Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Ask Smidge - January, 2019

Since so many of our readers have not been asking for it, it’s finally time for another edition of Ask Smidge, the advice column that doesn’t limit you on a topic. We can give you marginal advice on any subject!

As always, you are encouraged to send your questions to our new email address –

Now let’s get to America’s burning questions!

Social media seems to be getting more and more divisive and derisive by the minute, completely divorced from civility and decorum. What ever happened to a respectful discourse?
Appalled in Albany

Dear Appalled,
nice big words mr dictionary   y don’t u just go back to ur loser book club cocktail party and shut up   how many followers do u even have on instagram   like 2?   lol

I can’t seem to find my glasses. Please help.
Spec-less in Seattle

Dear Spec-less,
Since you did not include your age, here is a chart to choose from:
If you are… then your glasses are…
5-15 years old… on the ground where you threw them, currently under someone’s shoe
16-39 years old… I have no idea. Probably in your car.
40-55 years old… everywhere. Just go into another room and get a pair from any flat surface.
55-75 years old… on your head.
75+ years old… on your face.

We are thinking about putting in a pool, but it seems like a lot of money for something that will basically be a giant backyard water feature in the winter. On the other hand, it would be amazing in the summer. What do you suggest?
Deep Decisions in Dallas

Dear Decisions,
I have a much better third option for you! Here’s what you do:
Go next door to your neighbors’ house and write them a $10,000 check to install a gate in your shared fence with unlimited access to their pool. Then, buy yourself a $40,000 four-wheel-drive camouflage golf cart with a Yeti cooler, GPS navigation, and a built-in barbecue. You’re still money ahead, and you’ll never have to pay a pool guy to flirt with your wife.

We’re thinking about getting a Ring video doorbell, but they sure are expensive. Are they worth it?
Still Knocking in Knoxville

Dear Knocking,
We got a Ring for Christmas this year, and I would highly recommend it. If you’re like me, you probably don’t look at your phone nearly enough during the day. The Ring solves that problem instantly. I am now alerted, via a vibration and a fun tinkling charm sound, about motion on or near my porch at least seventeen thousand times a day. It’s great! I’m just like a teenager now, never taking my eyes off my phone. Downside: I walk into things a lot now. Upside: I have video of every single car, bike, pedestrian, and cat that has ever gone down my street!

It’s tax time again, and I heard there have been a lot of changes in the tax laws. What’s new, and how will it affect me?
Overtaxed in Oshkosh

Dear Overtaxed,
It’s true, there have been a lot of changes this year, most notably the elimination of the personal and dependent exemptions. The standard deduction amount, however, went way up. Many new limits were placed on itemized deductions, but at the same time, the child tax credit has doubled. Here’s what it means for you: At this point, your best option is to be filing as a married person with a lot of children. If you aren’t currently married and/or don’t have kids, don’t panic. Just hook up with another single taxpayer prior to filing, and file together as if you’re “married.” The IRS, being a branch of the military, has to adhere to the strict “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. And the only restriction on the child tax credit is that the child be under seventeen years old. They don’t specifically mention anything about whether the child “lives at your house,” or even anything about them being “human.” Last time I checked, your pets are probably under seventeen. My wives and I have already filed, and the tax credit for our twenty-three children really helped to offset any losses in exemptions or deductions. Happy filing!

Is romaine lettuce safe to eat again?
Over Kale in Kalispell

Dear Kale,
Lettuce of any kind is never safe to eat. It traps E. Coli like a dolphin in a tuna net. It can be very bad for you, but get this: it’s even worse for the environment. How can a plant hurt the planet, you ask, alliteratively? Well, a recent article in Scientific American is headlined “Lettuce Produces More Greenhouse Gas Emissions Than Bacon Does”. That was all I needed to hear. (Literally – I didn’t actually read the article itself. Why would you?) So, put down the salad tongs and pick up a pound of delicious, bacteria-free bacon. And next time you’re out at your favorite lunch spot, forget the BLT. The BBB is the only way to go. The earth thanks you.

Thanks again, folks, for sending in your questions. Don’t forget to keep them coming to

And remember, all advice columns are free, but Ask Smidge is the only one where you truly get what you pay for! You’re welcome, America!

See you soon,


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen

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