For our Year in Review issue, we’ve compiled some of our favorite letters, phone calls, and press releases of the year. In the interest of verisimilitude, all spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, and other grammatical mishaps are the writers’ own.
Stop the beheading
We’ll see if you want to hear from me. Not everybody does. I became a successful ghost hunter aboard the Queen Mary 6/25/99. The most important mission over in Iraq may have been stopping Saddam’s sons from throwing people into the shredder. What a bad way to go. It is important for countries like Iraq to discontinue beheading people. Hussein’s special force, the Saheed were in charge of the beheading of women. I have come across numerous reports of headless ghosts. The damage that humans do to each other’s spirits seems to absolutely continue in the after life. The damage seems to be permanent, which is very disturbing if true. There are no experts in this field, but some of us are more expert than others. Stop the beheading and educate people about the fact that they are still going to exist as a miserable ghost if they commit suicide.
David Lee, founder, Ghost Hunter Inc., San Jose
One month later, we had Saddam
I’ve got a great story for you. I know, I know, and I know this sounds like I’m a dingbat but I am not, I know how to find Saddam Hussein! And I’d like to check that out with you people, come in for an interview at your convenience. I live in Point Richmond. … I think it’s the 7th, Eleven Seven Oh Three. One call does it all and I’ll come on down and give you a great story, show you how you can do this kind of thing. Amongst many other things I’ve done a lot of travel, I’m what’s called a Kahuna, a shaman for the South Pacific, and I have trained myself to be able to do certain things, including how to find that mother dog. … Over and out.
Asa Williams, Point Richmond, by voicemail
Or Did We?
IT’S NOT SADDAM: A STORY CALLING FOR INVESTIGATION
In a news release sent to media worldwide on April 8, 2003, Share International magazine published information that Saddam Hussein had been injured in the first bombing of Iraq on March 20, 2003 and died two days later from his injuries. Also according to our information, Hussein was buried quickly after his death by his sons, in accordance with Muslim tradition.
So who has now been captured by American forces? According to the latest press release from Share International: “In our view certainly not Saddam Hussein but an obvious stand-in, of whom we understand there are at least three: two cousins and a close friend all with similar family characteristics. We believe he is the same man — a cousin — seen on Iraqi television on April 4, 2003, who picked up a child and laughed and waved to the crowds. His body language was completely different from that of Saddam Hussein. The end of his nose was much broader than that of Saddam and he had moles on his temple and forehead — identical with the captured person. At that time commentators were perfectly ready to question the identity of the man seen on video. Now everyone seems conveniently to have dropped any enquiry or second thoughts.
“The Americans claim that DNA samples taken from the captive relate to that of Saddam Hussein. How do they know? With what are they comparing them? In any case, a cousin would obviously share some of Saddam’s genetic features. From the beginning of the Iraq conflict the proven lies from this US administration, particularly about the weapons of mass destruction, give little confidence that their information should be believed.
“We are convinced that eventually the truth will emerge — that this confused man now captured is not Saddam Hussein, but a double who may well have been part of a plot to keep the fact of Saddam’s death from the Iraqi people for as long as possible.”
Share International Media Service, SIMmedia.org
“The Vexing Mystery of Jane Doe,” Cityside, 11/19
Beware the salamander meat cabal
I certainly hope that the victim was not a relative of the nice woman in Guadalajara, Mexico, who granted me shelter from a blazing-hot bus stop in the Zona Industriale during a vacation stay (late 1970s). What’s worse, my vacation plans were not my own scheduling, but the strategy of some network perhaps hoping to market salamander meat, or home trash-mashers. Such personal hospitality from a Mexican citizen should not have been necessary.
Marcia L. Neil, San Francisco
We’re mailing this form letter to the liberal media just like that conservative interest group told us to
Your support of the upcoming miniseries The Reagans is nothing more than an attempt to smear the reputation of a great president. At best, it is a veiled attempt at revisionist history. At worst, it is a pack of lies. Either way, The Reagans is the purest example of media bias I’ve heard about in quite awhile. I will not be watching, and urge you to pull the plug on this farce. You may not realize it, but the backlash against CBS will far outweigh any benefits you feel the network may receive. I plan to contact my local CBS affiliate and inform them that I will not be watching this program, nor supporting any local advertisers whose commercials appear during the program. I look forward to hearing a positive response from you.
Mr. & Mrs. Manny Machado, San Jose
We’re mailing this form letter to the conservative media just like that liberal interest group told us to
It is painfully obvious that you have succumbed to the powers, suppressed your journalistic ethics and have assumed the role of White House Public Relations Spokesman. History will reflect the role you are playing in the deception of the American people. … TV News is now nothing more than an infomercial for the Bush administration and for the corporate sponsors. If they approve, you report. That is the only standard by which the news is now reported.
It is your fault that 50 percent of the American public believes that Iraq was responsible for the attacks on 9/11. You have permitted and encourage the President to lie to our troops about the reasons that they have been asked to kill other human beings. Is this how you “Support the Troops”? Is this patriotism?
Think about the impact the press had in uncovering corruption in the past. Think of how the Watergate scandal came to light. Think of the respect the American journalist gained around the world during that time. Think of Daniel Ellsberg, a great American hero who risked all to uncover the truth and expose a corrupt administration. That is patriotism. Protecting a President as he lies to the troops and to the world is not patriotism. It is treason. It is disgraceful. It is a sin.
Last year Reporters Without Borders ranked the American Press 17th in the world for freedom of the press. Imagine what this years ranking will be. Picture your name and face placed along side that ranking, etched in history. This is the legacy you are creating for yourself.
An American, via e-mail
Several year back, actor and director Robert Redford made a movie about “FRAUD” (a true story) regarding a game show, many years ago. In 1992-93, for well over a month, the French version of the American game show,” THE PRICE IS RIGHT”, cheated on the “SPIN” of the wheel at the end of each show; longer, slower, sudden stop! The world of television ignores! T’il 1996, TV stations TF1, FRANCE 2&3 ignored me. Until now, NEW YORK TIMES, NEWSWEEK, etc … At TIME mag. I was refused, many times, by “M”, French affairs. On Dec.17th, 2001, at NBC’s “TODAY” show, holding a sign; HO! HO! HO! and A MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL ! I flipped the sign (they were 2 signs back to back) and accused … (www.nbc.pix). During the last presedentials in France I tossed thousands of COMPLAINTS from the EIFFEL TOWER, before the vote, and after the elections. I sent letters all over the world ! All of this, just to be demoralized ! After being mistreated in a hospital, before I came to France, this is just a ‘small’ calamity of what I would have to say, but so “BIG” in its meaning; LIFE STINKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
REPORT “A STATEMENT OF FACTS OR FIGURES ASCERTAINED BY INVESTIGATION” FACT; YOUR ALL BLIND !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
LOST IN TIME
About those magnets
We would like to co-operate with you as supplying various magnets to you with sinceriry. Because for some reasons, at the beginning, it is not proper for us to reveal our real e-mail address and website, so If you response to us, please be sure to use “Fax” because the sender’s e-mail address is virtual (we can’t receive your response if you send e-mail via this virtual e-mail address) and please clearly type (show) your e-mail address in the fax message. (Please don’t write with hand because maybe we can’t idenfiry your hand-writing)
Mr. J.S. Fu
Stop globalizing lifeless entertainment
How can the Cirque du Soleil call their show “Alegria,” when the first experience of going into the circus (buyng tickets at the box office) cost $15 dollars just to drive to the box office? And when we complained with their manager, we were ridiculed. It is a raining day! Do they know what alegria means? Seams like they forgot the human part of the circus.
If it continues this way, we are heading towards a life less show. San Francisco residents are far from lifeless. Thats why we live in San Francisco. Thats why we pay a lot of money to live in San Francisco. And I beleave that East Bay Express should not be suporting lifeless companies that comes to San Francisco and mistreat their residents. They are acting like a corporation where nobody is to be found. The custumer service card that they gave us to get in contact with it isfrom Singapore. Thats how much they care to the Sanfranciscans. If they are globalizing lifeless entertainment, they should go some where else.
Alexandre Costa, San Francisco
The stakes are enormous
I have a significant number of clients, some of who are looking for online bingo. My job is to direct them to a single Web site that is relevant. Your site looks like it may fit the mold. If you can help us, then please contact me.
The biggest story ever
Yes, this is a message for the reporter who would normally handle crime stories for your newspaper. I have an interesting story for you. My name is Steve … Please contact me on Tuesday at 10 in the morning — not Monday, but Tuesday at 10 in the morning. This story is about Fred Lau, the former chief of police of San Francisco, and the real reason why Fred Lau quit the Police Department. He was under heavy pressure of exposure of certain crimes that I had uncovered and had wanted to print out, publish in a book. The suspects involved in the case besides Fred Lau are the San Francisco FBI, the San Francisco US Attorney, especially under Robert Mueller, the current FBI director. Robert Mueller is also heavily involved in this crime. Oakland FBI, the Pinole Police Department, Hercules Police Department in the East Bay, and two other police departments including Richmond and also the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office. This is gonna be the biggest story you’ve ever got, and I’m interested in your call. Please contact me on Tuesday at 10 o’clock in the morning. … 10 o’clock in the morning, Tuesday, you’re gonna get the biggest story you have ever gotten.
Steve, by voicemail
Get your mutants straight
Uh … the picture on page 46 that has Kelly Hu, Deathstrike from “X-Men United” — she did not use her mutant powers to defend Xavier’s school of gifted youngsters, they actually confused that. She was the right hand mutant of the one who wanted to destroy Xavier’s school for gifted youngsters. So whoever’s putting together your movie page, maybe they should see the movie, um, and be sure that the photo and the caption actually are accurate. I just saw it yesterday, so that’s why it stood out to me. Uh, bye.
What’s up with that?
All those whistling, shrieking cars racing around our neighborhoods: what’s up with that?
David Nebenzahl, Oakland
And the winner is …
The Pullet Surprise Committee has just announced the winner of the prize for this year’s best work of fiction to be George W. Bush, for his best-selling fairy tale, Harry Potter and the Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Mr. Bush, who spends his time between his Texas ranch and his cottage on the Potomac, is already hard at work on his next novel, titled Harry Potter and the Mess in Mesopotamia.
Marion Syrek, Oakland
For the votations
This is Susana, I’m calling you from South America Colombia Caracol Radio Network for all Latin America, Miami, London, and Madrid. Um, we are very interested in Mr. Gary Coleman as he wants to be the governor of California as we talk to … we have a lot of listeners in Los Angeles also and Latin Americans, we would like to ask for an interview with Mr. Coleman and help him for the … for the votations. … I will write you an e-mail because in this message it is very difficult to explain you. I hope you receive it. Thank you very much and have a nice day.
Susana, by voicemail
It might make an interesting story
Oh hi, I’m ringing from BBC Radio 5 over in London. We’re one of the national networks over here. We are hoping — assuming that the legal stuff doesn’t throw everybody’s timetable out for a loop — to use Wil Wheaton, the Star Trek, uh, former Star Trek actor, as a bit of a reporter for us on the California election thing we’ve been doing [unintelligible] for some time. And we’d like to send him out to a campaign night event. And I was wondering if you were doing anything with Gary Coleman, and if there was any possibility of going along to that event on election night. … I think it might make an interesting story for you anyway to have Wil out covering, well, if you like, one celebrity of sorts covering another celebrity of sorts, their campaign.
Anyway, give me a call or you can send me an e-mail. Thank you, bye-bye.
Chris Vallance, London, by voicemail
He’s big in Japan
I understand that you were instrumental in Gary Coleman’s recent run for Governor in the recall election. He seemed quite well spoken in what little coverage he received here in Japan. I would like to contact him regarding a novella I have recently completed. It is possible that it might be a film vehicle for him, as one of the major characters fits his talents, physical attributes and age. I did not write the story with Mr. Coleman in mind but was reminded of him by the recent publicity. If you would be so kind as to provide me with contact information, his agent, etc, I would greatly appreciate it. I will resubmit this request by fax or snail mail — with considerably more info on the project and myself — if you like. I understand that responding to Internet queries may not be desirable these days.
Paul Kelso, Utsunomiya City, Japan
How come I can’t get a security job?
Well, gee, I wanna talk with you about Gary Coleman. Um I’m calling from, uh, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout Willis? I got a security job for him once he wins his election. I’m gonna pay him four dollars and a quarter an hour. … I can’t get a job as a security agent, I’m six foot three, 290 pounds. How does a little shit … I shit bigger than Gary Coleman, how does he get a job as a security agent? What’s goin’ on out there in California? I ain’t surprised they got no power out there.
I like what you had to say
What’s up Gary? I think you did a really good job. I think you should run again next elections ’cause, you know, I like what you had to say. Alright. Later. (caller means to hang up but doesn’t; loud laughter, people speaking in Spanish, etc. heard for several seconds)
Oh, wait, the election’s over
Yes, Mr. Coleman, I’m just calling about your campaign, I’m interested and I’m wondering, you know, why should I vote for you. Oh, wait, hold on. I’ve just been told the election’s over. Wait, I’m sorry, bye.
I want his sexy ass
Hi, um, where’s Gary Coleman? I called this number planning on talking to Gary Coleman. I want his sexy ass.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to step on you, Gary Coleman!
Who is your daddy?
An unmistakable Austrian voice says:
Good morning. How are you? Let me talk to your mother. Yes [beep] [unintelligible]. Don’t bullshit me. Hey, I’m a police officer. Who are you? Who is your daddy? Who is your daddy, and what does he do? [beep]