Friday, June 30, 2006

Far East Fun With Seymour and Jane III

Mooooin' at the Moooo! Bar with a host of new acquaintances, along with a sunset view of their summer hangout (when they weren't doin' it was they were doin' to create a whole new crop, so to speak), at the one and only Moooo! Bar.

Viewers will note that the photos are both pre and post Jane's having been screwed (in a manure of speaking).

All photos (previous and upcoming) taken by and courtesy of Miss Moooo! and a real entrepremoooooer, Amy Chavez.

Next Up: Seymour and Jane doin' a pilgrimmage, World Soccer, Jane's new "tribal" look, and a view of the "nursery", sans Seymour (who may not be rock solid on his pending fatherhood). Perhaps his gawdfaddah will have to impart to him a kernal or two of wisdom...


Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Bad Air Day

For years I've been receiving emails from "Nigerian entremanures", offering to give me the business over millions upon millions of dollars that have been left behind by foreigners. Foreigners who've allegedly been killed in various and sundry accidents in Nigeria and points nearby.

A few involve motor vehicles. Fewer involve trains. Perhaps a very remote few involve military transport. One or two might have even involved some really weird demises, such as being trampled in water buffalo and merekat stampedes.

But the majority of them involve plane crashes. Crashes that always take out the foreigner and all of his kin, leaving it to me to step up as their next of kin, so that my Nigerian "benefactor" and I can split the imaginary millions.

Intended to be at my expense, of course.

If I take the statistics from the hundreds of emails I've received since 2000, I wager to say that Nigeria is the single-most unsafe country in the world to fly into/out of. I'm sure the regular Nigerian government and Federal Ministry of Aviation would dispute these statistics, and probably with justification, but I digress.

Witness the following and latest I received under the heading of "Good Day" from, of all people, a "representative" from the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Aviation (TOING!):

From The Desk of Daggash Bugaji
ChairMan Contract Award Committee
Federal Ministry of Aviation

Dear Sir:

My name is Daggash Bugaji, chairman of the contract award committee of the Federal Minstry of Aviation. Sometime last year, the Federal Government of Nigeria decided to upgrade the Radar and Landing facilities at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, kano in Northern Nigeria. The contract ran into several millions of Dollars.

The contract was handled by a foreign firm but because of the huge monetary profit we envisaged we decided to over-invoice the contract sum (who does he think he is, Halliburton?).

Now the contract has been completed and the original contractor has been paid, but the contract balance of US $13.2 million, which resulted from the over invoiced, has been left in a suspense account with the Central Bank of Nigeria. The foreign contractor contact with whom I worked to achieve this was killed in a plane crash (TOING!!) going home to coordinate our taking of these funds.

The problem is as a government official, I am not supposed to own fat bank accounts, talk less of having foreign ones. Since my original partner in this venture is died, I am soliciting your assistance as a foreign partner who can assist me and receive this amount into your account. I am ready to share this money with you on the basis of your participation, and seek your help to invest part of this money in any viable business in your country under your care, as I am most close to retirement age. I received a positive reference about you on the net (TOING!!!) while looking for a potential and reliable partner (what, I'm listed online under Please if you accept my proposal do not hesitate to send me an e-mail, so I can provide you with the basic procedures for release of the fund.

BENEFIT: for providing the account where we shall remit the money, you will be entitled to 20% of the entire funds, with 75% going to me, and 5% for expenses that may incur by both parties during this transaction.

I am necessary to tell you that to complete the modalities and processes for the legal fund transfer, you will be required to fly to Nigeria (TOING!!!!) to meet with my attorney and bank officials. I assure you this is safe and full legal, with no risk attendant to you personally (TOING!!!!!).

Please, I enjoin you to handle this transaction with utmost degree of maturity (TOING!!!!!!) and confidentiality because I am still in active government serice with the FEDERAL MINISTRY OF AVIATION. If I receive your response on time, this whole transaction could be accomplished with the shortest possible time based on your nterest and determination, since the money must soon be in transit.

Yours faithfully,

Daggash Bugaji

I didn't even need an extra *TOING* to see the angle of response hyar.

My reply to Mr. Nigerian Air, Dagnabbit Buggeye:

My Good Mr. Buggeye:

I am most appreciative that you, out of all the choices you could have made off the Net sources you perused for a foreign partner replacement, decided it was me that you wished to give this business to. I'd also love to know from you which Net source you located me on; I think I am indebted to them, and wish, when this is consummated, to give them something. Like a foot up their ass, but that's for later.

But to more pressing matters: I am modestly moved to, with all due respect due your governmental eminence and position, point out with emphasis the irony here. Over the years, Buggeye, I have received a large number of these offers to give me this business. In almost every case -- like about 99.99% of them -- the original foreign person(s) died. In a plane crash. In Nigeria.

Stay with me, Buggeye: they died when their plane crashed. In the words of Number 5, they "ceased to function". Them and their immediately-known kin, right down to the family pet in some cases, rendering the use of even 'Fluffy' as next of kin to be a non-starter. Granted, a few of them didn't die in the plane: a couple of them died in cars that a plane fell on. In at least one case I recall, the foreign bank account holder of dubious antecedence and worse luck was killed in a merekat stampede. A stampede triggered by a plane crash.

What the hell, Buggeye: is Nigeria proof that Fig Newton's Law of Gravitas is just another short-lived and bad TV reality show?

And now, you come to me -- you, a claimed employee of the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Government of Nigeria -- and you want me to front for you in acquiring the ill-gotten gains that another foreigner had helped you get, before he died in a plane crash leaving your country.

And on top of that, you tell me that I, as a condition of consummation of the effort to give me this business, must fly to Nigeria. In a plane. Not on the plane, since I'd get blowd off of it at takeoff, but I digress. And I'm supposed to fly into this Kano airport, which consists of two dirt strips with unregulated Elephant Xing signs midway, an outhouse, and an old Quonset hut/barn thing that doubles as maintenance and the terminal, full of petrified palm leaves, dead flies and stale gazelle jerky, to meet with an attorney? And you would suggest to me, with all that, that the transaction is risk-free?

Finally, Buggeye, you expect me to do all of that, and for only 20%?

With all due respect, Dagnabbit Buggeye, are you snorting dried hallucinagens made from dried and processed water buffalo leavins again, or were you a passenger aboard one of your own planes? I was born in the morning, Buggeye, but not this morning.

But I'll tell you what, my aeronautically kamikaze friend of all things fall down and blow up: I'll give your kind offer to give me this business my highest priority of consideration. Yes, I will. Really. Honest.

Meantime, I will await the verification telegram from the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Government of Nigeria, that confirms you are who you say you are.

Uh, wait...this was supposed to be confidential, wasn't it?


Oh well...early retirement ain't so bad.

Well...around here, anyway.

Thanks for thinking of me, Buggeye. I hope you feel the same, shortly.


U. R. Phulovit
Our Crabs Can Fly; How About Yours?

What is becoming something of a disappointing refrain these days, Dagnabbit Buggeye didn't see fit to follow up his offer to give me the business.

You don't suppose a plane fell on his office, do you?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Going "Tofar"


With the dearth of chaseable storms so far this June, I find I need to fill my free time somehow. One bad habit costs too much to indulge in, so I find myself falling back on another bad habit that costs me only time.

Responding to email scamsters. Chasing storms is safer I'm told, but if ya ain't got 'em, ya ain't got 'em.

Granted, little has changed in their efforts to give me the business, save for I'm not always so ready to drag out a good scam over a month or more; sometimes, it's best to ladle so much responding absurity right up front, that the scammer is left with that *duck hit over the head look*, cyberly speaking, and seeks less-educated, more gullible pastures elsewhere.

Take for example this sampling: with an email header of PLEASE HELP MY FAMILY (A CRY FOR HELP) I received the following from the improbably-named scammer of the moment, Tofar Mustapher:

Strictly Confidental

Compliments of the day to you and your family.I am writing to you with much respect and honor to this letter, wich must remain private and confidental. I know my proposal will come to you as a surprise (yeah, right...*yawn*) since you do not precisely know me. Anyway, mind accepted you and I believe that this proposal will bring mutual benefit for both of us.

Let me use this medium to introduce myself to you. I am Mr. Tofar Mustapher, the son of Alhaji Usman Mustapher, the former chairman of Diamond National Mining Cooperation and once the Director of Works and Housing before his untimely death. My Father associated himself with coup plotters that ousted the government of Ahmed Tijan Kabbah on the 25th of May 1997 and was executed including ten (10) others.

As a result of his executed death and uncontrollable war in my country, Sierre Leone, my mother and I decided to seek asylum in South Africa where my Father had deposited US31.5M (THIRTY ONE Million five hundred thousand United States Dollars) for us. We now want to use this money for investment in your country since we do not have anyone to assist us. Therefore, I am asking your urgen assistance to forward this money into your country using very confidental and reliable means (*snicker laugh titter ROAR*) in which I will offer you 40% of the total amount for your king assistance (I've been called a "royal pain" before, but I've never had anyone ask for my "king assistance").

However, this money is safely kept in a Security Company (TOING) before my father death under disguise as precious items and nobody has any slight knowledge of what is inside the box deposited with the Company (other than the how many ever others you've sent this scam to as well...nyuk nyuk). In other words, there is no risk involved (TOING) and so not hesittate to ask questions where necessary. All documents cover the deposition of the money with the Security company are intact with me. For more information, call me on confidental number 27-73-307-22-72 (er...well it WAS confidental...*grin*) or through email at to provide you with detailed information on how the transfer of this fund can made to your country. Please me with your private telephone and fax numbers for easy and confidental communication.

Bless you,

Mr. Tofar Mustapher


Having been appealed to in such a manure, I was torn between (a) dragging out his illusion that I was a bigger sucker than he would be and (b) putting him out of my misery in short order.

I opted for (b). Witness the following response:


I am in receipt of your effort to give me the business via your "cry for hep" for your famdamily. Having been raised a Christian at the switch of the "do as I say" branch of the divinity disciplines so forcefully applied to my backside now and agin, I can say that I hear your cry for what it is, and having been so raised, will respond.

Being a wealthy philanderer..thropist of some notoriety in the social/cultural circles in bucolic Liechtenstein -- I am the CEO of the International Crustacean Obedience Training Institute -- I sought out my financial analyst, and we brainstormed about your predicament. Granted, the forecast came up drought, but I kept going back to memories of childhood deprivation, my Christian upbringing, and that willowy switch, and I just knowd I had to overcome the opposition from my financial advisor. Yes, he opposed my allowing you to give me this business. He's an improbable and ruthless Teutonic character named Baron Otto Von Dildo Insertinpuss, and a real stickler for the improprieties.

He "got bad vibes" from your request, and felt that your request was singularly and fiscally insupportable, whereas I took the pluralistic view that brought us to colliding consensus of the obfuscatory kind. The bottom line, Tofar, is that I feel I won over my skeptical financial advisor to my point of view. How did I do this, you might ask yourself, though be careful to do so out of earshot of others, who might think you're talking to yourself as a sign of an incipient mental disorder? Let me tell you, my inanely educated friend with an easily-made-up mind: his final comment in our meeting, after hours of bitter wrangling without a single cow roped, was "Vhat ist dat you zink you are doingk midde das funds undt schtuff? Dis ist goingk too far!"

I told him I was glad he agreed with me. I think he's still hitting his head on his desk, but it's a hard desk, so I'm not worried about damage to it.

So, my surprise and of dubious antecedence new friend, I shall await your elucidation whereupon, therewithin, heretofore (or earlier if need be), and/or howby, we shall proceed with your pithy efforts to give me this voodoo that you do so wellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll. You may reach me hyar, just as you originally done. I will be happy to provide you with precise directions on where you can go with this, and what manure you may place it upon arrival there. I'll even be happy to provide you with more precise translations in simple syllables, if the aforementioned cruciverbalisms are beyond your comprehende englander.


U. R. Phulovit, CEO

So far, Tofar has made no reply to me. Y'all don't think I went tofar with my reply, do ya?

*dodging throwd vegetables*

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Fathers' Day Look Back: They Weren't Expendable

But they were prepared to be.

The 65th anniversary of an important event in American history is still 10 months off, but I'm not willing to wait. Fathers' Day is as good a time as any to remember.

April 18, 1942. Not six months after the devastation of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, the US struck back at Japan.

It wasn't much by the standards of what would come later, let alone comparable to what the Japanese had wrought on the morning of December 7, 1941. Yet it gave America a badly-needed morale boost. And it led the Japanese -- stunned by the audacity and daring of the attack -- to make strategic decisions that proved a turning point early in the Pacific Theatre of World War II.

Namely, the Japanese decision to strike at Midway.

Sixteen twin-engine B-25 Mitchell bombers. Eighty pilots and crewmen. A 16 ship task force built around the new USS Hornet, which carried the bombers in a never-before (or after) attempted launching of an attack by land-based bombers from an aircraft carrier at sea, against the home islands of Japan.

Target(s): Tokyo, and other key Japanese cities.

Commanded by Lt. Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, each man was a volunteer. All volunteered without knowing what the mission was. Once they learned of it, all were given the chance to change their mind, without prejudice.

Not one did.

Many of them were fathers at the time; they chose to put the long-term safety of their families first. Some notions transcend generational differences, like the protective instincts of fathers.

The plan was to bring the USS Hornet to within 450 miles of the Japanese home islands, whereupon the Doolittle Raiders would be launched; after bombing their various targets in Tokyo and other cities, the planes were to fly onto mainland China, where they would be reunited at Chungking.

It didn't work out that way: Japanese "picket" boats detected the American task force about 650 miles from Japan, forcing Doolittle and his intrepid Raiders into the air 200 miles sooner than planned.

All sixteen planes launched successfully; fifteen of the sixteen dropped their bombs on Japanese industrial and military targets.

But the extra distance, coupled with inclement weather over China's east coast, proved fateful to the aircraft: all fifteen B-25s that attempted landfall in China were lost, with the crews having to bail out or survive water crash landings. The sixteenth landed in Vladivostok, Russia, where it (and the five-man crew) was interned (the crew later escaped in 1943). Three men were killed in the water crash landings off the China coast; eight others were captured by the Japanese. Of those eight, three were executed, and one died in captivity; the other four were released after the Japanese surrender in August, 1945.

Most (not all) of the "Doolittle Raiders" who survived the raid survived the war, and gathered for a long-promised party in December, 1945, in Miami. Thereafter, starting in 1947, the Raiders met annually other than during a couple of years when war intervened (1951 and 1966), always taking a moment to remember and toast their fallen comrades.

In 1959, the City of Tucson (AZ) presented the Raiders with a set of 80 silver goblets, which were then, and since, used to toast those Raiders both present and departed. The goblets and their display case is kept at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, other than when used at the annual reunions. A goblet in the display turned upside down represents a departed Raider.

I don't know the actual number at this point, but it is my understanding that there weren't many of the goblets left right side up in 2006 (update: sixteen of the Raiders survive at this point).

The story goes that at the "last reunion", the last two surviving Raiders will open a special bottle of brandy that accompanies the goblets, and drink a final toast to their 78 departed comrades.

When the last Raider ultimately rejoins his comrades at the Airfield Of Eternity, so will close a small, but unforgettable, chapter in American history.

Let it always remain unforgotten.

I would urge you to seek out and read two books in particular, on both the mission and the incredible man who led it: The Doolittle Raiders -- America's daring first strike against Japan by Carroll V. Glines; and a revealing and touching tribute to Jimmy Doolittle, and "the wind beneath his wings", his soulmate and wife, Josephine "Joe" Doolittle, written by someone intimately placed to know the story so well: Calculated Risk: The Extraordinary Life of Jimmy Doolittle -- Aviation Pioneer and World War II Hero. A Memoir by Jonna Doolittle Hoppes.

Just as our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan today, many of them fathers, step to the fore to defend their nation and their families, so too did the heroes of the World War II "Greatest" Generation step to the fore. Many of them fathers. When danger comes calling, that's what so many fathers do.

God bless.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Far East Fun With Seymour and Jane: Update

I have just received the most unusual update from Seymour and Jane's hostess in Japan, Amy Chavez: Jane has achieved a measure of "liberation". Along with getting her ear pierced.

I can't do justice to this 'un; I'll leave that to Amy hyar.

What'd He Sing?

A moderator of a writing group I belong to -- Southern Humorists -- posted a short column seeking comments and suggestions about his thoughts on Bob Dylan.

With the possible exception of some of the chronology he used (I'm not a trivia buff on the man, so I couldn't critique that), there wasn't anything he wrote I didn't tend to agree with. But what I also think on this subject is this: musical taste is subjective, period.

Whether you listen to Beethoven, Bob Seeger, Enya, Bob Dylan, The Bee Gees, Foreigner, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Toby Keith, The Dipsey Chicks, Nine Inch Nails or Icewhatever, your taste is personal and subjective, period. Because you listen to one genre over another, and omit certain genre, means nothing in my book. It's personal choice, nothing more or less.

I know some folks who figure a person's politics are revealed in their music. If you've read much of this hyar blog or my website, you'd conclude certain things about me from a political/ideological point of view, some of which is probably right (no pun intended). Then I'd go and confound you with the following statement (if you buy into the music/politics hooey): I like Bob Dylan's music.

And you might think, "Huh?".

I'm a late Baby Boomer. I began listening to rock and roll in the early 60s, when I wasn't in the car ('cuz my folks hated R&R, and listened to country, which drove us kids crazy). Bob Dylan got his start about then. A prolific performer, song writer and balladeer, in 1965 he wrote and sang what has made many lists*as the greatest song ever, Like A Rolling Stone. I was 8 at the time; I had no idea then what the song was supposed to signify. I could of cared less what it was supposed to signify. I only knew I liked how it sounded, period.

I still do.

His singing? Eh. He was okay in the aforementioned. I didn't recognize him initially when I first heard his Lay Lady Lay. I found his Knocking On Heaven's Door haunting. He sounded like classic Dylan singing I Want You, Positively 4th Street, and Just Like A Woman. With other songs he personally penned and orchestrated...ack. With Mr. Tamborine Man, My Back Pages and It Ain't Me Babe, Dylan was better as writer than vocalist; the Byrds and Turtles did much better with them.

In a high school English Composition class, we were tasked to take a song and analyze the lyrics; my first thought was, "ack phooey". What I chose, of all things, was Dylan's My Back Pages. First I had to find the lyrics; then I had to figure out what I thought they meant. I had no clue.

I got an 'A' on the paper; my instructor embarrassed me by posting it for all who entered the classroom to read.

What I wrote was my first example of what I'd be doing later online: logical-sounding (sorta) gibberish. I still have no clue what that song was saying. But being the 'instant gratification' sort back then, I happily accepted the 'A'.

In later years, I found Dylan sounding vocally more and more like two cats fighting piano innards with baseball bats. In other words, he sang like Ozzy Osbourne talked: a mix of pidgeon-German and Mandarin Chinese, after an all-night alcohol binge.

Nonetheless, I know that Bob Dylan had quite an impact in the music industry: many of the songs he wrote became top hits for other groups, as aforementioned. His music is as popular today as 40 years ago, if not his personal performances of it.

It's the music of my youth. Music I continue to enjoy today, if not his personal performances of it.

I still don't go in much for trying to discern the meaning of the lyrics; I just know I like the music that props them up. Other than Everybody Must Get Stoned, that is: I didn't like it then, I don't like it now. I mean, I could easily rewrite the lyrics and it'd still mean the same thing to me:

They'll stone you when you wire brush the cat,
they'll stone you if you fart, you're old, you're fat
They'll stone you if you dodge highway speed bumps,
they'll stone you if you violate tree stumps,
but I would not mind if I were cloned,
so the bunch of me could just get stoned *eeeh haw*

If I could take my recording of Dylan's Just Like A Woman, and edit out just his vocals, I'd do that as well. What the lyrics are supposed to mean, I don't know or care; the musical arrangement itself is fabulous (if you can listen to the original version and try to forget the words, you might hear what I mean).

So, for you musical purists out there, that's my subjective opinion. Like it or trash it, as you will; feel free to give me hell if you think I'm wrong. You'll find I can take the criticisms, since to me they'll sound like cats beating a piano into submission with bats.

* subjective opinions from musicians, critics, etc.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Far East Fun With Seymour and Jane II

I sorta hate surprises. Though, some can kind of grow on you, with time. And fertilizer (of which I'm full of, depending who you ask).

In Part I, my pet rock Seymour and pet earette of corn Jane, were guests of humor columnist Amy Chavez, who lives on Shiraishi Island, in the Inland Sea, Japan.

Seymour wanted to spend a summer with Amy at the Moooo! Bar; both he and Jane received a personal invite from Amy when she visited stateside in March.

Already, my rock and earette of corn have logged more international travel miles than I may ever, but I digress.

At any rate, Amy had kept me apprised of their adventures -- at the Moooo! Bar, on the beach, Seymour's shrine travels, etc -- save for one. One which apparently took place during a break in the photography at the beach. And one which came like a cannon shot in the night with an email announcement:

I was gonna be a godfather.

"What the hell does their visiting Japan have to do with me and a pizza?", was my first thought. Before I could get very far in practicing up the appropriate badda bing badda booms and other relevant phrases, the *TOING* of realization came through.

Seymour knocked up Jane. So to speak.

Apparently, Seymour was"loaded". Or Jane was quite fertile. The above photo shows only a fraction of her and Seymour's eighteen budding brood.

So much for my "birds and the bees" lecture to Seymour before departing. Apparently, it was like talking to a rock.


At any rate, Jane and Seymour's brood have three godparents (so far): their host, Amy Chavez; Seymour's Texas flame, Monica; and, of course, the sucker what got this whole situation rolling in the first

don't let your babies grow up
to meet pet rocks...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Dances With Storms


So far, June's annual severe weather serve-up and my days off just aren't clicking. Take today: here's a good chance for severe weather on the Colorado Eastern Plains (including the Denver Metro, under and just above the "expected" in the box commentary).

And I have to work (6p-6a...ack).

To the weather gods I say Pbbbbbbbbbbt on your timing.

All I have to show for this season is a couple of backside storm photos, taken on a day I was told there wouldn't be any.

I'm not living right. But I already knowd that ;-)

If/when my schedule and the weather gods come to agreement, perhaps there'll be Tornado Chasing for Dummies IV.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Support Your Wayward Asteroid

(from the archives)

In 2002, we learned of an asteroid that had what is referred to as a "cosmic near miss" with the Earth, passing at a distance of only 75,000 miles.

In baseball parlance, that might be comparable to a pitch just missing the outside corner at the knees.

At any rate, cosmic collisions have been shown in all their catacylismic glory in movies like Asteroid and Deep Impact. NASA tracks for celestial bodies with designs on making their mark on our terra firma, and has a rather illuminating list of pending contestants one might liken to the next Kelly Clarkson wannabe on American Idull.

Well, okay: more like William Hung.

At any rate, this hyar isn't meant as just another apocalyptic view of a possible future-ending collision; this seeks to find that silver lining that some folks seek in anything.

Seek forth hyar.