Arts & Culture

The Ira Glass Infatuation Post/This American Life Roundup: “Million Dollar Idea”

You’ve tapped into another epicenter of pleasure for me this week, Ira, by way of gourmands’ delights. And capitalism. Yum. After touting two competing Brooklyn Vietnamese restaurants’ identical bánh mi selections (Classic, grilled pork, grilled chicken, sardine, shredded chicken, tofu. … Read More

By / July 21, 2010

You’ve tapped into another epicenter of pleasure for me this week, Ira, by way of gourmands’ delights. And capitalism. Yum. After touting two competing Brooklyn Vietnamese restaurants’ identical bánh mi selections (Classic, grilled pork, grilled chicken, sardine, shredded chicken, tofu. Classic, grilled pork, grilled chicken, sardine, shredded chicken, tofu…), I feel better than a mantra’d-out Hari Krishna after a George Harrison wet dream. In regards to one restaurant stealing the entire menu, word for word, recipe for recipe from another, the rogue owner asks, "If you’re a kung fu student and the master didn’t teach you, how are you supposed to learn?" Good thing this bullshit grasshopper got called out good by Ira, another not-so-rare moment of satisfying bust.

"Sandwiches and bubble teas are this unlikely million-dollar idea," and therein lies the sub: the million dollar idea (and there’s nothing that turns me on more-think intensely intelligent sexies manifesting their surreal designs in very real ways. Gimme some of that, Mr. Gates).

 

Act 1: We don’t want the Indiana Joneses of the world to have to choose between life and sex

Ira interviews Tim Rowe, an entrepreneur who runs a 60-second elevator pitch contest at MIT annually. "There are maybe a hundred venture capitalists looking for the next thing to invest in." Finest formula to score? Uncomplicated, cheap, qualified, and exciting. Sounds like an ideal one-night-stand, but also a fine way to be a moneymaker. In all, another perfect mantra to carry around in your pocket for a rainy day.

Interestingly, Rowe remarks of these catalysts for big money deals con great ideas, "they would prefer to make an investment that both makes money and does something exciting that makes the world a better place…otherwise they would just be working on Wall Street." While I don’t make a habit of expecting scrupulous ventures from men throwing money at hot messes with no foreseeable future, I think I’ve been sold on this one. Take it, boys.

All I know is next time I’m looking for a quick (uncomplicated, cheap, qualified and exciting) good time, I’m goin’ to Cambridge.

 

Act 2: If you fucked up while you were making it, everything would explode and you would die

"OK kids, say no to drugs," suggests Ira after comedian Kumail Nanjiani presents valuable information about the hottest street thing among kids that, to my surprise, is not sizzurp.  Can’t blame ‘em-if school, parents, friends, and possible mates are too much of a bore on an empty stomach, you’ve got to find your yen somehow. While I’d suggest deserting Boreville to find strange excitement elsewhere, judgment and opinionating goes the wayside if I may suggest a little advice from Woody in seeking out Whatever Works to make you happy.

 

Act 3: Early death does save society money

Planet Money takes us to the Czech Republic to explore the benefits of sin-more dead smokers equals less cost to society at large. I love this logic-especially pertaining to a toxic behavior that depends solely on individual choice. The right to pursue happiness is just as important as the right to seek self-deprecation, as all the hooker-chasing politicians will vote YES on in their private boudoirs. Living in Prague, I preferred to do so with Mr. Philip Morris’s arch nemesis Start cigarettes. Their honest business practices lit my fire like strategically placed Icy Hots.

Unlike Start, Matt Meyers, campaign rep of an anti-smoking crusade fighting Philip Morris, is confused. He is not in touch with his inner economic Buddha, unaware that the world revolves around a dollar like a dancer on a pole. "We’re very clear," says Meyers. "Efforts to reduce tobacco use have nothing to do with economic cost. They have everything to do with quality of life." Yeah, good luck trying to get a lapdance from someone who’s not into you or what you stand for without considering economic incentives.

 

Act 4: We had no rules against what he was doing

Picture it: Press My Luck game show, 1980: Enter Michael Larson, scammer extraordinaire who won the most jack on a game show in history ($110,000-half of which he took out in singles in the weeks to follow in an attempt to win another contest. All of which was stolen from his house). His brother said of his late frère, "He didn’t understand the value of good, honest, hard work….he thought those people were fools." And who’s to say he’s the fool if miserable mascara stains grace the cheeks of sadclowns in all demographics, not withstanding pious nine-to-fivers?

Larson played the system by blowing morals to the curb and "was convinced that someone smart could find loopholes in game shows that average people missed."  If this guy’s tactics are unrelated to Mike Aponte’s MIT ploy in Vegas, I don’t know what is. And I’d have to say my intuition was right to look toward MIT for satisfaction a few acts ago.

The venn diagram of million dollar ideas and doing whatever the fuck you want overlaps at the point where an individual understands of the rules and norms and willingly disregards them for self promotion, which, in most cases, has more benefits than costs for all. One perky point of sinful behaviors is that they will bring you said benefits by way of pleasure. And if an individual wants to smoke, do cheese, or make forged bánh mi sandwiches, the world continues to go round with a few more happy campers on the bus.