The day after Steve Case told users about AOL's "Letters to Santa" area, it went down for over 24 hours.

But problems just got worse. AOL users who e-mailed Santa asking about the outage got a cut-and-pasted form response with no answer. (It even included the phrase "Field 1 = Dear Santa".) The third paragraph ended in mid-sentence...

The original message asked simply:

How come I couldn't writ eyou sundy!!!

Here's "Santa's" response...

Subj: Letters to Santa
Date: 97-12-09 20:33:16 EST
From: SantaClaus

HO HO HO Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas! Rudolph, Ozzie the Elf and Mrs. Claus all say "Hello."

It always makes me so happy when boys and girls write to me. Your good thoughts and wishes mean a lot and make me very, very proud to be part of Christmas.

Thanks for letting me know what you want this year! I always find getting letters like yours extremely helpful, since it helps to give me a better idea of what you and other kids just like

If you are wondering how I know if you are naughty or nice all year, I ask your parents. The elves call a couple of times a year and check in to see how you're doing. Also, the elves are small and look like kids, so they'll often go to schools and kid hangouts and see how everyone is behaving. So remember to be good -- you never know when an elf is around!

Now, don't forget to leave a plate of cookies and a glass of milk out for me on Christmas Eve. Chocolate chip is my favorite! (hint hint!)

Ho ho ho and with lots of love,


Field 1 = Dear Santa,

How come I couldn't writ eyou sundy!!!