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“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#1 Jun 6, 2013
DEAR ABBY: It is easy to watch or read the news and think people are awful and this world is going nowhere fast. At New Year's I made a resolution to try and do something about how I view society. I decided I'd do 30 random acts of service for strangers.

I know it may seem small and insignificant, but at least I can say I'm trying to make this a better place to live. I'm hoping it will spread a message of love and caring in a world with too much hurt and violence. Ideally, one or two people will notice and pay it forward.

It's spring, and so far I have volunteered as a math tutor at a local school and shoveled the snow off a neighbor's sidewalk. But I'm already falling behind, and I'm struggling to come up with some good ideas. I know you and your readers often have creative suggestions. Can you suggest more acts of service I can do for strangers?-- TRYING TO BE NICE

DEAR TRYING TO BE NICE: You could volunteer at a local food pantry. Or find an organization that delivers food to shut-ins and take meals to the clients they serve a couple of days a month.

You could bring a garbage bag with you when you take walks in the morning or evening and pick up paper cups, plastic bags, cigarette butts and candy wrappers that litter our streets and beaches. Or simply acknowledge the presence of others by smiling and saying, "good morning," "good afternoon" and "good evening" to people you encounter.

Readers, if you'd like to chime in, I'd be interested in your ideas.

DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, when I was a senior in high school, a guy became overly attached to me. He shared many very private feelings with me about his lack of friends and severe depression. After trying to help him, first by myself and later with a school guidance counselor and even involving his parents, I decided his problems were too much for me to handle and ended the friendship. I know I hurt him, but I saw no other alternative. After high school we didn't speak for about a year.

We are now in the same college and he's trying to force himself back into my life and be friends again. Abby, he hasn't changed at all. I feel bad, but I have no interest in becoming his friend.

What should I do? I have a hard time saying no because he is so persistent and I feel guilty.-- FEELING PITY IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR FEELING PITY: Tell him the truth. Say, "I can't be your friend because your problems overwhelm me. But you can do something about them by going to the student health center and asking for counseling, and by joining some clubs and activities so you can interact with new people."

DEAR ABBY: Why are brownies called brownies if they are black?-- JUST WONDERING IN HOUSTON

DEAR JUST WONDERING: I took your question to Lachlan Sands, executive chef at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Los Angeles, who says, "The first mention of 'brownies' is in a Fanny Farmer cookbook published in 1906. They are not called brownies because of the color, but were named after Celtic pixies."

P.S. If your brownies are turning out black, you may be baking them too long.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 Jun 6, 2013
1. Good for you.
2. Hard to say whether he is at the same college because of circumstances ( i.e at a local community college) or if he is there because of you. My spidey sense is that he is obsessed with you and is a stalker. Or, he will commit suicide and leave a note blaming you. Protect yourself first
3. I have never ever seen a brownie which was black unless it was left in the oven way too long.(Here's a hint: with the possible exception of some pure African groups, even "black" people are brown.)Cheesh.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#3 Jun 6, 2013
L1: Well, it's "try to" not "try and," so I'm glad you're a math tutor and not an English teacher./snark

Seriously: One of my pet peeves is people who act like the world is becoming a worse place, that kindness is rare, that consideration no longer exists. "You've restored my faith in humanity" type comments annoy the heck out of me. They are negative nellies who choose to focus on the negative rather than the positive that also surrounds us.

L2: WOw, I think you sound like a very level-headed person! And the smartest thing you did was to extricate yourself from him once you realized you've done all you can.

Frankly, this guy sounds unbalanced and is so fixated on you, he could be dangerous. I seriously think you need to tell him VERY FIRMLY to leave you alone, do not contact you, ever again. The next time he does, go to the police. Tell them you are afraid and that you want a restraining order. Get a paper trail going. ROs don't protect you, but sometimes, they do send a clear message (especially since they are given by the cops) that you are serious about not wanting any contact. They also will keep him X yards away from you and you can have him arrested for violating it.

Personally, I'd get a pistol and take shooting lessons. This guy is potentially dangerous. He may NOT be. But ... you never know.

L3: Um, they are a very very dark brown. Chill.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#4 Jun 6, 2013
PEllen wrote:
1. Good for you.
2. Hard to say whether he is at the same college because of circumstances ( i.e at a local community college) or if he is there because of you. My spidey sense is that he is obsessed with you and is a stalker. Or, he will commit suicide and leave a note blaming you. Protect yourself first
2. I'm glad you feel the same way I do. Sort of validating on a letter where you don't really KNOW, and you just have to go on your gut.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#5 Jun 6, 2013
Lw1: Sheesh, it's not rocket science. Like right now, I looked up from my cell phone to notice a mom with a toddler on her lap on the L. Well the seat next to me was open so I got up and traded seats with her. See. Easy peesy.

Lw2: What Red said especially about the gun.

Lw3: What the heck are you putting in your brownies?

I wish I could acquire a brownie of celtish pixie variety...

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#6 Jun 6, 2013
1 Its called "practicing random acts of kindness", I saw it on a bumper sticker, and if you cant find at least one opportunity a day to do so, you need to get out of the house more.
Buy someone a coffee
Pay the toll for the guy behind you (someone actually did this for me)
open a door for someone
Hold a door for someone
let the person holding 2 items go ahead of you
....
It's really not hard.

2 You did all you could to try and help, and your smart enough to realize when you have done all you could. I wont say the guy is dangerous, but he does seem obsessive, and that is just one mental snap away from dangerous, so yeah, tell him in no uncertaian terms to BTFU and if that dont work, get the cops involved. CYA.

3 Brownies taste better than rehash!

“Not a real reg”

Since: Jan 13

Location hidden

#7 Jun 6, 2013
Agree with RACE on all of his comments.

But the cynic in me thinks L1 could be looking for big acts that would get her more praise and feed her ego.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#8 Jun 6, 2013
Yes, I'm sure guns are allowed on campus. You people really are idiots.

And way to assume the worst.

Man-haters.

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

#9 Jun 6, 2013
I almost...almost paid for a family's dinner that was sitting near me in a pizza pub a couple weeks ago. I wish I had.

I was by myself, sitting on a tall top table near the bar and they (parents and two grade school age kids) were over the wall next to me at a regular top. The little girl kept popping her head up and (I thought) staring at me. I'm sort of annoyed, but I keep drinking. Then I realize, while they're waiting for their pizza, they're all playing a quiet game of "I spy", and she was just trying to pick out something her dad could see from his vantage point. I was just like "damn, these are awesome parents with sweet kids". Totally kicking myself for not paying for their stuff. I will do it someday and I won't tell anyone, not even you people.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#10 Jun 6, 2013
I feel I need to say that normally I wouldn't tell anyone about the seat switch on the train today, but it was germane to the letter, so I did.

I do these things because I like to be nice, unlike the LW who seems to want a medal for the good deeds. Why else would they write Abby?

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#11 Jun 6, 2013
edogxxx wrote:
Yes, I'm sure guns are allowed on campus. You people really are idiots.
And way to assume the worst.
Man-haters.
Nope. I would say the same if it was a woman who I had cut ties with who then popped up in a different context of my life. This is probably not a coincidence, although if it is a community college it may be just that.

Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

#12 Jun 6, 2013
L1: Don't break your wrist patting yourself on the back. You wrote this solely for the purpose of getting your good deeds published. It's ridiculously easy to come up with nice things to do and I don't buy for a second that you had to write to Abby for ideas.

L2: Be firm, and don't answer calls/emails/Facebook requests/etc. Do not engage at all.

L3: You're a moron, but now I wish I had a brownie.
Stina

Saint Petersburg, FL

#13 Jun 6, 2013
Squishy: I didn't take it as bragging. It was pertinent (sp?). RACE is right, there are little opportunities every day. I always do little things without thinking about it just because it's the right thing to do.

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#14 Jun 6, 2013
L1: I patiently gave a group of Korean young adults (who had lmited English) directions to get from Union Station to the Loop. Actually, they wanted to go to the Hyatt. For some reason, they wanted to take the subway. I mentioned the bus and told them where they can purchase their CTA cards for their trip. Everyday there's an opportunity to I say this person is full of it.

L2: Go to your counsellor at school and ask for ways to handle being firm with "No". Then perhaps that counsellor will be aware of this troubled person, too.

L3: Seriously, jmw. I really have a tast for a brownie now. The fudge brownie kind. Grrrr!

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#15 Jun 6, 2013
Stina wrote:
Squishy: I didn't take it as bragging. It was pertinent (sp?). RACE is right, there are little opportunities every day. I always do little things without thinking about it just because it's the right thing to do.
Thanks Stina!

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

#16 Jun 6, 2013
squishymama wrote:
<quoted text>
Thanks Stina!
Oh, yeah, me either. LW1, OTOH, is totally trying to prove to the world that they're good people.
Stina

Saint Petersburg, FL

#17 Jun 6, 2013
Toj wrote:
told them where they can purchase their CTA cards for their trip.
On a different subject, I had to call teh CTA yesterday for something work-related. Their outgoing voice message said (like when you call a doctor), "If this is a medical emergency, please hang up and call 911." Now why would I call CTA if I had a medical emergency????

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#18 Jun 6, 2013
Stina wrote:
<quoted text>
On a different subject, I had to call teh CTA yesterday for something work-related. Their outgoing voice message said (like when you call a doctor), "If this is a medical emergency, please hang up and call 911." Now why would I call CTA if I had a medical emergency????
Well, you never know. On the flipside, there were so many people calling 911 for stupid stuff like garbage pick-up, snow removal, etc. that they came up with 311 so people would stop calling 911 for informational things and complaints.

People are stupid. Some. At times.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#19 Jun 6, 2013
Stina wrote:
<quoted text>
On a different subject, I had to call teh CTA yesterday for something work-related. Their outgoing voice message said (like when you call a doctor), "If this is a medical emergency, please hang up and call 911." Now why would I call CTA if I had a medical emergency????
I'm guessing that if someone gets sick while on the train, that the other riders might call the CTA to let them know. <mimishrug> Thankfully I've never had that happen on any of my rides.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#20 Jun 6, 2013
Hey cutie, how's the storm treating you?
Stina wrote:
<quoted text>
On a different subject, I had to call teh CTA yesterday for something work-related. Their outgoing voice message said (like when you call a doctor), "If this is a medical emergency, please hang up and call 911." Now why would I call CTA if I had a medical emergency????

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