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


CP: Please do not look in the wastebasket beneath my desk.


RN: To quote Scarlett O’Hara — can you tell that I recently visited the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta? — “That, Captain Butler, is something you’ll never see.”


CP: From the morning, a bag of Black Forest Fruit Snacks with Juicy Burst Centers, which sounds vaguely breakfast-y and delivers 100 percent of needed Vitamin C.


RN: Oh, please. I’m one Mint Milano away from a Jenny Craig intervention.


CP: From this afternoon, a 2-ounce bag of Cheez-It crackers, “made with 100% Real Cheese.”


RN: Whole grain, or reduced fat? Wait, who am I kidding?


CP: I’m almost beginning to see the wisdom of parents who deny junk food to their children. I always thought it was an abridgement of the right of every grade-schooler to dose themselves silly on sugars, carbs and empty calories.


RN: It’s not just today’s parents. I recall my mother mixing an entire cup of granulated sugar with an envelope of Kool-Aid into a pitcher of water. No wonder our dentist knew me by name.


CP: Maybe if I had made fewer trips to the candy aisle of White’s Drugstore in my developing years, I would not have this sugar and junk-food craving. And at my advanced age. So undignified.


RN: It starts early. When my high school installed its first vending machine — a radical concept at the time — I was hooked on Tahitian Treat within a week.


CP: How very Paul Gauguin of you. No idea why, but my drug of choice never included the twice-daily barrel of carbonated sugar water.


RN: I firmly believe that Americans are wired one of two ways: Salt-seekers, or sugar-seekers. I’m definitely the latter.


CP: Thanks for that, since I am certifiably both. Hence the genius of kettle corn. I’m as happy buzz-sawing through a box of pretzels as a bag of cookies. Seriously, though, I am going to ask building services to remove our vending machines. Out of sight, out of mind. Don’t you agree?


RN: Totally. Particularly since someone made the executive decision to remove the one that dispensed milk and apples — milk and apples! — and replaced it with yet another coin-operated Snack Canyon. Sheesh.


CP: Same time, should I ever land in a skilled-nursing center, it’ll be a great comfort to be able to buy a nice bag of Skittles.


RN: If you’re still able to chew them. Although, how bad can puréed Skittles be?


E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib