1/10/04 Dear Features Reader, This serves as your first official notice: as the time winds down on the current Features editors’ tenure, the high standard you have come to know and love as you leaf through the Features pages every week is in great danger. Jasper and Derrick are on the way out. The new guard’s heads are already swollen with the thought of stepping into a lineage as talented, distinguished and handsome as that currently occupied by Jasper and Derrick. But they aren’t that good. Think of the good times you’ve had with Robodome, Da Evile Cremm, Da Ill Affletes, the Rich Old White Men Who Laugh a Lot, and the rest of the off-color humor that slips past eagle-eyed copy editors by virtue of its sheer incomprehensibility. Think of the good times, the bad times, the gassy times; think of rolling the Poland Spring bottle down the hallway, making fun of the Arts editors, and the gossipgossipgossip. Will you get such effervescent editorial efficiency from the next bunch of editors? The answer is, “Unlikely,” in case you had to guess, you drooling ape-child. This will be your first opportunity to renew your subscription to the quality and charm of Jasper and Derrick; to keep them in office, simply fill out the enclosed card and nail it to Anthony Green’s forehead. 1/24/04 Dear Features Reader, We at the Features section decided to mail you this little note because, to date, our records reflect that you have neglected to endorse Jasper and Derrick as Features Editors for Life. In case you have already posted the last card we sent you and it is somewhere in transit, read no further and accept our humblest, most prostrate apologies. If, however, you haven’t even given a thought to renewing Jasper and Derrick’s tenure, now might be a good time to get off your lazy lump derriere and give them your endorsement. Ahh, Montoya; you again. Time’s grains have a way of slipping through the hourglass like so many chimichangas through delicate gringo GI tracts. But the robin is soon to show his red breast again, which can only mean that our old dance will recommence as well. I’ll cut to the chase with you, Montoya: the price you ask is too low. $12 million to breach the “Island Fortress,” as you, ever the master of conservative language, described it, kneecap the burly goon, and get the briefcase? $12 million might get me the plane ticket down to that Caribbean recluse’s lair, but to enter the spider’s web at the risk of his swarthy guards’ making me into so much mincemeat with their bloody great scimitars is petty lunacy. But up the ante, Montoya, and I could get you the salt from the rim of his margarita. Give my love to Naomi; she got out of bed for less than $10,000, eh? Ah, I kid, you old dog – best wishes again. 2/13/04 Dear Features Reader, The purpose of this message is three-fold. First, we at the Features section wish to retract our two earlier letters inviting you to keep Jasper and Derrick on forever as Features editors. They didn’t really want to do it anyway; we were worried they would lead sad, directionless lives post-Features. Don’t worry – one of them is making new friends and the other one will be busy putting off his English papers for the rest of the term. Secondly, we wish to tell Montoya that the parcel has arrived and that the dog will howl, twice, at the drop of the green hat – anchors away. The code name is Black Fox. Finally, enjoy the new editors – they’re not as incompetent as they seemed earlier, and may even make you laugh, once, softly.