January 18, 2009

Exhibit 28: Fan letter received by Radiohead, 2001

January 21, 2001

Radio Head Fan Club
London, England*

Dear Radio Head,

How ya doin'? I just wanted to drop you a note to tell you I still think your band is awesome, even though you couldn't play my inauguration last night.

I've loved your band ever since 1994, when I had Pebble Honey played over the loudspeaker at the Texas Rangers' batting practice. I figured it would help out our players with their self-empowering. Unfortunately as you'll recall that season was cut short by a strike, but the Rangers finished first in their division despite being 10 games under .500. I guess you could say we really "Creeped" up on the rest of the American League! Heh!

(If you're confused, since I know you're over there in England: Baseball is a lot like cricket except the pants are less sissy.)

Anyways, no hard feelings over your refusal to play my inauguration. After listening to "The National Anthem" from your new album Kid A, I thought it would really pump up the British ambassador to hear your set, right between Clint Black and the Beach Boys. (By the way, your tour manager was right – Mike Love is one Alamo-sized asshole. I don't care if we agree about politics.) I understand the technical details of your music might have made it impossible for you to play. I guess I don't follow much in the way of music technology today. I still get off on good old roadhouse classic rock, you know? Give me a sombrero and a kick-ass Doobie Brothers cover band and I'll be happier than a mental patient on furlough until the cops force me home!

You guys mind if I call your lead singer "Pippy"? I would call him "Yorkie" but I'm afraid that'd confuse my dogs.

Well, one final thing – you don't have to feel bad about not playing my inauguration, because I am starting right now to book my outgoing party, which'll be on January 19, 2009. The theme will be "Bye Bye Bush – 8 Years of Awesome." I'm thinkin' since we'll have experienced eight years of unbridled peace and prosperity, just about every ol' coot in the world of music will want to saddle up for this shindig. We're gonna take DC by storm, so consider yourselves invited, pancholitos!

I've already written letters to other folks askin' them to play: like the Judds, C&C Music Factory, Paul Anka, Richard Wagner, and some guy my National Security Advisor loves named Nick Drake. I'm thinkin' of having Beck come and do a new version of "Loser." I even wrote the chorus for him – "I'm a winner, baby/So let's be real positive." (Let me know if you get stuck on lyrics for your next album. I got whole shoeboxes full of notes.)

I realize there'll be a new Presidential inauguration goin' on the day afterwards, but I'm banking that folks are still going to be in total marvel about how awesome the previous eight years were. In the face of that, c'mon -- how historic could the new president in 2009 be?

Anyway, I gotta run. My Secretary of Defense is comin' over to show me how the remote control in the bedroom works. I'm afraid if I push the wrong button it could start a nucular war, like in that Matthew Broderick movie with the goth girl from Breakfast Club.

Stay cool, stay in school!


George W. Bush
United States of America

(*Full address, as written on the envelope.)

January 13, 2009

Exhibit 27: Letter From San Francisco City Manager to Thomas-Slick-Marconi Construction, 1989

October 23, 1989

Bernie Martin Lambert-Wolf
Thomas-Slick-Marconi Construction
2401 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94118


Dear Mr. Lambert-Wolf,

In last Tuesday's unfortunate Loma Prieta earthquake, several properties constructed via contracts with your company were heavily and fatally damaged. The most serious damage was sustained by buildings which were erected with shabby foundations, especially those which were built on rock and roll.

Although we respect your company's long history and legacy in the Bay Area, we have privately questioned whether your company's decision to build this city on rock and roll was a sound one. Our own seismological reviews, conducted post-mortem, support our hypothesis that buildings which were built with more traditional (if less exotic) foundations withstood structural trauma much more effectively than buildings which were erected on music genres.

For example, many of the buildings which were built on just rock alone came out fine – admirably, in fact. But most buildings that were built on rock intermingled with the roll component simply collapsed into rubble. In terms of property loss, the devastation was nearly as wide as Hurricane Skip, which destroyed hundreds of Florida homes that were built on freeform jazz.

Of painful loss to us is the Balin-Chaquico Law Enforcement Training Facility in the Mission District, a historic complex known for the frieze of policemen employing chokeholds running across the perimeter of the building. Additionally, the indoor flooding at the Exploratorium science museum left several tourists, employees and schoolchildren knee-deep in hoopla.

Our team of adjusters and assessors is completing a full investigation as to the financial damage of properties constructed by TSM, after which we hope our respective attorneys can peaceably reach a settlement. Please notify your legal department of this pending situation.

On a personal note, my husband Burt wishes to thank Mr. Marconi for his offer of free mamba lessons. For obvious reasons he cannot take advantage of Mr. Marconi's invitation at this time.


Paula Kantner
City Manager
City of San Francisco

January 6, 2009

Explanation About the Fire and Subsequent Temporary Closure of the Museum

Dear Patrons,

As you have no doubt already noticed, the Museum Of Pop Archaeology has displayed no new online exhibits since August 20, 2008, and the Museum itself has been shut down since August 29. Such periods of dormancy are highly undesirable in the mercurial field of cultural anthropology, and we regret our inability to communicate our status to you during that time. Although the doors of the Museum were thrown back open at the onset of the new year, we recognize the many questions donors and patrons may have regarding the reason for the Museum's absence.

With all legal proceedings in this matter completed, we are now free to discuss the rather dubious event and actions which resulted in our temporary closure. The Board Of Directors has graciously allowed me to relate what happened in this forum.

It should first be explained that the usual policy of the Museum is not to take a position or get involved in political campaigns or issues of state. The ethical reasons for this policy should be obvious; as a publicly owned entity the Museum can ill afford to risk the appearance of favoring one side of a partisan government over the other. We have very infrequently leased our premises in Seattle for fundraising by some third-party candidates whose positions encompass all or no points of view, and have only done so with the assurance of campaign staffers and consultants that the candidates the Museum endorsed stood virtually no chance of winning.

The Museum did, nonetheless, consent to the rental of our premises for a campaign fundraiser in August, specifically for a candidate for the position of Senator from the state of Minnesota. As you may have heard in the media, this race came down to a virtual photo-finish between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman.

The Museum, however, endorsed the very peripheral senatorial campaign of Stevie Dash, the Reform Party candidate. Mr. Dash was a classic Minnesota Reform Party choice: a smart, articulate, slightly askew 19-year-old extreme sports athlete who favors unitards and tastefully applied plumage. Dash won our affections with his traveling the entire state of Minnesota on his snowboard (not an easy feat in the middle of summer), his folksy wisdom, his layered haircut and his campaign slogan "No Harshed Mellows For Minnesota, Dude."

Mr. Dash's staff inquired whether the Museum would be interested in hosting a fundraising gala, and perhaps without due thinking process, we agreed. The party's theme was "Lots Of Things Occur On A More Or Less Daily Basis in Minnesota," and as such we decided to pay homage to the character and identity of the North Star State. The fundraiser was held on August 29, with Mr. Dash, his endurance coach and his fiancee in attendance, with over 200 other guests.

The accident of the evening was food-related, which comes as a personal blow to us since the Museum prides itself on sanitary and safe food preparation. We decided to hire a caterer, who we have very reluctantly agreed not to name, and charged him with the task of developing dishes that conveyed the Minnesotan spirit and theme.

Furthermore, we advised the caterer that since the Museum is music-related, his dishes might do well as tributes to famous Minnesota musicians. For the most part, the concept was a solid one, featuring these items on the menu:
  • Soul Asylum Clam Dip

  • Vixen "Edge Of An Onion Tart"

  • Bob Dylan Duluth Dogs (served cold)

  • Hüsker Fondüe (barely melted slabs of cheese and sides of beef served in a very thin kick drum)

  • The Time Chili Sauce (served in Morris Day's navel)

  • The Replacements Delight (a wedding cake that had been accidentally stepped on)

In retrospect, this menu now seems perfectly sufficient, and we remorsefully wish we had halted the brainstorming session at that point.

Unfortunately, someone (currently on extended leave) suggested we include a dessert called Raspberry Brûlée, which proved our downfall. The dish, simply described, was a standard serving of crème brûlée with raspberry-infused custard, with the top crust scorched with fire from a propane blow torch, the typical final step in making crème brûlée.

An employee of the Museum mailroom who happened to be a Minneapolis native overheard our plans and informed the Board Of Directors that he would be able to procure one of the electric guitars used by musician Prince during his Purple Rain tour, shown here:

This particular guitar was modified with a small irrigation system. The neck of the guitar was fitted with a tube that stretched from the body to the end of the head that housed the tuning pegs. In the base of the guitar was a small reservoir of water. In performance, during the climactic moment of "Let's Go Crazy," Mr. Prince activated a thrusting device which shot a stream of water from the guitar's head into the front rows of the audience. The action was widely perceived as a simulation of the act of male ejaculation, a reflection of Mr. Prince's sexually charged nature of the time which has since passed.

The mailroom employee suggested the Museum obtain one of these guitars, which had been in storage, and retrofit the device to serve as a blowtorch for the final touch on the Raspberry Brûlée. The employee assured the Board that the guitar had not been used in any capacity since the Purple Rain tour in 1984-85.

However, our post-mortem private investigation into the guitar's history revealed the guitar had been used twice in the summer of 2008, once to dispense oil and vinegar dressing at a Jesse Ventura block party, and again to dispense massage oil at a preseason gathering of Minnesota Viking players on a remote houseboat.

The Museum fully trusts that our patrons know where this is going.

When the time came to use the guitar blowtorch in the final step of the Raspberry Brûlée, instead of directing a blue flame at the crust of the dessert, the guitar instead shot giant bursts of uncontrollable orange flame, setting all surrounding flammable objects on fire. As the caterer tried to maintain dominance over the guitar, the force of the backdraft proved too insurmountable, and he instead roved around the ballroom, imperiling our patrons with a madly swerving stream of flame. Several people were injured in frantic efforts to reach the exit. The fire moved to other sections of the museum and destroyed some very valuable exhibits (most notably the Hair Mousse Altar, which as you can probably imagine only multiplied the devastating radius of the fire tenfold).

Additionally, dessert was ruined.

The Museum, obviously, could not reopen until reconstruction from this horrible event was complete and the curators could either obtain alternate popular music relics or just Photoshop them. However, after months of painstaking work and seventeen carpal tunnel claims, we are happy to announce that MOPA is back in full operation.

On behalf of ourselves and the great state of Minnesota, the Museum Of Pop Archaeology sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience of our sudden closure, and we invite you to return to our institution.

We especially invite those of you who may be in need of some slightly smoke-damaged ramekins and singed toupees which, at this writing, remain unclaimed.

Best wishes,

Paul Pearson
Museum Of Pop Archaeology
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