Every now and then I like to read the spam. It is sometimes worth a laugh.

How can you resist an offer like this?

Genuie and from the Original manufacturer are selling by Trusted vendor.

Don’t miss this chance to buy Hight-Quality production!

Our online shop: http://forumdanceclub.info

Only today and only for you all prices eased for 60%!

P.S.: Forward this email to 10 your friends and you’ll get a good bid from us.

Got it? Are you clear what is being sold? Don’t those spelling and grammar mistakes give you confidence? Doesn’t it just make you want to go out a buy, buy, buy?

I wonder if I can get a good bid from them by posting this here? Perhaps that means I can get my prices eased

In case you are interested, the link leads to quite a professional looking Italian hosted website selling Viagra and Cialis. Obvious wasn’t it?

I am staggered to think that there is really a viable economy in this stuff. I can understand people being taken in by clever scams and I can understand people falling for the hard sell. but like my earlier post, I don’t understand this sort of stuff at all.

PS. Tonight (1st Feb) exactly the same email arrived- identical except for the URL which was changed to a Dutch address. I wait with bated breath to see which country I hear from tomorrow.


More Musea

January 24, 2007


Hand Made Jewellery - made from CarrotsHand Made Jewellery - made from Kiwi FruitHand Made Jewellery - made from OrangesHand Made Jewellery - made from Carrots

(Jewellery from dried fruit and vegetable by Helen Soler courtesy of the World Carrot Museum) 

Having just written about wonderful collectors’ sites, I came across the delightful carrot museum via one of those website that could keep me occupied for years – The Wikipedia Knowledge Dump – the repository of Wikipedia entries that are being considered for deletion from Wikipedia.

What a sad world it would be if we lost such articles as Abraham Lincoln’s sexuality or List of notable moustaches in art and fiction.

If you are wondering about the title – see these articles about pseudo Latin plurals and more on Latin plurals and even more.-

Current Affairs?

January 22, 2007

I had to laugh at the fainting goat video (via Damn Interesting). Not only for the amusing sight of goats who faint when they are surprised – a genetic disorder apparently called myotonia congenita – but also for the fact that the video includes material from the US version of ‘A Current Affair’. It’s good to see that that program shares its relentless search for earth shattering current affairs stories with its Australian namesake.

Having written the above, I happened to be in the gym and I am sure I saw (but couldn’t hear) a story on the apparent banning of the Australian flag at Big Day Out which seemed to feature comment by Pauline Hanson. I can only imagine what she said, but is that really the best they can do? (The cynic in me wonders if Seven – wittingly or otherwise – is helping her plans to stand for Parliament again this year).

Incidentally, the Today Tonight website lists last week’s programs as the latest stories. So much for up-to-the-minute current affairs!

Odd Collections

January 20, 2007

There are plenty of websites dedicated to the odd and arcane in this world but most seem to be mostly links to You Tube type videos. I am more interested in the spectacularly odd. I am sure that someone somewhere has a website devoted to strange specialist websites but I don’t know of it … yet.

The sort of thing I have in mind is the site dedicated to underwear (although it is part of a commercial site), Ian Fieggin’s shoelace site, or Malcolm Shifrin’s Turkish Bath site. Then there’s the condiment packet museum, and the tattoo picture museum.

There seems to be a simple test of how bizarre some specialist interests are. Enter the name of an object and the word ‘museum’ or ‘collection’ into Google and watch the results with wonder.

Here are a few I tried.



razor blade

Surely this is what the Internet is for!


January 19, 2007

As well as the various spam filtering that I get from my ISP, my anti-virus program and my email program, I also use Mailwasher as an additional filter. Mailwasher shows the headers of suspected mail which lets you check incoming mail before you delete it. A consequence of that is that sometimes I get intrigued by what I am being sent and feel compelled to read it.

I am fascinated by the train of thought that went into today’s very fine offering. An email from someone called Morris from an email address in Sri Lanka purporting to be a letter from someone called Mr Paul Joe, the Manager of Bill and Exchange at the Foreign Remittance Department of NATWEST BANK PLC in London. Offering me £12.5 million. Apart from anything else that might cause even the most remotely curious person to wonder why a bank might offer a complete stranger a huge sum of money for nothing, the subject heading read ‘Can we work as pantner’. Now, I am not familiar with the word ‘pantner’ and clearly neither is Mr Paul Joe because shortly afterwards I received the same email again but this time with the word ‘pantner’ corrected to ‘partner’. Obviously that would sway any doubters about the authenticity of the offer. As a final clincher Mr Joe signed off ‘Remain blessed’ which I don’t think is a usual bank greeting.

I can’t imagine what Mr Paul or Morris or whoever thought was going to happen, especially after the correction. Apart from the ludicrous failure to appear official, the email contains no instructions as to what to do next. I know that people get taken in. It is easy to do with well crafted fake emails and website, but something like this …?

It is easy to send an email (or a post) with a typo in it, but to go back and correct the subject line in spam is pretty impressive.


January 10, 2007

The American Dialect Society has just published its 16th annual Words of the Year list. Let’s not get carried away by this list. The winner – Plutoed – received 57 votes! A bit subjective I think, but fun nonetheless. Being an American list, there are of course entries which this Australian has never come across, though the press release explains all.

While the list is interesting in itself, the press release also includes the winners from previous years which I find even more interesting. Interesting for what seems to have stayed in the language as well as those that never made it.

Obviously I am interested that equal first in 1994 was cyber and the word most likely to succeed in 2002 was blog, but I note that many other words from the early 90’s have stuck – morph, snail mail, grunge, bungee jumping and politically correct. What is interesting too is the mini history that goes with the winning words. Perhaps a dinner party game could be to guess the year of the following Words of the Year.

Pokémania, Lewinsky (verb), Mother of all …, Metrosexual, Ethnic cleansing, Rollerblade, Senior moment

(1999, 1999, 1991, 2003, 1990, 1991, 1998)

Or guess the meaning of these.

Potty parity, Sylvanshine, Food insecure, Exit bag, Neuticles

I’ll leave you to find those on the press-release at The American Dialect Society

I was pleased to find that multislacking from the 1998 list did not make it to general use. It means the same as cyberslacking but is not such a pleasant word.

In amongst the interesting collection of photographs and videos on the Neatorama website is one which shows 13 photos that changed the world (originally from Mental Floss). This selection raises similar questions to those posed by the 100 greatest songs of all time (see my earlier post on the subject). Although you’d be hard pressed to question the inclusion of any of the pictures as important photographs, there is a question about whether they are famous photographs rather than necessarily history-making ones.

I don’t doubt that Dorothea Lange’s photographs of the Great Depression raised the public’s consciousness of the hardships that many were going through, but I don’t know that Arthur Sasse’s photograph of Einstein did anything to actually change history. Neatorama asks the same question but suggests that the Einstein photograph is there because it humanises science. I don’t think that justifies its inclusion.

I am sure that there are many other photos that could be included. Comments on Neatorama offer the following

For Australians, one poster to Neatorama suggests –

There are many others that I would include in a longer list – the Kent State University shooting, Neil Armstrong on the moon or Yuri Gagarin in Vostok I, The World Trade Centre attack etc. My list would be more political than Neatorama’s. Clearly, everyone has their favourites.

By chance, I have just looked again at the book of the famous 1955 photographic exhibition – Family of Man.

I realise that many of the pictures in the book are very familiar and have lived with me since my childhood. Not just the memory of the pictures themselves but also of the eye-opening images of a world that I didn’t know anything about. An undoubted proof of the power of the photograph.