& Recently . . .

Freeze! This Is a Bust!

The buxom broads at Bust magazine have had the good taste to select Y.P.R.’s Bea Arthur T-shirt as part of its 2004 Holiday Gift Guide. Yup, there we are: right under “Gifts for Your Gay Boyfriend.” Huh. Um. Available in…

Advice from Topeka

by Carol Novack

“Never trust nobody & you’ll live a long life.”                               —Edna Peatree A woman slips a note into a copy of the latest Reader’s Digest on sale at a shop at Dallas airport. The note reads: Hi. I’m Muffy. I’m young…

“American Pie”—A Fresh Slice

by Jeremy Martin

The song “American Pie,” by Don McLean has been heavily analyzed since it was first released in 1972. As with many popular songs containing largely symbolic lyrics such as “Stairway to Heaven” or “Hotel California,” the song’s meaning is examined…

What Truffaut Taught Me

by J. Sallini-Genovese

I knew nothing of the world. Experience abandoned me to my adolescent womb, my senses dull from disuse. Then, one day, I ran away. I ran and the strong ones followed, determined to invalidate my freedom. When they got close,…

Blurbs from My Conservative Colleagues for the Back of My New Conservative Book

by Matthew Tobey

“Matthew Tobey’s words are like bubbles of poisonous foamed milk in the double nonfat half-caff lattes of liberal America!” —Michael Savage “Once Matthew Tobey’s book enters the body, it works by stimulating certain opioid receptors that are located throughout the…

The 2005 Associated Press Stylebook Supplement for the Liberal Media

by Mick Stingley

(With notes by K. Friedman, M. Dowd, et al.) Acceptable synonyms for Republican, Republicans: bastards, Republican bastards, idiots, morons, greedy Republican bastards, Jesus-freaks (always use hyphen, as with God-squad), fucking Republican scumbags, self-righteous uninformed twats, frat-boys, cocksuckers and cumdumspters (first…

Polish Fact

Signifcant Polish Populations
Australia: 200,000 (est.)
Argentina: 350,000 (est.)
Belarus: 400,000 (est.)
Brazil: 800,000 (est.)
Canada: 850,000 (est.)
Germany: 200,000 (est.)
Lithuania: 250,000 (est.)
Russia: 100,000 (est.)
U.K.: 220,000 (est.)
Ukraine: 150,000 (est.)
U.S.A.: 8,900,000 (includes non-primary ancestry) (est.)
Poland: 36,983,720 (2002)

Learn a Foreign Tongue!

Learn Français!:
Quoi-ques; évidemms; ainsi bourdonnz.
Whatevs; obvs; so buzz.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2004   |    Fiction

Letter of Rejection to Dr. Phil

by David Ng

Dear Dr. Phil,

Thank you for submitting your application for the director’s position at the National Institutes of Health. As the N.I.H. is the principal force guiding America’s efforts in medical research, we have strived to consider every candidate’s application seriously.

Our first impression was not a good one. You have a loud and exuberant manner that is an oddity in our network of colleagues, and for the duration of the interview process, you were physically sitting on top of Dr. James Watson (a man considerably smaller than you), oblivious to his muffled and strained murmurs beneath you. We found this quite distracting and wonder what this reflects of your character. Furthermore, although he has only a minor role in the selection process, the Nobel laureate was quite put out. As the conversation continued, we found other characteristics that troubled us. Your commitment to, as you call it, “big ideas,” whilst commendable, seemed a tad impetuous. Your mention of using your television program or perhaps “your good friend” Oprah’s television program to (in your own words) “GIVE FREE GENE THERAPY TO EACH AND EVERY MEMBER OF THE AUDIENCE!” is frankly very unsettling to us.

In truth, we fear that your celebrity status may ultimately impede our principal mandate of excellence in health research. Although some of our members thought it wonderful that you have a Muppet in your likeness on “Sesame Street,” your list of other references (e.g., “I drink scotch with Kelsey Grammer on a regular basis”) hardly elicits confidence. To be blunt, your scientific C.V. is poor and your repeated attempts to demonstrate your scientific prowess were laughable at best. (Adjusting the pH in your hot tub does not count, nor does your vasectomy.)

Finally, we found your tendency to talk in meaningless, corny phrases very irritating. Responses like “Sometimes you just got to give yourself what you wish someone else would give you” or “You’re only lonely if you’re not there for you” are very confusing, to say the least. In fact, our members felt that overall you were even more irritating than the applicant who used the word “testicular” 67 times in his interview. One member of our hiring committee actually wrote the comment “Who the [expletive] is this guy—Foghorn Leghorn doing Yoda?”

Consequently, the hiring committee regrets to inform you that your application has not been shortlisted for further consideration at this time. Please tell Ms. Winfrey to stop bothering us.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Paul Batley Johnson
Hiring Committee
National Institutes of Health

David Ng is a biochemist and the Director of the Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory (AMBL) at The University of British Columbia. He has only used his 'Dr' moniker on his Safeway club card, but regrettably the cashiers there never call him Doctor anyway. His writing has appeared in Maisonneuve, Biochemical Journal, McSweeney's, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, as well as his own literary science writing site, The Science Creative Quarterly. Disturbingly, he has both the means and the expertise to clone himself, but (thankfully) promises he won't.