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ASK MAX

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Archive for May, 2006

May 25, 2006 Edition

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Max,

My master broke it off with a woman recently. He tried to be as nice as he could when he broke it off and the woman took it well at first. 3 weeks later she starts texting him on the cell phone up to 40-50 txts a day, and constantly emailing on myspace. They were as incompatible as they come, so my owner didn’t want to hurt her, now she has gone crazy and he doesnt know what to do. He is now afraid she might start stalking him and she is trying to ruin other relationships he has by calling on date nights etc. What can he do to stop the insanity?

Tiny the wondermutt

Dear Tiny Wonder,

It may help you to know you’re not alone. Many is the man (and the woman) who has suffered from the post-first-date interest differential, which is expressed mathematically as follows:

(My interest in you after getting to know you a little) = (Your interested in me)/1,000

There’s another law of physics that comes into play here. I think it’s Newton’s 8th or 9th, right after the one about the futility of changing lanes in heavy traffic or at the grocery store: our desire for things is inversely proportional to our ability to have them. In practical terms, to get rid of her, you have to start going gaga over her. Invite her over to dinner and show her you’ve baked a series of little clay dolls in her likeness, and say you’ve quit your job so you can spend more time with her. Answer every text message, and when she takes more than 5 minutes to respond, freak out on her. Then up the ante: actually *care* about things she says. Of course, this could result in her reciprocating, which explains why physics and relationships are so much harder since quantum mechanics came into vogue. So let’s start before that fateful first date, at a point that can’t possibly help you now (and this goes out to all Ask Max readers with romance in their future): start off *every* first date by asking, “If this doesn’t work out and I don’t want to see you again, will you go psycho on me?” Then, you can move on to, “I’d like to meet your mother/father soon, because I want to know how far south you’re going to go when you get old.” That typically takes care of people getting too attached to you.

Dear Max:

Summer is coming, and with prices above $3 per gallon in some parts, there’s a rising tide of complaints about the cost of gasoline for the many millions who will be vacationing by motor vehicle. Yet we seem to be losing sight of the fact that bottled water costs a dollar or two per liter (I’ve paid $7 for a two-liter in restaurants, pretending for my date’s sake that it was no big deal) — or $4, $8 or more per gallon. My question: is it feasible to think we could avoid these outrageous charges and just start drinking gasoline?

Flummoxed by Fluids

Dear Fl, Fl… Whatever:

Feasible, yes. Have you tried some of those so-called premium Tequilas or a Jager shot? For all intents and purposes, a lot of people apparently already have no difficulty drinking combustible fuels. Practical, no. Can you imagine the cost of retrofitting all the country’s restaurants, delis, whimsical refreshment carts, yoga studios and other purveyors of high-priced agua with gasoline pumps? It’s all I can do to find diesel for my 18 wheeler. (I do overnights hauling steering columns to the Carolinas from Detroit when I need spare cash. This Web site doesn’t pay for itself; for that, I count on you to buy my mom’s new book, Stupid and Contagious, available now through amazon.com (click here), bn.com, and fine booksellers everywhere. ‘Nuff said.)

As a water drinker, I feel your pain – especially since it’s all bound for the main vein anyway. Attention world: H-2-0 — two hydrogen, one oxygen. How the VOSS people managed to squeeze a magic ingredient into that little tight knit community of atoms is beyond me, but I’d like to find out, because they’re getting north of $10 a bottle at Nobu. To say nothing of the little sub-planet of discarded plastic bottles we’re creating. Here’s a tip from a guy who always has a bowl of the stuff waiting: you can fill several bathtubs with tap water for the price of a single bottle, and it comes with free fluoride most places. Cheers!

May 18, 2006 Edition

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Dear Max,

Maybe you can cheer me up? Can you give me some direction on where to take my art? How can I get started doing book covers?

Frustrated in Philly

Dear Frustrated,

You know how they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover? Well, that doesn’t mean you can’t judge a *book cover*, so you may be onto something here. I wish you’d been around when they designed the cover of my mom’s new book, Stupid and Contagious, available now through amazon.com (click here), bn.com, and fine booksellers everywhere (better a shameless plug than a shameless pug). Why? Look carefully: the Max Man is nowhere to be found! If you got an Ace in your hand, you gotta play it, baby!

But the book cover is definitely an underappreciated art form, much like the cereal box (mind control for the under-10-years-old set). After seeing the artwork for the cover Scribner’s had commissioned from Francis Cugat for The Great Gatsby, the story goes, Fitzgerald wrote to Maxwell Perkins that he was working the imagery into the book. A similar thing happened to Melville with Moby Dick. He wrote to his editor: “A whale, huh? I’m going to need another few months for the next rewrite.” So let’s cheer you up. First, follow your dream – unless it’s going to the Middle East. (They say Michael Jackson is there now!) Second, if you haven’t done this already, take maybe 10 popular books – some classic, some contemporary, some with great titles like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and The Idiot’s Guide to Sex — and create your interpretation. Finally, send them to art directors and editors at a bunch of publishing houses. If that doesn’t work, do it again. Sounds too easy or obvious? Well, I have a saying: you know what they call a writer who doesn’t keep writing or a designer who doesn’t keep designing, even after initial rejection? Answer: they don’t.

Dear Max:

My owner takes me to work everyday but he does not take me to restaurants, the bank or the grocery store. How can I get him to take me everywhere he goes?

Monty the Frenchie

Dear Unfulfilled Monty:

Tell me about it. Every time she leaves, I put on the cute “Where are you going/Can I come along?” face, and SLAM. She’s out the door. On the work thing, you’re *way* ahead of most of us. I lost that privilege permanently after a totally innocuous incident in a staff meeting years ago. (The guy was droning *on and on* — I just did what everyone was thinking when I peed on the floor.) I don’t know what your owner’s soft spots are, but if you want to tag along on the rest of his excursions, be aware of this: most of what humans do is REALLY BORING. Have you ever seen the looks on the faces of those dogs in purses that hang off the arms of supposedly loving owners? They’re not cold or afraid of tumbling out on their heads. That’s *sheer horror*. “Get me the hell OUT OF HERE! I was curled up on a cushion and got dragged along for this?!” The hardware store, Walgreens, Costco, Wal-Mart, K-mart, Target, and then – wait, wasn’t that box of Tide 38 cents cheaper at Costco? Judas Priest. Let me clue you in on the bank: all they have there is money, and a thing called a “loan,” which means you have to give it back. What dog ever heard of such a thing? Based on your name, I’m guessing you’re a French Bulldog, meaning he can’t take you to church or temple or a golf or chess match – you breathe too loud. But if you *want* to go to church, temple, or golf or chess, call me and we’ll check out a movie or something. You do mention two places it’s *theoretically* nice to go: restaurants and the grocery store (let’s not forget mecca – the Pet Store). But the reality never matches the promise: I spend the whole time getting jerked by the leash, just as my nose is nearing its goal. In short, you can plead and beg to go along wherever he goes, but like so much in life, it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive. Especially if his destination is the dry cleaners.

May 11, 2006 Edition

Thursday, May 11th, 2006

Dear Max,

I was running and there was a clicking noise inside my head like my brain was moving in liquid, like a squishy sound, so I stopped running because I thought something might be wrong obviously and now I’m here and I don’t know what the hell is wrong, do you?

Bryce Olivore

Dear Bryce,

Where is “here”? And when is “now”? I’m not trying to get existential: I just hope you’re not standing motionless in the middle of a jogging path somewhere in the country, waiting for my response. Loyal readers of Ask Max – and especially those souls brave or bewildered enough to actually ask a question – will observe that I generally take a week or a few to respond. So many questions, so little space in which to squeeze the answers! I’m thinking of converting to 6-point type, because I know how lost the world is without my dogma. In this case, I can’t burrow into your brain (because I’m not that new Bon Jovi/Sugarland ballad), but I’m going to guess that your condition is old-fashioned swimmer’s ear, or water somewhere in the canal. Irritating! Tilt your head sideways and let gravity do the trick, or if that fails, try a blow dryer (careful – “warm” setting only; I’m not paid up on my malpractice insurance, and I’d hate to encourage brain-melt — there’s enough risk of that with the constant threat of a “Who’s the Boss?” marathon on Nick at Nite). Either that or you have an inoperable brain tumor, in which case, cheer yourself up by reading my mommy’s new book, Stupid and Contagious. (She said, “No plug, no dinner,” so I’m covered.)

Max:

One of my dearest friends has horrible dog breath that makes my nostrils burn when I catch a whiff of it. I fear that – how do I say this- that he may be eating his own doody. What should I do- stage an intervention, soak his bone in listerine? HELP!

Smelling Schnauzer

Dear Schmelling:

We all know someone whose breath speaks for itself. But don’t let anyone tell you he was only doing his doody when he contracted that tenacious case of halitosis. That’s the same excuse the Germans used in World War II, and it stunk then, too. Bad breath is like Jessica Simpson’s new hair color – everyone’s problem. So he needs to look deep inside… and if he finds his own feces, he’s got worse problems than his breath.

Interventions are valiant gestures, but they tend to work about as well as the new plotlines on “Lost.” Might I suggest turning your friend on to Milk Bones (though I don’t advocate Listerine for dogs, if only because it tastes like silver polish, and I think it’s loaded with alcohol), and a shorter leash – so he can’t stray to where he might be tempted by street treats. It may shock you to know that much bad breath comes from ketones, chemical compounds in the stomach that are basically a side effect of not eating enough. And we all know the cure for *that.*

May 4, 2006 Edition

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Dear Max,

Now that your mom’s novel has finally hit the stores, are you worried that your fame will inhibit your normal lifestyle. As a dog who needs three walks a day, should you be concerned about the paparazzi?

Worried Fan

Dear Worried,

I was *wondering* what all the fuss was about. Every time we go outside now, some wild-eyed 20- or 30-something with a Blackberry or cell is furiously thumbing away on a tiny keyboard, and a few seconds later *BAM*, there’s an entry on the Gawker Stalker map tracing our whereabouts. Jessica Coen and the gawker.com juggernaut have accomplished something no woman on the planet has been able to do in a long time — drive George Clooney nuts. Can a guy get a little privacy??! I’m beginning to understand the plight of Tom Cruise. I mean, yeah, my mom has a book out now (available online from amazon.com or at bn.com if you really must know), and that’s giving us a certain low-wattage celebrity, but when I’m outside, it’s strictly business, if you catch my drift (and the significance of my lifted leg). I suppose as a consolation, I’ve coined a new term for the camera-wielding menace: peepeerazzi. Take that, Brangelina!

Max:

You’re a dog about town with charm to boot so this is something that I would think you would have the low down on. In this day and age I am so fearful of STD’s and transmitting one. Do you think it is still safe to have phone sex? My Rottweiler just got one serious ear infection after a long conversation with a local Malamute. Do you think they are connected?

Sleepless in Seattle

Dear Sleepless in Seattle:

Thank you for your movie, and for giving Meg Ryan to the ages. Funny that your dog is a Rottweiler – I know a venereal condition with a similar name that afflicts males: Rottweiner – but let’s keep the PG-13 rating and get back to the question. Generally, communications between a Rottweiler and a Malamute, sexual or otherwise, should be kept long distance. But it’s true: we live in a time of rampant telepromiscuity, with people jumping from land lines to cell to cable and VOIP and back again, chasing the thrill of a cheap rate. But the discount doesn’t apply on romance-oriented calls to those 877-hook-up lines, where hot 19-year-olds are sitting home, lonely, with their friends, in their teddies, just waiting for your call. Trust me on this one.

Still, phones actually have an important role to play in preventing STDs: 100% of the time, no V.D. is transmitted when the man or the woman simply doesn’t call the other party back. Try it sometime. I don’t know what the New England Journal of Medicine has said on the subject, but I do know about a man who put condoms on his ears, because he didn’t want to get hearing aids. Personally, I’m fixed, and according to Cosmopolitan, that means I’m really missing out on something – 37 surefire ways, apparently. Hey, Cosmo: my nights are mine, and my privates are just fine, thank you very little.

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