The Return of Facts That Will Astonish!

“Behold! A haberdasher!” By F. S. Hynd (File:Amazing Stories Volume 01 Number 01.djvu) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Once again it is time to peel back the onion of lies and cry in wonder at FACTS THAT WILL ASTONISH! All of these facts are ASTONISHINGLY not TRUE!

  1. The marketing character, the Kool-Aid Man, is based on President Zachary Taylor, who had a penchant for bursting into cabinet meetings and shouting “Oh Yeah!”. Also, he had a glass face due to a childhood injury.
  2. Pop Tarts were originally invented as quilt warmers for first class zeppelin passengers.
  3. The phrase “A penny saved is a penny earned” was written by Benjamin Franklin after a rowdy Philadelphia mob chucked pennies at him during a signing of Poor Richard’s Almanac.
  4. No hyena has ever circumnavigated the globe.
    Stupid hyena. By Liaka ac [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
  5. The phrase “Mad as a hatter” derives from the fact that all haberdashers in 1800’s London were insane ghouls.
  6. Every human being on the planet could actually live comfortably in an area the size of Texas. But only if you somehow shrunk them down significantly.
  7. The first man-made object in space was a waffle iron.
  8. Penguins mate for life. Which explains why they get very little done. Cheeky devils.

    “Who has no thumbs and is about to get busy for life…this guy!” Andrew Shiva / Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons
  9. The first movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture was Pardon My Backfire, starring the Three Stooges. Shemp Howard took home the award for best cinematography that year, primarily because no one knew what that word meant at the time.
  10. Ethel Merman invented the asparagus fork.
  11. The Great Wall of China is actually a portion of an unfinished house for a giant who stopped paying the contractors due to financial issues.
  12. Elephants never forget anything, but you’d never know it because the daffy bastards can’t talk.

Oscar Predictions From A Guy Who Hasn’t Seen Many Movies In A While And Who Also Has No Access To A List Of Nominees For Some Reason

Today is the day movie fans wait all year for! It’s the Academy Awards, or as those in the know like to call them, The Oscars!

Golden Dreams Await! By Prayitno [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
I’m a big fan of the golden statues, that’s for sure! But, I have to tell you, I haven’t had much internet access lately because we have an issue with squirrels, and I didn’t get to see many movies this year. There’s lots of reasons, including the squirrel thing and an ongoing fight I’ve been having with a national baked goods company that has consumed far more time than it should have. But right is right, and that’s all I’ll say about that.  Anyway, please bear with me, as I may have some facts wrong. But wrong facts won’t stop my ACADEMY AWARD PREDICTION BONANZA. (That’s trademarked! I just don’t know how to make the little symbol for it!)

Tonight’s awards’ ceremony is something like the 50th year for the festivities, so you know all the big stars will be there. Like George Clooney, I’m betting! The ceremony will be broadcast live from somewhere in Hollywood! They used to be hosted at the Raymond Chandler Pavilion, but I think they are now at the Staples Center.  This year’s show is hosted by Jimmy. Not sure if it’s Kimmel or Fallon. Either way, it should be a hoot! But I think I speak for us all when I say “Bring back Billy Crystal and his opening numbers!”

In addition to the awards, expect a sad “In Memory” reel tonight! We’ll look back and remember the industry people who died over the last year. I know I’ll be screaming “I didn’t know she died!” or “Who is that guy?” during most of it!

Now, let’s get to the meat and two veggies of the show! The awards! Here are my predictions for the categories I can remember!

Best Picture:
I’m starting with the big one! I bet there were some great movies this year. From what I hear, there’s a movie about lady astronauts that’s really good. (Hidden Tigers). I think it will win. I know a lot of people thin L.A. Confidential will win, but from what I hear it’s just about white people who like jazz. So I’m going with the astronaut thing.  Hidden Tigers will be the winner here!

Best Actress:
Is Meryl Streep nominated for something? If she is, she’ll win. I remember hearing she played Florence Nightingale this year. So I bet she wins. You can’t beat the combo of a war picture, a period piece, and Dame Meryl Streep!

Best Actor:
Denzel Washington is always so good. I think he’s in a baseball movie this year. Who doesn’t love Denzel and sports? No one, that’s who. I know some people think Ben Affleck will win, but I hear his Batman was pretty bad, so Denzel Washington for the win!

Best Supporting Actress:
I bet one of the lady astronauts wins! Someone just told me Octavia Spencer was one of them (thanks for the heads up, Carla!).  She’s great and she deserves the win!

Best Supporting Actor:
Was Christoph Waltz in anything? He’s really good.  Christoph Waltz has this one locked!

Best Screenplay:
For some reason, I think they give out two of these. So I’m going to go with L.A. Confidential and Hidden Tigers. That’s just smart playing of the odds!

Best Director:
Steven Spielberg could win this every year as far as I’m concerned, but I bet he loses out to Martin Scorsese.  That guy is just a master.

Best Cinematography:
I don’t know for sure, but I bet some guy from Eastern Europe will win!

Best Documentary:
Someone was watching a documentary about boll weevils that I saw when I was at their house. That seemed good. I never really followed this category. So let’s go with the boll weevil movie.

Best Animated Movie:
My kid watched The Secret Life of Pets at my in-laws’ house, and she said it was really funny. Apparently a chihuahua pees in it and that made her laugh. Good enough for me! The Secret Life of Pets it is!

Best Visual Effects:
Was there a Star Wars movie this year? I know that young Han Solo thing is coming out later, which should be interesting. But I bet something came out this year. Whatever it was should win this.

Best Score:
L.A. Confidential, I guess. Because, you know, all the jazz.

Best Song:
I am going with something by Elton John!

That’s a wrap on this year’s ACADEMY AWARD PREDICTION BONANZA! (still trademarked!) Enjoy the show! And if anyone wants to invite me over, please do. The squirrels are really active today!



The Importance of Trying To Be Larry David

Photo by Angela George [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
If I’m being honest with myself, which is rarely the case since rationalization and self-delusion are a lot simpler and less painful, I want to be Larry David.  And I could be. If I were more talented and successful. A lot more of both.

The reality is I am way more George Costanza than Larry David.

But,  earlier this week I was able to, for one brief shining moment, enter a state of Larryism.  This is because a lunch I went to this week turned into a full blown Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. And I got to be the star.

Wednesday was, apparently, National Meatball Day. I don’t know if that is a real thing, but one Italian restaurant in town claimed it was, and sent out electronic coupons to help hungry folk celebrate this glorious day by offering spaghetti and meatballs for a measly $5. Including salad (or soup if you are so inclined, which is shameful if you are).

Mine only came with two meatballs, but you have to admit this looks delicious. Photo by jeffreyw (Mmm… meatballs) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
The marketing was effective, and no one wants to be the person accused of ruining an important national holiday, so a group of us went to the restaurant for low priced pasta and balls of meat.

Lunch was fine – delightful even.  When I received my bill, I was charged a whopping $5.46 for the meal. The restaurant honored their deal, and we had helped observe the completely legitimate occasion.

So excited was I, and so filled with pride in my celebration, that I paid with cash, which is a rarity in these troublesome times. So, I slapped down a ten dollar bill (a Hamilton, if you must in order to be trendy and so on), and waited for change while basking in my post-meatball glow.  When the change arrived, the waiter (a very nice and efficient fellow), gave me back $2.45. At that point he left.

Now is when Larry David entered the picture. I stared at the money and tried to parse out how we got to $2.45 change from a $10 bill on a check that was $5.46.  No amount of cyphering could get me there.

Now, this is not one of those rants about having to tip. I always tip. Even when service is terrible I tip. I usually overtip. Because I am not a monster.

The thing is, I actually INTENDED to tip $2. That’s a whopping 40% (pre-tax!). So, I wasn’t upset that the waiter had kept $2. (Or, $2.09, I think. This is entirely too complex an equation to work through).  My concern was that if I didn’t explain the situation to the waiter and didn’t leave an additional tip, he’d think I stiffed him. And I wasn’t concerned he’d talk bad about me; he doesn’t know who I am. My concern- truly – was that he would think I was intentionally not tipping, and he’d feel bad.

I spent about five minutes waiting for him to come back, explaining the dilemma all the while to my co-workers. Who did not care. They were like a chorus of Cheryl Hinses telling me to just leave a tip and not worry about it.

“Just tip for the meatballs, Larry!” Photo by David Torcivia  [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Finally, one of my co-workers slapped a dollar bill down in front of me and demanded we just leave. I kept trying to explain the situation, and explain what a good guy I am.  No one was with me, and the all were just ready to leave.

We walked out and got in our cars. As we were pulling out, our waiter ran out the front door waiving a cell phone. My cell phone.

The guy driving stopped the car and I got out. I walked up to the waiter, and thanked him profusely for bringing out the cell phone.  And it should have ended there. It did not.

As I took the phone I said, “Oh, by the way, just so you know, you didn’t give me back the right change.”

He apologized, and reached into his pocket to provide the correct change to me. I said, and unfortunately this is probably a pretty accurate recollection of my quote, and I swear I can even hear Larry David’s accent come through on this.

“No, you keep that. I just want you to know that I didn’t get the change. So, you know, you got a tip. I didn’t stiff you.”

This is where you could cue the Curb theme song, Frolic, to begin playing. You know the one. I think it has trombones and such.

I could practically hear the voices of the supporting cast of Larry David’s show yelling at me from the car and calling me terrible names. (My co-workers weren’t doing that, but they were laughing at me).

“You just keep that,” I said with a wave as I awkwardly walked back to the car while the waiter just stared at me with an understandably dumbfounded look on his face.

My co-workers laughed at me some more as we rode back to the office. I should have felt bad about it.

But the truth?

I had experienced a true Larry David moment, and believe I could now write one act of a spec Curb script. So, I gotta tell ya, I felt pretty, pretty good.