* The stock markets are back to 1997 levels. I want to take every one of those pro-investing pamphlets my Grandpa shoved down my throat, crumple them up and throw them back in his face. Early bird catches the worm, my butt.
* Thanks to the Worst Economy in the History of Mankind™, more people are working seven days a week. I hope this article escapes the notice of the NBC bosses. By posting it in this blog, I’ve probably damned myself and everyone I work with. Sorry, coworker buddies.
* For when everyone on planet Earth gets fired later this year, bear this in mind: Your online reputation will haunt your career. Given how much incriminating stuff is in this blog, I’ll be lucky if any hospital will even treat me.
* Time Magazine tackles the phenomenon of adults moving back in with Mom and Dad. If God wanted us to move back in with our parents, He wouldn’t have invented guns and the ability for us to point them at our own heads.
* Random List: 11 ways to botch a workout. (#6 – Take a hostage.)
* Men process beauty with the right side of their brains while women use their whole brains. See, ladies? This is why we instituted the glass ceiling. You’re smarter than us, and you’re inevitably going to take over. We’re just clinging to power until you relegate us to eye candy.
* A San Francisco lawmaker wants to legalize marijuana to generate enough cash to fill California’s budget gap. This is great news for all my underachieving high school classmates looking for more excuses to continue their hollow lives of mediocrity.
* Anger and other strong emotions can trigger potentially deadly heart rhythms. Man, if that were true, I’d be long dead. Unless this proves the popular theory about me not having a heart. I’m sure that’s it. (Kicks a puppy.)
* Americans watched more TV than ever to close out last year. None of them were watching NBC, obviously.
* Is Blu-Ray worth it? Not sure. Still too rich for my blood. I need to upgrade lots of items in my apartment. This economy isn’t helping, though. I keep dumping money into the stock market, which is like shoveling coal into a fire at this point.
* There is an Apostrophe Protection Society. I cant believe it.
* I bet you were sitting around this morning, wishing there were a ringtone that would make your breasts bigger. Today is your lucky day.
* Sorry Tom. You do not bury plane crash survivors in the ground. Heather has it right. Wanna try again? A rooster lays an egg atop a barn in North Dakota. Will it roll off to the East or the West?
* TV news anchors are filling our empty lives with their Twitter updates. I refuse to use the word “tweets.” (Previously: I’m on Twitter.)
* And now, my Oscar not-quite-live blog…
0:00 – Starting with a jazzy version of the “Lawrence of Arabia” theme. Eek.
0:03 – Digging the homemade opening song props.
0:05 – By the time we’ve hit the “Benjamin Button” props, I’m over them.
0:05 – Hugh Jackman picks up Anne Hathaway. I envy him.
0:07 – Yes. Make fun of the fact that no one has seen “The Reader.” I approve.
0:08 – Well, Jackman sings better than Billy Crystal. I’ll give him that.
0:09 – Mickey Rourke has a silver tooth. Wha?
0:10 – And the always awkward “joke falls flat but cut to star anyway” moment.
0:12 – A montage of past winners is nice. You know what would be nicer? Seeing this year’s winners. Get on with it!
0:13 – Yikes. The past supporting actress winners have not aged well. Tilda Swinton is wearing the most conservative toga ever. Also, she looks like David Bowie. Goldie Hawn continues to look like a melted candle.
0:14 – So we don’t get to see movie clips for the nominees? We get someone describing their performance? This is gonna be a long night.
0:16 – Cut away from Goldie Hawn. CUT AWAY! (When describing Taraji P Henson’s performance, she uses the word “ageless,” a term that does not apply to Old Lady Laugh-In.)
0:17 – Penelope Cruz wins. You know what I never heard during 2008? “Man, I loved ‘Vicki Christina Barcelona.'” Woody Allen is very hit-or-miss for me.
0:19 – Some random guy starts screaming in the audience. Did someone let Roberto Benigni in this year?
0:20 – Wow, my Spanish minor is officially useless. I caught like three words when Penelope shifted into Español.
0:22 – I am just HATING the cheezy jazz arrangements of the orchestra. Makes the whole event feel like a corny nightclub.
0:23 – Tina Fey and Steve Martin. Happiness. My first laugh of the night. And a bonus Scientology dig. Good stuff, guys. And we finally get to see some nominee clips. This is how the Oscars should be.
0:27 – Pretty early for screenplay awards to be dished out. “WALL-E” loses, predictably. Not a lot of words, but it’s still an amazing film. My favorite of 2008.
0:31 – The screenplay winners usually give us a window to Best Picture, so I’m surprised they’re giving them out at the half-hour mark. This is the beginning of the big “Slumdog” run.
0:35 – Could the music for this animation montage be any more annoying? Sounds like a video game trapped at a rave. We’ve officially seen more of “Space Chimps” than any nominated film during the ceremony.
0:37 – Hooray for “WALL-E” as best animated feature. Truly deserved. If you have not seen it yet, you must.
0:40 – Foreign guy wins best animated short. Gives a shout out to Styx. That was weird.
0:46 – Sarah Jessica Parker shares her heaving bosom. Thank you, SJP. Thank you.
0:50 – Do we really need the jazz Muzak in the background as the nominees are read? I love jazz, but it seems totally incongruous to what’s happening on the screen.
0:54 – “Benjamin Button” wins for best makeup. Haven’t seen the flick, but I wonder how much of that is makeup and how much is digital effects.
1:00 – Now we get the real “Lawrence of Arabia” theme. See how much better that sounds?
1:01 – Ben Stiller as Joaquin Phoenix: Funny. Natalie Portman: Gorgeous. I want a TV channel that shows nothing but this kind of thing 24/7.
1:03 – Portman: “You look like you work at a Hasidic meth lab.” Score.
1:03 – The crowd is laughing, but we don’t see what they’re laughing at. Bad direction. Okay, Ben Stiller roaming. Good stuff.
1:05 – The “Slumdog” cinematographer seems to be making inside jokes that no one else gets. Also, he’s way too relaxed for having won an Oscar. Be excited or get off, jerk.
1:08 – The gorgeous Jessica Biel appears to have a tablecloth stapled to the front of her dress. It makes it hard to see your curves behind that enormous roll of fabric, dear.
1:14 – “Pineapple Express” guys laughing at serious movies is fun. Probably more fun than “Pineapple Express.”
1:17 – James Franco mangles some foreign guy’s name. He is the winner of live action short. He’s wearing all black. And he reminds me of Dieter from “Sprockets.”
1:22 – Our second “Sister Act” joke of the night. My attention wanes.
1:23 – This weird dance number is making me angry, but the sight of Beyonce is making things better. Why is she lip synching while Jackman is singing live?
1:25 – Ugh. Can we stop this musical number? This is a mess.
1:26 – A DRUMLINE? End this. End it now.
1:27 – Mercifully, Hugh Jackman’s Musical Gaystravaganza has come to a close. That was… unpleasant.
1:33 – Please let Walken get nuts. Please let Walken get nuts. Please let Walken get nuts.
1:35 – I’m wondering if Cuba Gooding, Jr. is referring to himself when he says, “The brothers need to work.” Hanes commercials don’t count, Cuba?
1:38 – Heath Ledger wins best supporting actor. Well-deserved. Drives me nuts that they’re not following Oscar tradition by playing the movie’s theme song for the winner. Instead, we get this goofy conga number.
1:42 – The documentary montage is the first interesting one of the night. How nice it is to hear from actual filmmakers.
1:43 – Man, I hate Bill Maher. He’s not funny, he’s just an ass. He plugs his own project, then says something offensive, then tells everyone else what to think. (Now that I think about it, that’s kind of the blog formula. But I dare say I’m funnier.)
1:46 – The “Man on Wire” guy gives us an acceptance speech AND a magic trick! And then he balances the Oscar upside down on his chin! Pay attention, future winners.
1:54 – The action movie montage is more fun than any of the movies contained therein (“Dark Knight” excepted.) I am downloading the accompanying song to register my approval. (It’s The Hives’ “Tick Tick Boom” in case you care.)
Because I enjoyed it so much, I will watch it again. Well played, Oscar.
1:58 – As the visual effects guys accept their award for “Benjamin Button,” I wonder if effects artists from 20 years ago are looking at their Oscars and thinking how feeble their work was, compared to all this digital wizardy.
1:58 – Will Smith throws out a “Boom goes the dynamite!” How. Frickin’. Cool.
1:59 – “WALL-E” loses sound editing. Yow. Considering that 99% of that film is an entire language of sound effects, I am kinda stunned. But “The Dark Knight” wins, so the sting is lessened.
2:00 – How is sound mixing different from sound editing?
2:01 – Whatever it is, “Slumdog” wins the Oscar. Again, I’m kinda stunned. The sound guys had to create everything for “WALL-E.”
2:06 – “Slumdog” wins yet another, this time for film editing. I knew “The Dark Knight” wouldn’t win this one. I was totally lost during the final battle up the Trump Tower.
2:12 – Jerry Lewis wins the lifetime Oscar. Was everyone else dead?
2:16 – Jerry gives one of the most mercifully short lifetime achievement speeches ever. Most of those last at least as long as the person’s career.
2:23 – The best score nominees appear to be a sleepy batch this year. All slow and delicate.
2:24 – Alicia Keys looks incredible.
2:26 – Overcome by annoyance, I nearly fast-forward through the first “Slumdog” Song.
2:27 – John Legend sings “Down to the Ground” from “WALL-E.” It’s clear hear he doesn’t really know how the song goes. Peter Gabriel declined to perform, saying that a 1:00 excerpt wasn’t enough. But that first “Slumdog” song couldn’t have lasted any longer.
2:29 – Okay, I’m really fast-forwarding through the second “Slumdog” song.
2:36 – I would like to have Liam Neeson narrate my life. I’ve always wanted to have one of those narrator-y voices. Other quality voices: Patrick Stewart, James Earl Jones and David McCullough.
2:41 – How awkward to have Queen Latifah singing live during the “In Memoriam” montage…
2:45 – Paul Newman: Overrated.
2:48 – What the heck is Reese Witherspoon wearing? It looks like seven dresses fighting each other.
2:51 – Danny Boyle wins Best Director. And he jumps. Jumping will get you prominent placement in future Oscar winner montages. I wonder why they’re doing director here. It’s usually a dead giveaway for Best Picture. We still have actor and actress to go.
2:57 – Seeing Anne Hathaway smile so big makes me feel lightheaded. But what’s with the Shirley MacLaine pep talk? Anne knows she’s awesome. She’s an Oscar nominee. She doesn’t need the Stuart Smalley routine.
3:01 – Can we have MORE foreign people stumbling their way through the teleprompter during the presentations?
3:03 – Seeing Kate Winslet win makes me remember her guest spot on “Extras.”
3:06 – What is with the super corny “Magnificent Seven” theme remix? The music this year has been abysmal.
3:12 – Anthony Hopkins. Yeah. Another good narrator voice.
3:13 – Sean Penn wins best actor. I figured this would go to Mickey Rourke based on all the hype.
3:16 – No one has been played off the stage this year. Great restraint by the orchestra or speedy speeches? Maybe both.
3:21 – How nice to see actual clips of the nominated movies. Now I feel compelled to see some.
3:23 – “Slumdog Millionaire” wins the Best Picture Oscar. This feels like an off year. When you think back on the greatest films of your lifetime, no one cites “The English Patient” or “Shakespeare in Love” or “The Last Emperor.”
Well, that’s it. Ultimately, a pretty forgettable night. Heath Ledger stands out. Other than that, I don’t think we’ll remember the ’09 Oscars a year from now.