Bedtime Conversation With Myself

Chelsea 1: I am sooooo tired.

Chelsea 2: I know, right? Better get to sleep early if you want to go for a walk in the morning before it gets too hot. (Turns on white noise machine.)

Chelsea 1: Let’s check tomorrow’s temperature. Oooh. Seventy by 8 a.m. You might want to get some tweezing out of the way now.

Chelsea 2: Good idea. (Turns on lighted makeup mirror.)

Chelsea 1: Nasty cut there. Eyebrow razors aren’t as great an idea as they sound. Hey, whatever happened to that slashed model, what’s her name?

Chelsea 2: I’ll Google.

Chelsea 1: That’s OK. I remember. Marla Hanson. Wonder what she looks like now.

Chelsea 2: I’m on it!

Chelsea 1: Never mind. I’m tired.

Chelsea 2: Yo. Check it.

Chelsea 1: Aw, jeez. I didn’t want to see her after the attack. That’s terrible! I just want to know how she looks now.

Chelsea 2: You know? You’ve never heard a Pussy Riot song.

Chelsea 1: And?

Chelsea 2: Doncha wanna?

Chelsea 1: No! Yes… In the morning.

Chelsea 2: You won’t remember.

Chelsea 1: You’ve got me there.

Chelsea 2: YouTube!

Chelsea 1: I told you: I’m tired. Remember what happened last night. And the night before. And… hey, they’re good! I like a radical who can carry a tune. Whatever became of Abbie Hoffman’s kid, anyway?

Chelsea 2: Way ahead of you. According to Goog…

Chelsea 1: As long as we’re this awake, we might as well check Facebook notifications.

Chelsea 2: Facebook? I’m intrigued!

Chelsea 1: Figured you would be. Check email one more time, too, while you’re at it.

Chelsea 2: Chelsea?

Chelsea 1: Hm?

Chelsea 2: I don’t think I can fall asleep now.

Chelsea 1: It’s this bed. You need a divan. Or a daybed.

Chelsea 2: What’s the difference? Yeah, I know: Google.

Chelsea 1: Shh! Hold it. What’s that racket? Sounds like someone yelling outside.

Chelsea 2: Uh-oh. Could be a slasher. Quiet, while I turn off the white noise machine.

Chelsea 1: (Whispering) Let’s submit this tomorrow.

Chelsea 2: (Mocking whisper) We don’t have an ending.

Chelsea 1: Sleep on it.

Chelsea 2: I can’t sleep.

Chelsea 1: Find an ASMR video on YouTube.

Chelsea 2: Have they quit yelling?

Chelsea 1: I don’t know. Listen harder. Want a snack?

Chelsea 2: Snack, you say?

Making a Murderer’s Dean Strang and Jerry Buting Go to Pizza Hut

AMBER: Hi folks. My name’s Amber and I’ll be your server tonight.

MR. STRANG: Could you please spell your name for the record?

AMBER: A-m-b-e-r.

MR. STRANG: Thank you Amber. My friend Jerry and I would like to order the Grilled Chicken Rustico Pizza and one large Diet Pepsi, two straws.

AMBER: Oven’s broken.

MR. STRANG: Can you repeat that?

AMBER: Oven’s broken.

MR. STRANG: The pizza oven?

AMBER: That’s correct.

MR. STRANG: The pizza oven that is used to make the pizzas is broken?


MR. STRANG: Here at Pizza Hut?

AMBER: That’s correct.

MR. STRANG: And so because of the oven not being in service, you won’t be serving pizzas at all tonight?

AMBER: No, sorry no pizzas tonight.

MR. STRANG: That seems somewhat odd, doesn’t it — especially at a place called Pizza Hut?

AMBER: It happens.

MR. STRANG: It happens.

AMBER: It happens.

MR. STRANG: How long have you been working at Pizza Hut?

AMBER: Two years.

MR. STRANG: At this location here in Madison?


MR. STRANG: And other than today, in those two years has the pizza oven ever been out of service?

AMBER: Not that I know of.

MR. STRANG: Not that you know of. But you said “it happens,” did you not? Just a minute ago?

AMBER: Yeah.

MR. STRANG: So when you say that “it happens” you just mean that it could happen, not that it has happened?

AMBER: I guess, yeah.

MR. STRANG: You have many pizzas on your menu, correct?

AMBER: Correct.

MR. STRANG: Six or seven, something like that?

AMBER: Something like that.

MR. STRANG: It says on the menu here that you serve eight different pizzas.

AMBER: Yeah, eight pizzas, that’s right.

MR. STRANG: Eight pizzas. And you advertise these pizzas, correct?

AMBER: Yes we do.

MR. STRANG: On flyers and billboards, that sort of thing?


MR. STRANG: This restaurant is called “Pizza Hut,” correct?

AMBER: Correct.

MR. STRANG: So it would be reasonable to assume that people come to Pizza Hut for the pizza. Wouldn’t it?

AMBER: I suppose so.

MR. BUTING slides a coupon over to Amber.

MR. BUTING: Can you read this coupon for out loud please?

AMBER: “Enjoy a free pizza on the house at Pizza Hut.”

MR. BUTING: Enjoy a free pizza.

AMBER: Yes, that’s what it says.

MR. BUTING: That’s a coupon for a free pizza, right?


MR. BUTING: You’ve seen these before, right?

AMBER: All the time.

MR. BUTING: All the time. And when people give you those coupons, you give them a free pizza. Am I right in saying that?

AMBER: Not if the coupon’s expired.

MR. BUTING: Can you read the expiry date on the back of the coupon?

AMBER: March 31, 2019.

MR. BUTING: And what’s today’s date?

AMBER: January 18, 2016.

MR. BUTING: So can my friend Dean and I have a free pizza? “On the house”?

AMBER: No sir, I’m sorry but pizza’s unavailable tonight.

MR. BUTING: No pizza. No pizza for me and Dean.

AMBER: I’m sorry.

MR. BUTING: We planned this dinner months in advance.

AMBER: I’m very sorry.

MR. BUTING: Is there something else on the menu that you recommend?

AMBER: Tuscani Chicken Alfredo’s good.

MR. BUTING: Tuscani Chicken Alfredo?


MR. BUTING: Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s some kind of pasta is it not?

AMBER: Yes it’s a pasta with chicken and alfredo sauce.

MR. BUTING: Not a pizza.

AMBER: No, it’s not a pizza.

MR. BUTING: And this coupon is for pizza, isn’t it?

AMBER: We can honor the pizza coupon for the Tuscani Chicken Alfredo.

MR. BUTING: Really?

AMBER: Yeah, that shouldn’t be a problem.

MR. BUTING: That shouldn’t be a problem?


MR. BUTING: So our two Tuscani Chicken Alfredos will be free. Right?


MR. BUTING: “On the house.”

AMBER: That’s correct.

MR. STRANG: Tell her Dean wants extra cheese.

MR. BUTING: My friend Dean would like extra cheese on his Tuscani Chicken Alfredo.

AMBER: Extra cheese is $1.50.

MR. STRANG: That’s unconscionable.

MR. BUTING: We’d like to appeal this decision to your manager.

The Year Is 2196 and Science Fiction Is a Thing of the Past

Trumptober 37, 2196

Mr. Wasimov:

I have now read your manuscript, “Saturn Daylight Five,” which I thank you for transmitting my way. While you display a great aptitude for penning compelling characters and natural dialogue, unfortunately I found that the plot of your purported science fiction novel simply is not feasible, inasmuch as every circumstance, major or minor, that presents a challenge to the protagonists can be solved with the most common of modern tools.

In the opening chapter, for example, when your adolescent hero, Fallon Starr, oversleeps and as a result needs to get from his home to his high school in short order so that he won’t miss his final exam in xenomixology, you have him disable the speed governor of his hoverjalopy. I understand that this is to establish early on his facility with hypermotive technology, but it isn’t a believable solution to that particular problem. More likely, Starr would either teleposit directly from his bedroom to his classroom (or, if his family has only one telepositor, from wherever in their home they keep the unit) or use his personal chronograsp to stop time for everyone else. As it happens, I found it necessary to do both of those things this morning, myself, in order to arrive punctually at a mandatory staff meeting. (It wasn’t worth it, between you, me, and my Dictawave.)

Not long after this first instance, Starr is introduced to the romantic interest, Luna Doone. Something tells him that she’s very sad about something, and Starr wonders if maybe Doone has a broken heart. I realize that I’m perhaps being too literal here, but if Starr genuinely believes that this fetching young lady is suffering with a cardiac injury, or any other physical ailment, rather than try to find out about it through the grapevine, he would have put on his X-Ray Speeks, which would have revealed immediately — and audibly — any condition that might have rendered Doone less than ideal as a mate. After all, isn’t that why each of us is issued a pair? To keep the human race alive and well?

The abduction of Fallon’s plucky kid sister, Ruby, by the villainous android-reptile-people of Adrastea is problematic for two reasons:

(1) The kidnapping provides the impetus for Fallon and Luna to venture off-planet to retrieve Ruby, and indeed much of the novel recounts their attempts to find the girl, but why wouldn’t Ruby activate her cerebrocortical loco-signaller at the first sign of danger? As an unemanicipated minor, she would have one. (There is no evidence that the Starrs are technophobes or neo-Amish.)

(2) Ruby’s captors bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the lizard-robot-people of Amalthea, with whom humans have had a mutual non-aggression and non-defamation treaty since 2143.

Much later, when Fallon, Luna, and the nearly-rescued Ruby are surrounded by the angry, advancing hordes of seductive Venusian Flytramps, the trio formulates and executes an elaborate escape plan… but Luna could have used that time to reproduce asexually, repeatedly, providing our heroes with a small army of disposable Luna-clones of their own! For better or worse, you can’t ignore the result of thousands of years of evolution and advances in women’s rights for the sake of fiction.

Finally — and I’m afraid that even if you were able to address all of my other concerns, this one would remain and render the novel unpublishable — why would Fallon bother to struggle to remember his xenomixology lessons in order to concoct a perfect Spiral Arm Swizzle to serve the monarch of Pulsar Prime in the climax of the story when he could have just asked Google for the recipe? Even deep under the surface of that alien sun-world, he would have immediate access to all the information stored in the nebula.

Please believe me, Mr, Wasimov, when I tell you that I admire the work you’ve done here. Regrettably, however, it would seem that the age of science fiction as our forebears knew it is behind us. Nonetheless, I expect that you could easily use your talents to write something formidable in a different genre. (Have you considered penning a Western? There is still much material to be mined from the ongoing exploration and settlement of the farthest reaches of the Milky Way.) Whatever you choose to write next, I hope you will contact me again, telephasically, telepathically, or otherwise.

All Glory to Ggodd,
Chester del Rey-Gunn

Life Hacks from the Literary Deconstructionists

Most known for their philosophical approach to literature, stripping it of meaning due to the inherent instability of language to mean what it says, literary deconstructionists Jacques Derrida, Paul De Man, and their cohorts were also lifestyle experts, their writings littered with tips to help folks organize their closets and perform other household tasks with more efficiency.

Here are some of their best life hacks: 

How to Fold a Fitted Bed Sheet
First, is the sheet king, queen, or twin-size? Observe, then put that information aside. It has no bearing on the proceedings, unless you have an unnaturally long reach. Are you alone? No? Are you sure? How do you know? Put the sheet on the floor. Find an edge. Make one hand a shovel and slide it inside one pocket. Find its partner. Reject the word partner as a pernicious anthropomorphism. True partnerships are impossible as all human relations are a priori unequal. Is the sheet folded yet? Can you trust your phenomenological experience? Look. Your sheet has unfolded itself in a disavowal of your violent hierarchies. Ball it up and hide it at the bottom of your girlfriend’s closet.

How to Prevent a Tea Bag Tag from Falling into Your Cup
True or false: Your apartment is cold. How can you know what cold is? Have you failed to pay your heating bill? Then you probably need to reuse your tea bags. So it would behoove you to keep the tag dry. Here is a method that has proven efficacious, even for Post-Structuralists, well-known to drink weak tea. First, wrap the string around your drinking vessel’s handle. Next, pour tea. Tag remains outside. Bonus tip: When the tea bag dries, you can put it in your roommate’s footwear to absorb the unpleasant odor. Serge’s sneakers have long been olfactorily — and epistemologically — abhorrent.

How to Remove a Splinter from the Palm of Your Hand
Does it hurt? Would it hurt if you were someone tougher? Admit the truth. Now go further to the truth beneath that truth. Can you see it? I’m talking about the splinter. Keep up. Get some Epsom salt. Put it in warm water. Then read this ten-page exegesis on suffering in the works of the Brontë sisters, including the 100-page footnote on the semiotics of pain, both physical and psychological, impossible to grasp in its organic totality when words are mere substitutes for phenomenological experience. Afterwards, look at your hand. Were you soaking it in the Epsom salt while you read? No? By now it’s probably infected. Amputate it. You only think you need it.

How to Make Cleanup Easy at a Barbecue
The premise “hot meat requires a cold condiment exemplifies a pitfall in logic based on binary thinking. A burger without ketchup is still a burger. And yet, eat ketchup for itself and you invite censure. It is the difference between difference and differ’ance. Whence the term “hot dog”? Observe the long pink meat, its phallocentrism. Do you subscribe to the hoary patriarchal and masculinist view of this staple of the American barbecue? Do you have your hot dog with ketchup? Ketchup and mustard? How do you live with yourself? Your psyche may remain stranded on a barren island surrounded by a sea of metalinguistic implications, but to make cleanup easy, use a muffin tin to serve condiments.

How to Tie a Tie to Strangle Your Wife and Get Away with It
Wait till your wife is drunk or asleep. Get that first tie she bought for your birthday, the year your marriage was revealed as merely a pretense, an empty void beneath a blank facade. You know the tie we mean. Place it around her neck, the wide end 12 inches lower than the narrow end. Cross the wide end over the front of the narrow end. Wrap each end around your fists. Pull and tighten until the woman you once claimed to love, though that love was a house of cards built on a foundation of unfeasibility, ceases respiration. Establish a good alibi. Or feign madness. Which shouldn’t be hard. After all, you’re a literary deconstructionist. Aren’t you?

How to Talk About Art

The ability to create art is the primary thing that separates us from animals, not counting elephants who learn to paint. But conversations about art can sometimes be intimidating. How does one discuss art intelligently?

First, ask yourself, “What is art?” Answer: “Pictures of stuff.”

Second, place the artwork in a context. What period does it belong to? There have been numerous movements throughout art history, such as the Renaissance, Cubism, and the one where everything is dots. What was that one called again? You studied it in your ninth grade art class. You had that teacher who let you call her Nat, and she had everyone do dot paintings of gnomes from this dream she had.

Identify the subject matter. Are you looking at a still life? A landscape? A portrait? Is it the kind of art where everyone is naked but unfortunately not attractive by today’s standards? Or the kind that unlocks a centuries-old secret, leading you on a fast-paced thrill ride as you try to stay one step ahead of both the authorities and a sinister religious cabal? Or is it nothing but squares or squiggly lines? The squiggly line kind is called nonobjective art. Resist the urge to say, “My kid could do that.” We’ve all met Bryson, and he’s much more likely to draw a demon with a chainsaw penis or a drifter stabbing a baby in the eye. Please do something about that kid. He keeps saying creepy stuff about how soon everyone will know his name. What does he mean by that?

To understand the meaning of the piece, determine the artist’s attitude towards the subject matter. In Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers series, for instance, how do you think Van Gogh comes down on flowers — are they cool or stupid? Remember, when we ask what a work of art is about, there isn’t merely one correct interpretation. Therefore, all interpretations are equally valid. Insist upon the rightness of your own opinions loudly and often.

When analyzing the formal aspects of a work, start by considering the elements and principles of design. These are line, texture, color, and three or four other ones. You learned those in Nat’s class, too, that time she passed out candy and had you make collages with the wrappers while she went into the supply closet for twenty minutes, and when she came back out she couldn’t stop laughing and eating candy. Nat was so chill. She said you had talent. You heard she’s living at the beach now and has a stand on the boardwalk where she writes people’s names on grains of rice. You wonder if she’d remember you. She was only, what, twenty-one? Twenty-two? Back when you were fifteen — that’s not a big age difference now. What if you ran into her again? Maybe the two of you would hit it off. Maybe if Bryson had a mother figure he’d mellow out and stop cutting up worms.

Note the negative space — this refers to what isn’t in the picture. For example, things that are not in Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People include trees, napkins, throwing stars, a cat wearing sunglasses, a young Alan Alda, etc.

Once you’ve mastered these concepts, you’re ready to show off your art savvy. Take a group of friends or colleagues to wherever some art is — a museum, a gallery, a rich person’s house that you broke into, etc. Point at a painting and go, “Check out the sfumato on that odalisque, amirite?” If the actual artist is present, be sure to mention how you used to do a little sketching but realized you needed to find a real job. This lets them know you could totally do what they do if not for your superior decision-making skills, and they will applaud you.

In conclusion, knowing how to interpret art will enhance your enjoyment and make a positive impression on others. By following these steps, soon you’ll be known as a real art expert, and not just as that guy whose kid did something to that dog.

So, Your Latte Art Looks Like a Dick?

Hello! Welcome to the Latte Art Troubleshooting Hotline, where our flannel-clad, black frame-wearing, asymmetric hairstyle-rocking baristas are feigning interest to assist you in making your latte art represent your individually artistic, spiritual, and contemporarily gentrified needs.

For espresso questions, press 1.

For foam questions, press 2.

For beard net ordering and usage guidelines, press 3.

For androgynous, distressed, thrift store aprons with appliquéd images of indie rock albums, press 4.

For chill vibes, press 0.

This call will not be monitored or recorded because fuck the Man. We live for the moment.

Greetings! My name is Aubrey. Sounds like you’re having trouble with your latte art, right? Just remember that you can’t fight the foam; you have to work with it. What’s your specific challenge?

Your latte art always looks like a dick? OK. My first recommendation is considering the temperature of the milk. Are you starting with a galvanized, ethically sourced metal milk jug that’s been refrigerated two to three hours prior to use? You are? And still always getting a dick? OK.

Next, what type of milk are you using? We recommend sustainable almond milk, which is both lactose and cruelty free. A kind, gentle hugging of the almonds by warm, non-mechanical compression provides the ideal milk — a sensitive media — with which to create the archetypal foam for your art. Oh, you use that? And still get a dick? OK.

Are you rushing the process? How controlled is your pour? Remember to slow it down. Good art can take up to ten minutes. Don’t have the time for that? We recommend you consider aligning your values with your latte art goals. Being more selective in your form of employment may help; consider part-time work or a hiatus from the commercial world to allow you to explore your true latte art potential in your own time. You’ll figure out ways to feed yourself when you discover that hunger is a creative drive. But you’re still describing a dick. OK.

Sometimes, aefingin skapar meistarann. That’s an ancient, likely paleo, non-grain eating, probably vegan Icelandic phrase that roughly translates to “practice makes perfect.” Impeccable latte art requires several attempts. Don’t want to waste espresso? I commend your environmental thriftiness! Consider saving money in different ways, like recycling dog hair to make sweaters and not flushing every time you urinate. You haven’t flushed since last week? That’s great! But still a dick, yes. OK.

What you’re describing to me, besides a very vivid foam dick, seems more like a creative blockage than an equipment or technique issue. My last recommendation is to try to make a dick — the best dick you’ve ever made. Then see what you get. If all else fails, grab this gift by its foamy balls. Become a latte art dick specialist. I might know a café in So-Ho that would be interested in hiring.

Thanks for calling!

Welcome to Adjunct Heaven

Hello there, twenty-something! Your body gave out from a potent mix of grading, cheap wine, and podcast binging. As I speak, your friends and family are crafting a tombstone from your student loan notifications. Yes, your corporeal form may be a withered husk, but fear not, for unlike the doctoral programs you applied to, you have been accepted into adjunct heaven!

Up here, you’ll finally get to live out your wildest fantasies! For example, when you meet someone you both want to sleep with and add on LinkedIn, you can do both without having it be a thing. If the department chair should find out about your canoodling, there will be no consequences. Not only does the chair think you’re an invaluable member of the faculty, but they praise you on a near-constant basis. There’s no need to stutter your way through a request for a letter of recommendation — they’ve already drafted one and put a reminder to send it out in their Google calendar!

Up here, your partner isn’t the only one who supports your decision not to have taken that job offer from Geico. In adjunct heaven, your partner’s father supports your decision to not financially support his little girl. On Earth, you had to endure disappointed looks and off-hand comments about how successful your partner’s college boyfriend is since accepting that hedge fund job right after graduating. Here, not only does her father understand why you received an MA in poetry while working at Best Buy, but he’ll remove the picture of her ex from his desk right after destroying it with a larger, more expensive image of you.

To further ease the burden of being dead with nothing to show for it, we’ve designed what we believe will be ideal classes. In adjunct heaven, your students all loathe the inundation of technology. Not only do they show up to class with their phones turned off, but they occasionally leave them back in their dorm or older boyfriend’s apartment. This allows them to focus more on your lecture, which you may fill with cool D’Angelo references and jokes that the students will both understand and love. You will never have to explain what a comma splice is, and you’ll find that each student loves reading long-form articles and shows up early to class so they can eagerly discuss the ones you assigned. If you’ve had a hard lecture, your two favorite, age-appropriate students will give you a back massage and present you with your bespoke silk robe, which they’ve lovingly embroidered with “The Champ.”

As far as compensation, you will earn enough to pay rent and even afford other things. If you’re unfamiliar with rent, fear not. Many of our adjuncts were living with their parents or partners at the time of their demise, so we’ve put together some literature on how to make this transition.

In your apartment building, you’ll have a mailbox. In that mailbox you’ll find letters from your student loan company reminding you that your payment is due. Do not panic! Here in adjunct heaven, your debt is forgiven. We ask that you collect these letters and put them outside with the recycling. We try to keep the temperature a crisp 62 degrees at all times, and we achieve this by burning these notifications.

We’ll let you get settled in. If you’re concerned about when the semester starts, don’t worry. It starts whenever you’ve completed your syllabus.

How to Tell a Remake From a Reboot From a Sequel (and More!)

Unsure of the difference between a remake and a reboot? Or what makes a sequel, a prequel, and a threequel? SPOILER ALERT: All is revealed below!

A remake is simply a new version of an old film; it can vary from the original in one or more of several ways, but generally it will be more similar than dissimilar. A reboot, however, is a peculiar animal: a new movie in an established series that discards all “continuity” in order to recreate the characters, timeline, and/or backstory from scratch. The removal of non-essential elements and distillation of a property to its core concepts makes it more appealing to newcomers.

Examples: Ocean’s Eleven (2001) is a remake of Ocean’s 11 (1960); Star Trek (2009) is a reboot of the Star Trek series of movies (1979–1991).

Bonus Fun Fact: The entire original Star Trek series was remade as the Start Wreck series (1980–1992), which itself is scheduled to be rebooted with Restart Wreck in 2017. (But see “restart,” below.)

Note: Reboot should not be confused with reshoot, an additional filming of a scene during production of a film, typically to correct an error. A reshoot is a very common occurrence in the complicated process of making a movie and therefore should not be confused with a retool, which is a pretty big deal, involving large-scale changes to major aspects of a film once production has begun — like when the interstellar big rig featured in Star Truck (2002) was redesigned from stem to stern, axle by axle — or a restart, which is a really big deal, such as when the lead role was recast a full six weeks into principal photography of Back to the Future (1985).

A remake should also not be confused with a premake, which is the result of a filmmaker’s traveling in time in order to produce an “earlier” version of a movie to be released in the past, with the result that the “later” movie will be considered a remake (and therefore have cachet with those who prefer their films to have a certain amount of “history”), even if it was actually completed and released first, as it were. During filming of The Time Machine (2002), for instance, director Simon Wells borrowed the titular device in the evenings and on weekends to make (under a pseudonym) The Time Machine (1960), to which the supposed remake was, unfortunately, considered inferior.

The same logic has led to the advent of the preboot, this being a movie that resets the continuity of a series before the series has even begun. Star Trek: The Motion Picture is such a film, in that it was made in 1979 based on a screenplay written in 2306 (concerning events that will [have] take[n] place in 2273).

Now, on any given day, it might seem that the number of movie sequels is much greater than the number of original properties on big screens across the country. If this is true, it is really only because there are so many different kinds of sequels. A true sequel is simply a movie that continues the story or further develops a theme of a previous movie. The Empire Strikes Back (1980) is the sequel to Star Wars (1977). That film series did not end there, of course; Return of the Jedi (1983) is the sequel to The Empire Strikes Back and the threequel to Star Wars (not to be confused with the treequel in another sci-fi series, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Conifer).

Infamously, there are three prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy, each being a movie filmed later in time but recounting events that take place earlier in the so-called “saga.” Reception to the later trilogy of movies was so poor, however, that many fans have lobbied for remakes of the prequels—or reprequels. While this wish has not to date been granted, we did get a simple requel in The Empire Strikes Back to the Future (1986), which is slated for a preboot as The Empire Struck Trek to the Future Past in 1877.

Finally, we have the specific vocabulary for certain filmic items that are not part of a movie proper, but nonetheless part of the complete moviemaking and -going experience. Chief among these is the trailer, an advertisement for a feature film that usually includes footage from the film itself. (Trailers used to be shown after the movies then playing, hence the name. Nowadays, they’re shown before the main attraction.) A teaser is a very short trailer, typically revealing absolutely nothing about the film it advertises. A stinger is a scene that appears after all or some of a movie’s credits, often to deliver a final laugh or to set up a sequel. A strailer, of course, is a retroactive advertisement for a movie that appears on screen after the movie itself or even during the credits for that movie; a steaser is a short version of this; and a stranger is someone you don’t want to sit next to in a theater, which is why you put your coat down on the adjacent seat.

Enjoy the show!

I’m Diversifying My Groomsmen


As you know, Jenna and I are tying the knot in less than a year. I had a list of groomsmen all set, but then I came to a shocking realization: of the four friends I’d chosen, all were straight white males. This is problematic. I hate to say it, but unless you can take a good look at yourself and determine you’re actually one-eighth Cherokee, you can’t be one of my groomsmen.

I’m sending similar letters to Brad, Aiden, and Fred, so this is nothing personal. It’s just important that the people who join me on the altar all come from different walks of life. I need to represent the totality of post-aughts America, and I’m not sure “The Boom Crew” ticks off the right boxes.

Everyone from the crew will be at the wedding, of course. They wouldn’t miss it for the world! At the reception you’ll be at the same table as Fred, though you’ll probably be sitting at a strange angle that will strain conversation and force you to talk primarily to my Egyptian friend Mahmoud (he’s an accountant) and Jenna’s co-worker Gerel (who is Mongolian, I hope).

My best man is going to be Braxton. Do you remember Braxton? Think back to our freshman year of college. On the other side of our dorm, there was a room with two guys, and for the first two months we’d go there and play Mario Kart every few days. Anyway, Braxton lived across the hall from them. I think he was a chemistry major. He definitely had a girlfriend. I wonder if they’re still dating. Anyway, his mother is black and his father is Jewish, two demographics that I’d love to cover in my wedding party.

If this wedding were happening back in the olden days, my best man would be Fred. That’s obvious. We’ve been friends since second grade, made sure to catch up almost weekly during college, and took it upon ourselves to move to the same city after graduation, even though neither of us had a job yet. And we made it work! But as close as we are, Fred is an Anglo-Saxon male from Greenwich, Connecticut, so he will be sitting in the audience while I read my vows.

So there are three more slots to fill. First one goes to my most recent landlord, April. I understand April is a woman, but that’s just the thing — in 2015, why should all of my groomsmen be men? Totally unfair. You might think “groomspeople” would be a better descriptor, but you’d be wrong. You can’t just assume like that. Calling them “groomspeople” implies that they’re the groom’s people, and I don’t own a single one of them. They’re their own people with their own hopes, dreams, and ideas for my bachelor party. I’m going to call them “people who work with the groom, collaboratively, toward a common goal.”

The penultimate slot will be left empty, leaving a person-sized hole between April and Braxton on the dais. This slot represents a person of all backgrounds, especially the ones I couldn’t actually fit in the party. This person contains multitudes. He or she will remain nameless, so our wedding guests will be able to imprint their own inclusive ideals on a blank canvas. If Braxton and April represent the modern day, this person (or people, or animal, or inanimate object with sentimental value) represents the future. It’s very important for Jenna and me to stay ahead of the curve.

That leaves me room for just one more person who works with the groom, collaboratively, toward a common goal. Now that I think of it, don’t you have a brother who your parents adopted from China?

The A to Z of Being a Millennial

A is for Apple. You can’t wait for your mother to buy you the new model.

B is for Banter. The only verbal communication worth engaging in.

C is for C word. For when you want to sound taboo without having to say that other word.

D is for Dick. Includes jokes, insults, and the organ itself.

E is for Emoji. Especially the one laughing so hard he’s crying.

F is for Fuck. You don’t give a fuck. You want to fuck. What a stupid fuck. Things are fucked.

G is for Government. The reason things are fucked. Write something on a piece of cardboard and go to a protest. Don’t forget the Guy Fawkes mask.

H is for Hitler. He killed people or something.

I is for I. All the most important sentences start with this.

J is for Joking. Seriously, mate, it was just banter.

K is for Kardashian. So pretty. So, so pretty.

L is for Loneliness. But you’ve got seven hundred friends on Facebook, so you’re safe.

M is for Mental Disorder. The most fashionable disease you can pretend to have.

N is for Netflix. And chill.

O is for Original Thought. Your last one being what would happen if you switched on a vacuum cleaner in deep space.

P is for Pissed. Because what else do you do on Friday, Saturday, and possibly Sunday night?

Q is for Quidditch. Because those books are long, but the films are sick.

R is for Retarded. Liberally applied to everyone and everything you never liked.

S is for Selfie. It’s better than sex.

T is for Tweet. Thank fuck it’s not 140 words.

U is for University. It’s all bullshit, but whatever, at least you get a loan.

V is for Vine. Your one-stop shop for culture around the world.

W is for Weed. It’s not just a plant; it’s a way of life.

X is for Xylem. Because the C you got in biology proves you’re smart.

Y is for You. The reason mirrors exist.

Z is for Zenith. Yours being when you broke your record for most matches at once on Tinder.