This is True

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  True's Sustaining Patrons

To keep True sustainable, we are using the Patreon platform — a crowd-funding site set up to provide ongoing support for creative endeavors. Various funding levels include either mention on this page, or in the navbar of every page (with linking options, too).

See Randy’s announcement of the Patreon effort in his blog, and True’s Patreon page on that site to see the rewards that are available.

Continue reading "True's Sustaining Patrons" »

  Thank You!

Thanks So Much for helping True thrive. It's hard to stand out against giant media companies that demand (and get!) so much attention. Your support — both financial and moral — really helps, and I truly appreciate it.

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  Sites to be Auctioned

This is a temporary page for a short event. This is True is selling off some sites and domains, and this is where you get info on what's available, and to sign up to the mailing list to keep up-to-date.

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  Super Premium: True's Member Community

The "Super Premium" membership community was suggested by a long-term reader, and developed with ongoing discussion with existing Premium subscribers, followed by a formal survey that asked, What "sky is the limit" benefits would you want from a Super Premium membership, and what would you be willing to pay for what you asked for?

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  Randy Cassingham's Books

A list of "all" of Randy Cassingham's books.

ISBNs refer to first edition of the printed version unless noted. E-book versions, with their own ISBNs, are available for most titles.

The year shown refers to date completed, not necessarily actual publication date.

Continue reading "Randy Cassingham's Books" »

  The Introduction to True's Book Series

Back in 1995, as I was getting ready to publish the first year of This is True stories into book form, I couldn't think of anyone better than one of my NASA buddies, who loved the bulletin board clippings that morphed into the column, to write the Introduction. Here it is, in its entirety.

Continue reading "The Introduction to True's Book Series" »

  Trouble Subscribing to This is True?

This page has info about what to do if you've had trouble signing up for our newsletters (and why that might be).

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  This is True Subscription Basics

This is True is e-mailed to subscribers in more than 200 countries. If you aren't already subscribed, here is how you can have bizarre-but-true stories like these sent to your mailbox every week. There are two options. Either way, the text of This is True is for your personal use only — it may not be reprinted, posted on the web, read over the air on radio or TV, etc., or posted to other mailing lists without prior, written permission.

Why should I subscribe?

We protect your privacy: Our e-mail privacy statement explains it all.

Option One, Premium

Get all the True stories every week for just $32/year with these features:
  • Arrives much sooner than the other feed: emailed each Monday.
  • You get the entire column, not the abbreviated selection in the free feed: a minimum of 10 stories each week (often more).
  • No third-party advertising to interrupt your reading.
  • You get a 20% discount on This is True book collections, with no minimum or maximum — if you're buying books as gifts (a great idea), this benefit could easily pay for your Premium subscription!

Here's how: For instant online ordering with credit/debit cards, click here for a secure online order page or click here for more information

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  Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Premium Subscription

(...And weren't even afraid to ask.)

When are Premium issues sent?Each new issue is scheduled to come out late each Monday afternoon or evening — pretty much, as soon as it's ready to go, I send it. Monday is one day after it was written, which gives me a chance to get everything else together (author's notes, the Honorary Unsubscribe, etc.)
I didn't get my issue this week. Is there a place on the web site I can get it? No: if there was, then anyone could get it, not just the people who paid for it. If you haven't received an issue by Tuesday morning, feel free to email me at my Premium address (reply to any issue) and let me know. It helps to mention Missing Premium in the subject line. The main reason for missing issues is mistuned spam filters; see the next Q&A for help.
I suddenly stopped getting issues. Are you on vacation? If I didn't announce a vacation, no: I'm not on vacation. Even then, I've put True out every week, even when I was in rural China, and in Eastern Europe! The most likely problem: there's something at your end stopping delivery — the most likely being an over-zealous spam filter. Please see if you can "whitelist" (allow mail from) us, or consider trying another email address, if you have one. Once you get the problem resolved, I'm happy to send you over any issues you missed. Again, use Missing Premium in the subject line.
Did you remove me from the free feed when I upgraded? No. So many Premium subscribers like to also be on the free feed that I don't second-guess you: I always let you decide whether or not to stay there. If nothing else, that gives you an edition you can forward if you particularly enjoy an issue. Removing yourself from the free feed does not affect your Premium subscription — it's very hard to accidentally remove yourself from the Premium list (no one has done it yet), so don't worry about that. The instructions at the bottom of the free feed really are quite foolproof.
How do I change my delivery address? I have a special web form for Premium subscriptions only here. Please be sure you use your exact old address (it's shown at the bottom of each issue, if you're not sure) or it won't work properly. (Note: info on free feed address changes and such is here.)
How will I know it's time to renew?See the footer of any issue: your subscription's expiration date is shown. It's smart to renew when you're feeling flush and getting close, since sometimes renewal notices are spam-filtered. Yes, I do send a renewal notice 2-3 weeks ahead of your expiration date. If you don't renew (or tell me you're not going to), I'll later send another that lets you know there's only one issue left. The renewal notices I send you also includes a link to our automatic renewal options.
Will my renewal still be applied correctly if it comes from a different address?But of course! It's common for people to have a different address for Paypal or for their online purchase activity. That's why we look up renewals by name. What if your name is Bob Smith? Then we look to match other details, such as street address and, yes, the email address. It's very rare that we can't find you!
I was busy and let my subscription lapse. Do I select "New" or "Renewal"?It doesn't really matter, since we check anyway, but I consider it a renewal even if you've been lapsed for 10 years (and that has happened!) We automatically send any issues you missed if you were lapsed a month or less. If you were lapsed for more than a month and want to be caught up, I'm happy to do so, but you have to request it — just pop me a note.
What's the best time to renew?As soon as you get your renewal notice. Some seem to think they need to wait until the last minute. No worries: my assistant is smart, and can see when your last issue is, and she'll add the renewal term to the end of your current one, not overlap them.
Premium issues note "Forwarding Prohibited". Does that mean I can't share issues with my wife?There indeed is one exception to the no forwarding rule: I have no problem with subscribers sharing with a spouse, so long as he or she knows it can't be forwarded further. I also have no problem with you reading it to others, such as co-workers, or allowing them to read it over your shoulder. (Naturally, "reading it to others" does not include radio personalities reading it over the air, or reading it in any other public forum.)
How about forwarding it to my kids?I feel that I'm slipping down a slope, so I'll say no. Not just because I want to draw a line, but also because True is definitely designed for adults. Sometimes the stories provide a great way to introduce a topic to kids so you can have a good conversation with them. (What would you do if you saw a gun on the table at a friend's house?) But I'd rather you chose which stories you wanted them to be exposed to, not me. So please: it's fine for you to read it to them, or to let your children read it off your screen when you're there, but please don't forward copies to them. (And if they're adult kids, they should have their own subscription! See the next question.)
Do you allow gift subscriptions to the Premium edition?Yes. Please order in your own name, and include the recipient's name and email address in the comments area. You can do this either using the Paypal buttons or the shopping cart.
Can we send suggestions for the Honorary Unsubscribe?Yes, but the requirements are quite exacting. See this explanation for details to avoid frustrations.
I have a great joke for "Jumbo Joke" or a fun file for you to see or an interesting movie or sound file I just know you'll love. How can I send it to you?Please don't! I'm happy for you to send me story leads for use in True (submission info here), but I just do not have the time in my 9-hour work days to review jokes, especially now that I've sold Jumbo Joke. Besides: I have lots of friends, and they keep me very well informed on the "best" online stuff, so odds are I've already had several people send me the very same thing already. Really. Please.
You sound very busy. Are you sure you want feedback on True?Yes: that is part of my work. To ensure you don't waste your time (or mine), please do see if your question is already covered on this site — for example, please don't send an "error" notice to me without checking the errata page. But comments on stories or other aspects of True? Absolutely, and thanks!
  Quick Premium Renewals

Thanks for renewing your Premium subscription to This is True. An easy option is the "one-click" Paypal buttons below, if you have an account with them -- just add your password, confirm your intent, and you're done.

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  Sponsors of our Past Mailings

Trying to find a previous sponsor? Readers often write to ask "what was the site that advertised _____ a few months ago? I didn't need it before, but I do now...."

Continue reading "Sponsors of our Past Mailings" »

  Free Daily Content for Your Site

We're often asked by web site owners if they can put our stories on their site, but we've had to refuse such requests -- until now! We're very pleased to offer True-a-Day (TAD).

(Advanced Webmasters:True-a-Day is also available in a SSI-PHP version)

By adding a single line of code on any page on your site, you can automatically show your visitors a new story every day. What a great way to get return visitors! With the default settings (plus centering), it looks like this:

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  Sample This is True Stories

A regular issue of This is True is a minimum of ten stories plus the "headline of the week". Premium subscribers get all of the stories, while free edition subscribers get four stories (plus the headline), like this:

Continue reading "Sample This is True Stories" »

  Most Popular Pages on This Site

The 15 most-popular pages on this site over the past 24 hours:

  • The Truth about PETA
  • This is True's Current Weekly Issue
  • Popeye the Terrorist Man
  • Upgrading Your Subscription
  • Saaya Irie Photos
  • Bemocked
  • Free Daily Content for Your Site
  • Tom Negrino
  • This is True's Issue from Last Week
  • Fashion Accessory
  • Sample This is True Stories
  • This Can't Go In the Newsletter
  • Privacy, Security, & eCommerce Policies
  • This is True’s Book Collections
  • This is True Subscription Basics

  • Continue reading "Most Popular Pages on This Site" »

      This is True Details

    There are lots of links to further information below, from how to get a free e-mail subscription to True to info on True book collections with hundreds of stories to info on how you can help reduce the amount of spam clogging the net! We hope you'll take a moment to read through the categories below. Or, see a more comprehensive site map.

    Continue reading "This is True Details" »

      True-a-Day -- SSI/PHP Version

    For more advanced webmasters, we also offer the True-a-Day feed in a format for servers set up for SSI and PHP. That way, the stories work even if your visitors don't have browsers capable of displaying javascript-generated content. SSI (Server-Side Include) allows your server to do the integration of the TAD feature with your page, rather than the end-user's browser.

    Continue reading "True-a-Day -- SSI/PHP Version" »

      This is True's Issue from Last Week

    Subscribe Free by Email

    Your Email Address:
        Subscriber Counter
    Free weekly newsletter, easy unsubscribe anytime.

    This Week's Issue

    To get these issues free by e-mail each week, just subscribe using the form above -- your privacy is Randy's policy. (Or cruise around the web site to see more samples, archive, and info on our terrific book collections of thousands of past stories.)

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      This is True's Current Weekly Issue

    Subscribe Free by Email

    Your Email Address:
        Subscriber Counter
    Free weekly newsletter, easy unsubscribe anytime.

    Last Week's Issue

    To get these issues free by e-mail each week, just subscribe using the form above -- your privacy is Randy's policy. (Or cruise around the web site to see more samples, archive, and info on our terrific book collections of thousands of past stories.)

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      Why Subscribe?

    Indeed, why bother? Because it's interesting, it's fun and, best of all, it's free!

    But it has to be more than that. And it is.

    There has to be a reason that so many people read This is True. With subscribers in more than 200 countries, there's got to be something here that makes people want to read it week after week.

    You've heard the phrase, "Truth is stranger than fiction"? The way Randy puts it is, "Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense." Every week there are stories in True that are just too strange to make up! The week this page was written, for example, True ran the stories below.

    One Week's Worth of True Stories

    • Several people heeded an anonymous call to protest at Buckingham Palace in London for the right to "walk around in public in the nude". Three naked men were arrested. Virtually at the same time, a Scotland Yard report was issued that concludes that the greatest threat to the royal family is not terrorists, but mentally unbalanced people.

    • The Tennessee State Senate approved a bill that allows motorists who run over animals to take them home and eat them. Previous law called for a jail sentence and fine.

    • Psychologists say actors can become lost in their roles and lose sight of their own identies.

    • A Florida lawyer files suit against a rental car company, saying they should have known the person they rented a car to might get drunk and crash -- because he's Irish, and they should have known the Irish drink a lot.

    • A major car company plans to put "people-detecting infrared sensors" in trunks to pop open the lids when it detects people (like a release handle wouldn't be infinitely cheaper and more effective?)

    • A major university refused to give Bill Clinton an honorary degree -- because he didn't earn it.

    • Harvard Medical School anthropologists say television isn't making people in Fiji fat, but rather provoking eating disorders that go against their culture of liking large bodies.

    • Mattel has come up with a way to get fathers to buy several more Barbie dolls for their little girls: dressing the dolls up in sports uniforms.

    • And the featured headline of the week makes you wonder what kind of bizarre food fight provoked the Associated Press to announce: "Potato, Dancing Raisins Cut a Deal".

    All of that was from just one issue! And we didn't go choose a particularly good issue to write about -- it was pretty much random, taken from the issue that was closest to the date this page was written. However, we openly admit that to have seen all of those stories that week, you would have had to be a "Premium" (paid) subscriber -- more on that below.

    We couldn't make up that much weird stuff every week if we tried -- we'd need a huge staff to write it all, and we don't have one -- nor do we want one, since true stories are infinitely better! All of those stories above came from real newspapers -- not junky tabloids like the "National Weekly Star Enquirer" (as we like to call them). And we have a fresh load of that many stories every week -- and we've been doing it every week, non-stop, since 1994! We don't have to make up the stories, because there are that many stories about real people doing outrageous things every week. Really!

    Is it Really Free?

    Yep. Zip. Nada. No charge. Nothing. While there is a paid subscription option, most people who subscribe to True don't pay a dime: the only thing they had to provide was their e-mail address so we can send it to them. What did they get for free? About half of an issue -- they saw half the stories detailed above. Not descriptions of the stories, the entire stories, four in all, plus the Featured Headline of the Week. (For the rest of the stories, they saw a quick summary so they could see what they missed.) It makes for a nice quick read over the weekend -- or on Monday morning when you get to the office so you can start your week off right. If you really must have all the stories, then we welcome you to pay for them.

    Meanwhile, you can subscribe for free and get new issues once per week (and no ad-only mailings!) There's a place below to put your e-mail address so you can get started.

    No Strings Attached

    Continue reading "Why Subscribe?" »

      Reader Favorites, Essays and Special Issues

    So Fun You Have to Share

    There are certain stories that just beg to be told to others, especially when there's a photo involved. These stories were put here so you could send the URL to a friend.

    Continue reading "Reader Favorites, Essays and Special Issues" »

      This is True’s Book Collections

    Thousands of Stories and Headlines!

    Randy's been telling these wacky-but-true stories weekly since 1994, and there must be a lot of them by now, right?

    Why yes.... Yes there are.

    Continue reading "This is True’s Book Collections" »

      Contacting Us

    This is True author Randy Cassingham's e-mail address is included in every issue and below, but if you prefer you can also use this form to send comments:

    Your Name:
    Your Email Address:

    For article suggestions, we need the URL from a legitimate mainstream news site!

    Continue reading "Contacting Us" »

      Errata — and Error Reporting

    Did you find an error or problem in an issue of This is True? This is the place to check it out. And if it's not mentioned here, please feel free to use the form below to report it. (Regular comments are always appreciated, but please: not via this form.) Reports will stay here for 3-4 weeks before they roll off the bottom.

    For general comments or questions, please use the regular comments address shown in every issue and here.

    Premium Edition
    Free Edition
    18 Jun Sandy Springs (Pizza Hut story) is in Georgia, not Florida. None.
    11 Jun DANG there are a lot of typos this week, which figures since I noted the editors are helping me avoid typos! (Not their fault: they only look at the actual stories.) It starts with the issue date: it's 11 June, not 4 June. I have the typo: cane juice, as well as several in the H.U. (sigh!)
    Also, I'm guessing the link True Stella Awards case won't work for many since it has a coding error, so there it is (it goes to my book).
    4 Jun The link for the Ten Years Ago story is not working for some. It's here. None.
    28 May The H.U. typo is fixed. None.

    Continue reading "Errata — and Error Reporting" »

      This is True Site Map

    Opening Page

      Changing Your Existing True Subscription

    For info on upgrading your subscription to Premium, Click Here.

    (Premium Subscribers: See the very end of any Premium issue for special Premium-only address change info — please don't e-mail Randy. If you're still on the Free Feed and want to unsubscribe that or change its address, use the directions below — following them will not affect your Premium subscription.)

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      Links to True are Greatly Appreciated

    I'm constantly asked if it's OK to put a link in to the This is True site. But of course! We greatly appreciate your links; word of mouth is the primary way we have reached new readers.

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      About Randy Cassingham and This is True

    Randy Cassingham created This is True in 1994, while working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It's one of the first for-profit e-mail publications on the Internet, and is still publishing every week.

    Educated as a journalist, Randy was not interested in a career as a reporter: he wanted to skip directly to syndicated columnist. But syndicates aren't interested in untested talent, and newspapers had already started their downhill slide, so he instead became a technical publisher at JPL in Pasadena, Calif. -- "a great place to work," Randy says, "if you have to work for someone else."

    Continue reading "About Randy Cassingham and This is True" »

      Why Publish Letters from "Idiots"?

    Now and then there's a story or item that brings a nearly violent response from a small subset of readers. Even though they are usually represent a very small minority of my readers, I'll often publish such letters. Why?

    Continue reading "Why Publish Letters from "Idiots"?" »

      Privacy, Security, & eCommerce Policies

    "My policy is simply to treat my customers the way I wish to be treated."
    --This is True Founder Randy Cassingham

    First Things First: Your Privacy

    We not only will not provide your e-mail address to any advertiser, we actually work rather hard to keep it secret. Your address will not be provided to anyone who is not an employee of This is True unless we have your permission or are required to do so by law.

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      This is True Sources
    This is True stories come from "legitimate" mainstream news sources (never "tabloid" newspapers). The facts from these articles are the basis of True's stories, which are written in their entirety by Randy Cassingham or the identified contributor. Each story ends in a credit to the source, such as the Los Angeles Times or the Denver Post.

    Continue reading "This is True Sources" »

      Frequently Asked Questions
    1. I have questions about the copyright/forwarding
    2. The issue I just got arrived on Saturday, but the date on it is last Sunday! Why?
    3. I like Randy's style. Will he come give a talk to my group?
    4. What in the world does "arcie" mean?
    5. I suddenly stopped getting my issues. Are you on vacation?
    6. Can I get back issues that I missed? Or, do you have a story about <whatever> you can send me?
    7. Who or what is "AWeber"?
    8. Is True associated with the "Darwin Awards" that go around by e-mail?
    9. Can I give True books or Premium upgrades as gifts?
    10. True seems to use an odd punctuation style around quotation marks. Why?

    Continue reading "Frequently Asked Questions" »

      Premium Tagline Challenge

    Every month, the Premium subscribers get a "Tagline Challenge", one of the several "extra" features that are found only in the Premium issues. This page has a sample of a Challenge story — and the readers' entries.

    How do you submit your entry? Simply Reply -- issues come from Randy's real address. (Premium issues come from an address that gets higher priority than his more public address.)

    Continue reading "Premium Tagline Challenge" »

      Frequently Asked Questions About True's Copyright

    1. Can I print True out for my friends?
    2. Can I set up an auto e-mail reflector?
    3. Storing True on your hard disk
    4. Can I lift excerpts?
    5. Doesn't True violate news service copyrights?
    6. How about posting it on my Intranet/BBS?
    7. Can I post excerpts on my blog, web page, newsgroup, etc.?
    8. I work for a radio station/newspaper; can I read True over the air/print it in our paper?
    9. But I can take some and claim "Fair Use", right?
    10. I love it! How do I get more?
    11. The Bottom Line.

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      Countries Subscribed to True by E-mail

    If you are receiving This is True and the country you're in is not on this list, please let us know! Thanks.

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      Giving True Gifts

    Frequently Asked Question: How do I give This is True items as gifts?

    Answer: It's easy! We're happy to have you order True books and Premium subscriptions for your friends! We will ship books anywhere in the world.

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      What is RSS?

    By using a special reader, you can get regular information -- including news and newsletter subscriptions -- from multiple web sites, all in one place. No more running from site to site to see if there are updates you are interested in. This is True's free edition is now available by RSS feed.

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      What the HELL?!!?
    November 2000 Update, April 2001 Update, 27 February 2009(!!) Update, & 2 March 2009 Update

    The Briefest of Backgrounds

    For those coming in from other links, This is True is a pioneer in online publishing. Since 1994, it has been the online leader of "weird news". Subscribers get stories every week by e-mail for free with true tales of human stupidity, all tagged with humorous, opinionated or ironic commentary by Randy Cassingham. This winning combination of well-written human interest material and humor has brought us more than 100,000 weekly online readers in more than 200 countries, plus it runs in newspapers in three countries as a feature column. (For more details on any of this, surf this site via the navigation bar to the left. To subscribe online, see below.)

    Continue reading "What the HELL?!!?" »

      Upgrading Your Subscription

    Did you know there are two online editions of This is True?

    "I'd rather attempt to saw off my leg with a hacksaw in the middle of a desert while chained to a car leaking gasoline slowly running towards an open flame than let my Premium subscription lapse." —Robert, California

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