Whenever I try baking cookies, the batter always comes out too runny. Am I using too much milk or not enough powdered sugar? Also, I suspect that my wife may be cheating on me. How can I trap the deceitful bitch in her own web of lies?
Confused in Portland
Why is everyone suddenly using the word “bitch”? It is creepy. Recently I was on a snorkeling boat in the South Paciﬁc, watching snorkelers snorkel (as I am mildy afraid of the water) with another snorkeling abstainer, a kind woman from New Jersey. She told me about how, before her vacation, she had taken a course to try to cure her full-on aquaphobia. They asked participants to put their faces in a bowl of water, and she couldn’t even bring herself to try. I looked around at the miles of open choppy ocean and tried to move the conversation towards some-thing that would distract her from the fact that she was sur-rounded by her greatest fear. I asked what she thought of the upcoming U.S. presidential race and she said she liked Obama but thought he was inexperienced, and she loved Bill Clinton but thought Hillary was “kind of a bitch.” I didn’t know how to respond to any of that, and then her husband swam up to the boat, spat some water through his snorkel, and yelled, “Get in the water! Right now!” I bet you are like him, and deserve some misfortune—a good cuckolding or shark attack. Try granulated sugar instead of powdered.
John K. Samson, the Weakerthans
Are babies worth the hassle of pregnancy?
An Unwilling Mother,
Dear Unwilling Mother,
This is an excellent question. I don’t have any children, nor am I a woman, so I went to an expert: my mother. She said, “No. The nine months of pregnancy are just the beginning. Once the baby is born, you will lose your identity. Your baby’s birth will also be your death. Not literally, of course, but the death of the vibrant, exciting woman that you’ve spent your whole life working on. You will lose contact with friends. Your writing will suffer. And the so-called ‘bliss of parenthood’ is a sham too. You’ll ﬁnd yourself talking less about your beautiful new infant and more about the weight you’ve gained.”
Thanks, Mom! I love you too.
Owen Pallett, Final Fantasy
I’m much better at cooking than baking. I’ve heard that people who excel at cooking are right-brained, while bakers tend to be left-brained. Could this be true?
Desperate in the Kitchen
San Francisco, Calif.
As far as I know, baking is the same as cooking, isn’t it? Isn’t baking a form of cooking? Am I alone on this one? This is a trick question. There is no logical answer. Who put you up to this? Was it my wife? You know, I don’t cook because I can’t cook. It is not laziness. Is the world a better place if I ﬁll it with my shitty cooking?
A.C. Newman, The New Pornographers
I’m getting married next winter, and I’m already concerned about the ceremony. My family is Jewish, my ﬁancé’s family is Catholic, and he’s an agnostic. Is there a way for the wedding to combine all of our beliefs with-out offending anybody?
Anxious Bride in St. Louis
Dear Anxious Bride,
When my good friend Tobias, a practicing Muslim, and his ﬁancée Shauntrice, an Orthodox Jew, were to be wed, Shaun-trice’s Wiccan parents refused to attend if Tobias’s casual Afro-Caribbean Voodoo-practicing family were to be present. Notably distraught over this pickle, I suggested to Tobias that he simply hold his wedding in a square, windowless, concrete storage facility and divide the building into four sections with yellow police tape. The couple would then recite their vows cross-legged, each with a leg in one of the four sections. The “minister” of sorts—ordained through an anonymous religion-neutral Inter-net site—would be lowered from the ceiling and hover over the couple and all four families. Long story short, the wedding went off without a hitch and, although now divorced, the couple couldn’t have been happier with my basic, common sense suggestions for their special day.
Steve Bays, Hot Hot Heat
All my friends are having babies, so I bought a puppy. Whenever they start talking about baby stuff, I talk about my dog. But they usually glare at me like I’m an idiot. Do I need new friends or a baby?
I think you need to stop speaking with these “friends.”
You don’t have enough in common. For example, you seem to think that having a dog is somehow equivalent to having an actual human child. You obviously have no idea what it’s like to have a child. I wonder if you ever were a child. Did you feel like a dog when you were a child? Do you think that the three-year-old Allison was some-how intellectually or emotionally equivalent to a three-and-a-half-month-old dog? (I cling fast to the dog-year conversion laws.) I think your problem is not with your friends, but in how little you actually respect yourself, for which those of us with children have no time.
Steven Page, Barenaked Ladies
My little brother said we should smoke some weed together, but I don’t want him taking pictures and black-mailing me with them. Should I address this to him directly or is there a way I can get around it without bringing it up at all?
Warmly, Dale Shipley
It’s a trap. My older sister publicly resolved to discontinue her addiction to nicotine at midnight on January 1, 2007. She declared her abstinence from the habit and promised, in a binding agreement with a friend, to pay one thousand dollars to anyone who caught her inhaling. At 3:23 a.m. on January 1st, 2007, my sister arrived home from the bar, under the influence of alcohol, and disturbed my slumber by blasting songs from her electro-pop side project while dancing around the inflatable mattress I was sleeping on in her living room. She then proceeded to smoke her face off while mocking my good behavior. I quickly turned on my video camera and captured her in the act. I then used the incriminating tape to receive my thousand-dollar reward. I also called her “watpagin” for three months following a predictive text mishap from the same evening. Don’t ever trust a sibling not to sell you out for laughs or money.
Sara Quin, Tegan and Sara