How not to be lonely over the holidays

If you’re alone, if friends aren’t calling you back or if your family is far away, there is a way to get through the holidays without the loneliness squeezing your skull to the size of a peanut. Go find a soup kitchen, or some other place that helps out the less fortunate, and lend a hand.

It works like magic. It’s just about the only magic there is.

Catching Fire catches fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is not only setting records for best November opening, it’s also a marked improvement over its predecessor.

The first movie was an enjoyable, competent film, but its sequel is most definitely deeper, darker and more complex. Even so, the material is further elevated by an excellent cast, most notably Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Jennifer Lawrence, whose talents as an actress are not to be underestimated.

This is one of those rare instances when a sequel far surpasses the first. If you liked The Hunger Games, run don’t walk to see this one. Apparently, everyone else is. And I confess to definitely being hooked for the third chapter.

I give it three and a half out of five overall, and four out of five for the acting and the story.

Who’s holding the microphone?

Almost everyone who works in broadcasting — including me, laws yes — has had an “open mic” moment when a microphone was live when it wasn’t supposed to be.

A good rule of thumb for all broadcasters is to assume, whenever one is in the proximity of a microphone or a camera, that it is on, whether it’s supposed to be or not.

Often, this is forgotten, and that’s why broadcasting lore is littered with stories, and YouTube is filled with the recorded moments, of professionals inadvertently revealing their private foul mouths to the world with barrages of f bombs.

KFI’s Gary Hoffmann and I were discussing this the other day, and he told me he has a good rule of thumb that’s helped him in his career — He said, “I always pretend my mom is holding the microphone.”

That is a GREAT philosophy! I think every person who works in broadcasting, be it radio, TV or Internet, should adopt the same rule:

Pretend that Gary’s mom is holding the microphone.

"I have more than enough to eat at home"

“I have more than enough to eat at home” has to be the quote of the millennium.

Thank you, Rob Ford, for just being you.

(And somewhere, Anthony Weiner is screaming, “Why the F couldn’t I have run against Rob Ford!”)

HEAR THE AUDIO HERE. WARNING: IT IS NOT SAFE FOR WORK, UNLESS YOU WORK AT A PORN STUDIO.

Honest Trailer takes on Man Of Steel

“But my god, what a beefcake!”

I love Honest Trailers, and you should take a moment to subscribe to their YouTube channel and check out all the videos.

Even though I thought Man of Steel wasn’t all that bad (and sorry Superman nerds, but Supes does indeed kill people now and then in the comics), the “honest” version of the movie trailer is pretty fronking hilarious.

Enjoy. (Oh, and it’s not completely safe for work, so beware.)

Thor lays it on a little too thick

First off, thanks to everyone who tuned in for my debut as Gary’s fill-in on the KFI Sunday Morning News. Hopefully not too many executives get fired over the decision.

On to the big movie this weekend…

While pretty and filled with good effects, Thor: The Dark World seems unnecessary. I’m enough of a comic book nerd to get the whole universe Marvel is building with its series of Iron Man, Captain America and Avengers movies, but this Thor sequel doesn’t seem to advance anything in the larger narrative in any important way.

Most of Thor takes place in other realms, and only a little on earth, though part of the final battle —  and all these movies have to have THE BIG FINAL BATTLE — takes place on earth. For the most part the movie is filled with an inner mythology with which it was hard to feel a connection.

And the most tiresome thing in movies like this — why do the stakes always have to be bigger and bigger? It’s always THE FATE OF THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE or somesuch. In Thor’s case, it’s THE FATE OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE AND ALL OF EXISTENCE. (Insert numerous exclamation points here.) At some point, I think I’d love to see a superhero set out to rescue some kid’s pet.

I give high marks to the 3D because it’s mostly used to show depth, not to arbitrarily throw things in our faces.

And, as with all these Marvel movies, stay through the end of the credits. You get not one but two extra scenes.

Thor gets three out of five hammers. Not bad, but for all the money the producers put up on the screen, it should have been better.