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May 4, 2005

Advice Column for May 4, 2005


Man, I never thought I would ever be saying this, but it’s fun to hear from everybody again! I got mad kinds of letters from discouraged people, and I got all kinds of good ideas for you all. So read on, and remember...LIFE BE A HEIST, ALL!


Listen to the theme to Ray's Place, by Milwaukee Youth Children's Choir, aka MC Frontalot

I'm Irish. Extremely Irish. I have red hair and blond eyebrows. As such, my facial hair is also blonde. If I were to grow a beard, there would be a clear mismatch between the hair on my head and my beard.

So, would the ladies like this look? Or will people constant[ly] asking the question "does the carpet match the drapes" not be worth it?
--Mike, PA, USA

Dear Mike,

I’m actually glad you wrote. It gives me the chance to address an issue which I think a lot of people are pretty concerned about, and that is of course the issue of the carpet matching the drapes.

First of all, I want to dispel the myth that the carpet not matching the drapes decreases sexual pleasure. It doesn’t. In fact, sexual excitement is often heightened by the carpet not matching the drapes, as the person becomes more of an enigma to you.

According to Dr. P. Andretti of the J. Vincent J. Lemoni Medical Center, as long as you keep them both clean and conditioned, your carpet and drapes can be any color(s).

I would say that the hair color-matching issue is a red herring, though, and the real issue with growing a beard is head shape. I know many dudes who have big round heads, and they are the dudes who should not have a beard (Supreme, Spongebath during the week after his birthday, Beef). If you have a skinny little old head then have a beard, you will look slick. If you are heavy or thick or round, do not have a beard. You can’t hide a huge old body with a little band of hair that is just sort of arbitrarily grown across an expanse of jiggly jowl-flesh.

My roommate and I are both the kind of ladies who have recorded far too much HGTV on our TiVo, and it has got us wanting to paint our apartment some other color than the funky off-white eggshell that comes default with places. We're thinking of going a kind of red in the kitchen, and a coffee sort of color in the living room, to be both interesting, but comfortable. The question I've got is, since we want to do this on the cheap and probably aren't going to get on one of those home shows since neither of us has a little cousin with scoliosis who can get pity money, how can we trick our friends into doing the painting for us? Any other Smuckles brand decorating advice would be welcomed.
W.R., New York

Dear W.R.,

I’m glad you wrote. I’m also glad your family is well.

Do you have the audio book of Tom Sawyer? There is this one section where Tom gets all the neighborhood kids to whitewash a fence for him. His technique? You guessed it. He tricks them.

Get all your friends to your apartment for like a tapas party or beers or whatever. Then when things are going alright, go into the kitchen and start painting it that red color you mention. Pretty soon a partygoer will wander in and make fun of you for working during a party. Pretend like you don’t notice him for his first couple of make-funs, but then the third time he makes fun of you for working, say “Well, maybe it is [work], and maybe it ain’t. All I know, is, it suits [W.R., New York].”

Won’t be long before this man who mocked you is begging to take the brush and paint. If he still balks, mention that it is not every day that one gets the chance to paint a girl’s kitchen. If you can coyly wink at him during this part, he will paint your entire kitchen [literally].

My wife is having our first child in August. We are registering for a baby shower, and making a list of things to buy, and buying things. I can't believe how much stuff there is to buy. There are poor people in this country. How can they have babies? From all I've read it seems like babies are these things that eat, shit, and spend the rest of the time trying to find ways to commit suicide, and so you have to buy stuff that prevents them from killing themselves, so they can grow up and marry a drummer.

How do I tell the difference between what I need and what Target wants me to think I need?

Dear Reader,

Man, this is actually an extremely timely question since Chris and his lady just had that kid. They have like six rooms full of yellow bouncy music-playing things and also all kinds of little denim overalls with a picture of a dog’s head sewed onto the leg, etc. We have chilled a time or two since his new shortie showed up and he kind of gave me the lowdown on what you need and what you don’t. Also, I called him just now and ran this question past him. His lady and his shortie were out on a walk and he had time to pass.

The main thing you need is a night nanny. This is a lady who comes over and deals with all of the baby’s shit during the night so that you can get some sleep. She can be the one who wigs out when the baby won’t stop crying for seven hours and then when it’s morning and the baby is cool she can leave (it’s best if someone picks her up).

The other thing you need is a day nanny. This is a lady who takes your baby off your hands during the day so that you can “the hell get a single thing done.” Do you want to pay some bills, or perhaps go to a place which makes food yet doesn’t allow screaming? Do you want to lift an apple up off a table without worrying that it will upset baby? Day nanny is your gal.

The third thing you need is a good-sized car so you don’t bonk your head getting the carseat in and out. When you’re tired and cranky, a sharp bonk on the head is just about the last thing you want to add to your day.

I write poetry and I'm also working on a novel. Since you obviously have a feeling for the written word, I'm wondering if you can answer my question, which is about the current state of poetry in the larger world.

Most people don't read poetry, because they think it's boring and difficult. Also, most poets don't feel the need to make any compromises with the reader, or write in the idiom of the common man. Do you think poetry needs to dumb down to survive? Or do you think it's too silly and pretentious as a whole art form and there's no hope of making it better? Please talk about the future state and current state of poetry.

There is an advice component to the question as well: how should a person (or how should I) write poetry which will make poetry in general a better endeavor?

Dear Reader,

Poetry IS boring and difficult. Take a look at this line by Tennyson, in his rimjob of a poem “Tintern Abbey”:

FIVE years have past; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.--Once again

Sounds to me like someone was gettin’ paid by the word. That's a pretty long way of saying that you're standing by a creek. Here is how that could be written instead:

DOGG check it I am by this creek;
and I got hell of emotions...in my brain

Basically we all get annoyed when someone uses the old-fashioned Tennyson-type style because you know the writer is just copying the greats and probably wears a gaelic thumb ring. Modern poets can’t do that “thee, thou, wrest’d from sweet April’s bosom” kind of crap ‘cause modern people don’t talk that way. That’s the reason hiphop is commanding these days. It’s realistic. Good poetry happens when you just shoot off whatever comes into your mind, and if you can pack in some tight rhymes like my boy Eminem, then you will get the people on their feet with mad alacritas.

Hope this helps. You can pick up most of his albums on Amazon.com. Just keep your rhymes tight, and don’t try to imitate Tintern Abbey too much.

I have a female friend named [name omitted to protect the female friend] who I am liking a lot. I'm pretty sure that she just likes me as a friend, but I was hoping you could help me change that. Neetu and I have been discussing music lately, and she is expecting me to make some burned CDs for her. I was wondering if you knew of some tunes that would make her think of me as classy, tasteful, and romantic. Thanks.
Max in VA

Fun dogg,

A mix CD is not going to do the work for you. You actually have to be classy, tasteful and romantic if you want her to see you that way. Why do people think that burning a Nat King Cole track onto a CD will suddenly imbue them with all the qualities associated with that artist? You got to earn your rep, peanut-time. Get out of here, peanut-time. I got stuff to do. Go earn your rep. Stop wearing that sideways baseball cap and munching on honey-roasted peanuts out of that red and white striped bag.

I just started seeing this girl and I think I maybe like her too much. However, we both have a fairly checkered past that we only really allude to and it gets uncomfortable, fast, if I do more than allude to it. This girl turns my legs to jelly and I can tell I'm one wrong step away from getting way too emotional with her, way too soon. What's a good way of avoiding this and keeping things in the present tense?
Namby-pamby in Montreal

Dear NPM,

You need to confront the hard thing in order to move past it. You’re not going to have much of a relationship if you both pretend that the world began in 2005. Sometimes in life you have to do the hard thing. Tests didn’t end when you got that diploma, dogg. And neither did the breaded chicken sandwiches. Go treat yourself to a chicken sandwich at Jacko and mull this over. It’s man-time, and you got to come real.

* 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.