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Colorless green ideas sleep furiously, with a vengeance

As one reader noted, I have my own private soap opera (of losers, which is, of course, the best kind); I might as well provide a recent update. Plus the Spam of the Day.

Wednesday evening post-Hermand lecture I caught a bus home, sat next to Regina, and once she got off stood next to and chatted with Julie until I got off a few blocks later. The brief walk home took me up Ingersoll, for I took the 6 rather than 3 or 4 due to scheduling issues, and so I turned right on Jenifer and approached my house opposite the normal direction.

So it was that from street level I could hear Cheryl crying, for she had a window open.

They live on the second floor, as do I.

I didn't bother staring at the apartment or windows to see whether or not I could discern her form; one would assume that that volume of bawling requires proximity to the window for others to be able to hear it. Inside the building I heard one of my other neighbors using an exercise machine. I climbed the stares and the crying continued, for she is either oblivious to or unconcerned with others noticing. Or she wants the attention, which I prefer as an interpretation.

Real Russian Singles - spam email
Spam of the Day: “Real Russian Singles”

I'll put on my cranky old man hat—hey, kids, get off my lawn!—just to say, back in my day (the late 90s) it wasn't about “singles,” it was about mail order brides from Russia and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union, such as Kazakhstan. When, during my senior year at Pomona, I tried to do online research on Kazakhstan, long before the days of Borat, I kept finding Kazakh mail order bride sites; they were, for the most part, more prominent than sites on or by the country's own government and other official institutions.

I love the rhetoric of such spam as well as the unintentionally funny phrasing. Real Russian Singles, you see, not those Artificial Russian Singles from the Ukraine or smuggled across the border from Finland. Accept no substitutes!

Of course, when I think of Real American Singles I'm not thinking of single American women but rather processed American cheese (99.44% water and vegetable oil by mass; 110% hot air by volume).

The best part of this email is the random text at the bottom: “Design AMD Stream Houston Computing column: Next Fujitsu whose modes unknown Groping adequate speak Drugnaive virgins slightly unless thrall.” It's brilliant (see: Guinness). And when a space is missed, we get the alluring word “Drugnaive.” Within seconds of this email I received an identical one but for a different forged/fake address (Taiwan <onwsbsxk@wiscmail.wisc.edu>) and different random text at the end: “limb says. Despite anomaly Dismissal Closure Voluntary Transfer FMLA Reference Laws Sheets Organ Donor Answers.”

The first is better, I admit. In a drunken or drugged stupor it could almost make sense—“colorless green ideas sleep furiously”—but the second can't be parsed as nearly matching the rules of English syntax.

—March 23 2007