And the key figure in U.S./Middle East relations is… Dennis Rodman?!

It’s only February 28, and yet, I don’t think we will see a more intriguing picture during the rest of 2013 than this one:

Rodman

Don’t adjust your computer screen. That is, indeed, Dennis “The Worm” Rodman — the eccentric and flamboyant basketball star of the late 80s and 90s — with Kim Jong Un, the 29-year-old supreme leader of North Korea.

You know, that country that hates us. That really, really hates us. And practically everyone else for that matter.

That same country that deprives its citizens of basic human needs, and has built a country contingent on its military.

That same country that is devoted towards improving its nuclear program, just so that they could kill everyone.

And yet, here is their leader, smiling, having a jolly old good time with an American. It’s not Barack Obama. It’s not Condoleeza Rice. It’s not even Angelina Jolie.

It’s Dennis Rodman.

Rodman is in North Korea as part of an HBO documentary about basketball diplomacy, and while he’s there, he made a pit stop in Pyongyang and watched a basketball game with Kim Jong Un. Allegedly, Kim Jong Un is a “diehard” basketball fan, and was especially a huge fan of the Chicago Bulls during their 7-title reign in the 90s, in which Rodman was a big part of.

Wow. The NBA has been undergoing an ambitious marketing campaign the past few years, trying to spread its sport overseas and gain attention in other countries. Had they known that their popularity spread all the way to North Korea, they may not have tried so hard.

And perhaps this is useful information for Obama. If we want North Korea to disable their nuclear missiles, then instead of offering them food and money, maybe he can just shoot them some court side Bulls tickets? Problem solved.

Rodman supposedly told Jong Un that he has a “friend for life.” I wonder if they are Facebook friends by now?

But let’s get on to more important matters, and revisit the picture above. As I said, it is one of the more intriguing, compelling photos we will ever see. Let’s dissect it.

RodmanUn

I just can’t get over Kim Jong Un’s appearance. Every time I see him, it blows my mind that this guy actually leads a country. In every picture, he just looks like a normal dude, having fun and chilling out with his buddies.

In fact, I legitimately think that Kim Jong Un and I would get along. If I showed up to my college dormitory my freshman year having not yet met my roommate, and all of a sudden Kim Jong Un walked in, and I had no idea who he was, I think him and I would grow to be good friends. I can see me and him throwing back some beers, watching some basketball, and then going out to bars and picking up girls.

With Kim Jong’s endearing smile and personality, and my charm and good looks, I’m sure we’d be elite wingmen for one another.

And then you have Rodman to his left, who, for once, actually looks normal. Rodman was notorious during his playing days for having vibrant colored hair, featuring a different color every other week. But in this photo, he’s cleaned up, he looks ravishing, and his hair is a normal color.

Again, it’s still a very difficult image to process.

Let’s continue.

Rodmanhostage

I’m pretty sure that the black guy in the red hoodie is being held hostage. If you look back at the original picture at the top, he is the only person in the scene who is not smiling. On the contrary, he looks tense and nervous. Nervous as in, if he makes one wrong move, he’s dead.

And the two guys next to him? Those are the people who are keeping him in bay. Just look at them — they are eyeing him like hawks on their prey.

Rodmangirl

It’s really easy to miss the girl directly above Rodman. But once you notice her, it’s horrifying. I’ve never seen anyone stare more intently at somebody in my life than she is at Rodman in this photo.

It’s almost like she’s been placed there to keep an eye on him, and if he tries to harm Kim Jong Un, or worse, tries to free his friend in the red hoodie, then she’s going to toss throwing star right into his gullet.

All I know is, if I ever see an Asian woman stare at me like that, then I know it’s over.

And to cap off this whole “Dennis Rodman goes to North Korea,” adventure, the recently inducted NBA Hall of Famer has been posting on Twitter during his travels abroad. Here is one of them in particular:

RodmanTweet

Pretty funny Tweet, but it’s a little inaccurate. The “Gangnam Style Dude,” who goes by the stage name of Psy, made sure to correct Rodman on his geographical inaccuracy:

PsyTweet

I really can’t think of a better way to end today’s post than that.

What happens in the doctor’s office, stays in the doctor’s office. Until now.

There is an unspoken bond between patients and doctors. And I’m not even speaking of HIPAA laws or doctor-patient confidentiality agreements. I’m referring more to the personal relationship that exists. You trust them. You confide in them. And if there is something wrong with you, then you damn well expect them to discover it.

Unfortunately, for them to discover such things, they must observe you… everywhere. Therefore, when we go in for our yearly checkups, it’s no-holds barred. Your doctor’s going to get all up in there.

But we never talk about it elsewhere. When your doctor is observing you down there, he keeps it professional, maybe even maintains a conversation, and then it’s done. By the way, I said “he” and not “she” because I have never had a female doctor. And that’s not because I think they’re incompetent, but it’s because I wouldn’t be able to trust myself during an examination.

Anyway, after the checkup, you go back home and go about your life. Nobody ever shares specific details about their doctor’s appointments with their friends and families. In fact, you purposely hide details. What happens in the doctor’s office stays in the doctor’s office. You’ll never, ever hear a male approach his friend and be like, “Yo dude, my doctor just touched my wee-wee! High five!” You will take that with you to your grave.

For women, it goes even one step further. Thankfully — and I’ve never meant “thankfully” more in my life — guys never have to step into a gynecologist’s office in their lives for their own bodily needs. Unless you undergo a gender transformation, but, I’m not going to go there.

I can’t even imagine what the mood in the room must be like when a girl is being examined by her OBGYN. Nor do I know if I even want to imagine it. Honestly, it sucks that girls have to do that. I feel bad for you. That’s a whole bunch of extra medical bills that us guys never have to worry about in our lives.

But anyway, the point is, like males with their doctors, there is a certain trust in these situations. If your doctor underwent the whole process of going through years and years and years of medical schooling and training, why would they ever risk losing their license by doing anything inappropriate? We don’t just hope — we expect our doctors to convey the utmost professionalism.

However, one must remember that there is a human element. If you are a male gynecologist, and you spend your day looking at female private parts, then how can there not be some kind of temptation there? It’s hormonal nature for men to become aroused. It would be wrong if they didn’t. So, looking at it from that perspective, then it wouldn’t shock me if there was that one odd doctor in the bunch who gave into those sinful urges.

And his name is Nikita Levy.

Reportedly, Levy, an OBGYN at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, had a concealed camera in his pen that he wore in a necklace around his neck. A a suspicious employee reported him to hospital officials on Feb. 4, and Levy, after being confronted, handed over several recording devices that he had been using on his patients and keeping for his own personal use. Two weeks later, Levy killed himself in his home.

Lovely story.

Clearly, his suicide is a guilty plea. Knowing he was doomed for eternity, and would be forever stamped as “Dr. Perv,” he decided that death was better than a tainted reputation (pun intended), jail time, and a lifetime’s worth of lawsuits. Allegedly, 2,000 of Levy’s patients have contacted a hotline that was established last week after this story broke.

The guy had 2,000 patients! That is 2,000 vaginas!

2,000!

Plus you have to admit — if you’re going to conceal a camera, putting it inside a necklace pen is pretty ingenious. I personally would have went with the stethoscope.

Obviously this is nothing to joke about. But that being said, it’s 2,000 motherfu&*%ng vaginas! I watch porn more than any man should, and I’m still not even close to that number. And this guy saw them live!

There’s still no excuse for his behavior, but the fact that he had so many patients must mean that he was a pretty reputable physician. And then he goes and does something like this. That’s OBGY-Napproptiate. (Give me a little credit for that.)

The lesson that should be learned here is that you should never blindly trust your doctors. Just because they have a few plaques on the wall, and a couple of initials after their name, it doesn’t guarantee professionalism. And next time my doctor goes to put his hands on my seldom-touched body parts, I am going to sneak a look to ensure there is no hidden camera draped around his neck or inside his pocket. The only thing I want going viral after a doctor’s visit are my cells.

It also surprises me that so many women confide in male gynecologists. But I know absolutely nothing about that so I won’t press that any further.

Although, if you can’t afford a gynecologist — or no longer trust them after this story — then I heard that bloggers are the next best thing.

Just saying.

How to be nice without being a pushover

Every once in a while I see somebody post a rhetorical question on Facebook, asking something along the lines of “Why do bad things happen to good people?” or something like, “I’m tired of being nice to people when I keep getting screwed over,” yada yada yada.

First and foremost, let me to say that I have no sympathy for people who post such things. We all have the ability to shape how we are treated by others, but a lot of people fail to realize that. There are too many people in the world who truly and naively believe that if they are nice all of the time, and do the right thing, that only good things should happen to them.

And that’s not the right way to go about things.

So I’ve decided to try to lend a helping hand. It is absolutely possible to be branded universally as a “nice person,” and still have a reputation where people know not to mess with you. Because there is nothing worse than being a pushover.

Yes, there have indeed been situations in the past where I allowed manipulative people to take advantage of me, but for the most part, I was equally to blame for it. And thus, you learn from those experiences. That is the most important thing.

So here’s some tips I will provide for you, which I myself have learned through years of life experience.

Your moral compass needs to point north.

This is mandatory before I delve any further.

I’m definitely not saying that you need to do the right thing all of the time, but more importantly, you need to know what the right thing to do is all of the time.

Upon surveying a situation, you should know what needs to be done for you to be looked upon in the most favorable light. As long as you are aware of it, it means that you have a solid grasp of morality.

However, human beings are innately lazy, apathetic and selfish. We don’t want to give money to homeless people. We don’t want to help our friends move. And we never want to be the designated driver. 

There are plenty of people in the Peace Corps who devote their lives to being saints and helping the needy, and god bless them. They are much better than I am. They are the ones who make up for lazy pricks like me who don’t always do the selfless thing. They cancel me out, and that’s why those people do what they do.

So try to identify the “right” thing to do in most circumstances, and do it sometimes. But even if you don’t, as long as you know what it is, then at least you’re on the right track.

To sum up: In any given situation, ask yourself this question — “Do I know what Mother Teresa would do right now?”

If the answer to that question is no, then you don’t need to read any further, because you’re not nice. You also need to reevaluate things.

Be able to identify manipulative people.

People are who they are in all contexts. If someone is a dick, then they are going to be a dick to everybody.

So when a self-proclaimed nice person experiences a situation where somebody is a dick to them, why are they so surprised by it? It’s not that difficult to determine that somebody is a not a nice person. So you shouldn’t go out of your way to help these people, and you certainly should not expect anything from these people. If you did, then that’s your fault.

Again, shitty people are shitty to everyone. It’s just your fault if you let it get to you.

To sum up: In any given situation, ask yourself this question — “If my car fell into a ditch at 3 a.m., and I needed a ride, would this person get out of bed to come and get me?”

If the answer to that question is yes, then those are your true friends that you should always be nice to. If the answer is “no” or “probably not,” then don’t rely too heavily on these people.

Fake nice is not nice.

There is a stark difference between genuinely nice people and fake nice people.

Genuinely nice people do good-natured things, and act politely because they like doing it. Being nice shouldn’t be “work.” If that’s the case, then you’re actually an ill-natured person and should drop the act and just join a gang or something.

There is nothing worse than people who act nice to others solely because they believe that acting nicely entitles them to things. You don’t do favors for people because you expect them to be returned, you do it because it doesn’t even occur to you that you are doing a “favor.” For you, it’s just commonplace.

To sum up: In any given situation, ask yourself this question — “Do I know, without hesitation, which of my friends owe me things right now?”

If the answer to that question is yes, it probably means that your friends don’t like you as much as you think, because they long ago realized that you’re not as nice as you appear to be.

Be a dick sometimes.

Now I am certainly not saying that you should be a dick to specific people. But I am saying that you should always be prepared to be a dick if you need to be.

Is someone offending you? Then drop the manners and stand up for yourself. Are you upset with somebody because of something they said or did? Then approach them about it, and don’t be nice to them outwardly while secretly holding a months-long grudge. I’m not saying to become Ronnie from Jersey Shore, but I’m saying to be prepared to have lash out sometimes when necessary.

As long as you don’t cross the line, but flirt a little bit towards the edge on occasion, then people will come to accept that you are somebody that they can’t walk all over.

To sum up: In any given situation, ask yourself this question — “Am I really, really mad at somebody right now, and they are completely oblivious to it?”

If the answer to that question is yes, then you definitely need to work on your “being a dick” skills, ya pushover.

Don’t ever humiliate or physically harm people.

Nobody ever deserves to be abused — both emotionally or physically. I don’t care how rude somebody is to you, there is an appropriate method to go about handling the situation. There is no context where sitting down, grabbing a beer, and talking through your issues like true men is never an option.

But if you ever resort to physical violence, or bullying, then you’re the opposite of nice.

To sum up: In any given situation, ask yourself this question — “Do I boil with uncontrollable rage when somebody wrongs me?”

If the answer to that question is yes, then you probably should seek outside help. Or marijuana.

In conclusion.

Unfortunately, nice people have to know when there is a time and a place to not be nice. That’s really the difference.

Also, if you want to see what “nice” is, then check out what this high-school basketball player does at the end of this clip. Now this is nice. It’s also an amazingly heartwarming and quick 2-minute clip. Trust me, it’s worth your time.

Outlining the Oscars

The jokes have been made, the awards have been distributed and the fashion police have pointed out their fashion faux pas — the Oscars, and the 2013 awards season, has officially come to a close.

But speaking of fashion police, can Ryan Seacrest just have a little bit of a pride? I mean, just a little? As usual, I did my best to avoid any type of red carpet specials prior the ceremony, and yet, I still put it on for five minutes just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Not only did I not miss anything, but in those five minutes I heard Ryan Seacrest ask about six different women, “Who are you wearing?”

I can promise you that whether I live to be 30 or whether I live to be 100, you will never — not once — hear the words “Who are you wearing?” come from my mouth. Come on, Ryan. I want you to be better.

Also, I guess the words “Academy Awards” have officially been outlawed? I don’t think I heard those words uttered once during last night’s telecast. Not that it’s a big deal, but just saying.

So the first twenty minutes or so of the show were more anticipated than usual, as “controversial” host Seth MacFarlane delivered the traditional opening monologue. I say controversial because many people were wondering if he might be too inappropriate for the Oscars. Heck, he even parodied that notion by having William Shatner Skype his way onto the stage, informing Seth of what tomorrow’s headlines are going to read.

I thought that was hysterical, because by doing that, he’s beating all of these “holier than thou” entertainment blogs to the punch.

And unsurprisingly, the critics were indeed harsh. Seth’s shtick has apparently been branded as sexist, distasteful, unfunny and ill-conceived. 

My response to these “experts?” Lighten the hell up. I personally thought Seth MacFarlane did a terrific job, and was lightyears better than last year’s host, Billy Crystal. As host, MacFarlane kept a good pace, didn’t overdo it, and maintained the perfect balance between being edgy and wholesome. Were some of his jokes a little outdated? Yeah. He threw in a couple digs about Chris Brown and Mel Gibson that may have been more timely in 2011 rather than 2013, but, who cares?

The real reason people are being so tough on MacFarlane? Because they were expecting him to fail. These writers all were appalled that their prestigious Academy Awards were being hosted by the dude who created Family Guy, and they were going to bash him no matter what.

I actually rewatched his opening monologue about an hour ago — since I DVR’d that shit — and it was even funnier than I remember it being last night. So all of these knee-jerk reactions are a direct result of premeditated expectations. Nothing more and nothing less.

As an unofficial entertainment blogger and a just a regular movie fan, I applaud you, Seth. Thank you for doing a solid job last night. You made the Oscars very enjoyable for me.

And speaking of controversy, the Onion made headlines last night also. The satirical news network was live-Tweeting the Oscars last night, and one of their Tweets in particular drew the ire of, well, everyone.

Onion tweet

The Tweet was obviously meant to be of the “so ridiculous that we’re obviously joking” variety, but, many people took offense. After an outlash of negative comments to the remark, and even some articles, the Onion deleted the Tweet less than an hour later, and then issued a formal apology. 

Let’s be real here. Was the Tweet funny? Not really. But was I offended by it? Hell no.

Again, people just need to lighten up a little. It’s getting to the point where everybody is actually looking at and scrutinizing every little thing to ensure its appropriateness. It’s almost a form of reverse-censorship.

It’s the same with all these publications that are overanalyzing Seth MacFarlane’s jokes. By actually searching for sexism, or racism, then you are actually the ones who are perpetuating the stereotypes. How is that beneficial to anybody?

But let’s get to the actual awards.

The least shocking award recipients were Daniel Day Lewis and Anne Hathaway, who were as close to shoe-ins as you’ll ever find. But other than that, everything was pretty much up for grabs. Jennifer Lawrence, at the ripe age of 22, took home her first Oscar — while taking a spill in the process — Christoph Waltz won his second statue in three years, and Argo took home best picture, with means Ben Affleck has officially supplanted Matt Damon as the most successful of the Good Will Hunting duo. Who the hell thought that would happen 10 years ago?!

Also, all the freaks and mutants nominated for the special effects and technical awards were situated in their rightful place in the furthest most crevasse of the theater. Thank god for that.

In all seriousness, I really appreciated Ben Affleck’s speech. It was emotional, endearing, and most importantly, it was genuine. My biggest Oscar pet peeve are the people who win an award and do one of two things — either exude fake emotion a la Anne Hathaway (see image), or just read off a grocery list of people who they so desperately need to thank. Whatever happened to uttering some type of humorous anecdote and or insightful musing? You’re on the grand stage with millions of people watching. say something interesting for crying out loud! So I thank Ben Affleck for that.

Also, there were a couple of fun facts I learned during last night’s telecast — apparently Daniel Day Lewis is the first male to win the Oscar for Best Leading Actor three times. Additionally, something I had not realized was that every nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Waltz, Alan Arkin and Tommy Lee Jones) had previously won an Oscar before. So that’s interesting.

And back to Jennifer Lawrence. Seriously, how can you not love this girl? She’s awkward, funny, natural and she just gets it. Just watch her post-Oscar interview and tell me you’re not a fan.

She’s an extremely hard person not to like. And she already had the benefit of the doubt from me because she’s hot. Remember kids, physical appearance over inner beauty — always. But when a hot girl just happens to have the inner beauty, then that is a rarity. J-Law has both.

So what else happened? Oh yeah, some quality musical performances. Apparently this year’s Oscars had a musical theme, which I have no problem with. And at this point, I’m pretty convinced that Adele is automatically going to win every award that exists in our universe.

A Grammy? Obviously. Golden Globe? Oscar? She’s got one of each. How about we hand her a Pulitzer Prize or a Purple Heart? I’m sure she’s done enough to deserve them. In fact, I think her rendition of “Skyfall” may have actually secured peace in the Middle East, so there you go.

But another musical performance that I did love was the cast of Les Misérables performing “One Day More.” I already have said how much I enjoyed the movie, and that song happened to be my favorite one from the flick. So I was really glad they performed it.

Check it out:

But after nearly four hours of the Oscars, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the festivities. It was a huge upgrade over the bland 2012 ceremony, and the award distribution was wide-spread among several different deserving movies. By my calculations, Life of Pi took home 4 Oscars, and that was the most that any movie won.

Heck, even Michelle Obama made a cameo appearance, as she tried to outdo Bill Clinton’s surprise guest spot at the Golden Globes.

I don’t know how, or why, or when, but it would be awesome if I somehow, one day, could win an Oscar. Even if it was one of the shitty Oscars that they don’t present on-screen. It can’t be too hard to make an animated short-film, can it? I can write a full-length screenplay, right? I can portray our nation’s most famous and respected president, can’t I?

Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t get ahead of myself just yet. Grammy first.

Oh yeah, so a meteor hit Russia.

Last Friday, a 10,000 ton-meteor hit Russia. 

A meteor, from outer space, just meandered into our Earth’s atmosphere — over Russia — without anybody knowing that it was coming.

I’m not going to pretend that I know absolutely anything about outer space, but doesn’t that strike anybody else as a little odd? I can look on weather.com right now and see what the hour-by-hour weather is going to be like on March 19, and yet, one day earlier, nobody knew that a freaking meteor was going to enter out atmosphere?

For crying out loud, the word METEOR is in their freaking job description! It’s “meteorologist!” So, when there is a meteor on its way, shouldn’t they be all over that? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Where the hell were you guys?

Although, on second thought, maybe it was a good thing that nobody knew. Whenever meteorologists predict that we’re going to get a foot of snow, people panic. Gas station lines become two miles long. Walmarts become sanctuaries. People lock themselves in their fallout shelters for 35 years with Christopher Walken (or is that a movie?)

So if the Russian people knew that a meteor was coming, it would have been pure and utter chaos. I can’t even begin to imagine it. In all seriousness, I’m not saying that Russia would have been pure anarchy — although, who knows, it might have — but at the very least, nobody would have left their home that day.

But the point is that this was completely unprecedented. We’ve had sparkles of meteor particles shower our Earth before, but we’ve yet to have a meteor of this stature just come and hang out in our atmosphere.

Just take a look at this bad boy!

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xxm4w4_incredible-meteor-crash-in-russia_sport

That was footage captured by a Russian on their car’s dashboard camera while he was rushing home from work.

First of all, if this meteor exposed anything — other than how badly meteorologists missed this — it’s that dashboard cameras are a thing.  Why is Russia so ahead of the game? Why aren’t dashboard cameras in American cars?

If American vehicles carried such a camera, it would be a goldmine of footage. Not just for YouTube, but for other important situations, such as motor vehicle accidents. No more “he said, she said,” during a traffic dispute, let’s just go to the camera!

Red light cameras would be nonexistent also, and dashboard camera would be able to capture potential police corruption. You didn’t deserve that ticket, you say? Let’s check the tape!

Damn it, Obama, get on this shit!

My second gripe I have about this meteor is the fact that I have to keep referencing it as “the meteor.” We name hurricanes, and we name blizzards, but we can’t name meteors? A meteor is an actual celestial object. It makes sense to give it a name. It has a physical body.

My final gripe is why the person who is driving that car in that video did not freak out anymore than he did. You can hear him speak during the latter part of the video, but it sound like he is commenting with the same air one would comment about seeing an airplane in the sky. But instead of saying, “oh, look an airplane,” he said, “Oh look, a meteor.”

If it was me, and I saw that, I would be screaming. I’d be yelling obscenities. At the very least, I would slightly veer off of the road. This guy somehow managed to maintain pristine driving abilities. Had this guy been taking his road test at the time of that meteor crossing, he would have passed flawlessly.

Lastly, if it was me, I wouldn’t have thought it was a meteor. I would have assumed a nuclear missile. Especially since North Korea’s nuclear program has been in the news lately. Had I seen that bright light streak across the sky, I would have prepared myself to be decimated in 10 seconds because of a fiery explosion.

And yet, amazingly, nobody died in this incident. A 10,000 ton meteor comes directly for Earth traveling 33,000 miles-per-hour, exploding with the force of 20 atomic bombs, and nobody dies. However, 1,500 people were injured — two of them seriously (pussies!) But apparently, according to people who are a lot smarter than me, the Earth’s atmosphere absorbed the majority of the meteor’s energy.

In case you’re scoring at home, NASA said that the fireball was the largest reported since 1908, when a meteor hit Tunguska, Siberia, and flattened an estimated 80 million trees. I guess that means no people died, because you’d think that would be the top story moreso than trees. Although, I don’t know about you guys, but I’d gladly exchange a few people in our world if it meant saving a couple of trees.

So, that’s pretty much all there is to it. At the end of the day, it was just another meteor shower. No biggie.

But I guess there’s one good thing that came out of all this.

It took the Harlem Shake out of the news.

Is Taylor Swift wearing out her welcome?

Yesterday I realized that there was a new Taylor Swift controversy that I had yet to have been made aware of. And while it feels like there is new controversy surrounding Tay-Tay every couple of weeks, it doesn’t take a moron to figure out that 99% of them are media-contrived.

However, this new one is so amusing that I couldn’t possibly not talk about it.

As you all remember, Taylor Swift opened up the Grammys last Sunday with an Alice in Wonderland-like performance of her hit single, “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

The song has been kind of overplayed recently, but, traditionally, artists perform the song during the Grammys that they are nominated for. I’m sure she would have loved to sing something else, but this was the song that was nominated, and she sang it. No big deal.

The song, hailed as a “breakup jam” for obvious reasons, brought about mass media speculation of its target, which was concluded to be Jake Gyllenhaal, one of Taylor’s ex-beaus. However, since Jake, she has had other ex-beaus.

Which brings me to this new controversy.

During the “talking part” of the song, where Taylor responds to the begging of her ex-boyfriend to take her back, she allegedly — and again, this is pure speculation on the media — spoke that part in a British accent. The reason? As a means of payback towards her latest ex, Harry Styles, of the British boy band One Direction.

Before I delve any further, why don’t you see for yourself (skip to 2:05).

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xxf7ge_taylor-swift-we-are-never-ever-getting-back-together-grammys-2013_music

Obviously it is hysterical that this is even being discussed to begin with. But let’s get past that.

I think it’s way to inconclusive to determine if she was in fact speaking in an accent. I mean, if she was, then it was a pretty terrible English accent. In my expert opinion — and I do study linguistics in my spare time — I think Taylor was just trying to sound playful and goofy. I don’t think there was any other ulterior motive. But we’ll never know.

The point is, all of these shenanigans and “controversies” have led to a bigger issue — Has Taylor Swift worn out her welcome? Or rather, has she become, dare I say it — annoying?

I’ve seen a lot of different blog posts, Tweets and other articles labeling Taylor as “immature.”

The thing that one has to appreciate about Taylor is that she sings about the things that she knows. She’s in her early-20s, and thus, is it really that immature for her to be singing about boy troubles? Do we not all know girls in their early 20s — or older — who post ad nauseam on Facebook about the very same thing?

I mean, just take a look at the comments section of the link I posted — it’s filled with haters. Some of them even went as far as saying that Taylor Swift does not have a good singing voice, which I think is absurd.

You do not need to have a booming voice like Adele to be a good singer. Sure, in the vocal power scale, Taylor is limited. No question. But as far as vocal range in tone and melody, I think there are extremely few singers in the business today that could match her in that regard. Not to mention that she is extremely consistent, and sounds as good live as she does recorded.

That being said, I do think it would behoove Taylor a little bit to take a step back, and maybe try to write and record some songs that are a little more ambiguous. Some of her most recent songs are just a little too obvious that they are revenge songs.

But again, she really has no control over what songs become extremely popular. If “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is going to reach #1 on the Billboard charts, then why the hell shouldn’t she sing it at the Grammys?

Taylor has 24 million Twitter followers, and her most recent album, Red, has already gone platinum four times. So to me, that clearly shows that she is still highly respected and appreciated for her artistry.

So I don’t really think of her as immature. I just think of her as a 23-year-old. Her target demographic is girls in the age range of 12-22, and I think it’s safe to say that they still adore her. All the haters in their late-20s are just envious.

Plus, anybody who thinks she lacks maturity clearly didn’t see her performance of “Ronan,” the song she wrote about a 4-year-old boy who died of cancer:

She wrote this song after she learned about the boy’s death through his mother’s blog, then contacted the mother stating her intentions of dedicating a song to her late son. After debuting the song during NBC’s Stand up to Cancer telethon, she put it on iTunes, and all proceeds went to cancer research.

Plus she didn’t even put the track on her latest album, because she didn’t want to profit off of it commercially. So I don’t really see how somebody who does that can be labeled as immature.

To wrap this up, I think Taylor should probably consider returning back to her fun, poppy songs like “You Belong With Me” and take a little hiatus from break-up songs, just to silence the haters. And maybe she should also stop dating for a few months.

But to act like she’s not a refreshing musical talent and a good role model  — in today’s era of awful female celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian, no less — is nonsense.

Taylor, just keep doing your thing, girl.

I got your back.

Attention celebrities: Please stop brutally assaulting your hot wives and/or girlfriends

I really don’t know what the hell is wrong with some people. It may be that Chris Brown started a popular trend — savagely beating your attractive girlfriend and/or wife. By beating Rihanna to a bloody pulp, it appears that Brown made it “cool” to be a wife-beater. That’s the only explanation I can think of, at least.

I say this because it appears to have become a recent trend.

You have Oscar Pistorius, who as you all know, took it one step further and said, “Why beat my girlfriend when I can actually murder her?”

I’ve already touched on this recently, but the new news from this case is that Pistorius is denying that he willfully killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a South African model.

A lot of things bother me about that article, both in its details and its presentation. And I’m not picking on ABCNews  — whenever this story is publicized by any outlet, the news is that Pistorius “murdered his girlfriend.” They don’t even mention her name in this article until the sixth paragraph. That’s a huge insult to the memory of this female victim.

But anyway, Pistorius is not denying that he fired the bullets that ended Steenkamp’s life, but he is alleging that he had no intention of murdering her. That distinction is obviously the difference between first and second or third-degree murder, and also the difference between a lifetime in jail or a few years in jail.

Apparently Pistorius’s excuse is that he thought he heard an intruder, became terrified, and without putting on his prosthetic legs, began shooting, having believed that Steenkamp was asleep in bed.

Yeah, he’s really going to milk the prosthetic leg angle, isn’t he? If he really wants to gain the sympathy of the jury, he should crawl from the defendant’s booth to the witness stand during his murder trial.

The crazy thing about this — and this is a Weinblog exclusive (not really) — is that Pistorius, during a New York Times interview in January, said that he both owned a gun and lived in fear of one day being burglarized. Here are a couple of clips from that article:

…he mentioned that a security alarm in the house had gone off the previous night, and he had grabbed his gun and tiptoed downstairs. (It turned out to be nothing.)

“We should go to the range,” he said. He fetched his 9-millimeter handgun and two boxes of ammunition. We got back in the car and drove to a nearby firing range, where he instructed me on proper technique. Pistorius was a good coach. A couple of my shots got close to the bull’s-eye, which delighted him. “Maybe you should do this more,” he said. “If you practiced, I think you could be pretty deadly.” I asked him how often he came to the range. “Just sometimes when I can’t sleep,” he said.

Watch this scumbag get off on the charges. Just watch. But anyway, the point I want to emphasize here is that throughout all of this, he was a lucky bastard to be dating somebody as beautiful as Reeva Steenkamp.

Normal, average, two-legged men can only dream of dating a woman who looks anything like this. I’m thrilled when I hook up with a girl who is a 7 on the “looks scale,” but if I actually had the opportunity to date a supermodel, then I assure you I would not let that opportunity go to waste. And I certainly would not take her for granted.

I’d write her symphonies. I’d make her breakfast in bed during dinner time. I’d travel the world so I could find and hand-deliver her actual birthstone.

I certainly would not harm her in any way, let alone kill her.

But Oscar Pistorius is not alone in his brutality.

Earlier today, CBS News anchor Rob Morrison was arrested after police say he choked his wife in his Connecticut home. He has since been hit with a felony charge of second-degree strangulation, which, until this moment, I did not know could be a charge.

His wife, Ashley Morrison, is a fellow anchor. Take a look at her:

Guys, listen to me. Please. STOP BEATING YOUR WIVES. STOP SHOOTING YOUR GIRLFRIENDS.

Stop the madness.

It is the American Dream for every man — every man — to make a little bit of money, be able to support themselves, and one day marry a hot girl. That’s all we strive for. To be able to have a hot woman by your side at all times, who only wants to have sex with you and nobody else, is our mission in life.

To be able to walk into a party with the hottest girl in the room, and to tell everyone else that she is “your wife,” is the endgame. After that, it’s okay to lose some of your motivation in life. Maybe you’ll become a little chubby. Maybe your work performance will decline a bit.

That’s fine. It’s expected, even understandable.

But please, for the love of God, don’t ever resort to physically hurting these fine specimens. The fact that they chose you should be something that you are forever indebted to. So how can you repay them in such a way?

Again, it all dates back to Chris Brown. By beating Rihanna to a pulp, he screwed up so royally, so profoundly, that he inadvertently paved the way for other less-famous men to beat their wives, and be able to have the excuse, “Well, at least I didn’t do what Chris Brown did.”

And the fact that Rihanna actually returned to Chris Brown only validates these violent rationalizations.

Take it from me, people. The only “hitting” men should be doing with females — especially hot females — is drunkenly and embarrassingly hitting on them at bars, only to fail miserably.

At least in those cases I keep my dignity.

How do some people get 20 or more likes on ALL of their Facebook statuses?

Humans were once complex beings whose emotions varied on a wide-ranging spectrum. Trained psychologists have spent their entire lives trying to study the basis of human feelings, and how we differ from other species in that matter.

Emotions can almost be described as snowflakes — nobody ever feels exactly the same twice. Even if the same thing happens to you, such as watching your favorite sports teams win games on back-to-back-nights, it could never be the same because there is always going to be something different. Whether it’s the environment in which you watched it, or other outside variables that might be affecting you on that particular day, or the style in which your favorite team won each game.

In any two given scenarios, nothing is ever the same. Ever. And thus, that is what makes human beings so difficult to psychoanalyze. To try to categorize us into just two ends of a spectrum is not only impossible, but it is an insult to human nature. It would be like to comparing us to apes.

And yet, Facebook has done it.

In the Facebook world, you either “like” something, or you don’t like something. That’s it. There is nothing else.

In other words, Facebook has devolved us thousands of years.

I try extremely hard to not “like” things on Facebook. I don’t like being limited in my ways of response, and thus, if something on Facebook draws my interest enough, I’ll choose to comment instead and try to eloquently state what exactly it was that caught my attention.

In fact, I’m trying to distance myself away from Facebook altogether. I rarely post statuses anymore, and I really only check it when I need to kill a few minutes at work. Or at home. Or when I’m on my phone.

Okay, fine. I check it all the time. Sue me.

However, when I do check Facebook, I typically see the same cast of characters posting Facebook statuses. Everybody has those 8-12 Facebook fiends who post anywhere from a few to several statuses a day. It’s annoying as hell, and yet, they’re encouraged by all the people who decide to “like” all of their statuses. I have friends, who, every time they post a status, will receive more than 20 likes. And I just don’t understand that.

First of all, if I am ever at a position in my life where I am not famous, and yet, I am still receiving 20+ likes on all of my Facebook statuses, then that is when I will know I need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and get the hell off of social media.

I can count on one hand how many Facebook statuses I have posted in my lifetime that have received 20 or more likes. In fact, I can count it using body parts that I only have one of, because the answer is possibly one, if even.

On the occasion where I do create a Facebook status, and I receive, say, seven or more likes, then that is a big day for me. That is an honor. I can click out the ‘X’ on Facebook, take a sip of champagne and say, “Oh yeahhhh.” because that is a job well done.

But receiving upwards of 20 to 30 likes per status is absurd. And these are just for commonplace statuses, mind you. We’re not talking ultrasounds here. For instance, ast week, one of my friends posted this status — “I can’t wait to do my annual Valentine’s celebration – eating chinese food and watching the excorcist. BAM!” 24 likes. Why?!

A few days before that, another friends posted this — “is it a bad sign that when the guy at J&R held out a stamp to stamp my receipt I immediately pulled out the underside of my wrist. Might be frequenting too many bars.” 41 likes. Forty-motherf&*%$ng-one.

This is a problem. Those statuses aren’t even funny. Maybe the second one made my lip quiver for a microsecond, but it is not 41-like funny. And on the first status, it’s spelled “The Exorcist.” If you watch a movie once every year, then get the goddamn spelling right. It’s one of the most famous horror movies of all time, for Christ’s sake. And you know the scary-looking, possessed girl from the movie? That’s how I felt when I read that status.

As you can see, this bothers me.

You know what my main motivation was to stop posting on Facebook? At first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it — but recently, I realized why it is. It’s because I don’t want my Facebook-self to define me.

I used to think, long ago — back when I was young and naive — that how people acted in public was their true selves, and how they acted on Facebook was just a separate side of them.

But now, with the boom of social media, I no longer think that way. In fact, it’s the opposite. I truly think that — for the most part — how people act in public is officially a separate side of them, and how they act on Facebook is their “true self.” After all, the majority of our time, our interactions, and our special announcements occur on Facebook. So why can’t it represent a truer manifestation of our real selves?

So that’s why I have chosen to start distancing myself. Because when the day comes where I become known as “the guy who posts on Facebook a lot,” or “the guy who gets dozens of likes everytime he makes a status,” well, that’s when I will know that I have lost.

In other news, happy President’s Day, everyone. One very interesting yet shocking piece of news that I learned about an hour ago (thanks to a Facebook status, no less) was that Mississippi only just formally ratified the 13th amendment this month. And not this month 100 years ago, this month, like, two weeks ago. The reason? They just never got around to it. Apparently it also took a movie, Lincoln, to motivate Mississippi lawmakers into researching whether they had formally banned slavery within their state. They hadn’t. But now they did.

…Congratulations?

Of course, slavery was officially outlawed across the entire United States once federal legislation approved the 13th amendment to the Constitution in 1865, but the fact that Mississippi didn’t eventually ban slavery as a symbolic gesture to its African-American residents is appalling.

Although, whether that makes me mad, or disgusted, or unhappy is irrelevant.

Because all that matters is that I “do not like” it.

Weingrad rates the movies of 2012

Just one week before the 85th annual Academy Awards, I figured now is as good of a time as ever to give you all my top 12 movie list of 2012. I first did this for the movies of 2009, 2010, and 2011, because as some of you may know — I moonlight as a a movie aficionado.

I make a point to watch every significant movie prior to the Academy Awards, and about a couple of weeks ago, I finished my checklist of all the films that I wanted to see.

Since I started these lists, I think this year had the biggest late-season quality movie Oscar surge of any other year, and thus, it was extremely difficult to form a top 12. However, I have done so, and I will take the time to share it all with you, along with a small bit of my own analysis of each movie.

Enjoy.

12. The Perks of Being a Wallflower:

This film was originally a book, but then was adapted to the big screen by its own brainchild. But not only did Steven Chbosky playe the role of author and screenwriter, but he also directed the movie. That is something you very rarely see. But the result of it is the movie maintaining its essence that made the book so popular. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was one of the most real movies of the year, and it was carried by three extraordinary performances by its young leads  — Emma Watson, Ezra Miller and Logan Lerman, who I believe, solely because of the movie, will go on to be stars. It’s a film that focuses on a very identifiable topic — a group of kids who are outcasts in high school, and are ostracized from mainstream yet find solace with one another. Unfortunately, it is not a very sexy, star-driven, Oscar-bait movie, and thus, was excluded from the award consideration. But it is a muse-see for anyone who likes a well-acted, character-driven drama.

11. Wreck-It Ralph:

This year’s list was almost without an animated movie, that is, until I saw Wreck-It Ralph about a week ago. As soon as I finished it, I knew I would have no choice but to modify my list to include it. While Pixar’s Brave was a major disappointment, Wreck-It Ralph more than made up for it, and actually had the heart and soul of a Pixar movie, despite it being made by Disney. It’s a great story about a “villainous” video game character named Ralph, who has to come to grips with himself being the “bad guy.” The film takes place within an arcade, and the characters are all in video games, but it’s so well constructed that the absurdity of it doesn’t even resonate. It’s a genuinely funny, sentimental and feel-good movie that people of all ages can enjoy, and will even present a little bit of nostalgia for the arcade game-savvy folks of the late 80s/early 90s.

10. Looper:

This year’s best sci-fi flick. Despite Looper being led by a of a trio of quality actors — Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt — this movie excels because of its story. It’s complex, and yet, simply told and never relents. The pace is electrifying and you will not find yourself bored during any point of its 120-minute entirety. If you like plots that revolve around time travel, and are a fan of The Terminator franchise, then you will love Looper. It borrows a lot from previous films of the same genre, and thus there is nothing revolutionary about it, but it’s extremely entertaining and action-packed, all the way up to its final climactic scene. Again, geeky sci-fi aficionados will drool over this movie.

9. Django Unchained:

There is a reason why Django Unchained isn’t higher on this list. Let me preface by saying it’s a brilliant movie, and ingeniously penned by Quentin Tarantino. I was loving every minute of it during the first two hours, and I especially loved the interactions that occurred between the characters portrayed by Christoph Waltz and Leonardo Dicaprio. Jamie Foxx was good too, but those two stole the show, in my eyes. However, about two hours in, something really big happens (no spoilers here, needn’t worry), and from that point forward, the movie jumped the shark from me. By the time the credits rolled, I was disappointed. Not because the movie was bad, but because it had so much potential to be a masterpiece. That being said, it still contains Tarantino’s trademark touches — brilliantly smart and funny dialogue, profanity, a butchered pespective of history and lots and lots of violence.

8. Lincoln:

“And the winner is, Daniel Day Lewis!” Those are the words you will undoubtedly hear towards the conclusion of next Sunday’s Academy Awards during the presentation of Best Leading Actor. But people should probably be made aware that the movie proceeds at an extremely slow pace, and is devoid of action outside of the first five minutes. Those expecting a battle-filled epic a la Saving Private Ryan will leave disappointed. However, this movie is extremely appealing because of its historical significance, and because of the actors who convey it to us. Daniel Day Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field and others are so good that it doesn’t even feel like you are watching a movie — it feels like you are watching history unfold right before our very eyes. Daniel Day Lewis is Abraham Lincoln. It’s remarkable. So if you want to brush up on your American history, see an unbelievable acting performance, and witness a compelling period piece, then check out Lincoln.

7. The Hobbit:

Lord of the Rings fanboys — like myself — have waited anxiously for this movie. I say “anxiously” because the very last thing we wanted was for Peter Jackson to undo all of the good he did with the original trilogy. But there was no reason to fear, because when it comes to hobbits, elves, dwarfs and Middle Earth, nobody does it better than Peter Jackson. That same epic and adventurous feel that we all came to love is back, as are so many of the characters we became enamored with 10 years ago. In fact, watching this movie was almost like watching a reunion. Jackson set the bar so high with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, that everybody should understand that he can’t possibly top it — but he comes pretty damn close with The Hobbit. And I loved Martin Freeman (a popular British actor) as a young Bilbo Baggins.

6. The Master:

Without a doubt, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master will be one of the most misunderstood movies of 2012. Not that I am trying to arrogantly say that “I got it,” in fact, there was so much hidden narratives within the film that I think I will have to rewatch it a few times just to grasp it all. But what I do know is that Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman put on two absolutely incredible performances, and thank goodness Phoenix has returned to acting because he is truly one of the best. The film is about a young, naive man (Phoenix) in the 1950s who finds himself entangled with a group of people (led by Hoffman) who have begun their own religion. The movie draws a lot of parallels to Scientology, and on the surface, it really tells us a lot about the manipulative and calculating nature of human beings. At least that is what I got out of it. The movie didn’t really get a ton of buzz, but I truly think that as more time elapses, The Master will come to be considered as a classic.

5. Argo:

Ah, we have now entered the heralded “top five,” and honestly, any one of these next five films could have easily been higher, and all were considered for the top spot — they’re that good. Ben Aflleck is the lead actor and director of Argo, and was probably the biggest snub in the Oscar nominations. The true story is about a recently declassified CIA mission where Tony Mendez, played by Affleck, leads an operation to rescues six hidden American hostages from the Iranian hostage crisis in the early 1980s. He attempts to do so by pretending that the hostages are part of a film crew. This story is pretty much what moves are made of. Although there is inevitably some dramatization in the film, the events are compelling enough to carry themselves on its own. The story is portrayed brilliantly, and you will absolutely find yourself glued to your movie set as the culminating moments of this movie wind down. And like Lincoln, it’s also a fascinating retelling of history. Seems to be a theme this year, doesn’t it? Which leads perfectly to…

4. Zero Dark Thirty:

Lincoln retold events of more than 150 years ago, and Argo’s story took place 30 years ago. Zero Dark Thirty, meanwhile, informs us of CIA operations from ten years ago leading up to 2011. It was an extremely ambitious project, headed by Kathryn Bigelow (another snub), about our country’s quest to eliminate Osama Bin Laden following 9/11. Like Bigelow’s previous work, The Hurt Locker, this film is a thriller that will make your heart pump while watching it. Again, I know I’ve said this before, but I found this film fascinating from a historical perspective — and a recent historical perspective at that. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding it in regards to its historical accuracy, along with its heavy portrayal of torture, but regardless, it’s a damn good movie. The first two hours or so are dialogue-heavy, and very tense, but the intensity peaks when the movie recreates Seal Team 6’s invasion into Pakistan to kill Bin laden. Sorry — that was a spoiler. Jessica Chastain is probably one of my favorite actresses right now, and I’ve loved her ever since she burst onto the scene last year. She does a fantastic job in this — but probably not Academy Award-worthy.

3. Les Misérables:

I’ll tell you right off the bat that I am not a big musical guy by any means, and yet, I loved Les Misérables. I also have never seen never seen the actual play, although I know so many people have. I just think this movie was a supreme effort from all of those involved. Anne Hathaway — hate her or love her — delivers an absolutely stunning performance, and is a shoe-in for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Hugh Jackman probably gives the best performance of his career, and newcomers Eddie Redmayne and Aaron Tveit are also solid. heck, even Amanda Seyfried was quality, and that says a lot. Russell Crowe, I thought, gave a consistent, refined performance, despite being the target of many complaints regarding his singing. And as far as the singing being recorded live and not separately — which is what director Tom Hooper chose for authenticity-sake — it did not bother me at all. I’m watching a movie, not an opera, and I don’t care if the singing is not impeccable. I also loved the scenery and the costumes, and I would recommend this movie to everyone, not just musical lovers.

2. Silver Linings Playbook:

It’s very easy to identify why America fell so in love with this movie. It’s a romantic comedy about real and relatable people with a satisfying conclusion — of course, I will not reveal what that conclusion is for spoiler’s sake. Too often, romantic comedies revolve around characters who have great jobs, and great lives, and great friends, and it’s hard to relate to them because it’s an inaccurate portrayal of life. Silver Linings Playbook, however, steers clear from those generic clichés and presents us with a movie about heavily flawed and real people who are just trying to find happiness, or rather, a silver lining amid their chaotic lives. Because, after all, isn’t that what we all want? Bradley Cooper gives a performance that I honestly didn’t think he had in him, and if it wasn’t for Daniel Day Lewis, he might have had an Academy Award to add to his palate. Jennifer Lawrence gives a very solid performance too — which we’ve come to expect from her — and she is probably the favorite for Best Leading Actress, although I think Emmanuelle Riva from Amour is the dark horse in that race. Robert De Niro delivers easily his best performance in more than a decade, and director David O. Russell has become one of the best current filmmakers, and knows how to get the best out of his actors. Heck, even Chris Tucker was good in his small role. It’s my second-choice to take home Best Picture, secondly only to…

1. Life of Pi:

This movie, to me, was stunning. And not only that — but awe-inspiring, and I truly mean that. It’s a film about a young man, who simply goes by the name of ‘Pi,’ who, after a shipwreck, is stranded on a boat with one of the most inconvenient shipmates — a Bengal tiger. Actor Suraj Sharma does a spectacular job playing Pi, in what was miraculously his acting debut. How this movie incorporates CGI is miraculous, and everything just comes together beautifully. The film is both inspiring and heart-wrenching, and its conclusion leaves us with a very inquisitive and enlightening proposition into human nature. It’s a story of raw human emotion, survival and fantasy. If you have a liking for adventure — and animals — then you must see this movie. The film comprises mainly unknown actors, and to me, that just adds to its authenticity. And the effective use of CGI and 3D proves that you don’t need explosions or car chases to amaze people digitally. Director Ang Lee created a masterpiece here, and despite tough competition, I have a hunch that both he and this movie will take home the major awards next Sunday. But we’ll see.

And there we go. Life of Pi joins AvatarThe Social Network and The Descendants as my choices of year-end top movies. To date, none of them have taken home the Oscar for Best Picture.

As usual, I will wrap up by pointing out some of the other movies I enjoyed this past year.

On the outside looking in:

Skyfall: Skyfall just missed cracking the list. I’m not a huge action guy, so despite the hype, I went into the movie with low expectations, and yet, I came out very pleasantly surprised. Skyfall is essentially an action movie, but with a lot of sentiment and a shockingly good story. Daniel Craig gives a very understated performance as Mr. Bond, and Javier Bardem is great as the villain, as expected. It’s probably my favorite Bond movie ever.

Amour: Now this is a French film by German filmmaker Michael Haneke that is pretty much as depressing as you can get. It’s about an old couple at the end of their lives, and how they must stick together and stay strong in their waning years. As I mentioned before, 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva gives a stunning performance, and I really think she has a legitimate chance at winning an Oscar. It’s a tragically sad film, but beautifully portrayed, and a lock for Best Foreign Film.

The Sessions: This is a unique movie that should have gotten more recognition. Helen Hunt was deservedly nominated for her bold performance (she is naked in half the movie), and unfortunately, John Hawkes was the odd man out in the category of Best Leading Actor. he plays a man, who, after suffering from polio as a child, is confined to an iron lung. The story is about him, as a grown man, seeking a sex therapist in order to lose his virginity. The movie is extremely funny, yet touching and sincere.

Flight: You’d be hard-pressed to find somebody give a better performance of an alcoholic than Denzel Washington does in Flight. It’s a hard movie to get through at times, because Denzel plays an extremely unlikable character, but he does it brilliantly. The airplane scenes are pretty cool too, and though it’s long, Flight is one of the better original dramas of 2012.

The Hunger Games: It’s awesome when a movie adaptation manages to maintain the true essence of its original source, and you get that in spades with The Hunger Games. Jennifer Lawrence establishes herself as an A-list actress with her portrayal of Katniss Everdeen, and Josh Hutcherson was solid casting as her Hunger Games-compadre/love interest Petta Mellark. The movie successfully manages to capture the hopelessness and darkness that exists in the book, and it was very satisfying to see.

Other solid featured from 2012 that you should see:

– Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson’s latest concoction is a love story revolving around two adolescents. The film, in typical Wes Anderson-style, is very artistic and contains gorgeous cinematography. While the two young leads (Jared Gilman, Kara Heyward) did an adequate job, I think the strong supporting cast is what made the film, led by Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Jason Schwartzman.

Pitch Perfect: This is easily my guilty pleasure of 2012. It’s a movie that centers around rival a capella groups, and it is extremely funny and highly entertaining. Anna Kendrick is great in the movie and is a real up-and-comer. if you want to see a fun movie with some good singing, check this one out.

– Brave: I insulted Brave during my analysis of Wreck-It Ralph, and while I stand by my assessment that it was disappointing when you compare it to Pixar’s very high standards, I still think it’s worth seeing just for the great computerized graphics and scenery. The story isn’t bad, it’s just shockingly uncreative. Kids will still like it though.

– The Impossible: This movie is worth seeing just for the special effects that were put forth to recreate the 2004 South Asian tsunami. Naomi Watts is pretty damn good in it too.

– Ted: A lot of people told me they didn’t like Ted because they thought it was “too serious.” Yet, in my eyes, it was the serious and touching moments of the movie that made it successful. Those scenes play as a perfect foil to the movie’s many jokes and gags, and in all, I thought it was a very admirable effort by debut filmmaker and soon-to-be Academy Awards host Seth MacFarlane.

– The Grey: Many may have forgotten about this movie, as it came out in Janurary, but the Liam Neeson-led film was surprisingly solid. On the surface, it’s a macho-action film about a group of men being attacked by wolves, but when you watch it, you realize it’s an existential film about accepting death. It was a much more intelligent film than what meets the eye.

– The Dark Knight Rises: This movie was overrated by many, but it was a satisfying conclusion to the Christopher Nolan trilogy. At the very least, it’s worth seeing just to watch Anne Hathaway wearing a skin-tight leather suit the entire movie.

– Prometheus: I think this movie was heavily mismarketed, and although it’s far from perfect, I thought it was a classic homage to extra-terrestrial horror/action movies from the 1970s and 80s. It’s very gory though, so maybe pass on this one if you are squeamish.

End of Watch: I actually liked this movie a lot. Jake Gyllenhaal is definitely not among the best actors in Hollywood, but he’s solid and he’s become very good at picking his roles. In this police-drama, Gyllenhaal has great chemistry in this one with co-star Michael Pena, and it shows in the finished product. I recommend bringing tissues with you though, because its a tear-jerker.

Magic Mike: Yeah, that’s right. There was definitely more close-up shots of male exteriors than I ever needed to see in Magic Mike, but it was a surprisingly compelling movie, and a much darker film than one might think with a decent story to boot. And believe it or not, but Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum are actually decent in this.

And I’m spent. No more movie talk until 2014.

Happy ‘Galentine’s Day!’

For whatever reason, there were much less photos of flowers on my Facebook Newsfeed this year than there were last year. Much less. You’d think that would please me, but to be honest, I kind of missed it. In fact, I found myself scrolling through my homepage to get to the nearest flower pictures.

And they never came.

THE FLOWERS NEVER CAME.

That’s the one thing I can hope for from my Facebook friends — flowers on Valentine’s Day. The one single, consistent, cliché thing that I can expect every year. And this year, I was let down.

However, even with the absence of flowers, my Facebook friends did still manage to find something to appall me with.

I saw one female make a status that incorporated the words “Galentine’s Day.” I read it once and did a double take. Then I sounded it out. And then I looked at my keyboard and noticed that the ‘G’ and the ‘V’ are touching each other. So I concluded that it was a typo, and then I moved on with my day and didn’t think about it again.Valentines

Until about an hour later. That is when I saw it again. Except in this context, it read something along the lines of, “Happy Galentine Day, ladies!” And that’s when it clicked. Gal-entine’s Day.

I then proceeded to laugh.

Long ago I realized that it is virtually impossible for any girl to not have some type of emotions on Valentine’s Day.

And I won’t discriminate — guys are not immune to this either. I’ll admit that two to three years ago — shit, you can even look back into the archives and see for yourself — I became somewhat emotional on Valentine’s Day. February 14 has that effect on people where it makes them reexamine their recent love life experiences. So, naturally, if you recently had a bad experience with a member of the opposite gender, then you likely will have a bad Valentine’s Day.

But I am so far removed from those times that the past couple of Valentine’s Days literally meant nothing to me. I actually kept forgetting the significance of this day repeatedly until every time I checked my Newsfeed and saw everybody’s posts.

Girls, however, don’t forget that easily. And pretty much all of them make a point to inform the world of their personal well-being on this day. So this “Galentine’s Day” creation is just an extension of that.

On the surface it means, “Ayo, I lack a boyfriend but I got my girls, so who needs a man?!”

The subtext of that, however means — “SOMEBODY HELP ME I’M SINGLE AND ALONE!”

So, on that note, happy Galentine’s Day to all the girls out there.

Unfortunately, however, there is one girl out there who did not have a very good Valentine’s Day, and her name is Reeva Steenkamp, a South African model and the girlfriend of Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius.

Oscar Pistorius

You all remember Oscar Pistorius right? He was an inspiration to millions when, last year, he became the first double amputee to ever race in the Olympics. The 26-year-old South African used a custom-made prosthetic that enabled him to keep pace among the fastest people in the world. People fell in love with his story.

But in the blink of an eye, Pistorius — not unlike Lance Armstrong’s recent demise — went from an inspiration to a disgrace. Early this morning, he was charged by police for murdering his girlfriend, Ms. Steenkamp, who was found shot to death in his home.

Reeva Steenkamp

This just pisses me off.

And not just because she was a beautiful model, but because she was a young woman who is now dead because of some diabolical no-legged asshole. Yeah, that’s right, I can say that now because he just killed somebody.

There are so many jokes to be made, like something about him being “armed,” or how this is an open-and shut-case that will not “stump” police, and thus Pistorius has “no legs to stand on.”

But the fact of the matter is that he is now a murderer. And on Valentine’s Day, no less. How fucking romantic.

Here’s one of the last tweets by Reeva Steenkamp, one day before she was shot to death:

Reeva Steenkamp twitter

Well, if she was posing that question to her boyfriend, then the answer is a gun.

Just awful. Models, this is why you should not obsess over celebrities, and should date average, normal people. We’re so average, so boring and so dull that we are afraid of guns. Bat-shit terrified. And therefore, we will treat you like you deserve to be treated. Hmm, maybe Bar Refaeli knew what she was doing in that Go Daddy commercial, after all.

Oh well.

But to make things a little lighter again, I can safely say that I lived up to the one Valentine’s Day tradition that I uphold, and that is asking — and subsequently getting rejected by — Taylor Swift to be my Valentine.

2011 rejection:

2012 rejection:

taylor rejection3

This year’s rejection:

Taylor rejection4

I actually tried to be creative this year. I’m sure thousands ask Taylor to be their Valentine, so I needed mine to stand out. And since everybody knows that the 12th track on her new album Red is called “Sad Beautiful Tragic,” I thought that in the 1% chance Taylor does read my Tweet, that she might find it amusing.

But alas, no luck. There’s still three hours left in the day, though.

And to wrap up today, I need to address something that somehow I didn’t find the time to discuss throughout the entire week. But what better day to bring it up than on Valentine’s Day?

The Sports Illustrated 2013 Swimsuit Edition is in, and guess who made the cover?

For just the fifth time in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition’s history, a model has graced the cover for the second consecutive year, and her name is Kate Upton.

It’s a well deserved honor.

Kate is the last women to achieve the repeat cover distinction since Tyra Banks did it in 1996 and 1997. Interestingly, two models have actually had a 3peat on the S.I. cover before. Christine Brinkley did it in 1979, 80 and 81, while Elle MacPherson accomplished the feat between 1986 and 1988. Kate actually was on the cover in 2011 as an inset, which doesn’t technically count. But hey, a 3peat for her in 2014 would not shock me in the slightest.

And if by this time next year, if I am telling my friends that Kate Upton and I just pulled a 3peat experience of sexual intimacy, then that would shock me in the slightest.

Editor’s note: Upon minimal research, I just learned that “Galentine’s Day” is actually a reference to the show “Parks and Recreation.” So I guess the joke is on me. However, I still think the crux of what I said still very much holds true. I will not back down.