Colleague can’t stand woman’s putrid perfume

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a colleague who wears a very pungent perfume. It's been increasingly difficult to focus with this smell filling the office, and I don't know how to address it without making things uncomfortable. She might not be aware of how strong it is, but it's starting to be a real distraction for everyone in the office. It would be really awkward to ask her to tone it down or change her perfume, but I'm afraid this situation isn't going away unless I do something about it. Do I take the risk of speaking up and potentially damaging our working relationship, or should I ignore the issue altogether? — Too Much Perfume DEAR TOO MUCH PERFUME:

Biden and the sanctuaries’ dilemma

This column has written previously about the fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border. When confronted with more than 2 million illegal border-crossers overwhelming U.S. authorities on the border last year – and 250,000 more crossers last month indicates the figure will be even higher this year – Republicans want to find a way to stop, or dramatically reduce, the flow. Democrats want to accommodate it.

Reader wants repay kindness of expensive gift

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was overwhelmed when I received an expensive Christmas gift from my friend. I never expected such a pricey present, and it left me feeling very grateful. I felt that I had to do something in return to show my appreciation, but what could match the gesture they made? Buying an equally extravagant gift didn't seem right, as I would never be able to repay the thoughtfulness behind this one. Perhaps there is a different way I can show my gratitude that doesn't involve money? Is there something I can do to show them just how much their kind gift meant to me? — Grateful DEAR GRATEFUL: Are you so struck by this gift because of how much it cost, or by how thoughtful it was? I ask that because intention matters a lot. Do you think your friend was trying to impress you by purchasing such an extravagant item for you, or do you think sentiment was the driver? You are right that you should not try to compete with the price tag, but you should have a sense of what motivated your friend to reach so far beyond your comfort zone with that gift.

The folly of the criminal mind

People who focus upon the motives of alleged killers like Bryan Kohberger, the Ph.D. candidate arrested for slaughtering four college students in Moscow, Idaho, are missing the point. Defective specimens like him don’t have motives that any sane person would recognize. What they do have is a grotesquely deformed ego that tempts them to play God, and to think police are too dumb to catch them.


We’ve all done it: You drop someone off in front of a store so they can run and grab something quickly while you sit in the idling car. If the errand is less than 10 seconds, that’s fine; any more than that, and the Environmental Defense Fund says you’re wasting more fuel and money than if you just turned your engine off and then restarted it. Next time, do just one thing to help the environment: Park the car and turn off the engine to save money. And in the cold winter months, when you warm up the car? Any more than 30 seconds is wasting fuel.

Friend’s angry lecture resonating after dream

DEAR HARRIETTE: In my dreams the other night, I remembered a troubling conversation I had with someone who used to be a dear friend years ago. This conversation marked the end of that friendship for a lot of reasons.

Exposing ‘truths’ about American myths

The half-dozen versions of the final report of the committee examining the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, aren’t the only books that are making waves in the first weeks of the new year. A surprise entry – a look at the biggest legends in American history – is attracting unusual attention as well.

Long COVID remains a mystery to providers

Dear Doctors: I had COVID-19, and now I've got long COVID. I have neuropathy and brain fog, and when I try to exercise, I get exhausted right away. My doctor said it just takes a while to get back on your feet, like after you've had the flu, but this feels different. What is the latest news on long COVID?

Husband gets too drunk on New Year’s Eve

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband got stupid drunk on New Year's Eve, and his behavior was horrific. We were hanging out with close friends, thank God, but he truly showed his behind. I am completely embarrassed. He was cursing his head off and interrupting people when they talked. At one point, he was trying to grope my friend. It was just out of control. When I spoke to him about it the next day, he shrugged it off.