Spammers challenge slackers: find the angle

Wednesday 8 December 2004

Yeah, yeah, everyone gets weird spam from time to time, but lately they’ve been tending toward the incomprehensible, in word and intent. Am I too smart or too stupid to respond to whatever insane sales pitch they’re sending me?

Subject: there is a lot to be ahamed of

Alright! Don’t give me money or sex, promise me shame!

Subject: pain is killing me

Good. Carry on.

Subject: girlish ang ruttish fillies are holding back you!

Sexy come-on, or dire warning screamed by one of the characters from Zero Wing? To be fair, one of these spams provided me with the fantastic word ‘bulkhorsewoman’, which has got to be the only genre of Japanese fetish porn I have not yet become an avid collector of. But then I got this one, which takes the soft, pink, ham-in-aspic cake:

Subject: Warning huge ocean wave
THIS IS AN OFFICIAL WARNING!
qgnxv cphb hdmgxv
A huge 300 ft. high ocean wave is moving towards your continent. Your and many other cities are in a real danger. Approximate wave moving speed is 700 km/h.
hieih uqtw boylpt
Please read more about this catastrophe here:
http://www.tsunamidanger.com/
http://www.hugewave.org/

We are strongly urging you to evacuate yourself and your family as soon as possible, even though you may live far away from your city. The tsunami will reach the continent in approximately FOUR hours.
jhnyf ibvp cdupir
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

This was sent to me on Sunday, and I didn’t check my mail until at least a day after I drowned. But what the hell is it trying to sell me? What genius thought up the “only give them four hours to buy our product, less the time it takes them to receive our spam, but first tell them to go far away from where they normally access the web” marketing strategy?
The website they advertise offers nothing but helpful expert advice about how to run away from a tsunami:

If you are near the ocean and you feel a large earthquake, you should go inland or to higher ground immediately. NEVER go to the coast to watch a tsunami. A tsunami moves faster than a person can run.

Gosh, thanks for that! Remember, counter-intuitive as it may seem, never, ever, run towards a tsunami. If this seems hard to grasp, here’s a picture to help:

The site also gives soothing reassurances…

It may take hours for waves to reach coastal South Australia coast, and there is a Tsunami Warning and Alerting Plan in place to pass the warning to coastal residents as quickly as possible.

…only to cruelly crush them in the next paragraph.

If a tsunami were to be generated close to South Australia coast, waves could reach shore within a few minutes and there would not be enough time for officials to issue a warning.

Weirdly, the text seems to be lifted from an honest-to-god government website. Although it keeps referring to a threat to the South Australian coast (and helpfully includes a map of South Australia which inadvertently shows that there is no way a tsunami could inundate Adelaide) it keeps making references to British Columbia and is obviously lifted from some Canadian government information page about the importance of not being near the sea when there’s a tusnami. There are even fake official-looking icons on the page suggesting that this is all somehow official, including this one below. It’s small, but you can just make out the moose flanking the British Columbia coat of arms. Now I can’t get to sleep because my head is buzzing with the one question: why? why? why?

The miserable few who doubted my powers must now bow down before my genius

Tuesday 7 December 2004

Me, 7 December 2004:

The newspapers have already reverted to publishing blatant crap for the summer… I will now predict the summer’s top ‘news’ stories… A scientist will claim to have cloned the mountain lion in the Dandenongs, which will boost the revival of the local film industry.

The Age, 8 December 2004:

Melbourne Zoo’s public relations chief yesterday declared the silly season open as senior animal keepers were called in to analyse images of yet another mystery cat seen near the Grampians.

That’s one down.

Hokey Local News and the Two Minute Hate

Tuesday 7 December 2004

I must have slept in because the newspapers have already reverted to publishing blatant crap for the summer:
A residential island could be built in Port Phillip Bay, made of silt from the proposed dredging of the bay and the Yarra River.
In a related news story, a 500-room luxury palace could be built in my back yard, made of solid gold panned and smelted by my personal harem of nubile virgins.

Melbourne 2030 reference group member Rob Pradolin said Melbourne needed visionary projects such as this.

Thanks for your support, Rob.
The article even provides this challenging vision of the future below, with a provocative question. Mouse over the picture for the secret answer.
To save you the trouble of reading hacks scratching their balls in The Age for the next two months, I will now predict the summer’s top ‘news’ stories so you can put in more quality time falling asleep on the couch in front of the cricket on telly:
• A scientist will claim to have cloned the mountain lion in the Dandenongs, which will boost the revival of the local film industry.
• A environmentally-friendly world-class luxury hotel will be built on the CUB Brewery site, which developers predict will become an international tourist attraction.
• A (feature in the Good Weekend/column by Tony Parkinson) which explains why everyone in the world, yourself included (is obsessed with/will be grateful for) the (boundless talent and charismatic mystique/noble statesmanship) of (Casey Donovan/Donald Rumsfeld).
• An article by John Elder where he wanders the streets picking up other people’s litter. At first he has some difficulty find enough litter, but soon gets the hang of it. After a while tries to interview passersby about his litter-gathering, but finds everyone is strangely reluctant to talk to him.
• An opinion essay by a staff writer who has the epiphany that she prefers some cafes over others, but explains this phenomenon by tenuously blaming it on other people’s moral failings and interpreting it as a sign of modern society’s decline. Hang on, they’ve done that one already.

Short, disgusting confession

Sunday 5 December 2004

You know how sometimes you wake up to find you’ve left a damp patch of drool on your pillow? You know how sometimes your dreams end with something that really is happening at that moment? This morning I woke up from a dream where I was brushing my teeth.

People or things I have been mistaken for, or allegedly physically resemble, in increasing order of ridiculousness

Wednesday 17 November 2004

Phelps Watch: a nation holds its breath

Wednesday 27 October 2004

The media’s conspiracy to suppress news of Peter Phelps’ march towards a federal senate seat must not prevail. As a matter of public interest I give you the latest results of the vote count from the national tally room:
  • Provisional Quota: 421,034 votes
  • Phelps, Peter Grant: 133 votes
I’m hopeful for a late surge in the 6 remaining unapportioned votes on his ticket, but it’s clear that we can’t celebrate Phelpsy’s victory for certain until all the below-the-line preferences have been distributed. In the meantime, we’ll all have to be patient. That includes you, Ellen de Graaf.

A sobering moment of insight

Wednesday 27 October 2004

So I was at work today googling for upskirt photos of Denise Drysdale when it suddenly struck me that I’d been at this job for seven years. Only part time, but still. Now, I’d long been conscious of having never been able to hold onto a job for more than a year until this one, but unwittingly I’ve also smashed my previous record for clocking in more or less regularly at the one establishment. Which was five years at one high school. I started to reflect on how I had become more mature at last, but quickly realised that I was self-deluded and corrected myself to reflect upon how damn old I am. Then I lost interest in self-knowledge and went back to googling for nipple slip photos of Collette Mann.

Australia’s Election Day Outrage

Sunday 10 October 2004

The federal election’s over and I am disgusted with the direction this country has taken. I truly fear for our children’s future, which is a big call given that I don’t have any kids and really cdn’t care if the little bastards live or die. How can we hold our heads high and say we are proud to be Australian, after Saturday’s debacle?
My compatriots know what I’m talking about but, for the sake of the thousands of overseas visitors who check in to this site every day on the off chance I might get around to updating it, I’ll spell it out. I went down to my local polling booth in the mid-morning, and there was NO SAUSAGE SIZZLE! What the hell has happened to this country? I circumnavigated the whole schoolyard twice: not a sausage. Literally. I thought charity sausage sizzles were mandated by the AEC.
If you think this all sounds superficial and apathetic, you’re clearly in the minority. I’m just going to go with the flow since no-one else round here gives a shit about this place. And anyone who drones on to me about how they’re going to leave the country better be prepared to meet my wager of $100 that they will still be here a year later.

Update: Phelpsy for PM! (cue laughter)

Wednesday 15 September 2004

Just looked through the Stingers site and found this tasty nugget:

ACTOR BIDS FOR ROLE IN SENATE
STINGERS star Peter Phelps’ next role could be in Canberra — the actor will stand for the Senate in the October 9 election. Phelps will join the Your Voice group, a pro-indigenous political movement established this year. He said he was disillusioned with mainstream political parties. “So I want to give them a bit of a kick in the guts,” Phelps joked yesterday. He was talking tactics in Alphington with other Your Voice members, including founder Richard Frankland. The Aboriginal director, musician and writer said the idea for the party was sparked by the Federal Government’s abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. And Frankland was not satisfied with the alternatives: the Democrats, Greens and Labor.
So, I’m sorry for impugning Phelpsy’s intelligence in the preceding article. Actor, statesman, author, singer, and Peter Allen impersonator: Peter Phelps is a true Renaissance Man.

Filler by Proxy IV: Doesn’t anyone round here like Peter Phelps?

Wednesday 15 September 2004

Except this woman, but it seems even she has her limits. To be fair to her, it’s a full-time job keeping up with Phelpsy’s hectic career.
I was going to write something about Phelps but, Christ! it looks like everyone’s beaten me to it. So go read them instead: they’re good.

The outpouring of love was triggered by Pete’s charming and gracious letter to the Green Guide bitching about how an article about the scriptwriters for Stingers didn’t mention him, an actor. I know actors are often stereotyped as not being terribly bright, so it’s sad to see one enacting the values and going out of his way to claim even part of the credit for the quality of plotting and dialogue in that show.

* That reminds me, I must customise my blog’s design one day soon.

Australia’s Week of Shame

Wednesday 8 September 2004

It’s been over a week now since this once-proud nation won a gold medal for anything. Having once strode like a colossus upon the world stage, our hopes and dreams have crumbled like my lower left front molar did a couple of years ago. Who can Australia turn to in these dark times, when day after day passes without a single foreigner validating our existence with some shiny bauble or other? Not our preening, so-called ‘heroes’ of the pool, the velodrome and the shooting gallery (or whatever they call that place where they fire shotguns at flying plates).
Just because the Olympics are over is no excuse to get lazy! Our athletes have been resting on their laurels – literally! I distinctly saw a telltale bumcrack-induced fold in Chantelle Newberry’s wreath on telly today. She ought to be ashamed.
Things have gotten to the point where I have decided to take matters into my own hands. Anyone needing their faith in the ANZAC spirit renewed is encouraged to come round to the Brunswick Trugo Club in Temple Park on Saturday week, where I personally will be standing on a milkcrate with a Golden Rough on a piece of string around my neck. Unless it’s raining, in which case I’ll be in the nearest pub. Either way, feel free to shower me with accolades, media commitments, and lucrative sponsorship deals. If it helps, you can imagine I’ve been singled out for recognition by Nestlé, thus putting Australia back on the map.
If it’s up to me to single-handedly lift the spirits of this great brown land and give our children something to live for, then it’s a burden I am honoured to bear.

Some journos still haven’t gotten over seeing Zsa Zsa Gabor in Queen of Outer Space all those years ago

Sunday 5 September 2004

This just in: Male sex not yet reduntant [sic].

Besides, he has the worst porn star name ever

Sunday 5 September 2004

Further evidence of The Age drifting rudderless on Wednesday was its wasting of column space in its opinion pages on that perennial waste of space, Merlin Luck. He was one of the losers in the last Big Brother series, but then weren’t they all? For those who neither know nor care, Merlin was the one who tried to extend his fifteen minutes of fame by coming out with duct tape over his gob and a sign saying FREE TH [sic] REFUGEES when he got the arse from the show a few weeks into the competition. Since then he has made persistent efforts to outstay his welcome in the feeble public spotlight by being a media tart for the Greens and the Democrats, and generally attempted to pass off his sour grapes at losing on an obnoxious game show as the vacuous sermonising of a sanctimonious tool.

Politics used to be cool. From what I’ve heard there was actually a time where it was fashionable to be concerned with human rights issues…

The opening sentences are a spectacular hybrid of Columnist’s Defiant Bullshit Basic (“Everywhere you go these days the one thing everyone’s talking about is how to find the best PR agent for your toddler!”) and Clueless Twat Explains It All For You (“I’ve heard the Berlin Wall was, like, an actual wall? And it totally went across Berlin?”) He continues in the latter vein for the next few paragraphs:

There are 11 million children orphaned by AIDS. Landmines are still maiming and killing Cambodian kids. Two million little girls are at risk of female genital mutilation every year… Just look at the front page of our biggest-selling papers that so often feature footy. Has the lead story ever once been “33,000 kids died today”?

No, it’s usually a scorching exposé about magpies attacking cyclists. I was going to be callous and observe that, on the bright side, nothing bad happens to adults on Planet Merlin. Instead I’ll just speculate on whether Merlin was cloistered in the Big Brother hamster cage for just a few weeks, or in fact had spent his whole life in there and has to share his newly-discovered realities about the outside world with us. He wd no doubt be surprised to learn that a lot of us know this stuff already, and that we learned it from reading a paper. What’s more, he might have known it too, had he actually read a newspaper instead of just taking money from one to write drivel, and had he gotten his news from other sources besides that dreadlocked private-school loudmouth with all the petitions at the Resistance stall in town on Fridays.

We, as a society, have become desensitised to a point where information alone is no longer shocking or even newsworthy.

Hey, what’s with all this we business? Where does a Big Brother contestant get off lecturing me for being shallow?

These days we need it packaged up in controversy and hype, tied to really shocking images, and even then only delivered in bite-size chunks. Snippets of digestible reality that we can process and put to one side without actually thinking about what it all means.

Now it’s starting to make sense. We need large slabs of indigestible reality without controversy or shocking images and that leaves us wondering what the point was, just like Big Brother Up Late!
Is it too hard to think about 30 per cent of Australia’s Aboriginal people living under the poverty line? Is it easier to watch a reality TV contestant win $1 million?

That depends on whether or not you were one of the losing contestants, Merlin.

I’m 24 years old. I have a bachelor of commerce. I go out all the time…

Translation: I’m on the dole.

…I love watching the Swannies play over a beer with my mates, or going to the movies with a girl and having a nice evening out. I’m an ambitious and driven person. I’m happy, positive and energetic… an informed, compassionate person.

Why is The Age paying Merlin to place the world’s most long-winded personal ad?

You might think: “But how can I make a difference?”… Inform yourself so you can hold your own in debates and discussions. Raise awareness in your own circle and make an appointment with your federal member of Parliament to raise your concerns.

Uh, Merlin? You don’t have an MP, remember? Because, as you told your fellow hamsters on Big Brother, you’re a German citizen who’s been living in Australia for 20 years without applying for citizenship. If I think about how you can make a difference, it always ends up with you getting off your arse and onto the electoral roll, not with you playing media whore.

A Lutheran pastor and survivor of a Nazi concentration camp once said…

Translation: I can’t be bothered looking up Reverend Martin Niemoller.

Merlin Luck made a silent protest about Australia’s refugee policies when he was evicted from the most recent Big Brother series.

Actually, his ‘silent protest’ lasted all the way through his brief stint on the show, considering that he spent his weeks of exposure on national television sitting around scratching his balls, saying jack shit about refugees, and never engaging his fellow hamsters in a conversation on a topic loftier than pubic hair styles. What do you reckon, voice of conscience in the wilderness or hypocritical fame whore?
As for The Age, I’m not sure if giving this rubbish column space was an exercise in the blackest of cynicism, a misguided attempt to appear cool themselves, or the side-effect of a personal vendetta among the editorial staff.

Dog Bites Man: Editorial Page 12

Saturday 4 September 2004

It’s neither controversial nor original to observe what a limp, wishy-washy rag The Age has become in recent years, but something needs to be said about the story that took up most of the front page on Wednesday:
Swooping magpies have returned with the onset of the breeding season, and experts are warning walkers and cyclists to take care.
Either there’s nobody left working at the paper who gives a shit or they just cdn’t wait for the first really hot day to run that same bloody photo of people on St Kilda beach they print every year. After all, besides that and the one of snow on Mount Dandenong they’re left with 363 other days each year where they have to think of something to put on the front page. News is hard! If only someone wd call an election or something.
For a moment I thought this issue of the paper may have been printed up for schoolkids, but then I realised that if you’re old enough to read you’re old enough to know to stick a couple of fake eyes on the back of your bike helmet if you’re getting serious grief from magpies. Hey, maybe this story’s getting a run because the CSIRO has come up with a ingenious new clever-country way of repelling stroppy birds:

Putting a sticker of human eyes on the back of your bike helmet could keep the birds away, according to Ron Waters, flora and fauna compliance manager at the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Wow! Thanks Ron. Sadly there’s no picture of Ron Waters so we can’t see if he’s 9 years old or was wearing an ice cream container on his head while being interviewed. And remember kids, it has to be human eyes: birds aren’t scared of gorillas.

Not sure about the “great crowds” bit, though

Sunday 22 August 2004

Great crowds at the Olympic games, but not of people.

Diogenes, 4th Century BC. Of course, he actually went to the games to see them for himself, and then bagged the other punters present. I admire that level of commitment to cynicism.
So much for my attempt at topicality. It’s been a big week and I’m off to bed.