Dear Doolina,

I got tagged in some very unflattering pictures at my friend’s birthday party this weekend. I’ve already untagged myself, but I’d feel better if the photos were taken off of Facebook completely. How do I go about asking my friend to take down her party photos without making her mad?

Sincerely,

Pics or It Didn’t Happen 

Dear Pics or It Didn’t Happen,

First, think about what you’re asking: all you want is for a few photos to be taken off of Facebook – and, presumably, not to have unflattering pictures put up again. This won’t be a huge ordeal unless you make it one. Tell your friend that you didn’t like the photos of you she put up and ask her to take them down. Make the conversation casual and tempers will be less likely to flare. If you show that you aren’t mad by not making the conversation confrontational, your friend will likely receive the advice better and not get defensive. However, I’d urge you to think about the photos you want removed. Are they photographs of you doing something illegal or inappropriate? If so, have them removed immediately. On the other hand, if it’s a photo of you where your eyes are closed, for example, take a second to consider whether you’re taking too much stock in the photos of you that are put on Facebook. No matter what, you have every right to approach your friend in a calm, non-confrontational manner.

Delightfully,

Doolina

 

Dear Doolina,

I’m a sophomore so I eat at Cox Hall most weekdays. When I get there, it’s inevitably full and impossible to find my friends. Suggestions?

Sincerely,

Cox Stinks

Dear Cox Stinks,

Ah, the days of eating in Cox: struggling to find a table, searching high and low for friends and waiting in one ridiculously long line because none of the other check-out lines are open. “Mean Girls,” the well-known semi-documentary about American high school life, portrays the cafeteria as a jungle of sorts, where if you’re not a predator, you quickly become prey. The metaphor holds true for eating in Cox. You and your friends are a pack of animals – a coveted table is your prize, but there are countless other packs hunting for the same prize. You and your friends must work together to survive.

First, coordinate a meeting spot with your friends (Cox Bridge is a popular choice because there’s some semblance of cellphone service there). Second, allow half the group to scrounge for food while the other half scouts out a table. Don’t just look for empty tables – also look for signs that someone is about to finish up and leave. If you see someone about to leave, approach the table before another pack beats you to it. Next, reconvene with your pack – either a howl or a Facebook message will do. Soon enough, everyone will have food and your pack will have claimed stake to a table. All is right within the animal kingdom. Alternatively, grab some sushi to go and eat alone in your room while watching “Mean Girls” – you’ll thank me later.

Delightfully,

Doolina

 

Dear Doolina,

Brett and Margo have each thought about murdering their rich Uncle Basil in hopes of claiming their inheritance a bit early. Hoping to take advantage of Basil’s predilection for immoderate desserts, Brett has put rat poison into the cherries flambé; Margo, unaware of Brett’s activities, has laced the chocolate mousse with cyanide. Given the amounts likely to be eaten, the probability of the rat poison being fatal is 0.6; the cyanide, 0.9. Based on other dinners where Basil was presented with the same dessert options, we can assume that he has a 50 percent chance of asking for the cherries flambé, a 40 percent chance of ordering the chocolate mousse and a 10 percent chance of skipping dessert altogether. No sooner are the dishes cleared away than Basil drops dead. In the absence of any other evidence, who should be considered the prime suspect?

Sincerely,

Confused 

Dear Confused,

First, this is not the type of problem I answer (try your professor’s office hours). Second, the answer involves Bayes’ Theorem. Third, if you’re Basil and are writing this from beyond the grave – I hope the cherries flambé or chocolate mousse was worth it.

Delightfully,

Doolina

Need advice? Submit questions to Doolina at http://bit.ly/1bfO4Tj.