I am getting some REALLY weird SPAM in the corporate email box these days. What is really odd is that I have not gotten SPAM for 5 years and all of a sudden it started getting through (Even though it is ending up in my junk mail box).

What I find very perplexing about the latest SPAM is the point? I can understand if they are marketing a product – but these make no sense.

To illustrate, the subject of this blog was the title of the email and the content of the mail was as follows:

Get Human BIOSYSTEMS INC. (HBSC.OB) share today.


Millions people will know about this share right now and most of them will buy and will make money on it.

Monday will be the day when your gains will be really SOAR.

It’s getting growth almost every hour! So you can triple your balance any time.

We are sure thet you had not moment like that before.

Friday price: JAN 18 – $0.08

On monday 22 January it will – 0.13$ at least and 0.20$ at most (not bad for a day)

Inform your brokers in order they buy it immediately.

Do not lose your moment.MORE THAN 95% EVERY DAY!


I don’t get it. Do they really thing that I will go out and buy this stock? Do they think I will inform my broker so ‘they buy it immediately’? Just odd and candidly, pointless.

SPAMers, this decade’s degenerate.


On the topic of out of office messages, here are a few that will never get published:

“I am not in the office today as season 5 of 24 came out on DVD today. I started watching it around 7PM last night and around 4 a.m. realized that I needed to be up in 2 hours. Instead of going to bed and coming back grumpy, I decided to pull an all-nighter. Only 10 episodes to go! See you tomorrow”

“It is sunny out. I don’t get paid enough. I am going to sit at a public pool and get a tan. I will respond if I care. Don’t hold your breath”

“Thanks for the email but I cannot respond because I am out on the golf course and the only thing that is important to me is breaking 80. I will email you a token 1 line response in between holes, but if you want action, you will have to wait until tomorrow”

“Tequila. Shots. Head hurts much. Go Away. Tomorrow me respond. Stop jackhammer. Aspirin.”

“Child sick. Surrounded by Tylenol Cold, cough medicine, orange juice, an overworked humidifier and a house that reminds me of a petri dish. Someone help me. Get me out of here”

“I am on vacation. If I win the lottery on Wednesday, I am not coming back – EVER. If I don’t, I will respond Monday”


Over the last weeks I have noticed a wide range of out of office messages in email. They range from:

“I am travelling on business this week with limited access to voicemail and email. If this is urgent, please call my cell phone at …”

.. to …

“I am out of the office today in customer meetings. I will return emails at the end of the day. If this is urgent, please call me at ….”

I only use the out of office feature in Exchange/Outlook when I am on vacation for a few reasons:

1.       For my family’s sake, I don’t want people to know that I am travelling and not at home. Many serious crimes are committed by people who are close to you, so why arm others with the knowledge that I am not home?

2.       I carry a Windows Mobile 5 phone, so I am always on. I get email pushed to me, my office phone is forwarded to my cell (even when I am in the office I will simply forward it to my cell) and my cell is always on. So why bother? I may be out of the office, but in today’s all ways on work environment remain accessible.

3.       When I go on vacation, I go on vacation. I turn everything off. I remember telling someone last year that if they reach me on my vacation, it better similar Sudden Impact in magnitude or I did not want to hear about it until I was back. I unplug.

That being said, I do like to have fun with those message. A few that I have used and received comment on:

“I will be on vacation from July  X to July X. If this is an urgent issue, please feel free to contact (insert appropriate names). Thanks for your note, have a wonderful Christmas and New Years!”

“I will be on vacation from X to X. If this is an urgent issue, please feel free to contact (insert appropriate names). If you are feeling disgruntled or need someone to yell at, please contact (I inserted the name of the guy covering my business at the time). He is a good listener, generally optimistic and strong problem solver, he awaits your call.  Have a great day!”

If nothing else, they made me laugh.


·         BLAMESTORMING: Sitting in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.

·         SEAGULL MANAGEMENT:  A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, leaves droppings all over the place then leaves.

·         CUBE FARM: Office filled with cubicles.

·         PRARIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm resulting in heads popping over the walls to see what is going on. Also applies when a spontaneous celebration breaks out like a promotion or extra lucky chain letter.

·         SITCOM: Single Income Two Children Oppressive Mortgage. When a couple starts having children and one decides to stay home to take care of the children or ‘start a home business’.

·         PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it working again. (PERCUSSIVE: Like impact. Having the impact or effect of a blow.)


Dear Abbey,

I’ve never written to you before, but I really need your advice on what could be a crucial decision. I’ve suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me.The usual signs… phone rings but if I answer, the caller hangs up. My wife has been going out with the girls a lot recently although when I ask their names she always says, “Just some friends from work, you don’t know them.” I always stay awake to look out for her taxi coming home, but she always walks down the drive.

Although I can hear a car driving off, as if she has gotten out of the car round the corner. Why? Maybe she wasn’t in a taxi? I once picked her cell phone up just to see what time it was and she went berserk and screamed that I should never touch her phone again and why was I checking up on her. Anyway, I have never approached the subject with my wife. I think deep down I just didn’t want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to really check on her.

I decided I was going to park my Harley Davidson motor cycle next to the garage and then hide behind it so I could get a good view of the whole street when she came home. It was at that moment, crouching behind my Harley, that I noticed that the valve covers on my engine seemed to be leaking a little oil. 

Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the dealer?


 The story of Aleksey Vayner is a very interesting one. From the Wikipedia entry on him (Ouch .. take a minute to read it):

Aleksey Vayner (born Aleksey Garber) is an Uzbekistan-born student at Yale University, known for having sent a résumé to UBS AG that included the URL for an inadvertently comical[1][2][3] online video[4], titled “Impossible is Nothing”. In the video, Vayner discusses his philosophy of success, shows off his physical prowess, and dances with a lightly-clad woman.Since their circulation began in October 2006, the résumé and video have been discussed on the web, television, and in print media world-wide. The story first broke widely on the Ivy League blog IvyGate, and was picked up my many mainstream outlets, including the New York Times[5], Metro paper[6], on Fox News[7], New York Post[8], The Sun[9], Daily Mail[1], MarketWatch[10], U.S. News and World Report[11], The New Yorker[12], and other global media.[13]

Well, one thing is for sure, Aleksey has gotten attention and will probably get a big fat check. Candidly, he deserves it. This is quite a breach of privacy. You can watch Aleksy and his lawyer talk about it here. Funny thing is, a few of the things that he says in the video are true (If you can get a view past his ego).


I was travelling last week and had my first ‘gel’ incident. It was early (At airport for 6AM), I was tired and when packing at the hotel forgot to toss the shaving cream and toothpaste. I got pulled over by the TSA. The conversation went like this as she opened my toiletries bag:Her:  “Well, here is the zip lock”

Me: “Yah, oops. I should have put the stuff in it. I was rushed packing and forgot”

Her (Clearly miffed): “Yes, if you would have taken the time then we wouldn’t be here would we? I wouldn’t have to go through and search your bag!”

Me (smirking and finding her little outbreak humourous): “That is true mrs. But then again,  I would have missed this wonderful opportunity to enjoy your company at this fine hour”

Her (not smiling): “The zip lock is for a purpose. Use it next time and carry it along with you outside the bag”

Me (smiling): “Sure. Will do. Got it”

Her (looking at my gel container): “Well, this is going to have to get confiscated. It is 5 OZ and the limit is 3 OZ.”

Me (smiling and thinking, I have taken that gel container through no less than 7 security checks and they never caught it .. I was expecting them to  take it a long time ago .. but my theory held up, that with only one item and my carry on suit case turned sideways (thereby making the XRAY more jumbled as it was looking through more stuff ), it would go through. Oh, the faith I have in airline security!): “I know that. But if you will look inside, there is probably less than ½ an ounce. It is almost empty”

Her (snarling): “It does not matter. It says 5 OZ, so it stays.”

Me:  “Come on, lets be logical here. Look inside, it is almost empty”

Her: “That is the rule”

Me: “Well, wouldn’t want to logically apply the rule of 3 OZ now would we?”

Her: Not amused.

Me: “Well, bye bye now. Have a nice day”

My companion (As we turn away): “You know, it is not good to be a smart ass with airline security”

Me: “I was not. Just being happy this wonderful Friday morning”


Now, what I did not say is this: “Can we put the 3 OZ logic to work? What if I were to have 3 OZ and my 6 companions had 3 OZ. Can we not get on the plane and pool our ounces? Give me a break, let my 9/10ths empty 5 OZ container on”.

That is not my original thought, I saw it on SNL a few weeks ago. Watch the TSA Training Video here … LOL funny.


I heard this song on the CBC the other day, and found it on the web .. a good laugh.

Uncle Dave’s Grace:  lyrics by Peter Berryman, music by Lou Berryman

“We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing” Thanksgiving day, Uncle Dave was our guest

He reads the Progressive which makes him depressed

We asked Uncle Dave if he’d like to say grace,

A dark desolation crept over his face

“Thanks,” he began as he gazed at his knife,

“To poor Mr. Turkey for living his life

All crowded and cramped in a great metal shed

Where life was a drag then they cut off his head”


“Thanks,” he went on, “for the grapes in my wine

Picked by sick women of seventy-nine

Scrambling all morning for bunch after bunch

Then brushing the pesticides off of their lunch

Thanks for the stuffing all heaped on my fork

Shiny with sausage descended from pork

I think of the trucks full of full of pigs that I see

And can’t help imagine what they think of me”


Continuing, “I’d like to thank if you please

Our salad bowl hacked out of tropical trees

And for this mahogany table and chair

We thank all the jungles that used to be there

For cream in our coffee and milk in our mugs,

We thank all the cows full of hormones and drugs

Whose calves are removed at a very young age

And force-fed as veal in a minuscule cage”


“Oh thanks for the furnace that heats up these rooms

And thanks for the rich fossil fuel it consumes

Corrupting the atmosphere ounce after ounce

But we’re warm and toasty and that is what counts

I’m grateful,” he said, “for these clothes on my back

Lovely and comfy and cheap off the rack

Fashioned in warehouses noisy and cold

In China by seamstresses seven years old”


“And thanks for my silverware setting that shines

In memory of miners who died in the mines

Worn down by the shovelling of tailings in piles

Whose runoff destroys all the rivers for miles

We thank the reactors for our chandelier

Although the plutonium won’t disappear

For hundreds of decades it still will be there

But a few more Chernobyls and who’s gonna care?”


Sighed Uncle Dave, “though there’s more to be told

The wine’s getting warm and the bird’s getting cold”

And with that he sat down as he mumbled again

“Thank you for everything, amen”

We felt so guilty when he was all thru

It seemed there was one of two things we could do


Live without food, in the nude, in a cave,

Or next year have someone say grace besides Dave.


How is it possible that someone can go through life and not know they smell? Do some people lack the basics of self smelling? Is in fact, a person’s ability to understand and process their own smell like colour blindness or more like bad behaviour?

This is something I was curious about so I started to search the web.

There is a group who argues that someone’s lack of ability to smell their own body odour is in fact like colour blindness, a genetic disorder. They argue that the person was born with the lack of self smell and therefore cannot be held accountable for their personal body odour due to the fact that they have no way to process this information (Whether due to a olfactory deficiency or neural). These people argue that we need to support the smell impaired, in the same way that you would not stare at someone with a deformity, work hard to integrate the them into daily society without calling attention to their genetic deficiency.



They argue that the apparatus to the right is very rude. You should be shot for your making the olfactory impaired (ASIDE: They find ‘smelly person’, ‘stinky’ and ‘get away from me before I vomit’ naming conventions offensive) feel self conscious. This group is pushing aggressively for olfactory impaired zones and government funding for devices that would alert the user of their body odour levels.

I hear the first test on this lead to some significant arguments. The first group of scientists wanted to label the output as 1 through 5 (5 being the most nasty alert level for the user of the device). The second group felt that the olfactory impaired might also suffer from a lower IQ and therefore require clearer labelling. They were pushing for 5 levels also. These levels were: Smells Like a Rose, Socks Worn for a Morning, Makes Crowds Eye’s Water, Dead Skunk and You Have No Friends. A fist fight ensued, they all started sweating and 2 scientists died from the fumes. Not a good start.

The other camp in this scientific battle labelled “smellationism” (Clearly a rip off of the argument on creationism and a testament to the lower IQ of the smelly scientists) suggests that the cause is environmental. Maybe the parents smell? Maybe they cooked with particularly pungent spices causing nasty excretions? Maybe their culture does not agree with deodorant because sweat lets the ‘good spirits’ out? Any one of these factors could be attributed to why someone becomes olfactory desensitized.

To prove the point, the scientists took 10 men who smelled perfectly acceptable from a local bank. All men were in the age range of 35 to 55, and were mildly obese. They asked the men to remain in their suits and put them into a clean room with 10 treadmills. They then asked the men to tread on the mills for 2 hours, while turning up the heat in the room to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. After 30 minutes, all men had discarded all clothes except their under garments. At which point two of the scientists staged a protest, leaving the experiment on moral and ethical grounds. Later interviewed, one of the scientists stated “I have better things to do than watch 10 over weight guys sweat on a treadmill. Of course they will stink. My goodness, I have a PHD!”

After 45 minutes, all 10 men collapsed and medical teams were called in to rescucitate 2 and crane the other 8 to medical facilities for rehydration. Therefore, the experiment was a bust and remained inconclusive. Further attempts to redo the experiment were cancelled when the group “PETBM” (People for the Ethical Treatment of Big Men) protested.

So the war rages on about “smellationism”. Genetics? Factor of a person’s environment?

We may never know. But I do know that I was ready to throttle the guy in the row next to me as he stunk up the entire back of the plane last week while he smiled at us all, clearly unaware of the fact that I was trying to shoot lasers at him with my eyes (Oh, to have laser shooting eyes, if only for 2 minutes). The worst part of it? He had his 9ish year old son with him.

Poor kid.

Genetics or environment, that kid is doomed to smell.

passive participation

I was working in the garage this weekend, aptly called ‘Close out the pool deck and clean the garage Saturday’ when I noticed something funny. The neighbor had  a bobcat and workmen over doing yard work (Probably cleaning up his weed infested disaster called a backyard).

The worker was loading the bobcat onto a trailer and this guy was watching very intently, in his own work clothes and gloves, not actually doing anything, but poised to break in and do something should it be required. The bobcat loaded, the worker moved to the front and started chaining the machine down. The neighbour mounts the trailer and stands right behind the worker as he fixes the chains into place .. again, poised to do something should the need arise, but never actually doing anything.

I found this very interesting and deemed it ‘Passive Participation’. Truly, a male trait that is deeply embedded in our genes. The need to watch workmen ply their trade at or around our house. It must be a genetic thing. We have all done it and I found the thoughts quite amusing as I broke down recycling. I had a good laugh about the neighbor’s actions.

An hour later, the Bell Expressvu guy showed up. All of my work stopped, instincts kicked in and I engaged. Later realizing that my standing over him as he drove the cable through the wall was in fact a mirror image of the neighbour. While Narda’s comments of ‘You know, if he needs you he will call you’ were accurate, I just shook my head.

After all, this is a Machiavellian type of base level need … survival instincts at the DNA level. Sorry, I cannot go back into the garage to continue the clean up work.

I need to stay here. I might be needed.

(archive) CHINA

I heard this antecdote yesterday and thought to share. A boy asks his mom ‘Can we move to China?’
Taken back as her son has never spoken about China and as it is not really something they focus on in the house, she asks ‘Why?’
‘Because everything that I like is made there’ 
So true.


If you are organizing a golf tournament for your team with clients, make sure you tell marketing to put it at your home course on the day that the women’s league golfs every week.
You will end up with emails like ‘Women’s day golfing has been moved back to noon tee times because someone’s husband who works at X is having a tournament that day’
Yup, works every time.


There are many cliches that we hear in life, but I think that this is the one that I have heard most frequently. Candidly, it is a good general piece of advice, but consider this situation:
My wife saw a unique picture frame set up at a friend. The set up – 4 picture frames high, 4 picture frames wide, a total of 16 picture frames in a nice big square on the wall. The decision was immediate – execute that model.

Off to IKEA we go, 16 frames acquired. Kitchen prepared, tools laid out, time to begin the project when the conversation begins: “Now, take your time. We know what has happened before” (Correctly referring to errors made in the past).

I am bound to succeed. I work it all out on a grid. I calculate every measurement. I spend more than an hour preparing before a single hole is drilled. I check and recheck measurements. I re-measure, 2, 3 times. Confident in my cautious and fool proof approach, I drill 16 holes. I insert 16 screws. I put up the first frame.

I put up the second and third frame … DANGER Will Robinson .. they don’t fit.

What? But I measured, I prepared, I checked and triple checked? I KNEW THAT FAILURE WAS NOT AN OPTION.

You see, when I prepared my measurements, I used the dimensions that are printed on the IKEA frames to create the grid. Turns out those dimensions are internal dimensions not external dimensions. My measurements were off by 3 CM per frame. So while this is a good cliché and ‘generally’ true. There are exceptions.

Next time, travel to the store – hire a handyman. Much better plan.


I have stated in the past that I have done stupid things, just part of life. It is good to laugh at myself, helps to ensure I never take myself too seriously. On that note …Last week, my wife was doing a fast/natural cleanse. On Wednesday night she offered to share the fibre drink with me. I declined, but decided to participate by drinking a double dose of Metamucil. The next day, I felt great and was laughing with a buddy about cleansing. He mentioned an interesting stat, the average male has 10 lbs. of gunk stuck in the digestive track from red meat and the like. From Colon Complete 3000 (As seen on TV):
A toxic colon is a major factor in the development of food intolerance leading to chronic ill health. You cannot expect to be well if the main organ responsible for ridding the body of toxic waste is under-functioning. When the colon is irritated by diet, stress, drugs, chemicals, and other substances, it tries to protect itself by producing more mucus. This additional mucus can bind with the sludge from refined foods, such as white flour, and build up on the wall of the bowel, narrowing the lumen. This layer of gluey, hardened feces can weigh several pounds and is a good place for harmful organisms to breed.
This got me thinking … So when the fibre drink time came on Thursday night, I doubled down. Well actually, I 8X down. That is right, 8 times the recommended dosage (Note: Don’t try this at home kids).
The first clue that this was a bad idea should have been how quickly the drink became thick and undrinkable. I had to add water three times. The first warning that I had made a terrible mistake was after I gagged the drink down. I started reading the label which stated that Metamucil can expand rapidly and cause choking. Uh, OK … In the back of mind, I knew I was in trouble (my stomach was sending signals) as I went to bed. But I hoped that it would pass (no pun intended).
At 12:30AM I woke with such excruciating stomach cramps that I thought I was dying. Was it the mushroom soup and food poisoning? Was it the 24 hour Norwalk flu that my son had a week earlier? I had yet to clue into the Metamucil link. The night was not pleasant, I was in a LOT of pain.
To make it worse, I had a very important meeting at 730 the next morning with our global VP, new Canadian president, managers and and directors to announce our new boss. No call in allowed, in person only. What am I going to do? I sent an IM to my current boss explaining that I was dying, he said no problem .. You can call in for the first 15 minutes. 7:30 AM arrives, I am in my office when Narda comes in … There is someone on the phone for you (** groan **). Sure enough, the entire room has called my house. Not the type of profiling I am looking for … ‘Hi, is Michael there?’… ‘Who is this?’ (Kids fooling around in the background) … ‘It is the office. Is he there?’ .. ‘One sec’ ..(Everyone listening) ‘MICHAEL PHONE’
Around 10AM, I start to worry. It is not getting better, I am dying or giving birth (Note to women: I know, it is nothing like birth. But having never experienced it and as I have a lower tolerance to pain, it is all relative). So I call the Metamucil hotline (Yes, they have a hotline). My anxiety grows as the prompt states ‘If this is a medical emergency, please press 1’. I get (what sounds like) a kid on the phone and explain my situation. After his snickering subsides (In his defense, I was laughing about it too), he explains that while he is not a ‘medical professional’, Metamucil does have the side effect of causing gas and bloating. It is up to me to decide whether or not to go to the doctor.
** GROAN ** I decide to hang on and spent until 4:30 PM in agony, when it finally breaks.
So be warned, exceed the recommended dosage at your own peril. That being said, I feel very detoxified. I just did it the hard way.

MEN NEED LISTS (from the archive)

I think one of the funniest scenes (Maybe the only funny scene) in the movie The Weather Man is when he is told to pick up the take-out and, WHATEVER HAPPENS, don’t forget the tartar sauce. The whole time he keeps saying to himself .. ‘tartar sauce, tartar sauce, tartar sauce’, but random things start popping up. In the end, he forgets, it is the last straw and results in their separation.

Now, I do not know about other men, but I have been upstairs helping Narda put the boys to bed and been asked me to run downstairs and get something. On many occasions, I have run downstairs, done several other things .. taken an extra 10 minutes because I walked by the TV or computer and got distracted .. And returned upstairs to that look of ‘where is the item that I asked you to get that does not appear to be in your hands?’ Yup, many times.

So, on the weekend I had to jump out and do a couple things (get to the bank, go get some hot-tub chemicals) and was asked to go into the grocery store and pick up 10 items. The grocery store is a scary place for a married man. Now, I know that for the single man, it is an exciting place. There are many articles on how to meet women, and they all suggest the supermarket late at night. Well, I can assure you, to the married man it is not that green field .. It is a mine field filled with all kinds of things that we put in the shopping cart when we are accompanied by our better half, only to have them quickly pulled out of the cart when we are not looking.

So, I enter the grocery store. My first observation is of all the other men like me. One hand on the cart, the other holding a list, with that look of ‘WHAT F$%^ING AISLE IS TARTAR SAUCE IN?’ Yes, frustrated, concentrating while still looking very lost.

My second observation, my TOTALLY amazing wife has put everything in order! HA! It works from left to right. I smile at the poor bastard beside me. What is that? Your list reads vegetable (1st aisle), condiment (8th aisle), milk (back), another veggie (1st aisle), bread (9th aisle), feminine product (3rd aisle), pie (front) .. She must be mad at you. Sucker.

I then proceed to go after the 10 or 12 items on the list. Now, this is where I get to the part where men really need supervision. Over the next hour (Yup, it was a slow process) I ran into 2 people that I knew, and well, that just threw my rhythm off … One must chat. I laughed and compared lists with my Insurance Broker … men out on a mission (To which he mentions how his daughter got him, asking him to pick her up a bottle of wine from the store as he walked out .. now he is doing his wife and his daughter’s list). I digress. So, up and down I go and … and I end up with a full cart. And I mean FULL. There were so many things that I had forgotten that I really needed for the house … And of course, this is where my wife and I have a difference of opinion. She likes buying only what we need, I am a bulk up kind of guy. I am the ‘you never know when we could get snowed in for a month, better stock up! Lets go to Costco’ kind of guy. Why buy it over 4 visits when you can do it all at once and store it? (Which is why I came home with 4 bottles of Plax, 6 Lysol, and a few other things on the list that I multiplied by a factor of 4 to 6).

I also ended up with 2 fresh lobsters, 2 jumbo milk chocolate bars (in case we want real hot chocolate), 2 boxes of Dutch cookies, 2 types of ice cream, 4 bottles of wine, light bulbs, 5 bags of bulk candy (for my office), and a host of other things .. But I forgot to get a plunger.

And you know what was amazing? Everything I put in the cart, stayed in the cart and arrived safely at the till. Amazing.

In the end, I got every item on the list. But the 10 item, $40 list turned into a full trunk and $350. Maybe I do need supervision.