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06-04-2003 06-12-2003

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Once Again, It's All Been Done Before ...
Thursday, June 12, 2003 10:40p

I recevied a humorous email forward today. Normally, I delete them as fast as I receive them but this one was sort of interesting. It was one of those that instructed you to keep scrolling down the body of the message.

After some very basic text animation (from the scrolling), a rose bloom would appear at the bottom of the page with a sentimental message about finding one's true love. It was a cute idea ... but knew that I could do better.

So, I thought of a brand new idea and set to work on creating my own original email forward -- an email forward that would surely be duplicated over and over again. It was that good of an idea! There was no doubt in my mind!

To start, I read up a little on ASCII Art because I wanted the page to be created using nothing more sophisticated than plain text. That way, it would be viewable on even the most basic of equipment. The main gag relied on a few "graphical" elements. However, I was sure that I could represent those as simple ASCII text.

For a couple of hours, I worked at creating the page -- carefully moving the characters around, and slowly constructing the text-based "images". Finally, the page was completed. It was a very proud moment for me.

Immediately, I copied the text into an email and sent it to my first victim. He thought it was extremely funny! This is what he saw:

The Amazing Plain ASCII Text Bungee Jump

Then, I saw him forward the email onto at least one of his friends. SUCCESS!!! The email chain had begun!

Minutes later, I got back an email saying that a web page already existed that had a similar gag. I visited the location that was sent to me, and sure enough ... there it was.

Horror. Sadness.

To be honest, there are quite a few differences between the two implementations ... still, it was true: the main idea behind the gag had already been created as a web page. In fact, that web page has now been out on the Internet for several years (according to the date on the site).

Oh well, at least mine is the only one that is created purely from ASCII text -- and therefore, I prefer to think of it as the first official "email forward" version of the joke.

The Return of "Cellphone Dick", and Other Rants
Wednesday, June 04, 2003 09:20p

Well, "Cellphone Dick" was on the rapid again today and a very amazing thing happened. You may remember "Cellphone Dick" from my previous post. As usual, he whipped out his cell phone on the rapid and loudly announced to five or six of his co-workers (who were at the office) that he is currently on the rapid, and will be arriving at work shortly. You would think that morning after morning his co-workers would eventually catch on.

Here was the amazing part ...

His cell phone, with a blatant disregard for it's own well-being, committed the most heroically selfless act that I could have ever imagined. It lept straight out from his hand, and shattered itself on the floor of the train. And for once there was silence, except for the little cracking and popping noises of "Cellphone Dick" trying in vain to squeeze all of the tiny plastic pieces back together again.

I heard on the news that two banks were robbed yesterday at gunpoint, only a couple of blocks down from where I live. The gunman fled onto the grounds of an elementary school and disappeared. Obviously, the children and parents were badly shaken up by the ordeal.

Then it occurred to me ...

If a machine could learn to love humanity enough that it would willingly lay down it's life for a bunch of strangers on a train ... why can't people learn to treat each other better?

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