Through strange metaphysical circumstances, failed screenwriter Brad Cohen finds himself caught in an infinite time loop, forced to relive the first forty years of his life again and again. Each "repeat," Brad wakes up in the womb on what was supposed to be his fortieth birthday, with full knowledge of what's come before. In various timelines, he becomes a successful political pundit, a game-show champion, a playboy, and a master manipulator of the stock market, but none of them seems to lead him out of his predicament.
"SHE PULLED BRAD UP BY HIS PITTS"
Alarmed by what passes for a poetry curriculum at Elijah's middle school, Neal takes Elijah to New York City to meet some actual working poets. Back in Texas, they visit a "Typewriter Rodeo," and along the way, Neal reveals the secrets of his own strange, poetic past.
Blessed with uncanny deductive skills and a blasé disregard for authority, Matt Bolster was a rising LAPD homicide detective by the age of 35. He was also overworked, near-alcoholic, and miserable. Then, to impress a girl, he agreed to try yoga. Now Bolster has traded his badge for a three-day stubble and the life of an itinerant yoga teacher, dabbling in PI work to make rent. He mostly handles missing-persons cases, credit-card fraud - nothing too messy. But that's before Ajoy Chaterjee, the wealthy mogul behind one of the world's leading yoga-business empires, is found murdered inside his West L.A. flagship studio.
"Love Yoga and Satire - This is for you"
Neal is terrified for Elijah's safety in Texas, where guns are as prevalent as popcorn. They visit a gun club in San Antonio to learn how to shoot responsibly, interview an anti-campus carry activist about how to protest guns using sex toys, and talk to a parent who lost her son to gun violence. But Elijah still thinks guns are cool.
Elijah, a comic-book fan, interviews Sana Amanat, the creative director of Marvel Comics, about being a "Muslim-American super hero." And John Hodgman stops by to discuss his doomed plans to play a super villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
1937. The gears of world war have begun to grind, but Inky Lautman, star point guard for the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association, America’s greatest basketball team, is dealing with his own problems. His coach has unwittingly incurred a massive gambling debt to the Bund, a group of American Nazis. His main basketball rival is self-righteously leading public protests against homegrown American fascism. It’s more than Inky can deliver.
At the dawn of human civilization, a blind prophet foretold the coming of one who would transform American literature forever, thrilling millions with his prose and debauching thousands with the meltingly seductive rhythm of his poetry. Now he has arrived. His name is Neal Pollack, the author of The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature, and he walks among us.
Annoyed at the hopelessly dated anti-drug program at his 13-year-old son Elijah's Texas public school, writer Neal Pollack decides to take Elijah to Colorado, for a more modern drug education. There, Elijah meets a marijuana journalist and a family of medical-marijuana activists, who teach him that there's more to learn about drugs than "just say no."
When his 13-year-old son decides not to have a Bar Mitzvah, writer Neal Pollack plans an emergency cultural trip to "The Jewish American Homeland" - New York City - with decidedly mixed results.
Writer Neal Pollack was shocked by the way his public school district teaches students about the origins of species. In this episode, Neal sends Elijah to a bar outside a convention of 1,700 biologists to learn about what he isn't hearing in school: evolution.
On Extra Credit, writer Neal Pollack augments his son's public school education with his own, somewhat questionable, life lessons. In this episode, after learning that some Texas schoolbooks refer to African slaves as "migrant workers," Neal takes Elijah on a road trip to Lousiana, where they visit a slavery museum on a former plantation.
With his star on the rise since solving the murder of Ajoy Chaterjee, yoga detective Matt Bolster is invited to teach at The Gathering, a prestigious yoga retreat run by the renowned Tom Hart. Bolster is a little dubious about the cultish atmosphere that surrounds Hart, but, as they say in L.A., it’s an honor just to be nominated. But when what starts off as a decadent retreat quickly spirals into deadly chaos, Bolster must use all his yoga-detective powers, and also his fists.
"Pretty Far Fetched Even For Yoga Buffs"
Elijah gets his first driving lesson from Neal, who is a professional automotive journalist. This comprehensive Driver's Ed curriculum includes talking to a vintage-car fanatic about classic Volkswagen Beetles, and learning about the car of the future from an electric-car advocate. If only they could teach Elijah how to steer.
When a controversy erupts at the Texas State Board Of Education over a racist anti-Mexican textbook, Neal becomes determined to expose Elijah to as much Mexican culture as possible. They interview an undocumented valedictorian and a Mexican-American history professor. And Houston-based comedy rapper Chingo Bling calls in to teach Elijah some special vocabulary words.
In writer Neal Pollack’s opinion, the sex ed curriculum at his son's school has…shortcomings. In this episode, Neal sends Elijah to a sex ed program offered by a local church--one that involves practice midnight condom purchases, and lots and lots of lube.
In Alternadad, Neal Pollack offers a wonderfully candid account of his and his wife's attempt to bring up their son, while still having fun and preserving their attachment to youth culture.
An essay from Things I've Learned From the Women Who've Dumped Me.