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Ask Anyone

blogging camp

What’s the deal with anonymity on Web sites? Do we respect the need for people to preserve their anonymity when commenting on blogs and other sites, so that they may feel free to express their true feelings without fear of repercussions, or do we consider them cowards who flout the basic democratic principle that the accused should be able to face their accusers? I’m kind of torn, and I wonder what you experts feel about it.


The Practical Cogitator says: Didn’t truck drivers have handles back in the old CB radio days? They were anonymous, to an extent, until they built up their Trucker Identity among all the other truckers. The difference is they were only communicating amongst themselves on their own CB frequencies…right? It wasn’t out there for the whole entire Worldwide Web.

It seems to me, generally, that if the person who wrote their true feelings was proud of their feelings or opinions, then they’d sign their own name. If they have to hide behind a Handle and post an icon and not a photo of themselves then maybe their sentiment is not on the up and up. And who’s to say these folks don’t have several identities? I know when I read these blogs, and comments, I take more stock when the author takes responsibility or credit for their writing. When they hide, what do you think they are hiding from?

wedding miffed

It’s that time of year: I’m starting to get wedding invitations for this summer. And I have a couple of questions. First, if I’m really just friends with one of the people getting married, can I give an awesome gift that specifically suits that person? Or do I have to get something generic and soulless that’s for “both of you”? Second, when is your presence at a wedding gift enough? One of these things is out in California, and involves hiking in the Sierra Nevadas, which should make it cheaper but inevitably won’t. Do I need to spend $2000 to go AND shell out another $100 for a blender?


The Impartial Observer says: In regard to your first question, I’d say absolutely not. This is a wedding…the joining of two people. While we hope this doesn’t mean the end of their own individuality as people, their wedding hardly seems time to give a one-sided gift. If you are creative, you can surely come up with something for both of them. Since you do know one of them better, maybe you can think of something they like to do that they can share with their new partner. That way you can still gear the gift toward your friend’s interests without leaving out the other person. For instance, membership at a tennis club for two, or maybe a Kindle if they both love to read. Or you can always give cash, which most couples need when they are starting out. Maybe you think that is soulless, but they might use it toward something really meaningful, like the down payment on a home.

Having said this, sometimes I have a real problem with all this gift giving. A person can go broke buying all these gifts. If you are a woman, it’s even worse. Not only do you have to give the happy couple a gift for the wedding, you also get stuck for a shower gift too. Then even more later when the babies start coming. As a single person, I am wondering when my payday is coming! I’ve had to buy all my own pots and pans, and towels and toasters! I feel cheated. Isn’t it enough that the newlyweds found love and a person to share their lives with? Now they get a whole bunch of prizes too because they won the relationship lottery?

It makes me want to have my own shower. The “I am single and loving it” party. I will be registered at all my favorite shops!

Dining Out says: I believe that most wedding gifts are purchased with the bride in mind and most brides control the registry. The only unisex gift is a cheesy wedding card stuffed with cash, check, or American Express gift card. If you’re better friends with the groom and feel more inclined to purchase the gift with him in mind, so be it. I also believe that you can use your insight and creativity by giving a gift off the registry, as long as it’s truly unique and personal. And if these people are true friends for life, they won’t hold it against you if you decide not to fork out your life savings to attend their destination wedding.

The Straight Skinny: If you know a person well enough, and don’t know the future spouse, I say go for the personalized gift. Unless the “perfect gift” would be, say, a year’s subscription to a really specialized porn magazine, or maybe some rare item from Toys in Babeland, which would offend or mortify (or maybe even replace the need for) your friend’s intended.

As for destination weddings: getting there’s enough, absolutely. However, if you’re already shelling out thousands of dollars to get to the Galapagos Islands so you can celebrate their love from the back of a sea turtle, what’s another hundred bucks? You’ll be so in debt you’ll hardly notice the added charge on your credit card.

Ask Anyone is local advice for locals with problems. Please send your questions for our panel of experts to

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