Oscar's Crystal Ball

The Academy Awards, which take place this Sunday. As many of you know, I am obsessed with the Oscars and take great pride in being able to predict the winners (I even make it a point to see all the nominated short subjects and documentaries), which only recently occurred to me only means that I'm adept at anticipating other people's taste since I am not a voting member of the Academy and never will be until the temperature in Hell drops to 32. Nonetheless, the Oscars have been a big part of my life since my earliest childhood and this year seems to be the widest-open race in recent memory, with American Hustle, Gravity and 12 Years as a Slave having a legitimate chance at the top prize. A number of films that appeared to be sure things in their categories have lost momentum and are now question marks. Cate Blanchett, for instance, appeared to be a lock for Best Actress in Blue Jasmine until Woody Allen's estranged daughter Dylan dragged Ms. Blancchett's name into a controversy when she wrote a letter published in the New York Times bringing up old (and from everything I've read, totally unfounded) charges of child molestation against him, possibly losing Ms. Blanchett some votes to Sandra Bullock in Gravity. Gravity and The Great Gatsby seemed to be runaway winners for Editing and Costume Design, respectively, until the guilds for those fields voted their awards (often a precursor to who Oscar picks) to Captain Phillips and 12 Years a Slave instead. In other words, being able to predict who wins the Oscars is simply a matter of looking at what films won awards that one group decided on and then assume that a different group (made up of many of the same people) will decide the same thing. It's all pretty silly when you stop to think about it (I thought the best movie of the year was Her, and that doesn't have a chance of winning), but the only reason I even watch is to see what everyone is wearing. I still like dragging out my crystal ball to predict who will win though. Otherwise, I watched all those short subjects and documentaries for nothing. Click here for Jonny's Oscar presictions.

Deborah Gates, who supported me as Ophelia to my legendary Hamlet and as Kate to my Vincentio in Taming of the Shrew (it's rare to say that Kate, the leading female role in the play, "supported" Vincentio, a small role that comes on at the end of the story, but such is the brightness of my star power). I posted a couple of photographs of the production on Ms. Gates' Facebook wall and she reminisced that she had designed costumes for the shows in addition to playing the demanding role. I shall never forget Ms. Gates' superlative acting (her intense Ophelia particularly continues to live in my memory) but I wonder if the productions might have been improved if she hadn't contributed the costumes. Hamlet especially, since I weighed 112 lbs. soaking wet at the time and had the same hideously misshapen genitalia that I sport today. I can think of few things more tragic than the sight of me strutting onto the stage buck naked and carrying a plastic skull to rant and rave about the essence of life and death in iambic pentameter. If the audience heard me giving the famous "To Be or Not To Be" speech in which Hamlet ponders whether it is better to live or die, all the while seeing the deformed junk that I carry around between my thighs, it would have brought a whole new dimension to the speech. Granted, the crowd would have inevitably fixed on "not to be" as a better choice in my case and rushed the stage to murder me, but it might have resulted in a few good reviews for my performance. And that's what an actor lives for.

Jeebus Burbano, who announced "Our downstairs neighbor emailed me to let me know we have no right to write a musical in our apartment. He removed the ceiling insulation up to the ducts. He is loud and obnoxious. I know WAY too much about his sex life. I'm thinking of taking up tap dancing." I live on the second story of a three story building so I'm going to impart some wisdom to Ms. Burbano's downstairs neighbor that he apparently hasn't learned yet: If your home is on a floor beneath a noisy person over you, you are screwed. And the worst way to deal with your screwing is to antagonize your upstairs neighbor into keeping quiet, because she will respond by taking delight in making as much noise to annoy you as possible. What Mr. Downstairs should be doing is having wine and chocolate delivered to Mr. Burbano's door, adding a side note that if she could possibly be a teensy-weensy bit more quiet, it could only help their growing friendship. Because the only way this dude has a prayer to make any headway in his cause is if she likes him. If she doesn't like him (and he seems to be doing everything in his power to make that happen), she's going to get in touch with her Latin heritage by ripping out her shag carpeting and taking up Flamenco dancing at 3:00 a.m. It will not only add to her delight at making his life miserable, but it will take care of her problem of hearing the grunts and groans of his sex life because nobody is going to want to fuck him with a performance of Stomp! going on over their heads.

Bro Joe who called upon the covenant of family members to come to each other's rescue on Sunday when he dropped the remote control clicker for his automobile in the toilet and was unable to disengage its elaborate security system. This meant that I was called into service to pick him up, drive him back to his house to retrieve the back-up clicker he had purchased for such toilet mishaps, and then return to make things right with his 1968 Mitsubishi clown car. It all went perfectly except that when we got to the car with the back-up clicker, the thing didn't work because he had never programmed it and had used the instructions as bathroom tissue when he was embroiled in an earlier toilet mishap which I will not ruin your morning with the details of here. That meant that I stood in a hot parking lot for 45 minutes while Joe tried to find the instructions for how to program a 1968 Mitsubishi clown car back-up clicker on his iPhone. He finally gave up and called the auto club, who were there in five minutes and immediately disengaged the security system (which turned out to be an old rubber band wrapped around the starter) so that Joe could start the car without the clicker and drive home. It occurred to me that if he had done that in the first place I wouldn't have had to spend most of my Sunday dealing with it, but then I wouldn't have had the honor of fulfilling the covenant of family members to come to each other's rescue. I'm planning to spend next Sunday on geneology.com in the hopes of finding out if either Joe or I are adopted. God, I hope so.

My nemesis Misty LaRue, who left her hellhound Violet with me to take care of while she was at a clinic having a mysterious rash looked at. Violet was a reasonably good guest, seeing as she spent most of her time with me sleeping, peeing on my already pee-saturated carpets, and turning my beloved pug Winston's chew toys into gnawed up tufts of asbestos. The only time Violet's stay with us was problematic was walk-time, when I discovered that for some inexplicable reason as soon as she had a leash attached to her and was taken outside, she turned into the Tasmanian Devil from the old Warner Brothers cartoons. It didn't matter which way I wanted to go, she went hysterically in 5,000 opposite directions. But what was truly alarming was that I discovered that Winston has a fetish for insane chicks, since while I was trying to restrain her from pulling us in a labyrinth of chaotic routes, I was trying to restrain Winston from desperately mounting her and pounding away at her sweet backside with his useless stub of a penis. It would have driven me to despair if it wasn't so goddamned funny, so I did what any normal person would do in the same circumstances: I took a picture of the fiasco and posted it on my Facebook page. This was where the trouble started, because when Ms. LaRue returned (after being given a clean bill of health when the clinic assured her that the rough area wasn't an STD but some peanut butter she had carelessly spilled in her lap while watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians) and saw my post, she angrily retorted "take a look at the photo I used on my profile page after I dog sat his dog, Winston, for a few days vs. the one that Jon used on his profile page after he dog sat Violet. OY!" She attached a photo of Violet and Winston sitting angelically in her living room next to my photo of their doing the nasty in my back alley to depict my perversion, but I think her photo looks like a couple of horny kids trapped in a repressive religious school trying desperately to ignore the fact that the only thing they can think of is fucking each other. My photo is the ecstatic manifestation of that forbidden fantasy into blissful reality, and I have no doubt that Winston and Violet had a better time living out their disgusting perversions at my place than they did having The Torah read to them at Ms. LaRue's. "OY" that!