Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Letter to an Anthropologist

Writing consistently is hard when job searching. A man can only spend so many hours in front of a computer screen before going insane.

Dr. Susan D. Blum
University of Notre Dame
Department of Anthropology
611 Flanner Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Dear Dr. Blum,

While growing a beard the other day, an interesting question popped into my mind that I wanted to share with you. I have sought out your expertise because of your studies on plagiarism, which struck close to home for me. My Mother was a strict disciplinarian with a penchant for ironic punishments. Once, when she discovered I had copied the personal note in a Thank-You card from a National Geographic article, she decided to "plagiarise" my supper for a week by fetching it out of the dog bowl after Huggles had finished eating. It's not as bad as you think, though, we always fed Huggles one can of creamed corn a night.

Anyway, my question for you regards the comedians of ancient cultures. It occurred to me that there is nothing new under the sun, and that perhaps all the ancient civilizations that came before us joked about the same things we do today. For instance, do you believe that ancient Egyptian men joked that their spouses were always talking and shopping and basket-weaving? Even stranger, do you think ancient cultures had racial humor?

For instance, maybe all the Sioux got made fun of because they liked fat horses. "Oh my God, did you see that horse's butt? It's so big! It must belong to one of those Sioux warriors..." Or maybe the Potawatomi were always eating corn. Like, that was their thing. "Do you smell corn? Smells like a Potawatomi convention over here!" Well, listen, you get the picture, I don't want to offend anybody. Corn's one of my favorite foods, too, I ate a lot of it as a kid.

I know you're pretty busy with the holiday season coming up, but perhaps you can direct me to a paper or study on this subject. If not, hey, maybe you could publish one. I think it's a fascinating topic. Maybe you need a guest lecturer?

In a Great Speaking Voice,

The Correspondent

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Letter to Guster

I can't find an address right now and I'm at work, so I'll find one later tonight.

Dear Mr. Guster,

Before I start, let me explain that I get it. I love music. I played a recorder as a child, up until my hands were "work ready" at the age of 9. After that I just sang in the choir, although being a single child and homeschooled our choir lacked a certain harmony, and with only one member my Mother's criticism was rightfully focused squarely on me. The good news is I can now sing tenor and soprano at the same time, and I have a relatively high lung capacity.

Anyway, back on task, the reason I'm writing is because I was introduced to your band at a concert last night. I have, unfortunately, several complaints. First, everyone was just standing around. I'm not sure where the chairs were, or if there were even supposed to be chairs. However, I don't think I should be admonished by strangers when I voice concerns over fire safety. There was also a giant man in front of me, flailing around as if in the throes of palsy. I asked him to stop and he became belligerent, however, no one else was dancing like him. I think he may have had to use the bathroom, which he might have done had the aisles not been packed with people.

Moving on, the sound was generally good, however, when your lead singer spoke in between songs I could not understand him, despite being twenty feet away. To make matters worse, everyone usually laughed afterwards, and when I cannot hear a joke I always assume it is about me. This is why I do not patronize comedy clubs with an ear infection.

The music itself was generally good, if not perhaps a bit too synthesized. I counted at least four songs in which you used electrical instruments. Several of you also wore collared shirts, which I appreciated.

Hoping I Helped,

The Correspondent

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Monday, October 26, 2009

A Letter to the Mall

It's almost winter and I want to puke.

Polaris Fashion Center
1500 Polaris Parkway
Columbus, OH 43240
Attn: Michael Minns, General Manager

Dear Mr. Minns,

As the Holiday Season draws near my heart fills with the good cheer of the Christmas season. You know, Christmas was always my favorite holiday as a child. My Mother, a generally strict woman of Norwegian descent, would wake us at sunrise to begin preparing the Christmas Dinner, a traditional meal of pickled nuts and lutefisk. I would go down into the cellar, where the lutefisk had been maturing in a bucket of lye water for weeks, and carefully strain off the caustic liquid as I dipped the harvested fish flesh in a bath of rainwater we collected in the summer. Sometimes the lye would splash and scald my legs, but Mother always soothed my cries, explaining that "a good little boy has as many lye scars on his legs as there are stars in the sky!"

Sadly, now that I have come of age I find myself missing these Christmas traditions. I would like to somehow recapture that youthful wonder, and wish to be your Santa Claus this year. There is only one small problem - I weigh 130 lbs. and stand 6 feet tall. I cannot help it, growing up we lived by the traditional Finnish nursery rhyme, "Figs and breads with meat and cheese, these will make your soul diseased." Thus, I have always been a little on the slender side. Fortunately, if there is one thing a Norwegian can do, it is beard-growing. I myself have a beard weighing three-tenths of a merke (measured through water displacement).

I have been thinking, Michael, and I believe a thinner Santa might actually be a boon to Polaris Fashion Center. Consider that the country is suddenly very weight-concious, and I could teach the children about dieting/hunger. Or, perhaps we could take a new spin on Santa Claus together. I have noticed the mainstream media is very interested in origin stories lately. We could give Santa an origin story; it stands to reason that he was healthier in his younger days. We could finally find out how he builds his red suit!

Please let me know what you think of my proposal, because it takes me several weeks to shape a beard, and I currently sport a Garibaldi style with a Germanic-waxed moustache. That would never work!

Courteously Patient,

The Correspondent

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Friday, October 23, 2009

A Letter to Clintonville

I need me some weekend.

Clintonville Area Commission
President James Blazer II
333 E North Broadway
Columbus, OH 43202

Dear Mr. Blazer,

I bet you'd know exactly what I was talking about if I told you my home is filled with clutter. Who doesn't have a closet filled with old junk they never throw away? Well, I'm just like you and all those other completely normal people. And just like those people, I'd also like to get rid of my clutter. Now while it's true that my clutter consists of nearly three dozen 36-gallon Hefty trash bags of chicken feathers, I don't think that's really important right now. But enough chit chat, I have an unrelated question for you: how would you like to have a Poultry Festival in Clintonville?

Now, maybe you're thinking Clintonville doesn't need a Poultry Festival. That might be true, but how many times a month do you eat chicken? If you're anything like me, then it's around thirty, thirty-one times. Even if you're not like me, I bet it's at least eight. I think this town thrives on poultry, and Ohio has a long history of raising livestock. I think it's time we gave Clintonville a special day to put it on the map. Nobody else is doing Poultry Festivals, we could be trailblazers!

Just imagine it with me. We have a chicken parade, complete with someone dressed in a King Chicken costume (made with real chicken feathers). Later in the day, everyone enters a contest for Best Chicken Recipe, with the winner getting the coveted Fluffy Ball Trophy (a giant ball made from real chicken feathers). We can have wrestling matches in a pit of feathers (maybe several pits). Finally, we can just drive down the street in a convertible, throwing fistfuls of chicken feathers at smiling passerbys. Put that on the Dispatch's front page!

I just thought with the economy and all that maybe you and I could help each other out while lifting the community's spirits. Let me know if you're game and we can get abreast of the situation. Unless, of course, you're too chicken to give it a shot. No, you know what, that was over the line. I was making a pun, but you did not deserve that cheap shot back there. It won't happen again.

With My Sincerest Apologies,

The Correspondent

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blog Relaunching!

Welcome (back) to My42Cents! This blog will be written again regularly, along with some new features I'd like to take you through. It's now easier than ever to follow along with the correspondence, as well as share your favorite letters over a wide range of social networking sites.

First, you'll notice the re-tooled right column complete with a Top Ten Letters list for first-time visitors and a new Twitter feed. Follow us on Twitter to hear all the thoughts and ideas over a day that sometimes lead to written letters, along with any interesting links or things we come across. Don't forget to join our Followers on Blogger and subscribe to our RSS feed!

Finally, the most important change comes in the Share Button you'll find below each new post. When you scroll over this button a list of social networking sites will expand, such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg and others. Just click on your favorite site's icon and you'll immediately share that letter with your friends and family. We are committed to writing new letters, so please help us out by sharing your favorites and spreading the word about the blog.

Also, I don't know why I keep using plural pronouns, it's still just me.

Virulently Yours,

The Correspondent

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Letter to the Hearst Tower in Charlotte, NC

I'm back. Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaahhh!

Building Management
Lincoln Harris
Hearst Tower Suite #2370
214 North Tryon Street Charlotte, NC 28202

Dear Mr. Harris,

Hello, my future friend. I hail from Columbus, capital city of heart-shaped Ohio, where the corn grows knee high by the 4th of July and merry girls will show you the world! I am a businessman, which means a lot of traveling across this great country of ours. I've been in one stoplight towns and sprawling metropolii, but if there's one thing that's the same wherever I go, it's been my unending need to make two-sies.

Unfortunately, I was not blessed with the gastrointestinal confidence to perform under pressure in public settings. I worry about being seen, being heard and being generally bumfuzzled until I'm shut tighter than a clam in a pelican's pouch. As such, I sometimes go days without relief, leaving me in poor form during my many sales calls and golf luncheons. To remedy the situation, I've started a spreadsheet of the Best Bathrooms Across the Nation. Once I've filled my list with every city, I'll be able to travel freely and know I'm never far from a relaxing setting for my future bowel movements.

Naturally, I've come to you to get the skinny on the Hearst Tower. I'm sure your shining beacon of commerce can be my home away from home when I'm bricklaying in Charlotte. Here's my basic criteria: First, the bathroom must be very warm. I've found basement bathrooms to be the best here. Second, it must be off the beaten path. The best bathroom is the one with complete privacy, so perhaps there's a restroom in the lower levels no one likes going to, or perhaps one in the lobby that gets looked over. Finally, the seat of the bowl is most important. Do you have any wooden seats? Nothing envelopes my bare cheeks better than a well-worn cradle of maple or oak, the laquer finish worn down by years of good use.

Of course, you're the one with the most experience so I'll let you fill in the blanks on your own building. Just let me know the location of the best bathroom you've got, along with any special tips (bring my own soap?) and I'll add you to the spreadsheet. Thanks again, Mr. Harris, and if you ever need to drop a deuce in Ohio, just let me know and I'll take really good care of you!

Sincerely Yours,

The Correspondent

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Letter to the Mayor of Correctionville, IA

Mayor Don Dixon
312 Driftwood Street
Correctionville, IA 51016

Dear Mayor Dixon,

Hello from Ohio. It is a pitiful day filled with the billowing emptiness of failure. Like a sheet tossed over you, the day slowly turns hot and choking until you're left to scratch helplessly at an invisible fabric, drawn taut around you by the restless turning of your body as you struggle to make even one bit of difference in an indifferent world.

What makes a man free? Is it the choices of a free country, the endless buffet of capitalism? Or, like every buffet, does that freedom only lead to gluttony and sloth, until you're so fat on free will that you cannot escape the prison of your greedy heart? Perhaps freedom is the gaping, granite maw of a fierce and angry God, whose love is watered with obedience and chastity. Perhaps freedom is merely a lie, a line in a magazine meant to sell cheap plastic flags and shiny V8 engines.

My hands, Don, they look the same to me. Will it always be this way? How long before I wake up to find the skin loose around my knuckles, the hair light and thinning? I had such beautiful hands, Don. Soon time will wear them down, the veins turning visible as blood and muscle rise up against paper-thin skin, like erosion turning a fertile mountainside into a cracked pile of rocks. Bones. Despair. How much time, Dan? Does it even really matter, when each day feels the same?

Anyway, the reason I'm writing you this letter is to ask you the story behind your town's name. It looks like a lovely place to live, do you have any festivals? I love a good fruit festival, they always have several available cobblers.

Until Then,

The Correspondent

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Letter to Notre Dame's Athletic Department

Jack Swarbrick
Athletic Director
University of Notre Dame
C113 Joyce Center
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Dear Mr. Swarbrick, Esquire,

Good day to you, sir. As a former citizen of South Bend who grew up just a few blocks from Notre Dame Stadium, I have been a lifelong fan of the Irish. I watch every football game and have even been to a few myself (your hot dogs are the best!).

I'm writing to you, however, because the recent spurt of celebrity deaths has me thinking of my own mortality. Even though I'm only 26, death - like cobras - can strike at any time. Therefore I've decided to plan my last requests now. I've already detailed my postmortem wishes to my special lady friend, but I wanted to CC you in on the plan since it involves Notre Dame.

First, I have always loved the sport of Ultimate. Therefore, I've asked my lady friend to have my remains cremated and used in the manufacture of a Discraft 175-gram Ultrastar sport disc. It will be standard white, just like I used to be. Next, I want my disc-body to be used in a game of Ultimate played on the field of Notre Dame Stadium. Teams will be comprised of my favorite Ultimate teammates from over the years. I know you don't like night games, but I'd like you to make an exception for my death ritual. As a concession of good faith, I can promise no rowdy tailgating beforehand.

The reason I am requesting a night game is because after the final point, I want my friend, Frank, to dip my ash-disc into a bucket of kerosene and light it on fire, then throw it as far as he can from the south endzone towards Touchdown Jesus. I'm sure the sight of my flaming disc-body whipping through the dark night will be a moment to remember. Then, I want each player to stand and watch it burn, silently, before walking off one by one, never to speak to each other again. Just like at the end of Ocean's 11.

Please let me know if my special lady friend can count on your support should the unthinkable happen, Dr. Swarbrick, Esq. I don't know where I'll be then, Jack, but I'll know about it. And I'll be happy.

Yours Truly,

The Correspondent

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Letter To Ubisoft

Don't get used to it.

Jason Vandenberghe
Creative Director - Red Steel 2
Ubisoft Paris
Austerlitz 2000
173-179 rue du Chevaleret
75646 Paris Cedex 13

Dear Mr. Vanderbeek,

Bon jour from Ohio! I wanted to wish you good luck and God speed on your latest endeavor, creative directoring for the upcoming video game Red Steel 2. Initial impressions look great, and I've already put this game at the top of my list for must-have purchases of the Fall (along with a big pumpkin and a new haircut).

Since I'm such a big fan, I have of course watched the trailer for your new game several times. I love the art style and action, but I have to admit, there's just one problem. I don't know if you've noticed, but the bad guys in your game say a lot of the same phrases over and over again. Specifically, they shout "Come on!", "Get some!" or "You're going to pay for that" on a near constant basis. I know you're probably really busy writing algorithms and what-not, so you probably haven't noticed.

Unfortunately, it's the little things like this that can turn a great game like Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo into a terrible game, like Mortal Kombat for the Sega Genesis. It's just annoying to hear the same thing shouted over and over again. To illustrate, I decided to test my special lady friend by only using those three phrases during dinner tonight. First she told me we were eating spaghetti (again!?), so I shouted, "Come on!" Then she told me that if I didn't like it, I could make my own damn dinner. Naturally, I told her she would pay for that. That's when she got angry and asked if I was trying to start a fight on purpose. Well, you know what happened next....

I told her to "get some."

So now, here I am, relegated to the back of the apartment with no air conditioning while she watches an encore of Jon & Kate's Very Special Divorce Special while eating double chocolate Klondike bars and petting the cats. I like the cats. So please, if it's in your budget, perhaps you could record at least three more phrases for the hundreds of antagonists in your story to shout repeatedly. Maybe something like, "I smell trouble!" or "Is that the best you got?!" If you need anymore help with your game, I'm happy to share my opinion and can be reached at the above address.

Come on,

The Correspondent

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Letter to the CDC


Director - Richard E. Besser, M.D.
Center For Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333

Dear Dr. Besser,

Good day and God Bless. I want to wish you strength and vigilance as you lead our country's fight against impending threats like the H1N1 virus. There are so many, many things to be afraid of in this day and age, and in trying to reduce that number to around 100 or so, I dub you a Hero. Thank you, sir.

Still, we must be wary that in fighting evil in the world, whether it be against foreigners or the viruses they carry, that we keep collateral casualties at a minimum. Recently I read a news wire lamenting the financial hit the pork markets have taken since the term "swine flu" took off in the public consciousness. It was heartbreaking! Who could have foreseen that millions of ill-informed Americans would turn their backs on the other white meat because of such casual nomenclature? It's getting to the point where I'm not sure it's even worth it being a farmer anymore!

Now, I don't want to play the blame game. As usual, I'd much rather be playing Hungry Hungry Hippos. Still, it occurred to me that this tragedy has a silver lining. There will always be a new flu on the horizon. First it was regular flu, then bird flu and now swine flu. What if, Dr. Besser, you used this to your advantage? Think about it! The next time a deadly flu strain crops up, you should name it McDonald's flu! Obesity is crushing our country under the weight of tremendous health care costs and decreased productivity. You could help Americans shed millions of pounds just by attaching this little stigma to our largest fast-food chain.

You think they'd sue? They can't sue, you're the government! Are the pig farmers suing you? I didn't think so. No, Doctor, it's the perfect plan. Once wind gets out that McDonald's flu is the worst flu ever (for real this time!) then nobody will get within a hundred feet of the Golden Arches. You could probably do this a couple times before people catch on, too. The Applebee's flu. The couch flu. The high fructose corn syrup flu. Face it, the flu could be the best thing that ever happened to the health of the United States.

Thank you for your time, Dr. Besser. I feel confident with you at the helm. Your hair is perfect.

In Vigor,

The Correspondent

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Letter to Kleenex

Don't forget to read the new reply posted below.

CEO Thomas J. Falk
Kleenex Subsidiary
Kimberly-Clark Corporation
PO Box 619100
Dallas, TX 75261-9100

Dear Mr. Falk,

Congratulations on turning 50 this past year! It's a very special time in a man's life. Have you gone gray yet? Take it in stride, Tom. We all know the ones who are dipping brown. May I ask a personal question? Does it go gray everywhere? Nope, you know what, that's too personal. It's just going to have to remain a mystery for me for another 20 or so years.

Anywho, I'm here to talk Kleenex. Since it's Springtime I've been using my fair share of tissue paper (why am I always so horny in the Spring??), and I was thinking how little the product has evolved over the years. It's time Kleenex got a reboot, like Star Trek or Schlitz Beer. First of all, stop using paper. It's tearing my nose apart! Small wonder, too, since paper is just wood. I'm rubbing a billion little splinters into my face everytime I watch an episode of Without A Trace. You should make tissues out of cotton or silk. Something soft - plus, you can charge twice as much and call them Kleenex Platinum. "The Diamond Standard!"

Next up is shape. I'll be blunt, my face is round and my tissues should be too. This is an easy fix, just buy new factory equipment to output the product in an oval shape. Plus, everyone knows a circle is the most efficient use of space. You can fit more product into a circle, which means less freight shipping costs for you and your shareholders. I know what you're thinking, don't I pay people to be this smart? Well, not anymore you don't, because I never worked for you.

Lastly, I think you need a Willy Wonka-type promotion to get the word out on these new changes. Slip a few gold-leafed tissues into some boxes and offer a free tour of your facilities in Texas. All the winners will receive a year's supply of new CottonSilk Platinum Kleenex tissue paper - The Diamond Standard®. Also, a tissue factory sounds kind of boring, so you should take everybody to a football game, or dinner at your house. You look like you eat good.

Just Trying to Help,

The Correspondent

New Reply!

If I can load it properly. Big if.

Click here for the Land Shark Lager Original Letter.


They also included a pretty nifty brushed nickel bottle opener with the Land Shark logo on it. Time to live the Margaritaville lifestyle!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Letter to Newscaster Andrea Cambern

I cleaned up on manager's specials today. A box of donuts for 79 cents, loaves of rye for 1.29. I passed on the select choice roast beef, though. It had passed its prime. Get it? Do you get it? You better get it.

Andrea Cambern
Anchor - WBNS TV
770 Twin Rivers Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Ms. Cambern,

Greetings from Clintonville! It's interesting to me how quaint all of Columbus' neighborhoods sound. German Village. Clintonville. Worthington. This city sounds like it would have a lot of soda fountain shops in it. Except for Gahanna. Gahanna sounds like a terrorist hotbed, if you ask me. Kabul, Pawnee, Gahanna. I trust none of these words.

Getting back on task, I would like to ask a favor of you. It's really more of an opportunity, because with a little luck this project will land us both in the history books. I'm trying to coin a new word. I want a word that describes the sound you make when you're talking and you suddenly throw up in your mouth a little bit. This new word won't describe the event, but rather, it will embody that particular sound (like "ouch" or "whew").

My first problem is naming this word. I think it most sounds like "yup," but that one is obviously already taken. Then I thought "oop" sounded close, but people would inevitably confuse it with "oops." Same proble with "whoops." It's sort of a hiccup mixed with a gulp with a little "yech!" thrown in. I think I've finally settled on "gup" or "gahup." Gup might be a little too subtle for me. Plus, gahup just looks like a real word. It looks like hiccup, and since they are similar sounds, I think we could attach ourselves fairly easily to the hiccup bandwagon. Why reinvent the wheel, Andrea?

My second problem is that the Webster Dictionary committee will only consider new words that have a certain number of citations. This means we have to get our word out there, being used in print and daily conversation. This is where you come in. All you have to do is use the word "gahup" in a few of your news broadcasts over the next few weeks. It can be completely natural: "Good evening, I'm Andrea-gahup!-Cambern. Excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth a little." Piece of cake! Except then you'll also have to spell it out on the air, so people know it's a word and not just a sound you made.

Please let me know if I can count on your support, Ms. Cambern. I believe I have been very cordial in my request, even though violence often garners more results. It was a tough decision which road to take! No, not really. I think you're the best. You look at you, with that hair, and you think, "She can't pull that off!" but you do it anyway. Terrific.


The Correspondent

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Letter to the City of Bellefontaine

The job search continues.

Mayor Adam Brannon
City of Bellefontaine
Municipal Building, Floor 2
135 N Detroit Street
Bellefontaine, OH 43311

Dear Mr. Mayor,

I'd like to officially throw my name in the hat for the city of Bellefontaine's official whatever-you're-hiring for-right-now. Do I need to know what exactly it is your city needs? No, I do not, because I see the answer to that question every time I brush my teeth in the morning. Every time I check my rear view mirror. Whenever I cross my eyes or look down really fast, I sort of see the nose of the answer to that question. Because the answer to Bellefontaine's great question is me, sir!

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I'm available. I have no phsyical hindrances, and it wouldn't matter even if I did because I take glucosamine daily. I am smart - I graduated from nearby Wittenberg University with a degree in Everything (liberal arts). I'm attractive and charming and can easily converse with any crowd. The elderly trust me and frequently project their own idyllic images of the American family onto my shrouded childhood.

Why I am interested in Bellefontaine? You know as well as I do, you can't beat the Chiefs! The way I see it, Bellefontaine is at a crossroads. You can either get busy job-creating or get busy dying a slow economic death. I can put Bellefontaine on the map by harnessing the powers of state money, federal money, Web 2.0, revenue-sharing, strategic partnerships, the global economy, Google AdSense and racketeering. Do you want to be downstream to the city of Lima's poop chute your whole life, or do you want to look up at those sons of bitches with the tall finger salute and say, "Hey, Beantown! Cut the malarkey and get in the right lane!"

Now let's talk shop. I'll relocate immediately - that's not a problem. I want an office in the courthouse with a cot, because that's where I'll be sleeping. I don't need a salary, just put it all in my budget. I'll need a stipend for food and clothing of $6,000 a year, or you can give me a signed pass that allows me to eat and shop for free at any Bellefontaine merchant. Obviously, I will not take advantage of you, I'm here to work. Instead of a car I'd like a neon green bicycle with "City of Bellefontaine" painted on the frame and the phrase "Never quit!" on the seat. I will ride this bicycle everywhere.

Together, we can bring Bellefontaine to the forefront of Ohio. While the rest of the state sinks into a quagmire of rising taxes and uneployment, you and I will be building an economic Helm's Deep, an American Alamo. Please send me any requisite paperwork and my proposed start date, preferably by the ides of April. God bless, Mayor.

Be Safe,

The Correspondent

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Letter to Fred's Transmission

I was just a skinny lad, never knew no good from bad.

Fred's Transmission and Clutch
4410 Lincolnway East
Mishawaka, IN 46544

Dear Fred,

I have a bit of a quandary I was hoping you could help me out with. You see, my brother suffers from a rare disease called porphyric dyslexia syndrome, or PDS. His brain will sometimes pull up a memory or image and switch it with whatever he's supposed to be focusing on at that time. A few years ago he was finishing up a federal grant application for work, and as he got ready to mail it out he heard "Take Me Out Tonight" by Eddie Money on the radio. Well, his head just inserts Eddie Money into the task and he mailes the application to him instead. The next thing you know his boss wants to know the status of the grant and all he has is a letter from Eddie saying he can't give $165k to the State of Indiana for watershed research. Guess who got passed over for promotion?

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when he was supposed to mail me a box set DVD of the greatest concert moments of Freddie Mercury. I need that box set, Fred. Of course it never got here, and the best my idiot brother can say is he remembers singing the Fred's Transmission jingle in his head that week. You know the one - "If your tranny's dead, just call Fred!" We grew up in South Bend. I figure he saw the Freddie Mercury box set, starting thinking of Fred's Transmission, got that stupid slogan in his brain and mailed it to you.

Let's be clear, I'm not accusing you of anything malicious. Hell, if Freddie Mercury showed up in my mailbox one day I wouldn't be asking questions, either. That's called good karma. But I really want those DVDs; there's a rare duet of "Under Pressure" with David Bowie in Shea Stadium, where they kiss at the end. Don't ask me why I need to see it! It's a watershed moment in American Rock 'n Roll!

Listen, I don't care if you took those DVDs for a spin already. Me casa is Sue's casa. Just please return them to the address above so I can finally immerse my living room in the legendary performances of one of rock's greatest voices. Hell, I'll even burn you a copy. I know it's piracy, but you've been put out enough. Consider this my thanks to you.


The Correspondent

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Letter to the Mexican Restaurant

If that Pioneer Woman blog can be nominated for an award, so can I.

General Manager
El Vaquero Mexican Restaurant
3230 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, OH 43202

Hola Sir or Madam,

Gracias for reading my letter, I'm sure you are a very busy muchacho. I love American Mexican food, it's the best comfort meal you can find. I've been to a lot of places in my day, too, but none of them as near to my house as you are come even close to nailing the traditional Mexican dishes I've fallen in love with. Hoorah for you!

Still, nobody is perfect. I thought I could relay a few tips onto you that might help you keep your craft razor sharp. First, your tacos are delicious. I always order three chicken tacos. Sometimes, though, the taco shell becomes soggy by the time I get to the third taco. The "au jus" of the chicken must be eaten quickly, lest it turn that crisp shell into a flaccid corn wrapper. May I suggest always draining the chicken completely before building your taco? As my father used to tell me while teaching me to use a urinal, "an extra shake is all it takes."

Second, I think it's great that you always card everyone before the train takes off to Margaritaville. But you know, nothing cherries the cheek of a lady more than a little flattery. Maybe your wait staff could follow each carding request with a sly quip, such as "But Senorita, your eyes have the fire of a woman no older than twenty." Also, I wouldn't be above your waitresses perking up my peacock tail every now and again. Tell me how you feel the first time you find a gray hair in your happy trail!

Well, I think that's it. Again, you do a terrific job. Just one last question. What kind of cheese do you use? I have searched high and low for it but failed at every turn. You know what I'm talking about, that soft, white, almost sweet cheese. Are you making that stuff in the back or something? Who's giving you all that milk?

Adios la Vista,

The Correspondent

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Letter to Parks and Recreation

Hope schmope, you can't change Washington.

Jerry Saunders - President
Columbus Parks and Recreation
1111 E. Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43205

Dear Mr. Saunders,

Are you fat? I'm sorry to pry, but if you are fat it well help my proceeding argument. Plus, it's a real eye-catching way to open a letter. In our fast-paced world of today, it's so important to be able to grab attention. Sex! Wild asps! Stratego! See, now I've got you right where I want you.

To get to the crux of the matter, I have witnessed a growing trend in this country's park systems that I cannot let continue with impunity. Of course, I'm talking about plastic-seated swing sets. It seems that every park I go in, including most recently the Park of Roses in Columbus, the swing sets in each playground have bendy, plastic seats on them. Have you ever tried to swing in one of these things, Jerry? It's like getting a "B" seat on a plane full of Buckeyes coming back from another Fiesta Bowl loss. You try to move, even breathe, but you're being scrunched up by this incredible pressure on both sides, like a Red Sea of fat ready to crash down upon you at any moment. And that's what it's like in a bendy plastic swing seat.

Think about this: I only weigh 130 lbs, and the plastic still bends in the middle until my hips have chain-patterned bruises on them. Now, what if I was fat? The pressure would kill me! Whatever happened to using wooden planks for swing seats? Then you can sit comfortably without bowing the swing in, and it's much easier to twist the chains into a thrilling tailspin. Times are tough, Mr. Saunders, we don't all have the money to go to Cedar Point every weekend. With a wooden plank and a little imagination, I could make my own Corkscrew ride (no lines, too!). Well, right now I'm 50% short of that dream.

Oh, and I know what you're going to say. We don't have money for wooden swing seats! Our budget is being slashed to ribbons! To which I say, what's your salary looking like? Because I'd be willing to fire you to supply each city park with wooden-seated swings. I'm sorry, but the taxpayers have spoken. You've drenched this town in rampant corruption and blatant nepotism long enough.

Ok, look. If I can't beat you, I guess I could join you. Just outfit the Park of Roses with wooden swing seats and I won't blow the whistle on the aforementioned corruption and nepotism. I'm ashamed to play dirty politics with you, but the system is already broken. I didn't start this fire. Let me know your decision, and perhaps this can be the beginning of a profitable friendship.

Honorably Yours,

The Correspondent

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Letter to the Guy With the Astro-Turf Lawn

Just driving around the neighborhood, la-la-la, that grass sure looks green for March, la-la-la, wait a minute, does that guy have an Astro Turf yard, la-la-la, looks like I have a letter idea for Monday, la-la-la.

Current Resident
349 Oakland Park
Columbus Ohio, 43214

Dear Mr. Current Resident,

As the weather warms in central Ohio, myself and other outdoor sports enthusiasts will be dusting off our athletic shoes and our acrylic socks and heading outside to get our hands dirty in the arena of athletics. To wit, I have decided to establish a new neighborhood tradition by founding the first annual Central Ohio Yard Putting Tournament.

It's simple, really. We take a pool of 50 local athletes and pair them together for four days of various putting challenges. The aggregate winner will be invited to the Midwestern Euchre Challenge to be held this April in Xenia, a 3-year subscription to my newsletter and $150 . Second place will receive a three-week supply of my allergy stopper, the Hepa Nose Filter, and $25. Third place will receive my World's Best Potato Soup recipe and a dog, donated by the central Ohio Humane Society (donation not yet final).

Of course, this is all predicated on being able to use your facilities at 349 Oakland Park. With all the uncertainties of Ohio spring weather, we must have dependable facilities, and your Astro-Turf front yard is the perfect place to design our putting challenges. These will include, but are not limited to, a 10-foot challenge, a 15-foot challenge and even a 20-foot challenge. We will have to move the holes around over the course of the tournament, but I promise you your fake yard will be returned to its dyed plastic glory at the end of competition. For your graciousness in hosting our event, I want to offer you the "Opening Putt," as well as a size XXL t-shirt from the Pepsi Company. I will even throw in a free coupon for Welch's Grape Juice and a brochure explaining the origins of the Pillsbury Doughboy. This eclectic gift package can be found nowhere else, and certainly not at CVS.

Please let me know your what your reservation calendar looks like for the next 6-8 weeks so I may begin my other preparations (mostly just buying an auger hole digger and a little tin bucket).

Fighting the Good Fight,

The Correspondent

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Letter to the Man Who Took My Dog

This isn't really a funny letter. Sorry.

Gregory Bognar
56779 Joseph Lane
South Bend, IN 46619

Dear Mr. Bognar,

This is going to sound a little strange. Well, it will think a little strange, unless you're reading it out loud. You see, I'm not sure if you are who I think you are. We may have met once, and if so that means I was only at your house one time about 5-6 years ago. I just guessed on the house and address based on my memory, which is usually perfect. One time I had to explain the Kreb's Cycle to my girlfriend for her biology class in college, based only on a lecture I heard freshmen year of high school. But I digress, Greg. My question is, do you have my dog, Katie?

5-6 years ago my mother gave my dog away to some guy because my siblings and I had gone to college and she didn't want to walk her anymore. She was a chow/German Shephard mix named Katie. She had rusty brown hair, a long bushy tail and a light underside. She loved to dance and could shake hands and if you left the butter on the kitchen table she would climb on the chair to eat it when you went to school in the morning.

It occurred to me recently that my dog has probably died already, but I still thought that if I tracked you down you might be able to tell me how she is or was. She was a real dog. First of all, the long hair. All real dogs have long hair. She also had jaws that could strip metal off a Buick. One time we were rough-housing out back and she found a rabbit. Tore through it like it was crepe paper. She weighed over 30 lbs - a prerequisite for any real dog. If it's under 30 lbs you're just feeding a large rat. Of course, I'm sure after a year with you she probably weighed 100 lbs. I saw you giving your other animals hot dogs for treats! I didn't say anything at the time, but pethood obesity is no laughing matter, Greg. It destroys hundreds of families a year.

I'm just yanking your chain, mostly. I wouldn't have let you take her if I didn't think you loved animals. Even if your pool did take up 80% of the backyard. Listen, if Katie had a good life, please just write me a quick note and let me know she did OK. I hope she didn't miss me very much. God, I miss that dog. I'd probably kill upwards of 200 people to get that dog back. That's not a threat, I'm just thinking wistfully.

Take Care,

The Correspondent

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Letter to Landshark Lager

It's pretty funny how surprised and affronted people get when you call and ask for their mailing address. "You want our mailing address? What for?!"

1 Busch Place
Attn: 202-8CRG
Landshark Lager
Reference #: 5389069

Dear Brewmaster,

Whew, that address is a doozy! I couldn't find it online, so I called your phone number and talked to Janelle. She wouldn't give me the address at first and wanted to take my letter through dictation, but unfortunately my vocal chords were recently seared in a boiling juice incident (entirely my fault). It was hard enough to talk as is, so she kindly directed me to the above address and told me to use that reference number from our phone call. What an amazing system! I feel like James Bond, if James Bond drank domestic beer.

Anyway, the reason I'm writing is to sing the praises of your amazing lager. But even more, I have to ask, what does the name mean? When I first saw a bottle of Landshark, I immediately thought of the Ultimate frisbee term. You see, in Ultimate frisbee, a landshark is when the team MVP is pantsed (or de-pantsed if you're from south of the Mason-Dixon line) and hoisted up by his or her teammates, as if surfing over their hands. Then, the winning Frisbee is thwunked between their pried-open buttocks and the entire monstrosity is paraded around the field (known henceforth as Attack of the Landshark).

It is one of the most thrilling moments in all of sport. I've only seen it done once, at a three-day memorial tournament outside Portland in June of 2004. The Tulsa Vulvas, a coed Masters team from Billings Montana, had just won the round robin tournament on the back of 52 year-old team founder Ted Jacobin. Ted's about 6'2" tall and must have weighed 200 lbs (even without the clothes), but they still got him up there. Then, Julie Fordham, the shortest person on the team, does a running jump and twunks the disc in there like a little girl putting the angel on a Christmas tree. Ted lets out this primeval roar and the whole team starts running around the park. It looked like one of those dragons during a Chinese parade, an army of feet rushing around underneath this huge, growling beast.

So, the reason for my letter is to thank you for making such a great beer and to tell you that you ought to consider Ultimate in your advertisements. Heck, you could even sponsor a team and really make your brand stick, so to speak, in the minds of every disc player across the country. Summer league is just around the corner, so let me know!

Always Hucking,

The Correspondent

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Letter to Bob Evans

This is off-topic, but Natalie Portman is the best. My thought process goes like this: She's Jewish (I can become Jewish), she's hot (I can work out more), she lives in New York or something (I can drive there), she my age (I'm my age), she looks really sweet (5 out of 6 isn't bad). So, I'm saying there's a chance.

Attn: General Manager
Bob Evans Restaurant
3140 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43202

Dear Mr. Evans,

Greetings from just around the corner! I have never been to your restaurant before, but I have been to other Bob Evans locations, and I enjoy your omelettes. My lady friend is an absolute fiend for your beef vegetable soup. If she could she would fill a bathtub with the stuff and then leisure around it in, taking a ladle and pouring it over head so her hair smells like beef vegetable soup. And I'd like that, too.

Anyway, I was recently driving past your restaurant when I unfortunately saw an error on your signage. Even though we love your soup and omelettes, I couldn't let such an egregious blasphemy against the English language go unchecked. Your sign read, "Stop in for one of our new boburritos." Did you mean burritos? Because that's how it's spelled, 'burritos.' You don't need the extra "bo."

I know, I know, who cares, right? Wrong! I can't take another butchering of our language. If it's not an email void of any puncuation or capitalization then it's a newspaper rife with copy mistakes. Captions that make no sense, internet forums filled with emoticons, text messages that look like may be "LOLing," sir, but I'm not! You may be "ROFL" or "BRB" so you can go do some "BSDM" with your "BBW", but I'm not! I'm going to be right here, keeping my dignity. Don't whatev, me, either. This has a very specific ev. It's the ev of being an educated human being that can communicate gracefully without gimmicks or shenanigans.

Sorry about that, I got a little carried away. If you could just correct your signage out front, I would really appreciate it. Otherwise, I think you run an excellent establishment with a ton of curb appeal. It's a shame you have to be so close to that ratty-looking Kohl's, though. They really ought to just burn that place down. Shoot, now if it happens everybody is going to look at me.

In Musing,

The Correspondent

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Not worth it!

I was on the fence, but I'm not taking any chances. Especially not after that whole Yahoo! hockey thing. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't worry. I included a picture of daffodils. Sorry, M.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Skyline Reply!

When the CEO reads your letter and pens a real response, with a real signature, I don't care how short it is. Great reply.

Note* This is really quite hilarious. Of course, posting the image failed, so I converted it to a pdf and loaded it on this Scribd website to embed it on Blogger. Naturally, although the pdf file is fine and I've checked it five times now, it is somehow askew when embedded here. The Correspondent - 0, The Internet - 28. Fortunately you can still read it. Just pretend you're trying to read it while there's an earthquake going on.

Skyline Letter


Skyline 2

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Letter to Pastor Borger

This was cathartic, and actually the most personal reflection I've done in probably two years.

Pastor Bryan Borger
437 Dragoon Trail East
Mishawaka, IN 46544

Dear Pastor Borger,

Hello, sir. We don't know each other, but I wanted to write to somebody religious, and this was the last church I can remember going to as a child. We jumped around a lot, and I liked yours the best because it had a treehouse in the back behind the parking lot. And I know I'm not Lutheran, but I went to a Lutheran university (Wittenberg!) and my family has historically been Lutheran.

You see, I have some things I want to get off my chest. I know that you're supposed to confess to the Catholics, but I'm even less Catholic than I am Lutheran, and you both have Mass, so I'm going with you guys. So here's some things that I've felt ashamed about recently, and maybe telling you will make me feel better.

First of all, yesterday I was at Target and was going to check-out with my lady friend when I noticed an old lady trying to navigate her cart to the same check-out we were going to. My lady friend didn't notice her, and I knew that she would beat the old woman. I thought it would just be a giant headache if I told her to stop, because she never listens to me and I would have had to explain the entire situation to get her to go to a different check-out, so I just put my head down and left the old lady to fend for herself. It wasn't technically cutting, because she was winding her way through other check-outs, but let's be honest here - I knew what was going on.

Second, I wear women's gloves. I have really small hands and it's very hard for me to find leather gloves in a small size at most department stores, so earlier this winter I bought a pair of women's size XXL. I don't think anyone else has noticed, but I don't feel too good wearing them.

Third, every Thursday or Friday I get the idea that I ought to volunteer somewhere that weekend, but I never do. I don't know why I don't just get up and do it, because I'm never doing anything on the weekend. It was OK a couple of years ago, because I was young and could still tell myself that I was a good person because of some stuff I did as a child, but now I'm 26 and I'm starting to think the balance has shifted from good person to lazy asshole.

Finally, I call my neighbor Sharkmouth behind her back. She's very cold towards me, even though I've spent all winter sweeping the snow off the metal staircase and balcony that leads to our apartment doors and salting it down so she doesn't slip and break her neck. I've talked to her once and her mouth was literally overflowing with teeth. It looked like she had several rows of teeth, one behind the other, and I actually did a Google search to see if that was a real genetic disorder. From then on I've referred to her as Sharkmouth and played the Jaws theme in my head whenever I see her.

Well, I'm not even lying when I tell you I do feel better. I particularly think I'll get off the log and do some volunteer work before the month is over. Unfortunately, I don't really have the money right now to buy new gloves. Thank you for letting me vent, Pastor, and please give my best wishes to your family, if you have one. Hey, is Dyngus Day coming up soon? They don't have that in Ohio, so I hope you all enjoy it in St. Joe County.

Do Widzenia,

The Correspondent

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Letter to Lorne Michaels

Have a great weekend.

Lorne Michaels
c/o Broadway Video
1619 Broadway
New York City, NY 10019

Dear Mr. Lorne,

How are you? I just want to first say that I have long enjoyed your career and the entertainment you have provided to thousands and thousands of late night television viewers. I can't imagine keeping something like Saturday Night Live going for over 30 years! The staggering burnout must be incredible. How do you keep up the energy? One time I went to the drugstore and saw some of that Five-Hour Energy drink, but right above it was Six-Hour Energy, and on top of the shelf was Seven-Hour Energy. I thought, "They should make a taller shelf."

Still, I think we can both agree that your writers don't always hit the mark. Sometimes the skits just aren't that funny. It's not your fault! Nobody is perfect all the time, which is why you need help along the way. Well, sir, consider me your cavalry!

Listen to this one. I was going down the stairs in a building the other day and noticed a sign on the door that said "Tornado Shelter Downstairs." Inspiration! What if you had a bunch of people running to a tornado shelter, and when they opened the door there were a bunch of cages with little tornados inside? Plus, there are families walking around with little kids shouting, "Ooo, Daddy, he's so cute! I want that one!" Or even better, it's a family of trailer homes. Creative costuming on line 1!

I have a ton of these skit ideas. What about a late-night radio show called "Pillow Talk with Rob and Darlene," set in the bedroom of a Midwestern couple? They have headphones on and radio mics hanging in front of them, and they quibble back and forth about headaches and not being in the mood. Also, maybe there's a moose that guest hosts.

I think it's been a great 30 years, but in order to make it to 40 you'll need fresh writers and new ideas. Mull it over and then write me back if you'd like to get lunch sometime (please, no seafood). Also, while I've got your ear, what's the deal with Chevy Chase?

From the desk of,

The Correspondent

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Letter to Virginia Eaton

I think we all feel the same way about that Pillsbury reply. I don't like being mean, but Virginia's non-reply has to be called out!

Virginia Eaton
Consumer Services
P.O. Box 9452
Minneapolis, MN 55440

Dear Virginia,

I received your letter responding to my dilemma over the Pillsbury Doughboy, and I just wanted to let you know that it wasn't helpful at all. In your letter you specifically said to "please let us know if we can be of further help." I'm not sure I can technically ask you for further help, though, because that would imply that you rendered any help to begin with.

If you don't recall, my original letter was a lament that my young niece saw one of your commercials and demanded to know why the Doughboy was laughing while his dough-brethren were systemactically burned alive by the mother baking cookies for her daughter. She became convinced that the Doughboy was the judge and executioner of all criminals in Doughland.

Unfortunately, your form letter describing the marketing history behind the Doughboy did little to alleviate her grief. Perhaps if she was an advertising executive, and not a scared little girl, she would have found the backstory interesting and helpful. As it is, I was wondering if you could spare a little more than your previous 46 words to explain why the Doughboy would be so happy watching his fellow pieces of dough get baked and eaten.

Perhaps the Doughboy is the only piece of a dough with a soul? Or maybe, like Pinocchio, the sould of the Doughboy is really human, therefore he has no attachment to dough in and of itself. Either one of these explanations (or a new one you make up) should be sufficient in calming my neice down. Not only does she continue to avoid cookies, but she's moved on to muffins and biscuits. I fear she will soon realize the pivotal role that flour plays in all these baked goods and just declare herself completely gluten-free. Do you know how much more expensive soybean flour is?!

Thank you for any more time you can lend to my situation. Just imagine, if you rekindle my neice's love of baked goods, she could go on to be a world famous pastry chef! Maybe she'll even make your daughter's wedding cake some day. You don't want to ruin your daughter's wedding, do you?

Warm Regards,

The Correspondent

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Letter to the Mayor

I really did see this over the weekend. Great moment.

Mayor Michael Coleman
90 W Broad St
Columbus, OH 43215

Dear Mayor Coleman,

Hello from one of your biggest supporters! First off, let me compliment you by saying yours is one of the widest mustaches I've ever seen. Most mustaches never go past a man's lips, and if they do then they've "taken off" from his face and can be oiled and manipulated into grandiose curls and whirly-do's. Your mustache, though, is stuck flat to your face all the way to the crease of your smile. Excellent choice!

The reason I'm writing you today is to implore you for action on behalf of an amazing experience I had this weekend. I was just south of the downtown and driving westbound across the Greenlawn Bridge of the Scioto River when I looked out upon an awesome spectacle. Flying towards me was a huge figure, with wings much wider than your mustache. As it grew closer the contrast of its stark white head and tail came into view, and I knew immediately that I was staring upon our nation's great treasure, the Bald Eagle.

Now, I know enough about stuff to tell you that Bald Eagles are a rare sight in Columbus. At first I took out my cell phone to punch the #2 speed dial button for the Columbus Zoo, to ask them if their eagle exhibit had been breached. When I finally realized that this was a bird of nature, I knew that God was telling me that Columbus was special, and we needed to celebrate.

Please, Mayor Coleman, help me spread the joy of this majestic bird by declaring a city-wide Bald Eagle Day. Everyone should know of our newest citizen. We don't have to close the banks and post office down or anything, but I thought of a few gestures you could initiate that would give the day meaning. First, everyone must tip their hats to bald or balding men and women. If you are not wearing a hat then you must curtsy. The latent benefit of this is that no man will want to curtsy, so we'll bring back the long-missing tradition of hat wearing. Second, for one day only it will not be considered illegal to steal fish. Bald Eagles steal fish all the time, especially from Ospreys, so this is normal. When in Rome, Mayor!

I know that with these few small acts, our great city will overcome its grief and anxiety and rise up to the great challenges of 2009. Please join me, Mayor Coleman! I look forward to tipping my hat to you soon, sir.

God Bless,

The Correspondent

Pillsbury reply

Original letter


Faygo Reply

Original Letter


Friday, February 6, 2009

F*** Blogger!

Why is Google doing this to me? I used to love them. Then two days ago they took away my web search button in Gmail for some unknown reason. Now, even though I'm putting up a picture via Picasa, THEIR OWN SOFTWARE, it still doesn't work.

Except when I first put it up, it worked then. Five minutes later though the links are broken.

Please leave your addresses in the comments sections so I can drive to everyone's house and show you these replies from Faygo and Pillsbury, because that would be infinitely easier than dealing with Blogger and Google. I've tried hosting the scans on Photobucket, I've tried hosting them through the Blog function in Picasa. If anybody has experience in this, please let me know the best way to post these scans on the site so everyone can click through to a large enough version to read.

Now I'm going to go eat lunch at the Brown Bag Deli in German Village. You should go there sometimes, it's fantastic.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Letter to Skyline Chili

It's Skyline time!

CEO Kevin R. McDonnell
Skyline Chili Inc.
4180 Thunderbird Lane
Fairfield, OH 45014

Dear Mr. McDonnell,

What an ironic name! I bet people kid you about that all the time. Because it's almost McDonald, get it? Moving on, I am doing very well, which is in no small part due to the dinner I just had at your Skyline Chili location on Bethel Road in Columbus. I had a four-way with spaghetti, chili, cheddar cheese and onions. You know, it really hit the spot, but I have to admit that every time I visit one of your delicious locations I end up with a little problem afterwards.

To be honest, I don't really mind it. My lady friend, however, says that my problem is one of the worst she's ever encountered, and that I ought to consider seeing a doctor. She frequently leaves the room for the duration of my problem, sometimes even forcing me to sleep on the couch. But what am I supposed to do? A Skyline four-way without the onions just isn't the same (it's actually a three-way). Then, it hit me!

You know how at every table you guys have a napkin holder, salt and pepper shakers and a bottle of hot sauce? You should put a bottle of Beano on every table! Think about it, now every guy who wants to pile his chili high with onions and beans can just grab the little bottle of Beano and sprinkle a few drops on his meal. Problem solved!

Plus, think of the great marketing you could do. Imagine an empty chili bowl, with a very fat and satisfied Buckeye fan sitting behind it, chuckling and burping. The narrator says, "What's the best part of a Skyline five-way with beans and onions?" Then you see his lady friend giving him the evil eye and wafting her nose. "Sometimes, the best part is the worst part." Then, you introduce new "Beano at the table!" and show the same fat Buckeye fan sprinking a few drops of Beano on a fresh bowl of chili. Ta-da! Flash forward a few hours later and you see the same Buckeye fan, driving a race car with Jim Tressel. Everybody wins!

As you can tell, I'm a pretty on the ball guy. There's really no need to thank me, as I just wanted to help one of my favorite restaurants. I've even flirted with the idea of opening my own Skyline franchise in my hometown of South Bend, Indiana. They put a Sonic in there a few months ago, so you know those people will eat anything! Let me know about the Beano!


The Correspondent

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Letter to Alec Baldwin

What a terrible day!

Alec Baldwin
El Dorado Pictures
P.O. Box 8677
La Crescenta, CA 91224-0677

Dear Mr. Baldwin,

Boy, am I having a bad day. It started out fine enough; I woke up. My grandfather used to say, "Any day you wake up alive is a good day." He also once said, "Every animal on the earth except the pig should be killed, to make way for more pigs." And, once when I was 11 he told me to "always pull out." But my point is that today started out just fine.

Now, the reason I'm writing you is also the reason my day turned sour. You see, I was minding my own business at work a little while ago when I overheard some guy say The Shadow was the first bad movie he ever saw. Are you kidding me? The Shadow was great! Lamont Cranston, wealthy haberdasher and former ruthless crime boss, must use his ability to cloud men's minds in order to save the world from the terror of the atom bomb! Also, Penelope Ann Smith is a hot piece.

I was hoping you could tell me some of your favorite memories of The Shadow, and we could throw it back in this guy's face. For instance, I loved your costume. How did you get the neck of your shirt to stay up like that? I would love to have a similar shirt, because one of my greatest fears is having something touch my neck. Sometimes if I think something is touching my neck, or about to touch my neck, I'll rub it gently with my hand to neutralize the anxiety and fear. I know what you're thinking, why not wear a turtleneck? Believe it or not, turtlenecks are the worst thing in the world for me, because then it feels like something is touching my neck all the time.

Going to the barber is also difficult, because they put that tissue around your neck. When being playful with a lady I can stand her to nuzzle my side neck, but she must never touch the front. Ironically, I enjoy dressing up with a fully-buttoned dress shirt and tie, but I have to tie the tie myself. Also, I will loosen it the first chance I get, but only when it's socially acceptable, such as on the dance floor or behind a Denny's.

Well, I think that's about it. If you could send me that shirt you wore in The Shadow or let me know how they made it, I would really appreciate it. All this talk about necks and stuff touching my neck has really worked me up, so I'm going to go to the bathroom and rub my Adam's apple until I feel better. Say hi to Tina for me!

Ever Graciously,

The Correspondent

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Letter to the Statue of Liberty

Did I already write this letter? It feels like I already wrote this letter. I'm going to feel pretty stupid if I check the archives and find I already wrote this letter.

Attn: Superintendent
National Park Service
Statue of Liberty National Monument
Liberty Island, NY, NY 10004

Dear Superintendent,

First of all, let me tell you that I am a man of taste, which is why I never miss an episode of the History Channel's Modern Marvels. The narration of Max Raphael is reassuring yet down to business, like the male nurse at a mid-town plasma donation center. And the history itself is always fascinating; why, I feel like I've learned more from Modern Marvels than I ever did in Indiana Real Estate Licensing School.

Recently, however, I was very put off by an episode surrounding your monument, the Statue of Liberty. I already knew the basic story; how the French gave us the statue as a Christmas present back in the 60s, and that it is over 30 stories tall. What I didn't know, though, was the story behind the statue's muted green hue. I always thought the material itself was naturally green, and never realized that the statue was actually copper. The green is a rust-like chemical formation called 'patina'. Well, sir, I can call the rust on my 2001 Ford Focus magical fairy dust, but that won't make the interior smell any less like cats and beef jerky.

Put simply, Superintendent, I cannot believe this country allows one of its greatest monuments to languish under a layer of puke-green rust. I can't imagine the glory of the original statue, the copper shining each morning like a giant woman covered in pennies! Now, more than ever, I feel it is our responsibility to restore her to her former beauty. How sad is it that even with a copper-skinned president, we still can't have a copper-toned Statue of Liberty? This country's come a long way, baby, but we still have so very far to go.

The strangest part of this whole thing was the History Channel's "experts" gushing over how precious the patina is! That it looks regal and protects from acid rain! I may not have a degree in being an "expert," but last time I checked acid rain can't hurt metal - only agriculture and home resale value. And who would think that disgusting green is beautiful? My mother had an oven the exact same color in our house growing up, and she hated it. She used to always tell us that it was so ugly she wanted to stick her head in there and kill herself, but she couldn't even do that because it was an electric. Also, it always burned cookies.

Superintendent, please tell me if there are any plans to refurbish this American treasure. I know times are tough, but the upcoming depression will be even worse, so if you think about it, you'll save a lot of money by overhauling the statue now. Your taxpayers will thank you for your fiscal responsibility, and Lady Liberty will inspire a new generation of unemployed Americans to dig deep and make it happen!

Digging and Making,

The Correspondent

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Letter To Lionsgate Studios

Another good letter idea, this time from irishamish. Also, the new Franz Ferdinand album is pretty good, you should check it out. It's more techno and dancy than the first two, though, which I don't enjoy as much.

Attn: CEO
2700 Colorado Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Dear Mr. Executive,

Hello, to sunny California! It's currently 10 degrees in Ohio, with about four inches of ice and another six of slushy snow on top of that. But, on the other hand, my tax refund isn't being withheld this year. Other than that I hope you are doing well, sir!

I watch a fair amount of television, so the past few weeks I've noticed your commercials for the new movie "My Bloody Valentine 3D", about a group of sexy teenagers that anger a miner and cause him to throw pick-axes at them. The sexy movie audience always jumps out of their seats at this point, because the movie is in 3D and the axe flies out of the movie screen. It's so exciting! Still, it has been brought to my attention that not only is your title misleading and incorrect, it's also a missed marketing opportunity. Because, Mr. Lion, your movie isn't in 3D at all!

Are you ready?

It's in 4D!

You see, you guys are forgetting the temporal dimension. Haven't you seen Lost? This is one of the most important dimensions, with a set of rules that only very important people can break. Besides, think of the ad campaign you can do with four dimensions. "Other movies can only promise three dimensions, but Lionsgate Entertainment is proud to bring you "The Care Bears 4D, in temporal vision!" People will line up in droves to see this new movies. Of course, they might notice if we don't give them something special. I recommend Elizabeth Shue.

This reminds me, did you ever play Rad Racer for the Nintendo Entertainment System? We owned it, and if you pressed the select button the screen would turn into these pyschedelic colors that were supposed to make the game 3D, if you had glasses. I spent a lot of years wondering about that, until I finally got some cheap 3D glasses and tried it out. Nothing happened! Not that it would matter, you can't get past the third stage in that game. Who races in the desert anyway? Of course there are no gas stations out there!

Well, let me know what you think of my new advertising angle. I could come up with all sorts of great ideas like this, if you paid me. My moving expenses wouldn't be that much, either. I bet if you gave me money for a plane ticket I'd just pocket it and drive my car. What do you care how I get there! I just saved myself a hundred bucks!

Always thinking,

The Correspondent

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Letter to Crocs

This is dedicated to Patrick Wilbraham, who can't be with me today, because I'm the only one working in my office.

Mr. Ronald R. Snyder
CEO - Crocs, Inc.
6328 Monarch Park Place
Niwot, CO 80503

Dear Mr. Snyder,

It's a pleasure to meet you, sir. I am contacting you today because of a breakthrough I recently had in the field of ideas and progress. You see, last weekend I was at the volunteer's banquet for the Southwest-Central Ohio Iditarod, a bi-decade dog sledding race that I founded for the benefit of the Midwest, when my feet began to hurt in my dress shoes.

I was wearing a pair of sandy brown leather Moschino wingtips, and my entire foot was on fire. The toe was tight and restricting, and the heel gave insufficient cushioning during the bolero beat of Poncho Sanchez's Son Son Charari. I looked at the women dancing around me, and several of them had also eschewed their fancy footwear to go barefoot on the sawdust-covered dancefloor.

Well, I immediately thought of my Crocs-brand clogs, which I always wear in the gymnasium while working with my dog team. I can stand on a hard sled for hours without feeling a thing, and their durable yet gentle foam-rubber body is perfect for kicking an ornery Alaskan Malamute in the ribs. So I melding the two ideas in my head, and before you know it, the idea of Croc-brand dress shoes was born.

Now, I know what you're thinking. The last thing you need is another usurper trying to wrest money and power from your commission as Crocs president. I can guarantee you that is not my goal, and you can have my ideas free of charge. To be honest, I stay busy as it is with my sledding and philan-tropical causes (I'm half Haitian, and I love to give back to my people). No, you can take this idea and run with it full-force, and to back it up I'll sign any piece of paper your lawyers can come up with. I even drew some rough sketches of the first Croc formalwear prototypes. Go ahead and use the names I came up with, too - inspiration was meant to be shared!

I hope you'll soon have these new models on the buying market, as I will be attending another ball in March for the Midwest Euchre Invitational. Margaret Bath, VP of Research for the Kellogg Company will be there, and she can cut it on the dancefloor harder and faster than a SlapChop!

God speed in your endeavors,

The Correspondent

Monday, January 26, 2009

Reply From Virginia

Original letter can be found here. I really hope this clicks to a larger version, I am so sick of trying to figure out how to post photos here. It's souring my usually cheer deposition.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Letter To Aunt Jemima

I never knew these feelings existed.

Gary Rodkin
President of The Quaker Oats Company
555 W Monroe Street Fl. 1
Chicago, IL 60661

Dear Mr. Rodkin,

Hello, sir. To immediately put your mind at ease, I am not writing to complain about your racist Aunt Jemima bottle. I found a similar letter on the internet and just want you to know that I don't want to get in the middle of that. It said her bandanna was racist, which has me a little worried, because I wear a bananna a lot in the summer. I wear a green one because it reminds me a little of the hat Link wears in The Legend of Zelda. I just love that game, I always thought Link would be a great name for a son, but my lady friend says, "no way, José!" Not that there's anything wrong with Mexicans...

Anyway, I'm in a little conundrum here. You see, in my cabinet are two 64 ounce bottles of your Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup, bought in unison at Sam's Club. My records show that they were purchased in June of 2007. I have finally depleted one bottle, but when I looked at the second it had an expiration date that reads January 2009. Well, sir, I do not know what to do.

It was my first trip to Sam's Club, you see, and I was trigger-happy with all the deals I saw. $8.69 for 128 ounces of syrup? It was too good to pass up. Around August, though, I was getting pretty sick of making pancakes, and my Aunt Jemima consumption nosedived. I tried to revive things with my Eggo fad of April 2008, but I burned out again and was left with 14 uneaten waffles in my box of sixty (Sam's Club again).

I don't want to waste this syrup, so is there anyway it will last another year and a half? Perhaps that expiration date is just something the government makes you put on there. I am so sick of government regulation! Or maybe the syrup has other uses that would benefit me, such as a facial wash or motor oil. I am willing to think outside the box on this one; $4.345 is hanging in the balance.

Please write me back with your advise on this remaining bottle of syrup. I need to figure out it's future so I may make room in the pantry for a 30 lb. bag of funnel cake mix (Sam's Club again).


The Correspondent

I'm back.

Hello, friend. How are you? I took a little leave of absinthe, and I apologize about that. I should have told you. Writing a letter every day is very difficult. Actually, it isn't, but writing a good letter everyday is. I've never considered myself to be a perfectionist, but in thinking about it the last few days I might have a little of it in me. Or perhaps a perfectionist is just someone afraid of failing, I don't know.

Anyway, I have several good letter ideas to work off of, and I'm starting to see a small uptick in responses, even if they are generally banal. I can no longer promise that I will write one everyday, so I'm amending the note to the side, but I will try. If you have any letter ideas, please email me. Email me anyway, but especially if you have letter ideas. Unfortunately, "write to So-and So" is not a letter idea, because it still leaves me figuring out what to write about. I'm still trying to think of a reason to write the Crocs Company.

I wonder how long it will take me to build back the site hits? I had it up to 300-400 a day, you know. One day I even got to 800. I'm afraid to look at the stats now, but it's all good. I just like having fun and making people laugh, and I'm sure at least one of you will show up every day.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Letter to The Columbus Dispatch

I wanted to practice writing a press release. And what's the point of writing something if you don't intend for it to be published?

P.S. Damnit, I hate when I do that! You RSS feed people just won this round...

Attn: Alan Miller, News Managing Editor
The Columbus Dispatch
34 S 3rd Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Columbus, OH - The Correspondent, of somewhere in Columbus, has finally perfected his Creamy Potato Soup recipe, rendering the purchase of Campbell's soup and all of its competitors completely unecessary. The breakthrough came late last week after several attempts to make the best cold-day comfort food possible.

The Correspondent, a 25-year old writer and bandy-man, began his research months ago utilizing a plethora of internet recipes and taking the best parts from each one to create the supreme soup. He starts by boiling cubed Russet potatoes in salted water. "Salting the water is key," The Correspondent said. "The name of the soup game is 'flavor', and it pays off to start your seasoning right off the bat."

As the potatoes cook, The Correspondent then dices a bunch of green onions and two cloves of garlic. On special occasions, he will then forgo butter to pan fry a quarter pound of bacon in a cast iron skillet, then use the bacon grease to saute the onions and garlic.

"The bacon grease tastes like bacon, which means the onions will taste like bacon, which means the soup will taste like bacon. Bacon is awesome."

Once the onions are glistening, The Correspondent strains the potatoes and adds them to the skillet, to "add a good char" to the soup's components. He seasons them with more salt and pepper, including a few other seasonings such as onion powder and cajun spices. Then, with a few cups of chicken broth at a rolling boil, it all gets dumped into the pot.

"The key to great potato soup is to attain an 85/15 ratio of mushed potato to firm potato cubes. The soup is supposed to be thick and creamy, but a few potato chunks are a good thing. Texture is the dark-haired, exotic mistress of any good chef."

Once the soup is simmering, the only thing left is a few glugs of whole cream and a jigger or two of The Correspondent's secret ingredient, which he says "takes this soup from so-so to 'whoa, whoa, who made this awesome soup? I bet he's a really great guy and good at sports.'"

If you're interested in trying this amazing soup, you unfortunately don't have a lot of options. You can try to contact The Correspondent at his Columbus home, but he'll only respond with the recipe as time allows. You can also try inviting yourself over, but his apartment is small and there isn't a lot of dining space. Please bring a chair.

Mr. Miller - if you have any follow up questions or need additional information, please contact me at the above address.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Letter to the Refectory

It's so easy to write a letter when I have an idea already. This is the opposite of that.

Kamas Boulos
Owner - The Refectory Restaurant
1092 Bethel Road
Columbus, Ohio 43220

Dear Mr. Boulos,

How are you today, sir? I hope you are well. I have had a fairly boring evening. My lady friend and I went to Sam's Club in search of wholesale boxes of Ensure Geriatric Drink. She's entered into a rigorous exercise program, you see, and has been feeling a little lightheaded during the day on her present caloric diet. Since it would be difficult for her to pack more food from home, we thought perhaps she could drink an Ensure each day and stave off the shakes.

Unfortunately, Sam's Club didn't carry Ensure. They did, however, carry a generic "dietary supplement drink" in the baby food section of their pharmacy. It's carbohydrates were fairly high, though, and apropos of her workout program she decided she would rather forgo a starchy drink in favor of something with more protein. We did, however, pick up a 15-pack of buns and a book of stamps, which will come in handy when I mail this letter.

Now, driving home from our shopping trip we passed your restaurant, The Refectory, one of Columbus' finest culinary establishments. I personally have never been there, mostly because I cannot afford it and partly because the name reminds me of the words 'factory' and 'refinery', which then leads to thoughts of gasoline and animal lard. I'm sure, however, that once inside I would forget completely about rendered pig fat and crude oil derivatives in lieu of what I imagine must be a mouth-watering menu.

Outside of your restaurant, though, is another matter. I was surprised and disappointed to see that your American flag, although flying high and well-lit, was in tatters (like Mick Jagger). The lowest stripe was almost completely torn free; it hung limp as a warm string cheese! Which of the thirteen colonies deserves such disrespect? New Hampshire? Maryland? Georgia? Don't answer about that last one. At least they gave us Coke!

Listen, I'm not here to judge you. All I'm saying is, you've already got a French chef. I'd like to think these things are mere coincidences, but what do I know? And I know anybody can complain, which is why I'm doing it. I think you should take your flag down and seek out a veterans group or Boy Scout troop so that it can be properly disposed of. Then, please buy a new flag and fly it high and proud. No thanks are necessary, not even a free gift certificate for dinner for two. I don't even think I could use it. All my lady friend eats is spaghetti and toast. One time I tricked her into eating venison and I thought she would slice my throat in the night.


The Correspondent

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Letter To Death

Remember how hard Death was in Castlevania? He was harder than Dracula! Hello!

Paul T. Walker, Jr.
Union Cemetery
3349 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, OH 43202

Dear Mr. Walker,

I hope you are well, sir. I come to you with a delicate issue that I'm hoping you can resolve. You see, every Monday I take my five year-old neice to her belly-dancing class (her parents are very progressive) at Ohio State, and we pass by your Union Cemetery. Well, she began to notice a light on in the home located at the front gate of the cemetery, and has watched it for the last three weeks. It appears to be from a large television. Naturally, she asked me who it was that lived in the cemetery.

Well, sir, this is where I faltered. I did not know what to say, so I stalled by asking her, "Who do you think lives there?" Now, I was recovering from a cold, so my throat was very scratchy and phlegmy at the time, and I'm afraid I sounded much more ominous than I intended. I think she thought I was warning her or something, because her eyes got real big and she whispered, "Death!"

No matter what I said after that, she wouldn't give it up. To make matters worse, she asked me what he was watching, and I said "The Dog Whisperer" (it was the first thing that popped into my head). Now her parents are furious at me, because she refuses to be driven past the cemetery, and she cries whenever her father takes their labradoodle for a walk. She thinks Death is after Mr. Rustypaws (Rusty for short).

I've made a real mess of things, Mr. Walker. If you could write me back a letter explaining that Death does not live in your office, and that he doesn't want Mr. Rustypaws, I would really appreciate it. I could read it to her, and maybe she would buy that. She's such a smart kid, though! Do you have any special letterhead you could write on, so she knows I didn't fake it myself? Something with a watermark would be perfect.

Thanks so much for any help you can render, Mr. Walker. I think you run a very beautiful cemetery, and it always looks very clean from the street. It's a shame you have that grungy Kohl's sitting across the street.

Peacefully Yours,

The Correspondent

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Letter To a Financial Advisor

How do we make money? It's simple: volume.

Anthony Venetta
6055 Tain Drive
Dublin, OH 43017

Dear Mr. Venetta,

Sir, you need to sit down. Are you sitting? I'll give you a moment to find yourself a really comfortable chair.

Ok. Now, what would you say if I told you we could amass a quantity of wealth so towering that no economic recession could ever cripple our incredibly decadent and immoral lifestyles? That no matter what, we'd never run out of caviar, beautiful red-headed women or gold-leaf toilet paper? I know what you'd say, you'd say, "Please tell me how in the next paragraph."

Well, Tony, today is your lucky day, because I just hit the enter button. Two words....Forever stamps. Yes! Think about it! The United States Postal Service is printing new money every single day, but it isn't green! Tiny little dollar bills with adhesive backs, that's where you and I will invest! Fact: the price of stamps will never stop going up. Fact: We can buy a gargantuan supply of forever stamps today for 42 cents apiece. Then, when the price inevitably skyrockets, we sell. We sell hard, Mr. Venetta.

You may ask yourself, why is this man sharing his investment secrets with me? Why do I deserve his help after all those terrible things I've done? It's simple, Mr. Venetta. I need a man on the inside. You'll be my eyes and ears in the places I can't go. And, years from now when you're enjoying your billions on some sandy beach at Hilton Head, I'll call on you for a favor. It may be a trifle - a parking violation I need help with or a jacket zipper that broke. Or, I may need you to kill a man, who knows. It will probably help me to have a list of your various skills. Are you any good at laying tile and grout? What do you know about faux finishes?

I understand that since you don't know me you may hesitate to put your financial future in my hands. Fear not, though. I graduated from one of the most forward-thinking liberal arts schools in Ohio. I also invented the Hepa Nose Filter and am the two-time defending champion of the Sothwest-Central Ohio Iditarod, the toughest dogsledding race in the lower 48. "The Mush of the Midwest!" they call it. You can call it that, too.

Well, sir, that's my proposal. If you'd like me to present it personally at your office in front of many colleagues, I can, but I'll probably just stand up and read the letter. I will make sure my belt matches my shoes. Just let me know.

Your Partner,

The Correspondent

Let's Try This Again

President Mark Erickson wrote me back about my big new ideas for the future of Wittenberg University.

Original Letter

...and the reply.