Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My Heart in My Hands...

I realized the other night, somewhere around 4 AM, that my life wasn't complete. Sure, I've done a lot...I have the love of the perfect woman, the dream job of a lifetime, three adoring parrots and Alf the Wonder Beagle...I've seen my name at the top of the page...written books...been taken seriously as a scholar...

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;

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 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, " 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...
This is my follow that matter how matter how far...I'll keep you all informed...


Anonymous said...

OK, I've always been the knucklehead that asked the dumb questions that everybody else was to cool to ask: Just who is the First Most Fit Fat Guy In America?

Anonymous said...

Ah, one of me favorite shows. I often dream of being a contestant in a "battle beef."

I'm heading to the Food TV site to send them a letter endorsing you.

Not Available said...

You bike, you hike, you shoot and write. And now you cook!

You go guy!. What's for dinner!?

Michael Bane said...

Last night dinner was marinated tuna steaks, grilled rare, sauted bok choy, brown rice and garlic bread. Grilling fish is an art I try to practice once or twice a week.

When I was a motivational speaker, I used to do a thing on how you can pretty much do anything you want — if you can figure out what it is you want.

I think we're aculturated to respond with "I can't" when presented with a new situation. I had to retrain myself to respond differently. One of my first "laws" was, "Acknowledge the impossible — Of course that's impossible! Of course I can't do that! Of course that's stupid!" Etc.

The second law was. "WHAT-IF Everything — Sure it's impossible, but what if I was to do it? What would be the first steps I'd need to do? What skills would I need to acquire?"

Third law was "Learning Aways Yields Unexpected Dividends..."

And so on and so on. I would like to point out that I failed as a motivational speaker. A friend of mine, who is one of the top motivational speakers in the world, told me I was "too real." Just go out there and tell them if they visualize a good life, they'll get one, he said.

Couldn't do it. Not in me to lie like that.

Of course I've now seen the light and am available to your group or company for an amazingly reasonable fee, speaking on Achieving Happiness, Fulfillment and an Active Sex Life in 30 Minutes — Or LESS!"


Anonymous said...

Now I need to go find page 13. Good luck- I'll tell my wife to watch for you. Maybe you'll meet Rachael Ray, although I'd hold out for Giada, myself.

Anonymous said...

I see an endorsement campaign. "Dear Sirs: I am writing in support of Michael Bane's efforts to become a judge on Iron Chef America....." Where do I find the email?

Anonymous said...


I was thinking about this again...

A while back, I saw pop star Jewel as a guest judge, and she was top notch as a critic. She is, in addition to being a cute little pop singer, a girl from the Alaska bush. She likes meat. I'm speculating here, but I'm guessing she likes the kind of meat that you get with a .300 magnum, if you catch my drift (call it a hunch).

And that got me thinking...

The angle you need to play is that you need to be on the show, along with Jewel, when the secret ingredient is of the "people up North can go out and shoot this" variety.

As both a chef AND an outdoorsman, you would, of course, be an IDEAL judge. And you could sit next to Jewel, who is pretty darn cute.

So... raise your hand if you would like to see a challenger take on Bobby Flay in a "Battle MOOSE" (not to be confused with a "mousse battle"), with Michael Bane, Jewel, and Jeffrey Steingarten in the booth!

(gotta have Jeffrey there to keep you and Jewel in check).

Did I mention that Jewel is cute?

Anonymous said...

oh I'm on a roll...

they could even do a TIE IN between Food Network and the Outdoor Channel, by having a SHOOTING GALLERY show about hunting the moose to serve up on Iron Chef!

This could be HUGE!!!

Anonymous said...

Michael -

You da man, a true polymath!

Anonymous said...

Michael -

You da man, a true polymath!