Dear Mr. Plunkitt—
Regarding application #84028-G, nonprofit status request for The American Spectator magazine and educational foundation, established in 1967: Please excuse the delay, caused by a rapid increase in applications during the recent hostilities in Vietnam. We have cleared the backlog and are ready to process your request. Please answer the following additional questions:
• Explain in detail your organization’s name. What activities do you spectate? Note that 18 USC § 1801 bars voyeurism.
• Describe your relationship with the Tea Party and its putative leader, Mr. T.
• Detail the contents of any prayers given at official events. For each, specify the god to which the plea is directed. If this includes any nontraditional beings (e.g. Quetzalcoatl, Fenrir, Samantabhadra, Anubis, L. Ron Hubbard), a 1217-B form, Declaration of Alternative Deity, will be required.
• Specify which you would rather eat: a gallon of haggis, to be sucked entirely through a drinking straw, or a stale, unwrapped ham sandwich pulled from a dumpster behind a Bogotá strip club? Provide answers for each member of your board of directors.
• Choose which you would rather battle in gladiatorial combat: 100 vicious chipmunks, or a giant, angry chicken the size of a VW bus?
Per IRS regulation, your answers must be stated in Esperanto, Klingon, or a language entirely of your own invention. The number of copies required is equal to the number of alien spaceships housed in Roswell, N.M.
IRS Office of Exempt Organizations
P.S. Good luck, suckers.
Dear Nameless, Faceless IRS Functionary, Acting Alone and Certainly Without Authorization From Management—
We are in the process of preparing answers to these questions. One important request for clarification: Have these vicious chipmunks been trained to fight as a group? Can they communicate to plan and coordinate their attacks? Or are they simply 100 individuals running amok? Our response hinges on this point.
Also, please remember to leave a forwarding address, otherwise we will not know whether to direct our application to Folsom or Sing Sing.
Hi! it’s me again.
I’ve done some thinking, and I take your point (“The Bootblack Stand,” TAS, June 2013) that my 2016 presidential campaign needs substance, not just flash. The election will take place right before my 74th birthday, and though some might see my age as a detriment, I’m hoping to turn it into an asset. (They say that 80 is the new 40, right?)
Picture a campaign with this tagline: Joe Biden: He’s been around the block. I could grow an imperial mustache and ride around on one of those pennyfarthing bicycles. Or perhaps the slogan: It ain’t Joe’s first rodeo. Maybe in the TV ad I put on a 10-gallon hat before I lasso and hogtie an Ahmadinejad lookalike. Does that sound like a winner, George? Pennyfarthing for your thoughts?
Joseph R. Biden
Mr. Vice President—
It’s a step in the right direction, but making your age an issue does open you up to attack. Hillary Clinton is sure to reprise her famous 2008 ad campaign: “It’s 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep. But there’s a phone in the White House, and it’s ringing….Your vote will decide who answers that call.”
Face it, by 3 a.m., you’ve already been snoring for six hours. According to your official schedule, last Thursday you had a late afternoon appointment with a senior special at a Delaware Waffle House, you read some memos and played a couple rounds of shufflepuck with the Doc, and it was lights out by eight.
Maybe it’s time to think about retiring. Relax for once, and do the things you’ve always wanted. Follow along with Oprah’s book club. Take that synchronized swimming class you’re always talking about. Buy a chain of discount laundromats. Life’s bigger than politics, you know. —GWP
I’m spending this summer as an intern on Capitol Hill, but I’m worried about crime. I grew up on a butternut squash farm in north South Dakota, so I don’t really know how to navigate city life. Every day, I hear about horrendous violence on the news. Last week near the intersection of 26th Street and Woodley Road, I witnessed two homeless men knife fighting over a Tootsie Pop—and it wasn’t even a good flavor!
I’m only 4’11”, and I’m scared that next time, I’ll be the tootsie. Help!
Self-defense is difficult here due to strict gun laws. I’ll tell you the same thing I told my own daughters: Get a mace.
No, not a can of Mace. What good will a squirt bottle full of Tabasco sauce do? Washingtonians long ago ceased to feel pain. I mean an actual mace. Preferably flanged, probably a six or seven pounder. Wander around with a wicked-looking bludgeon over your shoulder, and ne’er-do-wells will toe the line. Sure, there are other options. But you’d need experience to wield a flail or morning star, and you’re probably too small for a glaive or halberd. Do you know a reputable smithy? —GWP