Benihana, I Deserve An Apology

Ichiro

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this letter as a formal request to be readmitted to the Benihana Birthday Club.  The following is an in-depth account of the night of October 31, 2017, and the events that led me to be unfairly banished from the Benihana Restaurant chain.

I’d never been to Benihana before, but I’d recently gotten a coupon in the mail that told me I’d get $30 off my order if I ate there in my birthday month.  My birthday is in October so I went on Halloween because Halloween is fun, and my roommate told me the night before that if I ate any more of his Hot Pockets he was going to key my moped.  I don’t think he was serious, but I couldn’t take any chances that he’d scratch up my ride – it’s the reason I get most of my telephone numbers (I park it illegally, like a lot).  I couldn’t decide what I wanted to be my costume, but I ended up dressing as a Benihana chef, because I read in a book once that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery (I don’t know what that means, but the chef robes are really comfortable – ha!).  When I got to the restaurant it didn’t look like any of the other guests were in costume, but I figured they were hiding their disguises under their clothes to preserve the element of surprise.

As a newcomer to the wild world of Japanese cuisine, I asked the chef a few questions.  He told me that my food would be prepared directly in front of me on a hibachi style grill.  I consider myself a master googler, and it only took me a few minutes to discover that Hibachi is a Japanese company that used to make TVs and other electronics.  Maybe the grill was fashioned out of old television sets?  It didn’t sound very safe to me, but I decided to stick it out.  After all, Japan is responsible for a number of great things (sushi, anime video games, 10 time MLB All-Star and former American League Rookie of the Year Ichiro Suzuki), and I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt.  I asked the chef if Ichiro had ever eaten there and he said no, but he probably hadn’t been there every night the restaurant had been open so how could he know for sure?  Pretty irresponsible of him to say Ichiro had never eaten there, when odds are he probably sat and ate in the same seat I was.

The chef made a tiny volcano out of an onion he was cooking, which I thought was cool until I remembered that a number of people (millions, probably) per year are killed by erupting volcanos.  What if someone at the table knew someone who died from a volcano?  Pretty insensitive of the chef to be rubbing their faces in it like that.  “Hey, do you like onions?  How about the fact that your loved ones are dead?”  Not the kind of conduct I’d expect to see from a Benihana chef.  To distract my fellow diners from this gross misconduct, I asked them to tell me what they most admired about Ichiro Suzuki.  They admittedly didn’t know much, but I could tell they were impressed when I described his MVP winning 2001 season in excruciating detail.  My new friends and I were just starting on what promised to be an engaging discussion of Ichiro’s unique batting style when the chef told me that if I mentioned Ichiro again, I would be asked to leave the restaurant.  That just proved that he wasn’t nearly as Japanese as he claimed to be, because Ichiro Suzuki is a national treasure to the Japanese people (much like Pokémon, and furry hats with animal ears on them).

My first visit to Benihana was not going as I’d hoped, but there was plenty of time to turn it around.  I got up to use the restroom, which was extremely confusing.  They had Japanese symbols on the doors, and I don’t speak or read Japanese.  Although they had the English translations directly underneath, I couldn’t trust those; they could have been planted by the extremely rude chef who was clearly trying to spoil my birthday and embarrass me in front of my new best friends.  To be safe, I opened both doors and listened, thinking that someone inside one of the bathrooms would speak and I could determine if it was a man or woman.  How was I supposed to know that instead of voices, there would be a loud and inappropriate noise erupting from one of the stalls?  The answer is that I couldn’t have known, and I shouldn’t be held responsible for that.

On my way back from the disastrous trip to the bathroom, a lady called me over to her table.  She complained that her steak was undercooked, and asked if I could throw it back on the grill for a little more.  Looking back, I should have known that she only thought I was employed by the restaurant due to my costume.  But it was Halloween!  If you go into Benihana on Halloween and assume that everyone wearing an authentic employee’s uniform is legally certified to cook your food, then who do you really have to blame?  Plus what am I going to do, say no?  Let the woman eat undercooked steak and potentially catch any number of diseases that can be transmitted by raw meat?  There’s no way Ichiro Suzuki would have let that stand, and neither did I.

I won’t go into detail over what happened next, because frankly I don’t believe it needs to be talked about.  Did some stuff catch on fire as a direct result of my involvement on the grill?  Sure, if you want to believe the “police report.”  Did I “brandish a knife in the general direction of another chef” when he asked me to move aside?  I don’t know, it was the heat of the moment and there were a lot of knives being pointed in a lot of different directions.  What I can tell you is in the end the steak was VERY well done; zero risk of getting sick.  I had the situation under control until the manager came over and made much too big of a deal about the whole fire thing.  I bet he was just jealous that I was doing a better job than his paid employees, and was worried that I was showing them up.

The manager asked me what I thought I was doing behind the grill, so I told him all about the woman asking me to help and the sort of responsibility that people like Ichiro Suzuki and myself feel for people who are being mistreated.  Then I told him that one of his chefs had been a jerk all night, and how he wouldn’t even let me talk about baseball with my best friends.  I voiced my strong opposition to the onion volcano, and the manager asked everyone at the table if they knew someone that had been killed or injured by a volcano – every single person said no.  Ten people at a table, and NOBODY knows someone that has been killed by an erupting volcano?  The numbers don’t add up, you guys.  There had to be some sort of hush money involved, and I for one am ashamed of my former best friends for playing into such a transparent corporate ruse.

I was asked to leave the restaurant by both the Benihana staff and the local sheriff’s department, who bit hook-line-and-sinker on the manager’s explanation of the whole ordeal and didn’t seem interested at all in talking about the important things (what actually happened, how I was a better chef than those hacks, Ichiro Suzuki’s unparalleled range in center field).

Ten days later I received a letter from the authorities telling me that I wasn’t allowed inside another Benihana restaurant ever again, which is why I’m writing you today.  This has all been a huge misunderstanding, and I’m sure that if one of your representatives was willing to meet with me, we could discuss both the incidents of that Halloween night and the enormous amount of respect I have for Japanese culture.  I have an Ichiro Suzuki Rookie baseball card, and while your rep can’t have it, he or she can hold it for up to 10 seconds as long as they promise not to fold the corners.

I have full confidence in the decision-making skills of the corporate team at Benihana, and I’m looking forward to receiving your reply restoring my full membership in the Benihana Birthday Club.  I will also accept an apology on behalf of the rude chef, and might I suggest looking into his criminal background; there’s no way a person of his moral character doesn’t have prior convictions.

Best,

Adam

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It: A Review

Hey!  It’s been a while since I’ve done a movie review.  It’s been really nice weather lately, and I’ve been using my free time to stick a bunch of treats in my pockets and go down to the dog park.  All of the dogs run over to me and make me feel loved, which is something that’s hard to find in Donald Trump’s America.  I know they’re initially there for the treats, but I like to think that I’m a really good petter and they stick around for that.

I stopped going to the dog park because they kept playing Bruno Mars over the speakers.  For those of you who don’t know, Bruno Mars is the really short guy who’s on the radio all the time and likes to sing about how many different ways he can save women’s lives (catch a grenade, jump in front of a train, take on their student loan debt).  As far as I know he’s never saved anyone at all, so he’s both annoying and a liar.  Anyway, they play his music constantly so instead of putting myself through that hell I decided to go to the movies.

I went to go see the movie ItIt is about a bunch of kids that get terrorized and killed by a guy in a clown costume.  Over the course of the movie we find out that it’s not really a clown, but a “trans-dimensional evil” that takes the form of whatever scares people the most.  If it sounds like J.K. Rowling stole that idea to make boggarts in Harry Potter, it’s because that’s exactly what she did.  I wonder what the Evil would have become for Bruno Mars?  Probably a model that got blown up by a grenade he was too slow to catch, or one of those rulers at Cedar Point that tells you how tall you have to be to go on the rides.  Either way, I’d be on the Evil’s side if it were going against Bruno.

It lives in the sewers, which should have been a big red flag right off the bat.  Usually the only things that hang out in the sewers are guys like Homeless Steve, the guy who always tries to get me to play hide-and-seek, and anthropomorphic turtles that can do karate.  A lot of people will tell you that turtles can’t really jump or eat pizza or skateboard and that’s all just a TV show, but I put my turtle on a skateboard when I was younger and he flew down that hill.  Unfortunately he got cocky and went down without the proper safety equipment, but I like to think it’s the way Mr. Tibbles would have wanted to go out anyway.

The kids spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly who/what It is, which in my opinion was a waste of time.  It was always holding a bunch of red balloons, so I would have gone straight to Party City if I was them; if anybody’s ever been a Rewards Member at Party City, it’s the clown who goes through a shit ton of red balloons.  They eventually find out that the creature hibernates for 30 or so years, wakes up and kills a bunch of kids, then goes back to sleep.  The creature is a lot like a bear, but it sleeps for a lot longer and as far as I can tell it doesn’t like salmon nearly as much as bears do.  In addition to sleeping, bears can also swim, and run very fast, and play football.  When you stop to think about it, bears certainly sound a lot more dangerous than some guy dressed as up a clown.

I missed some of the movie’s key points because I got locked in the movie theater bathroom for a quick second (45 minutes), but after the fire department let me out I was able to catch the last few scenes.  Somehow the kids make the creature go back to sleep, and then the town goes back to normal and the dead kids are forgotten about.  If I had to guess I’d say the kids either put a bunch of Tylenol PM in the creature’s food or they played the smooth sounds of Kenny G’s saxophone, because that would make anyone relax.  Or they could have just shoved a bunch of fish down into the sewers and waited for it eat its fill, because despite what everyone says I’m pretty sure the clown was actually just a really confused bear.

I really liked It.  It was probably the best second adaption of a Stephen King novel about terrifying clowns that I’ve ever seen.  Here are some things I liked about It:

  • Friendship.  A lot of this movie is about people being friends, even people who don’t look anything alike on the outside.  Nowadays everyone pretends to be friends with everyone else, because of the internet, but it was cool to see people actually being friends in real life.  The moral of the story is to stick with your friends, especially if people around you are being killed by a demon clown.
  • Bikes.  There were a bunch of bikes in this movie, both normal bikes (for kids, lame) and motorcycles (in Sons of Anarchy, badass).  The only way a normal bike is cool is if it has pegs, like BMX bikes do, and there’s a large chance that I could get hurt riding it.  My uncle told me that girls like guys with scars, so I’m going to buy a motorcycle and refuse to wear a helmet.
  • Gangs There were multiple gangs in this movie, but not the type that like guns, which was cool.  I tried to join a gang once, but they said I had to get a tattoo of a bull and that was a deal breaker for me.  The only tattoo I’m ever going to get is a picture of all the guys from the 2001 smash hit, Ocean’s Eleven, across my back.

Here are some things I didn’t like about this movie:

  • Fake Location. This movie was set in Derry, Maine, which I found out isn’t even a real place.  How am I supposed to believe the story if I know it’s set in some made up town?  Now I know the demon clown that eats kids for fun isn’t real at all.
  • Bruno Mars. I know he’s not in this movie.  But he sucks, you guys.
  • No Tarzan. Apparently the guy who plays the clown in this movie, Bill Skarsgård, is the brother of the really handsome guy who played Tarzan in the latest Tarzan movie.  It seemed pretty selfish of Bill not to mention his brother’s role in the film, or at least sing a Phil Collins song (or four).  I bet Bill was a little jealous and insecure that people would compare his performance to his more handsome brother’s.

Overall, I’d give It  five out of five big red noses.  See you at the movies!  I’ll be the one that’s arguing with the staff about the best way to make the popcorn.

The Time I Played Pool Basketball

I’m going to tell you guys about the time I played a 14-year-old kid in pool basketball.  As with most experiences in my life, it did not go well.  It was the summer after my Junior year of college and I had a part time internship.  As I wasn’t old enough to buy alcohol, my days consisted mostly of hanging out at the pool in my apartment complex and attempting to catch the eye of the girls that hung out at my apartment complex.

There was a pool basketball net, which was cool.  Water basketball eliminates the need for dribbling, which I’ve always found to be very cumbersome.  As someone who cannot cut food with his left hand, attempting to control a bouncing ball with said hand has always proved to be an exercise in futility.  This eliminates most of my usefulness on the court; my only existing contribution to pickup basketball games is that I am sort of tall, and nothing else.

 

On that fateful day, there is a pretty girl tanning at the pool that is ignoring me, as usual.  So I decide to put on a display of manliness, and take to the pool by myself.  With nobody guarding me, I put on a respectable display.  I am making just over half of the shots I attempt, mostly layups.  I am using the backboard much less than usual.  I swish one or two shots from less than 5 feet away from the hoop.  I am LeBron James.

A young man comes up to me and asks if I would like to play him one-on-one.  Normally I would say no, because playing people that are younger than you in sports is almost always a lose-lose situation; but Tanning Girl looks in my general direction as he asks.  She is adjusting to get an even tan, but I pretend she is interested.  His mother, sitting on a chair a few feet away, tells me that her son is 14 and made his high school JV basketball team as a freshman.  She says that Seth is very good.  As a 6’2” 20-year-old, I’m sure I would make at least one Varsity basketball team.  I probably would not, but I am still bigger than he is.  I will crush Seth.

I jump out to an early lead, using my height and long arms to prevent him from scoring any points at all.  Tanning Girl is largely ignoring the game until Seth inadvertently splashes her, at which point she yells, “what the hell,” and moves to a different chair further away.  I try to give her a knowing look, one that demonstrates our mutual hatred of Seth.  She ignores me.

When I am one point away from winning, Seth, desperate to make a dent in my sizable lead, splashes water into my face while I’m in the act of shooting.  This dislodges one of my contacts, and I am instantly rendered half-blind, gasping in pain.  His mother laughs as the heavily chlorinated water burns one of the most sensitive areas on my body.  I briefly consider pushing her head underwater, but feel that Tanning Girl would not be impressed.

Now with little to no depth perception, I watch as my lead shrinks.  Knowing my weakness, Seth routinely splashes my face before darting to the rim and making layups with absurd ease.  To my horror, Tanning Girl has started to take interest in the game, as have several other pool patrons.  She cheers for Seth alongside his mother.  She has betrayed me.

After a short period, we are tied with one point to go.  I am tied with a 14-year-old in a game of pool basketball, and he has possession of the ball.  I am going to lose.  In a fit of ill-timed gallantry, Seth abandons his splashing and attempts a clean game-winning shot.  I see him go up.  I meet him, and block the shot with as much force as I possess – right into his face. I vaguely register that the full force of the block has rebounded off Seth’s face, and that he might be in need of medical attention.  I do not care.  Jubilant, I grab the ball out of midair and slam the ball through the hoop.  I have done it.  I am victorious.  I am all that is man.

As I come back to reality, I realize Seth’s mother is screaming.  Turning around, I see that Seth is crying and holding his hands to his nose, which is gushing blood.  I know it sounds like exactly what happened in Meet the Parents, and that is because it is almost exactly like what happened in Meet the Parents.  Multiple people are yelling at me.  Tanning Girl is one of them.  A man who arrived in an old pickup truck is angrily pointing at me.  I wonder if he has a gun in his truck; I begin to fear for my life.  I ask loudly if Seth is okay, to which he replies, “Fuck you.”  His mother screams at me to “get out,” which I do as quickly as I possibly can.  Many people might call that cowardice.  To those people, I say this: you are right.

 

There have been a lot of awkward, cringe-worthy moments in my life, but this one might take the cake.  Whenever you’re confronted with situations that seem to be lose-lose, they probably are, and it’s best to just walk away.  Sure, you might win, but you never know when a display of supreme, awesome manliness could result in you being threatened by men who drive pickup trucks.

But most of all, just remember: I beat Seth fair and square.  That fucking point counted.

Get Out: A Review

Jojo

Hello!  I haven’t written a review in a while, mostly because I discovered that there are cool shows on the HGTV channel that are all about Home Improvement (not the Tim Allen program).  I’m really into DIY (Do It By Yourself) stuff, and I even made a chair a few years ago.  My friends will tell you it’s just an old tree stump that I found in the garbage and put in my bedroom, but they’re not designers so they should keep their opinions to themselves.  But after several failed attempts to knock down my neighbor’s garage, I found out that you can’t just fix someone’s house because you think it looks bad, even if you have a video camera.  In fact, using a video camera can backfire, as it can be presented as evidence against you in a “court of law.”  I can’t reveal any other information because it’s an open case, but it’s safe to say that my neighbor is unhappy with the way I may or may not have been treating his garage.

Anyway, I saw Get Out the other day.  I didn’t see it in theaters, because several local cinemas have declined my business recently due to an incident that was blown way out of proportion.  I brought several live lobsters into the theater one night and they assumed that I was going to try to eat them in the middle of the theater, but I was really just bringing my new lobster buddies to see a movie with me (Finding Dory). They took my lobsters away even though I bought them tickets because they were a “safety hazard” and “stolen from the grocery store,” but I think it’s probably because the lobsters weren’t humans and the management was desperate to push their anti-lobster agenda.  It’s 2017, and I think we should stop hating things for how they look on the outside.

Get Out stars Daniel Kaluyya (really cool last name) and Allison Williams (not nearly as cool of a last name).  They’re a couple, and he’s meeting her family for the first time.  He’s black and she’s white, and the whole movie is basically about him trying to escape from her family, who wants to use his brain to make a blind guy see.  If I were her, I would’ve tried to make him feel more at home as opposed to trying to steal his brain, but some people like to come on strong.  I bet Williams was regretting her decision when Kaluyya killed her entire family with knives, and guns.

Almost everyone ends up dead in this movie, except for Kaluyya and his friend who works at the airport.  No matter how many people died, it never seemed like enough.  That was pretty much the whole movie.

Here are some things I liked about Get Out:

  • Jordan Peele. I went to the same high school as Keegan-Michael Key, and he was Jordan Peele’s costar in Key & Peele.  So I basically went to the same school as the writer of this movie.  I don’t know either personally, but I’ll probably tell a lot of people at the bar that I do.
  • Magic.  There was some sort of magic going on, brain switching and all that.  I missed some of the finer points because I was trying to de-shell a pistachio for like 20 minutes, but magic is the only logical explanation.  Harry Potter!
  • No Brad Pitt. Usually I want Brad in every movie; every movie would be greater with the Pitt!  But he’s been going through some trying times with Angelina Jolie.  If you ever don’t know whose side to take, remember that Angelina Jolie once married Billy Bob Thornton when he had a goatee, and he didn’t even have to use a weapon to force her to.

Here are some things I would’ve changed:

  • Hypnosis. There was some hypnosis in this movie, which I didn’t like.  I don’t like anything that doesn’t have clear instructions on its Wikipedia page, and the one for hypnosis is very confusing.  I tried hypnotizing a homeless guy on the train the other day, and all he did was punch me in the face and steal my wallet.  No thanks, hypnosis.
  • Deer Violence. They killed a deer in this movie by hitting it with a car, and Kaluyya uses a dead deer’s antlers to stab a dude.  I don’t like animals being exploited by the film industry for violence, except for when Scar dies in The Lion King.  That guy was a real dick.
  • Bathroom Breaks. Nobody went to the bathroom in this movie.  What the heck!  Everyone has to use the bathroom, even pretty girls who ignore you at the bar.  One time I told a girl that I knew she went number two, and she dumped her drink on me.  My friend said that she did it because I offended her, but I know that she just did it because I discovered her secret.

I really liked Get Out.  It was probably the best movie about a guy murdering an entire family to avoid having his brain stolen that I’ve ever seen.  Overall, I give it four out of four black licorice sticks.  (I’ve been rating things in black licorice sticks lately because I got some as a gift, and boy, are they absolutely disgusting).

There you have it.  See you at the movies!  I’ll be the one wearing a wig and trying to get a Senior Discount. 

Kong – Skull Island: A Review

Brie Larson

I saw Kong: Skull Island yesterday.  I didn’t really want to see a movie, but I really wanted some Sour Patch Kids from the movie theater.  Some people will tell you that all Sour Patch Kids taste the same regardless of where you buy them, but some people think that Tobey Maguire is a good actor, and some people buy PT Cruisers.  Point is, there are a lot of stupid people out there, and you shouldn’t assume that everything you hear is true.

I didn’t know what movie I wanted to see, but I remembered that we used to give my dog these toys called “Kongs.”  I thought the movie might be about a bunch of dogs playing with toys, so I got really excited and shouted “ONE TICKET FOR THE KONG MOVIE PLEASE” at the ticket lady.  She said, “relax,” and I said, “absolutely not,” because watching a bunch of pups play with toys for two hours isn’t something that anyone should ever be relaxed about.  I didn’t think they were going to let me into the movie, but then a homeless guy outside of the theater shit his pants and I think they decided they had bigger problems.

It turns out Kong: Skull Island isn’t a movie about dogs at all.  It’s about a bunch of guys, led by Tom Hiddleston (background vocals for Taylor Swift) and Samuel L. Jackson (the only black guy in The Avengers), going to an island and becoming friends with a giant monkey.  At first they drop bombs on Kong’s home, which seems like a weird way to go about making friends, if you ask me.  Usually when I try to make friends I bake them a pie, or I ask them if they want to play a rousing game of Parcheesi.  Maybe attacking people is a better way to make friends?  I’ll have to try it and find out.

John C. Reilly (the guy from the Will Ferrell movies) is already friends with Kong, so he introduces them and they join forces against a bunch of big lizards.  Brie Larson is also in the movie, which is cool because she’s really attractive and she seems smart.  Brie Larson is the whole package.  If I were in a movie with Brie Larson I’d pay the director anything he wanted (except sex) to get a scene with me smooching her.  Then I’d keep screwing up the scene, so I could kiss her over and over again.  They’d figure out my plan eventually, but I wouldn’t stop.  They’d probably have to kick me off the movie.

Kong fights the lizards, and that’s pretty much the whole movie.  I’m not really sure how the movie ends, because I got a really big box of Sour Patch Kids and I ate them way too fast.  Like 5 minutes, the whole box was gone.  So I got a stomach ache and I had to go to the bathroom for the last half of the movie.  But I’m sure Kong probably wins, and Brie Larson ends up with someone other than me because life is terribly unfair.

Things I liked about Kong:

  • Brie Larson. Not only is she named after my favorite cheese, but she’s pretty and she can act.  She was also a photographer in the movie, which seems like the kind of cool thing Brie Larson would be into.  Brie Larson is the gift from god that we don’t deserve.
  • Classic Rock Music. There were a lot of really good classic rock songs that made me feel like I was in the 70s.  The 70s seemed like a really cool decade; people were pretty nice to each other, and it just seemed like everybody was into havin’ a good time.  Everybody except Charles Manson, who liked to kill people.  I’m sure to him that killing folks was a good time, but I’ll say “no thanks” to those kind of shenanigans, Charlie.
  • Dinosaurs.  There were dinosaurs on the island that they went to.  I’d like to be a dinosaur, but only like half the time.  The perfect scenario would be an Avatar-style world where I could go and be a pterodactyl for a day or two, then come back to humanity and have a hearty basket of chicken tenders (I don’t think I’d be able to find any chicken tenders in the dinosaur world) and curly fries.  If you think straight fries are better than curly fries, you are going to hell.

Things I didn’t like about Kong:

  • No Bananas. Kong is a monkey, and monkeys eat bananas.  In this movie, there were zero (0!) bananas.  Any movie that features monkeys eating anything other than bananas immediately loses all credibility.  Good luck trying to convince me this is real, people who made this movie.
  • Tom Hiddleston’s Name. I really like Tom Hiddleston.  He seems like a nice guy, and Brie Larson likes him, so he’s a obviously a straight shooter.  But I don’t like his last name.  “Hiddleston” sounds too much like “riddle” and “diddle” to me.  I don’t like riddles, and I certainly don’t want Tom’s digits going anywhere near my tookus.  Keep your fingers to yourself, Tom.
  • No Brad Pitt. Brad Pitt should have been in this movie, even if it was just a small part.  He’s the world’s best actor, plus he could deliver a witty one-liner or two when things start to get tense.  Like if a guy got stung to death by a mosquito, he could chime in.  “That’s just the jungle, folks,” he’d say.  What a stand-up guy Brad is.

Well, there you have it.  Overall, I give Kong: Skull Island four out of four hats (I’m into hats lately).  See you at the movies!  I’ll be the one by myself, trying to sneak some of your popcorn.

Holiday Traditions

santa

Hello!  For those of you who aren’t aware, it’s December and Christmas is right around the corner.  Christmas is the favorite holiday of everyone who matters, and has a lot of really fun traditions.  Some folks go to church (Catholics), some like to get really drunk (single uncles), and some eat Chinese food (Chinese people).  A lot of people like to pretend that a fat man breaks into their house and gives away presents, almost like a reverse break-in.  I tried to do that to my neighbors last year, but they called the police and said I was “just stealing their Oreos,” as if it was somebody’s fault other than their own that they left a package of candy cane Oreos on their kitchen counter for just anybody to take.

As a special treat, I’d like to share some of my favorite holiday traditions with you!  You can adopt some of these traditions if you’d like, but you have to give me credit before you do.  I’m serious.  I’ll call the police.

Watching Home Alone.  Home Alone has been statistically proven to be the best Christmas movie of all time; in a recent poll, 9 out of 10 people prefer Home Alone to any other holiday movie.  (Like almost every fact I use, I made that up).  It stars Macauley Culkin as Kevin McCallister, a young man who is left home alone by his family.  He fends off The Wet Bandits with a series of clever tricks and pranks, and he uses his knowledge of his house and surrounding neighborhood to his advantage, much like the crafty Viet Cong.

Listening to Michael Buble.  Michael Buble has the croon to make the ladies swoon, and if you don’t believe me, listen to his Christmas album.  I’m not gay, but I’d probably only resist a little if Michael Buble serenaded then tried to kiss me.  I’m in no position to deny a Buble smooch.  I like to listen to “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and pretend he’s singing to me personally, because deep down I think he is.  Anybody who says Mariah Carey has a better Christmas CD than Michael Buble deserves to lose someone they love.

White Elephant.  White Elephant is a fun game for families that don’t know each other well enough to buy personalized gifts.  You pretty much just buy a random gift and throw it in a pile, then take turns choosing a new present or stealing someone else’s.  It’s one of the few foolproof ways to ensure someone gets really mad at Christmas, because someone always comes away with a shitty present (my Enrique Iglesias poster, my old Ja Rule CD, my empty iTunes gift card).  A lot of my family members will tell you that my presents are always the worst, but they need to know that “worst” is an opinion and that it’s the thought that counts.

Watching Home Alone 2.  Home Alone 2 is the sequel to the smash hit, Home Alone, which I discussed above.  In this hilarious second installment, the Wet Bandits rebranded themselves as The Sticky Bandits.  I didn’t think they could come up with a name that was more sexually suggestive than the first time around, but boy did they prove me wrong.  The Home Alone series is proof that if you forget about your kids, only good things will happen.

Decorating Your Car.  A fun thing to do is put little antlers and a red nose on the front of your car.  This is a festive way to let people know you’re kind of into Christmas, but even more into being a loser.  My friend Paul did this once and I decided to one-up him, so I “accidentally” hit a deer on the side of the road and strapped him to the hood of my car.  I painted his nose red and everything!  The police stopped me after about an hour.  They said that it was a “safety hazard” and “against the law,” but I’m pretty sure Paul was just jealous that I showed him up and got his cop buddies to rain on my parade.  Low move, Paul.

Dressing up as Santa.  Dressking up as Santa is a fun tradition for a lot of families.  Personally I think there’s something a little odd about a fat man who watches kids when they sleep, but maybe those CSI shows were wrong and those guys didn’t inappropriately touch those boys after all.  Instead of dressing up and handing out presents, I like to take presents from people .  I get a lot more gifts than I would otherwise, and I teach people about the dangers of assumption at the same time! That’s what the holidays are all about.

Slam Dunking the Star on top of the Christmas Tree.  A lot of people simply place the star on top of their Christmas tree.  But I’ll ask you one thing: did Michael Jordan simply “place” basketballs in the hoop?  He sure didn’t.  Every year, my mom spends hours setting up the Christmas tree, and every year I slam dunk the star on top.  This usually results in between 10 and 20 ornaments breaking, as well as tears from my mom and shouts/physical threats from my dad.  But it’s tradition!  I’ve been studying game film all year, and I think I’m going with a 360 windmill jam this time around.  It’ll probably break even more ornaments than usual, but you can’t make an omelet without crackin’ a few eggs!

Now that you’ve read up on my traditions and realized all of yours are garbage, you’re all set to have a blast this holiday season!  Happy Holidays!

Notting Hill: A Review

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Hey!  I’ve been in the dumps lately, so I haven’t had much time to write anything.  A few weeks ago I pet a dog and he didn’t seem to enjoy it at all, and I don’t think I’ll ever truly get over it.  I looked up fun ways to make myself feel better on the internet, and one of the things I found was trying something new.  So I tried to do parkour at the park next to my house, because I saw a video on the internet and it seemed like something James Bond would do and James Bond has kissed a lot of girls, probably more than 10.  I hope James Bond gets tested in between his secret agent missions, otherwise his privates could be a real mess.  Anyway the parkour didn’t turn out well, because I hurt myself trying to do a flip over a park bench and I had to go to the hospital.  A lot of bystanders might tell you that I hurt myself trying to catch a squirrel and teach it to sit on my shoulder, but they don’t really know what parkour looks like so you should just take my word for it.

I still wanted to try something new though, so I decided that I’d write a review of an old movie that I hadn’t ever seen instead of a new one in theaters.  I figured the best way to pick what movie to watch would be to go to a Blockbuster and randomly choose one from the shelves, but then I realized that almost every Blockbuster has closed.  The only Blockbuster I know of is a couple of blocks away from my house, and I’m pretty sure it’s just a homeless guy that sits in front of a really big cardboard box that has the word “Blockbuster” on it.  It smells like he poops in there, but I’m always too afraid to ask.

Anyway, I landed on Notting Hill.  You might ask “why Notting Hill,” and to tell you the truth, I don’t know.  An honest answer might be that I love Julia Roberts, but an even more honest answer might be that it’s the only DVD I could grab before my neighbor chased me out of his apartment.  Notting Hill stars Roberts (People magazine) and Hugh Grant (almost any movie on the Hallmark channel), and came out in 1999.  I was only 8 years old in 1999, and I had even fewer friends than I have now, if you can believe it.  Other fun facts from 1999: Santana and Rob Thomas were teaming up for the cross cultural smash hit, “Smooth,” Tom Cruise was still only like 5 foot 9, and I was busy not being invited to Paul G’s birthday party, which was at Chuck E’ Cheese and was probably really shitty because I wasn’t there.

Notting Hill is about a guy (Grant) who owns a bookstore, and isn’t rich.  Then he meets a famous actress (Roberts), who buys some of his books then kisses him full on the lips. Whoa!  Hot diggity dog for Hugh Grant!  I don’t remember if she pays money for the books or if he lets her pay for the books with the kiss, but if it’s the latter, that’s coming dangerously close to prostitution.  Hugh Grant should really keep an eye on those types of transactions; I’d hate to see him get in trouble for something like that.

The whole movie is basically the two of them breaking up, and then getting back together again.  Grant breaks up with Roberts because she’s famous, which I think is dumb because I think he’d probably get a lot of perks if they stayed together.  He could probably go to a restaurant and order off the breakfast menu for dinner, and they’d allow it.  A lot of people say that eating breakfast for dinner isn’t all that great, but those people are liars.  If I dated Julia Roberts I’d order an omelet for dinner and brag to the guy next to me that he couldn’t.  Then I’d probably feel bad and offer him some of my omelet because what goes around comes around, you guys.

Roberts and Grant get back together at the end and Roberts gets pregnant.  Normally I would believe it was happily ever after, but Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting a divorce so I don’t really know what to believe anymore.

Things I liked about Notting Hill:

  • Acceptance.  Roberts and Grant did a good job of overlooking each other’s faults in this movie.  Roberts overlooks the fact that Grant is poor, and Grant overlooks the fact that Roberts has really big teeth.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a horse smile, but I have seen Julia Roberts smile, so I can imagine what it looks like.
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches. I can’t remember if anyone ate an ice cream sandwich in this movie, but I’m going to assume they did because I just had one while writing this and it was fantastic.  I don’t think I love anyone as much as I love ice cream sandwiches, and I have a great relationship with my parents.  Hugh Grant probably snuck into his trailer all the time to eat ice cream sandwiches, the sly dog!
  • My Couch. This one doesn’t really have to do with the movie, but I liked that I could stretch out on my couch and watch it.  One time I tried to stretch out on two seats at the theater, but the woman who was in the seat I was trying to put my feet on was a real jerk about it.

Things I didn’t like about Notting Hill:

  • No dogs. I think it was stupid that neither Roberts nor Grant had a trusty pup to get them through the hard times in this movie.  If Grant was smart, he’d have gotten a dog and taught it to get him beer from the fridge.  Then he could drink while he cried and watched Roberts’ old films, which seems like the kind of thing Hugh Grant would do for sure.
  • No breakfast for dinner. It seems pretty ridiculous that they didn’t show Grant ordering breakfast for dinner, not even once.  He could have even ordered a side of hash browns and I would’ve been fine with it.  The more I think about it, Hugh Grant is kind of an idiot in this movie.
  • Brad and Angelina’s Divorce. It is tearing me up.

 

Well, there you have it!  Overall I give Notting Hill 4 out of 5 cups of tea.  Let me know what movie you think I should review next!

Sully: A Review

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I went to the movies the other day because my mom gave me a gift certificate and I had to use it or else it would’ve expired.  Technically it was my roommate’s mom who did the giving, and technically she gave the gift certificate to my roommate; but I don’t like to get hung up on technical stuff, you guys.  I went and asked very politely if they would play Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, but the ticket guy said they couldn’t.  I even offered him some of my Fun Dip, and he still said no.  Then I lied and told him it was my birthday, but he told me he remembered me from last time and that trick wouldn’t work again.  Can you believe that?!  What a sour puss.  After that I decided to go see Sully, because Sully sounds like the name of a zany dog who gets into a number of adventures that happen to involve Matthew Broderick, Hollywood’s lovable loser.  I wonder when Matthew Broderick will realize that he’s hit rock bottom?  Probably never.

Before the movie they played a preview for a movie where Joseph Gordon Levitt plays a guy with glasses.  He yells, “You have no idea how it feels to be in charge of other people’s lives,” which makes me think that the movie is probably a documentary about Joseph Gordon Levitt’s actual life.  Everyone knows he’s the man in charge, and what he says goes.  He’s got looks, and power.  I’m not gay, but if JGL (my pet name for Joseph) came up to me and tried to kiss me on the lips, I don’t know if I’d put up much of a fight.  I’d probably let him kiss me on the cheek, just so he’d come back for more.  It’s important to play hard to get, especially when you’re dealing with a heartbreaker like Joseph Gordon Levitt.

It turns out Sully has very little to do with dogs.  It’s about a guy named Sullenberger who’s the captain of a plane.  Clint Eastwood directed Sully, which is surprising because there was little to no obvious racism in this movie.  Tom Hanks (Bridge to Terabithia, owner of “Bubba Gump Shrimp” restaurant chain) plays the main character, which was surprising to me.  After Tom’s well documented flight troubles in Cast Away, there’s no way I’d let him behind the controls.  Plus, he had sex with a volleyball in that movie, which I personally find very hard to forgive.  Pretty much the whole movie is Tom Hanks either talking about flying planes, or landing one in a river.  I wasn’t really paying attention to the movie (I was trying to steal popcorn from the guy next to me and he was being very rude about it).  The most likely scenario is that Tom was watching the History Channel Original Show, American Pickers, and got caught up in the art of finding the best deal.  Then he looked up, and realized they were landing in a river and not on the runway.

One plus of landing in the river was that the passengers got to use the blow up slide to leave, which probably made the whole experience worth it.  I ended up getting kicked out of the theater after that, because I was shouting “wheeeee” every time one of them went down the slide.  For some reason they weren’t doing it in the movie, which made the whole thing totally unrealistic.  When I pointed that out to the theater staff, they took me out of the theater and stole all of my Fun Dip (approx. 8 packages).

Here are 3 things I liked about Sully:

  • Tom Hanks’ mustache. Tom sported a beefy mustache throughout the movie, which was cool.  People tend to respect men with mustaches.  Food often gets stuck in mustaches for lengthy periods of time, and once it’s there it’s very hard to remove.  I think people assume that if a guy cares so little about his appearance that he wears a mustache in public, he has very little to lose.
  • Sully’s name. Sully’s name was an obvious homage to the classic film character “Sully” from Monsters, Inc.  Tom Hanks was clearly very inspired by the 2001 animated film, and frankly, who can blame him.  Monsters, Inc. was much better than this movie, because it had far less talk of planes, and death.
  • No bathroom scenes. I like that there were no scenes of Tom Hanks going to the bathroom in this movie.  Everyone goes, but I don’t want to see anyone doing their business, not even a famous star like Tom Hanks.  The writers did a good job of leaving that out.

Here are 3 things about Sully that weren’t so great:

  • Tom Hanks’ mustache. I know I said I liked it before, but the more I think about it, the more confusing it is.  Mustaches are normally found on cowboys, and park rangers.  Was he a cowboy, or a pilot?  Can’t have it both ways, Tom.
  • Enough superhero movies! I like a good superhero movie as much as the next guy, but this is getting ridiculous.  Plus, Tom looks like a normal guy in this, no suit or cape or anything.  How am I supposed to know who’s super and who’s not, without a cape?  Tom really dropped the ball on this one.  Wear a cape next time, buddy!
  • No Joseph Gordon Levitt. He was in the previews, and after that I really had a hankering for some JGL.  He should have been the co-pilot.  Then when Tom Hanks says “BRACE FOR IMPACT,” Joseph could have reached out and grabbed his hand to let Tom know that everything would be okay.  Joseph Gordon Levitt is the world’s guardian angel.

 

There you have it!  Overall, I give Sully four out of five bags of crappy airplane cookies.  See you at the movies!  I’ll be the one setting up my sleeping bag in the last row.

Your Guide to the 2016 Olympics

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Hello everyone.  The 2016 Summer Olympics are almost here! The Olympics are held every four years, and bring the world together to watch the athletes that got away with using PEDs compete for their respective countries.  For those of you who don’t know, the Olympics began back in ancient Rome, when Julius Caesar challenged some guy to a push up contest.  Since then the Olympics have evolved into a worldwide phenomenon, one that almost always leaves the host nation with crippling debt and allows Subway to remind people that they endorse professional athletes, and not just weird guys who like kids.  This year’s Olympics are being held in Rio de Janeiro, and promise to leave Brazil an even bigger shithole than it was before, if you can believe it.  The 2016 Games consist of 42 sports; 306 events in only 19 days!  I know that sounds overwhelming, so I’ve created a handy dandy Olympic Guide to assist you in nailing down exactly what you should and shouldn’t watch.

First things first: a few facts about the host city.  Rio de Janeiro was named after the 2011 animated feature film Rio, which featured Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway as the voices of the two main characters.  There is no known record of the city’s name before the movie came out, and quite frankly, I don’t care to know it.  Despite the film’s terrible stars, it was a moderate box office success that showcased some of the bright colors and spicy attitudes that permeate Brazilian culture.  Experts say that the government of Brazil first began distributing colorful garments to distract its citizens from the poverty and crime that run rampant through the streets of the South American country, and the move has proven surprisingly effective.  Brazil has a knack for churning out soccer stars, having won the FIFA World Cup a record 5 times.  It is also home to a large swath of the Amazon River, which is surrounded by a dense tropical forest that the Brazilians are doing their best to destroy.  No matter how many trees are chopped down each year, it never seems like enough.  Brazil also has its own unique food (I’m assuming), but I don’t know any of the dishes because I don’t speak Portuguese and I’ve never been there before.  I think bananas grow there?  Nobody knows for sure.

But enough fun facts!  You’re here for sports, and sports you shall have.  I can’t go through every sport being played in the Olympics, because that would take too long and I have a lot of stuff to do today (eat, sleep, watch National Treasure, etc.).  Here are some things I think you should know before you tune in to Rio 2016.

Rowing
Rowing is basically just a bunch of dudes racing in canoes.  It might sound boring, and that’s because it is.  If I wanted to watch people frantically row a boat, I’d watch Titanic.  At least I’d see Kate Winslet’s boobs.  Granted, the potential exists for aquatic crashes, fights, and possible anaconda attacks in the dirty Brazilian water.  But I won’t watch.  If I really wanted to see people row a boat on some river, I’d watch my uncles try to fish.

Fencing
Fencing is like sword fighting, but for people who enjoy dressing like weird Storm Troopers and using little bendy swords instead of the actual ones you see on the HBO smash hit, Game of Thrones.  I guess one of the guys’ helmets could fall off and then you could get some dramatic footage, but the odds of that are slim to none.  If they want me to watch this, put the contestants in full knight armor and let ‘em have at it.

Rugby
Rugby is like American football, but with no pads.  Can you imagine football with no pads?  I can, but I probably couldn’t have before I watched rugby.   Do I understand the rules?  Of course not, nobody does.  I doubt even the players understand the rules, or the referees.  But the New Zealand team does a dance when they win that reminds me of Lilo and Stitch, which is a great movie.  I challenge anyone to dislike rugby, and I challenge anyone to dislike Lilo and Stitch.  Seriously, if you say you don’t like that movie I’ll come to your house and make you watch the whole thing with me.  Rugby: 10/10 will watch religiously.

Volleyball
Volleyball is a pretty cool sport.  It’s not as cool as rugby, but it is close.  It’s like a big game of hot potato, which is a game I always won when I was little.  Some people from my past might tell you I won because I cheated and threw the potato at the other players and scared them into quitting, but those people need to mind their own business and stop making excuses for things that happened a long time ago.  Also, there’s the off chance that a spectator could get hit with a stray ball, which is funny, unless they’re old.  They could die, and death is never funny (unless the person who dies is Donald Trump).  A lot of people only know volleyball as the thing that Tom Hanks drew a face on and had sex with in Cast Away, but I think it’s more fun as a sport.

Swimming
People like swimming, but I don’t really get it.  The bathing suits are either way too revealing (men) or not nearly enough so (women).  If I wanted to see dudes walking around in Speedos, I’d just watch my neighbor Gary try to sell lemonade to the neighborhood kids.  No thanks, Gary.  If people are swimming in the rivers of Brazil this has the potential to be somewhat exciting, due to the amount of chemical waste in the waterways surrounding Rio and the supposed dangerous animals that have shown up (jellyfish, poisonous fish, Michael Phelps).  I would probably tune in if they wore water wings, because watching people try to swim fast in water wings is hilarious.

Table Tennis/Badminton
I know these are two different sports, but they’re essentially the same thing.  It’s one team or person using a racquet to get a little object over onto the opponent’s side, and not letting it hit the ground.  Both of these involve a good deal of skill, but apart from some thrilling volleys, are relatively boring.  I propose that both of these events be turned into full contact sports.  After all, most of the world’s best spectacles are full contact (football, hockey, The Bachelorette), and it would greatly increase the entertainment value.  Until then, hard pass on these two.

Soccer (Football)
Everywhere else in the world calls this sport football, because you kick a ball with your foot.  But because Americans have to make everything way more difficult than it should be (not using the metric system, calling the “bathroom” the “restroom,” having way more fat people than everywhere else), we call it soccer.  Soccer is a very fun sport to play, but not so much to watch.  Usually the matches only have one or two goals, and feature a lot of people falling down because they get breathed on too hard.  If you’re interested in how to look like you know what you’re talking about with soccer, I wrote this about the World Cup in 2014.

There you have it!  I hope this has been informative for you guys.  If anyone wants to come over and watch the Olympics with me, I’ll be painting “USA” on my chest in the mirror.  After, we can do what every American Olympian does and go to Bennigan’s for 3 to 4 Monte Cristo sandwiches (minimum).  See you there!