An open letter to Diplomat Paul Williams

>> Friday, March 11, 2011

Get your atm visa card parcel today‏

From: diplomat paul williams (
Sent: Tue 3/08/11 4:49 PM


Please your urgent attention is highly needed in your package. I’m diplomat Paul Williams, I have tried to reach you on phone about 1hr ago to let you know that I have arrival John F. Kennedy International airport with your parcel contain atm visa card, but I was unable to locate your city address for final delivery because i misplaced the address with map on the paper.

During my arrival screening before boarding inn a local flight to your city, I was delayed by JFK airport authority demanded for all the legal back up papers to prove to them that the fund is no way related with drug nor fraud money, I have presented the papers I have to them and they are very much pleased with the papers and at the same time asked me for entry yellow Tag which is not placed on the parcel and to purchase it from here in JFK airport New york will cost $1050 and is too expensive, so one of the airport authority here advised me to call my company director that we get the yellow tag cheaper from my local airport as the origin country where your parcel was dispatched from so that I can exit the airport immediately and make my delivery successful.

I reason with him and quickly called our company director to check the cost of purchasing entry yellow tag from our country and he checked and confirmed that it will cost $650 Dollars only to get the tag placed on the atm card parcel as that tag will enable me get to your house success. Please try and reach me with my international roaming number +2347032112449 as I can not afford to spend more time here due to other delivery I have to take Care of in Bangkok.

So please quickly rush down to any Western Union or Money Gram office close to you now and send the tag fee of $650 to our Head Office as they will get it here for you and they are entitled to receive or make any payment to foreign countries authority.

AMOUNT: $650


Here are the papers backing the funds together with my ID CARD as I can accompany you to your bank were you will make first withdraw from your Visa Card with these papers. I have more vital paper with me but I can only present to you the hard copy when I reach to your house as that it’s the diplomatic rules, such as authorization to deliver.

Also provide the following information once you send the Tag Fee today


Thank you for your urgent attention in this matter as I wait here to receive your urgent reply immediately

Yours in service
Diplomat Paul Williams

Dear Diplomat Paul Williams,

Okay, first of all, let me say that I am a huge admirer of "Just An Old Fashioned Love Song". I realize it's kind of schmaltzy, but, y'know, I'm of that generation that grew up on The Muppet Show, and you appearing with a pair of Muppet avatars and a whole gaggle of instrument-playing Muppets while rain cascades on a window is embedded in my psyche, I mean, seriously embedded, as in if I ever have a traumatic head injury, I still might remember this:

In a similar vein, I understand you co-wrote "Rainbow Connection," and I cannot begin to tell you just how earthquaking it was to see the first Muppet Movie in the theatre when I was seven, and this:

You may not understand this, Mr. Williams--or perhaps, having appeared on television with a gaggle of Muppets, you understand better than anyone--prior to this sequence in a feature film, Muppets did not have legs. I mean, yes, it was certainly implied that they had legs, and there may have been a few odd scenes here and there where a Muppet leg appeared on television, but, for the most part if not entirely, prior to 1979 Muppets only appeared onscreen from the waist up, as if there was somebody standing underneath them with a hand shoved up their thorax controlling them and making them appear to be real creatures.

So you were part of a seminal moment in many folks' childhood, Mr. Williams, just thought you should know. And even before that, as I mentioned, there were millions of kids glued to the antiseptic whiteblue light of the television when you appeared on the screen to sing that song you wrote for Three Dog Night, surrounded by bobbing felt as you mimed playing a ukelele, and that was a seminal moment for so many of us, too.

And so you can't imagine my distress and horror when I discovered that you, a seventy-year-old pop icon from my (and so many others') childhood was stranded at JFK airport, having mislaid the piece of paper on which you'd carefully written my address and drawn a map. First, there was the basic distress that you'd somehow been reduced, after so many years of bringing joy to so many, to being an errand-boy for some unnamed nation. And then there was the idea of you being stranded at JFK when you should be retired and enjoying the fruits of your labors--indeed, not just the fruits of your labors, but "Rainbow Connection" fruits of your labors, which must be or should be considerable--I would have thought that song did very well for you and would continue to bring you a steady income, unless there were some nefarious shenanigans on the part of those damn Muppets (it was Sam The Eagle, wasn't it? I never really trusted that ersatz, G. Gordon Liddy-ish pigfucker). And then there was the human connection: I can be very forgetful, myself, and I try to write things down or put them into my smartphone or whatever electronic device I have handy, and I can very easily imagine printing out a map and carefully writing down an address, only to find myself somewhere without it and feeling the frigid, crippling terror that results; indeed, I think it's happened. And seeing as how I have travel plans next week, I empathize with the whole scenario of losing the yellow tag on one's luggage; it's been years since I've flown, but believe-you-me, I want my yellow tag attached to the parcel it belongs to and quiver at the very notion that it might be placed astray, fall off or otherwise end up where it ought'n't be--I really hope my luggage makes it after me after I check it in.

All that said, I don't think I can help you.

Look, it's not like I don't want to. I love your songs. I don't own any, but I remember them fondly. I carry them in my heart, as I think an old e.e. cummings poem has it it: i carry you with me, i carry you in my heart (I (i) think that might be a paraphrase, hence no quotes, but close enough). But, y'know, I'm going to be taking a vacation soon, and I don't know that I can spare the $650.00. Surely you can get an advance from Brian Henson or something, he always seems like a really nice and cool guy in interviews and stuff. (Have you seen Farscape? You're kind of--no offense meant or anything--a sort of weird-looking dude; maybe you should have seen if you could have gotten a role as an alien trader or bounty hunter or something before SciFi or Skiffy or whatever canceled it.) And what is it you have to deliver in Bangkok, he asked with a certain amount of trepidation and concern. And this package you mention: I wasn't really expecting anything from wherever, so it does cause me a certain amount of anxiety--not because I haven't received it, but because it exists; maybe I'm better off not knowing about it, that way I can't be disappointed by it.

I don't want you to get the wrong idea: it was a pleasure getting your letter, Mr. Williams. I hope you're well and that you conclude all of your business satisfactorily. And that you get a break soon: you've earned it.

R. Eric VanNewkirk
Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant Midgets


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