Braised in Captivity: Questions for The Martha


Seeing that you're indisposed for the next five months, I thought now would be an excellent time to ask you a few questions. I know you're planning to write a book about your experience as a minimum-security jail bird, and that your schedule is further booked by duties such as laundry and lawn-mowing. But as you fold socks for your sister inmates, perhaps you could resolve at least a few of my queries. I still consider you America's answer lady, whether you're in silk or standard-issue khaki.

- Where on earth can I find an old-fashioned cruet to dispense my dishwashing liquid? You suggested this as "a good thing" on Oprah once. Well, I've looked high and low in every antique shop within a 25-mile radius, and there simply is not a cruet with a metal spout to be found. Next time you suggest something like this, don't say "Just pick up a so-and-so . . ." There's nothing "just" about it.

- Do you have a nice view of the Appalachians? How about the Blue Ridge Mountains? Since you were sent up the river, I can't get "Country Roads" by John Denver out of my head. Do you have that problem?

- Are you planning a Christmas special for this year? If so, I've thought of a few working titles you can have for free: "Christmas at Camp Cupcake," "The Grinch Who Stole Martha," "Holiday Greetings from Martha and Kris Kringle in the Klinkle," "Appalachian Christmas," "Deck the Halls for 40 Cents an Hour." I could go on and on.

- That technique for folding fitted sheets is nothing new. Not exactly a question, I know, but you're really not the first to come up with that one. My mom showed me years ago.

- Do you think it was fair to make Julia Child spin a sugar tree on your Christmas special a few years back? I mean, clearly you'd had lots of practice, and your tree came out perfect, big surprise. But Julia was getting on, and she's the French Chef, for heaven's sake, show her some respect. It's a little late now, though, isn't it. She's gone and you dissed her.

- Have you considered the cruel irony that ImClone is doing so much better than when you sold your shares? I suppose you do, I mean, in your position who wouldn't. That if you'd held your horses, you'd have made a neat profit, and not be wearing unflattering clothes today and for five long months into the future?

- Will they let you dye your hair while you're in stir? (Don't you love these colorful prison terms? I speak to one who I know appreciates a good noun.) If not, I guess you'll come out rather grey. This is nothing to be ashamed of; lots of us have been coloring since our mid 20's. You are only looking like so many of us who do not have prison sentences to complete look underneath.

- Who is taking care of those darling dogs of yours? Will Oprah be helping out? I know she loves dogs, although she has at least two of her own, quite a handful. I'm sure you must know lots of people willing to care for your pooches, who must be missing you a lot, but whose fault is that? (Rhetorical question.)

- Finally, do you know how to build and decorate a Victorian-style, three-paneled screen? I'd like the panels to look very French, like the screen in "The Last Metro" starring Catherine Deneuve. Maybe you could make this a segment on your first T.V. special when they set you free. Or, if you've already covered this subject, and if it's online somewhere, could you send me the link?

Best Regards,