You know what gets my goat? I don’t really have a goat and I have no idea what that means, but if I had one, this would surely get it!  People.  That’s right people, especially those who send me stuff in e-mails that they haven’t verified.  If we were checking out a political candidate we would call it vetting.  I don’t know where that term comes from either.  Sounds like a term you would use when you are taking Fido to the vet for “the operation”.  Anyway, I get stuff all the time about political candidates, or celebrities, or news events that people send to other people without  bothering to see whether it’s true or not. 

In grammar school we used to call that gossip and the Nuns at Our Lady of Perpetual Hypochondria used to warn us about gossip.  They said it was a venial sin (that’s the sin that if you sin it and die with it on your soul, you have to go Purgatory until either someone prays you out or you have enough indulgences of your own to get you out quickly) and that you shouldn’t do it.  Boy, they didn’t know my grandma.  She was the neighbor hood “breaking news” authority of our time.  The only thing she didn’t have was the news alert music that sounded like somebody was tapping out a quick cadence on an empty Coke bottle with a metal rod and an announcer crying “BULLETIN, BULLETIN, BULLETIN.”


I remember back in the dark ages of the internet, oh about 1997 or so, when everyone was sending out junk because it sounded too good to be true.  You remember, Bill Gates will give you $10,000.00 if you respond to this e-mail” or “Congress is preparing a bill to charge internet users $0.05 for every e-mail sent.”  Or my all time favorite about the ten-year old kid in West Trash Pile Ohio who wanted to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the sickest kid in the world receiving the most e-mail before he died. Boy who could refuse that tear jerker?


My all time favorite political e-mail was the one about the candidate for governor who was seen osculating, in public mind you, a woman who was not his wife!  Then to add insult to injury, there was a picture of the same candidate masticating in a local family restaurant!  Oh, the horror of it all!*

I’m sure people still play the Parlor Game “Rumors”, you know the one where everyone sits in a circle.  Then the first participant is handed a written “statement of fact” and whispers that fact to the next person and that starts a  rumor around the circle.  By the time it gets to the end of the group, the rumor is usually so far out of proportion to the original that it is hardly recognizable.  The junk e-mails are today’s equivalent.


Too bad you can’t use Snopes to check out the facts in that game.  Where they got the name Snopes is anybody’s guess.  Maybe it is a bastardization of the word snoop. Because that is what one would have to do to “vet” a fact in today’s world.  Or better yet, just do a search on the internet.  You remember the internet.  It’s the thing that former vice president Al Gore invented.  Oh, wait a minute, let me check that out on Snopes.Com.   . . . Nope.  Sorry, he didn’t.

I have found Snopes to be pretty reliable when it comes to verifying information.  But I also like to Google the info.  I know where they got that name from.  There used to be a comic strip character named Barney Google and a song about Barney Google With the Goo Goo Googly Eyes. You young kids can just go ask your great grand daddy about that one.  He’ll vet it for you.  Or better yet “Snope” it.


Just don’t tell someone that you have checked something out on Snopes or wherever because it hurts their feelings to know that you don’t trust them to tell the truth, even if it is a lie.  It’s kind of like telling them that their cat has been digging in your garden and you don’t appreciate it.  Their precious little “Fluffy” just doesn’t do things like that!  So, I just look at what’s been sent, verify it myself and hit the “DEL” key if it’s crap.  If it’s not crap, then I decide whether to send it out and have other people say either “Boy he’s a Genius” or “Looney really does need to get a life!”


*I’ll save you the trouble:  Osculate means to “Kiss” and Masticate means to “Eat”.  I call that “looking it up in the dictionary.”


BLOGGER’S NOTE: Trust me folks, I try my darndest to keep Randy away from this site, but I believe that he has a 13-year-old grandson who can hack his way into anything.  J.


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  1. OK! I finally did some searching, and found in an NPR interview with David Mikkelson, who founded Snopes, that the site name came from his old internet nickname.

    Now, that leaves open the question of why he chose that nickname. My hypothesis is that it’s a reference back to the terrible Snopes family in William Faulkner’s writing. That Snopes clan was something – I’m not sure I’d take their name!

    Great post! And you nailed it with that reference to the old “rumors” game!

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