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December 15, 2004 |

Selected Tips from Emily Post's Etiquette for Ukrainian Dinner Parties

December 08, 2004 |

Letter of Rejection to Dr. Phil by David Ng

December 07, 2004 |

Advice from Topeka by Carol Novack

December 06, 2004 |

“American Pie”—A Fresh Slice by Jeremy Martin

December 03, 2004 |

What Truffaut Taught Me by J. Sallini-Genovese

November 29, 2004 |

“Dear John” Letter from Oprah’s Dog by Diana Wurn

November 24, 2004 |

All That Was Left of My Novel after the Fire by Matthew Tobey

November 24, 2004 |

All That Was Left of My Novel after the Fire by Matthew Tobey

November 23, 2004 |

Response to E-Mail from a Princess by George Motisher

November 22, 2004 |

Memo to Outgoing Cabinet Members by Jonathan Stern

November 11, 2004 |

The Speechwriter by Tania Casselle

November 09, 2004 |

The Norman Rockwell–Axl Rose Correspondence by Jeff Barnosky

November 08, 2004 |

Excerpts from Restroom Confidential: Adventures in the Lavatory Underbelly by Daniel Maurer

October 26, 2004 |

Ten Things You Used to Be Able to Get Away With in Grade School but You Probably Can’t Get Away With at Work by Kevin Kinsella

October 07, 2004 |

Closing Statements from the Castaways’ Presidential Debate by Josh Abraham

October 07, 2004 |

Closing Statements from the Castaways’ Presidential Debate by Josh Abraham

October 06, 2004 |

The Recently Recovered Love Letters of Vincent van Gogh by Daniel Maurer

July 01, 2004 |

Reasons Why a Bridge over Troubled Water Would Not Necessarily Ease My Mind by Jeremy Martin

February 01, 2003 |

Here's a good one. by Josh Abraham


Selected Tips from Emily Post's Etiquette for Ukrainian Dinner Parties

Guests should be seated beside their spouses and opposite their assassins.

Use a darkly colored tablecloth, so that spilt wine or bodily fluids are less noticeable.

The large spoon is for soup, the medium spoon for eye-gouging, and the smallest spoon is not to be used until coffee or tea after the meal.

When pulling the ol’ switcheroo, always start with the poisoned goblet to the left of the victim. Goblets should be swapped in a counterclockwise flourish.

Salad is too early to kill, dessert too late.

When choking or strangling, see to it that the victim’s chair is first pulled back six inches from the dinner table, so that his flailing arms and legs do not upset the place setting.

Keep some rolls of paper towels nearby, so as not to ruin the fancy napkins mopping up blood.

When serving poisoned soup, always serve from over the victim’s right side.

If stabbing a guest, do so under the table so that no blood will splatter bystanders or their meals.

After successfully killing your mark, do not shout any victory whoops or slogans in favor your cause. It is uncouth to shout at the dinner table.

Keep the music low enough to maintain pleasant conversation, but loud enough to veil the gurgles of a wounded victim. Bach seldom fails.

No hats.

Always wait for a suitable lull in conversation before stabbing with a butter knife. (Tip: For effectiveness, butter knives should be inserted between the third and fourth ribs.)

Dioxins and dry white wines are best served at a temperature between 8º and 10º centigrade.

Avoid discussion of politics or religion in mixed company, or at least until after those with differing opinions have been brutally dealt with.

Don’t sit next to Rasputin.


Letter of Rejection to Dr. Phil

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