Friday, February 27, 2015

Spam email of the week


This is aggressive. Can I read the email fir-


Depends. What is your service? Are you Johnny Paypa-


Uh, who hasn’t? Where do you get your futons, America? Pffft.


Yes. College. #bu-dum-ching! #drunk4dayz #dontremembernothin #studentloans #collegelife

We ask these questions because your email was provided as a victim of one of the above circumstance,

Seems legit that my email would know first.

Officials in top places

have failed to deliver your payment which the results of failures encountered have left you with no option but discouragement.

It's a new day and the beginning of your dream come through if only you adhere to the instructions in this mail.

I always felt that my new day of non-discouragement would dawn as the result of me strictly adhering to email instructions from an email that thinks the phrase is “dream come through.”

Every four working hours interval, five thousand united states dollars will be remitted to you till a total of 100,000.00 (one hundred thousand USD) is confirmed transferred in bit to you, then after a total of 1,900,000.00 (one million, nine hundred thousand united states dollars) shall be transferred from your paying information into any account of choice completing a total payment of two million united states dollars as compensation to you from the Ghanaian government and West African Authorities on your failed transactions.

Your deft executive planning of dispersing money more than makes up for your general inability to communicate like anything resembling a human, and this plan specifically more than makes up for the time Amazon charged me shipping on a return, which is what this is all about?

Your first payment information shall be provided in one hour for swift remittance at any of our branch nearest to you once you provide your details as follow, Your Payment receivers Name, Occupation, Contact number, Age and Any form of Identity. Do not worry about anything

Oh OK.


Richard Martin.

Reassurance from a #ZonalHead is how I wished all emails ended, but alas - we live in an imperfect world.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Spam email of the week


Amazon, is that you? (checks to see who email is from)


Oh, it’s web web office 90, a place I order from regularly on the web web. Everything is cool cool.

Dear owner,

I own, alright. I own the sh*t out of things.

I am Mr. David Ellis, Head Officer-in-Charge, Administrative Service Inspection Unit United Nations Inspection Agency in Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Atlanta, Georgia.

Can they fit all that on your Head Officer-in-Charge (lol) badge, or is it just like:
Mr. David Ellis, HOiC, ASIUUNIA, H-JIAAG

My point is, you are stupid.

During our investigation,

Provide context much? Boom, roasted.

I discovered an abandoned shipment through a Diplomat from United Kingdom which was transferred from JF Kennedy Airport to our facility here in Atlanta, and when scanned it revealed an undisclosed sum of money in 2 Metal Trunk Boxes 

I don't mean to cut you off but how much do these metal trunk boxes weigh? I need to know how much these metal trunk boxes weigh before proceeding.

weighing approximately 110kg each.

Thank you. I can now make an informed decision. My decision is yes.

The consignment was abandoned because the Content was not properly declared by the consignee as money rather it was declared as personal effect/classified document to either avoid diversion by the Shipping Agent or confiscation by the relevant authorities.

Just so I’m clear, standard operating procedure at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta is that, when two metal trunks containing straight cash homey is not properly declared by a consignee, you email the publications manager at two weekly newspapers near Phoenix, Ariz. to see if maybe he wants it because DOES ANYONE HAVE A BETTER IDEA.

By my assessment, each of the boxes contains about $4M or more.

Maybe you can make a better assessment by actually counting the money? I don’t know.

They are still left in the airport storage facility till today. The Consignments like I said are two metal trunk boxes weighing about 65kg each

Whoa HOLD UP. You said the boxes were 110kg each. What the heck, yo? Even if you messed up earlier and meant combined, that still doesn’t add up. How am I supposed to adequately prepare my consignment butler to lift metal trunk boxes if you’re giving me conflicting kilogram information? You want her to throw her back out or somethin’?

Honestly, I find your attention to the weight of these boxes—though inconsistent—to be off-putting considering you are seemingly comfortable guesstimating as to the actual amount of money inside them.

As I did say again, the shipper abandoned it and ran away

I did not know he ran away. That is hilarious. Did anyone catch him? Was this on “Cops?”

I am ready to assist you in any way I can for you to get back this packages

Get back?

provided you will also give me something out of it (financial gratification)

That is gross. You are gross.

You can either come in person


or you engage the services of a secure shipping/delivery Company/agent that will provide the necessary security that is required to deliver the package to your doorstep or the destination of your choice.

Can I employ a fictional character to do this? Like Punjab? I am sending Punjab. Deal with it.

I need all the guarantee that I can get from you before I can get involved in this project.

Indeed it is you and not me who should rightfully require reassurance that this is all real. My point is, you are stupid.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Put the phone away … for real this time

I’m not an alarmist when it comes to generational trends. If we were to travel back in time, I would bet the first generation of cavemen lamented that their children just didn’t slay wildebeests with the same skill and youthful passion they themselves had once exhibited. And so on and so forth throughout history, proving that everything we’ve lamented along the way was either insignificant or progression itself.

But I have to admit I’m disconcerted with the increasing influence of phones, and that’s coming from someone who’s written approximately 17 columns about his phone and/or Verizon. Not that I think this is a generational trend as much as a cultural one. For example, my mother-in-law, who until recently was still going about life boasting a flip phone, is now regularly interrupted during conversations by alerts she can’t seem to turn off from a game app called Crossy Road.

Lest this humble opinion give ammunition to those decrying phones is general, please. No. The advent of smart phones is, in so many regards, wonderful and important and crucial to our modern lifestyle. If you’re one of the few not on board, you’re stubbornly missing out. But nothing is black and white, everything is gray, and, despite our phones’ seemingly endless advantages, where I see a great disconnect is the crumbling etiquette of human conversation.

This is not a new or noteworthy opinion. We’ve seen ads, articles and general sentiment urging us all to put our phones down and experience life. It’s a great irony that many of us digest this call to arms via our phones, but our ongoing inability to heed this advice is a damn shame. 

To put it bluntly, if you are on your phone when you should be engaged in a one-on-one or group conversation—at work, at the bar, during dinner, anywhere—you are being a terribly rude person.

Are there exceptions? Of course. There are always exceptions. Chances are, however, what you think is an exception is not—HOLD UP, LEMME JUST POST THIS—and is, instead, evidence of an increasing aversion to awkward pauses, small talk, eye contact, and conversations with people we’d rather not be conversing with. Multi-tasking is not a virtue when at the expense of human connection. Using our phones as a crutch in this regard will erode our ability to communicate, to listen, to be truly available, and will, ultimately, distort our sense of friendship and community.

And that’s only touching on subpar, though actual, conversations. It’s unknown how much bonding has gone unrealized as a result of solitary interfacing, how much has passed us by as we’ve opted to stare at the screen instead of out the window. But one thing at a time. It’s probably a decent start to say, when someone is talking to you, put the freaking phone away. Indefinitely.

And again, our phones are great. At their best, they’ve been a catalyst to communication, not a deterrent. But we must do a better job—myself included, believe me—of denying them the inordinate influence they mercilessly seek. We cannot allow our conversations to devolve into distracted grunts and yeahs.

After all, we’re not cavemen.

Note: This column appears in 2/26 issue of The Glendale Star and the 2/27 issue of the Peoria Times.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Spam email of the week (annotated)

Note: You'll have to click on each individual pic (five of them) because I could not for the life of me figure out how to upload an annotated Word doc to Blogger.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mountain climbers dissuade mountain man from climbing mountain

I was recently part of a “guy’s weekend” hiking trip in Sedona. It wasn’t long ago that, in this very space, I made light of the lack of things to do in Sedona. I guess I stand corrected in that you can definitely walk around there in the dirt.

I kid, of course, although I’ve always been intrigued by how “hiking” came to be. Hiking is just walking, no, but on slightly different terrain? Like, if you’re walking on this, it’s walking, but if you’re walking on THIS, it’s hiking, and you’re going to need some super ugly shoes, a giant stick, and a safari hat. I suppose I’ve never felt that such a distinction was justified.

Also, the more treacherous hiking becomes, the more closely it resembles mountain climbing, which is definitely the activity we were doing. We climbed three mountains in Sedona, and it was no doubt an invaluable bonding experience, spiritually enlightening, and all that jazz. But that’s not what you want to hear about. Because I think we might have saved the life of a local yokel and his family.

We decided to watch the sunset from Doe Mountain because that’s the type of manly men we are. We began our trek down before the sun officially set, however, because it sets fast, and that’s when the dark and cold set in. Not surprisingly, we were the last people on the mountain that day, and it was nearly dark as we approached the base.

It was there, however, we ran into an interesting gentleman who was, with his 4-year-old daughter, making his way up the mountain.

The man had the type of look that, even removed from the context of what was happening at this very moment, made you think, This man does not make good decisions. As for this very moment, he was wearing a T-shirt and his daughter was wearing a dress (!). The temperature was fast approaching freezing. I should reiterate that they were going up the mountain.

Well, we couldn’t not say something, a fact made more indisputable by my father-in-law’s presence. We were basically like, “Yo, uhh … what the heck are you doing?”

He was completely oblivious, and was going up to the top, he said, because his daughter wanted to. This seemed, to us, like a decision that shouldn’t be dictated by a 4-year-old.

We said, “My man, it takes about an hour to get up that mountain without a child in tow, and it’s almost completely dark and below freezing now, and you are both dressed for a spring picnic, and there are spots on the side of that mountain where you are three feet from death, and just … no. No. Don’t. Please turn around.”

To our relief, he actually listened. I suppose someone who can be convinced to do something death-defying by a 4-year-old is generally receptive to being told to do the opposite by rational adults. We felt as though we saved their lives, and that was before, while conversing with him on our brief walk back to the parking lot, he asked us if it was Friday.

“Saturday,” we said. “Today is Saturday.”

We also discovered that he lived in the area. It amazed me that five guys, all of whom were from Jersey or Brooklyn, were schooling a guy on when not to climb the mountains he is surrounded by every single day.

When we reached the parking lot, his two other kids were waiting for him. So, this guy’s plan was to embark on an hours-long hike up and down a mountain with his dress-wearing 4-year-old in cold and total darkness while his other two adolescent children waited in the parking lot, in the middle of nowhere. While we felt even more relieved than before, something told us that more bad decisions were right around the corner. Like, I pictured him dejectedly getting in the car and saying, “Welp, might as well take you kids to the gun range. Not much else to do on a Tuesday.”

Anyway, I guess you can add “potentially saving the lives of its oblivious locals” to the list of things to do in Sedona. I stand corrected.


Note: This column appears in the 2/19 issue of The Glendale Star and the 2/20 issue of the Peoria Times.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Spam email of the week


It’s unclear whether the United Nations is offering me compensation—which would be completely understandable considering the finances I have fronted from my throne of diplomacy—or whether someone is un-compensating me for something—equally understandable considering my former, rarely spoken of Robinhood-esque background.

This letter is written to you in order to change your life from today.


I am Rev Mike Donald Duck the Director,

I can’t. I’m out. (packs suitcase, leaves)

(three months later)

I ran out of funds in the wilderness so I guess I have to listen to what the good Reverend Mike Donald Duck has to say.

International Remittance Department of this Bank, my Boss, Mr. Jacobs M. Ajekigbe, the Managing Director/CEO of this bank is now on compulsory leave and all power have been vested on me to make all international payments.

I bet your uncle Scrooge McDuck is hella pissed.

Be informed that the Federal Government have approved the release of part-payment of$7.5M(Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) out of your total funds, which has been in this bank for many years unclaimed because my boss Mr. Jacobs Ajekigbe, elaboration with the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have refused to tell you the truth on how to claim your fund this is because he has been using the interest accumulated from your fund every year to enrich himself without your knowledge,

I want to get this straight because I am having a really hard time with this. So you’re a reverend, the director of a Nigerian bank, AND America’s most famous duck? I am having considerably more difficulty grasping this than the revelation that my arch-nemesis is a villain named "Jacobs (plural) [random assortment of letters]."

I want to help you pull out this fund to your bank account using the easiest and the quickest method,

The quickest method, technically, involves me and an ATM card. But something tells me that Rev. Mike Donald Duck has a different plan.

By this method, you will open a domiciliary account with this bank (First Bank of Nigeria), your fund would be lodged into this domiciliary account and your fund will be paid in directly to any bank of your choice.

I enjoy the idea of my money being lodged into something, and I am assuming a domiciliary account consists of a gigantic, artificial clown head, my $7.5 million carelessly stuffed into its mouth. If so, that is my bank of choice.

As a good Christian,

It’s not surprising Donald Duck is Christian because a) he’s a reverend, obvs, and b) he proudly appeared in the Christian film, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.”

I have nothing to gain by keeping your fund,

Except my fund. But whatevs.

I want to assist you receive your fund before my boss resumes office.

In conclusion, I have just spent a good hour of my precious time on earth analyzing an email in which Donald Duck urges me to contact him about $7.5 million before his boss, Jacobs, gets back in the office. Goodbye, everyone—I’m off to figure out at what point on the road of life I made a wrong turn.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Spam email of the week

Subject: urgent reply

Like I don’t have enough stress in my life.

I hereby send to you the information submitted by Mr.JOHNSON MARK U.S.A of Florida group Ltd, with an application to receive your payment on your behalf.

The only thing I trust less than someone named Mr.JOHNSON MARK is Florida.

Please as a matter of urgency, you are required to verify the following information and inform us if you are aware or know anything about this. on MONDAY

I’m sorry, what day was it?


Come again?



Mr. JOHNSON MARK came to the office claiming that you  have instructed him to come and receive the payment on your behalf with some representatives.

I did no such thing, and suffice it to say I am livid at Mr. JOHNSON MARK. Did the “representatives” with him happen to be middle-aged men wearing St. Joseph’s High School varsity bowling jackets and claiming I “owed them?” Doesn’t matter. Please tell me you told them to come back later and, if so, on what day?

I have ask them to come back MONDAY


I have ask them to come back MONDAY

Oh, OK. The force with which you mention days of the week is enough to divert from the fact we are talking about days of the week in lieu of actual dates and I have no context for anything.

as they did not provide any power of an attorney from you which will proof that you truly send them.

Your grasp of my attention is equal to your grasp of nouns and verbs and past and present tense. Speaking of tense, I am tense. ABOUT THIS.

This was to enable me contact you to verify how genuine this people are to you.

1. Did you instruct one Mr. JOHNSON MARK of USA Florida group Ltd. whose information is below, to claim and receive the payment on your behalf?

(Raising left hand, right hand on copy of The Berenstain Bears and the Truth, not wearing pants) I did NOT.

2. Did you sign any 'Deed of agreement' in his favor thereby making him the current beneficiary

OK that I DID do. Is that going to be a problem?

Finally, you are hereby advised to indicate to this honorable office with immediate effect, if you are the person that instructed Mr. Johnson Mark to come for the claim of your fund

This is like the 17th time during the course of this email that you’ve asked me to do just that, yet here you’re requesting it as if it’s a new, final step in the process. It’s that minor detail and ONLY that minor detail that has caused me to feel just a smidgeon of skepticism about this email.

worth of $5,000,000.00

Now that I think about it, I was wondering where that $5 million I didn’t know I had went. DANG YOU, MR. JOHNSON MARK! (shakes fist to sky)

Yours Faithfully,
For the Governor
Bank of England

I may live in Arizona and be from New Jersey, but all my enemies are in Florida, which is obviously why I bank in England. And yo - Mr. Allen Jones? You can BANK on seeing me ... (dramatic pause) ... (puts on sunglasses) ... (camera pans to close-up of my face) ... (TOO close, back up camera, dang) ... MONDAY.