voice over

Why do we work so hard?

Why do we bother to love or hate or make absurdly popular music in 4/4 time?  Why do we buy new shoes, wash our underwear and berate our fellow humans with our heartfelt, but poorly constructed political views?

Why did we go to the moon?

To watch someone hit a golf ball in low gravity?

Hell no.  Well, kinda.

The reason we do anything is because we’re all going to die. 

That’s right.   Die.

Even if you’re like me and have plans of immortality via a cryogenic facility hidden in your parent’s basement, the world is eventually going to end.

The world is going to end because someday the sun is going to become an old man and do exactly what old men do … explode.  And that’s the end of the earth.  And you and me and all our stuff.

The world was supposed to end well before that. 

In 2012.  In an apocalyptic event known as Ragnarok. 

Ragnarok?  Wasn’t that some kids TV show with puppets?

Yes it was.  But it was also a battle that killed a whole lot of Norse gods.  You know, like that guy Thor.  After that, the entire planet gets waterboarded.

I know.  It’s starting to sound really cool.  And dangerous.

Only one man stood between us and the Norse apocalypse.  Thomas Edison. 

I’m sorry.  JOHN HODGMAN. 

Determined to save mankind, this Hodgman guy created HUNDREDS of Ragnarok Survival Kits.

In the end, as shocking as this might sound, Hodgman was wrong.  

Actually a dude named Snorri Sturluson was wrong. 

But I digress.

The world has not ended.  Yet.  So there’s plenty of time to stroll home after work, stop at Internet cafés, go online and BUY STUFF.

Stuff like … a SURPLUS RAGNAROK SURVIVAL KIT. 

ARGUABLY USEFUL and DEFINITELY FOR SALE. 

They include an extended DVD of John Hodgman’s RAGNAROK special, with additional comedy, songs, and special appearances by Andrew Sullivan, Tom Scharpling, and Ira Glass.

BUT WAIT.

THERE’S MORE:

SURVIVAL MAYONNAISE

AN ENGRAVED URINE FLASK

JOHN HODGMAN’S CONSCIOUSNESS, EMBEDDED ON A CUSTOM THUMB DRIVE  (I am sure he’s telling the truth.)

SAMPLES OF JOHN HODGMAN’S DNA  (No comment.)

A NON-IRONIC UNISEX COLOGNE 

And that’s why you only take five days off a year from work.  Because you work hard, you create your own luck and you make minimum wage.

And the world is not ending.

And you need more stuff.

_____________________________________________

Visit your local Ragnarok Survival Kit dealership for a test drive:

http://john-hodgman-super-package.highwire.com/

The images above are from the pilot Cheryl and I wrote and produced for USA, starring Stephanie Sigman, Bryan Greenberg, Stephen Root, Kumail Nanjiani, Manolo Cardona, Amanda Schull, John Pankow and many others.

We were lucky enough to work with truly amazing people with extraordinary talent.  It was a lot of hard work … and a ton of fun.  We are happy for the opportunity … and the memories.

Fans of Numb3rs may remember the very first episode … otherwise known as the “Pilot” episode.  If they do, they may remember the very first “Charlie Vision” — wherein Charlie explains a complex and difficult-to-understand mathematical theory or concept by describing a visual metaphor.  In the pilot episode, the first metaphor is a lawn sprinkler.

The mathematician and police detective, Dr. Kim Rossmo, originally came up with the idea of using a lawn sprinkler as a metaphor to describe his ground-breaking “hot zone” geographic-profiling equation to other police detectives and the public at large.  Rossmo’s simple, but elegant metaphor brought math to life.

We thought the sprinkler metaphor was absolutely perfect.  Ridley and Tony Scott agreed.  So did the network.  

The metaphor was so perfect it created a little bit of a problem.  How were we to come up with subsequent visual metaphors that were as succinct and powerful as the sprinkler?  The sprinkler was so beloved that there was even talk of continuing to use the sprinkler in other Charlie Visions.  When it was explained that different math concepts would require different metaphors, the magnitude of the challenge to create future “visions” equally dynamic was not lost on anyone.  Dr. Rossmo had set the bar very high.

What Cheryl and I knew from our research was, of course, that math itself, by its very nature, had so many direct real world applications that finding effective, captivating metaphors was not going to be a problem.  It was going to be in choosing the right one. 

Eight years later … walking the dog and water drops are spraying across a lawn … 

= sprinkler

 

So, okay.  That’s pretty cool.  We knew that credit card companies would jack up our APR if we missed just one lousy payment by a few days.  I mean, it’s written in the terms and conditions that we never read.

But how about the common belief that if you make a home or auto insurance claim, the insurance company will jack up your rate?  I think a lot of us accepted that as a fact of life.  But did any of us think that was right?  Have you ever asked your insurance agent what would happen if you made a claim?  Create the scenario in your mind.  What do you think your agent will tell you?  That’s right.  They’ll tell you that, “Oh no!  We don’t increase rates just because a policy holder makes a claim!”

But we knew deep down that was a lie.  Right?  Well, if you doubted it … if you actually thought that your insurance company was decent enough NOT to jack up your rates just because you were unlucky enough to have had a car accident or a fire in your home … check in with this Allstate ad that assures us … as long as we ask for the Allstate Claim Rateguard on our policy, Allstate won’t raise our rates.  But if we have a policy without Claim Rateguard … ? 

There is a wonderful new breed of television ad being produced these days.  These ads are here to tell us that companies now provide amazing new features to their products that will prevent the company from doing something we had hoped they would not do to their customers, but we, being customers, figured they would do anyway — jack up their rates and gouge us.  For example, the Discover card now offers “forgiveness” for the first time a payment is missed.  So, as our dopplegangers inform us,” … we won’t hike up your APR for paying late!”

For NUMB3RS fans, this cosplay character has special meaning.  Can anyone name the connection?  And be as specific as possible.

For NUMB3RS fans, this cosplay character has special meaning.  Can anyone name the connection?  And be as specific as possible.

Another of my favorite cosplay outfits.  From Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”  I like this one for many reasons … but mostly for the reason that it goes out there on the edge of what is considered within the Comic Con universe.  I mean, you didn’t see ONE Norman Bates cosplay anywhere.

Another of my favorite cosplay outfits.  From Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”  I like this one for many reasons … but mostly for the reason that it goes out there on the edge of what is considered within the Comic Con universe.  I mean, you didn’t see ONE Norman Bates cosplay anywhere.