Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


RN: As Auntie Mame would say, "It's hotter than a crotch."

CP: I know. I recently slept downstairs to save $1.75 on air conditioning. It was horrible.

RN: As in, that creepy basement of yours? Here's five bucks. Go ahead and crank that central air. Did you get any sleep?

CP: Not much. Night sweats. Tangled sheets. Disturbing dreams. Strange sounds. Downstairs is where most of the spiders live.

RN: They're probably suffering from heat exhaustion, too. This subtropical weather ignites all kinds of wardrobe issues. Take the office. It's like Byerly's frozen foods aisle in here. But by the time I reach the sumptuously landscaped employee parking lot, I'll want to strip down to my boxer briefs, and no one wants to see that.

CP: I can think of a few restaurateurs who not only would love to see it, but to post the photo in their break room. Seriously, though, what's the practical fashion solution when you travel through a fetid swamp to get to a movie or a play only to become so chilled you could undergo surgery without bleeding?

RN: Right? Then there's the bike-to-work quandary. I did it for years, but back then shorts and T-shirts were my workplace uniform. Now, not so much.

CP: When my reporters show up in Bermudas, I smile in a way meant to seem nonjudgmental. I don't even wear shorts to the office on a Saturday. How old am I?

RN: Let me see ...

CP: Do not answer that. Instead, riddle me this: Does it make sense to buy summery clothes in Minnesota? It's like shopping for anoraks at Macy's Miami.

RN: The last summer apparel item I purchased was in March, for vacation. Does that count as resort wear?

CP: Retailers everywhere are appalled that you would consider using resort apparel for summertime. I bought a short-pant this season in a color you might get by electrocuting a lime. They are bright enough to use at night instead of a bicycle light. I sported them at Northern Spark and got three shout-outs from complete strangers, including one that was favorable.

RN: The resurrection of the preppy color palette takes me back to my frat-boy days. I'm not sure that that's a good thing.

CP: One thing I love about hot weather is shoes with no (visible) socks. That and feet that are not constantly frozen.

RN: Where do you stand on hats? Since my cranium resembles a Rand McNally globe, they don't really work for me. Which is unfortunate, as the summer sun is frying my scalp into a shade one normally associates with boiled lobsters.

CP: Maybe you could do all your outside activities between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. It's either that or a parasol, I fear.

RN: Good to know. May I borrow yours?