Browsing Archives for Dear Charles

When Rechelle gave me this feature on her blog, she mentioned that an entity known as the God Particle carefully examines each post and, in Its infinite wisdom, decides what kind of an ad to place next to that post, with Its chief criterion presumably being the subject matter of the post. Naturally, I wondered what kind of an ad the Particle would place next to a post about what kinds of sex toys Cardinal Richelieu might have used, and I resolved that I would find out by writing such a post once I had vanquished all of the problems of the readers of the blog.

Since the absence of new requests for guidance now tells me I have vanquished all of your problems, I will devote this post to speculation about what kinds of sex toys Cardinal Richelieu might have used. I will try to give sex toys and Cardinal Richelieu approximately equal time in order to generate some suspense about whether the Particle will bless the post with an ad about sex toys or about some sort of Cardinal Richelieu merchandise; of course, I will be the only one feeling the suspense, since the Particle’s choice will be readily apparent to anyone who is reading the published post and is not in the process of writing it prior to publication. I am, in effect, praying to the Particle for either one of two types of ads. Whatever the Particle’s decision, I would appreciate it if you would click on the ad It provides, even if it looks like something that will automatically install a virus on your computer, just in case the Particle keeps track of how many clicks an ad gets and uses that information as part of the basis for Its decision about how much daily income to bestow upon a given blog page (my goal for this year is to push the daily ad revenue generated by this page into the single digits). If your computer is still functioning after you click on the ad and if your click has taken you to an online shop of some sort, it also can’t hurt (me or the blog) if you buy something there. It doesn’t have to be anything big; you need only spend enough so that if you were in an actual physical shop you would be comfortable asking to use their restroom after your purchase.

Anyway, sex toys. Cardinal Richelieu.  What kinds of the former might have been used by the latter? To simplify things, let us restrict this discussion to sex toys Cardinal Richelieu might have used for their intended purpose and disregard sex toys that he might have used solely as doorstops or paperweights or that he might have found in his prepubescent years in the closet of his parents and batted around the room. Unfortunately, even after thus simplifying things, our question seems almost unanswerable, as the historical record (as represented by the Wikipedia page for Cardinal Richelieu) gives us few, if any, useful clues.

It is known that Richelieu was treated for gonorhhea at the age of 20. This strongly suggests that he had gonorhhea at the age of 20, and it’s quite likely that this disease was the result of a sexual encounter of some sort. But did this encounter and/or others like (or unlike) it from the same period involve sex toys? I think probably not, mainly because although there were several types of sex toys in existence during Richelieu’s existence (from 1585 to 1642), such items were presumably hard to come by (by which I mean that they were difficult to procure), and although Richelieu was somewhat privileged in his late teens and early twenties, he had not yet achieved the sort of power whereby he could relatively easily obtain anything he wanted.

By the time Richelieu had achieved such power, he was a Catholic cleric and purported to believe in clerical celebacy and the excellence of the celibate state, but this declared belief would not necessarily have precluded his use of sex toys. In fact, he spent much of his energies endeavoring to hold onto and increase his power and influence in the French monarchy and looking out for the interests of France. It is doubtful that these earthly matters would have been so important to him if his primary focus had been serving the Catholic god, as it would surely have been if he had actually believed in all the Catholic doctrines. Moreover, he used his influence to ally France with Protestant powers (sometimes in opposition to the Pope’s wishes) when he believed it was in the country’s (or his) best interests. Since there is strong evidence that Richelieu did not fully embrace the teachings of the church he represented, I conclude that he may well have used sex toys in this period of his life.

I acknowledge that without consulting more detailed historical sources it is impossible to determine whether Cardinal Richelieu actually did use sex toys or what kinds of sex toys he might have used if he used them at all; however, it takes time to ferret out and consult such sources, and I am anxious to see how the Particle will answer my prayer, so I will wrap this up now. Cardinal Richelieu scholars and sex toy scholars should feel free to use the comments section to contribute any relevant information I may have missed.

And now, if you haven’t already, look to your right near the top of the post and gaze upon the product of the Particle’s pure and glorious wisdom.

Dear Charles,

I sometimes think that the whole world is made of wax… except for the people, who are made of regular old people material.  On the off chance that the world is not made of wax, what do you suggest?  I grow tired of scooping the waxen air out of my way and typing on a waxen keyboard only to grow hungry and be faced with either a wax apple or a waxy bowl of cornflakes.  Remember those tiny wax soda bottles that you chewed?  Well my whole world is tiny wax soda bottles Charles!  What do you suggest?

Waxed and Waned

Dear Waxed and Waned –

You don’t seem to be taking full advantage of your situation. You could be compressing bits of that wax air to create stairs that you could use to reach normally unreachable places, like the ceiling or places near the ceiling. It sounds like it would be much easier to pull off the old “footprints on the ceiling” (“it was then that I carried you”) gag than it would be under less waxy circumstances. Also, when you got up to the ceiling, you could let yourself fall and, instead of breaking a limb and having to be rushed to a wax emergency room in a wax ambulance, drift gently into an ever hardening wax blob, as the wax air beneath you became more and more compressed. On the off chance that the world is not made of wax, I suggest that you enjoy a real apple and refrain from letting yourself fall from heights of more than a couple of inches.


Dear Charles,

My hands slowly rise out of the water.  It’s like I am discovering them for the first time.  Like I never knew I had hands.  I have hands?  Where did these come from?  But it is also like I am sort of discovering myself.  Like I was just invented… or just made.  Like I have just figured out that I exist.  But it always starts with the hands.  What is this?  Am I trapped in some sort of B grade sci fi flick?  Can you give me a hand here Charles?

That weird hand person

Dear weird hand person –

I think you already have enough to contemplate with the two hands you just discovered, and the untapped potential and possibilities they represent. Investigate them thoroughly and find out what they can do. Experiment with them and test their limits. And just when you feel you have gone as far as you can go with them, let them rise once again from the water and repeat the process, enjoying the perpetual newness of the wondrous invention that is you. But be quick about it; film is not cheap, and it’s about time for the crew of the sci fi flick (A grade, I estimate) to break for lunch.



Life been handing you lemons lately?  Can’t find the strength to make the required lemonade?  Why not ask Dear Charles to lend a hand (waxen or otherwise).  He’s been known to squeeze a right good lemonade out of the most vile of lemons.  You may contact him at Dear Charles at live dot com.

The Rat Takes the Cheese

July 17th, 2010

Dear Charles,

As you know, cheese is delicious. Fortunately for the people of earth, there is a vast, vast variety of cheeses available to us for consumption by mouth, including soft, hard and caraway flavored. I am unaware of the types of cheeses available for consumption via other methods of enjoyment. Some cheeses are more naturally appropriate than others for particular dishes; for example, Velveeta would not be my first choice for pairing with fresh figs and balsamic vinegar, but perhaps it is quite delicious? Cheese is so tasty, after all. 
I am married to a man whose first and second languages are not English, and who has a great love of cheese because he is European. Just so that you know how serious this is, he also asks the organic cheese counter person for rinds, and eats those as well, as a snack and evening chewing distraction. I therefore frequently announce my intentions with cheese loudly and in clear simple language, often assisted by hand-made visual tools and signage where appropriate, sometimes in song or with interpretive dance, to which he seems to enthusiastically respond. 
Last night I made several clear announcements, but this time without dance or song, regarding my cheese intentions for this evening’s meal, which involved Emmentaler, and checked my work by asking questions to which he replied, apparently confirming receipt of my intentions. But, as a thousand times before, when I went to use the cheese, it was gone. Rind and all. All that I had, Charles, was a dried bit of Parmesan. It wouldn’t do! It wouldn’t do at all!! So I had to run to the store, but my bike has a flat tire, which meant I had to use my legs and feet, which meant it took 45 minutes I really didn’t have in the first place, especially with things on the stove. Also I have a blister, and he REALLY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT. 
Also, he refuses to buy slightly too much cheese because he knows he will eat it all. We are both quite busy and do the shopping together, leaving little opportunity for nefarious extra cheese purchasing. 
What can I do? Oh please help me.


Desperate for Cheese

Dear Desperate for Cheese –

Common interests are often regarded as one component (a polymer, perhaps) of the glue that holds a marriage together, so it’s a good thing that you and your husband have an abundant supply of your shared love of cheese to offset the apparent absence of at least one of a couple of other key glue components, effective communication and mutual consideration for each other’s well-being. However, a common interest can take a marriage only so far on its own before that common interest begins cracking under the strain and behaving erratically and attracting the attention of the tabloids, so let’s take a look at what might be done to keep your sharp and aromatic but thinly spread mutual fondness for cheese from meeting this wretched fate.

First, let’s try to determine whether we can chalk up the problem to communication. You say you checked your work by asking your husband questions and that his answers apparently confirmed that he understood you. Were these yes-or-no questions, and did you look at him with an expression of hopeful anticipation of affirmation and vigorously nod when you wanted a “yes” answer, and was there an ominous quality to your demeanor when you asked a question to which the correct answer was “no”? If so, you might want to start asking essay questions and stop grading on the curve. Ask questions whose correct answers leave no room for doubt that your message was received, and don’t let up until you get a correct answer to each and every one of them. And don’t forget to include a question that will ensure that he understands that your intention to use a given cheese in the evening’s meal means that he must not use that cheese as his afternoon snack. It’s possible that he hasn’t connected these two things, or even that he thinks you’re urging him to consume the cheese under discussion as soon as possible. To judge from the picture you paint in your letter, its not inconceivable that your husband is not even aware that he married you and is not entirely certain why you have a key to the house he lives in and sing and dance for him and delight him with your signage and visual aids and seem to be able to magically produce a nice meal each evening but that he’s not particularly curious about these things, perhaps because he’s pleased with the current state of affairs and is willing to accept it at face value, so you may want to clear these points up for him too, while you’re at it. If it turns out that he cannot satisfactorily demonstrate a grasp of what’s going on, at least as far as the cheese is concerned, then you might want to try new communication techniques or embellish old ones, perhaps obtaining a phrase book for the easiest of your husband’s first two languages and mastering all of the cheese-related phrases in it, perhaps reintroducing song and dance to your attempts to put across your cheese plans but with the aid of an accompanist or a small band. Whatever you do, though, don’t stop doing it until you are absolutely certain that he understands what you are trying to tell him.

If it turns out that your husband’s comprehension of the situation is perfect and he still eats the cheeses you earmark for meals, it’s hard not to conclude that he’s inconsiderate. Unfathomably, egregiously, amazingly, inexcusably inconsiderate. One possible way to get him to consider the consequences of his actions is to make him suffer them. The most astonishing part of your letter, which contains many astonishing parts, is the part where you say that you ran to the store on a blistered foot because he had polished off the cheese you had told him you planned to use. Never do that again, even with pristine feet and a functioning bike. Check for the cheese before you start cooking, and if it’s not there, have your husband go get some more, or if he’s not home have him pick up some more on the way home. If he’ll be unable to deliver the cheese in time for you to incorporate it into a meal, heat up a frozen dinner and eat it, and then when he gets home, explain (icily or tearfully or cheerfully, whichever approach you judge will have the most impact) that you were unable to cook because he ate your star ingredient and that you’ll be happy to cook the next evening if he’d care to replenish your supply of that ingredient. Then, either brood sullenly for the remainder of the evening (works best with the icy approach), retire to a room whose door can be locked and lock that door (best with the tearful approach), or go watch TV or read or build a pillow fort or take a walk or see if your husband wants to play Scrabble or do whatever you normally do after meals (cheerful approach). If you think confusing your husband will make paying the price for his offense more unpleasant for him, mix announcement styles and follow-up activities (for example, a cheerful announcement followed by sullen brooding). Only a world-class rat would be able to maintain your husband’s current behavior patterns under such conditions.

Hoping your husband doesn’t turn out to be a world-class rat,



Have a pressing problem?  Or even a problem that is not particularly pressing, but just want to see it displayed on a blog on the internet?  Or maybe you just like to write letters to strangers?  Might I then suggest writing a letter to Dear Charles?  Because you’ve probably suffered long enough.

You can write Dear Charles at Dear Charles at live dot com.

He’s been waiting his whole life to hear from you.