Digging in the Back Yard
April 19, 2007 7:58 AM   Subscribe

via NucleophilicAttack
posted by Stynxno at 7:59 AM on April 19, 2007

Hey look! They published my letter!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:59 AM on April 19, 2007

this absolutely made my day, and I've had a bad enough 2 months for that to be very difficult.
posted by shmegegge at 8:04 AM on April 19, 2007

Harvey Rowe
posted by hermitosis at 8:05 AM on April 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

In my self-appointed role as Grammar Nazi (no need to thank me) I feel compelled to point out that this learned employee of the Smithsonian unfortunately seems to be unaware of the difference between "loath" and "loathe".

Please do not let this interfere with your enjoyment of this otherwise excellent post.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 8:07 AM on April 19, 2007

hermitosis - thanks for the link. This was really one of the funnier things I've ever read, even if it is not genuinely the work of the Smithsonian.
posted by docpops at 8:12 AM on April 19, 2007

"Australopithecus spiff-arino"..."Calms don't have teeth"...good lord my sides hurt from laughing!
posted by digiFramph at 8:15 AM on April 19, 2007

Yeah, it made me snort too. I wasn't trying to be Debbie Downer.
posted by hermitosis at 8:15 AM on April 19, 2007

You know, I think it would really make me happy if someone were to patronize me just like this.
posted by PhatLobley at 8:16 AM on April 19, 2007

Laughed meself to tears. Most excellent post!
posted by puddinghead at 8:21 AM on April 19, 2007

"Yours in Science," is how all scientists should be legally required to sign all of their correspondence.
posted by ND¢ at 8:21 AM on April 19, 2007 [10 favorites]

Any signs of lice?
posted by srboisvert at 8:22 AM on April 19, 2007

Also that letter, at the ripe old age of thirteen, is older than most Mefites.
posted by ND¢ at 8:24 AM on April 19, 2007

circulating since: 1994
posted by gleuschk at 8:25 AM on April 19, 2007

It's amusing, but it's a spoof, documented here
and here.
posted by nkknkk at 8:25 AM on April 19, 2007

rassin'-frassin' ND¢!
posted by gleuschk at 8:26 AM on April 19, 2007

Harvey Rowe
posted by hermitosis

Fake, then.
posted by LarryC at 8:27 AM on April 19, 2007

why I love metafilter, by shmegegge:

because i get to read 13 year old funny, and then have someone tell me where it comes from, and it's still just as funny.
posted by shmegegge at 8:29 AM on April 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

It's rare that something online literally makes me laugh out loud. Enjoyment, a smile, a smirk, a small chuckle, yes. The last time I laughed this hard was at the "Triumph vs. Star Wars nerds" video a few years ago.

Thanks, Internet :)
posted by bullitt 5 at 8:31 AM on April 19, 2007

Hermitosis beat me to it! Yep, sorry... fake.

Q   "Many people have speculated about the story being based on some real life news stories that appeared in print in various cities over a number of years. Were you inspired by any particular story?"

A   "No, it was all totally fabricated. Sometimes I get an idea and things just flow like that."
posted by miss lynnster at 8:31 AM on April 19, 2007

But yep, it's still funny.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:32 AM on April 19, 2007

I saw this about when it first came out. Still funny, but I'm a little sad it isn't "real". Oh well...
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:35 AM on April 19, 2007

No way is this a hoax.
posted by Rumple at 8:50 AM on April 19, 2007

Very funny.... I collapsed in laughter at "Clams don't have teeth". Even if it's not real, I guess I can always pretend it is.
posted by crackingdes at 8:54 AM on April 19, 2007

That was delicious.
posted by OmieWise at 8:59 AM on April 19, 2007

Jesus Stynxno, what's next, coke can dissolve a tooth? Snopes is your friend.

Send these to your grandmother.
posted by gtr at 9:04 AM on April 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm not going to read the link that hermitosis posted. I prefer to continue to believe that the letter is real.
posted by amro at 9:05 AM on April 19, 2007

What a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Thanks Stynxno!

P.S. Don't let the inevitable haters who are going to tell you this thing has been on the Internet longer than their teenage child has been on the planet get you down.
posted by mrmojoflying at 9:10 AM on April 19, 2007

Sort of reminds me of those Ted Nancy letters that were popular about 10 years ago.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 9:12 AM on April 19, 2007

Jesus Stynxno, what's next, coke can dissolve a tooth? Snopes is your friend.

Send these to your grandmother.

my work is done.
posted by Stynxno at 9:21 AM on April 19, 2007

That fun little place should be as careful with its executives as they are seemingly with the public

posted by Postroad at 9:25 AM on April 19, 2007

Odd how things like this move in cycles. As noted, this has been around for a while. Yesterday a friend sent it to me through StumbleUpon and now it's here.

Funny as hell, though. Not dissing the post.
posted by brundlefly at 9:27 AM on April 19, 2007

posted by Krrrlson at 9:35 AM on April 19, 2007

Postroad's link here. What is with these guys and their private jets?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:38 AM on April 19, 2007

"ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams"! Magnificent! Wotta riot!
posted by Scoo at 9:44 AM on April 19, 2007

It's some bizarre skull!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:18 AM on April 19, 2007

Re: polite letters from the smithsonian, here's another one, from the director of the NMAI (the American Indian museum), in response to to this op-ed in the WaPo on 4/1/2007, here

The open letter:

Dear Sully,

I have just finished reading your piece in today's Washington Post entitled "Castle in Disrepair." While I fully subscribe to the need for courage and integrity in representaton and interpretation at the Smithsonian, because we have done it for a decade and a half at the National Museum of the American Indian, I find the very fundamentals of your altruistic "call to arms" undone completely by your often cheap, tasteless, and inaccurate shots at virtually everything on the Smithsonian horizon.

Specifically, your characterizations of the NMAI are misleading and incorrect to the point of negligence on your part. The NMAI has had a string of exhibits in both New York and Washington, including the present changing exhibit, "Identity by Design," that have received strong and favorable reviews in both "The Washington Post" and "The New York Times." And to quote visitor figures for an institution that has just recently opened, with the usual and elevated first rush of visitorship, as somehow descriptive of an adverse inherent trend - and your mathematics are faulty to begin with - is utterly disingenuous on your part.

My staff and I would have been happy to talk with you in advance of your piece to correct your material misperceptions, and I would be glad to now. But I doubt I will be hearing from you, frankly. Notwithstanding your lofty allusions to "integrity" and "courage," my suspicion is that you have little in these kinds of matters. Your professed high intentions are subverted by your real behavior, and your piece in the end becomes what it seems to be in significant part - the bitter and small natterings of a disgruntled former employee whose institutional tenure ultimately was undone by his own lack of competencies.

posted by Dr. Boom at 10:48 AM on April 19, 2007

Did I click on the Wayback machine?

I HATE people who chime in just to say "That's been around forever," so instead I'll just say... uh... hey funneeee!!! I had forgotten about that! Thanks!
posted by The Deej at 11:11 AM on April 19, 2007

I wrote it one day at the end of February, 1994. I emailed it to five or six friends. I knew Tucker was sending some of the stuff I wrote on to others but never anticipated anything like this.

Tucker sounds like kind of an ass.
posted by ken_zoan at 11:27 AM on April 19, 2007

I almost posted this, but then I remembered I first read it in green monochrome on a Timex Sinclair.
posted by loquacious at 12:43 PM on April 19, 2007

About the same time that this was being circulated, there was another one that was something like How to Make a Cheese Sandwich that was just hysterical. Now I have to go find it.
posted by dejah420 at 12:47 PM on April 19, 2007

Timex Sinclairs are for noobs! Pre-Timex Sinclair ZX to the motherfuckin' Aaay-tee, represent!

Your favorite cassette tape drive sucks.
posted by breezeway at 1:30 PM on April 19, 2007

Just imagine it's something that would be published by McSweeney's, if the authenticity of it prevents you from enjoying the piece.
posted by spiderskull at 4:04 PM on April 19, 2007

Dear Stynxo,

Thank you for your latest submission, post numbered 60426, title "Digging in the Back Yard." We have examined it carefully and must unfortunately disagree with your assertion that it represents "the Best of the Web." Rather, it appears that what you have discovered is a circulated email of considerable age.

It is evident that you have found great enjoyment in this link, and we assure you that there were many of us who have followed your contributions previously, and were not keen on having to let you down this way. However, there are a number of factors that we feel are too difficult to ignore, and which should have clued you in to the nature of this link:

1. It's damn funny.

2. um, there isn't a #2.

3. ???

4. profit!

Erm, wait. Right. So, um, it is with deepest regret that we must inform you that we are denying your request for sidebar status.

However, we eagerly await your next post, and are particularly interested in your theories on Nigerian scam emails and their true origins as poetry produced by toads in response to the El Niño event.

Yours in linkage,
posted by po at 5:25 PM on April 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

(This is hilarious. The above is not intended as an insult to the poster, &c.)
posted by po at 5:25 PM on April 19, 2007

I for one, am not surprised that the Smithsonian dismissed this important find. Mainstream scientists are afraid of the truth!

Our intrepid archaologist should insist that his valuable specimen be returned to him so that he may submit his discovery to the Journal of Irreproducible Results, where it will (and possibly have already) be treated with all of the gravitas it deserves.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 6:25 PM on April 19, 2007

13 years old, but 2 million years awesome.
posted by lekvar at 7:56 PM on April 19, 2007

Quite possibly one of the very first things I ever read on the Internet, and decidedly still the funniest.
posted by briank at 11:15 AM on April 20, 2007

Agreed. There might be a rival for the top spot though.
posted by sneebler at 10:58 AM on April 21, 2007

Ah...I've found it...The Complete and Utter Idiot's Guide to Making a Baloney sandwich. Ah, brunching shuttlecock...you are still sorely missed.
posted by dejah420 at 4:50 PM on April 21, 2007

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