Dear Apple: Where's my iHat?

From the corporate correspondence files of Mr. Kenneth H. Cleaver. Also: Grizzly bear job prospects and rap lyric campaign contributions for Al Gore.

Published October 17, 2000 7:30PM (EDT)

Dec. 10, 1999

Apple Computer, Inc.
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014

Dear Apple:

Today is the second day of the rest of my life. Yesterday my iMac arrived. The iMac is a remarkably attractive computer. Its transparent CPU dome looks like something out of a candy store. Stunning as it looks alone, when paired with its user one's eyes are drawn to a startling incongruity.

A headpiece, or iHat, made of the same plastic which houses the CPU would provide an aesthetic balance while serving to further integrate the CPU with the mind of its user. The iHat should come equipped with built-in headphones and horse blinders. Both devices could serve to prevent distraction from the outside world. Since Apple has been encouraging me to think different, I thought you'd be delighted by my efforts.

If it is not too much of an imposition, I should like a prototype iHat. It would be really fun to sport mine before they're all the rage. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kenneth H. Cleaver

Apple responds:

Kenneth H. Cleaver
P.O. Box 810
Bedford, NY 10506

Dear Mr. Cleaver:

Thank you for your correspondence dated Dec. 12, 1999. It is Apple's policy not to accept unsolicited ideas concerning products, product enhancements, processes, materials, advertising, promotions or marketing plans (all hereinafter "IDEAS") from sources outside the Company. Our policy may be viewed at

In this regard, all IDEAS submitted to Apple are forwarded to my office. I keep such IDEAS in my locked files.

We hope that you understand that this policy is necessary to prevent claims that Apple appropriated unfairly unsolicited IDEAS submitted to the Company.

We do appreciate your interest and support of Apple Computer, Inc.

Very truly yours

Albert P. Cefalo
Associate Counsel
Director of Patent,
Trademark & Copyright

Oct. 4, 1999

Idaho Dept. of Fish & Game
600 S. Walnut
P.O. Box 25
Boise, ID 83707

Dear Idaho Dept. of Fish & Game:

Please excuse my ignorance as I am uncertain as to your jurisdiction over the following matter. I am interested in a position as an ursus horribilis, more commonly known as a grizzly bear. While I have never worked as a bear before, I nevertheless feel that my 26 years as a human being -- including a weeklong stint as the Easter bunny at a local mall -- will only enhance relations between our embittered species. I love the outdoors, eating copious amounts of salmon and berries, and hibernate nightly. I require only a modest salary and can start immediately. I should mention that I am not interested in a position as a black bear as their habitual forays into the human realm reflect the inherent despotism of their race.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kenneth H. Cleaver

Idaho Dept. of Fish & Game responds:

Oct. 27, 1999

Dear Ken,

In response to your letter I have the following information. You are correct: The Idaho Fish and Game department does not have any jurisdiction over grizzly bears. They are a federally listed species so the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manage them.

However, I find your wishes to work as a G Bear rather admirable and perhaps some day there will be an opening. But, one must remember that human beings routinely shoot them, or destroy their habitat.

One could enjoy eating salmon and berries but you should be aware that the entire run of salmon in the Columbia basin is in trouble. Without the public getting involved greed and a profit motive will allow the human species to cause these magnificent fish to go extinct in the next 20 years.

What can you do? Get educated on the salmon issues and then become involved in saving them. Then if and when you get a job as a bear you will still have something to eat.

My secretary, Donna, said she would like to have a picture of you in your Easter Bunny outfit so if you have a good one could you please send her a copy.

Pat Cudmore

July 14, 2000

Vice President Al Gore
Gore 2000
2410 Charlotte Ave.
Nashville, TN 37203

Dear Mr. Gore:

In lieu of cash, please accept my cassette copy of Eric B. & Rakim's 1988 classic, "Follow the Leader." Rap is infinitely more entertaining and laconic than conventional campaign discourse. But do it well or not at all. Remember Lamar Alexander's ragtime band? Almost as bad as the flannels. Here are some lyrics:

I'm to the left y'all
I'm to the right y'all
I'm to the center of the left of the right
And I got the mic y'all

I got the mad phat legislative skills
I ain't passin no campaign finance reformin bills
Cause the DLC is down with OPP
that's gonna finance me to beat the GOP

I be a crafta of NAFTA
And the unions still write me checks cause they hafta
So all you lefty crusaders can all vote for Ralph Nader,
Or just write in "Darth Vader," while I clock mad paper

I'm the A-L-G-O-R-E,
From Tennessee
Not a cracker, not a Yalie frat boy slacker
At Harvard I wasn't floppin, the Democratic Party I be rockin'
I ain't frontin', they say my party stands for nothin'

So here's two things you can bet:
We really like trees and I invented the Internet.

Study Naughty By Nature's first two albums and any Public Enemy you can get your hands on. Do not, under any circumstances, use a human beat box, you don't have the street cred. I look forward to hearing the final product in Los Angeles.

Kenneth H. Cleaver

Al Gore responds:

Oct. 3, 2000

Kenneth H. Cleaver
P.O. Box 810
Bedford, NY 10506

Dear Kenneth:

Thank you so much for the song, "Follow the Leader," and your lyrics that you sent to me. I appreciate you taking the time to remember me in this way.

Over the coming months we will face many challenges, but I am confident that together we will win this campaign and make a positive difference for America. We can and will lift up our children, make our streets safer, and fuel the economy while building a lasting prosperity that leaves no one behind.

I am truly impressed with the generosity and thoughtfulness of the American people. Your personal support of me is what encourages me to work hard for positive change in our country. Through your show of support I realize that together, we will make the 21st century the brightest time our nation has ever seen.

Again, thank you for your generosity. I wish you all the best in the future.

Al Gore

By Kenneth Cleaver

Kenneth Cleaver is campaigning to rename the eggplant. His work appears in several alternative weeklies including the Hartford Advocate. He is a native of Bedford, N.Y.

MORE FROM Kenneth Cleaver

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Al Gore