This is my least favorite blog post to write every year. Frankly, I don’t enjoy making recommendations to others because I live in fear that you won’t like them as much as I do and will subsequently blame me for wasting your time and/or money on other cool things that you actually DO enjoy.
But that’s just me.
So I’m simply going to list a few more of my favorite guilty pleasures from 2014. I’m NOT recommending them. No sir. No ma’am. No recommendations here. If you choose to try any of these for yourself, it’s on you. I’m washing my hands of the entire situation.
There. I feel better.
My Favorite Podcast:
The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson was my favorite bedtime story. In fact, my mother says, as a toddler, I wouldn’t go to bed until Johnny Carson said goodnight. I loved Johnny. I miss Johnny. And thanks to The Carson Podcast, Johnny’s legacy lives on. Hosted by fellow Carson nerd Mark Malkoff, The Carson Podcast features interviews with the king of late night’s frequent guests, writers, producers, and associates. My favorite episodes (so far) include comedian Steven Wright, actor Charles Grodin, Tonight Show producer Peter Lassally, and filmmaker Peter Jones, who directed the excellent PBS documentary about Carson. This is my current podcast obsession.
My Favorite Rerun:
Okay, I know Seinfeld isn’t a revelation. I’m not breaking new ground here. Recommending Seinfeld to a TV viewer is akin to recommending The Mona Lisa to an art lover. But these are MY favorite things. If you don’t like them, make your own list. I love Seinfeld. And I love my Seinfeld DVD box set that features all nine seasons. (The early box sets came with a coffee table book chocked full of fascinating-yet-useless Seinfeld trivia.) I’m also digging Seincast, a weekly retrospective podcast that dissects all 180 episodes. I watch an episode, I listen to the corresponding podcast, yada yada yada, I’m happy.
My Favorite Book:
My Favorite Fitness Tools:
This year has been a series of ups and downs. Especially with my weight. However, I did gain some traction in October with the help of some fitness tools. The free MyFitnessPal app helped me track every calorie, carb, and fat gram. It also synched up to my FitBit Flex to track my steps and active minutes. This information was invaluable and startling. You really have no idea how many calories you consume until you track them. I also meet twice a month with my personal trainer, Leslie (pictured, right), who provides the motivation and pressure I require to push myself outside my comfort zone…although, at times, I am truly convinced she is trying to kill me. Last but not least, two online resources have given me some essential information. Nerd Fitness combines gaming and fitness with fun, well-written, and easy to read articles. And the Simply Lose It Meltdown Challenge held by Danny Cahill (season eight winner of The Biggest Loser) lets participants earn points and lose weight for a chance to win cash prizes. By participating in this challenge, I lost 16 pounds in six weeks. The next Simply Lose It Challenge is slated to begin in January. Check the site often for details.
My Favorite People Following Brain Surgery:
For those who may not know, my four-year-old son had brain surgery in May. During the five weeks in the hospital following Charlie’s surgery, three organizations had a tremendous impact on our family. The Ronald McDonald House may be well-known by many, but it’s difficult to fully grasp what they offer until you stay there. For just a few dollars a night, we had a private room with a very comfortable bed, a hot shower, a full kitchen, laundry facilities, a TV room with a pool table, and free wifi in a safe, secure environment. This ensured that, every other night, either my wife or I would be able to get a decent night’s sleep while the other stayed with Charlie at the hospital. Now, every time I go through the McDonald’s drive-thru, I make sure to drop some coins in the bucket. Another group, Basket of Hope, showed up at Charlie’s Hospital room with a HUGE basket of toys, games, and books. Also included in the basket was a Bible, books for grown-ups, and a beautiful necklace for my wife. And, finally, I must single out the Neurorehabilitation Program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. They were with us every step of the way – literally – because they taught my son how to walk again. These organizations helped my wife and I when we felt completely helpless. I hope to never been on the receiving end again. But, if I am, it’s good to know they’re ready to help.
That’s my list. No, I’m not getting any kickbacks for promoting these companies. Unless they want to send me some swag. I wear size XL.