A Guy In a Prius Wanted to Fight Me

Sorry it's been awhile; I have been on the road for the last two weeks, tutoring in Rancho Santa Fe, Tahoe and Napa. While in Rancho Santa Fe, I had to drive one of the family vehicles: the Hummer. Let me tell you what that's like. First of all, it is so huge (I know, duh), but, it is so huge, that when I leaned forward to adjust the rear view mirror, arm outstretched as far as it would go, I couldn't reach the rear view. It was like, a good nine feet in front of me. I was like, "That's really convenient." That's how huge this car is. So, then I started noticing that everywhere I went, people would glare at me. Seriously! I parked at a Starbucks and passersby were like, mean-mugging me the whole time! It was even worse when I walked out of Starbucks with a disposable, paper latte cup. I might as well have been just dumping oil all over an otter. I felt terrible! Anyone that knows me, knows it was torture for me to drive anything that gnarly towards the environment. Scott and I found that only one kind of person lights up when they see you pull up in a Hummer: the guy at the gas station. Cha-ching. Hope everyone is doing well and I'll write more soon!

Kid Nation

The tagline is "40 kids for 40 days with no grown-ups. Can they do it?" Do what you ask? Successfully run a working society made up entirely of kids ages 8-15. It's Kid Nation and it premieres Wednesday, September 19, 8PM ET/PT on CBS.

The premise is watching what happens when you leave a diverse group of kids alone in a Wild West ghost town. No one gets kicked off and they can leave whenever they want. Every week, the kid council gets to award someone with a "gold star" worth twenty grand. They also compete for prizes like a library or video arcade. All the while, they have to cook, clean, and govern themselves. I guess lemonade stands are for pussies.

Okay, I don't doubt that this will be a hit show, and I'm totally impressed with the kids that volunteered to take on such a challenge, but there are a few issues I would like to bring up at one of the weekly kid-run "town meetings." First of all, no grown-ups? CBS is lying. What about the camera people? What about the host? Will they also be of the Dora the Explorer set? Nice try, but there's no way. I mean, there has to be some kind of Bear Grylls-like-pseudo-reality programming going on. And thank goodness! Grown-ups are good! What about Piggy's glasses?

I also find it kind of funny that they keep portraying the show like it was only started so that kids could fulfill their mission to show adults how the world really ought to be. Okay, if they wanted kids to show us some sort of Utopian society in which humanity fulfills its purpose, why would they send the kids back a hundred years and place them in a rustic, Wild West, ghost town? As in Back to the Future III? I thought we tried that society once already; it's only cool if you're a blacksmith. I actually heard they picked the location because there was a loophole in Nevada child labor law. Heartwarming, isn't it?

Still, the kids look like a bunch of amazing characters, and I'm rooting for them 100%. Tune in this Wednesday and see what you think.

Generation X-icon

One of my all time favorite stories is that of Megan Jasper, the hep twenty-something woman whom The New York Times consulted to provide them with a "Grunge Slang Lexicon" in 1992. You can imagine this girl, clad in her docs and Mudhoney t-shirt, and she was like, "Sure, sure, no problem. Glad to do it. Go Gen X!" and then, she totally made everything up! How cool is that? She is my hero. Also my hero: Brian Hopper, but I'll explain that later. Here are a few choice definitions:

Harsh Realm: Bummer

Cob Nobbler: Loser

Tom-Tom Club: Uncool outsiders

(And my favorite) Swingin' on the Flippity-Flop: Hanging out

I love it. Like anyone would say any of those phrases. Especially "swingin' on the flippity-flop!" How long does it take to say it? Thanks, Gamaliel for providing the full excerpt!

So, earlier I mentioned my other hero, Brian Hopper. Well, that's because this story totally reminded me of the time I was at Laura's house and happened to catch Brian on the local news. There had been a really big storm up at Crystal and they were filming the kids playing in the snow and skiing and whatnot. If you know the Hoppers, you know they love skiing, so of course Brian made the newscast. I would give anything to find a clip of what transpired, but for now, here's a paraphrased transcript straight out of my memory.

Newscaster: (we'll say, Penny LeGate since I can't remember who it was) Wow! It's really coming down out here! These kids are sure having fun with their snowball fights! Hey, young man, what do you think of the skiing conditions today?

Brian: Yeah, yeah, it's bovine.

So, obviously Brian is totally joking and trying to keep a straight face all the while purposely misusing the word "divine" as though that's totally normal. We're cracking up at home and then, suddenly the newscast is interuppted by a classic needle-scratching-partystop noise and a voiceover comes on saying, "Wait a minute, did he just say, bovine?" and then, a computer-generated background of a cow pops up along with a "MOOOO" sound and then you hear this clackety-clack of a typewriter as these words appear transposed over the cow:



Then, (and I'm not making this up) it cuts back to Ken Schram or something, and he says: "Well, those hurricanes off the coast of Florida aren't so "bovine," Penny! Let's go to Steve Pool for the weather."

Tell me that's not the best fifteen minutes in local television history. Brian Hopper rules.

Squirrel Cop

If you have ten minutes to spare, you might like this. It's a hilarious story from NPR's "This American Life." I listened to it once on a road trip and was crying from laughing so hard. Enjoy. Also, if you ever want to hear other stories from "This American Life," all of the episodes are archived here and you can listen for free!

So Grossed Out Right Now

Recently, I was privy to a glorious Weight Watchers guidebook. It was designed so that when people on Weight Watchers are contemplating eating a food item, they can consult the book to find out how many "points" that particular item is worth. For example, one listing might say:

Strawberries (6 oz.)......................................0 pts.

At first, everything inside seemed pretty standard: steak, pasta, DQ Blizzards, and so forth; but every once in awhile your eyes would light upon something absolutely freaking insane. Here are a few choice entries:

Shark (4 oz.).....................................1 pt.
Beaver (4 oz.)...................................1 pt.
Armadillo (4 oz.)...............................1 pt.
Squirrel (4 oz.)...................................1 pt.
Rogan Josh (6 0z.).............................3 pts.

Okay, first of all - who the hell is eating armadillo? I mean, seriously. Second of all, how much does, "Rogan Josh" sound like a phonebook listing for a guy named Josh Rogan? Apparently it's a lamb curry named after a charming, all-American high school runningback.

Handful of Gravel.................................. 2 pts.
One Earthworm......................................1 pt.
Fingernails (3).........................................1pt.
Molten Lava (6 fluid oz.)........................4 pts.

Oh my gosh, I have to go! My cell phone's ringing and it's Josh Rogan!!!