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Sort 342
Get Your Contest Entries In.

by Dear Jon
July 1, 2008


Dear Jon,

Would your eldest sister (who practically raised you since birth) be allowed to enter the contest and win a free book for her teenage daughters, otherwise known as your nieces?


Dear Winnie,

Raised me since birth? Are you kidding? What about those four years that you just up and flew away and left me? Where were you when I broke out in pimples and girls told me I was gross? Where were you when I tried my luck as a paper boy and failed miserably because I was too intimidated to ask grown-ups for the money they owed me? Where were you when I went to school with tape holding my glasses together, and my feet in bright orange socks? You were off to "college" like some big shot "co-ed."

By the time you came back around, I had been through those hard knocks. I was Mister Cool, the lady-killer, hitting my stride, ready to make my moves in the youth group and at summer camp.

And what did YOU have to say about that? Mizzzz College Grad with a Sociology Degree informed me with great authority that my being male already made me guilty of the crime of possessing the distinctly male organs, and furthermore, I was the wrong color to expect any sympathy from anyone. Well THAT set me back. I was in the eleventh grade before my first real date. You never knew that all the time I was still crying on the inside, wondering where my Winnie had gone.

Not that I'm bitter. Not Dear Jon. Bitterness is not pragmatic. And the fact is, pragmatically, once we pare down the list of my 11 or so devoted fans, if family members and PO staff were ineligible for my "Guess the Rest Contest," no one would enter. So please, Winnie.  Enter the contest. Don't stop there. Have my nieces enter it too. That will triple your family's chance of winning.

The details of this contest are given in Sort 341. I will publish guesses I receive next week, July 8, along with the answers, and hopefully be able to declare a winner. Send in your guesses as Actual Dear Jon letters using the form below.

If this is in violation of federal law, I'll just redirect the special prosecutor to my fellow columnist James Leroy Wilson, who will be only too happy to argue on my behalf until reason fails, which it will, since we are talking about the federal government. Then I'll go to my ace-in-the-hole. I'll have our poet laureate Greg Asimakoupoulos write a real zinger, maybe a limerick.

There once was an agent from D.C.
who thought shutting down contests at the Partial Observer would be easy....

Okay, that second line has too many "syllables" to throw off the "meter," which is why Dear Jon isn't the P.O.'s poet laureate.

If this "Guess the Rest" contest is in violation of international law, then I'm ready for our next President to launch another pre-emptive war to restore my right to give away a free book to anyone I darn well please, anywhere in the world. Including Canada-- which, despite rumors from the current Vice President's office, has actually NOT yet agreed to become "states 51 through 54." That won't happen until we invade. Pre-emptively. It will really be sweet to finally be able to ship a book to Canada at domestic postage rates. But that issue's resolution is probably one more presidential administration away, at least.

Now here is the deal. Obviously most people, Dear Jon included, keep their internet persona "anonymous." So how do we know the identity of an "anonymous" entrant so that we can verify the winner and ship out a book?

The e-mail address is the most efficient verification. Since e-mail addresses are guarded by password codes, the liklihood that a hacker will pass themselves off as the contest winner is pretty remote. Plus, that hacker gets the book mailed to an actual post address, which means the hacker gets caught once that whole mess gets sorted out.

Computers also have ISP addresses. Of course if you are logging in from a campus or a library, that messes that up a little bit.  Theoretically a person COULD log in to the public computer you used, and get a hold of your password, especially if you were silly enough to ask your public shared computer to save it. But still the issue comes up of how that person can hide when we ship them a book.

Theoretically a determined thief could beat this system, so it does depend on something like an element of honor. But that is true of almost anything in life.

Personally, I think I can fool everyone in my family. I don't think anyone is going to be able to "guess the rest." But you have a week. I announce the results next Tuesday.

Will we have a book by then? Only the Webmaster knows! Will we have to ship it internationally? Only the Webmaster cares!

About the Author:
Dear Jon's name really is not "Dear" and he does not have a sister named "Winnie." But he will still know where to send the free book if it comes to that.

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