Today is the 40th anniversary of the moon landing and now there’s renewed talk about going to Mars. To celebrate, I thought I’d re-post a piece that I wrote when President George W. Bush began his own renewed talks about going to Mars. The idea fell to Earth like a lead balloon. With President Obama facing a universe worth…
Posts with Category Mad World
I thought I had my mid-life crisis all figured out.
In 2029 when I turn 50, I’ll start lifting weights, listen to nothing but the Goo Goo Dolls, dust off the ol’ letterman jacket, and – this is the most important party — buy a shiny new TransAm to make me feel 16 again.
But now that Pontiac is no more, how’s a fella supposed to get through his midlife crisis? Surely you don’t expect me to buy a Mustang, do you?
On my 16th birthday my parents chipped in half for the TransAm I had been pining for. Not one of those weenie ones with a V6 in it. It had eight screaming cylinders of raw American muscle. I was proud of how much gas and rubber it…
Few knows this, but a while back someone asked me to audition for a position as the host of a television series that focused on Tattoo cultures around the world.
I was fresh off my trip to Asia tracking down my clothes – pre-book deal. I set a camera in a field of corn and talked about where I came from and why I would be a great host for their show on tattoos, even though I knew I would be a horrible host for a show on tattoos.
I don’t have any tattoos, nor plan on getting any ever. The only tattoo I would consider getting is one from a man I heard about from some around-the-world sailors. He asks you some questions about yourself, you pay him, and then he gives you the tattoo he wants to give you. If you ask for a certain tattoo, “I want a pony,” the deal is off. “No Tattoo for you!” This option would work for me because if the tattoo looked stupid, I could just blame it on the guy who gave it to me, absolving myself from the decision making process. “Who would have thought that Care Bears were big on that remote island?” I could offer as my excuse.
Anyhow, I digress…
I would have been a crappy host for a number of reasons. First, I don’t have any tattoos. Second, I have a major problem with many of these “go places, do stuff, travel/adventure” shows: the camera crew is completely forgotten.
Bear Gryll…GRRRRR….gets me fired up. Death waits around every ravine, under every rock, and from every angle. At least that’s what he says. As he climbs up the mossy rocks of a waterfall he looks at the camera and says something like, “One wrong step and I fall to my death.” As he wades his way through snake and alligator infested waters he warns, “At any moment I could be attacked and fighting for my life.” Bear Gryll is nuts, sure, but what about the poor cameraman? He’s climbing a mossy waterfall while holding a camera. He’s trudging through death-infested waters while holding a camera.
I’ve been watching Expedition Africa on the History Channel. Four “explorers” are following in the steps of Stanley’s expedition to find Livingstone. The four fight over who’s leading the group where while local porters and even two bushmen look on. One explorer is even carrying around a pith helmet! It’s embarrassing. It’s just a reminder of the ugliness of colonialism. “We’re white, educated, explorers, the locals are cute and all with their bare feet, but we know better than they do.” The group comes across some tough conditions – climbing muddy mountains in the rain, crossing deserts in excruciating heat. But…what about the camera crew who are climbing a muddy mountain in the rain while holding a camera, and crossing the desert in excruciating heat while holding a camera?
I’m not a big fan of half stories and half-truths and that’s what these shows give us.
I would like to see a show about the camera crews who are tossed on ships while holding a camera filming the The Deadliest Catch, the camera woman sitting in the out of control rig barreling down the Ice Road, the dude climbing next to Bear Gryll.
Now that’s a show I could host. Although I suppose then there would need to be another show about the people filming the camera crew who are filming the camera crew.
Not only are the camera crews left out of the story although they are sweating, trekking, risking their lives just like the stars of the show, but the affects the cameras have on the results of the show aren’t acknowledged. Go to your nearest airport and start begging for 100-bucks. Not going to happen. But go to your nearest airport with a camera crew from the Amazing Race filming you, and your chances are good.
I’ve said it before, reality brings death to romance and I would like to make one addendum.
Reality (TV) brings death to romance and cameramen.
(Below the cut is an old column about my Travel Channel Hero Alby Mangels and the time I spent with his nephew in Australia)
One of the things I ask myself about my book is, “Did I get China right?” I was only in China for a month. (Remember there was no book deal at the time and my leap of faith was getting really expensive.) While I don’t think it’s possible to get a place, especially China, right, I’m overjoyed to get this email validating that I didn’t get it all wrong. And, according to the awesome, fabtabulous, make-my-day letter I just received from a reader in China, I actually might’ve been pretty close.
I’m a reader of your book ‘Where am I wearing’. I spent two days finishing your book and I really love it. I’ve learned a lot from your trips and the effort that you made.
I’m a Chinese girl…
(From November 2007. Although this post has nothing to do with globalization or garments it is one of the most viewed in the history of this blog.)
Where did Mrs. Butterworth’s boobs go?
When I was kid she was much shapelier. Now, she’s as flat as a pancake.
There are only two reasons why they could have disappeared (none of which is that she is old and gravity plays on such things – because Mrs. Butterworth is ageless):
1) Economics – Pinnacle Food Company, which produces Mrs. Butterworth, decided that they could make a greater profit if they flattened her out, thus robbing consumers of two D-cups of her sweet nectar.
2) Prudishness – After decades of children and adult alike fondling…
Recently Author Barbara Ehrenreich revisited some of the people she wrote about in her book Nickel & Dimed to see how they were faring in the current economic climate. She writes about them in a recent Op-Ed in the NY Times:
The current recession is knocking the working poor down another notch — from low-wage employment and inadequate housing toward erratic employment and no housing at all.
She says that the media is obsessed with “Recession Porn.”
the story of an incremental descent from excess to frugality, from ease to austerity. The super-rich give up their personal jets; the upper middle class cut back on private Pilates classes; the merely middle class forgo vacations and evenings at Applebee’s.
Yet the story of the poor getting poorer isn’t reported on. …