Welcome to Friday. Today’s lost mail appears to be a rejection letter for a manuscript. I don’t see what their problem is. Seems like a perfectly reasonable manuscript to me. Mind you, I’ve been watching a lot of History Channel lately, so I may be fact-biased on Fridays.

Here we go…

From: Chamomile Fernbutter
Idol Hands Publishing, NY, NY

To: Mr. Ishmael Ramsbutt
Doughkeepsie [sic], NJ

Dear Mr. Ramsbutt

Please find enclosed your manuscipt “Trivia For Really Smart People”. It does not, in any shape or form, suit our needs. The first ten pages caused three fact-checkers to quit. We have numerous problems with your “factual” trivia. Below are just a few notes:

  • Iggy Pop was not an original member of The Three Stooges
  • Neither baby shampoo nor baby oil are made from real babies.
  • As far as can determined, King Tut’s tomb has no heiroglyphics that translate to “Made in China.”
  • Erwin Schrödinger has never, to our knowledge, been investigated for animal cruelty.
  • While possibly the delusion of one specific person, in general cultural terms, the “Men in Black” legend does not suggest a secret society made up of Johnny Cash clones.
  • “Frankenstein”, of the novel, refers to the character of Victor Frankenstein, creator of the monster, and not to the dog. We don’t know how you came to your original conclusion. Baffling.
  • The Bible does not start with the phrase, “Let’s get ready to rumble!” If you have found a specific edition in which it does, you have failed to properly cite your source.
  • The Irish do not bleed green blood. We cannot decide if this was supposed to be racist or not. In either case, it’s pretty idiotic.
  • Francis Scott Key penned “The Star-Spangled Banner”, not “Ice, Ice, Baby”.
  • Speaking of which, Vanilla Ice was never taken seriously as an artist.
  • Swedish is not Norwegian spoken backwards.
  • Yodeling is not one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Liking something on Facebook is not considered one of the Seven Heavenly Virtues.
  • The whole bit about cats having nine lives is not literally true. 
  • “Sean Hannity” is not an anagram for “total and complete bastard”. In this case, we can kind of understand the confusion. Perhaps you meant that it’s a ‘simile for’.

And finally…

  • “Happy thoughts” are not a critical factor in the workings of aerodynamics.

Given the above, we cannot, in good conscience, continue reviewing your manuscript for potential publication. We suspect the following 634 pages are similar in content. Frankly, this whole thing has been a disturbing waste of time on everyone’s part. We were going to fire the editor who allowed the manuscript to get this far, but when we went to his office, he was mysteriously absent but the office was filled with suspicious looking meat pies. The editor has, thus far, not been found. We have contacted the police. Do not be surprised if they contact you. We have given them your contact information.

Please do not reply to this mail. Ever.

Best of luck (not really),

Chamomile Fernbutter
Senior Editor
Idol Hands Publishing, NY, NY


And it’s Friday. I’ve just finished putting together the first draft of Directory of World Cinema: Russia 2, and am getting back to finishing a trivia book on comedians, a book on Ted Healy, a book on John Huston, and some edits to a book about Canada. O Canada.

And then it’s on to some Merry Blacksmith work–both in books and painting. This may all extend into the weekend. Sobeit.