Thursday, December 31, 2009

DP Dec 31: One-by-one

Thanks to Emily for providing cocktail chatter for our New Year's Eve parties!

LW1 is a student who has applied for a job that her friend, who is not as advanced in her studies, wants. Friend is upset to learn about this "betrayal" via Facebook. Prudie replies that friend has no dibs on the job, but that it is wise to avoid social networking if you're looking for a job.
My take: I don't know if LW is qualified to work if she needs to write Prudie about this, and if she's even remotely contemplating canceling her interview. Regarding discretion, y'all are wise to post to the Fray under assumed names... potential employers are scanning the web looking for time wasters like us.

LW2 is a young woman whose mother has recently died. She enjoys recalling her mother's life, but is dismayed because whenever she brings up her mother, her friends look pained and fall silent. Prudie says to make her desire to be able to speak about her mother without the pity clear. I agree.

LW3 has adopted a child and followed the birth mother's pregnancy and delivery. The birth mother's mother was present at the birth, and asked for the LW's address to be able to send a gift. The baby is one year old, and the grandmother has sent a handmade outfit and a check for the child's college fund. LW is horrified that this evil, evil woman is "worming" her way into her life. Prudie says the LW is a crazy bith.
My take: If you didn't want contact, you shouldn't have given your address. This family didn't "worm" its way into your life: you went asking for this woman's grandchild. You are a crazy bitch.

LW4 is a single mother of a teen. She's finally met a totally compatible, kind, loving guy who has the never to neglect her deep-seated need to receive flowers as proof that she's really truly loved the way she deserves. Prudie says she's a crazy bitch who needs to let it go if she wants this guy to stick around.
My take: I know why you're a single mother... get over the flowers, bitch. And if you've read DP, you know her answer in advance.

In the news tomorrow

JM's predictions:

Cars will be burned. Especially in Strasbourg.
People will be attacked on the Champs Elysees.
A police operation will be criticized.
The webcast of the light show at the Eiffel Tower will be a flop (that's my prediction).
A list of tax and fee increases coming into effect will be published.
We will have a review of New Year's celebrations around the world.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I now exist in a 3D version

Thought I already was... but now thanks to JM, I am a low-poly texture-mapped thing of wonder.

Friday, December 25, 2009

My quiz on University of Detroit-Mercy's 'Ask the Professor'

UDM's radio trivia show "Ask the Professor" is one of the longest running radio programs in the United States, having been on the air more than 50 seasons.

Moderated by Kathy Bush, assistant dean of Liberal Arts and Education, the program features UDM faculty members from history, philosophy, math, chemistry, communications and sociology.

This panel of professors is challenged by listeners with questions about nearly everything, in an attempt to stump the group. Communications Studies students help produce the successful radio program and each show is taped for play on national radio stations.

My quiz was used for the end of episode 1009 (click HERE) and the beginning of episode 1010 (click HERE). The quiz has a Franco-American/Detroiter/Michigander orientation.

When even a parenthesis can't hold a parenthetical clause

From the Wikipedia section on Mad Men character Freddy Rumson:

He likes to seem lighthearted and open despite his age (his eldest daughter turns thirty in season 2, and he served in World War II), playing Mozart pieces on his pants zipper.

DP Dec 24: One-by-one

Happy Pyuledie Day!

LW1 is hosting her younger sister for Xmas. Sister wants LW to ship the gifts LW will be giving her so that sister won't have to check them on the plane. Sister justifies this demand by saying that if sister weren't traveling to LW's place, LW would have to ship them anyway. Prudie agrees that sister is unreasonable, and that sister should ship them herself, or that LW should tell sister she'll ship them when she has the time.
My advice: How about you decide to get over yourself and your sibling issues, and just ship the damn things? That's a pragmatic view to make this a happier holiday for yourself.

That said, I agree that the sister is being a bitch. Her rationale that if she weren't coming, LW would have to ship her presents anyway, is an invitation to lots of responses. Like: If you weren't coming, I wouldn't have to lodge you. I wouldn't have to feed you. I wouldn't have to clean up after you. I think the only way to deal with this though is to say "Oh, I thought one of the advantages of you coming, in addition to the joy of your company for the holiday, was that I would be spared the trouble and expense of shipping the presents." Or... "I guess that means you won't be part of the gift opening session on Christmas morning, since I don't want to open any packages that need to be shipped."

Letters HERE.Video letter is from a Chinese-American whose fiancé is a not-very-religious Jew. LW's parents adopted Xmas as a secular symbol of American integration, and LW wants to have a Xmas tree. Fiancé doesn't want to celebrate Xmas and doesn't want a tree. Prudie says she shouldn't be planning on marrying a Jew and raising Jewish children if she can't understand that Jews don't usually celebrate Xmas.
My take: Maybe you're just incompatible? I see his point: it's a friggin' CHRISTmas tree. He is probably dealing with all sorts of internalized guilt about marrying a non-Jew. Bit I am sympathetic to your position. You can still have garlands, wreaths, etc. to give your home a festive atmosphere.

LW2 is a guy who has been "seriously dating" a woman for a whole month. One day when they got to her place, they found perfume and other Xmas gifts to her from a married man from her church. She says there's nothing to it, despite the fact that he sexted her just as she got the gifts, and the other fact that she expects LW not to tell anyone she got the stuff. LW insisted she give away the gifts, and she said she wold, but in fact she kept the perfume. LW wants to know what to do next year. Prudie tries to open the asshole's eyes: she's cheating on you, if you can be said to cheat on someone you've been seriously dating a whole three dates.
My take: "Seriously dating" after a month? In any case, you're dating a tramp, so why you think you'll want to be around next Xmas is a mystery to me.

LW3 is a guy whose fiancée's aunt sent a politically charged Xmas card. LW and fiancée are livid, and want to know if they should skip Xmas so as to avoid these boors. Prudie says to hope for a humor transplant for Xmas, and to ignore the card.
My take: As is typical in these letters, one asks oneself: Where's the SO? Your fiancee is upset? What does SHE want to do? She needs to take the lead, in any case. Prudie's advice is fine. I might worry about what they're going to do at the wedding though... They don't seem to have any idea what is appropriate behavior.

LW4 is a "prankster" (ie, asshole) who does fun packaging of his Xmas gifts. Everyone in his fiancée's family just loves him, except for his future MIL. Should he package her gift in a welded metal box? Prudie says, uh, no.
My take: I think the fiancee's mother is right. You're a creep. Go away.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Breaking in the muffin tin

JM gave me my birthday present, which included a silicone muffin tin. My first! And so I made my first muffins. Cheese and onion. Here's the recipe. Came out nice. More than nice! Super delish! Halved the measurements.

Préparation : 15 mn

Ingrédients (pour 12 muffins) :
- 150 g de fromages : Emmental et Morbier (ou Parmesan ou chèvre etc... selon l'inspiration du jour ou ce qu'il reste dans le frigo)[I had some precious cheddar and filled it out with gruyere]
- 1/2 bouquet de persil haché [Didn't have any]
- 1 oignon haché (pas trop petit)[Plenty of onion]
- 1 oeuf [Hard to halve, but just used a small one]
- 1 verre de lait (20 cl environ) et un peu de crème [Used a dollop of creme fraiche]
- 3 cuillères à soupe d'huile [Olive oil]
- 250 g de farine
- 1 sachet de levure chimique
- sel, épices (facultatifs et selon les goûts : du safran pour la couleur, du cumin si affinités, etc) [Cayenne pepper and paprika]

Préparation :

Dans une terrine, mélanger lait et huile avec persil et oignon. Ajouter ensemble la farine et la levure, ainsi que l'oeuf, et travailler le tout à la spatule. (n'oubliez pas la pointe de sel et d'éventuels épices).

Râper ou couper le(s) fromage(s) en petits morceaux, les incorporer dans le mélange.
Verser la préparation, qui doit être assez épaisse, dans des moules à muffins préparés.

Cuire à four moyen (180-200°C) et pendant une petite demi-heure, ils seront dorés et assez moelleux.


Friday, December 18, 2009

DP Dec 17: All-in-one

Dear Prudie,

Times are kind of tough, and after paying for my late mother's medical bills and funeral expenses, I'm really tapped out for Christmas.

A workmate has invited me to the baby shower he and his husband (they slipped through the Prop 8 crack) are having for the mixed-race twins they're adopting. I can't afford anything on their organic-only registry list, and would love to simply offer them the batch of cloth diapers my workmate offered my wife at our own baby shower (they're organic, natch). Alas, she miscarried, and the diapers are a bitter reminder of our loss we would be only too happy to get rid of. I don't feel right about the retrogifting, especially since the workmate says they plan to raise the twins diaper-free.

I would be particularly uncomfortable attending this baby shower, since my workmate has been having an affair with his old high school beard he reconnected with on Facebook. He explained that it started because he wanted to hook her in as a surrogate when it looked like their application to adopt was going nowhere. Despite the success in adopting, he continues to see her. I think he's not really in love with his husband anymore, but he is into the stylish image of the cool bobo gay couple with mixed-race twins (he thinks that he and his husband are our town's version of Kevin and Scotty). Anyway, he's used me as a cover, against my will, on several occasions, and I refuse to lie to his husband, so I prefer simply to avoid them.

In any case, my wife refuses to attend the shower. She "found God" a few months ago. She thinks the miscarriage was a message from God about our own wayward behaviour (let's say we used to do it in styles other than missionary), and now refuses to associate with sinners. She won't even let me accompany her to Christmas service at her new church, saying she will not have her house of worship defiled by an unbeliever. The only way we're staying married at all is because I did some Bible study myself (1 Corinthians 7:12-14).

I could recoup some of my expenses on my mother's illness and death by getting her sister to cough up the money she received from friends and other relatives to help out my mother, and which she has greedily kept for herself. I was about to take her to small claim's court, but my wife says that would be un-Christian, which I really don't understand, because she says I'm not a real Christian, and my aunt is a goddamn Wiccan.

So Prudie, here's my question: Can I get out of the shower by pointing out that parents are not supposed to be begging for presents?


Broke in so many ways


This response came in from Smagboy:

Dear Broke,

I think that you should tell your workmate that you've given your aunt a few thousand dollars to be used to purchase gifts, from you, to present at his baby shower (which, unfortunately, you'll be unable to attend as you'll be out of town). That way, your workmate will know to expect the gifts from you aunt. Make sure to tell him that you've instructed your aunt to buy only the finest mixed-race, Kevin and Scotty-endorsed, Angelina Jolie-inspired goods. Give him your aunt's telephone number, e-mail address and street address. No need to tell you aunt about this, by the way. As a matter of fact, I discourage it.

I believe this will solve two of your three problems. Your aunt will be pissed and never speak to you again, nor will your workmate. Either that or they'll find love in each others' shallowness and never bother you again. Now, for you wife, might I suggest, reading to her (1 Cor 2:15) instead of (7:12-14). This verse will allow her to feel justified in leaving you faster than a crack of lightning. You may believe that to be a problem, but you'll then be free to start a new life, without three of the loads with which you're currently burdened. That may unbreak you considerably and might actually begin to heal.


The Smag

Thursday, December 17, 2009

DP Dec 17: One-by-one

LW1: Two gay dads are about to adopt twins. They plan to not use diapers, and will raise their beautiful children in organic bliss. How to tell their guests at the baby shower not to bring plastic or polyester? Prudie puts them in their place, in particular about the diapers.
These future fathers need many more of these smack-downs. I really wouldn't worry much about the diapers thing. They'll learn fast enough. As to the shower, it sounds like these cretins are -- gasp! -- hosting their OWN baby shower. Big no-no, so no need to give them advice on how to make their rude event even ruder.

(Now you know why people are really against gay adoption.)

LW2: Only child had serious expenses during his mother's illness and death. Has learned that his aunt received cash donations from friends to cover costs, but she hasn't paid anything. Prudie says to tell her it's time to cough up.
I like Prudie's advice. And I'd go further: small claims court.

LW3: LW's friend is having an affair, and wants LW (and LW's wife) to lie to give him an alibi. Prudie says not to cover.
I don't get this bit: "I declined to lie to his wife. He said he had already told her I was going, so I didn't really have a choice. I had to tell my wife about this situation, just in case she ran into Jason's wife." You didn't have to do any of that. It's his problem, let him deal with it. At least he's getting some tail out of the deal: what's in it for you?

LW4: LW's fiancé is an atheist. They'll be spending Xmas with her (Christian) family, and he refuses to go to Xmas Eve service (where LW's father will be performing). Prudie says if he refuses to make this minor effort, it's time to think about having him in LW's life.
Non-believer here, too, but the fiancé is being a drip. If you plan on having a family with this guy, think of all the school plays, pageants, and recitals a parent needs to sit through. If he can't make it through a festive church service with some decent entertainment, he's not cut out to be a dad.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Improv Everywhere at the neighborhood supermarket

Just back from the Casino supermarket (that's the name of the chain), where I witnessed an Improv Everywhere-type happening, with people "spontaneously" dancing in the aisles. Fun!

Started out with this one crazy-looking woman in the chocolate section. She looked crazy, so why not? Then saw a few more young women dancing. The music was quite bopping (All I Want for Christmas Is You), but still... After a commercial break, a slow came on, and a couple of girls started dancing, until this woman came by and made the "cut" signal with her fingers. Party pooper!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

DP Dec 10: All-in-one

Original letters HERE.

Dear Prudie,

My wonderful ex husband was a Catholic priest defrocked for messing with some choirboys. I divorced my husband Jesus to leave the nunnery and marry my ex. We ended up getting a divorce, but share custody of our 8-year-old son.

Our formerly wonderful son recently announced that he thinks he's gay. We cannot legally throw his sinning ass out in the street until he's 16, but in the meantime, my husband has decided to teach the boy a lesson or two. His first step was to tell our son that there is no Santa Claus. My son is understandably upset, and I don't know what to do.

In the meantime, ever since the divorce, I've had to go back to work, in a badly paid entry-level position in a small firm. There's a lot of pressure to contribute the equivalent of a week's salary to buy the boss a present, as well as to pay for one's one meal at the company holiday dinner party. It's really a burden on me Prudie, and I just don't know what to do!

I figure I have two alternatives. Either in lieu of a monetary contribution, I put on a show with one of the girls from the convent, or I sell my son on the open market to raise some cash. I figure the second option would kill all sorts of birds with one stone, but can I do it without my husband's permission?


Putting the X in Xmas

DP Dec 10: One-by-one

LW1 is a divorced mom who complains that her ex has told their 8-year-old son that there is no Santa. Prudie says to pay attention to state of her child. It's not the end of the world, even if Dad is a meany.
Evil dad. Eight is old enough to ask the question: "what is Santa Claus?". Your child may have an answer that goes beyond a fat guy in a red suit...

LW2 is an underpaid young worker in small firm is being pressured to chip in 75 bucks for gift for boss, as well as pay her own way at company Xmas dinner. Prudie says to say she can't afford it. Duh.
Prudie's advice is good. But I will just point out the "take it to HR" BS. Most people work in small companies without much or any HR. HR in most of these firms is an accountant or some other staffer dealing with payroll, not someone with the job of dealing with workplace lifestyle issues. That being said, does this company give a Xmas bonus? If so, it better be a good deal more than USD 75. And if not, WTF with the gift for the boss????

LW3 is a woman whose husband is a picky gift receiver, who returns or gives away even the most thoughtful gift. Prudie says to stop giving him gifts, and instead make a charitable donation in his name.
Again, good advice. Your husband may have wonderful qualities, but for this aspect at least, he's a real douche. Megadouche. How much can this guy care about you and those he's supposed to love if his only reaction to receiving a sign of your affection for him is to insult you all?

LW4 is a gay man whose family has rejected him for the last 14 years (that his parents were a priest and a nun who got kicked out of the Church for fornication makes it just a wee bit more piquant). Should he ignore their hatred of him for the holidays? Prudie says to speak honestly to mom (who is a psychologist, adding even more piquancy to her crap).
You owe nothing to these people. Don't let them or anyone else guilt you into feeling like you have to pretend to love these haters. Enjoy your life, be thankful for the people who do love you for who you are, and who don't pretend to love you because of some genetic connection.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

DP Dec 3: One-by- one

The originals are HERE.

What a boring lot (except for LW4, which is either trollish or just stupid).
LW1: LW and BF have good jobs. Their friends don't. LW and BF are getting rid of their cleaning lady. BF wants to hire friends.
>BF is proof you don't need to be smart to get a good job.
LW2: LW has well-paid coworker/friend who has been observed stealing from the department fridge.
>Coworker/friend has a problem. Prudie's advice seems good if this person is a friend. If she weren't, I'd just report her to her superior.
LW3: LW worried because she knows that people are work aren't always washing their hands after using the terlets.
>Perhaps Prudie's going to actually answer the question next week. Washing your own hands more often doesn't prevent the E Coli your colleagues have kindly deposited in the bowl of eggnog from making you sick. How about some posters in the john? On the door on the way out? I was at a place the other day where there was a sign suggesting people use the paper hand wipe to turn the door handle. That's a good reminder that you have no idea what other people have left on it, and perhaps a good reminder to those who don't wash their hands that they should.

That being said... when men take a leak, they don't necessarily wash their hands after, and I doubt that is a health risk.
LW4: LW's brother is crazy. Years ago LW and brother picked up a hitchhiker and brought him home. LW went to bed, leaving brother and hitcher drinking. Next morning, no hitchhiker. Did brother kill the dude?
>Huh? Mildly entertaining, but not a real letter. A grown person with a crazy brother picks up a hitchhiker (who does that now?) and... brings him home. Right. And in any case, why do you care now? Too bogus to believe.