I can tell when a new episode of Friday Night Lights has aired by the number of Google searches for “ugly baby fnl” – which leads those curious souls to my first award-winning “Separated at Birth” piece. (If you aren’t capitalizing on the casting of unattractive babies, you aren’t using the internet right). Anyway, as with Gracie Belle, this is not intended as a condemnation of a person’s attractiveness, more the revelation of a coincidental resemblance. Plus, Rulon Gardner is a national treasure. (If you don’t know the backstory on Gardner, he basically beat the real-life equivalent of Ivan Drago in Greco-Roman wrestling in the 2000 Olympics. The Drago dude weighed in at a ripped 290 pounds, had never lost before and went like ten years without giving up a point – I don’t know what that means, but it sounds impressive. (Embedded parentheses alert: remind me to tell you my plebe year wrestling story – if you break your wrist playing a pickup football game, miss every wrestling class, then have to face one of your buddies – with previous wrestling experience – for your grade, it might not end up well. Wrestling exams are notoriously tough to cram for.) Anyway, Gardner was a humongous longshot and beat this fucking giant out of the blue, thus American Hero. He also survived a few plane and boat crashes and shit.)
Joe Posanski did a niece piece on Gardner recently, if you want to refresh your memory with more journalistic stuff (and Posnanski is always tremendous). Anyway, Rulon got fat and is on the latest season of The Biggest Loser – I’m a few weeks behind so I hope he hasn’t already been booted off, that would make this even staler than usual – and has been a pretty cool guy and worked hard. But despite the pounds melting off, he still looks exactly like Shrek – just a slightly smaller version with every pound that comes off. No worries, Rulon – you’re already a fucking national treasure, an Olympic gold medalist, a conqueror of giants and, seemingly, a pretty solid dude. If a strong resemblance to Shrek is the only real negative in your life ledger, you are doing quite well.
I’m headed to the southwest to sample the food and learn how to milk a goat (in case of an apocolyptic event, everyone should know how to milk a goat.) I’m hoping the food leans 99.99999999% toward the “Mex” and 0.0000000001% toward the “Tex,” as I don’t have a ton of experience with New Mexico fare. Wish me luck – and for those wondering, no, Gracie Belle has not started her ascension to attractiveness in Season Five of FNL.