Mike Nelson's Mind Over Matters

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Overview

Why do some people retain cute baby-talk names for their relatives (like "Num-Num" and "Pee-Paw") well into middle age? How should a reasonable person respond when Olivia Newton-John sings, "Have you never been mellow?" Who's responsible for the sorry state of men's fashion, and is it the same guy who invented the jerkin? Is there any future in being a Midwesterner? Can you really enjoy your lunch when the restaurant is decorated to look like an African plain? How come women keep dozens of bottles and jars of ...

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Mike Nelson's Mind Over Matters

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Overview

Why do some people retain cute baby-talk names for their relatives (like "Num-Num" and "Pee-Paw") well into middle age? How should a reasonable person respond when Olivia Newton-John sings, "Have you never been mellow?" Who's responsible for the sorry state of men's fashion, and is it the same guy who invented the jerkin? Is there any future in being a Midwesterner? Can you really enjoy your lunch when the restaurant is decorated to look like an African plain? How come women keep dozens of bottles and jars of moisturizers, unguents, and lotions around -- all of them half empty?

In more than 50 hilarious all-new essays, one of America's brightest young humorists -- the head writer and on-air host of the legendary TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000 -- finds the fun in all aspects of the human condition, no matter how absurd. Join Mike Nelson on an angst-filled visit to a health spa; shopping sessions at Home Depot and Radio Shack; adventures in the very amateur musical theater; a gut-busting discourse on the history of television; ruminations on his roles as husband, father, and citizen; and much, much more.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Stepping out of the shadows once again, former writer and host of Mystery Science Theater 3000 Mike Nelson is casting his sharp eye on the world beyond the darkened movie theater. Following on the heels of Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese, the actor, director, musician, and writer returns with a collection of more than 50 essays on the absurd amenities of modern living.

From the perspective of his home base in Minneapolis, Minnesota, modern life has not been kind to Mike Nelson. Whether faced with offending views of the towel-less older gentlemen embracing "man's natural state" in the health club locker room, or trying to get service at Home Depot ("Some of the best advice I ever got was, 'Start climbing on the shelves' "), nearly every aspect of daily life is fuel for exasperation. In Mind over Matters, Nelson has his whip poised over everything from leaf blowers to men's fashions to Radio Shack -- and he's not afraid to use it. Whether providing a provocative view of the history of television ("Naming a psychedelic show H. R. Pufnstuf is a barely coded way of saying, 'The producers of this program would like you all to know how very, very much we enjoy smoking rope' "), a heartfelt plea for sanity ("Please stop scolding and shaming me, syndicated human interest stories"), or a venture into the purely bizarre in an interview with his One-hundred Dollar Linen Shorts (bought on sale for $28), Nelson illuminates a world that -- with each bright, clean step toward convenience and normalcy -- just keeps on getting weirder.

In an essay titled "Rethinking the Backside," Nelson writes, "It seems the gluteus maximus's major function is to get tired at plays and make airplane flights seem longer than they actually are. I suggest that we could do without them." Whatever the backside's failings, Mike Nelson's Mind over Matters will give you good reason to put yours to the test -- so, sit back and enjoy it. (Elise Vogel)

Publishers Weekly
In the tradition of Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese, which featured endless takedowns of Hollywood glitterati, comes Mike Nelson's Mind over Matters, some 50 short essays covering up everything from "Portal to Hell: The Radio Shack Experience" to "Grumpy Floppy and the Flo-Flo," or the pet names of friends for their loved ones. Michael J. Nelson, head writer of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 for 10 seasons (and its host for five), has an endless supply of good-natured bile, and here turns it on the annoyances and idiocies of everyday life. ( Mar. 1) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Nelson (Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese) is perhaps best known as the brains behind the cult classic television series Mystery Science Theater 3000. In this collection of more than 50 offbeat essays, he shares his observations about everyday matters such as the media, education, food, and family life. His humor is a cross between that of Dave Barry and of Jerry Seinfeld, and his highly personal style he includes remarks about his wife and his children will delight some readers but annoy others. Nelson also tends to dwell on the obvious. For example, in one essay about modern life he opines about the sounds of autumn, pointing out that fall used to sound like the gentle swish-swish of leaf raking but is now dominated by the cacophony of leaf blowers. In short, this collection of humor is uneven at best. Though some will find it funny, it will likely disappoint many MST3K fans, as it lacks the sardonic repartee for which Nelson is most celebrated on his television series. Recommended primarily for public libraries where demand dictates. Joe Accardi, William Rainey Harper Coll., Palatine, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The author of Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese (not reviewed) and quondam host of Comedy Central's Mystery Science Theater 3000 offers some small, comic essays. The result is, happily, laughable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060936143
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,486,880
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael J. Nelson is an actor, writer, director, and musician who served as head writer for ten seasons, and on-air host for five seasons, of the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000. He was also the composer of most ofMST3K's original music, and is coauthor of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide (1996). Nelson lives in Minneapolis with his wife, writer-performer Bridget Jones, and their two children.

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Interviews & Essays

Exclusive Author Essay
It's fun to be able to say, "Hey, I've got a new book out!" Although it's no "Hey, I got that ambassadorship," it's much better than "Did you know I purchased some new shorts" or "I make a pretty good clam dip," or even "I can get deep discounts on charcoal."

And, hey, I do have a new book out, so I'm almost tempted to tell someone. But if I did, the joy of the moment would be killed by the inevitable follow-up, "What's it about?" For I would then be forced to give the honest reply, "It's a book of humorous essays," and at that point, the person asking it very likely falls deeply asleep, possibly never to wake up.

Yes, the term "humorous essays" is the dullest ever yet conceived, far surpassing both gray dress socks and 1090 Order Form (Optional) as the words that cause most people to yawn and lose interest faster than any others yet invented.

Separately, both "humorous" and "essay" are perfectly fine words, if not the best we've ever come up with. But when combined, something happens and their meanings change. "Humorous" becomes "not very funny" and "essay" tends to bring up images of dull college professors wearing gray dress socks and making monotone speeches about Keats.

Given the difficulties, it's easy to see why most people prefer to shun humorous writing and become circus performers. If you land a position as a fire-eater, it's a joy to mingle at parties. When someone asks, "So what do you do, El Flame-Oh," and El Flame-Oh responds, "I eat fire for the circus," there is an instant understanding and the conversation flows. There is animated discussion concerning the various flammable liquids used, questions about mouth injuries, maybe even a few new jokes making reference to Mexican food. Yes, the fire-eater is the life of every party.

For the writer of humorous essays, things are not nearly so rosy. He enters the room stiffly, interrupting the now extremely popular fire-eater. "I am a writer of humorous essays," the humorous essay writer says, and all the air immediately leaves the room. People begin to lightly perspire and notice suddenly that they wish they were somewhere else. After an awkward moment, someone acknowledges the poor humorous essay writer.

"Oh?"

"Yes," says the humorous essay writer. "Perhaps you will enjoy some of my wry observations and clever prose."

The partygoers then grab whatever they have on hand and throw it at the humorous essay writer. Soon, he is buried under an avalanche of mini quiches.

To avoid such seemingly inevitable finger-food attacks, I have decided to utilize a slightly more peppy term to describe what I do. I am no longer a writer of humorous essays. No, I am instead a manufacturer of industrial lubricants.

So please enjoy my new shipment of lubricants that I call Mike Nelson's Mind over Matters. (Mike Nelson)

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2011

    Very very funny

    For years mike nelson proved he was capable of being funny while mocking bad movies. Now he proves that he is just as funny mocking everything else.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2004

    Hilarious

    I picked up this book in a Barnes and Noble in Minneapolis. I hadn't read more than about three or four paragraphs before I started laughing so hard I had to set it down and head for the store's restroom! I bought it as soon as I could and I still find it incredibly hilarious.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2004

    Funny From Start To Finish

    I bought this book because I am a huge fan of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 series. This book follows the humor style of the show and make it a hilarious read from start to finish.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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