Posts Tagged ‘email


Let’s all do The Communication!

Hello friends. I have a few things to say on the subject of communication. Some broad thoughts and some specific requests.

 I will no longer respond to messages in my social media that don’t at least attempt proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. It makes me twitch when I open a message from an adult that looks like it could have been written by a toddler.

I’m not going to be a douche about it. I’m fine with slang, also standard netspeak. (Though if you are over 40, please try to have some idea of correct usage for netspeak/slang!! Srsly!) Also, if you genuinely are a terrible writer/speller who somehow has no access to auto-correct or spell check, don’t sweat it. However, if you do have those things, by all means, use them!

It’s actually pretty easy to tell the difference between people who can’t do things and people who simply aren’t trying. If you are trying but simply cannot do it, I’ll be nice I promise.

The only time I find it appropriate to bend these rules are when we are chatting/instant messaging IRL (See how I still used that in a proper sentence?!?). In which case, relaxation of these rules aides in speed and efficiency of communication. Let the flow of the conversation be your guide. But please at least start at the top of your intelligence.

Finally, if you have something to say, then say it! If you have a question, then ask it! Don’t make me dance around with endless rounds of “Hi”, “How r u?” or, “u busy”. This makes me really crazy. Especially since, given my improv training and natural inclinations, I will usually simply reflect whatever you lead with and it will take forever to get anywhere.

I’m an advice columnist, public figure, and if we are connected on a social media platform, I at least nominally think of you as a friend. You can ask me questions in private. It’s okay. I give you permission.

If you are worried, then let me know the nature of the question, so I can decide for myself. In all likelihood I’ll probably still be okay with it and I will definitely let you know either way. I do think politeness is awesome! And proper etiquette rocks!! But I’m not completely hung up on it. Just do your best and you’ll be fine.

Okay? I mean, I don’t want to be a jerk, but I am a writer and performer. Language is clearly kind of important to me. I like to surround myself with people who are relatively well-spoken. And I enjoy intelligent conversation more than most things.

But hey, not everyone I know and like is well-spoken or skilled at writing. I do understand. I am just so tired of opening my inboxes and seeing mangled language and corrupted communication. It wastes my time and yours. Plus, it makes me sad.

Do you remember the crying Indian (Native American) from those anti-littering ads from the late seventies and early eighties? Well, if you do, picture that whenever you start to type a message to me that has no capitalization or punctuation to speak of.

Crying Indian Ad

Let us please remember that the purpose of language is to facilitate effective communication between people.  When it is used properly, it’s even quite beautiful! To quote the linguist Henry Higgins in George Bernard Shaw’s play, ‘Pygmalion’: “Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech, that your native language is the language of Shakespeare and Milton and The Bible.”

Social media also has the positive potential to facilitate new kinds of effective communication between people. In ways we have never seen before! This does nothing to diminish the usefulness of properly used written forms however. If anything, it makes them all the more important!

As always, I love you all! And I look forward to some great communications!


Giving it back to the Spammers

I recently received yet another of those ridiculous scam spams that seem to interminably fill up my Yahoo inbox.  I still maintain my Yahoo mail mainly for this very reason.  Aside from the nostalgia factor that it was the first account that ever made use of my “new” name, I use it as a sort of clearinghouse for the junk mail that I get from filling out various and sundry online questionnaires and one time website memberships.

I am a naturally curious person though and before junking a spam I will often give it a once over first to see if there is anything entertaining or original to be gleaned from it.  Some fresh new angle perhaps.  Sadly I am rarely surprised.

I believe that if you are going to do something you should do it well!!!  If sending out spam scams is how you propose to make a living, well then be the Shakespeare of Spam!  The Picasso of The Pyramid Scheme!!  The Hemingway of Hedge Funds fer Chrissakes!!  Not another tired old hack churning out the email equivalent of one of those old mimeograph machines that used to make my grade school teachers so pleasantly loopy!

The email I received this particular day was one of those.  Whether it was out of frustration or lack of a decent social life lately, I don’t really know.  But I was inspired to respond.  I never did hear back from the perpetrator in question, but I hope that at least you, dear reader, find my response entertaining.

Here, for background and to serve as a warning to my more gullibly inclined acquaintances, is the original scam spam:

Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is Mr. Michael Mayton Jr., Regional Head of Account Dept (CHIPS The Clearing House Interbank Payment System London).

I am writing in respect of a Russian Citizen customer of my Clearing House Mr. Alexander Litvinenko who died by poison with radioactive thallium on the 23rd of Nov 2006 you can view more details about his death on the link below:

Please see for more information.

The late Russian ex-spy Mr. Alexander Litvinenko left in our bank a huge sum of money and nobody will ever come for this money because as an ex-spy he never disclosed his transactions with anyone not even his relatives. I am the only person that is aware of this money since Mr. Alexander Litvinenko did not give to my Clearing House any next of kin to inherit his money.

Now, I want to use my position in the Clearing House to transfer this money to your country for investment. If you can provide me with an account where I can transfer this funds. I will give you 30% of this entire fund, 5% will be set aside for disbursement of each party while the remaining 65% shall be for me and my colleagues.

I am hoping to get a favorable response from you so that I can furnish you with further details on how we are to proceed in this lucrative business transaction. Do keep this transaction strictly confidential for security reasons.

Mr. Michael Mayton Jr
Head of Account Dept

And here is my own response to the stale and unoriginal author of the preceeding scam:

Does anyone still seriously fall for this?  I mean, what hole do you have to be hiding in not to be able to recite this scam chapter and verse?!!??  You didn’t even alter the basic script very much.

Scamming by form letter.

You might at least have tried to personalize it a little.  Please, here, allow me to do the work for you in fact:

Dear Schmuck,

Your name appeared in a list of emails that I bought from an unscrupulous telecom provider.  This plus the easy availability of your personal info online led me to believe that you would be an easy mark to take to lunch.

Just give me all your banking information so I can transfer a million, zillion dollars/euros/pesos to your acct..  Your estranged uncle/the former prime minister of zimbabwe’s third cousin’s hairdresser/Santa Claus left this money in an Atlantean numbered bank account with no way to transfer it to you.

Don’t you want to be filthy rich you easily led moron?!?  Because I know you are an intelligent and careful person who Mommy loves very much, verify my story for yourself:

See, I told you the Tooth Fairy was real.  Just think of how many puppies and cute kittens will die because this money is being prevented from being used to save them.

President, Chief Accountant, Totally Trustworthy Guy, CEO, CFO, AFLCIO, Maitre D’ and Licsensed Barrister of This Is Totally Not A Big Scam Industries; INC.

So, the next time you receive another one of these cookie-cutter spams, by all means feel free to cut and paste from this very blog.  Send them my brand new, foolproof Form Letter Spam as a way of expressing your disapproval for their lack of originality and insult to your intelligence.


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