Fridays on KERA, the NPR station that tells me I live in the geographical region of "North Texas," Jeff Whittington hosts a program called Anything You Ever Wanted to Know. I know, from pledge drive banter, that Jeff inherited this program from the guy who started it, and I assume, from the general tenor of Jeff's voice, that maybe it's not a show he would have made.
The format involves people calling or emailing in questions and other people calling or emailing in answers. Where can I go salt water swimming in Dallas? Are ingredients listed in descending order of weight, or volume? I remember this much of a plot of a book, does anyone know its title? It's a motley garage sale of information and opinion, and I was starting to thing of it as Anything You Ever Wanted Someone Else to Google For You when I realized it has a finer point. I've grown a fondness for the questions people ask that don't fit neatly into a search engine—Hey, I saw some construction off Mockingbird, does anyone know what they're building? I'm a U.S. serviceman in Japan, does anyone know where I can resurface a nonstick pan?—the reminder that we are valuable to each other.
I was especially intrigued last month to discover the show goes on break and plays archived episodes, that somehow this is a thing you don't just hand over to a substitute host. It seemed a little like playing last year's news or reading the classified from six months ago. But I listened for a while, as I inevitably do, and heard my favorite question ever: How do you bake cookies on your dashboard? As I was waiting for someone to explain why this is a bad, bad idea for innumerable health code reasons, what I got was a flood of people adding their two cents. It would appear, and other local media confirm, that this is something we do in Dallas. Google suggests folks in Minnesota and Pennsylvania and Arizona do this, too, but still. We have to do something with million bajillion degree summers, and this, my friends, is our heat stroke inducing silver lining. I'm looking forward to a batch myself. Let me know how yours turn out.