Who cares what the Academy picks? Here are MY Oscar choices (Based on absolutely nothing)

So as I’m sure everyone under the sun knows by now, the Oscars were last night.

And I’m probably in the minority as one of the few people in the world who couldn’t care less.

Those of you who used to know me are probably shocked by this sentiment. Some of you may have even been unfortunate enough to have been my friend during spring break my freshman year of college, when I insisted that watching the Oscars was more important than… ummm… the things that college freshmen NORMALLY do on spring break, and wouldn’t let anyone do anything until we’d watched the entire show.

It’s amazing I still had friends after that.

Actually, it’s probably more amazing that they listened to me and stayed in. If that happened now and some celebrity-crazed chick told me I couldn’t go out because I had to watch the Oscars, I’d leave her ass in that crappy hotel room in Panama City and go have a lot more fun.

These days, however, I have no clue what’s going on in the Oscars and to be honest, I have trouble caring. Considering that I used to be completely movie crazy, that seems like an odd position for me to take, but there’s a logical reason for my ignorant ambivalence: I don’t go to the movies anymore.

No, it’s not because they’re too expensive, and no it’s not because I don’t have time. It’s a far sadder reason than that. It’s because all of my friends are married and go to the movies with their spouses. And because I’m apparently the last single person on the planet (and not secure enough to go to the movies alone), I no longer go to the movies except when my married friends take pity on me and invite me along with them.

(Or they invite me to a movie because their spouse has no desire to see the movie in question… which usually only happens with chick flicks, but the creators of chick flicks seem to have caught on and are including lesbian scenes like in Black Swan, ensuring that husbands are the ones dragging their wives to these movies.)


When it first happened, I was sad, because movies always seem so exciting when they’re out in theaters. Now, I’ve come to accept that I’ll never see a movie until it’s available On Demand or on Netflix, and I’m okay with that.

But it means the Oscars tend to suck because I’ve only seen the movies that came out more than six months ago. So while I’m currently petitioning them to move the Oscars to early September, which really makes a lot of sense because everyone knows that the MTV movie awards in June are the REAL indicator for what’s going to win an Oscar, NOT the Golden Globes.

However, until the Oscar people realize that I’m right and move the award ceremony to a more singles-friendly month, I’ve decided that I’m going to ignore the winners that they selected last night and choose the REAL winners, based, of course, on which movies I’ve actually seen.

So let’s get started.

Best Picture: This was an easy one for me. Inception.

Because I literally didn’t see any of the other movies. And because it stars Leonardo DiCaprio. And therefore even if it loses, it wins. But even without seeing any of the other choices, I can say with confidence that it was better than most of the other choices. Why? Because 127 Hours may star James Franco (who I do love), but I’m never going to watch it. Too scary in a realistic way. And the problem with never seeing movies until really late is I already know that he cuts his own arm off. Therefore, it loses my vote sight unseen.

Black Swan definitely isn’t better than Inception because I’m sorry but a lesbian scene does NOT cancel out a movie about ballet. I took ballet when I was little. And while I loved wearing a tutu, I hated ballet.

The Social Network is out because good or not, it’s about Facebook. Do I really need to explain this one? No? Didn’t think so…

I’m still upset that I haven’t seen Toy Story 3 yet, but awesome as it may be, I’m not calling it the best picture. I heard The Fighter and The King’s Speech were good. But I heard that from my parents, who only watch movies based on a high rating on IMDB, and I think that’s a ridiculous reason to see movies. (Compared to my reasoning of I’ll see it if it stars Leonardo DiCaprio or Eric Bana. But I think that logic is sound. My parents’ isn’t.) So I don’t trust their judgment of any movie as actually being their own opinion.

Although Winter’s Bone gets the runner up award from me.  Not because I have any idea what it’s about, but because I loved the Wayne’s World reason for picking it.  Gotta love SNL reunions.

Best Actor: This is a tough one. Because I didn’t see ANY of the movies that the actors were nominated from. So I’m going to go with a tie between Colin Firth (who I adore. Because he was Mr. Darcy. And therefore I will always love him)

and James Franco. Not because I think James Franco is THAT great (and I’m pretty sure he’s not gonna win—how many times does the HOST win Best Actor? I mean, come on!), and I’m NEVER going to see that movie. But I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, mostly so that I can justify never seeing the movie. And he was awesome in Milk. And Date Night.  And Pineapple Express. And everything else.

So he can tie with Colin Firth.

Best Actress. Again, a tricky category, because I saw none of the movies. And I know everyone is pulling for Natalie Portman. But I’m not giving it to her. Partially because I went to preschool with her (yes, she went to Children’s Learning Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. Google it. It’s true), but mostly because I don’t want to believe that you can win an Oscar the same year you starred in a movie with Ashton Kutcher. Sorry Natalie. Bad career move there.

I also can’t pick Michelle Williams. Not because I have any clue what her role was, but because I hated her character on Dawson’s Creek a million years ago and therefore she loses. Which leaves Annette Benning, Nicole Kidman and the chick I’ve never heard of. Actually, I’m not even picking a winner here. I don’t care. Flip a coin if you can’t live with that.

I’m skipping Best Supporting Actor because I don’t care about that either, and moving right on to Best Supporting Actress, which I absolutely DO care about. Helena Bonham Carter all the way. In fact, because I don’t give a crap about Best Actress, I think Helena Bonham Carter should win that too. Because she’s awesome. In everything. There isn’t a single role that she WASN’T awesome in.

Granted, she usually dresses worse than a homeless person.  But it’s okay.  Because she’s awesome.

Okay, so my choices probably aren’t the winners from last night. But I’ll let you know in about six months when I’ve actually gotten to watch the nominated movies if I made any mistakes.

Except for 127 Hours. Seriously. I’m having a panic attack just THINKING about the story that inspired that movie. In fact, I’ll give it the Best Picture award if it means I don’t have to watch it. Ever.

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Gaddafi: crazy like a fox, but funnier than Somali pirates

So as I was looking for a topic to write today’s blog on, I noticed that the biggest news stories of the day were the murder of four American’s by Somali pirates, the New Zealand earthquake, and the Libyan protests of Moammar Gaddafi.

I immediately dismissed the pirate story, as it’s hard to make murder funny. Well, okay, that’s not ENTIRELY true. It’s hard to make murder funny when it’s innocent people. Even when they’re killed by pirates. I mean, South Park made the pirates funny. But they can be as inappropriate as they want because they don’t have a teaching job to worry about keeping. I also dismissed the Libya situation for the same reason. Which left me with the New Zealand earthquake. Unfortunately, the New Zealand thing wasn’t that funny either. I mean, there’s only so many Middle Earth jokes you can make. Besides, hobbits are pretty steady in an earthquake because of those big hairy feet. Orcs? They go down like a Kardashian on a pro athlete. But hobbits are fine.

And I’m not too worried about New Zealand. Apparently Australia and New Zealand are the only two nations that would survive a nuclear holocaust. It’s true. Wikipedia said it. Therefore, it’s unequivocally true. If Wikipedia says evolution didn’t happen, then it didn’t. But since Wikipedia said the people of New Zealand are going to be the ones repopulating the earth eventually, I feel like they’ll be fine.  Even if the Shire does need some rebuilding.

(I’m kidding.  The people of New Zealand are in my thoughts through this whole catastrophe.)

Which brought me back to Libya. Initially, I figured Libya wasn’t funny because it lacked the elements that made the Egypt story funny. I mean, you can’t make ten plagues jokes about Libya. Or mummy jokes.

In fact, I knew pretty much nothing about Libya.

To the point where I got very confused when I read that it was in the Middle East because I thought it was in Africa and had to look it up on a map.

Then I felt REALLY dumb, because Libya IS in Africa, but apparently northern Africa counts as the Middle East. Which seems a little off to me. I mean, if Libya is the Middle East, shouldn’t Greece and Italy be the Middle East too? They’re right across the Mediterranean from Libya. They’re closer to each other than Alaska and Russia, and Sarah Palin can see Russia from her house.

Then I read a few news stories on what’s going on in Libya and realized that I was dead wrong. (Look mom, I’m admitting that I was wrong about something!) Moammar Gaddafi is actually hilarious.

Well okay, I guess not TECHNICALLY hilarious. I mean, he’s nuts. Like certifiably crazy. And his militant supporters are killing the protesters left and right. And he’s threatening to basically blow himself and his entire country up before he’ll step down. But he’s much more funny in a psycho, not-remotely trying to be funny kind of way than Hosni Mubarak could ever be.

I mean, Mubarak may have had dictatorial tendencies, but Gaddafi is the real deal. Unlike Sarah Palin, however, who’s crazy and stupid, Gaddafi is crazy and smart.  Like a fox.

What am I basing that on?

Easy. His argument for why he can’t step down as leader of Libya.

Are you ready for this?

He can’t step down because he has no official title.

Utter genius.

Think about it. He’s been in charge of Libya since the late 1960s when he overthrew the monarchy. But he’s not the dictator. He’s not the emperor. He’s not the king. He’s not the president. He’s not the owner. He’s not even the Dude.

And if you aren’t OFFICIALLY any of those things, he’s right. You can’t actually retire from a job you don’t have.

Well played sir, well played.

So I did a little research on Gaddafi to find out more about this “Mad dog of the Middle East.” Apparently Ronald Reagan gave him that nickname. Which I don’t think strikes quite the amount of fear into people’s hearts as Reagan intended. I mean, I’d get it if the British called him a mad dog. They’re psycho about keeping rabies out of the country there because they don’t have it. Sort of like Australia with frogs. Like I wish the US had been with those creepy Frankenfish, stink bugs, and Sarah Palin. But here, rabies is totally preventable with a shot. And curable in people. Not all that scary.

Gaddafi took over Libya at 27 years old and saw himself as being the next Che Guevara. Which seems to mean that he dressed eccentrically and wore sunglasses all the time. But I don’t know how successful this plan was, because I’m pretty sure they’re not selling t-shirts at Urban Outfitters with his picture on them.

And in order to describe the kind of government that he started in Libya, he made up a word, “Jamahiriya,” which is supposed to mean something along the lines of a direct democracy. Which I think he misspelled and meant to describe as a direct demoCRAZY. Because in an actual direct demoCRACY, if the people don’t want him in charge, he’s no longer in charge. But I’m not going to argue semantics here. It’s hard enough to figure out how to pronounce “Jamahiriya.” In my head, it sounds like when Newman said “jambalaya” in the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld.

So let’s recap here. Gaddafi rose to fame in his mid-late twenties as a self-described cultural icon. He dressed bizarrely and wore sunglasses whenever possible. He has a nickname that makes no sense in relation to anything about him. And he makes up words to describe situations that he finds himself in. And he’s completely and utterly insane.

Sound like anyone we know and love today?

Yes, my friends. If they did a tv show called “Libya Shore,” it’d be starring Moammar “Mad Dog” Gaddafi and following his adventures as he sets a horrible trainwreck of an example for his country and the whole world.

He even fist pumps.

And the double fist pump.

Although, if he starts talking about grenades, I’d duck and cover, not just hide from the ugly chicks.

But who knows? Maybe he’ll eventually take a page out of Mubarak’s book and leave peacefully.

I mean, Angelina did it. And I have a hard time believing that Gaddafi is crazier than she is. Smarter? Yes. Crazier? No.

But I would like to wish the people of Libya good luck. And the people of New Jersey as well. It’s going to take both groups a long time to win this war. And like the people of New Zealand, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

When the universe is against you, only New Jersey can fix the situation

Every once in awhile, I have a day when I realize that the universe just hates me.

Like it’s not even one thing that goes wrong. It’s everything. And in some cosmic alignment that baffles me every time even though I now expect it, the universe always launches the epic life-ruining attacks on me in the week between Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day.

I suggested yesterday that next year, I should spend this week in Disney World, because nothing could go wrong in Disney World. But that plan was met with pleas for me to stay home because apparently my friends don’t want Disney World to burn down.

Love you guys too.

But this year, I have a secret weapon. The one and only thing that can thwart the evil plans that the universe concocts to remind me that my life sucks.

No, not Bruce Springsteen. He’s not touring this year. Because the universe hates me.

I’m talking about my second favorite thing to come out of the Garden State.

Yes. Once again, last night was T-shirt time.

And no one, not the universe, not Angelina, not Sammi, and not a grenade can ruin T-shirt time.

Because if nothing else, Jersey Shore reminds me that even though the universe hates me and my life sucks, it could ALWAYS be worse.

Actually though, I saw on Twitter that Angelina got engaged the other day.

I mean, honestly, I can’t imagine a worse excuse for a human being out there. And someone wants to marry HER? Oh God, it’s official. My life IS worse than Jersey Shore.

FML.

But it still makes me feel better for an hour a week no matter what else is going on.

Of course, last night’s episode made me want to tear someone’s extensions out when the previews for next week show Sammi back on the scene, because I was so happy when she left the show last week that I threw myself a one-person dance party and went to bed with a satisfied smile on my face, which doesn’t happen to this insomniac all that often.

But (cue ominous music) she’s baaaaaack. I’m starting to think that the only way to separate her and Ronnie is going to involve surgery and/or a chainsaw wielding axe-murderer. (Yes, I know that sounds odd. But honestly, I don’t think a regular axe murderer or chainsaw murderer would be enough to keep them apart. They’re like the world’s worst magnets.) 

The universe noticed how happy I was at Sammi leaving and retaliated by making it super obvious on Twitter that Sammi and Ronnie are still together now. Which put a damper on my dance party buzz the next morning when I realized that this separation was going to last less time than it took Deena to get naked in front of Mike. Which was approximately 0.6 nanoseconds. But I mean, crying in the bathroom at work Ronnie?  REALLY?  Come on man.  You’re killing me here!

But then Jersey Shore won won out in the end with the prank war.  Vinny talking about how smart he is, then failing with a water balloon absolutely made me feel better about life.  Thanks Vinny.  I needed that laugh last night!

However, the universe is trying to destroy my one weapon against it. There are horrible, horrible, ungodly, and emotionally shattering rumors flying around the internet that the Situation is going to LEAVE JERSEY SHORE after the fourth season to pursue a career as a film actor.

I know. I laughed too.

And I assumed it was an early April Fools joke. I mean, the freaky DC area weather DOES feel like spring right now. Maybe it actually IS April.

But no. He’s serious.

God help us all.

Mike, I love you. I do. Not as much as I love Pauly D (who I now have a talking bobblehead doll of—thank you Ary, I love it!!!!), but love is love. And honey, stick to what you’re good at: being an Ed Hardy-wearing, Sunday dinner-making, grenade-fighting, trouble-stirring-up, GTLing, prank war-spoiling jerk. It made you famous. You’re a household name. And the quickest way for a reality star to go from Pauly D to Flava Flav or (shudder) Jon Gosselin is by taking himself and his—um—talent—too seriously. (No, I couldn’t even type the word talent in the same sentence as those names with a straight face. Sorry Mike.)

But with that said, the folks at MTV pulled out a good plan to keep season four from covering the same ground as the first three seasons. No, they didn’t take my advice to crash their plane in the Andes or add Samuel L. Jackson as a cast member (it’s not too late, MTV! I’m telling you, he’d be ratings gold!), but this plan to shoot season four in Italy has potential.

Of course, in ancient times, the Romans would never have tolerated the Jersey Shore-style shenanigans. If you were causing a disturbance back then, the Seaside Heights police didn’t arrest you and send you home a few hours later. Oh no. If you caused trouble in ancient Rome, if they didn’t like you, they either nailed you to a cross (no, contrary to popular belief and Mel Gibson, the Jews didn’t do that) or feed you to the lions and tigers in the Colosseum.

Not that that plan would have worked. I’m pretty sure silicone and excessive amounts of hair gel are toxic to lions. And tigers would assume that, based on her healthy orange glow, Snooki was one of them. They’d totally adopt her and raise her as one of their own cubs.

Then again, she does wear a lot of leopard-print. Her oompa-loompa-eque skin color might not be enough to save her after all.

Yet even without the lions and tigers (and bears, oh my!), Italy is going to be an interesting change of pace for my favorite guidos and guidettes. Even if it IS the last season before everyone leaves to fail at acting careers.

But if the show DOES fall apart before next February, Bruce, I’m going to need you to tour. Otherwise the universe wins. And it doesn’t fight fair (just like a roid-rage filled Ronnie). One way or another, I’m counting on you New Jersey to fight the February curse. Because without you, all I can do is sound my grenade whistle and hide in bed with my Pauly D bobblehead, hoping that everything will be okay and that someday, somehow, it’ll be T-shirt time again.

Let’s take a cue from Egypt and free ourselves from Dan Snyder’s tyranny. Viva la resistance!

There’s a lot of talk in the news right now about the unrest caused by Egypt’s ousting of President Hosni Mubarak after 18 days of protesting his 30-year pseudo-democratic reign.

No one knows exactly what’s going to happen in Egypt as of right now, and people all over the world are watching to see if whoever comes to power next will be the savior that Egypt wants, the peacekeeper that the Western world wants, both, or neither.

But more concerning in several situations are the copycat protests in other governments under similarly non-democratic rule. And while, in theory, these revolutions should be good for the people of these nations and should bring about a higher level of equality and rights for all citizens, people are worried about new autocrats rising to power in a very out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire type of scenario.

After all, revolutions are, like the flu, weddings, babies and Bieber Fever, often contagious. The people of other nations see that Egypt was able to shatter a seemingly-unbreakable leader and want to do the same thing in their own lands, for their own people.

And in one case in particular, I think this is a necessary step toward providing the freedom and respect that all people should be entitled to. Because really, there is only one leader who so grossly financially rapes the denizens of his territory as he rules with an iron-fist to destroy all that his people have spent their lifetimes believing in. And whenever a brave soul tries to hold this leader accountable for his inhumane and tyrannical ways, he hides behind that all-encompassing shield of the religion card, insisting that those who wish to free themselves from his iron grip are infringing on his rights to his religious views.

No, I don’t mean the leaders of the Muslim world, many of whom strip their women of all rights while hiding them behind veils.

Nor do I mean the North Korean government, who threaten the lives and safety of their neighbors.

Nor am I encouraging revolt even in a situation where it is probably necessary, in the case of the Dalai Lama who is kept in exile, unable to return to his palace in Tibet.

No, my friends. There is only one place in the entire world that is in greater need of rebellion than any of these places. Only one people who so desperately need to take inspiration from the Egyptian people—those brave souls who finally decided they could take no more and had to fight back, no matter the cost. Only one people, who are being kept from the greatness that they so wish to achieve by a tyrannical despot, whose very name is enough to make his people cringe with shame and make his enemies rejoice in the damage he has done to his people.

I refer, of course, to Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Dan Snyder, who gouges the loyal fans in every way possible to make a few extra dollars that he will then spend defending his ridiculous image in the media.

Dan Snyder, who spends obscene sums of money on players who cannot and will not help our team return to greatness, while letting players who could restore the honor once associated with the Washington DC football team waste away or leave the city.

Dan Snyder, who punishes coaches with atrocious public humiliation for not being able to perform under the impossible conditions that he has created for them.

Dan Snyder, who is revered by Cowboys fans, Giants fans, and Eagles fans for having utterly destroyed the Redskins franchise.

Dan Snyder, who is in the midst of a lawsuit with a DC-based newspaper, claiming that a picture of him with scribbled on horns is an anti-Semitic slur instead of the (perfectly justified) demonization of him by fans who are tired of paying twenty extra dollars to park two miles from the stadium. Fans who are tired of paying $8 for a Coors Light (which as we all know, shares the unfortunate characteristic with “love in a canoe” as being f***ing close to water). Fans who are tired of the constant belittlement and shame that comes from wearing a Redskins jersey, even after we’ve managed to win a game or two.

Now before you try to sue me Danny boy, please know that I speak as a fellow member of the tribe. And as a Jew, let me assure you that we, the loyal Redskins fans, don’t hate you because you’re Jewish. We hate you because you’ve emptied our wallets to watch our team lose week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. If you took our money and used it in efforts to truly revitalize the team, we would give it to you gladly. But in the current system, we cannot help but despise you. And we would feel the same way if you were a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Wiccan, a Scientologist, an atheist, a Muppet, God, the Devil, Bruce Springsteen or Glenn Beck.

Your spiritual beliefs don’t bother us. The fact that our team can’t hold it together enough to even be in contention for the playoffs once in awhile, however, damns you irreparably in our eyes.

So my fellow Washingtonians, it is time to rise up and protest as the Egyptians did. And just like in biblical and modern-day Egypt, the righteous shall win out against the tyrant.

Our country was founded on the idea that all men are created equal and that no man should stand as an unopposed dictator, ruling his people as his whims dictate. How have we, the people of our nation’s capital, forgotten that most basic tenet that our lives were created from?

It won’t be easy. And it will probably take more than 18 days of peaceful protests to get his attention. And some of us will probably lose our houses and have to sell off belongings that we value, because Dan Snyder will surely charge us an arm and a leg to park wherever we are protesting him. But the time is here. Our time is now. Grab your Redskins gear and flags and join me as we take to the streets to regain our team.

(But please pack your own beer and snacks before you join the movement. Our revolution is going to run out of steam REALLY quickly if we have to pay for parking every day AND pay the Fed Ex Field prices for beer and hot dogs. Even Dan Snyder couldn’t afford to spend 18 days protesting with those prices.)

Viva la Resistance!

The real origin of Valentine’s Day–hint, look at its initials

And it’s that oh-so-wonderful day of the year when I want to punch most people I see in the face.

No, I don’t mean every day that ends in “y” (am I really that cranky that often? Geez… I might need anger management!). I am, of course, referring to Valentine’s Day.

I know, I know, surprise, surprise, the single girl who’s probably going to die alone with seventeen cats (which is truly a fate worse than death, because as anyone who knows me knows, I REALLY hate cats) hates Valentine’s Day. But I’m about to break girl code here and let you guys in on a secret: most girls hate Valentine’s Day even more than you do.

Before I explain, I do want to point out that there are two major groups of girls who are exceptions to this rule. The first group is easy to spot because they have WAY too many stuffed animals in their bedroom. They also have an abnormal attachment to the color pink and have at least one picture of a kitten on their wall. And they’re over the age of six. If you find yourself dating one of these girls, you’d better go all out for Valentine’s Day.


Like seriously, flowers, giant stuffed bears, candy, jewelry, engagement rings, a yacht ready to take you to a Greek isle, etc. Even if you’ve only been dating for a week. Anything less than this will result in a temper tantrum that would make the apocalypse seem minor. But I have no sympathy for you in this case. Because you ignored the warning signs and CHOSE to date this girl in February. You made your own pink, stuffed-animal lined bed. Now enjoy the suffering that Valentine’s Day entails for you. And just think, you get to do it all over again in 364 days.


The second group of girls who love Valentine’s Day are the girls who are in a relationship but have primarily single friends. The reason that these girls love Valentine’s Day so much is the same reason why they torture their friends with ridiculous hazing activities as soon as they are engaged and pick seventeen of their closest friends to be their bridesmaids. It’s because 364 days of the year, they’re jealous of their single friends who can come and go as they please and don’t have to deal with you leaving the toilet seat up. So when they find one day (or two, if it’s a year when they’re getting married) to feel superior, they love it. So if you’re with one of these girls, you’re expected to treat her as if she were the pink/stuffed-animal/kitten loving type of girl, or else face the consequences.

You’ve been warned.

The majority of us, however, recognize that it’s pointless.

That being said, if you’re in a relationship, you’re still expected to make a tremendously flashy show of how much you love us. Not because we need that reassurance. But because we’re hugely competitive and if Suzy from the cubicle next to ours gets a better present than we did, she gets to lord it over us for the next year. And we do NOT want to let that happen. So just like diamonds and penis size (sorry—just being honest here!), when it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts, bigger is ALWAYS better.

But now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a moment to mock the holiday’s origin. According to Wikipedia, which, as we all know, is NEVER wrong, Valentine’s Day began in 1832 as a day on which all sexual partners were expected to be able to confess to any “delicate” diseases that they may have picked up without retribution. Hence the initials, VD. Which, for those of you born after 1980, is what people used to call STDs.

In fact, this is where Valentine’s Cards came from. Because some people didn’t want to flat out SAY, “I want you to know that you may now have Chlamydia.” So they tried to come up with clever and witty ways to warn their partners that they were probably now infected. That’s also why candy, flowers, and presents began to go with those cards, because it’s harder to get mad at the person who gave you syphilis if they also gave you flowers.

(Not really. I think I’d be just as mad. But in theory, I guess the presents could help. In theory.)

So it’s a little-known fact that the first “Roses are red, violets are blue” poem REALLY read, “Roses are red, violets are blue, a hooker gave me the clap, and now you have it too.”

The classic card that Ralph Wiggam gave Lisa Simpson saying, “I choo-choo-choose you,” originated as “I choo-choo-chose someone else first and wound up with crabs.”

Not quite as sweet, but far more informative.

Even William Shakespeare’s classic “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” didn’t start as innocent as it wound up. He originally said, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? After we fooled around, it burns when I pee.” (It’s true, ask Wikipedia!)

More modern sentiments of love came from these older Valentine confessional cards. Contrary to popular belief, 50 Cent took his “I love you like a fat kid loves cake,” from Emily Dickinson’s “I love you like a fat kid loves cake, but unlike you, cake never gave me herpes.”

So how did we get from confessing the diseases gathered from infidelity to the supposed most romantic day of the year?

Easy. A little company called Hallmark launched a massive cover-up conspiracy so all-inclusive that Amelia Earhart’s last flight, JFK’s assassination, the Roswell aliens, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the disappearance of the Mayans are all a part of it.

I’d tell you more, but then Hallmark would have to kill me.

In fact, since I started writing this, Wikipedia’s Valentine’s Day entry has mysteriously changed to some made-up story about “Saint Valentine.” Right. Because THAT sounds real.

In summary, it’s a pointless holiday. But I’ll take flowers, candy, jewelry, shoes, or any other presents you’d like to give me any day of the year. Including today.

I found my hairbrush in the fridge–was it evil elves, Inception, or insomnia?

Yesterday morning, I couldn’t find my hairbrush.

I looked in all of the places that I could have logically set it down.

No luck.

I looked in all of the places where it could have fallen after I logically set it down.

Nothing.

I looked in Rosie’s crate and under my bed (where she likes to hide anything that interferes with my ability to devote all of my attention to her all of the time. My cell phone winds up in both locations frequently).

Still no hairbrush.

Finally, I gave up because I was running crazily late for school and keep a hairbrush in my car.

And then, of course, once I stopped looking, I found it.

In my refrigerator.

Yeah. That was a proud moment.

Now, your average person would be able to make one of three logical assumptions upon finding her hairbrush in the refrigerator.

Logical Assumption #1: Early onset dementia. Or, as we call it in my family, turning 35. But I’m not close to that age yet. And while I AM precocious in many ways, I still have the ability to work a dvd player, send an email, and drive a car without knocking off my side mirrors, so I think I can–for the time being–rule out that special hereditary gift that I’m eventually bound to inherit.

Logical Assumption #2: The elves that break into my apartment every night to cobble shoes and order pay-per-view movies on my account got drunk Wednesday night and thought it would be hilarious to put my hairbrush in the fridge and my bras in the microwave.

I do know that the elves were on the job Wednesday night, because all of my shoes were freshly cobbled and my cable bill is listing the movies, “Our Bodies, Our Elves,” “Snow White and the Seven Horny Elves,” “Harold and Kumelf go to the Keebler Factory,” “The Wizard of Elf,” and “Pretty Woman.” (Because as everyone knows, elves love elf porn. And Richard Gere movies.)

But none of my bras were missing, so I’m pretty sure the elves just did their normal cobbling/movie watching and then went on their merry way.

Logical Assumption #3: While I was asleep, dream terrorists entered my dream, planted the idea of my hairbrush in my refrigerator, started spinning a top, and made me very confused about whether Leonardo DiCaprio is awake or in limbo at the end of Inception. 

I can neither confirm nor refute this assumption, leaving you to wonder if I’m awake or asleep right now. Or maybe I don’t exist and YOU’RE asleep right now and someone just planted the idea of ME in your mind.

Except I know that Logical Assumption #3 is completely illogical in my case.

How?

Well, it’s actually simple. I know I wasn’t asleep. Because my body hates me and I’m an insomniac.

This isn’t anything new. I’ve been an insomniac since early childhood, when I used to get up in the middle of the night and sneak downstairs to watch tv because I couldn’t sleep (which is also, coincidentally, how I know that elves love elf porn and Richard Gere). Usually it’s just an inconvenience and means that I get less sleep than I’d like to. But sometimes I go a week or more on one or two hours of sleep a night.

Which is what happened this week.

And which is why I wasn’t all that surprised to find my hairbrush in the refrigerator.

Because when you aren’t getting any sleep, your brain basically pulls an alcoholic, snowed-in at a haunted hotel in the Rockies Jack Nicholson.


In fact, finding my hairbrush in the fridge was kind of a relief. At least I didn’t write an entire novel using only the sentence “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” chop down my bathroom door with an axe, try to murder my family, then freeze to death in a snowy hedge maze.

This time.

The last two weeks have pretty much sucked sleep-wise, but as my personal bouts of insomnia go, I’ve actually been fairly productive.

At least I think I have.

I keep getting brilliant ideas for my blog/next book/hair style/makeup line that I’m going to start someday/plan to take over the world within the next couple of years at about 3am. And because I know that when I’m in a bad cycle of insomnia, if I don’t write the ideas down, I’ll lose them forever, I keep a pen and notebook next to my bed to record these flashes of genius.

Unfortunately, the pen and notebook are missing and after checking the logical locations AND the refrigerator, I still can’t find them. So I’m forced to record my amazing bursts of insight using whatever tools I can find in the dark at 3am, which sometimes works fairly well and is sometimes rather disastrous.

Last night, for example, I came up with the title for the book I’m planning to put out this spring. I’d been trying for nearly a year to figure out the right title, and inspiration finally hit. So I grabbed my phone and typed the title and my plan for how to work it into the novel appropriately into a memo to myself.

Which was better than the night before, when I wound up scribbling ideas for future blog posts on my mirror in $24 Stila lipgloss. Fail.

It also worked out better than the time I had a sharpie but no paper and wrote my holiday shopping list on my leg. You get some really weird looks at the mall when you have to look down your pants to see what you need to buy.

I was actually really excited to have figured out what to call my book, and after typing it into my phone, I fell asleep for a couple of blissful hours.

The excitement ended this morning, however, when I tried to read what I’d typed and discovered that I apparently speak some language that’s a cross between English, Japanese, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, and whale mating calls. And I can only speak it between 3:04am and 3:22am. After that, it’s just plain gibberish.

Hopefully the insomnia spell will break soon and I’ll be able to resume my role as a semi-functional member of society. Until then, if you talk to me and I seem a bit odd, try to go easy on me. And if you run into me on the street and start talking about an underground boxing club that I started, don’t be surprised if I get really mad at you.

Because the number one rule of insomnia is that you do NOT talk about Fight Club.

Teaching teenagers what makes Gatsby so Great is a tough job. But it shouldn’t be.

There are days when being an English teacher feels like the worst fate known to mankind.

Yesterday was one of those days. I was literally jealous of the guy who wears a chicken suit on Rockville Pike to advertise for a tire store (still haven’t figured out the connection on that one. But I kind of want to go check out the tire store just to see why their mascot is a tuxedo-wearing chicken. So maybe their ad campaign works after all). And when you’d rather be standing on a corner in a chicken suit in 30-degree weather, you know you’ve hit a low point in your career.

The problem? I’m teaching The Great Gatsby. Which I love. A lot. My copy looks like it’s been through the wars because I’ve read it so many times. The margins are covered in notes and half the lines are underlined or highlighted. And this is only my second year teaching it.

I was actually very excited to teach eleventh grade because I love The Great Gatsby so much. And A Streetcar Named Desire, which is also in the eleventh grade curriculum. I’d taught ninth grade for years, and was ready to scream if I had to deal with Romeo’s whining again. Like I was getting WAY too excited when he kills himself by the end. I still love To Kill a Mockingbird, but I was kind of rooting for George to hurry up and kill Lennie so Of Mice and Men could be over. Which meant that it was time for a change.

So I was looking forward to the opportunity to share one of my all-time favorite books with kids and instill that same love of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece that I have in their young, impressionable minds.

Except they hate it. Like the way I hate the Cowboys, Delaware, and people who ride their bikes into oncoming traffic.

Okay, that’s misleading. The ones who are actually READING it hate it. But they’re in the minority. Because a huge percentage of them admitted yesterday to not even having read the SparkNotes, let alone the book itself. And I teach honors classes.

I don’t understand that. Granted, I’ve had my nose in a book for as long as I can remember. And I keep reminding myself of Nick’s father’s advice to remember that others haven’t had the same advantages that I’ve had (namely, in this case, parents who instilled a love of reading in me from early childhood). But to be honest, I prefer my favorite literary characters over most of the real people I know. No offense, but if I had to choose between Rhett Butler or Mr. Darcy and you, you’d probably lose.

Then again, I have a theory that the best men in all of history were written by women—I’m starting to feel like there’s no one out there who can live up to the men that Margaret Mitchell, Jane Austen, and Charlaine Harris have created. Yes, I’m lumping the author of the Sookie Stackhouse books along with those literary giants. Because I love Eric Northman. I’d marry that fictional vampire in a heartbeat. Sorry Edward Cullen—I don’t like my fictional vampires all emo and sparkly.

This might be why I’m still single.

But I digress.

Back to Gatsby.

I had a college professor who said you needed to read The Great Gatsby every five years. Okay, that professor was the biggest tree-hugging hippie I’d ever seen, and I’m pretty sure he came to class high every week. And he taught film studies. And I think he lived in his mom’s basement. And he used to go off on hour-long rants about how Walt Disney was just as bad as Hitler. Actually, I wasn’t a big fan of that professor.

But he was right about Gatsby.

I describe my first novel as being about the quarter-life crisis. When you’re in your mid-twenties and are suddenly one of the “adults,” but aren’t quite ready for all of the social responsibilities that that title entails.

And that’s what Gatsby is about. Nick basically, at thirty, leaves home to go live at the beach for a summer, rather than marry the girl his family and friends all expect him to marry. He’s jaded, and he feels a disconnect with most of the people he meets. And he gets wrapped up in a party culture, of people who drink illegally to avoid reality and who think they’re immortal because they’re young and they don’t understand that the choices they make now are going to affect them for the rest of their lives.

How could any teenager NOT love that book?

One of my favorite parts is when Jordan Baker describes to Nick why she doesn’t have to be a good driver. She shrugs when he tells her she’s an awful driver after almost hitting a pedestrian, and she tells him that she doesn’t have to pay attention, because other people are good drivers and they’ll stay out of her way. Nick asks what will happen when she meets another bad driver, and her answer is merely that she hopes that doesn’t happen.

That attitude is why teenagers get into so many accidents. It’s why they think it’s okay to text and drive (okay, I’ll admit it, it’s why I still text and drive more than I should). It’s why they think they’ll be okay when they drive too fast. And it’s why the final tragedy of the book is inevitable. How different is that from all the little celebutantes like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan driving when they’re smacked out of their minds?

It amazes me every time I read Gatsby that Fitzgerald so perfectly captured the emotions and logical fallacies that define my generation in a novel that was written nearly ninety years ago. And every time I read it, I’m both inspired to write more, and I’m a little discouraged because I know that I will never be able to so beautifully define the fragility and mistaken bravado of the human condition.

Hopefully the new movie version will help. I think Baz Luhrmann (of Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge fame) will do an amazing job at capturing the wasteful opulence of the 1920s. And Leonardo DiCaprio will be great as Gatsby, not just because I love him (and I do. A lot), but because I think he’ll be able to portray that element of Gatsby’s character trying too hard to be someone that he’s not far better than Robert Redford did in the definitive movie version from 1974.

But a small part of me kind of hopes that the new movie isn’t THAT good. I mean, I want it to be great and do justice to this incredible book. But I don’t want teenagers to think that seeing the new movie is an acceptable substitute for reading the book.

Until it comes out, however, I’ll continue beating my head against the brick wall of teenagers who think they’ll live forever and who see reading as a waste of time. But I’ll keep trying because, as Fitzgerald put it, “we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald may have never been a teacher, but that line alone tells me that at least one other person out there understood the feeling of futility that I’m experiencing right now. And the reason why I’ll keep trying and vainly hoping to instill my students with an appreciation for this amazing novel, even when it feels like I’m accomplishing nothing more lasting than Nick does when he erases the obscenity from Gatsby’s steps.

People who know me well, can you spot my house in this picture? Look carefully!