Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Something a little extra for the readers of this column

Note: This column appears in the 4/14 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/15 issue of the Peoria Times

My wife and I, shamelessly, as a means of relieving stress and ignoring the more meaningful events and concerns of the day, watch “Extra.”

Honestly? It might be the worst show on television. Hosted by Mario Lopez, most of the “stories” involve Mario Lopez doing things that require him to take his shirt off, like working out, or eating, or talking to other people. The show will also tease a “story” before a commercial like, “What was Kate Hudson doing at Baby Gap? (Cut to terrible, blurry still shot of her holding up a pair of tiny overalls.) Is there a BABY on the way? ‘Extra’ has the story, next … Extra, extra!” Then, after the commercial and more buildup in which they blame “the paparazzi” for the photo even though they took it because they are the paparazzi, we find out she was shopping for her niece. “Extra” reveals this information as if we were stupid for thinking otherwise.

Other than that, the show is one big infomercial. Products are disguised as prizes and random and oftentimes obscure celebrities are featured either because they have a new movie to promote or a new book coming out (or, because they are dead, dying, or rumored to be dying—you stay classy, “Extra”).

The book thing used to drive me crazy, being a writer of words and all. I always wanted to write a book, and my wife constantly urged me to do so, but I always seemed to find a reason why I couldn’t. Then I would sit there watching “Extra” only to discover that the neighbor from the popular early 90’s sitcom “Empty Nest” had written a book about his experiences on the “Empty Nest” set and also how he defeated kidney stones. “WHO WOULD READ THAT?!” I would scream as I stormed out of the room, only to excitedly return for the next segment.

Well, thankfully for my sanity, I have finally written a book. It is about losing the extra baby weight, life on the red carpet, and living with an abusive aunt. But mostly it’s about none of those things.

The book is called, So, Do You Like … Stuff?, which is the same name as my blog and which, before you ask, is a reference to a line from “The Simpsons” that I believe encompasses the overall nature of the topics involved.

If you like my column, which I hope you do and which I think you might since you are reading this one, I think you will really like the book. Some of the columns featured on these very pages are in there, except reworked to include 80-percent more awesomeness! Plus there’s a ton of other new, ya’ know … stuff. It’s not one of those comprehensive books with a beginning, middle, and end—so annoying, am I right?—but a collection of brief, concise, and, I hope, very funny anecdotes that are often Valley-centric and that will leave you feeling all happy and warm inside.

Next month I’ll be hosting a book signing/release event at Firebirds in Peoria, and there will be more on that in the coming weeks. I am not sure if “Extra” will be there, because they haven’t called me back, but if they are, dress provocatively. If you can’t wait until then—and who could blame you?—you can buy the book now at Authorhouse.com here.

On a somewhat serious note, mostly because I am feeling very sappy about realizing a lifelong dream, thank you to every single person who reads and enjoys this column. I’m consistently humbled and amazed that people actually do. Now get out there and buy my book before you make a grown man cry.


Up next on "Extra" ... Is it hot in here or is it me? We're talking "stuff" with former child actor Mike Kenny ...

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