- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Advice compiled and condensed from actual sources by Kelly Jane Torrance, who composed the questions.

I thought I was making a change for the better in my life, but I can’t help but notice that nobody else seems to think so. I’ve been acting for 30 years. I’m burned out, and I’d like to try something new music. But everyone laughed at my musical stage debut. Now my appearance on David Letterman is the talk of YouTube. It’s really embarrassing. People say they can’t figure out what’s going on with me. Now I’m not sure whether I should pursue my love of music or stick to acting, which has gotten me plenty of acclaim. I just don’t want to bore myself. —— Joaquin Phoenix

Dear Joaquin,

Perhaps, on the whole, embarrassment and perplexity are a kind of natural accompaniment to life and movement; and it is better to be driven out of your senses with thinking which of two things you ought to do than to do nothing whatever, and be utterly uninteresting to all the world.

- Margaret Oliphant

All of a sudden, it seems everyone in the world thinks I’m a bad guy. But I’ve always loved kids and tried to help them in any way I could. I donated $50K in ticket proceeds from my tour a few years back to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I appeared on an episode of “Sesame Street.” Just last year, I starred in a film promoting the Math-A-Thon. I’ve done lots of good things. So why is everyone focusing on one little bad thing my arrest in connection with a possible domestic-violence incident? —— Chris Brown

Dear Chris,

It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.

- Benjamin Franklin

I don’t understand why a woman who’s going through what I am a single mom raising 14 kids on her own is being portrayed in the media as such a villain. People are always gushing over Angelina Jolie and her six children, and she’s a busy movie star. Why can’t I get the same respect? I even look like her, don’t you think? (The nose job and those collagen injections really helped.) —— Nadya Suleman

Dear Nadya,

One who imitates what is bad always goes beyond his model; while one who imitates what is good always comes up short of it.

- Francesco Guicciardini

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