Thursday, December 29, 2011

12/29 - These So-Called Problems

To close the year, I shall direct each of the LWs to an episode of My So-Called Life, which ought to solve the problem at hand rather better than the Prudecutor can do.

L1: As we are dealing with facial hair, this must be Episode #4, Father Figures. Having made less than sterling first impressions on Patty, Rayanne and Rickie have better luck when they meet Graham on his return home from work one afternoon - with stubble (not, Angela explains, deliberate - he ran out of razors). Rayanne likes it. Rickie, after a quick baby gayppraisal, has to go and just exchanges Hi and Bye with Graham at the door. Angela begins by recalling how excited she always was when Daddy came home a few years ago. She shies away from Graham's embrace, citing his stubble, but really she's gone off him since overhearing him planning a potential extramarital liaison that in the end Graham squelched. Danielle, in a manner only a younger sister could pull off, gives Graham a huge embrace and enthuses about how much she loikes it when he doesn't shave.

And, much to her own surprise, Rayanne is soon actually cooking, which is a real hoot for her. And then comes the revelation that Graham has been given two tickets to the Grateful Dead. Thrilled, Rayanne relates to Graham Amber's glorious past as a Deadhead, living in a van for six months with a girl called Pop-Tart. It remains for Patty to play killjoy, arriving home with news that her father's slippery tax preparation had landed her an IRS audit for the family business she took over.

It gets worse. The audit is due to precede the concert by only a few hours. Patty informs Graham that he is not going to a rock concert after she is audited by the IRS. So Graham gives the tickets to Angela and Rayanne. He tells Patty when they're in bed, leading to a marital spat. That Amber is going cuts no ice with Patty, who accuses Graham of wanting Angela to go - on a school night, on top of everything. Graham admits it. He saw the Dead when he was fifteen, and it was one of the eight greatest nights of his life. He wants to share that experience with his daughter. Unimpressed, Patty tells him to get Angela to return the tickets.

Angela, a bit nonplussed about how to cope when a friend really likes one of her parents, has to diagram sentences in English with Jordan Catalano. Desperate to start a coversation, she pulls out the tickets and studies them, making sure he sees that she has them, then can't decide how far to backtrack about not being a Deadhead or liking them that much. When she remembers that she owes Jordan $30 for the fake ID he procured for her, he offers to scalp the tickets. This shatters Rayanne, who goes off on a rant about how people don't sell Grateful Dead tickets; they give people Grateful Dead tickets, and how she was part of the Us to whom Graham gave the tickets.

The evening of the concert, Angela quarrels with Graham, accuses him of hypocrisy, runs out of the house and decides to hide at Brian Krakow's for a while in order to maintain the illusion that she went to the concert. Unfortunately, Graham sees her, and takes it badly. At school the next day, Angela, understanding what the tickets meant, starts to apologize to Rayanne. But it's unnecessary, as Rayanne went with Amber and got a ticket from a wounded veteran with a hot upper bod. Prodded on both ends by Patty, Graham and Angela reconcile over gutter repair.

LW1, watch this episode and decide which Angela you want to be.

L4: Going in chronological order, we have a gift of money from an unexpected source that the recipient is not sure about keeping - Episode #10, Other People's Mothers. After an unpleasant visit to the Chase's during which Patty sees Rickie holding Rayanne's open beer bottle, Angela goes to Rayanne's and finally meets Amber, who makes a most favourable impression on her and lends her a deck of Tarot cards. At home, we meet Patty's mother Vivian, who keeps rearranging the candlesticks while debating the wisdom of holding her anniversary party at a fondue restaurant. Instead, Vivian simply decides to have the party there. Graham, who enjoyed his mother's company, stays holed up in the bedroom until Vivian calls up that she'll be in the ki-tchen poking arou-ound. When Angela calls home to see if she can stay at Rayanne's, Patty jumps at the chance to go pick her up. We see Patty's best Fake Smile as she meets Amber and makes polite replies to Amber's emotional pronouncements about adoption (Angela having tried to explain her mother by revealing that Patty had been adopted and had abandonment issues).

Rayanne, who has received $270 from her father, isn't sure she wants to keep the money. Rickie tells her she needs new makeup and could use some CDs, but Rayanne, who is acting up a bit as her conflicted feelings about her father are likely nearing the surface, decides in a manic moment to have a party, at which everyone will experience an "infininity" of happiness. Of course, both parties are planned for the same evening. Vivian buys a turkey and sticks it into the refirgerator over Patty's protests that Graham is very emotional about food. Later, in Bess Armstrong's favourite scene, Graham is looking mournfully at the turkey and wondering how anyone could just put such a thing in someone else's refrigerator, Patty asks him please to close the refrigerator door, he does, and then a second later opens the door and resumes staring mournfully at the turkey.

Angela, once Patty refuses to let her attend Rayanne's party, is a turncoat. Resenting that Patty wants her to move furniture and clean behind it, she cheerfully does it for Rayanne, and makes brightly coloured streamers that delight Amber in contrast to the pale and sober decorations for the anniversary party. Amber appears to be the sort of parent every teenager would want. She knows there will be some drinking, but is counting on Rayanne to keep things in line (she'll be at work).

Vivian shows up for the anniversary party alone - Chuck decided not to come to his own anniversary party, and she's pleased about that because she can never enjoy herself when he's there. As the guests arrive and Vivian torments Danielle, Patty realizes that Angela has been hiding in her room. Angela, resplendent in tie-dye, appears to say she's going to Rayanne's for a little while. Patty is in no mood to have this, but the last straw is Vivian's backing Angela up. Vivian also alienates Graham (already upset because he cooked the chicken without the skin for Chuck's sake) by trying to add oregano to his curry sauce.

At Rayanne's there's a huge crowd, way too much drinking, and Rayanne has taken Ecstacy. Angela finds Rickie and they realize that Rayanne isn't in great shape when Amber returns from work. She clears the place at once, and appears for a brief, shining moment as a possible Supermom. But no. Having only ten minutes to get ready for her date with Rusty, she removes her lab coat, sprays cologne in the air and walks through it in lieu of bathing, and doesn't see that Rayanne is seriously unwell, simply telling her that the place had better be cleaned up and that Rayanne is way too drunk. After Amber leaves, Rickie realizes that Rayanne is in serious trouble and Anglea immediately phones Patty for help.

Patty gets right over, knows exactly what to do, keeps Rickie from becoming hysterical, and soon they are all at the hospital. When Rickie chokes up asking about trying to protect people, Patty realizes that it wasn't his beer that day, which begins her appreciation of Rickie. Rayanne will be all right, Amber shows at the hospital in hysterics, and Patty invites Rickie to a really dull party. Back at home, Patty sends Rickie in first, then explains to Angela that she'd had a friend a lot like Rayanne, only her friend had died in a similar incident. She sends Angela in next, collects herself for a moment, and then returns to the party, where Rickie is getting on famously with Vivian and praising the turkey as Angela compares the party and the people there to various cards in the Major Arcana.

LW4, examine the way Rayanne treats the money, which she carries around in small denominations, crinkling it up like dead leaves and handing out to people like Sharon.

L2: There were multiple choices for this one, and the episode applied to any of the other letters could have done well. But, as what we have is a case of a LW emulating her mother, I shall go with Episode #14, On the Wagon. Even though Angela and Jordan Catalano have broken up since she didn't go through with having sex with him, they are spending a lot of time together. Rayanne isn't happy about not seeing much of Angela. When Angela tells her to stop by after school and doesn't show up herself, Rayanne has an awkward meeting with Patty, who she hasn't seen since Patty saved her life. Rayanne says she's been 30 days sober. Patty invites her to stay for dinner, but Rayanne, upset about Angela not showing up, says she promised to go home for dinner with Amber.

Back at home, Rayanne decides she's made a mistake. Amber seems surprised that Rayanne would want to eat dinner, an actual meal, like every other American on the planet. As we have already learned that Amber lives on appetizers and desserts, she goes through an unimpressively paltry selection of choices before Rayanne snaps. Amber drags it out of her that Rayanne is seeing too little of Angela because Angela's always with Jordan, and just pushes Rayanne to hang out with the pair of them then, then finds leftover Chinese.

Angela hopes that the important thing Jordan has to tell her is that he wants to reconcile, but instead he wants to kill Tino, who quit their band, Frozen Embryos. Worse, as the name was Tino's idea, Jordan isn't sure they can call themselves that. Rayanne twists Angela's arm to get Angela to suggest to Jordan that the group should let Rayanne sing. Angela mentions this reluctantly. Jordan doesn't like the idea, but Rayanne comes on to the group's drummer, and she's in. She's at least as good as Tino; even Sharon has heard her and been not unimpressed. But rehearsals aren't going all that well, and the group is set to perform at an open mike night way before they're ready. Jordan just tells Rayanne to wear something tight. Angela mentions it to Graham and Patty in such a way that makes it clear she's decided not to go but wants their imprimatur on the decision.

Rayanne has a variety of mood shifts before the performance. At the Chase's she pretends to panic and pours out a glass of liquor but is just teasing Angela and pours it back. Patty finds the glass later and is convinced Rayanne is drinking again. At home getting dressed, Rayanne and Amber sing a bit and get psyched up. At the crucial moment, though, she freezes, can't sing, and runs away from a scared Rickie. Meanwhile, Patty and Graham are deciding that Patty couldn't possibly call Amber and imply that Amber might not be being the best mother.

The next morning, Patty calls Amber. Amber is as sure that Rayanne isn't drinking as, she says, Patty is that Angela isn't having sex with Jordan. In the end, Patty goes to Amber's door only to find that Rayanne went right home and ate cookie dough with Amber all night. Amber tries to make amends with Patty and offers to let Rayanne stay home from school, but Rayanne wants to apologize to Rickie. Patty gives her a ride, and tells Rayanne to call her Patty; Rayanne thanks Patty for the ride and saving her life. Rickie eventually forgives Rayanne, but impresses on her that he was picking out what to wear to her funeral, and that if she does that to him again he will probably kill her.

The episode ends with Rayanne, Rickie and Angela waiting in line to see a film. Discussing attractive men, Rayanne reveals that she rather liked the character Luis from Sesame Street, then belts out a rendition of the theme song that gets the line cheering. Then, almost tragically because it actually seems to be a really good moment, someone offers Rayanne a drink and she just takes it as Angela's face falls.

LW2, study closely Rayanne's interactions with Amber.

L3: While it was tempting to pick Episode #3, Guns and Gossip, which involved pressure from the principal on Brian, the theme of wanting to snitch seems better suited to Episode #17, Betrayal. With Rickie now in Drama Club and staying with Mr Katimsky and his lover, Rayanne has been convinced to audition for Our Town. Meanwhile, Angela has had an erotic dream about Corey Helfrick (Rickie's crush and the catalyst for much of the damage done involving the World Happiness Dance in Life of Brian), even though she isn't quite as over Jordan Catalano as she thinks. Meanwhile, Brian agrees to Sharon's request to get video footage of students as part of yearbook, though he's really just trying to reingratiate himself with his jilted WHD date Delia Fisher.

At tryouts, Rayanne reveals that she's studied how Angela cries, and is a bit intimidated by the performance of Abyssinia Churchill. In the meantime, Patty and Camille are organizing what to give to a clothing drive when Hallie Lowenthal shows up, having forgotten where she was supposed to meet Graham about the restaurant they're going to start. After Hallie leaves, Camille expresses a bit of suspicion about whether Hallie is after Graham or not (Graham hasn't mentioned yet to Patty that Hallie's fiance Brad dumped her). Patty expresses great appreciation for Camille.

That evening, Brian tries to get video footage of students hanging out. Rayanne is drinking because she thinks she didn't get the lead in Our Town. Jordan is drinking because he didn't like seeing Angela flirting with Corey. One thing leads to another, and Brian gets it all on tape.

The next day, Brian waffles about what's on the tape and tells Sharon what happens. Sharon then goes on ton have a lengthy conversation with Delia in the girls' bathroom, during which Delia is unable to get a word in edgeways, about how she never trusted Rayanne but doesn't want to say anything to Angela because it would destroy Angela if she found out - and Angela overhears the tail end of the conversation. Angela thinks at first that Sharon's just being jealous again, but eventually confronts Brian and realizes it was true. Angela tells Rickie that two can play at that game.

Rayanne gets the lead in the play and the cold shoulder from Angela. After school, Angela shows up for scene painting dressed in Rayanne's general style, asks Corey if he has anything to drink and tries to kiss him. Later, Angela realizes she's gone too far when Rickie, scoring one for the home team, asks Angela how she thinks he felt seeing her go after Corey. Angela, to her credit, wakes up at once.

Rayanne goes to the Chases' and confesses to Patty. She feels terribly contrite. When she leaves, she supposes that Patty hates her now, to which Patty replies slowly that she doesn't hate her. When Graham returns and rants about Hallie (one of Camille's Bad Signs), Patty tells him that the reason Angela isn't speaking to rayanne is that she slept with Jordan. Graham calls that low, and is in the middle of a rhetorical question about what sort of person would do such a thing when Patty sits down in a hunched position and raises her hand. It was in college. Camille really liked this guy and they'd dated a couple of times. Patty had just been dumped, and was sure Camille wouldn't find out. Alas a snitch who knew them both spilled the beans, but Camille somehow found it in her heart to forgive her, and Patty has always been grateful for that.

LW3, study closely Angela's and Rayanne's reactions to Sharon's revealing the truth.

Moral:  "You have to forgive Angela. She's the product of a two-parent family!"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

12/22 - La La LA La La

As these letters are so ridiculous, I shall content myself with thinking of episodes of Daria which they most call to mind.

L4: As the worst of LW4 comes out in relation to simple interaction with her family, I thought of Lane Miserables, the one episode in which we see all of Jane's and Trent's older siblings. It begins with Jane, Trent and their mother Amanda debating the nature of a red stain in the empty refrigerator when suddenly people start arriving. Penny's business in South America was lost in a volcano eruption and she brings her parrot. Wind's wife has kicked him out and wants a divorce. And dad Vincent returns home from his latest photography junket.

When Wind starts watching marriage counseling programmes on her television, Jane relocates to the Morgendorffers', where Helen and Jake pump her for personal information about Daria. Summer's children Courtney and Adrian run away from home and come to stay, and the chaos drives Trent out as well. He plans to stay in his band's van, but shows up looking for Jane at the Morgendorffers and is taken in also.

Trent and Daria have a conversation comparing Huckleberry Finn to Huckleberry Hound, and Quinn tries to show Daria how to visualize what she wants the future to be like. When all Daria can imagine is a dead-end low paying job with Trent balding and beer-bellied but as layabout as ever, Jane asks her if she's all right, and Daria says she thinks she just got over something.

As Amanda's zen is tested, Summer arrives to collect her kids, but decides to stay a couple of days. Trent, who spent four hours breaking up with Monique and didn't make curfew, tries to explain to Helen and Jake how the Lanes never had house rules, but is grounded anyway. When Amanda arrives and is surprised to find her children have been staying there, she starts explaining to Helen why she doesn't believe in grounding, but finally loses her serene manner and begs Helen to help her get her house back.

On Helen's advice, Amanda institutes a Family Dinner. In no time flat, the younger generations are all at each others' throats, as Amanda declares, "I have such interesting and articulate children! And grandchildren!" The prospect of continued life en famille drives the visitors back from whence they cam, allowing Jane and Trent to return home, Just at the end, when Daria consoles him over his breakup, Trent agrees that he and Monique aren't meant to be, and it's too bad Daria isn't a little older, as he could take her out. As he goes, Daria gets a flash of a vision of herself in evening dress with a well-coiffed, suited, rich and successful Trent telling her what an inspiration she's always been - and curses to realize that she's not as over that little something as she thought.

L3: As we are dealing with coming to terms with the apparently inconsistent spiritual beleifs of relatives, this one is easy - Groped By an Angel. Quinn has recently been taking an interest in Chicken Soup-level spirituality. Daria points out the inconsistencies in the Guardian Angel stories that Quinn likes best. However, Helen takes Quinn's side and astounds Daria by suggesting that Quinn's interest in spirituality must have come from herself. When Daria wonders how helping major corporations get away with unethical behaviour could be considered spiritual, Helen jumps on the word helping.

After the chandelier Jake installed incorrectly in the kitchen crashes just after Quinn rose from the seat beneath it, Quinn attributes that to her own Guardian Angel. She proceeds to give her GA credit for such things as Mr DeMartino changing his mind about calling on her in class. Even when Jake ruins her pants when some black tape gets into the laundry, he gives her more money than she needs for a new pair. Eventually Sandi evokes her own Guardian Angel (out of jealousy), to which Quinn responds with genuine enthusiasm, but Sandi's GA, who (with remarkable consistency) told her to have the raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing at lunch, didn't know that it had gone bad and would make Sandi, Stacy and Tiffany sick. And of course something - or someone - told Quinn not to have that dressing.

Meanwhile, Brittany has been improving her grades. She now has a C-minus average. To celebrate, her father is throwing her a party with a band (Mystik Spiral) and everyone's invited - even the unpopular people. Brittany's father proudly shows off to her young stepmother Ashley Amber the near-crystal bullhorn he ordered with a "C" on it without any minus because he figured she deserved an upgrade.

Joey, Jeffy and Jamie are alarmed by Quinn's tales of her GA. They eventually figure out that it's some old dude who follows her around everywhere - even in the shower. That pervert! At the party, they think Mr O'Neil might be Quinn's GA and try to take it outside. Upchuck meets Ashley Amber and is intrigued by the idea of an Older Woman, but she drifts away and tells Jane that the party is for Brittany because she's become an honour student.

Meanwhile, things go from bad to worse for Quinn. She spills her soda on her new pants and Sandi mockingly hopes that nobody will think she had an accident. Trying to rub out the stain, she leans on Mystik Spiral's mixing board and accidentally causes the glass bullhorn to smash. She runs out of the party in tears.

Back at home after the party, Quinn is still inconsolable at the thought that her GA has deserted her. Daria, astonishingly, caves. She suggests that maybe the GA had better things to watch out for than a pair of pants and a useless, overpriced glass ornament. Eventually, Quinn resolves that maybe she can handle all the little things herself without her GA's help, while knowing that he'll be around for the big stuff when she really needs him. Helen then gives Daria great credit for putting aside her own strong beliefs to be sympathetic to the beliefs of others.

L2: A toxic sibling suggest Aunt Nauseam - sort of a continuation of I Don't, but with a more upbeat conclusion. Helen is on the phone with her sister Rita, much to Jake's dismay. Jake relays to the just-arrived Daria that her cousin Erin is getting a divorce. Quinn is annoyed that she wore that bridesmaid's dress for nothing at the wedding. As Rita was always Mother's Favourite, her relationship with Helen has always been rocky. Helen explains that she doesn't handle divorces, but there's an associate in her firm who'd be perfect. But the insinuation that Mother would take Helen's passing off the divorce to a mere associate badly, along with Rita's assurance that it will be the simplest divorce in the world, convince Helen to agree to handle it herself.

Helen tries to prepare Quinn and Daria for Erin's arrival. Jake leaves off recipes from his Civil War Cookbook and prepares a pitcher of Martinis. The doorbell rings, and it's Rita, not Erin. Rita's apartment is being repainted, so she decided to come with Erin, only then Mother decided that Erin needed cheering up and sent her to Gstaad. This does nothing to improve Helen's mood. Jake drinks the whole pitcher of Martinis in a gulp. Presently, he tells Daria he can't take the fighting, and decamps, after arranging a code to tell him when it will be safe to return.

When Helen and Rita finally start to get something accomplished, Erin calls from Gstaad and speaks to Quinn, who commisserates with her about breakups. To keep things from going too smoothly, Quinn passes on a message from Erin, that she signed a prenup which will basically negate everything Helen's done and make the divorce one of the complicated kind that really ought to be handled by a specialist.

Quinn acts unlike herself, even suggesting to Daria at one point that they watch Gone With the Wind together. Tom is there for Daria, but she isn't up to more than the occasional pizza. With helen and Rita still at each other's throats, Daria calls in reinforcements in the form of her Aunt Amy, whose role in the Barksdale girlhood had been to hide in her room reading.

Before Amy arrives, Erin calls again. Brian has flown out to meet her in Gstaad, and the divorce is off. Rita and Helen try to reconcile by baking cookies, only to be fighting again by the time Amy gets there. Amy supports one and then the other, and is quickly sucked into the Same Old Fight as Always. Then Daria and Quinn finally establish peace by interrupting to reenact what they all were sounding like. But Amy's visit is not wasted; she at least explains to Daria that Tom wasn't butting in but was offering her his time. Daria explains this to Tom, who, being used to his family pretending problems don't exist, is fascinated, and only spooked when Daria can't go out with him that evening because she's going to watch Gone With the Wind with Quinn after all.

After the film, Quinn asks if they'll be having the same fight for the next thirty years. Daria replies that they'll use weapons. This dismays Quinn until Daria explains that her only weapon will be her winning personality and Quinn's will be her merciless silent treatment. Quinn starts to say she doesn't have... gets the point, and agrees to the deal. Jake forgets his code and isn't sure it's safe to come home.

L1: A LW completely stuck in childhood traditions? Camp Fear. Daria and Quinn are invited to the five-year reunion of the group with whom they were at Camp Grizzly. Quinn is thrilled. Daria has no intention of going until Helen tells her that, if she doesn't go, they could use her help cleaning the garage. Daria goes.

The sisters are transported by Trent and Jane. Trent is looking for inspiration, as Mystik Spiral is in a bit of a funk. Jane thinks they just all get on each other's nerves. Quinn, after talking non-stop, immediately on arrival meets up with her old friends Cindy, Tracy and Tatiana, who are exactly like the Fashion Club. Daria is immediately accosted by Amelia, who is so glad Daria came that Trent and Jane tease Daria about being popular before the self-proclaimed embodiment of camp spirit, Skip, shows up and Jane and Trent depart.

While Daria and Quinn are at camp, Trent and Jane get sucked into spending time with a couple who run a country store and ask them to try their experimental new potato chips that turn out to have no taste. This delights the couple, as they were making tasteless chips so that they wouldn't fight the dip.

Jake and Helen, meanwhile, clean out the garage. Jake gets depressed when he keeps finding vacation gear for trips they never took because Helen had to work. Finally he stumbles on some lingerie. Helen explains that that was for a surprise Valentine getaway she had planned one year, only then Jake had had a conference. As usual, one thing leads to another.

While Quinn and her friends relive how they never went on hikes and how much Quinn loved the game with the greasy watermelon when she and her friends would resist Skip's attempt to get them to chase after it, and would just wait to see who would bring them watermelon - Billy, Bobby or Benjy, Daria just tries to be alone. Unfortunately, Amelia sticks to her like glue. She turns Daria's statements about being an individual in the face of Skip's bullying people into group activities into a We. Hint after hint gets Daria nowhere. Finally she makes her point as bluntly as she needs to to get Amelia to go away.

Quinn was going to ride back after the reunion with Cindy, Tracy and Tatiana, but Cindy finds out that Quinn skipped out on the big campfire five years ago with Cindy's date, and tells Quinn to find another ride back. Meanwhile, at a big gathering, Mr Potts makes a short speech. Skip then is about to start spreading his annoying camp spirit when Amelia grabs the microphone from him. She gripes about how Skip had been bossing everyone around, and everybody had let him in order not to stand out from the group. But she won't take it any more, because of what one person told her about standing up for herself and being an individual - Daria. And somewhat to Daria's surprise, almost everyone in camp immediately joins in the overthrow while Skip blubbers to Mr Potts to make them stop and Mr Potts tells Skip not to make a summer camp his whole life.

When Jane and Trent arrive to pick Daria up, another girl is just telling Daria she'd never known Daria was so cool all along. Jane gets Daria's goat by asking if she can wear her Miss Camp Grizzly sash when they get home. On the way back, Trent makes up a song about the lame potato chips and Mystik Spiral has its inspiration back. Quinn in the meantime has been reduced to taking a ride home from Skip, trying to silence Skip's incessant rant.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12/15 - The Earthquake You Just Heard


No further comment required to the Prudecutor this week.

L4: Why on earth is LW4 asking if this is normal? Who cares? It is certainly the sort of thing that anyone tolerably well-read would have come across in fiction ere now. Recall The Hours. Not only does Clarissa keep remembering her summer spent with Richard and Louis at Wellfleet during which Richard began his tentative and ultimately failing experiment with Clarissa while Louis spent most of the summer having domestic accidents in reaction, Louis, back in New York for longer than he admits, tells Clarissa during his call at her flat of the last time he went out to see the house, which had been a property of his family's. There are also plenty of returns in Christie; the first that springs to mind is making Overcliff the setting of the denoument of Elephants Can Remember. And there is always the return to Styles for the poignant Curtain. These are just examples that spring into mind in the first fifteen seconds. Do we really need an hour's list?

As LW4 is almost certainly decidedly ill-read, then I'll say not to write to letter in question until it can express the sentiments proper to the situation, something which a bit of reading might assist.

As for the other letters, they all run on a common theme - seven letters, starts with D, common occurrence in daily life (this is not that hard)...

L3: LW3 is Charmian Nicholls, another old school friend to She Who Must Be Obeyed, but of a rather more august character than Dodo MacIntosh. From the moment of being first beheld, La Nicholls exuded an air of equine superiourity. The sense of awe which she had caused to stir in the breast of the young Hilda Wystan had remained dormant during the entire course of She's subsequent marriage. Recently bereaved after the death of her husband Charlie in Guildford, Charmian had dispatched to Hilda an imperious written command to deprive dear old dowdy Dodo of her usual Christmas visit and proceeded to install herself at Froxbury Mansions. There she imagined herself to be in the company of men named Harold or Howard, all the while bemoaning the toil-worn state of Hilda's hands and insisting that what Hilda most needed by way of a Christmas present was a brand new Crock-a-Gleem dishwasher. The curious ability of the odious Charmian to make her hosts want to impress her on her own appalling terms was a major determining factor in the uncharacteristic acceptance of the brief for the Fabians when they launched a private prosecution of Christopher Jago.

I advise LW3 to divorce her husband at once. If this marriage were going to work, he clearly would have converted before the wedding, and she would only have had to pollute herself in accepting the company of those members of his family who had had the good sense to convert along with him.

L2: LW2 is the annoying wife in Yes, Dear who continually insists on providing her husband not with presents that he might actually want or goes about openly saying he wants for months before the event but instead with New Experiences that He Would Never Have Sought For Himself. Bleah. But some people don't mind that sort of thing. Where LW2 crosses the line is in insisting that her husband demonstrate the same obsession. While LW2 has not yet crossed the line, she is headed in the distinct direction of turning out to be just like Veruca Salt. Or, if I am going to wish one LW to be childless, it will be LW2, who would probably turn in a Tiger Mother-worthy performance when declaring a child's birthday card useless and garbage for not being perfectly drawn and coloured.

I advise an immediate divorce, as clearly LW2 is the sort of person who will never be satisfied.

L1: I am convinced that people will completely miss the point on this one. LW1 is WAY too late making this decision. Now is not the time. The time to work on the issue was the instant LW1 realized that this could be Serious Husband Material. Could SHM get along with Cat?

This is the Linnet Doyle Lesson all over again in a slightly different guise. Linnet met Simon and felt an impulse to steal him from her dear friend Jackie. And, as Poirot later deduced, she ended up feeling a sense of guilt because the initiative for the breakup and realignment came from Linnet herself. She had everything life could offer while Jackie's life was bound up in one person. And, though Linnet knew this, she did not stay her hand at the psychological moment. And LW1 could easily, once falling in love with SHM became a feasible proposition, have determined then whether there would be any problem about coexisting with the cat.

I advise an immediate divorce - for the cat, who deserves better.

Moral: "I have often thought that if the Son of Man had known what he was starting he would have chosen to be born on a quiet summer's day when everyone was off on holiday on what the Timson family always refers to as the Costa del Crime."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

12/8 - Is It January Yet?

And here I thought the Prudecutor was a bit off on Monday. Why does she assume:

* the Quitting Father loved his non-son all his life

* that Australian transfer and his BF haven't already boinked?

* that Nosy-14-year-old's Daddy is necessarily not part of the problem (and why does she let the poster late in the chat get away with suggesting that it might just possibly be the case that he isn't)

* the betrayed former friend necessarily wants to consider the LW dead (not that there's an easy fix)?

Then we have today. One is tempted to assume excessive consumption of eggnog.

L1: I rather wish this letter had been sent during Homocentric August, which would have given shape and substance to it. But the nearly-total lack of detail provided is potentially refreshing. It reminds me of The Herb of Death, in which Dolly Bantry, when her turn comes to tell the story of a mystery during her dinner party, claims that she can't tell a story properly. She simply relates that, when she and Arthur were part of a house party, some foxglove leaves were gathered as sage and served at dinner, with the result that a girl died. When pressed that there must be more to the story, Dolly simply answers that of course there was more, but, if she told them, they'd know what it was. It remained for the story to be pieced together through a few rounds of Twenty Quesntions.

Even though there is surprisingly limited scope to what one could conceivably tell LW1 to do, I am quite irritated by the Prudecutor here. It is not just entirely because of LW1 professing to love the two people in question the best in the world, and what this might mean, which the Prudecutor chooses to ignore. It is more her blithe assumption that LW1 must, of course, want to salvage her relationship with D1, however easily she might be able to write off H1 as a bad egg. Making groundless excuses for one of two adult and presumably equal partners in a horrific action? That is not appropriate for the Prudecution, however entertaining it might be at times when such conduct is required of defending counsel. But this letter does bear out the rule about not asking one's client questions with potentially embarrassing answers. One could present this case however one liked.

L2: It might be wise to separate the in-law from the grandparent portion of the complaint.  H2 is already on shaky ground here for not stepping in if his parents have really been treating LW2 like dirt all these years (instinct suggests a genuine difference of opinion on the issue, left unresolved). As to whether GF2 is a Molestor with a capital M or not, that probably only matters in terms of degree. Unwanted contact is unwanted contact, and it might be particularly important (despite discomfort with gendering here, but society will have a considerably say in the opposite direction) to make it quite clear to a young daughter at as early an age as possible that she has every right to refuse unwanted contact. As society will teach this to her brother perhaps rather in the opposite direction, I can live with a slight extra emphasis to girls about being able to refuse unwanted contact and a slight extra emphasis to boys about being able to accept welcome contact.

I'm going to put this situation about halfway between Cracker and Heathers. In One Day a Lemming Will Fly, a young teen boy is seen at the beginning being chased through the woods. A little later, a woman is being chased through the same woods, but that turns out to be part of a romantic escapade. It happens that the trysting pair happens upon the spot where the boy has been hanged. They quickly leave the scene. The woman eventually phones the police, and stalls for some time about her lover's identity, as they are both Married to Others. DCI Bilborough, whose wife is at nine months and overdue, goes off on the man, screaming at him that, when a child is in trouble, you go to him, not run away. Later, Penhaligon is a bit miffed by his ticking her off about her relationship with Fitz when he's on the phone to his wife or their neighbour every five minutes, only to be informed by Jimmy Beck that Katrina had been pregnant before and lost the baby. As applicable to LW2, be not thou scared off by Imperious In-laws.

LW2 falls somewhere between there and the sad example presented at Heather Chandler's funeral. While this event may be best remembered for Heather Duke's triumph, it concludes with the beginning of the end for Kurt and Ram when one of the two dweebs accidentally steps on Ram's foot. When called out, he responds with a rude gesture, inciting a spot of homophobic retaliation. What LW2 does not want to do (nor does her husband) is to emulate the other dweeb, who can just bring himself to stammer out, "L-l-let him go, Ram," to no particular effect.

L3: The Purdecutor is probably more off base here than anywhere else. She treats SF3's painting as a casual hobby when it is in this case much closer to if not actually a profession, even if SF3 does not paint for money. At least the Prudecutor is not a judge. One might well recall the surprise and indignation shown by Mr Injustice Gravestone when, during the examination of the nurse in the case of Regina versus Lady Perdita Derwent, it was revealed that the defendant was sitting topless among the family, and the incompetence of Soapy Sam Ballard in failing to point out that such had been quite customary for a woman in the act of posing for her husband Sir Daniel, highly esteemed in the Royal Academy.

While it might be possible to make a case of some interest concerning whether the no-longer-young-and-lithe might make acceptable models as well, the Prudecutorial suggestion of GFM3's tearfully pursuing her housewifely duties each day feeling despised and rejected as SF3 paints one after another of a series of nubile nudies is quite laughable. Why would a Woman of a Certain Age want to pose for long periods of time, stiffening up her muscles and finding many of her various parts turning blue from cold? It's hardly the most glamourous of pursuits for the middle-aged.

Besdies, for all we know, it might have been GFM3 who suggested the idea in the first place. If GF3 were in the position of being able to use a bit of spare cash, GFM3 might have brought up the potentially awkward idea in the first place. Why not? It might be interesting to know if this is just an expensive hobby for SF3, if he had ever been a professional artist and sold his work, indeed if any pictures of GF3 might have been sold already and thus not been available to be shown to LW3, who really is almost in the position of being better off if he were to dump himself. I shall leave it to my good friend the Submariner to declare whether there is any justification in finding a frontal view more disturbing than a rear view.

It does seem a bit odd that this is a long-term relationship, given how LW3 is reacting. Presumably GF3 has been sitting to SF3 for the duration, and LW3 ought to have known before The Great Revelation that such had been the case. All things considered, I am forced to conclude that this, like the breastfed-5-year-old at the dinner table, is another of those issues that revolves entirely around patriarchal attitudes about the female breast. Accordingly, I punt on the answer and leave any formal declarations to the Submariner, a discerning gentleman of extensive experience and expertise.

L4: Another letter that would have been so well suited to August!

The initial reaction is that the blanket in question must just look severely offputting. Not that this ought to make a difference, perhaps, but I can see why it might. I wish LW4 had been a bit more precise about the nature and particulars of skeeved. It might also be interesting to know why, after LW4 was able to cope without the blanket for so long, he felt it necessary to bring it out again. It might be that it just enhances his life, but it could potentially signal that the relation has rather less of a halcyon quality to it than LW4 might maintain.

It might also be interesting to determine exactly what constitutes sitting with it. The mental image that springs to mind is very Linusian without the thumb-sucking. Now, holding and caressing one's blanket in a Linusian manner is perfectly harmless. One might suggest to any number of people who conduct relationships of various sorts with LW4 that the occasional comfort-taking does not impair LW4's capacity to function in the relationship. But one must make one exception. Most of the relationship LW4 has in life are not predicated upon the other party spontaneously developing and maintaining something that points rigidly at LW4 of its own accord.

It is at this point that I am finally going to gender my response. I propose to the Jury that BF4's objection to the blanket is that it makes him feel like a pederast. I shall disagree here with Mr Keenan, author of Putting on the Ritz. In one of his most Wodehousian scenes, Philip Cavanaugh, songwriter for Elsa Champion, infiltrates the office on her husband's yacht in search of incriminating documents (he finds mainly dominatrix-related porn, which will be highly entertaining but of little value to Peter Champion's enemy). On hearing someone approach, he hides under the expansive desk after discovering that his best friend (and, in this case, rival for the affections of Tommy Parker) Gilbert Selwyn (who'd wormed his way on as a crew member) is already there on a similar mission. The new arrivals are Peter and Elsa's younger sister Kitty. Peter and Kitty then proceed to enact Aphrodite Encountered by a Saucy Shepherd (which Philip has the great presence of mind to record) in a manner that suggests Shakespeare as played by Sir Laurence Olivier opposite Vivian Vance. It then become Kitty's turn to hide under the desk; Elsa arrives. Having sung better than ever during a preview of her upcoming Rainbow Room appearance, Elsa is in high spirits. When she notices Peter's inflamed state, she is encouraged to make romantic advances in baby talk. Peter's choosing to decline her advances in firm adult negatives spells firm trouble in the near future.

But here I will go out on a limb and suggest that a pederastic feeling is potentially more damaging to a same-sex relationship than an opposite-sex one. same-sexers, even those who frequent the company only of their contemporaries, have frequently to cope with unfair comparisons and being called Nasty Names in a way that is not required of those of the straight persuasion, even those who marry teenagers young enough to be their daughters or granddaughters. Now, again, in many concerns, one might just say, So What? But a friend or co-worker is not expected spontaneously to develop and maintain an object that will point rigidly at LW4 without manual assistance. The Prudecutor's response here is even worse than her response to L3, where the advice is just completely wrong. Here she is more reasonable in the end product, but the suggested tone is exactly designed to produce the wrong effect by infantilizing LW4 further.

There ought to be some sort of compromise. I'd hope that BF4 would be capable of seeing LW4, for instance, handle a small portion of the rebarbative blanket detached and carried as a talisman. I'd hope that that might be sufficient for LW4 - always assuming, of course, that the reasons behind the return of the blanket to active duty don't signal serious trouble in the relationship to begin with. Or perhaps the blanket could live in a certain location during particular hours and LW4 be allowed free usage the rest of the time? Or possibly BF4 might conceal his groans in consideration of some reciprocal indulgence?

Moral:  "There is an unwritten law of relationships, a law that all couples, gay or straight, ignore only at their peril:  When one partner requests sexual attention and elects to do so in baby talk, the other partner, if disinclined, must make sure when refusing to employ the same dialect. To decline, as Peter did now, in a straightforward and adult fashion is to add insult to injury and cause the loved one to retaliate by calling for an immediate and exhaustive dissection of the entire relationship with special emphasis on the issues of insensitivity and sexual unresponsiveness."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

12/1 - DP Bachelors

Well, I was just a bit premature in predicting major DP interest at Feministe. Two lengthy threads have emerged from the Monday chat. The first OP looked at the out-calling granddaughter and the breastfed-at-table 5-year-old. I rather gather that, if, as I said to my protege ten years ago, ninety would be the new fifty by the time he reached that age, that five is now the new three. (When I was five, I won the New York Lower Elementary Chess Championship and walked nearly half a mile to and from school unaccompanied as a matter of course, and now a majority of women seems to take it as entirely normal for a five-year-old to go to his mother, say, and I quote one such woman, "Mama, i tirsty," and get a quick zap from the maternal source.) In that thread, one poster wished for a discussion of Cut-off Husband of Formerly Abused Wife, and a new thread was created. Amidst all the proliferation of heat as it exceeded the quantity of light, I did find it interesting to see how quickly many posters jumped at the chance to label and assume about Other People's Marriages. It was not until post #256 that someone pointed out that the LW was not necessarily male, which made me think with enjoyment of the old Fray days. It will be food for thought, though, whether it was a good thing when there were a good many assumptions that will be borne up by almost every marriage one encounters.

On to Thursday, which is not a promising set of questions.

L1: This is a technical question. I almost always punt on technical questions. I'll say that LW1 irritates me. Even with a flimsy amount of justification, her obsession is grating. It might be interesting to know what her mother could say about the constant badgering, especially combined with the reticence observed with her father. And, as for the Prudecutor, what is up with nagging about finances? While financial preparation is all to the good, the case is not so extreme that daring to bring a child into the world in poverty is a capital offense. Oy.

L3: While gaining greater insight is all well and good, LW3, it might help to be certain sure that your affair was hurtful to his wife rather than just assume it. But what sticks out here is a considerable quantity of knowledge and remaining informed about him and his life. What is all that about? All right, you occasionally saw each other, and good for you that you could keep up the way you did. But why seek information about him on line? May be innocent; may be eerie. And what good might come to the wife instead of to yourself I've no clue.

LW3, if you really want to provide some comfort to W3, work out some anonymous way to send her a decent little chunk of money. She'll almost certainly need it. As for your not being able to contact and comfort his wife, just understand that this time It's Not All About You and accept it as better than a great many consequences that might have arisen from the affair.

L4:  Now, here I consider that LW4 gets hoist with, as it were, the Prudecutor's own petard. Who on earth invites the fiance of a close friend to a large holiday party out of looking forward to getting to know him better? That is exactly the sort of moronic drivel the Prudecutor is constantly pulling out of her wig and suggesting that people actually attempt to say with a straight face as if it were an accepted given that society only functions when people tell each other lies that are so blatantly obvious. This one is so obvious that even the Prudecutor picks up on it.

LW4, you clearly have no interest in getting to know your friend's fiance better, or you'd have invited him to a function conducive to the process. Do your friend a favour and dump her as disgustingly as you know how, so that she can be grateful not only to be relieved of the obligation to have to keep declining distasteful invitations all the time, but that she won't regret losing you as a frenemy.

L2: Surprised? Not that L2 has any particular question worth asking or answering, but there is a distinct parallel here. H2 is Walter Pret from Muriel Spark's novel The Bachelors, which concerns a large set of young or youngish or even not-so-young men in London, many of whom find themselves engaged from time to time, but almost none of whom want to get married, even the marriage-obsessed journalist, Matthew Finch. Walter Pret is a sort of enfant terrible. He sits around in bars, crashes parties or overstays his welcome at hostess' homes, rambling on about his invented upper-class and artistic past, cadging "loans" or asking waitresses to cash checks against policy, taking great offence at imagined slights and making out how terribly uncivilized all bachelors are. Despite his snow-white hair, one really has no idea how people put up with him. He has, however, one great advantage. He is unmarried. H2 is not. Think about it.

Moral: "We all pee in sinks and break women's china cups!"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

11/23 - Super Quickie

As promised.

L1:  Ummm... Topical letter is topical? Far be it from me to go insisting that a LW report abuse, but really this one seems to be dragging the bottom of the barrel for reasons to avoid doing so.

L3:  One thousand dollars for a sense of loss over an item that had been sitting unregarded for forty years? We need not even say anything about the markup. It really is a bit too ridiculous to justify giving this letter serious consideration. On a smaller scale in reverse, it reminds me a bit of Mansfield Park when William Price leaves Mansfield. Mrs Norris, who, having begun her career of conjugal felicity on very little less than a thousand a year, had found herself forced to "economize" in widowhood after having always had a close and grasping relationship with cash and other goods (her portion in the great expense of raising her sister Price's daughter having been confined to the writing of the letters while it was her sister Bertram who dispatched money and provided Fanny with bed and board and her appropriation of the green baize curtain after the abandoned theatricals spring to mind), congratulates herself on having given William "something considerable," which pleases Lady Bertram. It is open to interpretation how genuine Lady Bertram is being when she proclaims herself pleased by her sister's "considerable" gift, having herself given William only ten pounds (Sir Thomas said ten pounds would be sufficient). Mrs Norris, appropriately, reddens.

L4:  Oh, good grief, how on earth did any child ever survive without his hands being sanitized seventeen times an hour for hundreds of years? And what on earth is the Prudecutor doing invoking Oscar Wilde, of all people? Does she hold that Mr Wilde was indulging in something in his writing that strikes her as the equivalent of spitting on a slide? Does she think he was so in love with his own wit that he would automatically find even his most juvenile output to be the wittiest thing ever written? I am absolutely convinced that there is a definite insult intended, and I would protest at considerable length had I time.

L2:  Well, LW2, who died and made you Cleopatra? or Quinn Morgendorffer? Is it possible that all your husband's intellectual energy is so completely taken up in being such a good husband to you in so many ways that, when the hour of leisure arrives, he has nothing left for anything more intellectually challenging than forms of entertainment so well suited to simpletons? That a wife and mother should have enough intellectual wherewithal left over to be ready, able and willing to discuss geopolitics at the dinner table suggests an inequality in the proportion of effort the participants contribute to the marriage. At the very least, LW2 appears to accept all that H2 does as her/his due (as evidenced by feeling cheated out of stimulating intellectual conversation) without listing anything by way of reciprocation. And what on earth H2's childhood has to do with L2's problem?

Now for the Prudecutor. Why is the probability that LW2 can't do any better than H2 on the open market supposed to convince her that a relationship she finds intolerable ought not to be chucked? But, mainly, what on earth is up with the assumption that ALL EGGHEADS ARE TERRIBLE IN BED??? There was just a lovely thread on Savage Love with discussion of false dichotomies, including comments concerning the idea that one could be strong intellectually or emotionally but not both. This is too bad, as the Prudecutor was actually in much better form in her conclusions than usual. Sadly, such a bloomer wipes out a lot of credit.

As for the situation, I have been in a situation similar to that of LW2's in that most of the things I'd particularly enjoy discussing in great detail might be of interest to perhaps seven people out of every severy billion. Had I ever had LW2's requirement of someone who would share all my dearest interests, I'd never have Retired From Romance as I'd never have started. But LW2 manifests a distinct incapacity to take interest in other pursuits, which signals to me a distinct intellectual failing on her part. In fact, I shall build on this and diagnose that this is why she married someone in the first place who did not provide her with her usual strongest turn-on. I surmise that LW2 wasn't up to her intellectual companions. Because she could not keep up with them, she married someone who could never make her feel inferiour. And now here are all her chickens, back home and roosting away.

Moral:  "You mean you can't take less," said the Hatter: "it's very easy to take more than nothing."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

11/17 -Still Ill, Thus Brief

This week one may witness an attempt to dispose of the letters as quickly as possible.

L2:  LW2, what on earth makes you think you're such a special snowflake? Count yourself lucky, dear LW2. For many people, if not most, the holidays provide miserable experiences in the form of visits with relations who don't quite meet a generally recognized reasonable standard for being dumped. Of course, this would not prevent those of true steely resolve from avoiding them, but people will be sheep and then bleat about it afterwards. As for what to do at the time in question, it seems the ideal time to read a lengthy work of history.

L3:  LW3, why add the most telling piece of evidence to the catalogue of sins as if it were an afterthought? LW3 strikes me as the sort of person who would be right at home in The Lion in Winter. The lead complaint is rather a weak one, followed by a stronger objection to car waxing. I shall recuse myself for the portion of the question concerning car waxing, which borders too closely on the technical. And finally, as an aside, comes the real bomb, that H3 thinks F3 would date him if he were single. What sort of revelation is that? I'd advise an instant divorce, except that I don't like either LW3 or H3 enough to think that either party deserves to be allowed to part.

L4:  Wouldn't it be delightful to use LW4 and LW1 in a remake of No Exit? I'd advise LW4 to regard problems in light of their difficulty rather than their magnitude. I'd also advise LW4 to watch Metropolitan, with particular regard to how Tom is finally persuaded to set aside his "principled stand" that he shouldn't go to any more deb parties because of The Less Fortunate by Nick's argument that, to many people, Tom himself is TLF. But back to the point of difficulty-versus-magnitude, many smallish problems with limited impact are rather more difficult to solve than various more serious and permanent problems, such as, say, leglessness. Recall Hercule Poirot in The Clocks finding three pieces of orange peel in his umbrella stand, or Miss Marple's occasional references to Miss Wetherby's gill of peeled shrimps.

L1:  LW1 comes across as if (s)he expects life to be like Gossip Girl, with herself as some sort of Queen Bee whose glory and magnificence fills others with awe and deference, or perhaps Heathers with herself as the interchangeable chief Heather, or maybe some cross between the two. (Only one gender-indefinite is used as the letter seems to meet a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard even if it falls short of beyond reasonable doubt.) I am at least provisionally willing to accept her assertion about her hard work. But there is a definite air here of Eau de Zero-Sum. I also get a sense of the skit from when Chris Evert hosted Saturday Night Live, in which Nora Dunn portrayed Martina Navratilova, following Chris from one new post-tennis career to the next, always with the claim, "I missed the competition!" (Stefanie Graf - and those who like such things should search out her picture in character as Smurfette for this Hallowe'en - might reasonably have taken issue, but so it was.)

But now I get to tangle with the Prudecutor, always the best part of any week. Why on earth not convey to others that LW1 works so hard to maintain her good looks? Many women make quite a system out of doing exactly that. It can be cloying when overdone, but for some it's workable. And the Prudecutor's assertion that her looks should look effortless? Entirely wrong. If people, particularly women, are going to spend all that time on their looks instead of on less patriarchy-pleasing accomplishments, it is doing the world a service to make that readily apparent. For instance, to use a generally male example, there are people who actually find those with a body-builder-like appearance unattractive, as such a person clearly exceeds the maximum gym time such a chooser would find acceptable. But at least built-body types are usually only too pleased and proud to appear just as they are, which saves everybody time and effort. Imagine the repetitive disappointment of going on a dozen first dates with people who seem quite as one would like only to find out time after time that each averages six hours a day in the gym.

As for what LW1 should do (besides go cry to LW4?) - accept human nature? make as much quic money as possible and invest it soundly before it's too late? start her own company? (I am not really trying all that hard to care.)

Moral:  "I talk people and you answer back in provinces." "They get mixed up."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

11/10 - Almost the Highest Marks

Astute readers will not need a hint to guess which LW almost gets a seal of high approval this week.

L1:  First things first. How could LW1 possibly have been curious enough to investigate the emails from the unknown source (and which of us truly knows ALL his or her siblings' email accounts? That is a weird assumption in and of itself.) and find what would appear to be evidence of a half-sister but not curious enough to follow up on the discovery with the other parties involved? Does she truly believe with all her heart that D1 will just yield at the first question and  tell her the complete truth? As Brett Somers would say, Good Gravy Marie!

While it might not be irrational to assume that a period of some marital lack of harmony might have had something to do with the conception of an extramarital child, what other evidence is there to support LW1's apparent leap to the conclusion that her assumption of a happy marriage must be voided in entirety? As for M1, how far can LW1's judgment be trusted? It certainly appears as if she has a skewed idea or two there. It might be possible that the whole situation is arranged for M1's benefit, or that M1 has come to terms with what is in some way or other. As far as LW1's faith in marriage and relationships, it's just as well that this is all exploded before the wedding rather than after, as that sort of faith would be. It seems that there are certain tests that must be run, and somebody will have to make them happen, but it would have been most useful had LW1 followed through with the Other Family.

A couple of quickies for the Prudecutor. "surely you long ago realized that is a perilous position and you don’t want to be that kind of wife." Really? Where on earth does the Prudecutor get that idea? It certainly appears that LW1 had every intention of replicating the marriage that she thought was so happy, with the possible exception of financial dependence, but that might well be more along the line of wistfully wishing for the June Cleaver life as something outside of C1's financial grasp. And the Prudecutor takes a long time to mention the fiance, saving him for the last sentence and making a cryptic remark which one might interpret as doubt about his utility in the affair. I'd have grilled LW1 rather more about how F1 has taken the revelation and supported her thus far. There might be some sort of indication there, though I suspect LW1 has kept it all swept under the rug.

L3:   LW3 needs to watch Shirley Valentine. That was, after all, what set everything in motion. Shirley's neighbour Gillian, about to travel to Brussels, asked Shirley to feed her bloodhound the one time Gillian's mother couldn't. Stopping off before bringing her shopping home, Shirley sympathized with poor Claymore when he didn't touch his muesli. And there was her husband's steak in her shopping bag. Claymore got a treat, Shirley broke the Eleventh Commandment by not giving her fella steak on a Thursday, Joe refused to eat chips and egg, and Shirley got up the nerve to decide to accompany Jane to Greece.

How LW3 and R3 get along, how LW3 wants to get along, what LW3's attitude is both on the surface and a bit deeper about the dog; these all affect what LW3 might offer in the line of accommodation. How much or how little LW3 is willing to do is what it is. It may seem slightly unreasonable to move in to a place with a dog owner and expect never to lift a finger, but R3 can't really expect anything beyond common courtesy. What R3 expects and whatr LW3 reads into the situation may be interesting to reconcile.

L4:  What is it with all these waiting-until-marriage virgins lately? There's been a much better debate flowing lately in Savage Love. And why must all these virtuous waiters be so disingenuous? But the solution is simple. Get F4 way too drunk to perform until C4 is safely installed post-honeymoon in their new home. Besides, who on earth wants the First Marital Time to be in some hotel? If C4 really are both virgins, would it not have far more meaning for them to have their first time in their own bed in their own bedroom in their own home?

L2:  Now LW2 has chosen for her charges the interesting aliases of Elizabeth and Emma. Astute readers do not require a prize for guessing which Author of High Repute LW2 has been reading of late. However, I must dock LW2 slightly for a discrepancy in her choice of characters.

Elizabeth Bennet is a fine choice. We see many examples of how her parents elect to conduct their marital felicity. They are the closest of all Austenian couples to the example set by MC2. But Emma Woodhouse, whose mother (whose marital relations were vastly different from those with which we are presented in L2) we never see, and who is above all devoted to her father? That would be the difficulty of selecting Jane and Elizabeth for the daughters' aliases, as Elizabeth Bennet is also sincerely attached to her father. Perhaps Kitty and Lydia might have been better choices.

As for what LW2 ought to do, I suspect that the clever solution would be to drop a subtle hint in the ear of the D2s about how LW2 herself had told someone in authority all about her own troubles at home at their age and it solved all her problems. The D2s won't know if it's someone who will be required to have a word in the shell-like of an experienced Social Worker.

Moral:  "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

11/3 - From the Sickbed

Very short address during flu time, then back to bed:

L1:  It's interesting that LW1 selects the Prudecutor, and also that (s)he goes from fantasy into thinking of an Affair. Perhaps there is something to the idea that a lifetime of One Partner Only if tossed deserves something more than a One Time Pickup. As for what to do, it may seem like the greatest idea in the world to open up the marriage, especially if LW1 is male.  But it would be prudent to beware.  Many is the man who has convinced his insufficiently thrilling wife, even against her inclination, that they should See Other People, only to find out, when they are both actually on the market, that she's become the Belle of the Ball while he can't even Buy a Vowel, so to speak.

L2:  LW2, used to stringency, can't cope without it - vaguely reminiscent of how Fanny Price has to fly the flag of Moral Uncompromise alone once Edmund Bertram wanders off into the laxity brought about by his increasing attachment to Mary Crawford. But one thing to consider is that, given LW2's sense of panic surrounding each individual email, if (s)he has not been singled out for criticism from the new employer, it's likely that (s)he might have to work far harder to lose the post than (s)he now realizes. At least LW2 ought to be able to address the situation and a cure at leisure.

L3:  Evidently LW3 needs to be in a situation where it is not required to give 5,347 reasons for everything one does. The Prudecutor's suggestion of a soup kitchen will do as well as any other. And Nancy's mother may well come in useful later. Should it turn out that LW3 and Nancy turn out to be closeted lesbians, they ought to be able to blackmail RM3 into giving them the wedding of their dreams should they ever decide to come out. One or two pieces of evidence suitable for blackmail are always useful to have in the back pocket.

L4:  If LW4 really thinks any worthwhile 14-year-old is blissfully unaware of her and H4's little habits, then maybe (s)he has been smoking a little bit more often than (s)he realizes. In fact, I'd be more concerned for the state of his wits if S4 were to be verified to be completely unaware of what's been going on. And there is for LW4 one bit of consolation if (s)he genuinely, as the Prudecutor guesses, wants the kid not to grow up to be like Daddy. There has been no noticeable unexplained diminishment in H4's stash. And I suppose it quite likely that the child of a Stoner would go through at least an extended period of being extremely Straight Edge.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

10/27 - Good Grief

Alas, the thread I predicted last week never came to be. Perhaps people have yet to recover fully from the last one. Today will be on the quick side.

L1:  This does not remind me so much of the Borgias as of Agatha Christie. Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple both on occasion attempt to prevent a crime, usually without much success, although, in Wasp's Nest, Poirot does manage to prevent a suicide that would have appeared to be murder. He also manages to prevent a murder in Yellow Iris. It is rare, though, for the warning to come so directly. The closest example to that of L1 is when Poirot overhears a bit of the conversation between Raymond and Carol Boynton in which Raymond insists their stepmother has to be killed.

Warning off the perpetrator might at least be have a better chance of working than warning off a murderer, as Poirot tries to do in Triangle at Rhodes. After all, as Miss Marple explains in A Christmas Tragedy, warning the victim rarely meets with much belief, and warning off the killer only results in the plan being delayed and attempted elsewhere. At least in LW1's situation, the plot must unfold in one particular place. The difficulty with whistleblowing (besides the ramifications which make this veer into the land of a Technical Question), though, is that the timing is so critical. I prefer an attempt at sabotage. As Miss Marple explained when she related how she knew, as soon as she saw Mr and Mrs Saunders, that he intended to kill her, the key was to force him to attempt the murder in a way of her own choosing. Unfortunately, he struck before she could devise and implement her plan, although she did have better luck in A Caribbean Mystery.

L2:  So, the Prudecutor would have everything undone at the end of the parents' time, which would also, in a way, punish the children for the sins of their parents? Then too, the Prudecutor's plan is redolent of a lack of charity, which, neatly enough if one takes that perspectives, manages to circumvent and offend the memory of the parents in question. Not that there is anything wrong with that per se, but can LW2 and H2 do better? One might also indulge in the typical cross-examination as to why this letter is not being written by the participant affected. But this is already well familiar.

The answer is for C2 to set aside some portion of their charitable giving (LW2 is of the oily sort who probably prides herself on her charity, however coldly in spirit it is offered, but cold charity works well in this case). After all, charity begins at home, does it not? Set aside a little fund for the benefit of H2's nieces and nephews, who will very likely need it, given their parents profligacy. Then, in the time to come so happily anticipated by the Prudecutor, who really seems highly likely to have some sort of parental issues of her own, C2 can dole out charity to their nieces and nephews while making their disdain for H2's siblings most clear.

The parallel is partially to John Gabriel Borkman, in which Gunhild attempts to drive a wedge between her son Erhart and her sister Ella (who alone emerged financially unscathed when JGB's great swindle was discovered) by reminding Erhart of how the very roof over their head was a matter of charity from the aunt who had raised him after the scandal, trying to make him subconsciously substitute charity for love. But my main thought is of Mr and Mrs Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Not only does Darcy consent to marry into the same family as the old acquaintance who had attempted to ruin his sister, he even assists Wickham considerably in his profession and financially. Elizabeth also receives Lydia on occasion at Pemberley. The Bingleys are imposed upon to an even greater extent. If that paragon, Mr Darcy, can forgive a rather greater crime, H2 may be able to rise to the occasion. Of course, one might also ask if LW2 will permit him to do so...

L3:  I am getting a vision of Helen Montressor in One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, telling Alastair Blunt that she does not want to accept invitations to the house while his American relations (who snub her) are staying with him. Of course, she is maintaining a secret identity, so that we might let that pass. But one could perhaps cross-examine all the parties involved as to why LW3 is so torn between the two of them. What was the struggle that resulted in Leah's victory over Sarah? After all, Leah is LW3's best friend, while Sarah is just close. My guess is that LW3 is really quite enjoying the situation, and only wants to make more of it than she can do decently at present. That she wants to force these two together during a time when she will be convalescing from surgery is most telling.

It might well serve LW3 right if Leah and Sarah actually ended up becoming quite chummy. Think of My So-Called Life. In the Self Respect episode commentary, Winnie Holzman and Claire Danes remark upon the moment when Angela finds Sharon and Rayanne conferring in the bathroom, Ms Holtzman remarking on the shock of discovering that two people who are in separate boxes in one's life are coming together outside of them and have an independent relationship of their own, a reasonable observation (although I can never forgive them for giggling about making out later and drowning out Mr Katimsky's best line that finally convinces Rickie to sign up for Drama Club). In the Christmas episode commentary, when Sharon grows desperate and invites Rayanne to join her at the Teen Help Line on Christmas Eve, Wilson Cruz (for whom that extraordinary episode was largely Art Imitating Life) suggested to Ms Holtzman that the Sharon-Rayanne friendship might have been a forerunner for that between Elphaba and Galinda (though he doesn't specify that Ms Holtzman was one of the driving forces in the Broadwayfication of Wicked).

L4:  This is actually my favourite letter of the week. Do not blame on any account the innocent cats. In the main, though, I'd like to cross-examine LW4 about why she's writing any letter at all here. Does she really expect anyone to believe that what she asks is her real question? What difference could any possible answer to the question of how F4 could have failed to notice the wet spot make? And now, what is her difficulty? Her friend no longer stays over, which is a plus for LW4 rather than a minus. As the logical assumption is that she really wants to dun her XF4 for the $155, why doesn't she just come out and ask the real question instead of flitting about as she does?

I am reminded of the charming independent film Grief, the cast of which includes Craig Chester, Illeana Douglas, Jackie Beat and Alexis Arquette. The setting is the offices of a low-budget Divorce Court knock-off called The Love Judge, with producer Jo (JB), writers Jeremy, Paula, Bill (AA) and Mark (CC), and aspiring secretary Leslie (ID). Mark, bereaved for nearly three years after the death of Kenny, has a crush on Bill, despite Bill's having a girlfriend, Kelly. But Bill is also having a fling with Jeremy. With not many places to go and various people they don't want to hurt, Jeremy and Bill amuse themselves by trysting on the couch in Jo's office. Eventually, Jo finds a stain on the cushion, and thinks that Mark might be behind it, as their relationship has cooled since Kenny's death. Leslie, deputed to get it cleaned, eventually reveals, when Paula asks how to get out such a stain, that she has no idea, and just flipped the cushion over to the other side.  But the stain comes in handy, finding its way into the centre of the plot of the Circus Lesbians episode.

Moral:  "It was SEMEN, Your Honour!"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

10/20 - Make Way for Feministes

We finally get a batch of letters that constitute a slight improvement over the usual lot recently. I predict that the first letter may well start a most interesting thread at Feministe, where there was recently a good discussion of the letter from Virgin-Seeks-Same's-Misleading-Fiancee. Some posters appeared to be the type of judge who would think decapitation a fitting punishment for a non-renewed dog license, but degree is not always the easiest think to settle. Some time before that thread, they had a long thread about adoption, in which it seemed that there might have been a plurality opinion that adoption is "worse" than abortion. (I can see easily enough how there might be a higher likelihood of regret among those who choose adoption than among those who choose abortion, but not all regrets are equal, and it is not easy to weight the positive outcomes.) That would seem to bode not-so-well for LW1's sister, but LW1 is S*-shaming, which should make for quite an interesting thread.

L3: He still has patients? This reminds me of Miss Marple in They Do It With Mirrors, in which she recounts how Edgar Lawson reminds her of a young dentist in practice with his father. When the old man's hands began to shake and patients preferred the son, he was so upset by how this hurt his father's feelings that he began to act drunk. Unfortunately, instead of their going back to the father, they went to the rival dentist. Not a very close analogy, but this is really a technical question.

L4: Some credit to the Prudecutor for recognizing that Disneyland is the root of all evil, although at least the original is vastly superiour to the Florida knockoff. If it will make LW4 feel any better, I doubt her or his immortal soul hangs in the balance of this potential lie, but I am inclined to give LW4 a few props. Advertently or otherwise, LW4 has called to mind Ring Lardner's story The Caddy, to which I believe I have referred on a previous occasion. Our narrator feels put upon when bank executive Mr Thomas calls upon him to lie in order to earn his quarter tip, as if carrying the bag with five heavy wood clubs that haven't been used in twenty years weren't enough. He doesn't mind telling Mrs Doane that winter rules are in effect so that she can take a preferred lie as she smiles at him and calls him her pal, but later feels troubled when he kicks her ball out of a rut to help her win a dress in a bet rather than have to pay $50 for it. When he wonders to his fellow caddy why Mr Thomas and other bad golfers cheat, his friend takes the view that it's more that good golfers can't; if they take two putts on a hole and make a par 4, they can hardly claim a score of 3, whereas a hacker can turn an 8 into a 7 with much greater ease. Towards the end of the story, the club champion, who was beginning a nice little career at the bank, absconds with $8,000 and a blonde secretary. Our narrator hears Mr Thomas and the other luminaries of the club regretting how Charles Crane has sold his soul. But the narrator thinks he got a good deal out of it, comparing $8,000 and a swell blonde to Mrs Doane not having to pay $50 for Miss Rennie's dress, or Mr Thomas claiming a lower score in order to finish joint first net on the back nine of a club tournament instead of second, and therefore winning nine golf balls instead of six. But his friend counters that, if he were to point this out to them, they would retort that, when he lied about Mr Thomas taking four shots to reach the green instead of five, he was selling his soul for a $.25 tip, or, when he kicked Mrs Doane's ball out of the rut, for a smile.

Unfortunately, as for LW4 wondering whether to die on this particular hill or not, (s)he loses a great deal of credit. Ar Dr Schlessinger frequently pointed out, upon which hill one happened to be willing to die was a personal and independent decision, and there is no point in LW4 expecting the Prudecutor to tell her the answer.

L2: Here I shall not bring up much of an analogy, but I shall point out the one thing that stood out for me in this letter. The two leaders went to LW2 and asked LW2 to remove his/her daughter from the troop because the daughter made an unkind remark to one of their daughters. The Prudecutor completely misses the boat on this one. Clearly the line for LW1 to have taken would have been to ascertain the strictness with which said Zero Tolerance Policy for Unkind Remarks had been enforced on previous occasions. Actually, now that I think of it, it's a bit like the recent case in Texas in which a male high school cheerleader was kicked off the squad, supposedly over a same-sex kiss which appeared on a security tape (why the tape was viewed being open to interpretation) when pregnant cheerleaders somehow have not violated the school code of conduct for the squad (and we say nothing about opposite-sex kissers). It appears that the school is now claiming that the dismissal had nothing to do with the kiss and that the parents accept this (how much if anything this might have cost again being open to interpretation).

L1: Now, the Prudecutor was actually doing rather well. She had a little fumble early on, stating with her usual prude-coloured glasses firmly in place that S1 made her decision on the basis of the life she would want to give her child. Possible. Clearly not disproveable on what we have. But certainly it is an Unwarranted Assumption, which comes perilously close to steering the reader into sympathy with LW1. But she righted the ship amazingly well and then proceeded on quite a good course. LW1's opinion is irrelevant, appropriate language, the evils of LW1 as a caretaker, and No Birth Mother Unchanged (true enough if not absolute). So far, so good. Perhaps a bit could have been added to the reference to entitlement, as LW1's definition of the same was certainly rather curious. And then, at the critical moment, the Prudecutor could not help herself:

But her choice does leave me thinking that when the time comes and she is ready, she will be a wonderful mother.

How on earth can the Prudecutor feel at all confident in such an asseriton? At least she does not say that she knows this. It would have been reasonable to say that one might feel more confident than usual, if S1 maintains her stance against such strong opposition from LW1 and F1, supported only by BF1, that the decision is more probably the correct choice for her. Far better to have ended this letter with reflections on LW1's future character as an aunt.

In Miss Austen's day, open adoptions seemed if anything rather more common than they are now, although the children in question more often went to family connections and the legal ramifications were considerably more loose. One of Miss Austen's own brothers provided a case in point. The whole of Mansfield Park begins with and concerns a sort of open adoption, when Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram, urged by Mrs Norris, agree to undertake the raising of their niece, Fanny Price.  And a closer example to the modern day is provided in Emma. While we not only have the secondar example of Jane Fairfax being raised by her father's friend Colonel Campbell, there is the case of Frank Weston being so avowedly adopted by the Churchills as to take their name. The practice raises dual opinions in the bosoms of John and Isabella Knightley when, some twenty-odd years later, Frank sends his father's new wife a handsome letter on the occasion of the marriage. Isabella cannot imagine a child being taken from parent and home, and, while she is puzzled that Mr Weston could have borne to part with the little boy, she mainly cannot think well of anyone who could propose such a scheme. John counters that noone ever thought well of the Churchills, but his main opinion is that Mr Weston could not have felt what Isabella would have done in giving up one of her children.

Moral:  "Mr Weston is rather an easy, cheerful-tempered man, than a man of strong feelings:  he takes things as he finds them, and makes enjoyment of them somehow or other, depending, I suspect, much more upon what is called society for his comforts, that is, upon the power of eating and drinking, and playing whist with his neighbours five times a week, than upon family affection, or anything that home affords."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

10/13 - Voyaging Through

As much as I might enjoy cross-examinging the woman from Monday who began healthier habits that led to weight loss shortly before her boyfriend commented that her body type wasn't his preference, that would take far too long.  I find I am still unsatisfactorily able to get back into full swing.  Apologies in advance.

L1:  Now here's a couple who clearly have at least one point of compatibility - they both have some foresight, but rather a limited quantity.  As they are so well matched in this regard, it seems almost a shame to advise them that Divorce is by far the easiest solution to their problem, although parting is certainly vastly more convenient than either of the parties changing his or her views.  And a divorce ought to mean a brief from LW1 for Mizz Lizz Probert, who did very well in Singleton v Singleton.  If LW1 does not have a proper contempt for H now, she most certainly will by the time Mizz Lizz is finished with her.

I might cross-examine LW1 on why she thinks that her statement of the respective viewpoints of herself (or, in all fairness, himself, as L1 never explicitly specifies) and H1 are something about which they necessarily need to agree to disagree.  How is being a pacifist and despising guns inconsistent with the belief that everyone has the right to keep and bear arms?  Such viewpoints will lead to difficulties in the application of reconciling them in a living situation, but it is perfectly possible to hold both beliefs.  The interesting thing here is that LW1 equates personal attitudes to what (s)he presents as H1's stance coming from his belief in a general or universal right.  Either this is a great incompatibility or LW1 doesn't really fight fair.

As for a solution, I have two - go the route of Solomon and let H1 have all the guns he likes so long as no bullet ever crosses the threshold, or follow the example of And Then There Were None (a much more politically correct version of the title than Ten Little Whatevers), in which Mr Justice Wargrave collects all the potential lethal weapons in the possession of anyone still alive on the island and places them in a silver chest, which is then placed in the plate cupboard.  He then gives the key of the chest to Lombard and the key of the cupboard to Blore (or the other way around).  Either way, this will have the hallmark of all the best compromises in satisfying nobody.

L2:  I suppose it seems reasonable to assume that someone who would carry large sums in cash would be the sort who would be comfortable with resorting to physical violence to settle a dispute.  I might again point out the desirability of a Divorce.  Lest anyone think I am merely touting for briefs on behalf of Mizz Lizz Probert, I point out as an unshakeable defence that LW2 and W2 are both dreamers, and it is well known that dreamers are unsuited to the real world of Actual Bodily Harm.  I could go farther and hold that anyone who gets The Wedding of Her Dreams invariably finds that life goes downhill from there.  But any marriage beginning with such a wedding is bound to have a hex on it.  And C2 need not stay divorced.  I pass without comment over the Prudecutor's strange display of what she takes for humour.

As for the cash, who cares?  It's a kind gesture not to cash IG2's check and send in that direction a donation more or less equal to the amount of CB2's gift to IG2, although that might be a tacit admission of guilt or responsibility, and could possibly end up costing LW2 and W2 more than either might care to undertake.  Being in a more than usually tasteful mood today, I shall refrain from inquiring with any solicitude into the question of whether CB2 is provided with adequate Defence Counsel.

L3:  Now we see the point of the entire column.  A gift of LW3's hair as a wig is something that gives the Prudecutor a mild case of the squicks; therefore, LW3 must channel the thought into some conventional effort that has considerably less meaning.  Typical.  Of course, why LW3 thinks that making such a gift as a surprise is so clever I've no idea.  It's too simple.  LW3 mentions to F3 that she (this letter does seem to have more in favour of the assumption that others, although it is not absolutely explicit) is planning to cut her hair.  F3 probably makes some remark about this, and LW3 asks if F3 would like her hair made into a wig.  The element of surprise could come in the form of LW3 already having looked into the practice.

L4:  I might have sided entirely with LW4 on this one, but the list of complaints is rather odd.  The complaint about there being no smoke alarms might have carried some weight if tied explicitly to the dangers of conflagrations on premises owned by near-hoarders.  But in combination with the unlocked doors (as if there were any need to keep intruders out of such a home), LW4 comes off as being extremely soapy, if not an outright priss.  The real damage has been done.  LW4 ought to have enforced on the occasion of the engagement (or at least the marriage) that P4s treat the new family with appropriate respect.  Consider the case of Susan Warrington in The Voyage Out.  Although a minor character who, along with her eventual fiance, Arthur Venning, is used as a sort of foil for the love story of more central characters, Susan, whose existence is established as that of a drudge in service to her aunt, finds an unexpected improvement in her lot on the occasion of her engagement.  The old tyrant shows such a respect for the married state that Susan's view of her prospects for the near future are considerably brightened.  A slight variation on this theme occurs in Death on the Nile, in which Cornelia Robson is liberated from her lot of being dogsbody to Miss van Schuyler.

Moral:  "Directly she became engaged, Mrs Paley behaved with instinctive respect, positively protested when Susan as usual knelt down to lace her shoes, and appeared really grateful for an hour of Susan's company where she had been sued to exact two or three as her right."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

10/6 - Why Consult the Prudecutor?

This week's crop is so poor that I cannot justify providing any of the letters with a parallel or a moral.

L1:  Why consult the Prudecutor?  Mr Savage would have provided LW1 with all the necessary justification and validation for continuing in his current line of conduct.  I'm not quite sure why the Prudecutor assumes that W1 "easily" climaxes (assumes facts not in evidence) or why she thinks that anyone content with sex once a month would consider her own climax a boon to her partner.  But those are minor points.

How certain is LW1 exactly that his wife would end the marriage over infidelity?  There seem to be a number of possible reactions, of which outrage, while valid, is but one.  She might resent the expenditure, and tell him to get a mistress instead.  She might be quite willing to outsource the majority of his sexual expression.  While it's not really kosher to present one's recent behaviour as a future possibility, it may be an option for initiating a discussion, little as I like it.

I am perhaps most interested in the Household Help sideline.  If memory serves, one could well recall that, for years, Women in Authority have told Husbands who wonder why they aren't Getting Any that a freshly done and folded load of laundry is the Finest Aphrodisiac in the World.  But the Prudecutor now gives this the lie, claiming that LW1's intent in relieving his wife of some of her burden being that it might lead her to be In The Mood more often negates the value of his activities.  Somehow, I don't think the Radical Sisterhood of Wives Who Already Know They Aren't Going to Give It Up is going to thank the Prudecutor for showing up their scam.

L2:  Why consult the Prudecutor?  This one's obvious - LW2 is more successful than the Prudecutor.  Any other columnist would likely talk down to him.  It might be entertaining to debate the relative nature of Success, but not with someone who so desperately needs to stack the deck.

L3:  At least one can see the case for LW3 consulting the Prudecutor (and LW4 as well, once we get there).  If I were going to provide a parallel, it might have to do with Fred Couples, who never liked answering the telephone, because somebody might be on the other end.  LW3 might not want to speculate too deeply about exactly what is going on in his son's home during the weekly telephone calls.  Or, then again, if he's of the creepy variety, perhaps he might.  I'm not sure why the Prudecutor thinks S3 should apologize beyond the obligatory Whoopsie for sending something to the wrong person.  But it might be enjoyable to cross-examine LW3 on why, if he has such a brilliant relationship with S3, he chose to adorn a message with the worst possible spin and have an instant snit.

L4:  And since when, LW4, does someone, even someone celebrating a birthday, merely decide with whom among her intended co-celebrants she intends to adopt the status of guest and inform the lucky recipient of her stay?  Here the Prudecutor has actually given an excellent imitation of a stopped clock and gotten one right.  The Tudors in particular were fond of a Royal Progress, and why not?  They were most economical - potentially ruinous to the lucky hosts, but that was always a secondary concern.  As for LW4's actual question, the obvious thing would be to have the boyfriend attend in drag.  Anything else is just too boring to contemplate.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

9/29 - Rather Short Answers to Rather Uninspiring Questions

One might get used to the new format at Slate over time, but the initial impression is not favourable.  It is probably fortunate that time was short today anyway; it suits the questions.

L2:  Then:  Sow.  Now:  Reap.

L3:  Two words.  Word 1:  Buh.  Word 2:  Bye.

L4:  Missing the following is a bit much, even for the Prudecutor:  "I can't fathom sending my kids to live with people who won’t even spend their time and money being more involved in our children’s lives."  LW4's defending barrister must be rather white in the wig.  Any counsel of discernment would never let such a witness take the stand.

L1:  The short answer is that this is why God in Her wisdom created Reconstructive Surgery.

What the Prudecutor is doing blathering on about genes, which have nothing to do with the case, I don't know - one could not even call it so much of a Rattling Good Yarn as the opening for the Prosecution when that provider of pure historical bilge water, Miss Amelia Nettleship, sued the Daily Beacon for libel.  There will be much debate about whether LW1 needs to find some way to forgive her mother or not, and I have an examplar for her to consider when she finds herself torn between the Scylla of loving forgiveness and the Charybdis of further separation.  LW1 should consider and perhaps follow the example of Marigold Featherstone.

It so happened that Marigold was away from the Featherstone abode in Knightsbridge when Sir Guthrie, after being savaged by the Court of Appeal for reckless comments when passing sentence in a case in which the conviction was reversed, sought consolation in inebriation at the Sheridan Club.  Upon leaving the Sheridan, he chanced upon the Bexley Heath Thespians, led by his old clark Henry from #3 Equity Court.  Invited to accompany the Thespians for a bit of a bop and lured to accept by the attraction's of Henry's new typist, Dot Clapton, Guthrie shuffled about the floor for a bit, called Dot Debby, and maundered on about the Appeal Judges.

The next day, Guthrie met the newly elected Claude Erskine Brown and guest at the Sheridan.  In order to cheer himself up still further and deflect attention away from the Court of Appeal, he told a tale full of Amourous Intrigue of how many young women - girls, even, prefer the slightly older male as a partner - in every sense of the word, relating how he struck lucky afterwards - in every possible way.  Unfortunately, this conversation was earwigged by one Toby Harringay, a habitue of the bridge club frequented by not only Marigold but also She Who Must Be Obeyed, to whom the old earwig related the entire tale before he could recall the name of the lascivious judge involved.

Of course, She wasted no time in relating the treacherous tale to the mortified Marigold, who confronted the groveling Guthrie over breakfast, telling him that Little Miss Whatsit was perfectly welcome to his attentions, such as they were.  Did that mean she forgave him?  Well, she could hardly do that when he went blabbing about it at the Sheridan Club.  Guthrie then thought that Marigold would leave him.  But a big No to that also.  That would make it far too easy for him.

Marigold, that Thinker Outside the Box, decided that she would stay at home and not forgive him.

Moral:  "But, Marigold - I appeal to you!"  "I'm sorry, Guthrie; you've lost your appeal."