Case Closed: Another Missive From The Pop Culture Dead Letter Office

By: David Jaggard

Archless & Associates
Private Investigations
555 555th Street
Queens, NY

Mr. Delmont Shannon
444 444th Avenue
Jacks, NY

August 17, 1961

Dear Mr Shannon,

Please be advised that, as per your request, our agency has traced, located, and investigated the movements and, insofar as possible, motivations of one Kristy Lou Salfetto, formerly of 446 444th Avenue, Jacks, New York.

One of our field agents was able to meet with Miss Salfetto and interview her regarding the two issues you have been wondering about.

In response to your first question, namely why — why, why, why, why, why — she ran away, Miss Salfetto offered six reasons, one for each “why.” I must warn you that this information is of a sensitive personal nature and likely to cause you emotional distress. But in compliance with our agreement, herewith are her explanations:

1) You tend to dwell on the past in a morbid, obsessive way. According to Miss Salfetto, your penchant for nostalgic reminiscing tends to put you in a state of nearly constant “misery.”

2) Perhaps due to your own professional or financial shortcomings, you have never purchased an automobile, preferring to walk wherever you go. As she said to our agent, she presumes that you are “still walking on.”

3) Your physical health is also a concern. Specifically she maintains that your heart is no longer “young.” Given that you are only 19 years old, we understand this to be an allusion to a possible cardiovascular condition which discouraged the young lady from entering into a long-term relationship with you for fear of passing on a congenital disorder to her future children. She mentioned that you frequently “feel the pain.” Mr Shannon, this is beyond my professional scope as an investigator, but if what she is referring to here is a chronic sharp ache in your chest and/or left arm, I must advise you to consult a physician immediately.

4) You are apparently not, in her opinion, sufficiently intelligent. The expression she actually used was “doesn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain.”

5) When you get excited your voice tends to rise suddenly in pitch, becoming high and strident. It seems that your former girlfriend could not stress this point enough. She obviously finds it unseemly for a grown man to have an effeminate voice.

6) Lastly, and I am especially sorry to have to report this, but Miss Salfetto also expressed dismay with your “tinny organ.” We assume that the extra “n” in the first word is a typographical error in our investigator’s transcript. Again, I’m no doctor, but perhaps you should look into the possibility of a link between this condition and your vocal abnormality.

Now, as to your second question: Miss Salfetto’s ongoing transient lifestyle makes it impossible to predict “where she will stay” in the future, but we have been able to ascertain her whereabouts since her disappearance. Our agent has determined that, after staying for three days with her grandparents in Deuces, New Jersey, she decided to hitchhike to Los Angeles and spent the next five months living with a string of relatives, friends, casual acquaintances and short-term lovers. She is currently lodged at the home of her uncle and aunt, Francis E. and Valerie E. Trascato of Anaheim, California. A detailed list of her other temporary residences is enclosed.

We trust that you will find this report satisfactory. Please remit by return post the balance of payment due for services and expenses (see itemized bill) and we will consider this case closed.

Yours sincerely,

Seamus Archless

— Itemized bill
— List of residences, K. L. Salfetto, 1 February 1961 – present
— 23 (twenty-three) surveillance photos, Anaheim Cal., 15 July – 12 August 1961

NOTE: As you can see from the enclosed photographs, Miss Salfetto can no longer properly be called your “little runaway.” She has found employment at a rapid-service motorists’ restaurant they have out there on the West Coast called “McDonnell” or “Old MacDonald’s” (our operative is no longer sure of the exact name). Since accepting this job one month ago, she has eaten all of her meals there and her weight has ballooned to well over 200 pounds. As our investigator puts it, “She ain’t little and she ain’t runnin’ nowhere.”


The Liddy Memos: A Kindle Excerpt

By: Sharon Riley

June 3, 2009 –- Everything’s for sale at AIG. The New York Post reports that credit-default-swap seller AIG may have signed a contract to sell its New York headquarters for $100 million and has already sold off its office building in New Jersey for an undisclosed amount. The Post also reports that the company is demanding reimbursement of donations, including the quarter of a million dollars the corporation’s charitable endowment paid out to Citymeals-on-Wheels. AIG executives have been spotted in the hallways of rent-controlled buildings wrestling containers of Jell-O and mushy peas from the gnarled hands of elderly shut-ins, and seen later reselling the trays at Bryant Park food kiosks.

In addition to these schemes, an anonymous employee, who claims to have only received one million dollars of his annual bonus, is raising funds by publishing internal memos issued by now-exiting CEO Edward M. Liddy. The following is a kindle excerpt; full download is available for $29.99:

TO: AIG Major League A.S.S.E.S.
FR: Edward Liddy, CEO
DATE: January 5, 2009
RE: Spring Training Scheduled

Happy New Year and batter up! As CEO, I know business in the big leagues takes constant conditioning, and I am committed to your professional development. It’s a new year and the yellow journalism press attacks are behind us. For the record, they were contractors – NOT AIG employees – who were waxed by underage aestheticians. Now we are flush with Federal Reserve cash and financed to move forward with the Annual Spring Seminar for Executive Success (A.S.S.E.S.) scheduled for the first week of April. You’re our superstar swap sellers and I’m calling you up for Major League A.S.S. training. Pack your cleats and report to camp at the first hole of the ocean front course at The Breakers, Palm Beach.

Please note, due to the entertainment portion of program, this is an employee-only event. Leave the wife and kids at home, A.S.S.E.S. You’ve earned it. Itinerary to follow.

TO: A.S.S.E.S.
FR: Edward Liddy
DATE: January 8, 2009
RE: Spring Training Sessions

Please review the list of financial education seminars to be held at The Breakers Spring Training and enroll in your sessions by January 30th. Celebrity lecturers require a head count before committing to the event:

* Betting on Green: Parlaying the taxpayer’s investment at Monte Carlo roulette.

* Creating the Illusion of Cash Reserves: The slight of hand of selling insurance without the money to pay out the claim. David Copperfield lectures and performs. Trade secrets will be shared.

* Inspiring Investor Trust via the Bow Tie: How to project avuncular warmth and guileless charm while avoiding Ivy League snark. Viewing of Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood followed by a lessons-learned breakout session moderated by Tucker Carlson.

* Risky Debt Financing, Expanding the Client Base: Working with the neighborhood loan shark. There’s still plenty of money to be made by insuring high-risk loans. Actor Joe Pesci leads wise guy panel. Networking cocktail reception and strip club tour to follow.

* How to Feign Knowledge of Bailout Bonuses: Dust off your acting chops. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will lead a Stanislavski method class, demonstrating how to effectively fake shock and surprise regarding bailout bonuses. He will teach you how to shake your head disapprovingly and emote moral outrage and disappointment. Ben will help you create a sympathetic working-class-roots backstory for your character. An in-depth analysis of Ben’s winning 60 Minutes performance will be included.

* Philanthropy is the Best Defense: If your acting skills fail you and you must admit to accepting a bailout bonus, charitable giving consultant, television personality, and alternative-energy gadfly Ed Begley, Jr. is here to help. Mr. Begley will give you the names of charities with liberal street cred, most involving the liberation of factory-caged chickens, that you can list as bonus money recipient fronts. Ed will also coach you in how to feign concern for the environment and cruise uninhibited teenage girls in the macrobiotic aisle of the food co-op.

* Hiding Your Wealth in Hard Commodities: Actor George Takei will step you through the process of purchasing and gifting rare Star Trek action figures and collectibles. Bidding on eBay, the buy-it-now option, and exploring the Comic-Con and Trekker convention venues will be discussed. Bonus breakout session offered on the debate over the terms “Trekkie” vs. “Trekker.”

* How the Wealthy Can Apply for Medicaid Health Insurance Benefits: A Power Point tutorial led by the Wal-Mart Human Resources Department. Instructional modules include: diverting assets offshore, forging low-wage pay stubs, and securing a timely interview at Health and Human Services. Social workers will be present to fill out forms.

TO: AIG Employees
FR: Edward Liddy
DATE: March 16, 2009
RE: Annual Welcome Spring Bacchanalia

Due to the media coverage featuring the surprising tar-and-feathering incidents of executive contractors who received bonuses financed by redirected public school and well-baby health care funds, the plans for the Welcome Spring Bacchanalia (formerly titled the Major League A.S.S.E.S. Training Program) have been revised. Under advisement from our PR consulting firm, the venue has been changed from The Breakers in Palm Beach to a public park in the Bronx.

The original ten-day program, scheduled for early April, will be condensed into a half-day event to be held next Saturday. Due to a sexual discrimination lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, the event, formerly restricted to male A.S.S. executives, is now open to all AIG contractors and their families.

Management is confident that the Bronx park venue will provide a secure, private location free of hot tar and reporters. AIG maintenance contractor crews have worked hard to clear the park and its surrounding neighborhood of all torches, bubbling oil, pitchforks, and residents.

Despite the change of the meeting location, the original entertainment portion of the program will stand (with the exception of the Lady Boy Ping Pong Review classified as non-family-friendly by HR). Event information follows:

The celebrity golf tournament will be relocated to Monolo’s Miniature Golf and Pawn Shop, adjacent to the park. Paula Abdul and Rosie Perez will participate, raising money to rebuild AIG contractors’ primary residences burned down this week, not properly insured for vandalism. (Please, people, no more ironic postings to the corporate blog on this topic.) Bertha in the Travel Department has the air-transport schedule for arson-displaced contractors now commuting to work from their second homes in East Hampton.

Don’t forget your top-siders! The Anti-regulation Regatta is setting sail! Yacht captains are asked to bring remote-controlled, model boat replicas of their sloops, which will be raced in the storm drain overflow area of the park. We will reschedule the full-scale racing event in the near future, after the few remaining investigative journalism news outlets have folded.

The Breakers “sporty casual” dress code will still apply. Please refrain, however, from wearing any polo shirts, madras blazers, straw boater hats, bow ties, or Nantucket reds bearing the AIG logo. Avoid red and blue clothing, as these colors are associated with two high-profile competing organizations operating on the streets in this area.

Menu: In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, AIG is going locovore! Instead of flying in the picnic lunch from The Breakers, Rasta Catering on 174th St. will provide a spread of jerk chicken and East River caviar out of the trunk of their vintage El Jefe ’65 Chevy lowrider. As this is a family event, no alcohol will be served. Mountain Dew and Jarritos Guava Soda will be substituted for the vintage 1959 Dom Perignon originally listed on the program menu. The lowrider buffet will be located in the parking lot adjacent to the paddleball court and port-a-johns.

Important health notice: For those with dermal intolerance to synthetic fibers, it is advised that you refrain from participating in the Bacchanalia golf tournament. Mses. Abdul and Perez’s managers have communicated that their clients will be attired in Lycra-blend sportswear and acrylic accessories.

Read the rest of this Kindle book within a minute of placing your order – only $29.99!


The Next Big Thing: Antisocial Networks

By: Murray Brozinsky

Abstracts of business plans leaked from Sand Hill Road, the epicenter of future corporate icons and home to storied venture capital firms named after tall trees and taller people about whom they tell tall tales:

Facebook for those who recognize the time is nigh to accept the unpleasant consequences of their actions. Friends who link to you on facethemusicbook are like pieces of paper with black spots on them. The more black spots you have, the higher your probability of winning The (Shirley Jackson-esque) Lottery. Stoning by friends and family requires virtual stones, which you can conveniently buy with real money in the facethemusicbook store, making the site’s schemers richer than Carlo Ponzi in a trading pit. Bernie Madoff is such an important revenue stream that he recently got equity in the venture.

Friendster for people who hate you. The site offers a safe haven for your enemies to plot against you. It has become a magnet for monomaniacal super villains bent on the utter destruction of some of our favorite fictional superheroes. Anarky, Batzarro, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Two-Face number among its sworn Batman enemies. The Joker and The Penguin involuntarily opted out when they opted into LockedIn (see below). Much to the chagrin of Foesters everywhere, Mr. Freeze de-registered when he became Governor of California.

Sixdegrees for people who have no friends. The chain of introductions required to reach your desired target is so daunting few ever even try. Members are fond of playing Sixteen Degrees of Alvin Tostig. Nobody has ever won. Ferris Bueller? B u e l l e r? B u e l l e r? There’s not a chance in Shermer High hell that Bueller’s a member.

MeetUp for people who want to hook up with people in meatspace and beat them senseless. Some example BeatUps include: BeatUp Enron, meeting in Houston; BeatUp Fannie & Freddie meeting in Washington, D.C.; BeatUp the Bailout, formerly meeting on Wall Street — next up Detroit. Barney BeatUps used to mean people with bats running down the street after a purple T. rex. Now they mean people with bats chasing after the Congressman from the fourth congressional district of Massachusetts. Curiously, both involve mean people and not-so-funny dinosaurs.

BlackPlanet for those who still believe Bill Clinton is the first black President of the United States. Bill is the sole member. Weblogs show Jesse Jackson has repeatedly visited the registration page, along with Al Sharpton, and Alan Keyes. Keyes posted that Christ would never vote for Barak Obama. Christ replied that apparently Obama did not require his vote, and that, in any event, he was not a registered voter.

Eons for old souls who’ve dropped their mortal coils. Members are all dead, with inattentive heirs, on auto-renew. Extremely high margin business owing to no activity, no cost of goods sold, and no operating costs. It’s the closest thing to venture capital heaven — a highly profitable business without customers. It’s to die for. And for that reason, the site will ultimately surpass all social networks in membership, because as the late John Maynard Keynes said, “In the long run we’re all dead.”

LinkedIn for the digerati of the Big House. Everyone’s trying to get an introduction to the warden, who it turns out isn’t a member. The most popular question is ‘what’s the best escape route that doesn’t involve crawling through shit or swimming across shark-infested waters?’ The patent-pending censorship engine ensures no satisfactory answer will be posted. Paradoxically, the more offensive the customer, the more loyal and profitable he is. Bad is good for the LockedIn business model. Lifers get ten free introductions versus just five for those serving ten-year sentences. Death row inmates pose a challenge since modeling their “lifetime value” requires complex probability distributions and a lucky last-minute stay of execution. The site recently introduced video. Selections include: Shawshank Redemption, Escape from Alcatraz, and The Longest Yard.

MySpace for everyone but you. The tagline for TheirSpace is: A place for friends, just not yours. If you’re a forty year old female PETA member from San Francisco who voted for Hillary Clinton, TheirSpace is populated by a seething crowd of twenty year old, gun-toting boys from Texas who wrote in George Bush for a 3rd term. If you’re Richard Dawkins, TheirSpace is Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Billy Graham, Tim LaHaye and some one hundred million or so other god-fearing Americans.

Classmates for the bully set. Membership requires an authenticated recommendation attesting to your asshole-worthiness from those you’ve bullied. Biff Tannen got in on a George McFly recommendation. Flash Thompson made it on a good word from Peter Parker. Doug Niedermeyer has Flounder to thank for his membership. Should be one helluva(n) ass reunion.

aSmallWorld for the dwindling European jet set and social elite who still have enough dough to make them set to jet no matter how bad things get. Many erstwhile members have traded down from jet set to JetBlue.

Tribe for people who need to buy their friends. “Please, please be my friend. Please. Here’s my PayPal number.”

twitter for those gripped by intense antagonism, hostility, and hatred. A 140 character bitter pill. Here’s a “harsh” from Thomas Hobbes: “The life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” And here’s one from a modern heavyweight of harsh, Mike Tyson: “Lennox Lewis, I’m coming for you man. My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable, and I’m just ferocious. I want your heart.” Bitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent outbursts of rage. You suck!


Dress Codes Demystified

By: Whitney Collins

Black Tie (aka Formal)
Yes: Black tuxedo jackets and matching trousers, patent leather shoes for men. Evening gowns or cocktail dresses for women.
No: Khakis, nose rings.

Black Tie Optional (aka Semi-formal, Indecisive, Passive-aggressive)
Tuxedos or dark suits for men. Evening gowns or cocktail dresses for women. Pantyhose or no pantyhose. Top hat or no top hat. Attend or don’t attend. See if I care. Not that you’d care if I cared. I may not even go myself. I might have something better to do. But if I do end up going, I’ll probably have a sinus infection. Or cancer.

White Tie (aka Ultra-formal)
Pretty much the same as Black Tie. Except racist.

Texas Black Tie
Pretty much the same as White Tie. Except homophobic.
Oh…and spurs.

Orange jumpsuit, handcuffs, Gucci loafers.

Smart Casual vs. Business Casual
Blue jeans and bifocals vs. Banana slings and ballpoints.

Casual Friday
Dockers, bed heads, Birkenstocks, mild cases of chlamydia.
(Casual Friday is not to be confused with Lackadaisical Wednesday, which permits flip flops and gonorrhea; or Devil-May-Care Tuesday, which authorizes Crocs and crabs. Please note: cutoffs, snoods, gladiator sandals, and genital warts are solely reserved for Manic-Depressive Thursday. We do not care what you wear on Suicidal Sunday, but keep in mind, a little rouge never looked bad on anyone.)

Festive (aka Holiday, Humiliating)
Yes: Sequins, musical neckties, tap shoes, dickies, clown noses, Groucho Marx glasses.
No: Recollection of how you ended up behind the office copy machine spooning with a Chia Pet.

Rugged (aka Sporting, Lesbian)
Yes: Orvis, pelts, slingshots.
No: Spandex, leg warmers, tampons.

Resort (aka Cruise, Water Park)
Yes: Disney attire, fanny packs, cellulite, Aqua Socks, body hair, suspicious moles, third nipples.
No: Concealed weapons, open wounds, Ph.D.s, dignity.

After Five
Yes: Sweatpants, preferably velour. Terry cloth. Red Lobster bibs. Zit cream.
No, I do not want to get back together with you. I just stopped by to get my DVDs and toothbrush. What’s that? I can’t have them until I have sex with you? Hmm. Let me sit here on the couch and think about that. Meanwhile, why don’t you go get me a beer while I finish your lobster? And a glass. A frosty one.

Mardi Gras (see also: Nursing Home, Nursery School)
No: Bras.
Yes: Diapers.

Dressy Casual
Pair an “A” item with a “B” item.
A: Wife beater, overalls, corncob pipe, trucker hat.
B: Tweed knickers, hoop skirt, cummerbund, monocle.

Rehearsal Dinner
Dude! Screw the rented tux; all you’re gonna need is a paper bag for your head. I am so totally going to bring up that time when we did that thing. And that other time when we did that other thing. If I get on a roll, I may even mention those two other times and those two other things! I am so going to make you hate me, and your fiancee hate you! It’ll be awesome, Bro! I’m also going to pick up half of my pork tenderloin during the speech and waggle it between my legs to illustrate a point. Then I’ll shed a few tears before grabbing your grandmother’s ass at the open bar. Soon after, I’ll puke. Any chance I can have your paper bag?

Country Club
Yes: J. Crew “critter” pants, ballet flats, tortoiseshell accessories, alcoholics (non-recovering).
No: Cosby sweaters, Drakkar Noir, Discover cards, Mormons.

Catholic School
Yes: Kilts, hemmed four inches higher than catalog standard. Dime bag in kneesocks. Cigarettes in padded bra. General countenance of ennui.
No: Fishnets. Yarmulkes. Mohawks. Ass-less chaps. Pasties. Pearl necklaces. Chewing gum in confession, Missy.

Le Smoking
Yes: this is an actual dress code.
No: I didn’t make it up.
Suggestions: Wear a beret. Drive your Le Car. Shave your le balls. Plan on doing lots of le cocaine.

Midwestern Thanksgiving Dinner
No: Bare feet, slouching, death metal concert tees, low-rise jeans, hickeys, Methodist jokes, tattoos, scatological humor, mini skirts, eyeliner, eye rolling, Doc Martens, wallet chains, Hannah Montana paraphernalia, or, God forbid, that vulgar v-neck number. What happened to that Lands’ End turtleneck we sent you last Christmas? Don’t tell me you gave it away. It’s probably all because of that man you’re co-habitating with. Oh, mother of pearl…the yams!
Yes: Horse tranquilizers, Snuggie.


Commercials For Meg Favreau

By: Meg Favreau

1) Helicopter shot. A field filled with dandelions. As we zoom in, we see a young Meg Favreau running gleefully, giving a piggy-back ride to Meg Favreau. The pair grin with reckless abandon as they approach a farmhouse. At the end of the driveway, tight shot on the mailbox. They open the box. Inside, there’s an envelope. It’s a Social Security check addressed to…Meg Favreau? Zoom back out. Both Megs are wrinkled and old. Title on screen: “Meg Favreau: As young as you feel.”

2) A jungle. Title: 10,000 BC. A mass of hairy cave people follow one caveman, who waves excitedly and makes grunting noises. The group comes to a clearing in the trees. Close shot on the faces of the cave people as they gasp. Cut to what they’re seeing: in the middle of a field, there is a brand new, stainless-steel kitchen set. Meg Favreau, in a leopard print bikini, gestures to it with a gleaming, white grin. The cave people approach cautiously. Meg Favreau opens the refrigerator to reveal an entire mammoth, chopped up and neatly compartmentalized. A cheer erupts. Title: “Your past…your future…your Favreau.” Optional tag: A cave woman hands Meg Favreau a baby. Close up on Meg as she says, “I’ll name him…Prometheus!”

3) Close shot on a woman scrubbing her floor. We don’t see her face, but the floor sparkles. The woman moves into the bathroom and shines the sink, the shower, and the toilet. In the kitchen, she makes the oven gleam. Finally, we see her scrubbing the bald head of Mr. Clean. On his head, we see the woman’s reflection: it’s Meg Favreau. Blackout.

4) Night. Title: 2055. A terrified Meg Favreau runs through the dark streets, past neon ads floating in midair. Her footsteps hit hard on the damp pavement, and she is clutching a bottle of premium, gold-label whisky to her chest. Behind her, a mob of pale-faced robots makes chase. Meg Favreau runs with the speed of a cheetah, but the robots run with the speed of two cheetahs. They surround her in an alley. Close to tears, Meg Favreau offers the whisky…but the robots don’t take it. Rather, they reach out their hydraulic hands and fondle her hair. Meg Favreau smiles and takes a shot of whisky. Title: “Meg Favreau: Soft.”

5) Wide shot. A virgin mountain, covered with powdery snow. There’s a sound growing louder: a helicopter. Meg Favreau drops from the copter, attached to a snowboard and holding a meat hook in each hand. She hits the powder standing and starts sluicing down the mountain, jumping off steep cliffs. Suddenly, it looks like Meg is going to hit a tree! But instead, she hits it with the meat hook, spinning herself around the tree and back on track. She does this with one, two, three more trees, and then she hooks a bear. Still sliding down the mountain, Meg Favreau has an on-board fight with the bear, who rips Meg’s ear off. Cut to new scene: Meg Favreau is in a cabin at the bottom of the mountain, cooking something. A brown pelt lies motionless next to the fire. But zooming in close, we see that the bear is just sleeping, and Meg Favreau is roasting her own ear. She slides it off the kabob and offers half to the bear. Title: “Meg Favreau: Expect the Unexpected.”