March 17

Happy St. Paddy’s Day! I almost forgot about it this morning. At the last moment, before heading out the door, I remembered. I looked down at my outfit and realized I had nothing green on and quickly changed the entire thing. Thankfully I have a very vibrant green cardigan. No pinching for me. I didn’t plan to celebrate any more beyond that. It was another long day, ending with some distressing news. More on that later, I’m sure. So I decided what I needed was a run and some entertaining tv. After going to the gym, I poured myself a Guinness into the Guinness glass I bought the other day, and turned on Top Gear. If I didn’t have such a love affair with high-heeled shoes and sparkly things, I’d sometimes worry that I’m really a dude deep down. I used to watch stuff like Pimp my Ride and Overhaulin’ and the various bike shows like American Chopper and Biker Build-off. Yet I’m not really a car person, per se. After all, I do drive a mini-van. I like going fast though. I once spent part of a summer racing my own 4-banger shell of a car (spray painted with polka dots) at a local dirt track–until my engine blew up. And besides speed, I like knowing how things are put together.

Top Gear is by far the best car show out there. The three hosts (Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond aka “The Hamster,” and James May) are not only smart about cars, they’re hilarious to watch. The dynamic among them is brilliant. And the regular show segments have become legendary. The Star in a Reasonably Priced Car is probably my favorite. During each episode Clarkson interviews a celebrity and then shows footage of that person driving (currently) a Chevrolet Lacetti around the Top Gear test track, usually in the rain. The lap times are recorded on a leader board. The mere variety of celebrities that show up to do this bit is a testimony to the popularity of the show. Matt LeBlanc is the current leader. But Matt Smith, Ryan Reynolds, Cameron Diaz, and Slash are all in the top 25. And let’s not forget the Stig, the unnamed, helmet wearing guy who does power laps of cars for comparison. No one knows the real identity of the Stig. But go to Top Gear’s website and in true British style, you can find out some rather interesting facts about him, like one of his knees attracts cats. (Being sarcastic myself, I rather appreciate British humor.) While the antics of the hosts, the entertaining way they do crazy races in a variety of locations, the never ending methods they employ to destroy vehicles are all fun to watch, I actually truly appreciate that they do an honest comparison of vehicles–and not all top end luxury cars. It’s nice to see a real car in action, one I could go to a dealer and take for a test drive. It’s really quite informative. And that makes it a non-guilty tv pleasure, thankfully.

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