Wednesday, December 5, 2018

L is for "loss" (financially speaking, anyway).

"I've never learned from success," he says. "'Get Lucky' allowed me to get a record deal for the new Chic album, but I couldn't tell you how to make that song again. Things just line up right." He frowns. "As a producer, I help an artist make a record that I'd want to hear as a fan. But I had no idea 'Get Lucky' would be so huge. It's always up and down. The way you know you're good is if there are more ups than downs ... Let me play you something." He finds a YouTube video for a creamy Al Jarreau ballad from 1986 called "Across the Midnight Sky." "L Is for Lover is the album," he says. "It's the best thing I ever made that didn't sell." He plays air guitar along with himself. "The theme from Moonlighting was on it, but Al and I thought it wasn't cool enough. So we took it off the album. That becomes a hit, and the album sank. Shows what I know."

—from "The Deep Hidden Meaning of Nile Rodgers" by David Marchese, New York magazine, July 27, 2015

To my non-golden ears, every song on L Is for Lover, which has a flawless side one and is my favorite of Jarreau's albums, could've appeared on Moonlighting and fit the general atmosphere of the show—except for "Across the Midnight Sky," which sounds like something Robert Guillaume might've pressured the producers of Benson into letting him perform on a "Benson and the rest of the governor's staff go to Las Vegas for some reason" type of episode late in that series's run.

I wonder why Rodgers and Jarreau thought Moonlighting's theme song "wasn't cool enough." Rodgers also says on YouTube, in the comments under the posting of "Across the Midnight Sky" that's mentioned in the New York article, "I love this cut and this album. It's one of my greatest works. It would have been a smash had we not given 'Moonlighting' to Irving Azoff for a TV soundtrack album that was a huge hit and 'Moonlighting' was the single. I've made many dumb moves in my career. That was a huge one."

But L Is for Lover came out in September of '86, whereas the Moonlighting soundtrack album wasn't released until after the '86-'87 season had ended; my Billboard Top 40 Hits book lists Jarreau's theme-song single as entering the Top 40 on July 4, so I would imagine the album followed soon after. That version of the theme song wasn't used in the show's opening credits until the fall of '87, so maybe the inclusion of Moonlighting's theme on L Is for Lover wasn't possible once ABC or Azoff, then the president of MCA Records, decided that the updated version should be held back to promote the soundtrack, released on MCA.

As with a lot of Moonlighting-related minutiae, the truth is probably buried in a 30-year-old filing cabinet somewhere in Culver City.

(In some countries the B-side of the Moonlighting theme's single was "Golden Girl," a track from L Is for Lover. Were any customers fooled into thinking that Jarreau had also recorded the theme song to NBC's The Golden Girls, which tied Moonlighting in 1987 with 14 Emmy nominations?)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

liberals and conservatives (part two)

"[Acting] is a little bit of 'Look at me, look at me,' I suppose, but I don't think that's all of it. A lot of the rest of it is just experiencing all of the other stuff that you're going to experience: What is it like to be a killer, what is it like to be a slave, what is it like to be a prince, what is it like to be Hitler? How do you play that? Where do you find that in yourself? I think it's the reason that most artists tend to be liberal as opposed to conservative. There are more conservative liberals and there are more liberal conservatives, but it's very hard to walk in other people's shoes and not have a little more understanding of what it's like, in a certain way, if you spend your life being other people and trying to see the world through their eyes. In some way all liberal arts teach you compassion—they can't avoid that."

Sydney Pollack, from the documentary Character (2009)

Friday, September 28, 2018

liberals and conservatives

"Whenever I feel bad, I go to the library and read controversial periodicals. Though I do not know whether I am a liberal or a conservative, I am nevertheless enlivened by the hatred which one bears the other. In fact, this hatred strikes me as one of the few signs of life remaining in the world. This is another thing about the world which is upside-down: all the friendly and likable people seem dead to me; only the haters seem alive."

—from Walker Percy's first novel, The Moviegoer (1961)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Face the facts contained in the book full of lies.

Political discourse got a whole lot uglier during the two-year period covered here (June 2016-May 2018), and so followed the discourse on Facebook. But at least President Trump provides a lot of great material for jokes, right? Yeah ... of course ... totally worth it ...

1. House Speaker Paul Ryan, commenting on his endorsement of Donald Trump for president, told the Associated Press, "My goal is to make sure we are unified before the fall." The 2012 Republican nominee for vice president then coughed, but according to a congressional aide who asked not to be named, "I could've sworn I heard him say, 'Of democracy.'"

2. "Trump says comments on judge 'misconstrued' as an attack against people of Mexican heritage," reports the Associated Press. "This isn't at all like when I said that Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers," the Republican presidential candidate explained, "which, come to think of it, was almost a year ago. Wow ... can you believe this campaign of mine has gone the distance? It's surreal, almost like something out of a Luis Buñuel movie. And didn't he make some of his movies in Mexico? Maybe not 'Belle de Jour,' but remember that weird scene where Catherine Deneuve fantasizes about her husband telling two other men to rape her? The movie's a comedy, for Christ's sake! Seriously, what the hell was Buñuel smoking? Something illegal, I bet, and therefore Mexico is full of rapists and drug dealers who want nothing more than to sneak their intellectually provocative art films into our country. I told you so."

3. Hooray! My 30th-anniversary copy of "Yakov Smirnoff's 1,001 Jokes About the Differences Between America and the Soviet Union" has arrived!

4. "I'm so hungry I could eat a coworker" is a common expression at my job.

5. Despite having a tennis racket placed in my left hand by my father when I was just 15 months old, I didn't become the next John McEnroe. On the other hand, I didn't become the next John McEnroe. (I mean, sure, I've thrown temper tantrums as a grown man, but never at Wimbledon.)

6. Baseball Player: "Maybe our fans aren't too proud of us this season, but you should've seen the Braves in the '90s."

Little Girl: "That's nice. I think I saw an empty seat next to the bathroom. Would you excuse me?"

7. In the Atlanta airport's C terminal on Monday I walked past Buckhead Books, which sells both books and magazines, and Midtown Magazines, which sells neither.

When I was living in Atlanta 15 years ago I didn't witness any gang violence, but now whenever people in Chicago ask me, "Are the rumors of airport-retail turf wars in the ATL true?" I'll know the shocking, tragic answer.

8. Did you know that more than 84 percent of Americans suffer from a complete lack of peripheral vision?*

* Percentage calculated using sample size of almost everybody blocking the aisles with their carts and their bodies and their fat, fat ignorance in Whole Foods five seconds ago.**

** Study may be biased.

9. Parts of Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention last night, not to mention parts of Mrs. Trump herself, may have been lifted, but there's no denying that she blatantly stole her hold-for-applause "look" from a fellow ex-model.

10. "I've always been curious: what's the difference between you and Bob Seger?" (Cleveland, Ohio, November 2, 2008; photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

11. Eddie Levert and Walter Williams, two of the founding members of the O'Jays, have issued a press release denouncing Donald Trump for playing their 1972 hit "Love Train" at the Republican National Convention without their permission. Undeterred, the Republican presidential nominee declared, "So what? I'll just get Los Lobos to write me an official campaign song. Naturally, I'll make them pay for the studio time."

12. No matter who you plan to vote for in November, I hope we can all agree that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has the best speaking voice. Reagan had a great speaking voice. Obama has a great speaking voice. But, my fellow Americans, I have a dream—a recurring dream, in fact, in which I'm stuck between the current Democratic and Republican presidential nominees on a three-hour flight. Clinton keeps loudly announcing that she's broken the cloud ceiling, and Trump won't stop whining about the price of a sky Heineken even though "I could buy one for everybody on this plane if I felt like it." Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, one row behind us, is openly objecting to the "wasteful" amount of peanuts he's been given, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, one row ahead, is negotiating with a flight attendant to bump Clinton up to first class 20 minutes before the plane touches down in Philadelphia.

13. You're not alone, Mr. Trump—even motor vehicles have delusions of grandeur.

14. "Trump-Pence. Almost rhymes with 'comeuppance.'" (This slogan can work for either party, so I've doubled my standard rate.)

15. I wish I'd made a habit of keeping up with world news much earlier in life, but on the bright side I don't plan to be elected president until I'm 70.

16. The older I get, the smaller my apartments get. If I were a scientist who also happened to be a talented, alcoholic writer with a mentally unstable wife, I would name this phenomenon "The Curious Case of Dustin Downsizer."

17. Speedo has ended its endorsement deal with Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte. According to a company spokesman, "He lied about being robbed in Rio, and here at Speedo we take pride in the fact that no man can get away with lying once people have seen him in a Speedo."

Last spring I noticed some typos on the website Above Average, so I pointed them out in a short, friendly e-mail. Someone from the site replied, "We fixed the typos—thanks for the heads-up. Would love to send you a t-shirt! Let us know what size you wear & to what address should send it?"

But when the T-shirt arrived, I immediately noticed a hole in the left sleeve.

Last winter I let The Paris Review know about a few typos on its website, specifically in a short story by James Salter that seemed to have been scanned directly from the Fall 1972 issue using Optical Character Recognition software. Someone from that site also replied, but I'm probably lucky that I wasn't offered "the stinkiest wheel of Roquefort cheese we could find, as a token of our appreciation."

19. Before you, Jojo Moyes, there was Judy Blume, and she's got dibs on that font, so give it back. (If I sound demanding, it's because, as a man, I have a long history of putting me before you.)

20. Wouldn't it be nice if chronic indecisiveness could be blamed on nothing more than a mechanical error?

21. "Little sisters don't let big brothers vote for Pat Buchanan." —nonexistent 1992 campaign slogan (photo credit: Steve Liss/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

22. Clipping articles from newspapers and magazines has a calming effect on me, but I tend to put most of what I clip in a pile and leave it there—for years. This aging process has its benefits, however: today I found gold in them thar ink-stained hills when I ran across the cover story from the April 29, 2012, issue of The New York Times Magazine, in which actor Samuel L. Jackson briefly mentions two of his famous golfing buddies, who probably won't be hitting the links together again until (a) after November 8 or (b) hell freezes over.

Oh, what a tangled political web we weave ...

23. Aleppo, sometimes referred to as "the fifth Marx Brother," never got the credit he deserved.

24. After watching George Stephanopoulos interview Donald Trump Jr. on Good Morning America earlier today, it would be unfair of me to say that Trump looks like someone who tortured small woodland creatures as a child. It would be unfair because I'm pretty sure he didn't grow up anywhere near woodlands, at least not any that his family didn't buy for the sole purpose of turning them into golf courses.

25. The man who smirks and grimaces like Benito Mussolini as he runs for president of the United States against a woman who takes fashion tips from Mao Zedong has finally acknowledged that the current U.S. president is officially American. Aye dios mio ...

26. Whenever friends and family are in town, I treat them to what I call the "CTA 2-4-1." They think they're going to take a ride on Chicago's elevated trains at half-price, but I just want them to share the experience of watching two trains arrive from the opposite direction of every one train they're waiting for.

27. YOU MONSTER! You were only supposed to expose your daughter to the universally accepted "cool" music format of the moment, vinyl! No wonder Angelina's seeking full custody—it's the only way she can ensure their children won't come under the harmful influence of compact discs.

28. During a performance Sunday night in Queens, Kanye West learned that his wife, Kim Kardashian, had been robbed at gunpoint in Paris. West told the sold-out crowd, "I'm sorry, there's a family emergency—I have to stop the show," and ran offstage.

Upon hearing the news, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called West to offer his support—and to hire him as a coach for the next presidential debate. "Your ego's almost as big as mine, kid," Trump reportedly told the musician, "but what I really like is your exit strategy."

29. I've been away from my computer for a few days, but I would like to say, in Donald Trump's defense, that in the 2005 video made public by The Washington Post last Friday, he openly admits that he failed to seduce TV personality Nancy O'Dell.

America, it takes a lot of humility, which takes a lot of guts, which doesn't require a lot of hair but, you know, it doesn't hurt to have it either, for a man to admit to other men who make a lot less money than him that he couldn't consummate his passion for Billy Bush's Access Hollywood cohost. Mr. Trump's brutal honesty should be commended, not shamed.

Oh, and as for his follow-up comment alleging that Ms. O'Dell had undergone cosmetic surgery after rejecting his sexual advances, well ... uhh ... hmmm ... I think what Mr. Trump's hairpiece—I mean, Mr. Trump—yes, what Mr. Trump was trying to do was, uh, give a piece of his mind—which, of course, is inside his skull, underneath a completely natural head of hair, and that's what I was trying to say even though I said "hairpiece"—about how he appreciates natural beauty and, naturally, encourages all women to embrace their own inner beauty.

(In case it's unclear, I expect more video and audio of Donald Trump's "locker room talk" to surface in the next week or so, causing Kellyanne Conway's head to explode and providing me with an opportunity to become the Republican presidential nominee's newest spin doctor. I've always wanted to create performance art on the largest stage possible, so back off, James Franco—THIS ONE'S ALL MINE.)

30. The only thing that really surprised me about the 2005 Access Hollywood video leaked last Friday occurred when Donald Trump first appeared on camera: Billy Bush had to tell him how to open the door of the bus. Trump, having been born into a life of personal chauffeurs and doormen, just expected someone on the outside to open it for him!

It gave me an idea: maybe the best solution at this point would be to bribe Trump's current chauffeur to abandon him in a locked limo where no one would come to his aid—say, a Whole Foods parking lot. Once Trump passed out due to hyperventilation brought on by his inability to figure out the connection between locks and handles, he could be revived at Trump Tower by a doctor—say, anyone but Howard Dean—who would try to convince him that he'd been in a coma for the past 16 months.

Trump would angrily deny that his entire presidential campaign had been a dream and demand a second opinion. "You there, boy—the Mexican child laborer washing my windows!" he'd yell from his penthouse balcony. "What day is today?" To which George Stephanopoulos (c'mon, we all know he'd do it, probably even for free) would reply, "Today? Why, it's the day after election day, of course!"

Secretly, Trump would be relieved, as would many others—say, everyone on this planet.

31. Citing Melania Trump's wealth and beauty, ABC News political commentator Cokie Roberts said on Tuesday that the former model "is not terribly recognizable to a lot of voters."

When reached for comment, Mrs. Trump's 1998 makeup mirror tilted forward slightly, indicating agreement.

32. Hillary Clinton was out of line in last night's debate when she accused Donald Trump of being Vladimir Putin's "puppet." As Melania Trump has already made clear, Billy Bush is to blame for encouraging her husband to make disrespectful comments about women 11 years ago—the former cohost of an Entertainment Tonight knockoff is the REAL puppet master in this election.

I think Bush should be proud—finally, a member of his family can actually say, "Yes, I was the one pulling the strings in 2005."

33. The beauty of being a fair-weather fan is that you never have to stick your neck out for a team.

Some say that the stress of being president speeds up the aging process of those elected to the office, but judging by recent photographic evidence, the 2016 presidential election has already proven so exhausting to everyone that even celebrities like Justin Timberlake now look dramatically older than their years.

35. Needless to say, you should vote if you haven't already, but if you or someone you know is planning to vote for Donald Trump on Tuesday, please be aware that that vote is going to a bully.

Almost every political candidate runs attack ads, of course, but not every candidate is a bully. And I've never met Donald Trump, but I dealt with more bullies in my thirties than I ever did growing up, so the following character traits are still fresh in my memory:

(1) Bullies know everything, yet they show a complete lack of self-awareness;

(2) they contradict themselves on a regular basis because they don't listen to or remember anything they say (see: self-awareness, complete lack of);

(3) they take all of the credit but accept none of the blame;

(4) they constantly whine about how no one else is following the rules they keep breaking;

(5) they make derogatory comments about women and minorities, usually when women and minorities aren't around; and

(6) shut up, you suck.

Also, if you've ever had to spend time with an overgrown bully, especially in a work environment, you know the body language, and Donald Trump is definitely speaking that language whenever he appears on camera.

Real-life bullies aren't like movie or TV bullies: They don't respect you if you stand up to them. Instead, they resent you for challenging their supposed authority. Bullies believe in dictatorships, not democracies.

Donald Trump himself may have been bullied as a child, and if so, that's unfortunate, but it's a problem that should've been addressed by a therapist before he graduated from high school in 1964, not by 323 million Americans on Election Day in 2016.

A great thing about the United States of America, however, is that when you don't vote for the bully on Election Day, you've stood up to him in the most important way possible.

Believe that—not me—and make it a reality.

36. In 1983 W.P. Kinsella wrote "The Last Pennant Before Armageddon," a short story in which the manager of the Chicago Cubs dreams that the world will end if his team beats the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

That same year The Dead Zone, based on the Stephen King novel, was released in theaters. The film stars Christopher Walken as a clairvoyant who envisions a disturbed political hopeful, played by Martin Sheen, starting World War III after being elected president.

Last month the Cubs beat the Dodgers to win the National League pennant for the first time since 1945, the year World War II ended.

Last night Donald Trump was elected president.

Well, as the old saying goes, win some, lose all hope for mankind.

37. Who muttered the following rhetorical question under his breath on November 8, 2016: "Jesus Christ, am I really gonna have to play this part for the next four years?"

(a) Alec Baldwin
(b) Donald Trump
(c) All of the above.

The first person to respond with the correct answer will win two tickets to the new M. Night Shyamalan thriller, Split, starring James McAvoy as a dangerous man with a personality disorder who takes innocent people hostage. The Hollywood Reporter says the movie's twist ending is "a doozy," and who doesn't like twist endings that have nothing to do with the split personality of our country?

Split opens nationwide January 20, which just so happens to be Inauguration Day, and BELIEVE ME, MANY OF YOU WILL WANT TO ESCAPE FROM REALITY THAT DAY BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

38. On Tuesday night, around 8:00 Central time, I texted my nieces, Olivia and Sophie: "Girls, when is this electoral map going to turn bluer?" Olivia responded: "???? But don't know! Ahhh! #scared #lifeisgoingtobeoverifDTwins#longesthashtagever."

I wrote back and said I was sure Hillary Clinton would win California, and that she might win Florida and North Carolina too. Sadly, I was wrong about those might-win states, but I didn't want either of my nieces to worry about the prospects of a Donald Trump presidency, no matter how potentially dangerous I think he is, so on Wednesday morning I texted, "Oh well. Life goes on."

And it will, but once I saw clips of Clinton's concession speech on Good Morning America, I got a little emotional. I thought about how she was absolutely the more qualified, experienced, levelheaded candidate, how she won all three presidential debates (just by using her brain—what a concept!), and how she gave hope to girls like Olivia and Sophie that the presidency would never be out of their reach.

I also thought about how kind and generous my nieces have been to me, how much wiser they are at their respective ages—Olivia is 11, Sophie's 9—than I was at those ages, and how I wish I'd treated girls as people, not as "other," back then. In my defense, Princess Leia wasn't immune to Han Solo's witty banter in outer space, and Maddie Hayes didn't necessarily hate it when David Addison engaged her in the battle of the sexes Tuesday nights at 9 on ABC. Nonetheless, I should've shut up and listened to my female classmates' hopes and fears and dreams when I had the chance.

I texted Olivia and Sophie again: "That glass ceiling will be broken one day. Maybe by one of you!"

A few hours later, after she got out of school, Olivia sent the perfect response: "What glass ceiling???"

Girls rule, boys drool. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end (ARE WE CLEAR ON THAT, PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP?). Amen.

39. He made disparaging comments about women, some of whom accused him of sexual assault.

He mocked a disabled reporter at a campaign rally.

He didn't fight in the Vietnam war, yet he claimed that Senator John McCain, a fellow Republican, was "not a war hero" because of McCain's five and a half years as a POW in North Vietnam.

He was named the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nominee at a convention attended by only one nominee from the past seven elections.

He was considered by the majority of political analysts to have lost all three presidential debates to his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

He's currently facing 75 pending lawsuits.

And he never made his tax returns public before the election.

But I have to hand it to Donald Trump's supporters—they had a REALLY catchy chant at the rally I attended last Monday at my old summer camp:

40. I think Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, and Jeff Sessions will all do a great job.

Oh, I'm not talking about their key roles in President-elect Trump's administration. But as contestants on his all-new, all-too-real reality show, "The Amazing Racist"? You have to admit their preseason stats are impressive.

41. You'd think a guy who puts on a wig and makeup every day would have more empathy for Broadway actors.

42. "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

—I Corinthians 13:11

"Not now, Bible, I'm tweeting."

—President-elect Donald Trump

43. I once worked for a vulgar, arrogant 70-year-old who seemed to get a kick out of making baseless accusations, often in the form of short, angry messages that he composed in his high-rise apartment late at night.

Thank God a person with that kind of temperament could never be elected president of the United States of America.

[Note to self, 10/27/16: Save as "draft," then post on FB 11/8 once Clinton reaches 270 in Electoral College. In meantime, do not uncross fingers, no matter how hard typing gets.]

44. There's nothing fake about earning your living by reporting the news five feet from a urinal:

"Reporters work on their laptops in a men's bathroom as Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) speaks during a campaign rally at the Burger Activity Center, March 3, 2008, in Austin, Texas. Voters in Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island go to the polls March 4 in what could be pivotal contests for the Democratic nomination between Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)"

45. The other day I read a six-weeks-old New Yorker article about Kellyanne Conway, who at the time was still President-elect Trump's campaign manager. Four years earlier she'd worked on the presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich, who told The New Yorker that Conway shouldn't try to "reshape" Trump on the campaign trail because, among other things, "he's a 70-year-old adult billionaire."

Well, what other kind of 70-year-old billionaire would he be? Is Gingrich implying that on June 15, 2015, Trump's ten-year-old son, Barron, inserted a quarter into an old Zoltar Speaks fortune-teller machine and said, "I wish I was big. And old, like my dad, who's ... I don't know, 40, I think?"

Because that would explain a lot.

The pen is mightier than the sword. Bigger too, if you want to get all technical about it.

47. I don't mean to brag or nothin', but I lost a whole half pound in the past week, and according to the new math of the incoming Trump administration, that's a LANDSLIDE VICTORY for weight loss.

48. What I wouldn't give right now for a reporter to ask President-elect Trump, "What's your favorite James Bond movie?" and have him respond, "From Russia With Love, of course." (He'd immediately change his answer to Octopussy, but the pussy would already be out of the bag, so to speak.)

49. If there be but one thing
I cannot understand
'Tis why I've never been picked
By a pair of jazz hands

—"The Ballad of the Jazz Apple," R. Cass, 2016

50. He walks among us.

51. If you play a record on your turntable but don't post a picture of it on Instagram, did it actually make a sound?

—Confucius (or possibly Con Funk Shun)

52. In 1998 Oscar-winning director Milos Forman invited Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage to audition for the lead role in his Andy Kaufman biopic, Man on the Moon. Jim Carrey ultimately got the part, but 19 years later Cage is finally playing Kaufman in a movie—or at least he appears to be playing the comedian's lounge-lizard "alter ego," Tony Clifton, in the crime drama Arsenal, opening Friday.

Remember, budding actors, there are no small parts, just small actors who aren't Oscar-winning enough to tell a director, "I really think my character would yell the loudest in a pink sport coat."

53. For the past 20 years I've bought Negra Modelo beer, but only since Thanksgiving weekend has a six-pack cost me less than two dollars. I don't know why, and I'll continue to not ask the cashiers at Jewel-Osco and Whole Foods why, but I'd like to think it's Mexico's way of saying, "We know you didn't vote for the guy, but you're stuck with him, so this one's on us."

54. "I hope that thing's a herbivore," said the electric reindeer.

55. From this point on, all short, angry messages directed at Meryl Streep by the next president of the United States shall be designated "postcards from the edge."

If this box was a clue on Jeopardy! my $400 answer would be "What is solid butter?"

57. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has announced that it will cease operations in May after 146 years. "Sure, costs are up and attendance is down, but last fall we realized we would never be able to compete with the new circus coming to Washington, D.C.," management stated in a press release. "You think we're cruel to elephants? Republicans, you ain't seen nothin' yet."

58. "... Because of men and women like John Lewis, Joseph Lowery, Hosea Williams, Amelia Boynton, Diane Nash, Ralph Abernathy, C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. King, and so many more, the idea of a just America, a fair America, an inclusive America, a generous America—that idea ultimately triumphed."

—President Barack Obama, March 7, 2015, in Selma, Alabama, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the march for black Americans' voting rights, a.k.a. "Bloody Sunday"

"Today's final round of the WGC Cadillac Championship will be amazing. A lot of pressure on leader, who has played great. Big names hunting!"

—President-elect Donald Trump, March 8, 2015, on Twitter, in reference to a golf tournament taking place at his Trump National Doral Miami resort

(The lesson: Keep your eyes on the prize. Just make sure it's a prize worth fighting for.)

If you can't afford a pair of diamond earrings for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day, get her the next best thing—a one-carrot stud.

60. "I think it's tougher than he thought," President-elect Donald Trump told diplomats and members of Congress at a VIP dinner Tuesday night in Washington, D.C., referring to the Senate confirmation hearing of Rex Tillerson, his nominee for secretary of state. In Tillerson's old job as the head of ExxonMobil, he "goes into a country, takes the oil, goes into another country," Trump said. "It's tough dealing with these politicians, right?"

When reached for comment, former vice president Dick Cheney grumbled, "Amateurs …"

61. It's time.

It's time for your loving parents to leave you with a new babysitter. You were hoping it'd be a girl, but this "nice young Christian boy" comes highly recommended by the White family across the street.

The evening gets off to a rocky start: as soon as your parents pull out of the driveway he pockets the $20 they left for a pizza and tells you that if you make him a ham-and-cheese with extra mustard, he'll let you stay up past ten.

"Don't be rude," he says (rudely, you might add), so you make him the sandwich, figuring you might as well give him a chance since you're going to be stuck with him for the next four hours. But once he's done eating, he sends you to bed at seven because "I need to work on a big paper for my world-history class, and I can't have you asking me all these questions," even though your only question has been "Is it hard to get a suntan in January?"

You sulk your way upstairs, but a few minutes later you hear noise coming from the living room. When you tiptoe back downstairs to investigate, the TV is tuned to professional wrestling, but the babysitter's attention is focused on some sort of weird Civil War-era plantation pornography on his laptop.

You now officially hate the babysitter. But you're still stuck with him for three more hours, so you retreat to your room and decide to sleep off the rest of his tenure.

"What's the worst he could do?" you ask yourself. "Burn down the house?"

It would help if you laughed, but you're distracted by the last slivers of daylight as they gradually disappear from the room.

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: If you think your own children would enjoy hearing this bedtime story, I'm available for personal appearances.)

62. "President Trump, the bad news is that the crowd gathered for your inauguration ceremony on Friday didn't stretch all the way back to the Washington Monument. But the good news, sir, is that the area surrounding America's most famous phallic symbol was packed just 24 hours later! And if you're a fan of irony, like the fact that you won the election last November even though you received almost three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, there's even more good news, because the gender that dominated Saturday's enormous crowd of protesters was—"

I probably wouldn't last long as White House chief of staff.

63. In keeping with the policies and general tone of his first week in office, President Trump has announced that Americans will no longer "spring forward" when daylight saving time begins in March.

"I love it when everyone in this great country of ours falls back at the exact same time, so why limit ourselves to November?" the president tweeted, adding, "To all of you who illegally didn't vote for me, you're welcome for the extra hour you get to sleep through my presidency."

64. On Friday, attending his fourth March for Life rally in Washington, D.C., Connecticut cabinetmaker Glenn Miller told the Associated Press, "This past administration did not listen to us and did not even care ... I wouldn't say that I was a supporter of Donald Trump. I voted for him because I didn't think I had a choice."

As far as I can tell, the AP's reporter didn't follow up by asking Miller, "So what you're saying is you're pro-choice?"

65. On Good Morning America earlier today, presidential guidance counselor Kellyanne Conway said, "I think if you actually surveyed [protesters of President Trump's travel ban] they would probably get the facts wrong. They're being misinformed."

As long as I keep in mind that "the facts," as Conway calls them, are "alternative" facts, and that the misinformation she cited is coming directly from the makers of said alt-facts, I can honestly say for the first time that I agree with the Trump administration!

Wow ... what a weird sensation. I feel dizzy. I should probably tilt my head back before it hits the keyboarrrrrhjyunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

66. Last night at a restaurant I watched a young mother encourage her toddler to eat "just one more bite" of green beans. He did, reluctantly, then threw up on his plate.

After less than two bites—sorry, weeks—of Donald Trump's presidency, I know exactly how that kid feels.

67. I don't like 99 percent of President Trump's political agenda so far, but on Tuesday he met with top pharmaceutical executives and told them, "We have to get prices down for a lot of reasons." That proves that he really does care about every American, because for the next four years at least 65,853,625 of us are going to need a prescription for antidepressants.

68. When trust and unity are bulldozed by Them vs. Us, the office of POTUS loses two pillars of its foundation and risks making every American look like a POS.

69. Donald Trump's presidency is a lot like a Michael Bay movie: it's not any good, but because something's blowing up every five minutes, it's never boring.

70. Earlier today I received an e-mail from OkCupid with the following subject heading: "Do you care about politics? Or sex?"

I realized for the first time that I now care about one of those things more than the other. Which is why I also realized for the first time that I'm now middle-aged.

71. "I make big money, I drive big cars, everybody know me, it's like I'm a movie star, but late at night somethin' ain't right ... Investigatin' the joint for traps, checkin' my telephone for taps … I keep lookin' over my shoulder and peepin' 'round corners ..."

Those are lyrics from the 1991 Geto Boys song "Mind Playing Tricks on Me," but if you initially mistook them for tweets written by President Trump, no one would blame you.

72. I respect Ridley Scott's right to tinker with Blade Runner till his dying day, but according to the latest edition of Newcity, which don't need no stinkin' copy editors, the director's "final cut" of his 1982 sci-fi classic is completely unrecognizable.

73. Dear House Intelligence Committee:

Please excuse President Trump from providing evidence of the previous administration's wiretap of Trump Tower. President Obama's dog, Bo, ate it.

The First Lady

74. I paid less than a dollar for a thousand-dollar wedding. Does that count as a "life hack"?

75. It's time for Donald Trump to end his feud with NBC and return to its airwaves, but not as the host of another run of The Apprentice. Instead he should use what he's learned as our nation's president and revamp NBC's series of public service announcements for children ...

76. When someone has had too much to drink, the linguistic result is a phenomenon known as consonantal drift.

77. The Media: "Trump and Putin sittin' in a tree / K-I-S-S-I-N-G / First come compliments / Then comes collusion / Then comes—"

[Nursery rhyme interrupted by missile strike on tree planted by Putin on opposite side of playground.]

The President: "See? I told you stupid jerks I don't like Putin!"

78. Tonight on the Red Line an excitable ten-year-old sat next to me playing with a punctured packet of hot sauce while his dad looked on from a few feet away. I kept waiting for something to go wrong, but I'm somewhat agoraphobic, so I often expect something to go wrong on the Red Line after five o'clock. (By the way, I didn't realize I was somewhat agoraphobic until a few years ago, so if you went to a movie or concert or comedy show with me from approximately 1995 to 2014, I retroactively apologize for making you feel similarly anxious, angry, strangly, etc.)

Luckily, the ten-year-old didn't detonate the hot-sauce packet, but three stops before my destination, a man stepped onto the train with blood dripping down his face as a woman screamed at him from the platform.

If something red is going to be spilled on the Red Line, I'd prefer it be hot sauce, not blood. Have I ever argued otherwise? Then I retroactively apologize for that too.

The lamp in my therapist's waiting room isn't Freudian in any way whatsoever, so stop thinking that.

80. On Good Morning America Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told anchor George Stephanopolous that the Trump administration's tax reform plan is partly "about creating tax simplification so that most Americans will be able to fill out their tax returns on a giant postcard."

The postcard will include a photo of the White House on the back and the option of adding "Dear Mr. President: Wish you weren't here!"

81. President Trump is already something of a cartoon character, and Alec Baldwin's impression of him on Saturday Night Live hasn't helped his cause, but when he fired FBI director James Comey yesterday it became inevitable that sooner or later he'll be doing his own impression of a Scooby-Doo villain: "And I would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling [anybody who doesn't work for Fox News or Vladimir Putin]!"

82. "Mormon church pulls older teens out of Boy Scouts," reports the Associated Press, prompting the Catholic Church to issue a statement reassuring its followers: "As we've proven time and time again, Catholics never pull out."

83. For as long as I can remember, the paparazzi have taken pleasure in taking my picture while my mouth is full of doughnut. And for as long as I can remember, my mom has looked good in every picture, with doughnut or without.

84. "Remember last fall how I said, 'The system is rigged,' over and over again? Then this joker said, with that menacing Russian accent of his, 'You ain't seen nothin' yet'? Classic Sergey!"

85. Sung to the tune of "God Bless America" by Irving Berlin:

Bank of America
Bank that I owe
Lots of money that I borrowed
On a card I was sent long ago
From the interest to the balance
Month to month they grow and grow
Bank of America
I'll die alooooooooooooooooone

86. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but if you make a living writing words, Republican Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte will definitely hurt you. (Stop complaining—your injuries are covered. For now, anyway.)

87. I think it's unfair of people to say that President Trump doesn't care about the environment, because in my lifetime no U.S. president has been more full of fertilizer, or more willing to spread it around the globe, than him.

88. I never thought I'd say this when not watching a campy action movie costarring Jean-Claude Van Damme, but it's true: THE FATE OF MANKIND RESTS IN DENNIS RODMAN'S HANDS.

89. I've listened to approximately 6.3 podcast episodes since the podcast was invented—I don't know—ten years ago? I promise I'm not an anti-podcast snob—I just have trouble listening to a person who isn't "in person" unless I'm driving, and I haven't owned a car since 2004. I've read some detailed, minute-by-minute summaries of podcasts, however, so here are the highlights of the following recording made by my dad in the summer of 1978:

0:00 – Mike Cass asks his younger son, Robert, age two, to sing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." But Robert refuses because Robert is an artist, and true artists don't take requests.

0:25 – Robert decides to throw his dad a bone and sing the requested song, only to be told that he's singing it incorrectly. Robert now knows how Bob Dylan feels.

0:36 – Mike joins Robert in singing "Old MacDonald" incorrectly. Confounded by the mixed signals he's receiving, Robert makes his own request: "I'd like you not to sing."

0:50 – Mike asks Robert, "Where's Michael?" Michael is Robert's seven-year-old brother. Robert does not respond, "You don't know where your other son is? That's a more pressing concern than the 'real' lyrics of 'Old MacDonald,' don't you think?" Instead, he provides his father with Michael's last known whereabouts: "Michael's at Chuck's."

1:14 – Michael, having returned from Chuck's, leads Robert in singing "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)." Purists will argue that Robert has once again deviated from the text, but give credit where credit is due—this toddler nails the loud parts (e.g., "ALVIN!!!!").

1:56 – Robert performs a two-second cover of Linda Ronstadt's unnecessarily longer cover of Buddy Holly & the Crickets' "It's So Easy."

2:01 – Robert performs a six-second cover of Jimmy Buffett's "Cheeseburger in Paradise." He only seems to know the song's title, so he repeats it in order to pad out his cover version. Robert's no dummy.

2:09 – Michael sings the entire bridge of "Cheeseburger in Paradise." (Show-off!)

2:23 – Mike asks Robert if he's ready to go to Jekyll Island for a family vacation. ("Island" is pronounced with a long I, of course, but Robert makes it clear that it should be pronounced with the longest I possible.) Robert says he expects to eat "hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet" at the beach. He also voices his interest in an indecipherable brand of "chocolate pies" that are "creamy," a plea that Mike, who is strictly middle management when it comes to the Cass household's grocery list, deflects by replying, "We'll have to ask Mommy."

4:00 – Robert sings a song that includes the lyrics "I'm a happy man / I'm doing all I can." Thirty-nine years later Robert can't find any evidence online of this song's existence. Is it a Dylan tune that Robert improved with new lyrics? All signs point to yes.

4:30 – Mike makes a request to hear what's commonly known as "the alphabet song." Robert is feeling generous this time around—it's nice that fans still want to hear his greatest hits, after all—so he begins to sing. Then Michael joins in. Uh-oh. "Not you!" Robert hisses. But that's what their dear ol' dad wants, so Robert backs down. Besides, he's a little shaky on some of the letters, especially that tricky T-U-V combo near the end of the alphabet, so it can't hurt to have a capable backing vocalist on hand. But, just to be clear, this is a one-off—Miss Ross is not getting back together with the Supremes, okay, big brother?

5:08 – Well, maybe just one more—Robert graciously allows Michael to accompany him on "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." Robert's uncanny ability to simultaneously be ahead of and behind the beat is still being studied today.

6:28 – Michael points out that when Robert sang about being a happy man earlier in the podcast, he provoked controversy with the pointed lyric "Sweet Jesus messin' me up." Does Robert believe that organized religion in the post-Watergate era (historical tidbit: Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority just one year later) can have a deleterious effect on ankle-biters? It's difficult to say, partly because Robert immediately declares that he's a teddy bear.

6:41 – Michael asks Robert what he would like to sing next, but before his little brother can answer, Michael launches into "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Robert is shocked by this obvious power play, so he lets Michael know—hypocritically, one might add—that he's flubbed the lyrics: the titular reindeer does not have "a Chinese nose." Robert can then be heard leaving the room, presumably disgusted that Michael does not share his professional standards, thus allowing Michael to finish "Rudolph" as a solo that requires no translation.

7:48 – Robert returns, closing out the podcast with an encore of his "happy man" song despite sounding more like a tired little boy who could really use a nap. But today he is a man, at least according to his tax returns, who's happy to have a father who loves him and his brother very, very much.

90. If you hear someone say, "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" you might be in the land of Oz, but it's more likely that you've wandered into a gay sports bar in Detroit.

91. Yesterday I walked past a man as he said to his daughter, "You know some things you think of you don't have to say, right?" And some things we hear in public we don't have to repeat on Facebook, but you ain't my daddy!

92. On Saturday in Saluda, North Carolina, where my parents have lived since 2009, I ran my first 5K race. My goal was to keep moving at a steady pace no matter what, a goal I've tried to reach in various aspects of my life this year, and I was happy with my results—until I saw that I was beaten by Dennis Duffy, Liz Lemon's weaselly ex-boyfriend on the sitcom 30 Rock.

In other words, a fictional character.

I don't expect to outrun a cheetah before I die, but if I participate in the Coon Dog Day 5K next year and discover I was outrun by Chester Cheetah, I won't be happy about it.

93. Puppeteer Steve Whitmire, who inherited the role of Kermit the Frog after Muppets creator Jim Henson died in 1990, has been fired by Disney, the parent company of the Muppets Studio. According to a source interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter, Whitmire was "overly hostile and unproductive" in his exchanges with colleagues.

To cite one example, in an e-mail he sent to coworkers and Disney executives in 2016 Whitmire wrote, "Kermit's 100% right - it's not easy being green, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUR [sic] SURROUNDED BY COMPLETE F___ING IDIOTS!!!!!!!!!"

Whitmire is reportedly considering a run for president—as a Green Party candidate, naturally—in 2020.

94. The Washington Post is reporting that "the upper estimate for annual transgender medical costs in the military," which President Trump cited as a key factor in his decision to ban transgender people from service, is "a thousandth of 1 percent of the Defense Department's annual budget." To put that number into perspective, it's equal to the percentage of brain power that people currently serving as president of the United States have used since taking office.

95. Despite receiving a discouraging midyear performance review, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the Associated Press that President Trump and he share "a harmony of values and beliefs."

C'mon, dawg, it's 2017—anybody can fake a harmony with Auto-Tune.

96. Copy editors, I know times are tough—even the "failing" New York Times is offering buyouts to some of you these days as it makes online-first breaking news a top priority—but when handling stories about the White House, you can easily avoid redundancies by shortening "another chaotic week" to "another week" or, even more succinct, "the usual."

97. Commit a serious crime in Russia and you'll be banished to Siberia. But if you whine about the severity of your sentence you'll be tossed in the Crimea River.

98. "This is so unfair! You know I haven't made any friends here since the move, but when I ask a friend from back home to come visit for the summer, you want him to leave after just ten days because you don't like his attitude! Well, guess what? I hate you, and I hate this stupid town!!!!"

—President Donald Trump, after being told by his new chief of staff, John Kelly, that recently hired communications director Anthony Scaramucci has gots to go

"Hey, Chris, whatcha doin' this summer? ... Uh, hello? ... Hello? ... Hey, did you just hang up on me? DID YOU JUST HANG UP ON ME?!?!"

—President Trump, five minutes later, after dialing "old pal" Chris Christie, who's had it up to here with big shots

99. The White House is considering an investigation of alleged discrimination against white students applying to U.S. colleges, according to The New York Times.

In a leaked memo President Trump stated, "When Marisa Tomei didn't return for the second season of A Different World in the fall of 1988, I, like most Americans who have a thing for Marisa Tomei, wanted to know why. Now, at long last, we can get to the bottom of this mystery."

100. On my way home from downtown last Sunday I passed by dozens of teenagers and college kids headed to Grant Park for Lollapalooza. When I got to a bus stop where I could catch the 147 a man in his 50s walked up and said, "Man, I'll be glad when all of these events are over. Too many kids with their heads down, looking at their phones instead of where they're going."

I replied, with a smile, "Yeah, but that's everybody these days," thinking he was engaging me in conversation. Oh, Robert, how naive of you.

As this man ignored me and continued to complain, it dawned on me that I was witnessing the offline equivalent of one of those Facebook rants where the ranter disregards all incoming comments because he's too busy thinking up his next rant.

Youth may be wasted on the young, but wisdom is often wasted on the—


101. This 2007 photo of Bobby Lashley and Donald Trump was taken at WrestleMania 23, a fake sporting event, but it just might represent the most genuine expression of racial unity President Trump will ever muster. Sad. (No, not "Sad!" like the president often exclaims at the end of his whiny tweets. Just sad, like almost everything that's happened since Saturday.)

102. Martin Shkreli's "Bring Me a Strand of Hair From the Head of Hillary Clinton" isn't the remake of Sam Peckinpah's Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia that anyone was asking for, but he's going to jail for it, and he's someone who deserves to be in jail, and I don't have an ending for this joke, but it doesn't really matter since Martin Shkreli is going to jail, where one can only hope that a 5,000 percent markup on a carton of Camels awaits him.

103. FICTION: "I've lived a hardscrabble life."

NONFICTION: "My life has been hard. I've never won a game of Scrabble."

104. "Republican primary voters have historically flirted with warriors like Cruz but gone home with nominees who promise to redirect government, not annihilate the opposition," wrote Ronald Brownstein in a September 27, 2013, op-ed for the Los Angeles Times on Texas senator Ted Cruz's anti-Obamacare filibuster. (I have a bad habit of not throwing out old newspapers.) Four years later Cruz is the one doing the flirting—with a porn star on Twitter, apparently—and the GOP's eventual 2016 nominee for president, who won "The U.S. Government Apprentice" against all odds, is threatening to annihilate an entire country. But at least we have our health—and our healthcare, for now, also against all odds.

105. President Trump is saying mean things about Kim Jong-un. Kim is saying mean things about Trump. And the rest of the world is saying, "Get a room!" just to see if Trump will become pro-choice after his one-night stand with Kim produces a sequel to Rosemary's baby.

106. Monty Hall, who cocreated the game show Let's Make a Deal and hosted it from 1963 to '91, has died at the age of 96. The Devil, on the other hand, is very much alive and wants President Trump to know that he hasn't forgotten about the deal they made last November. "An eternity as a tackle dummy for damned NFL players in a climate much hotter than Puerto Rico's awaits!" said the Dark One in an official statement.

107. Last Sunday morning I watched half an episode of BoJack Horseman—a cartoon, for those who haven't seen it—on Netflix. One of the subplots centered on a movie studio debating whether or not to delay the release of an action movie featuring a mass shooting in a shopping mall because of all the mass shootings happening in real life.

I only watched half of the episode because I wanted to finish writing about a concert that took place 20 years ago. That task, which I'd started the previous Sunday, took up most of the day because me not write good fast, but at 9 PM Central time I posted what I'd written online, then went to bed about an hour and a half later.

When I woke up the next morning I saw an AP headline on my phone about a mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas. The concert I'd spent most of Sunday writing about took place in Las Vegas in 1997. What are the odds?

And in far less self-centered terms, what are the odds that mass shootings won't become even more of a regular occurrence in our country if Congress doesn't pass stricter gun-control laws sooner rather than later? "Law of averages plainly states that chances go around," sings Teddy Pendergrass in Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' 1975 song "Bad Luck," but as George Johnson wrote in The New York Times less than two years ago, "Psychologists who study how the human mind responds to randomness call this the gambler's fallacy—the belief that on some cosmic plane a run of bad luck creates an imbalance that must ultimately be corrected, a pressure that must be relieved. After several bad rolls, surely the dice are primed to land in a more advantageous way."

I don't have children, but I do have two nieces who mean the world to me, and sooner rather than later they'll be going to concerts and nightclubs and movie theaters on their own, destinations for escapism that, as recent history has shown, can unexpectedly turn into traps.

Not everyone who owns a gun is a terrorist in the making, of course, but at what point does the United States of America stop gambling on the safety of its citizens? Australia stopped rolling the dice on gun control more than 20 years ago. They're Down Under. Aren't we supposed to be on top?

108. On Saturday I walked through Oz Park and saw a little girl in a princess costume hand her plastic scepter to her dad before entering a porta-potty.

But on the bright side she'll never have to work for Harvey Weinstein.

109. "The US Coast Guard says 2 women lost at sea for five months had an emergency beacon - but it was never activated," according to an AP headline that lit up my phone last night. That may sound like the plot of a movie Cinemax would've shown "after dark" 20 years ago, but thanks to the recent activity of the U.S. special counsel's Russia probe, it's also a decent analogy for America as we approach the one-year anniversary of the election that led us toward the dark. (And no, we probably couldn't have done it without you, your e-mail account, or your can't-spell-"Skinemax"-without-the-X factor, Anthony Weiner.)

110. "Cook County's masturbation epidemic is out of hand" is one of the cover headlines on this week's Chicago Reader. But since Louis C.K. won't be performing at the Chicago Theatre anytime soon, we are making progress.

111. Yesterday I learned that the version of ESPN's SportsCenter that appears on Snapchat won't be able to show NFL game highlights because of rights restrictions. As if life wasn't already unfair enough for the millions of teenage girls who use Snapchat.

Actually, that joke was unfair. Just because I don't know anyone who uses Snapchat doesn't mean it's not enjoyed by football fans and/or stalkers of teenage girls, and for that I apologize, Judge Moore.

112. Leeann Tweeden, in the spirit of "anything for a laugh," you now have permission to perform nonconsensual prostate surgery on Senator Al Franken.

113. Last weekend at Trader Joe's I bought a carton of half and half with an expiration date of January 20, but it had already soured by the time I broke the seal a few days later.

Maybe that had something to do with the date, because last January 20 more than half of us who cast our votes in the 2016 presidential election smelled something sour long before the latest presidential seal was broken.

114. Paul Westerberg (of "Dope Smokin Moron," "Takin a Ride," "Hangin Downtown," "Somethin to Dü," "Swingin Party," and "Knockin on Mine," but not "We're Comin' Out," "Achin' to Be," "Darlin' One," "Hide N Seekin'," "Kickin' the Stall," and "Knockin' Em Back," and don't ask me what to dü about "Answering Machine," "Shooting Dirty Pool," "Asking Me Lies," and "Something Is Me") wuz here.

115. Mr. Rundgren, I've always liked your song "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference," but I'm afraid it really does make a difference whether or not your concert tonight at Chicago's Park West is sold out.

116. I have to agree.

117. On the train a few nights ago I overheard a woman enthusiastically ask a man, "Are you taking a selfie?"

He answered, "Yes, I'm a civilian."

Judging by how far he was holding his phone from his face, I'd say he was also farsighted—his hearing faculties were arguably on the far side as well—but as a fellow civilian, albeit one who's been nearsighted since age seven, I'd like to add that a selfie taken by a Sophie, in particular my younger niece, shouldn't cause any confusion, because Sophie is selfless and will always bring out your best self if you're lucky enough to wander into her frame.

118. In September 1995, my first month as a student at the University of Georgia, I attended a Bulldogs football game at Sanford Stadium. The home team scored early, so I cheered—except it was the opposing team with similar colors, the University of Alabama, that had scored, which helped explain why no one around me was cheering.

My face, like both teams' uniforms, was red. And a few hours later it was literally red since I'd forgotten to put on sunscreen before heading to the game. It was probably best for everyone that I left after the first quarter.

According to Wikipedia, the Bulldogs lost that September 30 game to the Crimson Tide 31-0. I don't have cable, so I didn't see last night's National Championship game, but I enjoyed following the score online by refreshing Google every few minutes.

Yeah, so "our" team lost, but remember this, Bulldog fans: unlike the Crimson Tide, the Dawgs would never stoop so low as to name themselves after a popular Denzel Washington-Gene Hackman movie released just five months before I attended my one and only football game at UGA. The Dawgs aren't bandwagon jumpers. That's because they're named after bulldogs, severely inbred creatures that are so unhealthy they can't jump on anything more than a few inches off the ground without the risk of shortening their already abbreviated lifespans.

Can I get a "Goooooo, Dawgs! Sic 'em! Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof!"?

Fine, I'll leave.

119. Today on Netflix I watched the sixth episode of Mindhunter, in which the main characters, a couple of late-'70s FBI agents, investigate a murder in ... Haiti, perhaps, judging by the subtitles pictured below? Or maybe somewhere in Africa? Actually, the crime they're trying to solve took place in Altoona, Pennsylvania, a city located in a county that voted overwhelmingly in favor of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

The lesson would appear to be: don't act like your own shithole doesn't stink.

(My apologies to Blair County, Pennsylvania—I'm sure you're a wonderful county once a person gets to know you. Also, my apologies to my mother, who doesn't like when I cuss on Facebook, but, in my defense, the president of the United States made me do it.)

120. "U.K. Appoints a Minister for Loneliness," reports The New York Times.

If you were hoping the appointee would be Morrissey, good news—you're not alone.

Children give each other friendship bracelets. Christian teenagers exchange purity rings. But in the Trump administration nothing says "I'm yours, at least until I'm fired or you're removed from office, sir" like a Loyalty Leash. Now available in Trump Tower Gold® wherever souls are sold in the nation's capital (but mostly in the Oval Office, and shut the door behind you) ...

122. Did you know that Paul Revere never actually said, "The British are coming"? According to historians who weren't in Boston on April 18, 1775, anyway. Along those lines, did you know that Revere also didn't say, "The revolution will not be televised"? But if he had, would he be wrong?

123. The next time you're in Illinois, visit Assumption. It's a gossipy little town, but considerably less hostile than its neighbor, Accusation.

124. Back when Donald Trump was running for president for the only time (fingers crossed!), I imagined him imagining a remake of Die Hard in which he would be the hero battling Russian terrorists in Trump Tower, except Trump would reject their place of origin as "a rumor spread by the failing CNN. So dishonest and sad, because it's obvious they're just really pale Muslims."

The character of John McClane, originally played by Bruce Willis, would be in Trump's remake, but he would be captured by the terrorists in the movie's first act, allowing Trump to paraphrase a comment he made on the campaign trail in 2015 about a former Republican Party presidential candidate: "John McClane's not a hero. He got captured. I like heroes who don't get captured."

Well, almost 30 years after Die Hard was released in theaters, Donald Trump is having his action-hero moment, telling the nation's governors at the White House on Monday that "I really believe I'd run in there even if I didn't have a weapon," in reference to the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The bone spurs in President Trump's heels that prevented him from running into Vietnam in the '60s must no longer be a concern in his 70s, but he fails to see that the character he most resembles in Die Hard is Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), who promotes a fake political agenda to the FBI and the media to disguise the fact that he's interested in only one thing: money.

"After all your posturing, all your speeches, you're nothing but a common thief," says John McClane's wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), an observation that causes Gruber to lose his cool. But in the same situation I bet our president would've responded, "So you live on one coast and your husband lives on the other? Yeah, I know what that means, sweetheart ..."

Old habits, after all, die hard.

125. Yesterday I saw a guy wearing a jacket with the phrase "BELLY OF THE BEAST" printed on the back. To which the whale replied, "You're not so pretty yourself, you know."

126. This spring I plan to open a pop-up store named Starbuck's that sells nothing but tattered paperbacks of Moby-Dick and incomplete DVD box sets of Battlestar Galactica just to see who walks in the door without looking up from their phone.

127. Behold! An interesting white in all its glory!

128. President Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "We were not really thinking the same," he explained to reporters at the White House on Tuesday, adding, "Basically, Rex was thinking, which never has been, and never will be, tolerated in my administration."

129. BAD HALLMARK CARD #7,343:

[front] Our love is written in the stars.

[inside] If only we owned a telescope ... (Oh, and I suppose it's my fault we can't afford a telescope? Go ahead, say it. Say, "I told you it was a pyramid scheme." SAY IT!!!!)

130. After opening last week's issue of the Chicago Reader while waiting for the train in the underground Monroe station, I turned to an article by John Greenfield on CTA sanitation. As I read the sentence "But at the CTA's Washington stop on the Blue Line, dark urine stains perpetually line the outer walls around the stairs and escalators that take you to and from the platform," a drop of water fell from the station's ceiling onto my newspaper. Or at least it seemed to be water, but the spot where it landed turned yellow.

You can understand why I was disappointed when I read the headline "Minimal techno master Wolfgang Voigt returns to his 'imaginary, misty forest'" in this week's Reader and wasn't immediately spritzed with the contents of a spray bottle.

I honestly look forward to seeing how an interactive reading experience can improve the bottom line for print media, but so far I'm only half convinced.

I took a few minutes to fill out a form online Friday night so that I could officially marry these two moisturizer bottles. Unfortunately, just a few minutes after the service ended the top left the bottom for a beer bottle in my recycling bin after shouting, "I've given you everything I have!" Sad, but perhaps it's for the best.

132. "Trump administration considering plan that would allow states to require drug testing for some food stamp recipients," reports the AP.

Fine, as long as drug testing is also required for some extremely rich, extremely white hair-plug recipients. (Don't worry, Matthew McConaughey, you're alright alright alright—for now, anyway.)

133. Bill Cosby's Comedy Central special Far From Finished aired on November 23, 2013.
I guess you could say "far" doesn't go as far as it used to.

134. Life is short. Just ask the business that last occupied this space.

135. You are buhmumblemumble.

Sorry, what I meant to say was: you are beautiful. I have a bad habit of trailing off.

136. It's curious how certain holidays, official or otherwise, have synced up so far this year: Ash Wednesday fell on February 14, which we celebrate as Valentine's Day; Easter Sunday was April 1, otherwise known as April Fool's Day; and the Kentucky Derby took place on May 5, a.k.a. Cinco de Mayo.

Now compare that triple play to last year's calendar, when Inauguration Day coincided with Judgment Day, but aside from that—

Actually, that was enough. That was more than enough.

137. Donald Glover's sideways homage to Oran "Juice" Jones's 1986 hit "The Rain" on Saturday Night Live last night reminded me of a certain segment of Jones's monologue at the end of that song:

"My first impulse was to run up on you and do a Rambo, whip out the jammy and flat-blast both of you, but I ain't wanna mess up this $3,700 lynx coat."

There's the answer to gun control in our country: we just need to buy every member of the NRA a fur coat they'd hate to ruin. Blood on your hands is one thing, but blood on your fur? Unthinkable.

Next, we'll need to buy every member of PETA a yacht, but first things first.

138. "People play golf as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island," says the caption on, but "Visual metaphor for a typical day at the office for President Trump" would also suffice.

139. "NFL owners approve policy allowing players to stay in locker room for national anthem, but they must stand if on field," reports the Associated Press. However, a hologram of President Trump will be loudly spewing "locker-room talk" in the direction of any player who chooses to stay behind, and, as predicted, every comment will be preceded with "I'm the least racist person you know, BUT ..."

140. Starting with the original Star Wars in 1977, Memorial Day weekend marked the official start of the summer movie season for decades to come.

Tomorrow disgraced movie executive Harvey Weinstein will reportedly be arrested in New York City on multiple counts of sexual assault that span decades.

The evil monster has been defeated. Life imitates art.*

*Life is not a movie. Which is why we continue to watch movies.

It frustrates me when people misspell a word as simple as "jugdge."

142. At the end of the 1988-'89 television season, The Cosby Show was ranked number one in the ratings for the fourth consecutive year, while Roseanne, a freshman series, came in second. The third most popular show was A Different World, which began in the fall of '87 as a spin-off of The Cosby Show and centered on Denise Huxtable, played by Lisa Bonet, navigating her first year of college. Bonet left the series after its first season, reportedly because Bill Cosby didn't appreciate his TV daughter appearing topless in the 1987 movie Angel Heart and in a photo shoot for Interview magazine that same year.

Almost 30 years later Cosby Show reruns are nowhere to be found on TV thanks to its namesake's conviction last month on three counts of sexual assault, and as of today you won't find any reruns of Roseanne version 1.0 or 2.0, either, thanks to its star's racist tweets about Valerie Jarrett and George Soros.

Therefore I officially declare tomorrow, May 30, Lisa Bonet Day! I have no authority to do so, of course, but doesn't she deserve a parade, possibly down the street in Brooklyn Heights where the Huxtables' fictional brownstone was located, or maybe through the campus of Atlanta's Spelman College, one of the inspirations for A Different World's Hillman College? I just found out that she's married to Jason Momoa, a.k.a. Aquaman—put him on a giant seahorse at the front of the parade and it'll feel just like Mardi Gras, I guarantee.