Monthly Archives: August 2008

Decorum, taste and style in Gotham.

Dear Uncle Ted,

I just got done watching Batman the Dark Knight, and I have some questions:

Has anyone ever told the Joker he might need some better foundation to help hold that white stuff on?  I would maybe suggest Princess Borghese Mud Mask followed by some Chanel base.  Also, a little Vitamin E would help the scar tissue…..

Also, is there any chance Bruce Wayne would date a girl like me?  I’m not a DA or anything, but I have some nice dresses…besides, that Maggie Gyllenahaal is a hussy – haven’t you seen the Agent Provocateur ads she does???

Seriously Concerned about Gotham’s Image,

*Princess Me

I’m gonna hafta disagree with you, Princess – I find the Joker’s approach to skin care and makeup embodies a less polished, yet livelier aesthetic, one more suited to these grittier times. It’s a look that says “I’m here to party, not to be seen at one.” And if my sources are correct, I believe Estee Lauder agrees, and is offering Liz Hurley’s soon-to-expire contract as one of the four faces of the cosmetics line to Mr. Joker – if not to provoke the marketplace, than at least to demonstrate a willingness to bring an undergound sensibility to the mainstream. Save the mud mask for yourself, young missy. We’re all gonna need some serious pore therapy if that greasepaint catches on.

As for Mr. Wayne – I believe if you follow his exploits in the papers, you’ll realize that his choice in arm candy leans heavily towards hussy. But I hope there’s room in Mr. Wayne’s future for someone with decorum, taste and style. Until that person comes along, however, may I forward the photo that you’ve sent to me on to Mr. Wayne? Your bikini, made out of what looks like poultry twine, is, I believe, exactly what Bruce is looking for right now. Decorum, taste and style, indeed.


A household accident.

Dear Uncle Ted,

While trying to repair a D&D orc figurine’s accidentally severed arm, I accidentally superglued the fingers on my right hand to my computer desk. Make fun of me later – help me now. Within reach, I have, besides the tube of superglue, a half-full bottle of Coke Zero, the usual assortment of credit cards in my wallet, some DVD cases, a spork from Kentucky Fried Chicken and the plastic wrapper it came in, as well as a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. My roommate won’t be home until tomorrow morning and I have to pee really, really bad. Is there any sort of MacGuyver-ish alternative to tearing the skin off my fingertips or pissing myself?

Totally Fucked in Waukesha

Dear Totally Fucked:

You are.

And, no.


First dates and first dinners.

Dear Uncle Ted,

Where should I go on a first date?

– Ned, Batavia, IL

Ned, I recommend the Fermilab National Laboratory, right in your home town, which houses the Tevatron, the world’s highest-energy particle accelerator, where protons, extracted from ionized hydrogen gas though the Cockroft-Walton process, are shot through a four-mile ring of 28,000-ohm neodymium magnets at nearly the speed of light, giving us insight into space and time, and the nature of the universe at the dawn of creation.

It’s chock full of nerds, so you’ll look much, much, cooler in comparison. Plus, the cafeteria has onion rings. They don’t serve booze, though, so make sure to bring a flask for yourself and however many Cosmopolitans you can pour into a Gatorade bottle. Good luck!

Dear Uncle Ted,

Can you recommend some easy but impressive dishes to cook for a dinner date? Please bear in mind that I can barely get around in my kitchen. I mean, I know how to boil water, but that’s about it!

– Elena, Rochester, NY

Ahhh, young love. So often paired with kitchen inexperience. But not to worry – Uncle Ted is here to help.

I’d recommend a tasty, easy three-course meal – one that will satisfy (and not bog you guys down while you’re watching “You’ve Got Mail” and necking on the couch. 🙂 )

Appetizer: Sweet Cucumber and Grape Gazpacho – don’t worry – it only sounds fancy. Cucumbers, green seedless grapes, a little bread, a little garlic, a food processor – 15 minutes! And you can make it a day or two ahead, which will leave you more time to stare smoulderingly into each other’s eyes over a nice glass of wine. (And while Franzia is Uncle Ted’s summer drink of choice, you might wanna splurge for the good stuff. In bottles.)

Entree: Roast Chicken with Crash Hot Potatoes. This dish is FOOLPROOF. Now, if you’ve never cooked a whole chicken before, don’t sweat – it’s actually pretty easy, and will look great coming out of the oven. Follow the directions carefully, and you’ll have a brown and juicy bird ready to be picked apart by your lucky fella. And you can use the lower rack in the oven to make the potatoes while the chicken is cooking – and relax: the potato recipe is from Australia – if those sports-obsessed felonious retards can make it, so can you!

Dessert: Mango-Acai Berry Puree with Pulverized Yuzu and Venezuelan Cocoa-Lychee Foam. Now, I don’t have a recipe link for this, since the only time I’ve had it was in Grant Achatz’s molecular gastronomic showcase, Alinea, in Chicago. But estimating the time between courses, I would say it should probably take you 10, 15 minutes, tops. (I was able to get a vague outline of the recipe by feeding their sous-chef peyote buttons after-hours – and it was worth the trouble!) Now for the puree, you’ll need to break the mangoes down in a boiling agave syrup solution until they disintegrate and start exuding notes of vanilla and caramel. Add the Acai quickly, as you have an eight-second window from when the vanilla scent starts before the agave starts to react with mango and the whole thing begins to smell like boiled cabbage. You can then turn the mixture down to a simmer while you take some yuzu (a medicinal Japanese citrus fruit formerly used to treat the wounds of Samurai warriors whose pulp is considered a Schedule II hallucinogen) and quick-freeze their rinds with a blast from your nitrogen canister. (If you’re out of supercooled nitrogen, freon from your air conditioner will do the trick.) You should then reconstitute some dried lychees with a little Nepalese mountain river water and dust them with the cocoa before extracting the foam base with an irradiating-centripedal pulse strainer (make sure your pulse strainer is well-shielded and that your apron is lead-lined.) Use an autoclaved pipette to drip your extraction into a compressed nitrous oxide dispenser. Pour the puree onto your anti-griddle (now, if you don’t own a device that provides a -30F flattop that will instantly freeze most liquids on contact, use ice, but this is really something you should have in your kitchen anyway) and form small discs. Carefully pry the puree off the surface and plate up your dessert, topping the discs with two or three generous blasts of foam. Finally, take a hammer (masonry is recommended, though ball-peen is fine) and smash your yuzu rinds. Burnish any dangerously sharp edges off the yuzu shards with a sheet of 300-grit sandpaper and sprinkle what’s left onto your foam. Enjoy!

Actually, prep time on that last course might take 20 minutes.

Lemme know how that goes! Good luck!


How to get rid of stubborn mineral deposits.

Dear Uncle Ted,

My family and I recently moved to an area near Salt Lake with really hard well water, and our neighbors mentioned that, even with a water softener downstairs, our shower heads will need unclogging on a regular basis. Can you recommend a method or product that will work?

– All Stopped Up in Utah

Thanks for your question! A lot of homeowners in the southwest deal with this exact issue, ASUIU, but it’s easily remedied. To fix the problems in your house, you’ll need:

– A plastic heavy-duty scouring pad
– A mineral-deposit removing cleanser such as CLR, or plain white vinegar
– A willingness to accept the notion that your polygamist lifestyle is an affront to God and the sanctity of marriage

First: identify the problem showerheads in your house. Chances are, you’ve got a lot of bathrooms, what with the four wives and thirteen children, so tackling this little annoyance all at once will save you headaches down the road.

Next, spray the clogged showerheads with the mineral deposit cleanser, or fill a spray bottle with nearly full-strength white vinegar (four parts vinegar to one part water) and use that instead. Let that stuff eat away at the gunk for about a half an hour – plenty of time for you to find all the copies of the Book of Mormon in the house and burn them in the backyard. (Metal trashcan or designated fire receptacle ONLY. Uncle Ted says: safety FIRST.)

After half an hour, give the treated areas a good scrub with your scouring pad – but take care! Scrub too hard and the finish will come right off, reducing the resale value of the home you might just have to sell to cover the legal costs of defending your indefensible lifestyle in family court.

Rinse thoroughly with cold water.

And voila! Full water pressure in almost no time to keep your enormous heathen brood clean and comfortable.  You’ll want them presentable once you drive yourself to the local sheriff to turn yourself in.

Lemme know how things work out!


Dear Uncle Ted.

Dear Uncle Ted,

I hear you have a new blog where you answer questions and give advice to people. Is this true?

– Sue, Albuquerque, NM

Dear Sue: Yes, it’s true. Though, strangely enough, not your questions. Except for this one. After this, you should take your relationship issues and bar bets regarding Rutherford Hayes’ sexual proclivities to someone who cares about your problems. Like Amy Dickinson. Or your mom.

But don’t call tonight. She’ll be busy. Rather – she’ll be biz-zay.

Dear Uncle Ted,

What sort of questions are you going to be answering?

– Alan, Brainerd, MN

Dear Alan: Hopefully, the questions I’ll be answering will be more interesting than yours.

Dear Uncle Ted,

Do you see yourself as a “Dear Abby” type, dispensing commonsense wisdom about real, everyday problems that touch the souls and lives of millions?

– Josie M, The Hague, Netherlands

Dear Josie: No.

Dear Uncle Ted,

Do we have to send you real questions?

– Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Farmington, CT

Dear Miz Frankweiler: Your questions should be as real and heartfelt as my answers.

Dear Uncle Ted,

Do you think any of the established answer and advice columnists out there, like Dan Savage, Randy Cohen or Cecil Adams have anything to worry about from your new blog?

– Karl A., Racine, WI

Dear Karl: Those guys have nothing to worry about from my blog. As to Molotov cocktails thrown through their bedroom windows – well. We all have our crosses to bear.

Hope to hear from all of you very soon. Remember: I’m here to help.