Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An open and shut case

The island of misfit musical instrument rentals will soon have a new resident in the form of a viola. 

It's not the viola's fault.

No, it's a matter of irreconcilable differences between a third grader with no work ethic and a stringed instrument that refuses to be a drum kit. ...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wanted: Friends



I'm in search of new friends. Interviews begin the third week of January.

I have three slots open. I will also name three alternates. So as to not waste anyone's time (yours/mine), here are a few tips to weed out viable candidates from the no-way-José's:


No one who makes bluebird houses in bulk.


No ventriloquists.


I will permit no more than three anecdotes related to your semester in Paris.


You're disqualified if you possess any photos of Dale Earnhardt (signed or unsigned, junior or senior).


If you have a child learning a musical instrument, under no circumstances would your child be permitted to bring that instrument into my home.


If you suffer from sudden, wild mood swings and if they sometimes result in you giving away all of your belongings, I could envision a scenario in which that could be appealing.


If you have above average upper-body strength — more so than me — you'll have to wear bulky sweaters.


I'll accept no one who's on the prowl for women. Those days would have to be over with. You'll either need to be in a solid relationship or damaged from a terrible divorce.


Life is painful enough, so keep to yourself any aerial photos you possess of mountaintop removal in West Virginia.


Please bring old photographs of you with friends. Cans of cheap beer must be somewhere in the frame, and at least one of you must be giving that iconic hang-10 sign, but there's to be no "bunny ears."


Please understand, in social settings I've become weary of people ending sentences with "... because there are too many people" (e.g., "There are an awful lot of armed conflicts these days ... because there are too many people"; "School taxes keep rising ... because there are too many people"; "My tap water suddenly tastes like a highway worker's sweat ... because there are too many people.") We all know there are too many people, and any of you who don't make the cut in my auditions are among the "too many people," starting with the Dale Earnhardt fans.


I don't care how late it is and how wasted we are, absolutely no quoting Monty Python dialogue (even if you really do have a British accent).


You need not apply if there's the potential you may drool over my wife. 


Ditto, if there's a risk you may drool over me.


You'd have to deal with my hyperactive dog greeting you, and the first thing he checks is gender, and please understand he has a bad memory.


Back to that pet peeve of people who end sentences with "... because there are too many people."


I might have tolerance of the following sentence closers:


   ... because it's all meaningless, every single bit of it.


   ... because kudzu has now been sighted north of the Mason-Dixon Line.


   ... because my mother loved me, more or less.


   ... because of my plantar warts.


   ... because drinking Dr. Pepper through the clipped ends of a Twizzler is less damaging to the environment.


   ... because our nation's collective nightmare is to be shoved into a clothes dryer by Richard Nixon wearing a Richard Nixon mask.


   ... because too many poisonous snakes and too many escaped prisoners have been displaced by too many shopping malls.


   ... because far be it from me to suggest you floss.


You must share my hatred for nautical décor.


Know that I'll refuse to take my shoes off at your door.


If you also happened to have dated a girl named Magdalene Alphonsa, please don't tell me if she also called you "Pooh-Bear."


If you're one of those people who believe Jesus visited America in a rowboat, please tell me he donned a Sasquatch costume to scare the bejesus out of Dust Bowl Oakies.


I will insist you don't try to contact my former friends. They don't return my phone calls, what would make you think they'd return yours?


Please bring your nonrefundable $20 application fee. Cash only.


I'm serious about the Dale Earnhardt thing. Don't clog up the auditions line. It's going to be a long day.


Thanks!





Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Making hay of the manger

By Felix Carroll

My Christmas pageant-participating 9-year-old boy has been cast as a camel this year to some other little twerp's wise man, and therein lies a lesson of Christmas: Someone has to carry the water.

For good reason, including the slim chance he may someday mark the Christmas season by pepper spraying his way to an Xbox 360, maybe camel impersonation — strapping on a hump and being led by a tether — is a suitable entry point for a frank discussion between father and son on Jesus Christ, that child whose likeness is making an appearance in a manger near you. ...