But before we dive into the mysteries of chemistry, calculus and why hockey fans bother to care why the rest of the sporting public doesn't care much for their sport, I hope there is someone who can explain the allure of the television broadcast of the Academy Awards.
I get the Academy Awards as much as my wife understands the appeal of a 162-game Major League Baseball season, the three weeks of the Tour de France or why I sit on the edge of my seat to watch people run for 26.2 miles. No, it's not insanity or some sort of self-mutilation. Far from it. Instead it's an appreciation of nuance and ... wait, no, it's insanity.
So tonight I will join in some good, old-fashioned insanity and watch the Super Bowl of glamour (nice sports metaphor, huh?), debauchery and depravity with my old lady (it's a term) and tune into the Academy Awards. I will also comment on the fashion choices of the stars in attendance without irony. The fact that the accessories worn by Angelina Jolie will likely cost more than my house isn't the issue. Instead, I will just act like the Academy Awards are oh so important and are rightly celebrated at a level higher than the Nobel Peace Prize.
So as America spirals into the cultural and economic abyss, we might as well handicap it. Might as well check into that whole live Twittering thing, too. Might be going to hell in a bucket, babe, but at least I'm enjoying the ride.
Here goes, and yes, I know there is no way to judge art or acting unless all of the actors play the same part. I also know that the Academy Awards are inherently a big pile of BS.
Supporting actress: Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
OK, I hated this movie. Actually, that's not right... I hate racism and inequality. I just disliked The Curious Case of Benjamin Button a whole bunch. Nevertheless, I couldn't wait for Ms. Henson to get back on the screen. More importantly, Ms. Henson shares the same birthday as Ted Leo (same date and year according to wikipedia), was born in The District (holla!) and kicked ass in Hustle & Flow. She can act the way you can rack up out-of-control credit debt.
Supporting actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Night
Duh. He definitely stole the show in this one. Plus, there's that whole death thing... maybe not the best career move, but it definitely earns points with the Academy.
Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader
I missed this one, but I read that Kate Winslet said this picture is the last one in which she appears nude. End of an era?
Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Daniel Day-Lewis could be on the screen speaking Arabic and I would rave. There's just something about that guy... or maybe it's the fact that he skipped out on becoming the biggest movie star ever and disappeared for years because he was learning how to be a shoe cobbler. Hey, people need shoes.
But Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler was almost to Daniel Day-Lewis levels. He was sublime and brutal much like DeNiro in Raging Bull. Just awesome and easily the best performance of the year. More importantly, Mr. Rourke could win and then make a speech that will put the dude with the dump-out button to work.
On another note, my wife says Sean Penn is far superior as Harvey Milk... yeah, probably. But c'mon, a 'roided up Mickey Rourke rasslin'... She also says Meryl Streep gave easily the best performance of anyone this year, but that's a given. She's like the Harlem Globetrotters to everyone's Washington Generals.
Director: The guy who made Slumdog Millionaire
Missed this one. It was showing the day I took the kids to see WALL-E, or Bolt, or Kung-fu Panda or something like that.
Best picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Whatever. I'm not going to pay money to watch kids get hurt and people suffer. I already know life is difficult and I don't need to get "perspective" from a movie. I can read the news or look at pictures of Dick Cheney if I want to know the world can be a horrible place.
Speaking of the Academy Awards, inevitably the hosts and presenters will always tell us, the viewer, how many people are watching worldwide? How do they know? And if they know how many people are watching the Academy Awards worldwide, don't they also know how many people turned on the TV and fell asleep? Or how many people turned it on but left the room to take a phone call or something?
I really don't think they know what they're talking about.
 This is incredibly baffling. Tell a hockey fan you really aren't hip to their sport and get ready for the dissertation, and, worse, an invitation to a game. Seriously, these people (yes, I wrote these people) just don't understand why everyone doesn't see what they see. Yet, they still have that, "Why can't we just be different like everyone else," attitude.
Yes, I generalize because I can.
Here's the thing. I'm a huge fan of track and field, long-distance running and professional bicycling. I just love it. It's a tough, grueling sport that just gets me all wound up just anticipating a big race or meet. But here's the thing... I don't want the mass populace to get it because that way I don't have to share my passion for some dumbed-down mass audience. So please, folks, let me have my geeky endurance sports with all my dork friends. Here's an idea: go watch some hockey. They really seem to want you to.