Net neutrality gained a big a victory today in — OH MY GOD LLAMAS

Few people realize how close we came to having an Internet that would’ve forced users to pay extra money for the type of content they wished to see.

A proposal last year by the Federal Communications Commission would have let major telecommunications companies like Verizon and AT&T create costly “fast lanes” for those who could afford it and “slow lanes” for those who couldn’t.

Thus began the net neutrality movement, with people advocating that the Internet should remain open and nondiscriminatory. Due to heavy public and political backlash to the proposal, the FCC changed course and instead Llamaproposed a new plan that they say would strongly protect net neutrality.

On Thursday, the plan was approved by the FCC, which will officially declare the Internet as a public utility, but more importantly, keep it as a level playing field and ensure that no content will be blocked to users.

So people needn’t ever have known about this, because nothing will really change. But had the original proposal been implemented, it sure as hell would have impacted a lot of people.

But you know what? Who cares about this, because LLAMAS WERE ON THE LOOSE IN ARIZONA.

This is one of those things where, no matter what you are doing, it’s going to catch your attention. There could have been a murder trial going on, and if the judge suddenly stopped somebody’s testimony and said there’s a mad chase ongoing to catch two escaped llamas live on television, then nobody would have even thought about anything else except that.

An amazing edited video shows the entire plight of the llama’s sojourn, which amazingly weaved in and out of traffic without them getting hit by cars. One llama was black and one was white, and of course, as FOX News pointed out, the the black one was detained first. 

Honestly, do the details even matter? Do we need to know why there were two llamas running rampant in Sun City, Arizona? All that matters is that it happened.

Alright, fine. I’ll humor you. Apparently the llamas were being shown to seniors in a retirement home as entertainment, and they got away. I told you it was a boring story.

My question is: what other crimes happened in this five minute interval in which the entire Arizona police department was preoccupied with catching these llamas? Seems to me like the whole city was one big free-for-all.

And during this chase, I, like I assume the rest of the world, was strongly rooting for the llamas.

One day, we will live in a world where llamas can roam freely.

I await that day.

It’s time to give some love to Ed Sheeran

Every guy wishes they had the ability to strum a few chords on a guitar, sing some passionate lyrics, and woo every woman within a 25-foot radius.

Being able to sing and play the guitar can compensate for any lack of game a man has. It’s the ultimate equalizer. But some people have it and some people don’t.

And then some people master it. Like Ed Sheeran. To date, the 24-year-old Englishman’s name has been said just two times on my blog. Since he’s a legitimately talented and soulful singer-songwriter, I thought it was time to finally give him some love.

Ed SheeranHe’s immensely popular right now, mostly among women, but if he keeps writing good music then I think men will start coming around soon, if they haven’t already.

“Thinking Out Loud” is his current popular song. It’s been all over the radio in your car and at your local Starbucks, and it will also probably be the most played song at weddings in 2015. But the track follows a formula that Sheeran has stayed true to in his short but highly successful career: simplicity.

His biggest hits, including “Lego House, “The A-Team” and “All of the Stars,” follow this blueprint. As does my personal favorite, “Sunburn.” There’s no gimmicks. No grandiose musical accompaniment. Just straight up acoustic guitar and a no-nonsense delivery. If you watch him sing live, he doesn’t prance around the stage. He just stands there and sings. 

But what sets him apart is his supreme songwriting ability and his extremely melodic tone. He has a damn good voice. Sometimes the problem with singer-songwriters is that there’s not much vocal range, and the more they sing, the more redundant it becomes. That hasn’t been the case with Sheeran. Granted, he’s only released two albums, but they contain such a diversity that you can’t help but feel that the best has yet to come.

It also doesn’t hurt that he has very distinct, raggedy red hair that has now become his trademark.

Success was probably inevitable considering his abilities, but Taylor Swift played a big part in launching his career, when they recorded a duet, “Everything Has Changed, on her 2012 album, and then invited him on tour with her. By the time the song was released as a single in July 2013, Sheeran was already well known, as his own single, “The A-Team” became a hit in the U.S. in late 2012. So Taylor may not get the credit for “discovering” Sheeran, but she definitely helped.

Regardless, because of that song, the two are now inexorably linked. Which is fine. It makes perfect sense, actually. They’re both singer-songwriters, they both sing about romance, and they both are on my iPod.

So Eddie, you no longer have to mope about being ignored on the Weinblog. I see you, brother. Keep doing you.

And since I can’t play the guitar or sing, I’ll have to make up for my lack of game in other ways. Like learning to juggle. Or honing my ventriloquist skills.

That’ll do it.

Obama vetoed the Keystone Pipeline, so in turn, Canada vetoed Chris Brown

While one of the more popular news items today is the guilty verdict of the ‘American Sniper’ killer Eddie Ray Routh on Tuesday night, another momentous story of more national importance was the president’s veto of a bill pushing the approval of the Keystone Pipeline.

The pipeline, which has been completely shelved aside and tied up in bureaucratic and political wrangling since Barack Obama took office six years ago, would carry 800,000 barrels of petroleum per day from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

There’s a whole mess of environmental concerns that have been tied to the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, and questions of exactly how many jobs its construction would actually create, but of greater significance is that it was only Obama’s third ever veto, and it illustrates the disunity that exists between our nation’s top chief and Republican-majority Congress.

Canada, on the other hand, will be fine. There are several other pipelines that cross from its border into ours, and Chris BrownI’m sure they’ll find other means to get their oil exported somewhere for profit.

But that doesn’t mean they still couldn’t stick it to the United States in some way.

Enter Chris Brown.

Not many people like Chris Brown anymore. His reputation was irreparably damaged when he beat the living shit out of Rihanna six years ago, but the singer hasn’t helped his cause by not appearing to be even the slightest bit apologetic since it happened.

In fact, the 25-year-old seems to have learned very little from the incident, and as recently as last year, was jailed for three months for violating probation.

So when he tried to cross the border for shows this week in Montreal and Toronto, the Canadian authorities told him to stay the fuck away.

Canadian officials are legally forbidden from addressing exactly why Brown was denied, but there’s little doubt it’s because of his criminal record. The country’s border patrol can be pretty stringent when it comes to evaluating people with a troubled past. I know this because a friend of mine was once rejected from entering the country because he previously had a DWI. And that’s no where near as bad as beating the living pulp out of a woman.

Also, In 2010, Brown was denied entry into the United Kingdom. So there’s precedent there.

But, what if … this was the Canadian government’s subtle way of getting even with Obama for blocking approval to the pipeline? An eye-for-an-eye type deal? You veto our pipeline, I’ll veto your R&B star?

I wouldn’t put it past Canada. Those head bobbing bastards.

Yeah, everything I know about Canada I learned from South Park.

Oscars 2015: Predictable awards, a Lady Gaga performance for the ages and Chris Pine’s tears

When the Oscars has better musical performances than the Grammys did, then something is probably wrong.

Anybody who has followed the awards season should not have been surprised by yesterday’s Academy Awards results. Birdman was the heavy favorite to win Best Picture, and the acting awards were virtual locks, with the exception being Best Male Actor in a Leading Role, which was thought to be a deadlock between Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton.

Redmayne had the jaw dropping performance as the ALS-ridden physics mastermind Stephen Hawking, but Keaton had the whole washed-up-actor-reviving-his-career appeal on his side.

Eddie Redmayne OscarThe Academy went with the better performance. Good for them.

But people don’t watch the Oscars to see who wins the awards. They watch because the Oscars makes up like 25 percent of the year’s pop culture. It’s one of the most watched programs in the world, and by missing it you’re basically isolating yourself from workplace conversation for the next week.

But that being said, there’s always some humorous and entertaining things that happen at these ceremonies that people are also on the lookout for. Like John Travolta and Idina Menzel poking some fun at the former’s verbal faux pas a year ago. And host Neil Patrick Harris walking on stage in tighty wighties as an homage to a scene from Birdman.

But what I appreciate about the Oscars are something most people don’t: the acceptance speeches. For some viewers, it’s an automatic channel change. But what I like most is the emotion that comes with winning an Oscar, combined with standing on that stage with the ultimate platform to speak, and just being in the moment. What can you possibly say? Every one is listening. So you can say anything and be heard. Anything.

Some people will give contrived speeches they clearly rehearsed for hours. Others will read off a sheet. Most will try to be politically correct. But some, like Graham Moore, will speak from the heart. In case you missed it, the screenwriter, who won for writing The Imitation Game, said, “When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself, because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like Chris Pine tearsI did not belong. And now I’m standing here. So I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels likes she’s weird, or she’s different and she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes you do. I promise you do. Stay weird, stay different, and then when it’s your turn, and you’re standing on this stage, please pass this message to the next person that comes along.”

Some really powerful stuff. Of course, another poignant moment was a performance by Lonnie Lynn and John Stephens — also known as Common and John Legend — of “Glory” from the movie Selma. It’s an extremely emotional and affecting song, and it wasn’t surprising when the camera cut to David Oyelewo, who played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie, in tears. But then they cut to Chris Pine who was also bawling, which, I’m sorry, was pretty funny. And thanks to that emotion, his heartthrob meter among women probably increased tenfold. Damn you Pine for showing your sensitive side.

It was one many enjoyable musical performances on the night, including one by Tim McGraw and another by Tegan Lady Gaga OscarsSara with the Lonely Island (no, that’s not a joke), but the one who stole the show was Lady Gaga.

The renowned singer has been very widely hailed, as well as criticized, for various things in her career, but I can’t imagine that there’s a single soul in the world who didn’t love her performance last night. She paid tribute to the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music by singing a medley of songs from the classical musical, and she sounded terrific. And even better, she looked normal. Even, dare I say, beautiful. There was no gimmicks, no shenanigans. Just a talented woman, in a dazzling dress, singing like she’s a fairy tale princess.

Lady Gaga, you won America’s heart last night.

You the real MVP.

Weingrad rates the movies of 2014

The 87th Academy Awards are tomorrow, which means it’s time for me to evaluate the best films of 2014. As a major cinephile, I make a point to watch nearly every significant movie that comes out each year. Five years ago I decided to make a list of my personal year-end top films, and have continued it ever since. You can view the older lists here: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009.

It was definitely a quality year for movies, and especially for lead male performances. Nothing is set in stone as far as which movie will take home Best Picture in tomorrow’s ceremony, but there were quite a few films that are worthy of the prize.

To date, of my five previous lists, none of my top selections has ended up winning Best Picture. Could this be the year? Only one way to find out. As usual, none of my film descriptions and analysis will contain any spoilers.

Let’s go.



12. Selma

What most people know about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was his ability to inspire and empower through words. He was a masterful speaker and a great leader who advanced the African-American civil rights movements. But Selma showed us King’s abilities not behind a podium, but in his behind the scenes advocacy, working with various officials of all skin color to facilitate legislation to grant equal rights to African Americans. It may come off as tedious as times, and though there has been some debate of the historical accuracy regarding some aspects of Selma, there is no doubt it is an important film about American history that shows us a side of King we don’t see in historical footage. It’s helmed by an incredible performance by David Oyelewo, who, without a doubt, was the biggest snub among this year’s Academy Award nominations.


11. Fury

This World War II epic details a five-man American tank crew during the end of the war, as the Allies pushed further into German territory. Rather than giving a history lesson, the movie illustrates the devastation and horrors caused by the war using action-packed battle scenes as well as poignant, quieter moments in between the fighting. The mix of action and drama complement each other really well. The war scenes don’t hold anything back as far as showing us violence and gore. The film is well-acted by its ensemble cast that includes Brad Pitt, Shia LeBeouf and Logan Lerman, and builds up to an extremely dramatic and heart stopping final battle scene that will leave you aghast once the credits start to roll.


10. The LEGO Movie

A lot of people probably expected a corny, rather unintelligent film when they heard a movie was being made about Legos. What they got was exactly the opposite. The film is smart, laugh-out-loud funny, incredibly imaginative and has very stylish animation. It also shows us that voice acting really is an art, and Chris Pratt deserves a lot of credit voicing the film’s protagonist, a generic builder Lego who is tasked with saving the entire Lego universe. But the real accolades lie in the film’s writers and animators. It’s important to note that the LEGO Movie, while certainly appropriate for kids, is not really a kid’s movie. There’s a lot of adult humor in it that will greatly appeal to viewers of all ages. It’s a great effort all around, and a head scratching snub from the Best Animated Picture nominees.


9. American Sniper

Any movies involving the Iraq War can obviously rouse many different emotions in people, but there’s no doubting the heroism of Chris Kyle, a Marine sniper who has registered more kills than any other servicemen in American history. The Clint Eastwood film details his life leading up to his enlistment, his four tours in Iraq, and the emotional impact the war had on both his psyche and his family. His wife Taya is played nicely by the gorgeous Sienna Miller, but the film’s all-star performance belongs to Bradley Cooper, who earned his third straight Academy Award nomination. It’s a very emotionally power film about a war the American people are still coming to grips with.


8. The Theory of Everything

A film about Stephen Hawking’s studies and relationship with his wife Jane starts before he was ridden with a neurological disease we’ve come to know as ALS. It begins with him as a student at Cambridge University, where he met Jane, and delves into his later life as he continued his studies in physics while slowly deteriorating from his disease. Eddie Redmayne’s performance is simply breathtaking, and will make you believe he truly has ALS rather than just pretending to be a man who has it. He may be the favorite tomorrow to win Best Actor in a Leading Role, and if he does, it’s well deserved. Felicity Jones also is spectacular as his wife. The movie does focus strongly on the romance element, and sometimes strays from the physics and Hawking’s studies, which might bother some. But the result is still a beautiful film.


7. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson may finally be getting the recognition he deserves after a long career of making interesting, artistic films that people love. Unlike most of the Academy Award nominated films, this one was released early in 2014, and really had strong sustaining power and a huge fan base that kept it relevant throughout the remainder of the year. As usual for Anderson’s films, it has a large ensemble cast, led by a brilliant Ralph Fiennes, and is as quirky and artsy as one could hope. It’s just a highly endearing film. The story is also engaging, detailing the life of a concierge in a fictional foreign hotel in the early 20th century. I think it’s the dark horse in this year’s Best Picture field, and though it probably won’t win, it wouldn’t shock me if it did.


6. Gone Girl

After reading Gone Girl a couple of years ago, I had no idea how it would translate to film. Without spoiling anything, the story contains a couple of different narratives that while were easy to put forth in words, seemed like a difficult task in live action. But Gillian Flynn, who wrote the book as the well the film’s screenplay, did it brilliantly. David Fincher took it from there, turning it into an absolutely thrilling and intoxicating film that does not have a single dull moment. The acting is top notch, between Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris and even Tyler Perry. But the real star is Rosamund Pike, who excels in this breakthrough role, showing us she’s as talented as she is gorgeous. For the few people who still haven’t seen it, the story is about a kidnapping that appears standard on the surface, but then takes a million different twists and turns, turning into an extremely perverse and gripping tale that likely left most of its audience members breathless.

Imitation Game

5. The Imitation Game

If there was ever a piece of history that needed to be told, it’s this. The Imitation Game is about a brilliant mathematician and cryptographer named Alan Turning, who helped crack Germany’s enigma code, greatly helping the Allies win World War II while pioneering the development of computer science. But since it was a top secret mission, Turing’s efforts were not really known until many years later. Another secret is that he was a homosexual, and participating in homosexual acts were a crime in the United Kingdom at the time. Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a sensational, emotionally wrenching performance as Turing, and the role should help him become a household name, if he wasn’t already. Keira Knightley is enjoyable as a fellow cryptographer on Turing’s team, earning her an Academy Award nomination. The movie is a story about overcoming great odds, and the resiliency of the human spirit, set in World War II. It’s well told, and in another year, the Imitation Game and Cumberbatch might have been heavily rewarded, but they may miss out this year due to heavy competition.


4. Whiplash

I don’t think anybody really expected just how much they were going to love Whiplash. It’s an intense film about a young drummer at an elite music university who comes under the tutelage of an extremely strict and demanding professor. The drummer, an excellent Miles Teller, wants to be the best, and his teacher, played by JK Simmons, wants to bring the best out of him, but tries to do it in extremely unconventional ways. The movie will fly by, and you’ll find yourself absolutely captivated by its story. And never before has there been a more surefire Academy Award nominee than JK Simmons, who steals the show, and should easily win tomorrow even though he’s in a pretty strong field of candidates. We’ve all had that one tough teacher in life, but they’re nothing compared to the villain that Simmons brings to life in Whiplash.


3. Interstellar

What I love most about Christopher Nolan is his inclination to always push the envelope. There’s a point in Interstellar, with about an hour remaining, where you think you know exactly where it’s going. And then, it goes the complete opposite direction to places you never saw coming. It takes place in the future where Earth is becoming uninhabitable due to a failing ecosystem. A father, played by Matthew McConaughey, must leave his children behind to embark on a mission to discover an alternative planet for humans. The film is long, and at times may get a bit complicated with the science rhetoric, but its story is one that will make science fiction geeks celebrate. And count me among them. If you love traditional sci-fi elements like time travel, space voyages, robots and alternate dimensions, then you will love Interstellar. And even if you don’t like those things, you can still appreciate the innovation and complexity Nolan brings to the table.


2. Birdman

There’s no other way to describe Birdman other than calling it a cinematic achievement. The basis for the story is quite simple: a washed-up actor tries to revive his career by producing and starring in a Broadway play, and must deal with the varying personalities of actors and his family members on set. But it’s the way Birdman is filmed that will make it a film that’s analyzed in film schools for years to come. Each scene is an extremely long take, and director Alejandro Innaritu made it so the entire movie looks like one continuous take, with no cuts. The result was astonishing. The ensemble cast headed by Academy Award-nominated Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone are phenomenal. Keaton is easily the biggest challenger to Redmayne for Best Lead Actor, and he very well could win. I really think it could go either way. But Birdman is my prediction to take home the Best Picture award, and it would be well deserved.


1. Boyhood

If Birdman is a cinematic achievement, than Boyhood is an achievement in humanity. While the film has been universally praised by critics and audiences, there are some who label it as “boring.” The film, as most people know by now, was shot over the course of 12 years, and depicts the growth of a 5-year-old boy and his family, up until when he goes off to college. We literally watch his boyhood take place before our eyes. What some people are failing to realize, though, is that Boyhood breaks away from basic film logic in that there is no overarching conflict or mystery that propels the story. The movie is rooted in reality, not in melodrama, or action, or special effects, and I think that’s why so many people related so strongly with it and are calling it one of the best movies they’ve ever seen. It speaks to life’s simplicity, the time that exists between significant moments. Patricia Arquette, who plays the boy’s mother, will likely win Best Supporting Actress tomorrow, a nice recognition for her long career. Ethan Hawke was also recognized with a well-deserved nomination. Boyhood could very well win Best Picture, but even if it doesn’t, it succeeded in its goal of affecting its viewers on an emotional level, while beautifully capturing the mundanity of life and the essence of childhood.

On the outside looking in:

Snowpiercer: This science fiction probably should have gotten more love. It takes place in a futuristic, dystopian society where the remainder of humanity lives in a train. The train’s compartments are divided by the social class of its patrons, starting with the poor people in the back, the wealthy leaders in the front. The poor people, led by actor Chris Evans, decide to do something about it and stage a violent uprising. It’s exciting, artistic, and a surprisingly solid metaphor for current societel class hierarchies.

Edge of Tomorrow: This movie is just plain fun. It’s another science fiction where humans are battling aliens for control of Earth, and one man, played by Tom Cruise, finds himself in a position where he’s gained the ability to relive a day all over again even after he dies in battle. He works with another soldier, played by Emily Blunt, to use this phenomenon to their advantage and defeat the aliens. There may be plot holes all over the place, but it’s such a fun, exciting movie that we can forgive that.

Foxcatcher: A sports drama about an Olympic wrestler who lives and trains at the estate of a wealthy but mentally unstable millionaire, a relationship that leads to tragic events. But the acting is tremendous, led by Channing Tatum and Academy Award nominated Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo. I just think there is a natural, real life feel to the movie that makes it engaging.

A Most Violent Year: A man tries to run his heating oil company in New York City in 1981, statistically the most violent year in the city’s history. The city is decrepit, dirty and his trucks keep being hi-jacked, which could ruin his entire business. This film is also carried by superb acting from its leads, Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, and shows that a movie can be tense and dramatic without needing contrived action sequences.

St. Vincent: Everyone loves Bill Murray, and everyone also loves a story about a bitter old man who turns into a sympathetic heroic figure. They get that in St. Vincent. Murray’s character becomes the caretaker of a child whose single mom must work during the day. He teaches him life lessons in unconventional ways, and the result is a sentimental, touching and enjoyable film.

Other solid features from 2014 you should see:

Nightcrawler: People were upset Jake Gyllenhaal didn’t get nominated for an Academy Award, but even though I thought it was one of his better performances, I didn’t see it as Academy Award-worthy. Still, it’s an extremely enjoyable and fast paced, intense film, about a guy who begins a career as a night crawler, or some one who rushes to film crime scenes to sell the footage to news networks. In time, the boundaries between observer and the crimes he’s filming begin to come together.

Wild: A great performance by Academy Award nominated Reese Witherspoon carries this movie, about a woman who walks the entire Pacific Coast in the U.S. to escape life’s troubles. It’s a very freeing movie for any one who also wants to experience their own cathartic, life-changing endeavor.

Mr. Turner: In another year, Timothy Spall would have received an Academy Award nomination for playing artist J.M.W Turner in this wonderful biopic, which is a colorfully rich period piece. But the competition was too much, and Spall never stood a chance. it shouldn’t stop you from seeing the movie.

Inherent Vice: it doesn’t compare with Paul Thomas Anderson’s other work, but I thought it was an enjoyable film noir with an interesting enough story to maintain interest. It involves a private detective (Joaquin Phoenix) chasing lead after lead to solve a mystery in drug-ridden 1970s Los Angeles. It does get a bit convoluted at times, but contains a lot of fun moments.

Cake: Jennifer Aniston gives the dramatic performance of a lifetime none of us knew she was capable of, and was an unfortunate snub from this year’s Academy Awards nominees. She plays a woman who is in chronic pain who is still coming to terms with her tragic past.

The Book of Life: After the LEGO Movie, this is the next best animated picture of the year. It has stunning animation, great music, and an extremely creative story that is just very pleasurable all around.

A Most Wanted Man: The sadness involved with this film is that it’s Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last, but it’s an appropriate one to cement his legacy with, because he’s brilliant in it. He plays a German intelligence agent who investigates a Chechen Muslim amid the international war on terror. It’s a clever, engaging political thriller, and also contains a surprisingly good performance by Rachel McAdams.

Camp X-Ray: Ladies and gentlemen, Kristen Stewart is actually a good actress. She just needed the right role. Her natural invulnerability that pissed people off in Twilight made her perfect to play a Guantanamo Bay prison guard, who befriends an alleged terrorist being held there, making for an extremely inconvenient situation.

Big Hero 6: I was expecting it to be a bit better and a little more emotionally poignant, but it does the job, albeit on a much more simpler level. It’s about a boy who befriends an inflatable robot invented by his brother, and they start a high tech super hero team to take on a bad guy. It’s no Frozen, but it’ll do.

Still Alice: Another foregone conclusion in tomorrow’s Academy Awards is that Julianne Moore will win Best Actress in a Leading Role for playing a woman who has early onset Alzheimer’s. She’s brilliant in the film. It’s a fairly simple movie plotwise, but emotionally moving and coveys a very real life story.

The Homesman: This western is about a woman and outlaw who escort three deranged women across the country. The scenery is vivid and austere, making it an authentic period piece. The acting by Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank is — as was expected — top notch.

Into the Woods: People will see this because it has Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick and Emily Blunt in it, but I didn’t like it at all. I found the music, scenery and story to be shockingly unimaginative, and it was really disappointing to me because it had so much potential. But as it’s a movie that is a musical retelling of classic fairy tales, it’ll still appeal to many.

…and now you are fully prepped. Enjoy the Academy Awards.

Assisted suicide is illegal in most states, but apparently it’s legal at Little Caesar’s

A hotly contested topic in state governments across America is whether to legalize physician assisted suicide, which is when a medical professional provides a dying patient with the means to kill themselves.

Four states allow it: Oregon, Washington, Vermont and New Jersey. In Montana and New Mexico there is legal precedent allowing it. Worldwide, it is legal in the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

Here in New York, legislation was recently introduced in Albany to legalize it.

Euthanasia, meanwhile, is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, which means a doctor can be the one to administer it.

Bacon pizza!There’s obviously ethical and religious elements that determine how one feels about assisted suicide, but it’s an issue you probably can’t fully empathize with unless you or someone you love faces a terminal diagnosis.

But if you’re deathly ill, and live in a region that does not allow assisted suicide, then there is another solution. Go to Little Caesar’s.

A new deep dish pizza introduced by the restaurant chain has a crust made up entirely of bacon. Three and one half feet of bacon to be precise. It’s available for a limited time, costs 12 bucks, with each slice containing 450 calories.

It’s pretty amazing to me that governments are so adamant about protecting people by regulating guns and imposing laws on cigarettes, and yet, a restaurant can come along and basically start selling selling death on a tray and face no oversight whatsoever.

Now I know that one bacon-wrapped pizza is not going to do much harm. But the people who are more inclined to purchase this are likely to indulge more often in unhealthy foods. And that is exactly who Little Caesar’s is targeting. People who are slowly killing themselves by clogging their arteries with fat.

It’s not just Little Caesar’s, obviously, but this is just an extreme example of the gluttonous concoctions that some of these restaurant chains are coming up with in an attempt to outdo one another.

Bear in mind this pizza also doesn’t include whatever God forsaken topping you also choose to get. Why stop at bacon crust? Get bacon on top, too.

There is undoubtedly a bacon obsession in the United States, so I don’t blame Little Caesar’s for trying to capitalize on it. In fact, I’m surprised no other pizza restaurant came up with this idea first.

But why stop at bacon pizza? How about bacon-wrapped tacos? Bacon soup? What about taking bacon and wrapping it in more bacon?

That actually sounds pretty amazing.

So if you find yourself in an unfortunate circumstance where someone you know is terminally ill and no longer wants to live, but lives in one of the 46 states that forbids assisted suicide, just ask your physician where the nearest Little Caesar’s is located.

Or you could also just, like, get them a second pillow or something.

A one-way trip to Mars? Why the hell not?

If somebody approached you and said they’d be willing to send you off to Mars tomorrow, only to never to return again, what would you say?

Four people will have that experience.

Of course, they’ve had more than 24 hours notice. Mars One, a project headed by an organization determined to land people on Mars by 2025, is closer to finding its guinea pigs. An original field of more than 200,000 willing Marsparticipants has been narrowed to 100.

If they were to make it to the Red Planet, they’d start the first ever human settlement, and then, well, us Earthlings would never see them again.

On the surface, this prospect sounds insane. Crazy. Nuts. Leave the planet and never see any one besides three strangers for the rest of your life?

And that’s even if you make it there.

But then you think about it. This is an opportunity to do something nobody has ever even attempted before. You get to do something’s that’s bigger than … anything. You get to etch your name into history. If that doesn’t give you a sense of purpose, then what does?

Now, I never would have even considered volunteering for this. Although the fact that 600,000 people did shows how enticing the voyage is. But, going back to my original question, if somebody came up to you and said you can go to Mars if you want to, and never return home, how hard would you think about it?

We’re all going to die some day. You’ll just do it somewhere else.

And this is the furthest thing from committing suicide. That’s a way out. That’s escaping life and ending it all. Going to Mars and essentially losing all human contact besides three other people, and seeing and experiencing things nobody else ever has, that’s an adventure.

It would be hard to say no. Of course, it’s purely hypothetical so it doesn’t really matter, and it’s probably impossible to predict what you would say unless you were in this actual situation. But it’s fun to think about.

Now if I got to actually choose the other three people who would come with me, that would make it a no-brainer.

Anna Kendrick. Jessica Chastain. Taylor Swift. Done.

Mars, where you at?

We’ve devolved into a world where selfie sticks exist

In South Korea, using a selfie stick can result in jail time. Think about that for a second.

One of the many complaints about selfies is that it usually doesn’t end up being a very good picture. Arms are only so long. All you end up photographing are close-up faces and maybe a tiny bit of the background.

A Canadian inventor brilliantly foresaw this conundrum 10 years ago, and invented the selfie stick, a rod that holds your phone in place, allowing you to take your own photo with a further scope and wider angle. It’s technically still a selfie-stickselfie since you’re the one taking it. You’re just getting a better picture.

Major international museum have gone on the offensive against such sticks. The Metropolitan Museum of Art forbids them. They’re also banned at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

The reason is because these sticks invade other people’s personal space. You’re no longer extending beyond an arm’s length, but by multiple feet. And people who take selfies are generally idiots, so they’re likely to not use proper caution.

South Korea is so strict because many selfie sticks use Bluetooth technology. By law, it makes it a telecommunications device, which must be certified. Anyone who’s caught using it illegally can be fined and jailed for three years.

I’m cool with that.

I always assumed selfies were more of a novelty than actual photography. No one takes a selfie with the expectation of it being a good picture. But if you’re using a selfie stick — which you actually paid money to own — then it clearly means that you want to actually use it to take quality photos.

I’d also assume that using a selfie stick is still a very imperfect process. You have to maneuver the stick to line up the photo exactly how you want it, all the while maintaining your best smile and staying still. That does not sound very easy.

What ever happened to that old technique called, uh…. asking somebody to take the damn photo?

With an actual human being behind the camera, you’ll get an appealing image that is devoid of intrusive sticks and careless wand waving. You also get the special bonus of interacting with another person, which is becoming rarer and rarer in today’s society.

But most of all, by simply not purchasing a selfie stick, you don’t look like a moron.

I’ve been very critical of a lot of different fashion accessories and trends over the years, but this is probably the worst one. I’d be less judgmental if you walked around with a fake wand and genuinely believed you were a wizard than if you carried a selfie stick.

It should also be legal to steal a selfie stick from somebody and beat them with it. I think I might call my local state senator and pitch that to them.

Traditional selfies may be annoying, and unappealing to see on Instagram, but at least they’re harmless.

Damn. I never thought the day would come where I would not only be defending selfies, but that I’d have to make the distinction of calling them “traditional” selfies.

That’s it. I’m officially reverting back to a Polaroid camera.

A spoil of celebrities in New York, and thunder snow in Massachusetts

Pick a celebrity, any celebrity, and they were likely in New York City last night for the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special.

The celebration of the world’s most renowned sketch show reminded us of its extremely storied past. A lot of young people probably don’t realize how many famous comedy actors they know today got their start on Saturday Night Live.

SNL40The 210-minute special featured tons of old clips, a few musical performances, and several sketches. Members of the cast past and present, memorable hosts and performers, and some other A-list celebrities like Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Jerry Seinfeld, Bradley Cooper and Taylor Swift got in on the fun.

It was a night of who’s who.

But here’s my question: who let Miley Cyrus within 10 miles of the studio?

Scratch that. Who let her in the building? Better yet, who in their right mind decided to let her perform? The four musical performances were bookended by legends Paul McCartney and Paul Simon. Kanye West was the other, which I can live with. He’s a pop culture icon at this point.

But Miley Cyrus? The special could have gotten anybody in the world to perform, and they chose her? Arcade Fire was already in the audience! They were there. Just hand them some freaking guitars and tell them to go.

It makes very little sense.

Oh well. At least we got a new Jeopardy! sketch.

The only thing bigger than the show itself? The after party. Also known as, the type of party reserved for our nation’s elites we all dream of one day attending, but never will, and only serves to remind us that we will never be famous or important, but then we convince ourselves that the regular jobs that us commoners do are extremely integral in keeping the American economy afloat, even if we’ll never get proper credit, and we do matter.

That kind of party.

Meanwhile, some 225 miles northeast, it was snowing again in Massachusetts.

Boston is just one foot of snow away from it being the most ever accumulated in a single winter. Seemingly every storm that’s threatened the Northeast the last couple of months has swerved around its projected target and instead nailed Massachusetts.

I’d sympathize more, but New England sports teams have won nine world championships this century, while my Thundersnowteams have won none. So … my reaction? Deal with it, Boston.

The only positive of the severely inclimate weather there? Thunder snow.

A video that’s widely circulated the net today is the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore going absolutely bananas and geeking out to a meteorological phenomenon called thunder snow, which is … exactly what it sounds like.

Apparently it’s rare for it to happen once, let alone seven times in one storm, which is what Cantore experienced, and he was pretty damn excited about it.

It was pretty appropriate, because most Saturday Night Live Cast members also have thunder snow to thank for their success.

Also known as cocaine.

Taylor Swift will restore peace in the Middle East, and the worst Valentine’s Day couples movie ever

It seems like nothing the United States has tried so far to stop ISIS, the Islamic militant group that’s claimed territory in Syria and northern Iraq, has worked.

President Obama has ordered air strikes. He’s authorized the distribution of weapons to countries fighting them. He’s also backed a coalition of Middle Eastern countries who are against the group.

Taylor Swift IsraelThis week, he submitted legislation to Congress to allow American troops to enter the conflict on the ground for special missions and hostage situations.

But who knows if that we’ll work. ISIS deviates from the stereotypes of other Islamic terrorist groups in that they don’t operate from caves. They have seized cities, are organized, wealthy, and have soldiers fighting for them from 80 different countries.

So what’s the next logical solution for stopping them?

Why, you send in Taylor Swift, of course.

As of now, this is just a juicy rumor, but it appears that Taylor Swift will be performing a concert in Israel this summer. The international pop superstar is taking her next tour across Europe, including a stop in the Middle East. For one night, Israelis can stop worrying about where the next attack is coming from, and enjoy a musical experience with Taylor Swift.

For one night, everybody will be feeling 22.

If this can’t restore peace and order in the Middle East, then what will? Who knows, maybe — just maybe — the show will bring people together who otherwise never would have been in the same room. Perhaps an IDF soldier will look to his left and see an ISIS militant rocking out to “Black Space,” and they’ll share a moment of realization.

They’re not so different. Yes, they believe in very different ideologies and faiths, but they’re united by Taylor freaking Swift.

Nothing else has worked there, so why not? After decades of conflict, maybe it will only take a magical concert to make everyone realize that we’re all human beings who simply want to spend the night dancing shamelessly to “Shake It Off.”

So since Taylor is obviously my Valentine this year, that’s an easy transition into my next topic.50-shades-grey

Valentine’s Day is Saturday. And I just have one question.

Why is this holiday’s big romantic blockbuster a film about a physically abusive and emotionally destructive relationship?

I’ve never read 50 Shades of Grey, but I’ve heard enough about it to know it’s basically a twisted, sexually perverse tale of masochism, or basically the film version of the song “S&M” by Rihanna.

I can’t imagine how many couples who decide to see a movie on Valentine’s Day will watch 50 Shades of Grey thinking it’s a cute, sentimental romance, and will instead leave more petrified and afraid than Gloria Gaynor.

What happened to the generic, ensemble romantic comedy where there’s like 18 characters? Six of them are kids, four of them are gay, two are best friends who happened to realize they actually love each other, and one of them is Ashton Kutcher.

And the movie is given the most unimaginative name ever, like “Valentines Day.”

Hey, guess who was in that movie? Taylor Swift.

That’s what us bloggers call “coming full circle.”