Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An Open Letter to the Brains Behind Yankz Never Tie Laces Again

As promised, I am making good on my campaign to get one of my quibbles picked up by

McSweeney's Internet Tendency. Going forward I will cut to the chase and leave out the disclaimer. Happy eggnog-chugalogging!

An Open Letter to the Brains Behind Yankz Never Tie Laces Again

I’ve sat through all the U-tube tutorials, scratched my head through the PDF instructions you’ve written on your website in 7 languages, and read the many bright-eyed and bushy-tailed testimonials touting your one-of-kind lace-replacer. Well, I hate to break to you— mine split, snapped back and added more water to my knee. My knee has been crummy for years, but this little episode didn’t do it any good. Not that I’m going to foot you with my massage therapy bill. I entered a gentleman’s agreement when I bought your product. I’m not the litigious kind in case you couldn’t tell.

What I’d like however, is for you to replace my damaged goods. I’m through with calling your headquarters. I find your taste in Muzak deplorable. I realize that a good hunk of this country digs Uptempo Smooth Jazz, but I haven’t the stomach for it. So when I have to wait ten minutes on the line to get through to a live person you can bet I’m going to be cranky.

All I want is to get what I rightfully deserve, a working set of Yankz. Your ad clearly states in pure English (And I’m assuming, though I cannot read it, in German, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, and Farsi) that a person who puts on Yankz will never have to lace-up again. Your weisenheimer customer service rep ID number FQ415964 suggested I buy a pair of loafers if I truly abhorred the thought of lacing up for eternity. Now I love a snarky sense of humor as much as the next guy, but not at my expense.

In short, I’m asking you kindly, for the last time, to make good on your national advertisement and send me a good pair of Yankz. I have no intention of suing if that’s what you are thinking, however, so help me, if one of your smarmy customer service reps mocks me again I will have no choice but to unleash my message in a bottle campaign. I’ve already got 100,000 bottles lined up and I have begun to stuff them with Yankz Sucks paper scraps.

Imagine all of these bottles landing on shores from Daytona Beach to Dubai? Imagine one of your fearless tri-athletes getting bopped in the noggin with one of them? How’s that for irony?

Don’t think of me as the pebble in your shoe. Think of me instead as the crusader for a better sneakerhood.

Yankzfully Yours,
John Gorman

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Gimmick

Don't ask me why but I have decided to include a quirky little section in my blog postings for the rejections I receive from McSweeney's Open Letter To People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond to You. McSweeney's does respond to me, unfortunately they do not accept my entries. So you, dear readers, will get the royal treatment and see my unpublished rejections. Although, since I am posting them on Paper Cut, I guess they will then be considered published. Whatever. The point is, I am sharing my Open Letter To People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond to You. And, should you decide to send them a submission of your own and then have the good fortune of getting it published then please, by all means, let me know. You'll be entitled to a free Inca Cola.

Warm Wishes,
Blogger John

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Before Goobers

Today marks the 115th anniversary of Popeye creator E.C Segar's birthday. Did you have a can of spinach to celebrate? Neither did I. Oddly, enough I tend not to think of spinach when I think of Popeye and I tend not to think of Popeye either, but rather Robin Williams.

I remember going to the movies with not one, but two Daniellas. The date, if you could call it that was chaperoned. Okay, it really wasn't a date. I was six and a little too old for kindergarten. Daniella One's mom packed lunch and snacks for us: baloney sandwiches with Mayo, which I proceeded to rub off into the tinfoil. I had button candy for the first time. I had a bit of trouble grafting it from the paper. So my first impression of it was that it tasted a bit like a sugary spitball.

I was thrilled to sit the the back row with two girls and a chatty mom. We clapped after each of the trailers. We the opening credits to "Popeye" came on we shushed each other, but then as the movie started we made wisecracks when the opportunity arose. I'd never seen Robin Williams before. That was quite a treat. I thought he looked very Popeyeish. I also marveled at how bulky his forearms were, better-proportioned, so I thought, than the comic-strip sailor. I took careful notice of Shelley Duvall too because she was so goofy. A few years later, when I was able to sneak in "The Shining" on HBO I had trouble dissociating the Olive Oil impression I had of her.

I had been primed on live musicals. I already had "Annie" and "Peter Pan" under my belt and I'd seen "Meet Me in St. Louis" with my folks so I was familiar with the genre. I did feel strongly though that it was a bit ridiculous that "Popeye" was a musical too. That was what most of my wisecracking was about. Still, I did watch the whole film through-- not one nap.

By the end of the film, I had finally mastered the art of peeling the candy buttons off their strip. I noticed that Daniella One didn't seem so fond of them either.

"Why did your mom give us these?" I asked her.

"Because she had them when she was a kid," Daniella said.

"And she didn't finish them," I said.

"And she wants us to have them too."

Daniella One stuffed her candy buttons into the brown paper bag she saved. I stuffed whatever I had left over into the bag too. We handed it over to Daniella Two who was only too happy to get the leftovers.

On the way out of the theater Daniella One and I pressed our noses up to the glass candy case. There were Sugar Daddies, Raisinettes, Milk Duds, Chuckles, and Goobers. Daniella One and I looked over at each other. I'm sure sure we were thinking the same thing. It was a long way off till Halloween, but as I left the theater I promised myself not to get shortchanged on my sugar rush the next time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pawn Stars

Did you know that the first pawn shops came from ancient China or that today there are over 12,000 of them operating in the United States alone? With the economy going the way its going it just might be a new business trend. Forget the Starbucks, open up a pawn shop. Better Still, put it on the tube.

The other night I saw the dude’s version of “Antique Road Show.” Guys desperate for cash showed up at their local pawn shop ready to practically give away a 17th century rifle, a set of prehistoric shark teeth, a propeller that belonged to Charles Lindbergh, and even a classic '60s Shelby Chassis.

Although I wouldn’t exactly lump myself into the dude category, I was immediately hooked into the disparate stories associated with each historic relic. The guest experts called in to identify the provenance of these relics made me think of “Antiques Road Show” however there is definitely a reality show element underlying this version dubbed “Pawn Stars.” No doubt the name itself a cheap pun on something else that is very guysy establishes a target audience.

There are also some shady characters who try to turn a quick buck on things like a Willie Nelson keychain and other stuff that whiffs of bogus. In this, I see the possibilities for great fiction. And although I haven’t plotted anything out yet the wheels are turning. Frankly, I think this is an awesome show to flip back and forth while watching Monday Night Football.