Spam comes in all kinds and flavours… And it falls regularly into our email boxes promising various things. But one thing common to all spam is that they all seek to deceive us. And it is up to us to protect ourselves from such deceit, which is not all that difficult. While recognising the nuisance they are, I have often been amused by the ingenuity of many spammers.
By and large, the spam business is founded on the concept that human beings are evil by nature. And the spammers are counting on the fact that people will be tempted to act by their greed, even when there is cause for suspicion.
Outside of the phishing scams, job offers, pharmacy pitches, offers of loans and the straight forward ones that tell you to open the attachment, you can put most spam into certain categories.
The pious lady who has millions to distribute to the poor and is asking you – a perfect stranger – to take charge of their millions and use for charity as you see fit. Here it is abundantly clear that the person is counting on you to jump at the chance of getting your hands on someone else’s money. And the later request for some immediate cash from you towards setup expenses will surely follow. But even then, your greed for the unearned millions is expected to blind your judgement.
Then there is the bank officer who has boat loads of money under his control. Either one of his account holders died without leaving an heir or the heirs can’t be traced. And he has identified you as the one person who can pose as the heir and claim the money. Of course, to be divided between the two of you later. You are counted on to be tempted by the free millions, despite the danger of going to jail for impersonation!
And people with all kinds of schemes for getting money out of Iraq/ Syria/ wherever… all zeroing on you for assistance. And very often they will have links to real news reports lending an appearance of authenticity to the emails.
Very common are the ones that announce that your email has won a huge amount of money in a Coca Cola/ Toyota/ whatever lottery. All you need to do is complete the form so that the money can be transferred to your bank account. Of course, we all know what is going to happen to your account once the email is responded to.
If you had any doubts about the smartness of the spammers, just take a look at this…
Compensation for spam victims! 🙂
And don’t forget the damsel in distress, the young beautiful girl, whose parents passed away leaving her all their savings. Now, she is looking towards you to take care of her and her millions. Here the appeal is not only to your greed…
There are other damsels too, who write to you addressing you as dearest or darling, because they saw your email on a search and want to make you their special friend. And the first thing they promise is to send you their pictures as soon as you respond to them. 🙂
Not forgetting the ones that promise to expand your various body parts, with scant attention to whether you are male or female. And most days you are bound to get both varieties!
Look at this… this guy is releasing the first instalment of my inheritance funds to the tune of one million to me! Can anyone blame him if he asks for some small change – compared to the millions I’m going to get – just to make the arrangements, as he is sure to do? And the blank ‘To’ field indicates that this email was addressed to thousands of people at the same time!
Have you ever really lol-ed at a piece of spam? Read this and tell me… could you stop laughing?
I had to explain to my colleagues why I was laughing… And now anyone has just to mention pink crocs for laughter to break out!
13 Mar 2014
In old old times… in a small village, used to live a farmer and his wife, who had two grown up daughters. The daughters were married and settled in far away villages. One day the farmer decided to go on a trip to visit the daughters.
The elder daughter and her husband, who were farmers like him, received him with all honours. And had to say this about their well-being: ‘If it doesn’t rain within the week, we will be ruined; our harvest will be destroyed!’
With a heavy heart, the farmer set out for the younger daughter’s house. The younger daughter and her husband, who were potters, were equally glad to welcome him. And had this to say: ‘If it rains within the week, we will be ruined; our pots set out to dry will be destroyed!’
When the farmer returned home, he said to his waiting wife: ‘Regardless of the weather, one of our daughters will surely be ruined!’
Weather has always been a determining factor in human life. Early cave dwellers had an anxiety ridden relationship with weather, perceiving it as unexplainable and way more powerful than themselves. The fear-laced respect towards changing weather has led to a wish to predict the weather, if not to control it.
All civilizations have sayings and proverbs related to weather, aimed at predicting. Examples: ‘Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning’, ‘When the goose flies high fair weather. If the goose files low, foul weather’, ‘Seagull, seagull, sit on the sand, it’s never good weather when you’re on land’, etc.
Among the many means of predicting weather, observing the behaviour of animals has been an early one. And much to humanity’s credit we still follow the age old traditions! 🙂 As is evident from the celebrations associated with Groundhog Day!
Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2nd, every year, the main location being Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. 2014 marks the 128th Groundhog Day celebrations there. The custom has its origins in the folk belief that on this day the groundhog, a marmot that typically lives in burrows, peeps out of its abode to check the weather. If it sees its shadow – if the day is sunny – it goes back in and the winter will last another 6 weeks; if no shadow is visible, it will venture out and we can expect an early spring.
So what if Punxsutawney Phil emerged from Gobbler’s Knob, exactly at 7.28 am on February 2nd 2014, and predicted another six weeks of winter this year? Isn’t the ceremonial consultation of Phil an occasion for some old fashioned pomp and splendour? And doesn’t it bring visitors to an otherwise sleepy town and help out local businesses? And don’t forget a fairly good movie with Bill Murray playing a TV weatherman covering the Groundhog Day. The fact that dear Phil has been more wrong then right in the past in predicting the length of winter is beside the point! 🙂
And don’t think that groundhog related festivities are over with the predictions… far from it. There is the Groundhog Picnic, Groundhog Club Banquet, Groundhog Ball, a Celebration Tent filled with fun and entertainment events, Phil Phest featuring a yard game tournament… whatever your preference, there is something for everyone! And of course, you can buy memorabilia like t-shirts and beads and whatnots to take home. And the list of corporate sponsors for the events is pretty long. Take a look at all the details at the Groundhog Day Home here.
The belief that groundhogs (and other animals) are capable of predicting the weather was carried over from Europe by the Germans who settled in the south eastern and central Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries. The earliest reference to Groundhog Day in the US is in 1841.
As any person who has achieved great success, Phil also has had to content with imitators and competitors. Several other groundhog personalities have emerged in recent times – no pun intended – to get in the business. Buckeye Chuck in Marion, Ohio, Birmingham Bill in Birmingham, Alabama, General Beauregard Lee in Lilburn, Georgia, Sir Walter Wally in Raleigh and Queen Charlotte in Charlotte, both in North Carolina, are some of the Johnny-come-latelys in the weather prediction business. Isn’t it so true that success breeds imitation?
And of course, Washington DC has its own version of Groundhog Day, with Potomac Phil, a stuffed groundhog playing the main part. No, no… no comments on stuffed beings in DC, please! 😉
By the way, the name Punxsutawney comes from the Indian name for the location ‘ponksaduteney’ which means ‘the town of the sandflies’.
03 Feb 2014