Pros vs. Joes

Miami Heat v New York Knicks - Game Three

My friends and I were discussing the NBA Playoffs the other day and someone posed a contentious question: could we score a single point against the Cleveland Cavaliers in a full game?  The gap between professionals and amateurs is much, much wider than the average person realizes.  The game is quicker, the opponents are bigger, and everything involved is just harder to accomplish.  But this wasn’t about beating professional athletes.  Nobody’s asking us to win a championship; nobody in the history of the world has been stupid enough to think I would ever win a championship at anything, except maybe drinking hot chocolate, or reading historical fiction novels.  No, the question is if we could score just a single point.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people out there believe themselves capable of scoring at least one point in this situation. It’s only one point!  In 48 minutes?  The law of averages is on your side.  If Air Bud can lead a team of 12 year olds to score 83 points, surely you could lead a team of functioning adult humans to hit one friggin’ basket.  Even if a game against the Cavs was somehow set up, a “Pros vs. Joes” type of scenario, certainly the Cavs would get bored enough to allow the Joes to score one basket, yes?  LeBron James would definitely let us score a point.  I’ve seen his Sprite commercials, I’ve seen him high five his kids after games, he’s a nice dude.  LeBron James wears some cool ass hats, and people who wear cool hats are rarely mean people.

In reality, I’d have to agree with that assessment; LeBron and Co. are too nice to go out there and serve a 200-0 beat down to a bunch of average guys.  But this is a hypothetical.  So in the interest of making this the most ridiculous hypothetical situation ever, let’s lay out this scenario:

If the Pros keep the Joes to 0 points:

  • $5,000,000 to each player
  • $1,000 to each fan

If the Joes score 1 or more points:

  • Entire pot split between team
  • Get to punch LeBron in the face

That’s a lot of money.  LeBron and Co. may be rich, but if keeping a group of losers off the board for 48 minutes gets them $5 million, I think they’re going to try their hardest.  As for the fans; people lose their minds for a free hot dog.  I once saw a grown man push a kid out of the way to catch a free t-shirt.  People would be out of control at this event.

Now, to your prize: if you guys score a point, just ONE point, your team splits the whole pot.  The Cavs go home with nothing, the fans go home with nothing, and you go home a very rich person.  You also get to punch LeBron in the face, no questions asked.  And given LeBron’s size, your team would likely be the only people in the world to have done this.

That being said, getting shut out in front of millions of people – obviously this game would be televised, it’d be must-see TV – and shut out in such a dominating fashion, would be extremely embarrassing.  I doubt you’d ever live it down.  How could you look your father-in-law in the face after he’s seen Kevin Love dunk on you and dangle his nuts in your face?  I couldn’t.  I’d die a lonely, defeated man.  But anyway.  You’ve heard the pitch, you know the stakes; would you be willing to do this?

 

Let me set the stage for you.  You arrive at Quicken Loans arena in your “not run down enough to be embarrassing but also not nice enough to give anybody the impression that you’re really successful” car, something like a Toyota Corolla.  Don’t get me wrong, a Toyota Corolla is a very respectable car to own.  But it’s not like you pull up to take a girl on a first date and she’s texting her friends “holy shit, he drives a COROLLA!”  Nobody is watching you get into your beige Corolla after work and thinking, “wow, I want what that guy’s got.”

LeBron pulls up next to you in his Escalade or tank or airplane or whatever he owns, and as he gets out of his car you begin to fully realize what an enormous human being he is.  He’s like a tree come to life, a big basketball loving tree who has a slightly receding hairline and who loves Sprite more than you love your dog.  He could wrestle a bear.  He could beat the living shit out of your dad.  He could jump over your stupid Toyota Corolla.

This man comes up to you, and after spitting on the ground at your feet, says he’s going to “wipe the floor with you,” and calls you a punk ass bitch.  Up until now, this has been a “this is going to be fun” kind of idea to you, something you’ll be able to look back on and tell your grandkids about.  Maybe you’ve even been cautiously optimistic about the whole ordeal.  You think that maybe, just maybe, you hit a three pointer or two and make a bit of a name for yourself.  “I played a real basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and I sank a couple of threes!”  Now, LeBron James has made you realize that you are, in fact, a punk ass bitch.  Quite apart from hoping to hit a basket, you’re now focused entirely on escaping this game without incurring significant bodily harm.  You have to play 48 effing minutes?  Against THAT?

You head into the arena and see that there are cardboard cutouts of the faces of you and your teammates being distributed by vendors in the parking lot.  There’s a crowd on the sidewalk just outside of the queue to get in, and at the center is a father encouraging his daughter as she swings at a piñata in the shape of your head.  Any hope of help from the security guards is dispelled as you walk by a group of them encouraging the piñata beatdown; a number of them are crying with mirth.  As you make your way into the locker room, attempting to keep your head down, you see that a number of the cutouts already have male genitalia drawn in and around their mouths.  You were prepared for some opposition, but nobody could have prepared you for this.

You finally get into the locker room, a quiet island amidst a roaring sea of people who want nothing more than to see you fail.  Your friends are in there as well, having just experienced exactly what you did, their faces stricken with varying degrees of fear and shame.  You guys have about an hour to devise a strategy.  Despite the fact that two of you played high school basketball and a third “knows what he’s doing out there,” you can’t seem to come up with anything that will get you remotely close to the basket, given that the average size of the grown men you’re trying to score on is 6’8”, 235 lbs.

A special surprise awaits you as you head out onto the court, as the organizer of the event has placed all of your family members courtside, with your parents sitting under the hoop.  Initially excited to have at least one or two friendly faces in the crowd, you realize that your dad is wearing a shirt that says, “I MADE STUPID,” with a picture of your face on it.  Your mom has a cardboard cutout of your face, and while it’s mercifully free of dicks, it has “DISAPPOINTMENT” written across the forehead.  They got your parents.  Whatever money it took, whatever charities were given donations, whatever promises were made, you’re now facing perhaps the toughest test of your life, with your parents courtside cheering against you. Your parents also provided embarrassing biographical information about you; how many times you’ve shit your pants, the names and dates of girls or boys that shot you down, movies that make you cry, etc.; all of which is featured prominently in the game programs that have been handed out to fans, free of charge.

The game begins.  As literally everyone expected, it’s an absolute massacre.  From the opening tipoff, which you lose by at least two full feet, to the halftime buzzer, your team attempts all of ten shots.  Five are blocked easily by LeBron.  Three are heaves from your own side of the court, none of which come close the backboard.  One was an extremely wild pass that the scorekeeper generously counted as a shot.  The final shot of the half was surprisingly legitimate; following your last time-out of the half, one of the Cavs accidentally tripped over your teammate, which resulted in a broken nose for him and a relatively uncontested shot from just outside of three-point range for you.  The shot didn’t go in, but that didn’t stop LeBron from swearing furiously at the man who missed his assignment, hurling the f-word at Tristan Thompson at the top of his voice.  Your mother and father, who usually abhor that kind of language, join LeBron in booing Thompson off the court.  Your mom tells LeBron that he should sit.  Thompson doesn’t come back out for the second half of the game.

Nobody says much in the locker room at halftime.  In an attempt to get the team going, one of your friends half-heartedly says, “we only need to score one, guys!”  He’s met with silence.  Outside, you hear the crowd roar as the Cavs’ mascot, which for some reason is a beagle named “Moondog,” does dunks off of a mini-trampoline.  There are cheerleaders with a t-shirt cannon.  The Kiss Cam lands on a guy who kisses the girl next to him and then chugs his beer.  Someone hit a half-court shot, and the announcer gleefully points out that she’s beating the “Joes.”  Outside, the atmosphere is electric.  In here, the atmosphere resembles that of funeral of a close friend.

The second half begins, and now in addition to overcoming the vast physical superiority of your opponents, your team has to deal with the fatigue of playing a full basketball game.  Sucking wind, you and your teammates have resorted to one-handed heaves from well beyond half court.  You thought the fans would begin to lose interest after a while, but a message flashes across the Jumbotron that everyone gets Arby’s curly fries if the Cavs manage to put up 250 points.  In response to this opportunity of even more leisure and riches, the unruliness of the crowd reaches levels usually reserved for the infields of NASCAR events.  Adults and kids alike are reveling in the failure of you and your closest friends, and they’re all doing their part.  Personal insults are being hurled at you from every corner of the stands.  A number of fans have offered suggestions as to why your ex-girlfriend dumped you, almost all of which are concerned with what some like to call, “alone time.”

The game is finally drawing to a close.  Despite getting off more shots in the second half, you and your teammates have hit the rim a grand total of twice the entire game.  One of your teammates has descended into tears, which delights the merciless crowd.  They’re calling him “crybaby.”  A few of them inexplicably have adult diapers, which they wave with disturbing enthusiasm in your friend’s face.  As LeBron throws down a between-the-legs dunk to take the Cavs over 250 points, thunderous chants of “CURLY FRIES! CURLY FRIES! CURLY FRIES!” rain down on you.  The nightmare is almost over.

But wait.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you somehow manage to get to the foul line.  A highly unlikely proposition, as your team is completely and utterly defeated at this point. But let’s say that J.R. Smith, notorious for his mental lapses and once called “literally too stupid to be nervous,” makes a mistake and sends you to the line with 10 seconds left.  The players line up, and the ref gives you the ball.  Shaking with nerves, you air ball the first shot.  The crowd roars with laughter.  You see your mom high-five your dad.

You’ve got one shot left.

You take a deep breath and step up to the line, desperately trying to ignore the fact that you’re on national television, that you’re getting absolutely embarrassed in front of every person you’ve ever cared about, and that literally nobody in the world other than your friends is hoping that you make this.  This is the one chance you have at redemption.  If you make this, nobody will remember the rest of the game.  You won’t be the guy whose mother revealed that he sharted his khaki pants as a 23-year-old; you’ll be the guy who scored on the Cleveland effing Cavaliers and made himself millions of dollars.

Imagine the boos and taunts of 20,000 strangers raining down upon you as you try to hit this free throw.  Imagine LeBron James, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, screaming in your face to miss.  Then imagine seeing your mother, her normally placid face contorted with rage, flipping you double middle fingers from behind the basket.  The crowd is against you.  The best basketball player in the world is against you.  And the woman who brought you into this world is against you.  If I were a betting man, I’d say you miss that foul shot.

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2018 Winter Olympics

Olympics

Hello!  The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea are officially underway!  The Winter Olympics are celebrating their 22nd go-round, or as alcoholics like to call it, their “2nd 21st birthday.”  These Olympics will be great, because they’ll distract people from the fact that a short fat man from North Korea and a taller fat man from the United States might send the world into a nuclear winter because of Twitter.  But hey, I get it. Because if there’s one thing I’ve wanted to do after someone tells me they don’t like me, it’s destroy humanity.

Olympic athletes are asked to represent their countries at the best athletic competition in the world.  The only time I’ve ever been asked to represent a country was when I was forced to participate in a Model UN after I told my 7th Grade teacher she looked like a pear (Model UN is like Olympics, but for nerds).  I represented Norway, and if it was real life I would have been impeached or killed alarmingly fast.

To give everyone a better understanding of the Olympic events and what to watch for, I’ve broken down some of the more popular events.  You’re welcome!

Curling
The Olympics are a celebration of the best athletes in the world, and curlers.  If you think that curling looks more like a household chore than an Olympic sport, that’s because it is.  Curling was invented in 1892 by a Canadian mom who tried to get her kids to sweep ice because she hated them.  Imagine getting upset that someone beat you in curling.  “That guy was better at brushing ice than me.”  Oh man, I’m so sorry!  Better get out and practice on my front step.

Figure Skating
Figure skating is always a fan favorite, probably because there’s so much potential for people to fall and hurt themselves.  Figure skating is a lot like dancing on ice.  Some people will tell you that there are large differences between Figure Skating and ice dancing, but those people are nerds.  If I was a figure skater my song would be “Bawitdaba” by Kid Rock and most people would probably be very uncomfortable.  “That’s not figure skating,” they’d say, “that’s just a guy doing the chicken dance. He’s not even wearing ice skates, those are Heely’s!”  But hey, that’s figure skating for you.

Ski Jump
The point of the Ski Jump seems to be, “How can we make sure people get really hurt if they screw up?”  Although I guess if you decide to go 60 mph and then attempt to jump 300 feet with pieces of wood strapped to your feet while wearing a lame one-piece body suit, you probably deserve to get hurt.  Charles Darwin called it “survival of the fittest,” but we at the Olympics call it “ski jump.”

Biathlon
The Biathlon is the Olympics’ attempt to make cross country skiing more entertaining.
Person 1: “How can we make people like cross country skiing?”
Person 2: “What if we gave them guns?”
The Biathlon is a race to ski and shoot targets.  Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about guns, it’s that speed, and not safety, is the top priority.  I bet those Biathlon guys get really steamed when they see how much cooler people think the Triathlon is, but hey, maybe they should add another “thlon” to their dumbass sport.  Add some more guns and we’ll talk to you.

Bobsled/Luge/Skeleton
If you like going really fast through the cold while gripping wood and steel and you’re not talking about chasing someone through a forest with an axe, boy do I have some sports for you.  Bobsled was invented in 1993 by John Candy and brought to worldwide attention with the success of the hit film Cool Runnings.  Luge and Skeleton are essentially the same thing as Bobsled, but with different names.  I’ve heard that the lugers make cool noises when they go around the turns so they can drown out the crowd when they laugh at them as they go by, probably for participating in the least cool Olympic event (after curling, of course).

Did you know that in the first ever Winter Olympics, there was a guy named Charles Granville Bruce who got a gold medal for trying to climb Mount Everest?  It’s true.  He didn’t even climb it, he just led an expedition that attempted it.  What a crock of shit!  I’m going to contact the IOC and ask if I can get a medal for things I’ve attempted to do and failed, like baking cookies without eating all the dough first, or trying to spell ‘pneumonia’ without looking it up.  Charles Granville Bruce doesn’t deserve that medal, and personally I hope he died up there on Mount Everest for accepting it.

Just kidding. Kind of.

Well, there you have it!  Personally, I think that the Olympics should come with an ego reducer, just so the athletes don’t get too cocky.  For example, there should be one penguin that luges against competitors in every race.  Then you can say, “yeah you won, but that little penguin kicked your ass.”  Boom.  Taken down a notch.  Even without penguins, the 2018 Winter Olympics will undoubtedly be quite a spectacle for the world to behold.  Let’s hope that we’re all alive when they end!

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

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.

Notting Hill: A Review

julia-roberts

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!

Your Guide to the 2016 Olympics

Rio Olympics

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!

A Sociopath’s Guide to the Holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time of year.  So many things to accomplish, so many people to see, so many presents to buy; and so little time to do it!  It’s crazy that we do all this because some little dude was born in a barn a million years ago, but tradition is tradition after all.  I’m here to give you tips and tricks that will make you the star of the party.

Dress the part.
Nothing you do matters unless you do it looking nice, which is something that homeless people will never understand.  If you walk into your grandma’s house wearing some poverty sweater you found at Target or Meijer or some other trash store, your family is going to talk tons of shit behind your back; and quite frankly, you’d deserve it.  They might even kick you out of the party; I don’t know how ruthless your family is.  Neither of us want that to happen, so listen up.

As a rule of thumb, always dress as if you’re going on a date with Brad Pitt; this goes for both men and women.  And guys, before you say anything, don’t act like you’d turn down dinner with Brad Pitt.  Don’t lie to yourself like that.  Brad Pitt expects pomp and class from his dates.  No t-shirts, no slippers, and for God’s sake, no cargo pants.  In fact, I’ve created a helpful list of people that are allowed to wear cargo pants without looking stupid:
1.             Actual soldiers in the military
That’s it.  Those are the only people.  Have some respect for yourself, and some respect for Jesus.

Pro Tip: Go to the mall about a week before Christmas.  Walk into the classiest clothing store you can find and browse the shelves.  Then, all you have to do is wait for some schmuck to spend a ton of money on a nice shirt, follow him out of the store, and bump into him hard enough that he drops his bag; then, take the shirt.  Some people might consider this “stealing,” but I saw Matt Damon do pretty much the exact same thing in Ocean’s Eleven, so that can’t be true.  Matt Damon’s never stolen a thing in his life, except the hearts of his audience.

Know a bit about fine food and drink.
The key to any holiday party; or any dinner gathering, for that matter; is making everyone else think you’re smarter than you actually are.  Chances are, your family thinks you’re an idiot, and they’re probably right.  That’s why you’re reading this article, isn’t it?  It’s your job to change their mind.  This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but my personal favorite is to demonstrate that you know a lot more about fancy food and drink than everyone else there.  Nothing is more intimidating than someone who is clearly smarter than you.  Here are some things you can do to class yourself up.

  • Tell anyone that will listen about the season finale of Top Chef, and about how the contestants weren’t “adventurous enough” in the kitchen. Say you could’ve done better.  Say this multiple times.
  • Talk about how you’ve spent the past year “refining your palette.”
  • Buy a cheap bottle of wine from the supermarket, put a super expensive sticker on it, and talk about the various aromas that you experience while you swirl it around the glass.
  • Insist on bringing and using your own glass; give a small chuckle when the host offers you one of their glasses. Say, “that simply won’t do.  Not for this vintage.”
  • Use words like “full-bodied” and “astringent” to describe the wine.
  • Comment on the presentation of the food. Call it “sublime.”
  • Google a list of spices and ask people if they put them in a dish (i.e. “Aunt Pam, do I taste a hint of saffron in your turkey this year?”).
  • Talk about the reduction that the turkey was basted in. Say that it is “divine.”

Remember: nobody really knows what they’re talking about when it comes to fancy wines and expensive food.  When in doubt, keep it simple.  Lie.  Like everything in life, it’s not a lie if they don’t find out.

Pro Tip: Buy a turkey from somewhere like Boston Market or some place that cooks those kinds of things.  If you really want to get regal with it, buy a dish that is a bit more exotic; think pheasant or quail.  Then, watch a YouTube video of how to make it look decorative; put parsley on the side, whatever; and tell everyone you made it at home.  When people say that you shouldn’t have gone through the effort, insist it was nothing.  Boom.  Party star.

Buy better presents than everyone else.
On Christmas Day, don’t be afraid to resort to trickery and/or mischief.  Are you having a White Elephant or Secret Santa exchange?  Insist on a small price ceiling for gifts, i.e. $20.  After doing so, spend at least double that on yours.  This will ensure that your gift will be the best; and if it isn’t the best, at least you can subtly brag that it was the most expensive.  The key is to sound bashful, like you’re almost embarrassed that you spent above the limit.  Say things like “I felt bad spending that much, but I knew how much he/she would like it.”  This is a foolproof way to impress your family.  Oh, say you were “overcome with the spirit of giving.”  People eat that shit up.

Pro Tip: Use the term “cute” to describe other people’s gifts.  A well-placed “Oh, that’s cute” goes a long way in undermining a gift’s sentimental value, which in turn increases your gift’s value in comparison.  Also, congratulate people on a “good effort.”  This implies that while they tried their best, they kind of shit the bed with the gift.  Make sure nobody says this to you.  It’s fucking devastating.


In closing, have fun this holiday season.  Give some presents, see some family, burn down a pine tree, whatever you want to do.  And make sure to shower me in gift cards/cold hard cash.

Oh, and if you need some ideas on how to spruce up that party you’re thinking about having, refer to this handy dandy list for a few helpful hints:
https://thisisirrelevant.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/christmas/