"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
I'm sure we can work out the details of self-service, full service, mini service, and who's responsible for changing that disgusting water in the windshield-cleaning station. And I think the credit card situation can easily be resolved by simply enlarging the new one to the size of, say, a postcard. This will provide plenty of room on the back to list the logos of our countless Canadian subsidiaries. But now I must address a real sticking point in our merger, and a real obstacle to the smooth operation of the company: parking. You've secured numerous convenient spots for your crude-oil tankers, while making no provision whatsoever for ours. "Find the nearest reef" is not acceptable, and it's not funny.
Unfortunately, I must insist on the company's continued support of PBS' Masterpiece Theater. I understand your reasoning when you say there's a more obvious affinity with The Electric Company. But there are several problems. First, in spite of your claims, the show doesn't really have anything at all to do with public utilities. Second, it's a show for children, who aren't a part of our core demographic until they're of age to either drive or invest. Lastly, the show is no longer in production. Thanks for understanding why we must presently stay the course in this somewhat narrow media-purchasing lane.
Since the acquisition, it's come to my attention that some of our American friends still refer to German automobiles as "krautburners." Of course this must stop. I feel compelled to point out that sauerkraut produces very little gas when properly prepared in the traditional Bavarian manner. On the other hand, the flatulence elicited by American beer is renowned throughout the world. But I digress. I also want to let you know that the new American ad campaign is on hold. "This is not your Führer's Oldsmobile," is not exactly what we had in mind, and we understand GM isn't happy about it either.
We're excited by the new line of automobiles planned for stateside next year, but there seems to be a misunderstanding. When we suggested a car that "engendered the romance, the elan, the Weltanschauung of Vienna" - a Continental New Yorker, as it were - we couldn't have foreseen "the Dodge Wiener." While we understand Wiener means "citizen of Vienna" in German, it won't work in English, if for no other reason than the fact that it will inevitably lead to litigation by the Oscar Mayer Company, who already owns and operates such a vehicle in this country. I'm afraid "The Dodge Wurst" isn't really an option either. Since we seem to be sprechen past each other on this, please give me a call as soon as you can.
Meine Random House,
Wilkommen to Bertelsmann! We are sehr excited about the merger and wish to assure Sie that there is no cause for undue schmerz. Indeed, the fact that a Deutsche publishing concern is now the largest publisher in the Englische language -- well, to use the clever street idiom of our new Afrikan-Amerikan friends, "ain't nothin' but a ding!" Please be advised, though, that your imprint will immediately be changed to Random Haus.
We're afraid your efforts to singlehandedly force the umlaut into the English language are meeting with some resistance, and frankly it's harming our reputation everywhere, with the possible exception of the heavy-metal music community. Yes, Ben Franklin considered German as a possible national language. But he also wanted to see the turkey as the national bird. Also, we don't think the lederhosen are going over too big with the middle management.
Dear America Online,
Thanks for the holiday bonus. But money is no substitute for the suave sophistication of Silicon Valley, and if you don't pick up those Odwalla and Nerf contracts from OfficeMax pretty soon, I'm afraid there's going to be mass mutiny here. Unfortunately, we never anticipated that our commitment to open standards would stoop so low as to include being acquired by you, so things are pretty crazy right now.
Let's talk soon.
You say disk, I say diskette - let's call the whole thing off. Ha-ha-ha. Seriously, though, the "I'm With Stupid T-shirt" was cute during the first and second quarters, but it seems to have become your de facto office uniform. Normally, I wouldn't interfere, but the SEC has been calling, asking for a formal filing of the statement as a potential market mover, so I guess that pretty much settles it. As long as we're on the subject of dress codes, I'm sorry I have to remind you that tattoos, no matter how ornate, are not an adequate substitute for shirts with full-length sleeves and a collar. Unless this situation is attended to immediately, I regret to say that some of AOL's extended family will be SOL, if you follow my meaning.
It has come to our attention that you were a part of the Wired Digital transaction a few months ago. Please think of us as your financially pressed, somewhat cranky uncle in the East. (We're not, but please think of us that way.) It's probably in everyone's best interests to keep this new filial relationship as low profile as possible. We won't tell anyone if you don't.
Thank you, and congratulations on your shrewd purchase of this prestigious, content-based Web site! As you may know, Internet publishing can often be hazardous, occasionally fatal, and quite frequently stupid. Please keep away from all moving parts, never leave children unattended, light the fuse and get away fast, don't drop the soap, etc.
courtesy of E. L. Skinner