Number one

According to some useless rankings just released, Harvard is once again the top university in the US. It’s apparently been twelve years since they could make this dubious claim and, prior to that, they could make it only sporadically. I’m not sure what the administration thinks of such accolades, but having been enrolled as a student during one such year, I know the students don’t particularly care.

This particular year was early into the Clinton era, when grunge was trying to stomp out the memory of Big Hair and the last remnants of Nancy Regan-style anti-drug messages were getting more desperate. (Example: all of the phone books that year featured an ad on the back with a sign saying in thick, black, hand-painted letters “Mom and Dad, I do drugs”, with a kicker line below it saying something like “Real signs of drug use are not so easy to spot”.) Few students in that environment could have cared less what the U.S. News and World Report had to say about them.

Well, except the Harvard Lampoon, who staged a “we’re #1”-style rally on the grand steps of Harvard’s main library. A good number of the Harvard Band had been involved, so it was pretty festive, especially after the champagne started flowing. Like most Lampoon humor, it went way over the top, with speeches, massive posters and guys in mascot like costumes (one of them, for some reason, the “Mac Tonight” guy). The only reason I remember any of this, though, is that almost lost among a sea of huge banners with big “#1″s on them and messages like “Harvard: the Harvard of the U.S.”, was a small sign in thick, black, hand-painted letters saying “Mom and Dad, I do drugs”.

Spam gets three times funnier

Spam filters are now good enough that they suck away the evil crap without me noticing. It’s been a long time since I cared enough to look to see what it was filtering out. On a whim, I did so today and noticed that subject lines have graduated from spelling out the names of erection medicine in fifty million different ways to using provocative “headlines”, which look like over the top news/gossip events. The idea being, I suppose, that if the headline is compelling enough, you take the time to read (or, at least, render) the spam.

I still haven’t read any of the actual mails, but some of these headlines are hilarious. I’m guessing they have some sort of random context-free grammar thing generating them. Sort of like they fight crime, but more obsessed with media whores. Some examples of what I got today:

  • Britney Spears Ditches Music Career, Enters Car Racing
  • Britney Spears Admits “My Vagina Made Me Shave My Head Bald”
  • Angelina Jolie’s Lips Explode
  • Britney Spears’ New Hair Extensions Are Lindsay Lohan’s Pubes (that one’s for you, Rob)
  • Britney Spears Shoots Down American Spy Satellite With Her Vagina
  • Britney Spears Not Bipolar – New World Order Conspiracy Afoot
  • Britney Spears: “Yes, I tried to suck the shine off a bumper”
  • Paris Hilton denies screwing Ron Paul
  • Britney heartbroken as Diana’s Butler beds Winehouse
  • Paris Hilton To Poses For Playboy, followed immediately by another mail claiming Paris Hilton Becomes Nun. Your call on which would be more shocking.
  • Paris Hilton’s Vagina Bites Penguin

The Weekly World News wishes they could make these headlines. I can almost see the “photo” they would use for that last one.