You say goodbye, and I say hello

October 13th, 2010

I’m running a contest on my Miss Conduct blog to win tickets to Central Square Theater’s production of “Moon for the Misbegotten.” What are your best stories of hellos and goodbyes, of meetings and farewells? Tell me!

Academic Miss Conduct

September 5th, 2010

… my story contest to win tickets to Central Square Theater’s September 11 production of “Truth Values” is online here.

Theater ticket giveaway contest!

March 16th, 2010

I’ve got a fun contest on the boston.com blog to win two tickets to Central Square Theater’s brand-new production of “From Orchids to Octopi,” a play about Charles Darwin, running March 31-May 1. Go enter! I look forward to hearing what your oh-so-evolved brains come up with.

Theater ticket giveaway!

February 11th, 2010

It’s another theater ticket giveaway!

Not Enough Air” at Central Square Theater opens today and runs through March 14. Be the first to comment on this post, and I’ll give you two tickets, along with complimentary parking and drink vouchers. (Previous winners John H. and Elizabeth aren’t eligible; part of the reason I do this is to introduce new people to this wonderful theater.)

I can’t review the play, partly because I am on the board of the theater, but more to the point because I haven’t seen it. However, it sounds absolutely fascinating — a brand-new play about a playwright:

Drawn into the sensational 1920′s murder trial of Ruth Snyder, famed journalist-turned-playwright Sophie Treadwell finds herself compelled to give voice to Ruth’s story through her landmark play, “Machinal.”

And it’s being directed by Melia Bensussen, and that woman can direct the hell out of a play, I tell you what. She did Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s “Taming of the Shrew” this season and “Merchant of Venice” last, both of which were absolutely brilliant. So I think you’d be in for a good time at the theater — I know I can’t wait to see it on Sunday.

Who’s on first?

Ugly wintry mix

December 10th, 2009

… is pretty much what the weather was in the Boston/Cambridge metro area yesterday. Thoroughly disgusting mishmosh of snow, rain, sleet, and mud. But the phrase stuck in my head, and made me think: hey, that’s a pretty good name for a drink. “I’ll have an Ugly Wintry Mix, please.”

So that’s your challenge! Come up with the Ugly Wintry Mix cocktail! It should

1) Resemble an ugly wintry mix, and
2) Be suitable for drinking on a day when the weather is an ugly wintry mix.

This is just for fun, not necessarily a contest … but if anyone comes up with something I really like, I’ll send you one of the last remaining author copies of Mind Over Manners that I’ve got lying around here!

Get mixin’!

Holiday song parody contest voting!

November 23rd, 2009

UPDATE: Voting is now closed, and the winner is JDS for “Waiting for Gourdot, It’s True.” Congrats! JDS, please e-mail me for details of how to get your tickets to Tru Grace. And thanks to all who entered!

Good job on the holiday song parodies, folks! It took a while to get going, but there were some good entries, with a lot of topical humor. Here are the top five for you to vote on:

“Thumbsy the T-man” by WXB

Using my cellphone
Driving MBTA trains
Braking here and there, so you’d best beware
Or you’ll fly through window panes

Chorus: Bumpity-bump-bump, Bumpity-bump-bump
Look at my train go
Bumpity-bump-bump, Bumpity-bump-bump
Running off into the snow)

Running through stoplights
Sending jokes by SMS
And they won’t catch me if I don’t hit trees
‘Cuz the T’s a stinkin’ mess

I won’t get fired
Even if I text and drive
But if some wise St. Nick snaps a cell-phone pic
My career will take a dive

“Waiting For Gourdot, It’s True” by JDS

(To the tune of Foreigner’s “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” comparing the waiting of Linus for the Great Pumpkin to Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” The song is abridged, and so is the explanation. But I did like how surreal this was, and that it was an alternative to Christmas songs):

So long
I’ve been looking so hard, I’ve been waiting so long

Sometimes I don’t know what I would do
If The Great Pumpkin jumped and said “BOO!”

When will Pumpkin come?
When will Pumpkin come?

Halloween Night, so warm and still
I need to know, is my mind just ill?

Maybe I’m wrong
It would kill me if I’ve been wrong all along
This pumpkin patch has hurt me before
This time, I hope to see more

I’ve been waiting
For Gourdot, it’s true
To rise up in the night

I’ve been waiting
For Gourdot, it’s true
To spread love and delight

I’ve been waiting
For Pumpkin-news
To make me feel I’m right

Yeah, waiting
For Gourdot, it’s true
Ev’ry Halloween night

“Tight Christmas 2″ by MAH

I’m dreaming of a Flush Christmas
Just like the ones I use to know.
Where the gold cards glisten,
And boutiques listen,
To hear us ringing up the dough.

I’m thinking it’s a tight Christmas
Just because I’m unemployed.
And the fees I’m fetching,
On payments I’m missing,
Has left my credit score destroyed.

I’m scheming for a light Christmas
With every lender I approach.
May my thrift shop finds be designer like Coach,
And secondhand clothing be not gauche.

“I Think Daddy Kidnapped Santa Claus” by BobP

I think Daddy kidnapped Santa Claus
Just to steal that old guy’s lifetime gig

Pop’s needed work for months
He’s unemployed, feels like a dunce
You’d never guess that he was head
Of General Motors once

But now he’d kill to score that seasonal job
With perks the UAW couldn’t match
And he’d trade his Escalade
To zip around in a really sweet sleigh
I’m sure Daddy kidnapped Santa Claus!

…and finally, the last entry, which was a nice year-end roundup:

“Have Yourself a Hopeful Little Christmas” by Linda Courtemanche

Have yourself a hopeful little Christmas,
With Barack in charge –
His to-do list
Makes Santa’s seem far from large!

Have yourself a healthy little Christmas…
Swine flu, go away!
Pass health care
That doesn’t make us overpay!

We remember the golden days,
Days with MJ, Farrah,Ted –
Now it’s Sonia up on the Court,
And more Mayor M. ahead!

Now next year
the Sox will beat the Yankees,
if the Fates allow…
Hang Youk’s action figure on the highest bough…
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now!

Who should win tickets to Tru Grace?

  • "Have Yourself a Hopeful Little Christmas" by Linda Courtemanche (27%, 37 Votes)
  • "I Think Daddy Kidnapped Santa Claus" by BobP (7%, 10 Votes)
  • "Tight Christmas 2" by MAH (12%, 16 Votes)
  • "Waiting for Gourdot, It's True" by JDS (48%, 65 Votes)
  • "Thumbsy the T-man" by WXB (6%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 136

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Voting will be open until 5pm on Friday, November 29, and the winner will be announced and contacted then. Thank you for your entries, everyone!

This post will run at the top until Friday; new content will be below.

Finally, this isn’t eligible for the contest, but a special thanks to kmd123, for this “thinly disguised shameless attempt to butter up Miss Conduct”:

In the eighth day of ChannuKwanzaaMasYear, Ms. Conduct gave to me
Eight nosy neighbors
Seven noisy cubicle-mates
Six tasteful hostess gifts
Five rude retorts
Four dog-owning guests
Three sneezing atheists
Two meddling in-laws
And a year’s worth of great advice!

kmd123 couldn’t make it up to twelve; may I suggest “Twelve cell phones ringing, eleven store clerks snarking, ten chuggers guilting, nine noisy iPods …”?

Holiday contest!

November 16th, 2009

Hey guys, we’re having another creative contest over at the boston.com blog! This one is to write parodies of holiday song lyrics — thanks to all of you who came up with that idea!

Details are over yonder. You can leave your entries on this blog or the other one, and we’ll probably be doing voting here next week. Let’s get those parodies ringagling, ting-ting-tingaling too!

You people have to stop being so awesome

July 13th, 2009

… because it is making my throat hurt a little bit.

As requested, BobP, the winner of the Clerihew Contest, contacted me with his address so that I could send him his prize autographed copy of Mind over Manners. He wrote:

Hi Robin – Thanks for sponsoring the Clerihew contest. It was great fun and I look forward to reading your book! I had another idea. I wondered if I made a donation to your favorite charity, you would send an autographed copy to the #2 finisher, the soldier in Iraq. It was a close contest, and I’m sure that everyone who participated as a contestant or a voter has admiration and gratitude for his day-to-day sacrifice and service. Please let me know what you think.

You got it, BobP. No donation necessary. (Between you and me? I was going to send that soldier one anyway.)

The Clerihew Winner!

July 10th, 2009

And the winner is …

BobP for

Bette Davis
Intrigued us with that look she gave us
Angelically pledged to speak “good” of the dead
So when Joan Crawford died, “Good!” she said.

Congratulations, BobP! If you’ll e-mail me your address, I’ll send you your signed copy of Miss Conduct’s Mind over Manners.

Thanks to all who entered and voted!

Voting hours extended!

July 10th, 2009

The voting hours for the clerihew contest have been extended to midnight tonight. Right now it’s a neck-and-neck race between Bette Davis and John Wayne? Who will win? Hang tight and find out!

In the meantime, some amusing press coverage of my reading in Kansas City.

And if you still haven’t had enough clerihews–for today itself is clerihew day, you know–check out this batch of Sarah Palin clerihews, and enter your own if you’re so inclined.

Clerihew voting

July 6th, 2009

You people OUTDID YOURSELVES! Our selection committee found it very difficult to stick to only five clerihews, and had to nominate six finalists instead. Here they are, for your voting acumen.

Voting will be open until noon (Eastern time) on Friday, July 10.

Bette Davis
Intrigued us with that look she gave us
Angelically pledged to speak “good” of the dead
So when Joan Crawford died, “Good!” she said.
by BobP

When it comes to chortling loudly at the boss’s jokes, nobody can
like Ed McMahon
He knew his earthly race was run
when he got an envelope that said, YOU MAY ALREADY BE DONE
by DMajor

John Wayne
Got shot in movies and barely felt pain
In Iraq I am miserable just from being hot
Those movie soldiers are a tougher lot.
by Neil Gussman

Steven Jobs
Charon stow thy oar, keep cast thy anchor, not yet are we given over to sobs
A few months off, a brand new liver, our man Steve is getting well
And thankfully so, as unlike you, he keeps us away from the “Gates” of Hell
by VickiB

Ogden Nash
Got some measure of fame and some measure of cash
By proving that there was a market for poetry that contained absurdity,
And that people didn’t even mind if you invented the occasional wordity.
by Seth

Marilyn Manson
Will someday headline a theater in Branson.
Every show will be a shocker
As he mumbles the lyrics and struts with his walker.
by Billiamo

Which Clerihew is your favorite?

  • Marilyn Manson (4%, 9 Votes)
  • Ogden Nash (15%, 38 Votes)
  • Steven Jobs (6%, 14 Votes)
  • John Wayne (33%, 81 Votes)
  • Ed McMahon (5%, 12 Votes)
  • Bette Davis (37%, 93 Votes)

Total Voters: 247

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CLERIHEW CONTEST

June 29th, 2009

UPDATE: This post will float at the top until Monday. New content is below.

Hey everyone!

It’s time for the Second Annual Clerihew Contest! Last year‘s was just so much fun I decided to make it an annual event. This year’s winner will receive a signed copy of Miss Conduct’s Mind over Manners.

July 10 is Clerihew Day, celebrating the poetic invention of Edmund Clerihew Bentley. These are the rules for a Clerihew poem:

1. They are about a person, and the first line is (usually) the name of that person.
2. There are four lines.
3. The rhyme scheme is AABB; the first two lines and the second two lines rhyme.
4. There is no meter; that is, the lines can be as long or short as you want.

Here is the winning entry from last year:

Tim Berners-Lee
Invented HTTP
Thus the World Wide Web was born
For Nigerian Diplomats and porn.

And the four runners-up:

Bill Gates
Has left the giant software company everyone hates.
“Hey, Mistah?
Are *you* gonna use Vista?”

William S. Burroughs
Had a brow filled with wrinkles and furrows
(Which were probably exacerbated, of course,
By his addiction to horse).

Thomas Edison
Invented a type of electricity that we have mostly had to jettison.
The clear advantages of direct over alternating current
Weren’t.

Edmund C. Bentley
Wrote intently,
But would now be anonymous
Were it not for the verse form for which his middle name is eponymous.

Get the idea?

The rules of the Second Annual Miss Conduct Clerihew contest:

1. Leave your clerihews in comments (on this blog or the other one, it doesn’t matter).
2. Follow the proper clerihew form.
3. No clerihews about me, Mr. Improbable, or Milo (if you want to post or e-mail me some, we’d be delighted, but clerihews about the judge, her spouse, or beloved dog can’t be considered for the contest for reasons of objectivity).
4. Clerihews containing sexual or political material will be disallowed.
5. You can enter as many clerihews as you like.
6. Clerihews will be judged on wit, accuracy, psychological perspecuity, and linguistic ingenuity.

Entries will be accepted until midnight on Sunday. On Monday, July 6, I will post the top 5 clerihews. Then you can vote on the winners, right here on this blog. Voting will be open until noon on Friday, July 10–CLERIHEW DAY!–at which point the winner will be posted, and may begin a wild weekend of celebration.