OUR BONAFIDES: As you can tell just from walking around downtown, TED2013, the annual amassing of the most brilliant and innovative people in the world, is in town this week for its fifth and, for the time being, last visit to Long Beach.
We've always found it amusing - precious, even - that we've never been asked to speak at TED.
TED's clipped and not at all self-congratulatory motto for the confab is "The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered." And maybe the talent bookers are using that as their criteria.
Are we young? Certainly not overly so, but we're young enough to be the brilliant son or at least precocious nephew of such speakers as futurist Stewart Brand (74) and economist Robert J. Gordon (74).
Are we wise? We're not going to say we're burdened with excess wisdom, but we think we could probably hold up our end of the conversation with such featured TEDsters as yo-yo champion Black, beatboxer Beardyman and the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys.
Are we undiscovered? We're recognized on certain street corners, but we're certainly more shrouded in mystery than speakers Peter Gabriel and U2's Bono.
The great gathering ends Friday and in a move indicative of our open-heartedness, we're going to give the TED bookers one last chance to wedge us into the lineup before the end of the week. Whether we are a true Renaissance man is a matter for our future biographers and historians to determine, but here are some ideas for TED Talks we could give.
Your Backyard Wilderness, by Tim Grobaty, urban naturalist: We once got involved in a survey of the wildlife in our backyard, though we gave up after finding several dozen species just under the scientific category of Things That Can Fly. We started in with Things That Give Us the Creeps and just got the creeps. It'd make a cool TED Talk, though.
Occupy Hof's!, by Tim Grobaty, urban community activist. Tired of giant, faceless corporations pushing you around? Occupy! We announced and then videotaped a protest of the announced closure of a popular Hof's Hut restaurant at Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway. The result? Closure, anyhow. But Hof's did have a special 2-for-1 Customers Appreciation Day. That's power, people!
Eating Things You Find On the Ground, by Tim Grobaty, urban scavenger chef. This initially sounds a bit gross, but we recently made a lunch of avocado, lime and Satsuma mandarin. The point of our talk would be that if you're going to eat things you find on the ground, you should plant a lot of fruit trees.
Draw Anything!, by Tim Grobaty, urban social media artist. Here, we'll demonstrate the most modern and groundbreaking techniques of digital art as seen through the popular Draw Something application.
Ukulele Without Boundaries, by Tim Grobaty, urban musical anarchist. We have a ukulele, but we can't play it. Haven't bothered to learn any chords yet. Still, we'll give it a go just to see what happens.
Drought-resistant lawns, by Tim Grobaty, urban agri-warrior. The drought-resistant, native plant movement is so TED2011. People are tired of going out to pick up the paper in the morning and winding up with a rear-end full of cactus thorns. We are at the vanguard of the drought resistant lawn movement in which agri-warriors merely quit watering their grass with the result being a glorious patchwork of gold and yellow, tinged with little patches of green.
The Sleepy Boy Banjo Men: We can also not play the banjo, but we can play guitar, and we have a six-string banjo-guitar, so, same difference.
This group would be made up of us on the six-string banjo guitar, U2's Bono on the four-string pizza parlor banjo and Peter Gabriel on the five-string banjo. If Beardyman wants to make noises over at the side, it's cool with us.
A Smoking Guitar, by Tim Grobaty, urban luthier/tobacconist. A couple of years ago we built a cigar box guitar for our friend Charlie. We'll talk about that and how, after repeated trips to the hardware store, the lumberyard, the cigar shop, the plumbing supply store and emergency care, it would have been cheaper to buy a 1956 Gibson Les Paul.
Ladybug Liberation, by Tim Grobaty, urban eco-warrior. We went to a garden shop once and liberated (purchased) a carton of about 800 ladybugs, then we took it home and set them all free. We'll do that again inside the TED conference. It'll be cool. Yoko Ono cool.
You're going to want to call now. Our contact information is at the bottom.
Also, we don't pay to speak. You pay us. And we need a plus-one.