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Predictions for 2015

Much like the amazing Criswell at the start of Ed Wood's masterpiece “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” I have myself filled with a need to tell you about the future, for that is where you and I will spend the rest of our lives. So as we find ourselves saying goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015, I would like to take some time to present a short list of predictions I have for the coming year, including (insert whichever reference to “Back To The Future, Part Two” you want here).
Cheese will become a powerful weapon, but only in the war for morning network TV supremacy. Scientists will be shocked when they discover that he most reliable source of renewable energy is the discarded underwear of Canadian Prime Ministers. Wearing chaps without pants will become more socially acceptable. People who refer to bottle feeding their newborns as “getting milk drunk” will be banned from the internet. The Geico Gekko will be revealed to have actually been James Franco the entire time…

A Christmas Newsletter: 2014

Dear loved ones,
It's that magical time of the year again, that time when we all come together to embrace our fellow humans in a warm embrace that only slightly reeks of scotch. I'm sitting in our den by the tree, typing this out on my tablet. The four year old is playing underneath the tree, and so far hasn't managed to open up any of the gifts that are already under the tree. This year I was very proactive in keeping spying hands from opening up anything. I covered everything in a thin layer of concrete. The sounds of Christmas morning will now include hammers and chisels.
I drove a float in the parade again this year, it was for Uncle Bob's Tofu Hut and we tossed out free samples of their mint flavored tofu to the crowd. I think it confused people, everyone seemed to think it was some type of congealed snow material. The parade was quite good this year, my driving was again excellent! I'm glad it wasn't another repeat of the “Pizza Hut Crash” of 2007,…

The Christmas That Almost Wasn't, But Was, Though Not Quite, But In The End Was

It was the perfect winter morning in the perfect town square in the perfect hometown of my youth. I was arriving back to my hometown for Christmas, fresh off a taxi cab ride and full of my harden cynical big city life ways. I was coming home for a few days of home cooking, and homespun wisdom from people who looked vaguely like actors from popular 1980s sitcoms. My heart was despondent as right before I left the cold hard city for the warm bosom of hometown, my beloved AV Receiver in my home theater had died. The home theater doubles as my music room, and I was unable to play records, which was making me go cray cray.
After I arrived home and was greeted by the hugs of my loved ones, an act that began to warm the now cold dead rock that is my heart, we all rushed out to the local diner ran by a fellow who looked like Ernest Borgnine. As we sat at the counter and talked to everyone who had ever known me since conception, comments were had of how I was no longer a young scamp, but had…

A Public Geeking Out over Batman

I love Batman. I have been a Batman fan for so long, that I have no memory of a time in which I wasn't a fan of The Dark Knight. My childhood bedroom was covered in Batman. A poster of Michael Keaton as Batman was on the wall, below that was my giant plush Batman, which sat in a custom made Batman chair that my Godparents had made for me. All of this rested next to my bed, which was covered in Batman bedsheets, and a Batman bed spread, near my Batman Converse sneakers, not too far from my stash of Batman toys.
The first movie I was obsessed with was Tim Burton's original “Batman” movie. I wore out a VHS tape of it. It's been said that the version of Batman that to you IS Batman is the one that you grew up with. To me, there are three versions of Batman that make up my idea of what Batman is. The first are the two Tim Burton movies. The second is the practically flawless “Batman: The Animated Series” from the '90s. Third, is the version of Batman that I was first e…

Rabid Retail

By the time Thanksgiving had ended last year I found myself faced with two situations. One, that I had spent the night at my Aunt's house without planing to do so. Two, that the family collectively asked me if I would do their Black Friday shopping for them. Granted, they didn't so much “ask” as much as “shove a list into my hands and write checks.” I had spend most of last Thanksgiving, and the night before it, at my Aunt’s house in Morristown. I returned home to do the shopping and to, hopefully, catch a moderate amount of sleep.
I was given the list at 6:45 in the evening. I left shortly after seven, and considering traffic, I made it home around 8:30. I’m not one who can just fall into bed and sleep, I have to wind down a bit, there’s the also the fact I have a touch of the family insomnia that kicks up from time to time. In this situation I also had to unpack and put away all the gear I took to my Aunt’s. I finally had everything done and put away by 9:15. In my pajamas, …

The Bird Thaws at Midnight

I would like to describe to you the events of last Thanksgiving. Here’s the particulars of the situation before I dive into the “meat” of the matter. I was not hosting last year, the family was gathering at my Aunt’s house, which at this time last year was in Morristown. Thanksgiving for me began on the Wednesday night before. It was around 9:00 when the phone rang, I was sitting quietly listening to some Jazz, and reading a copy of “The Big Sleep” that had been sitting on my coffee table for months. 

My house phone is one of those that speaks the name of the caller as it rings, I always wait for it to tell me who it is, so I don’t have to get up for some damn telemarketer. The phone indicated that it was my Aunt who was calling, so I rushed over to the receiver. Upon answering I could tell that my Aunt was in something of a panic. “It’s frozen! What am I going to do?” was the response when I said “hello.” I would soon learn that my Aunt was referring to the 20 pound turkey she had bou…

Ask Andy: Thanksgiving Edition

My desk is often flooded with e-mails, letters, tweets, and angry blog posts all asking for my guidance. As many of you know, I'm the nation's foremost expert when it comes to Thanksgiving. You've no doubt read my book “Thanksgiving: A Guide to Surviving the Big Day without Committing a Homicide.” It's sold well over 10s of copies. With the big day just a few weeks away, I thought now would be a good time to respond to the many questions piling up on my desk. These questions were chosen at random by a three year old on a sugar high.
Our first question comes from NAME REDACTED from Erwin, NAME REDACTED asks “My family thinks that marshmallows on sweet potatoes is an essential part of any Thanksgiving meal, I personally think that marshmallows on sweet potatoes is a sign that Satan is among us. What are your thoughts on this topic?” Well, REDACTED, I've never felt that the lovely treat that is marshmallows has ever been a sign of a malevolent force present—unles…

Body by Andy

I've been losing weight this year in a new effort to make myself a little trimmer and healthier. I've accomplished this by cutting down on fats and sugars, and making an effort to move around more. I walk around two miles daily, which is an increase from where I began with just doing a mile a day at the start of the year. I've managed to drop 20 pounds this year, which I bring up because I want you heap praises and laurels upon me. However, we're now entering into the most delicate time of the year when it comes to keeping on the right path. Food is coming.
In the span between Halloween and New Year's Day it could become very easy to gain back all 20 pounds I lost. Halloween obviously has massive bowls of candy sitting around the house. In my family Halloween takes on a Christmas level importance, there is also a buffet table of food out on Halloween night. Any amount you might have lost to healthy activities could be easily blown in one night. Between grabbi…

That Time I Nearly Rolled a U-Haul Down a Hill

I could see the headline rolling across my mind as I drove a 24 foot long U-Haul truck through a narrow up hill road in the rain. Ideally, the headline would say “Beloved Writer Dies in Blaze of Glory, Thousands of Secret Lovers Revealed in Aftermath.” However, the reality of the situation is that the headline would say “Local Idiot Dies in Truck Incident, Was Wearing Spongebob Underwear.” As those thoughts went through my mind, I too thought of the other outcome, should I prove successful in this venture. At least, I would be thanked. At most, I would be thanked, and given an Applebees gift card.
The reason as to why I found myself behind the wheel of a behemoth U-Haul truck is that my Aunt and her husband were moving into a new house, and they needed help. I consider myself a very competent and rather good driver, but the idea of driving a truck that is partially to blame for the ice caps melting, isn't something that thrills me. Initially, I wouldn't have to worry abou…

The Great iPhone Case Search

Looking for a new iPhone case should not fill me with an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Yet as I begin the process to look for a new iPhone case, I find myself doing more research than I would if I was buying a car. It's the same crossroads that do me in each time, style vs function. I don't want my nice iPhone to be inside a candy colored plastic brick, nor do I want something that looks like it can survive reentry. I want something with some style, a kick, a little personal touch. Sometimes the biggest issue with style over substance is that most of the stylish cases simply snap on and cover the iPhone, offering very little protection.
I'm a little odd in the sense that I both quite like technology, yet I'm something of an old fashioned type. This is why when I discovered that iPhone cases made of actual wood were a thing I became excited. There's actually more than one company making wooden iPhone cases. All of the language on the company's webpages all…

The Seats Are Buzzing: The Films of William Castle

As October rolls around we begin to make our lists of must see Halloween movies. Many of which are horror films that we've been watching forever. It all starts in September when I begin to look at my movie shelf and start to ponder what I want to watch in the coming month. If there is one director whose films I get really excited about watching every October, it's the films directed by William Castle. Castle's career as a director spanned from the early 1940s right up to the mid 1970s. I don't wish to go too deeply into Castle's past, or his whole life, really. There's a fantastic documentary on the man called “Spin-Tingler: The William Castle Story” that is worth checking out. Instead, the exact period of films I want to focus on that make a “William Castle Movie” what they are, would be the films Castle produced and directed from 1958-1965.
What is it about this span of films that makes them so special and such an excited part of my Halloween celebrations?…

The Bae-ne of my Existance

I realize that I am growing out of touch with the rest of world. This is all thanks to a combination of age, and a general loathing of humanity all together. OK, that last example may be a little extreme. Odds are this is really due to the simple fact that as I get older, the less I care what anyone thinks. That's a pretty nice feeling to have. After spending most of my twenties feeling like I had to change myself to fit in with everyone, I'm mostly comfortable being who I am now. With this is mind, I simply must take a moment to discuss something that I found myself becoming irritated over during a sleepless night I had recently. I can't stand the word "bae."
"Bae" is a term invented by "the young people" in an ever growing butchering of the English language to refer to the person you are currently in "love" with. In the modern era of snap chatting your body parts and tindering for love, it seems that having to actually use a p…

Franchise City

I've been thinking about franchise films lately. I don't hate the concept, but I do think that Hollywood is getting carried away trying to turn EVERYTHING into a franchise. It makes sense in some places, particularly when done well (Marvel Studios). Yet a recent article talking of the long rumored “Ghostbusters 3” had Dan Akroyd quoted saying he'd like to turn “Ghostbusters” into a Marvel Universe-esq type film series. I grew up on “Ghostbusters.” My childhood sustenance was based on a steady stream of Ecto Cooler and Slimer toothpaste. The first film I ever saw in a movie theater was “Ghostbusters 2!” Yet, I'm not so sure I want to see an epic “Ghostbusters” saga universe.
Despite it being the be all end of all of Hollywood today, the concept of a long reaching franchise isn't anything new. If anything from Hollywood's past mirrors of the modern conceits we're seeing now, it's Universal's classic Horror and Monster movies that span the early 1…

The Future, With 20% more Chrome

"Greetings my friends. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives." That immortal bit of dialogue opens up the 1959 B movie classic "Plan 9 From Outer Space." It's a moment of Ed Wood brilliance that came to mind the other day, as I sat on my bed and watched a live stream of Apple announcing their new products. I say “watched,” but the live stream of Apple's new product launch was not on par with their phones. After buffering kept going all over the place, I walked away from my AppleTV box, then went to the live blog on tech website Engadget.
I've been rocking an iPhone 4 for the past few years, and been quite happy with it. However, in the past few months it has begun to show its age. Naturally I was curious as to what great new miracles the tech giant had planned. Would the new iPhone have powers that might let me walk through walls? Would it be able to project a tiny hologram? Would …

To Stache, or Not to Stache

Every now and then I'll go a day or two without shaving. Sometimes when I've skipped two days, and I have a rather noticeable look at what my beard line is like, I'll stand in the mirror and have a conversation with myself. “Hmm. You could grow some facial hair, if you wanted.” Once I begin this conversation with myself, the next step is to determine what kind of facial hair I could adequately grow.
A beard? No, not enough on the sides for that. I then come to the realization that maybe I could rock a mustache. “Hmm, I might have a certain Ernie Kovacs touch with a mustache. It could be quite suave.” But then after thinking about it, I decide that even though I can rock a two day stubble, perhaps facial hair just wouldn't quite fit in with my general demeanor. I shave it all off, and I like the reflection that I see looking back at me.
Still, the thought of a mustachioed Andy haunts me. I think about it often while shaving. Sure, there's the argument “Just …