A Life Reviewed: A Collection of Blurbs

By: Russell Bradbury-Carlin

“Maybe two or three times in a generation, a person transcends his or her humanity to become myth-like. Bradbury-Carlin is not an event of this order.”


“Bradbury-Carlin finds poignancy, terror, sacrifice, (some bit of) wisdom, mystery, numerable neuroses, heartbreak and a real emotional impact that emerges from a life lived just under the speed limit.”


“A cross between America’s Funniest Videos’ Bob Saget and a slightly melancholic David Schwimmer, of Friends. This is no mere hyperbole.”

Entertainment Weekly

“A strange, perplexing and, at times, indecipherable life.”

— Clark Derpot, The Christian Science Monitor

“Bradbury-Carlin’s tragicomic life — a fantasia of bad television shows and bizarre writings and an addiction to English muffins — invokes the glorious, unreliable promises of art, politics and beauty.”

— Jack Krumb, WTOC Radio

“This man is truly mediocre. Middle-aged, white, middle-class and male — a heady pastiche of all that is deemed ‘average.'”

The Washington Post

“Elegantly alluring…a life that works both as a paean to love (of caffeine) and a subtly sly comedy of errors.”


“Bradbury-Carlin is certainly pleasurable enough, I guess.”

— Cass Fremont, Saturday Review

“The scenes of his eluding the grade school bully for almost a full year with his elaborate, methodical escape routes home…worth the price of admission. The scenes of his fumbling through a daisy chain of first dates and awkward sexual encounters…priceless.”

New York Times


Soup To Nuts

By: Joseph O'Brien

To Whom It May Concern:

For the love of God, will you please stop putting carrot chunks the size of manhole covers in your otherwise satisfying soups! When I fish them out, as I have been forced to do on several occasions now, it has a considerable shallowing effect on the soup. It is not unlike what happens to the water level in a bathtub when a large man steps out after a long soak. A giant discus of carrot in my Italian Wedding soup does not make for a happy marriage!

I have noticed this trend developing with your Cream of Broccoli as well. I remember when bite-sized bits of broccoli were evenly distributed through the rich, creamy broth. Now I’m confronted by massive stalks bobbing at the surface of the soup, sometimes jutting up like the stern of a sinking battleship.

I suspect you may be trying to cut corners and save a few dollars by adding these enormous vegetables to your soups as filler. Now hear this I — would gladly pay up to fifty cents more if I were assured that my soup would be free of these cumbersome, unpalatable obstructions.

Now a note on flatware: While it’s perfectly understandable to have a supply of plastic utensils on hand to accommodate takeout orders, would it kill you to provide silverware for guests who choose to dine in? If the plastic must stay, I request that you at least discontinue the “spork” and give your adult patrons the choice of a spoon or fork.

While I’m at it, I’d like to mention what I see as a steady decline in variety on your candy rack. I often stop in your establishment midafternoon for a little pick-me-up. Lately I’ve been dismayed to discover that many of my favorites, specifically Necco Wafers, are only sporadically available, if at all. I realize that these may not be the cool, jet-set candies for the youth of today, but I for one have been buying them from you on a regular basis for years. I would appreciate the courtesy of a reorder when you run out. Business is a two-way street.

I also feel that the seasonal/holiday candy is left on display for too long after its time has passed. For instance, the Halloween Snickers treats that come in fun ghost and jack-o-lantern shapes were still on the rack this past Thanksgiving. Not to mention the Christmas candies which were displayed well into the New Year. You also brazenly offer Cadbury Eggs year round, which I believe is against the law.

My problem here is twofold. First, it calls into question the quality of the candy. Nobody wants to eat something that’s been collecting dust on the rack for months. Second, it tarnishes the spirit of the season. If you could get a Snickers shaped like a ghost or a Milky Way shaped like a Christmas tree any old time you felt like it, it wouldn’t be such a treat, would it?

In a way I thank you for your flimsy candy selection as of late. I’ve been trying to shed a few pounds and you’re helping to keep me in ship shape! I will say, however, that my diet recently led me to try one of the salads advertised on your new Heart Smart menu. I hope I’m not being too graphic when I say that the salad resembled something at the bottom of a garbage disposal. Perhaps if you diced the vegetables for the soups with the same vigor and saved the massive vegetables for your salads you could kill two birds with one stone!

My final complaint (sorry to be such a gloomy Gus!) has to do with your help. I appreciate your doing away with the long parade of ne’er-do-wells, second-story men, and sneaks that you’ve had posted at the register over the years. But this new woman is a different breed of cat, if you’ll pardon my French. While I believe her intentions to be good, she often holds up the flow of the checkout line bantering with the customers. I don’t personally enjoy being badgered with inquiries about the weather. I am not — repeat — am not a meteorologist!

What’s more, her moods turn on a dime. I recall an incident two weeks ago where, after what I thought was a nice conversation about your store’s shabby peanut butter selection, I clearly heard her refer to me as a “paunchy blowhard.” To another customer no less, when I’m sure he was well aware that I was still within earshot. I’m not the type to attempt to get someone fired, especially in these trying times, but I trust you will dole out the proper punishment.

I think it beneficial to both of us to have these grievances aired and to begin an open exchange as yours is the only deli convenient to my work and home. But if this neglect keeps up, I warn you that I may be forced to take my business elsewhere.

I am,

Sidney Gruten


Greetings from Parma — Wish You Were Dead!

By: Mollie Wilson

“[Parmalat chief financial officer Fausto] Tonna appeared in no mood to co-operate when he arrived for interrogation yesterday. He turned to journalists to say: ‘I wish you and your families a slow and painful death.’”

— Financial Times, January 6, 2004

MOTHER: Fausto, drink your milk before you leave the table.

TONNA: [grumbles]

MOTHER: Now, Fausto, what have I told you about wishing for people’s deaths?

FATHER: You can’t go through life that way, son.


BANK TELLER: Excuse me, sir, but there’s an error in your addition on this deposit slip.

TONNA: Oh, is there really?

BANK TELLER: Yes, sir, see, in the billions column…

TONNA: Well, then, Mr. Smartypants Banker, why don’t you go somewhere with your family and die, slowly and painfully?


RADIO ANNOUNCER: There’s a three-car accident blocking all the inbound lanes, so you commuters might want to find an alternate route into the city today.

TONNA: I hope you and every one of your relatives are diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses on the very same day, and you all spend every day of the next three years attending each other’s funerals.


WAITER: I’m sorry, sir, but we’re all out of lemonade.

TONNA: In that case, I wish for you and everyone you love to be buried alive in a landslide, along with all your most precious family heirlooms. And can I substitute fries for the baked potato?


CAT: [scratches sofa]

TONNA: Gordo, I have told you repeatedly that I don’t want you scratching the furniture, and now I hope you contract cat-leprosy and die licking your painful lesions.


CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE: Good afternoon, Mr. Tonna. Do you have time to respond to a brief customer satisfaction survey?

TONNA: No, but you’ll have plenty of time while you’re dying from the long, drawn-out illness that I hope will afflict you.


CRITIC: “I’m With Her” is one sitcom you can afford to skip.

TONNA: May your tongue be covered with boils and your eyelashes fall out overnight. I love “I’m With Her.”


DOLLY PARTON: [sings] I wish you joy and happiness, but above all this, I wish you love.

TONNA: Why, thank you, buxom American country singer. I’m afraid I still wish you a painful death, but perhaps I will make it a quick one in light of your kind thoughts.


WIFE: Fausto, how do you feel about roast beef tonight?

TONNA: How do you feel about dying a slow and painful death?

WIFE: Okay, I’ll make chicken. Jesus.

CAT: [meows]

WIFE: And stop cursing the cat!


BRIDE AND GROOM: Thanks for coming to our wedding, Fausto!

TONNA: It’s my pleasure, and may I be the first to wish you both a very slow and painful death together.


Chez Five Day Forecast: Our Chef’s Selections

By: Neil Pasricha


Medley of fresh baby clouds tossed with a generous helping of crisp leaf-infused winds and served until late afternoon. Presented with peu soleil.


Slightly braised hail, served on densely marinated skies and drenched in eau jus. Add umbrella or hat $3.


A medley of exotic precipitations, seasoned with gentle sprinklings of sea-fresh water medallions, with subtle acidic undertones. Spicy.


Select farm-fresh rays of sunshine marinated in a rich blend of solar dust with a mild ocean essence. Sprinkled with crisp, stuffed clouds, on a bed of exhaust-infused air.


Rich and seasonal precipitation nuggets on a bed of hair and clothing, lightly drizzled with light drizzle. Followed with your choice of climate-controlled indoor setting, or same. Healthy Choice.