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By Joe Heim, Justin Rude and Dan Zak
Sunday, November 4, 2007

Where can a single, black 37-year-old lady go to meet men? I'm open to dating all races. My last boyfriend was from one of the "axis of evil" countries. I'm not into bars, and I'm tired of meeting really short but very funny guys at the 4/6/8-minute dating scenarios. Where are all the tall, incredibly funny, incredibly smart men in D.C.?

- Janice

Dan: Where are the tall, incredibly funny, incredibly smart men in D.C.? We're all gay.

Joe and Justin: Or we're married. Maybe you should try Date Lab in The Washington Post Magazine. We'd be happy to forward your e-mail. Tell them your type is "a man with Paul Bunyan-size stature and wit."

Dan: Which will rule out leaders of the axis of evil. They're funny men, but Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are reputed to be 5-foot-3 or shorter.

I understand that the law in Maryland forbids the cutting down of trees beyond a certain girth without a permit. What can I do, or whom can I call, if I suspect trees are being felled without such a permit?

- Barbara

Justin: First the Redskins' historic loss, and now we are digging up this again? Can't you just leave Dan Snyder alone? Assuming your chain-saw-happy suspect isn't going lumberjack on federally protected land (as Mr. Snyder did), things are a little complicated. You see, whether the tree is protected by the state, by the county or at all depends on the tree's type, location and what exactly is threatening it.

Without knowing more about the situation, it's hard to offer specific advice, but both state and county Web sites provide contacts and information to help determine whether a tree is protected, and whom to call if that protection needs enforcing.

My office cafeteria recently started selling soup in bread bowls. Is there an etiquette about them? Is it okay to pick up the bread with my hands once I've finished all the soup?

- David

Dan: This dilemma has been with us since the Middle Ages, when people carved stale bread into plates called trenchers. After the meal, the trenchers were used to sop sauce, or they were tossed to dogs as scraps or to the poor as alms. I can only imagine these trenchers were eaten with vigor and without decorum, but since we're living in an enlightened period, I asked The Post's food critic, Tom Sietsema, for his views.

His response: "I don't think it's such a big deal to eat bites of a soup bowl made of bread -- really, how does it differ from people who use bites of rolls to mop up sauces? But to disassemble a whole bowl of baked dough is kind of, um, gross, don't you think? In a case like that, the bowl is more clever design than something to be swallowed whole."

Justin: I don't really agree with Tom; I'd tear the thing apart with my bare hands.

Joe: Tom's been promising to write a dining etiquette story for us. Tom? . . . Tom?

How can you sneeze when you are sound asleep?

-- Sondra

Joe: Um, you can't. And we've got that on good authority. "I've never heard of that," says James Yan, medical director of the National Capital Sleep Center at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. "Sneezing is not automatic like breathing. You have to make an effort to sneeze."

We trust Dr. Yan, but, hey, if you want to experiment, we suggest dusting your sleeping partner's nose with a little pepper to see whether sneezing and staying asleep is possible. Of course, they may find this very annoying. Let us know how that works out.


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