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Ask Anyone

snow wars

We have a neighbor who shovels the snow off of his sidewalk and on to the sidewalk that fronts the vacant lot next to his house. The result is a clear sidewalk in front of his house that ends in an impenetrable wall of snow.

Don’t tell me I need to talk to this neighbor. We’ve all tried and it’s useless. And don’t tell me to blow him into the authorities. I live in Buffalo, and no one’s rushing down to our block to settle this little dispute. I just want to know this: Must my other neighbors and I simply stomach this atrocious behavior or can we teach the guy some kind of lesson? And if revenge is justified, give me some good ideas.

—Revenge Seved Cold

Keep the Date says: I hate to break it to you, but your neighbor is only responsible for his own property. If this problem is driving you that crazy, why not pick up a shovel and clear the sidewalk yourself? Unfortunately you cannot control other people, and letting it bother you is only changing your mood. To pull from the canon of cliches, “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

The Gay Perspective: So this genius clears the municipal sidewalk in front of his own house so it looks pretty, ignoring the safety hazard he is exacerbating for everyone else? Don’t be so sure the City of Buffalo is not interested in this. I live in Buffalo and have found the city to be astoundingly responsive to issues like these. I once complained about a backed-up sewer, called the city and there was a crew in front of my house in less than 45 minutes! Moreover, I have found our Buffalo police to be impressively community-oriented and attentive—believe it or not! They won’t be able to change your neighbor from a dim-witted narcissist into a solid citizen, but they might be able to influence this self-centered behavior. For a problem like yours, you need to call the Buffalo Police non-emergency line: 853-2222.

the tuscon voyeur

I’m starting to weird myself out over Jared Loughner and the Tucson shootings. Why am I interested in watching the video he made of his community college campus? Why do I want to see the photo of him in a red G-string carrying a Glock? Why am I, and I’m sure many other people like me, so obsessed with the things he wrote and said before he shot all those people? I find myself both repelled and attracted to every new revelation.

Seriously, is something wrong with me?

—Is Jack a Dull Boy?

Keep the Date says: It seems you’ve answered your own question. As many are, you are “both repelled and attracted” to the idea of a killer, a pretty hefty taboo. You’re not alone: A Google search for “books about killers” yields 11,700,000 results; “songs about killers,” 12,600,00; and “movies about killers,” 20,500,000.

Once I stumbled upon a coffee table book about serial killers at a party and read the whole thing in one sitting, during the party. (Uh-oh, isn’t anti-social behavior a common characteristic of a killer?) If there is something wrong with you, than there is something wrong with all of us.

The Straight Skinny says: My dad’s favorite book is a detailed list of the last meals requested and eaten by everyone this country has ever executed.

Find the Hidden Message says: In the wake of such tragic events and the inevitable bombardment of media coverage that follows, it is important to take heed of the real messages that matter. As a nation that is governed by the cross and the gun, it is understandable that sometimes true patriots might confuse their passion for freedom with a call to violence. You cannot be distracted by such messages. We as a society must be able to filter out the white noise and read between the lines to find the truth. Jared Loughner did not kill for a cause, his actions were the unfortunate result of mental illness. Consider writing to an elected official such as Republican majority leader John Boehner about such failures of the mental health system.

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