Claude Peck: Hi, peanut. My quickie facelift is healing nicely, and I am ready. Since it's Halloween, I want you to describe some things that are Really Scaring You lately.
RN: Besides each and every political television ad? Why can't these politicos hire the people who create, say, Chanel campaigns? OK, I'll play along. Let's see, there are the wealthy politicians who dumb down their wardrobe from Prada to Pamida in an effort to appear "real." Or my waistline, now that's terrifying. Or the results of my last optometrist's exam, or my gruesome interest in products with "anti-aging" in their name.
CP: I'm wide-eyed with horror over the recent nuptials of Katy Perry and Russell Brand. Brand's crazy eyes and Medusa-like hair. Perry's breasts. What else?
RN: "The A-List," the Logo channel's repellent, all-gay version of the "Real Housewives" franchise. Levi Johnston and his mysterious celebrity. Bristol Palin and her mysterious celebrity. Being surrounded in the multiplex by moviegoers who don't know how to shut the heck up.
CP: I saw "127 Hours" in a preview screening. It opens in November. It's James Franco as Aron Ralston, the hiker who was pinned by a rock during a climbing accident in Utah.
RN: Speaking of things that frighten me, you can add the Beehive State to my list.
CP: In desperation, Franco finally goes all "Saw" on his own forearm, which the terrific, Danny Boyle-directed movie shows in gruesome detail. For anyone scared of tight spaces -- or blood -- this is "The Exorcist" on crack.
RN: Yeah, I'm going to be rushing out to see that one. It sounds almost as warm and inviting as Northrop Auditorium. Here's what really freaks me about All Hallow's Eve: the vast quantities of bite-sized Almond Joys, Skittles and Milk Duds that will be inundating our office tomorrow.
CP: What you don't want can be dropped off at my cubicle. Also? I'm scared of all the drug side effects in my future. Imagine having to actually pay attention when those endless lists of potential risks get a speed-reading on TV ads.
RN: I know. Anything else?
CP: Mice. Macy's. A car door flung open into the bike lane.
RN: Speaking of the Store Formerly Known as Dayton's, the latest fright at 700 Nicollet is how the historic and ornate first-floor space that was once home to J.B. Hudson has been violated with a gaudy shade of red paint and crammed full of Christmas tchotchkes that are already marked down 30 percent. When I tiptoed through last week, a holiday jingle from the past kept ear-worming me: "Merry Christmas, Merry Merry Christmas, from your Kmart Christmas store."
CP: Stop. You're scaring Santa.