When I picked up my phone this morning it beeped “text message waiting” at me. Two in fact, which, run together said: Stock Buyers Alert: Ticker: XXXX|Current: $0.051 - 194.1% increase on 11/08/04. Details: Newly listed. High Growth Potential. Large emphasis on Rent-to-own program with high return on lease investments. Let’s see, here we have a penny stock (i.e., usually a scam) based on rent-to-own (i.e., exploiting poor people), touted in a new spam flavour. What’s not to like? So, in a probably-futile attempt to nip this new evil in the bud, I called the telephone company to complain, and the friendly, helpful lady knew all about it. “The one about the stocks? Me too.” It turns out that basically everybody in their network got it, they hadn’t figured it out, they were working on it. If I could cue doomful impending-peril music at this point, I would.