Twenty-three is an interesting age.
Some people your age are getting married.
Some people have never been in a relationship.

Some people are pregnant and raising children.
Some people still party all of the time.

Some people are living at home.
Some people are living together.

Some people are embarking on their careers.
Some people are still working at their old summer job.

Some people are still in school.
Some people are teaching in a school.

Some people travel the world.
Some people remain in their hometown.

Where am I in this?
I’m George Bailey sitting at the dinner table with his father.
Start watching at 8 minutes.

Pa Bailey: I know it’s soon to talk about it.
George Bailey: Oh, now Pop, I couldn’t. I couldn’t face being cooped up for the rest of my life in a shabby little office… Oh, I’m sorry Pop, I didn’t mean that, but this business of nickels and dimes and spending all your life trying to figure out how to save three cents on a length of pipe… I’d go crazy. I want to do something big and something important.
Pa Bailey: You know, George, I feel that in a small way we are doing something important. Satisfying a fundamental urge. It’s deep in the race for a man to want his own roof and walls and fireplace, and we’re helping him get those things in our shabby little office.
George Bailey: I know, Dad. I wish I felt… But I’ve been hoarding pennies like a miser in order to… Most of my friends have already finished college. I just feel like if I don’t get away, I’d bust.
Pa Bailey: Yes… yes… You’re right son.
George Bailey: You see what I mean, don’t you, Pop?
Pa Bailey: This town is no place for any man unless he’s willing to crawl to Potter. You’ve got talent, son. I’ve seen it. You get yourself an education. Then get out of here.

I’m Luke Skywalker gazing at the sunset.

But I’m also Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman.

At least I’m not pregnant. I’m just not ready for that.


The Most Offensive Scene in Movie History

There are thousands upon thousands of offensive scenes throughout movie history. For example, the last part of Requiem for a Dream, and basically all of Wanted. But there is only one scene that offended me to the point of inconsolable disgust. It fills me with anguish.

First, let me show you an example of a great scene from the classic movie, The Return of the Jedi.

Note the “Chub Chub” song in the background. Those Ewoks were rocking it out old school! And Anakin Skywalker finally has peace among his old friends, Obi-wan and Yoda. All is as it should be. A fine conclusion to an incredible trilogy.

Now take a deep breath. We’re about to take a plunge into the heart of darkness. Here is the worst scene in movie history.

What the hell was that!?!

Hayden Christensen is the worst thing to happen to the Star Wars prequels, second only to George Lucas. I’m sorry if there is anyone out there who actually likes what this guy has done to Star Wars, but to me and almost everyone I know he is the anti-Christ of the Star Wars universe. A whiny bad actor with no likeable qualities.

SO, when Mr. Lucas decided to infuse this toxic Hayden Christensen into the purity that is Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi he unleashed his greatest demon. It’s a demon that Lucas would call, creative license, but I like to call it arrogance. The last slap in the face to anyone who clung to the hope that Lucas respected the universe he created.

And get this, Anakin is still young! The reason he is young and the other two Jedi are old is that he turned to the dark side in his youth, and when he turned back to the light side it was like starting over from that point. Are you kidding me??? So he gets to be eternally young, while the Jedi who were always good must be eternally old. Sounds like the dumbest loophole ever. Oh, did I say sounds like? I meant it is.

But what really gets me about this “re-mastered” ( I like to call it de-valued) version is the change in the Ewok song. What? The Chub Chub song isn’t good enough anymore? You needed to throw out the Chub Chub? These Ewoks have no musical talent! Curse their cute short hairy arms! Bring in the professional orchestra to play over these savages!

I just picture John Williams with a tear in his eye.

What Isn’t Love?

In the movie, The Matrix Reloaded, Neo chooses to save Trinity at the potential cost of all humanity. Isn’t that romantic!?!
In the movie, Hellboy 2, Liz is told that Hellboy is destined to destroy the world. She is given the choice to bring him back to life, or let him remain dead, by the angel of death. She chooses to bring him back to life, which basically ensures the destruction of the world. How sweet!

Love isn’t worth killing all of humanity. I know it’s tempting, but if you’re ever in that kind of situation, please be a little less selfish than the people in the movies I just mentioned. Consider that other people besides you experience love, and maybe you and your special someone aren’t the center of the entire universe.

Love isn’t all you need. I’m sorry Beatles, but if I’m starving to death I’m not going to survive on love. And if I didn’t prepare for an exam, I’m not going to pass on love. Just because love is the most important thing in the universe doesn’t mean it is the only thing we need.

Love isn’t measurable. Have you ever told someone, “I love you this much” as you stretch out your arms? Even if your arms were 2 miles long, it wouldn’t come close to an accurate measurement. This doesn’t mean that love is infinite. It just means you can’t quantify it. I love you eight Sea Otters. See? It makes no sense.

Love isn’t safe. You probably already know this. From the hormone propelled teenage love that ends in emo heartbreak, to the perfect love that was expressed on the cross, love is painful. Really painful. It can kill you. It can take you down a dangerous road. It can leave you with a chronic ache in your chest. Love is many things, but don’t let anyone ever tell you that it’s safe.

Love isn’t blind. Ask a blind person.

Love isn’t a brownie sundae. Well, not entirely.

Now here’s Pat Benatar with her song about what love is … a Battlefield.

The Chicken Farm: A Lover’s Analysis

Do you like the Red Sox? How do you pronounce Worcester? What’s a Fluffernutter? These are all questions posed to test the true citizenship of a Massachusetts resident. But when it comes to my little corner of Central MA, the supreme question is, Have you ever eaten at Wright’s Farm?*

I have heard the term “Chicken Pig-Out” used to refer to Wright’s. Honestly, this is a fairly accurate description. You walk in, and usually you tell the receptionist how big your party is and she has you remain in the waiting area/ bar room until your group is called. Once you’re called, you walk through a number of rooms filled with groups of people consuming massive quantities of food. The smells are intoxicating. When you reach your table, a waiter immediately comes over to ask everyone if they are getting the chicken. I have never seen anyone choose the other option, which is steak. Everyone says YES to the chicken, and the feast begins.

On average, Wright’s serves about a ton of chicken a day. When I say “a ton” I’m not being cute. I literally mean 2,000 pounds of chicken. And it’s no surprise since it can seat up to 1,200 people. To meet the ravenous demand, they have 75 ovens going constantly, roasting chicken to golden brown perfection. You’d expect this kind of unrestrained mass gluttony in the south, but not in the little Northeast state of Rhode Island. And maybe that’s part of what makes Wright’s so special.

So we’re sitting down, having just ordered the chicken. In most cases, they bring bowls of salad and rolls within 2 minutes. These rolls are simple, but fantastic. Light and soft. Add a little butter and you’re in heaven. Even the salad is good. They use just the right amount of their signature dressing. But this is only a taste of what’s to come. The main event!

All at once they bring out the pasta shells, french fries, and chicken. It’s all good, but I’m in love with the fries. And I don’t even know how to describe them. Slices of bliss might be the most accurate description. I pour on the ketchup and let all of the flavors have a party. Usually, I’m constantly refilling my glass with a pitcher of coke. Refills and seconds and thirds are to be expected.

There’s nothing fancy about this food, nor is there anything fancy about the dining experience. It resembles a trough more than a fine restaurant. But if you want all you can eat delicious comfort food at around $15 per person, you must visit this southern New England staple.

On a final note, they also have a massive gift shop with classic candies and fudge and any number of unnecessary trinkets. It’s part of the whole Wright’s experience.

* Some locals will claim that a similar establishment, Village Haven, is just as good, if not better than Wright’s. I have noticed that the usual argument in favor of Village Haven depends heavily on their cinnamon roles. In my opinion these rolls are nothing extraordinary. I don’t think they even belong with a chicken dinner in the first place.
Regardless of personal preference, when all things are considered, Wright’s is the defining dining experience of southern New England.

A True Story

“Isn’t eating strange?” I asked someone, once.
“Shut up.” He replied.
That’s a true story.

Cats killed my cat, and that’s why I hate cats, but not why I hate Cats.
That’s a true story.

My greatest fears throughout my life in chronological order have been: the death of my parents, my esophagus breaking, the rapture, the sun exploding, nuclear war, Y2K, working at Subway, going to college, losing love, CPPS, and settling for mediocrity.
That’s a true story.

Isn’t eating strange?

The Humbling Effect of Paul Blart: Mall Cop

There are moments in life where you have to accept that certain things cannot be grasped. The concept of eternity. The distance between galaxies. The depth of love a parent has for their children. Now I add another; the appreciation that baby boomers have for the film, Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

I don’t want you to think that this idea simply popped into my head, recently. I didn’t just decide to write about this observation after a few hours of thought. No, this observation has been in development for over a year, and after many critical exchanges.

My father was the first middle-aged person to say to me, “Hey, did you see that Mall Cop movie? It looks funny.” Of course I responded that I had not seen it and couldn’t imagine why he would have any interest. I brushed this off, and prepared to let the whole matter go.

Then I heard from a friend that his father asked him the same basic question, which implied that there was a definite interest in the film from the older gentleman. Later, if I recall correctly, my friend’s father rented the film and enjoyed it.

I began to make a connection in my mind. Perhaps there is something about this movie that attracts the older generation. But I still didn’t have enough evidence.

Eventually I sat down and watched the film in its entirety. It wasn’t very good. This didn’t surprise me. And still there were no clues as to why anyone over thirty would be drawn to it.

As time passed, I noticed the film all over the place. It was on posters in the video store. It was on internet advertisements . There were entire shelves devoted to it at Walmart. Clearly, someone was buying this movie. There had to be an audience keeping it alive.

The final piece of evidence came tonight, when another friend admitted that his own mother had expressed interest in the film. And yet after all of this evidence, I am helpless to figure out why the baby boomers are so drawn to it. Helpless.

There are certain things we will never grasp, and it is best to accept it. I do not understand the allure of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I never will. At least not for another 20 years.

The 5 Top Fives

Some people don’t like to rate things. Some people like to rate things. I like to rate things. Things that don’t really matter that much. Here are five lists. And I’ve even rated the lists.

#1 Favorite Foods

  1. Chicken Parmesan
  2. Honey BBQ Chicken Supermelt at Friendly’s
  3. Brownie Sundaes
  4. Cheese Pizza
  5. Crab Rangoon

#2 Favorite Movies

  1. Ben Hur
  2. It’s a Wonderful Life
  3. Star Wars
  4. The Shawshank Redemption
  5. Superman (1978)

#3 Favorite TV Shows

  1. The Simpsons (Seasons 1-10)
  2. Seinfeld
  3. The Wonder Years
  4. South Park
  5. Lost

#4 Favorite Books

  1. The Lord of the Rings
  2. Ender’s Game
  3. Jane Eyre
  4. Animal Farm
  5. A Tale of Two Cities

#5 Favorite Social Gatherings

  1. Cookouts
  2. Fire Pits
  3. Dinners
  4. Weddings
  5. Board Games

Edgy stuff.