Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Are people really still falling for this?

My GMail account gets a LOT of spam.  I'm not sure how I ended up on so many spam lists, but I suspect GMail themselves are partly to blame.  There's also the issue that there are about four other people in the country, and one in Australia apparently, who think my e-mail address is theirs.  These people are apparently not very bright when it comes to where and when it's appropriate to give out your (or rather my) e-mail address.  They also appear to like to sign up for e-mail distribution lists on sites that apparently do not verify your e-mail address.  There's not much I can do to stop it, but I do appreciate GMail's rather thorough spam filter. 

Today I took a look at the spam folder.  I do this occasionally just to make sure there isn't something there that shouldn't be.  I generally get tired after the first two or three pages and just delete it all anyway.  Today I had 828 Spam messages.  That's something like 36 times the number of real e-mails sitting in my inbox.  In fairness, I had just deleted several real messages from real distribution lists I'm really subscribed to, just because I know I'll never get time to read them.  Sorry CodeProject.  But still, 36 spam e-mails for every 1 real e-mail I receive.  That is beyond ludicrous. 

As I'm looking through, I scroll past the messages letting me know important things like "Free pass for Enticing teens" and "Don't Delay get Money Today" and "Vaigra cailis" (whatever the hell that is), offers for free Anti-Depressents, growing my organ to a big hulk (I prefer the piano, myself), Make myself 10 years younger, Branded watches, several in Chinese I can't read due to a lack of speaking Chinese , Generic Meds, getting bang for my buck, Free Prescriptions, 90% prices, free Blackberry (that I can believe.  They would have to force one on me), larger rods (but will it fit in my car's engine?), "Zohan's secret to success", the bailout package I need, an imperative to "stop being a disappointment in bed", blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.  And that was just today's spam.

If it weren't for spam filters, I would have sworn off e-mail by now.  That is absolutely ridiculous.  And why is it so damn hard to spell ridiculous?

Then one caught my eye.  It was so obviously a phishing scam it might very well have had blinking lights and a marching band playing "All your monies are belong to us, L00zR".  I had a brief flash of those commercials where the old lady is giving a diatribe on identity theft in an inner city young boy's voice. 

This one was a warning that my Chemical Bank account information needed verification.  Out of curiosity I opened it.  GMail dutifully put this disclaimer at the top:

image I know that's hard to read.  It says (in a very danger sense arousing red color) "Warning: This message may not be from whom it claims to be.  Beware of following any links in it or of providing the sender with any personal information."  Ya think?  I don't have a Chemical Bank account.  I've never even heard of them.  I had to Google them just to find out they actually do exist.  I thought it was a made up name.  That would have to be the worst phishing scam in history.

Here's the content:


I have to admit, that's pretty good.  It looks real enough, and the styling looks just like the branding on the real bank's website, but there's just a hint of Engrish there.  Just enough to tip their hand.  No place I've ever worked for would allow that kind of grammar to go out in an official e-mail.  The link was disabled (Thanks again, GMail), but you can be sure if I had enabled it, it wouldn't go to to that URL. 

This kind of scam has been around for years.  This e-mail is completely classic.  It's better crafted than most.  For most of us, the first indicator that something isn't right is the "I don't have an account with that bank" issue.  The purpose, of course, it to hit the handful of people who actually do. 

Not long ago my wife asked me about a very similar message that managed to make it past three spam filters to her inbox.  I said simply "We don't bank there, delete it".  I then had to continue on to fully explain the scam that was occurring before she would believe me.  She finally deleted it, "If you're sure".  Yes, I am.

How is it, in this day and age, that there are still people who fall for this?  There must be, or they wouldn't still be sending this kind of crap out.  I think I can safely assume that anybody who reads this blog is smart enough to see this for what it really is, even if it hadn't landed in the spam box.  Have we, the technically elite, failed our not so technical counterparts here?  Have we somehow failed to let everybody know about the basics of e-mail security?  We must have, if there are still people out there running one of the oldest scams in the book.  They don't need to make up new scams, the old ones are still working. 

If you haven't told your wife, husband, mom, dad, sister, brother, half second cousin in law about what we consider to be common sense in handing e-mail, now would be the time.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I, Human

Who knows you?
Who understands you?
Who accepts you for who you are without reservation?

We're all together, but each of us alone.
Huddled together in our cities, like rabbits.
We're closer together then ever,
A fellow human nearly always in sight
but never within reach.

We tweet, we blog, we facebook
We say, "Hello world.  Please, somebody, care."
And they look away, afraid you'll see them.
Avoid eye contact at all costs.

We obsess with Things
computers, cell phones, our XBox
The machine doesn't judge, it just is
We like that.  We crave that.

Nobody knows what it's like to be me.  Or you.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The best presidential choice yet

I've been thinking, and that's a dangerous thing.  I still like Henry Rollins for president, but perhaps there's somebody I trust to do the right thing even more than Henry.  Who could it be?

Then the answer hit me like a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster:


Of course, why didn't I think of it before?  I'm the one person on the planet I trust to do the right thing in office.  Cowboy: President of the United States.  Nice ring to it...

I hereby announce my candidacy for POTUS!

Here's a summary of my qualifications:

  • I've never been convicted of a felony (convicted, mind you...)
  • I've never had a DUI (that one-ups Dubya)
  • I've never been involved in a sex and/or financial scandal as a perpetrator, but occasionally as a victim. (One ups Clinton)
  • I'm smarter than George Bush FWIW.
  • I have less experience than Barack Obama (remember, that's a good thing).
  • I'm a white guy, but I'm not as white as John McCain.
  • I'm not a creationist like Sarah Palin.  Neither would my teenage daughter's baby daddy stand up on stage with me, as he wouldn't have any working legs in order to do so.
  • I believe that freedom of religion means freedom to follow ANY religion, not just Christianity. 
  • I'm aware that there are more than two points of view when it comes to evolution.  Science should be taught in schools.  Creation theories should be taught in relevant religious temples.  Debate solved. 

As president, here is my first term agenda (in order):

  • Withdraw all troops from Iraq immediately or even sooner.
  • Send a few Navy Seal teams into the mountains where Bin Laden is believed to be hiding, kill the fucker, mount his head on the hood of my brand new $400,000 Maserati, drive around America, withdraw from Afghanistan.
  • Hire T. Boone Pickens as Secretary of Energy.
  • Hire Henry Rollins as Secretary of Defense.
  • Hire Rory Blyth as Secretary of the Treasury.
  • Hire Celes as Secretary of State
  • Make Morgan Webb my Vice President.  I know she's smart enough to do the job, but mainly I just want her to be around a lot.  I'm pretty sure she won't shoot anybody in the ass either (video games notwithstanding).
  • Hire Bill Clinton as Secretary of How To Get Away With Having Hotties in the White House.
  • Banish George Bush to the Middle East.
  • Energy Crisis: Get an energy plan that will work via Pickens.  Kick the crap out of anybody that tries to put a rider on it, intimidate corrupt old politicians until they recant their evil ways and pass my bill.
  • Health Care: Model health care after Europe, where it actually works.  Change farm subsidies so that farmers are financially encouraged to grow fruits and vegetables.  Make McDonalds illegal.  Banish Hillary Clinton to Cuba.
  • Abortion: I'm personally against abortion, not for any religions reasons, but because I believe a life is taken when one is performed.  Instead, I plan to offer free Government Sponsored Surgical Sterilization to everybody with an I.Q. under 110 or from southern California.  Said procedure will be mandatory under 95. 

In the coming weeks, I will create a way that you can contribute to my campaign, as I know you already see the value in my Presidency.  In the meantime, spread the word to everybody you know, and tell them to vote Cowboy in November.  Good, yo!.

I'm the Cowboy and I approve this message

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Slippery Slope

I'm continually astounded at buzz around the current election.  I listen to people tell me why McCain is great and why Obama is great.  Once you cut through the bullshit it usually boils down to why McCain or Obama sucks.  Honestly, do you vote for candidates, or against them?  Honestly?

Since Nixon in the 70s we've had an increasingly cynical view of Washington.  This is exacerbated by constant sex or financial scandals, continually lying, broken campaign promises, Right/Left slanted media, movies, failing economies, and wars that don't make sense.  I think we can agree that nearly the whole of Washington is corrupt.  Why, then, is it that we keep electing the same people?  Isn't the definition of insanity when you keep doing the same thing and expect different results?  That's what we do, election after election.  We keep electing the same people and expecting them to behave differently.  We keep thinking "This time they'll keep their campaign promises."  We keep thinking "This candidate really is different because he says so."  That Is Insane.  Are we really that stupid?

Why are we as a country so afraid to consider a third party candidate?  Why have we not done away with the absurdly inaccurate and outdated electoral college system?  Are we really such a commercially jaded and malleable society that we can only consider the big party candidates with billions to spend on their campaigns?  Are we really so pathetic that we'll vote for McCain just because he's got a young woman for a running mate?  Are we really so obtuse that we'll vote for Obama only because we're angry at Bush and the Republicans?  Are we really all stupid enough to eat the biased crap the media vomits at us daily (both right and left, don't kid yourself)?  Are we really all so effectively programmed that we think there are only two choices? 

Remember Ron Paul?

"I've come to the conclusion, after having spent many years in politics, is that our presidential elections turn out to be more of a charade than anything else, and I think that is true today. It is a charade," he said.

Paul said a strong showing by the third-party candidates would express the public's frustration with the current system.

"If you ever get to the point where you believe the two parties are essentially the same, if the majority is outside of the establishment, it's not very democratic. The process is not working," Paul said.

Don't be a robot this November.  Stop obeying the programming they give you.  Don't vote Republican/Democrat because your family does, or you always have.  And for the love of sanity DON'T VOTE ALONG PARTY LINES!  THINK FOR YOURSELF!  Look up the Libertarian party, or the Green Party, or the Constitution Party, or independents like Ralph Nader.  Or for the love of whatever you hold dear, if you don't like any of them, FIND SOMEONE YOU DO AND WRITE THEM IN!  Don't just vote for "the other guy."  It's not a binary problem.

THAT is what the Henry Rollins for President thing is all about.  He won't win, I know that.  I'm not stupid.  But I can't in good conscience vote for the candidates from the two giant Good 'Ole Boys clubs that have been running our government for over a hundred years.  It's time for change.  Real change.

Elections are supposed to be the time when We The People can have a say in how we are governed.  That's been taken away from us by two bloated political parties and the media, and we need to take it back.