Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. Someone once said that there are only a dozen people in the world that create anything original on the internet... everyone else plagiarizes their stuff. I must admit that I've "borrowed" a bit of code now and then, but it's usually something that is so kool that I can't resist. Such is the case with the floating clock that Mala and Donna Chizek forwarded to me. I love the way that it follows my cursor and I immediately had to put it up on my web site. If you'd like to see it, just click on over to www.thepeers.com and give it a try. There's some blank space at the bottom of the page that you can use to get a better look at it.

Co-Conspirator To Make The World A Better Place

Job Application 

This is an actual job application a 17 year old boy submitted at a McDonald's fast-food establishment in Florida... and they hired him because he was so honest and funny!

[I'm not sure the above is true, since it was passed on to me like so many others, but I do think that it's enjoyable to read. So here it is. -LP]

NAME: Xxxx Xxxxxxx
SEX: Not yet. Still waiting for the right person.
DESIRED POSITION: Company's President or Vice President. But seriously, whatever's available. If I was in a position to be picky, I wouldn't be applying here in the first place.
DESIRED SALARY: $185,000 a year plus stock options and a Michael Ovitz Style severance package. If that's not possible, make an offer and we can haggle.
LAST POSITION HELD: Target for middle management hostility.
SALARY: Less than I'm worth.
MOST NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: My incredible collection of stolen pens and post-it notes.
PREFERRED HOURS: 1:30-3:30 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL SKILLS?: Yes, but they're better suited to a more intimate environment.
MAY WE CONTACT YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYER?: If I had one, would I be here?
DO YOU HAVE A CAR?: I think the more appropriate question here would be "Do you have a car that runs?"
HAVE YOU RECEIVED ANY SPECIAL AWARDS OR RECOGNITION?: I may already be a winner of the Publishers Clearing house Sweepstakes.
DO YOU SMOKE?: On the job no, on my breaks yes.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE DOING IN FIVE YEARS?: Living in the Bahamas with a fabulously wealthy, dumb sexy blonde super model who thinks I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread. Actually, I'd like to be doing that now.

[Thanks to Lee Peer for this one]

New Attack Intercepts Wireless Net Messages
By Dennis Fisher and Carmen Nobel

It's the stuff of Popular Science. A group of security researchers has discovered a simple attack that enables them to intercept Internet traffic moving over a wireless network using gear that can be picked up at any electronics store and an easily downloadable piece of freeware.

The attack, accomplished by @Stake Inc., a security consulting company in Cambridge, Mass., affects a popular consumer version of Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry devices as well as a variety of handhelds that send unencrypted transmissions over networks such as Mobitex. 

By design, the Mobitex specification, like other wireless standards such as Global System for Mobile Communications and General Packet Radio Service, sends packets in unencrypted form. The network, which handles data transmissions only, has been in operation since 1986 and has a large base of installed devices, with customers using it for everything from point-of-sale verification to e-mail. 

"The attack is fairly simple," said Joe Grand, one of the researchers who perfected the technique. "The problem is, this isn't a bug. It's part of the spec that data is transmitted in the clear, just like it's part of the spec that Internet data is transmitted in the clear. The risk depends on who is using the network and when and what data they're sending." 

Using a scanner with a digital output, an antenna and freely downloadable software, the researchers were able to intercept traffic destined for BlackBerry Internet Edition devices. And, because the packets aren't encrypted, the attackers can read the messages they intercept without further work. 

The Internet Edition handhelds are sold mainly through co-branding relationships with ISPs such as AOL Time Warner Inc.'s America Online service, EarthLink Inc. and Yahoo Inc. 

Executives at RIM said they don't see the attack as a problem because they have never touted the Internet Edition devices as being secure. 

"Internet traffic isn't supposed to be secure," said Jim Balsillie, chairman and co-CEO of RIM. "It's kind of like a company making beer and cola and someone saying that there's alcohol in the company's drinks when the children are drinking cola." 

However, the attack serves as a reminder to users that e-mail and other Internet traffic is open to snooping and is inherently insecure. 

"I always figure that anything that's sent via e-mail can be read by at least hundreds of people which have either legitimate or compromised access to systems sitting between me and my recipient; this just adds another potential access point," said Christopher Bell, chief technology officer of People2People Group, a relationship services company in Boston, and a user of the BlackBerry Internet Edition. "I am disappointed that they didn't make at least a modest attempt to obscure the content." 

Balsillie said the messages are only as secure as the networks of the ISPs that relay them, none of which provide encrypted e-mail.

Chris Darby, CEO of @Stake, said RIM has done a thorough job including security in its other devices, which use a server that sits behind corporate firewalls. 

"RIM is incredibly progressive about the way they're addressing security in their Enterprise Edition," Darby said. 

The attack also applies to other devices on the Mobitex network, many of which are proprietary solutions developed for in-house corporate uses. 

This attack does not work on the BlackBerry Enterprise Edition, which uses Triple Data Encryption Standard encryption in addition to other security features, @Stake officials said. 

"Typically, Mobitex operators will advise customers that they should choose the security scheme that fits their particular needs," said Jack Barse, executive director of the Mobitex Operators Association, based in Bethesda, Md. "It was a conscious decision not to put network-level security in because customers have said that they don't want the overhead associated with security if they're just doing things like instant messages. Customers can absolutely add on their own encryption to whatever application they're using [the network] for. And we encourage that." 

"Same to you, buddy!" Funny idea

When you get ads in your phone or utility bill, include them with the payment. Let the company throw it away.

When you get those pre approved letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and junk like that, most of them come with postage paid return envelopes, right?

Well, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little envelopes! Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express. Or a pizza coupon to Citibank.

If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them their application back! If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you send them. You can send it back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing!

Eventually, the banks and credit card companies will begin getting all their junk back in the mail. It'll let us let them know what it's like to get junk mail, and best of all THEY'LL be paying for it! TWICE!!

Let's help keep our postal service busy since they say e-mail is cutting into their business!

A Different Point of View
By Paula Fleischer

Rabbi William Kramer officiated at a Jewish temple in Burbank, California, for many years. When we lived in the area, my family attended this temple, and we were always touched by his humanity. His sermons often left us with tears rolling down our cheeks as we recognized our own human frailties, and our opportunities to be better human beings. In fact, my mother's eyes often filled with tears even before the Rabbi spoke in anticipation of his great lessons.

About 1985, the temple congregation was meeting in a large hall for Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) services. Rosh Hashanah usually falls at the beginning or middle of September. It is a holiday celebrating the New Year, and many people wear their new "fall season" clothing for the first time. It is usually too hot to wear that kind of clothing in southern California in September, but traditions die hard.

This particular year the hall was overflowing, with over 2,000 people present. The Rabbi's sermon is typically given at the end of the two or three hour religious service. So here we were: 2,000 hot, tired, cranky people trying to give proper attention to our beloved Rabbi and the words he would recommend we consider as we enter the New Year.

Just as Rabbi Kramer approached the podium, a baby started crying. He waited. We all waited. As the crying continued, I thought, and assumed everyone around me was thinking, "Hey lady, get your baby out of here!" The Rabbi waited.

After what seemed like a very long time, the Rabbi slowly spoke these words: "Isn't this a miracle? How wonderful it is to have this new person among us. How lucky we are as a congregation and a people, that this baby's parents have chosen to raise their child in our religion. Mazel Tov to the parents and to everyone here who will enjoy this Jewish child as he or she grows with us."

We all listened to this baby's crying with a complete change of heart. I, as usual, had tears running down my cheeks in wonderment at this incredible man, Rabbi William Kramer. He had the ability -- in a few words -- to transport the hearts and minds of a roomful of cranky people to a higher, more tolerant, place.

I sometimes find myself ready to fire off another "Hey lady"-type of comment. And that is when I *try* to think, "What would Rabbi Kramer do?" If I remember to slow down and consider his point of view, I can change my tactic. Others later compliment me for my handling of a sticky situation. I know that I owe it all to Rabbi William Kramer.

Five Great Lessons

1 - Most Important Lesson
During my second month of college our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50's but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. 

Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care even if all you do is smile and say 'hello.'"

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2 - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain
One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African-American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure the lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. 

A week went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others." Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole. 

3 - Third Important Lesson - Always Remember Those Who Serve
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. "Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents", she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. 
There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.

4 - Fourth Important Lesson - The Obstacle in Our Path
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. 

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When It Counts
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz, who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies, needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it, if it will save her." 

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?" 

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

[thanks to Donna and Mala Chizek for these]

Knowing what kills you 

(A) The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

(B) On the other hand, the French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

(C) The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

(D) The Italians drink generous amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

Conclusion: Eat & drink what you like. It's speaking English that kills you. (that's why I'm taking Sign Language! - DP)

[thanks to Bob Behling for this one]

Dr. Ban

Number of physicians in the US: 700,000. Accidental deaths caused by Doctors per year: 120,000. Accidental deaths per physician: 0.171

Number of gun owners in the US: 80,000,000. Number of accidental gun deaths per year: 1,500. Accidental deaths per gun owner: 0.0000188 Statistically, doctors are over 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

FACT: Not everyone has a gun, but everyone has at least one Doctor. Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors before this gets out of hand.

As a Public Health Measure I have withheld the statistics on lawyers for fear that the shock might cause people to seek medical aid.

[thanks to Lee Peer for this one]


Our past and our future simultaneously exist in our present.