Everybody loves Catherine Elizabeth “Kate” Middleton, the current Duchess of Cambridge, and why not? She’s pretty, friendly, does oodles of charity work, and–with her husband–has her own personal coat of arms!
But the future queen consort’s outgoing nature is a source of etiquette dilemmas. Awkward situations can arise when she interacts with non-royal schmoes like you, straining the “special relationship” between her country and the good old U.S.A. How do you avoid embarrassment when Kate drops in for a “spot of tea”? Ask your Duchess of Cambridge Advisor!
Dear Duchess of Cambridge Advisor:
Recently Kate Middleton came over to my house on South Lamine to borrow our hedge trimmer, I guess the Royal Gardener had taken hers home for the weekend. I said sure, it’s in the garage, I’ll get it. She said thanks and I said “Why don’t you take off your coat and stay awhile,” cause I didn’t know exactly where it was. Sometimes my husband will hang it up on the wall, other times it’s on his tool bench if he has to oil the chain.
Well, I have nothing against the Duchess of Cambridge–or any member of the House of Cambridge, for that matter–but she just stood there and said “I’m fine, think yew veddy much”–and kept her coat on! I was kinda “put off” by that, I thought she was supposed to be a “friendly” royal, but I guess not.
Will wait to hear from you before I start an international incident.
Mrs. Velma Louise Ritter, Otterville, Missouri
Dear Velma Louise (and I just love that name!)–
You shouldn’t take offense at Kate’s reluctance to remove her coat. According to Harper’s Bazaar, when Kate goes out she never removes her coat because it is considered an “unladylike” act and could also disrupt her outfit. I believe she does take off her coat when she’s back at the Royal Palace because she already has two “little royals” with a third on the way.
Dear Duchess of Cambridge Advisor:
Please settle a bet for me and my wife. As I understand it royal women in England are required to wear “suntan” colored panty hose under the Garter and Hosiery Act of 1632, my wife Murleen says “Kate’s” panty hose are actually popular among the world’s fashion trendsetters and monarchy heiresses, such as Kate, her sister “Pippa,” Sarah Jessica Parker and Beyoncé. In other words, it’s a choice, not a requirement.
I think I know my English history pretty well, I have been studying to try out for “Jeopardy,” but I have agreed to abide by your decision.
Nowell Shibe, Lake Havasu City, Arizona
I’m going to have to rule with the “ladies” on this one. “Suntan” colored panty hose are popular among women around the world whose sense of fashion is determined by wearing the opposite of what women like your wife pick out. As soon as the “bingo, bridge club and shuffleboard” crowd drops an item–boom!–it becomes an “in” thing among royals, billionairesses and celebrities. Suntan panty hose are also a great way to beat skin cancer–you can have a great tan without ever going outside!
Hey Duchess of Windsor Advisor–
Long-time reader, first-time writer. Recently Kate Middleton came to Cape Cod for the grand opening of our first acute-care animal hospital. After she cut the ribbon I went up to shake hands and thank her and she just stood there with her little clutch purse in her hands. Well, I was “left hanging,” and it was pretty embarrassing. I took a fair amount of “ribbing” from my so-called “friends,” some of it good-natured but a lot of it pretty cutting.
I have been avoiding people’s gazes ever since and while I am not contemplating suicide, my consumption of wine coolers is up dramatically. Did I do something wrong?
Nadine Escher, Falmouth, Mass.
Don’t take it personally. Kate always carries a clutch purse so she won’t seem rude if she doesn’t shake someone’s hands. You wouldn’t want her to drop it, would you? What’s she supposed to do, tuck it under her armpit? What if she’s holding a Diet Coke, too? You can see how this could lead to all sorts of problems.
Also, I don’t know if you know this but people who work with animals tend to smell funny, and Kate’s reluctance to touch you may have something to do with that. Be sure you shower once a day whether you need it or not.
Contacts between aliens and earthlings are increasing, and becoming hotter all the time! Unfortunately, most romantic advice columns just assume both parties are human–that’s where Your Alien Love Advisor comes in!
Alien Love Advisor “Panel of Experts” considers each letter carefully!
Dear Alien Love Advisor:
Last summer I was abducted by a charming young male from the THX 1138 spiral galaxy whom I will call “Glzorp” because that is as close as I can come to spelling how he pronounced his name. While he was performing various tests on me (be sure to request clean cotton swabs) we connected in flirty way. On the Friday before Labor Day they threw a nice going-away party for all the abductees, and he kissed me under a Japanese lantern!
“See you next summer!”
Recently I have been receiving messages through a filling in my back right molar that Glzorp will be returning to Old Cape Cod shortly after Memorial Day and would like to “pick up where things glzerft off.” (His spelling needs a little work.) The timing is bad for me, as I still have two semesters to go at Assabet Valley Junior College towards my degree in electrolysis. Also, I gather that the inhabitants of his galaxy reproduce asexually, but I am through with one-night stands anyway.
I know, it sounds like this relationship is doomed. That’s why I’m writing to you.
Lauralynn Beth Sommers, Shrewsbury, Mass.
Email is a great way to “stay in touch” with summertime friends. Keep a proper distance, but make your message warm and friendly. Something like, “Dear Glzorp–Hope you are doing well, I enjoyed meeting you and “swabbing” bodily fluids last summer! Yours ’til the Crab Nebula is cooked, Lauralynn.”
Long-time reader, first-time writer. I was “parking” with my girlfriend whom I will call “Donna Armstrong” because that is her name so it’s just easier. We were over by the Boggy Swamp, when I saw colored lights floating above the water and a humongous mother ship. I tried to scream, but Donna had her tongue in my mouth. Anyway, when she asked what the problem was I said “Look–UFO!” She dismissed the whole thing as swamp gas, but I believe I saw a very attractive “femalien” giving me a come-hither look out the window as the saucer flew away.
I am thinking of dumping Donna and hanging out at the swamp, but don’t want people to think I’m crazy. I swear, I had not had any Ripple or blackberry brandy that night.
Lamar Bloess, Jr., Wayzata, Minnesota
Spurious claims that inhabitants of other planets are caused by “swamp gas” have persisted since time immemorial, but ask yourself this question: If they’re caused by swamp gas on earth, how did they get to be inhabitants of other planets? I rest my case.
And please say hi to my cousin Jean, who lives in Minnetonka Beach.
Dear Alien Love Advisor-person:
This is not technically a “love” question but I thought I’d give it a shot. I was abducted and probed by aliens on last weekend, down around Lake Taneycomo. This came at the end of a record-setting day for me–213 crappie, 4 small mouth bass and a shortnose gar that I donated to the aquarium, they’re no good for eating.
I now have some sort of entry wound around my navel, plus some burn marks where my right ear is attached to my face. I went to the walk-in clinic and they fixed me up, but when I submitted the insurance form I got turned down–didn’t even get my $5 co-pay back.
I thought health insurance was gonna be a right but I guess not. Is this something you can help out on?
Jerry J. Sullyway, Lenarxie, Kansas
You should have selected a so-called “indemnity” plan, under which all mishaps are covered after you exceed a certain threshold. If this is your “first time” being abducted by aliens, you will have to disclose it on your next health insurance application as a pre-existing condition.
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Sci-Fi Kind of Guy.”
The agency that oversees federal programs relating to mental illness recommended drinking fruit smoothies and line dancing.
The Wall Street Journal
The “Dora” Case: A young woman named Ida Bauer, whom I will call “Dora” to preserve her anonymity, had been diagnosed with hysteria. She claimed that a friend of her father had made a pass at her, and she slapped him—the friend, not the father. Her father did not believe that his friend “Herr K.”–an impecunious sort who could not afford a full last name–would do such a thing.
Dora developed dyspnea (hysterical choking), cough, depression, fainting spells, aphonia (fear of one’s telephone), the whim-whams and what W.C. Fields referred to as “the inside meanies.”
I encouraged Dora to share her dreams with me. She told me of one in which the family house was on fire. Her father woke her up and told her to flee, but her mother wanted to stop and save her jewel-case. Her father said: “I refuse to let myself and my two children be burnt for the sake of your stupid jewel-case.” “But it contains precious stones!” her mother exclaimed. “I hate to break the news to you,” her father replied, “but it’s mainly cubic zirconia, cultured pearls and 10 Karat gold.”
I determined that Dora had an unresolved internal conflict that was affecting her psychological and physiological health. “Your hysteria is a manifestation of your forbidden desire for your father, Herr K, his wife ‘Frau K,’ and the junior varsity Alpine ski team at Fachhochschulstudiengaenge Burgenland. You must reconcile these conflicts if you wish to control your symptoms, especially that nasty cough,” I told her.
“That is not much help to me,” she sniffed. “I thought you were the world-famous Herr Doktor Professor Freud who could solve all my problems. Telling me to ‘reconcile these conflicts’—isn’t that your job?”
There was a certain innocent justice to her charge. I was the Father of Psychoanalysis, after all, but I could not allow her to indulge in “transference” and undermine my treatment by shifting her affections to me. It was necessary that I promptly re-establish our analyst-analysand relationship.
“Sometimes I find,” I began with great professional reserve, “that a multi-berry fruit smoothie, made with milk, plain or vanilla yogurt, one-half cup orange juice and honey to taste is just the thing to overcome a psychosomatic cough and a numbing psychic blockage.”
The “Rat Man” Case: A man with obsessional thoughts—principally about rats—came to me for relief. Casting about for a cool nickname for the patient, I hit upon “Rat Man.” When I was in school at the University of Vienna I was social chairman of the Ubermut Nordpol Ypsilon fraternity, and was quite admired for my uncanny ability to pick out monickers that would stick to my frat “bros.”
“Rat Man!” I would call to him as he lay down on my couch. “What’s shakin’!” It was only by “loosening him up” (Knotenumgimmerhofer) in this manner that I persuaded him to reveal what he said was his deepest, darkest secret: That he wished his father were dead, so he could inherit all his money and marry a good girl.
“This is a rather banal secret,” I said to him. “It falls squarely within the range of what is considered normal. Selfish, yes, perhaps even wicked, but abnormal? Not in my book.”
The patient’s condition worsened despite my ministrations. He began to have suicidal thoughts, triggered by guilt over an episode of infantile masturbation while looking at an image of “Hansel and Gretel” in his Grimm Brothers fairy tale book. I told him that these sorts of fact/fiction ménages a trois were permitted in France, but to be sure to cover his reading material with a Ziploc® brand oversize “craft and hobby” size plastic bag while he indulged in this innocent form of sexual recreation.
“Rat Man” began to have fantasies of marrying my daughter and told me he believed the only reason I was so kind and incredibly patient with him was because I wanted him for a son-in-law, and so I was forced to take drastic measures:
“I’m going to give you an easy, one-step detox smoothie recipe from the editors of Prevention magazine,” I said as I tore the scrip off my pad. “Grab your blender and get ready for the most delicious health food of your life!”
The “Wolf Man” Case: Perhaps my most famous case, From the History of an Infantile Neurosis, involved a patient named Sergej Pankejeff, known to the world since as the “Wolf Man.”
The Wolf Man’s father and sister had committed suicide, sending him into a state of severe depression. He sought my help and recounted for me the following dream:
“I dreamt it was night and I was lying in bed. Suddenly the window opened of its own accord, and I was terrified to see seven wolves sitting on the big walnut tree in front of my window, drinking smoothies. I screamed and woke up. My nurse hurried to see what the matter was. It took quite a while for her to convince me it had only been a dream.”
It was clear to me that the Wolf Man had seen his parents have sex as a child—while he was a child, not them—and so the remedy normally indicated by psychoanalytic protocols, a delicious, super-healthy fruit smoothie, would be of no avail.
“Mr. Man,” I said to him.
“Please—call me Wolf.”
“All right. Wolf, I am going to refer you to the Vienna Center for Adult Education.”
“Is my problem beyond the power of the brave new science of psychoanalysis?”
“Yes,” I said, somewhat abashed at the failure of my skills, grounded in my deep insight into human nature and years of rigorous training. “The only treatment that holds out any hope for you is a course in line-dancing. I hear the ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe’ has produced some remarkable breakthroughs.”
MARTU LAND, Australia. There are more than 500 distinct aboriginal peoples in Australia, each with their own language and culture, and each with a traditional territory that is both their spiritual home and critical to their survival.
“Land is very important to the aborigines,” says Phyllis Rath-Burton, executive director of Aborigines International, a group that seeks to save indigenous peoples from encroachment by development. “And I don’t mean that in the sense of a bunch of suburbanites talking about the value of their second homes at a cocktail party.”
So when word leaked out that 379 Starbucks stores would be closed in 2018, a corporate cost-cutting move designed to reverse losses due to too-rapid expansion, Rath-Burton mobilized her colleagues and heads of other charitable organizations to put pressure on the Seattle-based coffee giant to keep those in the outback open. “Starbucks has a responsibility to these indigenous peoples,” she says. “They introduced them to the ‘third place’ besides home and work where you can buy a cup of overpriced coffee and listen to Norah Jones all day.”
With a large contribution from an anonymous donor whose initials are “Bill Gates,” the group chartered a plane and headed to the Pacific Northwest to persuade Starbucks to shift a greater share of the burden of the store closings to affluent East Coast communities such as Ridgewood, New Jersey, and Newton, Massachusetts, pitting upscale, college-educated patrons against men and women whose diet had not changed substantially since the Stone Age, except for the addition of Diet Coke.
At the peak of its success, Starbucks sought to have outlets strung across this continent no more than a boomerangs’ throw apart, but food industry analysts say that expansion cut down on same-store sales. “Eventually, you begin to cannibalize your baked goods and ‘Bearista’ stuffed animals,” says Will Pearson of the Knight-Coughlin consulting firm. “Once that starts, there’s some risk that your customers will eat each other if their Starbucks Breakfast Sandwiches aren’t produced fast enough.”
For Gattjil Yirrkala, a Yolngu Wangurri tribesman, the loss of his local Starbucks in Nhulynbuy, East Arnhem Land, would be “devastating,” he says through a translator. “People in America can go to Peet’s or Dunkin’ Donuts,” he says, his brow furrowed with obvious concern. “I go to Starbucks with my laptop and pretend I’m writing a novel, which is a great conversation starter with chicks.”
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Let’s Get Primitive.”
Carl’s wife sits shotgun in his truck
Her doughy face baked whitish red.
He gets out and climbs the semi–
Smiling, he asks “How’s it going?”
We just grunt and nod our heads
at the auger hole, and how it’s stuck.
“Better you than me, boys,” he says.
“I’m enjoying Sunday off.
Got a beer and my old lady.
It ain’t much, but it’s enough.”
Bill and me look at each other;
He’s the type to make a crack.
Me–I just want to get this load done.
We’ve got 18 miles to drive back.
“Your wife, she sure is lookin’ sweet,”
Bill says–I don’t pay him no mind.
Carl’s wife smiles, then she says thank you.
“You ever seen her walk the streets?”
Carl asks, all innocent. “From behind
Looks like two hogs fightin’ under a sheet.”
Carl’s wife laughs, she likes attention.
Backhanded flattered, and it shows.
Her flabby arm hangs out the window
What attracts him, God only knows.
“Have you lost weight since I last saw you?”
Bill asks, and then he calls her “Dear.”
“Naw,” Carl says, “she’s like the State Fair–
Bigger and better every year.”
We see her laugh, she’s missing one tooth.
It’s clear she’s heard this joke before.
Old Sam arrives to check our progress–
It’s his dough that we’re wasting now.
He kicks a dead mouse out the barn door
As we prepare to tell untruths.
“Howdy, Carl,” Sam says
surprised to see his foreman in the bay.
“I give you the day off and what do you do?
You just can’t tear yourself away.”
“You know my wife, Earlene–right Sam?”
Carl says with somewhat misplaced pride.
“I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure.”
Can he be pleased by one so wide?
They talk of things, while in the trailer
Bill and I unclog the jam.
The fescue seed begins to flow
As if from out a hydro dam.
Carl takes his leave, with mock regret.
“Sorry to see you break a sweat,
I’ll keep a cold beer waiting,” he says,
“In case I haven’t drunk it yet.”
Carl starts his truck, Sam farts around,
He sticks his hand into the seed.
“This stuff’s too wet, it’s got to dry out,
A day in windrows is what it needs.”
Sam stands up straight to watch them go.
“That little peckerwood’s a card.
Before too long they’ll have them six kids
And a beat-up truck in their front yard.
“I know that it ain’t none of my business,
where ole Carl puts his prick.
But for me, I know one thing;
Them Bohunk women sure go to pot quick.”
We’re silent, Bill and I, for once,
as we attempt to take this in.
It’s true, of course, there’s no denying,
and yet to say it seems a sin.
Happy the man, and happy the mate
Who care not what the world may say.
Here’s to the two whose matches are few–
May they find love on Valentine’s Day.
BOSTON. Lissette Neilen is busy handling a rush of last-minute male shoppers at La Boudoir, a nightgown and lingerie shop in this city’s tony Quincy Market shopping area, but she knows things will be even more hectic two days from now when Valentine’s Day presents are returned. “These guys are crazy,” she says after handing a man a dainty little bag with an unmentionable stuffed beneath colored tissue paper. “The thing he bought doesn’t have enough fabric to make a serape for a Chihuahua, there’s no way his wife is wearing it.”
And if the past is an accurate guide to the future, on Thursday the returns of high-fashion, low-coverage lingerie will be almost as great as the store’s sales. “There’s something about the male brain that goes haywire this time of the year,” says Nick di Buonodetto, who covers the erotic underwear beat for US Fashion Daily. “Does it make sense to give the mother of your children something that looks like you got it at a pole dancer’s garage sale?”
This trend, which costs retailers in the end due to the need to mark down or discard returned items, has inspired a counter-reaction that is being met with favor by beleaguered housewives who would prefer jewelry or even a dense chocolate cake on Valentine’s Day: “blockchain” nightgowns, which permit ingress only to those who can crack a secure cryptographic code.
“Blockchain was originally devised as a way to confuse people who had mastered the concept of ‘cloud software’ and were starting to gain on the tech geeks,” says Norbert Wein of Central Massachusetts University. “It’s a distributed governance system that allows for collaborative creation and distribution of value in spontaneously emerging yadda yaddas.”
In practice, the system works by requiring a consensus of a majority of a woman’s girlfriends as to whether her husband has been “good,” a standard that many men find frustratingly vague. “They get together at book group and get drunk on chardonnay, I have no right to confront my accuser much less appeal,” says Mike Herz of Wellesley Falls, Massachusetts. “It makes you envy the transparency of North Korea, where they at least let their cheerleaders out in public every four years.”
Resistance from males is likely to be futile as the new technology advances now that the so-called “double-spending” problem that has dogged attempts to create crypto-currencies has been solved. “Double-spending,” muses Emily Herz, Mike’s wife. “That sounds like a feature, not a bug.”