Thursday, December 23, 2004

Not all the news is bad

In the spirit of giving this Christmas season, here's something that you can sign up for and keep getting all year long.

Each week I get a note in my in-box that I always make time for. It's called This is True. It's put together by Randy Cassingham, a guy in Colorado who has been publishing his quirky column for years. He takes funny stories that have appeared in newspapers around the world and packages them up for your consumption. And he usually adds his own, unique punch line to the pieces, which often add to the fun.

Along the way, he manages to highlight a lot of the stupid things that people do, most notably the obsession with so-called "zero-tolerance" campaigns in the US against drugs, violence, etc. Often these are carried out by school boards and officials, with ridiculous zeal.

There are two editions available. One is free. The second, the Premium edition (and the one I subscribe to) is just $20/yr (although he's finally raising the price in January) and it's got content not found in the free version. Cassingham also offers unique items to buy, such as his immensely popular GOOHF (Get Out of Hell Free) cards. People who are angry enough to tell someone where to go can also give them a card to allow them to get out of there once they arrive.

Cassingham also runs a web site called the True Stella Awards, which highlight lawsuits that should never have been filed. And in his spare time, he's got a pretty good site on jokes. You can find them all at the This is True website.

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