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Bad Jokes, E-Mails, & Spam­–Oh My!

 by Jon F. Merz (jonmerz@wwwiz.com)

             If you're like me, you receive at least a half dozen e-mail messages each day that hog bandwidth and take forever to download.  Most of the time, I sit drumming my fingers on my desk and muttering hostilities about the inability of my phone company to wire my area for DSL. E-mails like this leave you pondering one simple question:  where the hell does this stuff come from? (I also ask ``who has time to write this junk?" but that's a question for another column.)

            So this month, we're going to take a look at where to find the classic e-mail jokes, how-to lists, and other generally annoying e-mails that no doubt litter more mail boxes than mail-order catalogs during the holiday season rush. 

            Start by jumping over to Asha's E-mail Humor Archive located at http://members.tripod.com/~AshaM/humor.html where you'll find a hot list of e-mail jokes that have made it around the e-mail circuit at least twice.  My personal favorite at this site is the list of ``Some Barspeak We All Know," found at http://members.tripod.com/~AshaM/jokes/barspeak.html. Cut and paste to your heart's desire.

            Clicking over to http://www.BL.net/forwards/ will give you some of the more recent e-mail spams of recent months.  If you haven't seen all of these yet, you may be able to be the first in your circle of friends to send them around.  According to this site, it's all about ``quality, not quantity," and they've even got a club at Yahoo! to prove it.  You can join that by going to http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/forwards.  A good list on this site is the guide to translating terms in personal ads. Check it out at http://www.BL.net/forwards/personals.html.

            Overseas in the UK, they're laughing and being annoyed by pretty much the same things as us Yanks.  Check out Jard Mail at http://www.jardmail.co.uk/ for a listing of the e-mails that surf the British Web systems.  And don't miss the bachelor favorite, ``30 Minutes to a Cleaner House" at http://www.jardmail.co.uk/misc/cleantips.html.  Handy stuff for those of us not so inclined to worship Martha Stewart.

            Bump up your e-mail spam a notch by not only including text messages but also funny audio files.  For all this and more, visit Twisted Humor located at http://www.twistedhumor.com where they have a great archive of some funny .wav files and video imagery.  The only problem here is the descriptions aren't well worded until you get deeper into the site.  Still, the sheer amount of material encased in this site makes it a worthwhile stop.

            What about all those bizarre urban legends we read about?  They range from the Nieman Marcus chocolate chip cookie story to the Microsoft profitable e-mail forwarding scheme.  Every day, some sucker (usually my friend) falls for a new pass on these old ideas.  So head over to the Urban Legend Combat Kit located at http://netsquirrel.com/combatkit/ which will tell you exactly how to respond when someone sends you an e-mail asking that you pass it on so someone's dying wish gets granted.

            Stay current with the newest e-mail hoaxes by dropping by the Hoaxbuster Site located at http://HoaxBusters.ciac.org/.  Learn all about the history of strange e-mail hoaxes, what to do about them, how to recognize them, a complete archive, and even the cost of handling the vast amount of circulating e-mails.  The site was developed in concert with the Department of Energy and its Computer Incident Advisory Committee, which acts as a sort of watchdog for the DOE network.

            After reading the ditties on some of these sites, odds are you might be tempted to write some of your own.  After all, yours can't be half as bad as the joke about the pregnant mother getting shot by three bullets can it?  Of course not.  But, if you do engage in what most people consider to be spamming, you'll need some cover. Sending spam from your real e-mail account could get you into trouble.  So, sign up for a fake account by using http://www.sendfakemail.com/.  You could try to set up an account at a free e-mail server like Hotmail.com, but they tend to track your IP address.  Instead, use the only real type of anonymous e-mail accounts you can find that disguise everything about your true identity.

            What about if you're genuinely ticked off at receiving so many e-mails and don't know where to turn?  Well, there are numerous anti-spam programs out there that will filter out unwanted e-mails from your system.  You can find several freebies just by doing a search for ``anti-spam".  Or check out http://www.scamoff.com or http://www.savemail.com for some examples on what to look for when choosing anti-spam software.

            But if you want to actually track some of these culprits down, check out http://www.rahul.net/falk/mailtrack.html.  This site actually shows you some steps to take to try to determine who might be sending you e-mail.  They include methods of forgery as well and which lines in an e-mail are more reliable in your tracking efforts than others.

            Finally, if you're just looking for a hysterical read in relation our new presidential administration, come on over to my Web site and take a gander at this hilarious piece I received in mid-December.  It's located at http://www.zrem.com/godbush.txt.  Enjoy it. I know I did.

  Jon F. Merz (zrem@earthlink.net) freelances from Boston, Mass., where he writes for APBNews.com, Guyville.com and more.  His past articles have appeared in World Rhythm Magazine, Ura & Omote Journal, and Wcities.com.  He has also published two dozen short stories in various national and small press magazines.

 

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