Debunking Email Forwards

I have a hobby that few people know about.

I like to disprove, contradict and generally spoil the fun of email forwards. For instance, here’s an actual forward I received yesterday:
Interesting fact……
At three minutes and four seconds after 2 AM on the 6th of May this year, the time and date will be 02:03:04 05/06/07.
This will never happen again!
After reading this, I hit “reply all” and typed up this response:

What about 2107? Or 2207? They would read 02:03:04 05/06/07 as well.
This “phenomenon” occurs every 100 years. Please don’t forward me this same email next century.

Satisfied, I then hit the “send” button.

I can never resist pointing out inaccuracies in a forward. And I always include everyone in the distribution list in my response, even though half of them are total strangers. I’m willing to live with their first Internet impression of me as being a smarmy know-it-all.

I admit, sometimes I struggle internally with whether to reply or not. There is something inherently wrong about doing a reply-all to a forward. Since a forward is the Internet’s version of junk mail, hitting reply essentially created another round of junk mail into everyone’s inbox. It’s sort of like two wrongs don’t make a right.

So why do I do it? Boredom at work, for one. But more importantly, my goal is to introduce some accountability in sending out a forward. When you send something out to everyone in your contact folder, you are essentially deeming this item to be so funny or so interesting that everyone you know absolutely must read it. People shouldn’t be so eager to blindly forward things along. Their reputation should be at stake.

And that’s where I come in. I provide virtual public humiliation. If I receive something forwarded to me full of incorrect or illogical statements I will respond in a condescending and sarcastic manner to the entire distribution list. Sending a forward now puts you at risk of being openly discredited in front of everyone you hold dear. It is the ultimate Internet de-pantsing. Just as some people are afraid of speaking in front of a group, I am hoping to introduce a little anxiety into emailing a large group.

Maybe, over time, we might see an end to these types of forwards altogether. You’ll know who to thank.

Finally, just for fun, here’s another forward I received a while back. See if you can debunk it.
UNBELIEVABLE MATH PROBLEM! Who came up with this and why is that person not running the country!
1. Grab a calculator. (you won’t be able to do this one in your head)
2. Key in the first three digits of your phone number (NOT the area code)
3. Multiply by 80
4. Add 1
5. Multiply by 250
6. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number
7. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number again.
8. Subtract 250
9. Divide number by 2
Do you recognize the answer?

I’m not going to post my response to this, but I assure you it was long-winded and smarmy as hell. This is not an unbelievable math problem, but yes, perhaps I should be running the country.

Internal Monologue While Cooking For One

I hate cooking for one.

Although, I don’t know if Bobby Flay would call this cooking.

I doubt a pizza boat and intermittent swigs of juice out of the carton qualifies.

It feels more like grazing or gathering, something lower on the civilization scale.

Why is it so hard to find the right portion sizes?

There should be a section for singles food next to the baby food.

It would basically be the same as the baby food just less ground up.

I should have a cooking show called Dining Alone with Pat Malone where I go by the name of Pat Malone and I just make all types of pizza boats.

Instead of wine, I would pair them with different cocktails you can only make with the gimmicky colas and “fruit” drinks that you find at the corner store. Example menu: Pat Malone’s Pepperoni Pizza Boat with ice cold Rummy D’s*.

My sign off would be classic. “That’s it and thanks for watching Dining Alone with Pat Malone. Until next time, remember don’t get too down on yourself. Things are looking up, I swear.”

Then it would fade to a black screen with next week’s menu on it. Pat Malone’s Plain Cheese Pizza Boat with Cream Soda Champagne.

*If you aren’t familiar, the recipe for a Rummy D is as follows:

Rummy D
One bottle of Captain Morgan’s rum.
One bottle of Sunny Delight original flavor or “California Style”

  1. Pour out 3/4 of the bottle of Sunny Delight.
  2. Yell out to everyone around that as the doctor at the Rummy D hospital you are proud to welcome the birth of a new litter of Rummy D’s into the world. This gets everyone excited.
  3. Now pour the whole bottle of rum into the Sunny D bottle. Remember, Sunny D already comes in gel form, so the rum, in fact, just helps with the consistency and dilutes the flavor of the D a little.
  4. Watch out! After you finish one glass, you will inevitably do something so stupid that a friend will end up pouring the whole concoction down the drain.

The Office Variety Pack Donut Draft

Whenever someone brings in a prepackaged variety pack of donuts into the office it is always interesting to watch the selection of donuts unfold one by one. Since this time of year coincides with the drafts of all three major sports, I thought it fitting to provide coverage of the “draft” that takes place everyday in offices across the country. On that note, I’m pleased to present the first overall pick in the 2007 Office Variety Pack Donut Draft…

(Thanks to Mr. Shizzworth for the graphic.)

1st Overall Pick: The maple bar.
No surprises here. This is probably the safest pick in the draft.

2nd Overall Pick: The other maple bar.
Now the draft will get interesting, as there are no more maple-style donuts left on the board.

3rd Overall Pick: The Bavarian chocolate donut with creme filling.
Easily the most unhealthy selection available, which is really saying something. Believe it or not, I’ve actually seen a Bavarian crème donut with sprinkles on top as well. Personally, I think only a hummingbird could safely ingest that much concentrated sugar.

4th Overall Pick: Mystery-filled glazed donut.
Wow, this is a very risky selection this high in the draft, considering that there are many attractive options still available. However, if the mystery filling turns out to be raspberry, this will be regarded as a good selection. In the event that the filling is lemon, this pick will be viewed as a colossal mistake.

5th Overall Pick: The seasonally themed sprinkled donut.
In this instance, since we are close to Easter, the sprinkles are pastel colored. If this draft were to take place around Christmas, the sprinkles would have been green and red. At Halloween, black and orange. Just like the changing colors of leaves on trees, apparently people like to be able to identify the season by the sprinkles on their donut.

6th Overall Pick: The old-fashioned cake donut.
For some reason, it can’t just be called a cake donut. The “old-fashioned” is part of the name. It’s not like there are “new fangled” versions of cake donuts available.

Also, we just got an update on the 4th overall pick: The filling was indeed raspberry, and was described as delicious.

7th Overall Pick: The apple fritter.
The fritter is the true wild card in the draft. Some people love them, while others can’t stand them. Let’s dissect the pros and cons of the fritter…

Pros: For starters, the fritter is always the biggest donut in the box. For some reason, a fritter cannot be made smaller than a mouse pad. It’s just not possible. Because of that, the fritter is the one donut that could be classified as a standalone meal. Also, when making your pick, you have the ability to say something like “Well, I’m not going to fritter away this selection, I’m going with the fritter.” Depending on how dry your office is, you might actually get a laugh or two.

Cons: Appearance is the biggest downside. The fritter looks like a misshapen pile of donut batter, compiled from the leftovers of all the other donuts in the batch. In addition, they always make sure it is really dark brown and lumpy. In other words, it looks the same going in as it does going out. Not a good quality for a food to have. Also, while a fresh fritter can be delicious, once it has sat out for a while the texture of the fritter basically hardens from a soft pastry to that of petrified wood. As a general rule, you should always avoid a day-old fritter, as you will likely end up breaking your jaw trying to eat it.

8th Overall Pick: Plain glazed donut.
Not a bad pick. But, like the apple fritter, a weird chemical reaction seems to happen to the plain glazed donut after about 24 hours. The glaze starts to bead up, then liquify, almost as if the donut were perspiring. All of this occurs while the rest of the donut inexplicably dries up. At this point, it is completely inedible. I would seriously hate to see what would happen to this donut under a full moon.

9th Overall Pick: Half of a powdered sugar donut.
This seems to happen in every office donut draft: Someone actually took a plastic knife and cut the donut in half, and left the remainder in the box. It will be interesting to see how far the remaining half of the donut will slide in the draft.

10th Overall Pick: Chocolate donut with crushed peanuts.
I’m a little surprised that this donut didn’t go higher in the draft. Since this variety pack lacked a maple bar covered in almond slices, this is probably the healthiest donut on the board, at least in terms of protein content.

11th Overall Pick: The glazed donut with coconut shavings.
This is a good value pick right here. True, nobody wants coconut on their donut. However, if you are willing to scrape off the coconut shavings, you are left with a quality donut that has mid-first round value at a late first round pick. As an added bonus, you can put the coconut shavings in an envelope and leave it on a coworker’s desk. And voila, you’ve got an instant fake anthrax attack.

12th Overall Pick: The other half of the powdered sugar donut.
At this point in the draft, there simply aren’t many attractive options left in the box. This pick clearly involves a lot of deliberation.

First, you need to factor in how the donut was halved. Did someone just eat half a donut and leave the bite-marked remainder? Was it broken in half by hand, and if so, does it appear to have been excessively handled? Thankfully, in this instance, the plastic knife was left sitting in the box, creating the assumption that it was halved in the most sanitary way possible.

Second, the classic quality vs. quantity debate must be examined. Do you want half of a serviceable donut, or the entire amount of something disgusting? I guess it depends on how hungry you are.

13th Overall Pick: The glazed donut with a messy dollop of lemon filling on top.
Clearly, this was the least desirable donut in the variety pack. And this is always the case, regardless of how the variety pack is constituted: The lemon donut will always be picked last, if at all. Seriously, most men have thrown away more uneaten lemon donuts in their lifetime than pairs of underwear.

And sadly, the lemon filling is usually spread pervasively around the donut, making it too difficult to eat around or scrape off. Also, even if you could scrape it off, it’s not like lemon filling can be cleverly disguised as a biological weapon.

So if nobody likes lemon donuts why do they continue to make them? And why is there unfailingly a lemon donut in every variety pack?

I have a theory. A conspiracy theory, no less. I think businesses across the country like to have lemon donuts in the variety pack so they can subtly monitor the people that choose to eat them. Maybe it’s a warning sign of clinical depression or mental illness. Perhaps it’s a way to spot the workers in the office that are on drugs. I don’t know. Just be careful if you select the lemon donut. It might show up on your quarterly review.

Who’s Who of Bantering

On some days, it seems like I live solely to banter. It’s almost indescribable how much it delights me. Truly. It’s very strange.

Before Netflix I used to get butterflies in my stomach on my way to the video store. Video store clerks are incredible at bantering with the customers and I always used to look forward to it. On the walk over, I would hope that Carl was working because I could always count on him to insult my taste in movies, lie and say I owed him late fees, or just generally cut down my appearance. But he called me by my name when he said I was his laziest customer and that was everything.

Ever encouraged, I, of course, always questioned how he could still be in business, told him of my growing customer satisfaction at the other major video rental chains, and whispered loudly in my girlfriend’s ear (so he would overhear) that I would never be caught dead wearing any t-shirt or merchandise that promoted his establishment. It was the best of banter, it was the worst of banter.

It makes me think the Netflix website should really focus less on trying to recommend movies I would like and instead make fun of me for liking the ones I do.

By far, the worst medium to banter over is the text message. You might be thinking who banters over text message? Trailblazers, that’s who. But I’ve found the odds of hitting a doozie via texting is about 1 in 4 for me, yet on the email I am good for a 1 to 2 doozie to dud ratio. Sure, if you are patient you will eventually uncork a doozie but I’m all about firing doozie after doozie. My goal, after all, is to beat you silly with doozies and then steal your wallet.

However, the crucial ingredient in the recipe for witty banter is not the medium but the messenger. Some folks are just plain better at it than others such as:

Single Ladies
Bantering with single girls is the highest form of banter. When it goes right, it’s the closest thing I’ve known to speaking in tongues. Something about it feels so right, yet so dangerous. Perhaps because I know how quickly friendly banter can turn to firing squad bullets.

Dudes On Greyhound Buses
If there was a professional league for banterers where you sat at the back of a crowded bus and just chewed off every person’s ear off who went back there to use the restroom but you didn’t get paid a cent, these guys would be all-stars.

Video Store Clerks
The best of the best. I often want to have a t-shirt making device on hand when I go to a video store because I know the clerk will utter an amusing catch phrase laced with just the right amount of insider knowledge and irony that, if printed on a shirt, would make me seem cooler than I am.

Grocery Store Checkers and Baggers
These folks get the nod because of sheer volume. Anyone that can even half-ass banter for as long or with as many buffoons as these robo-humans have to know a thing a two about turning a phrase.

People In Line For A Comedy Show
They aren’t funny enough to perform, but they think they are. Shamelessly, they treat the line forming outside the comedy club like it’s an open mic night and shower us with sophomoric banter-fodder. Did I mention I’m not only the president of this club, I’m also a member.

When I get right down to it, I think I’ve picked all my closest friends and lovers based on their banter. Of course, they had to like the cut of my gibberish too. I guess that’s why it’s so important to me, it’s a game I only play with those I cherish.

What the Discovery Channel Doesn’t Tell You About Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs are more famous now than when they were alive and ruled the planet. They are the Elvis of the Animal Kingdom. This is in large part to the Discovery Channel which promotes and disseminates a pro-Dinosaur agenda nearly 24 hours a day. Surely, no advertisers are demanding this content. The target audience is extinct after all. Who is really behind this Paleozoic propaganda and what are they not telling you? I turned off my TV and started doing some of my own research about dinosaurs and have had some very disturbing revelations. Are these really the kind of creatures we want to dig up and display in our museums? Should we be giving them cute voices in animated movies so our kids fall in love with them? The following facts might change your mind.

Dinosaurs had slaves.

Not human ones, of course. Their version was much more insidious, in fact. They enslaved anything with tusks. It would turn your stomach if you saw how the tusked were treated back then.

Dinosaurs were illiterate.

Not a single one ever learned to read in 160 million years! Guess that college degree is a few more years off! And it also explains why we aren’t studying the writings of the great Hemingwayasaurus Rex.

Dinosaurs were atheist.

The majority of Pterodactyls were followers of Ragzor, Beast-master of the Skies, but by and large nearly all other dinosaurs were godless. Jesus has been suspiciously quiet on this topic, however, suggesting some sort of cover up.

Dinosaurs were pedophiles.
Archaeologists have found skeletons of male dinosaurs perched suggestively next to nests of young, unhatched dinosaurs, still in the egg even.

Dinosaurs were nudists.
These perverts didn’t wear clothes by choice, not evolutionary circumstance.

With these facts, one thing is clear.  The Discovery Channel is only giving us one side of the story.  The only question now is just how much dirt should we dig up on the dinosaurs?