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I love the way that scams and spams come in waves. The next big thing, the bandwagon all the sad little wannabe crooks jump on to, despite the fact that folks might smell a rat rather quickly if they get ten mails telling them they’ve successfully cancelled an Amazon order they never made.

Yeah, I’ve been getting that one a lot lately. And the one where someone tells me they got my address (and presumably that of the other ten random addresses in the ‘to’ box) from a site where I registered to make money online. So even if I had ever done such a thing, would I not wonder why so many people were sending me similar offers to take my money off me at the same time?

But my favourite now is the one that tells me I have unread facebook messages (to an email that doesn’t even have a linked facebook account). But it doesn’t just say, “You have three unread messages on facebook” or that these will soon be deleted. Oh no, it also adds a random word on the end. I assume this is to fool spam filters looking for set phrases. The extra word is probably chosen at random from a dictionary and appended.

Some might think this would make the average user wary. But it is a known fact that these mails are full of bad English and spelling and stuff to make the smarter (or at least more fastidious) folk delete right away, rather than spark investigations and traces. So a stupid extra word will hardly be noticed by the less tech-savvy target audience who will think Oh dear, I hadn’t noticed the messages, I should go on fb more often, I’ll click here to … oh, shit!

 

But what I love most about these things is that the extra words provide me with a novel source of randomly generated concrete poetry.

This interest goes back ages. At university, we used to cut up newspapers and place the words on active hot plates, writing them down in the order they caught fire. Sadly none of the poems still exist (rather like the hall of residence in question); but these things, like Tibetan sand mandalas, are meant to be ephemeral.

As is this one, being the extra words of a week’s worth of such emails, in order of arrival. Not sure who Ripley is (except Sigourney Weaver in Alien or the dog in the very wonderful Edinburgh gelateria, Affogato), but it’s right on the money (see what I did there) about Mike Pence’s ‘cursive’ ambitions.

(you have) unread messages

paragraphing topics
attackers jaunts beggary
boulders
trucker ripley
delegation forward
cursive ambitions
pence littered fiddler
acute

Ripley

 

 

By the way, while I’m here, if anyone (especially in Europe or UK) would like to look at my chum’s questionnaire about music and the arts in education, we’d be so grateful we will kiss the statue of your choice at the next opportunity.

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