Thursday, August 18, 2011

Advice Illustrated: Just why is this a problem?

Letter 1 is from a woman who was abused by a hateful horrible mother. Lots of other crap in her family. Her new inlaws want to know more about her upbringing, but she doesn't want to talk about it. Prudie says that the inlaws already imagine horrible things. Let hubby tell them a bit, and ask them to keep quiet in future. Yeah. And congrats to LW.

Video letter is from a recent college grad who's working for a fantastic progressive non profit and saving the world. She has a thirtysomething coworker who she respects, but who treats LW like a dimwit. Just why is this a problem? You're getting paid while she is giving you a point-by-point explanation of sharpening a pencil. (OMG: I wrote that before listening to Prudie, who used that example. I'm thinking like Emily. Yikes!). Prudie says to show her maturity by having a serious talk about the behavior.

Letter 2 is from a guy who got laid over summer vacation and is now going all girly about it. There, that's my sexism quotient. Prudie says to enjoy his sex-getting. I say: just why is this a problem?

Letter 3 is from a mid-20s guy who finally got a job. His employer is hiring for the same position, and LW is resentful that recent graduates are being considered when there are other mid-20s guys looking for jobs. Before reading Prudie's answer, here's mine: just why is this a problem? And if it is a problem, why is it your problem? Prudie says that he can advocate for his cohort. Whatever. I would remind him that he isn't being paid to intervene in hiring decisions. He's there to do his job, and unless he keeps focused on that, he's going to be a mid-20s guy on the job market.

Letter 4 is from a guilt-ridden bobo whose inlaws want to invite the family on a cruise. Her social consciousness makes her hesitant to go, but she doesn't want to hurt her inlaws or deprive her child of quality time with his grandparents. Prudie says to go and have a good time. I say: just why is this a problem?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Advice Illustrated

Letter 1 is from a guy who had a period of Walter Middying (out loud). He knows the truth will come out after his death, and is prospectively embarrassed. Prudie says he's worried about his impending death, and to come clean in a light-hearted fashion. I say, sure.

Video letter is from a student (HS? college? It would be good to know) whose otherwise delightful and dedicated math teacher gets easily lead off topic by some mean girls. And let me go into the example given: teacher was illustrating something or other with the subject of the national debt. And a student interjected that if the US stopped foreign aid, there would be no deficit spending. This reminds me of a Larry King interview with Hulk Hogan on his political aspirations (this was in the days of Jesse Ventura as governor of Minnesota, so it wasn't all that strange a notion... well it was a strange notion, but, alas, not unheard of... in fact, it may have been Ventura on Larry King, but I have a recollection it was Hogan). Anyway, he made the point that the US should cut off all foreign aid until there were no hungry Americans. So he wants the government to pay Americans to eat. Right. Has he looked out his limo lately?

Back to the topic: Now why did it take the teacher ONE HOUR to set this Tea Party bimbo straight? Say "foreign aid, most of which goes for military and economic support of US allies, represents less than 1% of the federal budget. The total amount represents less than half of what American spend on soda pop each year. Now STFU and let's get back to the lesson."

Prudie's advice is to go with other students and kindly ask the teach to keep to the subject. Was that so hard?

Letter 2 is from an adult whose 50ish parents want to adopt a special needs child. His siblings have said nice things to the case worker who interviewed them as part of the process, but he wants to tell the "truth", which is that mom "is bipolar" and was emotionally abusive, and that dad let her do it. He manages to get along his parents now, but fears that if he tells the truth, it will get back to mom and destroy their barely civil relationship. He has reason to fear the case worker will blab, because they already have about other matters relating to the case. Prudie says to speak to the case worker's supervisor and demand confidentiality. She questions the fitness of such an elderly couple to deal with a child who may need demanding care, possibly for their entire life.
I have some questions about npn professionals diagnosing mental illness. But let's say he's right, and right about the abuse. If so, he has to speak up, and Prudie's way is probably the best of a bad lot. I don't know how the information would not get back to the case worker, who has proven themself to be a failure. And I share Prudie's concerns about an older couple taking on such a trying job.

Letter 3 is from a person whose building's swimming pool has no lifeguard, and who is concerned about poorly monitored or unmonitored use by children. Should she speak out to parents who are less than careful about their children's safety? Prudie says to get the building manager to provide firmer notices, and to intervene individually if she sees a dangerous situation. And to tell people that she is a certified lifeguard when doing so. I agree with all but the last point. Let's say a child dies in her presence. She might find herself sued or something. Why bother bringing up her training? It doens't take certification to know that leaving a child unattended in a pool is risky.

Letter 4 is from a person who acquired a huge dog with unusual markings and is now annoyed that people notice. Before reading Prudie's response, I will say: STFU. Prudie says something along those lines, but in a lower key way.
Here's a story for you from David Sedaris:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Advice Illustrated

Letter 1 is so "OMG/I want to kill this man". This is a Savage Love letter written to Prudie, so I dread her answer. Anyhow, this Adonis of a husband is bored with his sex life, and gets his wife to agree to swing. The other guy is old, fat, balding and ugly, but far better endowed than LW. After seeing his wife in ecstasy, he now wants to divorce her and beat her up, in any order you prefer.
My take: Yes, please let this woman be free from her whining insecure egotistical husband. So you wanted your sex life spiced up? But when you say "your" you really mean just yours, not yours and hers. Grow up, get help, or get out, you putz of a pretty boy. He made your wife howl not because of his mega cock, but because he's a better lover. Maybe because he's into giving pleasure, rather than validating his own attractiveness.
Prudie gives it to him good, so I'm happy.

Video letter is from a woman whose BFF ran off with her cousin, left school, and started popping out babies. LW broke off ties because she disapproved of their life path. Now the couple is back in town, and LW would like to renew their ties, but they are so different (she is a rising yuppie and they are trailer trash, from the way she puts it). Prudie says that the way to a parent's heart is through their kids, so pretend to adore the brats.

Letter 2 is a bit complicated. LW is a woman who is pregnant. Her fiancé is worried about becoming a father because of a history of mental illness in his paternal relatives. LW is convinced that her FIL is not the biodad, for a variety of reasonable reasons, including her slutty MIL. Should she ask her MIL about her fiancé's parentage or STFU?
I say, if he was so worried about ever producing offspring, he would have had a vasectomy. I imagine he's more worried about getting married and becoming a father than he is in his genetic background, which sounds a lot like a pretext for some unhealthy curiosity and meddling on your part. STFU. Now, on to Prudence: She says to STFU, but that since we all know LW won't STFU, Prudie suggests she speak to her fiancé rather than accusing her MIL of being a tramp.

Letter 3 is from someone who offered to recommend a jobless friend for a job in her firm. Now she's learned that he's not a good employee (he got fired as an intern!), and would rather not recommend him. Can she pull out? Of course you can pull out. Your recommendation of a loser makes you look bad. You can tell him a position is available and who to write to, but that's it. And if it makes it easier, tell him you recommended him: he may still get the job, and he's not going to get it on your say-so anyway.
Prudie says to tell him the truth (but not the whole truth), because he's young and still able to change. Feh. I think that if you had no idea about his work experience, even from him, he's not that close a friend.

Letter 4 is from a dog owner who "crates" their dog, which means that they can't do any after-work socializing because the dog will have been in a crate for too long. I say: do not own a dog. You are cruel. Find this dog a new home, and get yourself a cat. If you are going to be out 12 hours straight, you should not have a dog. Do not own a dog. I am repeating myself, but you shouldn't own a dog.
Prudie says to train the dog, take the dog to doggie day care, get someone to give her more exercise, bla bla bla. The real answer: find this dog another home.

In the news: a doozy for Le Parisien

For lack of time, I've stopped doing my daily review, but I am impelled to do one because of the horrible edition of Le Parisien today.

Mayor of Sarkozyist 15th Arrondissement is upset becaue due to routine maintenance and a variety of technical problems, only one pool is open at the moment in the Arrondissement. He does not apologize for his own party's lack of investment in sports facilities during the 20+ years they were in power in Paris.

Cover and first two pages are about UFOs! They're back! And of course, UFO means intelligent alien life forms. Duh. A headline says "One in five sighting is inexplicable". Not "unexplained". "Inexplicable." When you read the article, the expert quoted says in fact that 22% of sightings remained unidentified. That's all. Le Parisien is evil.

In the DSK story of the day, the "victim's" lawyer is calling on employees of Air France to tell all about what a boor DSK was on flights (because being a pig is the same as being a rapist.) Le Parisien tells us that lawyer Taylor was tipped off by a letter from a staff member written in "perfect English". Which leads me to wonder if anyone at Le Parisien speaks English. Here is the letter: THE AIR FRANCE COMPANY HAS IN HIS POSSESSION A FEW HUNDRED COMPLAINTS [ABOUT DSK]. CONSEQUENTLY IS WAS DECIDED THAT ONLY MALE EMPLOYEES TO BE AFFECTED TO THE "FIRST CLASS LOUNGE" WHEN THIS CLIENT IS TRAVELLING.

Now, the English is not horrible, but it's far from perfect. It is clearly the work of a French speaker who speaks English quite well.

Clothilde Courau, married to thuggish "prince" of Italy, is going to launch her career as a singer! She is finally complying with the Constitutional requirement for all French actresses to try to sing. Also applies to supermodels.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Thunderbirds made me puke

I know of course that we are not to take Thunderbirds seriously (unlike, for example, Captain Scarlett). It's schlock, it's just for fun, this is not high art or serious fantasy or sci fi. But I've just seen what has to be the stupidest episode in the history of Supermarionation.

There is one good thing about this episode: the use of live actors. We see Lady Penelope's feet walking (Anderson's puppets couldn't walk) in the fog at night, we see her eye looking through a peephole, and her gloved hands snapping her fingers annoyingly. But otherwise...

First, it's a Parker-centered episode. I hate Parker. I kind of hate Penelope, too, but she at least is rich,beautiful and gracious. Parker is none of the above.

Ex-con Parker has been tasked with proving that the vault of the Bank of England needs replacing by a newer more modern vault. To do so, he must crack the safe, which he does with ease. But because we are supposed to think at first that Penelope and Parker have gone to the dark side, we see them knocking out the watchman guarding the entrance to the Bank. This of course is crazy, as they are the guests of the governor of the Bank, so this is a pointless and dangerous assault that makes no sense as soon as you realize that Parker is working for the Bank on this "caper".

And why does the Bank of England have just one guard? ONE GUARD!

And why do they BLOW DOWN THE DOOR (the only door) with explosives? Again, it's just nuts.

So Parker demonstrates that the old safe is useless, giving the Governor the proof he needs to convince his superiors that he needs a new safe. Penelope invites him to dine with her the next evening to celebrate.

And overnight, the new safe is installed. Yes, this major project, involving heavy construction, takes place overnight.

The new safe is electronically controled by a single key. That's right, there's just one key that can open and close the vault, and it remains in the hands of the Governor at all times. Or rather, in his briefcase. Let's hope he doesn't drop it down the drainpipe or something.

None of this would be Thunderbirds worthy if the Bank of England didn't have its employees work in the vault. Yes, the staff works in the vault.

And so at the end of the first day the Governor takes roll call to check that all staff has left the vault. One man (only men work at the Bank of England) is missing, but one of his colleagues says "I think he left already", which is enough for the Governor, who doesn't bother to send anyone to check that the vault is clear before closing it.

Now here you would say to yourself, well, no big deal: the guy's in the vault, but he'll be freed the next day. [I have since seen that this vault was to be closed for TWO YEARS. Why? Who knows, and it doesn't change much, except make one wonder even more why they've installed offices in a vault that will be locked tight for TWO YEARS.] And except of course that the new vault pumps all the air from inside, because documents are conserved better in a vacuum. Yep. They vacuum-pack these precious documents.

Fortunately for our staffer locked in the vault, it seems to take about 5 hours to produce the vacuum. Based on this, we could guess that the contents of the vault benefit from the preserving effect of the vacuum for about one hour a day... |If it's closed for two years, this seems less stupid. But of course there is no explanation as to why it takes so long, or why the staffer is able to continue to work and breathe and not even notice the lack of air until it's almost all gone.]

Of course, the Governor could open the safe, but he's having dinner with Penelope, and hasn't told anyone where he's located. Somehow the special alert signal from the Bank reaches him, and he tries to call the Bank. But Parker cuts the telephone wire, and will continue to sabotage all attempts at getting the Governor to London.

Why? Because a fellow ex-con, who has dreamt of breaking into the Bank of England, has just excaped from prison, and Parker decides it's better to help his old friend (not sure how his actions will do this, but let's set that aside for now), rather than respecting the law. For a reformed criminal, Parker is beyond shady.

Penelope finally gets the Governor to the Bank in the nick of time, only to discover that the asshole has left his briefcase with the only key able to unlock the safe back at Penelope's stately home. Ugh!

The Tracy boys have in the meantime been trying to open the safe. They are having no luck making a hole in the door. This is odd, since their torches can cut anything, and all that's really needed in this case is the tiniest of holes to let in air. Instead, they decide to use the abandoned tube tunnels (the Underground has been out of service for years, leaving us to wonder how Londoners get about).

But in the end, it's accomplice-to-criminals Parker who saves the day, unlocking the door with one of Penelope's hairpins.