Sunday, April 20, 2008


No fake letter today. Here it is, plain and simple: Wendy, you should never have introduced wraps to the menu. First of all, my preliminary research (and by research, I mean I tried to remember) shows that in fashion and in food, the wrap has been irrelevant since 2005.

Secondly, contrary to popular belief (and by popular belief, I mean your silly new commercials) wraps are not less messy than sandwiches. They are not more ideal for people on the go. They're just an excuse to eat a burrito when you don't have a taste for Mexican.

Finally, the wrap is a flimsy sissy slap to the face of the menu choice that has made your establishment great: the sandwich.

So here is my advice to you: no more wraps. Bring back the monthly rotation of mouthwatering specialty sandwiches. The chicken cordon bleu. The monterey ranch chicken club. The chicken parmesan . . . dear me, that was the perfect sandwich. For the better part of a year you gave me a reason to come back again and again by offering a limited-time-only sandwich I simply had to have. Wraps? Wraps? There's not even bread on that. Dave would be ashamed of you.

Oh, and you should have given Michael Scott a chance. You two would have been cute.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tom Hanks

Dear Adam,

I haven't won an Oscar in a long time. I've tried everything. I'm a really good actor, and I've been in a LOT of really good movies. What does a guy have to do to get a third statuette? I'd appreciate whatever advice you could give me. Thanks,

T. Hanks (yeah, I know, my first initial and last name spell "Thanks." Brilliant observation, Advice Guy. Sheesh.)


Whoa, dude, back off on the parenthetical sarcasm. I'm here to help. The reason you aren't getting a chance to pull any acceptance speeches out of your tuxedo jacket is simple: you've become predictable. You keep making these mega-popular, critically acclaimed movies. If you want to say hello to Oscar one more time, you've got to take the role no one is expecting (or even wanting) you to make:

Turner and Hooch II. Seriously, Tom, that movie is 15 years overdue.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Anybody Over the Age of 35 with a Good Idea or Two

Dear Adam,

I want to be President of the United States, but I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican. How do I get elected?

Partied-out in Pittsburgh

Dear P-O'ed,

If you really have ideas that will work in the White House, people will believe in you when they hear them. The good news is, you can spread the word to the entire world for practically no cost at all. You'll be in the oval office by 2012 (and maybe sooner) if you follow this simple advice (unless somebody else with better ideas and smarter execution beats you).

To start your silicon roots campaign. type up a concise, compelling email that leads with your best idea to solve the nastiest problem. Conclude with the statement that when you become president, you'll fix this nasty problem and more. Ask the person to forward this email to anyone who cares about America. Send the email to everyone you know.

Then videotape a statement that says exactly the same thing. Load it onto YouTube. Send another email with a link to your YouTube video. Wait four weeks. Repeat the process, replacing your best idea with your second best idea.

Once your YouTube views start elevating into the mega-thousands, do all the other things like setting up a Web site, blog, and asking people for money. At that point, you'll know what to do. If your ideas are good enough, you can start now and get elected in November. Just register with all the states that allow it as a write-in candidate, and you could be the next president.

Here's the secret. Tell everybody between the ages of 18 and 25 that the other candidates think they're idiots whose votes don't matter. Tell people who vote for American Idol that the government is scared to death that they'll vote. Tell beer-drinking wrestling fans that the candidates are praying they're too drunk and too lazy to get off their butts and show up at the polls. Tell everyone who is currently not planning on voting (most people) that this is the vote that will count. Tell them whatever you want.

And welcome to the White House.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Rock Bands

Dear Adam,

We rock. At least, we rocked. It used to be so easy. We've seen a million faces, and, you know, we rocked 'em all. But that was the first half of our Behind the Music story. Now, the faces we see don't look rocked, just . . . mildly amused. People still buy our albums out of habit, but nobody talks about them. If we were a tv show, we'd be the last episode of Seinfeld. What gives? How do we rock again?

Rockin' 5 years ago in Seattle

Dear No Longer Rockin',

I'll tell you what happened: you came out with a frivolous "Best of" album. Shame on you. As soon as you start making mixed CDs of your own songs and selling them as new products, you have officially, blatantly, and publicly called it quits as an artist. You've told the rockin' world that not only have you arrived, but you have also collected your trophy and made your acceptance speech. You can't possibly expect us to believe you're still serious about creating new music when you're banking on the hopes people will buy your old music with a new cover and all the personally meaningful songs taken out of the mix. You are the definition of a sellout.

Now, I have friends who say the problem is when you start recording movie soundtrack hits for a living, especially if the movie is animated, and unquestionably if it's a Disney movie. But I point to the Greatest Hits that never should have been. Here's my advice to all you still-rockin' bands. And if you used to rock, adhere to these rules from this point on, and you might rock once more:

1. Never put together a Greatest Hits album unless you have recorded at least 7 studio albums (5 if they were all critically acclaimed but made you no money).

2. It's preferable to delay any "Best of" release until people who are just now becoming interested in your music were not born when you started making it.

3. Only one live album per decade. After the first one, it's like your selling video tapes of your dates. It's just not cool.

4. Don't ever sing about how hard it is to be rich and famous unless your audience is made up entirely of rich and famous people.

5. It's okay if you grow up and your music grows along with you.

6. When you're done making genuine music, stop making music.

7. Don't start being obvious just because people didn't get the point when you were artistically vague.

8. If you're done singing about your own problems, sing about someone else's.

9. Start a new band. Nothing rejuvenates a career like forming a band just because you can. There are other musicians in the world. Give your ego a rest and start making some music.

10. Have fun.

And . . . thanks for asking.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Customer Service Departments

Dear Adam,

I noticed strange characters appearing in speech bubbles above your head. You know, the ones that appear when you hold down the shift key and push numbers: !@#$%. What gives? Is there anything I can do to improve your experience?

CS Agents, Everywhere

Dear CSAEs,

I'm sorry you misinterpreted my actions. Muttering under my breath is my way of saying, "Thank you," for acting like you were doing me a favor just by coming out to the actual customer service desk. It's my way of saying, "Nicely put," because I'm just so impressed with the witty repartee you've got going with your friend on the phone. Muffled curses are how I express my appreciation for trying to sell me every service your company offers while I'm trying to cancel the one lousy service I actually agreed to pay for in the first place. All of that is awesome. Normal letters don't capture my admiration for your knowledge of neither your company's products nor the English language. Only *&$^# can adequately state how valued I feel by the phone connection that is intelligible only when the world's cheesiest on-hold music is playing. I can't tell you how much I hate being treated like a human being; you never let me down.

So, my advice to you? Since you asked (not), just keep doing what you're doing . . . and enjoy Circle 5.