From: Lew Rockwell, Editor
To: Burt Blumert
Subject: New Assignment
It’s no accident, Blumert, that you haven’t received an LRC story assignment since you made such a fool of yourself on the last one.
You were supposed to be researching American attitudes towards Arabs, but impersonating a Sheik in San Francisco, wearing Arabian garb that was blushing pink instead of traditional, Lawrence of Arabia white, showed the poorest judgment.
And what possessed you to request four temporary marriage licenses at City Hall, explaining that the extra wives lent authenticity to your being “Sheik For a Week“?
The worst part was negotiating with the Jewish Defense League for your freedom. You are fortunate they accepted in trade an autographed photo of William Kristol. (I’m still worried about blowback in case they thought they were getting Billy Crystal.)
Finally, I would appreciate if you stopped closing your emails with, “May the fleas of 1000 camels infest the beard of your enemy.”
Let’s get to your new assignment.
It’s clear the government-sponsored media are blocking any real data on the “SARS epidemic.” We need you to uncover the truth. This is an important story, Blumert and here is your chance to make amends for the sheik debacle in San Francisco.
On Thursday night, May 29, at the Oakland Airport, Cathay Pacific counter, you will be approached by a representative of Stolen-Tickets.com. He will hand you a packet with tickets and boarding passes, San Fran to Taipei to Hong Kong to Toronto to San Fran.
As you might surmise, these are the cheapest tickets available anywhere. Yours were issued in the name of Sister Mary Margaret of the Ursuline Order. Let’s do better with the costume and impersonation this time. Okay?
“The Final Destination Travel Agency” booked your hotel rooms as part of a terrific, cheap package deal. Your rooms will be on a floor with folks who have a slight cough, but no fever.
Business is so bad in the “SARS” cities that you should be able to get your meals at super low prices. May I suggest that, in Chinese restaurants, you negotiate the price of each item on the menu.
If the Egg Roll is priced at US$3.95, offer them $3.25. Initially, they might get upset, but persist. Morale is so low, you will wear them down and the bargains will flow.
In Toronto, when presented with the restaurant bill, have a coughing spasm. They will be so relieved to see you exit, it won’t matter that the bill goes unpaid.
We have obtained for you a highly prized, World Health Organization Green Badge. This allows the bearer full access to all Quarantined SARS Areas.
Imagine: you will be able to talk to SARS victims in each city, at every stage of the disease. This could mean a Pulitzer Prize.
Incidentally, you will be receiving via UPS (COD, of course) an historic surgical mask from the Spanish Influenza Epidemic of 1918.
This treasure is part of the LRC collection, so use it carefully, and please have it dry-cleaned before you return it (or leave instructions to have it returned).