Frequently Asked Questions
(if people were actually asking them)

So do you have a real job?

While it does appear that I must -- as one person has said -- "sit around in [my] underwear all day eating Cheese Doodles and thinking up stupid [stuff]", I actually have a career as a consulting actuary. That means I assist insurance companies with annual statement and policy filings, product development, cash flow testing, profitability analysis and asset/liability management. No kidding.

How on earth is that possible?

I graduated from Dartmouth College in 1993 with majors in mathematics and English. While I always enjoyed writing, I knew that I'd be happier following my true love (and actually be able to pay off school loans). I enrolled at The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (GSB) that fall, earning my MBA in finance and marketing in 1995. That summer, I returned to Iowa to pursue an actuarial career with a company I had interned with for a few summers and began the multiple-year odyssey that is passing actuarial examinations. I became a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries in 2001 was certified as a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in 2002. For those of you more curious about the actuarial profession, go here or here.

Why Iowa?

You can take the boy out of the Midwest, but not the Midwest out of the boy. I grew up in Eastern Iowa, and while spending most of my youth dreaming about what it would be like to get the heck outta here, when I finally did... Well, suffice to say that I soon realized how much I love it here. My wife and I both have family here, and the pace and lifestyle suits us just fine.

How did you start A'MUSING?

In the fall of 2002, I caught lightning in a bottle: While I had been a regular visitor to Chris White's websites www.TopFive.com and www.Ruminate.com, I had never taken the next step to actually submit anything until then. My first published rumination came on October 23:

If mares eat oats, and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy,
then Brad-hiding-with-a-shotgun-near-his-oat-and-ivy-garden
will soon be eating some mighty fine jerky, boyeee!

And so it began... Since then, I've had over 1000 submissions published, both on the site and in its accompanying subscription-only newsletter. In January 2004, I published Slightly A'Musing, my first collection of these "innocuously humorous ruminations on life, love and dumb stuff." Its sequel, Moderately A'Musing, was released in December 2004.

Finding this outlet has helped me fulfill a series of life-long desires: to write, to become published, and to make people laugh. Creating these scattershot musings perfectly balances the mathematically intensive side of my life working as an actuary, and I wouldn't change a thing... at least until someone approaches me about being a regular panelist for a revival of Match Game.

In 2003, I also launched an accompanying website, www.SlightlyAmusing.com, which I've used to feature my work, some items never before published.

To learn about subscribing to Chris White's Ruminations newsletter, go here.

So what else do you do that's so funny?

I am also a regular contributor to TopFive, which publishes Letterman Show-esque lists each weekday, scoring 70 "#1" entries since December 2002. In August, 2005, I was inducted into the TopFive Hall of Fame and fêted with a warm pint of Guinness and a nice write-up. I guess this means the long rumored all-expenses-paid trip to Vegas isn't forthcoming.

Anyway, here are a few of my more memorable top-o'-the-list entries:

December 6, 2002: Signs Someone’s Overly Excited About the Holiday Season (#1)

#1) Pees a circle around Santa’s chair at the mall to mark his territory.

December 9, 2002: Favorite Movies of Supermodels (#2)

#1) Throaty Got Fingered

March 4, 2003: Signs You're Living in a Sitcom (#4)

#1) You're a fat, balding, blue-collar worker in the Midwest, but your wife is totally hot and your three best friends are, respectively, black, Latino and gay.

April 28, 2003: Leftist Country-Western Song Titles (#7)

#1) I Done Cried My Eyes Dryly (‘Cause Baby Left Me For O’Reilly).

June 23, 2003: Surprises at the Comic Strip Character 25-Year Reunion (Part I) (#10)

#1) After numerous complaints about the punch, all eyes turn to the man in the corner holding a ratty stuffed tiger.

August 15, 2003: Snippets of Bad Film-Noir Dialogue (Part II) (#11)

#1) "All men have their vices. For some, it's dames; for others, booze or flophouse poker. If it had been anything else, I would've thrown this bum to the bricks without batting an eye, but I had never seen a Precious Moments figurine that adorable before."

November 26, 2003: TopFive's Thanksgiving Dinner Advice (#16)

#1) Accept the Dahmers' invitation if you must, but you'd be wise to take a pass on the "Gran'berry sauce."

May 3, 2004: Signs Your Prom Date Is William Hung (#20)

#1) FOX has already cleared three nights of its fall schedule to accommodate a series documenting the evening, with rights to a second one covering the after-party.

June 28, 2004: Signs Your Neighbor Is a Mad Scientist (#21)

#1) You caught his tomato plant in your yard nibbling on your daughter's rabbit.

July 13, 2004: Signs the Reality TV Craze Is Out of Control (#22)

#1) More than 10,000 applicants for Who Wants to Lick Fudge off My Ferret?

August 23, 2004: Worst Jobs in the [Athens 2004] Olympic Village (#23)

#1) Crime-scene investigator at the aftermath of the discus competitors' celebration dinner.

September 8, 2004: Famous Movie Quotes as Spoken by President Bush (#24)

#1) "Vermouth? I can't handle Vermouth!"

December 22, 2004: Signs a Drug Should Be Recalled (#27)

#1) Every time you try to dial the side-effect hotline, your new lobster arm swats the phone from your hand and clamps your nose with its pincers.

December 27, 2004: Holiday Songs for People Who Hate the Holidays (#28)

#1) "Grandma Got Hungover on Champagne, Dear"

December 30, 2004: Reasons 2005 is Totally Going to Suck (#29)

#1) The joy of your Christmas-break honeymoon is shortlived as you resume your 3rd-grade teaching duties, now as Mrs. Brown-Doody.

February 21, 2005: Signs You Got a Bad Dog Show Judge (Part II) (#31)

#1) He judges the dachshund group based solely on how they look under a blanket of sauerkraut topped with a mustard swirl.

May 16, 2005: Worst Cable Network Reality TV Series (#32)

#1) Food Network -- "Where in the World Is Food-Service Worker Carmen Sandiego's Finger?"

June 22, 2005: Signs Tom Cruise Has Gone Nuts (#33)

#1) Launched a Scientology Jihad, which promptly fell apart when he couldn’t get John Tavolta and Kirstie Alley out of Dunkin’ Donuts.

January 9, 2006: Cookie Brands In Hell (#35)

#1) Opensoreos

January 19, 2006: Signs Your Supreme Court Nomination Hearings Aren't Going Well (#36)

#1) You tell Senator Biden you couldn't hear his last question through the protective igloo you built with all your empty TUMS containers.

January 23, 2006: Signs Your Showbiz Career Isn't Taking Off (#37)

#1) Your already-small role in "The Lance Armstrong Story" is being trimmed in favor of more shots of a cancerous testicle.

August 29, 2006: Mnemonic Devices We Could Have Used for a 12-Planet Solar System (#39)

#1) Most Vulcans enjoy massaging collarbones, just sometimes unexpected neck pressures cause xpiry.

December 15, 2006: Toys For Bad Kids (Part I) (#41)

#1) Post-Partum Commando Britney Dress-Up Doll (panties not included).

May 22, 2007: Songs About Global Warming (#44)

#1) You Can Cool Me, Al

June 25, 2007: Signs a Presidential Candidate Is an Actor (#45)

#1) Keeps interrupting the debate moderator to ask when he and Hillary are supposed to have their steamy love scene.

August 27, 2007: Reasons Los Angeles Still Has No Professional Football Team (#48)

#1) Because Mr. Spielberg doesn't care for it.

October 29, 2007: Signs Your Co-Worker Is Obsessive-Compulsive (#50)

#1) Sorts his ED spam by promised-enlargement size.

December 28, 2007: The 12 Lamest Days of Christmas (#52)

#1) And a sauna with Mike Huckabee.

December 28, 2007: The 12 Days of a Music Industry Christmas (#53)

#1) And no music on MTV.

April 11, 2008: Passages From a Fake Gang Memoir (Part II) (#56)

#1) "Out here, you either go hard or you end up flat on your back with a tag wrapped around your big toe, and I can tell you THIS stone-cold G's first little piggy don't want no goddamn cardboard gettin' in the way of its roast beef!"

May 30, 2008: Signs a Soldier Has Spent Time in the Joint (#57)

#1) You accidentally bump him from behind with the nose of your rifle, and now he thinks you're married.

June 23, 2008: Positive Things President Bush Has Done (#58)

#1) Single-handedly convinced Frank T. Burvis, unemployed Iraq-veteran Klansman from New Orleans, to vote for a black man for president.

June 25, 2008: Signs You Need a New Car (#59)

#1) Your exhaust trail has caused so much environmental damage, Al Gore turned in his Nobel Peace Prize and headed straight for a gun shop.

May 15, 2009: Celebrity Tweets We'd Like to See (Part II) (#60)

#1) Barack Obama: Man, my ass hurts... from having it KISSED so damn much around here! WH00T!

June 19, 2009: Music Festivals We'd Like to See (Part II) (#62)

#1) Just the DUI You Are Tour: Billy Joel, Gin Blossoms, Asleep at the Wheel, Swervedriver, Oak Ridge Boys, Crash Test Dummies

December 3, 2009: Slogans for a Lou Dobbs Presidential Campaign (#67)

#1) Let the Hate Flow Through You, Young Skyvoter

January 25, 2010: Toys Most Likely Made With Dangerous Materials (#69)

#1) Mr. Peyote Head

January 27, 2010: Biggest Complaints About the New Google Phone (#70)

#1) Every time you hit "I'm Feeling Lucky," it dials Tiger Woods.

April 5, 2010: Questions That SHOULD Have Been on the U.S. Census Survey (Part II) (#74)

#1) If Glenn Beck told you to jump off a bridge, would you: [ ] jump off a bridge [ ] throw *him* off a bridge [ ] throw an illegal alien off a bridge and build a border fence around it so he can't come back and have Obamacare nurse him back to health, only to vote more liberals into office?

July 13, 2010: Strangest Movie Mashups (Part II) (#75)

#1) The only thing Karl Childers likes more than French-fried potaters is winning Special Olympic gold in "Sling Blades of Glory."

July 19, 2010: Movies About the BP Disaster (#76)

#1) SCREW Willy!

July 30, 2010: Slogans for Canned Sandwiches (#77)

#1) Like vominting, only in reverse!

October 22, 2010: Shows on the Starbucks Network (#79)

#1) The Wired

June 17, 2011: Revised Campaign Slogans for Anthony Weiner (Part I) (#85)

#1) Weiner: Progress You Can Hang Your Hat On!

June 30, 2011: Breakthroughs in Clown Technology (#86)

#1) 1938: After being arrested for trying to pump helium into the bottom of a dachshund, Mortimer G. Sassafras wonders if perhaps he should try instead making the DOG out of the BALLOON.

September 15, 2011: Inventions We'd Like To See (#87)

#1) UFCUL8R: Whichever ultimate fighter is getting his ass kicked worse on TV, his face is digitally replaced with that of Piers Morgan, Kate Gosselin, Charlie Sheen and many more!

For more information on subscribing to these lists, go here.

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