Archive for March, 2010

NBC = TLC

March 17, 2010

Live, from the lovely island of Grand Cayman St. Thomas Hawaii Aruba comes a new blog post!  (We could’a called it Preening Peacocks: Part Deux.)

Are you watching NBC’s latest entry in the 10 pm sweepstakes?  No, it’s not Conan O’Brien on a very special edition of Fear Factor, it’s the new reality / game show / panel discussion program from creator Jerry Seinfeld, The Marriage Ref, in which couples air their arguments on a third-place cable broadcast network.  Here’s a bit of a review.

INT.  SUBURBAN LIVING ROOM – DAY

An average American couple, wearing jeans, sweatshirts and sneakers, munching their combined caloric intake of nine bazillion, watch NBC’s The Marriage Ref.

Hi. We here at NBC used to show this.

WIFE.  Honey, are you watching this?

HUSBAND.  (surfing ESPN and porn web sites)  Yup.  It’s good.  I love that David Spade.

WIFE.  No, no, honey, this is NBC’s The Marriage Ref.

HUSBAND.  (looks up at the TV)  Holy shit, NBC is still on the air?!

WIFE.  It’s moderately funny funny, though I don’t know what it is.  It’s not a sitcom, but it’s about domesticity;  it’s not a reality show, but there are ugly, regular people on it;  it’s not a game show, but someone wins a prize.  Huh.  It does have Tom Papa as the host.

HUSBAND.  Oh, well, Tom Papa!  Tom Papa!  Can’t miss him!  Who the hell’s he?

WIFE.  He’s the marriage ref on The Marriage Ref.

HUSBAND.  Wait, what are we even talking about?

WIFE.  It’s a kind of amusing, far too long show where couples go on TV, pitch their arguments, and Tom Papa makes the call.  Meanwhile, celebrities say mildly funny things about them, depending, really, on who the celebrity is.

And this.

HUSBAND.  Oh, like which celebrities?

WIFE.  Alec Baldwin.

HUSBAND.  Wanna drink with him.

WIFE.  Eva Longoria Parker.

HUSBAND.  Wanna fuck her.

WIFE.  Tina Fey.

HUSBAND.  Both.

WIFE.  We should go on the show, settle our arguments.

HUSBAND.  Oh, that’s easy.  We don’t have any of those.

WIFE.  Our petty disputes.

HUSBAND.  Nope, none of those either.  You’re perfect.  (beat)  And me?

WIFE.  Um…  we should go on.  It’s got that ethnic-cute Natalie Morales!

HUSBAND.  Wanna fuck her.

WIFE.  And legendary sportscaster Marv Albert!

HUSBAND.  Yes!  Wanna have a drink with him.

WIFE.  And even a cameo from the magician David Blaine.

HUSBAND.  Yeah, neither with him.

WIFE.  Honey, I want to go on the marriage ref!  It’ll be fun!  You never let me do anything!

HUSBAND.  No, I don’t think so.  Reality TV’s demeaning, everyone will see us fight…  you’re crazy.  As crazy as my mother.

And the greatest of all, this.

WIFE.  What?!  How dare you.  I’m going on the show!

HUSBAND.  Not with me, you’re not!

ANNOUNCER.  Tune in next week when Tom Papa has to decide whether this couple should go on NBC’s The Marriage Ref.

An Open Letter to NBC

March 15, 2010

I’ve been drinking Amstel Brights and watching my cell phone end and jet skiing and reading Hemingway and not blogging.  Bad Wally, bad!

March 15, 2010

Dear (whoever’s left at) the National Broadcast Company:

What the hell is this crap at 8 pm, EST?!

Or:  The other day I ripped a picture of an upside-down U.S. Olympic skier, and taped it to my wall.  Am I too old to tape up pictures from a magazine to my wall?  Absolutely.  But here’s the thing: I miss the Winter Olympics.

I miss the sport, the competition, the spirit, the camaraderie.  I miss tuning in at 8 pm for an avuncular chat with Bob.  I miss tossing it out to Whistler and Cypress Mountain.  I miss snowboard cross and speed-skating and even curling.  I miss Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso.  I miss those friendly Canadians and their deserved gold medal (you know the one).  I even miss Mary Carillo in that stupid Mountie outfit!

And judging from the ratings for Chuck, Mercy and The Biggest Loser 9 (Oh man, those nine years have really flown by right, like the Holocaust.  Hello?), you do too.  So I have an idea for you to suggest your friends at the I.O.C.:  Year-round Winter Olympics!

Please look into this modest idea.  In the meantime, I’ll be trying to figure out how to pronounce Sochi.

Yours, Wally

I miss her.

Random

March 10, 2010

Today is a travel day, so there will be very few words.  Perhaps we’ll just quote Oscar Wilde: Travel gives the appearance of accomplishment.

Here’s  a photo from the side of a building I saw in the meatpacking district:

Mouse Ears Optional

March 9, 2010

This is a review of Tim Burton‘s directed, Linda Woolverton‘s scripted reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, based, of course, on a whole bunch of literature by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson Lewis Carroll for Disney.

It doesn't look like this.

I feat that movies are, well, so 20th century.

Earlier this year we had Avatar which, as a video game, was awesome, but as a movie was…  well, very pleasing to look at.  And now we have, finally, the untold tale of Alice in Wonderland which, frankly, while again very pleasing to look it is more of a…  theme park ride.

Although there are spinning teacups with a Wonderland theme in Florida and in Anaheim (as well as storybook ride on the West Coast), here we have visionary director Tim Burton and family friendly scribe Linda Woolverton relocating the action to Underland (whatever that is) and appropriating the Jabberwocky for an Alice that we’ve never met before.

Maybe a little more like this.

And it’s not that some of it isn’t perfectly eye-pleasing (I like anything with anarmphophic animals!  I wish my dogs could talk!) and interesting, in an intellectual way, to see how they handle familiar characters:  the Cheshire Cat, the March Hare, the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp–  gee, who saw that coming?).  But as the great Roger Ebert pointed out, there’s no emotional climax at all, really, and as a movie it just doesn’t work.

So we’re left with 3-D and cool colors and a bizarre dance sequence and, really, it’s a theme park ride.  When it was over I hadn’t had an emotional engagement with a beloved and reimagined classic, I was ready to go bite into an ice cream bar and go on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.  Like I said (and the great Anthony Lane portends) movies are so, like, last year.

Looks a little like this, but this cast might've been better.

An Open Letter to ABC and Cablevision

March 8, 2010

March 8, 2010

Dear American Broadcast Company and Cablevision:

Thanks, guys.  ‘Cause America doesn’t have enough on its plate.  We’re only fighting two seemingly endless wars, trying to convince the citizenry that a somewhat flawed health care bill is nonetheless a vast improvement, and, oh yeah, if you don’t have a job now, I’d suggest taking up deep-sea treasure-diving, because you’re never going to have one!, to say nothing of immigration reform and foreclosures and the Jersey Shore, and now this.

Yes, you both ended your millionaires’ quibble about an hour into the most important kudoscast since, well, whatever kudoscast Hollywood threw itself last week, but really, you a) didn’t let anyone know!, and b) it was giant middle finger to us, your poor-sap customers.  What you cost me, in the end, was not much (thank you, Tivo Gods), but the delightful antics of Messrs. Baldwin and Martin, which are here.

But since I know that both of you, the epitome of good, corporate America, care (and since this is my damn blog), let me explain why missing the beginning of the Oscars particularly irked me:

Fun is in short supply these days.  The nation’s mood is darn sour, and being an adult is, well, hard.  That’s why national moments of convergence, rare as they are, like the Super Bowl or the Olympics or, yes, the Oscars, are valuable.  Because if we spent all of our national time trying to figure out when the housing market will return or why we demoted Pluto, we’d go crazy.  America needs big, come-together moments now and then that don’t have anything to do with terrorism or politics or anything serious.  You think the nation would’ve stood for it if you guys preëmpted the Tonys the Super Bowl?  Also, Messrs. Martin and Baldwin are, last time I checked, a lot cooler and funnier than you guys are.

So, to The Walt Disney Co.:  We get it.  You have a lot of money, you want more.  And there’s no way to avoid you:  Not if you want ‘Baseball Tonight’ on ESPN or tykes who can park themselves in front of the Disney Channel or Regis Philbin, and who in their right mind doesn’t want to watch Regis?  So thanks, guys.  You suck, and I’ll think about that the next time I’m slapping on mouse ears.

To Cablevision:  The Knicks are 21 – 41.  The Oscars came on late.  You guys not only suck, you’re incompetent.

To Ms. Kathryn Bigelow:  You are the epitome of awesome.  Way to go with the history-making stuff.

To Messrs. Martin and Baldwin:  It’s hard.  You done well, gents.

Yours, who now knows he has no power, Wally

From now on, these three are in charge. Of everything.

“I want to lie down with you in the firmament and make love to everybody.”

March 6, 2010

Every generation has their Johnny Carson.

Oh, you can almost hear Billy Crystal singing!  Yes friends, it’s that second great secular holiday, the Oscars.  (Last night’s Independent Spirit Awards were mainly dominated by Precious.)  So if you’re the kind of moviegoer who realizes the title of this post is from Roberto Benigni‘s joyful acceptance speech of ’97 (that is still going on!), please continue reading.)

Of course we all know the Oscars are, frankly, political b.s., they’re still a grand moviegoing tradition.  As a primer, here’s Mark Harris’ excellent New York magazine piece on how these things are actually decided, and, if you haven’t read / seen it, Robert Hooker’s hilarious Los Angeles Magazine piece on the ’89 kudoscast (to borrow Variety speak), with two must-watch awful clips (trust me, you’ll realize how good Messrs. Martin and Baldwin should be).  I’ve bolded who I think will win, so onto the horse-racing!

Well, it was easier than 'American Idol.' And yup, she's an underrated host.

Best Picture Should Win:  The Hurt Locker Will Win:  The Hurt Locker (Seriously, folks, we’re calling it here.)  Should’a Been Nominated:  I’m gonna go crazy here and say Where The Wild Things Are.  It’s a complete, beautiful movie that takes advantages of the medium.  And now I’m gonna go a little crazier, and say Star Trek.  It’s truly awesome popcorn picture making, and that was the whole point (aside from money) on expanding to 20 10 flicks!  Maybe Should’a Not:  10 nominees aside, An Education is a bit slight for Best Picture, The Blind Side too Lifetime TV

I've won, and I've hosted. And now I'm on 'The View.'

Best Director Should:  Kathryn Bigelow  Yes, yes, James Cameron is the King of the World, an epic moviemaker on par with C.B., but he’s all spectacle.  What Bigelow achieves with a very serious topic–making it a feat of entertainment–is not something you see every day (um, In The Valley of Elah or Redacted, anyone?  Rendition?  No?).  Will:  Kathryn Bigelow, a woman I’m a little bit in love with right now, if you can’t tell.  Rent The Hurt Locker now, people!  Cameron’s made as many enemies as he has friends, and there’s a sense it’s time for a woman to finally win Best Director.  Also, she deserves it.  Nominated:  Spike Jonze, for the best work of his career on Wild Things.  Also, maybe Marc Webb for his first time helming of (500) Days–don’t worry, he’s getting the Spidey reboot out of it!–and Clint for Invinctus ’cause he’s, well, Clint.

Best Actor Should:  Man, this is a very strong category.  George Clooney gives such an easy performance in a hard role (oh my God, he’s playing a real person!), and Jeremy Renner is just so good in every scene.  But I’m good with Jeff Bridges taking it; he’s been so good for so long, and here’s no exception.  Will:  Bridges.  As Mark Harris explains, it’s His Time.  Nominated:  Michael Stuhlberg, for A Serious Man.

Oh, you think this is easy? Wanna give Craig Kilborn a shot?

What if I apologize to Sean Penn and Jude Law? Can I host again then?

Best Actress Should:  Tough to say.  Maybe the pitch-perfect Meryl Streep, maybe the beguiling Carey Mulligan?  Will:  Sandra Bullock Much like Julia with Erin Brokovich, this is The One We Can Give Her.  Nominated:  Honestly, not a great year for actresses.  Maybe Meryl again, for It’s Complicated?  Or Zoey D., for (500)?

Best Supporting Actor Should:  I haven’t seen Inglorious Basterds yet, so I’m at a loss (in fact, the only flick I caught in this category is Invinctus, so I’ll go with Damon’s disappearing act.  Will:  Christoph Waltz Hollywood has coalesced.  Somewhere, John Travolta is crying (Pulp Fiction, anyone?).  Nominated:  Go with me here:  Zach Galifianakis, who’s hosting SNL tonight, for The Hangover.  No one made a movie work this year like him, nor supported anyone so damn well.

Every generation has their Bob Hope.

Best Supporting Actress Should:  The beautiful Vera Farmiga, for Up in the Air.  Thanks for bringing a sexy, stylish, smart, serious woman to the silver screen–  that’s a rare occurence these days.  Will:  Much like her male counterpart, there’s been an anointed one:  Mo’Nique, for Precious.  And good for her; it’s not everyday a talk show host wins an Oscar!  Nominated:  Again, no one actress springs to mind.  Sorry, ladies.  Betty White for The Proposal?  (It’s a joke, though I would like to see her host SNL.)

Best Original Screenplay Should:  Mark Boal, for, yes, The Hurt Locker.  And guess what, he Will:, too.  If it’s not on the page, there ain’t nothing for Bigelow, Renner et al. to make awesome with.  Nominated:  Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Webber, for (500) Days of Summer.  Really, this wasn’t an incredible, original screenplay?  Are you kidding me?

Whaddya mean, this isn't The Tonys?!

Best Adapted Screenplay Should:  Jason Reitman and some unknown guy named Sheldon Turner, for Up In the Air.  This screenplay manages to be everything, and so nimbly.  And guess what, they Will:, too.  Nominated:  Novelist Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze, for Wild Things.  I’m guessing it’s not easy turning a kid’s classic into a terrific flick.  What’s that I hear, agreement from the creative teams of The Cat in the Hat and The Grinch?

This is going well, right? Hello? Anyone? We got any cute interns back there?

Best Animated Feature Should:  I haven’t even seen it yet, and I know the answer’s the same as ever:  Whatever Pixar made.  Will:  And as it’s nominated for Best Picture, Up will.  And one of its co-typers is the great writer / director Tom McCarthy, of The Visitor.

Three random categories that I care about this year:

Best Original Song The terrific-on-its-own The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart) With Ryan Bingham doing to co-composing and performing, I’m actually sad they’ve eliminated the live performances of songs on the kudoscast.  That’s gotta be a first since the late, great Elliot Smith and Good Will Hunting.

Best Original Score Really, no nomination for Karen O & The Kids’ compulsively listenable and writeable-to score for Where The Wild Things Are?  Really, Academy, you think Hans Zimmer needs another Oscar?  Really?!

Best Editing If Avatar beats The Hurt Locker here, there’s no justice in Hollywood.  If The Hurt Locker wins, there’s still no justice, but….

And finally, my own category:  Best Underrated Flick of the Year Well, a quick IMDB search suggests Sugar came out in 2008, though I still don’t know anyone who’s seen this wonderful tale of immigration, baseball and life.  But let’s try and bump the Netflix-ability of two small indies:  The Sam Mendes-helmed (and husband-and-wife screenwriting team of Dave Eggers and the improbably-named Vendela Vida) Away We Go and the Greg Mottola typed-and-directed Adventureland, both sweet lil’ coming-of-age flicks.

Every generation has their... I've got nothing.

Enjoy the Oscars so long as Cablevision / ABC 7 / The Walt Disney Co. doesn’t screw us all!

Good luck, fellas!

Pass the popcorn, please

March 5, 2010

As Oscar co-host Steve Martin says to the great Kevin Kline in Lawrence Kasdan’s underrated flick Grand Canyon: “That’s part of your problem: you haven’t seen enough movies.  All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.”  So, here it is:  The long awaited “year end” movie wrap-up!  Feel free to vehemently disagree in the comments section.  (Oscar  thoughts coming tomorrow.)

Best (and, yes, favorites) of the year:  The Hurt Locker Absurdly entertaining and incredibly intense.  Netflix it ASAP, please. Up In The Air In any other year, this would be the picture.  Great typing, very Wilderesque. The Hangover Out Apatowing-Apatow.  I found it hilarious. Invinctus A beautiful, difficult flick rendered captivating.  Clint keeps getting better and better and better. (500) Days of Summer Here you go, enough said. Star Trek Incredibly risky to reboot a kitschy franchise, and it’s  this year’s Dark Knight.  It’s why most people go to the movies, and what Hollywood doesn’t do as often as it should:  Smart blockbusters.  Sugar One of the true best films of the year, and completely ignored.  A near-flawless picture. Where the Wild Things Are Some folks hated it, but to me it equaled the source material, and created a believable, new world with a story attached.

Runners-Up:  A Serious Man Not great, but damn good.  The Coen Brothers are always worth the price of admission.  Funny People The year’s best failure, at about an hour too long.  Apatow should be recognized for exploring James L. Brooks territory.  An Education A lovely little pitch-perfect flick.  A Best Picture nominee?  I don’t know. The Informant! Surprisingly funny, great performance by Damon. Away We Go Another terrific little flick, and way better than that other Sam Mendes two-hander. State of Play Not a great movie by any stretch of the imagine, but a damn fun flick, and they ain’t gonna make many more of these. Broken Embraces The best Almodovar?  No.  But Almodovar is always good.  Crazy Heart Amazing music and a brilliant performance make-up for a few storytelling hiccups.  It’s Complicated It’s genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, features top-notch performances, and I don’t care what you say. I Love You, Man In a word, funny. Adventureland Has nobody seen Greg Motola’s terrifically scripted little indie?

Film I’m not sure how to feel about:  Avatar It’s the 9/11 of movies.  Go with me here:  Everything will be different after it, and nothing will be different.  It’s, yes, the most beautiful flick to look at (ever!  Burn your prints of The Red Shoes or Gone With the Wind!) and it deserves every possible technical award they can give it, plus a few they can make up.  But here’s the rub:  It’s not a good movie.  It’s a great experience, a terrific video game, but not a good movie.  But what do I know?  It’s now grossed more than the GDP of Germany.

Could make my list, when I catch ’em:  A Prophet, Up, District 9, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline, The Messenger, Inglorious Basterds, The Last Station

Refuse to see:  Precious I should, I should, I know, but it looks so fucking…  brutal. Michael Jackson’s This Is It God let’s hope so.

Most overrated:  The Blind Side I know I’ll get letters, but:  It’s an okay flick, well acted with a sweet story, but it’s not a Best Picture nominee; it’s a movie-of-the-week.  But again, what do I know?  It’s now grossed more than the GDP of France. A Single Man It’s like watching that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross book shot really well.

Most disappointing:  In the Loop As the great Anthony Lane wrote, “By the time it was over I just wanted to get away from these characters.”  Shorts You try to take your niece to a nice children’s movie on a rainy summer afternoon on the Island, you wind up at a Robert Rodriguez-directed pile of steaming dog shit.  At least the theatre serves a good bloody mary.  Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Jon Krasinski, you’re so terrific on The Office; what is this misogynistic thing?

Ah, movies!  It’s a magical feeling, isn’t it, as you sit in the theater, waiting for the film to unspool, the shadows dancing through the air above you to transport you somewhere else, wondering what you’ll get.  “All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.”

(TGI) Friday Questions

March 5, 2010

No, no, we won’t be answering any questions, but Friday Questions is as a usual feature over at the very entertaining, often imitated, never duplicated blog … by Ken Levine, written, not surprisingly, by Ken Levine.

And last Friday yours truly had a question posted and answered.  Here’s the post (thanks to the good Mr. Ken Levine); below is the link.  Please do check out his most-excellent blog.

It's on the You Tube. Seriously.

From Wally:

One day, while falling down the rabbit hole of the Internet I discovered this clip, titled “Mickey Goes to Cheers.”

What can you tell us about it, good sir?

KL:  This was a special for the Wide World of Disney, aired November 13, 1988 to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 60th birthday. It was done in a combination live-action/animation format a la WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (which the Disney studio also produced).

Hey Sam, fill it up with whiskey, will ya?

Due to some magic spell or something Mickey is transported into real life (if you can call sitcoms real life) and no one recognizes him. He enters the world of FAMILY TIES and CHEERS.

Some writers from Disney wrote the CHEERS scene and it was God awful. They didn’t even write Mickey well. Even Disney CEO, Michael Eisner recognized that. He called James Burrow and asked, as a favor, if we CHEERS writers would take a pass at it?

So a group of about six of us banged out the new scene. Eisner was delighted, Mickey was pleased for the most part, and that was the scene that was shot.

None of us were paid for it, but it was payment enough just to throw out that original scene.

About a week later a messenger from Disney arrived at the office and gave each one of us a giant tote bag crammed with Disney goodies. There were VHS copies of Disney classics, shirts, a letterman jacket, Mickey phone, stuffed animals, a watch, cards, magnetic desk toy, mouse ears, bubble bath, and God knows what else.

All of us had young children at the time and this was the greatest gift ever! If they had paid us, our fee would have probably been a couple grand a person and I’m guestimating each bag was worth maybe $500. But so what? There’s not one of us who wouldn’t’ve preferred the bag.

Seeing the scene again for the first time in over twenty years, it wasn’t our best work. But I remember we were very restricted in what we could and couldn’t do. Anyway, here it is. And to answer your next question: I still have the phone and jacket.

Full link: ‘The Night Mickey Mouse Entered CHEERS’

Alright, gang, mouse ears on!

Two Thumbs Up

March 4, 2010

As we continue our week of celebrating cinema on the lead-up to the Oscars on Sunday, here’s a post on Roger Ebert.

Please save the aisle seat.

Roger Ebert is dying.  And much like his movie reviewing, he’s doing it with pure class.

Maybe you didn’t know he’s dying (he’s still reviewing flicks in papers across the country and on his invaluable web site, which I keep bookmarked in my ‘Industry’ tab), maybe you did (he’s been everywhere lately:  In a revealing and terrific piece in Esquire and on Oprah, who, in addition to handling the nation’s confessions and apologies now apparently administers last rites).  But here’s the thing:  He’s dying (after a lengthy battle with cancer), but he went to this year’s Sundance, he’s still screening movies and filing reviews.

In fact, the only film critic ever to win the Pulitzer Prize  isn’t just continuing his job, he’s starting new ventures:  The Ebert Club, which is an absurdly cheap ($4.99 per year, give or take a penny–  you’ll see why) way to commune with the man and fellow movie lovers, including me, as well as an experiment in paid content; he’s tweeting and blogging and fielding  readers’ e-mails.

Sign up

I’ve always felt a connection with Roger Ebert; maybe because my hometown paper, The Bergen Record, still syndicates his reviews; maybe because as a movie-mad child I would look forward to him and the late Gene Siskel appearing on late-night TV shows this time of year; maybe because we all have those other jobs, those fantasy paths we can imagine ourselves having taken (food writer?  play-by-play announcer?) and certainly movie-reviewing is one of ’em.  Maybe because in the golden age of criticism (your George Bernard Shaw, your Kenneth Tynan) criticism was an integral part of the experience, the continuing dialogue of the arts–  and for brief moments Ebert makes you think those days still flourish.

Awake in the dark.

He’s not the most influential film critic of all time (that would be, of course, the former New Yorker critic Pauline Kael; I’m having trouble getting through some of her writings, but Wes Anderson’s charming story of screening the better-every-time Rushmore for her is here), nor is he my favorite (that would be the current co-New Yorker critic Anthony Lane; if you haven’t read this Brit’s book Nobody’s Perfect, do yourself a favor–  nobody takes a flick to the woodshed like him, and his take on The Saint is worth the price of admission).  But Roger Ebert (even if I was never a big fan of the thumb) took film reviewing into the mainstream, and if you’re a movie lover, you gotta admire that.

And Ebert’s still doing it, reviewing the whole slew of flicks that hit the multiplex and art houses tomorrow, as well as the ones nominated Sunday.  And he’s doing it cheerfully, enjoying every moment.  (Well, maybe not every moment of Cop Out, but you get the point.)

The most legendary critic of all.

2/12th

March 3, 2010

Alright, fine, you’re on to us:  Oftentimes we here at This Way to the Egress are egregiously makin’ shit(e) up when we say we’re doing series or continued examinations.  But when it comes to viewing resolutions and the end-of-months in this still-new year, we’re quite, unexpectedly serious.  The first post is here; the second here.

I was never any good at fractions at all (one of my many problems with math is there’s always an absolute right answer; another is that most of the math any reasonable adult needs in a lifetime is contained in a little calculator) but all of a sudden we’re 2 / 12th(s?) through the year.  Holy shit, it’s March!

You just know March madness is gonna preempt "Gary Unmarried," damn it.

Now, the very name of the month brings connotations of basketball madness and the forthcoming Oscars and spring and with it spring training and all sorts of good things (I mean, to have survived snow upon snow upon snow–  what’s the old saying?  March comes in like a Gryffindor lion?) but it also means we’re 10 months from next year.

Before you panic, 10 months is, of course, a long time:  You can have a child or win the World Series or invade a country or even fall in and out and in again with love.  But what about those long-forgotten resolutions?  Are we losing weight and going to the gym and brunching more and seeing old friends and calling even older relatives?  Maybe, but more likely, like me, you’ve done a few and seen others be replaced by…  well, life.

In like a...

‘Cause that’s the thing, isn’t it?  We establish arbitrary deadlines like New Year’s Day and 12-months-in-a-year and 24-hours-in-a-day, but then, for better or for ill, life intervenes…  it presents dazzling new opportunities we’d never thought we’d see, as well as daily chores like laundry and eating more vegetables that we can’t escape.  And there’s something both maddening and comforting in that.  And as you flip by the month that’s just passed in a calender, a simple thing like getting the movies or having a glass of wine and listening to a tune with someone you like seems, suddenly, a bigger accomplishment.

10 months left.  Still plenty of time to do the big things, of course.  Also plenty of time to do the equally important little things.

Out like a...