Odd Spam

I currently working at The New Quarterly as their office manager and tech guru, gaining valuable experience in the production of magazines, and helping out this small but very valuable literary journal.

The editor, Kim Jernigan, is the first to tell you that she’s something of a technophobe. She just edits the submissions; she doesn’t handle anything more technical than e-mail all that well. So I’ve had to tell her what e-mails are spam and what aren’t, but this one got past my radar:

From: “Tracy Micheal” tracybell123@hotmail.com
Subject: Order Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005 15:46:26 -0500


I want to place an order in your store,and i will like to know if you ship to south africa and my method of payment will be credit card.so please let me know if you can assist me with the order ,And please do not forget to ainclude your web page in your replying back to my mail.I will await your prompt response as soon as you receive this mail.

Best Regards
Tracy Micheal

Hmm, I thought: difficulty with English, and why would anyone from South Africa be interested in a literary magazine from Canada? And, moreover, why refer to us as a store? But they weren’t asking for credit card information or any of the usual red flags from PayPal scams. So (perhaps unwisely) I e-mailed back saying, “go visit The New Quarterly’s website and click on the tabs marked for subscriptions and back issues. You can pay by PayPal, which accepts credit cards.

I never heard from them again.

Now Erin writes to me. She’s received the following e-mail:

On Wed, 03 Aug 2005 11:43:42 +0000, “Melina David”
bellview1123@hotmail.com said:


I will like to place an order in your store,and i will prefer email order than online that is why i decided to mail you and i will like to know if you ship to south africa.and the method of my payment is by credit card,so please kindly email me back if you can assist me with this order,and do not for to include your web page so that i can be able to know that i am dealing with the real store.i will be very happy if you treat this mail with good concern.

Good Health

Hmm… More obviously spam. The English is worse and they’re pressing for a payment method other than PayPal. Most tellingly, passages of this e-mail share the same wording as the first, which marks both e-mails as spam.

I now regret replying to the first e-mail.

But what’s up with this? What can these spammers hope to gain from this ruse? In both cases, our response would be: go to our website and pay by PayPal. They accept credit card. They handle all of the issues.


So, if you get an e-mail from someone in South Africa saying roughly the same thing in the same manner, be warned: it’s probably spam.

Mississauga: A Town of Disasters and Miracles

Let me take a moment to thank God and whoever else was responsible for ensuring there were only 24 minor injuries and no deaths when Air France flight 358 skidded off the runway at Pearson and down a ravine. Kudos to the crew for an excellent evacuation.

Technically speaking, Pearson International Airport is located in Mississauga. How many of you recall the tremendous explosion and subsequent evacuation in 1979 when a CP Rail train carrying propane and chlorine leapt the tracks? Though there was plenty of property damage, there were no deaths in that disaster. No injuries, either.

Maybe with Hurricane Hazel running the town, the disasters are too scared to stick around…

Further Reading

  • According to this article, most of the 24 injuries were not the result of the crash landing itself, but from the fact that one of the emergency chutes didn’t deploy properly, and some passengers had to jump several meters into the ravine in order to leave the aircraft. Some of the other injuries were incurred as people left the ravine itself.

Michaelle Jean

And the New Governor General Is…

Michaelle Jean, best known to CBC viewers as the host of The Passionate Eye. Well, it looks like all of the fears about Monique Begin were a little bit misplaced. Though I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall during the selection process. What names did they consider, really? Were Bob Rae, Preston Manning and Joe Clark really serious contenders? Did they turn down offers, or were their names simply floated in order to keep us on our toes?

It is an interesting choice. The third woman as our nominal head of state, the youngest ever, and the first person of colour. She’ll certainly knock a dent in the post’s reputation for stodginess — although I will say that I thought Adrienne Clarkson did a very good job during her tenure of making the post noticeable to Canadians. I liked her. And I think I’ll like Michaelle as well.

So, good choice!

(Correction: Jean is the fourth youngest. The Doors of Perception has more details on this. Still, I think the choice was a good one)

Hot Day

I am amazed that my visiting inlaws have the strength in them to do minor home renovations in my house when we don’t have air conditioning. It’s been a hot day here, both outdoors and in, and it wasn’t pleasant walking around in the midday. One almost wants to go to the movies just to experience the air conditioning. Unfortunately, there aren’t many things worth seeing.

Grand River Transit did make our day a little bit easier today: it was free. Every summer, on the first smog day of the month, the transit company seals up the fareboxes and gives passengers a free ride. On the second smog day of the month, it’s a 2 for 1 deal. They can’t afford to be more generous than that.

Hmm… It’s August, and we had our first smog day of the month on the third. You guys in Queen’s Park and Ottawa really need to clean up the air a bit.

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