Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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May 22, 2000

Mr. John Sympson
NASDAQ Office of Development
Washington, DC

Picture: Capitalists at WorkDear Sir Charles Grandiose,

We at NASDAQ have reviewed the application of Grandiose Internet Enterprises, Ltd. (proposed NASDAQ name: GIOS) for an IPO. As you know, we screen applications for IPOs quite carefully. With every new stock opportunity we put on the market, we put our own reputation on the line.

As we see it, the essential points of your application are as follows:

  • GIOS is to be publicized through a magazine advertisement campaign that consists of nothing but dense and undecipherable ads that do not give the reader any sense of what Grandiose Internet Enterprises, Ltd., is, what it produces, or what services it provides, but which are quite visually appealing.
  • A $130 million dollar 30-second television advertisement will be aired only once, during a rerun of Friends.
  • Your celebrity spokesperson will be Posh Spice.
  • GIOS will have an initial stock price of $98 a share, and you will encourage people to buy 'oodles.'

As you may well know, Sir Charles Grandiose, many other technology companies looking for venture capital have put together similar proposals, they air their oblique television advertisements once, on the Superbowl; they burn through money as if it was made of paper (that's a little joke we here at NASDAQ like to make); and they hire ridiculous celebrity spokespersons like RuPaul for WebEx and Martha Stewart for Martha Stewart.

In short, these companies rely on the gullibility of the average day trader to jump at any dot-com public offering, particularly if the IPO sounds hot, trendy, and as if it might appeal to a youth market. Such thinking a triumph of style over substance, Sir Charles. Survivors of the great Tulip Bulb Speculations that swept western Europe centuries ago, if there were any, would now shake their heads knowingly at the inflated prices the stock of many of these companies have accrued. For at any moment the over-inflated bubble that is the technologies market could burst.

And then, Sir Charles, we have Grandiose Internet Enterprises, Ltd. We don't know exactly what services or goods it provides. We suspect it doesn't offer anything useful whatsoever to the average consumer. We have nothing but obscure, unintelligible advertising and your utter willingness to plow uncaringly through your investor's cash. We have no proof of future profitability. In fact, we suspect that you wish to offer an IPO and start this enterprise merely because everyone these days is doing it.

It may be true that a fool and his money are soon parted, Sir Charles, but in short, because of the reasons listed above we at NASDAQ think you have the hottest damned company ever to hand out the dunce caps and pick the pockets of unsuspecting investors. We predict the price per share of GIOS will go sky high, and make even Amazon.com shake in its boots. Wowza, man! You rule! I wish I could get in on this baby!

Looking forward to working with you,
John Sympson, NASDAQ

Preceptor writes:

Picture: The Caning GameSir Charles,

I have recently graduated as a teacher and will be taking up my vocation following the extended summer break. But it has come to my attention that the range of disciplinary resources have been severely limited in later years - even as children become increasingly cheeky and deserving of correction. No more caning - not even a slap of the wrist! I had passed through school days believing that it was simply good manners that kept me from being on the receiving end.

But now I worry, Sir Charles: how will I assert my authority when limited to exiling the possibly knife-wielding and certainly profaning offender to the corner! Can you give any advice on the disciplining of youngsters?

I should point out, that I will be teaching in the public school system, and I realise that a gentleman of your own measure will not know the ins and outs of this common institution, so I turn to you as a man who I feel confident has only attended the most venerable of institutions and private tuition of Aristotelian quality and who, as such, might have privileged experience to share.


Sir Charles replies:

Good fellow,

One understands the depth of your emotions. In the good old days when one was oneself in 'public school' (and one understands the phrase has a completely opposite meaning in your culture, where the language has been bastardized into that argot known as 'American'), when one acted up, one was rewarded with a sharp caning. Oh, one can even now recall the stinging sensation as the cane created a lacy criss-cross of marks across one's bare backside. And then, at the cessation, the exciting tingling that kept one afire for hours after, until one could talk one of the younger smooth-faced lads from the lower form into applying a cooling unguent upon one's. . . . er, but that was long ago.

These days though. These days! One hears that the students in America all carry firearms, and use them at the least provocation. Obviously one cannot go up against such a vigilante armed only with a wicker cane. And the most deadly weapon of all--the human tongue--cannot compete with it either.

What does one suggest, then? Well, Grandiose Internet Enterprises, Ltd., will soon be offering for sale the Grandiose Bulletproof Sweater Vest, an attractive fashion choice made of all-natural man-made fibres available in several colours that look dashing under a decent set of tweeds. For the low, low price of only three hundred and ninety nine pounds ninety nine pence, you may obtain the same protection used by American ambassadors to the Middle East! Each vest is guaranteed to stop dead in its tracks projectiles from standard issue revolvers and semi-automatic weapons, and is guaranteed washer and drier safe with our exclusive patented E-Z-Cleen polymers. Put on a Grandiose Bulletproof Sweater Vest with E-Z-Cleen polymers today. (E-Z-Cleen is a registered trademark of Grandiose Internet Enterprises, Ltd, a division of Grandiose Enterprises, Ltd.)

Ever subtle, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Lady Marlburgh writes:

Picture: The Deadly Lady MarlburghLady Felicia,

So good to correspond with you once more. It's been simply years, my dear. I'm in a terrible muddle, and I hope you can help.

You might have read about my little upset in the papers. Lord M. on the floor, blood everywhere, and the constables catching me with the gun in my hand. Of course it's all lies, what they're saying. Lies, lies, lies! I loved Lord M. Devotedly! Even after the scandal with the Las Vegas showgirl. And the one with the croupier in Monte.

You can see where I'm leading, Felicia. I'm being brought before the courts tomorrow, and must testify. I'll be wearing wearing black, of course, and a wide-brimmed hat with a heavy veil. But what do you think? Emeralds or a string of pearls: Which spells A-C-Q-U-I-T-T-A-L?

Annabelle, Lady Marlburgh

The Lady Felicia replies:

Annabelle dear,

First let me say how dreadful it is that you should be subjected to such a flagrant miscarriage of Justice! What are our courts coming to that they should require you, Lady Marlburgh, to appear on the stand to be judged - judged! - by commoners? Most deplorable. It is a great pity that you did not donate generously, as I have done over the years, to your local Constables' Scholarship and Retirement Funds. I'm sure that this bit of foresight would have saved you much inconvenience.

(An aside: I showed your letter to Sir Charles and he started in with that annoying fruity chuckle he has. "You, my dear, surely have already chosen the outfit you will wear in the dock at one's murder trial (chuckle, chuckle, chuckle)." I assured him that I would never be appearing in any dock and explained to him about my investment in the education of local police officers' children and in retirement villas at Brighton. He has stopped chuckling now.)

But to your question: yes, I quite approve of the black and the veil. The only sensible choice. As for jewelry, however, I wish that you would reconsider. Emeralds, pearls . . . no, I think not. A tasteful item or two of jet would be more appropriate. And let me also suggest that you wear your gold locket on a long fine gold chain - you know, the one with Lord M.'s lock of hair and the miniature of him by Duplanque. Make no ostentatious display with this locket, but clasp it to your breast and weep softly over it at irregular intervals. Also, press it to your lips in convulsions of impetuous grief and raise your tear-swept eyes to Heaven. The press will be most curious about the locket and I'm sure you can count upon some dear friend to tell them all about it. The jury will not be able to read the papers (another silly rule in our flawed system!), but they will not be able to help noticing the large crowds of society women, charladies, housewives, and men about town who will fill the court and who will greet your every appearance on the stand with murmurs of approval and sympathy.

Best of luck, dear Annabelle. We shall have a small dinner party for you in London after your acquittal and you must be sure to wear your emeralds then.

Serenely, one remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

Aspiring Actor writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I have gotten a part in a three-act play, and I think it's very cool, but I don't exactly know how to play it. Can you help? The play is about a baronet and his wife. I play the part of the baronet.

Aspiring Actor

Sir Charles replies:


You go back to the director immediately. Tell him you want a speaking part. One that lives all the way through the third act. That's what you do.

Nervously, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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