Chance to Success

Friday, May 20th, 2022

In the 13+ years One Foot Tsunami has been around, I’ve written about a plethora of different topics. I’ve also been fortune to be receive links from some larger websites, resulting in traffic from all over the world. As a result of these two facts, I get a lot of spammy emails from folks hoping I’ll publish their spammy content or link to their spammy sites (no, I won’t). They’ll usually provide the URL of a not-very-relevant post from years back, where I could “help my readers” by including a new link to their barely related nonsense.

For instance, last month, I received this:

Faheem here from █████ E Scooters, a site designed to demystify the future of transportation and make it easy for everyone to understand.

I’m emailing you because I saw an article of yours here https://onefoottsunami.com/2018/08/30/an-explanation-of-electric-scooters/ and wanted to see if you’d be interested in a small collaboration.

I recently put together a piece on how much are electric scooters packed full of info and thought it would make an excellent addition to your piece and wanted to see if you’d be interested in linking to it.

I’ll let you be the judge though, check it out! URL: ██████████

What do you think?

Mostly, Faheem, I think you should stop emailing me. And I especially think you, and everyone else, should stop emailing me three times, once with your initial spammy request, a second time to “check in”, and finally a third time to give me one last chance to, I dunno, curse your name? But at least I understand the nature of the scam here.

What’s rarer is something like the confusion that resulted from an email I recently received with the subject line “Quick question about elk hunting”. I have never hunted elk, nor anything else for that matter, so this was odd to say the least. It got weirder!

Hi Paul,

I’m putting together an expert roundup post on “elk hunting tips”. And I naturally wanted to invite you to contribute.

Ah, yes, naturally!

The question is: “For first time elk hunter, what should we prepare to increase chance to success?”

Hmm, you seem to have slipped into some really mangled English-as-a-second-language there. Are you OK?

I know you’re busy so a lengthy response isn’t necessary (50-100 words is totally fine).

Thanks!
Robert █████
Co-founder of █████

As you can surely guess, these emails have all been censored by me to avoid providing any help whatsoever to spammers. Even polite ones.

PS: We’ve already received responses from Eric Whiting (Iron Will Outfitters) and Carl Sauerwein (Boulder Basin Outfitters). I’d love for you to be involved.

Well gosh, to have my response printed alongside such illustrious company would truly be an honor. Eric Whiting and Carl Sauerwein? Wow!

I really didn’t know what to make of this email, so I set it aside. A few days later, however, Robert was back.

Hi Paul,

I know you’re busy, but did you get the chance to look into my first email? 🙂

Thanks and best regards,
Robert

It’s clear that despite the fact that I have no idea who he is, Robert knows me well. You see, unlike most people, I am indeed busy. So busy, in fact, that I never did respond to either of these emails.

Perhaps I should have. I’d certainly like to understand just what’s going on here. I imagine it’s some sort of link farming still, but how we got to elk hunting, I simply can’t fathom.

The Micturater in Black 

Thursday, May 19th, 2022

In recent years, the small town of Kingsland, Arkansas has built a brand around being the birthplace of country music legend Johnny Cash. As part of that effort, a large depiction of Cash was painted on the town’s water tower. Last week, with a well-placed shot, a vandal turned that from a simple drawing into an impressive performance art piece.

A large water tower with a drawing of Johnn Cash that has a leak from the crotch, making it appear he's micturating

Yes, the shooter fired a bullet into the crotch of Cash’s silhouette, causing the water tower to take spring a massive leak.

[Kingsland water office manager Betty] Graham estimated the city was losing an estimated 30,000 gallons of water each day from the leak at an estimated cost of about $200 per day.

The necessary repairs cost about $5000 more. I can’t support vandalism that winds up costing a small town thousands of dollars. That said, I certainly can laugh about it.

Using Technology to Fight Cheese Fraud 

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

There’s apparently a nearly $5 billion market for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, according to the cheese’s official trade group, the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium. Now, cheesemongers are planning to use embedded trackers to fight “cheese fraud”, and if that phrase doesn’t make you giggle, I don’t know what to tell you.

Here Comes the Ceremonial First Pitch 

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

Last night, before the Red Sox defeated the Houston Astros, heir to the Benihana fortune (and also some sort of musician, apparently) Steve Aoki threw out a ceremonial first pitch. It was…not great. In fact, it was so airmailed that If not for the netting above the stands behind home plate, the ball would’ve landed quite deep in the crowd.

If only was Max Scherzer had been there when Steve Aoki needed him.

First Draft Candies

Monday, May 16th, 2022

My grandfather was a candy maker1, and I recently uncovered some fascinating papers while going through his things.2 One particularly interesting document focused on the value of persistence. It included a list showing an assortment of very bad name ideas for various confections. While none of these first drafts ever saw the light of day, with time and iteration, the creators of these candies eventually found success.

Initially Rejected Ideas For World-Famous Candies

  • Drudgery Dip

  • Neverlasting Gobstoppers

  • Minor League Chew

  • Buttfinger

  • Oh Henry! It’s Time to Admit I Never Loved You at All.


Footnotes:

  1. This is true! ↩︎

  2. This is not. ↩︎

I Didn’t Know They Could Do That 

Friday, May 13th, 2022

Right up front, I’m going to say that I’m sorry. Please note that for your benefit, I did not include any photographs of the following story.

Nevertheless, if I have to know that Malcolm MacDonald’s penis fell off as a result of a blood infection, and then he had a new one grown on his arm, then so do you. That’s just the way it works.

Something Special 

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

Last fall, after privately battling leukemia for almost a decade, comedian Norm MacDonald passed away unexpectedly. Now, Netflix has revealed that before he passed, he shot a comedy special.

The result was a stand-up special shot in Macdonald’s living room. The actor filmed the entire hour in a single take. “He looks great and the material’s fantastic,” Hoekstra says.

“Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special” will be available to stream starting May 30. I imagine it wll be both strange and great.

Get Your Tickets Now 

Wednesday, May 11th, 2022

Dolly Parton seems pretty great. She’s done a whole lot of philanthropic work, from helping fund COVID vaccine research, to giving away tens of millions of books to children via her “Imagination Library”.

On the other hand, she’s now going to star in a TikTok music about Taco Bell’s Mexican pizza.

The musical, inspired by an exchange between Doja Cat and TikTok star Victor Kunda, will be released a week after Mexican pizza returns to Taco Bell’s menu.

Ah, yes, the inspiration for so many great works of art: Taco Bell and TikTok.

The Fake Marina At The Miami Grand Prix 

Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

If F1 had just waited a few years until Miami is more under water, this nonsense wouldn’t have been necessary.

Wordle Whoops 

Monday, May 9th, 2022

As a well-read and intelligent consumer of internet content, you probably know all about Wordle, the simple one-puzzle-per-day word puzzle that took the internet by storm at the end of last year. After rapidly gaining millions of fans, the game was swiftly purchased by the New York Times for at least a million bucks. Not bad! The Times hasn’t changed much about the game, and it remains an enjoyable way to spend a few minutes each day.1

When Josh Wardle created Wordle2, he pre-programmed the entire word list, so that no human input was needed to keep it going. It would appear that thus far, the New York Times has kept the basic system the same. Today, that caused a bit of a problem.

In a statement on its website, the Times warned that some users playing the game Monday “may see an outdated answer that seems closely connected to a major recent news event.”

While the statement didn’t specify which word it was referring to, the publisher confirmed to CNN that it was “fetus.”

The Times said the word was loaded into the game last year — before the publisher acquired it — adding: “When we discovered last week that this particular word would be featured today, we switched it for as many solvers as possible.”

Because of the way Wordle currently works, users who hadn’t updated in the past few days might wind up with the old word. Whoops! I suspect the Times will be updating the game’s backend sooner rather than later, in order to have more powerful editorial control.3


Footnotes:

  1. Though I’ve been playing since last year, I hadn’t written about the game previously. Indeed, prior to today, a search for “wordle” returned only this post, which contains a URL with the word “wordless” in it. I did post this tremendous Wordle-inspired Boston Marathon sign on Instagram, however. ↩︎

  2. How much more perfect could the name “Wordle” be? The answer is none. None more perfect. ↩︎

  3. Also, the game originally had an assortment of British spellings that the New York Times removed to Americanize it for their audience. It’s thus at least a little strange that FETUS was even a solution, given that the too-long British variant of the word is “foetus↩︎