“Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.” – St. Augustine

I’d like to thank the producers, the directors, the bartenders, the pizza chefs and all the little people who made this this column possible. I also want to join that first guy, the one with all the hair who was best exporting actor or something, in dedicating this award to the Ukrainians and the Venezuelans, especially the cool ones, and they know who they are, and all the other people from victim groups you’re not allowed to joke about, which includes almost everybody by now except Alec Baldwin. What a dork. By the way, that remark about little people wasn’t intended to ridicule or demean in any way actual, um, people who are pint sized, no, scratch that, the dimensionally challenged through no fault of their own, which we all were at one time or another, so what’s the big deal. Not “big” in terms of physical proportions, although there’s certainly nothing wrong with being a moose – haha, I mean larger american. But, hey, you know what? Why don’t we all just pause for a moment now to take a group selfie – porkers in the back! – and then give ourselves a round of applause for not being a bunch of insufferable self-congratulatory phonies in tuxedos and fancy gowns.

Movie popcorn

All right then, moving on to the films themselves, the Idler didn’t actually see any of them, so unless they re-released “The Magnificent Seven” or a couple of Inspector Clouseau’s when we weren’t looking, we should probably go ahead and talk about lent, which started on Ash Wednesday, inconveniently occurring at mid-week.

While there isn’t anything amusing about the penitential season or religion in general, we always thought that St. Augustine, quoted above, was a saint we could relate to inasmuch as he acknowledges in his books that he was a wild man before he became a holy man. It’s sort of comforting to learn that youthful exuberance and indiscretion doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from a seat in the celestial choir. He does pose a bit of a problem religion-wise because they’d rather you hewed to the straight and narrow all the way through. I mean it’s hard to imagine Mother Teresa, the party animal, although I guess anything’s possible.

It’s a tradition among a lot of Christians, but especially Catholics, to give up something for Lent. It means giving it up for six weeks straight, so you want to choose carefully. In the past, the Idler has given up spelunking, sky-diving, philately and dancing the mazurka. The problem is that this traditional way of observing lent is being undermined by a lot of busy-bodies and do-gooders who try to tell us that instead of giving something up for lent, we should instead do something positive. From the Idler’s point of view, this is akin to heresy, but try telling that to your clergyman. Next they’ll be saying we should shovel the walks of the elderly and help old ladies across the street. I guess I’ll try it, but it seems like an obvious attempt to muscle in on the Boy Scouts’ territory. I’m getting pretty well practiced with the snow shovel, though, so if I do a couple octogenarian walks and continue to give up eating Brussels sprouts, you think the Idler can get waved through the pearly gates? I’ll be hanging around with the Boy Scouts telling Alec Baldwin jokes. I don’t think he’s going to repent.

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