Wednesday, June 30, 2004

It Don't Take Much To Float My Boat

Wow. I was just checking out my own blog (yeah, we do that) and noticed I've written enough and been around long enough that you have to "archive" me to read everything. Great day in the morning!

Now maybe I'll try and figure out how to link other blogs and sites from mine. Until then, check out - (jeez I hope I'm remembering that right)

These crazy, witty gals actually read my blog and seem to like it.

More tips to come...."Stay Tuned."

Forty Bucks is Forty Bucks

Forty bucks is forty bucks, right? So I find myself in the research building of the psychology department at the University of Iowa participating in one of those studies where you fill out four thousand questions and get interviewed by an eighteen year old who believes a BA in pysch followed by an MBA is this ticket to a six figure income in marketing or advertising in a Fortune 500 company.

This particular study has a lovely title given today's political environment, it's called "Personality, Anxiety and Depression". Dare I say the shelves of our booksellers will be filled to the brim with similarly titled memoirs in the years to come? If I had more confidence in the general public's ability to embrace the concept of irony, I'd keep this one for myself. Ha Ha, who really gets to choose what their book is going to be called anyway? Maybe, Dean Koontz.

Meanwhile back at the lab....question three hundred & fifty-two: "You have to sit through a long concert of boring music you do not like or be in a bank during an armed robbery, which would you do?" Okay, clearly I feel like I should the say concert. I'm a middle-aged woman and I've already led a fairly dramatic life. An evening of Kenny G or, worse yet, the 1812 Overture, ought to be a no-brainer but this future Forbes magazine cover girl is paying me to be honest, isn't she? The question doesn't specify I would be shot in the robbery or even forced to squat down for an unnecessarily uncomfortable period of time. Hell, I might even wind up being the hero and get to be on prime time news so I clearly had to go with option numero dos.

Hhhm, this is another post w/ a bit of a science theme. I'm going to resist the urge to wrap this one up in a nice little package. I'm working on my "issue" of perfectionism. It's one of the darned reasons I qualified for the study to begin with.

Monday, June 28, 2004

PT 141 or Why I Hate NPR News

Why in God's name do I still turn on NPR every blue moon? I ask myself this question all the time. Neoliberal Propaganda Radio, that's how I've referred to it for many years. The fact that a crapload of McMoney has just insured it's spot on the hit parade of the radio dials of wanna be progressives for years to come only makes matters worse. Did I recently read that that idoit Andy Rooney made some list of America's most sexy men? Well, I hope women who whine, complain and bitch are given such status these days cause I'm quickly joining his ranks. Dare I say these NPR junkies are probably the same poor saps who believed that Howard Dean was the new savior of the Democratic party, despite the fact that he did not have a "real" progressive credential before the year 2002. Hey, what difference does that make in the United States? It's not like we've ever indicated a propensity to learn from our mistakes. Okay, nobody much expects Democrats to be progressive anyway but it was a pretty zippy little critique, no?

So what's my latest beef w/ the Holy Grail of public radio, you ask? All things considered (bad pun, I admit), it's relatively minor considering most of the either mindless or corporate tool-jockey content one is usually privy to. It was this evening's report on a report on a new sexual stimulant called PT 141 that has apparently been useful in getting female rats to be a little more accommodating to their male counterparts. It seems some "expert" in neurobiology has figured out that for us girls (and no doubt a few boys too), the turn on is all in the brain. Gee whiz, dude. How many research dollars and hours spent toiling away in the lab did it take you to figure that out? Musical Goddess, Lucinda Williams penned and recorded a beautiful song once called "There's Something About What Happens When We Talk". It's a killer song and is wickedly wise. She's the daughter of a poet, need I say more? Call me old-fashioned but there is nothing as sexy as a really good conversation so, indeed, the turn on is all in the brain. Dr. Science and his associates could have saved themselves a whole bunch of money and picked up Lucinda's record or, better yet, they could have paid me for my opinion. I'm still looking for a job or for someone to take me a little bit seriously, every once and awhile.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Quiet and Confidential, He Thinks


"Senator Kerry has made clear that he wants that whole process to be quiet and confidential, which I think is the correct way to do it," Edwards told reporters earlier in the day. "Because of that I'm silent."

I Thought I was Going To Have To Have A Lobotomy

So, I haven't been out in two weeks and I'm sleeping until 10 or 11 am. I'm older so I guess I have some sort of excuse. I told a friend I feel as if I've been bitten by the tse-tse fly because I am sleeping so much. She maintains it is just a habit I have fallen into. I maintain it is a low grade depression brought about by the political state of the world.

I just asked a new friend if he thought his uncle purchased his young Czech bride. I know there a bit of this going on. As a matter of fact, it's all the rage. A prominent cardilogist at Duke who is a decent friend did this with unfortunate, if not inevitable results. His trophy bride ran off with one of his colleagues and he got majorly addicted to fentanyl -- a narcotic more potent than morphine and completely unregulated for him. Poor dear. He's 46 and still chasing around women half his age. Occasionally when we find ourselves in the same area code, he buys me a spicy scallop roll and I try to talk some sense into him. He grew up in Barcelona and his mother used to lock him in a closet while she sun-bathed so I can't say I blame the guy for whatever Oedipal issues he may be running from.

So I'm wondering if the European Media is making much of this British guy who streaked at the Super Bowl and actually got fined. What a silly non-issue. Only in post 9-11 America but at least the prosecutor is admitting that's the reason.

Typing of current events, thankfully all the pomp and circumstance of Reagan's passing has started to die down. I thought I was going to have to have a lobotomy. I wonder if the grieving widow, Nancy, would have refered me to the specialist who did such a fine job on her husband?

My new friend Neil (whose uncle landed the hot young Czech gal) recently asked whether or not there was any truth to the suburban Ice House-ian key parties and such ala Rick Moody as I'm still house sitting. I've nothing to report on the possible kinky intrigue out here in Wonder Bread a-go-go. These Midwesterners can be a pretty cagey lot and the influence of Lutheranism should not be underestimated in the repression-thus-shameful-and-hidden-perversions department but I am keeping to myself. I'm trying to get as much writing done as possible. I'm theoretically working on two books. It's important to note this is just a theory, okay?

Sunday, June 20, 2004

In the Plaza Below the Vistor's Center

I had a feeling people were on to me but who knew? Pssst, some of this is actually true.

Googlism for: meg white

meg white is a self-propelled culture vulture w/ no sense of humour
meg white is out of the office
meg white is pretty much a second rate gardener
meg white is a little lacking in the secretarial skills department
meg white is allowed on the list
meg white is california’s president
meg white is prominently located in the plaza below the visitor's center
meg white is my man's woman
meg white is officially a crockpot goddess
meg white is sitting on a bed with a boogy board on her shoulder
meg white is one of the only monkeys who doesn't wash her potatoes
meg white is not shot by stand standers
meg white is married to normon soloman
meg white is uber cute
meg white is the most average girl in the whole wide world
meg white is the new ceo for viacom
meg white is in the expressions she pulls while driving
meg white is a meg ola maniac
meg white is a kerry top vp choice, again
meg white is my chick drummer hero
meg white is as (you tell me?)
meg white is ridiculously smart
meg white is divorcing ira spoiler, gerry adams
meg white is so my ant-hero
meg white is a lousy plumber I promise this one is absolutely true!!
meg white is just precious 6
meg white is working at worcester academy with dave beers
meg white is uncanny (okay, this one is pretty accurate as well)
meg white is pretty likely to turn off your television
meg white is the new vocalist for the simplistic rock/blues duo "the shoe" along with brothers teddy thompson and "mean" max weinberg
the shoe is coming soon to a venue near you

Response to Anonymous

After reviewing this post, over a year ago, and the one I was responding to, what I was trying to say was, how am I supposed to know these supposed men don't reveal themselves to me???

The first video I ever made was entitled "Margaret's Friends Speak Out". I shot it in the living room of the apartment in Baltmore where I was living at the time. A third floor walk-up that once hosted a "2nd Chance Prom Party" for us freakaziods who in high school had been unable to get a date, on suspension or too hip to go. It was the social event of the Hopkins Writing Sems/Balto Underground Artiste & Musician season. We slow danced to Stairway to Heaven, drank pink punch, skate-boarded up and down the hallway and cut loose to Dire Straits' Twisting by the Pool. Now, that was some fun, Daddy-O.

Anyway, in the video I make a brief appearance. I look at the camera and say something about believing I had been on television once but that I must have forgotten. It was heavy-handed but, hey, I was reading a whole lot of Raymond Carver at the time so I have to try to forgive myself.

I have a pretty high learning curve, which might explain some of this forgetfulness you refer to. As for owning the store in the dating department at Nordstroms (which is just about the sweetest thing anyone has said to me in a long time, BTW), part of the process of shopping generally involves asking to see something, no? One could go to Walmart and be gob-socked by the abundance of things they do not need or even desire in the slightest but what a waste of energy.

Your comments obviously fired a few neurons and I've been feeling nostalgic as it is. Writing just might be one of the loneliest and exhausting professions on earth. There is so much research involved, not to mention all the stuff you wnd up never using. In this respect, it's also a bit like shopping, I suppose. Poor, poor pitiful me. God, I do miss Zevon. There is a fine piece in the current issue of the New Yorker on the hell of this process and other possible attractive weaknesses, if you are interested. It's the one about writer's block. You can access it on line -- FREE.

Do I know you? My most quotable and down & dirty friend, Laura, is a wee bit bugged by this Mr. Mystery routine. She suspects it is proof that you are, in fact, intimidated. I'm not so sure but then again my friend, Peter, recently suggested I might try and find work as a dominatrix. Come to think of it, another friend suggested this, as well. I could never pull it off. The moral issues are ambiguous, at best, when money is involved and I suspect I would end up laughing the entire time. In other words, I'm not too sure of anything these days.

Listen up...THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY because I wrote a very bad folk song once. I mean bad. The first line went something like, "The chicken's in the road, gonna lay it on the line. The player's in the park, gonna make his music mine." I was 15 and all my friends called me "Mitchell" because I was such a Joni Mitchell fanatic, so I guess my "poetic nuances" at the time were pretty much a done deal. I did a small installation once entitled, "context is everything". In addition to all this fashionable rigmorale over Veganism and exotic strains of bacteria popping up on PETA's most endangered species list daily, chickens are way cool and seem to have to right idea.

Fred Has Had It

Fred has had it with my bullshit. I'm sleeping late, spending too much time with my uppity nose in a book or my fingers zing-a-linging along the keys of this computer hoping I might have another chance at watching a line form with the sole purpose of obtaining my autograph. I'm tempted to tell him what a swell job I've been doing and what a nightmare my life has been of late. Jiminy Cricket, I've fed the boy, taken him out, fixed him special treats and even "played" with him on occasion. What more could he want? There were three fig bars left in the cupboard and I gave them to him. Oh Sykeus, am I not worthy of more understanding and temperance than the Gods and dear Fred have bestowed upon me? Can't I make him understand that it's not all about him? That sometimes a girl just needs a little time to get right with herself and the world.

Apparently not. He's in the next room pouting and I'm being equally stubborn by outing the both of us in this less than modest fashion. If this scenario felt the least bit unique and not deserving of a Gold Medal in the Olympics of "Relationship Clich├ęs 101 Revisited Yet Again", I might be moderately comforted. As it is, I'm just sort of disturbed. You take a shot of guilt, a dose of indignation, a sprig of unconditional love, an ounce of sanctimony, a quarter cup of martyrdom, a fistful of selfishness and you get your classic Long Island Iced-Meg. As much as I realize this concoction no longer works for me, I'll go stand at the trough ready to throw my entire being in over and over again.

Which, in an admittedly equally obscure and obvious kind of way, brings me back to Fred, bless his heart. He appears to have forgiven me. No longer in the next room licking his wounds, he's sitting next to me and, at least, feigning interest in what I'm writing. As high strung as both of may be, we both possess the ability to "own" our short-comings. Given the fact that Fred has chosen to be such a sweet pea, I suppose I should cut this off and go take a walk with the guy. I know that's what he's been after for the past two days. His interpretation of that ridiculous term that became all the rage in the go-go 80's -- "quality time" -- the concept of enjoying the pleasure of one another's company in the absence of other distractions and, get this (!), supreme self-interest. Go figure. I wonder if Fred has heard that even the US Congress got in on the QT mania, establishing the Baldrige National Quality Program in 1987 to recognize U.S. organizations for paying homage to their own versions of this precept.

The way I see it, I've got nothing to lose (it's not all about him, it's all about me). It's a beautiful day. I need to stretch my legs. My relationship with Fred could use a little mending. He's lonely. I'm lonely. As much as I hate to admit it, it's generally a good thing for me when I get called on my "bullshit". I'm a little hard to argue with. Maybe something wonderful will happen. Being that Senor Fred is just about the cutest Springer Spaniel in town and I've got a new column in the independent monthly with my picture attached, a purposeful line might greet us at every corner demanding the pleasure of my autograph. Will my escort be understanding? Will he get bored? Or worse yet, will he steal the limelight? Oh wait; I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I? First off, if this happened I guess I'd be distracted and become self-interested thereby striking the whole quality time dealie to begin with. Secondly, I live in Iowa for goodness sake. Even if someone did recognize me, they'd be too damned well-behaved or, worse yet, shy to approach me. And third-off, I seem to have driven my temporary mate (I'm house sitting) into the next room yet again with all this useless speculation. I hear it's been known to happen. I'm coming, Fred. I promise.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Beware World Travelers & Hikin' Monkeys

I have to tell you many of my Jewish friends expressed concerns when the Berlin wall came tumblin' down. Have we taken mutli-culturalism a tad too far? Of course not, but I'm thinking of a new writing project -- something along the lines of The Tao of Paintball.

What we got here is a clear case of a Green Party alumnus doing a little bit of Earth First action :-) or Big Foot is foot loose again. But don't ask me, I'm just "riding on the metro".

Silly bikers, hikers and such. I'll bet they're even noshing on gorp. XOX - Meg

German 'Samurai' on the Loose in Woods Near Berlin

Fri Jun 18, 1:48 PM ET Add Oddly Enough - Reuters to My Yahoo!

BERLIN (Reuters) - A camouflage-clad German man wielding a samurai sword attacked at least seven hikers in forests west of Berlin, performing sword tricks before ordering them to leave the woods, police said Friday.

They suspect a 46-year-old local man who trained in martial arts and survival skills in camps in Papua New Guinea and Vietnam to be the attacker.

"He's dangerous and has been hard to find because he wears camouflage," said Catrin Feistauer, spokeswoman for the Nauen police department. Police have used infrared cameras mounted on helicopters to try and track him down.

The man pushed two elderly people off their bikes and, flashing his sword, shouted at them to leave the forest. He later tried to drive a young couple out of the woods. No one was seriously hurt.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Inside Joke

Codependent Some More

What does one recovering codependent writer say to another recovering codependent writer upon hearing about problems in a manuscript maintaining consistent narrative voice?

"Good luck with your person problem."

This actually happened so I made up this joke!!!

Principle of Entanglement

from the June issue of Nature

BTW, don't I recall something like this from my time in the primordial ooze? Let's dance or you just can't join my revolution.

Quantum Teleportation with Atoms

Quantum teleportation, based on the principle of entanglement in which two particles become correlated and share unique properties, has been demonstrated several times using pairs of entangled photons, but in a probabilistic way. This involves an element of hindsight: photons, once paired, are detected and deemed to have teleported. In this issue two groups report 'deterministic' teleportation, involving atoms (trapped 40Ca+ ions in one case, and 9Be+ in the other), such that the outcome is predictable. The quantum identity of one atom (not the atom itself) is destroyed by quantum measurement, and that identity is reconstructed on the paired atom. This achievement is an important step towards quantum computing and telecommunications. On the cover, the 40Ca+ experiment visualized.

Old NME Article About Me

This was actually a big, fat bore. The Brits ARE so stuffy and the press just won't leave me alone but I know you guys love this stuff.

Meg - Joined her pal onstage
Festivals Extras


MEG WHITE made a surprise appearance at the CARLING WEEKEND: LEEDS festival on Sunday (August 24), playing drums with DETROIT buddy BRENDAN BENSON.

In one of the most bizarre festival collaborations, White joined Benson during 'Jetlag' - the last song of his performance on the Carling Stage. The new rock revolution party grew when Dolf and Phil Datsun appeared to play guitar and the Soledad Brothers added their dancing skills.

The chaos heightened when Dolf de Datsun hauled Benson on his shoulders and paraded the singer around the stage during the final chorus. As the song finished and the band left the stage, the towering pair reappeared briefly before wandering off again.

Following her visit to the Reading site on Saturday (August 23), rumours ran rife that Meg would perform 'The Hardest Button To Button' with The White Stripes' replacements Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on the Main Stage.

BRMC did cover the track during their sets at both sites, but without The White Stripes' drummer.

A Very Fine Retort

I do not think I am especially attractive or "viable" in the dating department and I am not trying to flatter myself here but if another man tells me I am "intimidating", I am going to do something really crazy like shred a cocktail napkin or tell off a frat boy's shadow.

This swell woman I met tonight named Mary had the best response ever to this little downer, "No, you are just intimidated!"

Buck up, boys! There are lots of us who refuse to play the girly-girly femme fatale role. Dorothy Parker may have had her flaws but I doubt she ever bored anyone to death at a dinner party. Be attracted to someone's strengths not their weaknesses. Laugh easily & often.

WTG, LC, for giving William Beckmann a little lip at VSC a few weeks ago.

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A HETEROCENTRIC POST. I'm a straight, white girl, sue me.

Hey Galen.....

I keep my word. You put up some mighty fine art on the brew bar this evening, you the man. "SCORE!" Thanks. How long 'till Paul takes it down for being too edgy, you think?

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

3 questions.....

Who the heck is Lindsay Louhan and was I a fool to throw away my curling iron?

Do most people know that the Weekly World News is the only newspaper that really tells the truth (i.e. has all the "news that fit to print")?

Meg Does Manners - Column 1

edited version published in The Iowa Source June 2004
(those folks are swell)

Dear Meg,

I just got my first cell phone. I'm confused about when and where it's okay to use the thing. Also, is it just me or do men seem to use theirs more?

Please help me out.


My Dear Margaret,

Of course, you are confused. We all are. New technologies and their subsequent toys are often baffling but most rules of good etiquette will always apply. If you feel as if chatting on your new purchase will be bothersome or offensive to another person in any way, do not do it. This said we all experience the dreaded emergency or slip in referencing our appointment books. If, for instance, you are at a restaurant and suddenly remember that you forgot to take your cat "Bitey" to see his Behavior Modification Specialist earlier in the day and know that if you do not reschedule right away you will be double billed, for goodness sake, pick up your phone and call. These appointments can be quite costly and most friends and colleagues will be more than understanding about how temperamental our bestial "children" can be.

While investigating your question about our beloved male counterparts and the wireless phone issue, I ran across a study which may confirm your own observations. A pair of British researchers, John Lycett and Robin Dubar, of the University of Liverpool, think men are using their phones to attract women. In a report in Human Nature, they found that men with cell phones tend to put them in plain view on the bar or table as soon as they sit down. And they handle them often - not to make or receive calls, but to call attention to the fact that they have one. The more men in the pub, the more often they played with their phones. In a twist on the usual male obsession about size, smaller cell phones are considered better.

I'm not sure what to say about this except that if this is, in fact, the case it is rather adorable.

Enjoy your phone, Margaret, and remember that all rules are meant to be broken from time to time. Thank you for trusting me with your query.



Dear Meg,
Last year I saw my neighbor sneak into my garden a few times and take some herbs and vegetables. I don't mind sharing but I wish she would just ask for them, what should I do?


My Dear John,

Being tolerant is certainly a sign of good manners but we all have to draw the line somewhere, preferably not in our arugala beds but if the sprout springs - spear it.

I can abide most things but this sort of horticultural thievery is patently unacceptable. You are no doubt a testament to restraint and dignity for having sat idly by last year without downing a six pack of tallboys and pulling out a Glock 22 on your hopefully desperately hungry neighbor. Other "experts" might suggest placing a small note on a watering stick at your property line asking for restraint. One which testifies to your hours of toil and the no doubt huge expense of sunscreen and knee pads. I, however, would urge you to be direct. Simply pay a visit to your neighbor, invite her over for tea and gently confront her about her behavior. You might discover she is actually quite charming and in need of a little companionship. Perhaps she would like to help you in the garden. She may have a few tallboys in the fridge if that's your bag, just beware of any Glocks, John. Violence is definitely bad manners.

Thanks for trusting me with your query.



Operation Hollywood or

one of the many reasons Meg rarely gives her money to the BIG BOYS anymore...

(this is also from V Voice)

Table Talk
by Ed Halter
Script Supervision
June 8th, 2004 10:20 AM
Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon Shapes and Censors the Movies
By David J. Robb
Prometheus Books, 384 pp., $28
Buy this book
more on books at VLS

he Voice spoke with David L. Robb, author of Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon Shapes and Censors the Movies (Prometheus Books, 384 pp., $28), about the common practice of studios altering scripts to meet military PR requirements in return for free access to tanks, planes, and bases.

What is the military's objective in working with studios? Primarily, it wants positive images about the military in movies and TV, to aid in the recruitment and retention of personnel. Huge spikes in enlistments have occurred after certain movies, like Top Gun, came out. They also target Congress, so it'll think that the military's good, and it's doing a good job, and keep funding the Pentagon.

Does the military see this as propaganda?

Definitely not. They see this as showing accurate and honest depictions of the military. But the head of the Pentagon's liaison office, Phil Strub, is on record as saying that any negative images of the military are not accurate.

How do you think this long-term collaboration has affected public opinion? I believe that when the world's most powerful military has a strong say in the content of the world's most powerful medium, viewers are going to come away with a message: that the military is good and doesn't do anything wrong. And I think that recent events show that that's not true at all.

Miracle Spring Water

So I'm house-sitting and have given in to that most vicious of monsters in the box - television. I was channel surfing and thrilled to see a solution to all my problems flashing across the ominous screen:


Lest anyone accuse me of being a bad friend or acquaintance, I'm letting you all know this stuff is free. The number is even toll free 1-877-481-6555. Just listen to these comments ~

"You told me what to do and I did it!"
"Get rid of the Egypt inside you!"
"We gonna pay off all your bills!"

Let me know how this stuff works out for you, okay?

More "Proof" That Eminem Ain't Cool

From The Village Voice by Richard Goldstein

Slim Shady, Censor

"Lyrical Judge Praises Eminem in Lyrics Fight": That was how the Times saw the ruling last week that held The Source in contempt for failing to follow a previous order involving the removal from its website of certain lyrics by Marshall B. Mathers III. According to The Source, the lyrics go back to 1993, not to Em's adolescence in the '80s, as he has claimed. Back then, he felt free to vent on African American women—as in "black girls are bitches." Eminem has acknowledged writing that rap, attributing it to "anger, stupidity, and frustration when I was a teenager." At least he didn't blame his mom.

But black women weren't Mathers's only targets, according to Source CEO David Mays. In one song alluded to in the magazine, Mays says, "he called black people 'spear chuckers,' 'porch monkeys,' and such." In its February issue, The Source printed several pieces pointing to Eminem's prior racist tendencies. The lyrics were meant to illustrate that thesis. The law usually allows a publication to reproduce a work being commented on, but in this case the judge held to a very narrow definition of fair use, limiting The Source to releasing only 20 seconds of the songs in question.

All the judge saw was the danger that publishing Eminem's early musings would damage his credibility as a white artist working in a black form. That's not unlike the protectiveness many white critics extend to Eminem in refusing to face his biases. By censoring the evidence of hardcore bigotry, Eminem can prevent a true reckoning with the meaning of his success. That's why The Source is planning to appeal the judge's ruling. "It's about the media's right to report on something the public needs to know about," Mays says.

Dennis Dennehy, a spokesman for Eminem, had no comment.

A Meg Poem

marriage hand

for the son of the widow
baltimore, 1991

this is the shallow side of night
one false hop and you are prone to flying

and only this morning
a V of black birds dropped down
into the yard and you woke
with them, came back for them

pulled out of another dream
of your hand gone brown
the cells have stopped remaking
themselves and the hand
is dead, your hand no more
than your heart

it's the same heart you started with
the same hand you have locked yourself
into, you use the memory of this
to weight you against the fairness
of the birds' landing

against the true threat of flight.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

A Random List of ......

things I'm thinking about right now.

1) Puppies & Kittens (did you expect originality here?)
2) A coffee shop called "Shut Up and Drink It" ~ thanks to Gary the Scrabble King from George's. You won fair and square, brother.
3) Boys with bellies are way cute. Girls too.
4) "It's best to stay out of places where the bartenders know how you like your martinis." Corpseionic wisdom to live by so you don't wind up in a body bag.
5)"As my friend Xeni once noted, whenever you are particularly worried that people are thinking about you, they're actually probably busy worrying about how they can lose 5 lbs." Laura Crossett hits the proverbial nail on the head once again!
6) Will Betamax technology ever come back?
7) I wonder if those people who stood on my hair when I passed out at the Jeff Beck concert are still alive?
8) Could I make a little scratch selling pet rocks? Hey, don't swipe my idea -- "e" me and let's be anti-American and coorperate.
9) Why is it cool to look like a crackhead, hophead gangsta'in the Midwest?

and number t e n .......

10) How come at the age of 43 I have ended up with a hairdo almost identical to Claire Danes in "My So-Called Life"? Of course, it's also very similar to Worf's bob in season three of Star Trek II: The Next Generation.

Culture Shocks

Dear Meg,

I've recently moved to Iowa from Manhattan and am a fairly outspoken east-coaster. I appreciated your advice last month about being direct as I feel as if I am a Stranger in a Strange Land in my new home. I am relatively thick-skinned but I suspect it would be rude to embarrass my new prairie friends with my big city ways. Any advice?


My Dear Valentine,

Your question reminded me of an incident 13 years ago in which I ended up on what proved to be a whale-free whale watch near Cape May, NJ. Well into the 2nd hour of our voyage my fellow passengers & I were frustrated and freezing. This was a low budget affair and the weather had turned very sour. Can you hear the theme song to Gilligan's Island here? Things being as they were I took it upon myself to climb over the railing and out onto the bow of the beat-up vessel in the wind and the rain and scurry up to the window of our oblivious captain whose door was mysteriously inaccessible from the inside of the "ship". I screamed "TURN THIS TUB AROUND!" The poor guy. Can you just imagine, Valentine? He looked up and saw a crazy woman yelling at him? I was a heroine for a brief time. My fellow travelers toasted me and fed me chocolate the whole trip back. All but one that is. My best friend, Shauna, who'd never seen a whale and on whose behalf I had originally gone on the trip in the first place. She was mortified and I had to apologize profusely and make amends for my sanctimony and ego-driven behavior.

I have no doubt that you are getting my drift here (note the bad oceanic pun). I got on my high horse and forgot about my primary purpose -- being there for my friend. In my opinion the last word on manners was published by Emily Post in 1922, "Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness you have good manners no matter what fork you use." The fact that you asked about embarrassing your new friends shows me you could permabond your dinner guests' desert spoons to their sippy cups and walk tall, sweet girl. I have no doubt you will be the belle of the Butter Cow Ball in no time.

Thanks for trusting me with your query.



Dear Meg,

I am about to go to New York City for the first time and I want to look my best. Any style tips or advice or how to make a good first impression in the big city?


My Dear Donald,

I wish I could hook you up with Valentine but we professional journalists have these silly rules about protecting people's identities. You have hit on one of my favorite topics and I am thrilled you took the time to write me. Let's go back in time for just a moment shall we?

Physical anthropologists suggest the island of Manhattan (the jelly in the donut of American Style) is the only place on earth where early Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon humans have lived at the same time. Did they pick berries for YABBA-DABBA-DOO pie, or boil them, dye loin clothes and scurry up and down the cat walk clamoring for attention? No one knows, but it is worth remarking that the Neanderthals are no longer with us and rumor has it neither Wilma nor Betty could get a Neanderthal male in a decent suit.

The basic rule of thumb in all things "style" is comfort and being true to one's self but most of us should care about the impressions we make and when we dress for others we are showing we respect them and ourselves. Now I'll let you in on a secret, Donald, I do not know a man or woman who when being truly honest with themselves is not impressed with a man in a nice suit or, at the very least, an interesting jacket and a hip pair of blue jeans. Be sure to tip well while in the big city, have fun and remember that moderation is eternally cool.

Thanks for trusting me with your query.




This is clearly a test from a neophyte.