Thursday, April 26, 2012

Advice Unillustrated

Letter 1 is from a wimp whose new wife is off comforting her BFF rather than enjoying her honeymoon. BFF’s long-distance, maybe-married, “boyfriend” died the day after the wedding. New wife has a habit of sleeping with BFF rather than husband.
I say: “Guys: don’t marry a crazy person.” When she returns, maybe she should find another woman in your bed. Your new BFF, with whom you spend nights chastely talking about boys and the prom.
And just how is it that you don’t know the status of the late BF, or when your wife might be coming back to her nuptial bed????
What does Prudence say? Kind of the same thing. But Prudence says: “It’s not unreasonable that Brenda postponed her honeymoon because of Sadie’s loss.” I think it’s pretty unreasonable, and certainly very unreasonable to do so without any discussion with HER H U S B A N D.

Video letter is from a woman whose parents came to help with her first child. They caused all sorts of mess, offered none of the promised help, and made out that he’s the best dad in the world. Her in-laws are gems, and she wants to have them help out with her next child.
Prudence says to get pregnant and set out rules for her parents. I say, yeah. Your house, your child, your rules.

Letter 2 is from a girl who was told by a superior to fetch lunch for a client meeting. She hung around, and finally had her own lunch, during which the superior came to fetch her because the meeting folk were ready to eat, at which point LW blew her off. Superior fetched the lunch herself. Superior now wants LW fired. Boss is refusing, but tells LW to suck it up. LW writes: “As the new young staffer is it my job to just suck it up? Or did I merely set boundaries with a disrespectful colleague who sorely needs them?”.
Boy. I’d’ve fired you. She’s not a “disrespectful colleague”, she’s a superior. (For the actual problem, why didn’t they have lunch delivered? Or set a time for lunch? But that’s another story…) You will be out on your keester very soon, I won’t be crying, and “in this economy” (ugh), you won’t be hard to replace.
Prudie agrees. (I kind of wonder if LW isn’t the superior in fact…)

Letter 3 is from a woman married to the best husband in the world, except he only has one leg. He gets annoyed when strangers come up and ask what happened to him. More often, strangers ask LW. She wants a witty reply.
I will call on Miss Manners, and say that you don’t need a witty reply. You need to raise your eyebrows, aghast, and say “I beg your pardon?!” as if you cannot believe they would ask such a question. Which is better treatment than they deserve. My cutting remark might be something like: “Why do you want to know about his leg? Can you get him a new one?”.
Prudie pretty much agrees.

Letter 4 is from a woman who threw me off by saying that she likes to sit alone and people watch. I think she meant “people-watch”. Anyhow, she does that when she’s traveling for business. Guys chat her up, which she doesn’t mind, but she’s married and has no intention of sleeping with them. Despite her making clear she’s married, when she finally formally turns down the suitors, they get angry.
I say: woman alone at bar is asking to be picked up. That’s a pretty fair assumption. And just because you’re married doesn’t mean you’re not looking. So if you insist on presenting yourself in a context when women sitting alone are in fact often looking for a guy, make your intentions very clear from the beginning. “Why hello. If you’d like to chat, that’s great, but if you’re looking for some feminine company for later on, please don’t waste your time.”
Prudie is not on my side. She says to leave the bar and eat dinner alone, with a book.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Advice Unillustrated

Letter 1 is from a young person applying for colleges who has just learned she isn't "really" Hispanic. If she un-hispanicizes herself, she'll lose this great scholarship she's gonna get.But she doesn't want to live a lie.
Prudie says she's plenty Hispanic, if only by her surname, so she qualifies. And who gives up free money?
I say you can declare whatever you like. In fact, everyone should declare whatever they like and break this stupid system where a poor Anglo loses out to a rich "Hispanic". Racism existed and exists, and it's fair to look at ethnicity. But with regard to financial benefits, I say: look at economic status.

Video letter is from a recent widow who has recently had to put down the male of their two dogs. The remaining female is mourning and letting herself die. She wants to spend all her time with the dog.
I say, this is understandable. You can't get another husband, but you can get your dog another companion.

Letter 2 is from a woman who was semi-molested by a tutor when she was young. She never told anyone, but has recently heard of recent actions from this creep. Should she tell? Answer: yes. Duh.Your concern over the police or prosecuters being able to make a case is their problem, not yours. If you don't tell, you are complicit in his further molestations.

Letter 3 is from a woman whose good friend has just told her that he wants to marry her, rather than his fiancée. Should she tell the fiancée? Keep her mouth shut and not attend the wedding?
Prudie says to keep her mouth shut: he was just suffering from the jitters.
I say, based on my recommendation to women not to marry jerks, creeps and abusers, that she should tell the fiancée. He's made his intentions your business, and you should let a sister know what she's getting in for.

Letter 4 is from a guy who writes: "I have a wonderful girlfriend of almost a year." This is literally robbing the cradle. Unless of course you meant that you've been seeing her for almost a year. In which case, your "problem", her wearing a Wonderbra, becomes more plausible. But it doesn't become more of a problem. Prudie says to keep his mouth shut. I say: she is aware that she is not fooling you, since you see her braless all the time. So maybe she's wearing a Wonderbra for reasons other than catching a guy? Maybe she likes the way she looks in it? The way her clothes fit?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Advice Unillustrated

Letter 1 is from a woman married to the most wonderful man in the world. Except of course he’s got a fatal flaw. In this case, he doesn’t enjoy their wonderful children. He hates their messiness and their habit of interrupting conversations. LW’s mom thinks he parents as he was parented, and he turned out great, so LW should STFU. She’ll be leaving them alone with him and he’s telling everyone willing to listen that he’s gonna turn the kids around and get them to shape up (or ship out?).

I say you need to think about which is worse for these kids: leaving them with this warped bully or divorcing (but even that won’t stop him from tormenting them). Still, you need to put your foot down and get family counseling.

I like Prudie’s response: “Your husband turned out great except for the glaring fault that he’s a dismissive, inflexible, punitive father.” She also says to get help.

Video letter is from a tattooed lady who wants to know how to deal with the threats posed by her tattoos, which she currently hides at work. Prudie agrees that given the number of young people with tattoos, the inked will win in the end. She can keep hiding hers, and if anyone discovers her secret, tell them to STFU. I guess… but this very question makes me think that it is fair to judge the tattooed on the basis of poor judgment. I hate them.

Letter 2 is from a woman who “was passed over for a promised promotion in favor of a supremely annoying, fresh-out-of-college Manic Pixie Dream Girl who doesn't know the first thing about the job”. She has proof that girl is sleeping with the boss. Oh, and her father is on the board of the company (isn’t that enough for her to have gotten the job without sleeping with the boss?). She wants to blackmail boss for a raise, blackmail the slut to resign, or do something else suggested by Prudie.
My take is that you are one crazy woman. And just how does this raise make or break your baby birthing? Two people with jobs can have one child: it’s done all the time. Prudie agrees with the birthing question and the rest. My advice: either plan A or plan B, and see how easy it is to raise a child when you’re in prison for extortion. 

Letter 3 is from a upper-middle-aged married man who’s got the hots for a younger woman. He gets tongue tied around her and would like to get over his fear, noting that he is not going to try to get in her pants even though she is the “most attractive woman he’s ever met.”
Prudie and I agree that he needs to get real and keep his piehole shut.

Letter 4 is from a guy who recently reconnected with a formerly close friend. Via Facebook he can observe that his friend is a red nuker while he is a blue exile to socialist Europe. He feels restricted in what he can discuss.
Prudie tells him to get over himself. I agree, but have had to unfriend or hide the posts of a couple of people, including an old college friend who it appears has become somewhat of a star in extremist circles.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Top Chef 2012 semifinals

The biggest challenge for the producers of French Top Chef is to fill an entire evening of programming. Unlike the 45 minutes of US Top Chef, the French version has almost 3 hours to fill each week. Standard operating procedure is to begin with a quickfire, at the end of which one person earns immunity. Depending on whether they need that person to round out the teams in the remaining challenges, the immunity winner may or may not participate. 

The main section of the show requires the cheftestants to be divided into two groups, each of which will compete in a different challenge, first one group then the other. In each challenge, one or more chefs may (or may not) qualify for the next episode, while the others have to face off in a last-chance challenge back in the studio kitchen. This challenge is usually quite straightforward, like "make an egg dish". This last-chance challenge is judged via a blind tasting of all the chef judges.

This week was the last episode before the finals, with four cheftestants fighting for three spots in the finale next week.

As a semifinal, this episode did not follow the SOP. Instead there was a series of challenges, each judged by two sets of judges: the four regular judges one one hand and a guest judge or judges on the other. In order to qualify for the finals, a cheftestant had to be the first choice of each set of judges.

The first challenge was to prepare a Meilleur Ouvrier de France challenge, a rack of veal stuffed with a duxelles and a bread coating served with braised stuffed lettuce and pommes soufflées. The challenge was set by a top chef who happens to appear on the network's version of Kitchen Nightmares. The guy is himself an MOF and a real tough guy. At the end of the challenge, the two judging panels disagreed, meaning no one qualified and everyone moved on to the next challenge.

The second challenge  took place at the very posh resort restaurant of last year’s winner. The cheftestants had to invent a dish based on the guest chef’s signature dish, a rather fussy red mullet thing. The "twist" is that each of the regular chef judges will be giving the cheftestants a test on identifying stuff (varieties of apples, regional specialties, etc.). The tests are tough, with most allowing for only one wrong answer. For each test failed, the cheftestant loses 15 minutes off the 90 minutes alloted for the main challenge. One cheftestant failed all four tests, leaving him with only 30 minutes. Dumb. 

Once again, the two judging panels disagreed, so no-one was qualified for the finals and everyone moved on to the third challenge. 

At this point the viewer is wondering just what the point of these challenges is, since they produce only losers and no winners. And if you were confused by the pointlessness of the first two challenges, the third one will drive you absolutely nuts. It's a total joke. The cheftestants are put on a yacht rented by a couple of perfectly dreadful millionaires These clients express dismay that the fake buffets they’ve planned for their imaginary guests are just oo boring. There are four buffets: campagnard, seafood, cheese, and desserts. The four cheftestants rotate from one buffet to the next to produce a new canapé using only the existing buffets as their raw ingredients. They have no heat, no utensils except for the spoons and butter knives already on the buffet, leqding to a mango being peeled with a pie server. The result will be a dish from each cheftestant with four different canape/amuse bouche things on each.

So recycle existing dishes with no utensils and no heat. This is a challenge suitable for the very first episode of the show, when the cheftestants meet for the first time over a drink and are told that their surprise first challenge will be to use the saltines at the bar to whip up a fantastic dish.

In any case, as you may guess, none of the cheftestants qualify for the finals, meaning that 2 hours and 12 minutes of the show have not advanced the contest a single step. And so the entire episode is decided by the last chance-challenge (make something with duck) that lasts 26 minutes... 

Tout ça pour ça....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

AU: Advice Unillustrated

Letter 1 is from a young widower whose grief is at a low enough level for him to contemplate a future. His stepdaughter, only 5 years younger than him, has the hots for him. He's disgusted and excited. Prudie says to keep being disgusted. She says to make clear nothing will ever happen.
I'm not so sure nothing will ever happen.

Video letter is from a woman with a violent and horrible ex. He's improved a bit since he has a new GF. She feels guilty about him having a new victim and wants to warn her.
Prudie says that anything bad she may say about him will only confirm his stories about her. She says to worry about her future when he again turns the full brunt of his hate on her, see a lawyer, get a restraining order, etc.
I agree.

Letter 2 a woman who was bullied until she left home and moved far away. Many former bullies have repented and asked forgiveness, which she has given, even though it is painful to relive those memories. This behavior has increased with an upcoming class reunion. How can she say she has forgiven them but wants to forget this part of her life?
I say: You don't owe them anything. Ignore them.
Prudie agrees.

Letter 3 is from a young college grad who's got a good job in a small firm. The VP "jokes" about her drinking (huh?) and wants her to participate in a prank on the big boss.
Prudie says to tell him to STFU. I agree.

Letter 4 is this mess:

I’m in my late 20s and getting married shortly to a man with whom I have an incredible relationship. Many of our friends are getting married, too, and I recently found out that at a bachelor party last year there were strippers, when all of the wives and girlfriends had been told there were not. Apparently the men were sworn to secrecy by the groom. There was also a stripper at my future husband's bachelor party, when I had made clear that I was not comfortable with that. I am incredibly upset because my fiance has never been dishonest before. There is one couple in our group of friends who are the perpetrators of all this nastiness. The other wives and I think it's weird that a wife finds strippers for her husband's friends. Other than this, they are nice people. I feel betrayed and disrespected. How can I possibly get over these feelings before my wedding? How can I deal with my guy ever going to a bachelor party again? And how do I stand to see this couple socially?

Wow. Get over yourself you big prude. Why do the men lie? Because you're a bitch. And guess what: he watches porn, too.