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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 02:14AM

I tend to get weird emails. A series of them came in over the last couple of days from the same mind-bender sender and constitute, shall we say, some of the most mysterious and mangled ones I've received in recent memory. If I were Catholic, I might think an exorcism was in order. I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a Mormon priesthood blessing wouldn't work at all.

Anyway, the emails are copied below with their original spelling, grammar, capitalization and formatting (along with appropriate editing). There is, however, no accompanying Urim and Thummim or Rosetta Stone (so, good luck). My responses to the sender are also attached.

--Email #1 (which I apparently missed when this newly-found pen pal first sent it). It was a complaint addressed to the "Mailin Correction” department but was also copied to me:

“Dear Corrections & Clarifications: 

“I have become an avid reader of The Arizona Republic. My grandpa taught me a lot. He drew illustrations. Mr. Steve Benson's work is a major reason I look to this news paper to relax and learn the facts. Mr. Seve Benson has been a super hero for me with his daily laugh's and wisdom. I like to read news in print, lets you know it wasn't just some circular online news. 

“Recently, I have been speaking to our City, State, and Federal Officials. It really is tough. I've noticed it's so hard to even get a proper certification or deposit with your Legal Name. I've noticed many of the those similar certifications seemed oddly fmailiar to what I was also informed of. 

“I may be incorrect, however, I figured I mine as well inform you and at least thank you, and your staff. 

“Unfortunately the multitude of articles that need corrections would take me very long to scan and submit. To clarify My name is [deleted] I am 27 years old and live in [deleted] I'm not anything or anyone else. “

“[signed, name and phone number deleted]”

Under the sender's name was the phrase, 'castigat Ridendo mores,’ which is Latin for “laughing corrects morals.”

--I didn't reply.

--Email #2 (which I initally also missed). It was newly subject-lined, “Request ALL OF MY EMAILS, PHONE, EVERYTHING, CC, INTERNET, THEY HAD CAMERAS- SEE ALL HARD DRIVES IN ALL HOMES SOS SOS SOS SOS SOS SOS,” and was accompanied by 8 attachments, none of which I opened):

“Dear God, 

“I am sorry they brought you into this.   

“The Golden Rule. 

“Treat others, how you want you to feel. It is okay to want peace. 

“When I spoke to the United States Treasurer's Office via Phone (or some department that really does not exist), I was asked if I was a lawyer. I replied, No sir, I have a library card. The gentleman's name and e-mail is in there somewhere search .gov. 

“I didn't think he appreciated the comment. However, I was being honest. “

[signed, name deleted]”

--I didn’t reply

--Email #3 (subject-lined “Land fill”):

“Can we talk

“[phone number deleted]”

Finally, I took the bait.

--My reply:

“About what?”

-Email #4:

“I could use your help can we speak”

--I didn’t reply.

--Email #5:

The sender again emailed me his phone number [deleted], along with 1 attachment [which I did not open].

--But I nonetheless replied, with what I hoped would be a helpful suggestion:

“You are presently speaking way too cryptically. 

 “Give me something meaningful and substantive—in your next email, please--about what you wish to speak.

 “This cat-and-mouse stuff doesn’t work for me, especially when I’m on deadline and have to order my priorities.

--Email #6:

The sender again passed on to me his phone number [deleted].

--I didn’t reply.

--Email #7:

The sender emailed 1 more attachment [which I did not open].

--I didn't reply.

--Email #8: (newly subject-lined, “Fwd: REMINDER: On-ramp closure at Mill Avenue in Tempe begins this week”)

Inside the sender's email was cut-and-pasted the following public notice from the Arizona Department of Transportation, along with a road map:

“REMINDER: Plan for on-ramp closure at Mill Avenue in Tempe this week. Use Rural Road to access westbound US 60 (Superstition Freeway).

“The Arizona Department of Transportation reminds Tempe drivers that the westbound US 60 Mill Avenue on-ramp will be closed for four days beginning early Wednesday, Nov. 15, while a traffic study is underway. Drivers should plan ahead and use alternate routes, such as Rural Road, to access westbound US 60.

“The westbound US 60 on-ramp at Mill Avenue will be closed from 1 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, through 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18.

“The closure will remain in place around the clock.

“ADOT and the city of Tempe are researching steps to reduce the number of crashes that are occurring between Rural Road and Interstate 10. Engineers will use data collected during the ramp closure to help prioritize future safety improvements along the west end of US 60. The dates of this closure were selected to allow ADOT and Tempe to examine traffic conditions on weekdays and on one weekend day.  Learn more on the project webpage.

“Drivers in Tempe should use Rural Road to access westbound U.S. 60 when the Mill Avenue on-ramp is closed.

“Schedules are subject to change based on weather and other unforeseen factors. For more information, please call the ADOT Project Information Line at [deleted] or email [deleted]. . For real-time highway conditions statewide, visit ADOT’s Traveler Information Site at [deleted] follow ADOT on Twitter [deleted] or call 511, except while driving.”

By now, I had felt I had rolled with this as much as common courtesy required.

--My reply:

“I am not about to open attachments that run the risk of virus contamination.
“I would not necessarily be this reluctant were it not for the fact that you are taking the non-spectacular closure of a public thoroughfare in order for the AZ Department of Transportation to research how to reduce high levels of collisions that you seem to be regarding as some kind of intolerable event that is compelling you to email me relentlessly.
“I am a former cop who has investigated my share of reportable traffic accidents. 
“You are being ridiculous. 
“Please cease and desist. 
“To assist you in that request,  I am choosing to move on. 
“Good day.”

--Email #9:

The sender followed up with another response (newly subject-lined, “Cannot tamper with Federal Mail right,” along with an attachment (sent to both me and FOX News, which I did not open).

The email contained nothing in the text box except “Respectfully” [name deleted] and, again, the Latin phrase,"Castigat Ridendo Mores.”

--I didn't reply.

--Email #10 (newly subject-lined, “Help”)

The sender copied me an email he had relayed to FOX News, along with FOX News’s response. He also sent me, again, his phone number and, moreover, his home address [both deleted].

His inquiry to FOX News read as follows:

“Near that Cemetary with a lot of recent burials? 

“You can’t take marine animals by law right?


FOX News answered thusly:. 

“Hi Michael K

“This is an automated response to let you know we've received your message.


“The Fox News Team.

“For answers to commonly asked questions visit us at [deleted].”

--I didn't reply.

(I rerouted his meandering missives to the junk mail bin and am enjoying the break).


I don't know what this guy was on, but is there a person in the house with magic translation powers? (I'd ask Joseph Smith, except for the fact that he obviously never had them).

Edited 12 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2017 02:06PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 07:57AM

Holy unstable weird-do, Batman!

I can't figure out if that was a monkey on a keyboard or a conspiracy nut, or someone who thinks they are being clever or what.

(Don't worry, I'm sure he is able to buy guns.)

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 02:14PM

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Posted by: Holy Smokes ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 08:25AM



"They who are wholly broken, and they in whom
mercy is understanding, I shall embrace at once
and lead to pillows in heaven."

-John Ciardi


The "internet of nothing" (connected devices) is slowly becoming artificially intelligent (everything's relative), has decided that you are the One True Comic, (was really seeking "cosmic"), and wants to know if the earth is really flat (roads are flat, but [all things government] are not to be trusted). The "internet of nothing" is about three, in human years. It knows that smoke detectors can watch you pee, but hasn't yet learned why they shouldn't.


Flattery could not cause you to open nefarious attachments, nor the curious language of a stalker, seeking to shut down the "evil" Benson pc.

Thanks for sharing, Steve.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 09:22AM

(puts seer stone in hat)

Obviously, this person is upset that the Mill Avenue on-ramp to West 60 is being closed so the govamint can install the latest electro-magnetic thought-control devices under the pavement. That way, everybody who uses that on-ramp will be subject to electromagnetic waves convincing them to be liberals and communists, and to support gay marriage, equality of blacks and Mexicans to whites, and all the other plans of Satan.

I can't imagine why you're not more worked up about this, Steve! You should pen a cartoon immediately! After all, laughing corrects morals...

(takes seer stone out of hat)

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Posted by: ptbarnum ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 09:56AM

Ohhhhh boy. Somebody isn't taking their Seroquel.

Back when I lived in Flagstaff there was this homeless lady who thought KPHO and AZ Republic controlled people. She thought the closer you were to Mt. Humphreys the safer you would be so Snowbowl kept having to kick her off the mountain. She used to stand on the corner downtown screaming things like, "No Republic No Gazette, it's a threat you bet channel five all jive stay alive to the vibe." Then she'd chant HO HO HA HA HEE HEE HAW HAW
from Wallace and Ladmo, really loud and creepy. She eventually froze to death on another attempt at climbing Humphreys.

Your paper has always been a nut magnet. Makes me wonder what kind of cuckoo traffic the New Times gets.

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Posted by: Shummy ( )
Date: November 14, 2017 10:25AM

The New Times letters were what made an otherwise lame rag read-worthy.

Go figure why they quit publishing them years ago.

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Posted by: cinda ( )
Date: November 17, 2017 08:27PM

Bizarre is right. Too bad that the compliment he paid you in the first email becomes progressively less meaningful by his follow-up correspondence, and almost renders it creepy!

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Posted by: helenm ( )
Date: November 18, 2017 11:41PM

I read about you Steve Benson in "From Latter-day Saint to Latter-day ain't."

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/19/2017 11:12AM by helenm.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: November 18, 2017 11:57PM


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Posted by: helenm ( )
Date: November 19, 2017 11:11AM

Or is this person really not Steve Benson?

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