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16 posts from December 2008


There is a certain poetry to the way junk e-mail subject lines are written, so today I decided to scan my Spam folder for subjects containing five or seven syllables.  The following haikus were created from those lines, which I neither edited nor rearranged.  The lines were placed into the haikus in the exact order I found them*, and the resulting bits of profundity have made me think that perhaps there is some sort of sacred geometry behind all of this spam.

Spamku #1:
Jumpstart your love-life
The ultimate New Year gift
Replica watches

Spamku #2:
Can't find you, darling
Lets meet as usually
Time is Running out

Spamku #3:
We need you here, now!
I'm in trouble, where are you?
Let me share with you

Spamku #4:
We need your presence
Selection of honorees
Women like big ones

Spamku #5:
Your account was blocked!
Performance Package for Men
Your account was blocked!

Spamku #6:
Cash in with Google
Is debt written on your face?
real hero in bed!

Spamku #7:
Replica watches, bags, pens
U can be healthy!

Make some Spamku of your own in the comments, por favor.  Or a Spamrick (Spams that rhyme in an AABA pattern).  Or ISpambic Pentameter.  Or a Spamquain.  Or a SPonnet.  Be creative.  That's what I pay* you for.

*Or I guess I should say, to clarify, that the fives and sevens are in the exact respective orders I found in them in.  Like, sometimes when I needed a five to finish a poem, the next qualifying line was a seven, so I would take that seven as a placeholder for the next haiku and keep looking for a five to finish the previous one, if that makes sense.
**Restrictions apply.  To everyone.

This Week In Internet: I Will Not Stop Until I Have Linked to Every Baby Animal on the Internet

Haven't done a link dump in a while, so here we go.

  • In '90s TV news: Stephanie Tanner in custody war; Kelly Kapowski pregnant; Full House remake planned, then canned.
  • Far Side Reenactments Flickr Pool, anyone?
  • Mini horses like this one have caused me to adjust my official position on horses slightly.  The current party line: Normal-size horsies still suck, but mini ones are officially Cute.
  • Baby befriends orangutan!
  • Baby Alive is a little too alive.
  • The best unanswered Slate "Explainer" questions of the year.  My fave: "Can men eat the Activia yogurt that is advertised exclusively to the modern woman in khakis?"  No, but Lauren McHahon can.
  • What your favorite sports teams were almost called
  • That is not a Pomeranian, sir.
  • It's OK, I'm Attractive
  • The Atlas of True Names

In other news, I'm cold.

The LMNOP IT Department Is on the Case

First of all, thank you to everyone who responded to the little poll the other day.  It seems that the banner-image problem is Internet Explorer-related, which totally disproves my theory that it was linked to flossing habits.  (By the way people, your dental hygiene is ALL OVER THE PLACE.)

Anyway, Internet Explorer peeps, can you see it now?  The banner image?  I did a little tweakeroo, but I don't know if it fixed anything.  Refresh the page a couple of times, floss for good measure, and then tell me if you can see it.

When Typos Start Getting Their Own Mail

If TV advertisements are to be believed, then there are basically three things the American woman has an all-encompassing preoccupation with:

  1. The eternal search for yogurt flavors that taste like real desserts such as apple pie and strawberry cheesecake
  2. Going to extreme lengths to disguise reasonable purchases (like a basic air freshener) as more irrational ones (like a 'boutique-y fragrance,' whatever the hell that is)

While I cannot profess to share these priorities, I know someone who does: her name is Lauren McHahon, and she is my accidental alter-ego.

Lauren McHahon was created one day a few years back after I filled out a subscription card for a shopping magazine and dropped it in the mail.  Apparently my Ms resemble Hs, because a few short weeks later that magazine showed up in my mailbox addressed to Lauren McHahon instead of Lauren McMahon.  I was not terribly bothered by this misspelling because I found it kind of funny, and plus it led to an intriguing side effect: I could always tell when I was receiving junk mail as a result of that magazine selling my contact information, because it would come addressed to Lauren McHahon.

It is amazing how much mail Lauren McHahon gets, especially when you consider the fact that I let my subscription to that shopping magazine lapse after just a year.  I naively thought that when McHahon stopped receiving those damn renewal notices ("Lauren McHahon, renew and save;" "Ms. McHahon, ALERT!  This could be your last issue;" "RENEW TODAY MS. MCHAHON, OR THE KITTEN DIES"), her existence would quietly cease.  I could not have been more wrong.

Lauren McHahon continues to receive mail every week, and over the three-plus years this has been going on I have slowly come to regard her as an almost-real person (approximately an 8 on the Addison-Weemer scale of realistic imaginary friends).  After all, would a fake person have three sheets of puppy-and-kitty address labels?  Or a free coupon for designer checks adorned with little pictures of shoes and handbags?  Or--and this is a very recent acquisition--a set of "calendar stickers" she can use throughout her planner to denote such important McHahon activities as "SPA DAY!" and "Shopping trip with _____________?"

Lauren McHahon also has an impressive collection of coupons, and nary a month goes by when she doesn't receive an exciting VIP discount magazine subscription offers from Elle or Self.  Unfortunately, headlines like "Five Weighs to Lose Five Pounds" carry little appeal to a nonexistent being weight in at zero lbs., and they are quickly discarded.

I used to get annoyed at commercials that make women look like idiots, but now my outlook has changed.  Now when I see a lady in a commercial throw a conspiratorial wink my way because her husband TOTALLY fell for it when she said it took her all day to clean the house when REALLY she just Swiffered that shit in 15 minutes and then sat on her ass watching soaps for seven hours, I just think, I wonder if she knows Lauren McHahon.  They'd probably hit it off.

Pop Quiz from the LMNOP IT Department

Is anyone out there other than my mom and Ben not seeing the banner image at the top of this page when they load the site?  Please post in the comments and let me know if this happens all the time or only sometimes, and also what browser you use and whether or not you floss regularly.

Thou Shalt Wage Advertising Wars on Buses

From this blog post:

Last month, the American Humanist Association bought $40,000 worth of space on 200 Washington D.C. Metro buses for this ad: "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake." The humanists were copying a similar bus ad campaign by atheists in Britain.

Zing!  Although I thought the British version of the bus campaign was funnier.

Not wanting to be left behind, the Center for Family Development, a Catholic-based nonprofit in Maryland, is trying to raise $14,000 to run a bus ad campaign with this message: "Why Believe? Because I created you and I love you, for goodness' sake." The ad includes an image from Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam."

Well touché, Catholics!  And nice job on the $26,000 discount you apparently got.

And a group called Pennsylvania Friends of Christ plans to buy ads for 10 Metro buses to send this message into the streets of the nation's capital: "Believe in God. Christ is Christmas for goodness' sake".

OK, now we're just beating a dead horse.  But I think I get the point of this passive-aggressive pile-on.  At first glance, it seems like a logical response: If people are convinced by a bus sign to become atheists, than a bus sign will probably be enough to convince them to switch back! 

Except, wait a minute—why are we recruiting the kind of people who base their personal philosophies of existence on something they saw on the wall of a bus, anyway?  Isn't there a high probability that, once converted, those extremely fickle people will once again vanish because they saw another sign on a different bus telling them to go get a sandwich, so they did that?  And then they saw a sign that said to call a mesothelioma lawyer, so they did that too?  And then they just completely forgot all about deciding whether to believe in God?