Some helpful internet etiquette

1) Big companies don't do business via chain letter. Bill Gates is not giving you $1000, and Disney is not giving you a free vacation. There is no baby food company issuing class-action settlement checks. You can relax; there is no need to pass it on "just in case it's true". Furthermore, just because someone said in the message, four generations back, that "we checked it out and it's legit," does not actually make it true.

2) There is no kidney theft ring in New Orleans. No one is waking up in a bathtub full of ice, even if a friend of a friend swears it happened to a cousin. I quote: " The National Kidney Foundation has repeatedly issued requests for actual victims of organ thieves to come forward and tell their stories. None have." That's "none" as in "zero" - not even your friend's cousin.

3) Neiman Marcus doesn't really sell a $200 cookie recipe. And even if they do, we all have it. If you make the recipe and decide the cookies are that awesome, feel free to pass it on.

4) We all know 500 ways to drive your roommates crazy, irritate co-workers, creep people out on the elevator. We also know exactly how many engineers, college students, Usenet posters, and people from each and every ethnic group it takes to change a light bulb.

5) If your CC: list is regularly longer than the content of your message, you're probably going to Hell.

6) Even if the latest NASA rocket disaster(s) did contain plutonium that went to particulate over the eastern seaboard, do you really think this information would reach the public via an AOL chain letter?

7) There is no "Good Times" virus. In fact, you should never, ever forward any e-mail containing any virus warning unless you first confirm it at an actual site of an actual company that actually deals with virii. And even then, don't forward it. We don't care.

8) If you're using Outlook, IE, or Netscape to write e-mail, turn off the HTML encoding. Those of us on Unix shells can't read it, and don't care enough to save the attachment and then view it with a web browser, since you're probably forwarding us a copy of the Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe.

9) If you still absolutely must forward that 10th generation message from a friend, at least have the decency to trim the eight miles of headers showing everyone else who's received it over the last six months. It sure wouldn't hurt to get rid of all the ">" that begin each line. Besides, if it has gone around that many times, everyone else has probably seen it.

10) Craig Shergold in England is not dying of cancer or anything else and would like all to stop sending their business cards. He apparently also is no longer a "little boy" either.

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed--and hence clamorous to be led to safety--by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."--H. L.Mencken on politics.

"The day before election day they were still bowing their necks to the Anti-Saloon League, but two days later they were howling for beer and by the end of the year they were also howling for whisky, gin and rum."--H. L. Mencken on the U.S. congress and the election of 1932.

"I am the first man south of the Mason-Dixon line to brew a drinkable home-brew."--H.L. Mencken, in "Heathen Days".