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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Post # 73 - War On Spam: Zongo Part 1 of 4 --His News of My Deceased Relative - 1/2/2010

The way this spam scam works:

Some guy somewhere sends me a note saying I have to pretend I’m some dead person’s relative so some money can be sent to my bank account. So I fill out an application and send it to a pretend banker person at a different email address. Part of this application includes my bank account number. I’m assuming that the different email addresses are the same person, and that this person uses my info to drain my bank account.  Or there are a bunch of processing fees down a road that never leads to any reward.   For whatever reason, I’ve never gotten that far.

So what happens if I tell the guy that I sent the application, but didn’t? Also, what happens if I take every opportunity to make fun of his name? And lastly, what if I take full advantage of his inferior knowledge of the English language.

This is a four parter due to length.  It spans three weeks.  It’s like a long ping pong volley.
Date: Sun, 3 Jan 2010 16:31:55 +0100






1) Your Full Name.............................
2) YourAge.......................................
3) Marital Status.................................
4) Your Cell Phone Number…………..
5) Your Country………………..............
6) Your Occupation.............................
7)YOUR SEX....................................
8) Your Religion.................................


My response, dated 1/3/2010

Dear Mr. Zongo Badda-Ding-Ding-Dongo,

I was holping for an opportunity like this to come along. I see you’re a fan of the caps lock. I am very trusting of you. I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers.

I had a number of different relatives die in air crashes in July of 2000, so can you be more specific? Which one was it? Parent? Spouse? Sibling? Cousin? Son or daughter? Aunt or Uncle?

1) My Full Name is Jeromius Von CheddarBurger
2) My Age is 65.
3) I think I’m married--unless that relative was my spouse on that air crash.
4) I don’t have a cell phone. They cause cancer, and the government traces our whereabouts and conversations (even when they aren’t on)
5) My country is USA
6) My Occupation is: I run the Von CheddarBurger Bed and Breakfast
7) I’m a boy.
8) Why do you need my religion? If you must know, I’m part of a new hybrid religion: Buddhist-Presbyterian.

Let me know the next step.

Jeromius Von CheddarBurger
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2010 21:43:52 -0500

Hey. Zingo-Zongo-Zing-Zing-Zongo,

They say on a winning team, sometimes the leader has to call out the other members of the team who are phoning it in.

You're on my team. We're winners. But right now, I feel like there's only one set of footprints. I'm carrying your ass. Let's go.

On a good team, members have cool nicknames. You're covered. I need one. I was thinking "Hoss" or "Big Hugo". Let me know.

Also, we need to do whatever the next step is.


Subject: Waiting for your urgent reply
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2010 08:26:25 +0000

Mr Jermonius

I am not convince of your information’s provided and some of your words, are you really interested in this transaction at all?

Waiting for your urgent reply


Subject: RE: Waiting for your urgent reply
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2010 06:19:40 -0500

Mr. Zongo Zongo Pumpkin Pie, Who Kissed the Girls and Made Them Cry,

I am indeed very interested. What information's are you questioning?

Over here, I'm still waiting for some information's from you to show that you are interested.

Namely: 1) Which of my relatives perished in the plane crash? 2) Where's my cool nickname.

Let's do this thing. I'm excited! And afterwards, let's the two of us go on a trip. Somewhere crazy like Greece.


Subject: Go through details of this transaction carefully
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2010 19:44:05 +0000

Dear Jermonius

Go through details of this transaction carefully, though I am very happy for your kind reply, I assured of your capability and reliability to champion this business opportunity. I believe that God has a way of helping who is in need.

My name is MR ZONGO ALI I am bill and Exchange (assistant) Manager of the bank of Africa Ouagadougou Burkina Faso. Do not take this transaction to be a joke because it is my life.

So I want you to apply to our bank as the next of kin to our decease customer, so that this money would be transferred into your account in your country, after in which we shall visit your country for disbursement according to the percentages indicated.

Base on this, I will advise you to feel free, all is well. i studied this transaction very well before contacting you for assistance. Well, having served this bank for so many years now and nearing my retirement,

I deem it necessary to utilise this opportunity of the present unclaimed sum of money in the account sent in conjunction with the first proposal I sent to you to help my self and my family after my retirement, through the investment I will establish in your country with my percentage in the transaction.

There is no doubt about your eligibility as the legal next of kin to our deceased customer and owner of the account number NBOA 4934109, with the following reasons:

(a)Before the death of our deceased customer, his true next of kin was not indicated to the board of directors of the bank because of the top secrecy and confidentiality of the transactions which our late customer transacted with the various governments in West Africa.

(b)Owning to his failure to indicate his next of kin to the officials of the bank, it is therefore impossible for the board of directors of the bank to verify the next of kin as well as the true heartier of the fund.

(c)And for the above reasons, the managements of the bank authorised me officially as the executive manager, bill and exchange department of the bank to verify the next of kin to our deceased customer. Therefore, the bank will always abide by my official directions through the official authorisation best-tow on me.

And for this reasons you have nothing to fear as your interest and identity will be legally protected. All you have to do is this; you have to arrange a good receiving Bank account where you shall receive this money without any problem, I shall be giving you all the developmental information from the bank as soon as this transaction commences.

I know that you will not betray me when this money enters into your account in your country. I have all my hope in this transaction because I shall soon go on retirement. I am a simple banker whose credibility is still intact and with my maturity and understanding, I promise to give you the best co-operation.

We must hurry up with this transaction so that our bank and the government shall not claim and inherit this money because it has over-stayed.

I will be waiting for your immediate respond so that I will give you the text of application which you will use to apply to our bank as next of kin.

For easy communication here is my number +226 78 68 65 92

Best regards.

My response on 1/7/2010:
Dear Mr. Zongo Zongo For Whom I Write My Songo, For Whom I Bang My Bongo, So Won’t You Sing Alongo,

Your credibility is intact indeed! I trust you. I get it now—I’m pretending a relative died and I’m the next of kin. We’re pulling a fast one. This is fun!

I’m 100% on board. Let’s do this. Give me the application. In the meantime, I’m developing a backstory about my next of kin, in case we get questions.

Here’s what I have so far:

-She was my Maternal Grandmother Libby Von ShroomBerger
-She loved oatmeal cookies, but loathed oatmeal.

-She was working as a magician’s assistant for Houdini, on the day he got punched in the tummy.

-She never drove a car, yet was an accomplished NASCAR Driver

-Her beef vegetable soup tasted like chicken noodle soup, and vice versa (I think she had the recipes mis-labeled).

Let me know what we do next. You can trust me. I still need my nickname.


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Favor for a Friend - 1/27/2010

A very couragous friend of mine has an undiagonosed illness. In an effort to cope, and also document her treatment, she has started an anonymous blog. Others use her blog as a reference for specific procedures that she has undergone. A doctor submitted her blog, entitled "Queen of Optimism" has been selected as a finalist in a contest.  Polls are open until February 14th.

Please take the time, and if possible, please pass this along to your friends. There are some prizes, but the real prize here would be a moral victory.  Attached is the link.

It's a great blog--really well written.  My friend was telling me that other patients and families of patients use the blog as a reference, for the various procedures that she has undergone.  The address for the blog, if you're interested, is:

Thank you!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Post # 72 - McDonald's Adult Movie Happy Meal Toys - 1/17/2010

Dear McDonald’s,

When I was ten, I loved McDonald’s. I’d order the Happy Meal—burger, fries, and a collectible toy. The toy was innocent—this was before you turned the Happy Meal into one giant frigging movie ad.

At that time, there was this movie called “10”. Everybody was talking about it. I was curious—I wanted to see it. Two things stood in my way: 1) The movie was rated R. 2) I was seven years too young. I wouldn’t even think to ask my dad.

Now, I’m a father. I have kids who love McDonald’s. They enjoy the Happy Meal. Recently, you featured toys from the movie Avatar. I saw commercials for the movie. I read reviews. I ended up seeing Avatar. The movie was great, but pretty scary, complicated, and violent for a 6-year-old. I would say the PG-13 rating is pretty accurate.

So why then, would you put toys from a PG-13 movie in a Happy Meal that a six-year-old would consume? Can you appreciate the awkward position into which you placed me?
1) Boy orders Happy Meal.
2) Boy eats Happy Meal.
3) Boy opens toy.
4) Boy asks to see movie.
5) Dad has to be the bad guy and say No.”
"But Dad, it can’t be too bad—there are Avatar toys in the Happy Meals. There were Bee Movie Toys. There were Disney toys. You’re just being mean. You’re a mean dad. You never let me do anything".

Thank you for the wall you’ve started between my son and me.



Date: Mon, 18 Jan 2010 04:11:49 -0600
Subject: Message from McDonald's USA

Hello Jerry:

Thank you for contacting McDonald's to share your comments about our recent AVATAR Happy Meal toys. I'm sorry you were disappointed with the theme of this Happy Meal.

McDonald's is always looking for relevant and engaging properties that kids will enjoy through our Happy Meal experience. Twentieth Century Fox shares McDonald's commitment of bringing quality entertainment through a positive and fun experience that parents can share with their kids. This Happy Meal marks another exciting collaboration between McDonald's Happy Meals and Fox in 2009. Other 2009 Happy Meal properties included "Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" and "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" Happy Meals.

Before we developed our promotion, we conferred with moms. They told us that they are open to Happy Meals tied to PG-13 movies as long as the toys are fun, age-appropriate, interactive and can stand on their own as cool toys.

Please know that we would never intentionally upset our customers. Your comments are important and have been share with our Marketing Department who will consider your feedback when planning future Happy Meal offers.

Once again, thank you for letting us know how you feel. We hope you'll enjoy our future Happy Meal promotions.

McDonald's Customer Response Center
My response, sent 1/18/2010

I’m sure you shared my opinions with your Marketing folks, and I’m sure that when the next billion dollar Fox contract is passed across the table, your McChief Officers will discretely whisper back and forth “But what about Jerry’s note? Yes, but this is A LOT OF MONEY.” Deal signed.

There’s a poll on about the Avatar Happy Meal controversy. The results are pretty mixed, and some of the responses on the “yes it’s okay” side raise some other parenting questions. It sounds like you’ve been busy on this topic.

I've conferred with a lot of moms on this end who are upset. Maybe it's your mom-selection process. "Mom" is a very broad term. Britney Spears and Leona Helmsley are moms. From your note, it sounds like you screen each movie for the Mom population ahead of time. If so, that’s good in my humble opinion. What kinds of “Moms” did you choose?

Were they moms of 6 year-olds, or moms of 10 year-olds? To me, that’s a huge difference. I’m sure it’s a mix, but the opinions might vary greatly, and your selection process would greatly skew the results, one way or the other.

Were the moms the type that let their young kids run all over the neighborhood until well after dark, when an “Offender Lister” dwells five houses down the street?

Also, why not a few dads? It seems a little unbalanced. Sometimes the Dad has to lay down the law. In a household, it’s nice to have more than one perspective. It might also be nice in a survey.

Did you assess the children, the very product of the moms' years of efforts?

Have you polled kids? I asked my daughter what they think about McDonald’s featuring toys for movies that she can’t see. She said that it’s “unfair”. I asked my son, who has the toy and desperately wants see Avatar. He said “It’s really cool.” To me, that speaks to the marketing folks, both at McDonalds and Fox.

Here’s what I recommend for your selection process. Invite all of the perspective moms to a big cookout, with hot grills, alcohol, and lots of fireworks. Sit back and watch the parents and their kids. Which ones let their kids light the bottle rockets? Which ones let their kids drink the Mike’s Hard Lemonade? Which ones let their kids flip a burger and stick their hand on the grill in doing so? Send all of those home, and then start your poll.

You reference Night at the Museum 2 and Ice Age 3, both PG movies. While these are PG and therefore, open to the same questions, I took my kids to see these. There was no implied premarital sex, no scantily clad blue people, and no massive battle at the end of the movie.

Look, I’m not saying that bad parents take their kids to see PG-13 movies--one day, I may decide to let my under-aged kids watch Avatar. But I’d like it to be on our terms. My point is, things like taking underage kids to movies are judgment calls. What may work for one household, may not work for another. McDonald’s is a prod in this case, pushing the Fox agenda, which is “asses in theatre seats, even if they’re 6.” Maybe next time, throw in a clause that says the movie needs to be age-appropriate.



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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Post # 71 - Kudos to Parker Brothers for Glow-In-The-Dark-Ouija 11-18-2009

I've always been amused by the idea that the same company that makes Chutes and
Ladders, also makes Ouija. In my opinion, your chances of contacting your dearly departed granny in real life are the same as your chances of winding up in Molasses Swamp in real life.
Dear Parker Brothers,

I love your games. My favorite is Ouija. I have had one for years. I use it to practice witchcraft. I put on white makeup and black eye-liner. I don a witch hat and eat black corn chips. Once a week I summon the departed spirit of Dan Haggerty (TV’s Grizzly Adams). My pals and I get together and cast spells on one another—it’s a hoot. Last week, my spell sent Timmy running to the restroom. I had to run to JC Penney and get him some new trousers, all in the name of fun.

I write to you for three reasons:

1)Can you settle a bet for us? I say your game is hand-crafted by witches, using materials gathered from sacred burial grounds, beneath the Parker Brothers corporate umbrella. My friend Timmy says that your Ouija Boards are mass produced on an assembly line by bright, cheerful, happy folks, right next to Candy Land and High Ho Cherry-O. Which of us is right? The one who is wrong shall rot inside a corpsy shell.

2) As I wandered the Toys R’ Us family board game isle, I saw a new product—your even better Glow-In-the-dark Ouija board. How fun and user-friendly! Does this enhance it’s powers of witchcraft? Will this facilitate the summoning of departed spirits from beyond? Because you should put that on the box. Something like:
“Now: Even more witchier!”
“Requires even less black candles!”
“Now, even easier to cast a spell on your most hated enemies!”

These are just some ideas—you get the idea: sell the sizzle!’

3) I am thinking that for Ouija 3.0, we need a more witchy font. Lots of people will tell you “Helvetica gives it a more homemade, timeless feel”. I say “Let’s go with 18 point Impact font. It screams “Yo! I’m a Witch!”.

These are just suggestions. Actually, one of these is settling a bet. Can you please get back to me promptly? I would like to provide an update to D-Hag (that’s what I call him because I know him well—you hadn’t better as it may offend him) later this week when we talk.


No Reply


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Post # 70 - War on Spam - World Bank - 6/2/2009

Subject: CHECK OF $800.000.00(APPROVED)
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2009 20:16:41 -0600


Congratulations to you as we bring your notice the results of the world Bank promo and your email Address was selected through a computer ballot system drawn We are happy to inform you that your email won $800.000.00 United States Dollars. I have been waiting for you since to contact me for your Confirmable Bank Draft of $800.000.00 United States Dollars, but I did not hear from you since that time. Then I went and deposited the Draft with FEDEX EXPRESS DELIVERY,West Africa, I travelled out of the country for a 3 Months Course and I will not come back till end of August 2009.

What you have to do now is to contact the FEDEX EXPRESS DELIVERY as soon as possible to know when they will deliver your package to you because of the expiring date. For your information,I have paid for the delivering Charges,Insurance premium and Clearance Certificate Fee of the Cheque showing that it is not a Drug Money or meant to sponsor Terrorist attack in your Country. Again, I would have paid for the security keeping fee but they said no because they don't know when you will contact them and in case of demurrage.You have to contact the FEDEX EXPRESS INTERNATIONAL with the following informations:

First name:
Last Name:

Dispatch Director: Mr. Humphrey Hill
Email Address:
Tel: +234-8051471138

You are advice to contact them as soon as you receive this mail to avoid any further delay and remember to pay them their Security Keeping fee of $250 US Dollars for their immediate action.You should also let me know through email as soon as you receive your Draft.

Yours Faithfully,
Mr Linda Kershaw

My response, sent 6/2/2009:

Dear Mr. Linda Kershaw,

I speak in not correct English too so I understand email you sent me. I also understand your missing punctuation.

I am truly sorry for keeping you waiting. I received this message no more than 10 minutes ago. You seem impatient. Is everything okay?

I am very interested in my $800.000.00 check. I never sent you an email to actually win this, but whatever. I am already independently wealthy, as the owner of a cheese extruding processor patent. This patent has made my wildest dreams come true. But, as we say in US, when it rains, it really rains.

Enough about me though.

I want to expedite this process. I need this money tomorrow since my Slipper Factory's grand opening is taking place, and I would like to adorn the entire perimeter of the event with lavish ice sculptures and interpretive dancers.

Please be advised, that to secure this payment and to guarantee it's prompt arrival, I have sent, to Humphery Hill's attention, a check for $5,000. I am counting on you to ensure that Humphery is available tomorrow to handle the details.

Best of luck with your coursework--we're never to old to learn. There is only one more matter that we need to address. Who names their son Linda? It's an odd choice. Do you have an adam's apple? Just wondering.


Richard Dragon

P.S.- Below is the info that I sent:

First Name: Richard
Middle Name: R.
Last Name: Dragon
Phone: 867-5309 (Jenny answers my phones)
Nationality: Svedish
Age: 18
Occupation: Slipper Factory Owner, Cheese Extruder, Dentist to the Clowns

P.P.S.-Sorry to hear that your lady friend left you because of your teenie tiny winkie.
Date: Wed, 3 Jun 2009 03:06:22 -0700


Mr.Humphrey Hill
Dispatch Director.
Tel:+ 234-80514-71138

Attn: Richard Dragon,

I had a phone conversation with Mrs Linda Kershaw and she asked us to contact you with via this email which she gave to us. I have been awaiting for you to contact me for the delivery of your check of $800,000.00. I will advise you cross the number again as it is below this mail.

There is this Mrs Linda Kershw .who came to our company last week to place your check on out going delivery, she already paid for the insurance fee and the delivery charges. But she did not pay for the security keeping fee due to the fact that we did not know when you will be contacting us via mail to inform us that we have your check, so we advised her not to pay for the security keeping fee of the courier company so far but we informed her to contact you on time so you will not have to pay more than $250 USD on demurrage and we do not operate COD on a charge like this.

All you need to do right now to get your check delivered to your door step is to go ahead and pay the security keeping fee of the courier company so far.The fee is $250.00 USD only, you are to come up with this fee as to process the delivery of your package.

Payment should be made via western union money transfer or money gram only for security purpose, payment details are listed below.

First Name: KELLY
second name: OBAS
ADDRESS RECEIVER / Country: 10 Street Apap OJO, Lagos, Nigeria.
RECEIVER Country: Nigeria.
Test question: BEST Colour
Answer: blue
The amount sent:

The following details should send after payment to this email address.

Sender's Name:
Sender's Country:
Sender's Address:
MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number):
Text Question:
Text Answer:
Amount Sent:

Note that you are also required to send to us your full/correct Residential Address,Country,Names,Phone number,Age,Occupation.Please be warned.You will be needed to sign on the parcel that will be delivered to you with a legal means of identification.i.e a drivers licence or a national identity card.You are to take note to avoid any form of embarrassement from our dispatch officer who will be coming to your country.

Get back to me with your payment details, I will have to send Mrs Linda Kershaw a mail that you have contacted me regarding the check she left for you. Note that your tracking number would be provided to you as soon as the payment has been made and confirmed by us.

Have a wonderful time. Please call me anytime you need any assistance.

Mr. Humphrey Hill
Dispatch Director.
Tel: +2348051471138
My response, sent 6/3/2009

Dear Mr. Humphery,

Thank you for more information regarding our business transactions. You used a different font for my name (Verdana 10 point) versus the rest of the note, which was sent in Comic Sans 12 point. I’m getting a bad vibe—like you’re belittling me. Why is my name smaller in the note than yours? Why the odd mid-sentence punctuations—they serve as speed bumps—whenever I get going. I see these as power plays on your part. Well played, my grammatically deficient Nigerian friend.

We’re in a bit of a pickle here. I had Pendleton (our butler) draft a check, which I signed, and he fed-exed to your attention. I forgot—because I’m only 18 (some call me barely legal), I need my father to co-sign that check.

Luckily, he has a meeting with the board of directors of a company with whom he is pitching our automated melon baller (The Ball-o-Matic 3000). The meeting is right down the street from you. The plan is for Daddy to land at 10AM local time and meet with the board at 11:00. This allows a 10 minute window for Daddy to sign the check.

Please be ready tomorrow between 10:40 and 10:50 AM tomorrow. The check is scheduled to arrive to you at 10:35. As you can see, Hubert, things need to happen exactly on time. There is no wiggle room! Again, the check is written in the amount of $5000. This $800.000.00 check is very important—the Circ de Soleil folks are doing our intro, and charging $500.000.00 to light themselves on fire and prance around for 10 minutes. We both went into the wrong business—am I right Hubert?

I see that Mr. Linda became a Mrs. I hope that went well for her—hoping the tiny winkie wasn’t a factor in all of this. When you send her a mail, please give her my regards.

Lastly, I would like to extend an olive branch of hope—an invitation to both you and Mrs. Linda, to come to our lavish slippery factory opening, this Sunday at 1:00 PM. It is formal, so wear one of your tuxes. With Mrs. Linda’s recent surgeries, I am hoping she has begun the process of dress shopping because she’ll need one. Preferably black.


Richard Dragon

P.S.--By the way, who the hell is Kelly, and why are you telling me her best color is blue? Olive tends to set of my eyes, but really—this is business. How is this pertinent? Please be professional hereafter during our business transactions!

P.P.S.—Please tell me again how I won the big raffle when I never sent an email to win? I guess it doesn’t matter does it

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Post # 69 - Better Made Checks and Balances 11-10-2009

A friend of mine complained that she purchased some Bettermade Triple Mix Popcorn.  For those of you who don't know, this is the Cheese/Butter/Caramel Blend (also known as Chicago Style).  Pull the cardboard divider out of one of those big popcorn tins and shake it up.  Anyway, the key to Triple Mix is the blend of salty and sweet.  Without ample caramel corn, you have a dud on your hands.

Thanks for the tip Kim!
Dear Better Made,

I absolutely love all of your snacks. Pretzels, chips--Sweet Barbecue, Sour Cream ‘n’ Onion, Cathy’s Creamy Barbecue—all are top shelf. Your various popcorns make me so happy—Ranch, Cinnamon, Caramel, and Cheese! When out-of-towners ask me for a “taste of Michigan,” I point them right at the Better Made isle.

With every great job comes great challenges. As a 12th Grade United States Government teacher at the local high school, I am required to teach “often-dry” material. The difficult part is trying to “reach” Jake, the high school quarterback, whose mind has drifted to tonight’s kegger at Tommy’s since Tommy’s dad is in Barbados with his secretary. I’m also trying to reach Lisa, who is panicked because she locked her keys in the car, “oh and um like there’s a case of beer in the trunk that we bought at lunchtime”. Sometimes, I use everyday examples—simple things.

That particular day, the topic was checks and balances. The Better Made Triple Mix popcorn in my lunch became a makeshift example. In my Better Made example, Butter Corn vetoed a law passed by Cheese Corn. Cheese Corn overrode Butter Corn's veto with a vote of two-thirds of both poppers. Another example, Caramel Corn checked Cheese Corn by declaring a kernel unconstitutional. This power was is balanced by the fact that members of the Supreme Caramel Corn are appointed by the Butter Popcorn, and those appointments have to be approved by Cheese Corn.

My example fell flat on its face when I could hardly find any caramel corn in my Better Made Triple Mix Blend. With inadequate Caramel Corn representation, the bag was unable to uphold the constitution, and we had anarchy. Anarchy, both in the popcorn bag, and also in my classroom where Molly McPimpleton questioned my qualifications to teach her. Paper wads were flying east to west, erasers north to south. A Pelosi Paper airplane, a Mitt Romney paper football.

Your popcorn undermined me! What would cause such an imbalance of power, and for that matter, flavor? You and I know that everybody likes the caramel corn best. It was just a little disappointing. The package read "A26DEC2009C".


Follow-up on 11/18/2009

Dear Better Made,

Just following up. It has been over a week and I have not heard from anyone.

My triple blend was really light on the caramel. I was just wondering what was up.


No response, other than automatic notification that they received my email.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Post # 68 - Dove Chocolate Inspirational Messages - 1/3/2010

Dear Dove,

Your chocolates have warm and fuzzy little notes in the wrappers. I sometimes find myself feeling as though I’m on the receiving end of some cosmic life-changing message. Then, I realize it’s just a frigging piece of candy, and you have no idea whether I’m Sara Jessica Parker or Al Roker. Then, I started thinking.

I’m sure a lot of people take your messages seriously. Why not make the world a better place? Why not give people the nudge that they need to move forward in life? Messages like:
-Quit being such a pompous jerk.

-That 1980’s-style Magnum PI mustache really isn’t working for you.

-If you think she’s that into you, tell her you’re broke.

-You might think about going back to school—taxidermy isn’t a real science.

-You have a lot of great qualities. Accountability just isn’t one of them.

-You may play keyboards for Bon Jovi, but you look like a poodle.

-Leave her.

-You named your last child after a flavor of Two-Buck-Chuck. It’s time for that vasectomy.

-Sitting in my dad’s La-Z-Boy, reading a Harlequin Romance, eating all of our cookies, does not constitute babysitting.
The other idea I had: around St. Patti’s Day, maybe throw in a naughty limerick or two. For heaven’s sake, keep us guessing!


Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2010 17:25:17 -0500

Dear Jerry,

In response to your email regarding DOVE CHOCOLATE.

Thank you for your email.

It was thoughtful of you to offer your creative ideas. Unfortunately, it is our policy not to accept unsolicited ideas. At Mars Chocolate NA, we rely on our extensive Research and Development staff to design, develop and refine product concepts. Sometimes research and development can take years before a finished product can be marketed. To avoid confusion of ownership, we must refuse the thousands of suggestions we receive every year, many the same as yours. Although we appreciate your interest, we hope you will understand our business position.

Have a great day!

Your Friends at Mars Chocolate NA

My response on 1/6/2010:

Dear Mars Chocolate Folk,

Yes, I understand your business position. You don’t want any confusion if some braniac golden boy over there decides to incorporate a Bon Jovi-specific message on a chocolate wrapper.

Maybe you’ve been thinking all along about incorporating Bon Jovi’s music or likeness to your Chocolates. Nice.

Keep up the good work. Keep proofing the messages though—I thought I found a typo on one. Do you people use a spell checker?



Saturday, January 9, 2010

Post # 67 - War on Spam: Jorge and the Corpse - 9/12/2009

Subject: I need you to get back to me {{Urgent}!
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 2009 03:58:54 -0700

Dear Friend,

I am the confidant of the Ex-President of the Ecuador (President Lucio Gutierrez) who was recently removed from power and presently granted Political asylum in Brazil with strict instruction not to leave Brazil. You can see links below:

He has secretly informed me to seek for a genuine and kind hearted person who will be able to claim and invest the sum of $43.5Million United States Dollars which he had secretly deposited with a private financial organization before the incident that resulted in his fleeing for asylum. The new Government is trying all efforts to seize all funds that belong to the former President Lucio Gutierrez. Your assistance in now needed to lay claim to this funds since it was deposited in the name of a "Foreign Partner” Fictitious. I personally will not be able to handle such transaction now since I am still a serving Officer in the country's army but as a confidant of the former President Lucio Gutierrez, I am ready to help him seek for help.

I request that you provide me with your full names, contact address, Occupation, telephone and fax numbers and once this information is received I will provide you with the necessary and relevant documents that will put you in place as the original owner of the money. Mr. Lucio has already instructed that 85% of this money will be for him while the remaining 15% will be for you and I can assure that the transaction is risk free.

Upon your response, I will introduce you to an attorney who will provide you with guidelines and assistance too. For now I will suggest that all correspondence should be via Email for purely security reasons and no doubt this proposal will make you apprehensive.

Please, I employ you to observe utmost confidentiality and be rest assured that this transaction would be most profitable for both of us because we shall require your assistance to invest our share in your country.

Your timely response will be awaited
Mr. Jorge Arroyo
My response, 9/12/09

Hey Jorge,

I think I may know your mom. We dated in high school. She was popular. That was a LONG time ago. If you would, please pass along my good wishes.

I see you need my help. I need your help as well.

My name is Juan Don Julio Sanchez. I am on the lam. I killed a cowboy just for snoring too loud. Before you judge me, he was snoring REALLY REALLY loud. And someone put too much codeine in my cough syrup.

I mauled him with a frozen ham. Then, when the police came to "ask me a few questions" we had a nice ham dinner. Now I just need getting rid of the body. Can I mail you some "parts", one at a time? I want to start with the left thumb, then right index toe (I call it the pointer), and then the spleen. We'll just keep this up until you have all of Pablo. Keep only the parts you want, cancel at any time.

You seeked for the right person. I am both a) genuine and b) kind-hearted. Here is my info:

1) Full Names: Juan Don Julio Sanchez
2) 43 Wretched Disaster Lane, Malevolence, CO 56665
3) Occupation: Cowboy/Outlaw
4) Telephone: My phone was smashed by the frozen ham when I was mauling Pablo.
5) Fax Number: People in Los Estados Unidos don't really use faxes anymore. Or VCR's.

Please respond. I need the cash to live a life on the run from the lawman.


Juan Don Julio Sanchez


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Post # 66 - Barbie and Ken's Camper of Fornication 1-1-2010

A friend tipped me off about this little situation on New Year's Eve.  Thanks Dave!
Dear Mattel,

Little Tina was asked to bring her favorite toy to the Saints Peter, Bartholomew, and John Parish Youth Group Overnight in the All-Purpose Room. Of course, she chose her favorite Christmas present—the Barbie Glamour Camper. She spends hours playing with Barbie and Ken as they have magical camping adventures with the My Little Pony gang. They chase magical unicorns and have pedicures.
Not an hour after we dropped Tina off, Minister Dan made me come pick her, along with her sinful toy. He showed me the exact issue: One camper, one sleeping bag, two opposite-sex adults with no wedding rings. He said “there’s no place at Saints PB & J for the Barbie Fornication Camper. He told us to stay “home and pray” for the next three Sundays, while they “review” our case. Yes—thanks to you, we now have a case.

What the hell were you thinking? Why not throw in a second sleeping bag, or a couple of wedding rings? Or even a photo of the wedding, with Bridal Barbie, Ken the Groom, Maid of Honor Skipper, and Best Man G.I. Joe? Would that have not allowed you to hit your price point? Would such a family-oriented step have dropped your profit by a quarter point?

In a way, I guess I owe you a big thank you. Thanks for forcing us to have a discussion with a six-year-old, that we were planning for her in 2015.

I’m disgusted and humiliated. I’m not appreciating the whispers as I walk through the grocery store. I’m not liking the “bad parent” label that I’ve been hastily given.

Can you explain this oversight or complete disregard for family values? What’s next? Barbie’s Brothel?


Subject: In Reference to Case Number: 17764508
Date: Sat, 2 Jan 2010 13:27:05 -0500

Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate the time you have taken to share your thoughts with us.

A great deal of time has gone into the design and manufacture of this item and your disappointment with it concerns us. Consumer feedback is very important to us. We have forwarded your comments to the appropriate personnel here at Mattel for their interest.

We will work hard to merit your future support of our products.


Mattel Consumer Relations
My response, sent 1/2/2010

Dear Mattel,

Thank you for the form letter. You managed to use all of the customer support catch phrases:

     1) Consumer feedback is very important to us.

     2) We appreciate the time you took to contact us.

     3) Your disappointment concerns us.

     4) We have forwarded your comments to the appropriate personnel.

If you ask me, Mattel has a machine with two buttons: Positive Feedback, and Negative Feedback. It spits one of two form letters out.  Had I submitted a positive note, the letter would have read:

Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate the time you have taken to share your thoughts with us.
A great deal of time has gone into the design and manufacture of this item and are glad that you like it.   Consumer feedback is very important to us. We have forwarded your comments to the appropriate personnel here at Mattel for their interest.

We will continue to work hard to merit your future support of our products.


Mattel Consumer Relations
That way, nobody really has to do anything, and nothing ever really gets fixed. It seems to me, the Fisher Price Barbie American Girl Giant is too big and now out of touch with its customers.

What do you think?


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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Post # 65 - My Northwest Airlines Experience - 3/3/2009

Dear Northwest Airlines,

I work in the button industry. My company supplies the numbers and letters--the buttons atop your calculator, cash register, and keyboard--things that you use every day. Coincidentally, we have a separate branch that produces actual buttons that you wear on clothes. I transferred out of that division long ago because I saw no future in clothing buttons--I thought they would eventually fade from our existence.

I'm sure most of your customer feedback is negative in tone and content. In these times, an “atta-boy” is rare. The button industry can be stressful, and my downtime is important to me. Back in late November and early December, my family and I shared a great Disney vacation. Just as the leadoff hitter and closer (think Rickey Henderson and Rollie Fingers) are keys to any great baseball team, your flights to and from Orlando were vital to our trip. I just wanted to take the time to thank you, and highlight the positive.

Let's start with the electronic check-in process. The timesaving process of sliding a credit card to pull up all of our info, made everyone behind us that much more chipper, I'm sure. The young lady at the luggage check-in (Jessica? Tanya? Whichever one has the daughter who started pre-med at Dartmouth last fall) was a cheerful "face" for your organization. She wished us a great trip, and told a silly story about a time when she took her children to Disney. She also showed great patience at our out-loud musing that "rather than shift cargo from Bag A to Bag B to make both bags less than 50 pounds, maybe the rule should be "total weight of all of our bags divided by total number of people should just work out to 50 pounds per person." Regardless, it was fun guessing which items would shift the weight from Bag A to below 50 pounds.

Next, I enjoyed boarding the plane. Northwest used to enforce the "people in the back board first" policy. That seemed silly because honestly, who really knows where their seats are? Besides, the barcode could never be employed to determine which wise guys were premature in their boarding. So now it's sort of "controlled chaos." It's almost a game of "how do I position myself to get on the plane first?" My wife and I played a cute game called "Which of Us Can Manipulate the Line More Effectively and Board First." She won. As you know, kindness can be interpreted as weakness when boarding. I was stuck behind a priest and a rabbi. I felt like I was part of a joke "A Priest and a Rabbi are boarding a plane..."

On the plane, I noticed that there was plenty of leg room for my children, ages 7 and 5. Not as much for me, but it served as a poignant reminder--I should be thankful for my La-Z-Boy chair at home--I take things for granted. The retractable drink tray served nicely as a temporary desk, where my kids could draw pictures and color whimsical characters in their coloring books. I noticed that there was no movie, which I appreciated--my golly, we don't ALWAYS need to be entertained! The up and down window shades helped me to enforce the fact that "naptime is not fun time".

When it came time for a beverage, I was unsure. Normally, I go with the Cranberry Cocktail, but I was in the mood for something salty. The attendant (Randall? Phillip? Whoever it was--he missed a 300 by one lousy pin!) recommended Bloody Mary mix. Doggone it--he was right! By charging a little extra for booze, you prevented Pierce McLowerlip in front of me from getting belligerent and his best gal, Raspy McNicotine from working up the courage to leave him. By the way, I appreciated the beverage cart gently nudging my napping elbow when it dangled too far into the isle way. A lot of people might say "you should pad that thing--that really hurt." Not me--I was at fault. And doggone it--my out-of-place elbow could have tripped an elderly woman or wise-cracking "LOL-ing" teenager. It served me right.

People always used to complain about airplane food. Eliminate meals--problem solved. Eliminate the little bags of pretzels--problem REALLY solved (they made me more thirsty anyway). Some people say "serve a $5 sandwich and charge a $6 per ticket to avoid "smelly" outside passenger foods--seafood, Thai food, garlic pasta, asparagus, etc. that, in tight, confined spaces, can lower morale. I say "Hooray Diversity." Bring it on! Also, the trail mix, priced at just $5 a pack, was a delicious snack that we could all enjoy on a shoestring budget. It taught the little ones a lesson--there is no such thing as a free meal. Between the two of them, they managed to scrounge up enough cash though. Plus, this way, we arrived in Orlando a little hungry--ready to enjoy some local cuisine. Good thinking, Northwest!

The restroom was great. My five-year-old son had some bad shrimp cocktail at a birthday party, and we needed to make a quick visit. The red "Occupied" latch made it clear to all, exactly what the status of the restroom was. The rest of the cabin was immediately notified of the green "vacant" status when we unlatched the door. Although there should be a "give it a few minutes" status option (maybe yellow = proceed with caution). Either way--very clever and efficient.

I noticed the buttons on your armrest, for reclining, changing in-flight music channels, etc. are very, very nice, both in ergonomics and tactile feel. Our focus group studies show that the round concave shape actually makes people feel empowered, and better about themselves. And this is coming from someone in the button business. But I'm sure you knew all of that when you had those installed. Conversely, convex buttons provide people with feelings of sensuality. We had to shut down a study with convex buttons and monkeys because they were getting too frisky. No need for that on a plane! Additionally, the strategic placement of this button, on the inside of the armrest, placed it right by my leg. This resulted in a very gradual descent into reclined position for a napping me, and the person behind me. Randall (or Phillip) had to tell me to place my seat upright when it was time to land.

Some folks like the smooth landing. To me, a little runway "bump" serves as a nice beckoning. I was napping when we were approaching, and the pilot, in his own way said "hello people, we're here!"

I have memories from when I was a kid, of a nice flight attendant giving me my "wings" on the way out. What a way of telling the world "this was my first flight." I noticed that you don't provide the wings anymore. And I thank you--I poked my young finger when I tried pinning my wings onto my bright yellow turtleneck. And don't think for a minute that my kids wouldn't have done the same thing.

All in all, I had a great time on your flights, and I wanted to thank you for the beginning and ending to a great trip. I hope to fly again soon.



Re: CR-Compliments (KMM20392625V26798L0KM)
Sent: Thu 3/05/09 8:49 PM

Dear Jerry,

RE: Case Number 7144297

Thank you for contacting Northwest Airlines. We appreciate you taking the time to share your detailed comments with us regarding the service and amenities provided to you and your family on your trip to Orlando.

We appreciate your kind comments regarding the service received from ourticket counter agent when checking in for your flight. While I apologize for any difficulty you and your family had with our company's over weight luggage policy, it pleases me to hear that our agent was friendly and polite while assisting you with this issue.

Additionally, we appreciate your comments about the change in our boarding policy. We regret any inconvenience you and your family experienced as a result. Rest assured that I will be sharing your concerns with the proper management staff for review.

I am also sorry for the discomfort you experienced due to limited space during the flight. We realize that sufficient leg room is an important consideration when customers choose an air carrier. Northwest is continually reviewing passenger comfort and making adjustments from timeto time based on customer feedback and economic justification. Please know, your comments will be shared with the leadership team responsible for Engineering Standards as we continue to make adjustments to our interior configurations.

We are pleased to know that our flight attendant on board this flight was courteous and helpful when serving you. I do apologize for the incident with the beverage cart and for any discomfort you experienced as a result. Thank you for sharing your remarks.

Furthermore, I am deeply sorry there was no meal service or movie scheduled on Flight NW0426. Passenger comments like yours are critical in evaluating our food service and our future course of action is based on feedback like you have provided. We also regret your disappointment with the discontinuance of complimentary tidbits on our flights. We are attempting to rationalize our product offering within the context of thecurrent fare environment. This is not an easy decision for us to make.

Finally, I would like to apologize that your children did not receive their wings upon completion of their first flight. While I am unable to offer you and explanation to why they were not offered, please except mysincere apology in this matter. I also have taken the liberty of sending a pair of wings for each of the travelers listed on your travel record. Be assured, for safety reasons we no longer use pins with our wings.

I hope I have been able to address any concerns you have about our service. I want to thank you, again, for sharing your comments with us.

We appreciate your interest in Northwest.

Customer Care
Northwest/KLM/Delta Air Lines