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Jun 24, 2005

Advice Column for June 24, 2005

Okay, so everybody thinks they're too good for my Sybianissimo blueprints? Not one single person wrote in! Were you just afraid it would be too complicated to assemble? Sheesh, people! Have some self-confidence! All you need to make it is the Kitchen-Aid stand mixer from Williams-Sonoma (with the pasta roller attachment), a nice ottoman from Pottery Barn, a saws-all plus assorted hardware from Home Depot, and whatever old, trusted Jelly Big-Boy (a Shore A durometer of approximately 30-40) you have lying around. There, you happy now? It comes in at just $1200, over $100 less than the brand-name Sybian. I swear, I thought I was gonna hear from at least one person.

Don't Cho the Chacho,

Oh, PS: you can email me at ray(symbol)achewood.com. I haven't been mentioning that.

Download the theme to Ray's Place - MP3, 981kb, by MYCC

Now that I'm an adult I feel like I need a subscription to something. Can you recommend any useful and/or entertaining publications? I've read everything from Nugget to Highlights for Children, but I want to get something that is consistently great from month to month. I'm thinking about getting a subscription to a financial periodical. What's better? Forbes? The Wall Street Journal? Barron's? What's good? Please help, friend. Thank you.
Jeffrey, Internet

Dear Jeffrey,

A lot of people will tell you that they don't know this about me, but I really enjoy National Geographic, the one with the yellow spine. Not only does it really class a room up to have a big old line of those on a shelf or two, but it is good as a magazine as well. The photography is amazing. They got a photo most times of a bug's eye up so close that it fills the entire page, and usually they got a pretty amazing building or two, like in Micronesia, and check this out — I have noticed that once in almost every issue there is a photo of a female meant to titillate male readers. It might just be a photo of a pretty oil company CEO in a blouse where you can barely see the outline of her chest, or it might be a topless Tobogan woman, but those dudes are wise. They put in just one teaser every issue, and you always search for it. The anticipation I feel as I flip through the magazine is the essence of pornography.

I am pretty new at cooking and have been experimenting with my lady's Naked Chef cookbooks on a semi-regular basis. The results have been good thus far, but I am tired of Jamie Oliver, his pseudo-hip British look and his lame slang (what the hell does "pukka" mean anyway?). Are there other cookbooks you would recommend for someone in my situation? And on a related note, what kind of meal does a classy hombre such as yourself cook if he wants to impress his lady so much that her panties basically fall off at the dinner table?
Luke in Calgary

Dear Luke,

Well, I been into a couple Esquire recipes in my time, but Téodor is the real cookbook doyen (bring it, Ray!). I sent him your question and he says that when the last guest has left and it's time to sweep up, the cookbook that has served him best over the years is his old copy of "Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques." I guess it's like the Google of cooking, got over 1,000 recipes and techniques, all like from how to poach a simple egg all the way to some thing that involves baking a Horsepiggoosen (a slightly more classic version of the Turducken) for seventeen hours.

Hope this helps. As to your second question: that is a job for the conversation, not the food. I have had women nail me in the Wendy's parking lot simply after sharing a Biggie Fries and some spicy repartee.

I saw you have some speakers for sale. Can I get a little more info? I've been looking to hook up my sound-system recently.
M.G., Overseas

Dear M.G.,

Dang, you must have seen this misinformation in the Friday Facts area of the Philippe Times that ran last week. There was that photo with me and some kickin' black towers? Yeah, he misunderstood me. That was supposed to go in the "Announcements" section. See, every time I add a major component to my audio family, I get a little portrait done up with a professional photographer and notify the local press. That particular shoot was fun, we were at the edge of the Grand Canyon just as dusk was falling. The whole thing had a very Joshua Tree-type of feel to it.

In a fit of bad judgement, I boned my friend's girlfriend. Now she broke up with him and wants to hook it up with me. I don't want him to hate me, but I have to admit that under any other circumstances, I'd jump at the chance to get with her. What do I do?
-torn in toledo

Dear Toledo,

So, you boned your friend's old lady and you don't want him to be mad at you? I don't think there's a single neuron in his nervous system which isn't designed to immediately kill you as soon as he finds out. This is what socio-biologists call "starting to eat lunch in a different area at the school."

Dear Readers:

This next letter is pretty long, and contains many points, so I thought I'd answer it in-line so as to keep the dialogue lively and refreshing. --Ray.

You seem like a decent cat,

Well, I try to help. I do what I can. Thanks.

...so I thought perhaps you'd be willing to publish an opposing voice in response to your recent seafood advice column.

Hey, lively debate is pretty important. Jackson said as much.

Speaking as a person who is serious about sustainable seafood choices, I've got to say you were 0 for 3 with your recommendations.

You could have worded this better. When I read it, you came across as sort of a jerk. I would say you are 0 for 1 in terms of having worded this statement in a persuasive way.

All three species you mentioned are subject to very high fishing pressures, so the populations have been steadily decreasing in recent years. Also, all three are fished by trawls that damage the ocean floor and result in high levels of bycatch. Bycatch is when a non-commercial species is caught in a net. Bycatch rarely survives the experience, and usually the unwanted animals are just thrown away. Shrimp trawls often have endangered sea turtles as their bycatch, as well as juvenile red snapper, damaging that fishery too. For more information about positive seafood choices check out www.beoceanwise.com, a new website from a partnership involving the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Ah, I see. Damn. At this point I could tell you that I like to eat what I like to eat and you go to hell!, but I took a step back for a minute and it looks like I could live a little more in harmony with the earth. I mean, all kinds of fishes and little sea creatures must be good to munch on, right?

My personal advice for the dude who wrote in is to head down to the nearest supermarket with a decent fish department and pick up a nice fillet of tilapia. Tilapia is a fish with a mild nonthreatening flavor and a nice texture. It takes to grilling like a champ, and there are tons of recipes out there for sauces and glazes and whatnot to go with it. Also, tilapia is raised on farms that are very ecologically sound, and has one of the best feed to fish ratios around. Both as a gateway fish for a nervous eater and in terms of sustainability it is a perfect choice.

Interesting! Well, I know what I'm shopping for next time I'm in the mood for seafood. Thanks for educating us a little bit today.

Here's hoping you'll be more aware of your seafood choices in the future, Ray.

Alright, you had me until just now, when you used that condescending, vegan-with-herpes, underhanded insult. After how receptive I've been? Now you just sound like you're on a high horse, and like you don't really care about seafood, you just want to seem like a big martyr. You know what? Next week I'm going to post a picture of a cod and a monkfish in a sleeping bag together and under the picture will be the caption, "after I posed this dumb picture I threw both fish in the garbage."



I've been dating this woman for nearly 3 months and things are going well, but with a small hitch. She's moving out of state for law school in August. There's definitely a spark between us, even she's admitted that, however she wants to call it quits for a while once she starts school so she can focus on that. I have to respect her wishes, but at the same time, I think taking a break like this could ruin what we've got, which to me seems like a really good thing. Any advice?
r.y. - Minnesota

She wants to break up with you, or she wouldn't have suggested that you break up. The "focus on school" thing is just a ruse to let you off easy. Can you believe that fish guy? Man, so arrogant. I was really with him for a while there.

* A Gentle Reminder ("Disclaimer"): This is advice from a cartoon cat, and should not be taken seriously. We are not responsible for anything you do based on what Ray says, or otherwise. Do not commit suicide or otherwise interrupt the lives of others. Continue on with your life as though you had never read this column. Erase your browser history. Not for readers under 18 years of age.