Thursday, February 23, 2012

2/23 - Going for a new speed record

As announced.

L4: Presumably there is an upstairs bathroom, quite likely cleaned by CW4. If this is a regular habit of CW4's, it seems reasonable that she might use the master bathroom before she cleans it. Then again, I hardly trust LW4 to get this across in a proper manner. LW4 might just consider this along Savagerian lines as a price of admission - if CW4 is such a treasure, then this one inconvenience might not be enough to justify replacing her if LW4 can't reasonably expect a more positive overall balance sheet.

L3: Why on earth is UE3 a poor hiring choice? What else is a trial period for but to determine whether someone is going to be a good employee or not-so-good? As its purpose is evaluatory, the idea is to make creative hires, secure in the knowledge that some won't work out and some will. One might argue that, just as any bridge player who defeats every contract (s)he doubles does not double often enough, anyone whose new hires all pass the trial period easily is likely too cautious in hiring. Of course, LW3 does not exactly seem a prize; it might have been rather just of the Prudecutor had she advised LW3 to give UE3 a glowing recommendation, so that the whole thing would come back to bite LW3 later. UE3 recalls to mind the colourless Hoskins, who always opposed any addition to Chambers staff at Number Three Equity Court on the grounds of having to support four daughters.

L2: On the brink of disappointing us all and getting one right for once, the Prudecutor manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory quite impressively this time. Yes, LW2 was a miserable mother. The situation is entirely of her own making. And most of the letter is all about her, and the attention she wants from S2 but isn't getting. So far, so good. But what does the Prudecutor propose by way of remedy? She recommends the sort of Obvious Social Lie in the form of admiration for what S2 has made of his life (and we have not a scrap of evidence about what LW2 actually thinks about what S2 has made of his life) that is bound to result in failure. Again, it might be clever were the Prudecutor doing it on purpose. If LW2 wants to approach S2, the way to do so is in a manner that centres S2 and his new family. At least he has a thorough understanding of How Not to Parent - and without having to undergo a week of torture at the hands of TLC.

L1: First of all, as LW1 has accompanied W1 to this particular conference in years past, those posters who will doubtless pile on LW1 and complain that he has no business calling a work conference a near-vacation are out of line in that particular. LW1 is more out of line in his archaic beliefs, which render a response to W1 of DTMFA to be not entirely out of line. One might reasonably postualte that anyone who objects to the gender of hir spouse's friends deserves a cheating spouse. So far, so good for the Prudecutor. But she fails to inquire into why both spouses let this slide until now. Clearly there has been some unresolved difference between them; the departure from her life of XCW1 presumably seemed a decent reason to cease hostilities. But now look where that strategy led. And the Prudecutor completely fails to explode LW1's assumption that XCW1 is only waiting for a moment alone to get his tingling naughty parts, as the Church Lady would say, into W1's panties.

To send W1 off to the conference by saying that he and the boys will be doing "guy stuff", all LW1 will achieve will be to make his wife as glad as possible to be going. If I were to give the Prudecutor real DIOP credit, it would be this time. But the correct approach for someone who sounds as if he's read A Fairly Honourable Defeat and only absorbed about half of it is that LW1 has several months in which to make W1 so attached to home and kin that she will spend the entire conference longing for the family and pulling out photos of husband and children until XCW1 gives up in disgust.

Moral: "I suppose it's just possible that some solicitors have daughters, too!"

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2/16 - Quick Takes

Having survived Tuesday without reuniting with anyone (always a danger for someone insufficiently inclined to deny people things they request), I want to see if I can set a speed record today.

L2: As for handling the situation in the here and now, LW2 might do a bit better either going a more innocent route than suggested by the Prudecutor - for instance, asking how such a client could tell her to be a new hire, or perhaps being fully open but taking her size as a strength. Those poor slim-line oil paintings, they had to take so much time keeping themselves so gorgeous that they just never got any good work done. It must have been terrible for the poor client having to work with them. Then she can watch Get Realwith particular attention to the scene between Kevin and Linda at the school dance, in which Linda gets considerably the better of the encounter.

I would wonder, though, why LW2 never thought to bring up the matter with her employer. There would be no need to make a dramatic splash about it. Just present the question matter-of-factly. The company had a history and an image. The hire is apparently a step in repairing that image. How does E2 want LW2 to presnet herself? And how ought she to respond to client comments? Easy enough.

L4: LW4 appears to be reacting in typical victim fashion. The initial flavour of the letter is that there is potential abuse here. But which of the two is the cart and which is the horse? It can occasionally be the other way around, although that seems unlikely here. On the whole, one wonders how the first instance or two of this sort of thing were handled. When BF4 returned from his first trip and made the first comment, why did not LW4 channel Ms Messy and make it only too painfully clear that (s)he harboured no desire whatsoever to play the role of Mrs Monk? Much too easy. Hiring a maid would have been a much more appealing idea had it been raised earlier. While it is likely a good solution, the timing suggests that it might do more harm than good. As for whatever BF4 might have, I leave that diagnosis to the quacks.

L1: Now, why couldn't the Prudecutor simply have answered the question without bringing up squicky references? If she'd wanted to make nasty comments about FT1s, she had plenty of reason. Had she wanted to answer the question in a straightforward way, she could have done so. Is there something sinister in the background? It could be like the Laceys in The Killings at Badger's Drift, in which a sister/brother pair of incestuous siblings wreak various forms of havoc. But they were far from the most disturbing related pair, an honour which belonged to the Rainbirds, mother-son owners of the mortuary who were quite creepily attached to each other and fond of blackmail on the side.

As for the general situation, the procreation argument doesn't apply, and the argument against people raised together is a bit flimsy. There are always tangents about relations not raised together or blended families, etc. This is the sort of reason why I did not aprticularly want marriage in the first place. Ideally, a paradigm could have been drawn up to serve the needs of same-sex couples, and I'd have rather had something specific and special rather than trying to crowd into the already leaky boat. But it would not have done.

It would be interesting to ask T/L1 a few questions. Why suddenly want to be open about it now? What are the logical gains and/or losses? Does T/L1 expect F1 to rally behind the couple? Does he intend to advocate for incest rights? Was being gay insufficiently controversial? Is he just that bothered by the pressure to settle down? Does the idea of dividing the family actually appeal to him? It's hard to say. But there are some people who just enjoy being edgy. Now that gay has become considerably less edgy, they look to advance three spaces to something more provocative.

L3: The only thing for LW3 to do is to frame the dog for a crime. The idea makes the letter bearable, as it suits a comparison to Dumb Witness, particularly the televised version. Rich old Miss Emily Arundell trips and falls downstairs, but does not die. Did she trip over Bob's ball, which Bob liked to bunt down the stairs? Poirot discovers soon enough after she dies some time later that a member of the family inserted a screw at the top of the stairs to hold a tripwire, but not until after the spiritualist Tripp sisters hold a seance in which (at least on television) the mediumistic sister, speaking "as Emily", declares the murderer's name to be Robert Arundell,there being no human of that name.

Miss Lawson, Miss Arundell's companion and the beneficiary of the new will Miss Arundell makes after the fall, presents Bob to Poirot at the end of the case. In the televised version, however, this is moved up to the middle of the investigation, so that Poirot (with Hastings attendant) and Bob spend some time together as the case develops. Poirot is highly sympathetic to the plight of poor Bob, who knows who murdered his mistress and who finally, when Poirot asks him to speak, goes and barks at his own reflection, which provides Poirot with the solution to the whole case by clarifying for him whether Miss Lawson saw Theresa or Bella reflected in her mirror.

In the book and the radio version, Hastings is the one who gets on better with Bob, and appropriates the dog at the end. In the televised version, Poirot has to find some way to get Bob a home in the country. But he manages it neatly. Just at the end, he and Hastings call on the Tripps to reveal a remarkable encounter from the night before when the spirit of their late springer spaniel appeared and told Bob to go and live with his people.

Moral: "You don't understand dog psychology! Now Bob and I understand each other perfectly, don't we?"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2/9 - Short Without Parallels

As my pre-Valentine grumps continue, I shall polish this week off as quickly as possible, with few frills.

L1: The Prudecutor is wildly wrong. Yes, there is something potentially interesting in LW1's reluctance to have photos of the couple taken. And we don't know what F1 thinks of the matter. That could make for an afternoon of harmless fun. But there are people who are head-ruled sufficiently to think in this way; if they are well-matched in their selection of spouse, then more power to them.

And what this is mainly about is M1 trying to take over the entire wedding. There are those of the ilk who can be appeased. But in the main, it just strengthens the position of such a Plan Changer from which to launch a subsequent attack. Give in on the pictures (though, if F1 likes the idea, it seems a sufficiently low-meaning point that even Drs Cooper and Fowler might be willing to compromise on it) and M1 will start on the location, or the reception, or the cake, or something.

L2: The Prudecutor is wrong. Nobody KNOWS - even after the tight period of not a day short of a year nor a day over eighteen months held as such a strict standard by Dr Schlessinger. It is a leap of faith - which is actually a great deal more romantic than "knowing". The Prudecutor made a leap of faith and got lucky. But lucky people, like Franklin Clarke, tend after sufficient incidence to conflate luck with skill or brains, get careless, and subsequently err. While I should not wish on anyone the fate of thinking wrongly that (s)he is in a monogamous relationship, the Prudecutor tempts me.

As for LW2, the proportions seem odd. Marry after four months' acquaintance - it happens. Plan a wedding for eight months - not excessive. But a wedding involving preparations that took twice as long as the couple's previous acquaintance? While "Rules" of Weddings are beyond my ken, it would seem sensible if such a Principle existed in reverse, that the duration of acquaintance before the engagement should be twice as long as the time spent planning the wedding. That would seem much likelier to produce a successful marriage - not that many wedding planners think beyond the honeymoon.

L3:  The Prudecutor has one minor aspect correct, but in most respects is completely on the wrong continent. I shall resist the temptation to wonder about LW3 wishing (s)he'd never read the accusatory email. I am less inclined - assuming LW3 to be male - to excuse his patriarchal attitude. He is far too inclined to take it upon himself to decide what F3 can and cannot handle. If this is not nipped in the bud, then he should break the engagement for her sake.

On the plus side, it seems admirable that LW3 is willing to side with F3 regardless of the truth in the matter, and does not particularly care what that truth may be. But this is a golden opportunity. LW3 ought to be thanking VW3 for the accusation. It has given him the ideal lead-in to a series of conversations that every engaged couple should be having and hardly any ever do. What matters here are not the facts about what F3 did (except in one possible instance and even then not directly) but what F3's views were during the affair (if there was one), and how her attitudes about fidelity changed or were confirmed before, during and after. Have these conversations and the marriage will be a good deal stronger.

It is possible that F3 did act sufficiently badly that she ought to make some gesture of atonement to VW3. In such a case, LW3 has the opportunity to shine by offering to assist F3 in the offering of such a gesture. And this is where the one case for reconsidering the engagement comes in. F3 might clearly have been in the wrong in her past conduct, but might insist, not that LW3 assist her to do the right thing, but that he support her regardless of the probity of her conduct or lack thereof. Perhaps LW3 would be content so to do. Perhaps the difference between them would (as happened with Lord Kidderminster) open his eyes to a new and disturbing aspect of her character.

L4: The Prudecutor is wrong. Do not present it as being old-fashioned. It will lock both LW4 and GF4 into all the wrong gender roles. The prospect is so revolting I am forced to leave off abruptly at this point.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

2/2 - Instead of Daria

This week's crop of LWs lack the capacity to watch Daria and draw from it the appropriate lessons. They are clearly in need of some suggestions.

L1: My main question here is why LW1 is writing the letter now. Surely GD1 was known to present the situation she would present to LW1 and H1 at the beginning. The timetable with M1 seems a bit wonky. But, given that what is, is, who says that LW1 and H1 must give up their all? Who on earth is forcing either of them to attend GD1's sporting events? What self-respecting teenager wants such a thing? And of course the Prudecutor dreads her stepdaughter's eventual departure - without a third person in the house, the marriage is almost sure to disintegrate.

LW1 has been watching Daria and perhaps thought that being GD1's guardians would not prevent herself and H1 from living the life of Vincent and Amanda Lane, the parents of Jane and Trent who tend to be more conspicuously absent from home than present there. Perhaps she should try watching My So-Called Life instead. She might pay particular attention to the plight of Rickie in the Christmas and New Year's episodes.

L2: First off, is there any way on earth that the Prudecutor could have mangled this letter? She didn't come up with anything brilliant, but how much easier could her selectors have made it for her?  Even so, I must ask how on earth LW2, on the first or at the aboslute latest second occurrence of any of these highly offensive statements, falied to respond with something along the line of, "And my problems seem to make you feel so much better about yourself, don't they?"

LW2 has been watching Daria and thinking that there is no way to oust Sandi Griffin from the presidency of the Fashion Club. She might watch the episodes Art Burn and Life in the Past Lane, in which the downtrodden Stacy manages to score two significant victories over Sandi - in the first by secretly acquiring the caricature of the group in which Stacy was the only one portrayed in a complimentary fashion, and in the second through the success of her acting during Upchuck's apparently botched escape trick, which was made even worse for Sandi when both Tiffany and Quinn expressed interest in Stacy's teaching them to cry as useful in a variety of scial situations. Or go even better and watch Muriel's Wedding. Keep an eye open for the way in which Rhonda scores over Muriel's tormentors.

L3: It never occurred to the Prudecutor to wonder exactly why everybody knows that the couple in question has not consummated the marriage? Have the dynamics of modern life changed so drastically? Or has the column merged with Savage Love behind our backs?

LW3 has been watching the My Night with Daria episode in which Daria dithers about her first sexual experience with Tom, schedules it, backs out, makes a preemptory breakup, and reconciles. Nothing but drama at every turn. But, without losing that dramatic flair, there are two alternatives for LW3. One would be to watch Wilde with a view to learning to be thankful that this particular marriage has yet to be consummated (and perhaps giving F3 a hint to be wary of letting H3 spend much time in the company of blond undergraduates. The other would be to watch The Tudors and advise H3 to treat W3 as his sister, which did wonders for the relationship between Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves, who might reasonably be said to have gotten rather the best out of her marriage (whether despite or because of having gotten rather the least out of Henry himself is open to interpretation) of all the wives.

L4: LW4 has been watching the Is It Fall Yet? feature-length episode in which, when Daria's enthusiasm to find employment for the summer is conspicuously absent despite Quinn's surprising willingness to undergo tutoring in her quest to raise her SAT score to over 1,000, Helen enrolls Daria as a counselor at drippy Mr O'Neil's Okay to Cry Corral. But Daria does better than expected there, forging a bit of a bond with a young version of herself, Link, though with different problems. But Daria's progress is dwarfed by that of an even less likely counselor, Mr DeMartino. "Uncle Anthony" has difficulty with lanyards and fears he has gone too far when he lashes out at young Josh, who has drawn a picture of a football player because football players are winners. But this wins Uncle Anthony a round of cheers, as Josh was the worst bully in the camp. He goes on to differ with "Uncle Timothy" over whether the campers should be playing outside, swimming and hiking, or remaining safely indoors communicating with their inner selves, finally breaking down when a camper holds his hand and gets peanut butter on it. Mr DeMartino breaks the window to the delight of the entire camp, is popularly demanded to give the closing speech at the end-of-camp ceremony, and returns to Lawndale High eager to teach (where he is rewarded early the next school year when Quinn, fresh from her tutoring, is able to provide a creditable definition of Manifest Destiny).

LW4 ought to watch After the Funeral with her husband. The relatives of the deceased Richard Abernethy, having already survived his sister Cora's asking immediately after the funeral, "He was murdered, wasn't he?" gather after Cora's death to divide up furniture and china. Clearly H2's family need to establish this practice, and H2 needs to waste his first choice on LW2's quilt. These are valuable occasions - in ATF it is during the dispute over such things as china services and green malachite tables that the murderer makes a fatal mistake.

Moral: "Besides, quilting can be very therapeutic."