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Never Bored Never Boring
The creator of the Boring Institute loves his job and his town.
By Christy Potter
www.boringinstitute.com, which averages 25,000 hits every month.
"1 get tolls of e-mail from people who object to my putting this person or that person on the list:' Caruba said. "They don't get the fact that being on the list does not mean the celebrities themselves are boring. It means that they have been the subject of so much media coverage that we're all bored to death from hearing about them. I'm not rhe kind of person who would put someone on the list to be mean-spirited. The lists are a spoof of the way the media overwhelms us with too much information about certain celebrities."
Past years lists have included:
1984: Michael Jackson, Bo Derek, Waiter Mondale, George Schultz, Carl Lewis, Prince Charles and Lady Diana, Michael Landon, the current Miss America "whose name, in any given year, no one can recall" and Andy Rooney.
1990: Donald Trump, Madonna, 2 Live Crew, Andrew Dice Clay, Roseanne Barr, Teenage Mutant Ninjas, New kids on the Block, Warren Bearty, Sinead O'Connor, and George Steinbrenner,
2002: Ozzie Osbourne, Anna hTicole Smith, Martha Stewart, Winona Ryder, Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Lopez, Ted Williams, Robert Torricelli, James Traficant, and Osama bin Laden. The entire Royal Family, Madonna, O.J. Simpson and Woody Alien have earned spots on more than one year's list.
The 2003 list - the 20th annual - will be released on December 8, and Caruba offers a peek at this year's "winners."
"Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kobe Bryant, Britney Spears ... those three will be on the list for sure" he said. "Pretty much anybody could do this list if they had the time. But I'm the one who does it."
And he's recognized for it. He is a frequent guest on radio shows around the nation and the world, including Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Japan, and South America. "American celebrities are inevitably international celebrities," Caruba explained. "The week of December 8, 1 will just sit here and do around-the-clock radio."
The Boring Institute's website also includes an essay on "Killer Boredom" written for "Anti-Boredom Month" in July and a list of back-to-school tips to help students avoid boredom.
Caruba's professional life encompasses far more than The Boring Institute. A public relations counselor, he began his career as a newspaper reporter and editor. He has spent the last four decades in public relations and still active serving a variety of clients. Throughout it all, he has also been a full-time freelance writer with both magazine and book credits galore.
In 1990, Caruba founded The National Anxiety Center (www.anxietycenter.com), as a clearinghouse for information about "scare campaigns" based on "junk science and dubious claims." His weekly columns on that site, "Warning Signs" have been collected into a book that was published by Merril Press this spring. His columns are excerpted on many Internet news and opinion websites, giving them a readership of millions.
For more than 40 years, Caruba has also been a book reviewer. His column, Bookviews, has evolved from being syndicated to weekly newspapers, to a monthly newsletter, to its current home on his website, www.bookviews.com. Caruba is a founding member of the National Book Critics Circle, best known for its annual awards for the best fiction and non-fiction books.
First and foremost, Caruba said, he is a writer. That is what ultimately led him into what he calls the pundit business. "One of the things I'm most proud of is that I am rarely, if ever, challenged on data I offer because my opinions are always carefully documented."
Since becoming a pundit, Caruba said two of the most serious issues he has frequently written about have been threats to the country's economy and national security: the Islamic holy war which culminated in 9-11, and the way the environmental movement seeks to make public policy based on claims that have no basis in sound science.
"Global warming is an example" Caruba said. "The Earth has been warming for 10,000 years. There is no scientific data to support the theory of a sudden, unprecedented warming." He cited the recent California wildfires as another example of misguided and misapplied environmentalism.
"The environmentalists scored another 'victory' by preventing old and dead trees to be thinned from those forests. Forest managers have been telling Congress for decades that the restrictions placed on them posed a danger to the forests and everyone living near them."
When Caruba isn't speaking on radio stations around the world and compiling lists of boring celebrities, he is content to enjoy life in Maplewood. A resident since 1942, he has lived in the same house for over 60 years.
"I feel so blessed to have grown up in Maplewood and to be living here as an adult" he said. "My roots in this community go deep. I give thanks for that every day." And living in a town you love, he says, is never boring.
Christy Potter is a full-time freelance writer who hopes to never see her name on one of Alan Caruba's "boring" lists.