Ask the Rat

And now I shall entertain your most earnest wonderings. Your burning questions. Your stickiest situations.

The newest Finkweb category: Ask the Rat.

Do you pine for answers? Do you need guidance? Seek ye wisdom? If so, then post. All shall be revealed. Serious or facetious, personal or professional, earnest or silly. [OK, not too personal.]

Questions/dilemmas can be about anything. (Disclaimer: no, I won’t do your research paper for you. At least not for free.)

Savvy? All right then — type.

PS – In order for this to work, I shall need articulate and compendious responses. So let’s get on it, shall we? I’ll start you off. Dear Rat Fink…

Ready, steady, go.

18 thoughts on “Ask the Rat

  1. Meg

    Dear Wise One,

    Why does Donald Duck not wear pants but puts a towel around his waist after he gets out of the shower? And who in your opinion would be the best choice for a paper/project: Benny Goodman, Cyrus Chestnut, or Ray Charles? :)

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Dear Meg:

      1. Do feathers not need a toweling off after a shower?
      2. Chestnut and Charles are fantastic subjects, but Goodman might pull you out of the gospel-tinged genre that’s familiar to you. I’d say go for something totally different.

      My fee is $6. But for you, $5.99.

  2. kodye

    Dear Rat Fink,
    How did I get so amazing? Whats the best thing about me? When I have my own late night talk show, would you want to be the band leader?

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Dear Kodye:

      1. You had exquisite choral training in secondary school.
      2. Your goat impression in the 2004 production of Godspell.
      3. Of course! For you, I’d work for free!

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Dear Skylar:

      Nihil desperandum, dear lady. Across the desert lies the promised land! [Translation: They’re mostly young and timid and unsure. If I beat them down some more, they’ll come out of their musical shells.]

  3. Ross

    Dear Rat Fink:
    I have mentioned before that Mrs Ross and I are maniacal followers of the local minor league hockey team affiliated with the Dallas Stars. The stadium they play in holds about 6200. I am a baritone. I want to audition to sing the National Anthem at a game. How might I best prepare for this audition? Yes, I can sing, but largely untrained.


    1. Ross

      PS- This isn’t so far-fetched; I’m a repeat season ticket holder and have my ‘ins’ in the organization, and last season, two of the singers got the lyrics wrong.

      1. Rat Fink Post author

        Dear Ross:

        The SSB is one of the hardest songs to sing, with one of the widest ranges (roughly an octave and a half). To master it:

        1. Resist every temptation to make it into an R & B ballad. In other words, keep the fancy licks out of it. Sing it accurately and in tune. Simplest is best.
        2. Have Mrs. Ross listen to you, and take her criticism seriously.
        3. Get an iPod or some such recording contrivance, and record yourself singing it. Wait a while, then go listen to it. Pick out the bad parts, and rehearse those. Smooth out the problems; don’t rehearse your mistakes.
        4. You’re a baritone — try it in the key of Ab major. (Opening notes will be Eb-C-Ab)

        Et voila! You’re an anthem singer. And probably better than most I’ve heard, sorry to say…

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Well, Haydon…good question. Two sides to my answer:

      1. I have tried Paul’s PBB, and he did the balance test on me (the stick-your-arms-out thing). I must say it really did work. However…

      2. I am a firm believer in the concept of confirmation bias, which is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms what they think is true, regardless of whether it’s true or not. (You can read more here.)

      It’s a tough call, but it’s like anything else, I guess. Sometimes something works because you want it to work, ya know? Hey, good to see you commenting here! Come back anytime. :-)

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Dear CG:

      I generally choose music based on the overall ability of the ensemble. Regarding soloists: sometimes I have to split hairs because many singers sound beautiful on the auditions, and their scores are extremely close. That happens a lot. So in some cases, I’ll choose the singer who had the best style, or sang out the best. In other more rare cases, it has come down to choosing an upperclassman.

      Of course, my first choice is to put all the names in a hat… :-)


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