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  1. I am a cynic. I am a pessimist. I came of age with the Watergate hearings playing on the tiny TV in our avocado green kitchen. But every four years I wrestle my apathy into submission, read up on the issues, and cast my ballot. You must vote. I don't care who you vote for (that's not really true—I think you should be penciling in my name), but you've gotta get in the game.

  2. One word: Floss.

  3. Any man who begins a conversation with, "I don't want to hurt your feelings..." is about to hurt your feelings. It's the kind of phrase that's never followed by, "...but I just don't think you're eating enough. Please have more lasagna while I get you a brownie." Other opening gambits that pretty much scream duck-and-cover include: "Don't take this the wrong way...," "You can feel free to say no...," and the always popular "Look..."

  4. Enough with celeb gossip. The problems of Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears should not be competing for the headline space in our brains. We have to be smarter than that, and if we're not, we have to pretend that we are.

  5. Get so excellent at something (long division, friendship, Parcheesi, removing cranberry juice stains, decoupage—it doesn't matter what) that your genius will be impossible to ignore and your legendary expertise at removing cranberry juice stains while dividing six-digit numbers by 37 will either bring you glory beyond your wildest dreams or, at the very least, help you feel vaguely competent as you make your way through the world.

  6. Allow me to demystify the entire real estate market for you: Gracious means ridiculously small. Quaint means a total wreck and ridiculously small. Spacious, airy, luxurious, and grand all mean ridiculously small.

  7. I like a plastic bag and a bottle of water as much as the next self-involved me monkey, but it takes 430,000 gallons of oil to manufacture 100 million grocery bags, and if I were capable of doing even the most basic arithmetic I'd say—well, who are we kidding? I'm not capable of doing even the most basic arithmetic—just know that we're in great danger of making Al Gore really, really mad.

  8. Words matter. It's time to stop prettifying the ugly stuff. Spousal abuse means wife beating. Global warming means the Earth is toast. Enhanced interrogation means torture. And here's a bit of trivia for you: The Bush administration did not coin the phrase enhanced interrogation. Nor did it come from Jack Bauer on 24. Nope, it was the Gestapo that originated that little bon mot back in 1937.

  9. To quote Elmer Fudd, "Be bwave, widdoe wabbit." Take a chance, wear your heart on your sleeve, ask the most attractive man in the room to dance, say what you want, demand what you're entitled to. There's a pretty decent chance that you won't get it, but who will you be if you never even try? Note: Only attempt the dance invitation if there's actual music playing.

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