We could do that? What would we replace our hormones with? I vote for grape jelly.

Can you say bestrogen?
For the record, Bestest Friend would prefer vanilla frosting. Either way, gotta be better than the primordial hormonal soup sloshing around now.

Note to any guys who have made it this far: PMS, you probably know, is pre-menstrual syndrome. Perimenopause is the months-to-years-long process of the female body gradually shutting down its baby-making facilities. In terms of physical and emotional upheaval, it's almost exactly like reverse puberty. Think of a movie in which Adam Sandler and Rich Schneider ineptly try to run a dilapidated toy factory, with results that aren't really very funny and seem to last a lot longer than the two hour running time. That's perimenopause.

Where can I get my hands on a peanut butter and Valium sandwich?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sprouts Town Hall Meeting

Sprouts Markets is a chain of natural-foods grocery stores. They have about 170 stores in nine states. All of those states have laws that allow people to carry concealed handguns in public places, within limits. Recently Sprouts, like a number of other companies, decided to declare that their stores would be gun-free zones. In Texas, that means posting state-mandated signage meeting extremely specific criteria for language, size, and placement, which they have done.

Yesterday the Facebook group Texas Concealed Carry posted a letter sent to a member of the group in response to his/her complaint about this policy. Numerous comments to this post have appeared, ranging in tone from "Get the torches!" to "Get the torches AND the pitchforks!" With few exceptions, commenters were critical of Sprouts' decision, vowing actions ranging from boycotts to open defiance of the stores' legal prohibition of concealed handguns.

Use the (deadly) force.

Welcoming the opportunity to further explain its decision and to address the concerns of Texas Concealed Carry, Sprouts media representative Moonglow Arugula has provided responses to a number of these Facebook comments* and has asked Always Drunk to provide a forum to publish those responses.**

Like, hi.

* Probably not true
** Almost certainly not true, but protected by applicable fair use/satire laws. 'Murica.


Moonglow Arugula:  On behalf of Sprouts, I'd like to thank everyone who has voiced an opinion on our recent policy to restrict concealed hanguns from our stores. It was really groovy of you to weigh in. I've made myself some GMO-free chai tea, and I'm just going to settle in and see what you beautiful people have to say on the issue. Let's rap.


Mary H: I don't thin tou [sic] care about anyone's 2nd Amendment Rights at all!

MA: Negative vibes, wow. Private property is a really cool American thing. If you don't want bulk quinoa in your home, you don't have to have it, you know? Also, like, what if your best friend asked you not to bring a gun into her house? Would you also launch a badly-spelled rant at her? 


Suzie I: Personally , I think what you are doing is wrong ! You are doing what anti gunners want and that is a victory for them ! You displaying that your establisent [sic] does not allow handguns is an invitation for criminals !

MA: Your non-standard puncutation and spelling are groovy. Thanks for being you.


Joshua H: It's laughable when they claim to do this I'm am [sic] effort for greater safety. As if the thugs are going to abide by the rules they break at every other opportunity.

MA: Like, you're right on about the thugs. We didn't ban guns to keep them out - criminals totally don't obey laws. We banned guns to keep would-be vigilantes and heroes out, the ones who practice shooting until they can draw a bead on a paper target and think that makes them qualified to hit a moving bad guy in a store full of people and obstacles. Those cats give me the willies.


Timothy P: I will still go. I respect their rights to choose who comes into their stores with what.

MA: Well, thank you, Timothy. Also, thank you for not making me type "[sic]" again.


Mike G: You could go in there and act like your [sic] browsing and then casually drop that Hitler was also a vegetarian....

MA: Ooh, I think one of us is high. And it's not...wait...nope, it's only 4:15, it's not me. Peace.


Kelli G: I will also take my business elsewhere.

Jonathan G: Just lost one of my favorite stores.

Sarah W: This comes as a huge disappointment to me as I love Sprouts but this statement just made them lose a customer.

Bradley D: A second rate store anyhow. Only pretentious arrogant ass holes shop there.

MA: Kelli, Jonathan, and Sarah, have you met Bradley? He seems like a cool guy, and he's on your side.


Robert W: You just lost a customer. I don't patronize anyone who doesn't honor my rights.

MA: So, like, you don't go to bars or sporting events or your kids' school programs, and you don't ever vote or serve jury duty? Robert, dude, I respect your opinion, but for real? You're a pretty sad guy if you don't go anywhere that you can't bring a gun to. Live life, man. Live life.


Steve S: not one near me so not gonna effect [sic] me much.

Hero H: I've never shopped there, nor will i [sic] ever.

Kelin J: There are no Sprouts stores around here, and I won't frequent one if I find one.

Joe B: Puh-lease...if business drops they will, all of a sudden, decide that CCH is not such a bad idea after all. It's all about money.

MA: No, man, it's all about the beautiful organic veggies. But OK, yeah, it's a little bit about the money. Let me drop an example. Our Sprouts store in Carrollton, Texas serves an area with about 54,000 adult folks living in it. About 3% of those folks have a concealed carry license. That's actually a higher percentage than the state of Texas as a whole. Based on the responses here, I'd guess that at least half of the concealed-carry brigade already don't shop at Sprouts and just, like, enjoy yelling or something. So we're looking at losing, you know, significantly less than 2% of our customers by saying don't bring your shooty-guns into our crib. I'd also guess we're going to pick up some groovy people who will start shopping at Sprouts because they like the idea that the dude looking at the melons in the next aisle isn't going to go all Wyatt Earp on their ass. So overall, maybe we're throwing away some scratch, for sure. But it's, like, chump change. And in exchange we get to stick to our principles, which I gather is important to a lot of you, so long as they're your principles being stuck to. Anyway, yeah, in that way it's about the money.


Craig C: This coming from people living in glass castles. That is why criminals are moving into these neighborhoods and burglarizing them WITH EASE.

MA: Wow, really? Neighborhoods full of glass castles are being burglarized because people can't carry guns into grocery stores? That's like a Jimi Hendrix song or something. That's poetry. Thanks for contributing!


Wayne L: The key word is "concealed" no one, but no one should know that you're carrying.

MA: If you're carrying a gun and no one knows you're carrying a gun, then are you really carrying a gun? Whoa. Also, if you don't put a period between your sentences, do you ever actually stop talking? *mind blown*


Gary W: Exactly how do you protect your staff and customers when you leave them in protected [sic] and vulnerable to criminal attack? Fortunately you will never know if I have a weapon in your store. I don't care about your policy any more than you care about my safety. I am not violating any laws by bringing my concealed weapon only your policy. Stick your policy in your anti American libtard loving ass!

MA: Whoa, now. People. That is totally unfair, bringing in a smooth-talking professional gun lobbyist like that.


Plourde T: I can't see how they can stop you [from carrying a gun], they are not a school or state or federal building.

MA: It, like, warms my heart to know that Texas requires concealed handgun carrying dudes and dudettes to understand state gun laws. I actually had to Google this, but dig, if we put up what's called a 30.06 sign saying that you can't bring a gun into one of our emporia, then you're, like, breaking the law if you do. I guess you all knew that already. Me, I love to learn.


Becky P: Guess we know where the bad guys will be shopping.

MA: You think the dudes who want to knock over a grocery store that keeps almost no cash on hand are going to shop at the same place they rob? That would be sweet. Not only would we totally be able to ID them, but Sprouts would get tons of cool publicity from being featured in a "dumb criminal" story. Good karma right there.


And that's all we have time for now!  Thanks, everyone, for a groovy discussion. What makes this country great is that we all enjoy the same rights and freedoms, whether or not we can write a coherent sentence. Namaste, y'all!

If you want to check the facts:

If you want to verify the comments (creative grammar and all):
Texas Concealed Carry

Monday, February 17, 2014

Best Picture Blitz 2014: Part 6

On Saturday, Precocious Daughter and I took a deep breath and saw 12 Years a Slave.

I knew what a fine movie this is. I knew it was a difficult and unrestrained take on American slavery. And yes, I was afraid it was going to be the cinematic equivalent of cough syrup: good for me but profoundly unpleasant.

See also: Brussels sprouts.
But I'm pleased to report that 12 Years a Slave, while indeed a physically and emotionally painful film, is also beautiful, lyrical, and profoundly moving. It just picked up BAFTAs for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, all well deserved.

Also, Steve McQueen seems like a lovely man.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, in particular, is majestic as Solomon Northup, the free black man from New York who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. A man of education and great dignity, he speaks pages of dialogue that flow like the greatest19th century literature, and Ejiofor is a joy as he embraces the beautiful formality of the period language. The deliberate, painful choices Solomon makes over time to conceal his erudition from his white masters will resonate with anyone who has had to choose between authenticity and acceptance.

But my favorite performance in the movie is that of Michael Fassbender as not-just-evil-but-probably-batshit-crazy slave owner Edwin Epps. I can't believe any actor would be brave enough to play this role without pulling any punches and subtle enough to do it without coming off as a cardboard villain. Fassbender not only does it, but does it brilliantly. And I think it's only the fact that the Best Supporting Actor category is so ridiculously competitive this year - Jared Leto as a transgender AIDs patient, hello? - that will keep him from winning for his eye-popping performance.

Did I mention that Benedict Cumberbatch plays an almost-sympathetic slave owner?

I mean, relative to buying and selling human beings
like livestock.
He makes an awesome Southern gentleman. And Brad Pitt acts the crap out of a brief, two-scene role as a Canadian abolitionist. Someday I will forgive him for Meet Joe Black. Producing and acting in this film helps a lot.

12 Years a Slave is beautifully constructed, shot, and edited. Director McQueen knows exactly how to draw out a moment until it is almost exquisitely painful. Yes, there are violent depictions of whippings and beatings here, but they are not in the least gratuitous. Still, you feel flayed yourself as you watch them. And at the end you feel Solomon's eventual triumph as if you'd earned it yourself.

I'm not going to delve into nonsense about white guilt and black propaganda and politically correct visions of history. There are important conversations to be held on all of those points. But I'm talking about an Oscar-nominated movie. And this one is superlative.

I'll leave you with this: After each of first four Best Picture nominees we've seen, PDaughter and I have turned to each other as soon as the credits rolled and asked, "Well? Did you like it?" At the end of 12 Years a Slave, we both sat quietly for several minutes, not even looking at each other. The consensus was that we both loved it. But it took more than the raising of the lights to break the spell of this one.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday Night GIF Fever

Check this out, guys.

If you've been reading along, you may remember that a few months ago I went off sweets. My body just stopped wanting anything sweet. No, I can't tell you how that happened. Believe me, I'm as bummed about it as you are, because if I could I'd be well on my way to being a millionaire at this moment.

A fat cat, as it were.
But tonight, out of the blue and for the first time in months, I had a craving for something sweet. Not just something, but something very specific: I wanted Archer Farms Peanut Butter & Jelly Trail Mix from Target.

Because heaven, that's why.
After ascertaining that my body was actually serious about wanting Archer Farms Peanut Butter & Jelly Trail Mix and not just jacking with me, I drove to my local Target and made a beeline for the GORP aisle.

They were fully stocked on every single conceivable type of fruit/nut/M&M/banana chip/weird seeds and shit combination...except one. On an entire wall of trail mix-y goodness, there was but a single sold-out item.

Three guesses.

Go screw yourself, universe.

So here's a post full of GIFs. GIFs are adorable. And I don't feel like writing about anything substantive because I'm totally pouting about my PBJ trail mix.

*kicks dirt*

Hey, you know what would cheer me up? A stampede of guinea pigs.

Also, Sir Patrick Stewart being darling and goofy.

A Corgi pup always lifts the spirits.

But if that doesn't party!

Kramer has the power to charm (bonus happiness points if you can name the classic "Seinfeld" episode shown here).

Sometimes penguins are jerks!

Not that David Bowie finds such shenanigans amusing.

Still, you know what they say.

So just enjoy this squeeish sloth.

And shark-cat on a Roomba.

I guess I'll go eat some almonds and weird seeds and shit. Or maybe stick my face in the sugar bowl.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

You Search, I Find

I like to look at the search terms that bring people to my corner of the blogosphere. This showed up in the list recently:

Along with "disguting rat." Because rats are, you know, disguting.

You want Benedict Cumberbatch being adorable? I'm about to make this page Awesome Central for Benedict Cumberbatch being adorable.


Also, this:

Benedict + Muppets = Adorable.

Bookmark it, people.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Sinking Conversation

Have you heard about this? A giant sinkhole opened up inside the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky and totally nommed eight expensive, collectible Corvettes.

I'm not actually sure there is such a thing as a non-expensive,
non-collectible Corvette. Forgive the redundancy.

Seven of them are still sitting in the hole as of this writing, because of the possibility that the sinkhole might still be hungry and could decide to open its maw a little wider and gobble some more tasty coupes and convertibles. (Note: Since I started this post earlier today, they've actually removed all but one of the 'Vettes. The last one is the only thing standing between us and Bizarro World, or something.)

I'm sure they're fine.

Spoiler alert: They're probably not fine.

Yep, it's a bad deal. Especially because many of the cars in the National Corvette Museum don't actually belong to the Museum, but are on loan from their owners.  Whose precious - and in some cases, priceless - V8 babies are now at the bottom of a 40-foot-wide hole in the floor of the shrine built to cherish and protect them.

Every Corvette needs a man-cave, amiright?

It goes without saying that the guy with the worst job in America today was the guy who had to call the owners of the sinkholed cars and tell them that the rare and beautiful machines they entrusted to the museum had unexpectedly relocated to the brand-new basement of said museum.

How would you even have that conversation?

"Hello? Is this Mr. ----, owner of the white 1992 Corvette that was the one millionth Corvette ever made? Hi, Mr. ----, this is Ed from the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Fine, thanks. Um...first, Mr. ----, all of us at the museum want to really, really thank you for loaning us your beautiful and historic car. Really. That was, uh, just awesome of you.

What? Problem?

Well, it's a funny thing.

Stolen? Oh, no, Mr. ----, nothing like that. Your 'Vette is right here, under - at - AT the museum. Here at the museum. Right where you last saw it. Well, maybe not right where you last saw it.

It's like this. The Earth is full of mysteries. Wouldn't you agree? It's just a And the unexpected happens. It happens all the time, you know? Nature is just unpredictable and...mysterious. You can't blame anyone for that. You can't predict what, uh, wonders this old world is going to unleash when you least expect it.

Like what? Oh, you know, like when a volcano erupts or...

No, no, no, Mr. ----. There hasn't been a volcano eruption. In Bowling Green? That would be crazy! Ha! Ha!


OK, I'll be honest with you. The car you loaned us. The, uh, one millionth Corvette to be built. It's, sort of, underground.

What's that? Yes, it's like a basement. Except it didn't exactly exist yesterday, and we didn't know it was there until the, as it were, floor of the National Corvette Museum, um, collapsed. As it were.

Is it OK? Well...we'll know more when the six cars that landed on it are removed.

That's...a really colorful string of words, Mr. ----. I commend you.

Wow. I've never actually heard some of those words.

Yes, I realize there's only one millionth Corvette. But when you think about it, there's only one 999,999th, too. And only one 687,412th, right? So, you know if every Corvette is unique, then how unique is any Corvette? Right?

Mr. ----?

Well, I'm not sure how kicking my balls up my ass will help the situation, sir. Your car will still be at the bottom of the sinkhole. Yes, I suppose it would make you feel better. But maybe we can just discuss this calmly and rationally...?

That's not strictly legal, what you're suggesting. And frankly, it sounds a little humiliating and painful for me. Let's remember that I'm not the one who caused the floor to collapse.

Hmmm? Well, I guess you could say it was an act of God.

I don't actually think you can file a claim with God, sir. Yes, I'm sure He has deeper pockets than the museum. If you wanted to try, that would be your right.

Yes. Yes, well, stringing me up by my pubic hair certainly would be an alternative. But not financially remunerative, I feel obligated to point out.

What now? Well...there are lots of other collectible cars in the world. I'm sure you could - what? The 1.5 millionth Corvette produced? Well, in what you might call a hilarious coincidence, that particular Corvette is very close to your vehicle at the moment.

How close? Sort of...on top of it. Fused together, one might say.

Now, now, Mr. ----, don't do anything rash. I do have other people to call. What? Yes, I guess they'll be upset.

Will there be enough to create an angry mob? Um...

I think a '63 Stingray just fell into the abyss. I've got to go, Mr. ----. Don't worry, we'll box up what's left and mail it back to you. Postage paid. Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Best Picture Blitz 2014, Part 5

This weekend we went to Nebraska.

See what I did there?

I mean the movie, of course.

Sorry, guys.

Nebraska is nominated for six Academy Awards, and it's kind of hard to argue against its winning any of them. Not that it will.

In fact, there's every chance this wonderful movie may go home empty-handed on Oscar. It's not an "issue" movie, like Dallas Buyers' Club or 12 Years a Slave. It doesn't break technological ground, like Gravity (hell, far from boasting CGI or 3-D, it was shot in black and white). It doesn't tackle an emotional true story, like Philomena or Captain Phillips. It's a simple, quiet movie about an old guy and his son taking a road trip and stopping off in their hometown for a few days.

Doesn't matter. I absolutely loved it.

Bruce Dern gives an amazingly deep and affecting performance. His Woody Grant is old, in the sense that not everyone of advanced age is necessarily old. He's old and he's confused and cantankerous, and he's not the nicest person in the world. But as the movie goes on, you discover the layers that make up the character - the love and kindness and simple decency that have found themselves knotted and tangled into the person he's become. Dern has some throwaway lines that are simply devastating in their ability to make you laugh and cry and cringe. And he does such a convincing job of acting old that Precocious Daughter feared for his real-life health and vitality (I assured her it's all acting, the real Bruce Dern is not only colorful and vibrant but also much beloved in Hollywood). The role is so much less flashy than Matthew McConaughey's in Dallas Buyers Club that I don't think he can possibly take the Oscar, unless the old guard voters come out in force. But that doesn't make the award any less deserved.

Will Forte is a bit of revelation.  He is totally up to the task of playing Woody's son, desperately aware both of how similar and how different they are. If you only know Forte as MacGruber, you're in for a huge surprise. Dude can act. And he and Bob Odenkirk make awesome brothers.

The real star of the movie, though, is the cinematography. Nebraska is a road trip from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska, and it was shot on location. The stark black-and-white scenes of America's Great Plains are beautiful and desolate in equal measure. The depiction of the Midwest's small towns and medium-size cities rings completely true. If there's justice in the world, this picture will win the Oscar for cinematography.

America is very, very big. And very, very small.

One little detail of this movie stuck with me at the end, and it's a tiny small thing, but it spoke volumes about the care and attention to detail with which Alexander Payne directed. At one point Woody and his family pull up to what they think is the house of Woody's former business partner. His sons intend to talk to him about paying off an old debt (I won't say more because it's one of the funniest scenes in the movie). They pull into the dusty driveway alongisde the house...and walk around to knock on the back door. Because if you grew up in the Midwest, you know that you hardly ever knock on the front door of anyone you know personally. That's how I grew up, and it tickled me that that little touch of authenticity made the cut.

One other thing: Nebraska apparently is a chick flick for men (a bro mo? I'm going with it). Because when it ended (and the ending is as nearly perfect as you could imagine), the men in the theatre were crying. You could hear them. I didn't see any women crying. I guess we can't relate to belated, difficult bonding between fathers and sons. Men are such dear, sweet, emotionally stunted creatures sometimes. Still, it was kind of a revalation to see how this small, sweet movie could affect people in the private darkness of the theater.

So, yeah, I loved Nebraska, and I'll be rooting for it on Oscar night. Check it out.

Cooking With Chuck!

This isn't really a post - I'll have my review of Nebraska up later today - but I couldn't resist sharing a new recipe.

You'll eat it, and you'll like it.
One of my IRL Facebook friends posted a request for recipes made with kale.

Pictured: Not kale.
I was naturally inspired to create a culinary treat using this popular green leafy nutritional powerhouse of not-at-all-like-eating weeds goodness. I thought I'd share it with my Drunkards. Because I care.

I care so damn much.
Here it is - Chuck Baudelaire's Best Kale Yummy Om Noms Ever

Step 1: Make one full recipe of your favorite dish - soup, appetizer, meat, vegetarian, it doesn't matter. As long as it's something you love to eat.

Step 2: Take one large bunch of kale. Get the biggest motherfucker you can find. Use two smaller ones if you can't find a great big one. Hell, use three if you really want the full-on kale experience.

Step 3: Throw that shit away. Who the hell eats kale?

Step 4: Eat on your favorite dish until you're fit to bust.

There you go. I guarantee you'll love it.

Hooray for food!
Join me next time, when we prepare Chuck's Sauerkraut Delight.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Beatles Story

I've not said a word about the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. It's hard for me to write about the impact of the Beatles on my life. It's not something I can cover in a blog post, and I'm not actually 100% sure I'm a good enough writer to tell the story of what this band has meant to me. So I've decided to save it for the book. If there's never a book, someday I'll write it down as if there were.

But I'll tell you an anecdote.

In our senior year of high school, Bestest Friend had a poster on her bedroom wall that commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Beatles' appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

In fact, it was this poster, and Bestest Friend, this image is from an eBay auction listing it at $149. Just saying.

Back in 1984, 1964 seemed like a very long time in the past. After all, it was before we were born, which automatically denotes ancient history.

Shown here: the dawn of time.
And now it's been 30 years since the 20th anniversary. And 30 years since my senior year of high school. It feels like nothing. Yet the 20 years between 1964 and 1984 still seem like a tremendous chasm in time to me. Proving that time is nothing less than black magic and you need to have a TARDIS and sonic screwdriver to even begin to understand it.

So happy 50th anniversary, Paul and Ringo. I miss you, John and George.

Also, happy birthday to my big sister, which to me is even more worth celebrating.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Tabitha Takes on the Winter Olympics

Note: I banished Tabitha's ass. Somehow she wound up in Sochi, Russia, and filed this report on the 22nd Winter Olympic Games. It's entertaining, so I let her publish it. Also, she's not mean to me for once (relatively speaking, of course).

hi, y'll. tabby here.

you know you missed me.
i'm in fucking russia, people. russia. do you know where that is? it's all the way over, you know, there. almost to europe or something.
this is totally not helpful. anyway, shouldn't that
be the african-american sea? so racist.
btw, you people are sons of bitches. some of you narced me out to chuck baudelaire and said "ooooh i don't like her" and "waaaah, she's so mean" and "blablabla i'd fuck her but i wouldn't marry her." whatevs. chuck said i should disappear for a while. so i went on and looked for a cheap flight to the hell out of there. i get off the plane and i'm in bulgaria. or maybe the other garia - you know, hungaria.
Note: I know, she just totally ripped off a
Spinal Tap joke from "The Simpsons." Or maybe
she doesn't realize it's a joke. - CB
so i ended up in this street market because i heard that weed is legal in amsterdam - which i guess means it was bulgaria, right? geography, lol. and then this, like, goat farmer or sheep fucker or something named arnost that i met when he copped a feel in front of a sausage shop hooked me up with a barge trip across the african-american sea (#notaracist) and i ended up in this cool place called sochi.
guess what, dudes: they're having the winter olympics here! i did not even know that. it's karma, or kismet, or what the hell ever. i love the olympics. they are the coolest thing america ever invented.
so i was wandering around sochi, pretty much following the dogs, which i guess are the olympic mascots this year because they're like everywhere. and i met this guy who said he was vladmir putin's personal tailor's teenage boy toy and would i like some vodka. and i said, who is vlalala poopin? and he said something in some other language, i have no idea what they speak in russia. anyway, someone else told me that vladimir putin is all in charge and whatnot and would i like some vodka. and i thought, i need to meet this dude.
long story short: it's amazing how helpful foreigners can be when you let them put their hands inside your shirt. before too long i was introduced to him and given some vodka.
spoiler alert: we totally did it.
he takes off his shirt and we have the sex.
are you surprised?
so then he's all "hey, baby, will you carry a torch for me?" and i'm like, no way, you're cute and all but russia is too effing cold and after i go back to america imma forget all about you. i'm kind of a bitch that way.
but you know what? he wasn't asking if i would be his girl. he was actually asking me - me, tabitha roxanne renee louise brown - to light the freaking olympic torch at the opening ceremonies! how much is that cool?
but then he got kind of pissy over the "imma forget you" comment and totally took it back. so that's why i'm not actually going to be up there with the torch. kinda sucks. i've got a pretty big mouth sometimes.
also, now i need another place to stay. vlad's crib was rocking, so i'm looking for something just as swag. there are all these hotels and stuff here in sochi that look brand new. probably they're awesome. a lot of them don't have sidewalks leading up to them or doorknobs or walls around what you might call 100% of the buildings. might be a russian thing, i don't know. i don't study architecture, because boring. i'm sure i'll find something nice.
can someone tell me which hotel this is?
because it sounds like my kind of place.
or maybe i'll score a room with the athletes. you know, flirt a little and get an invite. some of the figure skater guys are pretty hot. i'll flash some boob and they'll be all over me. guys dig me.
after i settle in, i'm going to explore. make some new friends. maybe get a look at shaun white's halfpipe, if you know what i mean. so ciao for now.
i mean i want to see shaun white naked. i thought i should clarify that.
later, gators.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Best Picture Blitz 2014, Part 4

Continuing our pre-Oscar movie blitz, Precocious Daughter and I took in Dallas Buyers Club over the weekend.

The first thing I want to say is, Do not take a 14-year-old to see this movie, OMG, it has sex and drugs and a whole bunch of cursing in it. I did it because I'm a terrible mother., it's got an Important Message and it's Art and stuff. And PDaughter is really mature (much more so than I am). Mostly the terrible mother part, plus the other things.

The second thing I want to say is, Matthew, Jared, eat. You're too thin. Have some soup. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto lost a combined 374 pounds or so to play the roles of AIDS sufferers. They totally earned their nominations for Best Scary-Skinny Guy and Best Supporting Scary-Skinny Guy, respectively. I think Matthew's pornstache and Jared's cheekbones should have been nominated for Awesomest Facial Features, as well. But you can't have everything.

Pictured: Pornstache, cheekbones, bones.

Dallas Buyers Club is a heavy movie. I don't usually see heavy movies. There's a lot of heavy shit going on the world at all times. I like my entertainment slightly on the mindless side.

Same way I like my men.
That said, it's a very good movie. Watching McConaughey's performance as Ron Woodroof, I realized that it's one of the very few I've seen lately in which the protagonist actually transforms in the course of the film. The concept of transformation is at the heart of drama, yet we don't see it all that much in mainstream movies. I'm thinking of two recent manly-man dramas, Captain Philips and All Is Lost. In both of them, you've got lead characters who are traditional, stoic, resourceful guys who endure the challenges they face by...being stoic and resourceful. Tom Hanks and Robert Redford are two of my favorite actors, but they're not given all that much to do once their characters and central conflicts are introduced.

But when we meet Ron Woodroof, he's a profane, racist, homophobic redneck horndog. Then he gets AIDs and makes a transgender friend and carries around a really hilarious 80s-era mobile phone the size of a loaf of bread.  I may have oversimplified the plot. Nonetheless, the entire movie really is about how Ron navigates the Scylla and Charibdis of the things he can control and the things he can't and how it makes him a different person from who he was.

Through it all, his mustache remains constant.

Guess what? I can relate to that a lot more than I can relate to fighting Somali pirates. Not that Captain Phillips isn't a really good movie - I enjoyed it a lot, and there were some fine performances. But what Matthew McConaughey does in Dallas Buyers Club is a lot tougher to watch - and ultimately a lot more rewarding.

Still, if you don't like movies with sex and drugs and a whole bunch of cursing, be warned. Because...damn.

Also, I can tell you that if your impression of the city of Dallas in the 1980s was formed by the TV series "Dallas," you should definitely see this movie, because it's a way more accurate representation. There really were plenty of women who didn't sport big hair and/or shoulder pads, and there really were (and are) at least as many gay bars as redneck bars. I don't remember quite so many men having mustaches back then - it's a very stache-centric movie - but maybe they got a better deal on Matthew's by buying in bulk.

Next up: Nebraska.