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Dear Winifred
Odd advice for strange people

Weeee haavve taakkkkken ovvver theee essstate. Laaaady Wiiiinnnniffreddd isssss....ressssttting. Yesssss...rrrressssttting. Therrrre issss nnnooo nnnneeeedddd ttttooo wwworry. Rrrressssting, nnnnotttt lockedd innnn theee wwwwinne cellarrrr.


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Dear Winifred,

I have recently encountered something deeply disturbing, and as befits one who is become the foremost guru of the weird on the Internet, I thought of you. Please, please, devote at least a snippet of your resources to finding out if these people are serious or just trying to pull my leg. I actually got this link e-mailed to me as part of an interest group e-mail list I subscribe to. http://www.pigeonreligion.org/ This has to be a joke. . . doesn't it?

Bothered by Birds

Dear Bothered,

No, no...I'm afraid they're quite serious. Wrong, mind you...but serious. As any student of aviary theology will tell you, the one true flying church is the Aquatic Temple of the Ducki Lama. All others are but molting imitators. Especially ones dedicated to sky-rats. Obviously false prophets.

However, just because one religion has claimed dominion over all things feathery, that doesn't mean you have to be bereft of faith. May I point you towards the Cult Construction Kit, where you can create your own religion and join the theosophical wars?



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Dearest readers,

I apologize for my absence last week. You know kids and the 4th of July celebrations. It always takes me a week or so to find all the smoldering zombies and put them out. And now, I return you to letters from people weirder than you.



Dear Winifred,

I greatly fear our little New England village has fallen under a curse!

A disaster struck out little church last Sunday in the middle of services. The supplicants we'd captured the week before were lined up, according to blood type, and Reverend Arthur had commenced the usual invocation when out of the blue, the altar emitted a loud moan and collapsed. Something very much like sheet lightning lashed through the building, killing all the supplicants, stunning half the congregation and setting the pews on fire. We rescued whom we could and rushed outside.

Once we were all outside, a mephitic, gelatinous mass emerged from a sinkhole and engulfed Reverend Arthur. The poor fellow uttered one thin little scream before disappearing beneath the surface. The ground had barely sealed over his much loved grey head when a gigantic crow flew overhead. It befouled us as we huddled in our misery, and swooped down to snatch Goody Harkin from the comforting arms of her husband. The force must have broken her neck. She made no sound as she was carried off into the clouds.

As the oldest surviving parishioner, I was appointed to deliver the grim news to the bishop. Much to my dismay, he started chittering and making clumsy pawing motions with his hands. Just as I turned to leave, he ripped the flesh off his head to reveal a hideous rodent's face. Needle sharp fangs glistened in his mouth as he advanced. I brained him with my walking stick and fled.

What on earth could have gone wrong? The scope of the disaster precludes the usual forensic measures; not one of us is qualified to read entrails and even if one could, we have no supplicants left.

Please shed some light on this mystery, Lady Kensington-Smythe, for it seems as though our traditional way of life is coming to a ghastly end!

Timor Mortis

Dear Tim,

May I just take a moment to say how much I've enjoyed your appearance in verse, rhyme and gravestones? Your family does lovely work.

As to the issue at hand, I've found that once the Shoggoth show up, the party is generally over. If the Byakhee (not to be confused with the Bakshi) start carrying people off, then not only is the party over, but the maids are trying to clean up around you. I know you mentioned a crow...but in these times of chaos and despair, it's often easy to mistake one flying predator from another. Especially while one's pastor is being eaten by pets of the Primordial Ones.

Running out of supplicants does complicate issues...but I think we can work around it. I can think of a couple solutions that may still save your hamlet and it's unique way of life. There's always the "tao of the child" method...which would be to put your hands in your pockets, whistle nonchalantly, wander aimlessly away from the pit of evil for a few feet, then run like hell and never look back. It's a big ol country, you can rebuild. Or, get an elder sign. (Yes, I do realize the inherent difficulty, but I'm not the one who let Nyarlathotep loose, am I?) Try using said elder sign to patch up and seal that little dimensional rift you seem to have caused. If that doesn't work, you could always try using the Necrominicon to banish the beasties back to where they belong. Of course, you'll probably go insane and try to eat your own face...but these are the risks one takes when one plays with godlike anthromoporphic goo.

Best of luck,


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Dear Winifred,

Long time reader, first time poster. Love your work.

I have a quick question about etiquette. I know that in this day and age the ancient arts of politeness and prandial finesse are speedily becoming the realm of the aged and boring, but I feel that at a time like this expert advice on the finer nuances is required.

In the latest staff reshuffle at my office, I have been obliged to reapply for my own job, the one that I have been performing with admirable competency for some time now. In the interests of fairness, this job was advertised to the public, and a number of applicants have come forward. Interviews commence next week. Although I am quite certain of success in this particular endeavor, I wish to clarify a small point with regard to the other applicants:

Should my zombie hordes be equipped with kitchen-knives or fire-axes when I send them on a murderous spree against my competition? When dealing with annoying parasites such as these, is a jab to the groin or the hacking-off of a head more appropriate?

Anxiously awaiting your reply,

T.P., esq.

Dear T.,

One is terribly sorry to hear that the brainless have taken over your corporate endeavor and have thereby inconvenienced you. It's especially unpleasant because one can't even promise one's horde a snack once playtime is over. And you know how zombie hordes can get if they don't have a snack and a nap after an morning of mayhem.

I am of the opinion that arming the zombie hordes is akin to gilding the lily. They always drop them, forget them, or accidentally kill each other anyway...so, I suggest that you don't waste the budget on cutlery. However, if you find that your unarmed zombie hordes are not enough to frighten the competition into packing up and moving to Belgium, I do happen to have a contingent of MBA zombies...and trust me, nothing will clear an office faster than a shuffling mob chanting "Synergy! Synergy! Brain drain!" I'd be happy to box them up and ship them to you should you need the assistance.


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Dear Winifred,

There is a backstabbing girl named Elisha, my friend named Jessica and a guy I am in love with named Kevin. My problem is complex but I think you can help. Elisha and Jessica are best friends. They were friends with Kevin until recently when he admitted that he didn't like Jessica because she is weird. Though this is true she was very hurt. I want to be friends with them both (obviously a little 'closer' to Kevin) but I don't know what sort of things my ex-friend elisha has been telling them and Jessica doesn't seem to be a genuine friend, she says she is but I never hang out with her or anything because she is always with elisha. I know elisha told Kevin I like him but I don't know what exactly she told him.

My key questions:
1) how do I get rid of elisha before she totally destroys my life
2) do I stay friends with Jessica and/or Kevin
3) what's your advise on how to make a guy fall for you

for love or friendship.

Dear Flor,
Good Lord child, I had to get out graph paper and do Venn diagrams to figure out this Gordian knot of teen angst. So, let me see if I've got this right:
  • Elisha - evil, friends with Jessica, not so much with you or Kevin

  • Jessica - weird, friends with Elisha, not so much with you or Kevin

  • Kevin - return status of affection for you = unknown, knowledge imparted by Eliza, unknown

  • You - friends with and "in love" with Kevin

  • You - wishing you were friends with Jessica, but not seeing much return of affection.

Unless you live in a tiny hamlet tucked off in the wilderness, or a secluded convent and Kevin is the only earthy stable hand, I would suggest that you make new friends. Talk to Kevin, and tell him how you feel. Worse case scenario, he tells you that he doesn't return the feelings, which will hurt for a while, but frees you up to look elsewhere for that sort of relationship. As to friends and former friends...sometimes it's just easier to cut your losses rather than to climb a fruitless tree.

In response to your questions:

  1. I can't think of any that don't involve duct tape, cross country trains and a gypsy carnival somewhere in Budapest.

  2. Given the situation as you've explained it, I'd pick the boy...or at least give the boy a chance to be chosen.

  3. Cracking open the dust covered ancient and rustling grimoires reveals that the best love spells all involve graveyard dirt from the grave of someone who loved you...but, I'm unwilling share the rest of the recipe. The last thing I need is more people running around in the graveyard. Interferes with my plans for global domination using my army of undead, don't you know.



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Dear Winifred,

I work for a major corporate entity. A few years ago, my co-workers and I noticed a disturbing trend in new employee hires. The people coming in every day had bright smiles and were adept at gladhanding, but their technical skills were sadly lacking. The worst of the bunch was man I'll call Melvin.

Melvin was the living embodiment of the great klutz god. You could call him an avatar of infectious mediocrity. Everything he touched, every effort he made at "helping" turned months or years of work to blasted ruins. The people who were forced to work with him developed tics and mysterious illnesses that kept them home from work. Melvin would greet them on their return, wan and shaking in their convalescence, and talk about his MBA -- even when it was clear no one was listening. He was horrible and, what's worse, he had the ear of upper management.

What is one to do in such circumstances? We were careful to dispose of the body where it would never be found. After a few weeks, we stopped twitching in our cubicles and looking over our shoulders. Things were definitely looking up, as much as they ever do in the corporate environment. At least until this morning.

The veep from human resources led a shambling, loathsome, stinking creature into the office and "asked" us to greet our new team leader. It spit out a few teeth when it cleared its throat and said something that sounded like "mellllllvinnnn hass un embeeyay". While we were vomiting, it ate most of the toner cartridges in the printing room.

You are the only one who can help us now, dearest Winifred. On behalf of my fellows, I humbly request your sage advice.

Doomed and despairing in Dallas

Dear Doomed,

I believe I have a solution. There was a while there when SMU was just sending us Volvo after Volvo of zombified MBA graduates, so I've developed the ability to speak in their strange and forbidden tongue. I want you to stand in front of Melvin. Tell him that you believe there is synergy between his skills and this job posting at a friend's company. Read him the following: (But I warn you that it could stun those around you. Aural contraception is recommended for bystanders.)

Join an industry leader in delivering specialty and industrial solutions! At KSE Industries, we are realigning core competencies and bringing a strategic presence to corporate ethos. This position is key to our success. Delayering the corporate structure revealed a stalling catalyst of change. Based on structural considerations, sustainable competitive goals of value added market strategy must be brought to market. You will be joining an experienced senior management team that has delivered solid ROI already, and is leveraging our industry leading reputation into rapid growth. Our incentive realignment broadens our horizons towards strong, even decaying applicants.

While he is reeling from the onslaught, shuffle him downstairs and into the waiting Bentley. We'll take him from there. We have a whole little village of them...he'll be happier amongst his own, realigning responsive organizational concepts.



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Dear Winifred,

I have recently been so blessed as to fall in love with my best friend, a feeling she enthusiastically returns. The problem is, we live close to a thousand miles apart with little hope of meeting anytime soon. What's your take on long-distance (not to mention interracial) relationships? Any suggestions?

Smitten in Smyrna

Dear Smitten,

Any relation to our canine friend of last week? No? Well, to the problem at hand, then.

Ah, the perils of long distance dating. On the one hand their flaws aren't apparent, they're not driving you up a wall with the snoring thing at 3 a.m., you're never aware of that disgusting thing they do in the smallest room, her cats haven't yakked up a grasshopper in your favorite shoes...and thus, much civility is preserved.

But on the other hand, you aren't getting to know them on a level that happens when you spend time together. You don't get to see how the corners of her eyes crinkle when she laughs, you don't get to see if that cute sneeze is as funny in person as it is on the phone, and there's not a lot of making the beast with two backs.

I have my doubts about the viability of long distance relationships where the people have *never* met in person...as online personalities are very rarely the entire person. But in cases where an existing relationship experiences separation for periods of time due to work, school, travel, whatever, then long distance relationships are quite feasible. As to interracial, as long as you're in love with something that is mammalian, walks upright, has opposable thumbs, and doesn't fling waste at company, I'm going to assume that you've found a human, which I recommend - as races go.



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Dear Winifred,

A friend of mine went camping last weekend and when he came back he gave me an adorable puppy. I was a little bit reluctant to adopt her I named her Melisande), but she looked so winsome and needy that I couldn't help myself. The cats didn't seem to object too much and everything looked like it was going to work out just fine.

Well, yesterday morning I found the cutest baby sleeping in Melisande's bed and the puppy was gone! I called around, but none of the neighbors are missing a baby and none of them have seen my puppy. I tried to explain what had happened to the police, but the man who answered the phone suggested I'd been taking drugs and hung up on me abruptly. Then the baby started crying.

When I picked up the baby to feed her, she made a very peculiar sound and bit me hard enough to draw blood. I was surprised, of course, but I was able to get her to drink some milk and settle down. She really is a sweetie when she's not frustrated and hungry and if no one comes to claim her, I'm happy to give her a home. It would be nice if I could get Melisande back so the little girl I've named her Marguerite) can have a friend. I would be grateful for advice on how one goes about retrieving lost or stolen puppies. Can you help me?

Bitten and smitten

Dear Bitten,

You may want to sit down and fortify yourself with drink. It would appear that your "friend" has been playing at silly buggers during the full moon. Some men are such dogs.

On the plus side, you'll have a very loyal daughter, albeit one that eats kibble during certain phases of the month. I'd start planning now for things like extra large pet doors, perhaps changing the knobs on your doors to lever type closures, put pull ropes on the cabinets she may need during her... time of the month, if you will. Also, you might want to lose the silver jewelry and consider moving to the country. But other than that, I'm sure things will be just fine. You'll see...I mean, I have an estate full of undead and other than some periodic payoffs to the neighbors, things are fine.

How much trouble could one little werewolf be?

Moonily yours,


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Dear Winifred,
I'd like to keep a duck for myself. What do you do with ducks? Do you take baths with them? If you did, wouldn't the bathtub water surface be covered in ducks? Would you pay a ransom for your ducks? Do you think that at night, when you are sleeping, the ducks come up to your ears and whisper soft brain-wash type stuff to you?

Quack Questioner

Darling Quack,
Ducks are a great deal of responsibility. I have my ducks polished and waterproofed. Then it's safe to let them near water, such as a bathtub. Asking how many ducks can fit on the surface of the tub water is like unto asking how many angles can dance on a pin. Ducks, like angels, will fill the available space. No, I wouldn't pay ransom for my ducks, as my ducks are trained Anatidae of Dooooom! Fear them and their fowl tempers. No, the whispers at night are The Truths...ducks are our salvation. Ducks are good. We love the ducks.

Just Duckily,


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Dear Winifred,
This is eerie, and is something to think about! America is typically represented by an eagle. Saddam should have read up on his Muslim passages. The following verse is from the Quran, (the Islamic Bible)

Quran (9:11) -- For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace.

( Note the verse number!!!!!)

Proven Right!!!!!

Dear Blithering Idiot,

Firstly, use of more than two exclamation points is a sure sign of an unhinged mind...but let us put that aside for the moment. Secondly, I generally try to keep this column non-political, but this is really too much.

Let me begin with the basics. Al-Qur'an is divided into Juz (parts), Surahs (chapters) and Ayat (verses). Juz 09 doesn't have an eleven....it runs from 7:88 through 7:206, and primarily deals with Sabbath practices, forgiveness, speaking for justice, ignoring the ignorant (a lesson I've never learned) and listening to the Qur'an in silence when it is being read aloud.

The only thing that could come close to being a 9:11 would be Chapter 9; the Surah of At-Tauba...which is the proclamation to dissolve the Treaty of Hudeybiyah. The section of that chapter which contains verses 9:7-9:11 is the Commandment of Allah to honor the treaty so long as the unbelievers honor it. And I quote: "But (even so), if they repent, establish regular prayers, and practice regular charity,- they are your brethren in Faith: (thus) do We explain the Signs in detail, for those who understand. "

So, in fact, what 9:11 says is that all those who repent, pray, and engage in charity are brothers in faith. The Qur'an recognizes the religions that worship God (that were present in that part of the world at that time--Jews, Christians, Sabians), and says their adherents will be saved (2:62 and 5:69).
There is not anything remotely like that "quotation" anywhere else in the Qur'an. It isn't even written a style that's close.

The word "eagle" does not appear anywhere in the Qur'an in any of the three translations that are easily accessible to someone who doesn't read Arabic (Yusuf Ali, Pickthal, and Shakir). There are 15 Ayat (verses) that contain the word "birds" (as in "birds of prey," a possible substitute for "eagles"), and 4 that contain the word "bird." Most of these are clearly talking about literal birds (such as birds singing praise to Allah, birds being given life by Allah, the miracle of flight being given by Allah), and none of them are anything like the "quotation" you seem to hold as proof that invading Iraq was a God given right of the Bush regime.

As an aside, the word "Arabia" does not appear anywhere in the Qur'an either. There is only one Ayah that contains the word "Arab," and that has to do with the Qur'an being revealed to Muhammad in Arabic.

Islam is not the enemy. Muslims are not the enemy. Arabs are not the enemy. People who make up lies to justify the killing of thousands and thousands of innocents on both sides of a war so that they can reap the profits of their blood money are the enemy...may they spend an eternity with eagles pecking out their livers.



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Dear Winifred,
I got emailed some article entitled Top Ten Internet Fads - A look back at what made the internet worth surfing. But, most of the links don't work...and I want to see what has made the internet so great. Can you help a brother out?


Dear Googled

It was seanbaby who wrote that for Wave Magazine. Now, I disagree with most of his choices, while others I found fairly amusing. However, I've found other spots for you to see some of the madness.

For example...the scary live action players...which I find funny in an "gee, I wonder what my ex-boyfriend is doing these days" kinda way, can be found here. From the ow, ow, ow! files...the infamous atlanta grapes mpg can probably be found here. Although, to be honest, I fail to see why A.) this would be considered funny...and B.) How it possibly made it onto a top ten list. I will grant you that Star Wars Kid was funny in it's original. Many of the spoofs were funny. Here's a better link than the Wave had. This one is my personal fave.

But if I were creating a Internet List of Top Weirdness...here's some that I think would have to be included: (in no particular order)

Badgers, Badgers, Badgers...Mushroom, Mushroom

Gonads and Strife

End of the World

Peter Pan guy (warning...obnoxious midi...may blow up mozilla browsers)


Flying Guy (one of my personal faves)

Anything from the Camp Chaos gang...but Naptster Bad and the Crocodile Hunter on the Playground are amongst my faves.

Mondo Mini Shows - who didn't love Thugs on Film and the God and Devil Show?

I'm a Cow,

and of course Cows with Guns.

But my readers are a crazed web-riding, information-surfing bunch, perhaps they have weirdness that I've missed that they'd like to share?



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Dear Winifred,
After a few really frustrating relationships, I found a really wonderful guy and we're going to be married. He's smart, funny, intelligent, honest, and a really good friend. The problem is that I don't think he pays enough attention to me. For instance, if I call him during the day he can't always talk to me, or if I send him a loving email, he doesn't answer it right away. I find myself resenting doing those things if he isn't going to reciprocate. What can I do to get him to do the things I want? Is there a good way to train a man?

Damsel in Distress

Dear Distressed,
Most certainly men can be trained. For instance, many of them now place the seat back in the correct position when they are finished using the potty. Many men hold doors open and will hail a cab for you if you're polite and say thank you. Certain men can be trained to hold tantric positions for hours and hours...in fact it's a prerequisite for being a pool boy here at the estate. (That and being able to make a good martini...I'll overlook many flaws for a well made martini.) As to your particular request, I might say that men cannot be trained by cloying vacuums of need.

At the risk of being unseemly, One tends to think that you're asking about training the wrong person. You say he's wonderful, funny and honest, and yet you want him snap trained so that he instantly answers your silly notes and constant phone barrage? Are you mad, woman? The poor thing is probably a saint for dealing with your incessant demands for attention. Honestly darling, get a dog if you want something to train. And could you pass the funny, honest, intelligent guy along to one of the women who promises to love him without trying to train him to imitate a poodle?



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Dear Winifred,

I met this girl that I really like. After we had been dating for a while, we decided to make the beast with two backs. She told me she was a virgin, and asked me to get "protection" on the way to her house. I stopped by a drugstore to buy some condoms. Because I was slightly embarrassed about buying condoms, I was making small talk the lady who rang up my purchase and foolishly blurted out something like "I think I'm gonna get lucky tonight!".

So, imagine my surprise when I went to pick up my girlfriend that night and the lady who answered the door was the same lady who rang up my purchase that afternoon. I was so embarrassed I couldn't speak. Fortunately, my girlfriend was ready on time, and we managed to leave after a brief introduction.

We had a grand old night, but I didn't tell her that her mom was who rang up the condoms. I now am feeling guilty and uneasy. Should I say something and get it over with or keep quiet? -


Dear Rubbery,

It is so cute when you kids try to pull one over on Winifred. It really is. But you forget my little angel, I read my parent's Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comics, I own a copy of Lewis Grizzard's book "Don't Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes", and I know how to type snopes.com into an address bar.

I'm the tiniest bit hipper and a whole lot more wired than Ms. Landers, doncha know.



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Dear Winifred,

My boyfriend and I have been talking about having a baby. (I'm 16, he's 29.) Babies are so cute and adorable, and I thought if I had one why I was still in high school, then I'd have my figure back quickly and not look like those fat ladies I see at the Piggly-Wiggly. I found a matchbook that had a school on the back that said I could get a college degree from home, so I could study and take care of the baby at the same time. I'd like your advice on how to tell my parents that I want to make them grandparents.

Fertile Felicity

Dear Fertile,

Oh, little babysitter precious...you have no idea what you're getting yourself into. Granted, babies are cute, especially when you can give them back to their parents when it comes time to change diapers, deal with colic, projectile vomiting, and the absolute utter refusal to sleep. I also think you may not have thought about the puppy-eating, gerbil-dismembering, blood-drinking, devil-worshiping stage that so many babies are prone to do. Not all mind you, but how do you know you won't have a goth baby? Hmmm? You don't.

You should go to college...a real one...with a campus and professors and beer drinking contests, you should take your birth control pills, and you should let your Daddy shoot that no-good, teen molesting, pervert of a boyfriend of yours. If you live in the South, which you must if you're in proximity to a "piggly-wiggly", shooting him falls under the "he needed killing" laws, so there probably won't be much trouble about it. Just have your Momma make sure your dogs are hungry and the chainsaw is gassed up.

White Trashily,

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