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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