Thursday, February 24, 2011

2/24 - Perhaps Soon to Require Counsel?

Here I was thinking that the most interesting case from Monday was the one of the LW with the adopting father, and we have yet another adoption-based letter today. One almost has to give Monday's LW points. To have so many legitimate concerns when a parent adopts and to miss all of them for some petty nonsense about Not Sharing Daddy? It's a bit like the speculation in *A Murder is Announced* that Rudy Scherz could hardly have been aiming at anyone in the dark drawing room if he fired shots and managed to miss everybody.

I wish we'd known whether the LW's mother died during the marriage, divorced or was never married at all. Each raises its own concerns. In any case, I'd be inclined to ascertain before the adoption that it was being chosen of the adopter's own free will and not in response to some sort of coercion. I am less inclined, though, to worry about such things as possible disposition of a late and much loved mother's personal effects than I am to ponder the nature of family blending. Personally I can't bring myself to feel anything on accountn of a blood tie and would question the general standard that seems evident among posters for the treatment of newly acquired siblings/grandchildren/etc. by marriage because I would not necessarily treat a blood relative so. One behaves to a certain standard and if anything closer develops naturally, grand. Perhaps because I don't feel blood ties I may be more inclined than might be entirely correct to over-credit those who find them essential. Ah, well.

L1: Well, apparently here we have in LL1 a follower of the Lady Catherine de Bourgh school of micromanagement, had Her Ladyship had the opportunity of a lodger in the basement. Or perhaps she resembles Miss Marple's neighbour Miss Hartnell, renowned throughout Saint Mary Mead as a great one for being industrious on behalf of The Poor, and for complaining to the vicar about the extraordinary ingratitude with which her efforts generally meet.

I'd ask LW1 why he didn't change quarters at once. He clearly finds something of interest in the situation, whether or not he ever has even a fraction of any intention to take up any offer LL1 might happen to make. And I think there is a good deal of significance in his selection of first question. So many people lead with their best point, or their original instinct, and his is to apologize for being naked in his own rented bathroom when shaving and about to shower. It makes me want to require him to shave while wearing a suit and tie.

There is a course of action open to him if his wife has a spirit of fun and adventure. Given the likelihood that LL1 will make advances, LW1 and W1 might agree on a preemptive strike. The one I like best is for some friend of the couple who will happen to be near LW1's lodging to call in his absence and pose as someone having an affair with LW1. This might stop LL1 from making advances. Or the more fun route would be if she decided to try her luck, and, when rebuffed, attempt to bring about an affair through blackmail, thinking herself safe in the knowledge of an illicit relationship which actually would never have existed. There could be some great fun there, especially if W1 were prepared to act her part.

Moral: I keep thinking of Lady Catherine de Bourgh venturing forth to scold the villagers into harmony and plenty.

L2: I'm a little surprised there is so little commentary about this letter, but it appears that people are far more interested in expressing their personal views on tattoos. I confess it might be rather amusing to cross-examine W2. Especially if she only "eventually" forgave her husband, it would seem rather risky for a child to begin its life so precariously situated. One might guess that W2 wanted a child herself and didn't really care all that much about her origins. It would be a bit much to suggest in Court, but there are likely even women who might consider it a plus to be spared the ordeal of pregnancy, even if they would not go so far as to countenance the affair. But certainly, although in the best light one could paint W2 as similar to Colonel Brandon, who from the best of motives allows himself to be generally considered to be the father of her sister-in-law's daughter, W2 certainly has LW2 properly gelded for the duration of the marriage. I shall accord her the honour due to any successful parent should it so prove, but she does not need my sympathy.

If I feel for anyone, it is BM2. Letting her adulterous lover and her lover's presumably resentful wife raise her child? That strikes me as far from everybody's cup of tea. In BM2's position, I should be terribly worried that my daughter would be raised quite aware of my existence and being filled by both husband and wife with tales of my perfidy. I should fear for the inevitable confrontation on the occasion of the child's majority. And LW2 is treating her ungraciously, when she could easily have just never told him of the pregnancy or claimed it wasn't his and had the child adopted elsewhere. Really, that strikes me as vastly preferably. I don't think I'd actually put her on the witness stand, as I suspect that LW2's unkind assessment might have enough truth in it to prejudice the Jury, but I do hope she at least got a decent used car out of LW2.

The main question, once again, is incredibly lame. Has LW2 really reached such an advanced age without being able to cope with impertinent questions? One wonders how he ever managed to have an affair. As far as D2 is concerned, chances are excellent that a golden opportunity for The Great Explanation will present itself. One presumes they live in the world.

Moral: I keep thinking of Ms Li gloating how her video coverage of the Lawndale High camping trip will get those extreme sports endorsers by the hacky sacks.

L3: Hurrah - I get to cross-examine the Prudecutor! And I am convinced that, even were I to act on a violent impulse leading to a trial at the Old Bailey, were even a single person on the jury so far up the Kinsey scale as 1, I should enjoy a triumphant acquittal after my moving speech about provocation.

Kindly provide, o Prudecutor, the slightest scintilla of evidence that LW3 is heterosexual. It matters not that you completely decline to answer the question, instead (remarkably reminiscent of the response one might expect from Dr Schlessinger) choosing to air your own prejudices. In the course of whatever I might happen to say, I shall not even mention my own views on the practice in question, recognizing their relevance as being virtually or genuinely nil. Secondarily, do you really want to pin your entire prudecution on the slim evidence of its being M3's own parents in querstion and not her in-laws? That's your best point, and it's a remarkably feeble one.


In the first place, should 25-year-olds be dating GIRLS (other than the ones acquainted with Ms Mermaid, who all apparently sought older dudes on purpose as the best way out of their unappreciated home lives)? In the second place, o Prudecutor, do you really want to leave your readers making the obvious inference that in your opinion there is nothing a non-heterosexual descendant can do to be a source of pride or by way of tribute in that line? Has your desire to forget that such a person as Mr Savage existed led you to wipe your memory clean of his venture into child-raising? Are you not usually the greatest cheerleader of regarding adopted siblings or grandchildren as every bit the entire equivalent of a twin or the grandchild long desired and planned for over the course of many long months as the perpetuation of the family name or genes, and willing to punish any and all who do not fall into line with providing full and equal treatment on every count? Have you not even sided with a LW in considering even adoption irrelevant and unnecessary in being willing to urge her to punish her in-laws for not paying more respect to her daughter than their own son, who had not adopted her, and did you not even go so far as to say that that LW's husband became her daughter's father on marrying her?

And I return to my original question. There is no evidence of LW3's heterosexuality or even bisexuality if you want to open that door. You can attempt to rely on the general proclivities of the population at large, but that's really no more evidence than assuming that any citizen of the United States is probably Christian or at least God-believing. If you want to go on anything actually in the letter, the closest you have to an indication is the LW's description of himself as a 25-year-old dude. Now, I cannot say what sort of person you might happen to know who would self-describe as such, but most of those of my acquaintance would likely belong to the community of skaters or others inclined to participate in the X Games (really they ought to be called the Y Games).

O Prudecutor, have you seen such a person, heard such a person or smelt such a person? While Mr White did go on record as wanting to date Ms Cohen during the 2006 Winter Olympics, one would be hard put to imagine anyone wishing less to make a favourable impression on those of the female of the species.

I rest my case.

Moral: I very nearly included, and I wish I had, a Match the Snarks question along the line of: Ms Libby said, "I wish I hadn't told the president of the Sex and the City Fan Club to date a skateboarder. Now she's all upset because he just [blank]ed her Manolo Blahniks."

L4: I was going to address this vital question, but the combination of oatmeal and tuna is making me too nauseous.

Moral: Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2/17 - Get Ready to Match the Snarks

How I wish I had the time to do a full-length episode - maybe some week in the future. I have just been given GSN on my cable system, and am now living in hope of completing my little collection of great moments in game show history. It so happens that some years ago the USA network reran the Scrabble series, so that I had the good fortune to record the four-day relationship between Chuck Woollery and three-time champion Terry Wray (Ray? One only heard the name and never saw it). I live in hope of seeing the episode of whichever Pyramid it was when Jack Klugman tried to list What Peter Pan Might Say only he got everything slightly wrong (even better than the time they gave William Shatner 30 seconds to see if he could switch chairs and give both the clues and the answers to himself and he just failed, Mr Clark's theory proving correct that he'd get too caught up in devising the clues and waste too much time), and eventually (all the details escape memory) the only time on Match Game I can remember anyone actually matching Eva Gabor.

L1: Mizz Liz Probert would have a field day with your husband. This letter is a cross-examiner's dream. LW1's husband is uncomfortable bathing in the presence of his 5-year-old daughter? Clearly he's a pervert, because only a pervert would have that sort of thought about his 5-year-old daughter. And the neat thing is that it works just as well the other way around. If LW1's husband were not uncomfortable bathing in the presence of their daughter, then he would clearly be a pervert for thinking it acceptable for a girl that young to be in the presence of a naked male member. Give the case to a Radical Feminist Lawyer and just watch LW1 rake in a Massive Divorce Settlement. And witnesses like the husband are usually so easy to trip up that one would not need the skill achieved in the art of cross-examination by Her Ladyship Mrs Justice Erskine Brown to get him so caught up in his own testimony that he would end up admitting to being a paedophile.

The Prudecutor, who is, of course, proven many times over to be irredeemably heterosexist, is entirely in the wrong. Even with all the young people who have recently come to the general notice as being the intended audience for the It Gets Better Project (or perhaps in particular *because* of them, if my little theory that the Prudecutor is at least in part seething inside that a punk of a colleague of hers has done something Relevant), it would of course never occur to her that there might be as much need for same-sex modesty as for opposite-sex modesty. I think both she and LW1 want LW1 to become the Good parent in all this who doesn't get squeamish, whether either of them ever admits this. I'd say it should be a Both or Neither deal.

Moral: "It's okay; you can say it. I'm a wimp."

L2: And once again, we have everybody's favourite dog that does not bark in the night. Yet another letter from a married woman making no mention whatsoever of the actions or even the opinions of her husband relating to the question she poses. The Prudecutor, who doubtless considers husbands to be as unnecessary to daily life outside the bedroom as bicycles happen to be to the continual well-being and self-fulfillment of fish, does not even see this glaring omission. Whether H2 is on the brink of filing for divorce or whether H2 is more supportive than 99 people out of an hundred apparently is immaterial.

My instinct is to punt on the question, although I suppose LW2 might as well just save time and get a divorce now. She will later, and this incident is showing that she and her husband come apart under pressure rather than drawing together. For the short term, LW2 might send her husband to do everyhting she does for her parents, and then ask him what to do to proceed.

Another solution, such as occurred in the case of Sir Daniel Derwent only in reverse, would be to acquire pamphlets on suicide and leave them in strategic places where, if either parent finds them, (s)he will think the other is contemplating ending it all. If they resist the suggestion, then feed them poisoned omelettes.

Moral: "You should wait for me to call out your name." "Sometimes I call out your name... but you never give me the answer."

L3: Clearly LW3 has been passive-aggressive about the pregnancy. All this false pretense about caring that he and his wife have spoiled the biggest day of S3's life. Sure and they did it deliberately! Unplanned my Aunt Norris! They probably calculated exactly when to procreate and in what positions to give themselves the best chance at a pregnancy falling in the right time period and they hit the jackpot - well done indeed. Now he could just pull on his Big Boy Pants and admit it, but - No. He's too twisty to do anything such as to stand up and take credit for a job well done. Death and defeat to all Bridezillas! Even the Prudecutor would have sufficient sense to support such a worthy cause.

Unfortunately, if LW3 and W3 really cared about ruining S3's wedding half so much as he claims to do, they would already have opted for the obvious solution. Or, of course, they would have been clever enough not to boink during the very limited period of time that was known to create a conflict with the wedding, or at least would not have done so without triple protection. But there is another obvious answer. Get W3's best friend to seduce SF3 while acquiring plenty of hard evidence. Much easier to break up the engagement than conceal the baby. If they are real experts, they can follow the pattern set by Julius King in *A Fairly Honourable Defeat* and manipulate the fiance and the chosen partner in the case against the will of the both of them.

Moral: "You may get an overpowering urge to hug me if you win." "Don't do it? Well, you'll just have to worry about that... I might really hug you if I lose."

L4: Oh, good grief. LW4 even admits to being aggressive and thinking it a positive quality as well as one that is an asset in her chosen field and the Prudecutor can't pick up on it? It's very difficult to pick a side here, as Job Interviewers are of course among the Lowest Forms of Life on the Planet. They revel in making applicants try to second-guess and third-guess and fourth-guess them, and then try to jump through real or imaginary hoops blindfold while tap-dancing and reciting *The Walrus and the Carpenter* backwards in Hungarian. In a way, perhaps LW4 could make a virtue of her failing to please such revolting and disgusting specimens of humanity. However, as she persists in the ridiculous notion that her True Self would be a Desired Commodity (and the Prudecutor even blindly supports the idea), I can hold out no hope for her, alas.

LW4 might apply to the Sisterhood of Radical Lawyers, so ably headed by Mizz Liz Probert. As it is clearly established that any woman is automatically the superiour to any man, while at the same time an obvious victim of Male Privilege and Male Oppression, she ought to be able to carve out a nice little niche among those who excelled in Women's Studies programmes. And why not? After all, a good barrister doesn't need to have any knowledge of the Law.

Moral: "Who are they kidding, One Size Fits All?"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2/10 - The Site Ate My Post

I am FUMING. I just finished this week's post and clicked on Publish, and it took me back to the main page, made me sign in again, and my post was GONE.

I had wondered who of the many other posters around might make the best bridge players, and vowed to be very short-winded in protest of the heterocentric column.

L1: I asked who told LW1 that heterosexual congress was supposed to be enjoyable, and listed half a dozen people associated with Chambers at #3 Equity Court by way of example. I advised that LW1 may well find perfect happiness in sexual activity by just making the tinest of changes in the gender of her partner.

L2: I commented that the Prudecutor had to be very awkward to avoid being ageist, but to say that a 50-year-old woman isn't "planning on kids" borders on the overly coy. I asked why it's unfair for anyone to prefer not to take a partner for life with a 15-year age difference, regardless of gender. There is no guarantee that, if the BF were 50 and LW2 35, she'd want him. I also wondered whether a 30-year age difference might not be preferable. What sort of life one might prefer at age 55, 60 or 65 seems much more likely to rule out lovers of various ages than gender differences. Then the Prudecutor went into heterosexual climaxes and I elected to leave off, as, unlike Mr Savage, I am not paid to opine about such topics. Besides, as I have never seen one, I can reasonably doubt that such a thing really exists.

L3: While LW3 is fairly self-aware, unluckily she can acknowledge but not accept that relationships evolve in phases, and she wants to remain permanently in Phase One. Too bad, in a way. I advised her getting twelve different men, ideally each in a different country. Then she can be with each paramour for one month in the year, and every year it will be fresh all over again. Of course, the thought of so much heterosexual boinking forces me to make use of my Victorian Fainting Sofa.

L4: As the ashes of my cats are kept on a desk in the living room, I recused myself.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

2/3 - D for Dreary

I was pleasantly surprised by the Monday discussion. Ms Messy left herself wide open (she mentioned that, when Mr Messy works at home, he has a loving wife who shoots him a sandwich on occasion) and nobody followed it up. I hope the Messys enjoy Hawaii, which will be good compensation for missing the Shaddap I was anticipating directed to last week's LW3.

This week's letters are not inspiring.

L1: Who the bleep says that one has to like one's children? Parental affection would not have improved anyone's cross-examining skills. Be reasonably fair to all the offspring involved and be content with that; how well they are treated by their parents won't necessarily stop them from consulting the Prudecutor in their time.

As this quickly devolved into a technical question on how to raise children, I shall stop here.

Moral: Mickey Mouse meets Jack the Lad; he's never sad.

L2: Now, are the alcohol and cigarettes considered sinful, or did LW2 just abuse them in a way that she considers self-destructive? Then again, I'm just being a bit of a sin wonk here. My prediction is that the vast majority of posters will fall all over themselves saying that LW2 did nothing wrong. That is completely beside the point. Now there are many letters from LWs in her position who do present questions in regard to which how wrong the reader or advisor considers the conduct given makes a difference to the answer. But LW2 is clear enough. She indulged in self-destructive behaviour. Whether it just means that, like Hugh "Snake Legs" Timson's wife Hetty, she had a glass of tawny port at Christmas, or whether she drank five bottles a day of Chateau Thames Embankment is relatively immaterial. Would it make that much difference to the tone of the response if, say, she'd become addicted to a drug and gone through successful rehabilitation? Smoking seems a bit strange, as it's not the sort of conduct which leads easily to such abuse as would be recognizable in so short a time for someone so young. As for the casual sex and multiple partners, well, at least LW2 got a little bit of luck on that one. I might feel the tiniest bit more comfortable with her if I believed that her experiences have instilled in her increased compassion for others who follow her example (from L2, it seems as if it could go either way), but that's irrelevant. She's entitled to her own value system and to have answers that respect it.

Now, I commend LW2 for recognizing that her behaviour was not taking her in the direction she wanted to go, and getting her life back on her chosen path. While her brother and his wife have clearly established themselves in the wrong, the key is to find a way to establish that without making LW2 embrace or excuse her past conduct. It does seem that there ought to be a variety of texts much to the purpose. The case of Nappier and Lorraine Lee brought up the text about there being more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repenteth, etc. And B2 and wife might benefit from having a Bible study group meeting about what happened after the Prodigal Son's return home. I'm a little surprised that the brother's pastor has not had something to say about this sort of conduct. Maybe LW2 can casually manage to arrange a social event with her brother at which his pastor might put in a surprise, unnoticed appearance. It would be interesting to know whether B2 really thinks his conduct is completely justified, or whether he knows what a pill he's being.

Moral: Not much legs can do but open or close.

L3: So we finally hear from the parents in one of those relationships between a well-educated man of "good" background and a woman either less refined or of a less prestigious family. LW3 seems as if he might be used to fence sitting, but we'll come back to him later. I'd like to cross-examine S3. Is his assessment close to that of his mother, of his father, or vastly different from those of either? The level of education is black-and-white, but what does S3 think about his intended's maturity/infatuation/clinginess? Are these points attractions for him? If he sees past her flaws, does he do so in a manner like that of his mother, his father, or someone completely different?

There are two practical course LW3 could take. The obvious answer, which I think the Prudecutor would have given had she not been unable to see past her disapproval of LW3 and W3, would be for W3 to embrace the young woman and keep acting as if the relationship is rather farther along than it is. She ought to be able to push marriage on S3 in a way that makes him head for the hills before long.

But I think I prefer the example set by Mr Parker Pyne in "Problem at Pollensa Bay". After determining that Basil and Betty are well-suited to each other, depsite the objections of Basil's mother, he recruits his assistant to come and vamp Basil while presenting so alarming an alternative to Betty as to melt all Mamma's opposition.

Moral: She's a PhD in I Told You So; you've a knighthood in I'm Not Listening.

L4: Putting aside the logistical problems of the bet (when exactly did LW4 intend to pay up, if ever), why this has come to the surface for LW4 now, and the possibility of some sort of collusion or manipulation, especially if LW4 and H4 knew each other at the time the bet was made, I cannot approve of repaying the entire thousand, at least without knowing how much extra LW4 has spent on treating the couple or gifts for her friend or the pair of them in the interval.

Or, of course, LW4 could make a reciprocal bet over something she wants to do more than she's let on.

Moral: And if you pull a double one...