Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It is now official: Hollywood plans to remake every film that ever existed, beginning with The Wizard of Oz. I look forward to the 2017 remake of Le Voyage dans la lune featuring Zach Galifianakis as the moon.

Holy Harry

Is the Harry Potter series a Christian allegory? And if it is, does that mean I have to start worshiping Dobby? Because that little freak gives me the creeps.

I know the seventh Harry Potter film is coming up, and that I should be excited, and that this is the END OF AN ERA, but for me the Harry Potter era ended with book seven. Not that it was bad. It was just the last one. The film mean...very, very little. Getting excited about a Harry Potter movie is like getting excited over a half-inch snowfall. Not worth the trouble.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lox, Stox, and Barrel

This Sunday, I tried lox for the first time. "Lox" is a kind of cured salmon that can best be thought of as Jewish sushi, minus the rice and seaweed. You are required to eat lox on a bagel. This is an unwritten law, except in the state of New York, where it is a written law enforced by penalty of flogging.

Every Sunday, our dining hall--perhaps in an effort to atone for the rest of the week--puts out a brunch spread worthy of the name. You got your sausages, you got your scrambled eggs, you got your doughnut, and, if the "you" in this case is daring enough, you got your platter heaped high with lox.

For weeks, I was not one of those daring souls. Lox weirded me out. Pink, gelatinous, streaked with mysterious white stripes, it looked like it had come from the set of Star Wars. I averted my eyes and continued to the bagels, vowing that they day I ate lox would be the day I watched "Glee."

But a chance encounter changed everything. I was flying back to New Jersey when I struck up a conversation with my seatmate. She, a born-and-bred New Yorker, insisted that I should try lox. No, not should, I HAD to try lox. Otherwise I would go to my grave ignorant, unloved, and unhappy.

So I did. I picked out my favorite kind of bagel--a neon-yellow egg bagel, the kind that taste a little like challah--and piled it high with lox. This is harder than it sounds. Lox is sliced so thin that it took me nearly ten minutes of piling to get a measurable amount. Back to the table I went, carrying my lox and bagel like an authentic surly New Yorker on his way to a job he hates. was good! A little fishy, maybe, but that's understandable considering that it IS fish. Complaining that fish tastes fishy is as nonsensical as complaining that beef is beefy or chicken chicken-y. I ate it all and I'd do it again. In fact, I think I might smuggle some lox out of the dining hall beneath my hat. Today, I begin the arduous process of lox-proofing my baseball cap.

Stroke of Genius

They say you can become a "genius" at anything merely by practicing for 10,000 hours. Terry Teachout disagrees. Me too. Otherwise, I'd currently be a genius at sleeping, when in fact I am hardly above average.

Up in the Air

This being the holiday season, when people fly hundreds of miles to see people they ordinarily wouldn't cross the street to shake hands with, it's fitting that the Daily Beast ranks the best big airports in America.

I fly less frequently than a one-winged ostrich with weight problems, but I've been through a couple of these 'ports: Cincinnati (#3), Los Angeles (#4), Salt Lake City (#6), Charlotte (#8), Houston (#9), Washington (#10), LaGuardia (#19), Philadelphia (#22), Atlanta (#24), and Newark (dead last at #27).

My strongest memory of any of these places is LAX, only because there was a bird loose in the terminal. I felt sorry for it. Being sucked into a jet engine is probably a better fate than getting stuck in the rafters of a Cinnabon.

And yes, Newark richly deserves its ranking. I've never passed through that airport without getting the chance to study its utilitarian decor at great, great length. As in "several hours length." Once I nearly had to overnight in Newark when my connection was running late. On my list of ideal places to spend the evening, the city of Newark trails somewhat behind that planet in the movie Perfect Dark.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Knock, knock.

Who's there?


Will who?

Will Schultz, who accidentally locked himself out of his room on a Saturday morning and is now standing outside the door in his slipper and underwear.

Ha! Sucker!

The Cheat

How do cheaters cheat? They contact people like Ed Dante. I never realized how big the cheating industry was, nor how powerful a force for evil Google can be.

Rock On

Monday night and nothing to do. You know what this means: "The Thirteen Greatest Movie Performances by Boulders"!

Watching the clip from The NeverEndign Story reminds me how weird that film was. I mean, I'm all for letting your imagination run free, but there is a difference between letting it run free and letting it leap off the Cliffs of Insanity.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fired Up, Ready to Go

I have a horrible fear of burning to death in bed due to a malfunctioning smoke alarm. It'd be a pretty bad way to go, right? First, burning to death would be painful. Second, it would hurt a lot. Third, did I mention it would be rather unpleasant to have your internal organs turned to charcoal briquettes? Fourth, the investigators would find your corpse, still in bed, and assume "Here's an asshole who was too damn lazy to get up even when he was on fire. Good riddance."

Thankfully, last night I learned there is little-to-no danger of sleeping through a Graduate College fire alarm. I learned this because I was asleep when the fire alarm went off. The GC had sent out an e-mail announcing that the fire alarms would be tested between 5 and 11 PM. Stupidly, I assumed the test would come early in the day.

You know what they say about assumptions. But at least I'm not going to roast to death. Rip van Winkle couldn't sleep through a fire alarm of that magnitude. It sounded like a million vuvuzela-wielding South Africans had decided to celebrate a World Cup victory by invading my ear canal. Yeesh.

Whiter Than White

I have always considered myself one of the whitest people imaginable. I don't mean anything racial by that, though it is worth nothing that my sun-starved skin is approximately the same color as Colgate toothpaste. No, I mean in terms of taste. I had thought myself to be the ne plus ultra of blandly radical mainstream culture.

But am I really? Let's go to the experts. I checked out the comprehensive list of "Stuff White People Like"--currently at 134 items--to see how many I actually do like. The results were very revealing. I liked the following:

Assists, Farmer's Markets, Wes Anderson Movies, Gifted Children, David Sedaris, Manhattan, Marathons, Breakfast Places, Arrested Development, Netflix, Sushi, Plays, The Sunday New York Times, Whole Foods, Irony, Apologies, Juno, Expensive Sandwiches, Standing Still at Concerts, Oscar Parties, Bottles of Water, Musical Comedy, Graduate School, T-Shirts, The Wire, Dinner Parties, San Francisco, The Ivy League, Grammar, Bumper Stickers, Sweaters, Facebook, The Onion, Hummus, America, Promising to Learn a New Language, Conan O'Brien, The TED Conference.

Whew! For those counting, that makes 40 out of 134, or a paltry 29.85%. I'm much further behind than I thought. Think of all the culturally acceptable things I have yet to like. Pea coats. Michel Gondry. Yoga. The Idea of soccer.

Worse yet, I've actually tried some of these things and found that not only do I not like them--I actively despise them. Camping. Frisbee sports. Tea. Traveling. Halloween.* My cultural stock is sinking lower and lower.

I need an intervention. Today, I vow to live life to its blandest by mashing together as many SWPL-approved activities as possible. Time to go snowboarding with my gay friend while wearing a vintage scarf and Ray-Ban wayfarers after having a difficult break-up with the Asian girlfriend I met at an ugly sweater party during my year off. Afterwords, we'll drink wine at a microbrewery in a gentrified neighborhood and talk about how our parents made high school miserable for us.

*Yes, one year removed from Chapel Hill, I can finally reveal the horrible truth: I hate Halloween. It's my least favorite major holiday. Not even a classic movie like The Nightmare Before Christmas can overcome its flaws. Thanksgiving has turkey, Christmas has Christmas cookies. What does Halloween have? Goddamn Smarties.

Regular Joe

My favorite Onion headline is, has been, and always will be "Shirtless Biden Washes Trans Am in White House Driveway."* Little did I realize that the Onion would turn Joe Biden into a cottage industry.

*Though "Pacifist Linebacker Dodges NFL Draft" and "Jurisprudence Fetishist Gets Off on Technicality" run a close third and second

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Five Ways to Class Up Your Hot Pocket

Drain out the meaty-cheesy filling and replace it with foie gras

Instead of microwaving the Hot Pocket, saute it in butter with a side of onions

Make sure to eat it with your Hot Pocket fork, not your dessert fork

Spend several thousand dollars to send your Hot Pocket to finishing school

At least wear a shirt when you eat it, for God's sake

It's A Happening

Remember M. Night Shyamalan? He once made spine-tingling blood-chingling thrillers like The Sixth Sense. Now, he directs hilarious send-ups of the thriller genre, laugh fests like Lady in the Water and The Happening. Wait, you mean they aren't spoofs? You mean he's serious? Oh, man. This is bad...

Yes, I know this is not exactly timely. But I think all directors--and all film critics--should be required to read this review, on pain of death.

Fun Zombie Action

If you asked me, "Will, if you had to pick four historical figures to combat a ravenous horde of the living dead," I probably would not have picked Kennedy, Nixon, Castro, and McNamara. This, presumably, is why I am not a highly-paid video game designer.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Wall

You know how news anchors love to use interactive displays on election night? You've seen them--big, video-game-style screens, where one touch can turn a state from blue to purple to red.

Ever wonder what happens when they go wrong? When the anchor paws helplessly at a graphic of Michigan, only to find the screen has gone dead? Wonder no more. Sounds like John King needs a hug.