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Unsolicited Mail and Postage Paid Envelopes

Does anyone else out there find stacks and stacks of unsolicited mail in their mailbox on a near-daily basis?

Well, I’ve created a hobby of sorts out of it.  You see, most unsolicited mail is asking you, the consumer, to sign up for or purchase something.  To facilitate this, the companies which send out unsolicited mail oftentimes include postage paid envelopes.

What I do is take everything the companies sent me and, after removing my name from the literature, I stuff it all in the postage paid envelope they included, and send it all back to them.  I don’t appreciate them wasting my time by having to remove my name and other personal information from their mailings or catalogs for shredding, so I waste their time, and money, by sending them back blank applications, order forms, or whatever it was they sent me in the first place.  I’ve sent whole catalogs back to companies which were foolish enough to attach a postage paid envelope.  I just jam the catalog in the envelope, and then seal the whole thing up with packaging tape.

I’ve looked this hobby up online, and found some interesting tidbits about postage paid envelopes.  It seems that anything up to 70 lbs. can be attached to the envelope and sent back to the company.  What this means is you can show your displeasure towards unsolicited mail by sending the company the old tire in your garage, with the postage paid envelope carefully taped to it, of course.  The possibilities are limitless: old coffee grounds, rocks, the pages of coupons from the Sunday newspaper.  You are only limited by your imagination, and what you’re willing to present at the post office for mailing.

Eventually companies will grow tired of receiving unsolicited mail themselves, and will stop sending it to us in the first place.  Until that day arrives, check your mailbox daily, and send back that unwanted mail.

Why Have the Joes Disappeared From the Videogame Realm?

Yo Joe!  Remember those words from your childhood?  They heralded the opening of perhaps the best cartoon of the 1980s.  Of course I'm talking about G.I. Joe.

Hasbro had an incredible marketing approach to the G.I. Joe toy line; produce a cartoon as a thirty minute commercial for the toys, and pepper the commercial breaks with ads for the toys themselves.  The plan worked well for Hasbro, as G.I. Joe was the hottest toy line of its time.

There were also two comic book series published by Marvel Comics: G.I. Joe and G.I. Joe: Special Missions.  Videogames were also available, first on the Apple II and Commodore 64, and later on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System.

G.I. Joe fell out of favor in the early 1990s, but has since enjoyed a resurrection through the cartoon G.I. Joe: Sigma 6, and the various new comic books published by Image Comics.

What I want to know is why aren't any games being released featuring the Joes?  There are so many popular team games available: the X-Men: Legends franchise, the Rainbow Six franchise, and the upcoming Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.  How cool would it be to select a fire team of Joes (based upon the expertise required for a given mission), and then lead them against the nefarious forces of Cobra?  Better yet, give the player the choice of playing as the Joes or Cobra, à la Star Wars: Empire at War.

Come on videogame creators, realize that the Joes are in the middle of a resurgence, and capitalize on it with a great game featuring the Joes, everyone's favorite Real American Heroes.






Where's Neil When You Need Him?

This being my first blog entry, I thought I would write about an author whose work I really enjoy.  For those of you who have not experienced the prose of Neil Gaiman, you have truly missed out on one of the literary greats.  Known primarily for writing the 75-issue series The Sandman for DC Comics, Gaiman was responsible for crafting the stories of the Endless, that preternatural family which consisted of Dream, Death, Delirium, Destiny, Desire, Despair, and Destruction.  Other writers have examined Gaiman's work on The Sandman, so I won't bore you with my dissertation on the subject.

Gaiman has of course written other bodies of work, some in comic book format, and others as novels, most notably American Gods and Neverwhere, which was also a BBC television mini-series.

Gaiman's work always features the fantastic, which is one reason I find him so enjoyable to read.

The latest body of work featuring his name was in a new genre, that of music.  I was recently given the CD Where's Neil When You Need Him?, which had Neil Gaiman listed as the artist.  As the liner notes explained, Gaiman wasn't directly involved in the album's production, but his writings were, if in an indirect manner.  You see, Where's Neil When You Need Him? is a very nice music compilation featuring various artists' interpretation of some of Gaiman's stories as songs.

The producer was concerned the album would be lost in the sea of compilation of albums falling under the various artists heading, so he decided to put Gaiman's name in as the artist, to help consumers find it more easily.

Seventeen artists lent their talent, including Hungry Lucy, ThouShaltNot, and Tori Amos.  For good measure, Gaiman offers a few words about each artist in the liner notes.

The CD Where's Neil When You Need Him? was a great release, and I for one am looking forward to rereading his books while this CD is merrily spinning on the CD player.