Open Letter Wednesday

25th March
2009
written by Jeff

Every Wednesday, you get a peek inside the mail bag. In this case, that bag is full of letters I write to ask questions we all want answered…or maybe just me.

American Apparel MainDear American Apparel,

I know you like to be provocative in your advertising. You like flashing nipple on occasion, ads with post adolescent crotch bearing lollipop suckers and showing sorta-dirty young hipsters in various stages of undress as a means of driving sales of your over-priced, poorly made clothing. Like Calvin Klein’s child pornography series of ads, you like pushing the envelope and, God knows, I have no problem with seeing semi-naked chicks. I encourage it!

But, I’m really just tired of this overwrought campaign of Polaroid-esque photos making not-so-vague allusion to orgasms and sex and orgies. It’s just…boring.

It’s amazing that you could make sex seem bland and uninteresting, but, really, you have, mainly because I don’t believe you anymore. It’s one thing to so some cute young girl with a emo haircut posing in boys underwear and a tank top. It’s another to show this:

American Apparel Dudes

Really? REALLY? A bunch of half naked Magnum PI’s was the best you could do for an ad selling glorified tighty whities??? Or how about this one?

American Apparel Socks

Are you suggesting that this Canadian porn star who specializes in anal (I looked it up on Wikipedia – what?) gets off to tube socks?

What I find most disturbing about these ads is how tiring they make sex seem like chore you perform to make yourself feel marginally good for a few fleeting moments before going back to your weepy, slacker pose. Even an orgasm is so NOT special, socks are a fantasy and being naked is just something to do when you’re bored. How in God’s name were you able to make kids simultaneously feel good about being naked (assuming they are skinny and hot) and be completely disinterested at the same time? It’s disturbingly brilliant.

To make matters worse, you sell clothes most of us could find at a thrift store and wouldn’t even wear in the first place because we aren’t going roller skating in 1978 or to homecoming in 1985. If that weren’t enough, they are expensive and poorly made. Way to take that reduce the “American” part of your name to a clever stereotype.

I know clueless little hipsters buy your stuff on the basis of its popularity and being all risque and pseudo-dirty makes you the cool clothing kid on the block, but your oh-so provocative ads not even that provocative anymore.

They’re just boring, which is ridiculous considering their content. How about, just make better clothes next time?

Thanks for listening.

Jeff

P.S. Porn stars and tube socks? Really? Sigh.

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18th March
2009
written by Jeff

Every Wednesday, you get a peek inside the mail bag. In this case, that bag is full of letters I write to ask questions we all want answered…or maybe just me.

Burning MoneyToday, I’ve decided to write a letter to the AIG execs who got bonuses from a mythical person who I wish ran the company and realizes just how ridiculous these bonuses are in the first place before handing them out.

Dear AIG Bonus Getters,

Look, I know it’s tough work making phone calls, texting people on your Blackberry, taking meetings and ass raping the economy. It’s difficult taking two instead of three-hour lunches and having to sell off your third home in Nantucket because of how you broke capitalism, but, we’re like totally out of money and stuff on account of you being an idiot.

So, in lieu of you being a total fucking failure, we’re not going to like give you a bonus and, really, how could you even accept a bonus knowing:

a. You clearly sucked so bad at your job that you made the economy die.
b. You’re bonus comes from tax money, part of which is out of your own pocket, which like paying yourself and I think the circular nature of that would create a rip in the space time continuum, which would be fine if all it did was drag you and your executive buddies’ tired asses into it, but it would probably kill us all and we shouldn’t have to pay for your lameness more than we already have.

Now, the right thing to do here would be to refuse the bonus money and agree to work for cafeteria food and bus tokens for a couple months. Given how much money you’ve already made off of this crappy company, I’m thinking you could forgo daily lunch at Tavern on the Green, your annual trip to the retreat where you are bathed in the blood of foreign infants and clothed in the pelts of nearly-extinct animals and your nightly ritual of burning one hundred dollar bills because you like the pretty blue flames they make.

Everyone in your family could pitch in. Your wife could take a break from having liquid gold injected into her eyelids and maybe Buffy could go to her safety school, Harvard. Chip could trade in his Ferrari for a Porche and you could sell off a couple of your staff of robot servants including the one built only to jerk you off.

I know it’s a lot to ask but we all have to tighten our belts around here thanks to you and all the “experts” who nearly dry humped us into bankruptcy. Just be glad that instead of a bonus, we’re didn’t just to hire a guy to follow you around all day kicking you in the ass.

You’re lucky I don’t personally come down to your office, punch you in your fat caviar-munching face and take a 50 from your wallet just for making me waste my time. In fact, why don’t you get out of the building because if I do see you, I’m going to beat you with the shattered dreams of our shareholders and by that I mean a pair of nunchucks.

Sincerely,

Your Boss

P.S. At next year’s company picnic, prepare for pin the tail on the loser. Two guesses as to who gets to be the loser.

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11th March
2009
written by Jeff

Every Wednesday, you get a peek inside the mail bag. In this case, that bag is full of letters I write to ask questions we all want answered…or maybe just me.

darthDear Social Media Gurus,

What’s up, guys and gals? I know you are busy Tweeting, blogging and ruling over the social media universe, but I just wanted to write you a letter to ask a few questions because, to be honest, I’m kinda confused about you people. So, if you have a second (or maybe 2.0 seconds…get it?), maybe you could riddle me this. Sorry, I was trying to speak in comic book for your benefit, but I realized you aren’t hardcore nerds, so I’ll save that for my open letter to Comicon.

What do we call you?

I’ve heard gurus, mavens, experts, pains in the ass. That last one is really just a few people I know on Twitter who have to stop following you after the hundredth Tweet in the last two hours with a hashtag like #savingtheworld2.0.

What do you consider yourselves?

In the online world there are nerds, geeks, gamers, coders, etc. You guys wear suits (or at least button down shirts without pit stains on them), so you can’t be nerds. You’re sorta geeks, though most of you don’t have any real programming or geek skills, so that might not work. How about we just go with consultants because that is just generic enough to work for someone preaching a bunch of stuff to people stupid enough to pay for it even though they have no idea why they are buying it in the first place.

Do you consider yourself famous?

I know people that call you famous because you have like 5000 Twitter followers, but I’m not totally sure you get what fame actually is. For example, Tiger Woods is famous. George Clooney is famous. Madonna is famous. You, not so much. Chances are, more people know who the 12th man on the bench for the Houston Rockets is than know about your blog. It’s not because your blog isn’t important, it’s just because your blog isn’t THAT important.

If you do consider yourself famous, is it because you’re hot?

I wonder if you’ve ever seriously asked yourself this question. See, thing is, people are weird. If you’re a cute girl, your chances of having a lot of followers on Twitter go up exponentially. If you, for example, take provocative self portraits, and by “provocative” I mean you topless with your hands over your boobs, it is safe to bet that lots of guys have friended you on Flickr and not just because you took those shots all artsy using only a Polaroid. They are there just for the boobs. Believe me. And no one cares if you know all about social media or photography if they come to see you at a seminar. They just want to see if you’ll take your top off again.

Do you think you are cool?

Because, seriously, you’re not. No offense or anything. It’s just that dirty hipster is not the new awesome. Neither is douchey bald guy in a suit or guy who can quote every bad movie made in the last 25 years. I should know because that last totally un-cool guy is me. While we’re at it, knowledge of Star Trek or comic books may make you all the rage at a convention, but the hot models that DC Comics hired to dress up in skimpy outfits or all the Princess Leia look-alikes are still going to get all the attention or were you not paying attention to my last question?

How do you make any money?

I’m asking this in all honesty, because I just don’t know. Maybe you convince people they need you to talk to them about Facebook. Maybe you sell ads on your blog. But, my guess is that you tell everyone that everything should be “open source” (i.e. free) even though when your client’s bloated invoice comes due, you’re willing to sick the collection agency on him/her faster than a bit torrent porn download because one thing that should NOT be free is your appearance fee.

What language are you speaking?

I thought it might be “corporate” English because I’ve heard you use words like synergistic and paradigm, but then I hear made up jibberish like brandividual and mediasphere and I think you are speaking some made up language that makes me want to invite you to #punchyouinthefacecamp.

See, I’m just trying to figure you out because, maybe I too can become a social media guru. Maybe I can get like 100,000 followers on Twitter and an over-inflated sense of self importance. That would be awesome…assuming it paid and got me hot chicks dressed like Princess Leia.

Sincerely,

Jeff

P.S. If you do have any pictures of your boobs that are Friends and Family only on Flickr, can you add me – purely for research, of course.

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4th March
2009
written by Jeff

Every Wednesday, you get a peek inside the mail bag. In this case, that bag is full of letters I write to ask questions we all want answered…or maybe just me.

Rocket FansDear Rabid Sports Fan,

How’s it hangin’ bro? Listen, we need to talk. I’m a sports fan myself. I’ve probably been a fan longer than you have of basketball in particular. In fact, in my past life I WAS a basketball, but that’s another story.

Anyway, there are some behaviors (or behaviours if you happen to be a soccer futbol fan) I’ve noticed recently that are getting in the way of my enjoyment of sports, particularly when trying to discuss it rationally on the internet or catch a game in person and I wanted to point them out to you because I’m not sure you’re totally aware of what you are doing. Despite the body paint, vague smell of Old Spice and the collection of bobble heads you keep in a locked cabinet as part of your “retirement memorabilia,” you seem like a relatively reasonable guy, so I’m just going to give it to you straight.

Your injuries are not just as bad as a given athlete, so don’t try to compare your healing time or your doctor’s care to theirs.

Just because you pulled a quad trying to heft your grill from the back porch to the garage all by yourself doesn’t make you an expert on torn ACL’s or reconstructive surgery. And even though it took you 18 months to recover, I’m guessing since the athlete is 22, in perfect physical condition and with the best medical care money can buy, he is going to heal faster than the fat, 40-something going to the clinic for rehab. Oh, and don’t offer some home remedy your mom used to get rid of bunions for a guy who has plantar faciitis.

Just because you are an ace of your fantasy league doesn’t mean you can be the GM of a team.

I know that 100 bucks you got for winning your fantasy league last year is almost as awesome as the framed email you got announcing you as the winner sitting next to the third-place bowling trophy and your shattered dreams, but it doesn’t make you an expert on much of anything other than wasting time on a computer with a bunch of drunk guys. My guess is you barely know how to use a calculator let alone understand the complex ramifications of salary caps and team fiscal responsibility. Better stick with the fantasy team and leave pro sports management to the adults.

Being a rec-league or little league coach does not qualify you for coaching in college or the pros or even in most middle schools. Neither does reading The Idiots Guide to Basketball.

I’m sure all the guys you play pick up games with on the weekend are really cool and all, but flailing around on concrete court in the burbs every Saturday doesn’t suddenly make you Pat Riley. And don’t even bother with football. Drawing a play with your finger on the ball in the flag football team huddle is not the same as figuring out how to read the zone blitz.

Seeing a guy on tv for 10 seconds on the sideline with a certain look on his face does not qualify you to know what he is going through.

You’re not psychic nor are you an expert in body language. If, during a loss, a guy smiles for 3 seconds, that does not make him a loser anymore than that shot of you drunk off your ass at the ice house with the biker chick in your lap and your eyes rolled back into your head make you an idiot. A little pathetic and desperate, maybe, but not necessarily and idiot.

Trades that work on your Playstation are unrealistic.

I know how much you love filling your line up card with murderers row and your pitching staff with first ballot hall of famers, but that’s not exactly how it works in the big leagues. In football and basketball, there are salary caps to think of and a little thing people like to call chemistry. There’s a reason why super groups don’t work in rock and roll and the same holds true for professional sports teams. I know you think you found the way to get LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard on the same team, but it’s not going to happen, so put down the RealGM trade checker and back away.

Paying for a ticket does not give you the right to act like an asshole even if you are one already.

Being drunk before halftime, shouting obscenities at players, coaches or other fans, slapping women on the ass and kicking the backs of seats are not cool things to do at a game. I don’t care if you spent $500 to sit in a platinum seat covered in the skin of infants, don’t be the jackass who throws things onto the court when a ref doesn’t make a call you like. Put your big boy pants on and act like a grown up for a few hours.

What you THINK might be happening behind closed doors is not the same as what is ACTUALLY happening.

I know, it’s fun to speculate on what is going on in the locker room, but you aren’t there so stop making grand pronouncements on internet bulletin boards that you are certain what is happening. You don’t know. You probably will never know. And even if you found out, you probably wouldn’t understand. Just enjoy the game and stop trying to be the Perez Hilton of sports.

No, training camp is not open to the public.

You cannot possibly be this stupid. Every year, some idiot posts on message boards and blogs asking when they can go down to training camp and watch practice. Oh, sure, and while you’re at it, why don’t you bring along your HD video camera so you can record it and post it online. If you get there early enough, they may give you a job as an assistant coach. Look, genius, training camps are closed for a reason, so stop asking the question and re-join normal society.

Those free t-shirts they throw out at games, despite your demeanor, are not covered in gold.

You don’t need to dive over people or crush small children to get one. You also shouldn’t complain the team doesn’t throw enough of them. It’s not their job to clothe you, Sparky. Besides, it’s the cheapest possible shirt the team can buy. You think they are spinning shirts out of 80-count Egyptian cotton to fire out of a cannon so you can cover your man boobs in couture?

There you have it. Just a few simple observations that will help me feel less annoyed and help you to be a better sports fan. See, that wasn’t so tough was it?

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25th February
2009
written by Jeff

Every Wednesday, you get a peek inside the mail bag. In this case, that bag is full of letters I write to ask questions we all want answered…or maybe just me.

Front of the HouseTo My Dear Soon-To-Be-Ex Neighbors,

I will soon (hopefully, VERY soon) be selling my house and moving off this street I’ve lived on for almost 15 years. I’ve enjoyed meeting most of you and enjoyed observing you even more. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all individually.

Thank you, creepy guy that sits in front of the empty lot and reads paperbacks, for being so odd and making me wonder what the hell you are doing there every day and, more importantly, what you are reading.

Thank you, guy who was so convinced his mother would move back to the house next door that he let it fall into severe dis-repair, for finally selling both houses and moving on with your life. I’m sure everyone is much happier.

Thank you, Love Park basketball gym, for not allowing me to play in the afternoons when you are empty even though no one else plays there during the day and all I wanted to do was shoot some hoops on your newly-renovated hardwoods by myself.

Thank you, angry lesbian, for spray painting my drummer’s van one night simply because you were grumpy that none of the neighbors or the police thought our rehearsing before 10pm on Monday’s with a HEAVILY soundproofed room was worthy of scorn and vitriol.

Thank you, giant, chubby, hairy guy with incredibly thin, anti-social wife, who help me to remember that odd couples sometimes really do work.

Thank you, guy who called his wife a bitch in front of me and then told me the long story of how his testicle swelled up to the size of a grapefruit, for moving and making our street a little more peaceful.

Thank you, guy that stared at the tree every day in your yard until it died. That was one seriously awesome summer.

Thank you, strange people across the street who always come in at 11pm every night and never seem to be home any other time, clearly because you are hired assassins or ninja.

And now for the serious one’s…

Thank you, my dear next door neighbors, for allowing me to watch your children grow, for helping me with work around my home, for always being kind and for KPFT rocking my weekends from your outdoor speakers.

Thank you, both sets of neighbors who lived on the other side of my house, for your kindness and your patience with me and my music.

Thank you, neighbor across the street for chatting on your front porch.

Thank you, my sweet, long-since passed neighbor, for all the stories you told me about my home and the Heights in general. You were an inspiration.

Thank you, guy who used to own my house, for coming back and doing all the repairs to help me get ready to sell and for being such a great guy to deal with when I bought the house in the first place.

Most of all, thank you residents of my awesome little street for making me laugh and for tolerating my sometimes odd behavior, many yard sales, pet rescues, strange gardening choices, loud music and home repairs over the years. You will all be missed.

I hope whoever buys this house realizes just how quirky and awesome you all are and loves you for it as much as I have.

Sincerely,

Jeff

P.S. To my next door neighbor, don’t think I won’t be sitting outside your house every Christmas looking for a tin of your homemade fudge. Seriously.

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