README: A 60-second summary of all this…

Hey everyone,

My name is Neil Pasricha and here’s a quick summary of this blog 1000 Awesome Things and my life since then:

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#841 When the categories on Jeopardy! are right in your wheelhouse

I’m not great at the game myself, so my dream categories would be:

Jeopardy Round

Rhymes with Brown

At The Supermarket

jeopardy-winner1Name That Ocean

Hot Dog Toppings

Halloween Animals

Types of Pants

Double Jeopardy

Served With Fries


Adding and Subtracting

Sports Ending With “Ball”

Google Logo Colors

How Many Wheels?

Final Jeopardy

One-letter words



Photo from: here and here

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#842 When the socks from the dryer all match up perfectly

match-those-socksPeeling apart that static-covered clump of socks is tense.

First you yank them from the dryer and dump the hot haystack on the bed. Then you start pairing up the easy ones — reconnecting brown argyle husbands with brown argyle wives and red-striped brothers with red-striped sisters. It’s free and easy love all around.

But then it happens.

You hit that big pile of white or black leftover socks and matching gets tough. You’re inspecting patterns and heel placements, checking textures and fades, all the while hoping, just hoping, that everything will work out fine.

As you approach the last few socks you do a quick mental count. You’re like a parent inspecting a newborn baby for ten little fingers and ten little toes, only all you’re looking for is whether or not you’ve got an even number of socks left on the bedspread.

If you do, and if they all match up perfectly, then you’re loving it. There are no missing tube socks or disappearing dress socks. Everything is locked and loaded, so you just put them all together, take that basket of well-worn lovers to the dresser, and dump them all in with a big smile on your face.


Dive into it

Photos from: here and here

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#843 Getting out of the car after a really long trip

Might not be stopping for a while

I spy, with my little eye, something that starts with U.

If you guessed Uncomfortably Long Car Trip, you got it, baby.

Yes, maybe you’re in a Backseat Squeeze for hours, one leg on each side of the Floor Hump, your bladder clenched tightly, holding on for dear life. Or maybe you’re slouching in shotgun in a blissful Game Boy Cocoon, headphones in your ears, video game system in your lap. Or maybe you’re driving the boat, steering the ship, mind on the road, eyes on the mirrors, just navigating carefully through the dangerous world of steep curves and sharp swerves.

Now you're playing with power

Whatever your situation, it sure does feel good when that tired car finally rolls to a slow stop at a fast-food joint or gas station.

That’s when you pop open the door and just stretch like you’ve never stretched before. Arms out, arms up, way up to the sky, just popping that back and twisting that neck in all directions while saying oooOOO a lot. Maybe squeeze up onto your tippy-toes, and feel the burn rise up your legs, those cold, clenched muscles getting a hot slap wake-up call. Yes, you can feel your hamstrings stretch long, stretch hard, crying out with tears of joy as freedom rings again.

Plus you finally get to pee.



Photos from: here, here, and here

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#844 Celebrities on Sesame Street

[digg=] Celebrities tell you how to get, how to get to Sesame Street.

Let’s count down 15 of the best walk-ons:

15. REM’s monster mash. In just over three minutes, Michael Stipe and friends take us on an emotional roller-coaster with Furry, Happy Monsters, a cover of their own Shiny, Happy People, televised in 2000. Watch the monsters mosh happily, cry sappily, and then bring it all back with a booming grand finale.


14. James Taylor’s Jelly Man Kelly. In this classic clip from 1979, folksy James Taylor sings a campfire tune with the help of some enthusiastic kids and a big guy on a big tuba. He turned out to be a Sesame Street regular, also dueting with Oscar in That Grouchy Face (a spoof of That Smiling Face), and singing Up On The Roof, up on a roof.


13. Feist teaches counting basics. Singer-songwriter Feist does a walk-on in August, 2008 teaching kids to count to four. “1-2-3-4, monsters walking ‘cross the floor. I love coun-ting, counting to the number four.”


12. Overruling Law & Order. File this one away in the dusty trivia bin in your brain: Sesame Street and Law and Order actually share a studio in Queens, New York. Yeah, seriously. As a result, many actors in each show have done cameos in the other. Sesame Street upped the ante in 2006 when it debuted the Special Letter Unit spoof. Watch it and you’ll be saying “chung chung” forever.


11. R2-D2 and C-3PO on love. Our favorite intergalactic comedy duo does a touching segment on The Street in 1980. After chasing stormtroopers across the galaxy, it seems R2 is looking for love in all the wrong places. Good thing 3po is there to offer some sage advice.


10. Larry King phones one in. In an Abbott and Costello-esque routine from 2004, Larry King hosts the Letter W and takes callers from Wabasha, Wichita, and Wala Wala. Worth it for the crooked glasses and messy hair at the end.


9. Norah Jones missing her Y. Norah Jones sings a sad cover of Don’t Know Why in 2004, where she talks about how her Letter of the Day pal ‘Y’ failed to show up when he said he would. Seems she’s taking it pretty personally, too. “We used spelled great words together. Now I can’t spell ‘anything.‘”


8. Neil Patrick Harris as The Shoe Fairy. In this acid-inspired showtune sing-a-long from August, 2008, Doogie Howser floats and flies around Sesame Street snapping and popping pairs of possessed shoes onto everybody’s feet. Keep an eye out for the Doctor or you may find yourself bowling melons or mopping sidewalks with your feet. If you want to skip the plot buildup, scroll a few minutes into this clip for the jazzy number.


7. Robert De Niro on how to be an actor. Bob pokes fun at himself and pretends to be a dog and a cabbage while teaching Elmo about acting. Features the classic De Niro line “Hey, look at me, I’m a cabbage. Good source of riboflavin.”


6. Tony Bennett crooning with Big Bird. In 1998, Tony sings about Slimey the Worm’s heart-wrenching voyage to the moon in a Fly Me To The Moon cover. And hey, if you like this one, be sure to check out his 1995 walk-on song about how big the little things in life can be. Tony, we’re right there with you, buddy.


5. Robin Williams goes nuts. In a classic Robin Williams moment in 2000, he plays almost fifteen characters in just over a minute to teach Elmo about what he can do with a stick. It’s a short, captivating bit showing the magic of imagination. Just try to focus on that, not his shirt.


4. Stevie Wonder jamming in the Street. An old 1973 street party clip featuring Stevie Wonder and his band jamming Superstition with a pile of kids dancing on the fire escape. A spinning six minutes from over thirty-five years ago.


3. James Blunt crying about geometry. In a great parody of his popular tune You’re beautiful, James tears up as he wistfully mourns his long lost triangular love. Watch as his mournful memories cut to smoky scenes from the discotheque and when Telly Monster chimes in with a great line about the hypotenuse. Math jokes at their finest, people.


2. Johnny Cash and Birdy Big. The Man in Black put in a few classic Sesame Street guest appearances over the years, but perhaps none finer than this dusty, warbly 1992 cover of Don’t Take Your Guns To Town featuring Big Bird as the lonely cowboy.


1. Andrea Bocelli sings Elmo to sleep. Your heart might melt a bit over this soaring 2005 lullaby as long as you aren’t creeped out by the grizzled, crooning tenor hanging out at Elmo’s bedside. A classic scene about enjoying tomorrow.


Hard as it may be to believe, Sesame Street is now ramping up to nearly forty seasons on the boob tube. Yes, Big Bird has proven Mr. Snuffleupagus exists, Oscar’s mellowed out a little, and even though the Cookie Monster still loves cookies, he now considers them a Sometimes Food.

For kids and parents alike, there’s something special about seeing celebrities cool it down a notch, ham it up a notch, and just let themselves hang out there on daytime television. Because maybe these celebrity appearances just remind us all of sunny days, sweeping the, clouds away. They take us away, to where that air is sweet.

And they help us all forget, forget life without Sesame Street.


(If you feel like donating to Sesame Street, click here)

Come and play

Photo from: here

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#846 Sneaking McDonald’s and hiding the evidence


Trouble bubbled at my friend Scott’s house the other night.

See, earlier in the week Scott found a used McDonald’s Chicken McNugget sauce container wedged between the car seat and the car door in the Honda Civic he shares with his wife. He dropped his keys in there, and when he slipped his hand down to fish them out, he came up with a sticky, crusty barbecue sauce container instead.

Yes, his wife Molly was caught grease-handed. In Scott’s mind their sturdy New Year’s pact to eat healthy suddenly dissolved into a dimly lit puddle of lies and deception.

Lucky for me, Scott decided to raise the issue on Monday night just before 24 started. Here’s how it all went down.

Scott: “Oh hey, I dropped my keys in that annoying spot between the car seat and the car door earlier today.”

Molly: (curious as to where this is going) “Okay … ”

Don't get caught

Scott: “Yeah, but when I went to pull it out, I found something else instead.”

Molly: (slightly confused) “O-kay … ?”

Scott: (raises eyebrows slowly and smiles)

Molly: (scrunches eyebrow and turns head in confusion)

Scott: “A McDonald’s barbecue sauce container!”

Molly: (guiltily) “Oh! Nooo … ”

Then there was a tiny pause.

And then we all just burst out laughing.

Because seriously, we’ve all been there, man. Sneaking in those secret McDonald’s Drive-Thru trips and ditching the evidence. Yup, gotta make sure you’ve scooped all the fries off the bottom of the bag, wiped the salt off your lips, checked your shirt for ketchup spillage, and safely filed the excess napkins away in the glove compartment.

Just remember to roll down the windows, pay with cash, and play it safe out there.

And never ever order the nuggets.



Photos from: here, here, and here

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#847 Old, classic board games

Musty fun

[digg=] Wedged tightly into dark corners in dusty attics are piles of old, worn out board games from years ago.

The corners of these old boxes are cracked and split open, the flashy prints on top long worn away, leaving only the dusty, corrugated bones behind. Pencils with broken leads, yellowed instructions, faded homemade scorecards, and assorted sub-ins for lost game pieces litter the box and make it look like that clattery kitchen drawer of assorted knick-knacks. Take a deep breath and you may sniff up a familiar musty scent that takes you way, way back.

For old time’s sake, let’s look fondly on thirteen of the greatest board games of all time:

hungry-hungry-hippo13. Hungry Hungry Hippos. This game was invented for all the kids who were shooed into the basement to calm down and go play a board game. That’s when us sugar-rushing rugrats caused havoc by pulling out Hungry Hungry Hippos and started smacking plastic hippo mouths at a hundred marbles flying in all directions. Just what mom had in mind.

mouse_trap12. Mouse Trap. This game taught us the meaning of the slow, tantric crescendo. That’s because the first 99% of the game was a boring, play-by-numbers hopscotch. But then it got to mousetrap time, and it was allllllll worth it.

connect-four11. Connect Four. Despite the quick set up time, easy rules, and fun gameplay, Connect Four always seemed suspiciously educational. And now, be honest — did you ever realize your kid sister was just about to deliver a four-in-a-row knockout punch and then release the trap on the bottom, spilling all the pieces on the table and denying them their big crowning moment? Hey, I’m not proud of it, either.

battleship10. Battleship. The best part of Battleship was those hard, plastic cases the game came in. It was like its own luggage set and it was hard not to feel important when you flipped one open and began fiddling with all the pieces inside. Kids, those are what we used to call laptops. Sure, no RAM, no hard drive, but check out the 3D graphics.

uno9. Uno. Now, Uno wasn’t really a board game, but whenever it was Board Game Time there was always that one whiny kid who begged everyone to play Uno instead. But no one would. That’s why it’s called Uno.

mastermind8. Mastermind. Was it just me or did that box cover look like an ad for exotic high-stakes infidelity? Either that or the people you final-round interview with to become a political assassin.

risk7. Risk. Turns out you can’t dominate the world in an hour. As a result, committing to a game of Risk was commiting to giving up your entire evening. Games could go until three, four, five in the morning, with the first person out at 9:00 pm sitting bored on the couch flipping channels for six hours. Too bad, man. Shouldn’t have challenged Siam.

candyland-board6. Candyland. This game required no reading, no writing, no strategy, and no decision-making at all. You just flipped over a card, looked at the color, and moved your piece to that color. That’s it, really. Candyland ranks high because it’s a gateway board game and gets people interested in the harder stuff.

trivial-pursuit-original5. Trivial Pursuit. The hardest stuff of all. I’m talking about the original, heavy box Genus Edition here. You know you’re playing that one when the questions are impossible and everybody feels like an idiot without any pie pieces. Props to the first person who proposes ditching the board and just asking questions.

game-of-life4. The Game of Life. If you can believe it, Milton Bradley himself created The Game of Life way back in 1861. Now, the game is more than a little preachy — I mean, if you don’t go to college, have lots of kids, and drive around in your station wagon buying insurance and suing for damages, then you probably won’t be able to end up a millionaire and buy that beautiful, white plastic mansion at the end. But there was something pretty cool about Life, too. There was the fact that you got to spin the big wheel on your turn, that every space had a little story to go with it, and that kids got to act grown up for an hour.

scrabble3. Scrabble. So apparently they’ve sold over 100 million copies of Scrabble in 29 languages. They sell dictionaries, they have tournaments, the factories are still pumping them out. Not bad for a handful of cheap wood tiles.

clue2. Clue. This dark and bloody board game about mansion murder was always a winner with happy-go-lucky kids on Saturday afternoon. Yes, Clue was a tense and quiet hour of private note-taking, raised eyebrows, and suspicious glances. A nice break from running around the backyard with untied shoelaces and runny noses, anyway.

monopoly1. Monopoly. There were some classic moments in most Monopoly games. First off, who’s going to be the banker? Either you have an excited kid around who wants to do it or somebody caves in and reluctantly does the job. Reluctant Bankers are no good, though. You’ll be reminding them to pay you $200 for passing GO the whole time. Next, what’s the rule with Free Parking? We going with the official rules where it means nothing, popping a big $500 in there, or doing something completely different? Also, every game has the late-inning game-changing trade at some point. It’s the three-way deal that gives the richest player all the railroads to seal everybody’s fate or the tired person who gives up at midnight and just trades away Boardwalk for $100 to meet the rent on Park Place. Whatever your Monopoly quirks, there’s no denying that it’s a classic.

Huddled around the kitchen table waiting on a long pause in Scrabble, sitting in a friend’s basement late at night waging merciless war in Risk, or gathering the family together for a classic Saturday night game of Monopoly, whatever your style — there’s just something about those old, classic board games. They bring us together for some laughs, some ups, some downs, and some plain old good times.


Incredible Candyland Photo Credit: Peggy Dembicer


Photos from: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

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#848 Old folks who sit on their porch and wave at you when you walk by

What do you picture doing when you retire?

Lounging amongst big umbrellas on sunny beaches, taking the grandkids to the zoo, cropping a serious vegetable garden, or turning your wood carving hobby into a lucrative craft fair business?

Well, whatever you choose, can I just recommend that you also make time to just sit on your porch, sip some lemonade, and look up to smile and wave at people when they walk by?

Because other than cutting the little wedge of your neighbor’s lawn, lending out your snowblower, or collecting someone’s mail while they’re away, I tell you — nothing says friendly neighbor more than a couple old folks sitting on their rockers and just flashing those gums and waving those palms when you walk on by.



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#849 The fetal position

Looks comfy, don't it?

Girl, you used to fit in a shoebox.

Back when you were all-nude, all-the-time, you were crunched up real fine in your mom’s tum. Yes, your head was bowed down, your back was bent forward, your legs were pulled to your chest, and everything was in order.

The fetal position is the medical term used to describe your Totally Comfy Pre-Born Position. You’re all curled up into a comfy little ball in there and while mom may notice you rattling around a bit, you’re actually pretty chilled out and relaxed.

I mean, there’s a reason La-Z-Boy doesn’t make a womb-sized version, and brother, it ain’t because they can’t. No, it’s because there’s just no demand. Pre-born babies are already living the life of leisure and no amount of built-in cup-holders, pillowy-soft headrests, or swing-out footrests can improve that.

Nothing compared to the womb

Now, the fetal position has many post-pop uses as well.

First of all, some people sleep this way after they’re born. They find it a safe and comfy way to ferry into Dreamland each evening. And this isn’t just hearsay, people. Yes, I used to be a fetal position junkie myself as a kid, sleeping on my side and somewhat resembling a pajama-clad jelly-roll.

Secondly, what’s up with all those bears and heroin? It’s true — drug users curl up into the safe and warm fetal position when they’re experiencing withdrawal and studies suggest that playing dead in the fetal position is a good strategy to ward off further pawing from a friendly bear.

Don't get lost in the barrens

Lastly, it just feels like home. The fetal position is the best way to keep warm if you find yourself tentless in Nunavut or crashing on a pal’s basement floor without copious blanketing. It literally warms the heart (liver, lungs, and kidneys.)

And hey, isn’t the fetal position just one more way to turn back the clock? After all, your body knows the fetal position, your body lived the fetal position, and so when you’re coming down off an acid trip on the cold floor of a bear-infested forest, I think you know what to do.

Curl right up, baby.

For me and you.


Fight back with the fetal position!

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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#850 Absolute perfect silence


No rain.

No birds.

No wind.

No waves.

No buzzing.

No beeping.

No blinking.

No haze.

When there’s no office hum.

And no kitchen clatter.

When there are no idling cars.

And no distant chatter.

When there’s absolute, perfect silence and really nothing else.

When your ears strain for sound, and just meet silence itself.

Well, that beautiful rare moment is so sweet.

And so perfectly


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