A Better Vocabulary in Just 10 Spams a Day

Volume 7, Issue 11; 19 Jan 2004; last modified 08 Oct 2010

By now you must be getting “random word” spam too.

Words ought to be a little wild for they are assaults of thought on the unthinking.

John Maynard Keynes

By now you must be getting “random word” spam too:

Date: Several times a day
From: "Some Poor Sod" <forged.address@example.org>
Subject: Re: JEAMF, and began telling
To: almost.everyone@example.org

thug ashen tapis despoil hendrick littoral stark bingham 
bluestocking demise gin amanuensis dairylea roe
viscoelastic catatonia evidential plenipotentiary
counterproposal consecutive milwaukee 

It slips past the Baysian filters pretty well, but seems totally pointless. It doesn’t even contain any offers to enlarge my breasts or sell me prescription drugs at wholesale prices.

[Update: in fact the message includes a (presumably malicious) attachment, but the MIME encoding is botched so I never see it. I don’t know if the botched encoding is nefarious or stupid, and I don’t care.]

It’s just a heedless waste of bandwidth, I guess. I hope Dante carves out a new circle in hell for the folks that wreak this nonsense on us all.

“Amanuensis,” in case you didn’t know, is a fancy word for someone who takes dictation or copies manuscripts. And by curious coincindence the word “plenipotentiary” turned up in a West Wing repeat just the other day. It means a person, especially a diplomat, with full authority to transact business.


Well, you're probably looking at the mail using mutt or another sensible MUA.

The words are in text/plain variant of the multipart/alternative mail. The real spam is in the text/html version and is a big image loaded from the web.

—Posted by Silvestre Zabala on 19 Jan 2004 @ 11:41 UTC #

Mutt rocks :)

—Posted by Tobi on 19 Jan 2004 @ 04:42 UTC #

There could be a secret message hidden in there intended for agents in the field - stenography!

—Posted by Paul Downey on 20 Jan 2004 @ 09:14 UTC #

I think you mean steganography, Paul. Steganography involves hidden messages, whereas stenography is writing or transcribing rapidly using some special technique such as shorthand or a stenograph machine.

Sorry. I know I'm being incredibly anal-retentive, but sometimes I just can't curb my logolepsy. ;-)

—Posted by Adam on 01 Feb 2004 @ 05:38 UTC #

Those spam messages aren't 'pointless' if they help people to build their vocabularies!

—Posted by Jonathan Noel on 18 May 2004 @ 01:12 UTC #