Another Presidents’ Day has come and will soon be gone, ladies and gentlemen, and I find myself feeling a little older and wiser because of it. Presidents’ Day is a blissful time of year, a glorious holiday that has retained its quiet dignity. Very little commercialism surrounds it. We are not inundated by P.D. cartoons, mascots, hassles, guilt. In fact, it is mostly ignored. Between Valentines Day and Chinese New Year, mid-February is an active time of planning and celebrating.

I think it is time for a change! Let’s remove focus from that pink and red heart-shaped atrocity known as Valentines Day – who needs it anyway – and begin celebrating Presidents’ Day the way it should be celebrated! I think that it being mostly known as yet another day when the lazy postal workers get to not deliver our precious mail, and one more day when mattress salesmen get to host a SALE SALE SALE, is a shame and a tragedy. There have been many great men among our list of 44 or so Presidents. And many not-that-great men, too.

Scientists tell me that Americans know only a handful of our president guys. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are seen everywhere you look, and Jefferson, FDR, JFK, Ted Roosevelt, and some of the more recent presidents are also pretty famous, too. But what of the early 1800s? What did they have to offer? And the late 1800s, what about them? They had their characters and their scandals, but they go by largely unnoticed by Joe or Jane Anybody. Historians are the only people both good and brave enough to write books for other historians to read, books about these commanders-in-chief, so that they do not fade into obscurity. But I don’t want the historians to fight the good fight alone! I want to help them!

In the future, I will help create a world where Presidents’ Day is marked by parades, and themed parties where people dress up in costumes modeled after their favorite presidents. I will contribute with various desserts and appetizers which actually look like the presidents, or maybe will represent the snacks that they are recorded to have actually enjoyed. There will also be cards sent and given to each other. That is how I have helped this year. I have made a handful of cards highlighting the faces and one short quote from some of the lesser-loved presidents. These cards are drawn on MS Paint and would include the accompanying text on the backs, if MS Paint allowed there to be backs. In fact, these are more than simple greeting cards, these are modelled after collectible Wildlife Cards that you might have gotten as nerdy children who were interested in zoology. I couldn’t have been the only one!

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This is Part 2 of our Marx Brothers for the Uninitiated series. In the first part, we introduced the Marx Brothers and their personas, along with their first 5 feature films. You can read Part 1 here.

If you read our site often, you may see frequent references to the Marx Brothers. If you have your life going on track and you’re a good person, then you know who they are. However, it has come to our attention that some people know who they are, but have never seen their movies! Even worse, some people just don’t know who they are.

So here, friends, is an introduction to the Brothers Marx (part 2). These intros will not tell you much about the movie specifics, because you need to watch them. These movies are not about plot or character, they are about The Marx Brothers.

Marx Brothers by Amanda Wood

 

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They say that “no man is an island,” but I disagree. I think we are all capable of being islands, but because humans seem to mostly be social creatures, they seem to think that we should not be islands. According to them, it is healthiest to be part of a big land mass teeming with herd animals. But being remote and inaccessible definitely has its perks. Take it from me, a devotee to the School of Aloofness, located on Emotional Isolation Island.

Mysterious

The benefits of being a reticent character might not be obvious to the uninitiated, so allow me to explain a bit before I give you some hot tips on how to improve your life. We all love attention, don’t we? When you are a mysterious figure, you become extremely intriguing. Other people won’t stop talking about you, and you don’t even have to do a thing! Just evade a series of personal questions, and you’ll be a delicious source of speculation. Appear as though a normal social interaction is as invasive as unrelenting scrutiny, and the contrary folks around you can’t help but wonder why. Let them wonder. Let them TALK.

That satisfaction of feeling like a strangely compelling character is the #1 draw, but if I have to have MORE reasons, I guess another one is that it cuts down on having to keep any stories straight, or accidentally revealing something told to you in confidence. If you are the sort of person who feels a little stressed over such possibilities, then just become mysterious. It’s easy once you get the hang of it! Let me tell you how.

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If you read our site often, you may see frequent references to the Marx Brothers. If you have your life going on track and you’re a good person, then you know who they are. However, it has come to our attention that some people know who they are, but have never seen their movies! Even worse, some people just don’t know who they are.

So here, friends, is an introduction to the Brothers Marx. These intros will not tell you much about the movie specifics, because you need to watch them. These movies are not about plot or character, they are about The Marx Brothers.

Marx Brothers by Amanda Wood

Since they made so many wonderful films, this is only part one of your introduction for the uninitiated. We will look at the Marx Brothers in general, and their first five feature films. I have even included clips from most of them!

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There are a lot of different kind of gift-givers out there. Some are good, some are bad. Some are confusing, while some give you comfort. Also, some people don’t give gifts (I’m looking at you, little sister). It’s fine though. Being good or bad, there or not, in regards to presents, does not make you a good or bad person.

If you don’t give gifts because you’re bad at it, I’m here to help. If you don’t give them because you just don’t want to, there is no help for you. I’m also here to help if you’re bad at it, and still give them. Hey you, that’s an A for effort!

Gift Giving by Amanda Wood

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I’ll be bringing you a little yuletide cheer this week by talking a little bit about Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. Oh, wait. Did I say “cheer” because that is actually the opposite of what I meant to say. What I have dredged from my soup of far distant childhood memories is a Christmas special that I saw when I was maybe eight or nine that was SO DEPRESSING that I only saw it once, and it made me cry. It made me cry outrageously hard. This animation AGED ME far beyond my years and I will never forgive it.

nestor

I don’t even know how popular this one is. When I was little, I loved animated specials very much, so I would be sure to catch them whenever they were on. Not this one though. I am not sure if it is because I just avoided it magically, or if it was only shown one time because it inspired a wave of angry calls from parents. I can’t really even remember what upset me so much about it, except for one obvious part I will tell you about in a moment, as we watch it together, hand in hand.

So, let’s get this over with, my friends, my strangers. Let’s watch Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey – for the first time in decades. Let’s see if it will stir up more feelings, feelings I have spent a lifetime trying to silence. And for those of you who don’t feel like watching along with me, I’ll just summarize this son of a button for you as it goes along.

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Baby brains are like blank slates, eager to be filled with everything imaginable in a graffiti-like fashion. They are unlikely to be the refined and commercially successful graffiti so many of us have come to know and love, but instead the basest vandalism. Here are some things to watch out for in case you need to set a baby back on the straight and narrow.

Baby Brain by Amanda Wood

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Getting a job in this day and age is like trying to buy a date with a celebrity at an auction: you’re surrounded by competitors both more desperate and with greater resources, the process is shady and creepy, and it’s for something that’s not all that great if you get it. There was a time when your college degree opened doors, now every Sandwich Artist has at least an MBA from an online university, if not a medieval history degree from Brown. How do you get noticed in such a market? What hope do you have to land a job on your career trajectory before you’re as old as the baby boomers who still won’t retire? Well read on, good madam or sir, for here is Sneer Campaign’s Guide to Getting Your Resume To Stand Out From The Enormous Pile In The HR Wastebasket.

Step one is to have had helicopter parents force you on a college trajectory since birth. While your loser peers were playing with toys and having birthday parties, you were practicing the zither and volunteering in burn wards. It also helps to have a frat douche dad – he’ll know what strings to pull. But not all of us have been blessed with parents who had the foresight to rob us of our childhoods in order to shoehorn us onto a white-collar career vector that we would not have necessarily chosen on our own. Here’s how to make the glut of applicants work for you.

Get Hired by Amanda Wood

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In my perfect dream world, legendary children’s show Sesame Street would be populated by old time movie stars parodying themselves outlandishly. I think I would have learned better lessons, and learned them better, if it had been this way. Are children supposed to identify with or look up to a fuzzy green monster with a bad attitude? Well maybe they do, but a magically re-animated Greta Garbo would have gotten the job done with so much more melodramatic class.

If I ever get a wish-granting monkey paw, this will be the reality of children’s television programming.

As always, click to see it in the full size. (You can see the other example of Greta in imaginary kids television in our Yo Garbo Garbo post.)

Garbo Street

Yo Gabba Gabba is a very good show for the very small child crowd, but it could be better. I am not at all suggesting that DJ Lance Rock is in any way deficient or lacking in wonderful personality. But imagine for a moment that a children’s show was designed to influence children to be haughty and urbane. What if instead of being taught to eat nutritious snacks and share with each other, they were taught to mix cocktails and silently arch their brows just so to convey snide judgment? Beatboxing and breakdancing are great, but are they as useful to know as how to seduce with a glance from across the room or how to melodramatically sigh before taking a deep drag from a ridiculously long cigarette holder that is perched in an impeccably manicured hand?

Decide for yourself. I know you’ll come to the correct conclusion. As always, click to make it larger. (You can see another example of Greta in an imaginary children’s television show on our Futility Street post.)

Yo Garbo Garbo! by Amanda Wood