Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Stin...k: An Update

Scamsters are usually a step ahead of the authorities who try to keep track of them and their ploys, not to mention the early-on victims who fall for those ploys. And there's no shortage of them (do a Google search of 'email fraud', and you'll see what I mean).

I've been receiving the usual avalanche of scam emails (419 Nigerian ploys, credit card ploys, online bank ploys, eBay ploys, etc) for four years; I've had a lot of fun tweaking in particular the 419 scammers, making some of them "weally, weally mad".

Today -- August 25 -- I received something new, at least to me: an unsolicited email from a proclaimed artist*, living in the UK*, who loves to sell his artwork to Americans and Canadians*, but has problems with the usual methods of payment used by Americans and Canadians*, namely money orders and Western Union transmittals. He is seeking "an agent" in the US to handle, for a small percentage, these payments*.


In keeping with a suggestion received three years ago, I forward copies of anything with a UK (United Kingdom) connection to New Scotland Yard. Whether they've run any of these to ground, I can't say. I suppose faux** starving artists* with four cats*, a dog*, and a spouse*, living on meager funds* raised through his artwork*, aren't as high on the list of NSY these days as prior to the London subway bombings, if then**.

Of course, my contacts with NSY always end with the usual "never, NEVER communicate with these persons; they are dangerous criminals, some with organized crime connections". Which is good advice, unless you're Dr. U. R. Phulovit, research analyst for the International Crustacean Obedience Training Institute, located in bucolic Vaduz, Liechtenstein (email:; website

But I digress.

At any rate, if you receive an unsolicited email offer for a part-time job from a starving artist* in the UK or anywhere else overseas*, recall the old adage if it sounds too good to be true...

And if I hear anything (besides the usual precautionary admonitions) from my friends at New Scotland Yard, I'll let you know.

* he says...

** I surmise...

Friday, August 19, 2005


It's funny how some allegedly educated folks not only take themselves seriously; upon announcing their 'plan' to the world, they expect us to take them seriously, too.

There was apparently a meeting of the ecominds at a 'retreat' on a large ranch in New Mexico, owned by none other than Ted Turner of CNN/TBS/ex to Hanoi Jane fame. At this 'retreat', a group of ecologists offered up a plan that they insist be enacted, for the good of the planet.

A plan they say will not only save endangered animals of the African Serengeti; it will save and retrieve the ecodiversity of the North American Great Plains.

With a plan taking decades to evolve, they want to introduce to the Great Plains African lions, cheetah, elephants, and other select species, to retrieve an ecosystem lost to the progress of Man.

Dang us humans, anyway.

Initially -- they say -- the plan should be enacted using zoo animals, on 'preserves' across the Great Plains, with hundreds, if not thousands of miles of perimeter fencing. Then -- they say -- introduction of more wild species to the Plains should be carried out.

The future of these animals, as well as the ecosystem of the Plains -- they say -- is at stake. Lions and cheetah will thin out and better manage herds of deer, elk and antelope; elephant will eat certain kinds of woody brush that now infests the plains, in place of former natural botany. Nature's balance will be largely restored; the deprivations of Man turned back.

They say.

Critics -- believe it or not, there are some, even amongst this udopian sect -- suggest that lions will take better to thinning out and managing sheep and cattle herds, not to mention those waskily humans that so ruined the Great Plains in the first place. Cheetahs will be running down Yugos on I-70. Elephants, perhaps crazed during a storm, or by some fruitcake enviro who thinks all elephants are like Dumbo, will go ravaging through a trailer park or condo community like an F-3 tornado.

But that's not what concerns me.

What concerns me is, these "it's yesterday once more" idiots don't imagine stopping at turning Nebraska into an oversized Roman Coliseum, where the lions again eat the Christians to the cheers of the ACLU: this is only the first step in their play book.

Think the Jurassic Park trilogy. Bioengineering. Cloning. Being able to read, find, retrieve, and replicate DNA. We already stand on the precipice of this ability. Within a generation, we will see it refined.

Animal rights/environs/ecologist activists can hardly wait.

Just as the world was once bestrode by a Collossus of reptilian, avarian and mammalian origins, so too -- they say -- should the Great Plains once again return to a state of grace. One last known over 65 million years ago.

Except, we weren't around to experience that state of grace. If it is partaking of a 'state of grace' by being chased all over Kansas by carnivores the size of three-story buildings, I for one am most happy with our current levels of natural degredation, not to mention I am upheld in my subconscious dislike of driving across Kansas. The bottom line here is that I'm not much interested in living in my own past, let alone one that preceded me by numerous millennia, and offers humans up as morsels for really big lizards/birds/triciploplotzes or whatever it was Bill Macy called them.

Though, the thought of a T-rex eating lawyers, or a pack of screaming Earth Firsters and PETAns, isn't without a satisfying appeal. That's something I'd pay to watch.

Granted, I don't expect to live to see this accomplishment of so-called 'progressive' ecologists; but for those of you perhaps young enough to do so, remember well the picture in the top right of this commentary.

Should they ultimately have their way, that picture may be the last thing you see in your rear view mirror. Bon appetit.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Normally, I would steer clear of something like this. But sometimes, an opinion will not be held down regardless of whatever fire it draws.

I refer to the Cindy Sheehan *stuff*.

I know I tread a fine line here: never, ever would I normally consider denigrating a mother who's lost a son in time of war. There have been far, far too many in our national history who've lived that nightmare. I can never forget having lived in a town where, in the early stages of World War II, a local mother received notice that all five of her sons had perished in one battle. I refer, of course, to the five Sullivan Brothers of the USS Juneau, lost when their battle-damaged cruiser -- limping back to base after a horrendous night engagement known as the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, November 13, 1942 -- was torpedoed and sunk at 1106, that same morning.

Hard as it would seem to have to accept the loss of one cherished son, how much moreso to suffer the shock of losing all five in one fateful moment in the ongoing history of Man's inhumanity toward Man.

Like Sheehan's son, her boys all volunteered to serve. Like Sheehan's son, all knew what they were signing up for, and why.

Unlike Sheehan, Mrs. Sullivan didn't go park herself in a ditch outside of Warm Springs, Georgia, demanding an audience with President Roosevelt, to demand to know why her sons were dead.

Earlier today, I listened with eyes brimming, to a pain-filled caller to a radio talkshow -- a mother in Indiana -- whose son served in Iraq, and is shortly to go back (a US Marine). I listened to her tearfully excoriate Sheehan, for belittling and demeaning not only her own sons' memory, but that of every other mother's son/daughter now serving in the US Military.

She was poignant, passionate, deeply upset and very, very persuasive. Far moreso than Sheehan has been coming across.

Let me be clear: I'm not a parent. I have no children to lose to war, disease, accidents or other forms of harm. I do have nieces and nephews, but it isn't the same. I do have a number of friends, colleagues and peers, who have had, do have, and perhaps will have sons or daughters in harms' way. Each and every one of them volunteered to go. Each and every one of them volunteered to serve. Each and every one of them knew what the bottom line was, and could be.

Each and every one of them volunteered, anyway.

I wasn't alive in 1941. I can't speak to the national feelings and motivations that ignited after December 7, 1941. But I was alive -- and intensely riveted to my radio -- on the morning of September 11, 2001. I know what emotions ignited within me then and since. And I was a wealth of emotions as that week progressed. Not the least of which was, I wanted to follow what so many of a younger generation's response to a naked act of aggression had been, almost 50 years prior.

But at 44, reality -- chronological and physical -- was forced to intrude.

I also know that, had I been younger, my mother would not have wanted me to respond to the clarion call. But she would have understood my need to. She would have, with all the emotional rollercoaster ride a mother knows at such times, accepted it. And had I made the ultimate sacrifice, she would have grieved...but accepted that I had followed my calling, and been lost to a higher calling: service of my country.

She would not belittle me or my fellows, by claiming I'd been 'duped'.

Cindy Sheehan has become a symbol of the defeatist, appeasement-oriented Left. She sullies the memory of her son, and the military-serving sons and daughters of every parent in this nation. There is, for me, no other view.

I have pity for whatever inner pain she endures at the loss of a loved one. I regret her son died. I regret that lower lifeforms of dubious antecedence and odious intent chose to attack us in such a savage manner, requiring thousands of young Sheehans to make a life-altering choice: service to self, or country. I regret each one of them who falls on my behalf, because I'm too old and unfit to stand for myself against the thugs and monsters who the ACLU would rather defend the rights of.

But my genuine sympathy is reserved for those who lose a loved one, and don't belittle and demean the lot of them with such a ham-handed, politically-motivated demonstration as that being put on by Sheehan.

Was Sheehan's son a dupe? Or are we, to give Cindy Sheehan her 15 minutes (and more) of shame, while indirectly smearing our servicemen and women -- so many of them sons and daughters -- who are doing what they volunteered to do, on all of our behalf?

Cindy, I'm sorry for your loss. Now grow up and show some real respect for your son's memory. Stop letting Moveon.arg drag you down their compost-riddled path. Unless, of course, you volunteered. Then, best of luck on your shallow, selfish journey. Only you have to face your son in the hereafter, for your conduct here and now.

Being the devoted, courageous lad he was reputed to be, I have no doubt he'll forgive you. Sons are like that.

Thursday, August 4, 2005


A local radio talkshow -- a "on the ride home sports show" -- somehow got off on the subject of ironing, and the fact that Denver (CO) apparently rates pretty high for men/women who 'iron' their clothes. If ironing becomes an Olympic sport, that might give Denver an 'edge', but I digress.

At any rate, I can say without hesitation or reservation, that I was not amongst the surveyants.

Puhhlease. If ironing is so in vogue, why were things like 'permanent press', 'wrinkle resistant' and 'wrinkle-free' invented? Where is the appreciation for these innovations?

Guess it's up to me to lead that charge.

I'm a bachelor. If ironing remains a requisite criteria in changing that status, I'll likely be a life-long one. During my life experience in the years since MIC*, the craft and technique of finely-edged, crisply-creased clothes has eluded me. Not that it had to try very hard to: I wasn't a resolute student in quest of the perfect crease. I wasn't even a casual student. I rely heavily on permanent press; in the rare cases of absolute need, the perfect crease is as close to me as my local cleaners.

Never let it be said I don't occasionally support the small business community.

Once, years ago, I tried to iron a pair of pants and a shirt. Andy Warhol would have bought and displayed the shirt -- and the inexplicable 'on-acid-spiderweb' design amidst the back -- had he known about it, and had I understood what he'd made from soup can art. As a cultural barbarian, I missed a chance at fortune. The fame was there (as any who saw me wearing the shirt were quick to point me out as the 'goober butt' in the badly wrinkled shirt).

Then, I worked in a corporate atmosphere that demanded a professional, pressed look. When 'permanent press' failed to live up to expectations, I just kept the suit coat on. Especially the one with the buttons I had to repaint after dry cleaning, but that's for another time.

Don't laugh; it took their eyes off the unironed shirt.

Nowadays, I work in a 'behind the scenes' job. Therein, 'dress clothes' is a polo shirt and jeans without holes in the knees.

Not that I'm not equipped to handle a crisis: I do have an ironing board. It's folded up in the back of my closet, holding up my golf bag. Which is suitably ironic: there are irons right there. A 3 thru 9, plus sand wedge and putter. I suppose if I really had to, I could heat up the 3 iron, and press a shirt.

And while that wouldn't be fair to my local cleaners, it'd probably be a wiser use of the 3 iron than I made the last time on the course.

* Ma-Ironed Clothes