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June 8, 2006 Edition

Dear Max,

I want to go to the Caprice Crane book reading/signing in LA, 7:30 PM, Thursday, June 8, at the Santa Monica Barnes & Noble. How do I get there?

(Don’t Want to Be) Lost in LA

Found in LA,

Wow, that sure was an odd way to phrase the question. The Barnes & Noble Web site has a direction-finder … click here and plug in your address! Or try the Google Maps version … click here to pinpoint it! Or drive around LA and just ask people. How far can it be?

Dear Max,

My “master” steals my food, right out of the bowl. He usually does this while drinking foul-smelling liquids. I have given him the full range of disapproving expressions (from incredulous to aggrieved), to no effect. How do I make him stop? Is biting allowed at this point?

Emaciated in Seattle

Seattle Slim,

You can call me a lot of things, but don’t call me late for dinner … and don’t ever call me over to a dog food bowl that a human being is dipping his/her dirty paws into. For the love of Lassie, people – you deprive us of darn near everything else culinary… now you got to get all up in my monkey chow??!! The foul-smelling liquids might explain why he has any palette for your dinner at all (the uprights usually don’t like the taste of dog food, which is part of nature’s great equilibrium), but I’ve got news for you on the facial-expression approach: hang it up. Stand in front of your owner sometime and assume a crystal-clear expression of amazement that dinner hasn’t been served yet. I mean, really layer on the consternation and disgust. Here’s what you get, invariably: “It’s too early, Maxie. It’s still another two hours.” I’m *constantly* aggrieved, frequently agitated, and once I was mortified. I still live life largely unfulfilled.

But you’re crossing over into dangerous territory when you consider taking matters into your own teeth. Evrey dog I know regrets every bite of a human being he or she ever took. On the surface, they apparently don’t taste very good – like sweat fighting Fresh Spring-scented antiperspirant. But deep down, it’s even worse: you’re chewing at a special bond between companions, one that takes longer to heal than any flesh wound. Consider that before you chomp. Plus the fact that you’re likely to get your butt smacked *hard*. Then just wait ‘til he passes out –- and climb over his body to the honey turkey in the fridge.

Dear Max:

What up dog? (LOL) I’m a member of a popular online blogging site, and like the rest of the world, I waste too much time there which leads to my question. Too often kind flirting and joking banter leads to whomever I’m chatting with mistaking my intentions for more than the desire for a platonic “relationship” in whatever capacity natural to us both. I’m all for deeper friendships Max, but what am I doing wrong in creating these unwanted and crowding, one-sided affections … or in making her feel as if I want anything more than to admire her and be in her life as a friend she can trust? *belly scratch*

Coffee in the Keyboard


Typically queries like yours end up with a *head* scratch. But I know where you’re coming from – I also have a very hard time reaching my head. It drives me nuts! I’ve taken to rubbing my noggin against chenille shams, textured wallpaper and carpeted hallway floors just to get some relief. Of course, if you meant to send a belly scratch my way, I appreciate the gesture, and sorry I mistook the meaning. And thus we arrive at our point: it’s easy to mistake intentions, because every message has a sender and a receiver, and they don’t always see eye to eye, or mouth to ear as it were. It takes two to tangle, and we do it all the time. A man goes out with a buddy, then meets his girlfriend later and says, “I saw Sheila out at the bar tonight. She looked great.” But the girlfriend actually hears him say, “I have no interest whatsoever in getting any tonight. None.” The counterpoint, of course, is that you’re asking for it — out traipsing through the Internet wilderness, where a little witty self-exposure can easily be interpreted in romantic terms by the unattached masses, yearning to be … attached. You’re dipping your worm in a well-stocked pond, because you like fishing for the fun of it – no wonder you get the occasional bite, and hook a sucker through the lip. I suggest you simply be clear as Whitney Houston’s future career path with them when they seem to be getting more serious than you. Frankly, anyone who’s LOL at the line “What up dog?” could use a little more serious in his life.

Or maybe a little more *fun* — in which case you should read my Mom’s new book, Stupid and Contagious, available now through amazon.com (click here), bn.com, and fine booksellers everywhere. (Man, that wasn’t even much of a segue into the plug.)

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