Little Billy's Letters to famous and infamous people

Originally published at: Little Billy's Letters to famous and infamous people | Boing Boing

  1. That absolute piece of garbage Susan Atkins wrote a startlingly good letter.
  2. I think the guy from Caesar’s was not fooled one little bit.

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Disappointing if unsurprising that even within the homeless community classism is apparently still a problem.


In the 1970s Don Novello aka Father Guido Sarduchi started writing letters to famous people under the name Lazlo Toth. These where published as the Lazlo letters, Lorne Micheals saw them and hired Don as a writer for SNL


I kind of want to drop everything and be a hobo now. The man knows how to sell his organization. And “astronaught” is a funny misspelling.


Perhaps - but I appreciate that he was honest about what gambling was and is.

The only letter that seemed like they were fooled was from Susan Atkins.


Yeah, that’s a profoundly optimistic view of hoboism.


Technically isn’t everyone who hasn’t been to space an astronaught?


That term reminds me of when Bezos and Branson were having a pissing contest over who is the best spaceboy. Are they astronaughts?


Did you notice that Cardinal Mahony didn’t answer the question?


Back in college (30-ish years ago), I wrote bogus letters to various corporations (e.g., writing a company with extra-annoying advertising about how great their advertisement was). I’d figured I was on to a good idea and I put a couple of 'em in my 'zine. A friend informed be that the basic idea had already been done, in the Lazlo Letters. I figured, “aw, damn, it’s been done… oh well.” A few years after that, though, Ted L. Nancy ran with a very similar idea to my own in the Letters from a Nut series of books. Damn it!

I bet I still have some of these letters somewhere, but unless the advertisements are on Youtube or elsewhere, the letters won’t make much sense from this far remove.

EDIT because :wine_glass:


I kinda want to drop everybody and be a kid again … can I daddy :slight_smile:

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But in this case, it’s less about classism and more about descriptions of voluntary characteristics, I think? As in, a bum would try to bum a cigarette, a hobo would offer to trade a riddle for a cigarette. Or a bit of labor for a hot meal or safe place to sleep.
Full disclosure: when I was homeless, I vacillated between self defining as a hobo and a vagabond.

Regarding the letters, they are delightful, but I also got a sense of exploiting people, at least with the former Manson family incarceree. Obviously not a stellar human, but still…


I was looking for a hard sell on hoboism, like a reference to the great hobo, John Steinbeck, or the challenge of traveling across country without having to spend a dime. Unfortunately, I didn’t see that in the written response to Billy’s inquiry.

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I’m in space right now!


The initial description reminded me of the Henry Root Letters, something remotely similar by William Donaldson. Little Billy’s letters struck me as much more good-natured. They can be read as genuine enquiries, to which the recipients replied honestly. The Root letters, on the other hand, are simply objectionable. I wouldn’t recommend them.


Came here for “You send out letters, you get back letters, that’s for sure!” and Egg McMuffins with jelly, pleased to not be disappointed.

I’m having trouble finding a classic letter-to-the-corporation that I probably saw on Metafilter: why don’t we drink pigs’ milk? The highly informative answer went into many key biological differences between pigs and cows – the most economically relevant being that lactating cows can get pregnant, pigs less so – and the answerer went on to be a famous pig scientist.