'Did you hear...'

When the mail fails, try spam. Under the Can-Spam Act of 2003, the Federal Trade Commission wants to require all pornographic e-mail messages to bear the phrase 'Sexually-Explicit Content:' as the first characters of the subject line. But FTC didn't trust the Postal Service to deliver the public's written comments on the proposed rule by the Feb. 17 deadline, 120 days after enactment of the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act. FTC's deadpan notice said no extensions or time for rebuttal will be granted. The public, it said, would have to send paper comments by courier or overnight service, not postal mail. Of course, porn spammers didn't have to bother with all that. They could just e-mail their views to [email protected].

Praying for fish? Verizon Wireless Messaging Services LLC of Bedminster, N.J., last week astonished Get It Now phone customers with a double-barreled offer: downloadable fishing alerts from Salt Water Sportsman magazine, plus 'The peaceful guidance of Dr. Deepak Chopra.' Verizon's mind-boggling combo, eerily reminiscent of Douglas Adams' galactic philosophy novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, promised eager anglers not only tide reports on 2,300 coastal fishing spots but also consolation for the ones that get away. Chopra's 'flower-shaped main menu is divided into eight portals accessed by colorful icons' of daily wisdom and inspiration, Verizon enthused. Let's hope unlucky fish trollers can swallow all that bait without losing their cell phones when the tide rolls in. Got another fish story? Tell it to [email protected].

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