Friday, May 4, 2007

Surprise Q&A Friday!

I know it’s been a while. This is why I am not allowed to adopt children from other countries, because eventually I get busy with other things and then all of a sudden it’s like, “Hey, where’s Che-choo?” but I plan on getting back into the swing of things on Monday, where you will read about such exciting things as my two vacations (ONE WAS TO PENNSYLVANIA IF THAT SORT OF THING EXCITES YOU), my mom’s holistic veterinarian and my new cell phone. It’s a Razr. Maybe you’ve heard of it.

Until then, I figured I’d do a quick Q&A just to help some people out. Because answers are the cornerstones to all good questions, and it takes a village to build a community.

I want to further my marketability for my future career (whatever it may be) and to better myself. I want to learn another language. Should I learn Japanese or Spanish?


There’s almost no way I can answer this question without offending some race. It’s a tough position to be in, because I’m not a racist person. But if I say you should learn Japanese everyone will think I hate tacos and gardeners, but if I say learn Spanish everyone will think I hate anime and bad drivers.

Both have good food. Spain has better wine, but Japan has sake. Japan has better TV shows (like this), but my cable provider offers like 50 Spanish channels, and there always seems to be dancing on one of them, which is big right now. Japanese is the language of business, but Spanish is the language of burrito, which I am eating as I type this, so I may be prejudiced. Very tough call.

My verdict? If you are trying to sell yourself, go with Japanese. Something tells me they’ll buy anything.
Do you think by eliminating the use of toilet paper we can save the polar bears?

This questions is, of course, in reference to this New York Times article, which may have been topical at some point but now is just wholly outdated. That’s what happens when you don’t update your blog often enough. Polar bears die.

The article is titled “The Year Without Toilet Paper.” I read some of it, and it is just slightly more gross than engrossing. Here is a link to it, although remember that the NYT requires registration (which is free, but laborious and smacking of Big Brother-esque WE KNOW WHAT YOUR MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME IS). So here is the pertinent part of the article, reprinted illegally but for the sake of the polar bears:

“Colin Beavan, 43, a writer of historical nonfiction, and Michelle Conlin, 39, a senior writer at Business Week, are four months into a yearlong lifestyle experiment they call No Impact. Its rules are evolving, as Mr. Beavan will tell you, but to date include eating only food (organically) grown within a 250-mile radius of Manhattan; (mostly) no shopping for anything except said food; producing no trash (except compost, see above); using no paper; and, most intriguingly, using no carbon-fueled transportation.

Toothpaste is baking soda (a box makes trash, to be sure, but of a better quality than a metal tube), but Ms. Conlin is still wearing the lipstick she gets from a friend who works at Lancôme, as well as moisturizers from Fresh and Kiehl’s. When the bottles, tubes and jars are empty, Mr. Beavan has promised her homemade, rules-appropriate substitutes. (Nothing is a substitute for toilet paper, by the way; think of bowls of water and lots of air drying.)”

I have a few problems with this:

1. They are both writers. Writers denouncing paper. That’s like a farmer denouncing cows. Or a stripper denouncing low self-esteem. You’ll publish a book or a weekly magazine, but you won’t wipe your ass with it?

2. YOU WON’T WIPE YOUR ASS? If you think a bowl of water and air drying will help at all, take some steak sauce and spill it on your countertop. Then pour some water on it and let it air dry. If you’ve done everything correctly, what you will have is a bigger mess, covering more surface area than before. Seriously, you can’t find anything to wipe with? I would use the Kiehl’s bottle for Christ’s sake, something, anything.

3. I love polar bears, but I also love TiVo. And Chinese take out. And wiping my ass. Like if there was nothing else available, I would wipe my ass with a polar bear. And this is what they are talking about when they refer to “the natural order.” And nature is not to be tinkered with.
Hi Dan! Just wondering why you got rid of the comments section?

To receive cheerful emails like this, of course!

Actually, it was an experiment I was running. I was told that if I gave up blog comments I would save the polar bears. Turns out that’s not entirely true. That’s the last time I take advice from special interest groups.
I don't have a good question. But here's a situation. What would you do?

My friend, who works for an HMO, fields phone calls all day long from impoverished Tennesseans who are being cut off from TennCare because our state has gone broke. (yes. I said "gone broke") Many of these people are senior citizens who have recently lost a loved one, have no one else to talk to, are on numerous medications that they are no longer receiving, and are usually (excuse me if this is inconsiderate or even borderline prejudiced) less than educated. Let's call them the type that local news stations like to interview after there's been a tornado through a trailer park.

According to HIPPA laws, my friend is not allowed to place the medication orders for these people herself. She must somehow communicate to those suffering from dementia that they need to call another number to get their meds. She is also not allowed to hang up on them. They like to talk. I could go on, but I'm sure you have imagination enough to assume the worst.

Here's the question. If put in such a situation, what might you say to help these poor old folks get their medication, get off the phone, and not call back again in a day. Or in, like, an hour.

Imaginative answers are your forte, so I'm expecting you to bring it..


I sympathize with your friend.

While I didn’t actually read the whole email, I will now prove that all problems can be solved simply by applying The Zach Morris Method.

Step 1. Make a prank phone call. Be sure to use a fake, older sounding voice. Furrowing your brow while you speak will help. Also, stammer a lot as though you haven’t rehearsed your lines. This is how older, fake adults talk.

Step 2. Dress up in a costume. Often, a simple mustache and a change of clothes will do. if you do not look appropriately deceptive, dress up one of your friends. better yet, everyone dress up. Costumes are key!

Step 3. Convince everyone around you that someone else said something about them behind their back. You will know you have done this correctly if the person says, “She said that, did she?” with their voice trailing up at the end. This is known as “playing people against one another” and is the cornerstone of all good plans.

If all of this fails to help your friend, give the elderly people my blog address. Tell them they can find the answers to all their questions right here, on Q&A Friday!

(Think you’ve got what it takes to have a questions? Email me at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's like Dan waited until somebody asked about leaving comments, before he allowed us to leave comments again. What can we learn from this? After such a long hiatus...I thought maybe Dan had started a new blog or something. Seriously though, how long until all the Dan haters start posting comments again?

May 4, 2007 at 4:26:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Meow said...

Can't he just delete them?

LOVE you, Dan. I'd have your babies. (Ok maybe not... but it's a funny thought. Sorry Brooke.)

May 4, 2007 at 5:33:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are Dan haters? F--k those mother f--kers! Who could hate Dan?

Welcome back, Dan. Keep the posts comin'!

May 4, 2007 at 5:46:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous foreigner said...

Thank God we get to comment again! Now if you go missing again, at least we have each other for support (and maybe a couple of Dan-haters to make us feel closer to revenge)

May 4, 2007 at 6:01:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous littlewhiteliar said...

Oh man, I missed out on the haters and my Tivo totally shit the bed that night. Anyone have it recorded? (I kid.)

May 4, 2007 at 11:53:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Bill from Gainesville said...

Dan, That was really Strong. And I am with you on the ass wiping. I think that given the choice between Greenhouse gasses eventually choking off the Earth completely, or wiping my butt I am going to give it a wipe. I mean sure, initially I am going to try to do my part in Not wiping my ass but after only a Day or so of trying to drip dry etc, I am going to be So done with that aggravation, plus the doubts I will have if other people are also doing there part in not ass wiping will wear me out. In being able to envision this before it happens, is proof that I am more intelligent then a polar bear. Its simple darwinism.

May 5, 2007 at 12:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Fever Dog said...

If those writer-folks are against using paper, does this mean they are also against money? If they would like to save the polar bears by giving their paper money and plastic credit cards to me, I'm sure I could oblige.

May 6, 2007 at 4:31:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Bob said...

Well, I don't care what the rest of them say, I'm glad you turned the comments back on!

May 6, 2007 at 10:22:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Alison said...

Me too. I thought "Dan doesn't care what we think?!! Do we not count?!!" Yes, my self-esteem has slipped to a new obscure internet-dependent low: I get validation from strangers who need my random, seldom-witty comments.

May 7, 2007 at 5:30:00 AM EDT  
Blogger HomeImprovementNinja said...

I think I'm the reason that Dan stopped allowing comments. I kept putting up comments with embedded HTML links to pics of my crotch. It was an attempt at cyber dada existentialism. Sorry. Won't happen again.

May 7, 2007 at 9:54:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Hoosier Joe said...

Thank god, the comments are back. I had been reading Dan’s blogs for about a year and the very first time I leave a comment was the last post before he turned them off. I blamed myself. I turned inward. I rejected the outside world and pleas from friends to “just get a life and quit obsessing already.” I walked around my apartment unshaven, uncleaned and unfulfilled like Campbell Scott in the last 20 minutes of “Singles.” I said to myself, “Self, you’ve got to take a bath … and also, you shouldn’t beat yourself up over this. Sooner or later Dan will turn the comments back on. And when that day comes, you will be ready with the world’s most Dan-friendly link." Obviously, today I’ve turned a corner in life. I’m finally ready to find closure or whatever it is they say on Oprah, and I’m finally ready to take that bath now.

May 7, 2007 at 12:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Libby Mae Brown said...

Do you think sometimes they splash and then succumb to wiping with their hand? Like, splash, splash... ahh, screw it.

May 7, 2007 at 12:51:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Airam said...

Woot! Who knew that my email would've been included!

May 8, 2007 at 10:46:00 PM EDT  

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