Barkhad Abdi. The Oscar nominations were announced yesterday and among the world-class thespians and films who were singled out for their industry's highest honor (including Academy favorite The Wolf of Wall Street which received a handful of major nominations despite my pointing out last week what a piece of crap it is) was Mr. Abdi for playing a Somalian pirate in Captain Phillips. Mr. Abdi had not only never acted before getting the plum role in Captain Phillips, he had never had any aspirations of acting and was employed as a limousine driver until fate landed him in his Academy-vaunted position. When I saw Captain Phillips, he struck me as being well cast but not making any memorable contribution to the art of acting and I was frankly taken aback when his name appeared on honor roll after honor roll of year-end film awards. But because an actor is well cast doesn't mean that he's an especially accomplished actor and I suspect that Mr. Abdi 's career will play out like that of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, a Cambodian victim of the brutal Khmer Rouge who won an Oscar for his performance as a Cambodian victim of the brutal Khmer Rouge in The Killing Fields and went on to act in a handful of TV shows and low budget movies because there weren't that many plum parts of a Cambodian victim of the brutal Khmer Rouge being greenlighted by the studios in other big budget films. Unless Disney is considering a reboot of the Captain Jack Sparrow character called Pirates of the Horn of Africa I suspect that Mr. Abdi's career will follow the same lines and that thirty years from now we'll find him a limousine driver who occasionally gets auditions to play a Somalian pirate on a TV show or low budget movie. Maybe he'll take some acting lessons and expand his range to playing a Cambodian victim of the brutal Khmer Rouge. Ever since Dr. Ngor passed away, that's a role that movie makers have had a bitch of a time casting.
My reemerging nemesis Dan E. Campbell. In an online conversation about the Oscar nominations, Mr. Campbell got his Old Man on by wailing "I just remember Nathan Lane and Kristen Chenoweth on the Tonys acting all bitchy cuz they weren't nominated and trying to pass it off as humor. You are living the life most actors merely dream of, so STFU. Yeah, I'm talking apples and oranges. Sue me. I guess the bottom line is these shows used to be all about class and graciousness. No more." While I'm sure Mr. Campbell likes to recollect how back in his day everything was cotillions and mint juleps (conveniently blocking out the memory of who was actually picking the cotton), my recollection of the Oscars of old was just a sour grape-flavored as today, with Bob Hope opening the telecast with "Welcome to the Academy Awards, or as it's known in my house, Passover"and Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas performing a novelty song called "It's Great Not to Be Nominated"in which they disparaged the nominees that was so popular that they revived it for a couple of years and then passed it off to some female performers who bombed horribly with it because by then it was too close to the bone. In fact the only reason the old days seemed remotely more civilized because back then, there wasn't even a possibility that Dan E. Campbell could be nominated for an Oscar. Trust me, if that ever happens Nathan Lane and Kristen Chenoweth will be so pissed off that they'll choke on their mint juleps.
Medicare which, according to a report from CBS News, paid $172 million over a five year period for penis pumps for its subscribers. The report seemed outraged at the sum, stating that the $172 million sum paid between 2006 and 2011 was "about twice as much as the consumer would have paid at the retail level." I share the article's indignation, not because I'm angry that the government is wasting precious public funds on something as trivial as penis pumps, but because apparently they've found penis pumps that actually make something happen down south and I want in. I have a personal collection of over 300 such devices and for all the sucking, pulling, and prodding they've done to my wang over the years, I've yet to experience any noticeable additional plumpage. Yearly claims for these government-issue penis pumps nearly doubled from $20.6 million in 2006 to $38.6 million in 2011, making me think that Uncle Sam has found a supplier who's capable of making those of us with floppy disks real men again. I'm not asking to suck on the government teat; I'm perfectly happy to pay for my own high-end penis pump if they're willing to disclose the manufacturer because I'm a great believer that you get what you pay for. I bought one of those $600 hammers that the army got in trouble for requisitioning years ago and nothing is more effective at taking out my frustrations on my penis pumps when they don't work.
Martin Luther King, Jr. , whose birth we celebrate with a 3-day weekend coming up. This listing isn't really about Dr. King, a great man whose memory deserves to be honored and whose birth took place neatly so we could have one last holiday to ease us out of the cushion of Christmas and New Years. But then we head into the holiday abyss that isn't broken until the distant glimmer of Memorial Day in May. So I'm looking for somebody who was born in March or April whose birthday we can make a national holiday. The obvious answer is Thomas Jefferson but I don't think the Feds will go for that since we already have Presidents Day. Then I considered Vincent Van Gogh on March 30th as Artists Day, but then I thought about the celebrations that would be introduced on that day and the idea of having to eat a pig's ear at a barbeque isn't that appealing. I finally decided on Wayne Newton's birthday on April 3rd because it's a great excuse for a 3-day getaway to Vegas and the idea of shopping for presents while Danke Schoen plays over the mall loudspeaker has a certain zing to it. Write your Congressman today to have Wayne Newton's birthday turned into a national holiday because I'm tired of using up all my sick days in April.
My number 1 enemy of 2013 Jesse Merlin, who gets off to a strong start in 2014 with an appearance as infamous kneecap breaker Jeff Gillooly in the rock opera Tonya & Nancy, a musicalization of the scandal in which low-life Olympic figure skater Tanya Harding had her husband Mr. Gillooly attack rival Nancy Kerrigan to take her out of competition. I had a hard time picturing the sophisticated Mr. Merlin as the rough and redneck Mr. Gillooly until I saw the latter's résumé after serving time in prison following the attack: he declared bankruptcy, has been sued nearly a dozen times, and is currently on his third marriage. In short, Mr. Gillooly's life is as much of a train wreck as is Mr. Merlin's and I can't think of anyone more disturbingly well-equipped to impersonate him. Mr. Merlin is going to have to make some adjustments in order to persuasively play a kneecap crusher, though. His only experience up to now has been breaking my balls.To purchase tickets, click here.