Archive for the ‘News Item’ Category

weird sketchiness. Driving home last night, saw a guy messing with a bike lock in front of Fresh Pot on Mississippi. I slowly drove by, couldn’t tell if he was unlocking or locking or trying to steal it. It was a cable lock, and he was putting something into the key hole it looked like. I slowed down and pulled over at the corner awkwardly and put my hazards on. A group of people started walking by and I pretended I was trying to get someone’s attention and honked my horn a few times, not looking in the bike’s direction. Then I waited. Turned around. I saw that the guy was not by the bike, but on the sidewalk, just checking out the scene. I stood there and then pulled over catty corner (so now across from animal traffic). I called the police, and said I knew it was kind of pointless, but it sort of looked like this guy was trying to steal a bike and he was still here. I could see him a block away, standing there. Maybe sort of wondering what I was up to. I described him as best I could to police and they said they’d send a car by. So I stayed there, with my hazards on. Watching this guy standing there. he walked down the block, further down shaver, but still he stood there. After another few minutes passed. I looked away. Then when I looked back I think I saw him get into a silver hatchback car. This was shocking. Why was he messing with a bike lock and then getting into a car? They drove off. I actually stupidly tried following them, because I had nothing better to do. But I’d lost them. I went back to the bike. I wanted to take a closer look at the lock, but was afraid the police would pull up and arrest me. Although I had a good alibi. I had given the dispatcher my name and number. So if they did try to arrest me, I could just tell them to call my number. Which actually, makes me think it would be the perfect crime. I didn’t look at the bike lock that closely and then I drove home.

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I was waiting for Pinata founder Mr. Dempsey to post his X-mas list, but I can’t wait any longer.

All gifts were on my x-mas list. Yes, at 33 I still write x-mas lists.



Gift from my older brother Jeff, whose band I used to play in for the past ten years before I quit this year to go back to school to get teaching degree to teach elementary school.

1. The Microphone  says I’m not quitting music all together even though since starting the school program in June I haven’t had a band practice with my band Awkward Energy. It says I have “jammed” a few times in my basement and had some fun and wish I had a microphone. It says I still sometimes use music as a creative outlet even though I’m scared I’m wasting my time because the music sucks, or no one cares or no one will listen or I won’t make any money doing it. It says I’m still trying. It scares me. It says I’m not giving up even though I probably should. It says, get to work being creative instead of complaining about not being creative. It reminds me how much smarter and more talented and a hard worker my brother is. It laughs at me and says “I’ll probably sit in your basement for months before you use me, just like that drum kit and that mini PA.” It says “you might use me once of two times next year.” It says “Keep doing what you’re doing. Chin Up, take chances. Be yourself, keep moving. Some things will work out, some won’t.” Make some music.

2. Dean Wareham’s Autobiography: Black Postcards


Purchased by my mom. It was the last item I added to my x-mas list. This says “Michael Heald told you to read this book to gain some inspiration to finish writing your own indie-rock memoirs.” This book says I started writing my own memoirs last November. I’ve written the opening essay and worked on it all year. It says I have many other pieces to work on. It says don’t give up. It says, forget it. You’re writing stinks. You’re life isn’t as interesting as Dean Wareham’s and you’re not as witty as he is. It says “You haven’t read more than three or four books this year.” It says I have a lot of books on my bookshelf I’m supposed to read. It says I wrote one new song this year “Heavy Metal Kids.” which is actually a decent song.  It says don’t give up on your high school/college dreams of being a writer.

3. Khaki pants and button down shirt from Gap from my mom


-mas list. I asked for these for potential interviews. When I hopefully finish my school program and start applying to teaching jobs. Oh man am I scared of actually teaching. Today I went to the usual family gathering of cousins and talked to them about my education experience student teaching. It made me feel more confident to explain different aspects. It made me feel like I knew what I was talking about. They were impressed.

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Yesterday morning in Marseilles I found out our good friend Dashan Coram has died. Very shocking. I’ve known him for many years. Recorded in his bedroom and played in his band and he played in mine. He’s a huge presence in the NY music scene I grew up in.

I still can’t believe it. It’s so damn sad.

A few of the old songs he recorded for me appear on my new album. There is an out pouring of love and grief from the huge NY music community.

There is a memorial Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607220471#!/DashanCoramForever

Back to the road days earlier:


Now in Lille, last night was Brussels and the night before was Amsterdam.

We’re supposed to write a song about the venue we played tonight in Lille. They are hosting us tomorrow and Jeff has been commissioned to write them a ditty. I’m not sure what he will write. We thought of these lyrics: “There is a stage and microphones and it is a venue” (just need a melody). Lou Reed is playing the big room of the same venue. Tickets are 85 Euros. Wow. He’s doing a whole European tour called “From VU to LuLu” I wish I could see one of the shows. (or maybe not)

The night before we were in Brussels. We see our old friend Guillame and we play again with our old friend Seth:

We stayed at our old friend Sabrina’s house. It was very nice. her boyfriend Louie runs a used bookstore and he shows us a book he has from the 16th century.

I stayed up all night on the internet and today was very tired. I slept through dinner.

Played with a cool band in Brussels called Joy as a Toy.

Back home I get updates from Marci about the new roof that we are getting, it’s very stressful that I am not able to be home to over-see the work. We had them put in 3 skylights, but they put them in very roughly and now we need to fix the holes. AAAA.

In Amsterdam I met up with Marci’s cousin Emille, who moved her years ago and has a wife and child now. I have a great time hanging out at the Jewish museum and walking the streets. We have a really cool conversation about lots of different topics.

Music, art, creative lives, relationships. It was good.

In Lille. I forget if I mentioned this. On the first day of tour I realize that I’ve forgotten to bring two pairs of jeans. I had two pairs ready to go, but forgot one. I can’t survive 5 weeks on tour with 1 pair of jeans. A couple days in and my one pair of pants has already developed a hole in the knee. What the hell? I just bought these jeans (second hand sure) but really they should last longer. Ach.

(When I image searched ripped jeans I found this image:

I tried buying pants in Amsterdam but they were pricey and didn’t fit that well. In Lille, there’s an H & M near the venue. I’ve never bought anything from and H & M, maybe never been in there, but I am now the happy owner of a fresh pair of blue H & M pants. Sort of like jeans, but not really. My brother was jealous of my new pants, he wanted his own pair. Ha.

The venue we play in Lille is hosting Lou Reed in a month (we played the small stage, he will play the big stage) tickets are 85 Euros, 2,000 capacity and he gets the whole door. The venue is government-funded and will lose lots of money on the show. French tax payer money going to support Lou and his crew. It doesn’t seem that reasonable.

Also in Lille, the venue is near a gypsy camp. I’ve never seen such a  thing. Lots of trailers and trash and scrap every where. And gypsy’s walking around, lots of kids.

Another world. I don’t think we see many real gypsies in America. More hippies and faux gypsies.

In Lyon we play a weird small festival that has two stages.One stage is techno DJs (or house or whatever dance music is), the other stage is weird cult bands not many people care about. Our stage is us, Gallon Drunk, Black Jaspers (Side project of King Kahn), Rocket from the Tomb (old 70’s punk/proto metal band with Dave Thomas who later formed Peru Ubu) and a  band called the Spits (who came out wearing Ronald Reagan masks (great shtick).

During our set it starts pouring rain, there are some hard-core fans up front and then everyone else hiding in the back. When the rain stops more people come out, but then there’s more rain and then hail and everyone disperses again. Oh well.

The festival has amazing weird/scary  composting toilets. The toilets  dust and the pissers have hay.





Some members of the band the Black Lips are hanging out with King Kahn.

We played with them in Barcelona at a big show for Primavera. I say hi to one of them who says his name is Cole.  he remembers  Jeff’s history of the Fall. I tell him I heard him on NPR with Kesha.


They’re much more media savvy then Jeff. Also they appear too cool to care really who we are. King Kahn is nice though. I had him read my tarot cards at Primavera a couple years ago.

Jeff and I watch Rocket From The Tombs.

Jeff tells me Cheeta Chrome is on bass and that he heard whole episode of Ken Katkin’s Trash Flow Radio dedicated to him. He says he told Dave Thomas backstage, but he didn’t respond or care at all.

After the show I decide to tell Cheeta. Dave Thomas is sitting exhausted. I tell him I saw him years ago at Prospect park, he doesn’t care. I tell Cheeta about Ken Katkin’s show. “Oh yeah” he says, “Cheeta really held the whole band together, was the glue” I guess he’s not Cheeta Chrome.

The festival is a day thing and it’s over on the early side. Back at hotel I’m able to have a nice video- chat with Marci back in Portland.  She’ shows me the new skylight in our bathroom and a bunch of garden work she’s done.

It’s late but I’m hungry so I go out and get churro and some pizza around 2 AM. Ug.

The next morning I wake up to the phone ringing. Drummer Dave says we’re late. I feel totally dizzy and hung over. I feel nauseous, I have some sort of pizza hangover.

It’s a long drive to Bordeaux. Err.

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4th day on the road.

Driving from Amsterdam to Brussels I put on an episode of WNYC Soundcheck. Mike Watt is the guest. He talks about keeping a tour diary to stay sane on tour.

I didn’t feel like keeping one yet, but I feel the craziness and depression creeping in, maybe it was driving in traffic today or maybe it was … the usual.

So some memories from the first few days.

I fly from Portland to Philly and get a flight to Paris. I’ve taken some Tylenol Pm to sleep and I drift in and out of some restless rest. My TV is broken so I can’t watch any movies. I suppose this is good I need to sleep. But perhaps I would have watched with Sherlock 2, The Artist, or ….

In Rouen. We’re playing an arts center, very nice space and they’ve let us rehearse in some studios they have there also very nice. But there are some issues with the bathrooms. The first night I use the men’s room and notice there is no toilet paper. Luckily I have toilet paper in my bookbag left over from a hike earlier that week. What luck! When I’m done I grab some toilet paper and paper towels from the women’s bathroom next door and leave some for the next person.

The women’s room is fully stocked. Which is nice. The next day I’m shocked when I return to the same men’s bathroom and there is still no toilet paper or paper towels.

Again I grab some from the fully stocked women’s room. I guess no one told the guy to re-stock and damned if I’m going to do it.

That night after our show there is another band playing in the big room. It’s a huge 35 piece big band playing great big band music,  Gypsy brass, Samba, big band jazz, white soul. It’s a treat to see/hear.

In Rouen we try to see the famous Rouen Cathedral made famous by Monet’s paintings. We drive around and pass two possible locations. We don’t have time to stay long. Jeff and I were here many years ago and we both drew pictures of the Cathedral, but we’re not sure which one it was.

The venue screens a French documentary about the radical 60’s group the Diggers. It’s not that great, but it does have some interesting discussions about freedom and liberty. I’m very jet lagged and end up staying up late. The next day I’m exhausted, but when the night comes I can’t sleep that well again. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diggers_%28theater%29)

Other Rouen tid-bit. Our rooms were on the 5th floor of a hotel. 1st off it was nice that we got hotel rooms, a real luxury for us on tour. 2nd, I forced myself to walk up and down the stairs at least a few times to get some much needed exercise. Man it’s tough to do that.

Other news. I don’t have toothpaste and haven’t brushed in days. Very bad. Just chomping a box of mints I bought in Virginia. I feel very embarrassed every time I talk to someone. (and I also feel bad for all the people I make out with —joking)

In Paris I meet Julian who is friends with the Herman Dune crew and Jeff, I feel like I’ve never met him before. He’s a painter/artist and it’s nice to talk a little art/music with him.

I’m sad the night before in Paris my old friend Carter played with the band Lower Dens. We just missed each other. This happens with Jeff Brodsky, another friend who played Amsterdam the night before we did. (he plays drums in Yacht).

We’re playing tonight with some old friends and influential people to Jeff’s musical life. Ish Marquez and Seth Fergolzia (Dufus).

Lisa Li Lund the Herman Dune sister comes, haven’t seen her in years.  We don’t have a place to stay for the evening, but then a friend from New York– Julie from Ching Chong song and The Wowz– is there and can host a couple of us.  she’s in Paris to perform in what sounds like a wild crazy experimental theater/opera piece that she’s been working with for years).

Jeff and I go to Lisa’s place. She has awesome books and drawings and stuff and a funny yippy dog named Cookie Balboa. She gives us shirts that she made for her band, they are amazing. Drawn by our friend Mayon. I wish our t-shirts looked half as cool. Our shirts look like shit.

In the morning we all meet up and Julie takes us to a special bakery. Oh my, we all get this special pistachio chocolate croissant. It is  …. I’m still speechless.

Some shots from the bakery: 




I suppose more to come.

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is this legal?

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Ok, maybe I’m tired and talking crazy.

But whatever I don’t care if people think I’m crazy, I just love this new hollywood couple.




I mean. Can it get any better than this? Right now? Right now? It just feels so right.

I admit it. After seeing the “Social Network” I developed a little boy crush on this guy Andrew. I have yet to see an Emma Stone movie, but if Jim Carey vouches for her, I vouch for her. I did see her on Jay Leno and she seemed nice. (also caught a little bit of her on SNL)

I wish the two of them all the best.

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I was going to write a review of this show, but I didn’t so just some pics.









Friends from college opened the show, John Gnorski and Jeff Brodsky AKA Wet Wool. They were pretty awesome.








AU played.

Then Nurses.








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Brother Jeff’s Corpse Story

“I’d been smelling this stench on my hall for about 3 weeks, even complained to maintenance over a week ago, saying that I even thought it might be someone who died, I got the semi-racist response “it’s probably just a Chinese person cooking a cabbage, that always smells bad.” Finally yesterday the old Ukranian lady who lives across the hall from me knocked on my door to ask me if I agreed with her that there was a terrible smell in the hall, she had complained to maintenance and they blew her off as an annoying old lady. So she and I went to the maintenance office together, and convinced them to come check out the smell – they came, blowing us off all the while, insisting that it was “not a rotting smell,” one maintenance guy saying he smelled nothing, and the other guy saying it was “definitely from someone’s dirty apartment.” When they left, having done nothing, the nice asian dad who lives down the hall came out of his apartment and said he couldn’t take it anymore, even his 3-year old boy had been complaining lately, and come to think of it, he hasn’t seen his neighbor in a while. The neighbor in question was a portly man in his 60s, lived alone. Rent bill still on his door. We decided we should call 911, so I called and told them there was a stink on my hallway, we feared someone might be dead. So the cops came, very funny cops. They arrived on the hallway a little later and immediately said “oh yeah. It doesn’t look good for this guy.” They saw the rent bill on his door and said “it’s always the same.” (picture all of this being said in the most stereotypical NYC cop accents). They called in a third cop, who talked exactly the same way. When he arrived I escorted him from the elevator asking him if he smelled what we were talking about – he said “Naw, I don’t smell nothin’. I wuz down at September 11.” I thought he meant that he smelled so many stinking corpses at the twin towers that nothing bothered him anymore but he continued: “I developed a cancerous growth in my nose – they hadda take it out, and now I can’t smell nothin.” So this is like a superhero cop with no sense of smell, who gained his powers from chemical exposure at the Twin Towers, and they bring him on for particularly smelly jobs!! Amazing! I went back to my apartment, not wanting to be standing around when they broke down the door and hauled out this 3 or 4 week rotting corpse of a fat guy – but there was no question – when I was in my apartment, about ten minutes later, this horrible smell suddenly permeated my place, even from way down at the opposite end of the hall, it must have been when they opened the door. I opened all the windows and turned the fan on high and started burning incense. Finally, about 6 hours later, I got the courage to leave my apartment and go outside to get away from my building for a while. Down on the street was the “meat wagon” and a couple of medics with a stretcher trying to gain access to my building – I let them in – I couldn’t believe it had taken so long for them to arrive. I was sure the burst of stink from 6 hours earlier was from the body being removed, but apparently it was just from when they opened the apartment door. I watched them get into the elevator with the stretcher and I took off, not wanting to be in the lobby when the elevator came back down!

On the good side, at least somebody on the co-op apartment waiting list is going to get a nice letter soon.

And remember – that’s the only way ANYbody ever moves out of the co-ops!”

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welcome, readers!

for those of you who have found us by searching for:

“how to say i’m fat like a pinata in spanish”

glad to have you on board.


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first thing’s first: this kid’s still on the air. makes me happy. i did some research. his name’s pete wiggins. he’s five. i like that he has a name.

so, yeah, moving along…
a few days late (it’s really hard to summon up the inspiration to comment on an event and telecast that simply sucks the life right out of your lungs… with a rapidity and a fierceness; it’s like the election night of entertainment), herewith is thePinata’s account of them oscars. and who could give a shit.

here’s how this is going to work. to watch the ceremony, we are in two. my fashion consultant, ophelia, is an avid oscar viewer. after all this time, it somehow still remains an “event” for her. she is interested in one thing, and one thing only: who’s fat and who’s not fat. she’s like my own personal joan rivers, minus the terrifying facelifts and the bullshit daughter. no joke, she actually will turn to me throughout the night and say things like, “okay, okay… best dressed man, so far, robert downey jr.” (admittedly, he does look pretty dashing). as in, these are real categories for her. blanks to be filled in. it’s cute.

anyhow, we sit on the floor, we drink cheap wine. we converse surprisingly infrequently. she makes dinner before i arrive and doesn’t warn me (it wasn’t made with me in mind), so i am regretful about my expensive salad. when the night is over, i have had two dinners. go team!

and so it goes.

at 5:07 pm, my viewing experience begins. i have missed the “red carpet” almost in it’s entirety. i am only mildly disappointed to find that the reception at my viewing destination is pretty shaky. but then this is our generation, right? and we don’t pay for cable. we just don’t. as a rule.

FIRST APPEARANCE OF MICKEY ROURKE! having just seen the wrestler this past weekend, i’m pretty high on mickey rourke. seeing as jack nicholson is nowhere to be found this year, mrourke seems to have grabbed the torch. he’s got the shades, and the smarmy grin, and i expect him to be the butt of many overly benign barbs throughout the night. fashion consultant (FC) ophelia tells me that he has already been spotted with his hand down his trousers. the ceremony hasn’t even begun, and this makes my night.

here are some things that they won’t tell you on other oscar blogs:

1. the new salad bar at WholeFoods is bullshit; seriously. they’ve changed everything. no shredded beets? what the shit?

2. i’ve been in bed with the flu for about a week. were it not for that, this account of the 2009 academy awards would have taken place in front of a woodstove, in a remote and cozy cabin deep in the Washington wilderness, in a room strewn with skis and hot whiskeys. rather, it wouldn’t have taken place at all. who wins?

at 5:22, FC ophelia claims that miley cyrus (she’s everywhere?!) looks “vulgar”; she calls her “princess nightmare,” and while i’m not entirely clear on what that means, it seems fairly apt. more importantly, i ask, why is miley cyrus here?

as evidence that fashion consultancy is not exactly my bag, i posit that Anne Hathway looks mermaid-y.

FC ophelia: “best dressed woman, so far, amy adams, and in other shocking news, meryl streep looks less-than-hideous” (NOTE: thePinata hearts amy adams… sort of epically)

on the red carpet, ABC is doing this really weird thing (only for the ladies, mind you) wherein whenever they greet a lady-celeb, run through the typically banal “who are you wearing?” bullshit, they run a ticker on the left side of the screen scrolling through the who-are-they-wearings from previous ceremonies. it is equally jarring, boring, and depressing. this is fashion week goes to the movies. why bother?

FC ophelia: “seth rogan has officially left the fat team. bravo.”
FC ophelia: “diane lane looks better on tv than she did in my yoga class,” a statement that requires a fairly self-explanatory backstory that i’ll not worry about telling.

at this point, it’s time for this blogger to eat dinner no. 1. On today’s menu is a salad (bullshit, i remind you), and black bean soup. I will return with my reflections on hugh jackman’s opening monologue, which is a sentence that i never thought that i would write, for so many reasons. much love, talk soon.


at 5:43, the first acting award is being presented. it’s like a group therapy session of previous winners. it’s goofy. angelina jolie says “literally” like a fancy-pants. god bless her. and she speaks spanish! whoopi goldberg is like the death of funny. but she still tells jokes? go figure.

it occurs to me that we’re going to hear the words “the curious case of benjamin button” about 342 times throughout the night. this makes me kind of bitter. and it has nothing to do with the movie… it’s just a stupid fucking title (sorry, f.scott).

at 5:53, the poor reception on this tv makes it look like hugh jackman has a serving towel draped over his left arm. it’s a funny image. as if a butler were hosting the event. i like this.

at 6:10, the best acceptance speech of the night is a lock, from a japanese dude who’s name i can’t be bothered to write down (it’s kunio kato), who takes home the award for best animated short. between some seriously broken english, he finally gives up and says “domo arigato, mr. roboto.” it’s just awesome. and, frankly, america, it’s what you really want to hear from the japanese. stop trying, man… we want styx lyrics.

at 6:14, pete wiggins (see above) makes his first appearance. i melt.

FC ophelia and i take a break to draw some of the celebrity guests. i prefer to color them in, so that’s what i mostly do. her matthew broderick looks like a yoga ball with legs. it’s a bit harsh.

MY FIRST AND ONLY REAL SERIOUS THOUGHT OF THE NIGHT SO FAR, is that it seems like the MPAA just up and decided to release five films around the third week in december, the “oscar” films. and then the academy just lazily decided to nominate ‘em. and this extends across the board. slumdog, frost, doubt, milk, button… just scatter ‘em about, and you’ve got your ceremony. and aside from milk, i don’t really know anyone who’s seen any of them. or liked any of them. i’m sure they’re fine, and all, but really.

at 6:47, a german man appears wearing the night’s first all-black tuxedo.

at 7:50, (that’s right, we lost an hour there… i was drinking), ABC plugs their new series, THE CASTLE. it stars this guy:

guy you've probably seen on something...

guy you've probably seen on something...

here’s the tagline:
“when they’re not on each other’s case, they have a passion … for solving cases.”
which is about the best tagline ever. it’s just so sublimely lazy. makes me proud. the emphasis isn’t even in the right places (on “each other’s” and “solving,” had they been trying). in fact, it’s totally and completely wrong… on CASE and CASES. someone in ABC’s copy department is onto something… words rhyme with themselves.

does anyone remember an Academy Awards ceremony way back when, where russell crowe was spotted in the audience eating a greasy burger and some fries from a burger bar across the street. it might have been the golden globes. hard to say. are they fed at the oscars?
in any case, it seemed so cool at the time. dude eats HIS way. in hindsight, it’s like the most precious thing ever.

at some point while i was drinking, hugh jackman and beyonce put on yet another musical medley that includes seemingly every musical number ever written. it is contrary to any possible definition of entertainment. it is evil. when it is over, hugh proclaims, “the musical is alive!” oy.

at 7:53, i wonder why bruce springsteen’s “the wrestler” didn’t get a song nomination. upon then seeing the africanized medley of the nominated songs, i start to get a pretty good idea.

the medley, by the way, is like the best gay danceparty ever.

at 8:02, WALL-E proves totally adorbs even as a nominee. how kickass would tonight be if WALL-E showed up. that said, maybe it’s even cuter to think of him like a sort of woody allen character. as in, he’s probably off playing trumpet or something at some fancy jazz club. where he has a residency. WALL-E definitely needs a residency.

i neglected to mention that FC ophelia left to teach a yoga class, which shows you the kind of devotion we have ’round here. frankly, i should have gone with…

Mumbai and Bombay are being used interchangeably tonight. there’s a political commentary in here somewhere. i am definitely NOT the guy.

at 8:06, there is another fairly awesome japanese acceptance speech for best foreign film:

“i am very very happy! i am here because of films! this is a huge [wink] departure for me!” (the winning film is called “departures”; see what he did there?)

somewhere around 8:30, FC ophelia returns just in time to see the ragtag slumdog crew take to the stage and win the award that they all knew they would win anyways. say what you want about that film (i’ll say nothing, as i still haven’t seen it), they cut a swell image onscreen. hard not to be happy for them. but i’m sure we’ll find a way.

and, then, as these things go, hugh quickly wraps it up. it’s funny how a ceremony that is such a chore in almost every conceivable way is always wrapped up about 45 seconds after the last award is given. but jimmy kimmel is up next, and he is not a man to be kept waiting.

FC ophelia and i eat popcorn and watch it’s always sunny in philadelphia. i, for one, am relieved.

the next morning FC ophelia tells me that best dressed was that woman from “benjamin button,” which makes the 343 time i hear that name. my rage is renewed. it turns out to be someone named taraji.

for now, i leave you with the following quandry. who’s cuter: WALL-E or werner herzog?

it's a tie!

it's a tie!


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