When Nothing Strikes Me As Funny…

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Yesterday was a day completely lacking funny.  Sometimes that happens.  When it does, I start a project.

You might think that project ideas conceived during humorless days would be depressing works of un-inspiration…but not so!

Herb GardenHerb GardenHerb Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yard sales and thrift stores are great places to find hideous mugs and vases, rightfully discarded by their owners.  These can be repurposed into a precariously balanced (and super glued) stack of containers for planting herbs for the kitechen-garden.  If I could offer one piece of advice…don’t start gluing until you have a plan.  Also..don’t let super glue touch dirt and then your face…super glued dirt is very hard to wash off.  (as evidenced by my permanently muddy eyebrow, left nostril, and chin.

 

 

Case no. 003 – The Origin of Spam

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This case was opened by yours truly.

In previous posts, as you may remember, I took an interest in the process of internet spam.  Not junk mail in my email folder,  but junk mail left in the form of comments on my blog.  I get to say what comments are published in the end, so I can filter these things out, but where do they come from?  A Spam Big Bang?

My limited research has unearthed some interesting facts.  Spam email was named after Spam meat for its ubiquity and unavoidability.  (A Monty Python reference, I believe) Thirty seven percent of spam originates in Asia, twenty four in North America, and twenty three percent in Europe, which is where my search dragged me.  I decided that to learn the reasons behind spam comments like:
“I savor, result in exactly I found exactly what I was looking at.  You’ve ended my four day lengthy hung! God Bless you man.  Have a great door.  Bye.”  I would need to find the source.  What could this spammer possibly be getting from such a nonsensical message that I will delete without hesitation?I traced the origin of this comment to a German blogger.  I don’t speak German.  I scrolled to the bottom of this blog, which appeared to be a rant, with little to no punctuation, then I left my own comment:

“Hi, I was wondering why you were sending Spam mail to my blog.  Your comment butchered the English language, and the website that your comment links to, doesn’t exist.  I’m wondering, are you a machine?   It doesn’t matter to me if you are, I’d just like you to kindly quit spamming me.”

I hit ‘submit comment’ and discovered that my google Id was attached to the comment, with a little picture of me.  No one likes to compromise their identity when leaving snarky comments on a total stranger’s blog.  Bad form.  I thought it was best to discover the topic of the blog, so I could be prepared for the kind of comment I might receive in return. I don’t have any German speaking friends, that I know of, so I went to google translate.  An amazing google feature by the way…if you ever need to translate a foreign blog. To my horror, the content of this blog was both creepy and confusing.  Bad combo.   I have included text from this blog below, as well as my own commentary (in bold)…

Hello, I want you in this article Share this product How can you get a girlfriend. I Call it “die online method”. (Die online method?   Have I stumbled upon a Spam murderer?)  This is the best and easiest way to get a girlfriend.Ok, here it goes: How do I get a girlfriend – Step 1: First, we need U.S.’m On A Single Or sign up Best Like several pages. The more and dates all the more women all the more. (I’m lost and it’s only the first step.  All the more steps, all the more)  Even IF the percentage of men on these pages is true IS right bit high, you need not fear any COMPETITION.With you I die cavity methods describe in this article, will you point out yourself from the crowd AND YOUR COMPETITION reporting back to you now (Cavities make me want to keel over and die too.  Also, I don’t think my competition is going to report back to me..also, what competition are you referring to?)   A nun, you should be successful Have completed. IF dying declaration folded hat, Can you go over to a nun.  (Oh…the nun is my competition.   I think the saying is ‘throw in the towel’  not ‘fold the hat’. ) THEREFORE Are Women Unlimited fast. (Is this a question?  No, women are not unlimited.) Interesting scene for the first nice conversation piece, it evokes curiosity. WOMEN ARE very curious positively.  (I’m going to take that as a compliment…even though…I don’t think it is.).  You know that no depressive spells fun browsing “My heart was broken That now I’m on the search for true love” are using. Strong Women Want, positive-minded and open men have. (This is the first section that makes sense.  Strong women do want positive-minded and open men have.  Ok.  Maybe we should move on to step two.)  Step two:  A guide to identify a date.  (If you need a guide to identify your date, you should probably go back to step one)  You repeat this process and always pull massive land dates. (Dating ocean mammals is too complicated for this guy to address)   Women want men to lean on, men with strength, men with a high school status (Bah ha ha  Yes, we women do want men with high school status…preferably higher status than that), On the original way she write buffer solution for example. (I like the random insertion of  buffer solutions.  This guy must have taken Chemistry 100)  Most men write. Wow!, Great eyes, full of pretty, blah blah blah … (This is one of the most excellent compliments I’ve ever heard :”Great eyes, full of pretty.” It’s sweet)  “Your nose looks full of cute, so my little sister dying” (Even better!  Minus the little sister who is dying..that’s just creepy)

In summary, It appears that my spammer is a one man German dating blogger show.  His advice is terrible, as is his ability to write in the English language, and his motives are completely indiscernible.  I’m a little worried that a tiny picture of my head is attached to a  comment below this text..but so far, I have not been contacted, so, I fold my hat in the search for spamswers.

One other thing I learned about spam:  ” On July 25, 2005, Russian spammer Vardan Kushnir, who is believed to have spammed every single Russian internet user, was found dead in his Moscow apartment, having suffered numerous blunt-force blows to the head. It is believed that Kushnir’s murder was unrelated to his spamming activities.  ”

….But we’ll never know….

A Post Where Jenny Responds to Spam

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It’s been a long weekend for me.  I did a lot of reading and a lot of writing for work related reasons.  Having just finished my final two page critique of a book, I am ready for a break.  Nothing helps me relax quite like reading my spam folder.  If you remember, the last spam item I presented was about bed wetting.  Today, I’m going to toss out a few of my favorite recent spam comments for your enjoyment:

Regarding my Drunk History post:  “This is really interesting, You are an excessively professional blogger. I look forward to in quest of extra of your fantastic post.”

My response:  Thank you Frankston Pool Cleaners, for you keen interest in my blog.  I can’t see how drunk history directly relates to pools, but I appreciate your vote of confidence when it comes to my professionalism.  Good luck in your quest of extra fantastic.

Regarding Rocky Mountain Oysters: “I reckon something really interesting about your blog so I saved to favorites.”

My response:  Thank you Nosejobs.uk.  I reckon almost everyone finds rocky mountain oysters interesting.  If you are trying to get me interested in a nose job by flaunting compliments on my blog, I reckon you’re barking up the wrong tree.  I saved your comment to favorites.

Regarding Woodpecker Eyes, the Hawful Truth: “I feel this is one of the such a lot important information for me. And i’m happy reading your article. However want to remark on some general things, The website style is ideal, the articles is really nice : D. Just right process, cheers”

My response:  Dear Therapist over the Phone website, I feel you are one of the such a lot of important therapy options out there.  I don’t need a phone therapist, nor do I know anyone who would trust a therapist they have to call on the phone on a 1-900 number. I kindly thank you for your compliment.  Ideal website styles are very hard to come by.  I do think I have found just the right process.  If you’re interested in a nose job, I have some contact information for you.

Regarding Spam is a State of Mind:  “Some great stuff at this site, efficiently shown and spot on the money.”

My response:  Why thank you, Sneaky Poo Toddlers.  I’ve always thought toddlers were sneaky.  I’m glad you have created an organization proclaiming this.  As you are presumably still children, you probably don’t know that ‘spot on the money’ is not quite how the saying goes.  But, I like it.  Carry on.

Regarding the entire blog: “A formidable share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing a bit analysis on this. And he in reality bought me breakfast because I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I feel strongly about it and love studying more on this topic. If attainable, as you develop into experience, would you thoughts updating your blog with extra details? It is extremely useful for me. Massive thumb up for this blog publish!”

My response:  Dear Dog Harness, in reality, I’m so delighted that your colleague bought you breakfast.  That you were hungry, what’s the deal with!  It is my pleasure to debate ‘this’, by which I can only assume you mean, ‘every topic I cover in my blog’.  I agree strongly that you should love studying more on this topic.  I hope to attain experience, as you mention, and will do my best to update my blog with extra details.  Honestly, I can’t imagine why my blog would be extremely useful for anyone.  So let me reword that:  Thanks for support the.

Case no. 002 – The Bone in the Box

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Thats right!  We’ve got our second mystery to solve.  One of my readers has some questions that need answering.

This story begins two nights ago.  Nathan came home carrying a box with a golden bow on top.  My friend, Sarah* was visiting at the time.  She saw him get out of his car with a “present” under his arm, and began giggling about how he was the sweetest man.  Something didn’t smell right to me (literally), so I kept my excitement in check.  Nathan put his things down, casually walked to the counter where we were both stationed, cutting vegetables for a salad, and handed me the box.  The expression on his face did not say ‘I got you a present’.  It said, ‘You’re going to love this’.

Inside the box, tucked in blood-red tissue paper, was a bone.  Nathan explained, “What animal is it?  Where did it come from on the animal body?  One of your readers wants to know.”  I should include here that Sarah is a vegan, an animal lover, and grew up in the city.   She doesn’t read my blog, so there was no contextual understanding.  I could tell that she was trying to decide whether country folk really thought that giving pieces of dead animals was considered sweet, or whether Nathan was playing a gruesome prank on one, or both of us.  I was thrilled.

“Excellent!  We’ll have to get started on this right away!”  I shouted.  Sarah put down her vegetable cutting knife and walked out of the kitchen.

The bone looks like this:

Before delving into my investigation, I would like to beef up my credentials in regards to this particular mystery.  I am a fan of the tv show Bones, which, for those of you who don’t know, makes me very qualified to complete a forensic anthropological examination of this bone.  If actors can figure out how a guy died based on the striations on his pinky finger bone (distal phalanx), I should have no problem solving this mystery.  So, I will go above and beyond my reader’s expectations.  Instead of just determining the species and providing a bone identification, I will determine cause of death.

With careful imprecision, I measured the bone’s length and width.  I don’t have a ruler, but I do have a very keen eye^.  Three inches long, 3/8 inches wide**.  It’s obvious isn’t it?  Opossum**.  The best part?  It’s the humorus** bone!

Things become a little more complicated when trying to suss out the cause of death.  As you can see by the faint kerf marks in the photo above, and the… (This bone really stinks.  I’m having a difficult time concentrating.  For future reference, always soak a bone in bleach before you send it to me.) …and the teeth marks, this bone has been gnawed by a rodent.  I checked into the dentition of squirrels, their teeth would have left much larger scrapes, which leaves mice.

I have personally done battle with an opossum.  I know for a fact that they cannot be taken down by a mouse.  I had to use Argon gas, a trashcan, and a machete to best one of these things (don’t ask).  An opossum would rip the face from a mouse in about two seconds, then go back to eating garbage like nothing ever happened.  So how did it die?

Osteoporosis, followed by tail failure.  Sure, this degenerative bone disease is treatable in humans, but when an opossum falls ill with weak bones, there’s little that can be done.  Judging by the slight bone bruising, I would say that this opossum fell from six to eight feet, probably when it’s tail failed (releasing it from it’s upside-down perch), struck it’s degenerating skull and humorus bone on a rock, and never woke again.

If I have contracted some kind of communicable disease from handling this bone, I am not going to be happy about it.  But, I would like to thank my reader for participating.

*All names have been changed to disguise the innocent

^fact

**Wild speculation.

I Called Mitch….

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Some of you have expressed skepticism regarding my previous post.
I would like to double confirm the truth of it, with one more juicy tid bit.

I called the anecdote line.
Mitch answered.
I asked for an anecdote.

He seemed only moderately flustered by the call.  I did not mention knowing Heather.
I asked for his best material.

Mitch started in on a story about staring out a window.  Judging by the convoluted blather-tale that followed, I came to two conclusions:
1.  Mitch does not understand the concept of a story arc.
2.  Mitch has a severe case of ADHD.

I completely understand why Heather did not want to pursue things with him.  I’ll never understand the whole – offering a stranger a foot rub bit – but I do relate to her finding Mitch boring.  It was like listening to mulch.  I thought the story might have potential, when four minutes in, he said, “And then, out the window…I saw it!”   But, I was wrong.  He saw a cloud.  Clouds don’t make good protagonists.  Unless, they have been sent by an evil wizard named Darken Rahl, but even then they’re not that scary.

I had to interrupt Mitch at the nine minute mark.  I’m a relatively busy person.  I don’t have time to listen to someone ramble on about their blossoming existential crisis.  I have goats to play with.

“Mitch,” I said, “I don’t think this is going to work.  I don’t sense a climax coming, and I have to be honest, I’m not particularly interested in clouds.”

Mitch tried to hold onto me.  He pulled out every used car salesman trick in the book.  I think I heard him growing a mustache through the phone.  His pleading was difficult to listen to.  I might have felt some empathy, had I not known that he was a dirt bag trying to get a friend of mine to pose nude for him.  (That she agreed is beside the point)  He wanted another chance to prove he could tell a good story.  I should have suggested he spice up his own life, to spice up his stories.

For someone looking for anecdotes to tell…I can think of no better person to spend time with than Heather.  He would’ve had stories (and glitter) coming out of his ears.

Stalker or Romantic – You Decide

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You know how sometimes you watch a movie and think, “This is unrealistic.  Things like this don’t really happen.”  Like a woman is prancing around her house wearing a thin nighty at 3 a.m., investigating a noise she heard in the basement that sounded like a werewolf because it actually is a werewolf.  Well…

I’m about to tell you about a friend of mine from New York.  When you catch yourself thinking, “This is unrealistic.” – Stop.  I’m not making anything up.  I’ve seen this friend, we’ll call her Heather, do things that would terrify and confuse even a werewolf.

Heather saw a man one day in a building.  She thought he was handsome.  I’m sure most of us can relate to this.  Nothing weird right?  Heather went home and thought about the man for a few days.  He was really handsome.  Instead of being passive, Heather grabbed life by the face.  She made up a poster.  It said:  ‘To the man with brown hair and a guitar, who was in this building on such and such a date at such and such a time:  Please, call XXX-XXX-XXXX.”  She hung it in several locations around the building where she had first sighted him.

She never received a call.  Obviously, he never saw the poster.  Heather let him go…for a while.

Several weeks later, she had a few minutes between classes, so she did an internet search.   He was really handsome.  The building in which the original sighting had taken place was a hub for graduate students in the local university’s music program.  With some perusal of college records, graduate student photographs, and class schedules, Heather found him.  His name was Mitch.  Mitch had a website with contact information.  Beneath his email address there was a phone number with the caption ‘Call for anecdotes.’

She called the number.  When Mitch answered, he didn’t bother asking who was calling.  Instead, he began a long winded tale of his visit to Poland.  (Incidentally, Mitch had never been to Poland)  Heather was smitten.

I’m trying very hard not to insert my personal opinions about this story, but I can’t resist.  What? 

Every several days, she would call the number.  Mitch would tell a story, she would listen, they would both hang up.

Heather spent a great deal of time thinking about Mitch.  In her defense, she was taking Organic Chemistry.
The next logical step (obviously) was to find out where he lived, so that she could walk past his house on occasion.  Through a series of unusual stalking techniques, she discovered a photograph of his residence on the internet.  She jotted down the description of the building, then began to systematically explore New York City to find it.  It’s sort of hard to believe, (if you don’t know her), but she succeeded.

A couple of times a week, she would walk past his house on her way home.  She began to fantasize about ‘accidentally’ bumping into him.  They would hit it off, and begin seeing one another.  She would not mention to him that she was the one calling for anecdotes.  Never mind the likelihood that he would recognize her voice.  Once they became a little more serious, she would begin to get jealous of the girl he was always talking to on the phone (her).  She would ask him why he spent so much time telling stories to strange women. She would accuse him of cheating.

I’m not postulating here.  Heather mentioned thinking all of these things.  She explained, “How could I not think of the possibilities?  An opportunity like this may never again arise.”

Eventually, Mitch asked to meet her.  Heather didn’t want things to change.  She liked listening to the anecdotes, and she liked her anonymity.   According to her, anonymity prolonged the period of time between meeting an attractive man, and when he vanished.  Mitch was firm.  He suggested that he bring his camera to the meeting, for some nude photography, which Heather was not fundamentally opposed to.  In fact, Heather had suggested something even more unusual.  She had suggested that he wait for her on the roof, blindfolded, so that she could give him an anonymous foot rub.  I can’t express how gross this sounds to me.  I can’t imagine offering to touch a total stranger’s feet.  I’m nauseated writing about it.  Even Mitch found her suggestion creepy.

This is where the story starts to lose believability, or perhaps you think that might have been several paragraphs ago…  But, Heather agreed to meet him at high noon at the top of a building for a photo shoot.  She waited for him there, wearing a mask elaborately decorated with fake flowers and birds. (photo below)

Heather

In addition to the mask, she wore a furry vest, hat, scarf, and gloves, and a neon pink muppety-jacket recovered from a dumpster.  When he arrived, slightly past noon, she threw glitter and balloons at him, and pretended to be an animal.

Mitch didn’t bring up nude photography, which was slightly insulting (according to Heather), but he did take an entire roll of film.  She posed in cat-like crouches, lunges, and acted like a coy animal-creature.

Up until this point in the story, I had assumed that Mitch was a predator, despite how strange I found Heather’s fantasies, in the a game of cat and mouse, I would have called Heather the mouse.  I worried about her ending up in a terrible, scary situation, like cut up into pieces and wrapped in plastic.  Mitch, in my mind, was a dangerous cat, ready to pounce.

The surprise ending to this tale is that Heather was the cat.  The face to mask meeting left her disappointed.  Mitch was boring.  She thought his conversation skills were poor, his spontaneity muscles weak, and his outlook, dull.  The chase was over.

Today’s lesson:  Sometimes, when you think you’re the cat, you’re the mouse.  Be careful out there.  It’s a strange world.

Spam Is A State Of Mind

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WordPress has a handy spam filter.  It somehow knows when comments are from real people, and when they’re from websites, or scammers.  I don’t know how it does this, but I appreciate it.  Today, however, I’m going to delve into my spam folder and pull out a comment in the spirit of “There are no stupid questions.”

Several weeks ago, I received a comment from a bed wetting website in regards to my post about leaf blowers.  I didn’t see the connection, and apparently, neither did WordPress.

“What problems (if any) do former bedwetters have as adults, as a result of their bedwetting as children?”

I will not name this website for several reasons.

1. I don’t want to give free advertisement to an internet parasite.
2. I don’t think it’s a very good site.  I went to it, to check it out.

However, I will answer the question, since there is an infinitesimally small chance that it was sent by a real person, who works for the bedwetting website, and who is honestly asking me, an expert on many things,* for my opinion.  In fact, I did wet the bed as a kid, so I have first hand knowledge of problems that former bed wetters have as adults.

Us former bed wetters get really sensitive about spam regarding our former bed wetting.  That’s probably the biggest problem we have.  The second biggest is that sometimes we still have dreams where we’re sitting on a toilet, peeing.  These were the dreams that really nailed us early in life.  We used to sleep right through them.

Other than that, I think I’m a pretty well adjusted individual.

I would like to have a conversation with the person in charge of sending out stupid spam questions at the bed wetting website.  I’d like to know if this kind of stunt works.  Who sees a comment in their spam folder and then thinks “You know, I should visit that site because they’re asking incredibly thoughtful questions.”  No one.  If you’re trying to get people to visit your bed wetting website, you don’t ask them what problems bed wetters have!  I could have written a dozen spam questions that would have drummed up more business.

1.  Tired of waking up in pools of your own urine?  Yeah.  You should be.  Why not take care of your pesky problem NOW.

2.  Scared stiff of sleepovers?  No one likes the idea of accidentally peeing on their boyfriend, we can help!

3.  Dreaming of toilets?  Flush that!

4.  Are you a bed wetter?  It’s probably because of a witch.  We know Wiccan.  We know the cure!

5.  It’s not your fault.  Nothing is your fault.  You’re perfect.  Except for when you’re covered in urine.

6.  Are diapers starting to chafe?  Get a life.

I know what you’re all thinking.  I have a future in advertisement.  I’ve thought about it.  I really have.  But, it wouldn’t be fair to all of those weak minded people who are drawn in by fantastic pitches.  I don’t want to interfere with the economy^.

 

* my tongue is in my cheek
^ I really don’t want to mess with the economy.