Fonzie of the Week #21: Adam Richman, Host of Man vs. Food

March 12th, 2010 113 comments
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Let’s get the basics out of the way, Adam Richman, host of Man vs. Food is the Fonzie of the Week. Why? Because Man vs. Food is probably my favorite show that doesn’t feature nerd-slash-super spies, creepy magical islands or Kiefer Sutherland breaking the Geneva Convention. The show usually follows a simple formula: 20 minutes of Mr. Richman salivating over and/or sampling the most awesomely delicious pig-out foods a single city has to offer, followed by 10 minutes of him attempting an “eating challenge” that involves enough food to feed a large village for a week, or enough atomic heat to power a small city for a day…and sometimes both. Make no mistake, Man vs. Food is why the terrorists hate us. It’s not to be missed, readers.

But really, Mr. Richman is Fonzie of the Week because I think he should be my new best friend, and I’m going to blog that impossible dream into reality. Actually, I’m not even going to call him Mr. Richman anymore – best friends don’t use last names. So, Adam, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to make the case for us becoming best buddies. I think you’ll agree it only makes sense. Here goes:

  1. We have similar backgrounds: Adam has a master’s degree from the Yale School of Drama. I have a bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Penn State. True, his theatrical schoolin’ is way more impressive than mine, but that’s okay by me: we have documented proof that he can eat more impressively than me, too. Every hero needs a sidekick, and I’m willing to play second fiddle. Think it over, Adam.
  2. I don’t judge – I keep pace! Let’s face it, Adam basically gets paid to eat tangible years off of his lifespan. The gastronomical feats of strength exhibited on his TV show are not for the faint of heart. They’re not for the strong of heart, either. In fact, they’re generally bad news for anybody who possesses a heart. And still, I’m yet to watch an episode and not think “I’d like to try that.” Eating pounds of food at a time is more fun with a friend, and I’m most definitely applying for the job.
  3. I can make Man vs. Food better: In the episode set in Philadelphia, Adam participated in a cheesesteak-eating challenge with Tony Luke, of Tony Luke’s. And with all due respect to Tony Luke, Jr., who makes a fine steak (and an appreciation that the Travel Channel ventured beyond 9th and Passyunnk), I could have told Adam that the best steaks in the city are actually found at Sonny’s Famous Steaks. And back when I lived in Philly, I was neighbors with its owners! I could’ve set up an awesome challenge for him at a superior cheesesteak joint. And I also would have saved him from putting American cheese on his steak. Yuck. I don’t mind that he passed on the Cheez Whiz (I’m a provolone man), but American cheese on a steak is just plain wrong. I’d be the best thing to happen to that show since Prilosec.
  4. I know CPR. It’s worth noting, since our friendship will be at least partly built on a solid foundation of overeating to crazy extremes. It’s really not really a question of if I’ll need to resuscitate: it’s a question of when I’ll need to resuscitate. I’ll also keep plenty of antacid handy. I’m thoughtful like that.

So, Adam, I think it’s clear what needs to happen here. I look forward to taking up residence on your speed-dial. I know you’ve got lots of friends, but can any of them say they’ve named you “Fonzie” on a blog that has tens – nay, dozens! – of readers? I didn’t think so. Save me a spot at the counter, good buddy. I’ll bring the napkins.

Faster Than TiVo. Cheaper, Too!

March 9th, 2010 No comments
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Wow. I haven’t written anything on the blog in a long time. Yikes. Sorry, readers! The good news is that there will be a new Fonzie this week. Still, it’s worth noting that by default, Kung-Fu Jesus was Fonzie of the Week for a straight month. He also brought more traffic to the site than usual, because I got linked to from the Fight Pastor website. (Welcome, fightin’ Christians! Please don’t beat me up.) Even better, since I don’t really go to church anymore, I’m hoping that Jesus’ long-running Fonziehood will help tip the “don’t get struck by lighting” scale back to center. I’ll keep you posted.

But let me get to the point, which if you read this post’s title, should have something to do with TiVo. I don’t own a TiVo, but if I did, there’s a good chance that there’s be a stack of 24 episodes recorded on it. Earlier today, a college pal of mine mentioned on Facebook that he had many episodes of that show waiting for him on his TiVo. He was a little intimidated by the many hours it would take to get caught up, so I drew from my experience watching every season of 24 so far, and whipped up a handy little script to catch him up more quickly. The best part is that this script will work for any season of 24! (I love the show and all, but let’s face it, the different seasons are pretty much interchangable.)

I found myself decently amused by this little writing exercise, and considering the fact that I’ve been mercilessly neglecting the blog, I thought I’d turn my Facebook comment into a blog post. So, without further ado, please enjoy what I feel is a pretty darn good 24 primer. You’re welcome, TV viewers.

Keifer Sutherland: The following takes place between XX and XX. Events occur in real time.

President Whoever: Oh, no! The terrorists have got the bomb!

Jack Bauer: I know what to do.

Douchebag CTU Boss: With all due respect, Mr. Bauer, I’m not going to do what you say.

Chloe: [rolls eyes and makes huffing sounds]

Hot Young Female CTU Agent: I’ve got emotional problems.

Hot Young Male CTU Agent: I find that very attractive. Let’s stop saving the world and go make out.

Hot Young Female CTU Agent: Sounds good. By the way, I’m a double agent.

Kim Bauer (who apparently has been standing there all along): Wait…I’m still alive? Now that doesn’t seem likely.
Seriously, there is no way Kim would still be alive by now. This is what happens when she tries to blow her nose. She’s the most dangerous W.M.D. the show has ever featured.

[at this point, the real bad guys – who are not the guys you thought were the bad guys – blow something up…let’s say the CTU headquarters. Jack captures one and begins interrogating him.]

Terrorist: I’ll never talk.

Jack Bauer: That’s fair. While you do that, I’m going to go cut off your kid’s medulla oblongata.

Terrorist: Really? That’s badass. Okay, you win. The next target is…

[the terrorist is killed by the hot young female CTU agent]

Jack: DAMMIT!

[digital clock ends the hour]

Not bad, right? I look foward to receiving offers for writing next season. Clearly I’m qualified. Talk to you soon, Fox!

Fonzie of the Week #20: Kung-Fu Jesus

February 5th, 2010 2 comments
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“Do to others what you would have them do to you.”

-Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew 7:12 (New International Version)

“Frank Mir had a horseshoe up his ass. I told him a year ago. I pulled it out and I beat him over the head with it. […] And when I get home tonight, I’m going to drink a Coors Light. That’s a Coors Light because Bud Light won’t pay me nothing. And hell, I might even get on top of my wife tonight.”

-Current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar

I’m so stupid. For 30 years now, I thought I had a clue what Jesus was all about: doing unto others, loving your neighbor, all that crap. But it turns out I was wrong! As reported in the New York Times on Tuesday, a number of churches across the country are taking advantage of the growing popularity of “mixed martial arts” and incorporating the sport into their ministries, mainly because it attracts young men who otherwise wouldn’t attend church. As Brandon Beals, the lead pastor at Canyon Creek Church, puts it: “Compassion and love — we agree with all that stuff, too. But what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.”

See? Jesus was a fighter. And to think all these years I had him incorrectly pegged as a longhaired pacifist “Prince of Peace.” Can you imagine? I bet Jesus would pull a horseshoe out of my ass and beat me over the head with it for getting him so wrong. And so, in recognition of his uncanny ability to attract the extremely desirable young male demographic (WAAAAY harder than say, walking on water or returning from the dead), Kung-Fu Jesus is Fonzie of the Week. Spoiler Alert: “Strip Clubs” and “Beer Pong” may be next in line if I continue to use this criteria for selecting Fonzies.

Here’s the thing: I understand churches using pop culture trends to attract young people. I was once a card-carrying Alt-Rock Christian Teen. Church is where I learned to play the electric bass and where most of my friends went to skateboard – hell, I was actually on a church Judo team. But I’d like to think we drew the line at bloodsport (Judo isn’t as violent as you might think). And we never kidded ourselves that Jesus would have actually been into skateboards, judo or rock music. It was just what the kids were into, so the church gave us a safe place to do those things. And if they snagged a soul for Jesus in the process, so much the better.

What’s most frightening to me about this particular from of Christian bait-and-switch is that it’s fooling these young men into thinking Jesus was a badass when by all accounts Jesus was actually kind of a wuss. Don’t get me wrong, he’s possibly the most influential person to walk the earth in human history, but the most violent he ever got was throwing a temper tantrum at some money changers. We’re talking about a guy who willfully submitted himself to crucifixion without fighting back and who is literally responsible for the saying “turn the other cheek.” The more I think about it, the more I realize that Jesus generally fit more of a stoner mold: wearing sandals everyday, turning water into wine (sort of like making a bong from an apple), magically making enough food to feed the masses (munchies)…you get the idea. Something tells me that Jesus would have hated Ultimate Fighting but that he would have LOVED Ultimate Frisbee.

What’s really scary about this whole Jesus Fight Club phenomenon is not so much that a bunch of young holy rollers are beating the crap out of each other, but what it means for the culture at large. Think about this for a minute: these guys are managing to make white male American Christians, who were already a pretty troublesome bunch, even more frightening. That’s not easy. What’s more, the poor women who are bound to fall for these guys are screwed. And trust me, these guys are going to be good girl magnets. It used to be that you had to look outside the church to find yourself a bad boy. Now the pews are stocked with blood-smeared kickboxers that you can actually bring home to meet Mom. Hallelujah!

Ryan Dobson is a pastor and a fan of mixed martial arts. He’s also the son of James C. Dobson, who founded Focus on the Family, a crazy right-wing political organization masquerading as a religious ministry. Dobson the younger was quoted in the Times article as saying “The man should be the overall leader of the household. […] We’ve raised a generation of little boys.” I’m not sure what a man’s supposed role as his home’s dictator or a “generation of little boys” has to do with mixed martial arts, but the article certainly seems to imply that Mr. Dobson thinks teaching our young men how to kick the shit out of each other is a good first step towards remedying the problems facing modern Christian men. This can’t be good for their wives, especially if they aspire to more than barefooted pregnancy. And maybe it’s just me, but last the last time I found myself captivated by two men fighting inside of a ring, I was actually a little boy. I’m pretty sure suiting up and hopping into the octagon isn’t going to make me mature any faster. It might make me more apt to beat my wife when she challenges my authority as supreme ruler of our home, though. Way to go, Pastor Dobson!

"Buddy Christ"

I’ve strayed from the point. Despite the inherent dangers of arming evangelical Christians with a deeper understanding of the martial arts, I still think the idea of Kung-Fu Jesus is pretty cool. But keep in mind I’ve also awarded Fonzie of the Week to a computer virus, a Peanuts character, and that guy on the Monopoly box, which is to say: people who don’t actually exist. I think it’s sort of spooky that in his 1999 movie Dogma, Kevin Smith made a joke of the ridiculousness of the Catholic church making over the image of Jesus into “Buddy Christ.” It seemed so absurd at the time. Eleven years later, it still seems absurd, but for vastly different reasons. Sigh.

@dogmonologue: Twitter is Finally Worth It

February 4th, 2010 No comments
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Breaking News: my dog is awesome.

Were she able to speak, I’m certain Nellie would have amazing things to say. And now, thanks to the magical gnomes at the center of the earth who run the internet, she can. That’s right, my dog has a Twitter account. I’d suggest you call your stockbroker right now, because there’s no way technology could ever surpass the greatness of @dogmonologue. It’s all downhill from here, man. Sell now before word spreads and tech stocks plummet worldwide. You’ve been warned.

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

February 3rd, 2010 1 comment
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My neighborhood isn’t perfect, but it’s home. And every now and then I get a reminder of why any neighborhood is great – the people who live there. Case in point:

This is an actual note I found taped to a streetside mailbox up the block from my apartment building (numbers blurred digitally to avoid pissing off whoever wrote it). At first, seeing this gave me a nice big dose of the warm fuzzies because somebody was nice enough to help a neighbor find their lost “I [heart] NY” shirt. You can’t get those just anywhere, you know!

Upon further reflection, however, I’m sort of confused, and a little worried for the welfare of whoever tries to retrieve this particular shirt. Here’s my thinking on this:

  • This note was taped to a mailbox, not a dryer. The shirt was found in a dryer, right? And this mailbox isn’t even remotely close to a laundromat.
  • What exactly has the note-writer been doing with this shirt for the last month? Lost clothing is like dropped candy: some sort of “five second rule” really must be put into action. Otherwise you’re draping yourself in a month’s worth of creepy neighbor mystery. And that’s tough to wash out, friends.
  • People who freely post their phone numbers in public scare me. Call me crazy, but I still can’t listen to “867-5309/Jenny” without getting a serious case of the heebie-jeebies.

And yet, I love my neighborhood. It’s a wonderful place to live. I just need to make sure I don’t leave anything in the dryer.