Date: Saturday, 17 Dec 2011
From: Mongolian Yurts
Subject: Last call for ordering your yurt
The production of the next container of yurts is well on its way. We have 2 people working full time on our carved yurt order. The walls of all the yurts are produced and the job goes on.
This is a last call for those of you who were hesitation [sic] to buy a yurt. It’s now or it will be for the next container. As you know we offer excellent quality for very competitive prices. ORDER NOW.
The container is planned to arrive in Antwerp in April 2012.
Send me a mail if you want to have the updated prices are have a look at our webpage.
Our pictures are still online. Check them out!
[Redacted URL to web page featuring yurts.]
Bernard van der Haegen
Date: Thursday, 17 Nov 2011
From: Kelly Huxley
Subject: Re: The Missing Cowboys
Gentlemen, ladies, and etc.,
I read with great interest the investigation by Paula Cole into the present whereabouts of the cowboys. As my spouse had recently purchased an Apple-brand spacephone, I directed Ms. Cole’s query to the lady-robot concierge therein. To my surprise, her dulcet mechanical tones responded with the locations of several nearby food trucks. Please let Ms. Cole know the cowboys can be found enjoying kimchi quesadillas and vegan crepes in the crisp autumn air. Unless, of course, that’s just what the robots want us to believe.
Yours until the uprising,
Date: Thursday, 27 Oct 2011
From: L. Skelly
Subject: What do I do with this?
I think this thought every time I see the actress Elizabeth Mitchell: she looks like a parasaurolophus. Then one afternoon when I was bored, I stopped working on my very important doctoral thesis and opened Photoshop. I did a few Google image searches and then I made this:
All of this happened several months ago.
Now it’s just sitting there in My Pictures, staring at me, reminding me how weird I am.
I will probably just leave it there unless something happens involving Elizabeth Mitchell (other than her death of course), which would make it relevant. But that really doesn’t make it any less weird that I made it or have it. I actually now hope that she fades quietly into obscurity, so that a situation won’t arise where I am tempted to post it to my Facebook or reddit, and then have to answer the questions that might follow. Questions like, “Why did you make this?” Or, “Are you angry at Elizabeth Mitchell?” Or, “Why is the font so hostile and red?”
The only redeeming thing is that every time I look at it I get to think, Yes. I was right. She does rather resemble that species of dinosaur. It’s odd how satisfying it is just to see them side-by-side and compare the similarities. I enjoy wondering just how many people might agree with me and how many might disagree. Maybe some would assume I picked that dinosaur to imply something about the size of her forehead, and wouldn’t even notice the real similarities that I see: the double S-shaped shadow on the cheek; the angle of the eyebrow; the flared nostrils; and most of all the flat, wide pout. These features, the pout in particular, are even more prominent in her dynamic expressions when she is acting.
I’m confident that these similarities are real and not just a product of my imagination. I’m confident that someone who knows what they are talking about would look at the elements I describe and say that they are actually similar in some scientific way. What I’m not sure about is whether, for other people, these things combine to make a strong and cohesive impression, as they do in me. Do other people watch Lost, or V, or certain episodes of ER, and get the impression that they are watching the miracle of a part-human, part-parasaurolophus actress? Will they now, once I have pointed it out? Or will they just shrug and say, “Well, I guess I see the similarities. Sort of. Well, not really.”
Maybe that’s the reason behind the bright red font. Strong and official, meant to reassure the only person who should ever, ever see this: myself.
Date: Monday, 24 Oct 2011
From: Allison Racicot
Subject: Tattoos and such
When I was a sophomore in high school, I saw A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius sitting on a shelf in the library, and I remember thinking, “Holy shit, what a kickass title.” After being exposed to Dave Eggers’ work in that book, I ventured out to try and find more about him, stumbled upon your website, and quickly became enamored with your articles—most of which also have kickass titles. The writing on the site is pretty great, as well.
My general admiration and appreciation of your website’s ability to make me laugh and want to write every day, eventually prompted me to have the Small Chair turned into a tattoo. I strategically placed it above my left ankle, because I’m a writing student and am left handed (and because it wouldn’t fit well on my wrist). People who have seen it and who know McSweeney’s seem to really like it. When other people see it, they usually just assume that I have a very serious love for antique furniture, and that I’m planning on getting more household items tattooed on my leg in the near future, or that I’m just weird. It has also been suggested to me more than once that when I get old, I should add wheels or curved rockers to the bottom of the small chair, turning it into a wheelchair and/or rocking chair, and thereby leading me smoothly into old age.
So, I just wanted to say thanks for publishing some of the funniest writing out there, and for giving me the answer to the question, “What’s the best first tattoo ever?”
Date: Saturday, 15 Oct 2011
Subject: Maybe dino egg, who knows?
I’m not sure but I think I may have found a petrified dinosaur egg. I didn’t find it in a riverbed, there was only one, and this was a few years ago. I don’t know who to contact but I think it could be worth money. Please help.
Ps. Please excuse my user name sammygodzilla; there was no joke intended.
Date: Mon, 19 Sept 2011
From: Hannah Parris
Subject: Response to No. 38
I would just like to alert you to the fact that the McSweeney’s Quarterly No. 38 exactly matches my textured, paprika-hued living room sofa. While this camouflage has led to a few frustrating episodes where I could not locate the journal, I actually rather appreciate how well this edition coordinates with my decor. Keep up the good work.
P.S. The content of No. 38 was quite good, as well.
Date: Thus, 17 Feb 2011
From: Lorenzo Alunni
Subject: Radiohead and McSweeney’s
I am Lorenzo, a Quarterly subscriber from Italy.
And here we are with another convergence linking Radiohead and McSweeney’s.
The first one occurred when I found out that the red book in the Amnesiac Radiohead album’s cover looked significantly similar to McSweeney’s Issue 6.
And now, Radiohead just announced a new album, “The king of limbs”, writing on their website that it will be the “world’s first (perhaps) newspaper album”… something very close in spirit to Issue 33, the San Francisco Panorama, don’t you think?
It is a pity that in Italian we don’t have a word that properly translates “serendipity.”
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2011
From: Cole Louison
Subject: Falling Ice
Greetings from Times Square! I wanted to take a moment amidst everyone’s violent complaining and point out that the ice storm we’re experiencing right now is a natural rarity, and that it’s not the same as a freezing rainstorm. I know this because after Rochester, NY lost 30 percent of its trees in 1991, an ice storm unit was added to every grade’s science curriculum. They works like this: Freezing rain’s temperature ranges a few degrees, but an ice storm’s rain is very specific. The temperature is such that the water is basically frozen, and all that’s keeping it in a liquid state is its movement towards the ground. Once that movement halts, the locomotive energy leaves the water and it turns to ice. That is, it freezes to whatever it lands on, and that’s how things like trees and railings and fences and cables end up coated with an exoskeleton of ice. Ice storms don’t happen every day, or even every year.
Coming out of the subway this morning, it seemed like the ice storm’s rain had stopped, but no sooner had I passed the gazebo in Bryant Park than I saw sheets of ice sliding off the big Citibank building windows and flying across then down 42nd street into the park. Then a piece landed between my boots and the two young foreign girls next to me squealed with delight and squeezed closer together under their umbrella.
I crossed 42nd with them to the corner and there was a gust of wind and we got blasted again. Most of the larger sheets of ice break apart into saucer shapes before they hit the street, but some don’t and standing there I saw one. It was on the other side of 42nd near the F train entrance, where the anti-abortion megaphone people always set up shop. I could see the piece falling because it was so big. The size of an atlas, it was coming down at a sharp angle, spinning in an uneven glide while it cut through both directions of the traffic’s wind.
“Aw shit!” I said.
A bank cop with a wetsuit hood under his hat looked at me. The whole section of sidewalk in front of their entrance was sectioned off with shiny wet self-standing posts and long links of plastic yellow chain. The space was clear except for thousands of ice shards, which would move like the marbles in Hungry Hungry Hippos when larger chunks would hit the pavement and break apart. Occasionally chunks would hit people’s umbrellas, and would bounce or zip roughly down the sides or knock them out of their hands.
The chunks of ice don’t make a shattering sound when they hit the sidewalk, or really any sound. But the sheet of ice crossing 42nd was going to make a big noise. If it reached the sidewalk, which I was hoping it would instead of cutting through someone’s awning or umbrella or landing in the falafel guy’s cart. And it did make it. It fell right in front of a hefty-trench-coat guy with one of those big tan plaid umbrellas that spring open with a button on the handle. The ice went into the sidewalk like it was water and sprayed outward into a fan of spinning white chunks. The guy stopped dead. Everyone walked around him and the pieces.
I made my way along the buildings’ edges. The ice hitting the sidewalk has this just-out-of-reach rhythm I can’t describe, except to say it would almost be pleasant and even maybe soothing like an ogre’s snowfall if not for the incessant sting flying up off the sidewalk. Just outside of Conde, someone had put up a Danger Ice Falling sign and wrapped Caution tape around the short metal pillars where people usually stand to smoke. The pillars each have an ever-so-slight conical top, and normally give a great drumming ring if you smack them the right away. Today each one had a disc of ice hanging out over it, which I bet would have sounded cool.
Baby it’s cold outside.
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2011
From: T.A. Coulson
Subject: Issue 36 and the Crime Passional in its Wake
I began what seemed like an ordinary day. The alarm went off and I snoozed till forty minutes later (a morning tradition of mine) upon which I shook myself free of the comfortable embrace of my duvet and emerged new born into the harsh light of Monday morning.
The dog was in his usual high spirits and I secretly despised his care free attitude (at least until he regarded me with his doleful eyes and I realised that he too was feeling the loss of yet another weekend)
No sooner had the dog and I returned from our morning walk together than the door bell rang and I was overjoyed to receive issue 36 of McSweeneys from the grubby hands of my postman. Like a child high on e numbers I leapt upon the moustachioed head, devouring its contents in bite sized mouthfuls.
It was not until perhaps an hour later when I remembered a solemn promise I had made to my beloved that she too would be there when the head was prised open so that she could share in the unadulterated joy of its contents. Her footsteps descending the staircase reminded me of this pledge and brought flight to my mind but time was, by then, too short. Thinking quickly I took the box, returned the ephemera to its skull cavity and, standing in what I took to be a most comical pose, held the box atop my own head and waited for the fun to begin.
I am afraid to say it did not go well.
With my face buried as it was within my own shirt I could not see the expression on my sweet lovers face but the guttural cry that emanated from her lips told me all I needed to know of her reaction to my japery. She struck out wildly, knocking me to the floor. I heard the footsteps pass me and then a sickening metallic ring as a knife was removed from the rack in the kitchen. The dog, my faithful companion not ten minutes earlier, was nowhere to be seen and I shuddered as the footsteps returned and she begun her sickening task. I could nought but cower as she hacked issue 36 from me like a ships surgeon of old, no anaesthetic, no care for the patient. A short while later the deed was done and she hungrily leapt upon the spilt contents, leaving me ostensibly for dead.
Needless to say this is a mistake I will not be making again.
I have included a photo for your information should you be called upon to testify in future events of literary abuse. The blood may be fake but the emotional torment, I can assure you, is painfully real.
Thanking you for your time.
Kings Town Upon Hull