The Tuesday Mailbag: Stephen Harper, Bea Arthur, Harlem Globetrotters

Scott Feschuk answers your questions

Welcome to the Tuesday Mailbag on Wednesday, which replaces the Monday Mailbag on Tuesday. If your palate is especially refined, you’ll be able to detect the enhanced notes of oak, leather and barnyard produced by the additional 24 hours of aging. (Especially the barnyard.)

Queries for future mailbags can be submitted in the comments below or sent to me via electronic – or “magic” – mail at scott.feschuk@macleans.rogers.com. Questions can be on any topic from current affairs to personal advice to Scarlett v. Megan (answer: yes, please, and preferably in Jello).

Remember – there are no stupid questions, unless a stupid person submits one, in which case the odds improve.

Dear Scott:

Imagine you’re trapped on a desert island with Lindsay Lohan…… Ok, I’m assuming it’s been about ten minutes since you got back to reading the rest of this…. Now, imagine you’re trapped on a desert island with all the federal party leaders. Among that group, who do you guess would best contribute to group survival until rescue, and who do you reckon is better off being sacrificed as food to keep the rest alive? – SeanStok

SeanStok –

Ten minutes? It takes you ten minutes, Sean? Listen, I don’t know you that well, but either you’re doing something wrong on a mechanical level or you’ve really got to stop relying on that mental image of Bea Arthur in a tankini.

But anyway, thanks for your question – and thanks for completely ruining the element of surprise, dillweed! Now we’ll never get the four of them to agree to board the SS Minnow II for their complimentary “three-hour cruise.”

Are you happy, Sean? I hope you’re happy. Don’t worry at all about the fact that years of planning went into this pan-Canadian effort to lure our four federal party leaders in Parliament to a distant and remote island from which there could be no return. Don’t worry about that at all. It’s much more important that you got to reveal to the readers at macleans.ca that you’ve got a keen wit and a thing for Maude in a two-piece.

I mean, sure: millions have already been spent to charter the vessel, issue the gold-embossed invitations, arrange it so Stephen Harper would have to spend the entire journey sitting on Jack Layton’s lap (my personal touch) and secure an island from which there can be no escape, not even in the unlikely event of passing ship, tidal shift or Harlem Globetrotter.

Our four federal leaders would be left to live out their days aiming “attack ads” against each other, by which I mean “coconuts.” And we could start fresh.

But now it’s all spoiled and we’re stuck with them. Thanks, Sean. Thanks a lot.

Which reminds me: Congratulations, Sean! You’ve won a three-hour cruise. Your gold-embossed invitation is in the mail.

P.S. Pack heavy.

Dear Scott:

When you’re trying to teach your spouse a lesson he soon won’t forget, which clubs are best: Wood or iron? – jolyon

jolyon –

This is an important question, and I’m going to get to it, but let me begin with a critical public service message to professional athletes, politicians and movie stars of the male persuasion.

Many of you are handsome. Most of you are rich. All of you have about as much self-control as John Goodman at a smorgasbord.

So you’re going to have extramarital affairs. I get that. I understand that.

What you need to do, however, is begin to understand the warning signs that the affair you’re in will one day wind up as the cover story in Us magazine. (Us is reporting that an L.A. cocktail waitress is claiming a 31-month fling with Tiger Woods, during which they had precisely 20 sexual encounters.)

Here’s a useful guide to figuring out if you’re in an affair that you will one day rue:

If you’re famous, and you’re having an affair with a woman, and you’ve had sex more than a few times, and you ask the woman how many times you’ve had sex together – and instantly, off the top of her head, she knows exactly how many times you’ve had sex together… then yes, you are in an affair you are likely to rue. You are in an affair that will one day wind up as the cover story in Us magazine. This woman will have saved all your texts and voice mails. This woman will tell Us magazine exactly how many times you had sex. This will all happen.

The woman will also probably be not as hot as your wife, which will make fellas think even less of you.

Now, to your question, jolyon: club selection is largely irrelevant. The key is to remember that all your power is in your legs and your rage.

Dear Scott:

Could you describe the indoctrination process at Maclean’s before new hires can be referred to as “Colleague?” Obviously head shaving is not part of the ritual, though it’s difficult to see if the eyebrows are real and intact. – Dot

Dot –

This topic is a bit of a sore point for me. I was never in favour of this whole business of referring to each other as “Colleague.” Sounds a bit commie to me. And I’m against the “reds.” It also sounds a bit polite to me, and I’m against the “nices.”

I distinctly remember the meeting at the Maclean’s clubhouse where it all went down. Wells wore tweed. Potter wore tweedier. O’Malley wore green and refused to reveal the location of her pot of gold. And everyone rejected my far superior idea of referring to each other not as “colleagues” but as characters from White Shadow. Obviously I would have been Go-Go, the site’s resident Mexicano. Coyne would have been Salami – hot-tempered and in-your-face. Wells? Hollywood, of course (but without the VD subplot). And Cosh – Cosh would be New York, the new guy on the scene.

I’d like to move on to the next question now but first I’d like to be absolutely certain that I’ve completely dated myself. I have? Okay, then.

Dearest Scott:

Why don’t you write about robots anymore? Has the robot apocalypse been postponed? or have you gone over to their side?! – Dan

Dan –

True, it’s been a while since I raised the potential threat posed by robots. In fact, it’s been so long that some readers have accused me of having been bought off and silenced by the menacing robo-industrial complex. Let me assure you, Dan: nothing, with the exception of a Conservative TV commercial depicting Stephen Harper as empathetic, could be further from the truth.

But my thinking has definitely evolved. A couple years ago, I described the many horrors of the forthcoming robocalypse and how – thanks to advances in robotics – all humanity is destined to lead lives that are much more leisurely and, come the blood-soaked dawn of the robot revolution, much more over.

I stated my belief that armed robots would ultimately rise up against their creators, using their advanced programming and pinchy claws to purge the earth of the vile human stain. But boy was I wrong. Robots are great! They’re shiny and also they beep! And soon they’ll do things for us like take care of our old people, monitor our children and not eliminate us from the face of our own planet. Heck, one day they may even wage our wars for us.

That’s right, Dan: it’s now plausible to envision a utopian future in which wars are waged primarily by machines. The worst thing that could happen to you as a human during such a conflict? Your blender might get drafted. And even then you’d stand a good chance of being awarded the Victoria Cross for valour in the face of smoothielessness.

So robots are great. They’re not out to annihilate us at all. And I’m not just saying all this because I’m currently being held against my will by my Roomba.

Ohmigod it heard me! It’s coming this way! Tell my wife I— vreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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