WANNA BUY a PhD? Your humble narrator got a bunch of junk emails offering fake degrees last week and deleted them. What idiot would order artificial qualifications off the net?
I was mulling over this when I received a Facebook note from my former colleague Nate Thayer, the legendary reporter who tracked down Pol Pot.
Nate had just discovered two groups of individuals who regularly DO pay for fake degrees: 1) Household pets in the US; and 2) Leaders in third world countries, particularly in Asia.
Hanging on the wall in the North Korean mausoleum of Kim Il-Sung is a PhD from Kensington University of California, which is not a real university, but a printer of unrecognized degree certificates, Nate said. Top Cambodian politician Hun Sen has a similar degree.
The reporter said that when chief minister of Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani was confronted by reporters about his fake qualifications, he responded: “A degree is a degree. Whether fake or genuine, it’s a degree. It makes no difference.” (This statement is SO going to haunt this guy when he has to persuade his own kids to go to college.)
That got me thinking. A fake degree off the internet helped Kim Il-Sung get to be a world famous despot. I wouldn’t mind being a world famous despot. Note to self: Don’t delete junk mail for a day or two.
“Mummy, tell me about when I was born.”
“Well, Superfluetta, you’re really only here because silly mummy narrowly missed the special offer period at the local clinic.”
A LANGUAGE inspector in Quebec, Canada recently made an official complaint about finding an untranslated foreign word in a public place: the word “pasta” on a menu in an Italian restaurant. This guy should have his name and picture in dictionaries as the definition for “overzealous”.
A STAFF member working at a hi-tech building in China accidentally stored an illegal pornographic video in the wrong folder of his computer last week. As a result, a triple-X-rated US movie started playing on a huge public screen at Western Fuye Square, Zhongshan City, Guangdong.
Working at lightning speed, staff managed to push the off button after just 20 highly educational minutes, according to thenanfang.com newsite.
They also reported that there was a torrent of complaints from members of the public, including: “This is a great day in history” and “I’ve seen that one before.”
DEMAND FOR tiny bottles of medicinal cow urine is soaring in Mangalore. Amazed bottler Santhosh Kumar told the Times of India that “even the educated” are using it. That comment says it all.
PEOPLE WHO want to be zookeepers in southern China have to pass a test in the philosophy and principles of Marxism, the Yangcheng Evening News reported. I think the authorities are worried that the animals may be getting a bit decadent and bourgeois. Aren’t we all?
TIP OF the day: Never do card tricks for the group you play poker with.
READER FRANCES sent this email: “I texted my two brothers your joke about your daughter wanting a pony and Ikea, and see what they came back with.
The older brother: “Ikea meatballs not only self assembly. It is also self delivery .. by pony express.”
The younger one: “It's so sad that companies are the butt end of jokes over this. I think they've been saddled with the problem or someone's been horsing about in the meat factory. I think that's the MANE issue!”
MEANWHILE, Nate’s blog has been kicking up a stir when The Atlantic magazine commissioned him to write a 1,200 word piece—and later revealed that the budget for it was zero dollars, zero cents. They wanted him to do it for nothing.
He reprinted his email exchange with the editor on his website, causing more than 100 depressed freelancers to chime in with their views on the death of freelance journalism…
What do you think about this?
It’s a tricky one. I know that one should pay an honest day’s wages for an honest day’s pay. That’s one of those zillions of bits of wisdom from the Bible.
Yet there are so many very smart people happy to write just for the job of entertaining others (including Grandpa, Liftie, other commentators, and people with a professional writing background such as myself) that you can see why editors think they no longer have to pay people.
Anyway, check out Nate’s piece and tell me what you think.
CORRECTION OF the week, featured in the latest issue of the New Yorker, comes from the LA Times’ beauty column:
In a Sunday Image article about hyaluronic acid, a skin-care ingredient and injectable filler, Dr. Nowell Solish was quoted as saying that if people change their minds after receiving an injection, there is an anecdote. It should have quoted him as saying there is an antidote.
I think I would rather have the anecdote.
Have a brilliant day.