Coming off of a slow news week, and faced with another empty-headed go at this column, I've again been miraculously rescued by a new round in my on-going row with Bowling For Soup--this time in the form of a poly-cotton blend. Late last week I received another of my occasional hate letters from the extended Bowling For Soup Army for some dismissive Up & Coming I wrote six months ago, this time making some vague allusion to a T-shirt they had recently purchased with my name on it. It seems that BFS had recently printed up a series of shirts whose backsides read as follows: "'Bowling For Soup is the worst pop band in the history of music… period!'"--Zac Pennington, Portland Mercury". Forgive me if I'm beating a dead horse here, but it isn't every day that a major label band dedicates clothing to me, the lowly music critic.

What follows is an excerpt from my thank you letter to the band. No response has been issued as of press time.

Dear Bowling For Soup:

It has come to my attention that I am yet again the recipient of your collectively subtle sardonic wrath--this time inflating an otherwise forgettable 14-word assessment I dismissively tossed off about your band to cover the XXL backsides of teenagers the world over. Good show, gentlemen! And while I might have preferred my name grace the cheaply manufactured baby tee of one of your artistic contemporaries (Bloodhound Gang comes to mind, though I probably would have settled for Nerf Herder), I'm still welling with pride to see my flippant ramblings for some no account weekly justly elevated to ink on some sickeningly over-priced tour merch. Sure, I was slightly misquoted… but really, with an honor like that, who am I to split hairs? Mercury editor Wm. Steven Humphrey, on the other hand, doesn't seem to share my appreciation of your gesture, and has asked me to inform you of his plans to "sue [your] fat asses" if a few of his incredibly reasonable demands aren't met. First off, he insists that each member of the Mercury's staff be outfitted with a copy of the offending T-shirt in our respective sizes, personally autographed by the really fat guy. Secondly, Mr. Humphrey is demanding a set of four BFS "Beverage Koozies," to expand upon his already impressive collection. Third, he requests an autographed publicity photo from your esteemed labelmate R. Kelly.

We appreciate a prompt, affirmative response from you--indicating that you have fully complied with these requirements--as soon as possible, or else we will be forced to take further action against you.

Thanks totally a lot. And no hard feelings, 'kay? You guys are totally the best!

3 Zac Pennington