Whimsy: May 2006 Archives

...playing Sudoku on my new Treo, that is. Andrew Gregory has created a very nice, very easy-to-use Sudoku game that runs on Palm OS PDAs. You can play this version without using the stylus -- with just the five-way cursor and the numeric keypad. It's addictive.

So is TROGDOR!, one of the Shockwave Flash games on HomestarRunner.com. The Homestar Runner Wiki has TROGDOR! tips, including a way to get 27 extra lives. But it doesn't matter how many lives I start with, I can't make it past level 26. Anyone know what the trick is?

Michael Cook has discovered the joys of a certain variety of unsolicited commercial e-mail (aka spam):

One feature of the genius of Dickens was the names with which he christened his characters -- Wackford Squeers, Ebenezer Scrooge, Wilkins Micawber and the like. But spammers have out-Dickensed Dickens. In the past week, I have received spam advertising mortgage schemes, drugs and Rolexes from:

Sport P. Fundamentalism
Interrogation C. Samoset
Magnus Tobechi
Besieger O. Permafrost
Snowflake E. Catalpas
Typewriter U. Furze
Elmo Pendleton
Malachi Patterson
Ducat T. Diphtheria
Discountenanced S. Terminable

There’s a sort of lunatic vitality in these names. Only someone with an iron will could avoid opening an email from Mummification K. Sitar.

(Found via the Curt Jester.)

I've written twice before about this type of spam. Back in March 2004, most of the mail I received with such interesting sender names seemed to be promoting Russian businesses.

The names in the From line are wonderful -- Stying K. Purgative, Mustered O. Behemoths, Headwaters I. Evidence, Circularizing T. Integers, Disassemble H. Imps, Rallies Q. Stratification, Accretions G. Recital -- they are obviously not names, but they have the rhythm of names, reminiscent of the sort that Barry Took and Marty Feldman cooked up for sketches on "Round the Horne", like Isambard Mousehabit and J. Peasemould Gruntfuttock. (Or the Li'l' Abner character, Jubilation T. Cornpone.) So we know the spambot writer is evil, but has a sense of humor.

In that same article, I described the technical rationale behind the use of such strange names, and the means by which spammers were hijacking computers around the world to send their messages.

Then again in March 2005, I blogged about the latest batch of funny-name spam, having a bit of fun with some of the stranger combinations.

I've had trouble finding out more about this particular variety of spam, and I think it's because no one has given it a name. Henceforth, I dub this phenomenon "Jubilation T. Cornpone spam," in honor of the military hero of the town of Dogpatch, the comic-strip character whose name resembles the names found in these unsolicited commercial e-mail messages.

Maybe if we all call it by the same name, we can track down the person or persons responsible for all this spam and bring them to account. At the very least, I'd love to have their name-generation algorithm.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Whimsy category from May 2006.

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Whimsy: July 2006 is the next archive.

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