But I have NEVER been a judge on Iron Chef America!
How. oh how, could I repair this gaping hole in my psyche, aside from buying another gun, which is my normal therapy route???
Accordingly, I hit the Internet with a vengence this AM, and around 5 PM dispatched the following letter to the producer of Iron Chef America:
Dear Producers of IRON CHEF AMERICA;This is my quest...to follow that star...no matter how hopeless...no matter how far...I'll keep you all informed...
I suppose you get about a dozen letters just like this a minute, but what the heck, here's another one — I think I would make an EXCELLENT judge on Iron Chef America! Aside from the fact that I'm a fan, let me attempt to persuade you...
Here's the Cliff's Notes version of my, Michael Bane's, checkered career:
• I am currently the host and producer of the most politically incorrect show in America, SHOOTING GALLERY, now in its third year on The Outdoor Channel. It's also one of the highest-rated shows ever on the Channel. I also produce one of their other highest-rated shows, with several more in development.
• I am also the only card carrying member of the Wonder World of Mayhem to have ever attended cooking school. I consider my brief apprenticeship in a working restaurant as the scariest thing I've ever done. I am an expert on Southern cuisine and once wrote the definitive article on the world's best hot dog, which I believe to be served on a nude beach on the French side of the island of St. Martin by a huge Rastafarian with a giant pet iguana. If my money hadn't run out, I'd still be there.
• I once created a small national crisis by shipping a BBQ pork shoulder from Memphis to New York City, where I was living at the time, by buying it a ticket as a passenger on a commercial airline. When the magazine article ran (how else to pay for such a thing?) ran, someone at the Pentagon though it was a wonderful idea, so they flew 90 BBQ pork shoulders to D.C. as passengers on a military plane. In the resulting — and totally predictable — flurry of accusations about wrong-doing, I somehow got the blame. I had to promise the FDA that I would never buy a pork shoulder another airplane ticket, no matter what.
• I have spent years as a "professional adventurer;" in fact, my book of a few years back, OVER THE EDGE: A REGULAR GUY'S ODYSSEY IN EXTREME SPORTS, caused the Wall Street Journal to exclaim, "How did Michael Bane become the George Plimpton from Hell..." OVER THE EDGE was positively reviewed in The Economist, which led one wag to say that if I ever wrote a book on John Maynard Keynes, I could get it reviewed in Sports Illustrated.
• I have climbed big mountains, explored the flooded cave systems of Mexico, nearly died "river surfing" in New Zealand and a host of other relatively stupid adventures. I receive letters monthly from around the world about how my book has changed peoples's lives. I am apparently a hero in the Netherlands, where the coach of their Olympic ski team rereads my book every year. I once got a picture of the North Pole from an orthodontist who'd quit his lucrative practice to trek to the Poles after reading OVER THE EDGE. I don't actually know what to make of this.
• For a year or so, I edited a magazine about beer, causing me to revise my understanding of the basic food groups. I got to spend time with beer luminaries like Jim Koch from Sam Adams, "Pete," from Pete's Wicked Ale and the legendary homebrewer Charlie Papazian. I learned a huge amount about beer and brewing, and, eventually, my liver recovered.
• As a professional journalist, I have interviewed people as diverse as philosopher Ayn Rand to Ku Klux Klansman David Dukes to Dolly Parton, who volunteered to play the part of my girlfriend if a movie was ever made of my life. I have twice been listed among the top magazine writers in America.
• I have been a rock critic for Rolling Stone, won awards for my writing in magazines like Esquire and Men's Journal and once went on the road with Willie Nelson. My book WHITE BOY SINGING THE BLUES, which I wrote in the late 1970s, has recently been described by a library journal as "one of the five best books on rock and roll ever written." It is used as a text on American popular culture by numerous colleges...in fact, it's used at the University of Colorado (I live outside of Boulder, CO), where I was invited to take a test on my own book...which I failed, confirming what I've always suspected about academics.
• My book on understanding risk in the outdoors, TRAILSAFE, was called "indispensable" by Gavin De Becker, bodyguard to the stars and head of the company that writes the risk-assessment software for the Secret Service.
• I hold a black belt in Tang Soo Do; am a 3-time finisher in the grueling Alcatraz Triathlon, which includes a swim from Alcatraz to the mainland; have studied multiple other martial arts; am an expert shot with rifles, pistols and submachineguns and was once chosen by Men's Health Magazine as THE SECOND MOST FIT FAT GUY IN AMERICA. Honest.
• My favorite review of my novel, ALL NIGHT RADIO (which of course featured a cameo from the Loveless Motel outside of Nashville, home of the best biscuits and gravy on the entire planet) read something like, "...as a novelist myself, there is a line I won't cross. Mr. Bane crossed it about page 13 and never looked back..." OTOH, Edgar Award-winning mystery grandmaster Warren Murphy said about me, "He is a mountain climber, a cave diver, a gunfighter, a martial artist. He's also one helluva novelist..."
I am prepared to drop everything and race to Kitchen Stadium at the drop of a hat, palette-cleansing sorbet in hand. It would be one of the great honors of my life. Plus, I'd get a decent meal out of it!
Yours in hope...