New Lego movie

Perhaps I expected too much from The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. The first one was good; they set the bar high. Too high, perhaps, for in the sequel… everything’s not quite awesome.

My son loved it. He’s four. I think the reason the movie appeals to young kids is that it sort of looks like a disjointed string of YouTube videos. You know… 21st-century entertainment.

One thing I will say about the movie. The music is fantastic. I’m a music snob, and I say the music is fantastic. And really, how bad can the movie be? It does combine two of my favorite things: Legos and movies.

If I could just get cookie dough involved.

Gaming Club

Among the other things I do at my “regular job” (that would be math teacher) I host something at school called Gaming Club.

The above scene (from the original Legend of Zelda) came up the other day.

We discussed the relative merits of buying the blue potion (which gives you one “refill” on health), and the red potion (which gives you two). I found myself asking about the unit price of each and a proportion that could express the difference.

It’s hard to stop being the math teacher.

Little Italy

If you’re looking for a low-investment treat this Valentine’s Day try Donald Petrie’s new comedy, Little Italy. Oh, it’s full of clichés and is totally predictable, but honestly what good romantic comedy isn’t?

Featuring a host of Hollywood almost-stars, Little Italy is a Romeo-and-Juliet tale of star-crossed lovers whose fathers own rival pizzerias in… where else?… Little Italy. (The city in question is Toronto but don’t let that discourage you.) On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds a critics approval rating of 21%; general audiences give it a rating of 71%. This is everything you need to know. Nobody’s trying to win an Oscar on this one; they’re just trying to give you an enjoyable film to watch.

One note: “Juliet’s” dad in the film is played by comedian Adam Ferrara. I got to meet Adam at the end of 2017 when he had completed work on the film, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting its release ever since. Recently I had gotten to the point that I figured someone lost the tape or something, but then, lo and behold, there it was for free on Amazon Prime. (Well, not exactly free, but you get the idea.) The next time I talk to Adam I’m finding out who kept this one under wraps so long, and why it didn’t get a major Hollywood release.

Well, I guess it’s not exactly Hollywood.

Just Little Italy.

Washington weather

Every time I see a “Snow in Washington” report I get all excited like we’re getting some kind of major happening here. (Someone alert Jim Cantore.) Then I realize it’s Washington state, and realize that Cantore’s headed there, not here. And then I see the pictures and reason that it’s probably not such a bad thing that we’re missing the snow being dumped on Washington state right now.

It’s a lot more fun to watch it on TV.

Narrated by Jim Cantore.

Celebrity birthdays

Making fun of Virginia politics these days is like shooting fish in a barrel, so I’ll skip to this bit of info…

I discovered last night that singer Tom Jones and I share a birthday. (That would be June 7.) I guess with thousands of celebrities out there and only 365 calendar days you’re bound to find coincidences like that.

In other words…

it’s not unusual.

Finally joining this decade

As of two days ago I was one of the last people on Earth who subscribed to this thing called “cable.” You know… TV. Like with the channels and the remote and the tuning in at certain times.

I told myself that if watching the Super Bowl were easy to do without “TV” I really didn’t need it anymore. (Live sports were the last refuge of cable.)

My four-year-old figured out how to stream the game.

And then he asked, “Daddy, what’s TV?”

Time to move into this decade.

Super Bust

Well, you can’t count on Clemson to win every time they take on Goliath.

Two teams from Los Angeles disappointed me yesterday: the Rams and the Maroon 5s.

Disappointing. Just disappointing.

The bankers from Boston? Yeah, that’s the rich getting richer.

First the Red Sox (again), now the Patriots (again). The next thing you know Dunkin’ Donuts will be getting a Michelin Star.

Okay, basketball, get good for me.

Where was he coming from?

Being snowed in the past couple days has given me plenty of time to think. Not necessarily important things, but puzzling questions nonetheless. Here’s one example.

For years I watched Fred Rogers on Mister Rogers’ NeighborhoodYou remember how the thing used to start: Mr. Rogers walks in, takes off his coat, puts on a sweater, and changes into casual shoes. The thing that never occurred to me as a kid was where was he coming from?

Seriously. What was Mr. Rogers doing before he got “home.” Was he at work? And then at the end of the show he got dressed and headed back out. Was he going back to work? Was he just stopping by on his lunch break? And what exactly did he do for a living? Continue reading

Baby, it’s cold outside

Global warming jokes just get too easy at a point. Even the president has jumped on my old bit about said phenomenon forsaking us from time to time.

Let’s give a quick kudos, though, to my local school district, who predicted the exact start to yesterday’s D.C. area storm. At six a.m. Loudoun County Public Schools called an early dismissal of two hours (no doubt sending 80,000 sets of parents scrambling). So instead of sending kids home in the 3-5 p.m. range it was 1-3 p.m. Wouldn’t you know a blizzard started at 3:00?


Harness those powers for the betting track some time, will ya?!

Tidying Up

The great thing about 21st century living is that there’s a new cultural phenomenon to get swept up in every five minutes. Don’t like this one? Just wait five minutes.

I might as well weigh in on the sensation of the moment, because everyone else in the world is. It’s Tidying Up, the Netflix bonanza based on the best-selling book. In case you’ve been under a rock the past few weeks, it’s that show in which that woman, you know, Marie Kondo, shows people how to “tidy up” their lives, asking us the immortal question (while holding up a piece of junk): does this spark joy?

Let the record show I am completely on board with the Tidying Up lifestyle. It’s basically what I’ve been doing my whole life; I just never thought to write a book about it. Actually, mine is more like an OCD-inspired need for everything to be organized and in the “right” place.

I like my junk in the right places.

And if you’re going to let me be the one who determines what sparks joy and what doesn’t?

Yeah, I can live with that.

You’d be surprised what I’ll say passes for joy.

Now to go admire my VHS tape collection…