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Garth Sundem is a Science, Math and general Geek Culture writer, TED speaker, and author of books including Brain Trust: 93 Top Scientists Dish the Lab-Tested Secrets of Surfing, Dating, Dieting... Read More »


In this equation, it's probably pretty obvious what you should do. But is your life ruled by should? Do you gimp through your week yessir-ing and nomam-ing and cowtowing to avoid punishment? Okay, so do most of us—but here's your chance to break the mold and stike a blow for the proletariat (viva la revolucion...). And at least if you get caught blowing off the rest of the day in favor of a four-hour, three-martini, expense account lunch at the pub, you can blame the numbers.


Should I order a sandwich at my desk or head to the bar on the corner for a blowout lunch?

Lunch at Pub Equation

Usually when you turn on the tube, you can be fairly certain what you are going to see—you know a show’s genre, actors, and reputation and even supposedly unscripted reality television rarely bucks expectations.
    Enter the Academy Awards.
    Some years it’s great and other years David Letterman hosts. That’s part of the fun and one reason an average of nearly 45 million viewers tune in every year—we crave the potential to catch Madonna yelling at the sound tech after her microphone failed to emerge from the floor; we love the behind-the-scenes stories of Russell Crowe intentionally mucking the names of best actress nominees; we revel in Tom Hanks’ unintentional outing of his high school drama teacher; we merrily cringe at Antonio’s atonal duet with Santana.

When you turn on the Oscars, what are you really watching? Most people admit it's a good excuse for a fashion show. And it seems an obvious choice between Keira Knightley’s elegant, wine-colored Vera Wang and Gwyneth’s 2003 gothic horror show. But then why, if it’s that obvious, do stars continue to mistake the Oscars for that other dress-up day on the 31st of October? With a cadre of stylists, trainers and designers, and without needing to fit the dress inside a small pocketbook, wouldn’t you think they could get it right every time?

Now they can.

 Will Her Oscar Dress Be A Hit?


Dress Score Equation

While I'm safely removed from the dating pool, Stephanie Street is not (is this perhaps a pseudonym?). She phoned in a Valentine's Day question to the PRI radio program Fair Game, and won the dubious honor of chatting with me and the host on air (tonight, online at by 9:00pm) and thus having her pseudonym forever attached to this equation, heretofore known as The Manometer. Her dilemma was the choice between two proposed Valentine's Day dates—one eight years older, mature and stable and another two years younger, brash and exciting (does this sound like the plot of a Danielle Steel novel to anyone else?).
I'm off the wagon. And when I fall, I fall hard.

It's not just the regular this time—I'm into the hard stuff, like cappuccino and those Starbucks drinks with nifty, pseudo-European names (ah, my soul for one sip of sweet, sweet Moccachino...). I would like to blame my current baby-induced insomnia and resulting massive accumulated sleep debt, or my wife's enabling addiction to Arnold Palmers (half lemonade, half iced-tea) from the new coffee shop down the street, but really these are just lame excuses for my own weakness. And so I'm back to living life by the drop, or more precisely, by the shot of Cafe Estima Blend.