Some good things to think about - from others on the web...

1. Big companies don't do business via chain letter, and there are no computer programs that track how many times an e-mail is forwarded, let alone by whom. 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 checks.

2. Proctor and Gamble is not part of a cult or scheme, and its' logo is not bad.

3. MTV will not give you backstage passes, if you forward something to the most people.

4. The Gap is not giving away free clothes. You can relax.

5. 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 their cousin. If you are hell bent on believing the kidney theft ring stories, see: http://urbanlegends.tqn.com/library/weekly/aa062997.htm.

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!

6. Neiman Marcus doesn't really sell a $200 cookie recipe. And even if they did, we'd all have it. And if you don't, you can get a copy at: http://www.bl.net/forwards/cookie.html. Then, if you make the recipe, and decide that the cookies are that awesome, feel free to pass the recipe on.

7. If the latest NASA rocket disaster(s) DID contain plutonium that was sprinkled over the eastern seaboard, do you REALLY think this information would reach the public via an AOL chain letter?

8. There is no "Good Times" virus. In fact, you should never, ever, ever forward any email containing any virus warning, unless you first confirm it, at an actual site of an actual company that actually deals with viruses. Try: http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/ You cannot get a virus from a flashing IM or email, you have to download it.... ya know, like, a FILE!

9. There is no gang initiation plot to murder any motorist who flashes headlights at another car driving at night without lights.

10. 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 6 months. (Think Cut and Paste) It sure wouldn't hurt to get rid of all the >>>'s that begin each line either. Besides, if it has gone around that many times, we've already seen it.

11. Craig Shergold (or Sherwood, or Sherman, etc.) in England is not dying of cancer, or anything else at this time, and would like everyone to stop sending him their business cards. He apparently is no longer a "little boy" either.

12. The "Make a Wish" foundation is a real organization doing fine work, but they have had to establish a special toll free hot line in response to the large number of Internet hoaxes using their good name and reputation. It is distracting them from the important work they do. Also, the American Cancer Society does not give 3 cents for each person you forward e-mail to. They ask for you to donate money, - - they don't give it, as if they could know how many e-mails you sent out...sheesh.

13. Those of you who forward anything that "promises" something bad will happen, if you don't do something- - - then something bad MAY happen to you or it MAY NOT, either way it has nothing to do with the e-mail.

14. Women really are suffering in Afghanistan, but forwarding an e-mail won't help their cause in the least. If you want to help, contact your local legislative representative, or get in touch with Amnesty International or the Red Cross.

15. As a general rule, e-mail "signatures" are easily faked and mean nothing to anyone with any power to do anything about whatever the competition is complaining about.

PS: There is no bill pending before Congress that will allow long distance companies to charge you for using the Internet.

Bottom Line... composing e-mail or posting something on the Net is as easy as writing on the walls of a public rest room. Don't automatically believe it, until it's proven false... ASSUME it's false, unless there is proof that it's true.

Oh my, the glory of email. It allows us to stay in touch with loved ones, glean the latest news, trade funny stories and bad jokes... But how many of us are plagued by the relative or friend who forwards every virus warning, every e-petition to help save Sesame Street, every rumor about the impending taxation of email?

Well, these warnings are, more often than not, just so much bunk, friend. Mostly these are Urban Legends, see? Toss 'em away, I say. And if you're a big heart (I hope you are), you can do a little checking before forwarding that "Microsoft is giving away free trips to Disneyworld" email to your entire address book.

My favorite Websites for hoax-busting are Urban Legends Reference Pages and AFU & Urban Legends Archive (listed below). These sites are great for dishing the truth about circulated rumors, and they provide an easy way for you to tell your well-intentioned friend that he has been duped. (Something along the lines of "Don't feel bad, so many people have been fooled by this hoax, it's actually described at the following Website..." usually does the trick.)

Computer viruses are, of course, another area of concern for many computer users. Once again, the bulk of warnings that arrive in your mailbox are suspect (and often even the true ones apply only to PCs, not Macs). To check out virus-related rumors, consult Vmyths, also listed below.

So, you can now relax your soul, leave the virus hunt to the professionals, and quit worryin' yourself (and me) half to death. Urban Legends Reference Pages

www.snopes.com/ AFU & Urban Legends Archive



Some of us have been unnecessarily disturbed by messages from our friend and relatives warning of deadly computer virus or urging you to tell all your friends to send off e-mail to help a dying child or some such thing. Here is a good place to start if you wish to verify the rumor.