Imagine you are sitting down to a late dinner. It's been a hard day at the office, and you're ready for some comfort food. "Ring," says the phone. "Ring, ring, ring." You pick it up, because only a friend would call this late, right? "Good evening, may I speak to, Mr. or Ms. (name pronounced incorrectly)?" GrrrrÉ What you need is a liberal dose of Fun With Phone Solicitors: 50 Ways to Get Even! by Robert Harris. Try this response: "One minute please, I'll connect you." Then press any two buttons in sequence on your phone. After about five seconds, expect the solicitor to say something like "Hello is anyone there?" Ask for whom he is holding, then press the buttons again. At this point, the game will probably be over. It's highly unlikely that the game will go to a third round but one can dream, can't one?

Perhaps a dose of history would be more to your liking. How about Non Campus Mentis, the history of the world according to college students, with actual quotes from exams and term papers. Compiled by Professor Anders Henriksson, Non Campus Mentis is relentlessly hilarious. The student authors are, thankfully, anonymous. Of the French Revolution, one opines: "Another problem was that France was full of French people. Dickens made this point in The Tail of Two Sisters, which he required us to read." Or how about this pithy observation on the industrial revolution: "The social structure was Upper Class, Middle Class, Working Class, and Lowest Poor Scum." Or perhaps something from more recent times: "John F. Kennedy worked closely with the Russians to solve the Canadian Missile Crisis." Those damn Canadians, they're always up to something.

Finally, in an unlikely nod to Miss Manners, one of the Lone Star State's most unapologetic eccentrics brings us Kinky Friedman's Guide to Texas Etiquette. The Kinkster rails about all that is good and holy in the Friendship State. He offers a guide to Texas dialect: "Remember: Y'all is singular. All y'all is plural. All y'all's is plural possessive." Or, "Don't call it soda' or pop'. It's all Coke' unless it's Dr. Pepper." Things you will never hear a Texan say: "Duct tape won't fix that." "The tires on that truck are too big." "I thought Graceland was tacky." Friedman clearly hopes to make some money from this venture, but he says that's not the most important thing: "As we say here in Texas, Money may buy you a fine dog, but only love can make it wag its tail.' "


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