Thursday, November 30, 2006

What Do You Think

Hey bloggers, I do have this question I like to put out to see what others beside me think. I got this attachment. I seldom open attachments. Only when I know for sure who's sending it and so know it's save to open them. I opened one from such a source. It's a petition. It's about children in Africa. Young girls that get violated by men with aids who believe that they will heal when they mate with a virgin, the younger the better. It is a very deploring, emotional situation. It is heart breaking. Without further discription, the thing going around, (the source is in Holland), is a list to collect names to petition against cutting down funds that have been created to help bring awarenss to the situation and act bring about change so lives can be saved.

Now it easy to put one's name on a list. But what I am thinking is to what effect? It is just a list of names. First and last name. No other identification. The way I see it, I could put a whole lot of imaginary names on that list to make it grow. What good is that? Which government institution is going to believe that? Even if the city or county was added. What good would that do? I could add my all my relatives names who do not even live anymore or just make up names.

It seems to me a waste of time and energy. A non effective way to deal with emotional issues. Am I missing something?


Anonymous said...

If you didnt guess, it was w.t. who asked.

Larry Keiler said...

Larry does not participate in online petitions.

If it is something you feel strongly about, find out who is in charge of that particular issue and send a letter or email yourself.

Larry has one friend in particular who insists on inflicting online chain letters on know those ones that say, "Pass this on to 10 friends within 15 minutes and something good will happen. Hey, it really works! If you don't do this, something bad will happen." (What, like maybe Larry will stop getting time-wasting chain letters?) This same friend also sends him pseudo-political messages of dubious origin, most of it trashy or highly sentimental. Time-wasters, all of them.

The issue about which you're writing, w.t., is much more serious. And Larry has in fact heard about this some months ago. But you don't say who is responsible for this funding that's supposed to be cut. Send them your own letter. An online petition doesn't seem worth the paper it's (not) printed on. The only one he's heard of lately that had an effect was the one sponsored by the Dominion Institute to give a state funeral to the last WWI vet. But that campaign took place also within the mainstream media, which put a lot of pressure on the government.

Anonymous said...

Hi WT-
Sam used to do Google searches of the Bulk emails asking for help - and often they were scams. In one case, the people cited in the situation as needing help were saying PLEASE DON'T RESPOND! We are inundated with your letters and cards. This situation, of course, sounds different, but the same underlying principle remains. Do research outside the email. I don't respond to BULK email at all - unless the Bulk email is really a group email of people I recognize. If the source is legitimate, there will be other ways to contribute and track down who / what organization is setting the ball rolling. Whether the initiative is legitimate, or even still valid. Some of these petitions, etc., live in cyberspace forever... circling the cyberglobe!

Anonymous said...

This was not a bulk e-mail. It was sent through by a friend in my address book.

I read everything more carefully.The stories of a baby raped by six men, similar a 6 year old girl fighting for her life in hospital, etc., are illustrations to the serious matter of the African government wanting to do away with child protection laws. The petition is for preventing that children's rights are taken away from them.

I wondered about the organization setting up this petition. I typed the given e-mail address in on the web. to see if I could find an address, something more substantial about the organization. All it shows is resonse box in which to report when you are number 120 who sighned the list. Then it starts a new list.

What gets me now is that the e-mail address I typed in, doesn't come up in colour. Doesn't that automatically happen? Or is that only in the Word Program?

Anyway, I still don't know the source. And the question still remains, how effective is a petition that only lists names with no addresses or any other checkable reference?

Do such deploring people exist that use the emotions of people over a true news report to get them going? And for what purpose? Just sensationalism?

Anonymous said...

Well, not everyone is always out to get us. I think of our small efforts, and sometimes people set up their own efforts to help. Maybe the trick is to keep an open heart, but also a head on one's shoulders...

Anonymous said...

to answer your question - what good is an email petition read the following:

and some information about the actual petition your recieved in your email:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Tried that. Snoped tells me it can't find information pages on the subject. Suggests to try other topics. What seem sensational stories.

Who's anonymous?

I agree, Xena. Not everyone is out to get us. And I don't say that this is a scam. I trust the people that sent it through to me. It's my friend Miep and her family. Her Sons & daughters do travel and are involved with some kind of work in Africa. That's why I take an interest in researching it. It could be just an emotional response to an emotional, frustrating situation, just to DO something and not be passive. I don't question the sentiment but the method.

My criticism is for in case the petition is a scam. Even intelligent people can be gullible sometimes.

Anonymous said...

When I searched I got asking You wanted what? I was referred to the Search Engine. An open box appeared and someone typed the message in while I was watching. It told that the requested topic was not availabe but I should try other topics on the search engine:

You really should try it.
I have lots of great stories to tell you about vanishing hitchhikers
and bloody hooks
and exploding whales
and glurge
and gun-toting grannies
and hairy-armed hitchhikers
and murdered roommates._

That last paragraph I copied and pasted in.

Does that sound like a reliable source?

Anonymous said...

The site is called: Urban Legends Refeerence.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, I just read through our Spin Tale Magazine. I think it is impressingly wonderful. Great job!

Anonymous said...

It is good, isn't it? I really like the job Jo did for the design. Hey Wild Thing, and you're in the next issue of TALE SPIN! You'll need to get your piece ready for mid-February for posting March 1st. I can't wait to see what you decide to put in!

Larry Keiler said...

Larry sez: is a pretty reliable source for checking on urban myths and internet scams. That's why you got all those goofy-sounding topics, w.t., cuz that's what's out there.

Yers is not goofy. Larry doesn't believe it's a scam, either. That's why he said he heard about this some months ago. He just questions (like you) the usefulness of this type of petition approach.

Larry Keiler said...

OK here is a copy of a petition that says has been circulating the internet since 2002:

There is a myth in South Africa that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS. The younger the virgin, the more potent the cure. This has led to an epidemic of rapes by infected males, with the correspondent infection of innocent kids. Many have died in these cruel rapes. Recently in Cape Town, a nine month old baby was raped by 6 men. The child abuse situation is now reaching catastrophic proportions and if we don't do something, then who will?

Kindly add your name to the bottom of the list and please forward this on to as many people as you know and after the 120th name on the petition, mail to Please don't be complacent, do something about the kids of South Africa! You can make a difference! That poor child is fighting for her life. This is just but one of the million cases of child abuse, so please pledge your support and help keep CPU (CHILD PROTECTION UNIT) open. This is a very important petition. SAPS are trying to close down the CHILD PROTECTION UNIT. It is an essential part of our justice system for children. Please, give your support to this petition and ensure that it goes to as many people as possible. Please do not just leave it! Cut and paste so this can stay tidy - ALL IT TAKES TO HELP ARE A FEW CLICKS!!!

After every 120 signatures, please email to

Snopes gives it a yellow, which means it's dubious. And here's what they say about it:

We can dispatch one of the petition's claims at the onset — in all our hunting for information about child rape in South Africa, we've found no evidence that anyone is trying to shut down the Child Protection Unit of the South African Police Service (SAPS). The unit have been criticized in that country's local press for being ineffectual thanks to underfunding and understaffing, but no one is talking about disbanding it. It continues to show up in news story after news story as the investigatory arm involved with various cases, with no breath of a rumor about an impending closure.

Indeed, it has addressed this rumor in a statement on its web site.

Anonymous said...

It's almost 2007 now. Larry, that is the exact petition I received. Has been going around then for 5 years. Talk about ineffective.

So snopes claims it to be dubious, adding the one example you passed on in this column. It confirms my intuitive suspicion. I just didn't know how to go after some kind of proof.

I guess what throws me off is that I see/sense things and then wonder why people I consider more educated than me, who I think know more, keep up with the news and world happenings more, can't look through it.

Sometimes I suspect that the more educated people are, the more they keep up with news of the media, the more gullible they are. There is this aspect of thinking for one's self, away from the media's influence. (That's not easy to do). The same as I have in time discovered, that I have been actually fortunate not to have gone through the whole school system. I have learned for example, to appreciate literature that was not imposed on me.I remember on one of my trek tours along youth hostels, while we were waiting for supper to be ready, I was reading a book, (Dutch literature), with pleasure. Several people crinched, "What are you reading that for?" It had been forced on them through the school system. They hated it now.

I am glad you helped me explore the petition issue Lar'. Thanks. I hate to doubt myself.

I've ignored tons of chain letters, even before on line intrusions. At first sometimes in nervous anticipation. But I am still alive. No bad luck or damnation has followed me. Chain letters are stupid.

Larry Keiler said...

You are welcome w.t.

Interestingly enough, Stephen Lewis was on the Mothercorp today, and he did mention this belief that some men have about how to cure their AIDS. So the belief is out there. It seems this petition is not the cure, however.

But there is always this possibility: Lewis said that $130/year provides treatment for AIDS sufferers in Africa, all the drugs etc. they need. A donation to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Now that would do some good.

Anonymous said...

Yes, That would be a positive step toward enlightement. I think I could take that on with small donations, beside the World Wildlife Federation. The latter having been my choice for support, for some time. One can only take on so much.

I always liked Stephen Lewis. Good man worth putting your trust in. Would you by any chance know the contact address? Or should I search it out through the web?

What's the Mothercorp? I am sooooo clued out about so many things for lack of keeping up with the news. I find it so hard to spend time following the media, having to sift through all the bullshit. Excuse my unnettyous expression.

I'm working up to Christmas in little islands of time. Am really sunk into my pottery lessons to brush up on my techniques. Try to keep up my writing and attend at least every other editing circle. Keep up all important contacts with friends. Give Simon his due on walks. Read as much as I can fit in...

Man, the days fly by. I could do with Christmas every other year. Two weeks feel like only one week...

It seems really true that the older ye get, the more time shrinks.

Anyhow I put up my little phantasy Chrismas tree, build with a wine rack in the shape of a sail ship, found on a curb, garbage day. I robbed some poorly evergreens tentavily trying to stay alive behind The Great Canadian Super Centre, among lots of unsightly garbage, and used some of their branches to cover the wine rack and make it look like a tree. It really works. It's a little beauty. I put it in front of a curtainless, patio door, and made little snow flakes out of cotton baton and stuck them to that window to make it look like it is snowing. It turned out so cool!

Enough. Have to start my day.

Anonymous said...

Last night, I had the exact same thought - Christmas every two years... Kinda like the Olympics...

Now I'm not bah, humbug. I go pretty slow and relaxed with Christmas. It is just slipping up so quickly, I haven't even really thought about it.

Larry Keiler said...

Larry sez, Mothercorp is the nickname for CBC. The CBC is often referred to, especially by its employees, as the The Mothercorp. All-encompassing. Womblike. Maternal in its paternalism. The Mother of all Media.

Larry suggests, just a suggestion mind you, that it is possible to simplify Christmas. Just take Christ out of it. Do nothing but eat figgy pudding.

Or, if you take Christ out of Christmas, that just leaves you with mas. Mass. Midnight mass. Go to Midnight Mass. Sing O Come All Ye Faithful. O Holy Night. Adeste Fideles. Breathe incense. Long shadows in the flicker of candle flames. Dream of mangers. Little drummer boys. Asses, goats, sheep. Swaddling clothes. Oh Christ, he's back.

Anonymous said...

Well. how about all those good people getting their Christmas stockings all in a knot about the use of Xmas - calling the expression heathenist - taking Christ out of Christmas, for Christsakes.

Yet, X is an early Christian usage for Christ....

Lol- this posting is from X!!!!! (Not that I have any Messiah complex!)

Anonymous said...

I wonder about the Dutch word. Kerst. I don't think that has anything to do with Christ. I find a word kerstmis, which seems to mean lichtmis, which means lightmis. It is the day that determines the weather of the coming days.

Kerstmis I don't remember being used. The talk is about Kerstfeest, (feest is feast). Or just, Kerst as in "it is Kerst tomorrow." Or they speak about Kerstdagen. (days). There are two Kerstdagen, first and second.

Licht (light) as in Lichtmis could refer to the returning light. And the christians say that Christ is the Light.

I'll have to ask my sister. In German it is Weinachten. They celebrate the Kristkindl.That's Baby Jesus. Not sure what the Wei in Weinachten stands for. My sister probably knows that, or can look it up for me.

Winter soltice is the celebration of the returning light. I think The Dutch word Kerst may have to do with that.

When I find out for sure, I let ye all know.

Larry Keiler said...

There are so many pagan associations to Christmas, Larry is surprised, in retrospect, that we aren't embarrassed to call it a Christian festival.

But this line of thought leads us into too many threads to unravel, from Constantine onwards, thru the Druids, Wicca and, yes, the Holy Grail.

(This is on Larry's mind...again...he just saw The DaVinci Code...2 stars, maybe 2&1/2...and now he's reading Malory. Le Morte D'Arthur. Which raises the question for him: Was there an Archbishop of Canterbury in the time of Arthur? Or was Malory being anachronistic?)

He leaves this to those with the degree in comparative religion...

Anonymous said...

The first Archbishop of Canterbury was Augustine in A.D. 597.

The first known records of King Arthur were found in the Easter Annals, dated about A.D. 500.

Given as fact: Arthur wasn't a king. He did exist.

So,if they wrote about him already historically in 500 and Augustine was Archbishop in 597, there wasn't one during Arthur's life. Right?

So I guess you are right Larry, Malory was anachronistic.

Anonymous said...

Difference one word can make, Malory was not anachronistic, he was being anachronistic.

About Christ in Christmas, I pumped my sister for information. And the Dutch word "Kerst", in very old Dutch, also means (Kristus) Christ.

I was right that "Kerstmis" the old Dutch word, is out of use.

So everywhere Christmas is about Christ. Even X is him.

The German "Weinachten" means Holy Night. So the name isn't in it, but it's still all about him.

Still it originates from Winter Soltice, the return of the light. Christmas in my childhood home was treated as the return of the light. No angels, no Jesus stories. Real candles in the tree. But still there were the Chrismas songs about Christ.Not the least, "Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, David's zoon.... David's son... Hey, that brings me another question, wasn't Joseph the father? Sort of. David was the grandfather? Didn't Joseph count?

All that time I have been singing about David's son without giving it a thought, until now.

I remember it states that Jesus is from the House of David.

Guess I have to do some more thinking.