Hey Kids! Reader Mail

In additional to traditional letters, we get postcards, handicrafts and tube mailers full of confetti and summer sausage. SEND MORE SAUSAGE.

This week, I’ve decided to help RVANews sift through some of the massive bags of reader mail that get delivered every day. You’d think that a website would receive most of its correspondence electronically, but you’d be wrong. In additional to traditional letters, they get postcards, handicrafts and tube mailers full of confetti and summer sausage.

Will Heath Ledger go to heaven? – Meghan R.

Of course he will. The guy was a talented, Australian hottie. God wants him upstairs in the VIP room. All that talk about suicide and drug parties with the Olsen twins was just ridiculous speculation. And if you’re asking because you are one of those narrow-minded, religious freaks who are concerned about those “shenanigans” in the tent with his “pardner,” have no fear. That was just make-believe. And if you watch the DVD special features, most of it was computer-generated. During the kissing scenes, it was actually a woman inside a Jake Gyllenhaal suit.

What’s happening to the news? I watched CNN the other morning and the co-host Tony Harris was goofier than Wayne Brady on Nyquil. – James S.

What you’re referring to is the morphing of journalism into full-fledged variety show. The network’s strategy is that if you perceive the anchors, correspondents and weather folks as chummy and affable, you will be more likely to tune in. Mr. Tony Harris has become especially adept at the “He so crazy!” technique of delivering the news. CNN’s Robin Meade takes it to another level with her relentless use of slang and self-deprecation. And you can see the hyper-goofiness on a local level by watching “Virginia This Morning” on Channel 6 with Julie Bragg and Greg McQuade (who interestingly enough left behind a lucrative career as 1940’s pugilist).

Some critics say that it compromises the journalistic integrity of the broadcast and is one more sign that the American “cult of personality” is headed for critical mass. They say irony and self-reference will eventually replace all semblances of useful information and reporting. They say that laugh tracks are the inevitable next step.

I say there’s nothing wrong with it. I say that the news is depressing and if the people giving it to me can lessen the overwhelming sense of tragedy by making funny faces and repeating popular catchphrases … so be it. You feel me dawg?

Should I be paying more attention to what’s going on in the General Assembly? – Rebecca T.

Yes, you really should. But you should also get five servings of fruit and vegetables every day and you’re probably falling short of that too. So don’t beat yourself up about it.

Besides, how are you supposed to keep up with both the General Assembly and “American Idol”? Answer: you can’t. You choose one and you make your peace with the decision. Personally, I’m sticking with “Idol” because every week, without fail, they make me cry. I guess something about awkward small town kids getting a shot at the big time just gets me (though it could also have a lot to do with Simon’s chest hair).

But if you’d still like to know what those pesky politicians are up to, we’ve provided a quick cheat sheet that should get you through dinner conversation and cocktail chatter. Here are some of the Bills that hope to become law:

  1. HB 32 – Bad News for Cock Lovers: Elevates cock fighting to a Class 1 misdemeanor. The Bill also makes owning, training and selling cocks a Class 1 offense. Let this be fair warning to all those who run cock gyms in the city. If you have cocks hitting the heavy bag, cocks on the treadmill or cocks just hanging out in the steam room… you may be breaking the law.
  2. HB 23 – Good News for Grieving Families: If you have lost an immediate family member in the line of military duty, this Bill proposes that the State pick up the $10 surcharge for your special vehicle tags. “We’re sorry that you’re son was blown up during the illegal occupation of a foreign country, but hey… free license plates!”
  3. HB 169 – Bad News for UPS Package Enthusiasts: This Bill will add box cutters to the list of items considered “concealed weapons.” So if you want to open that box from Amazon, you’ll have to use the bayonet on the assault rifle you bought at the antique gun show.
  4. HB 565 – Good News for Fans of Old Racist Ditties: This Bill wants to re-designate “Carry Me to Back to Old Virginia,” by James Bland as the state song of the Commonwealth. Formerly known as “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny,” the lyrics included gems such as “There’s where the cotton and corn and taters grow/There’s where the birds warble sweet in the spring-time/There’s where this old darkey’s heart am long’d to go.” Yikes.
  5. HB 725 – Good News for Horse Dentists: This Bill would exempt equine dental technicians from certain registration requirements. I’m not sure exactly what this means, but all you Horse Dentists out there are probably excited. I mean, more excited than you already are being that you’re job is “Horse Dentist.”

I was excited to learn that President Bush will be sending everyone money in the mail as part of the new Economic Stimulus Package. But what is the best way to use the money? – Carl W.

Economists are divided on this one, Carl. Some say you should pay down your debt, some say that you should save and still others say that you should spend it to help jump-start the U.S. economy. Frankly, I don’t subscribe to any of those recommendations. Once you get the rebate in the mail, just eat it. That way when people talk about what they did with the money, you’ll have the best story.

“So you spent it on a really nice dinner?”

“No, I ate the actual check.”

Trust me … their reaction will be worth every penny.

I’m confused. Should I hate the playa or the game? – Kevin C.

It depends. Are you talking about pimps or football? If it’s pimps, you should hate the game. If it’s football, you hate the playa (though in football, it’s actually spelled “player.”)

Any Oscar predictions? – Gregg P.

Here are five:

  1. Jack Nicholson will wear sunglasses.
  2. Cleavage will feature prominently throughout the night.
  3. Daniel-Day Lewis wins Best Actor.
  4. Angelina Jolie will pout.
  5. The blood of infidels will flow like a mighty river.
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Pete Humes

Pete Humes is a husband, father and writer who lives in Richmond’s North Side. He enjoys coffee and owns way too many records.

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