Displaying articles for: January 2013

Friends, Classmates, Donors

"The College of New Jersey, Princeton University and Rider University reported a banner year for donations in 2012, with each breaking its previous fundraising record.... [At Princeton] more than 8,000 volunteers worked phone banks, sent flyers and met with potential givers over the course of five years, bringing in donations from 65,120 alumni."
--Times of Trenton

Hey Buddy,

How's it going? Long time, no speak, classmate! I'm sorry to be so slow in responding to your last e-mail -- the week-five reading assignment for Economics 102 is pages 236-248.

Your Pal


I'm sorry -- I think you may have sent this e-mail to the wrong person. I haven't taken an economics class since 1999.


Haha, friend-- you were always such a jokester! Of course you took an economics class in 1999 -- I was in your class! I'm just saying that I'm sorry it has taken me so long to write back to your e-mail about the reading assignment! But just in case you were still looking for that information, I thought I would let you know! Glad that e-mail address still works! I was just thinking about you the other day and wanted to reach out and say hello. Can you believe it's our 10th reunion year? It's been so long -- are you still interested in macroeconomics?

Go Tigers!
Your Amigo


Uh, no, I'm not still interested in macroeconomics. What are you e-mailing me for? I barely even recognize your name.


You crack me up, old pal! I just happened to be thinking about you the other day and wanted to catch up! What have you been doing these past ten years? Where are you living? Do you have a family? Have you given yet to the class fundraising drive? So many questions, friend -- can I give you a call sometime? What's your number?

With fondness,
Friend O' Mine


No, you can't give me a call. Last thing I remember about you is when you knocked on my door, drunk, begging me to vote for you in some sort of student government election. We weren't friends -- what do you want?


Oh, what memories! That really brings me back, hombre. I was telling my wife all about you the other day. (You know I got married, right? Small wedding, otherwise we would have loved to have you there!) She couldn't believe all my stories about us -- that time we both did the reading for our Economics class, that time we both took that Economics exam, that time we got our transcripts and both had grades in Economics. Oh, man, it cracks me up. She imagined you'd be exactly the kind of friend who would be amazingly generous to the alumni giving campaign. Have you given yet? Just curious -- not at all in my role as head of the fundraising committee for our class, but as your friend. You sure I can't give you a call? Maybe swing by for brunch?

See you soon,


No, we are not having brunch. I haven't given any money, no -- I'm still paying off my student loans. I don't know why you're pretending we're friends, but please take me off whatever list I'm on and stop contacting me.


Wow, you were always a little paranoid, friend -- you're not on any list, and, according to our records, you're actually delinquent on those loans. A fact I wouldn't want to see come out as we put together our awesome 10th anniversary yearbook, paid for by funds from generous classmates like you. I hear that the head of the fundraising committee is planning to include some crazy photos of everyone who doesn't donate. Just letting you know, buddy. Hey, I've got an extra spot in the car for a camping trip with some old pals this weekend -- you want to come? Let me know.

You rock,
Your Best Bud


I'm not going camping with you -- I barely even know you. And I have no idea what kind of photos you're talking about, but I'm really not concerned. I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to donate to the class this year, good luck with the fundraising, and please stop e-mailing me.


Of course -- why would I keep e-mailing you when I'm right outside? I know you can afford to give something to the class -- that's a beautiful ottoman you've got. I just want to reconnect, remember old times, and -- Oh, the photos -- you know, sophomore year, fraternity initiations? It's amazing what people can do with Photoshop these days, that's all I'm saying. Look, pal, I just think it's a shame when people have a grand old time at college and then don't give back -- especially when they pretend on their resume that they graduated with honors and it's part of what gets them their job over at 1462 North Salem Boulevard, Suite 627. As your friend, I just want to save you from yourself, and I think I'm going to have to clue your boss in, unless of course you can prove that you have the kind of school spirit I've always known you do.

Did you know you can donate online??!

I can see you,
Your BFF


Okay, whatever, you win. I'll give $20 on the website -- just leave before I call the police. Happy now?


Thrilled, mate! And, you know, it's never too early to start thinking about our 15th reunion -- perhaps you can start planning for a more substantial gift. I've put a reminder in my calendar to check back with you, and to send that e-mail exchange about your pretend honors to the entire class, depending on your participation in our future campaigns. That's not a threat, friend -- you know why? Because I can tell you've truly rediscovered the old "Rah, Rah! Sis, Boom, Bah!" and can't wait to put your name on a plaque in the brand new student center.

Take care -- my wife sends her best, my kids can't wait to meet you, and I've still got my eye on that ottoman of yours!

Turn around slowly...


2013 Ebook Preview

"Less than two months after the 2012 election, political mavens are already afflicted with eye-glaze from absorbing the initial spate of ebooks and now-it-can-be-told campaign retrospectives." --Columbia Journalism Review, 1/4/13




January 22 -- "Inside The Inauguration," an exhaustive, insider'sl ook at Barack Obama's second Presidential inauguration, set to be published just twenty-four hours after the President takes the oath of office.  Featuring almost twenty-four hours of interviews with some of the key players, as well as more than seven minutes of writing and editing, this eBook promises to be the most complete account of the inauguration published that Tuesday. The book will feature rare perspective from historians who were alive at the time of the event, as well as complete video footage of President Obama preparing to give his inaugural address (the actual address will only be available in the book's revised edition, to be published six hours after the initial release).


February 3 -- "Inside the 'Inside The Inauguration' eBook: The Behind-The-Scenes Story," taking you minute-by-minute into the     writing of the "Inside The Inauguration" eBook, and the aftermath of its publication. Learn how the book was conceived, written and published, all before the ink was dry on the only piece of real paper still being used by anyone.  By literally embedding themselves inside the podium where Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath of office, the writers of the book will be able to gain first access to the sound of the words, and thus, by mere fractions of a moment, release the most immediate account of what happens.


March 19 -- "Inventing an eReader Fast Enough to Handle the Speed of the Publishing of the 'Inside the 'Inside The Inauguration' eBook' -- The Inside Scoop," an action-packed ride through the development of eReader technology advanced enough to allow the "Inside the 'Inside The Inauguration'" eBook to be purchased and downloaded before it is even written. With exclusive access to the scientists behind the latest in eBook development, you will learn how ideas are now being beamed directly into the minds of readers without requiring the time-intensive processes of writing, editing, or even reading. (This eBook is also available in cheese-flavored and hybrid electric editions.)


June 27 -- "The Next Presidential Inauguration: What Will Have Happened," a page-scroller that takes you into a future that will have not yet taken place... but that won't stop the writers of this eBook from being first to get the story. In order to get this book to market as quickly as possible, it has already been released, and the contents of it wiped from the memories of all who had the chance to read it, so as not to destroy the space-time continuum and unalterably change the future. The eBook is an invaluable guide to understanding what is to come, with reflections and insight from a number of commentators who will not even be born by the time the next inauguration takes place.


July 14 -- "2013 eBook Preview: Six-Month Anniversary Edition," a commemorative eBook edition of this very humor piece, revised and expanded from its original form, with additional content, new listings, and never-before-seen photos of eBooks in a number of exciting locations.  Now in its thirteenth edition, you may also purchase this book yesterday, or twenty years ago, before the first eBook was ever published. Now in its fourteenth edition. Fifteenth.


Jeremy Blachman is working to develop robots that can write humor pieces. Read some of their work at jeremyblachman.com.


Zystchjistan: Golden Opportunities for Investor

Hello, Americans! That's what we say here on Zyscthjistan Avenue, the main boulevard of our newly refurbished capital city, Plink. We usually must have to say it to each other, because there are still, without explanation, not enough Americans trodding our streets and investing in our recently discovered and very rich mining operations for jejunium, the now discovered last year new element that has rapidly stepped into having such a vital role in the manufacturing process of making those certain high-ended digital devices.

The time of now is upon us and American dollar bills cash can become millions swiftly!

A mine in the rural village of Umnmnmw has produced upwards of 75-degrees of money daily! And that mine is a scant 1,099 horses deep! Using money we can buy state-of-the-government technology and can mine deeper and get even better, purer, more flavorful jejunium!

What a great time to have money and give it to us!!!

As you are aware, history has been unkind to our land. The economy suffered sincerely after the great air flood took our water in 1957*.

*Metric years


Bad politics and intelligent brides also wreaked havoc on our land, leaving us with little opportunity for growth and cinema. But in the last decade, scientist and man Tuljkk Vletij Miller discovered that jejunium can be used to make the pocket TVs that are popular today and tomorrow amongst the youths of people.

Now you can become part of the cash ka-boom!

An investment of only 34-degrees money will yield a return of 90! That math doesn’t lie because it cannot.

Your money will directly flow into our mining, refining, shipping, and legal hotels. Within a matter of time, you will see profits rise and rise like an air boat!

We invite you to come to Zystchjistan and see our operations first-hand! You will marvel at our facilities and world class ceilings! Enjoy spectating our national sport of Tournament Yoga. Visit one of our famous painting and sculpture zoos! Eat! And if you are old or pained, visit our electronic doctor’s office!

Here in our country you will see all that we offer. If our mining brings fright to you, there are other investments for your money! Many!

Due to tax proclamations, those wishing to open dental offices are tax exempt for life, as dental work is believed to be mild sorcery and our government wants no part of that evil money. Those savings are passed on to you and your fellow teeth wizards! Starting a clinic is easy and we already have plenty of desks and artificial metal!

Agricultural is very good here, as both rat wool and sour corn are chief exports! Investing in a farm is fast and we will personally handle all currency exchanges...late at night when dimwitted farmers are not paying close attention.

Our new shoe factory in the town of 83 will be up and running in a few months as soon as the curse is lifted, and beverage designer Spruce-Juice is opening a new plant that will make lavender soda and condensed celery water that is 79-percent potable! The newly registered town of James Bond is also offering huge discounts on barber shop licenses and to anyone good with folding.

New factories are popping up all over! And because our maps are only oral, zoning regulations are difficult to uphold in court! As are crimes!

For those with adventure in their hearts, why not invest in our mountains, where legend, and our constitution, says a witch will grant you nine wishes if you bring her fingers. By investing in our mountains, you can ensure the witch’s safety and double your money thanks to wishes and tourisms.

We also have a leading bio-optics facility and a trillion-dollar defense contract with nine different nations.

So act now, friend! Write us a money check or just send gift cards! And do not forget to like us on Facebook*!
*legally binding

We look forward to working at you!


Vlad Dalv Jr., Chief of Economics and Knots

Dan Bergstein is a Sub-Avatar of Jerome Lester Horwitz (Curly, of The Three Stooges).


July 24: On this day in 1725 John Newton, the slave trader-preacher who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace," was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).