Debunking email hoaxes and exposing Internet scams since 2003!

Hoax-Slayer Logo Hoax-Slayer Logo

Home    About    New Articles    RSS Feed    Subscriptions    Contact
Bookmark and Share

Issue 67 - Hoax-Slayer Newsletter

Issue 67: December, 2006

This month in Hoax-Slayer:
Read Previous Issues

Hoax-Slayer is a Free Monthly Web-Based Newsletter brought to you by Brett Christensen

The Hoax-Slayer Newsletter keeps you informed about the latest email hoaxes and current Internet scams. Hoax-Slayer also features anti-spam tips, computer security information, pertinent articles and more.

As soon as the newsletter is published each month, subscribers are sent a notification email with a direct link to the latest issue. The Hoax-Slayer Newsletter is absolutely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time either by following a link in the notification email or visiting the Hoax-Slayer Unsubscribe page.

To get your free subscription, enter your complete email address in the form below and click the "Subscribe" button. Concerned about giving out your email address online? I will never sell or give away your email address, or any other personal information, for any reason whatsoever.

Read the Hoax-Slayer Privacy Policy for more information.

Subscribe to the newsletter via RSS feed

Subscription Options in Detail

Coke and Mentos Death Warning Email

A currently circulating email forward falsely claims that children have died after consuming Diet Coke and Mentos together. The message includes photographs of the violent reaction that occurs when Diet Coke and Mentos are combined.

The explosive reaction is real and very well documented. In fact, the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment has taken the Internet by storm in recent months. There are literally hundreds of videos of such experiments posted on YouTube and elsewhere. Even the companies involved have embraced the phenomenon and have reaped the rewards of a great deal of free advertising for their respective products. Other brands of soft-drink (soda) also cause the reaction, but most observers agree that Diet Coke works best.

Click "Play" to watch a typical "Mentos and Diet Coke" street experiment

Discovery Channel's "MythBusters" also conducted such experiments in one of their episodes and explored the scientific causes of the reaction. An article about the episode on explains:
According to Hyneman (he's the mustachioed MythBuster), it's a process called "nucleation," in which the particular chemistry of the Mentos candy interacts with the chemistry of the carbonated Diet Coke, causing the carbon dioxide gas, or CO2, to suddenly come out of suspension in the liquid and make a break for freedom.

Thus, there is certainly no dispute that the experiment shown in the above photographs is genuine. However, I have found no credible reports of deaths caused by consuming Mentos and Diet Coke, in Brazil or elsewhere. Given the unprecedented popularity of Mentos and Coke experiments, there would surely be news reports and consumer warnings if serious or fatal injuries had occurred.

One video published on YouTube ostensibly shows an experimenter being seriously injured after consuming a Mentos and Diet Coke combination. However, the supposed injury was faked. In fact, the video raised such concern among viewers that its makers soon released a second video in which the completely unharmed experimenter showed "what really happened".

That said, consuming a Mentos and Coke combination, especially in large amounts, could certainly be very unpleasant and could possibly cause harm. There is not currently enough evidence to declare the practice safe. notes:
So is it dangerous to drink soda and eat Mentos? Well, a lot of the fizz goes away as you drink. Then when bubbles are released in your stomach, your stomach can expand a bit, and it also has ways of releasing excess pressure. Do not, repeat, do not be stupid and test the limits of your stomach. Don't even think about it.

At the very least, it could cause projectile vomiting to rival "The Exorcist's" Reagan and leave the person feeling quite ill. It would be wise to consume your coke and mentors separately to prevent unexpected and messy results. In the interests of safety, oral Mentos and Diet Coke experiments should be avoided. On the other hand, non-oral experiments can be fun, interesting and educational. Naturally, children conducting such experiments should be well supervised by responsible adults.

In mid 2007, I began receiving submissions of a Microsoft PowerPoint version of the warning message. The slide show is based around the same collection of photographs used in the earlier version. The text in the PowerPoint slide show version is included below:

In April last year a child, aged 10, a pupil of primary school Dante Alighieri from São Paulo, Brazil, died without any prior medical problems. He colapsed during a class.

He was offered first aid, but he died in a few minutes during the transport to hospital.


Bloated stomach, death due to suffocation.

The obduction established that his condition was caused by consumation of substances, that caused an explosion in his stomach. A bottle of Coca Cola Light  and subsequently a well known Mentos menthol sweet. "The cause of the child's death was the mixture of the substances in the two foods."

Alexander B. Mergenthaler from the chemical institute l'Institut USP (France) verified and practically proved that the substance from Coca Cola Light, Acesulfame K INS930, mixed together with the Menthos sweets, releases a deadly chemical reaxtion known as Ta9V4. In a very short time this combination produces and releases huge quantities of gas under high pressure – an explosion!

Even after this event and reports in various means of media provoked apalled public reaction, Coca-Cola and Mentos have issued no public statements.

Forward this e-mail and you might save someones life.

The slide show claims that the event had been reported in the media and provoked a public reaction. However, as with the earlier version, I have seen no news reports at all about a child dying as a result of consuming Coke and Mentos. If such a death had occurred, it is highly improbable that the incident would have gone unreported in the media, not only in Brazil, but also around the world.

Moreover, the only references to Alexander B. Mergenthaler, the scientist mentioned in the message, appear to be those related to the spurious warning message itself. And, although Acesulfame is a real artificial sweetener, I could find no information about it being associated with a deadly chemical reaction called "Ta9V4".

It seems apparent that someone has seen fit to embellish the original version by inventing a more detailed back-story and formatting it as a PowerPoint presentation. In spite of these enhancements, the warning still contains no credible evidence to support the claims of a Coke and Mentos related death.

The 'MythBusters' Take on the Mentos/Diet Coke Craze
First YouTube "Injury" Video
Second YouTube "Injury" Video
Coke and Mentos Fountain at

An example of the message:
Subject:Fw: Dangerous - Do not drink Coka-Cola and eat MENTOS together...!!!

Seeing is believing ?don't you think ?!!!

Last week a little boy died in Brazil after eating MENTOS and drinking Coka-Cola together.

One year before the same accident happened with another boy in Brazil ..

Please check the experiment that has been done by mixing Coka-Cola (or Coka-Cola light are the same) with MENTOS........ So be careful !!

Coke and Mentos 1 Coke and Mentos 2
Coke and Mentos 3 Coke and Mentos 4
Coke and Mentos 5 Coke and Mentos 6


Payment Transfer Job Scam Emails - Laundering Scams

Bogus "job offers" like the one shown below are becoming increasingly more common. These "job offer" emails usually ask recipients to accept cash or cheque payments into their bank accounts and then wire-transfer the payment to the "company" running the scam. The victim is instructed to keep a specified percentage of the transferred funds as payment.

Typically, the scammers claim that there is some impediment, such as slow processing or currency conversion problems, which stops them from accepting overseas payments in their country. Therefore, they claim, they need an overseas "agent" who can accept payments and then forward these payments back to them in an acceptable format such as a wire transfer. However, the real purpose of such schemes is generally to "launder" stolen funds by making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to follow the money trail.

Money stolen from bank accounts, proceeds from online fraud, and payments for nonexistent items sold on eBay may end up in the agent's account for "sanitation". For example, the criminal may transfer funds from a bank account recently compromised by a phishing attack into the "agent's" personal account. The agent will then subtract his or her percentage and wire the remaining stolen money overseas to the criminal. Thus, the money trail may lead police directly to the agent. Meanwhile, the criminal has been able to collect the stolen funds unhindered and can simply disappear if things get hot. On the other hand, the hapless agent is now an accessory to serious criminal activity and may ultimately be charged accordingly. Effectively, the agent becomes a "mule" to be used at will by the criminals responsible. In some cases, the agent may be asked to "re-ship" stolen goods and equipment as well as transfer payments. The agent may become more and more embroiled in the shady world of international cyber crime until he or she realizes what is happening or is left "holding the bundle" when the police arrive. Acting on what looks like a good opportunity may ultimately become an enduring nightmare for the victim. He or she may end up losing integrity and personal funds, and have to face very serious legal consequences.

Sadly, there are plenty of recipients naive enough to take these offers as genuine and apply for the "job". At face value, it may seem like an easy and legitimate way of making extra money. The criminals may directly target potential victims by responding to "work wanted" ads or resumes posted online. In other cases, they may randomly distribute thousands of "job offer" emails in the hope of netting just a few people foolish enough to take the bait.

Job scam spam takes many forms. While some such emails may be fairly easily identified by poor spelling and grammar and far-fetched cover stories, others may be quite sophisticated and even include seemingly official logos and company information. Regardless of how believable a job offer may seem, recipients should keep the following points in mind:
All unsolicited job offers that arrive via email should be treated with extreme caution. Do not reply to such emails or provide any personal information to their senders. Aside from the money-laundering ruse, scammers may also use job offer emails to trick victims into revealing sensitive personal information. Over repeated emails, the scammer may gain enough information to steal the victim's identity. The scammers may also trick victims into paying upfront fees for bogus "training" or "job manuals" or trick them into transferring their own funds while waiting for a stolen cheque to clear.

The best thing to do with such job offer emails is to simply hit the "Delete" key.

Avoiding Online Job Scams:Critical Tips for Job Seekers
Online job seeker says she was duped into scam
Cybercrooks lure citizens into international crime
Job offer spam: Processing payments

An example of a job scam email:

Dear Sir,Madam,

We are small new firm engaged in export of goods to overseas outside my country.We have won various small exports contract at one time or the other, recently we were (engaged) contracted to supply financial programs for market analyzing, management project software in USA which was successfully done.

Unfortunately we have faced some difficulties while receiving payment for our software in our country as need 10-30 days to get a payment from your country. We do not have so much time to accept wire transfers and can't accept cashiers checks and money orders as well. So we need your help to accept this payments in your country faster. If you are looking to make additional profit we will accept you as our representative in your country. You will keep 10% of each deal we conduct.

Your part is very important to accept funds and forward it to us. It is not a full time work but a very convenient and fast additional income. We therefore solicit your assistance to help remit this money , I would want you to submit to us via mail to [Address removed] the following information which includes
1 Your Full Name
2 Your Contact Address
3 Telephone number/Fax
4.Yahoo or MSN ID.
Your country of living

Please respond ASAP and you will get additional details on how you can become our representative. Joining us and starting business today will cost you nothing, just some extra income for you.

Thanks for your vivid co-operation.

Director of ENFOSOFT Marketing Dept.


Aeroscraft - Flying Cruise Ship

Information about a new blimp-like aircraft called the "Aeroscraft" is circulating via email and online. At first glance, the claims in the message may seem a bit far fetched. In fact, it might be tempting to dismiss the message as just one more piece of email nonsense. However, a little research indicates that aircraft like the one described in the message are indeed being developed, although they are not yet operational.

The images and text in the email were apparently taken from an article published in the "What's New" section of the Popular Science website. The craft are being developed by Worldwide Aeros Corporation, a California based aircraft manufacturing company. Information on the company website notes:
The company's operations involve the research, development, production, operation and marketing of a complete family of Aeros-branded air vehicles used in government and commercial applications. These include non-rigid FAA Type Certified Aeros 40D Sky Dragon Airships, Advanced Tethered Aerostatic Systems and New Type Rigid Air Vehicle - Aeroscraft.

The Aeroscraft will have a range of possible applications, both civil and military:
Characterized by its oversized payload bay, the Aeroscraft is a natural configuration to be adapted to luxury tour travel, allowing an unordinary space allotment to each passenger. For the same reason the craft can easily be adapted to a cost effective low density cargo or perishable goods hauler.

Unlike a blimp, the Aeroscraft is not lighter than air. It's design combines technology from both conventional aircraft and dirigibles. Lift is achieved by helium gas as well as the Aeroscraft's aerodynamic shape and aft and forward fins. The craft is driven by massive rear propellers and take-off and landing is controlled by six turbofan jet engines.

The sheer size of the aircraft will make them comparable to luxury liners with room aplenty for passenger staterooms, bars, restaurants and other amenities currently offered on ocean-going cruise vessels. Alas, at this stage, the Aeroscraft is still a prototype. It will be several years before such craft are ready for paying passengers. The company estimates that the first Aeroscraft will be completed by 2010. However, development is well underway. Another type of aircraft being manufactured by the company, the Aeros 40D Sky Dragon Airship, has now been rolled out and should be ready for test flights by the end of 2006.

I think a cruise on the Aeroscraft would be a truly awesome experience! I may have to add it to my list of "Things To Do Before I Die".

The Flying Luxury Hotel
Worldwide Aeros Corporation
How the Aeroscraft Will Work
First Aeros 40D Sky Dragon Airship Roll-Out Ceremony

An example of the message:
Subject: Aeroscraft

Would you fly on this?


Image credit: John MacNeill

Even though the Aeroscraft dwarfs the largest commercial airliners, it requires less net space on the ground than any plane because it doesn't need a runway. The airship takes off and lands like a helicopter: straight up and down.

This is not a Blimp. It's a sort of flying Queen Mary 2 that could change the way you think about air travel. It's the Aeroscraft, and when it's completed, it will ferry pampered passengers across continents and oceans as they stroll leisurely about the one-acre cabin or relax in their well-appointed staterooms.

This is an abridged example. The text and images in this email forward were taken from a Popular Science article.
Read the full article


Control Spyware with Spyware Doctor

Spyware is insidious. Spyware can clandestinely collect data from your computer. It can record keyboard input, including sensitive information such as credit card numbers and banking details. It can deliver intrusive pop-up advertisements and hijack your browser's home page. It can record what web sites you visit, track your journey from one site to another and log your web search activities. And, of course, it can send any of this harvested information back to unknown third parties who can then use it for underhand marketing purposes, or outright fraud.

Spyware can also seriously impede the smooth operation of your computer. Spyware infections can lead to a sluggish and unstable system that regularly crashes or freezes.

Often, spyware is included in freeware or shareware programs. When you install these programs, the spyware is installed without your knowledge. Users are also tricked into downloading spyware directly by clicking on deceptive links or browser pop-up buttons. Some spyware installs automatically by exploiting browser vulnerabilities.

Spyware is now one of the most serious threats to computer security and efficiency. In fact, maintaining a spyware free computer is virtually essential to the secure and efficient operation of your system.

Because spyware components can hook themselves so deeply into your computer system, manually removing them can be exceedingly time consuming and difficult even for expert users. Spyware can add entries into the Windows Registry and distribute many different files throughout your hard drive. Even if you subsequently uninstall a program that included spyware, the malicious components can be left behind and remain active on your system.

Thankfully, there are programs available that are specifically designed to remove spyware and protect your system from infection. I have tried out a number of these programs over the last few years, but by far the best I have used is Spyware Doctor from PC Tools. I have now been using Spyware Doctor to protect my system for several months, and I am exceptionally pleased with its performance.

I have Spyware Doctor configured to automatically download updates and scan the entire computer for spyware every evening. Spyware Doctor also immunizes my computer against a large number of known infections. As well, Spyware Doctor constantly protects my computer in real time from spyware processes, tracking cookies, malicious ActiveX objects and browser hijackers. These three levels of functionality offer thorough protection and real peace of mind.

Spyware Doctor is very easy to use and configure, even for novice computer users. Once configured as desired, this software runs quietly in the background, comprehensively protecting your system from malicious spyware.

The software has won a number of awards, including PC Magazine's Best Anti-Spyware of the year for 2005. I thoroughly recommend Spyware Doctor and I am proud to be a PC Tools affiliate.

Purchase Spyware Doctor

Read more information about Spyware Doctor

As noted above, I am an affiliate for Spyware Doctor. For more information please refer to my Affiliate Marketing Policy


Social Security Administration Phishing Scam

The US Social Security Administration has issued a warning to the public about a new phishing scam email that attempts to trick recipients into providing personal information on a fraudulent website.

The scam email purports to be from the Social Security Administration itself. However, the message is not sent from the SSA. Instead, it is being distributed by scammers intent on stealing sensitive personal information.

The scam email has the subject line, "Cost-of-Living for 2007 update" and claims that the recipient is required to update personal information or risk having his or her account suspended. The recipient is urged to click a link in the email in order to supply this information.

However, clicking the link will open a fake website designed to resemble the genuine Social Security website. The site instructs the victim to register for a password and then provide information such as a Social Security Number, credit card details and bank account data, ostensibly for identification purposes. Information entered on the fake website can then be harvested by scammers and used for credit card and bank fraud and to commit identity theft.

The Social Security Administration or other government departments do not request personal information via unsolicited emails. In the past, a similar scam message, claiming to be from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), informed recipients that they were eligible for a tax refund and directed them to follow a link to fill out a refund form. However, the "refund form" was in fact a bogus website designed to steal identity and financial information.

Phishing fraud takes many forms and people all over the world continue to fall victim to such scams. If you receive any unsolicited email from a government department, bank or other institution that asks you to click a link and submit personal information, then you should view the message with the utmost suspicion.

Find out more about Phishing Scams

SOCIAL SECURITY News Release: Public Warned about E-mail Scam
IRS Refund Scam Email
Phishing Scams - Anti-Phishing Information


Free Phone for Forwarding Email Hoax

The hoax email shown below claims that Sony Ericsson is giving away free phones to recipients who send the message on to 8 or 20 people.

The apparent endorsement of claims in the message by a popular radio station has given this old hoax new life and it is once again circulating vigorously. The endorsement is false and was most probably added without the consent or knowledge of the radio station named in the message.

Sony Ericsson will not give the recipient of this email message a free phone even if he or she does send it to 8 or more people. Those who send an email to the contact address included in the email may receive the following automated message from Sony Ericsson:

Dear sender,

This message / promotion is not a genuine Sony Ericsson promotion. We suspect that the people behind this hoax virus/email campaign hope to obtain and misuse the personal data of those who participate.

Please do not forward this promotion on.

Kind regards

Press Office

Sony Ericsson

Versions of the hoax have been circulating for several years. The original incarnation targeted Nokia rather than Ericsson, but the content of the message was very similar to the example shown above.

After the Nokia hoax began circulating, someone launched the first Ericsson version that claimed Ericsson wanted to "counter" Nokia's offer by giving away free Ericsson phones.

Interestingly, both the Nokia and Ericsson adaptations of the hoax claim to be endorsed by one "Anna Swelund", or variations such as "Anna Swelam" and Anna Swelan".

As stated, there are several mutations of this hoax, all of them equally false. It would be highly unlikely that Ericsson, Nokia, or any other reputable company, would launch a promotional campaign based on how many times a particular message was sent onward. If you receive one of these email hoaxes, please inform the sender that the message is untrue and do not send it to others.

An example of the hoax email:

[Name of popular radio station] confirmed this is a legit offer

Hi All,

Sony Erricsson is giving away phones for free. Sony Erricsson is trying word-of-mouth advertising to introduce its product and the reward you receive for advertising for them is a free phone free of cost. To receive your free phone all you have to do is to send this email out to 8 people (for a free Sony Erricsson j200i) or 20 people (for a free Sony Erricsson k400i WAP).

Within 2 weeks you will receive a free phone. (They will contact you through your e-mail address).

Please mark a copy to:

[Name Removed]
Events Manager - [Name of popular radio station]


Soldiers Answer To John Kerry's "Stuck in Iraq" Comment

In late October 2006 Senator John Kerry put his foot firmly in his mouth when he made the following comment to students at Pasadena City College:
You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.

Click "Play" to hear Kerry's comment

Not surprisingly, the comment provoked a storm of criticism from US troops stationed in Iraq and their supporters.

One group of Minnesota National Guard soldiers apparently decided to graphically illustrate their displeasure in the form of an intentionally misspelled banner. A widely circulated photograph (included below) shows the eight soldiers holding up a banner that reads "Halp us Jon Carry - We R stuck hear n Irak."

According to a November 2 Associated Press article on the Washington Post website:
The photo has appeared in newspapers and on television newscasts and Web sites. It was apparently first posted on the Web by radio host Charlie Sykes of WTMJ-AM in Milwaukee on Wednesday. It was provided by a listener, the station said.

Capt. J. Elaine Hunnicutt, a spokeswoman in the Joint Operations Center in Iraq, confirmed in an e-mail that the soldiers in the photo were from the Minnesota Guard and that commanders see it "as a humorous response."
The photograph is now circulating in the form of an email forward and is also a popular topic for blog and forum posts.

Kerry subsequently apologized for the comment and claimed he meant no offence to troops. According to Kerry (or his spin doctors) the comment was just a botched joke that was originally aimed at President Bush.

Botched joke or not, the comment is likely to haunt "Jon Carry" for quite some time to come.

Guard to Kerry: 'Halp- Stuck N Irak'
Kerry apologizes for 'misinterpreted' words'

An example of the email:
Subject: Halp US Jon Carry...

Halp Us Jon Carry


Fight Spam With Disposable Email Addresses

Unfortunately, the amount of spam continues to increase. However, there are actions you can take to help curb the insidious flow of junk email. One such action is to use a disposable email address when you need to give out an email address online. Rather than supplying your real email address, you provide an on-the-fly disposable email address that is only used for that particular site. Emails that the site sends to you are then automatically re-routed to your real address.

There are a number of disposable email address (DEA) services available. Some are free while others are charged on a monthly or yearly basis. Different services may offer a different range of options. However, most allow you to easily create DEA's that will last for a specified time period, for a preset amount of messages, or until you "turn them off".

Let's look at an example to illustrate how a DEA service works. I use a free DEA service called Spamgourmet. The following example is based on Spamgourmet's method of creating DEA's. Other services may approach the creation of DEA's differently. However, the underlying concept is the same. Imagine that cat lover Jill comes across a site devoted to cat care. Jill would like to subscribe to the site's free newsletter. However, she's been caught before, and she is wary about supplying her real email address in case the site owner turns out to be a spammer. So, instead, she subscribes using a unique DEA created on the spot.

As long as the address Jill creates adheres to the format specified by her DEA service (Spamgourmet), her subscription to Cat Care Weekly should work fine. She could use an email address like All email that originates from Cat Care Weekly will be sent to that specific DEA before being forwarded to her real address. If Cat Care Weekly sends her spam, she will know immediately and conclusively where it came from. Jill can then terminate the DEA, thereby stopping all future cat care emails before they even reach her inbox. Or she could just wait until the DEA expires when the specified number of messages is reached (10 in this example). On the other hand, if Cat Care Weekly turns out to be legitimate and spam free, Jill can either make the DEA permanent or re-subscribe with her real address. A quite effective spam control strategy!

DEA services do have a few minor problems. Firstly, you need to provide your real email address to the DEA service itself, so an initial level of trust is required. Secondly, since emails must travel via the DEA service rather than directly to your inbox, they may take longer to reach you and there is perhaps more opportunity for the message to get lost in transit. I'd be a little hesitant about using a DEA for very important emails. Thirdly, using DEA's can be a little clumsy at times. You need to be careful that your made up addresses adhere exactly to the service's specified format - otherwise they will not work. Also, forgetting to make a DEA permanent could result in legitimate email being lost.

Overall however, using a DEA can certainly be an effective anti-spam tool. Used diligently, DEA's can really help separate the good from the bad and result in a less spam-ridden inbox. So far, I've found Spamgourmet to be quite reliable and the service has a lot of useful options. However, there are plenty of other services to choose from. has an article that reviews several of the best DEA services.


Photos of Lady Hand-Feeding Hummingbirds

The wonderful photographs shown below of a woman hand-feeding Hummingbirds have been rapidly circulating via email, blog, and forum posts since late September 2006. The images have generated a lot of discussion. Some commentators have postulated that the images were created using a graphics program such as Photoshop.

However, a quick Google search reveals that the images are indeed authentic. The photographs were taken in September 2006 by Mr Sam Alfano and depict Sam's wife Abigail Alfano feeding the hummingbirds in the yard of their Pine, Louisiana home.

Sam and Abigail have published a web page that provides more information about the photographs and explains how they "escaped" into Cyberspace. Sam notes:
On September 20th, The Era Leader newspaper published the photos on the front page. We then emailed them to a few of our friends and had no idea they would quickly be forwarded around the world. Many of our friends have called or emailed us saying they were forwarded photos of a lady feeding hummingbirds, and it was Abigail! Had I known the photos would spread like wildfire, I would have put our names on them.

Abigail spent time standing close to their bird feeder over several days until the Hummingbirds grew accustomed to her being there and were game enough to land on her fingers. Abigail explains:
The morning the photos were taken, I simply went outside and filled the cap with the sugar water, placed it in the palm of my hand, and sat very very still. Within ten minutes, they were resting in my hands, drinking. It was sheer delight for me! I was even able to move my hands around a bit with the birds on my fingers. They are light as a feather...and simply beautiful. I can't wait until next year.

Sadly, one unscrupulous individual actually won a photo contest in Kentucky by submitting one of Sam and Abigail's hummingbird photographs as her own.

If you forward these photographs, please include information about their origin and a link to Sam and Abigail's website so that the couple receive the credit they deserve for these beautiful photographs.

The Hummingbird Lady Hand Feeding Hummingbirds

An example of the message:
Hand Feeding Hummingbirds

Something I have never seen before, nor ever even heard of. This lady lives in a Hummingbird fly zone. As they migrated, about 20 of them were in her yard. Just for a lark, she took the little red dish and filled it with sugar water and these are the results.

Hummingbirds In Hands 1

Hummingbirds In Hands 2

Hummingbirds In Hands 3

Hummingbirds In Hands 4

Images © Abigail and Sam Alfano, 2006


Hoax-Slayer Humour: Have a Microsoft Christmas

I'd like to wish all subscribers a very Merry Christmas, and a safe and happy holiday period. The next issue of Hoax-Slayer will be published early in January, 2007.

A reader sent in this clever parody of Clement Clarke Moore's A Visit from St. Nicholas.


'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, except father's mouse.
The computer was humming, the icons were hopping,
As father did last-minute Internet shopping.

The stockings were hung next the modem with care
In the hope that Santa would bring new software.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
With visions of computer games filling their heads.

Dark Forces for Billy, Doom II for Dan,
Carmen Sandiego for Pamela Ann.
The letters to Santa had been sent out by mum,
To -

Which now had been re-routed to Washington State
Where Santa's workshop had been moved by Bill Gates.
All the elves and the reindeer had had to skedaddle
To flashy new quarters in suburban Seattle.

After living a life that was simple and spare,
Santa now finds he's a new billionaire,
With a shiny red Porsche in place of his sleigh,
And a house on Lake Washington just down the way

From where Bill has his mansion. The old fellow preens
In black Gucci boots and red Calvin Klein jeans.
The elves have stock options and desks with a view,
Where they write computer code for Johnny and Sue.

No more dolls or tin soldiers or little toy drums
Will be under the tree, only compact disk roms
With the Microsoft label. So spin up your drive,
From now on Christmas runs only on Win95.

More rapid than eagles the competitors came,
And Bill whistled, and shouted, and called them by name.
"Now, ADOBE! now, CLARIS! now, INTUIT! too,
Now, APPLE! and NETSCAPE! you're all of you through,

It's Microsoft's SANTA that the kids can't resist,
It's the ultimate software with a traditional twist -
Recommended by no less than the jolly old elf,
And on the package, a picture of Santa himself.

Get 'em young, keep 'em long, is Microsoft's theme,
And a merger with Santa is a marketer's dream.
To the top of the NASDAQ! To the top of the Dow!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away - wow!"

And mum in her 'kerchief and me in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
The whirr and the hum of our satellite platter,

As it turned toward that new Christmas star in the sky,
The SANTALITE owned by the Microsoft guy.
As I sprang from my bed and was turning around,
My computer turned on with a Jingle-Bells sound.

And there on the screen was a smiling Bill Gates
Next to jolly old Santa, two arm-in-arm mates.
And I heard them exclaim in voices so bright,

The above document was written by Chet Raymo.

The Hoax-Slayer Newsletter is published by:
Brett M.Christensen
Queensland, Australia
All Rights Reserved
©Brett M. Christensen, 2008