Zone38 Presents...
Letters to the World


Just when you thought things were getting back to normal…

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 3:39 pm

Found via my LiveJournal blogroll:

US Preparing for Military Draft in 2005

I really hope that the situation described in this article doesn’t end up materializing. Exactly why do we need a military draft all of a sudden? I’m… absolutely speechless.

Personally, I’m of the belief that drafts actually lower the overall competency of the military to a degree. In my view, it seems better to have a smaller military made up of those who are actually good at what they’re doing than to have a bunch of inept folks like myself who are so emotionally overloaded that we’d have difficulty firing on the enemy and so directionally impaired we’d end up attacking our own barracks.

::grumbles, mutters:: I also detest the people who say things to the effect that I’ll never understand what it’s like for those in the military until I’ve been there. From everything I’ve seen of it (dramatizations and documentaries alike), I would not want to subject myself to such a life; it’s just not the sort of thing that my personality type is suited for, really. Yet seeing these realistic depictions of war doesn’t reduce my opinion of the military; indeed, it gives me great respect for the people involved, willing to do something that’s so dangerous, so dependent on the quick, unthinking reflexes that I lack.

Also worth noting is that some of the rumors about this planned draft claim that the government will be focusing on people with skills in computer programming and linguistics. Now, admittedly, if I were to be drafted, I’d much rather be doing my wartime efforts on a computer terminal rather than on the battlefields, but even still, it’s rather worrisome. Perhaps the government doesn’t realize how clever programmers and linguists often tend to be– ever hear the stories of hackers who hid secret ‘back doors’ in the products they worked on, or of translators who knowingly botched translations in order to subvert communications?

::sigh:: I really hope this draft that’s being mulled doesn’t end up coming to fruition; there are just so many things wrong with the way that those responsible have planned it out.


Why science education is a good thing…

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:29 am

Normally I like to add some sort of snarky comment to these news items when I post them to my blog, but I think I’ll just have to let this one speak for itself:

SoCal city falls victim to Internet hoax, considers banning items made with water

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — City officials were so concerned about the potentially dangerous properties of dihydrogen monoxide that they considered banning foam cups after they learned the chemical was used in their production.

Then they learned that dihydrogen monoxide — H2O for short — is the scientific term for water.

“It’s embarrassing,” said City Manager David J. Norman. “We had a paralegal who did bad research.”


More for the misspelled spam fans…

Filed under: Spam — codeman38 @ 9:50 pm

Subject: debunk

Take advantage of the LOWEST mortage rates in over 30 years!
Now is the perfect time to refinamce your existing mortnage, take
cash out for home improvements, or consoidate your dept into one
low monthly paytment.
Bed crebit? No problem! We have products for borowers with
all crebit types! (Excellent through poor.)
You have nothing to lose! No FEES, commitments, memberships
or obligations. Just competitive quotes from up to 3 lemders in
your area! Fast and easy, no initial crebit checks.

I think I may turn “bed crebit” into a new catchphrase. It sounds so much like a Yosemite Sam-style expletive…

…or should that be “search-and-fwdplace”?

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:41 am

Yet another one from the “faulty global search-and-replace” files, this time the subject line of a junk e-mail:

“Soma pfwdscribed online for limited time only.”

Obviously they were trying to turn replies into forwards, and failed miserably at it…


If there are no violas, go to N.

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:26 pm

OK, this has to be one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a good while. I’m not sure exactly where– or how— this originated, but those of you who are music geeks should find this absolutely hilarious.

Faerie’s Aire and Death Waltz

(I discovered this, incidentally, while Googling for mondegreens– which, for those who don’t know, are misheard lyrics. The reason that the images are hosted on my own domain is simply that I don’t want to use up other people’s bandwidth.)


Talk about a million-dollar mistake…

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 2:46 am

More abject stupidity from my own home state (that’s Georgia, for those too lazy to look it up):

Payoff from $1 million bill is forgery charge

COVINGTON — Here’s a quick tip: If you are going to try and pass off fake money, you might want to first think about using a denomination that is actually made by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Ranked by officers of the Covington Police Department (CPD) as of one of biggest “boneheaded” moves ever, a Porterdale woman allegedly tried to pay for more than $1,600 in merchandise at the Covington Wal-Mart Friday with a $1 million bill.

This incident also got a mention in The Smoking Gun, complete with actual police report and mugshot…


On e-mail lists and etiquette

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:26 pm

::grumble:: What is it with people replying to a mailing list posting with a one- or two-line reply… with the entirety of every other post in the thread quoted immediately below? Not only is it a waste of bandwidth, it’s quite a pain to scroll through if you view mailing lists in digest form.

I’ve seriously seen postings on some of the lists I’m on where someone will write a single-line “me too” sort of reply, and then leave 300 or so lines of text– most of it only tangentially related, at that– quoted in the reply. And of course, they always forget to trim the listserv instructions from each of the messages, so you end up with something that looks like this rather apocryphal example I’ve just made up:

Me too!

-- CluelessQuoter99

> I absolutely love this listserv. It's great! I could go on and on about
> how well I get along with everyone here, but that would just lead to
> a lot of incoherent rambling. I ramble on incoherently even more than
> my alter-ego Cody, you know, and he can rant quite a bit for someone
> who's so introverted in real life.
> -- Verbose102
> > So, what's your opinion on this mailing list?
> >
> > -- CellophaneBoy
> > ------------
> > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to blah@list.srv
> ------------
> To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to blah@list.srv

…except, of course, that such posts tend to include far more than just two levels of replies. And the unsubscription instructions are longer. And one of the posts will be several paragraphs long and quoted in its entirety.

Gah…I know I can’t be the only one who still practices listserv etiquette these days!


Instructions Lost In Translation

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 9:00 pm

The results of the 2004 Worst Manual Contest have finally been posted. These things are always hilarious… and this year, they seem to have found some veritable goldmines of Engrish.

“Please do not put the one embarrassed because it gets wet”? “Oiling the machine oil into the eccentric mechanism and clearance”? Seriously, I have to wonder how people manage to assemble these things at all with instructions as bad as these…


Gotta love those illiterate spammers…

Filed under: Spam — codeman38 @ 3:23 pm

The best SpamAssassin flag ever:

2.7 WALAA          BODY: Illiterate spammer cannot spell 'voila'

I’m not making this up. See the list of rules at if you don’t believe it…

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