Dave Barry's Homes & Other Black Holes: The Happy Homeowner's Guide

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Overview

"Mr. Barry is the funniest man in America and we should encourage him."
--The New York Times Book Review THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME--EXCEPT IN A SELLER'S MARKET At long last, Dave Barry, the dean of everything, lets you in on the deepest, darkest mysteries of life and answers your hysterical home purchase questions like they've never been answered before:
What's the best way to determine a realistic price range?
Take your total family income, including coins that have fallen ...
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Homes and Other Black Holes

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Overview

"Mr. Barry is the funniest man in America and we should encourage him."
--The New York Times Book Review THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME--EXCEPT IN A SELLER'S MARKET At long last, Dave Barry, the dean of everything, lets you in on the deepest, darkest mysteries of life and answers your hysterical home purchase questions like they've never been answered before:
What's the best way to determine a realistic price range?
Take your total family income, including coins that have fallen behind the bureau, and any projected future revenue you have been notified about via personalized letters from Mr. Ed McMahon stating that you may already have won 14 million dollars. Then, multiply by something other than six.
Can you recommend a good mortgage?
There are several kinds: Fixed Rate, Variable Rate, and the bank's secret weapons, the Party Hat Mortgage and the Mortgage of the Living Dead.
How can I avoid spending money on do-it-yourself homeowner's projects?
Find a contractor. Their silent motto is "We Never Show Up." The Romans lived among the ruins. You must too.
Is there a secret to having a beautiful lawn?
Yes and no. If you fail to feed, fertilize, and water your lawn, it will die. However, if you feed, fertilize, and water your lawn, it will die.

A hilarious account of the trials and tribulations that accompany the quintessential all-American dream: owning a home. Complemented by 40 hilarious drawings by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jeffrey K. MacNelly.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author of Babies and Other Hazards of Sex finds humor in all the assorted miseries of homeowning, from deciding which house to buy (``Take your total annual family income, including coins that have fallen behind the bureau . . . '') and dealing with real estate brokers (who always insist that ``there is virtually nothing, outside of the Third World, available in your Price Range'') to moving (`` `WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH JENNIFER?' ''). ``Getting Some Fool to Buy Your House'' is only one of the many helpful chapters. There is a guide to mortgagesfixed-rate, variable-rate and the mortgage whose rate is based on what order the teams finish in the National League East, and so onand a section on how to move pets (crates have their drawbacks) and children (crates don't work here either). The only thing worse than dealing with contractors, maintains Barry, is doing-it-yourself, for it will cost a small fortune for someone to undo what you did. There are aspects of this book that crackle with the wit of a Woody Allen routine (``How to Get Very Deeply into Debt'') and there are parts that verge on slapstick (``Finding Somebody to Fix Your Car'') but the humor is all good and pleasantly funny. Illustrations by the Pulitzer-Prize-winning creator of ``Shoe'' are amusing accompaniments. (September)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345394408
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.85 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Dave Barry
A syndicated newspaper columnist whose laugh-out-loud humor has also resulted in several books, Dave Barry is an equal opportunity mocker. On subjects ranging from politics to Japan to parenting, he expertly highlights the irony and absurdity in everyday life.

Biography

In the introduction to Dave Barry Is Not Taking This Sitting Down, the author addresses the desirability of his job as a humor writer and syndicated columnist. "It looks so easy!" he wrote. "...Every year, hundreds of thousands of people try their hand at this demanding profession. After a few months, almost all of them have given up and gone back to the ninth grade."

Yes, Barry is juvenile at times -- but he has achieved the kind of success that can only come from combining a juvenile mind with intelligence, timing, and a keen eye for the absurd. Favorite Barry targets include government inanity, dogs, guys, the Internet, and other oddities of life. He also specializes in weird news and urban myths involving UFO hunters, Pop-Tart science, and toilets. Many of these essays feature the line that has become his catchphrase, "I am not making this up." (Unless, of course, he is introducing something serious and daunting such as a book about the federal government, in which case he reassures that he has made everything up.)

Usually, though, he's not making it up. What he's doing is making it very funny. Whether the target is Congress or commercials, Barry refuses to take anything seriously, least of all himself – but he manages to convey some pretty indicting truths in the process. He's a master of irony and visual punchlines, sometimes interrupting himself with lists, snippets of dialogue, or other on-topic digressions. On the subject of turning 50 and dealing with waning eyesight (a "good thing" about aging, because "you can't read anything"), Barry describes finding restaurant menus suddenly printed "in letters the height of bacteria." He continues: "For some reason, everybody else seemed to be able to read the menus. Not wishing to draw attention to myself, I started ordering my food by simply pointing to a likely looking blur.

ME (pointing to a blur): I'll have this.
WAITER: You'll have "We Do Not Accept Personal Checks"?
ME: Make that medium rare."

Barry has had the most successful and prolific publishing career of any working newspaper columnist, and his humor never seems to go out of style. In 1999, he decided to try his hand at fiction. The result was Big Trouble, a comic thriller à la Carl Hiassen (though filled more with gags than guns) that Entertainment Weekly proclaimed "... not only very funny, [but] sure-footed, even-handed, levelheaded, and other leading book review adjectives." In 2004, he and Ridley Pearson collaborated on Peter and the Starcatchers, a clever prequel to Peter Pan that spawned two additional novels and a series of spin-off children's chapter books.

Along with several other published authors, Barry is a member of the musical group Rock Bottom Remainders. In assessing the band's talents, he has been quoted as saying: "They are not musically skilled, but they are extremely loud."

Good To Know

The Rock Bottom Remainders was originally organized by a publicist to perform at the 1992 American Booksellers Association convention. The members -- which include (or have included) Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, Barbara Kingsolver, Mitch Albom, and Matt Groening -- even took their show on the road at one point, turning it into the now out-of-print Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude.

Some things never change: Barry was elected class clown by his Pleasantville High School class in 1965.

Barry got his start in journalism at the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pennsylvania, then worked as a business writing consultant before joining the Miami Herald in 1983.

Attempts to convert Barry's humor to the screen have been less than memorable. The early '90s CBS sitcom based on two of his books and starring Harry Anderson, Dave's World, was short-lived; the spring 2002 release Big Trouble, starring Tim Allen, didn't fare well at the box office. Barry did, however, get a cameo in the latter.

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    1. Hometown:
      Miami, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 3, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Armonk, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Haverford College, 1969
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2014

    Barry delivers another comedy gem

    Dave Barry's books never disappoint. If you've ever owned a house' sold a house, moved, or mowed a lawn, this book is perfect for you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2011

    Hilarious

    Dave Barry's unique perspective on home ownership. I certainly appreciated his humor when we bought the new house.

    The only down side was I'd already read the book, and I'd bought this copy for my husband to read. However, I discovered after I bought it that I couldn't lend it! One of the reasons I bought the Nook was because I could lend books, but they didn't tell you that you can't lend all books. So while my husband is reading it (on MY Nook), I don't get to read any of my other Nook books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Looking for house, then read this!

    Laugh out loud funny! We are currently trying to buy our first house,and this book makes the whole process funny.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    if you like dave barry

    got this as a gift--i don't think you can go wrong with giving someone a few laughs. does the trick!

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