Guaranteed to improve your English

Better Written But Still Spam

I received the following (obviously) spam email. I usually point out how poorly written these emails are and how they’re clearly not written by someone with command of English, but this one is different. As best I can tell, there are only punctuation problems.

Dear valued member,

It has been a very long time since I emailed you about a rare investment opportunity.

You signed up to my newsletter because you were seeking to only invest in companies
which I can guarantee will go up and I only email you when I know one will.

The last stock I told you to buy went up about 1000% and this next one is guaranteed
a solid 1300% keep on reading to find out why.

INCT (incapta inc) is a drone-maker with proprietary algorithms which essentially
bring drones to life. These algorithms give the drones the capability to act
independent of a physical operator.

Because of they own this amazing technology which they developed in house, they have
been receiving huge attention from the US Army as well as several private firms
including DJI and Amazon.

A guy I work with at a mergers and acquisition firm in New York told me that INCT is
about to be bought out for $1.37 per share on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. He
has always come through for me.

While INCT may currently seem stagnant, that?s because very few people know about
this imminent deal so don’t let that fool you.

I don’t expect the stock price to swing much in either direction until the takeover
is announced next week, at which point it will shoot up to around $1.37 overnight.

You know what to do if you want to profit when this happens.

Keep it on the hush, but do act quickly.

Best Regards,
Katheryn White

First of all, I didn’t sign up for any newsletter. You got my email address from someone else.

Secondly, and this is important: I received this exact email three times from three different names and email addresses: White (, Abe Ferguson ( and Hassan Whitaker (

I include the names and email addresses as a public service. Now, you can know that should you receive anything from these “people” and these email addresses, you’ll know to ignore them at least and report them at best.

You’re welcome.

Until next time! Use the right words!


March 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Interference and Editorial Independence

As a reporter, stories I write often get held for a variety of reasons. The most common are because either the editor/publisher wants me to do more work on it or because there isn’t enough space in the publication.

But occasionally, a story I have written of which I am particularly proud gets held for another reason: interference.

It’s common for the editorial and business sides of a newspaper/magazine/website to butt heads, but thanks to the First Amendment, editorial independence exists and, for the most part, is respected.

Until it’s not.

Case in point: A story on a local chamber of commerce I worked hard on has been held by my publisher as a favor to the publisher of the publication that is partnered with my publication (I know this might not make sense, but I don’t want to bore you with too many details).

The reason: The publisher asked my publisher to hold it as a favor while he completes a business deal that involves said chamber. He fears that this article would derail his deal, but if the deal was complete, the article’s controversy would be moot.

My publisher showed him the story; he found it fair and balanced, and gave my publisher a choice: run it or hold it. If my publisher chose to run it, the other publisher would support it, deal be damned.

I wasn’t the only one who wanted it to run: His wife, who’s also advertising director, and my editor also strongly disagreed with his decision.

I tried to tell my publisher that this is an example of interference at the cost of editorial independence. While I didn’t break out the dictionary when talking to him, I will here because that’s what I do with this blog.

To interfere is to “interpose in a way that hinders or impedes” and “act so as to augment, diminish or otherwise affect another.”

This is exactly what my publisher has done. I can’t convince him. Last week, he told me, “I hope you will one day understand.”

I doubt it. The story has held for two weeks and counting.

Until next time! Use the right words!

March 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Few Words About “Assume”

I keep hearing a cliche that drives me nuts: “When you assume something, you make an ass out of you and me.”

I completely disagree. Look at the definition. To assume means “to take as granted or true.” It has nothing to do with me and has everything to do with you.

So, when you assume, you risk making an ass of you. I don’t even enter the picture.  I refuse to be a party to this.

Until next time! Use the right words!

March 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Frasier Syndrome,” Real and Imaginary

Years ago, my wife and I would enjoy watching “Frasier,” the sitcom starring Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Jane Leeves, Peri Gilpin, John Mahoney, Moose and Enzo that won a then-record 37 Emmy Awards in 11 seasons including Best Comedy five times.

I say “would enjoy” because after so many seasons, my wife noticed a pattern that drove her nuts, and I could see her point: These two characters, these psychiatrists, really should know how to behave and not get themselves in the stupid situations in which they found themselves.

We called this “Frasier Syndrome” and defined it as “the curious inability to use common sense to resolve a situation.” Many other sitcoms suffer from such a syndrome, including “Modern Family.” But even dramatic shows such as “NCIS” have characters occasionally suffer from it.

Then I found out there really is a Frasier syndrome. It’s a urogenital anomaly associated with a particular gene. If I understand it correctly, boys with Frasier syndrome present at birth with male pseudohermaphroditism, meaning the external (male) genitalia look female. By adolescence, the person is likely infertile and will suffer from kidney disease. Girls with Frasier syndrome have only the kidney problems.

That doesn’t sound very appealing, so I think I’ll have to find another name for the malady that strikes characters. Perhaps “Sitcom Syndrome?”

Until next time! Use the right words!

March 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who are the Ad Wizards That Came Up With This One?

Road signs need to be held to a higher standard. The words are so important that to get it wrong could be disastrous.

In this case, however, it would be hilarious.

For the last week, I have seen freeway information signs that read, “Be Alert: Pedestrians Don’t have Armor.”

(For the next paragraph, read it as if Jerry Seinfeld was talking, or you’re watching the “Saturday Night Live” skit “Stand Up and Win.”)

What’s the deal with this sign? Obviously, pedestrians don’t have armor. But what I want to know is, why does this sign exist? Have we been having problems with pedestrians walking around freeways saying, “Hit me, I’m wearing armor?” And what’s the deal with pedestrians on freeways anyway? Don’t they know they should remain in their cars because they don’t have armor? And why are we being told this anyway? Are we really that stupid? Have there been drivers who say, “Hey, tonight I think we should go hit a pedestrian and see if they’re wearing armor?”

I’ll be here all week. Tip your waitress.

Until next time! Use the right words!

March 7, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pam Peterson: A Parodist Par Exemplar

I recently came across a wonderful parody of the song “Memory” from “Cats.” This version, by Pam Peterson, is nothing short of brilliant. It’s also not new, the YouTube clip I saw originating in 2010, but it’s new to me.

Check it out at

Midnight — I wake up and remember

That I left the door open with the groceries outside

Where the hell did I put my keys? Oh, look, here they are

Underneath the TV Guide.

Mem’ry, what became of the short term

I remember the old days, I was sharper back then

If I eat fish and do the crosswords every day

Will the brain cells grow again?

I could swear I out those tickets right here in my wallet,

Now I’m late, I thought the show starts at eight;

I wrote that in my whatchamacallit.

Damn! What did I walk in this room for?

Maybe when I was younger, I took too many ‘ludes.

Where’s that ginkgo biloba that I picked up today?

Oh, I left it at Whole Foods.

What the heck is that guy’s name?

He sings with me in choir.

Did I turn both of the burners off?

Or is my house on fire?

Shoot me, put me out of my misery

Or just leave me to wander Soldier Field parking lot.

If they ask, tell them I once had a memory too.

What was the question? I forgot.

Until next time! Use the right words!

March 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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