Category Archives: scams

Scammer epilogue

In this old story about me baiting a scammer, I posted some of the photos the scammer was sending me to convince me of the authenticity of the photo. Here is a photo of “Mariam” at her father’s funeral:

It looked obviously photoshopped to include some model’s face. Today I located the original photograph:

More info about these kinds of scams: Advance Fee Fraud letters | Your utterance is reprehensible | Scamwarners

Twain speaking about the “damned human race”

“There has never been a just one, never an honorable one – on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful – as usual – will shout for the war. The pulpit will – warily and cautiously – object – at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, “It is unjust and dishonorable, and here is no necessity for it.” Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers – as earlier – but do not dare to say so. And now the whole nation – pulpit and all – will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”

– Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger

Corn muffin coefficient

From a recent Quotation of the Day Mailing List email comes this gem from a collection of letters written in response to the US Department of Agriculture‘s redesign of the Food Pyramid:

“The cleansing properties of urine are not even addressed in the food pyramid. This must be corrected. We cannot allow small minds and prejudice to bury this useful health information from our brothers and sisters in light.

“Write back IMMEDIATELY and tell me where to report with my diagrams. I am including corn muffins prominently in my calculations. That alone should tell you that I know what I am doing!”

– Mark Martin, Foodician, from his submission to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the redesign of the “food pyramid”.

Here’s a snapshot of the original letter from the collection of letters the USDA received:

I think it’s an artist’s prank. He claims he received a response from the USDA but it was just a generic form letter. Nevertheless, the prominence of corn muffins in his calculations is hard to ignore.

My share of the stimulus package

Now I can pretend to be on Wall Street, seizing untold riches with my filthy, Ponzi-scheme stained paws!

My share of the stimulus package

My share of the stimulus package

My share of the stimulus package

My share of the stimulus package

…or does this hyperinflationary currency from Zimbabwe’s crumbling economy portend the future of our own currency?

By the way… uh… is it just me, or is the typeface on the 10 trillion dollar banknote the same as the one used for Rock Band?

They really know how to party in Zimbabwe.

Wolves in sheep’s clothing

“There is a story, which is fairly well known, about when the missionaries came to Africa. They had the Bible and we, the natives, had the land. They said ‘Let us pray,’ and we dutifully shut our eyes. When we opened them, why, they now had the land and we had the Bible.”

– Desmond M. Tutu, “Religious Human Rights and the Bible.”

“I’m the founder of Capitalism, and I support this message.”

We are led to believe by McCain and Palin that “spreading the wealth” is the same thing as socialism. What Would Adam Smith Do?

The principle that Obama evinced, which most economists would regard as unexceptionable, can be traced to Adam Smith. In “The Wealth of Nations” (1776), his seminal treatise on capitalism, Smith wrote:

The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. . . . The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. . . . It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.

– Adam Smith, quoted in the New Yorker, October 27 2008

Do you pal around with Adam Smith the socialist?

Fake flier circulating in Hampton Roads, Virginia

A fake flier is circulating in Hampton Roads, Virginia. It encourages Republicans to vote on November 4 and Democrats to vote on November 5:

It’s amazing what people will try to do to mess with the election.

VP debate: It had some words in it.

I couldn’t help but follow up my previous Wordle posts with some new Wordles generated from last night’s VP debate transcript.

As John Hodgman said recently on Twitter during the debate broadcast: “Word salad. Word salad. Word salad. I feel like I’m hearing a spam. So to speak.”

Here, enjoy re-living the word salad:

Palin:

Biden:

Ifill:

Last night’s debate gave me a headache. I think I have a hangover. And I didn’t even play the debate drinking game. Or Palin Bingo.

The presidential debate was full of words, part 2

I’m a little late in following up my previous post, but I was curious how last week’s debate Wordle looked like broken down by each candidate.

McCain:

Obama:

Lehrer:

I wish Wordle had a B.S. detection option. But such a thing would be overworked during election season…

“We’re sorry, this application is not available at the moment due to high levels of bullshit.”

Tonight’s debate: Full of words.

Wordle visualizes which ones were most common:

(click the image to see the original Wordle generated from the debate transcripts)