My truth machine is snopes.com, the Urban Legends Reference Pages. For 10 years, Barbara and David P. Mikkelson have run a website devoted to separating email wheat from chaff. As they explain on their site, they do this with their own time, at their own expense. It is an invaluable service for those of us who actually want to know if something is true before we shoot off our fingers.
My favorite email junk are the warnings because I picture the senders with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths and a plateful of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. They may not be able to quit smoking or resist eating trash, but they can darn well keep those car windows rolled up, stay out of movie theaters, and not use waterproof sunscreen. I think that's the appeal: something that you can actually do something about. The illusion of control.
Politics looms large in email mythology. If I were a public figure, I'd be hunkered down in a corner someplace whimpering...what do you do when people want to believe the worst? Snopes has a handy truth-finder for the mass emails regarding public figures:
Interestingly, there's nothing for Giuliani. I guess no one bothered with emails because the newspapers and magazines were doing the work for them and it was all true.
This one is true. Mencken did say this:
Someday there will probably be a patron saint of the internet, just like there's one for television. Really, we need a patron saint for truth on the internet. Until then I guess we will have to make do with Saint Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes.
Dinah Shore was born on either February 29, 1916, or March 1, 1917, in Winchester, Tennessee, and died on February 24, 1994. Read about her--she was talented, interesting, ambitious, successful, and nice: difficult things to house in the same beautiful body.
Saints celebrating feast days today include Saint Marinus and Astyrius, Saint Cheliodonius and Emerterius, Saint Arthelais, Saint Non or Nonnita, Saint Wiwaloe or Guenole, Saint Answelm of Nonantola, Saint Cunegund, Saint Gervinus, and Saint Aelred of Rievaulx.