Top Articles of 2012. I have so named this the Trey-Bren-Ellis Awards because I probably should have been a better father to my children, but instead I chose to read:
Best Non-Brooks Op-ed :
Please Don’t Make Me Chose Just One Brooks Column(Yes, You Must):
Best Sports (If You Don’t Cry – You Might Be A Robot):
Big Brother (P.S. Target Says I Buy Too Many Condoms):
Campaign (Political Reporters Are Freaks):
Marriage (I made My Wife Read This Six Times):
Best Commencement (I thought About Reading This At My Sons Last Day Of Preschool And Making The Parents Listen)
You Have Too Much Crap:
Best Politicol Article Happens To Be On The People That Write Them:
I Am Getting Old:
Holy Crap! McDonalds Doesn’t Make McRibb Because They Are Being Nice:
Music Business Lifts Up Its Skirt:
Best Real Life Thriller – You’re A Bad Parent If This Is Your Kid:
If you made it this far, you need a hobby(and By all means if you have an article for me, send it my way…my kids don’t really need me)!
The J.O.B. Radio Show Mixed Tape Program
Who can’t remember making or receiving the perfect mix from the love of your 13-year-old life (I’ll tell you who, the young wipper-snappers who’ve only known music through an I-Pod).
Want a personalized mix tape made exactly for you? All you have to do is promise (with some minor proof required) that you’ll pimp The J.O.B. Radio Show to all your social media outlets: An email to your address book (listen to my favorite podcast in the entire universe, that Larry he’s so dreamy) ; A link on your Facebook Page (a link to the show with the description: workingradio.com cures cancer) ; A tweet or two (140 characters of The J.O.B is dope) ; A Tumbler post (what is Tumblr) ; A blog entry (you get the idea).
If you do any combo of the above: you name the genre…and we make the tape (actually in real life a CD)! Want a mix to cut meat with – we’ll make it? How about slow jams to get all “hot and bothered” to? Sporty mix for your lats and back weight workout? You name it – we’ll make it!
Not that we need to tell you, but just imagine how much more productive you will be with your very own soundtrack thumping in the background of your life.
2) Send me your address
3) Name your genre of mixed tape!
It’s that simple!
We can’t wait to work with you. We’ve been named the best Mixed Tape organization 5-years running by the Western Addition Times. Our Mixed Tapes have been featured on the dance floors of Omaha to the Catwalks of the People’s Republic of Hungary.
You have a bucket of jelly beans. Some are red, some are blue, and some green. With your eyes closed, pick out 2 of a like colour. How many do you have to grab to be sure you have 2 of the same? – Microsoft
If you were a biscuit, what sort would you be? – Hewlett Packard
If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out? – Goldman Sachs
You are stranded on a desert island. You have 60 seconds to choose people of ten professions to come with you. Who do you choose? Go! – Google
Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 how weird you are. – Capital One
Sell me an invisible pen. – Procter & Gamble
How do you weigh an elephant without using a scale? – IBM
If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it? – Zappos
What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your uncle? – Volkswagen
Just entertain me for five minutes, I’m not going to talk. – Acosta
Although this little cartoon may not be entirely accurate about an interview in that infamous Swedish retailer, we like it anyway….
LO: DavidChangis a decorated chef and owner of Momofuku restaurant group which includes the noodle bar, milk bar, sam, ko. He’s also connected with the lucky Peach Food Journal and in 2010 he made Time Magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People. He also served as a guest judge on the TV show Top Chef. David, I don’t know how you have time to breathe let alone come on our little dog and pony show
David Chang: It sounds like a lot but it’s really not that much. I got a really amazing team of people at the moment that make my life pretty easy these days.
LO: So, I think you’re interesting because you come off as sort of a normal dude who just likes food, but you’re not. You went to theFrenchCulinaryAcademy. You’re a highly successful restaurateur. So here’s the question, how do you keep the buzz about your food so you get people coming in the door, but also keep it normal so aJoeBlowlike me isn’t intimidated to want to go to Momofuku?
David Chang: Well, I think at the end of the day we like to reverse engineer the process. Right? We want the expectations of people to be exceeded when they leave the door. And we want people talking about that’s an amazing meal, whether at any of our restaurants. It’s just a matter of how do we get to that point. So once you know that’s the goal, certain things become superfluous, and you can fly directly at the goals.
So it allows us to be innovative. It allows us to not listen to, not necessarily the customer, because the customer is not always right. And it allows us to sort of make mistakes, a lot of fallies. But that allows us to grow and it allows us to find our own voice. Essentially it doesn’t mean that we’re not trying to cook for the customer, but we’re trying to cook for something that interests us and is delicious. So long answer to a short question, but hopefully that suffices.
LO: We’ll take it. You have a pretty interesting background. You were a pretty good amateur golfer, a religious studies major in college. On top of that you saw your dad work really hard in the food business. What was it that eventually drew you towards a career in food?
David Chang: I guess it was just in my DNA to be gravitated towards the food business. I liked it because it was not sitting at a desk. You’re able to work with your hands. You’re able to sort of work like, act like a buffoon all day long with people that sort of have similar interests. You can go to sleep knowing that you had a full day of work and knowing that it was a meaningful way, and a very meaningful way if you love food. So it was really just following what you love to do. I had no intention to be where I am today. It was just day by day, trying to get better at your job.
LO: The one and onlyDavidChanghanging out with us on the J.O.B. from the Momofuku restaurant. Food is really an art form. So how do you get your ideas to come up with certain items to go with each other? Like, do you have epiphanies? Do you wake up from some dream and sort of take notes? Or is it more trial and error? How do you combine tastes? How do you do that?
David Chang: I think that there are some epiphanies. I guess, you could say there are some chefs that are geniuses. Maybe a couple. But not a genius in a sense that they’re born with this gift to make things without working at it. I think all the great chefs have had to really take the road less traveled and struggle and make a lot of mistakes because you just don’t know. It’s through that trial and error process that you discover what works. At the end of the day, it sort of works as a collaboration.
Then really when you take a step back, you realize, even if you made something delicious it’s all been done before. I always reference Stanley Kubrick when he says that in film making every shot’s been filmed. Our job is just to do it a little bit better. That’s how I feel about coming up with recipes and what not. It doesn’t have to be completely innovative or new, just execute it better than anybody else and that should separate you from the pack.
LO:Sort of along those lines you’ve mentioned, and if you do any research on you, you talk about being different. I’m sure that was exciting early because there’s a chance you would fail. But with the success you’ve had, has the word different changed? I mean like, when you do an obscure new dish, even if it sucks, people are like, “Oh, but it’sDavidChang. It’s so good and new.” So has that word different sort of changed for you at this point in your career?
David Chang: I guess it certainly has changed being different. I guess I’d like to re-phrase it as not doing what the status quo wants you to do. Or doing what everyone else is doing. Not trying to be different for different’s sake, but trying to do something new. Whether it’s been done before or whether you’re just being contrary. I think I’m contrarian by nature.
So, that difference was very different when we opened up almost 8 years ago. It was much more reckless, much more carefree because we had no expectations. We had no goals other than let’s try to stay in business a year.
Then as the years went by, that being different and being reckless had became, I wouldn’t say more calculating, but it’s different when you’re responsible for hundreds of people instead of just yourself. You have to now be different and make sure that those decisions you make won’t negatively affect those that support you and help you out. So it’s more complicated now than it was before basically.
LO: Like anybody who’s successful at their work, the better you are, the less you actually do what you’re good at because you kind of move up the food chain. You’re a great cook, but you’re now running this huge business. Do you get to go in the kitchen as much as you want?
David Chang:No. We recruit a culinary lab. I spend a lot of time there. But I don’t work the pass, basically expediting at the restaurants because I’m traveling so much, and because, I wouldn’t say failing health, but my back is totally messed up. So I can’t, I mean, my doctors won’t even let me if I wanted to. Even still, it’s like in any job, I think people will now know more about the culinary world as we go on. But that role changes quite a bit. Yeah, I never thought that I’d be doing what I’m doing; traveling, talking to you, doing radio shows or what not.
I miss it and I don’t miss it. My body just can’t handle it anymore. It’s a very physical… There’s nothing easy about working in a kitchen. After a period of years, all my friends that are in their mid-thirties to late forties, they have serious body issues. Knees are screwed up, backs, necks, nerve damage. So your body definitely pays a toll. As I get older, my body just doesn’t recover like it used to.
LO: One other thing about your business model, and I want to know if you’ve done this on purpose or it just is. You sort of have a social justice aspect. You really early on wanted to provide health care for all of your chefs which is actually a big deal in the restaurant world. You actually wanted to teach English to some of the people that were sous chefs and at some of the lower type jobs in your restaurant. You also take no reservations. Did you do that purposely or it just happened?
David Chang: Well, I think it all happened thankfully. We were just trying to run a business and still run a business that we felt good about. For instance, I feel a lot of the guys that are prep cooks come from Latin countries without the proper education or the English speaking ability to elevate themselves in the culinary world. I felt that had nothing to do with how talented they are. If that was the only thing that was preventing them from reaching a higher climb in the career ladder, then I felt that we should definitely provide that. It not only helps them, it helps us. So it’s something that we do and we’ve been doing it for a while now.
These are just goals that happen. These are the things that you take a look back and you’re like, Okay, I have to run a business a year. What’s the next thing we can do to sort of not only improve the restaurant, but that’s how I measure the success of our restaurants. It’s not necessarily the awards. Obviously we want to make the customers happy. Are we exceeding the expectations of the goals we set for the employees?
Health care was a huge thing, and that was something that it only more difficult to manage as we get more employees, but if we could do that, then I know we’re running a good business, and I can go to bed at night not feeling terrible about what’s happening. So at the end of the day, we’re just trying to run a business that, if you were going to run yourself that you would be proud of.
LO: I literally could hog you all day long, but as we mentioned you’re a very busy guy. So I’m just going to give you a couple of like one segment answers and you just quickly tell us what pops to your head.
David Chang: Okay.
LO:You have a very special relationship with sharp knives; your scars prove that out. Would you have made a good ninja regardless of the back issues?
David Chang: Probably terrible. My dexterity is not all that great.
LO: Okay. A night of drinking withAnthonyBourdain. Good idea/bad idea?
David Chang: Amazing idea.Tony’s one of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet. He’s got a very soft inside that you’ll never know.
LO: Okay. No one recommends drinking and driving, but do you recommend drinking and cooking?
David Chang: Drinking and cooking in your own home. Professional kitchen, never.
LO: Have you ever served someone top ramen from the bag?
David Chang: Never.
LO: Okay. What would be more likely to happen: Tiger Woods cook you a dinner that you liked or you would take a hole from Tiger Woods on a round of golf?
David Chang:Give me some time and I would be able to probably take a hole from Tiger.
LO: Okay, my last question. Any softening on your stance that you took that California chefs simply place figs on plates and serve it?
David Chang: I mean, again, that got taken out of context. I don’t really regret saying it. Obviously it bothered people. I think all the good restaurants right now are in San Francisco. So I can’t really say anything about that.
LO:DavidChang, you are absolute gem. We are just tickled that you would take any amount of time to hang out with us. Thank you so much.
David Chang: Thanks for having me, man.
Ever wonder where mankind would be without curiosity? Living in cave because we never bothered to think we could outwit the dinosaurs or still stuck in Europe (yikes) because Ferdinand Magellan didn’t think he could sail west? Wether you think it’s because of evolution or God given, we are all curious! The bigger question is…do you channel your curiosity?
Part of the reason I came up with the concept for this show was because I was curious. I wanted to know how other people dealt with work. How others managed their bosses. If Dr. Oz likes his job. How Jerry Springer got his start.
Each week you get the outcome of my curiosity which is this show…Believe it or not I’m trying to scribble an outline for a book on curiosity.
I’ve come up with three real simple tips to stoke curiosity:
1) Check in with the world: Read a newspaper. Listen to the radio. Sign up for twitter.
I’m the perfect person to take to a cocktail party because I know all sorts of tidbits about different things. Tid bits come and go, but every now and again when I meet someone new a nugget comes in handy. I’ll be introduced to someone to likes to cook and recal an article I read about the raw cooking fad. It usually leads to a good conversation.
If you don’t know anything – you can’t investigate.
My wifes grandfather was an incredible dude! Most people knew that. What nobody in my wifes family knew was that he once met Winston Churchill. Grandpa Gray wasn’t a bragadocious type guy. It wasn’t until we had a couple hours to kill at a family function and I peppered him with questions about his job in WWII that he fessed up to his famous acquaintances.
Me and an 80+ dude bonded because he got tell a fun story and I got to learn something.
3) Be skeptical:
From people I’ve known my whole life to a person I just met, I usually take most things they say with doubt. I know I know, what a horrible way to live. However, I usually give everyone a chance to prove themselves. All it takes is a little time.
Just met a guy at a party who says their cousin is an astronaut. I could leave this chump and go get more onion dip or throw a couple of questions there way and try to determine if the rock in their pocket is actually lunar landscape.
It’s kinda like a game when you think about it. Curiosity – the virtual game!
It is that time of year where I confess to you that I have a hard time reading books! Just picture it’s 9p.m. – 15 minutes way from bed time…eyes barely able to stay open..what to do what to do? A chapter from the latest installment of the Twilight Books or something from a periodical? I always choose magazine!
My favorite articles this year:
I start with my serious MAN-crush on David Brooks. I could include about 30, but here are two from this year that were life changing reads. One on the Chapters Of Our Life: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/opinion/brooks-the-life-reports-ii.html?hp
The other on Fulfillment: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/opinion/31brooks.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general
Funnest article for useless Pub Trivia night on the Secret Service:http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1969/12/inside-the-secret-service/8390/1/
Galen Gering plays Rafe Hernandez on NBC’s Days of Our Lives. Did I say that right, Galen?
Galen Gering: You succeeded in butchering it, but not too bad. Rafe…it’s Rafe, actually. The correct pronunciation, but close, so close.
Larry Olson: I just had to get my cred going that I don’t ever watch a soap opera. So I’m faking it, that I actually knew how to say it. I just want to make sure people know that I didn’t know. You know what I mean?
Galen Gering: Yes, absolutely. I know that game for sure.
Larry Olson: Okay, I mean this in the best way possible, but maybe when you’re at a party and someone asks what you do, do you just say ‘actor’ and not ‘soap star’?
Galen Gering: Well, usually wherever I go, people know who I am.
Larry Olson: I love your sense of humor.
Galen Gering: What’s so funny? What’s so funny? [LAUGHS] You know, it’s a wonderful job. Honestly, it really is a great job. I don’t know that it necessarily carries this stigma, at least in my mind, because it’s what I do…that perhaps it used to. Does that make sense?
Larry Olson: Yeah.
Galen Gering: Trust me. So many of my friends would love to have my job and for good reason, so…
Larry Olson: Is that the point like acting’s acting, a gig is a gig? Is that really the case for actors?
Galen Gering: Well, obviously there are different types of acting, right? You can be in a play or in a movie or primetime or soap, et cetera, et cetera, but, yeah, to be able to act is, you know, it’s great work if you can get it they say, right? One of the fantastic things about this job is not only it’s consistency, but if you’re fortunate enough to play a great character which you love, which I do on Days, is also the fact that you’re not travelling around the world or to some Podunk, crap-ass place, you know? You get to have a family. You get to basically go to work and come home like a normal person and you have stability. Like, these are all things that as an actor are pretty rare.
Larry Olson: Wow. You really are drinking the NBC Days of Our Lives juice right there with that hard sell. I like it, Galen. I’m buying it.
Galen Gering: I’m telling you, man! It’s true. It’s true, but I got plenty more where that came from.
Larry Olson: I love this because you got your start…you got your start as a model, right?
Galen Gering: Well, yeah, sort of, I guess. I mean obviously for the most part, one of the caveats to being on daytime is to be good-looking.
Larry Olson: Hello!
Galen Gering: So there ya go, right?
Larry Olson: Yes!
Galen Gering: I mean, I’m gonna toot my own horn, which I don’t really think I’m that good-looking, but whatever! [LAUGHS]
Larry Olson: This is…man, you are great! [LAUGHS] Have you ever met…?
Galen Gering: That’s what my wife says.
Larry Olson: Exactly. Come on. I know you’re good-looking. I’ve gone to the web. I’ve Googled. You’re a good-looking guy, alright?!
Galen Gering: Alright, alright. You got my poster up somewhere?
Larry Olson: Hey! Once again…keep that on the down-low, my man. Keep it on…
Galen Gering: Alright. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Damn it, the rules, the guidelines, I get it. I get it.
Larry Olson: Exactly. Are you ever scared by who’s watching the show? Like you’re out somewhere and you meet someone and you’re like, “Wow! Can I get a restraining order right now?”
Galen Gering: Yes. In fact, I was in a parade once where it was like going through, you know, this part of East Hollywood and I was with this girl who seriously had received death threats and I was like, They’re going to miss her and inadvertently kill me.” So, yeah, plus there was one…there was one girl who was a huge fan and she was in jail. She had been incarcerated for a while. I’m not exactly sure for what, but, ultimately, her letters became more and more crazy…should I maybe not…because she said, “Well, we’re soul mates and we are going to be together. I know we are. We’re going to be together.”
Larry Olson: Whenever you hear a soap star or an actor talk about working on a soap opera, it’s always this crazy shooting schedule. Like you guys are just always shooting and working. Is that true?
Galen Gering: Yes, there is truth to that. I mean here’s the deal. The show’s on five days a week. Basically, you know, 365 days a year, if you will. So there’s really no time for downtime. There are no repeats of the show, so we’re always in production. What they’ve done now, which is great, like a Godsend actually, is they cut costs because everyone’s had to cut costs whether you’re in TV production or making dradels. I don’t know. [LAUGHS] Because people do that. The other day I was at the dradel shop. I mean these guys are working hard.
Larry Olson: Man, you are too much, dude.
Galen Gering: It’s the punch. It’s totally the punch.
Larry Olson: Alright, listen, I’ve got lots of questions. I got to get to these. Would you be happy if you’re doing only this job in five years?
Galen Gering: If I’m doing only this job?
Larry Olson: Yeah.
Galen Gering: God, I don’t know. I mean that’s hard to say. A lot can happen between now and five years.
Larry Olson: Okay. What about ten years? What about ten years?
Galen Gering: I mean, certainly…I mean that’s even worse. That’s even making it harder. How about next year? Yeah. I would definitely be happy to only be doing this job next year. As it stands now, I’m doing this job. Have you heard about this other Dirty Soap show that I’m doing?
Larry Olson: No. Please brag about yourself some more, please.
Galen Gering: This is called promoting. That’s why we’re on the radio. No, I’m doing this show on E which basically is this unprecedented look at our lives on TV. So they come with me to work at Days of Our Lives and then they also follow in our real lives. They come with me home to join in the insanity. So that also is going to premiere Sunday night at 10 o’clock on E.
Larry Olson: In all seriousness, I think…
Galen Gering: Our lead in is The Kardashians. How can you not have heard about Dirty Soap? Wow.
Larry Olson: Is this a Ryan Seacrest production?
Galen Gering: It’s actually Kelly Ripa/Mark Consuelos production.
Larry Olson: Wait a minute. Was she on Days of Our Lives? Is that the show she was on?
Galen Gering: No. I believe she was on All My Children. God, I know that?
Larry Olson: So do you know her? Do you know Kelly and Mark?
Galen Gering: Yes. Yeah.
Larry Olson: Is there like a…is there like a former soap star…like you guys have an alumni meeting or something?
Galen Gering: We do, actually. It’s tomorrow inGothamCity. It is a…it’s an amazing event. If you’re lucky, maybe I’ll bring you one year.
Larry Olson: Aw, man!
Galen Gering: Like the skull and crossbones secret society, you know?
Larry Olson: Hey, listen, honestly, you are without a doubt my favorite soap star of all time and I used to watch Guiding Light like every single day. Without a doubt you’re like my favorite, seriously.
Galen Gering: What are the criteria?
Larry Olson: Well, I actually have never met another soap star, so we’ll just start there, right?
Galen Gering: Perfect. Hey, so this was a good start then?
Larry Olson: No, seriously, I feel like if you weren’t a big time actor and I just wasn’t a radio scumbag, we actually could be friends.
Galen Gering: We could hangout.
Larry Olson: I think we could.
Galen Gering: I feel a connection.
Larry Olson: Check out the all new re-tooled, as Galen told us, Days of Our Lives on NBC. Rafe…Rafe Hernandez played by Galen Gering.
Galen Gering: Oh, my God, if I could reach through this phone right now. Starting Sunday…I mean Monday. Oh, my God. Monday, on NBC, watch it. You’re going to love it. For those of you whose shows are unfortunately are going off the air, you know, you can’t pick your own family, but you can choose ours, right?
Larry Olson: I would like to leave you with this, Galen. I heart you.
Galen Gering: Oh, God. I feel you. It’s like the kissing hand right now.
Larry Olson: Later, my brother.
Galen Gering: Hey, take it easy. Thanks for the time.
Richard Engel is widely regarded as one ofAmerica’s leading foreign correspondents for his coverage of wars, revolutions and political transitions around the world over the last 15 years. Fun times there. He’ll be joining the cast of characters to report for overseas…
Richard Engel: Fun times there! Yahoo!
Larry Olson: He’ll be joining NBCs new show Rock Center with Brian Williams. Hello there, Richard.
Richard Engel: Fun times in the revolution and political transition business.
Larry Olson: So, Richard, you’re a smart guy. Amongst the reasons we know you’re a smart guy you went to Stanford, for crying out loud. Why in the hell then would you choose a job in which they place you at work and they’re shooting at you?
Richard Engel: Well, it’s a long philosophical question in which I like what I do. I don’t want to get hurt as a result of it, but if you like what you do and you truly believe in what you’re doing…and I like the travel. I like looking at new things. I like meeting new people. I like being challenged…then, yeah, and if you really believe in it, then you are willing to risk your life for it. We’re all risking our lives everyday, you know. People get killed anyway and get mowed down by buses. At least if you’re going to go, you may as well be doing something you love.
Larry Olson: I like that attitude. You know, I was watching the last broadcast of Andy Rooney for 60 Minutes and he was talking about his time writing for Stars and Stripes during WWII and he said reporting on a war is exciting. Is that what you say? Would you say that?
Richard Engel: Yeah. Of course it’s exciting. I mean it’s…I despise war. I think war is horrible. It’s the worst most brutal act that a society can inflict upon another society. Sometimes it’s necessary when atrocities are being carried out or national security is threatened, but it’s not something you ever want to see, but when it happens, it does happen, it reveals so much about human nature, about the true nature of a particular parties involved in that conflict and it is ultimately revealing, frankly.
Larry Olson: So you graduated Stanford and immediately jump on a plane toEgyptto be a freelance reporter. How did you get a job?
Richard Engel: Well, I was a freelance reporter so I was just writing for local magazines, some of which never paid me. Starting stringing newspaper articles for newspapers back home; this was before websites. You had to call them up, which was very expensive, and say, “Hey, you guys want a story on…,” whatever was going on in Egypt or the broader Middle East and they would say yes or no and you would write it and they would pay you by the word and usually maybe you got a $100 or $150 for an article. If you did enough of those, you could survive. That’s what I did for years.
Larry Olson: So part of the reason you’re so good at what you do in theMiddle Eastis because you speak fluent Arabic. What happens when you go up to a person on the street in the Middle East and you’re working on a story and you go up and start speaking to someone, are they stunned or maybe they’re scared because they think you work for the CIA or something?
Richard Engel: Well, that…I get a lot of the CIA, but the…no, people are generally happy that I speak Arabic. It takes time to learn. It’s not that hard. I mean, 200 million people speak it, so how hard can it be? It just takes time. It’s just…I think they’re flattered that you took the time to go through the grammar book and get the verbs down and make the effort. When people are flattered, there’s a natural [inaudible 0:03:39] and they want to talk to you and you don’t have to go through a translator and you can then develop friendships that goes beyond just reporting. So you can develop a real flavor for the region. You know, you listen to the music and you eat the food and you know the people and I think that goes a long way to covering the place.
Larry Olson: So when you go to work and theoretically people are shooting at you…
Richard Engel: I don’t go to work. I don’t have a job where I go to work. I sort of live at work. You know, I don’t go into an office and say, “Okay, now I’m at work.” People call me, it’s much more organic that. Luckily, I don’t have to go in an office and turn on lights and, okay, now I’m at work from 9-5. Some days I’m working all the time and 24-hours a day and other days maybe somebody sends me an email or I have to write a story. It’s not as regimented as that.
Larry Olson: So when you’re at some of these war zones, I’m assuming there’s lots of adrenaline that comes with that.
Richard Engel: Yes.
Larry Olson: Do you just learn to deal with that adrenaline and you just essentially just become better at those high-pressure situations?
Richard Engel: It sounds like you’ve read one of my books. I talk a lot about this. I think from these questions, I think you have. Yes. I think managing adrenaline and managing fear is incredibly important and you have to learn how to deal with it. Almost like…I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a fight or been in a boxer.
Larry Olson: Yeah.
Richard Engel: Let’s say, you know, you’re in the ring and somebody’s standing there and trying to push your nose to the back of your head and naturally you’re frightened and you can either accept that you’re going to get hit and it’s going to hurt and internalize some of that fear and continue boxing or you can just collapse and turn and do bad things. Well, you have to make that mental leap that, yes, I’m in a dangerous situation. Something bad could happen, but I’m going to have to continue to function. That does take some time. You know, like the first time you got into a ring and somebody punches you in the nose, you never want to get back, but then if you realize, you do it awhile and eventually you’re a boxer.
Larry Olson: NBC Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel joining us on the JOB. When you’re with the troop…
Richard Engel: I was a terrible boxer, by the way. If someone punched me in the nose, I never wanted to get back in there. I boxed a little bit in college. It was horrible.
Larry Olson: Well, you did go to Stanford, so of course. [LAUGHS] So when you’re with the American troops in a warzone, what do they want to talk to you about or do they even care that you’re around or what do they want to know from you?
Richard Engel: Well, a lot of times conflict can be really boring. A lot of times you’re sitting around on a base and nothing is going on. You go on a patrol and you’re walking around and you don’t see anything. Okay. Then a conflict will happen and then there’s no time for conversation. Conflict is…war is 80%, 90% sitting around and then 10% of total fear and panic and adrenaline and game on. So when you’re waiting to go on a patrol or you’re back on the base after patrol and people are washing their socks and talking and doing whatever that is that they do, you hang out with the soldiers. You learn about them. You learn about their wives and their girlfriends and what they are and who they are and what they think about the world. I mean soldiers have a lot of time to think about their position in the world. So I’ve had very interesting conversations over the years with soldiers. Yeah and I’ve had a lot of filthy locker room conversations, too. I would say those are probably the majority.
Larry Olson: So you’ve got a mom and a dad. What do they say every time that you…when you were getting going, were heading off to one of these warzones, what did they say to you?
Richard Engel: You know, be safe. They understand it by now. I think they would be more surprised if I told my mother, “Look, I’ve decided I’m going to go to law school and I want to…I really want to do corporate law and I want to do contracts for a living.” I think they would be more surprised by that at this stage.
Larry Olson: Okay. Before we get to your piece for Rock Center, a couple of real quick…or I could talk to you all day. Favorite thing to eat inAfghanistan?
Richard Engel: The bread.Afghanistan, there’s sort of an inverse rule that the poorer the country is, the better the bread is. I don’t know why it is in society, but that inverse rule tends to apply inAfghanistanhas probably the best bread in the world.
Larry Olson: Longest you’ve gone without a shower?
RE: Maybe a month.
Larry Olson: Okay. That’s it? Not six weeks? A month.
Richard Engel: That’s it. Maybe it was six weeks? I don’t know. Unless you have information I don’t have. Maybe it was…I don’t…I can be a bit grubby at times. I don’t really…a week doesn’t bother me at all.
Larry Olson: There you have it. Richard’s people took him away from NBC and he didn’t have a chance to tell us about his part in NBCs new show Rock Center with Brian Williams. You can see that on Monday nights on the peacock network.
Larry Olson: We are joined by the one and only Bruce Jenner. Hello there, Bruce.
Bruce Jenner: How are you doing today?
Larry Olson: I’m excellent, my man. So for those of us in my age range, Bruce, we know you as our hero who set the world record in the decathlon in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, but to people perhaps of a lesser age, we’ll say that, you’re the guy who’s lost in the Kardashian circus.
Bruce Jenner: Yes I am. I am.
Larry Olson: You sort of live like a dual persona, don’t you?
Bruce Jenner: I do, actually. You know, it’s been…actually, for me…you know, I grew up with the baby boomer generation. I mean those are my people, you know? I mean they saw the Wheaties commercials and the Games and all the things that I have done for so many years. The audience for the Kardashian show is really young women. I mean that’s our primary audience, eighteen to, like, forty-two. I mean that’s our biggest audience and it’s kind of fun for me because now I have all these…you know, you go through an airport and all these young girls, “Oh, I want a picture with Kim’s dad.” I mean it cracks me up. It’s fun. I mean I love it. It’s good.
Larry Olson: Okay, so it’s a reality show. Does it ever just drive you crazy?
Bruce Jenner: Well, it does. It wears on you. It takes us about three months, somewhere in there, give or take a little bit, to shoot a season and so far we’ve done I think 107 episodes. It’s that amazing?
Larry Olson: Wow.
Bruce Jenner: Yeah, and…but it takes about three months and at the end of three months you’re just ready for all these people to leave, just because it’s an intrusion on you. Not that I don’t enjoy it. I mean I got the best job the world. I get to work out of my house and I get to work with all my kids, you know? You can’t ask it for any better than that, but after a while it does kind of drain on you. You’re just like, “Oh, my God. They’re still here. We’re still shooting,” but the overall it’s been just wonderful for my whole family.
Larry Olson: I would say the only exception being that Ryan Seacrest is your boss.
Bruce Jenner: Yeah. I know I’ve got to put up with Ryan. I saw him the other day. I got to put up with Ryan, you know. He started the whole thing and Kris, my wife, Kris, and Ryan had a meeting and Ryan says, “Well, we might have something here. Let’s try this.” Little did we know…in fact, they’re going to change the E! Network to the K! Network now, I think.
Larry Olson: [LAUGHS] You had to work as an insurance salesman while you were preparing for the 1976 Olympics, right?
Bruce Jenner: Yeah. Yeah. I worked for good old New England Life. They’re not even around anymore. So I sold a few policies here and there and, yeah, it kept me alive. I lived on, like, $10,000 a year.
Larry Olson: The reason I bring that up, Bruce, is that obviously you worked really hard for that 1976 Olympics. Your kids now are almost famous for just being famous. Like, what words do you impart with them because you’ve had to work so hard to get where you are?
Bruce Jenner: Well, yeah. It’s a different world. In my world of athletics, you don’t get anywhere unless you start really young and work your little butt off everywhere, but then, on the other side, there is this thing called…well, I kind of consider it the business of being a celebrity. I mean it’s a business and that’s the way you’ve got to look at it and my girls because of the exposure of the show, have…I am just so proud of them because I told them at the beginning, “Here’s an opportunity. See what you can do with it.” You know, you go on camera…I mean they’re not…to be honest with you, they’re not really just…you know, people think of them as, “Oh, they’re reality stars on the television,” stuff like that. No, they’re entrepreneurs. They’re businesswomen. They’re smart. They have enormous work ethic. The reason they are so successful is because of their work ethic, not because just they’re on TV.
A lot of people are on TV and don’t do anything after that. You never hear from them again. You know, my girls have taken this opportunity of being on TV and started businesses, clothing lines. They’re into the fashion world. They’ve got a clothing line with QVC. They’ve got this deal with Sears. Every Sears store has its own Kardashian section with all their clothes and they design them and they work with it and they work with the manufacturers. These are really smart entrepreneurial women and it’s been great to watch them grow and I couldn’t be prouder of them. I mean they don’t…there’s no drinking. There are no drugs. There are none of that kind of stuff. They’re nice to people. They always have a smile on their face even though they’ve been working for fourteen, fifteen, sixteen hours that day and they show up on time. They do their job and they do it well and that’s all you can ask for and I’ve been very proud of them, extraordinarily proud of them.
Larry Olson: The one and only Bruce Jenner hanging out with us on the JOB. Of course, he is the star, whether he wants to be or not, as the Kardashian’s….
Bruce Jenner: Yeah.
Larry Olson: The Kardashian’s dad on the E! Channel. So my brother is my step-brother and whenever anybody asks me I just say it’s my brother because I don’t say he’s my step-brother.
Bruce Jenner: Right, yeah. Right.
Larry Olson: And a testament to that relationship is my dad was the best man in his wedding.
Bruce Jenner: Right.
Larry Olson: It’s tough to be a step-dad, but you’ve sort of really embraced that role for these guys, right?
Bruce Jenner: Yeah. You know, it’s interesting. When Kris and I got married twenty years ago and we just celebrated twenty years of marriage, she had four kids and I had four kids and they were all about the same age. She had three girls and a boy. I had three boys and a girl. Being a step-dad is a different set of rules and at first you think, “Okay, well, now I’m the dad. They’re living in my house.” No, no, no, no, no, no, no! That doesn’t…you’ve got to learn how to play this step-dad game.
Yeah and how to communicate with…at that time their father was still alive. Fortunately, their father, Robert, we always had an extraordinarily good relationship. I always had a very good relationship with Robert and it’s a growing process, but the bottom line is here we are, all these years later. I have a very strong relationship with all my step-kids and, in fact, in a lot of ways, I’m a lot closer to them than even my own kids because my kids, I see them all the time and I do things with them, this and that, but my step-kids grew up with me. I mean they were living in my house all the time unless they were at their dad’s house and then when he passed away, obviously, they were with me all the time. Where my kids were in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out. So I built a very strong relationship with all of them.
Larry Olson: Okay, my last three questions and the hardest ones for the end here.
Bruce Jenner: Go, go. Let’s do it.
Larry Olson: Was there ever a beef between you and Eric Estrada because you replaced him on CHIPS, Steve McLeish?
Bruce Jenner: Very good question. So I did probably eight episodes while he was kind of on his own little strike and then I did a good job so they said, “Oh, when Eric comes back we want you to stay,” and I thought, “Oh, man, okay.” He was so nice to me.
Larry Olson: [LAUGHS] Okay. Okay.
Bruce Jenner: I was pleasantly surprised. He came back and I was kind of his strike-breaker, you know? So NBC could keep the show going and I was wondering…and I’d never met him, didn’t know anything about him. I was wondering how he was going to react to me and he came up when he first saw me, said, “Hi”, told me I was doing this great job. “Let’s go to work together. This is going to be fun.” He was nothing, but great. It really told me a lot about him.
Larry Olson: This is my second most important question. Silver Spoons, good or bad career move for you?
Bruce Jenner: [LAUGHS] Well, here I am today, so it couldn’t have been too bad a move, huh?
Larry Olson: Okay, very good. Of course, yes. Ricky Schroder. Are you and Ricky keeping…?
Bruce Jenner: Absolutely, me and Ricky Schroder. I’ve worked with him before doing some other things and he’s really a great guy.
Larry Olson: Okay and, of course, my last and most important question. How often do you still eat your Wheaties?
Bruce Jenner: Every day.
Larry Olson: [LAUGHS] Bruce, you really are…
Bruce Jenner: Good answer, huh?
Larry Olson: Yes. I mean you really, like, are a nice guy like you are on the TV, as you are on the show.
Bruce Jenner: [LAUGHS] I tell me kids that’s the way you get through life, you know? Be nice to everybody.
Larry Olson: The one and only Bruce Jenner. Of course, the center or the eye of the storm on the Kardashians. Thank you so much for your time today.
Bruce Jenner: My pleasure.
Larry Olson: Jeremy Cline and Sandy Draghi are our local contestants on the current season of Amazing Race on CBS. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s awesome, as the teams fly all over tarnation to compete in different situations. They’d be the first ones to appear at different stops all over the world. I call it the poor man’s way to see the world.
Sandy Draghi : Easy.
Jeremy Cline: [LAUGHS]
Larry Olson: Hey, guys. So, Jeremy, you’re fromAlamo, right?
Jeremy Cline: Correct.
Larry Olson: And Sandy you’re fromDublin?
Sandy Draghi : Yes. Well,Livermore, actually.
Larry Olson: Ooh,Livermore, even better! Okay, interesting.
Sandy Draghi : Yeah, more country.
Jeremy Cline: Fourth generationLivermore.
Larry Olson: Yeah, okay. You guys are dating.
Sandy Draghi : Correct.
Larry Olson: Okay, still dating?
Sandy Draghi : Maybe.
Jeremy Cline: Still dating.
Larry Olson: The season’s been shot, right? It’s in the can?
Sandy Draghi : It is, yeah.
Jeremy Cline: It is.
Larry Olson: And so then you’re sworn to secrecy as to what happened?
Sandy Draghi : We are.
Larry Olson: Have you guys seen any of the shows?
Sandy Draghi : We haven’t seen a single clip.
Larry Olson: So then…
Jeremy Cline: There’s a two-minute preview of the premiere online right now.
Larry Olson: And that’s all you’ve seen?
Sandy Draghi : That’s it.
Jeremy Cline: That’s all we’ve seen.
Larry Olson: Okay. So, Jeremy, you own your own business?
Jeremy Cline: I work at CB Richard Ellis, Commercial Real Estate. I’m a Commercial Real Estate broker.
Larry Olson: So…
Jeremy Cline: I owed my own business in the past.
LO: Okay. So then how did you get the time off to do the show?
Jeremy Cline: I had other guys in my team help me handle some of the deals and the transactions that were going on and just took off. I actually had a couple of deals closing when I was gone.
LO: Look at you closing deals, wheeling and dealing andSandy, you’re a nurse?
Sandy Draghi : I’m a nurse practitioner, yes.
LO: And so you can just…how did you get the time off?
Sandy Draghi : You know I haven’t had a day off, I don’t think, in four years, so it was time.
LO: And your bosses were cool with you like, “Hey, we’re going to do Amazing Race.”
Sandy Draghi : You know what? I didn’t even tell them. I just said I needed some time off and I wanted to go travel. We couldn’t tell anybody. So I had the vacation time, hadn’t taken any time off in the last four years.
LO: What did you tell your family?
Sandy Draghi : We were able to tell our family that we had to sign a contract with CBS, but we just told our immediate family, our folks and siblings.
LO: Okay, so some call it reality TV. I like to call it real-ish TV. I mean how accurate is it, right?
Sandy Draghi : Yeah, it’s pretty real.
Jeremy Cline: Yeah, it is an escape from reality. It’s the furthest thing from reality. There’s a realness to it when it comes to the relationships and what’s happening as you’re going about this crazy situation, traveling around the world. How does that and competes for a million dollars?
LO: So can you ever tell the cameras to stop or did you guys sign something to say you can never tell the cameras to stop?
Sandy Draghi : You know they…
Jeremy Cline: You try to tell the cameras to stop.
Sandy Draghi : You can’t. They’re filming you 24/7.
LO: [LAUGHS] Okay, very good. So let’s say you guys…I’m sure you did this on the trip. You go to some random city in likeHungary, but…and there’s all these cameras following you as you do that. So how do the locals react when you enter their cities?
Sandy Draghi : You know what? Locals everywhere outside of theUnited Stateswere fantasticular. People are gracious. Every country, everyone was great.
LO: Even when…
Jeremy Cline: It’s like a tornado rolling through some of these small-time airports. They stop everything they’re doing and watch what’s happening. It’s something they’ve never seen before, typically.
LO: And they just think what, a bunch of crazy Americans kind of thing?
JD: Yup, uh, hum, just American television, yup.
Jeremy Cline: Oh, yeah. [LAUGHS]
LO: Okay. So then the reason you guys are on the show, obviously, is because you’re dating and the TV people want the contrast of a couple that’s not sealed together forever. So then how did the communication go in general?
Sandy Draghi : I would say it was pretty poor actually.
Sandy Draghi : It was a little squeaky, but we figured it out.
LO: Jeremy, you care to comment?
Jeremy Cline: It was tougher than I had ever imagined it would be. I kind of expected it to be pretty easy and we just would go about our normal kind of lives. You know, our communication was okay before. It was not…but you didn’t throw in the mix of having to run and buy a ticket and run and catch a plane and you throw all that craziness into it and it got a little out of hand sometimes.
LO: So Sandy, you played sports at USF? You’re a Hilltopper?
Sandy Draghi : Yes.
LO: What did you play?
Sandy Draghi : I played soccer.
LO: Okay, very good. So you’re obviously going to be good at the physical challenges, but how about when you have to like eat the Hungarian beetle? How did that go?
Sandy Draghi : You know you have to watch. I can’t say anything. You guys will have to watch and see that.
LO: Okay. Look at that! I like it. Well, you’re a brick wall. I like it.
Sandy Draghi : Yeah.
LO: So you’re tough cookies.
Jeremy Cline: She’s a girl, you know. You can’t get any faster.
Sandy Draghi : [LAUGHS]
LO: Is there camaraderie amongst the teams, maybe when the cameras aren’t rolling or is it like the game is on all the time?
Sandy Draghi : Yeah, the game’s always on. I don’t think you ever stop. You’re supposed to stop racing, but I don’t think teams ever do. So you’re always thinking of the next step.
LO: You didn’t like…
Jeremy Cline: You’re trying to build some rapport with these teams immediately. That was our strategy, to go in before we started the race, the build-up. So we don’t want to be the hated team. So, yeah, you’ve got to come in with some strategy and you go from there.
LO: In your guys’ demo tape, I’m assuming that’s how you get on the show, you put some sort of demo tape together. What do you think got you guys selected to be on the show?
Sandy Draghi : You know we were kind of the normal people in this cast. I definitely think CBS did cast us because we were so newly dating and didn’t really have all of our relationship quite figured out and they wanted that to unfold on camera. So I definitely think that we just got cast as this really freshly newly-dating couple.
Jeremy Cline: We’re the Average Joes working couple. We work 50 hours a week type people that have, you know…this is one of the chances for us to travel like we’ve never traveled before and so I think they wanted to throw some Average Joes in the mix that also had some unresolved issues in the relationship.
LO: So it is nervous, though? I’m assuming they see the tape and then they fly down and ask you to audition in person. Is it nerve-wracking? How is that process?
Sandy Draghi : Oh, it’s brutal. I’ve been on job interviews in my life, but not in front of these high executives. You’re sitting in front of twelve, thirteen people interviewing for something that you want so bad. It is…it’s really nerve-wracking and they don’t give you like an ounce of information. They don’t tell you one thing. They just sit there stone cold. You’re staring at them trying to get them to laugh, do something. They give you nothing back. So it was…it was stressful.
LO: What, are they just asking you questions or making you do jumping jacks, like what?
Sandy Draghi : Just questions about you. Why you? Why are you…? You know, you’re trying to sell yourself to these people and I don’t think I’m all that great. I’m like, “I don’t even know what I’m supposed…what you want.” So it’s a little bit of a mind game, but you’re trying to sell yourself.
LO: Okay, so going forward. You’ve had oneHollywoodexperience. Either of you two going toHollywoodor are you retreating back to normal life with the rest of us?
Sandy Draghi : We’re both at work right now.
Jeremy Cline: Yeah, we’re at work right now! No, it’s all about…I don’t think either of us are looking to go toHollywoodor anything like that, but you never know. We’ll see.
LO: Come on! You’re supposed to say, “Oh, my agent took me to the Ivy and…”
Sandy Draghi : Yeah, right. Yeah!
LO: “And the screenplay and the works.” Come on!
Sandy Draghi : You knowCalifornia. It’s pretty crazy. There are paparazzi everywhere so…
LO: I do know, yes!
SD: So we’re going to keep hush-hush around here.
LO: Yes, Black Hawk is crazy!
SD: Black Hawk is crazy right now.
LO: And the Creek Man gets wild in October!
SD: Uh huh, yeah.
SD: Yeah, nuts.
LO: Jeremy Cline, Sandy Draghi, our local team. You can see the show Sunday nights at 8 o’clock on CBS. It’s Amazing Race. Hey, guys, thanks so much for hanging out with us.
SD: Thank you!
JC: Thanks. I love the show. Take care.