Urban Legends For The 21st Century

A young couple living in a large isolated house had gone out to a dinner party one evening and left the babysitter in charge of their two children. The children had been put to bed upstairs and the babysitter was watching “Alias” when her cell phone played the first two verses of “Crazy In Love” by Beyonce Knowles. The babysitter dug the phone out of her bag to discover that she had received a text message reading:

seria1_ki11a: im upstairs w/the chldrn youd betta come up MLOL*!!!!

[* Maniacally laughing out loud — ed.]

Thinking it a practical joke, the babysitter deleted the message without another thought.

But a short time later the phone rang again. This time the display read

seria1_ki11a: im serious youd betta come up ROTFMLMAO!!!!

Getting rather frightened she called Verizon, who agreed to trace the messages to caller’s exact coordinates via the Patriot Act-mandated GPS chip that had been factory-installed in the phone.

A few minutes later the phone rang again, but this time the message read

seria1_ki11a: wanna cyber?

The babysitter screamed and quickly deleted the message. When the phone rang seconds later, caller ID identified it as a voice-call from India. “Get out of the house!” the Verizon customer service representative yelled as the babysitter hit “talk.” “The text messages are coming from upstairs!!”

But instead of fleeing, the babysitter angrily marched upstairs to find the oldest boy listening to illegally procured mp3s on his iPod and text-messaging everyone in his cellphone’s directory.

When the parents returned home later that evening, the babysitter told them what had happened. Worried that such behavior could someday jeopardize their son’s chances of gaining admission to a top tier university, the parents decided to put the boy on Methylphenidate and adopt a strict system of punishments for future episodes of acting out.

And he never did anything impulsive or creative again!!!


Last Friday. I spent an evening with A.G.H.O.S.T. — the Amateur Ghost Hunters Of Seattle/Tacoma. You can read my report at The Morning News.

A big thanks to Mr. Ross Allison and all the A.G.H.O.S.T. members I met — they were a great group of folks, and I had a fun time. More information about the Amateur Ghost Hunters Of Seattle / Tacoma — including investigation reports, photographs, and membership information — is at http://www.theresaghost.com.

I Raised Her Good

Ma Baldwin phones from the East Coast.

Ma: I got a question for you.

Me: Shoot.

Ma: Your dad and I were at church, and I was telling some people about Seattle and what a big music place it is. But I couldn’t remember the name of that one band. That band you like.

Me: [Inwardly sighs] Nirvana. You’re probably thinking of Nirvana, Ma.

Ma: Not Nirvana. After Nirvana.

Me: Pearl Jam?

Ma: No, no. This is a newer band. All women. And they’re named after a street, a street in Olympia, I think.

Me: Named after a … Wait, Sleater-Kinney?!

Ma: That’s it, Sleater-Kinney. I couldn’t remember their name.


Ma: Hello? Are you still there?

Me: Yeah, yeah, I’m here. I’m just kind of, you know — I’m all choked up with pride right now.

Art: A Fact

I don’t think I would ever do art for art’s sake. Well, maybe for a martial art, if it wanted me too — but only out of fear. I wouldn’t want to piss off kung fu.

$87 Billion In Iraqi Funds Lost

In a press conference this morning, White House Spokesman Scott McClellan acknowledged that $87 billion in US funds were misplaced sometime yesterday afternoon. The cash -- which, citing "security reasons," President Bush insisted on carrying on his person during his eight-day overseas trip -- had recently been earmarked by Congress for Iraqi operations and reconstruction. McClellan would not outline the exact circumstances of the loss, except to say that the President and his entourage had discovered the money missing after attending an impromptu "photo op" while touring the Australian outback.

In other financial news, the White House has announced a $1 million reward for any information leading to the capture of a kangaroo last seen approximately 30 miles southwest of Sydney. Officials describe the marsupial as clad in a "Air Force One" bomber jacket, wearing sunglasses, and prone to breaking out into "Rapper's Delight."

Band of yeti


From: B.
To: Matthew Baldwin
Subject: Defective Yeti band

Hey Matthew My name is B. Well me and my friends started a band recently and we were looking for a name for it. We were at a site andclicked on a link and it took us to your page and we saw defective yeti printed and we thought that was really cool and we really wanted to call our band that..I wasn't sure if that was ok or legal and I was wondering if that works or if we need to find another name...(right now we arent more then a garage/basement band) but we are still unsure. If you could write back that would be good. Thanks and nice website name.


* * * * * * * * * *

From: Matthew Baldwin
To: B.
Subject: Re: Defective Yeti band

Hello B. "defective yeti" was originally intended to be my band name, but after a few years of carrying it around in my head I suddenly realized that I had no band. Then I used it for my website instead, the end.

Still, it would be a shame for it not to be used by some band somewhere. So knock yourself out. HOWEVER! There are three conditions:

  1. I can reprint your letter on my site;
  2. If you band ever does a show in Seattle (and is still using the name), you will comp me in to a show;
  3. If your band ever becomes crazy-successful (and is still using the name), you will invite me to the orgiastic celebration that will inevitably follow the announcement that one of your records has gone gold.

Best o' luck. I hope the name treats you as well as it has treated me.

Matthew Baldwin

P.s. I'm saving this email. If you try and welch on any of the above conditions I'm going to totally Judge Judy your ass.


Two weeks ago the morning bus was overcrowded, so I found myself standing in the aisle. The guy in the seat next to me kept looking at my feet and then glancing at my face. I resolutely pretended not to notice him, assuming that he was just irked that I was standing so close. I was all, like, “Yo: I’m the one who got stuck standing, so what the hell is your problem?! It’s public transportation you selfish moron — if you don’t like it, drive your hummer to work like your asshole friends!” Of course I said all this in a silence, seething, internal-monologue kind of way.

Later, after arriving at my place of business and entering the elevator, a woman darted into the car just as the doors were closing. She jabbed the button for her floor, glanced at my feet, and shot me a quizzical look. I wasn’t sure what that was all about, but as people in elevators are meant to be ignored I paid her no further mind.

The elevator stopped at the second floor and another woman boarded. She took one glance at my feet and said “Can I ask you something?”

“Suuuuure ….” I replied warily.

“Why are you wearing two different shoes?”

I knew the reason even before looking. That morning I had put on my “mowing shoes” (i.e., the old pair that I don’t care about) before sneaking into the neighbor’s yard to plant fake election signs. Upon reentering the house I had kicked them off so as to not track mud on the carpet, and they had come to rest right next to my “work shoes” (i.e., the only pair I own respectable enough to be worn to the office). Then, running late, having squandered much of my morning on practical jokery, I scurried around the house grabbing my things, hastily “put on my shoes” in the entryway, and sprinted out the door.

The thing is, I don’t really “put on my shoes” — a busy guy like me doesn’t have time for formalities like “bending over” and “tying laces.” What I typically do is cram my feet into the already-tied shoes, do a few ankle-twists, and complete the donning process with a couple of hearty stomps as I walk away. It never occurred to me that, in a harried and pre-caffinated state, this method might result in my sticking a left foot into one shoe and another foot into a similar-looking but different right shoe.

[When telling this story to friends, The Queen interupts at this point and helpfully interjects: “Actually, the two shoes aren’t similar in the least. One is practically a boot.” Thanks, hon.]

And sure enough: As I stood in the elevator and looked down, I discovered myself clad in one “mowing shoe” and one “work shoe.”

But then, something inexplicable happened. Speaking immediately, and looking the woman right in the eye, I said, “Oh — heh heh, yeah. See, I’m wearing these because the other set is in my office.”

The other set is in my — what the hell does that mean?! More importantly, where did it come from? I haven’t the foggiest notion. But it must have sounded convincing., because the woman looked chagrined and quickly replied “Oh … right,” followed by a little “duh — I should have figured that out” laugh.

A few seconds later we arrived at my floor, and I exited as quickly as my heteroshod feet could take me.