Various and Sundry, 2/23/09
Bits and pieces and things and stuff:
* First, a picture of me and the bride whom I married this weekend (to someone else, to be clear), Emily Weise-King:
Emily and I have known each other for the better part of a decade; she and I were part of that first generation of bloggers (“online diarists” or “online journalers,” since we hadn’t thought of the word “blog” yet), and then became real-world friends not too long thereafter. She’s basically very cool, so when she and Michael (her now husband) asked me if I would officiate, I was there with bells on (Note: I did not wear actual bells. It would have interfered with the ceremony). I will note that the Weise-Kings did briefly consider changing their name to something else; had not sense prevailed, I might have introduced the married couple to congregation as “Michael and Emily Lazer-Awesome.” But sense prevailed. Alas. Regardless, the happy couple, is, indeed, laser awesome. And don’t you ever forget it.
* For those of you in the crowd who apparently didn’t know, yes, in fact, I am able to marry people; I’m ordained in the Universal Life Church and it’s all legal as beer sales on Sunday. I’ve been marrying people for ten years or so. It’s more of a hobby than anything else; I do it for friends when they get married and they don’t have a regular minister or someone else they’d like to stand up there and direct traffic. If I may say so, by this point I’m pretty good at, because I do my officiant duties with the philosophy that the congregation wants two things: To see the happy couple kiss, and to get to the partying. When you keep those two things in mind, it’s all very easy.
* But before you ask, no, I probably won’t perform your wedding for you. As noted, I tend to do them for long-time friends, at weddings I was likely to attend anyway. And at this point, most of my long-time friends are well and truly hitched (Emily, who’s more than a decade younger than me, is an outlier, wedding-wise). I suppose that when the children of my very good friends start needing an officiant, I might see an uptick in the business again, but that’s one of those things I don’t really want to think about at the moment.
* Moving away from wedding and to the Oscars, I was delighted that I went 6-for-6 in last night major categories, not that any of you would have known that, since the Oscar prediction piece I wrote got eaten by WordPress the day the nominations came out. You’ll have to trust me on this one. That said, I’ll note a lot of people who were not me flubbed the Best Supporting Actress and Best Actor categories; in the latter, a lot of people expected Mickey Rourke to get the award, while the Best Supporting Actress award predictions were all over the board, but mostly not to Penelope Cruz. Nate Silver, for example, who famously pegged the election at FiveThirtyEight, applied his stats models to the Oscars and blew both of these categories, picking Rourke and Taraji P. Henson, the latter of whom had almost no chance of winning, frankly.
Silver is excellent at politics in general but doesn’t understand Academy politics much. In my mind Penelope Cruz was the easy pick because a) statistically speaking, the Best Supporting Actress nominee who is in a Woody Allen film is always a safe bet (see: Dianne Weist, Mira Sorvino); b) she’s been Oscar-nominated before, and recently, which also inclines votes to her; c) she’s gorgeous and well-liked and that matters. As for Rourke, to put it simply, being nominated was his reward for getting his act together, and it’s still not completely together because the dude’s still walking around in day-glo jump suits and clutching a chihuahua. There was no way it was going to happen this year. He needs to keep his act together, ditch the public exhibitions of a toy dog, and make a few more good films before he can clutch an Oscar (hint to Rourke: Get nominated in the Supporting category next time, and Oscar gold is yours).
* I will say early on I thought Benjamin Button was going to be a lock, because it was both a safe and relatively commercially successful choice, but I was amazed at how quickly the backlash smacked that film around, and how quickly Slumdog slipped out from behind. I thought there might be an outside chance for Milk, but that film got Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay, so it can’t complain. And I’m delighted Kate Winslet finally got a Best Actress Oscar, because she deserves it for being so good for so long but also because now that means, pace Halle Berry and Charlize Theron, that she will now immediately make a God-awful action film in which she wears very tight black latex, and I’m all for that.
* Finally, on a more personal note: I’m waaaaaaay behind on personal e-mail, so if you sent me a personal e-mail in the last couple of weeks, I probably haven’t responded yet. I will try to do so today and/or tomorrow. Sorry for being a bad friend. You can kick me the next time you see me.