About Rex
Name: Rex Stetson
Occupation: Masked Avenger Type
Base of Operations: Washington, DC
E-Mail: rexstetson@yahoo.com
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 Other Blogs of Interest
The Young Curmudgeon
Notes from the Lounge
Reason Hit and Run
The Anal Philosopher
Justice Junction
Perverted Justice
Mr. X
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Friday, August 29, 2003

Surburban Sprawl Makes You Fat (As If Tired And Grouchy and Boring Wasn't Bad Enough)

Finally some vindication for what I have been saying for some time now- In addition to making you boring, grouchy, and tired, suburban sprawl is to blame for your ever-increasing waistline. Mostly it's the commute ( which also makes you tired and grouchy) and the lack of anything to do or any energy to do it with when you get home (which also makes you boring or eat "fast food") but it's also the need to drive absolutely everywhere. Finally some researchers have started to place the blame for modern life's problems where it squarely belongs- on suburbanite culture:

"Unlike people in old-fashioned urban centers who can walk to work, shops, and public transport, those in the spread-out communities cannot walk even if they wanted to because sidewalks and crossings are lacking and homes, schools and workplaces are far apart."

Having moved recently to a suburb of DC, I too have witnessed my middle thickening, in inverse proportion to my activity and joie de vivre. I sit on my ass blogging...uh, working all day, then sit on the train, then sit in the car, sit in traffic, and yet I feel exhausted when I get home from all that sitting. And I can't even take my bike out on the roads out there to get a little exercise due to all the traffic, not that there's anywhere worth riding to nearby anyway. Thankfully I will be relocating to an urban setting soon. But what of all the other poor suburban fatbodies? Should they be left to languish in the life they've chosen? Of course they should! But word on the street is this research might be used to persuade policymakers and city planners to include sidewalks or bike trails to at least give people the choice to exercise a little.

Despite the fact that such public health projects would be taxpayer-funded, that's still the good news. Now the bad news- Of course the forces of Evil, and the Bloombergian Nannycrats have figured out a way to spin this into the need for a "junk-food tax", or "limits" on food advertising, or more regulation on food labels. At least they haven't put us in forced work...er, exercise camps- yet. Having had so much (and so lucrative) success against tobacco, the lifestyle fascists have turned their sights onto the new "death merchants", the junk food industry.

We have all heard about the lawsuits against fast food companies, patterned after the tobacco lawsuits. Common sense tells you that if you smoke, eat crappy food, and don't exercise, you are harming your health. Whatever happened to letting people make their own choices and accept the consequences? Let those soccer moms have their vinylsided townhomes, - and the equally bland, grotesque physique that comes with them. Have your SUVs and your constant driving of them all to the same place at the same time- and enjoy those traffic jams! I will be walking to work, or perhaps taking a short train ride, during which I may mock you all silently. Or aloud, even, taking pleasure in your continued suffering as one of you crashes into another on the expressway and makes everyone of you have to sit there and sit there and sit there in traffic! MWahaha!

Posted by Rex @ 9:50 AM

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Prospect of Free Cheese Grater Fails To Lure Rex To Spam Site

Spam is a fact of life that most of us have reluctantly accepted as a cost of doing business on the internet. I used to getting spam, although I never seem to get as much of it as everyone else, judging from how much everyone complains. My Yahoo account filters out about 95% of it, and I am closely guarded with my supersecret "real" e-mail address. I avoid picking up cookies and block spyware and adware from my PC. And that keeps me 99% spam-free. I also don't get pop-ups. I use no special spam or popup blocker software, either. Anyone who wants more detail on what I do avoid popups or unsolicited e-mail, can e-mail me. That is a subject for another post.

What I want to talk about today is a what I percieve to be a New Low in lowered expectations. At least for spammers, if not humanity. I went looking through my yahoo "bulk mail" folder today, to see what kind of spam got filtered. And I found this:

Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 20:07:56 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Rose"
To: rexstetson@yahoo.com
Subject: F ree Cheese Grator- No Cre ditCar d Required -

for a FREE trial membership in the Cooking Club of America. Plus, get a
coupon for a FREE Multi-Purpose Grater for joining.


Free Cheese Grater??... No Credit Card Required?? --Where do I sign up??
What the Hell was this spammer thinking? I can understand wanting a larger penis or breasts, I can understand wanting to Lose Weight Fast!, and I can understand wanting a fake PhD from the University of Spam, but a free cheese grater?

This honestly blows my mind. I am reminded of that scene in the classic Steve Martin film "The Jerk", where inept gas station attendant Navin Johnson tries to detain some unsavory customers using a stolen credit card until the police arrive- by offering them a FREE OVEN MITT! if they wait for a few minutes. Confidently, Navin gets back on the phone with the police and says:"Yeah, I'm back. Uh huh. Yeah, they're going to be here for a while. ...Don't worry, I've rigged it..."
And of course the bad guys just drive off.

There are supposedly contests for the worst Spam- determined by how high a score a piece of email gets from a Spam-filtering program. One point for the word "Enlargement", "Free", perhaps, one point per Exclamation Point!, perhaps. I think a special award should go to this most pathetic piece of spam.

It tries to break up the word "free" as "F ree", trying to trick the spam filter, yet still entice us with the exciting prospect of getting.... what? A Cheese Grater, or as it is misspelled in the header (though strangely not the body): "Cheese Grator". Is it trying to trick the spam filters by misspelling "Grater"? It boggles the mind. Well, at least there is "No Cre ditCar d Required"- that's the problem with most free cheese graters- they're free for a while, then someone asks for your credit card number...

Let me say that I happen to like cheese graters- I own and use a cheese grater almost daily- and even I don't find this ad appealling. It's not like the damn things are expensive. Besides, the spam's target demographic (presumably those who enjoy grating cheese) most likely already own their own cheese grater!

I can only assume, as spammers must- that theoretically someone, somewhere, might recieve this email that had always heard and been curious about this "cheese grating" phenomena, but never felt like making the big, upfront investment of actually Purchasing his or her own cheese grater- and that this was the e-mail that finally tipped it and made them say: "...what the hell! why not?" and follow the link. And the millions of copies of this e-mail that were sent today were all sent in the miniscule but nonzero chance that this one person would see this e-mail, have this reaction.

Sir or Madam, whoever you are-thank you for being you, and providing me with so much amusement today. Enjoy your well-deserved cheese grator- use it in good health.

Posted by Rex @ 5:06 PM

REX STETSON: ARMCHAIR VIGILANTE character name and distinctive likeness thereof: TM & © 2003 Armchair Vigilantism, Inc. All Rights Reserved.