I received an e-mailed message from a shavonda simmons that was addressed to an Audrey Miller. I presumed it was generated by the Doom worm going around but it contains an interesting pitch about a concentrated phermone product the use of which has an undeniably excellent result: “Marvelous Women become Instantly Attracted to you.” Why Ms. Miller would have been interested in this news is unclear.

What particularly struck me about this message, though, was not so much the product itself–which I would no doubt purchase were my money not tied up in loans to expatriate Nigerian noblemen and potions to dramatically increase the size of my penis–but rather the pitch that came with it:

Pah! I’ll race the miserable wooden donkey any day in the week! cried the cab-horse

Dorothy did not reply to that I’ll be careful, promised the boy, as he took the box reverently within his own hands

She felt that Jim would know more about the Saw-Horse later on

If anyone can explain that to me, please do so in the comments below.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark Hasty says:

    This might explain it:

    (James Lileks’ cloumn from yesterday)

  2. Paul says:

    A bit of conjecture:

    That is a passage from the Either the ‘Wizard of Oz’ or ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ (forget which)

    Often programmers will put in a hunk of text as a place holder to be replaced later. (ie “put spam message here”)

    Possibly the guy that wrote the spamming software put that in the blank message and the spammer did not remove it all as they were preparing the spam.

    I once knew a programmer that almost lost his job over a Hamlet line. He put ““Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” into a text place holder only to have someone from Denmark think it was aimed at them.

  3. Mike Trettel says:

    The spammers are trying to poison filtering databases created by Bayesian type spam filtering prgrams such as Popfile and K9. These kinds of spam filters are semi-intelligent in that they create a database on the fly as to what to consider spam, and so can rather quickly catch all the usual variations upon viagra, porn, wonderful Nigerian enrichment schemses, and what not. That’s why you’ve been seeing all these spams with random gibberish in them, these were an initial attempt to first fool, and then later to poison the spam filtering databases by inserting bogus words to filter upon. Unfortunately (for the spammers) Bayesian filtering can quickly catch on to the idea of inserting random gibberish read from a dictionary, so it looks as if they’re going to the next step-inserting whole text quotations from what appears to be some literary work of some kind. The idea is to fool the filters one more time-since the quote isn’t just random gibberish combined with a viagra pitch. Instead it actually reads like real text combined with a viagra pitch.

  4. Paul says:

    hmmmm Mark and I posted within seconds of each other.

    Lileks’ theory is plausible but to me, improbable. Spammers don’t care if the addy is valid and if they did, why not just test it with another spam?

    Or why not just put the letter “a” in the body.

    And what would explain you getting spam and goofy text in the same message…

    I’m off to see the wizard (google) on this one.

  5. Paul says:

    Mike gets the award. Wired

  6. Mike Trettel says:

    Forgot to mention-I use both K9 and Popfile upon the various household computers. Once past the initial training period of about a week both filters are nearly perfect in catching and deleting spam, including the random gibberish and quotation schemes. The Lileks article referred to above is only part of why the spammers are doing this, but the real problem for the spammers is that these kinds of filters are very hard to beat once they are set up.

  7. …Joyce…

  8. Joyce makes sense.

    It certainly isn’t either *Through the Looking Glass,* or *Alice in Wonderland.* Those, I know.