Saturday, August 05, 2006

Dear Abby
Funny how one's past can come back to haunt or, just maybe, help you. When I applied for my gig at The Standard a little more than two years ago - back when real journalists were in charge for the most part - I was a bit apprehensive about some spotty points in my work history.
The most worrying one besides the two or three year gap that listed employment such as "Sanitary Maintainence Consultant, Greyhound-Trailways Transportation Depot, Hygene, Colorado," "Psychotropic Researcher," and "Assistant Adjunct Instructor, Special Needs" was the 18 month gig I'd done at Weekly World News in various roles, including a stint as rabid right wing columnist Ed Anger, and two as lonely hearts gals Serena Sabak ("The World's Sexiest Psychic Advisor") and Dotti Primrose who was sort of a cross between Ann Coulter and, if anyone still remembers her, shrill advice shrew Dr Laura, except imagine them sucking up a heady combo of paint thinner and meth before spewing opinions and advice.
I asked the pal (also named Mitchel, except corrupted as a first name and with one L) who'd tipped me to the would-be employer at The Standard what to do about the Weekly World News blemish. Suffice to say that the WWN is one step above pornography and about 119 flights below the likes of the Washington Post or even the (Indianapolis) Naptown Argus in the world of US journalism.
"Tell him the truth. He'll find out anyway," was Mitchel-with-one-L's sensible reply.
"Yes, I confess. I was Ed Anger at the Weekly World News, " I stuttered at the job interview. "Actually, the third one. And I was also Dotti Primrose and Serena Sabak. All three at the same time. My shrink loved the whole tri-personality thing. But I don't know how many Dottis and Sabrinas preceeded me."
Turned out (sort of like my shrink except this time I got paid for talking about it) my new boss loved the concept and my first assignment was to write about working at the WWN.
Fast forward two years. He and and another sympatico editor were unceremoniously canned by a bilge sucking hydrocephalic weasel who, after shatting in the nest he'd nervously created and setting it on fire, then minced to The Other English Language Paper in Hong Kong, his tongue and palms rigidly extended for more HK$ and power.
I hate that when it happens.
So both guys have found some connections, some investors and started a new online publication called Asia Sentinel. It's still a bit of a work in progress and some of the old Standard and other venerable Asia English-language pubs loyalists are contributing to it, though it ain't a full-time gig for most of us yet. The goal is roughly an Asian Slate.
My first formal assignment, though, was to revive the advice and column gig a la Ed, Dotti, Serena and here's a sample. As I write this the column isn't up and running yet, pending approval, etc., though there's other better, headier material there now if you're into most things Asian.
Dear Average Advice Guy,
My love interest is working in the Middle East for an oil company. He also has a French girlfriend. As I am in Australia, she is closer geographically than me and I know it will be more convenient for him to take some of his time off with her rather than me. How do I lure him away from her?
Geographically Challenged In Oz

Dear Geographically Challenged,
You're also obviously mentally challenged. You're obsessed with an itinerant oil worker who is himself besotted with a French tart? How sad. How very sad. I can't think of a more pathetic situation that spells d.e.a.d e.n.d r.e.l.a.t.i.o.n.s.h.i.p.
Still, you have hopes "luring" him away? Since he's partial to Eurotrash the solution is simple: stop bathing and shaving your legs and underarms.
You see, after a hot, sweaty day under the punishing Arabian sky wrestling with a greasy slurry and light crude coated 36-inch rotary Tricone bit, there's nothing a roughneck likes better than than some off-duty horizontal exploratory drilling with a gal as hairy and foul smelling as himself and, unless you're Greek or a Yetti, it's hard to beat the French in that department.

Dear Average Advice Guy,
I'm an American expat concerned about my 15-year-old daughter. Despite strict precautions and many warnings, she's been sneaking out at night, roaming Hong Kong's notorious Wan chai district and coming home incoherent and reeking of Madame Pearl cough syrup, cigarettes, beer and something called a "Tequila rock and roll." That's bad enough, but two nights ago her mother and I found passed out in the bathroom with a fresh tattoo on her thigh of a unicorn and a dolphin leaping over what appears to be either a skull or Hong Kong neo-facist Regina Yip. Short of sending her back to the United States to a reform school, is there anything we can do?
Worried Father

Dear Worried,
She is obviously a very, very naughty girl and needs firmer discipline that you are willing or able to apply. As it happens, I run a private academy in Hong Kong that specializes in discipling young, wayward females such as her. Write to me again with your contact information and I will make the necessary arrangements. The substance abuse and tattoo are obvious pleas for help and correction, but until she learns who her master is and the guidance that a proper spanking to her young rosy posterior can provide she will continue to misbehave.
By the way, a "tequila rock and roll" costs HK$140 at the Wanchai bar that specializes in them. But the girl who orders them is supposed to receive a HK$80 commission so she appears to be earning some money on her own. A bit of good news, albeit negated by the fact that she failed to tell you. And that is naughty. Very naughty.

Dear Average Advice Guy,
I am being pursued by a Japanese millionaire nearly 20 years my senior. He's generous and kind but he doesn't attract me sexually. I have told him this but I can see he's living in hope of getting my pants off. What's a girl to do?
Bewildered, Not Bedazzled

Dear BNB,
This is a problem? Lebannon is in flames, a million or so fly-blown human skeletons are starving in Darfur, hundreds of thousands are still homeless following earthquakes in Pakistan and Indonesia -- not to mention many December 26, 2004 tsunami victims all over the Asian ring of fire and water; hundreds of innocents are being slaughtered in the Philippines by government shadow troops, the Taliban running is amok again in Afghanistan, my fourth ex-wife is demanding more child support for a kid who isn't mine and you're worried about doing the horizontal mambo with a dottering generous millionaire?
You obviously need more help than even I can provide.

Plea for help
And if anyone out there feels in need of Asia-centric advice (or even advice in general) drop a line through the comments here or at average underscore guy26 at yahoo dot com and I'll do my best, or what mostly passes for it these days.
I Love It

WWN must have been a much livlier read than I thought of while glancing from the check-out line. I hope to see lots more of this!

Now when do you give the directions to the extraterrestrial born to the crazed woman of Area 52?
Eeehhh .... wauw. :-)
Really like the new proposed advice column. I hope it finds an outlet and you lets us know when we can read more.
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