Archive for the ‘humor’ Category
Laughter is the best medicine
Amusing spam I received today via
smtprelay01.ispgateway.de (smtprelay01.ispgateway.de [18.104.22.168])
I was wondering if you could send me quotes for the attached, I will be in United States of America Chicago – 60629, next month, and i will be visiting your office for further discussion about these orders, i hope your office is still located at 6933, S Rockwell,.
I respectfully request that you treat this inquiry with utmost importance I look forward to your response soon, take care.
Warm Regards Ragesh.
Also attached was an Excel document that I opened in Preview. There was text:
As for the above inquires, please do not forget to include the following.
Payment terms, preferably TT
30% after i come to your office and 70% upon completion
How long before delivery
There also looks to be five macros. I couldn’t exactly see what the macros included did, but it looked as if they would take multiple files off of my desktop, if I ran Windows, and send them somewhere. Not worth investigating further.
The .de domain looks to be from the Federal Republic of Germany, and .dr is allegedly from somewhere called the Deltoran Republic, which looks to be a made-up country with its own domain. Weird, really, try searching for it yourself, you’ll be amused.
If you know Chicago at all, the idea of me having an office located at 6933 S. Rockwell is amusing. I guess there could be a home office of some sort, but looks to me to be a two-story building in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood, not a typical business address, and especially not a manufacturing concern. This seems like such a random place to direct spam towards. The quotation never says exactly what is being quoted, but I guess if you are actually a business located at 6933 S. Rockwell in Chicago Lawn, you already know what it is you manufacture, and if you are willing to accept Telegraphic Transfer of bank funds.
In a second follow-up to this minor, amusing tale, the @GSElevator guy lost his book deal.
In the face of a barrage of attacks on his credibility, his publisher stood by him. But on Thursday it reversed course and said it was canceling the book.
The publisher, Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, did not provide a reason for the turnabout. It released a terse statement saying: “In light of information that has recently come to our attention since acquiring John Lefevre’s ‘Straight to Hell,’ Touchstone has decided to cancel its publication of this work.”
In a phone interview Thursday afternoon, Mr. Lefevre said that he and his agent demanded a conference call with Touchstone, and received one Thursday morning, but were not told why the deal had fallen through. “All they would say is our hands are tied,” he said.
Only Goldman Sachs seemed to be enjoying the moment. “Guess elevators go up and down,” @GoldmanSachs tweeted in response to the news.
Guess elevators go up and down, http://t.co/xkDPZgaCI8
— Goldman Sachs (@GoldmanSachs) March 6, 2014
Mr. Lefevre’s proposed book, titled “Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance and Excess in the World of Investment Banking,” had drawn widespread attention — for the window it promised to provide into Wall Street’s often raucous culture, and as the latest test case in whether social media postings, some resembling online performance art, could be transformed into successful books.
(click here to continue reading Book Deal Falls Apart for Parodist of Goldman – NYTimes.com.)
from John Lefevre, the banker behind Goldman Sachs Elevator, this defense:
For the avoidance of any doubt, any person who actually thought my Twitter feed was literally about verbatim conversations overhead in the elevators of Goldman Sachs is an idiot.
Newsflash: GSElevator has never been about elevators. And, it’s never been specifically about Goldman Sachs; it’s about illuminating Wall Street culture in a fun and entertaining way. Without highlighting the obvious evolution of the tweets into more generally-appealing observations, let’s start with the simple fact that each of my tweets says “Sent from Twitter for Mac,” hardly the work of someone pretending to be hiding in the walls of 200 West.
Being called a “fake” or a “hoax” by the same people who embraced me as “satire” is simply laughable – and it really speaks to the silly and opportunistic attempts at cheap headlines.
(click here to continue reading GSElevator’s Open Letter To Haters – Business Insider.)
Gawker piled on, claiming it discovered plagiarism on the @GSElevator feed
and the beat goes on…
The Nigerian scam may seem like a scourge of the Internet age, but it actually predates email. Before we started getting all-caps proposals in our inboxes, con men in West Africa plied their trade by fax and paper letter. Some of the first scams to make their way to Western Europe arrived by telex in 1989 and 1990, when businessmen in Britain started hearing that a wayward tanker of Nigerian crude could have its cargo claimed for bargain prices — in exchange, of course, for some cash upfront. Before then, Nigerian fraudsters aimed their grifts at locals. One scheme was the “wash-wash,” a literal money-laundering in which the mark is shown a valise of supposed bills blackened with Vaseline and iodine and promised a cut if he pays for an expensive cleaning agent.
(click here to continue reading Who Made That Nigerian Scam? – NYTimes.com.)
The scam is even older than that:
“Some of these guys came out and started perpetrating fraud,” says Andrew Apter, an Africa historian at U.C.L.A. “They used the language and insignias and letterhead of financial offices to lure people in.”
Apter has traced this sort of misuse of official iconography as far back as a century. When Nigeria was established as a colony under British rule in 1914, its first governor cracked down on scammers in fake uniforms who claimed to be collecting taxes on behalf of the empire. The advance-fee scam itself — whereby payments are extracted from a sucker who hopes to gain an enormous treasure — seems to have originated elsewhere. According to Robert Whitaker, a historian at the University of Texas, an earlier version of the con, known as the Spanish Swindle or the Spanish Prisoner trick, plagued Britain throughout the 19th century.
(click here to continue reading Who Made That Nigerian Scam? – NYTimes.com.)
The Spanish Prisoner is a confidence trick originating in the late 16th century.
In its original form, the confidence trickster tells his victim (the mark) that he is (or is in correspondence with) a wealthy person of high estate who has been imprisoned in Spain under a false identity. Some versions had the imprisoned person being an unknown or remote relative of the mark.
Supposedly the prisoner cannot reveal his identity without serious repercussions, and is relying on a friend (the confidence trickster) to raise money to secure his release. The confidence trickster offers to let the mark put up some of the funds, with a promise that he will be financially rewarded when the prisoner returns, and perhaps also by gaining the hand of a beautiful woman represented to be the prisoner’s daughter. After the mark has turned over the funds, he is informed that further difficulties have arisen and more money is needed. With such explanations, the trickster continues to press for more money until the victim is cleaned out or declines to put up more funds.
(click here to continue reading Spanish Prisoner – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
Every deed and action that humans have done to each other has already been done in prior centuries…
Quite the offer here from Rev Kenneth, who claims to be in Florida despite his email being routed via Urbanphilly.com, via a bad English translator. Rev Kenneth is quite the renaissance man, a reverend who works for a charity organization with the best of names, and owns an art gallery that is nameless.
My name is Rev Kenneth, I work for the charity Organization based in Florida. I am 60 years.
I am looking for someone That can handle my business errands falling on his or her spare time (I own an Art Gallery)
I need your services because i am Constantly traveling abroad to supporting the charity Organization. We work in over 190 countries helping children survive, Protecting em from harm and getting ’em to school.
Manage my business errands today and earn yourself not less than $ 600 weekly. You are not required to travel abroad or inter state. Your errands are simple and straight
1. Receive my email and drop ’em off at the post office or shipping center.
2. Pick up my items at your Florida post office at your convenience.
3. When you get my email or package, Would you email all items to Where I want em shipped. All dйpenses and shipping costs Will Be covered by me.
The contents of the packages are mostly art materials and paintings. In addition, there Will Be clothing I need for business and personal letters. No heavy packages is Involved
please read the employment requirements listed below.
A. You are an honest and trustworthy citizen.
B. You need to be able to check your EMAIL 2 times daily.
THE WEEKLY PAY IS $ 600 and you are entitle to a brand new car Effective 2weeks if you are hardworking and honest with me, WHICH IS NOT A BAD OFFER.
In closing, I have a pair of questions for you.
First, If I were to mail you money to do my shopping over an upfront payment for your service Where would you want it mailed to?
Second, how would you like for your name APPEAR on any package feels to you?
Apply Below & send your information to Kenneth.email@example.com
Home Address: PO BOX IF AVAILABLE
Hope all is clear?
Waiting to hear from you & I look forward to Establish long-term business relationship with you.
You see, he needs someone to pick up his email, and then drop it off at a post office. Presumedly the email didn’t come in a self-addressed stamped envelope (??).
Also, although the salary is only $600 a week, after two weeks, you’ll get a brand new car. You know, the kind of brand new car you can purchase with $1,200. I guess if you work for a company that goes by the name, Organization, you’ll need help from strangers. Strangers gullible enough to respond with their address and cellphone numbers…
Sorry, Rev Kenneth, your offer doesn’t sound to enticing to me.
Important, nay essential research being conducted in our ivory towers…
The project belongs to Barry Popik and Gerald Cohen, described by Metcalf as “Googlers before there was Google.” Along with the help of other colleagues, they have been combing through 19th century periodicals for years, slowly amassing the world’s biggest collection of dude citations. The latest issue of Cohen’s journal, Comments on Etymology, lays out, in 129 pages, the most solidly supported account yet of the early days of dude.
So where does dude come from? Evidence points to “doodle,” as in “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” He’s the fellow who, as the song has it, “stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni.” “Macaroni” became a term for a dandy in the 18th century after young British men returned from their adventures on the European continent sporting exaggerated high-fashion clothes and mannerisms (along with a taste for an exotic Italian dish called “macaroni”). The best a rough, uncultured colonist could do if he wanted to imitate them was stick a feather in his cap.
“For some reason,” Metcalf says, “early in 1883, this inspired someone to call foppish young men of New York City ‘doods,’ with the alternate spelling ‘dudes’ soon becoming the norm.” Some of the early mocking descriptions of these dudes seem awfully familiar today: “A weak mustache, a cigarette, a thirteen button vest/A curled rim hat — a minaret — two watch chains cross the breast.” Yep, sounds like a hipster. But that word has gotten so stale. We should all go back to “dood,” or maybe even “doodle.”
(click here to continue reading Dude: Etymology of the word is traced to “doodle,” as in Yankee Doodle Dandy..)
Here’s a poem, courtesy of the Brooklyn Sunday Eagle for April 22, 1883:
“What is the dude, papa?” she said, with sweet, inquiring eyes,
And to the knowledge seeking maid,
her daddy thus replies:
A weak mustache, a cigarette, a thirteen button vest,
A curled rim hat—a minaret—two watch chains cross the breast.
A pair of bangs, a lazy drawl, a lackadaisy air;
For gossip at the club or ball, some little past “affair.”
Two pointed shoes, two spindle shanks, complete the nether charms;
And follow fitly in the ranks, the two bow legged arms.
An empty head, a buffoon’s sense, a poising attitude;
“By Jove” “Egad!” “But aw” “Immense!”
All these make up the dude.
(click here to continue reading Dude! – Lingua Franca – The Chronicle of Higher Education.)
Bill Cunningham Ready, in other words, or BCR – our private code to point out a stylish dresser approaching on the street. As in “He’s BCR!” – meaning, if Bill Cunningham saw this person, he’d take the dood’s (or doodine’s) photo.
This made me giggle today…
Quick backstory – Senator Rand Paul was found to be a serial plagiarist in his speeches, and in his recently published book. Not the greatest of crimes, but still, something that should be addressed with seriousness. Instead, Senator Paul got indignant, and blustery, and basically melted down, saying he would duel “hacks and haters” like Rachel Maddow, et al, if only the law wasn’t holding him back. Of course, Kentucky anti-dueling law only applies to State Senators, so technically Senator Paul is free to back his words up…
Anyway, Charles Pierce adds:
Uh-oh, Senator Aqua Buddha, noisy spalpeen of Crazy Uncle Liberty (!) apparently drifted onto the air of The Clinton Guy Shocked By Blowjobs in order to seek satisfaction upon the field of honor with friend of the blog, kindly Doc Maddow.
“I will admit, sometimes we haven’t footnoted things properly. In fact, I’ve given thousands of speeches and I don’t think I’ve ever footnoted any of those speeches… I’ve written scientific papers. I know how to footnote things. But we’ve never footnoted speeches. And if that’s the standard I’m going to be held to, yes, we will change and we will footnote things…But the difference is, I take it as an insult and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting,” he added. “And like I say, if, you know, if dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know, it would be a duel challenge. But I can’t do that, because I can’t hold office in Kentucky then.”
Up with this, I will not put.
On behalf of KDM, I offer myself as second, but not in a contest of crude firearms. No, my lad. We will be civilized. I will meet you in a place of your choosing and, since I will be representing the one challenged, I get choice of weapons, and we will duel with epees, my young buck. We can go to 15 touches, or to first blood. I care not. I say now, you are a cheat and an internet thief, and I proclaim it to the world. I accept challenge. I will hear from you within the week as to time and place or I will protest your cowardice to the ends of the kingdom. Now, young lackbeard, you know my mind. Dawn comes every day.
(click here to continue reading What Are The Gobshites Saying These Days? – Esquire.)
Steve Benen of MaddowBlog:
There seems to be some ongoing confusion on the senator’s part about the nature of the controversy, which may be causing him to lose his cool. Perhaps I can help by highlighting the basics:
1. Rand Paul presented others’ work as his own several times.
2. Rand Paul got caught.
3. Rand Paul has not yet explained why how or why he presented others’ work as his own.
I’m at a loss as to why this is proving to be so difficult for the senator. The issue shouldn’t have anything to do with his personal feelings towards those who uncovered his missteps. Whether or not he’d like to shoot – or shoot at – journalists who uncovered his wrongdoing shouldn’t matter, either.
As for Paul complaining about the “standard” he’s “going to be held to,” the sitting U.S. senator is facing the same scrutiny routinely applied to 14 year olds, who’ve been taught that copying and pasting text from Wikipedia without attribution is a big no-no.
What is it, specifically, that Rand Paul considers “unfair”?
(click here to continue reading Rand Paul: ‘If dueling were legal in Kentucky…’ | MSNBC.)
In a long running series, I occasionally republish spam email that I receive so you can laugh as well. Today’s edition comes from our buddies at the Italian Association International Headquarters in Rome, via their friends at mail.muniindependencia.gob.pe (Country Code pe = Peru, by the way), via their friends at 8ta-150-62-148.telkomadsl.co.za (Country Code za = South Africa). The Italian Association International Headquarters is such a small organization, they haven’t had the time to create a website yet, nor even get mentioned by any other agency that Google indexes, other than variants of this email.
Their request reads (all errors as in original):
Italian Association International
Headquarters: Via Vittorio Veneto 121- 00187
To Whom it may Concern/
My name is Giovanni Alessandro and I work for Italian Government in Milan. I will love to pass this information to you and I hope you are the honest one That
is really willing to take good care of 7 years old girl-whom her mother Came from an unknown area in Poland and they live in Italy the mother was one Of the
four victims who were killed by recent Flood That hit Tuscany and Venice.
We hope you will be so honest to accept this little girl and train her like Your own daughter, the victim left the sum of €1.5 million Euro in her account and this
fund has automatically for the little girl and the amount Will be to pay her in full.
We shall love a good honest female or male interpreter who can accept the Kid and take good care of her and every twelve months the government Milan Will
always come to check her and after longer available That person will be Given the €1.5 Million Euro to take good care of the kid. Please write me back if you are
Interested So THAT we can contact the bank where the money is deposited As Soon As Possible And Also contact the Milan government so they can sign and
Agreed That the kid to go with you and the money.
Google Maps isn’t always accurate, but on a whim, I looked up the above referenced address. Looks to me like this is a hotel, or on the other side of the street, the United States Embassy, neither of which would be a good place to send money. Maybe because Sig Giovanni Alessandro is actually from Milan, he got the Roman address wrong. I’m sure if you email him, he’ll set you straight.
…not to mention, what recent flood that hit Venice? The one that occurs seemingly every day? Or the one that happened in 2012 and took the life of a 73 year old man and three employees of Enel, Italy’s biggest electricity company? Amazing how progressive Ente Nazionale per l’energia ELettrica is to hire recent Polish immigrants, and even give them company vehicles.
Some 200 people were evacuated in parts of Tuscany as heavy rains over the weekend left 70 percent of the city of Venice underwater, authorities said on Sunday. Sea levels peaked at 1.5 metres above normal levels before receding slightly. Floodwaters drenched most of the tourist destination of Venice and led to the evacuation of 200 people in Tuscany, as bad weather hit northern Italy at the weekend, authorities said Sunday. In Venice itself, heavy rains and winds from the south triggered “acqua alta” (high water) and 70 percent of the city was flooded, with sea levels reaching a peak of 1.5 metres (five feet) above normal before receding slightly, they said. In Tuscany, around 200 people were evacuated because of heavy rains which flooded homes and caused mudslides, local officials said. The most affected region was the province of Massa and Carrara, which produces the famous Carrara marble.
Probably won’t happen, as the Czech are all shook up about this proposal, but still amusing to an American. We are very familiar with a government that wants to control what and how we eat and drink…
PRAGUE—In most restaurants and taverns across the Czech Republic, a mug of beer is, literally, cheaper than water. The country’s health minister wants to change that as he tries to put Czechs on a lower-hops diet.
It won’t be easy. Here in the birthplace of pilsner, beer is known as “liquid bread.” Czechs drink an average of 37 gallons of the stuff per person per year, the highest per capita consumption in the world and more than double U.S. levels.
Pub patrons go through the sudsy amber liquid so fast that the nation’s largest brewer, SABMiller unit Plzensky Prazdroj, maker of famed Pilsner Urquell, delivers beer with the kind of tank trucks used to haul gasoline, and pumps it into bars’ storage vats.
“Beer is like mother’s milk for adults,” said Marek Gollner, a 36-year-old computer programmer and regular customer at the U Zelenku pub in the Prague suburb of Zbraslav. “For a Czech, it’s like wine for a Frenchman or vodka for a Russian.”
Faced with such attitudes, Health Minister Leos Heger’s campaign to make Bohemia a bit less bohemian is starting with baby steps.
He wants to require restaurants and bars to offer at least one nonalcoholic beverage at a price lower than that of the same amount of beer, primarily to offer teens, who can legally drink at 18, an alternative. The easiest thing to do, Dr. Heger said, would be to offer patrons pitchers of tap water.
For at least a thousand years, beer has been a staple in the Czech lands, and the country’s native hops are renowned for being aromatic and bitter. St. Wenceslas, a martyred 10th-century Czech nobleman, is a patron saint of brewing and malting, in addition to being the patron saint of the nation.
When the city of Plzen, about 60 miles southwest of Prague, got its charter in 1295, its people were given the right to brew beer, helping ensure the settlement’s prosperity.
At a typical local pub, a pint—500 milliliters, actually, in this metric-measuring country—costs about $1. A similar portion of water, juice or soda generally costs twice as much. Offering free tap water as at U.S. eateries is extremely rare.
At U Zelenku, a neighborhood institution for more than a century, for instance, a pint of the cheapest beer goes for 99 cents. The same size of soda water is $1.30. At the fancier Kolkovna restaurant in touristy Old Town, a pint is $2.50, while mineral water is $2.29, for a bottle less than half the size.
(click here to continue reading Brewing Controversy Over Proposal to Make Water Cheaper Than Beer – WSJ.com.)
Dome of Texas Capitol Building – Ektachrome Holga
Texas, and other Republican strongholds like Alabama and Mississippi, et al, have a large number of secessionists, clamoring to leave the country instead of loving it. There is a black man and his family in the White House, and to these idiots that is reason enough to dissolve the country. Take their ball and poutily leave the playground, as it were.
The joke in the rest of the country, oft repeated, is, hurry up and go! We don’t miss you already. As long as you leave Austin behind…
Few of the public calls for secession have addressed the messy details, like what would happen to the state’s many federal courthouses, prisons, military bases and parklands. No one has said what would become of Kevin Patteson, the director of the state’s Office of State-Federal Relations, and no one has asked the Texas residents who received tens of millions of dollars in federal aid after destructive wildfires last year for their thoughts on the subject.
But all the secession talk has intrigued liberals as well. Caleb M. of Austin started his own petition on the White House Web site. He asked the federal government to allow Austin to withdraw from Texas and remain part of the United States, “in the event that Texas is successful in the current bid to secede.” It had more than 8,000 signatures as of Friday.
(click here to continue reading With Stickers, a Petition and Even a Middle Name, Secession Fever Hits Texas – NYTimes.com.)
or at least treat Austin like East Berlin, and allow visitors.
Dana Milbank wrote recently:
And so a large number of patriotic Americans, mostly from states won by Mitt Romney last week, have petitioned the White House to let them secede. They should be careful about what they wish for. It would be excellent financial news for those of us left behind if Obama were to grant a number of the rebel states their wish “to withdraw from the United States and create (their) own NEW government” (the petitions emphasize “new” by capitalizing it).
Red states receive, on average, far more from the federal government in expenditures than they pay in taxes. The balance is the opposite in blue states. The secession petitions, therefore, give the opportunity to create what would be, in a fiscal sense, a far more perfect union.
Among those states with large numbers of petitioners asking out: Louisiana (more than 35,000 signatures at midday Thursday), which gets about $1.45 in federal largess for every $1 it pays in taxes; Alabama (more than 28,000 signatures), which takes $1.71 for every $1 it puts in; South Carolina (36,000), which takes $1.38 for its dollar; and Missouri (31,000), which takes $1.29 for its dollar.
Possibly, the new United States would need to negotiate certain protectorates in the Confederacy — Austin, New Orleans, South Florida and the like — the way the British did in Hong Kong. Then there is the awkward matter of what the breakaway nation would do to its poor.
But once the handout states left the union (and took with them a proportionate share of the federal debt), the rest of the country could enjoy lower taxes and the high level of government service typical of the Northeast, the Great Lakes and the West Coast.
There would also be nonfinancial benefits. Tampa’s Central Command, now caught up in the David Petraeus sex scandal, would be the new nation’s problem. And the exit of a number of Southern representatives from Congress would give Democrats a solid governing majority.
(click here to continue reading Secession push – chicagotribune.com.)
A small sampling of editorial cartoon responses:
ben sargent Secession 121120
Angry White Manistan.jpg
Can you detect a theme?
I didn’t come up with this idea, nor did I do a great job placing the text, but it still made me laugh.
If you know of a good online tutorial for rendering text with perspective, I’d appreciate any tips.
The Romney – Ryan ticket screams “common man”, doesn’t it?
(view a bigger version of photo via a click here)
Stephen Colbert agrees with me regarding the asshole CEO of Papa John’s cardboard that resembles pizza:
President Obama’s health care reform law is wreaking havoc in the most unexpected places. This week, Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter predicted that the cost of providing health care to his employees will result in a 14-cent hike on pizza prices. It’s a wake-up call Americans will finally pay attention to, Stephen Colbert said Wednesday.
“That’s three times the value of a Papa John’s pizza,” Colbert said. And he doesn’t believe customers will swallow the price hike.
“Because when you order a Papa John’s pizza, it’s only after you’ve reached a state of such desperate, gnawing hunger that you would eat the ass off a raccoon that drowned in your bird bath. And even then, only after making absolutely sure that you’re all out of drowned raccoon ass. And now Obama expects you to shell out almost three extra nickels for this hot turd pie? Fuck that, eat the nickels, you have your dignity.”
(click here to continue reading Stephen Colbert on Papa John’s “Obamacare” price hike | TPMDC.)
Full clip here
Google searches are an insight into the state of our collective minds…
don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this one…
We apologize, but it seem so, that we not can deliver your package. One of our trucks is burned tonight. In attachment you can find a form for insurance. Please fill it out and send it us urgent, because we must told amount of damage to the Insurance company
Ok! I’ll get right on that.
Sure, why not? Animals drink various kinds of naturally occurring alcohol anyway…
The French are known to like their beef, and they also like their wine. In the southern village of Lunel-Viel, in the Hérault department in southern France, some farmers have taken the next step and are feeding wine to their beef cattle on the principle that if French beef tastes good now, it can only improve with a bottle of Saint-Geniès des Mourgues.
This was what a local farmer Claude Chaballier fed three animals last year – in a trial run that he’s preparing to repeat next month. He says the resulting beef was “lean, marbled and tasty”.
Two Angus and one Camargue were given a mix of leftover grapes, barley and hay before about two litres of wine were integrated into their diet.
Mr Chaballier says next month’s experiment will again use a regional wine and should help to develop the practice, although he insists that “it’s something that will have to remain local and small scale”.
(click here to continue reading The Mooo-ton Rothschild for madame? Cows have a tipple to beef up flavour – News – Food & Drink – The Independent.)
I don’t know who Kate Beckinsale is, I don’t think, but her satirical commercial, called Republicans, Get In My Vagina, made me laugh:
Watch it if you can…
Kate Beckinsale, Judy Greer and Andrea Savage “spread” the message that the one thing women really want in their vagina is the government.