Letter from the Hogwarts Alumni Office

By: Mike Richardson-Bryan

Mr. Harry Potter

Godric’s Hollow


BS37 A10

Dear Mr. Potter,

Greetings from Hogwarts! Has it really been nineteen years since you last strode the hallowed halls of Britain’s finest school of magic? Even without the assistance of a Time-Turner, time truly flies.

A lot has changed at Hogwarts since you graduated. Aldis lamps have replaced owls, golf carts have replaced Thestrals, and safe, reliable lifts have replaced the more capricious of the moving staircases. And what’s that in the library? Yes, it’s the school’s very first computer, a Commodore 64, which I’m assured by those in the know is the very pinnacle of Muggle technology. Huzzah for progress!

And there have been important changes behind the scenes, as well. Long-overdue restructuring at the top has produced a leaner administration that is more responsive to today’s educational priorities, including student safety. Indeed, thanks to stringent new hiring practices, only one out of every three Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers turns out to be an evil imposter bent on murdering students.

But as much as Hogwarts has changed, it remains, at heart, the same school you knew and loved in your youth. Peeves still torments students and teachers alike, the Whomping Willow still exacts a terrible toll on migratory birds, and Moaning Myrtle still haunts the second floor girls’ lavatory despite repeated attempts at exorcism and generous applications of Febreze. And as it always has, Hogwarts continues to rely upon the generous support of former students like yourself.

Such support has never been more important. The recent unionization of the House Elves placed terrible stress on the school’s finances. That stress that can be felt everywhere, even in Hogwarts’ legendary kitchen, where the need for belt-tightening means that each student is now limited to 5 lbs. of pudding per meal. Increases in tuition have helped, but endless fee hikes are not the answer. So until Professor Longbottom’s Knut-tree experiment yields tangible results, we’re counting on the generous support of former students like yourself.

Your support will allow Hogwarts to maintain its position as a leader in magical research. Consider the work of Professor Chang, who has attracted international attention with her groundbreaking research into the mating habits of Dementors (not so different from the mating habits of middle-aged divorcées, as it turns out, only with a lot less crying in restaurants). Without your support, such research may not be possible.

Your generosity will also allow us to keep the lights on and the doors open at the Trelawney Memorial Wellness Centre. Today’s students face many temptations, from old standbys such as Butterbeer to more recent and infinitely more sinister addictions such as Gillyweed, or “Willy G.” as the kids call it (and take it from me, there’s nothing sadder than the sight of a once-promising student lying face-down in a pail of water, “tripping out” on Gillyweed). Without a place to turn, many struggling students will not find the help they need when they so desperately need it.

Finally, your support will allow Hogwarts to remain within financial reach of all deserving students. Scholarships for needy students are always in short supply, and scholarships for dead, undead, and demonically-possessed students are particularly hard to come by. Without your support, many reanimated students may be forced to abandon their studies and go directly into middle management.

So what can you afford to give? Before answering, think back to your time at Hogwarts. There was lots of hard work, of course, but there was always time for fun — chatting with your mates in the Common Room, sneaking out to Hogsmeade to buy sweets at Honeydukes (inevitably followed by hours spent chasing after an errant Chocolate Frog), dancing with your sweetheart at the Yule Ball, and the like. No doubt you have many such happy memories. If not, please check your Pensieve, they’re probably in there. And after reviewing them, I’m sure you’ll agree that you can’t put a price on good memories — but that if you could, it would include at least four figures.

The sad truth, Mr. Potter, is that financial support from your year has always been rather lean. This is not because your classmates are indifferent to the school’s needs, but rather because so many of them are dead, killed by You-Know-Who and his minions, often quite horribly (speaking of which, a few more bits of poor Dean Thomas turned up just last week, a testament to the awesome power of the Fulminare Viscus curse). Now, considering that You-Know-Who was after you the whole time and that your unlucky classmates merely got in the way, it seems only fair that you should do your utmost to make up the difference. I’m sure you’ll agree that your alma mater deserves no less.

Yours truly,

Fitch T. Fenwick

Director, Office of Alumni Relations

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

P.S. — If you need one more reason to support Hogwarts, then consider your old house’s Quidditch team. They’re suffering their worst year in generations on account of the sad state of repair of their equipment (the beaters must share a single tattered broom, and the seeker has no broom whatsoever and so must to run around making “whoosh” noises and hope that the Golden Snitch dips low enough to be snared from the ground, which of course it never does). Something to think about the next time you’re at Gringrotts, rolling in your money or whatever it is you do there when the Goblins aren’t looking.


Memories Of Ma, The Old Neighborhood, Little Billy Woodnik, Growing Up Too Fast, And The CIA Spying On Me

By: Dan Shea

* After school, during the milder months, all us kids would play stickball in the street. Each block had its own unofficial team, and we were the best. Heck, we were so good that the other kids sometimes accused us of cheating. We’d just shrug it off, win another game, then go poison their dogs. I say let our record speak for itself, you know?

I remember one time, it was me and little Billy Woodnik and Ugly Derek and some of the other guys — we called ourselves the Yankeepiratedodger Sox – and we were playing against the Thunderwild Bulldogcatbirds from two blocks over, and Billy made me set fire to old man Donahue’s sinful Buick in order to purify my Being. It was classic! The CIA Agents in the brown “delivery” van parked nearby saw it, of course, but back then they weren’t allowed to intervene without joint authorization from President Madison AND Xenothorpolis the Exacter. After the game, we all ate popsicles and laughed together. Well, except for the Agents and old man Donahue that is.

Simpler days in a smaller world.

* In the summertime, since no one on the block had air conditioning, we used to leave our windows and doors open at all hours. Naturally, this caused my mother (who was raised back in An Old Country) to howl violently whenever I played off key on the piano. And when my father inevitably started complaining about the draft, I misunderstood and joined the Army. Plus, little Billy Woodnik lost a bet and ate some dog doo and we all laughed and then we lost our innocence at that fateful Fourth of July picnic (which I think is why hot dogs have never tasted Righteous since that day).

That was the last time I saw the world through those eyes. After I went away for Basic, and Johnny married his best gal, and Ivy went off to college, and Greasy went to work at his old man’s garage, and Ugly Derek turned out to be a gorgeous woman, and little Billy Woodnik ended up being a delusion of mine controllable only by massive round-the-clock doses of glycocyclene diathylitrylenol and ritualistic arson…

Well, sir, I suppose the world just keeps on going whether you want the ride or not.

* Marla. Soft, soft Marla. She was so warm and permissive after I’d had so many weeks of being broken down in boot camp, and it was just what a scared young boy needed during what was both his first weekend pass and his last two days before shipping out to Hell. Her touch, her throaty words, her unconditional embrace for even a few blurred hours brought whatever bits of child were left in this untested soldier’s heart to a boiling manhood. I knew then that straddling both God and Country was Marla, and for just that night I could’ve won the whole war for her.

And that’s when I knew that I had a real thing for hookers. The good ones, of course; not the ones who cavort with Slickstopholes the Dark Pimptroyer and steal your carnal aura for their coven’s use. Brother, those girls are just dirty.

* There is nothing on God’s green earth as scary as the first time you’re shot at in battle. The hissing breath of a passing bullet, the burnt air it leaves behind, the distinct silence of it against the fiery bedlam, the bit of your soul it steals as it misses you and kills the next kid in line instead.

No, my friend, there is nothing so painful to a man’s peace.

Except maybe when the government plants a thought-camera in your frontal lobe in order to spy on your Essence by pumping super advanced nanobots into the air you breathe. That there is one scary bitch, huh? Just think about it.

Or actually, no — DON’T!!!

* It’s true; you really can’t go home again.

And I know it’s true, walking down the old street as a Man now, wearing three bloody medals pinned to a starched uniform and a kit bag full of horror slung over one shoulder. The trees lining the avenue had grown taller, but they’d never seemed smaller. The old candy shoppe on the corner had turned into Sid’s Liquor Storre, but then it got back into candy for a while, and then it was briefly the Albanian Embassy, then a Starbucks, until it finally just had enough and moved to the suburbs to sell pot to school teachers. Sure, I saw some kids playing stickball in traffic like we used to, but these little punks had no hustle — no Heart. Part of me wanted to jump into the game, show ’em how we used to do it way back when, but their stringent draft requirements and ridiculous salary caps made it impossible.

When I walked through the front door, my own mother didn’t recognize me. Ma, I said to her with a tear on my cheek, it’s me, your Danny Boy, home from the wars! She said that still wasn’t ringing any bells and an argument ensued. It went to blows and I won and we ate Lays potato chips and laughed and I realized I was in the wrong house. Damned MapQuest! Too embarrassed to admit it, I snuck out in the middle of the night (though we were forced to live a lie for several months until the nights finally got warmer).

Of course I went looking for my real birth house, but then Garzo the Destructovator broke into my dreams again and told me that Ma died during the New Crusades which were propagated by the CIA’s shadow government. I eventually had to move into the Men’s Shelter instead, since that really is the last place the Agents would check. Duh.

Nope. You can never go home again. Because they’re watching you.


The Regional American Surrealist Cookbook

By: Phil Austin


This is a strange area of the country, its cuisine matching its clam rivers and mystic flattened foods.


Submitted by: Martha Stewart of New York City, New York

“This is an excellent recipe. Although it requires quite a bit more time than I’d originally bargained for.”

Serves 6

Preparation time: 3 years


1 TV crew

12 dozen chicken eggs, beaten

1 truckload of milk

16 cases of butter

2 stoves

1 contract, drained

3 publicists, crushed

1/2 tsp. salt

6 weeping assistants


1 phone call

Jail time

Preheat one oven to 325 degrees F. Pretend to preheat the other. Attend endless meetings. Grease 15 casserole dishes. Berate assistants.

Place a layer of crushed eggshells in the bottom of 1 garbage can. Layer garbage neatly. Receive phone calls. Make phone calls. Get up early. Be driven.

Get script. Make revisions. Practice smiling. Make assistants cry.

Add butter, 1 tsp.

Go to jail.

Reinvent self. Start another magazine. Receive plaudits of employees. Go to work every day. Try not to be too lonely.

Assistants weep in the hallway.



Submitted by: Gwang Ho of Never, New Jersey

“Not wishing to quite far. So being so. It can be said.”

Serves 200

Preparation time: Not so bad, considering


A whole bunch of chickens

200 little outfits (sailor, ballerina, etc.)

A lot of packaged stuffing mix

A real big plate or platter (platelet will not do)

Small coffins

Dress chickens in little outfits. Prepare stuffing per package instructions.

Boil or fry the chickens, it hardly matters which.

Stuff cavities, including pockets in outfits. Prepare individual coffins, reserving about 20 for ashes later.

Scorch about 20 chickens. Reserve ashes.

Serve with funereal music. Sprinkle ashes on top.



Perhaps the most normal-appearing section of the country, this flat land, with its rivers lower and its cities higher, still manages to produce some of the food we fear most.


Submitted by: R. Popeil of Chicago, Illinois

“But wait, there’s more…”

Preparation time: 1 crazy moment


1 murdered husband

1 remarriage

2 cases of tomatoes

Case of onions

1 tsp. vinegar

1 hands-free microphone

1 amplifier

1 tsp. salt

Red pepper


Whisk microphone and amplifier until fluffed. Combine tomatoes and onions. Invent scalp-dye with vinegar and pepper. Hide. In a medium bowl talk quickly and convincingly. Hope for the best.



Submitted by: Unnamed of Edge of Nowhere, Indiana

“I don’t care what they think! It’s just eat, eat, eat! Disgusting!”


1 small turkey

2 fingers

A toilet bowl

Preparation time: It sneaks up on you…

Leave nothing to the imagination, leave nothing on the tiles, leave nothing that would create a trail back to you. Leave early, claiming some emergency or other.



Submitted by: Tandom Koolzip of Peeorhea, Indianolapolis

“This is a recipe that was tossed to me by someone claiming to be my grandmother.”

Preparation time: Instantaneous



Someone to throw eggs at

That’s all she wrote. In old-fashioned script.



Submitted by: Big “Chief” Tom of Kansas City, Kansas


Cab fare

1 doz. oysters

1 gal. bourbon whiskey

Get oysters drunk on whiskey. Put them in a cab. Give driver cab fare and tell him to take them to Kansas City.



The sound of cars in the night, the long trail of asphalt, writing things down on long rolls of waxed paper on top of small refrigerators…


Submitted by: Dean Moriarty of Denver, Colorado

“Man, I gotta get me some coffee. We gotta stop soon, man. What was that? Did you feel that?”

Preparation time: 10 minutes, at most


Road something

1 cup bread tips

1 lb. tater tots

Weed (Roaster)

2 tsp. pine nuts

2 cans corn niblets

An Unformed Being

Backseat ashes

Throw things around. Add things. Drink alcohol. Smoke. You’ve crossed that intersection for the last time.



Submitted by: Juan Guadalupe of Quitobaquito, Arizona

“Park and Lock it. Not responsible.”


Crate of oranges

1 Javelina

1 gun

Full moon

Do the math.



The perfectly possible is always near. This region, though largely ignored, is full of food.

1955 PIE

Submitted by: Elmer Batters of Hollywood, California

“I’m probably dead, but you wouldn’t know it to look at me.”


2 plastic, see-through, 5-inch tall high heels

Flouncy apron with clever sayings

Pink frilled trim (for apron)

Several pies, lattice-top and otherwise

A garage



A corset

A dim red light

Preparation time: Dreaming and drifting away

Elude capture. Stand for hours in darkrooms with red light. Ignore greenhouse gases. Ignore deposits. Ignore erosion and gross inadequacies, stubbornness and melted polar ice.

Bring ingredients to a boil.

Serve 3 degrees hotter than ever before.



Submitted by: Andrew Wamasake of Gardena, California


One chicken

A lot of water

Large drinking glass

Preparation time: Maybe 5 hours

Run chicken around and take its temperature. Give the chicken a couple of options. Leave chicken alone a lot. Make sure chicken has a lot of water in its bowl.



A puzzling region, given to elaborate eccentricities and bizarre memories. It’s a good place for surreal juxtapositions.


Submitted by: Kenneth Burns of Public, Florida

“I think vignettes are good, are pure and simple. I like fine sound editing.”

Preparation time: Hundreds of years


A Civil War

Blowing clouds

1/4 cup banjo music

Peck of voice-overs

12 t. suspenders

Dark shoes of all sizes

2 cups body makeup

Blood (chocolate syrup may be substituted)

Alligators (crocodiles may be substituted)


Whip clouds to a froth. Reserve 1/3 cup of voice-overs. Spread music over top.



Submitted by: Annie Coulter of Foxnews, Georgia

“I wish nothing but ill on liberals. I loathe them.”


1 tbsp., plus 2 tsp. acerbic acid

1 clove reason, peeled and forced

1/4 teaspoon each dried and finely pursed lips and knees

Grated peel of 1 psyche

2 whole breasts, exposed toward the top

2 paper-thin brain slices

Prepare an herbed compote of confused leanings. Baffle liberal parents. Ignore insufficient boyfriend. Keep it up.





A rabbit


New Company E-mail Policy

By: Matthew Strada


From: Walter Horr, Director of Human Resources

Date: March 1, 2008

Subject: My Soul Is About to Die

This memorandum addresses (again) the company’s policy concerning the use of the “Reply To All” function in our e-mail software when responding to company-wide e-mail. As you know, we have described this policy on three other occasions in the past week.

Yet the issue has not been resolved. For instance, the first memorandum, entitled “Appropriate Usage of the ‘Reply To All’ Function in E-mail Software,” provoked no fewer than fifteen responses that were sent using the “Reply To All” function. These responses included the following messages, each of which violates the company’s policy and was transmitted to all 1,300 employees of the company:

–“”rofl why do i work in such a stupid plase”

— “Does this e-mail violate the policy?”

— “Please deactivate the thought transmission feature of my e-mail software, as I recently learned that I have inadvertently been broadcasting my thoughts to the entire company. I have reason to believe that Jack Paloumis in accounts payable is compiling them for use against me in the audience of our almighty lord and savior (who really has no need to know about any of them, including the ones about my cousin Beth) on judgment day.”

After receiving these responses, which displayed a lack of comprehension as to the scope and application of our policy, we sent out another memorandum, entitled “Reminder: Important Policy Concerning E-mail Usage That Must Be Followed in the Workplace.” Again, several individuals used the “Reply To All” feature inappropriately. Examples included:

— “he is so stupid he spelled workplase workplace!!1!”

— “Walter Horr’s mother is a Horr.”

— “As I have repeatedly told everyone in prior e-mails, I completely agree that the Reply to All function should be used only when absolutely necessary.”

— “The IT department just received a request to reformat Jack Paloumis’s flash disk, hard drive, and brain. Do we have the software for that?”

We then distributed our third memorandum concerning this important policy, entitled, “Read This E-mail And Do What It Says.” It noted that “Anyone who fails to adhere to the policy in this e-mail will be fired immediately and all personal belongings on company premises will be presumed contaminated by whatever virus or bacterium has caused such stupidity, and burned in the building’s furnace.” This memorandum then laid out our policy again. Amazingly, further violative e-mails to the entire company ensued. Among them:

— “i am the ceo and i demand rispect no one can speak to me like that in the workplase”

— “Am I allowed to burn anything I want in the building’s furnace? If so, would the opening to the furnace accommodate something about six feet long and as wide as, say, a man’s shoulders?”

— “Al: Every time I click the button for replying to you, one of these dumb memos comes around. By the way, your name is misspelled on the computer.”

— “All I know is my underwear has Jack Paloumis written inside. I don’t know what it means. Can anyone help me? Please?”

In light of these repeated transgressions, we have adjusted the company’s e-mail policy. Our new policy is: Do not use e-mail. For anything. Ever. From now on, if you have something to say, please move the butt in which your brain apparently resides and go talk to the person with whom you need to speak. (This policy assumes you have sufficient dominion over language to convey whatever elementary concept is keeping the low-wattage bulb in your skull flickering. If you do not, as is quite possible, then remain at your desk and rock back and forth gently while consoling yourself with a comforting nursery rhyme until the urge to communicate passes.)

If anyone ever sends another e-mail at any time about anything, I or a brawnier individual with borderline personality disorder deputized for this purpose will go to that person’s office, cubicle, or alternative worksite (as the case may be) and bludgeon said person with the nearest piece of heavy electronic equipment. Said person shall be responsible for reimbursing the company for the cost of said heavy electronic equipment. Said person shall also be deemed to have waived any right to invoke the dispute resolution procedures otherwise mandated by the collective bargaining agreement.

If you have any questions about this policy, please don’t hesitate to shoot yourself.


W. Horr


Newly Discovered Correspondence Between Adams And Jefferson

By: Murray Brozinsky

June 15, 1826

Mr. Thomas Jefferson

Mount Vernon

Virginia, U.S.

My Dearest Friend,

I am under no illusion that posterity will grant me my proper due. Quite to the contrary, I believe the history books chronicling the Revolution will be a fiction from start to finish. The hero of which will undoubtedly be that clown Franklin. They will say Franklin accomplished this great deed and Franklin performed some other damned act. They will write of Franklin parting the Potomac and of General Washington springing to life from its waters, like Pegasus, in full uniform and on horseback. Eyewitness accounts will swear they saw Franklin electrocute (sorry, Freudian slip) electrify him with his wondrous lightning rod, and they will recount how the three of them, hair and mane standing on end, valiantly fought the British Empire, winning our independence by their efforts alone. Mark my word, there will not so much as even be a mention of the rest of us.

Ever and affectionately yours,


John Adams

* * * * * * *

Date: July 3, 1826

Recipient’s Fax#: 617.074.1776

Recipient: John Adams

Sender: Thomas Jefferson

Sender’s Phone#: 434.074.1776


In reference to your letter of June 15, 1826, I will not accept our labors are lost. I shall not go into that good night without a hope that the truth about who set the flame of liberty ablaze is catching fire itself. Should the cloud of barbarism rain down despotism and douse the flames of liberty in this country, the history books must preserve the truth that you and I together were Prometheus in this revolutionary tale. That it was we, and not that clown Franklin (as you rightly refer to him), who gave the fire of liberty to this nation. The flames of liberty kindled on the 4th of July 1776 have become an inferno not extinguishable by the dribble of despotism. In the same way, we must ensure the truth about our holding up the Zippos is published too widely to be rewritten by the lies of jealousy.

P.S. You could not have experienced a Freudian slip since a quick web search reveals it will be more than fifty years until that esteemed scientist is scheduled to join this world. However, I understand what you meant.

* * * * * * *

DATE: Mon, 03 Jul 1826 16:37:44

FROM: 2ndpresident (at) gmail.com

SUBJECT: Re: Your letter

TO: 3rdpresident1234 (at) yahoo.com

CC: AbbyAdams (at) hotmail.com


Don’t know about the history books, but I will make some edits to Franklin’s entry on Wikipedia, take him down a notch or two. Might take a while as it appears Ben is roundly revered in this age, just as I predicted. Damn him. Copying Abigail on this email in case she has any ideas. BTW, check out the new Zippo webpage at www.zippo.com.



* * * * * * *

IM from: Abby (at) aol.com

hi boys. consider using blogs, possibly even more important than history books. certainly read by more of the Revolutionati. cool Zippo url..:)

* * * * * * *

J – Saw message from Abby. Out of colony. Will embark on blog upon my return tomorrow. Zippo.

Ignore typos; message sent from Blackberry

* * * * * * *

T –

Saw pics of your trip on Flikr. You’re looking tired. Check out my Del.ic.ious tags for staying healthy.


Message sent from Treo

* * * * * * *


FROM: tom (at) zippomail.com




I’m not checking messages as I am on my deathbed.


Thomas Jefferson

Formerly 2nd U.S. President

* * * * * * *

Google [ Jefferson ] Search

Jefferson inaugurates University of Virginia

Jefferson holds up Zippo as he dedicates new university…

www.uofv.edu/ – 23k – Cached – Similar pages

Jefferson writes children’s book

Thomas Jefferson, ex-president, author, and patriot, publishes his first children’s book. “Zippo the Hippo.”

www.zippothehippo.com/ – 37k – Cached – Similar pages

Jefferson: The lighter side

Zippo interviews Thomas Jefferson about politics, morality, tobacco, and his fondness for his Zippo.

www.zippointerviews.com/ – 54k – Cached – Similar pages

* * * * * * *

DATE: Tues, 04 Jul 1826 08:31:32


TO: All

FROM: 2ndpresident (at) gmail.com

Thank Google, Thomas Jefferson still survives.



* * * * * * *

From Ben Franklin’s weekly Podcast: Say It Again Ben.

Today we take a moment of silence to honor the passing of two of our founding fathers, two ex-presidents of our country, two of a kind – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Amazingly, they died just five hours apart, exactly fifty years to the day after George, George’s horse, and I freed our great nation from rule of England ‘s thumb.

Please raise your Zippos.


And now, back to our Ben Franklin Independence Day celebration. I’m Ben Franklin.