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Reader Mail, Part II

Reader Mail, Part II

More from the mailbag…

Q:  I loved your reality show ideas, particularly FingerFork.  Who would be your ideal contestants on Celebrity Finger Fork?


A: The ideal contestant for Celebrity FingerFork would possess three key attributes: 1) Has already been completely disgraced; 2) Still feels no sense of shame; and 3) Open to receiving more publicity.  So I think you could choose 2-3 contestants from each of these pools and have yourself a nice competition:

Down-on-their-luck ex-athletes looking for a reduction in their prison sentences: Lenny Dykstra, Roger Clemens, Jim Leyritz (fuck you again for 1996, Leyritz!), Jayson Williams

Reality show morons looking to extend their undeserved 15 minutes: That chick from The Real World who’s been on like 85 reality shows since and is now about 40 years old, someone from The Hills, someone from one of the 70 or so permutations of the Real Housewives franchise, that Joe Millionaire dude

Financial shysters also looking to cut down on their Club Fed time: Marc Dreier (congrats on the sentence, bro!  Only 20 years?  You’ll knock that shit out in like six with good behavior – you can probably be impersonating the CEO of Brookfield before 2015), Dennis Bolze, Lenny Dykstra (in case he doesn’t make the cut in that first category; he’s a classy guy and needs to be on the show, although for him a better showcase might be Celebrity TongueFork) , Nicholas Cosmo

Others likely to be available and qualified when the show finally hits the airwaves in three years:  Ben Stiller, Lindsay Lohan, Tila Tequila, Shia LeBeouf, that fat kid in all those Judd Apatow movies, Perez Hilton, Paris Hilton, Matt Bush (nice pick, Padres), Richard Dreyfuss, Luke Walton, Drew Barrymore, my old trigonometry teacher, Artie Lange, Peter Criss

Q: Chilly, you have to choose between one of the following two options.  Makeup, surgery, etc are not allowed to obfuscate either alternative – only clothing reasonably expected to be worn by an average citizen is allowed.

Would you rather have:

a.) Peter Criss’ makeup permanently tattooed to your face, or

b.) A second penis located on the right side of your abdomen, exactly half-way between your armpit and your waist.  (For clarity’s sake, a penis only, no testicles involved – testiclez if you want to keep your format intact)


A: I have given this some serious thought, and will give you my abbreviated reply.  Obviously, your age at the time of decision is very important.  Given that I’m most likely over 50% as old as I’m destined to get, I have stepped back in time a bit to answer this question.  But not so far back that Kiss is cool, that would be unfair.  I’ll assume I have to make this decision when I’m 18 years old – post KISS’ prime, but in the wheelhouse for spending a lot of time outside.

Impact on job opportunities: Having the makeup opens up a few potential occupations: Kiss cover band member, tattoo artist, Hard Rock Cafe waiter.  But the makeup eliminates almost every mainstream occupation.  The second penis keeps most jobs open (assuming that you wear a Brooks Brothers non-iron shirt, those things are baggy as fuck), eliminating only lifeguard, lion tamer and romance novel cover model.  It also opens up new career opportunities in niche pronography and carnival sideshow performance.

Edge: Second Penis.

Impact on romantic opportunities: While offputting for most, the cat makeup still leaves you in good shape with blind chicks, Kiss groupies, tattoo freaks, and sensitive types who “get” people only on their most emotional level.  Second penis would be an unwanted conversation piece in most amorous situations.

Huge Edge: Peter Criss makeup.

Impact on social life, non-romantic: This is close to a toss-up.  With a second dong (oh, speaking of, all you HSBC folks, did you know your internet admin is Jin Dong?  Solid) you could keep your current group of friends, for the most part.  But would you really want them?  They’d be giving you a ton of shit for never taking your shirt off at the pool, etc, and if they ever found out?  You’d have to hit the road and find new friends like Bill Bixby at the end of every episode of The Incredible Hulk. With the makeup, yeah, you’re hanging out with freaks and weirdos, but they probably think you’re pretty awesome for tattoing your face permanently into that of the least popular member of Kiss.  Close call.

Slight Edge: Peter Criss makeup.

Conclusion: I’ll take the makeup, please, and put me in touch with a fourth tier booking agent while you’re at it.

Actually pretty innocuous if you're pale with facial hair and bags under your eyes
Actually pretty innocuous if you're already pale with facial hair and bags under your eyes

Q: Chilly, whose legacy would you rather have: Martina Hingis’ or Anna Kournikova’s?


A: This would seem to be an easy one – Hingis was ranked #1 for four years, won five Grand Slams in singles (and a bunch more in doubles) and dated Sergio Garcia.  Kournikova never won shit and was ranked in the top ten for a blink.  But I’ll take Anna’s legacy, all day, every day.  I prefer the epitapaph: “Widely considered one of the sexiest women in the world for a decade, made a ton of money, also pretty good at tennis, once considered one of the ten best in the world” to “Extremely successful, yet homely, tennis player ranked #1 in the world for 209 weeks, won five grand slam singles titles, but let’s be honest, three of them were the Australian Open, and that’s like the PGA Championship of tennis, so really she won a Wimbledon and a US Open, which is great, but she probably wished she was hotter.”

Seriously, Hingis never won the French?  Seems like that’s the one she should have won.  Mix in the borderline racist (and definitely idiotic) sound bites and the positive test for cocaine during a 2007 comeback, and you have a cocktail of meh.  Anna, on the other hand, seems to be a pretty good ambassador for that World Team Tennis thingee, was a top-ranked doubles player (albeit with Hingis) and other than getting absurdly skinny, hasn’t made many missteps.  I’d rather have been the uber-hottie who was pretty good at tennis – call me non-old fashioned.

Not that difficult, really
Not that difficult, really

Q: Chilly, thanks for the Office Etiquette 101.  I’m new to the office environment and suspect I have benefited greatly as my initial instinct upon hitting the cube was to play Guitar Hero on my Nintendo DS.  One topic you didn’t hit was office romance, any rough guidelines?


A: A couple things: if you are an intern, you should not make any rash romantic moves until the offers have been made or are 99% finalized.  I’ve seen offers un-extended for “inappropriate” activities (even though they may have been completely appropriate, but somehow offended the delicate sensibilities of a more senior banker).  Also, if there is a community space where exhausted people go to catch a couple hours of sleep after multiple all-nighters, I would highly recommend that you DO NOT EVER FOOL AROUND IN THAT AREA.  At the place I worked, the community couch room was being analyzed by a Tufts task force in full biohazard suits – apparently, powerful new communicable disease strains were being created on those nougahyde petrie dishes every night.  I wouldn’t even sit on those things if you can avoid it.

Aside from staying off the couches, the key advice I can offer in any office courtship is this: make sure there is a TON of alcohol involved when you broach the topic with your potential friend.  Plausible deniability is imperative.  If something happens, but one or the other of you regret it, you can always chalk it up to “man, I was drunk last night, I don’t even remember what happened after we drank our seventh shot of Wild Turkey 101.”  This is better for everyone involved.  And not in a date-rapey sense either, more in a convenient-excusey sense.  Helps minimize the awkward the next day.  Trust me on this one.

This is a pretty involved topic, actually, I will expand on this in the next Etiquette 101 (that actually may be a 102 0r 103 level) but the wisdom above is all you need for now.


Reader Mail, Part I

Reader Mail, Part I

As promised, I am publishing a few select emails/responses for public consumption.  Feel free to fling in your own query, statement, mad rambling, manifesto snippet, or what have you.

Q:  It sounds like you watch a lot of TV, my friends and I have been having this discussion and wanted your opinion.  Who do you think is the greatest supporting character in sitcom history?  We were a divided group, but came to the conclusion that Kramer, racist tendencies notwithstanding, probably takes the crown.


A: “A lot of TV”?  Perhaps…there are tons of viable candidates here.  Often the lines of “supporting characters” get blurred as their popularity increases (ie ten seconds of applause when Kramer makes his first appearance).  For argument’s sake I’ll keep Kramer in this category on the basis that many of his storylines took place of camera and his apartment was rarely the center of the action.  Still doesn’t make the cut for me.

I’ll break it into two time periods, so as not to ostracize either my old-ass, or young-ass, readers:

Pre-1990 Best Sitcom Supporting Characters

1.  Ted Baxter from The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Nobody did bombastic blowhard hiding lack of self esteem better)

2.  Radar from M*A*S*H (Could bring the funny or the dramatic, as needed)

3.  Potsie from Happy Days (A total dork, until presented with a microphone.  Then he would invariably rock the house)

4.  Larry from Three’s Company (Brought Regal Beagle hipness, leisure suits to the flyover states)

5.  Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley (Always a bit overshadowed by Lenny’s strong work, but brought a vulnerable pathos to this nuanced role)

Potsie + Tux + MIC = Golden
Potsie + Tux + MIC = Golden

Post-1990 Best Sitcom Supporting Characters

1.   Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother (Lecherous ladies man with a soft gooey center is veering dangerously close to star of the show territory; juxtaposition of the role with NPH’s personal life makes one reevaluate the acting in Doogie Howser, M.D.)

2.  Gareth from The Office (The dimwitted but devoted (and more realistic) basis for Dwight in the U.S. version – his attempt to sing along with David at the discrimination seminar remains one of the funniest things I’ve seen)

3.  Sheneneh from Martin (Provided moral texture and adrenaline boost to an underrated program (I used to prevent people from watching Seinfeld on our group TV in the early 90’s to catch up on Martin))

4.  Dave from Flight of the Conchords (Profane, compulsive lying Indian tough guy who lives with his parents and still isn’t sure where the Chords are from)

5.  Matthew from The New Adventures of Old Christine (Updated take on the classic deadpan Nervous Nellie role, plays well with JLD)

Barney illustrating the linear relationship between hot and crazy
Barney illustrating the linear relationship between hot and crazy

Q:  I am thinking of applying to the following business schools: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Sloan, NYU, Chicago and Haas.  How do you think I should prioritize these schools, assuming I get in?


A: Well, Jeff, first off I suggest you take out a small loan to pay for all those apps – although maybe the absurdly high application fees have dropped in the last ten years?  Anyway, I will offer you the same advice I used to give the bright-eyed B-school students choosing between Lehman, Citi and Merrill offers: pick the one where you think you are the best cultural fit.  It’s tough to do in a vacuum, but longevity at a job is going to be bases on establishing relationships with those junior and senior to you, and the business school experience is also about relationship building and (dreaded term alert!) networking, to some extent.  There’s honestly not that much difference between all these schools, they are all going to have a ridiculously diverse student body and provide roughly equivalent employment opportunities.

I went to a B-school that’s probably at the bottom part of the Top 5 (which is really a Top 12 or so) and offhand I can think of two guys who’ve made at least one eight- (and possibly nine-) figure paydays in the seven years we’ve been out (and I keep in touch with practically no one); probably every top school has similar wealth creation success stories.  They will generally all give you your shot, one way or another.  Not that monetary gain is necessarily the scoreboard of success – I consider myself a winner even though I make -$10/month, since I do all my “work” from the comfort of my underwear.

Each school does, however, have a little different personality; I will leave that to you to figure out since that stuff probably changes somewhat over time.  If forced to generalize, I’d say I personally got along best with the Wharton folks – generally analytically rigorous, fairly normal guys/girls with a boozehound side who could also hold a non-work-related conversation.  Since I think their class size is something like 15,000 it may have just been that I encountered so many of them.

Oh yeah, one other important consideration is the state of the local food courts.  You’ll want to check into that.  Ensure proximity to a Mexican place and a Teriyaki place, at a minimum.  I ate probably 75% of my B-school meals at Anna’s Taqueria.  If you have the means, I highly recommend going to school in the vicinity of one.

Q:  What’s your favorite song with spelling in it?


A: Skiball, is that Norwegian?  You have struck a nerve here, as I’m something of a spelling aficionado.  (Those of you who have caught spelling, or, even worse, homophone errors on this site, please pipe down.)  I earned entry into our spelling bee as a third grader, an unprecedented feat that has, to this day, not been matched at Sapulpa Elementary School.  I finished third.  The next year, at a different school, I was a huge favorite.  And I got knocked out early as I cockily spelled “believe” “b-e-l-e-i-v-e.”  An “I before E” error!  It was like Federer losing in the first round at Wimbledon.  I’m still pissed about this.  Although I did mop the floor with the competition the next year – leading to the “obscurred” debacle in the citywide bee.

Anyway, I couldn’t narrow down to just one, so here are the winners of a few categories:

Best Song with Spelling That Still Holds up: “Method of Modern Love,”  Hall & Oates

If you you've forgotten how awesome these guys were, I suggest you go to a cafe in Oslo.  They are still rocking over there
If you you've forgotten how awesome these guys were, I suggest you go to a cafe in Oslo. They are still rocking over there

Best Song with Spelling of a Distress Signal That Has an Alluring Video: “SOS,” Rihanna

Worst Song with Spelling: “Hollaback Girl,” Gwen Stefani

Best Song with Spelling from the First CD I Ever Bought: “Word Up,” Cameo

Too bad the other songs - except "Candy" - pretty much sucked
Too bad the other songs - except "Candy" - pretty much sucked

Worst Song with Spelling In Ghey Musical: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” Mary Poppins or some shit like that

Best Song with Spelling in Ghey Musical: “Oklahoma,” Oklahoma (no shit)

Best Song with Spelling That May be an Ode to Maria Bartiromo and is Sung by Lady Gaga:  “Money Honey,” Lady Gaga

Best Song with Spelling That Also References Taco Bell and is Awesome: “Glamorous,” Fergie

For real street cred, dine in, don't drive thru
For real street cred, dine in, don't drive thru

Best Song with Spelling That Features Cinder Block Weightlifting By Future-Acclaimed-Actor-and-Underwear-Model-with-Third-Nipple in Its Music Video: “Good Vibrations,” Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch (never omit the Funky Bunch)

I’m gonna split this into a couple parts, as this is getting on the lengthy side.

Chilly17, wasted potential is real