Chartrand…

Tips on salvaging 2015

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

A new year is upon us but this is no time for fatuous wishes about peace on Earth and goodwill to others. It’s time to tabulate the lessons of the past year, file them in triplicate, and try to forget the whole thing. Unless we want to consider citizenship in Norway or something.

There’s still time to salvage 2015, however. It will require bold, swift action and a deep national resolve to reduce our intake of Diet Dr Pepper. A few other suggestions come to mind: Continue reading

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O, come, all ye faithful. Bring your bar codes

And for god’s sake, don’t eat the myrrh

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

And it came to pass in those days that there was issued across the land a multitide of decrees about the right to privacy, though none understood or believed it.

Joseph went up from http://www.Galilee.com unto the city of http//www.David. He went with Mary, his espoused wife, who was with child.

So it was that while they journeyed henceforth to the place that they were supposed to journey to, they had trouble buying groceries. The PriceBarnWigglyChopperHouse store asked for their bar-coded I.D. card. Mary and Joseph had none, though they had shopped there many times before. Continue reading

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Today’s DIY tip:

The easy way to clean windows and eliminate mosquitoes

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

There is no good time of the year to clean the windows in your house. But there are ways to make the job easier or avoid it altogether.

Never clean windows during autumn. Clean windows will offer a sparkling view of your lawn, which is covered with leaves. You hate raking leaves more than you hate cleaning windows.

If you must clean windows I recommend the dead of winter. Swaddled in parka, boots and snow gloves you announce loudly that you are heading outside to clean the windows. Your family will smile warmly, the way people smile at somebody who’s having a nervous breakdown. Five minutes later you come back inside and announce that it’s too damn cold to clean windows. You may now spend the rest of the winter watching football. Continue reading

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Divided We Stand: In Praise of Dissent

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

One syndicated columnist wrote the other day that President Obama has “divided the country along fault lines of fear, intolerance, ignorance and religious rule.” There now is a desperate need, she added, “for unity, for finding the common ground, coming together … healing.”

Yuck. Enough already. All this talk of restoration and reunion is giving dissent a bad name.

Forget our differences? I say let’s celebrate them. Continue reading

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In the beginning . . .

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

I tell my journalism students that all good writing begins the same way.

Three cups of strong coffee, sometimes four.

The next step is writing a strong opening line, a gripping, tension-building sentence that compels the reader to keep reading. Journalists refer to the first sentence of a story as the “lede.” Publishers use the more technical term, “first sentence.” Still others prefer, “The sentence you write after four cups of coffee.”

No matter what it’s called, a great opening line is critical. It guarantees the reader will move on to Sentence #2, which then will compel the reading of Sentence #3, and then Sentence #4, and so on. The exception to this rule are readers who prefer to skip Sentence #1 and wait for the movie version. Such people suffer attention deficit disorder caused by excessive consumption of coffee.

A book need not be interesting or even readable in order to be considered a classic or important work of literature. Sometimes the author need only a catchy first word. This worked for James Joyce, whose opening line in “Ulysses” starts with the word “Stately.” The fact that everything after “stately” appears to be gibberish is beside the point. I remind my students that it took Joyce four years to write “Ulysses” and it takes most readers five years to reach Sentence #17. Continue reading

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Job hunting? Take this test

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

The problem with higher education in America is that most college students choose the wrong major and the wrong career.

Unfortunately, no one realizes this until it’s too late. It is not uncommon, for example, for a college student to spend four years and $50,000 of his parents’ money attending a top-ranked engineering school only to decide that what he really wants is to own his own fireworks stand.

The marketplace is loaded with golden but overlooked opportunities for those struggling to match their hidden talents with hidden jobs. The best way to identify these career gems is the Instant Qualifications for Unusual Industries Test (I-QUIT). The purpose of the exam is to match unique businesses with the unique personalities of candidates whose job applications often trigger the type of uncontrolled corporate hilarity that soils rejection letters with clearly identifiable samples of mouth spittle.

Following are examples of I-QUIT test questions. Trust me, you can’t lose with this test. Unless you want to call four years of college a loss.

Continue reading

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The Heartland is Where the Heart Is

David Chartrand

David Chartrand

While flying from one coast to the other I have been known to jab the person next to me — the one nearest the window.

“Look down there!” I say. “That’s where I live. The Midwest.”

I usually do this somewhere between Kansas City and Denver, although the sky over almost anywhere will do.

The jabbed stranger always flattens his face against the glass and begins to squint downward. He always looks puzzled. And he always says the same thing.

“Where? I don’t see a damn thing. Everything looks the same.”

While he is squinting I steal his peanuts. Continue reading

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