Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spam email of the week

Subject: Re: Cost of percutaneous Nephrolithtomy

This is a rhetorical subject, as everyone knows the cost of percutaneous nephrolithomy is your very soul. Also: around $6,000.

From: Okey Ukachukwu

Not in my contacts for some reason.

Dear Sir,

Compliments of the season.I was diagnosed as having kidney stone that require surgery as the stone is quite big

This is you, in April: "Merry Christmas. I have a giant stone to pass through my penis."

1cm " in the right kidney. I have attached a copy of the ivu report.

(reviews IVU report) Yep, that's a kidney stone alright. But what the hell are those things? (points to ribcage with Twizzler I am eating) There's like a dozen of 'em. Pretty sure you might die.

My doctor has advised I do percutaneousnephrolithtomy

I see the kidney stones are already causing slurred speech. This is ... (long yawn) ... extremely urgent.

 and I will like to know the cost.

Here are the top four ways to respond when your doctor recommends percutaneous nephrolithotomy but you don't know the cost:

1) Ask your doctor who is standing right there
2) Call your insurance company
3) Google/WebMD for a ballpark figure
4) Email the publications manager at two weekly newspapers

I listed those in reverse order of optimal convenience.

I will also like to know how long it will take me to recover fully and resume  normal activities.

About as long as it will take me to recover from this email, so: never.

(one hour and two minutes later)

Dear Sir,


One greeting. Pathetic considering all I have done for your kidney stone.

As per doctor opinion you required advance Shock Wave Therapy which is available at our headquarter hospital in India.

Yes, as per our last conversation, regarding my professional medical opinion, I recommended shock wave therapy to get your kidney stone through your penis faster, and also said you could probably find a decent shock wave therapy machine (???) at a hospital in India. These are things I said within the hour between these two rational emails.

This procedure doesn't required any surgery and can be cure by this therapy.

Thanks, captain Okey obvious. I would have recommended shock wave surgery if I wanted you to have surgery, duh.

As the opinion and estimate will come accordingly i''ll inform you

Please do. I must keep abreast of how quickly your kidney stone passes through your penis and also how much it will cost. I didn't not become a doctor to NOT keep tabs on Okey Ukachukwu.

Relationship Manager

a.k.a. Rajdeep. Makes sense. By the way, I bet you are a great relationship manager. You probably say to your boo, "We need to talk ... " and then email the publications manager at two weekly newspapers to find out how to cure erectile dysfunction. (Shock Wave Boner Stimulator 3000, fwiw.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It was for the better, it was a wall of good

The following column appears in the 4/30 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/1 issue of the Peoria Times, and, in the context of those publications, it is also my last. I have accepted a new position as a writer elsewhere, in a much different capacity, because YOLO. How this affects the personal writing in general and this blog specifically remains to be seen, but this is a very positive development for me and I am excited so please don't kill my vibe. I mean, I love you.

When you really think about, which I do often, there is no reason I should write the things I do in this newspaper. It wasn’t long ago I wrote an entire column about how I have belly button lint—using a different hygienic issue, armpit stains, as a wonderful lead-in. Taken out of context, that makes no sense. Taken in context, that makes no sense. WHAT IS THIS? is a question I couldn’t blame you in the least for asking.

My answer: I don’t know. I never really did, I guess. I tried to keep it local at first, but there are only so many topics you can poke at with a stick, and it became a chore. So I started writing about my life, about silly things, about my girls and adoption, about underwear that has a pouch for your testicles, about folding sheets, about hating scorpions and losing my sunglasses, about my family … mostly about my father-in-law. My publisher and editor never told me to stop, so I didn’t.

Thanks to that patience and your unusual interest—or, possibly, indifference—I found the voice I had always sought. I aimed for humor, of course, but that is subjective and laughter is but a small miracle from above, out of my hands. While I can’t say for sure what seemed to connect, I suspect it was that opening up my life helped you realize you’re not the crazy one—we are. My daughters are your kids; my father-in-law is your father-in-law; my underwear is your underwear, although not literally because that is gross and also you are a woman and don’t need a pouch.

The writing I enjoyed the most growing up and to this day was honest and personal, and that is what I tried to do, for better or worse. SPOILER ALERT: It was for the better, for me at least. Your support gave me the confidence to write books, and your physical presence gave me the great pleasure of signing one for you, an indescribable feeling of self-satisfaction and pure, unadulterated joy.

As I move on to new ventures in life, I want to say thank you for reading this column. What it has meant to me to be able to do this is beyond words, and I am a writer, so there.

I had a bulletin board in my office here where I tacked on all the kind things you ever wrote to me. It was as full as my heart is now, and I called it the “Wall of Good.” (It includes a hand-written letter from Nancy urging me, on the heels of a column I wrote about my, ummm, digestive issues, to eat almonds to stop the “fire in the belly.” Man, you guys are THE BEST.) Below it was the “Wall of Bad.” It contained only two notes, one criticizing the column for being self-indulgent—it totally was—and the other one simply read, “stop Kenny articles.” Today, good sir, I tell you—you got your wish.

Thank you all for granting me mine.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spam email of the week

Subject: From Mr Pablo Dench Pirez

Wonder who this is from.

From Mr Pablo Dench Pirez


Got it. I thought you sounded French.

Please let all correspondence be on my personal email address

I mean Japanese. Is this email going to start anytime soon?

Kindest Attention:

My name is Mr Pablo Dench Pirez, I am from Portugal .

I thought you sounded Portuguese.

I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer. It has defied all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live,according to medical experts.

Well at least you’ve lived life well.

I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone (not even myself) but my business.

Don’t beat yourself up for loving your business too much. The world would be a better place if more people treated their businesses better than they do actual people. It’s like they always say:

Naughty girls Businesses need love too.” – Samantha Foxxxxxx

Though I am very rich, I was never generous, I was always hostile to people and only focused on my business as that was the only thing I cared for.

Hostile Business Corp., LLC: $1 billion annually, half-star on Yelp

I believe when God gives me a second chance to come to this world I would live my life a different way from how I have lived it.

Cool. What religion is that?

Now that God has called me, I have willed and given most of my property and assets to my immediate and extended family members as well as few close friends .I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul so, I have decided to give alms to charity rganizations,as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth.

Also: the first good deeds. But hey, you know what the Bible says: The first shall be last and last to do good deeds which are also the first shall be the first.

So far,I have Distributed money to some charity organizations in the U.A.E,Somalia and Malaysia. Now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore.

“Too … weak … to click …” (tries to click mouse on "Donate" icon, falls out of chair, team of nurses rush to side)

I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money which I have there to charity organization in Bulgaria and Pakistan, they refused and kept the money to themselves.

Your brother-in-law: (walks into bank) Hello, I’d like to close the account of my brother-in-law, Mr. Pablo Dame Judy Dench Pirez, and divert all the money to … (winks hard, makes sign for money, motions to his jeans pocket) Bulgaria.

Bank worker: Of course, sir. (winks) And what is your name?

Your brother-in-law: Bulgaria.

Bank worker: What a coincidence. That is my name, too!

(they laugh)

The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of Thirty Million United States Dollars($30,000,000,00) that I have with an Finance Vaulting Unit Abroad.

Finance Vaulting Unit Abroad: Vaulting your finances in a unit abroad since 1982

I will want you to help me collect this deposit and dispatch it to charity organizations.

Can you be more specific? Are we talking diseases or tsunami victims?

Kindly note that 30% of this funds must go to the tsunami victims,

OK fine.

50% to other Charity Organization

Seems vague. I will read this as “GoFundMe account for that guy’s excess skin removal surgery.”

 and 20% for your effort and time.

Thank you. Six million dollars seems fair.

I cannot talk with you on the phone due to my health situation, as I am using my Lap Top Computer to communicate with you.

That’s crazy. I am using my Desk Top Computer Machine to communicate with you, and I ALSO can’t talk on the phone but only because I don’t want to because none of this is real.

God be with you.

You say that as if I’m about to embark on something ill-fated when in fact I am only becoming involved in an email-based transaction for $30 million with Mr. Pablo Dench Pirez of France/Japan/Portugal. Pretty sure I’ll be fine.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spam email of the week

Subject: rare earth new materials supplier

All of my earth materials are common and old. This email piques my interest.

Dear Sir/Madam,

One of the common earth materials I own is a penis, for the record.

Glad to learn you are on the markert of rare earth new materials,

Boy, word spreads fast. You tell one person at an earth party that you’re on the markert—you said “on” and slurred market because you were drunk on peach schnapps—for rare new materials, and next thing you know, you’re getting emails.

We are a leading supplier of the new naterials in China.

Has China heard of the new material called spell check? J/k, what are your main products?

main products:

1.rare earth salts and oxides

Been looking for those.

2.rare earth polishing powder

Can’t find that on Amazon, amirite? I’ll take a dozen. ‘BOUT TO POLISH THE EARTH, SON.

3.rare earth catalyst

You don’t think you need a rare earth catalyst until you have a rare earth catalyst. Is a thing I am going to say when I get one. Cop it.

4.rare earth phosphor

Pass. My uncle works for the company I currently get my rare earth phosphor from, so using another supplier would make for an awkward Thanksgiving.

5.rare earth thermal stabilizers

The last thing you want is to be using the same thermal stabilizer as everyone else. I was using the Yukon 4500G until I saw on “Extra” that Carson Daly uses the same one, so I just threw mine out. Ate the cost. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, you had me at rare earth thermal stabilizer.

please contact with me if you are interested in our products,

“If?” Oh I will contact with you. But your name escapes me … (checks to see who email is from)

From: W

I will contact with you, W.

Best Regards,


When it comes to nicknames for “Tina,” you sure do boast a rare earth material, W.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Loud and clear: a breakdown of spousal communication

Here is something that happens to me pretty much every single day.

I’ll be in a room somewhere in the house, doing something productive since I have no time for leisure, and my wife will storm into the room and say, “I’VE BEEN CALLING YOU!”

I will, as calmly as I can muster, remind her that I am in this room and obviously did not hear her since she was in a different room. Her frustrated mannerisms seem to refute this explanation, and I am left wondering if she honestly thinks I did hear her calling me and simply thought to myself, I hear a person who sounds like my wife calling me in a time of need, but I choose not to answer. This is where I seriously lament the stereotype of dumb and lazy husbands who have selective hearing, especially considering what I am doing at that very moment is more than likely washing dishes or wiping a child’s rear end.

If I can manage to convince my wife that I did not, in fact, hear her, she changes course and takes issue with one of my senses. “THEN YOU NEED TO GET YOUR EARS CHECKED.” It’s at this point I picture myself in the doctor’s office, explaining that, although I am only 36, I likely need hearing aids because I cannot hear my wife calling me when I am downstairs with the kitchen faucet running while she is upstairs using the hair dryer. Only the doctor doesn’t hear me because he is in another room and I am still in the waiting area.

It should also be mentioned that when the smoke of communication failure clears, it is revealed that the urgent thing my wife desperately needed was to ask me to bring her up a glass of water, or: did I see that video Bridget posted to Facebook of the baby pig?

All of this is quite ironic considering one of my wife’s own communication foibles, which is this: We’ll be in a room together, and I’ll let it be known I am leaving that room—for example, she’ll be getting ready for work in our bedroom and I’ll kiss her goodbye as I leave to drop the girls off—and, after about 10 seconds, as I’m walking out the door, she’ll say something to me in a volume that would be appropriate if I were still right next to her. It goes like this:

Me: OK, love you.

Wife: Love you, too.

(we kiss)

(I walk away)

(heading toward the door)

(almost through the door)

Wife: Don’t forget the girls have a field trip today.
Every time. Every. Time. I’ve taken to turning the corner and just waiting, counting down to 10 until she says what she has to say and I can respond without backtracking, but then she will have something else to say as I walk out the door. I’m convinced she does this on purpose.

She always has the last laugh, after all. The other night I had the audacity to fall asleep in our bed at bedtime and I was jarred awake by, “I’VE BEEN CALLING YOU!” I had neglected to bring the dog upstairs before falling asleep, and when my wife realized this she called me from her bathroom sink—in one of those whisper yells, no doubt, since our daughters were sleeping: “PSSSST. MIIIIKE! MIIIIIIIIIIKE!”—to let me know he was still downstairs. I didn’t hear her because it was a whisper yell and also because I WAS SLEEPING.

But she made her point.

She always does. I hear that, babe.

Note: This column appears in the 4/23 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/24 issue of the Peoria Times.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spam email of the week



Good day TO You!!


It is my pleasure to reach you after our successful attempt on our business transaction. Well, I just want to use this medium to thank you very much for your earlier assistance to help me in receiving the fund,


I am obliged to inform you that I have succeeded in transferring the fund with the help of a new partner from Paraguay Mr.James Pack.


Everything was perfectly done because we stroke a deal with one of the Lady accountant


In appreciation of your earlier assistance to me in receiving the funds, I have decided to compensate you with the sum of $1.5million USD(One Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars),


Presently, I am in Paraguay for investment project.


Since it was difficult to contact you before


I have left instruction with my personal secretary Mr.James Pack


Please contact him through his E-mails address.




I gave him your information's but you have to reconfirm it again to him


so that he will confirm that you are the person supposed to contact him,


Your Full Name : HANK FARTHEAD
Driving Linces: ?????????????????

God Bless you and your family.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Recalling all the recalls: a one-year vehicle retrospective

I would say 60 percent of the mail I receive is from car dealerships urging me to do something important, namely, to see them immediately. Every now and then, a humungous piece of worthless mail I receive from a car dealership will literally have a key stuck to it. I once assumed this was the key to a new vehicle I won in a contest I unknowingly entered, but I soon discovered it is merely symbolic. This seems, to me, quite curious and expensive in the effort of symbolism, as the latest car sold to me features keyless entry and—take it from someone who mails newspapers for a living—mailing stuff is not cheap, especially when it has hunks of symbolic metal stuck to it. It’s good to see at least part of the ridiculous car dealership mark-up goes toward flushing money down the toilet and also hurting the environment. I remember years ago, after spending the entire day at a dealership and making the informed decision to purchase a vehicle, I received a letter from said dealership a month later imploring me to sell them the car back because they had a better deal. I honestly don’t know how car dealerships work.

ANYWAY, my point is that car dealerships mail so much crap that on the rare occasion they send something important, it becomes a boy who cried wolf scenario. Which is why I almost threw out the notice about my vehicle’s latest recall.

Yes, for the second time in the year since I purchased my vehicle—I banged a gong at the dealership, remember?—it has been recalled. I can’t even remember what the first recall was about; all I know is that I spent an hour and a half on a beautiful Saturday morning sitting next to a plate of greasy car dealership donuts while a Division III college baseball game played on ESPN, and when I got up to use the restroom, someone stole my chair. When my car was done, the service guy suggested I consider having some kind of performance check done—ONLY $75—even though my car had like 200 miles on it. I debated asking him if it was possible to un-bang a gong, but I just wanted to go home.

Now I’m left debating what to do. To me, it’s not enough the dealership will fix a recall at no cost; I should be compensated for being inconvenienced. I get two days a week to exercise my own free will, and none of that time should involve me sitting in a car dealership service waiting area with other miserable people staring at their phones.

I mean, I don’t even know what this is about. According to the letter I received, “On some of the affected vehicles, the secondary hood latch may not function properly.” Is that bad? I didn’t even know I had a secondary hood latch, but it sounds secondary. “If the primary hood latch is released, the secondary hood latch may not hold the hood closed as designed while the vehicle is in motion. In certain circumstances, this may cause the hood to open while driving and partially obscure the driver’s vision, increasing the risk of a crash.” Didn’t this happen to Chris Farley in “Tommy Boy?” That was hilarious.

So I can either waste a weekend morning waiting for a problem to be fixed that I didn’t cause, or just never open my car’s hood, which honestly wouldn’t change anything about how I had planned to maintain my vehicle. And hey, if the ol’ secondary hood latch does present a problem, I can always just wait for a car dealership to send me a key for a new car. I think I just made my decision. (bangs gong)

UPDATE: I sucked it up and went to the car dealership to have this taken care of. Guy came out after about three minutes and was like, "ACTUALLY, there are two recalls currently on this car. You probably haven't received the notification on the second one yet in the mail, but you should soon. Anyway, that one will take us about 90 minutes to do ... in addition to the other one." I left.

Note: This column appears in the 4/16 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/17 issue of the Peoria Times.