Open Letter

A Brief Open Letter to Billy of Billy’s Library

Dear Billy,

While I appreciate your concern for my family life, I do not believe I actually require Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. I would, however, like my copy of A Monstrous Regiment of women and presumably [Redacted] of Toronto would very much like her 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there are a few areas my husband and I could improve upon. Sometimes we snap at each other, and we tend to use sarcasm as a defense mechanism, but we are definitely working on talking through our issues instead of acting passive aggressively about it. Unlike the people who live in my condo, who are the epitome of passive aggression. I’m fairly certain one day it will become full-on aggression and the end result will be a murder. In which case a detective book like Laurie R. King’s A Monstrous Regiment of Women might come in handy. I’m not saying I have the skills of Mary Russell-Holmes, but I do consider myself to have a keen eye for investigation. I almost became a private investigator once, but then an angry old white man told me that pretty young white girls don’t make good PI’s. How he knew I was white is beyond me because we were talking on the phone. How he knew I was pretty is another mystery all together, as I am not. This leads me to assume that perhaps he is not that good of an investigator after all.

Then again, maybe he was the head of some crime syndicate, and knew I was on to him and was trying to throw me off the trail. That is also a possibility, but still highly unlikely. If I had a copy of Monstrous Regiment of Women I might be able to use the skills gained from reading said book to determine what his angle was. Instead the only thing I can do is help him work through the family issues he is inevitably having with his wife. I say inevitable, because let’s face it, one does not become a PI because one’s life is all sunshine and rainbows. The guy probably eats Film Noir for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which may account for the intense weight he is carrying around, at least according to his image on the website I looked up.

Of course it isn’t fair to judge someone by their image. Instead I choose to judge him based solely on the fact that he thought calling me pretty would somehow get me off his case. The joke is on him. Now I have his social insurance number and a list of his fears, and I’m just biding my time until he slips up. That makes me sound a bit like a villain in film noir but I promise you I am far from it. I am just a simple (and apparently pretty) girl from Canada who would very much like to give this 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families to [Redacted] and receive her copy of Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King.

So, let’s you and I make this happen, eh?
Kathleen Sawisky Esq, PI
Integrity Commissioner


An Open Letter to Our Scummy Neighbour

An Open Letter to Our Scummy Neighbour

(With sincerest apologies to those of you without scum)

Congratulations on your brazen daylight heist. Your decision to steal a bike out of a locked parkade is remarkable given, and I can’t stress this enough, it is locked and only those who live in the building have access to it. In that way I thank you for narrowing down the list of suspects so quickly, you remarkable molding bread loaf of a human being.

Really, I can’t imagine what must have possessed you to look at our stall and think Hey, that is a bike. I like bikes. I will steal that bike. I can only assume you were raised by wolves and spent the more important years of mental growth inside a refrigerator box behind a strip club where you were hand-fed day-old sausage links by some pole dancer by the name of Bertha. And the worst part, Bertha is fucking disappointed in you.

Here’s the thing, Scum Lord of the Elephant Men. We all have to live in this condo building together. We have to be kind and gracious to each other. We have to ensure we don’t hang annoying sheets off of balconies, or let our dogs shit in the elevator, or, you know, steal from each other. Stealing is, believe it or not, wrong. So, when you decided to steal my husband’s bike from what is, by all intents and purposes, our property, you committed a crime. Crimes are bad. That’s why we call them crimes and not Dance Parties or Cupcake Unicorn Celebrations. Crimes are bad and when they happen, we call the police to report them.

Just answer me this, you who has the social skills of a rotten orange wearing a pair of googly eyes… Why steal? Why steal from a neighbour? The chances of you knowing who we are is fairly slim, but on the off-chance you do know us… did we offend you? Was it the passive aggressive notes? Was it the fact that I didn’t care for the poop in the elevator? Or are you just a bad person with a bad life and so you feel the need to inflict your badness on others?

Are you unhappy, Scum-Satan? Is that why you steal?

Many people are unhappy, and you know what? They don’t fucking steal other people’s shit.

You have a chance to make this right. You can return the bike (that is the favoured outcome) or you can come up to 3314, knock on our door, and apologize, and then return the bike. Either way, the bike comes back to us, or you are paying for it. That is the thing about committing crimes, asshole… People hold you accountable for the mistakes you make. In this case, you made a costly one.


An Open Letter to Kevin O’Leary: You’re making us O’Weary

Dear Kevin O’Leary,

Listen, Kevin, we need to have a talk. No, I don’t have a million dollars to offer you, and no, dinosaur soul juice does not flow through my veins, but I am an Albertan, so listen up.

You need to stop. Stop. Stop, Kevin O’Leary. Stop talking. Go away. I will give you, what do I have here… $6.45 for you to go away right now. You are a money man, and if you stop talking right at this very moment, you will be six dollars richer. That is a total benefit to you. Invest it in ties or hair plugs or whatever it is you’re really into right now.

Kev, Kevin, Kevvy-baby, please. You’re embarassing yourself. You do see that, don’t you? A million dollars? One meelllllion dollars is your offer to ‘revitalize’ the Albertan economy? Have you been to Alberta lately? Do you know what houses are priced at? A million smackos will get you half a house out in Silverado Dressage, and not the nice half. A million dollars is a painfully arbitrary number. The sort of number a fanciful child pulls out of their underdeveloped brain when asked “How much money does Mommy and Daddy have?”

And you think you can somehow bribe our democratically elected representative to leave her position? Do you know who does that? The villain. The villain of the movie tries to bribe the leader of the free world, and when the leader laughs uproariously and flips the villain the bird, the villain proceeds to produce a giant galaxy destroying laser.

Because that is what they do in the films, O’Leary.

You can’t just bribe away democracy. That isn’t what democracy is. That isn’t how democracy works. You are bribing the wrong people. You need to be bribing me. Bribe me so the next time an election comes around I don’t vote for NDP. Bribe me. It’s easy. I am cheap. 

In fact, if you give me $1000 towards my editor fund, I will, hand to God, never mention you again. I will not pepper your Twitter news feed with aggravating comments that reveal my total incompetence and my lack of education in the area of whatever it is you are engaged in. Sharks? No. Dragons! That was it. Christ, how did you get put in charge of dragons? Dragons are fucking huge, man. Is that why you don’t have hair? Do you not want to talk about it?

And maybe you thought by offering the province ONE MEEEEELLION dollars you would somehow cause the overall population of Alberta to resort of a coup d’etat or, as I’ve heard it is called now, a kudatah. But you underestimated several things about us, O’Leary, and I feel as if it is my job to eduate you. Please take note of the following things:

  1. We like democracy. Democracy actually works for us. In fact, Alberta is an execllent example of why democracy works. We are generally very conservative and yet we voted in the NDP’s because the Conservatives were literally making us retch in the streets. Yes, First Past the Post is a flawed system, but we’ve made it work so far, and will continue to do so into the future.
  2. One MEEEEEELLION dollars is quite effectively nothing. It will not revitalize our province. It’s estimated that in November, Calgary lost over 35,000 jobs due to the collapse of oil. Your one mil. isn’t going to satisfying them, let alone revitalize our economy.
  3. Rachel Notley, despite your apparent belief, is not some sort of Oil Necromancer who has siphoned the wells dry and thereby created this current troubling scenario. She inherited these issues from the Conservative government. The oil industry does not collapse under the direction of a single individual. We are talking years of fiscal mismanagement and dependence on a single industry. That is the fault of many, not just one, and trying to place the blame on Notley and bribe her to leave office just makes you look like an uneducated blowhard.

You are a money man, and that is fine, Kevin, baby, but you are clearly lacking in several key components of ‘humanity’, namely the ability to critically and rationally examine a scenario and avoid political pandering. If you wanted to really help Alberta, you would invest in CalgaryNEXT KathleenNOW. 

Please, Kevin O’Leary. Stop making fun of our democratic practice, stop mocking it by suggesting our Premier ought to succumb to bribery. Please stop talking. Please go away. And to the media, stop talking to him. No one cares. If anything it makes us sad every time we have to acknowledge that Kevin O-Is-For-Opinionated-Leary has said something, be it intelligent or… whatever it is that keeps leaking from the corner of his mouth.

Stop, please, just stop.


Kathleen Sawisky

Integrity Commissioner

An Open Letter to an Awful, Just Terrible, Doctor

Dear Awful, Absolutely Terrible Doctor,

Bravo and congratulations! You, madam, have the healing prowess of a druid, or perhaps some sort of automaton. You have healed me of all which ails me. Goodbye chronic pain, hello bright, shiny new day without chronic pain.

Except, wait, no. That’s not right at all. No, sorry, what I meant to say was Bravo and congratulations. For the first time in thirteen years of suffering from chronic pain, you have made me feel like a drug seeking addict.

 I guess that says something about my experience with the health care system thus far. I’ve been very lucky with all the doctors and nurses I’ve dealt with. That is, until I had to deal with you. (more…)

An Open Letter to Ken King and the People of Calgary: “Can I interest you in KathleenNOW?”

Dear Mr. King,

What joy! What glory! What a day! Your introduction of the CalgaryNEXT project, as well as the financial requirements from the people of Calgary in the form of taxation to fund your glorious megalith project slash homage to commercial greed is, without a shadow of a doubt, the single most HI-larious thing that could have been announced this week, followed very closely by the discovery of a colony of anthropomorphic dogs on Mars who exist for the full purpose of reciting Shakespeare.


An Open Letter to my Hobgoblin Neighbor

It’s becoming quite clear that I have numerous interesting neighbors.

Dear Mr. and/or Mrs. Hobgoblin Neighbor,

Kudos, to you, o’ grotesque one. Your complete and utter disregard for the rest of us living in the condo is Bond Villain-esque! If Sean Bean had the cojones to act as you did, surely he would have survived being crushed by the Cradle at the end of GoldenEye. Except not. I mean, he is Sean Bean, after all.

Why, neighbor? Why did you let your dog poop in the elevator and then not clean it up? Why, previous to yesterday’s poop offense, did you let your dog pee in the elevator and then, once again, not clean it up? What is it about feces and urine that you find so troubling that you are unable to deal with it, despite the fact that you relieve yourself of both on a daily basis. But wait, that is unfair of me. You might very well have been previously involved in some sort of Human Caterpillar situation, which has left you with severe PTSD and a fear of human waste.

Or, and this is just a guess, you’re just an unfathomably ignorant and discourteous hobgoblin.

Yes, let’s go with hobgoblin this time around.

Despite how disgusting the piss was when we came across it in our mercifully tiled elevator a month ago, we, and by we I mean my husband, cleaned it up, informed the management company, and left a polite letter in the mail room informing you of your error. After all, maybe you just didn’t notice that your dog took a little wee. I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt once, and only once, before I bring out the goblin whacking stick. Unfortunately for you, the poop left in the elevator yesterday evening means that I am no longer feeling charitable and/or understanding. Quite the opposite in fact.

In discussing this with the folks over on reddit, someone suggested that perhaps they planned on returning to clean it up. That could have very well been true, but alas, 40 minutes later and that pile of shit was still there, much like you are still living in this condo despite the fact that every single person here now despises you and wants you to become locked in your bathroom with your tiny dog where you will inevitably be eaten by it as the animalistic nature of your tiny, yappy canine comes through in full force. Sure, we don’t know who you are, but there are only so many dogs in this condo, so it shouldn’t be too tough to figure out.

For instance, using the elevator suggests that you live on the second or third floor. You own a small dog, probably to go with your tiny penis/or vagina. That’s already eliminated 1/3rd of those living here! Next comes the door-to-door canvassing, followed by the interrogation which may or may not involve a car battery attached to your nipples. If you weren’t pooping in inappropriate places with your dog before, you sure will be after I’m done with you.

Admittedly, I didn’t expect the first note to be met with great success. In fact, I half expected it to enrage the residents of our condo to the point where they started collecting pitchforks and torches. I do tend to have that sort of impact on people. One lovely Redditor came across it somehow and took a picture of it, which I have included below. Perhaps I was a little harsh in it, suggesting you pee in your sink if you really need to. Or maybe you were just so put off that someone would call you on your bullshit that you decided to up the ante by letting your dog poop in our common space and not clean it up. If that is the case I must tell you, I will be forced to call the police if next week we find a rotting corpse slouched over in the corner of the elevator.

I may have been a... little... passive-aggressive

I may have been a… little… passive-aggressive

You know the worst part about you letter your dog relieve itself in the elevator and then not cleaning up after it? It brings into question the health, safety, and care of your pet. I am deeply concerned that your entire condo is composed of dried out dog shit that has been cunningly sculpted into chairs, tables, couches, and even appliances.

Do you let your dog crap wherever and just leave it, hoping that some magical crap fairy will appear in the night and whisk the defecation away into Poopland, where the entire economy is based around the cultivating of bowel movements? Does that make you the King or Queen of Fecal Matter? Furthermore, would you like me to make you a crown? I can definitely put together some sort of poop-related crown if that’s the sort of thing that’ll get you cleaning up after your dog.

For the sake of clarity, let me emphasize that I am not upset at your dog. Sure, I know some dogs can be egged on to pee on command. That always strikes me as quite brilliant. After all, I can’t magically shit every time someone commands me to. I can, however, clean up after my pets as a good owner ought to do.

Amazing that you, a grown man or woman, lacks the basic training afforded to most of the First World. I have drafted a proposal to our condo board that we purchase you a shock collar in an effort to remove you of these neglectful habits. Of course, we’re still going to have to register you with the city. There will be a hefty fee, and you’re going to need to wear a collar. Don’t worry, the collar is only if you can’t find your way home, and the fee will go towards cleaning up after you and/or your dog. And just in case you were wondering, yes, I know human vaccinations are not currently mandatory, but I think for the sake of everyone living in the building it would be best if we made sure you were up-to-date on all of that.

Now, I suppose you think I’m being passive-aggressive by suggesting that you are on equal terms as a trained animal (possibly untrained. It is difficult to tell at this point.) My answer to that is: absolutely. 100% passive-aggressive. I would be in-your-face aggressive, but have no idea who you are, which is why I am forced to address this letter as I have. If you’d like to come forward to discuss this face to face, I live in Unit 3314. Anytime, buddy, anyplace. Just give me a heads up so I can lay down some newspaper for you before you arrive.


Kathleen Sawisky, Esq.

Integrity commissioner

An Open Letter to NBC: “Alas, I have no more sarcastic slow-claps to give”

I’ve been in a writing slump lately. Fortunately, nothing inspires more than the rage that develops when my favorite television show is cancelled.

An Open Letter to NBC,

I want to be polite, I really do. I feel like I owe it to you for providing the world with… I don’t know, let’s say ten years of quality SNL sometime before I was born. I want to like you folks, and respect the television lineup choices you make because as we all know it is so damn hard to find original, thought-provoking, boundary-pushing television. I was willing to let the whole Community fiasco go because Yahoo so generously picked them up (#sixseasonandamovie) and quite frankly it didn’t seem like it was worth getting upset about.

But this? This decision? This is unforgiveable. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why you cancelled Hannibal.

There has been a lot of talk about the last decade so being the Golden Age of television, and with the Breaking Bad’s and Game of Thrones’ and The Sopranos, it’s easy to see why. Television is no longer catering to the lowest common denominator by creating definitive protagonists and antagonists. Characters are multi-faceted, richly developed. We love to hate the villains and hate to love the heroes because we are shown clearly how no person is perfect. Each character, at least when they are developed well-enough, are painted in delicate strokes, some invisible to the naked eye. These television shows aren’t asking us to look beyond what we see; they are forcing us to. It’s remarkable and has helped remove much of the complacency from television viewing.

You were doing so well until you cancelled Hannibal.

Out of curiosity I googled what else you currently have on the line up. Social and cultural dredge like America’s Got Talent (spoiler alert: it actually doesn’t have talent), The Voice, A to Z, every season of Heroes after 1, and a handful of others make me question who precisely is in charge of choosing these shows for continuation or cancellation and if perhaps they are leaving the decision up to a cat named Mr. Bubbles who responds to you shaking bags of treats with the names of potential shows written on them.

That would actually make for a pretty awesome mini-series. Think about it.

Don’t get me wrong. I get that Hannibal is a risky choice. It’s not known for bringing in the sweeping crowds probably, as I said above, because it doesn’t shove the narrative down the throats of its viewers. It is visually stirring and encourages multiple viewings of each episodes because of the miniscule details that can easily be missed if one isn’t looking for them. The dialogue isn’t accompanied by a laugh-track, even if that would be an absolutely hilarious addition from time to time. Things aren’t spelled out for the audience of Hannibal, which is why its viewership, while low, is fiercely dedicated. Because for once, cable television has offered a quality show that could just as easily be found on HBO. It is physically accessible to a wider audience.

Or it was until you and Mr. Bubbles cancelled it.

And sure, the visuals can be troubling. If I were an alien from planet Gobulorx 6, having just escaped the malevolent overlord of Andromeda-Phi, and was looking for sanctuary on earth and just happened to have channel flipped to Hannibal from my motel and/or refugee camp, I would be absolutely enchanted with it. That is, until you explained to me that the man with the nice accent and well-oiled hair happened to be eating people. That stuff, and please forgive the pun, is hard to digest. But so what? I’d much rather invest my time and money in a show that forces me to question my own morality; that demands I sympathize with both hero and villain, sometimes interchangeable. I want a show that knows I’m not a complete dumb-dumb-dummy; that shows me what a richly woven narrative can be, and what sort of emotions it can evoke within me over the course of 44 minutes.

I can’t get that from the majority of cable TV. Hell, I can barely find it in films, rarely in video games, and once in a blue moon in books. When I find any sort of media that hits all the right notes, popular or not, I will dedicate everything I can to that. I will take on the stupid title (such as a ‘Fannibal’), I will joke about shipping, I will mourn the loss of characters (RIP Abigail), and I will throw all the money I can at the producers in order to ensure that I can continue having just a tiny bit more of that rich, convoluted narrative.

Or I would have, if you hadn’t cancelled it.

But, I guess kudos to you, NBC, for recognizing that your audience is clearly to intelligent for your network. Your foolish mistake has now given Bryan Fuller and the rest of the amazing Hannibal team the opportunity to be picked up by a different studio or production company (Hello, Netflix). Maybe it will be a company that understands that we as consumers often crave something more than the beleaguered laugh tracks and fart jokes that you so frequently offer. Maybe they will see Hannibal as a brilliant opportunity to continue pushing the boundaries of what we feel to be socially and culturally acceptable. Maybe, god forbid, it will ask us to think even more about what we are consuming and how it reflects on our culture.

Your America’s Got Talent and The Voice and increasingly depressing SNL shouldn’t be that representative. It shows our mental waste; how we are content to spend time watching other people compete for innocuous prizes while performing tasks that we would most certainly do ourselves if we just got our butts off of the couch. Brain-candy doesn’t even begin to describe the sort of media we are consuming these days and yes, it is our fault. We allow it to happen. We give you the ratings and you translate the ratings into more episodes. Wonderful. We are greedy, selfish children and you, as our entertainment parents, have given into our every whim. But we are getting older, and our understanding of the world is changing. Now isn’t the time to remove the media that actually challenges us. You need to cultivate our love of the unusual and the morally questionable. You need to give us the opportunity to expand our understanding of the world by giving shows like Hannibal – that may not have the highest ratings – the chance to continue to thrive.

The Golden Age of Television has given us some amazing media. And you, NBC, just made a terrible mistake.

Yours Sincerely,

Kathleen Sawisky Esq.

Integrity Commissioner