Questions about gym class, comparing Simpsons characters, book sales and more.
This is my 500th published list on this website.
(Well, actually 501st. There has been one list ever that I wrote and then pulled down — a diatribe on the 2007 ALCS I wrote as kind of a “pilot” for the site that was so comically bad I couldn’t even go back and edit it into something usable.)
Even though 500 isn’t a multiple of 11, it felt like a great milestone. So I decided to use it as a springboard to dust off my old Inbox-O-Rama format and post and respond to some emails and tweets.
1 | An update on the 11 Points Guide to Hooking Up
You haven’t given any updates in a while how is the book doing?
Well, first of all, because of my personality, I wasn’t going to be happy until it outsold A Tale of Two Cities — or, at least, some of the Sweet Valley High series — so it’s not quiiiite there. But overall, things have been really, really good. The sales numbers look pretty solid, Amazon and some bookstores have had to place orders for more with the publisher, and everyone who reads it really seems to like it a lot. It has also opened a few pretty significant doors for me, career-wise.
That being said… I still think it needs to make another big push before it will be toasted as a success by the people involved who are less psychotic than me. I’ve been working with my small but mighty publicity crew to try to figure out a plan to make that happen. And, of course, if you haven’t bought it, please do… and if you have, please consider recommending it to friends and/or buying it for gifts. Since it isn’t the Sweet Valley High series, every sale really does count.
2 | Don’t trip over a rock and land on a bear
If you ever do a follow-up to your 11 overdramatic road warning signs, feel free to use this one, located not far from my home in the province of Quebec!
I think this one is less overdramatic and more confusing. Was this guy on a sled being pulled by a bear and flung off? Is he trying to jump from a sailboat onto a bear’s back? What does this mean?
3 | The other Sam Greenspan
Do you write for a show on NPR? I know you aren’t the only Sam Greenspan in the world, but while driving home from work I definitely heard the name “Sam Greenspan” mentioned at the end of a show in the way they just sort of go through everyone’s name who works on whichever show it is they are at the end of.
I’ve been asked this a few times — one of my parents’ friends even called them to ask if I’m on NPR. The answer is no. That’s another Sam Greenspan. He and I are Facebook friends and, randomly, we actually had another friend in common. I’m not really NPR material — much more likely to hear from me on your local “Loverboy Lou and the Gator Morning Zoo”-type show. (Although NPR did list 11 Points in their top lists of 2010 post.)
4 | The Hastily-Made Cleveland Tourism video
Hey, so I’m sure that you get a shitload of these, but I need a distraction from college essays, figure this is as productive as anything else. You should do an 11 points on the “hastily made Cleveland tourism video” series, as someone not from cleveland, I always wondered how realistic it was.
As a Cleveland native, I have been well aware of that video. Also, it was made by a friend and former coworker of mine, an extremely talented guy named Mike Polk. I text him every time I’m back in Cleveland to meet up, but he lives on the west side and I live on the east side… and the two sides of Cleveland NEVER interact with each other.
Yes, downtown only has two legit skyscrapers. I can’t confirm that we lead the nation in drifters, but I wouldn’t argue it. Yes, there are still people who use payphones. Yes, the Flats look like a Scooby-Doo ghost town — that’s the most accurate line by far. Yes, at the time the video was made, the economy rested on LeBron James. And yes, “at least we’re not Detroit” could actually be the city’s unofficial motto.
5 | Angry geneticist?
I am a loyal reader (and owner of the guide to hooking up) from the suburbs of Baltimore. I saw this license plate and thought of you!
I’m not sure what they’re going for though…perhaps they’re fervently anti-gay geneticists? Anyway, thanks and keep up the good work. And remember, there’s always money in the banana stand!
My instinct is also that this is saying: “Two women? No. One man.” Or maybe “Two women need one man.” If either one is true, this is a fairly abstract and roundabout way to circumvent the DMV’s anti-discriminatory filters. It’s like when Sideshow Bob explained that “Die Bart Die” was German.
[Edited to add: Some people have astutely pointed out it could be a threesome, two women n’ one guy. Good point.]
6 | Can you memorize what’s on the card by tomorrow?
Your website has the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?
Next thing you know I’m going to get a question from Councilman Les Whinin.
7 | My problem with Boston sports
why won’t you leave us Red Sox fans alone?
I actually found myself in a conversation about this last night with several other people who also consider the Red Sox (or Boston sports in general) their arch-nemesis. And the consensus basically is: All the years of losing made the fans develop a chip on their shoulder… the decade of unprecedented winning has now led to a sense of entitlement… but the chip hasn’t gone away. It’s the rare scenario of playing the “we’re disrespected” card while also enjoying success that no city has ever seen in the modern sports era. “Eff the media, no one’s giving us any chance to win it this year… we’d better go sign another $100 million free agent because who wouldn’t want to play at Fenway for the Red Sox?”
Either that, or I’m still horribly bitter from the 2007 ALCS (as mentioned earlier) and 2010 NBA playoffs and only feel marginally better by occasionally taking swipes at things like the Sweet Caroline “tradition” or Albert Haynesworth becoming a 450-pound anchor dragging down the Patriots*.
8 | Two dissimilar businesses
Not sure if you still do lists of these, but here’s one I saw in SE Minnesota.
Not sure what “broasted” means anyways.
I think it’s broiled and roasted combined. Whether that’s right or wrong, I’m not sure I want it coming from the same building as the car washing chemicals.
9 | The Sophie’s Choice for Simpsons fans
I don’t know if you’ve ever answered this directly, but: Troy McClure or Lionel Hutz?
The two iconic Phil Hartman characters who sound exactly alike. Which one is better?
After much debate and struggle… and going for a long walk to think… I’m going to go with Troy McClure. Two reasons. One: The strength of “A Fish Called Selma” which could very well be a top 11 episode of all time. And two: The fact that every time he was on, there was going to be something quotably funny — from the titles of his past credits (which I did a list on) to his horrible hosting banter.
Lionel Hutz is great (“Works on contingency no money down” is my favorite punctuation joke of all time — and yes, I do enjoy many punctuation jokes). But I think he was a little too functional a few times, belying his “world’s worst lawyer” character. Particularly the episode where he does a really good job proving Homer didn’t have all the seafood he could eat.
So I’ll go with Troy McClure in a photo finish, although I may change my mind before I publish.
[Edited to add: I did not change my mind.]
10 | Bacon up that matzah
There’s a restaurant in LA that serves bacon-wrapped matzoh balls. Would you eat them? How do you feel about sacrilegious deliciousness?
First of all, I really didn’t know these exist. I looked it up and the restaurant is (1) founded by a Top Chef winner and (2) in downtown L.A. I don’t keep up with Top Chef and never, ever go to downtown L.A., so it wasn’t at all on my radar. But now that it is…
I don’t really see any problem with bacon-wrapped matzah balls. It’s a very hipster combination and probably trying to generate some press. Matzah balls are traditional Jewish food but not something holy, after all. I guess my bigger problem is that the combination doesn’t sound like it would be any good — it’s just kind of awkwardly forced to get people’s attention. Kind of like when Will Ferrell guest starred on The Office. Now… if you want to give me some lobster latkes or shrimp-filled kreplach, we can talk.
11 | Reminds me of when we used to climb the rope in gym class
Don’t know why I thought of this but did you like gym class growing up?
I loved the randomness of this one. I didn’t really like gym class until 4th grade, when I made the conscious decision to stop being a full-on nerd and try to get good at sports. I never got legitimately good at any sport (except racquetball and that doesn’t really help with the aforementioned “not nerdy” credo) but I loved playing them.
Here are the 11 gym class activities we did a lot of in elementary school, ranked by how much I liked them…
(1) Dodgeball/battleball… (2) Kickball… (3) Softball… (4) Soccer… (5) Basketball… (6) Flag football… (7) Tumbling… (8) Swimming… (9) Square dancing (yes, really)… (10) That stupid giant parachute thing… (11) Rope climbing, my arch-nemesis.
And I know I said earlier that Boston sports are my arch-nemesis. I can have two arch-nemeses. I have a life outside of you, Boston.