Local Doughy Guy Confesses to Loving “The Whale”

Brendan Fraser smiling at us as Charlie from "The Whale".

Why is this man smiling?

“Brendan Fraser is back, and this time…he’s fat!

That was my first impression upon seeing the poster for Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. Despite the reports of fanatical applause at film festivals that went on for weeks and caused repetitive stress injuries in some critics’ clapping muscles, I wasn’t immediately sold. Our clues to its content were an unhappy gaze into a short distance, a packed bookshelf behind his head, and the name of the director whose last three films were Black Swan, Noah, and Mother. I’d disliked one and skipped the other two. Also, yes, to a lesser extent there was the fat concern.

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My Diet Year: Our 2005 Road Trip Prelude

Me Before and After.

July 2004 at Lake Ontario vs. July 2005 at an Oklahoma overlook.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in recent weeks we’ve been sharing the stories of our annual road trips that we undertook before I launched MCC in April 2012. Starting from the beginning and working our way forward, so far we’ve covered 1999 to 2004. Before we make the leap to 2005, a digression is in order regarding some personal development that affected, among other things, some of my vacation photos.

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One Good Thing to Come Out of the “Bridgegate” Scandal

Chris Christie, New JerseyFor those just catching up on the week in headline news: Republican politician Chris Christie, currently governor of New Jersey but intermittently mentioned in hushed tones among optimistic rank-‘n’-file as a possible party savior in the 2016 Presidential race, has been accused of directing his subordinates to pull transportation strings and create a four-day traffic snarl where the George Washington Bridge connects Manhattan to the New Jersey town of Fort Lee, allegedly because its mayor hadn’t fallen in lockstep with his party colleagues and publicly endorsed Christie’s future endeavors.

Or something like that. I’ve missed some finer details. Political stories don’t stick with me for long. (When I first began noticing heated debates in my circles about Benghazi, my only reaction was, “Is that Ian MacKaye’s new band?”) Bridgegate was unusual enough and filled with enough bipartisan hot-button issues — political extortion, abuse of power, petty vengeance — that I finally relented and read an article or two about it. At this point it’s now all about denials, apologies, firings, and now I’m seeing the word “subpoena” creeping onto the battlefield. I imagine this brouhaha is only in its infancy and in no danger of falling off the main page anytime soon.

I am grateful for one noticeable change that’s a direct result of Bridgegate: over the past two days, whenever internet users were overwhelmed with the urge to take potshots at Christie, the jokes were no longer about his weight.

The following has zero to do with politics…

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