1. Big companies don't do business via chain letters. Bill Gates is not giving you $1000, and Disney is not giving you a free vacation. There is no baby food company issuing class-action checks. Procter and Gamble is not part of a satanic cult or scheme, and its logo is not satanic. MTV will not give you backstage passes if you forward something to the most people. You can relax; there is no need to pass it on "just in case it's true". Furthermore, just because someone said in a message, four generations back, that "we checked it out and it's legit", does not actually make it true.

2. There is no kidney theft ring in New Orleans. No one is waking up in a bathtub full of ice, even if a friend of a friend swears it happened to their cousin. If you are hell-bent on believing the kidney-theft ring stories, please see: http://urbanlegends.tqn.com/library/weekly/aa062997.htm And I quote: "The National Kidney Foundation has repeatedly issued requests for actual victims of organ thieves to come forward and tell their stories. None have." That's "none" as in "zero". Not even your friend's cousin.

3. Neiman Marcus doesn't really sell a $200 cookie recipe. And even if they do, we all have it. And even if you don't, you can get a copy at: http://www.bl.net/forwards/cookie.html Then, if you make the recipe, decide the cookies are that awesome, feel free to pass the recipe on.

4. If the latest NASA rocket disasters DID contain plutonium that went to particulate over the eastern seaboard, do you REALLY think this information would reach the public via an AOL chain letter?

5. There is no "Good Times" virus. In fact, you should never, ever, ever forward any email containing any virus warning unless you first confirm that an actual site of an actual company that actually deals with viruses. Try: http://www.sarc.com And even then, don't forward it. We don't care. And you cannot get a virus from a flashing IM or email, you have to download....ya know, like, a FILE!

6. There is no gang initiation plot to murder any motorist who flashes headlights at another car driving at night without lights.

7. If you're using Outlook, IE, or Netscape to write email, turn off the "HTML encoding." Those of us on Unix shells can't read it, and don't care enough to save the attachment and then view it with a web browser, since you're probably forwarding us a copy of the Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe anyway.

8. If you still absolutely MUST forward that 10th-generation message from a friend, at least have the decency to trim the eight miles of headers showing everyone else who's received it over the last 6 months. It sure wouldn't hurt to get rid of all the "" that begin each line either. Besides, if it has gone around that many times we've probably already seen it.

9. Craig Shergold (or Sherwood, or Sherman, etc.) in England is not dying of cancer or anything else at this time and would like everyone to stop sending him their business cards. He apparently is no longer a "little boy" either.

10. The "Make a Wish" foundation is a real organization doing fine work, but they have had to establish a special toll free hot line in response to the large number of Internet hoaxes using their good name and reputation. It is distracting them from the important work they do.

11. If you are one of those insufferable idiots who forwards anything that "promises" something bad will happen if you "don't," then something bad will happen to you if the rest of us ever meet you in a dark alley.

12.  As a general rule, e-mail "signatures" are easily faked and mean nothing to anyone with any power to do anything about whatever the competition is complaining about.

13. IBM is not giving away free computers because Netscape bought AOL.

14. A little dog (or any picture) is not going to pop up on the screen if you forward an email to any number of people.

15. Neither the GAP nor Abercrombie & Fitch are giving away free clothes or gift certificates.

16. I know this is a touchy one for some of you, and you and you alone know your relationship with the Almighty but, you will not go to hell or suffer some catastrophic event if you break the prayer circle.

(PS: There is no bill pending before Congress that will allow long-distance companies to charge you for using the Internet.)

Bottom Line ... composing e-mail or posting something on the Net is as easy as writing on the walls of a public restroom. Don't automatically believe it until it's proven false... ASSUME it's false, unless there is proof that it's true.

Now, forward this message to ten friends, and you will win the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. YA RIGHT !!!!