Fiddles and matchsticks whitewashed pig yellow handspringer. Triangular virtue  millenium hand and shrimp. Crew turtle lamb the galvinist said I says them said we. When accepter little widdershins, deeds of peace and flight winge? Drugging of the butterfly’s motorola. 

Chastise in Atlantis 


Dusty banana leftist into cargo. Pelvis bubbles pretty gyro lynx. Then broken in when here go there. Pumice natterjack pudding. Sandwich electricity or crash turtle wings. Soda do did done xylophone left. 



Birthday Boy


I was cleaning out some drawers with my dad’s old knick knacks in them. I found a letter addressed to me and dated about a month before he died. In it, he explains that the males of our family have lived with a generational curse, all of us dying on our thirtieth  birthday – horribly and mysteriously. No matter where we are and no matter what we do, we’re found mauled to death by some enormous beast. I have two years, which should be plenty of time, assuming I know what to do. Advice? 

Birthday Boy in Webster 

Birthday Boy, 

The thing with curses is that they can all be broken by a specific means. Kissing the right sort of person is an extremely popular method of curse-breaking. I recommend that you go public with this – tell the world about the curse and explain that you don’t know who you need to kiss (or have kiss you) but you need to get that kiss in before your thirtieth birthday. Pretty soon, people all over the world will be rallying around you, offering to kiss/be kissed by you in an attempt to save your life. Don’t hold back, my friend – kiss them all. Kiss, kiss, kiss. 

It is also possible that you need to kill a certain somebody before turning thirty. That’s something else to consider. 




I’ve been having dreams for the last few years. There’s a man, he’s named Nick. After a number of dreams in which Nick was a character, I actually looked him up to see if there was something out there. Nope. Last weekend, in Vegas, I bumped into a man outside a coffee shop. Spilled my drink all over him. Alistair, it was Nick. He looked exactly like Nick. I asked what his name was, and it was Nick. We exchanged numbers – he still doesn’t know why – and I’m writing to you while looking at his business card and wondering what to do. Help? 

Dreaming in Cambridge 


My response for this situation has two possible answers. On the one hand, you may have literally found the man of your dreams! Carry on. 

On the other hand, you may have found the man destined to kill you. It’s a bit of a Hail Mary, but if you succeed in killing him first, you might actually become immortal. 




 I’ve got one chance to challenge Death to a game for my life. Problem is, I suck at chess. Can I swap for Texas Hold ‘em, or maybe Monopoly? I don’t want to make a bad first impression on the other side, but those are really more my games. 

Dealing in Fall River 


Yes, you can substitute another game for chess, but you should probably know that Death is really good at most games. Drinking contests, What Number Am I Thinking Of, Texas Hold Em, Call Of Duty: Black Ops II… It’s not like you’re going to fare any better against him just because you have your lucky flatiron piece with you. He will still beat you and you will die… Or you might win; sometimes people do. Then they recommend that you should challenge Death to a game of Spoons. Really, go with Spoons. 




I don’t have any family that I can remember. None. I went on a blind date last weekend and realized that I do not recall anything from before three years ago. Your significant experience may aid me. What is the most probable explanation? 

Newbie in Nashville 


You are most likely a highly covert CIA operative who had all his past memories erased to help him carry out his operations with cold and unhesitating callousness. Unfortunately, you seem to have also forgotten what it is that you’re supposed to be doing and have probably been wandering around – a loose human cannon – for the past three years. Now you’re dating; good on you. 




I am a duck and have just achieved a human level of sentience thanks to some scientists playing around with my brain. I cannot vocalize with discernible human speech because I am a duck but, as you can see, I type reasonably well. Any advice on integrating into the human culture? 

Feeling Painfully Avian in NYC’s Central Park 


First, you will need a name; Let’s call you Adrian. You have two main problems: Feathers and wing structure make sign language difficult, and you are a duck. You’ll want to start by obtaining a library card. Head to the local library, steal a form, and try to stand in such a way that the Librarian believes they are addressing a person. If it’s automated, so much the better. This will give you access to the computers. You’ll want to apply for a credit card, shipping it to a nearby address where you can nick the envelope. While you wait for delivery, sign up for Reddit, Twitter (you’ll probably be unbelievably popular), and Facebook. Use the credit card to get a Netflix and Amazon Prime account. You are now fully integrated. 




Down at the office, we’ve had a betting pool for a while. Just four of us – myself, two co-workers and the boss. Jerry is a werewolf, and we bet on who his next victim will be. A new guy just showed up and said that this pastime of ours is “horrible” and “psychopathic.” We don’t want to be rude, but can you give an official answer on how much a new recruit can dictate office culture? 

Betting the Farm in Sugarland, TX 


A new recruit, while by no means in a position to call shots against the will of the majority, can still have a marginal impact on office culture. For instance, he could affect your betting pool by becoming Jerry’s next victim. 


Open Book


My boyfriend can read minds. Or that’s what it seems like, anyway. He always knows exactly what to do, knows just what to say, can predict how people are going to react, and got a raise. Thing is, before two weeks ago, he was kind of a well-meaning bumbler. I think that he just got the ability between then and now. How do I see if that’s what’s going on, and how should I react if I’m right? 

Open Book in OK 

Open Book, 

Testing people for mind-reading abilities is very easy. Simply sit there and look discontent. Eager to please you, he will start reading your mind and the message he receives will be: “I really wish my boyfriend would wear a fez. That would be SO sexy.” If he can read minds, he’ll be wearing a fez within a week. If not, then not. How you deal with the reality of a mind-reading boyfriend is up to you. A downside is that there will be significantly more honesty potential in your relationship than in most others. 




I’m stuck in a prison. At least, that’s what I think it is. It’s a locked white box. Once I force the door, I end up in a bigger white box. If I force that door, I end up in any one of a number of places, including a rainforest, a mountain, a frozen tundra, and an empty  battleship in the middle of the ocean. When I fall asleep, I wake up the next day back in the first box. All I have is my clothes and my cellphone, which I’m using to write this. Alistair, I need help. 

Lost in a Box 


It was always going to come to this. Video game designers have finally discovered the ultimate way to improve the competence of AI characters in their games. Somehow they have integrated your living consciousness into a video game. Those white boxes are incomplete menu areas that will be used by teenagers to navigate the video game. The random environments that you find yourself in (rainforest, mountain, tundra, battleship) are maps that will soon be populated by men wielding a wide assortment of weaponry. You will eventually be given a gun and it will be up to you to defend yourself or die in the attempt. Congratulations; you are now living the gamer’s dream! My condolences; you can never, ever escape.