by Patricia Grandjean
May 1, 2013
11:09 AMBox Office
Front Row Q&A: John Hodgman
(page 3 of 6)
I've been wanting to ask you, is there any limit to your knowledge? Now that you've done these books, is there anything you couldn't write about?
I just had to look up on the Internet whether or not a cashew is a nut, a seed or a legume. Because I couldn't remember. Right before you called, I was in a very heated Twitter fight with the comedians Michael Ian Black and Marc Maron over whether cashews are a better nut than an almond. There certainly was no consensus, and that's fine—I don't attempt to legislate taste. But I did know that one of them is not a nut, and in fact, a cashew is a seed, botanically. It does not have a hard outer shell and it's the seed of the cashew apple, which is the fruit of the cashew tree.
There is more to explore—for a long time my blind spots were sports and wine, two things I really didn't care about at all. But I've learned everything I needed to know about all the sports, your bases ball and your two baskets ball.
Is there anything you know that we didn't know you knew, because you hadn't written about it?
I do know, for example, that the greatest sports logo of all time was the logo for the Hartford Whalers. Because it's the only sports logo that makes use of negative space. The tail of the whale, which forms a "W," in the negative space also forms an "h," which most people don't see until they really look at it. It was a beautiful piece of 1970s contemporary design, the kind you don't see any more. It was designed by a design firm in Connecticut, the name of which escapes me. So there's that.
I'm kind of sorry that the Whalers didn't last long enough for Alex & Ani to turn their logo into a charm bracelet. They've done that with every other logo there is. I think someone missed a bet.
Every time I fly into Bradley International Airport, I am astonished and thrilled to see that they're still selling a lot of Hartford Whalers' merchandise [laughs]. And I don't know whether they just have overstock, or maybe no one's gotten out there to Windsor Locks to break them the news. It makes me very happy. It's the only sports logo that I would ever choose to wear.
It's kind of like being in Boston in the late '90s, when "Cheers" had long since stopped production, but every store still had "Cheers" merchandise.
I'm sure they still do. The Bull & Finch Pub, I'm sure, is still branded as "Cheers," why would they stop? They llike money.
It's really interesting, because I actually just did a show last night and a young woman went on before me—I'll be 42 this year, and I'd guess she was in her early to mid-20s. I could be her father, right?
Could be, sure. The age difference might be a little tight . . .
I'm still waiting for the DNA test to come back, but I'm saying it's possible. I don't need another dependent, but basically, whenever I meet someone who's young enough to be my child I have to do a test. Who knows? But in any case, a lot of her act was talking about the TV show "Frasier." It was sort of an uncanny experience for me, because I was enjoying that comedy she was making about "Frasier," and I was enjoying the fact that someone else remembered the show. Then again, there was a weirdness to it, and i remember going up to her afterward and saying, "What's wrong with your life that you know so much about a show that went off the air 10 years ago?" But culture doesn't go away the way it used to. You know what I mean? We're making more of it than ever and it sticks around eternally.
That has to do somewhat, don't you think, with the Internet and YouTube? Or Hulu? Things live forever on those sites.
Well, I don't think my books will, but yes, I see what you're saying.
Gee, I hope they do.
Oh, I think they'll be available forever, I just mean to say, they're no "Frasier." I'm a 41-year-old adult; I can accept life's harsh realities. I'm happy to be pleasantly semi-obscure.