Playboy likes True

If you made it to this page after reading about This is True in Playboy, you’ve at least proven that you do read the articles! This is True is the thinking person’s humor publication, just as Playboy might be considered the thinking person’s men’s magazine. We humbly believe Playboy agrees, since This is True and/or I have now been featured in their pages four five six times (no pictures, thankfully).

Advisor Asks for My Advice

In August 2008, The Playboy Advisor got my advice on how to deal with a heavily spammed (30/day) email address. They necessarily condensed that advice — but here it is in its entirety:

Only 30 a day? D.S. should consider himself lucky — many get far more. (My main address gets 300-400 — yes, per day — but luckily the vast majority are blocked at the server level.)

There is no way to get off spammers’ mailing lists once you’re on. Asking for them to stop both confirms your address and proves to them that you open their mail. It’s like telling a robber you have cash and have no way to defend yourself — not a good idea.

It does sound like D.S.’s provider offers spam filtering (which is how they’re marked “[spam]” to begin with), and it’s just one extra step to have them delete it, rather than drop it in his inbox. But most providers don’t do that by default, since no spam filtering technology is perfect: there are false positives (mail marked as spam that’s legitimate) as well as false negatives (mail that’s spam that isn’t caught). I let my server delete any mail that’s over a certain spam score, and surely I miss some legit mail that way — but it’s a price I’m willing to pay to not see 300+ pieces of garbage. If D.S. wants his spam auto-deleted, he should ask his Internet provider to do it. If they can’t or won’t, switch to one that will.

Another alternative is to use Google’s gmail. It moves spam into a special folder so you can review it for legit mail, and autodeletes it after 30 days. Most webmail services do at least that much, but Google does it the best, and without ads that flash in your face.

The Advisor then asked, “But let me ask — is there any way to save a mailbox by turning it off for six months or a year?”

No. Since most spammers just steal resources, they don’t care about bounces. And they rarely use a “from” address that processes returns, so they don’t scrub the lists. Therefore, no: you can turn off an address for years, and the moment you turn it back on you’ll see spam. (Not a theory: have tried it!)

Other Mentions

<i>Playboy</i> likes <b>True</b>Playboy’s Forum Section also spent nearly two pages talking about my campaign to eliminate zero tolerance rules and laws in schools.

“Zero-tolerance policies in schools have always been a joke,” Playboy’s Chip Rowe writes. “Randy Cassingham has been documenting — and we’ve been clipping — examples of such abuses for years in his column, This is True.

Other previous issues where Playboy wrote about True include:

  • In the October 2000 issue (p61), Playboy featured a larger-than-life-sized reproduction of our rather famous Get Out of Hell Free cards. We have great fun handing them out (postal clerks and waitresses seem to especially get a chuckle when they see them). For more info on how you can have fun with them too, click here (opens in a new tab).

In that issue, they wrote: “Randy Cassingham edits a free weekly e-mail newsletter, This is True, that contains his take on offbeat news items. [Brief summary of the story of how a reader condemned me to hell, and how I retaliated.] He has since distributed thousands of ‘Get Out of Hell Free’ cards to subscribers and friends.”

The word “edits” is not correct since I write the column that you can subscribe to for free by e-mail; I do not “edit” it. Each weekly issue takes 10-12 hours of research plus 4-8 hours of writing time.

  • Funny But True: ‘This Is True’ is a syndicated newspaper column by Colorado humorist Randy Cassingham that contains bizarre news items from legitimate newspapers. (Free e-mail subscriptions are available at It’s not rocket science, but Cassingham generated enough income to quit his job as a software engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. ‘True’ is a great place to read about Fabio getting smacked in the face by a bird, French conservative Jean-Marie Le Pen defending male nudity, and a woman who created a ceremony so she could marry herself. Cassingham’s kicker? ‘She also apparently had a hand in planning her wedding night.'” (September 1999, p20.)
  • In yet another issue they wrote, briefly, “Livens up the week with bizarre-but-true news.” (April 1999, p30)

We hope you’ll join our distribution for the free weekly distribution of “bizarre-but-true news.” Please feel free to wander around the web site, or just put your email address in the form on this page, and respond to the confirmation request that results. Enjoy!

2 Comments on “Playboy likes True

  1. Re spammers not cleaning their lists: I can confirm this. Several years ago, I worked for a large multinational corporation. I left to work elsewhere for a while, eventually returning to that same company some four years later.

    Upon my return, I elected to use the same email address that I had used previously, and the very first item that appeared in my in-box after it was enabled – even before the auto-generated “welcome” messages – was spam!

  2. Amusingly, now you do “edit”, rather than just write, because of the additional contributors.

    Yes, I edit the contributors’ stories — and continue to write everything else in every issue. -rc


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