Saturday, February 27, 2010

Night of the Tomatoes

While my pet rock, Seymour, has recently decided that he wants to learn meterology, I may have to curtail this pursuit, if he's going to try combining real science with science fiction, HIS way. Especially when the genesis of it is a verbal gaffe by a real weathercaster.
The other day, a local weather maven (and hottie) was discussing with morning show hosts the agreement that all were "sick of winter", and were more than ready for spring. Then, she went onto remind listeners of what spring could bring: the kind of conditions that generate severe thunderstorms, unbelievably large hail, powerful microbursts and downdrafts, and those vortex leviathans that make for all kinds of inexplicable geographic rearrangement.
She's so meterologically sexy when she talks like that, but I digress.
Whatever she was thinking at the time of speaking, she apparently crossed two subjects in the translation, as she spoke of the usual probability of "tomatoes on the Eastern Plains".
The morning show hosts didn't let that one by. They had some fun at her expense.
Unfortunately, neither did my pet rock let the opportunity by, but his *TOING* was of a different notion.
Instead of focusing on the humor in the faux pas, Seymour -- overnight, while I attempted to sleep -- apparently scribbled furiously on about every sheet of paper I had left in the place, crafting what he calls a 'script' for a movie. One Seymour insists combines twists of Nature, man's meddling with same, and the injection of imagination from a mind full, to be fleshed out by a special effects studio, and made into a movie called...Night Of The Tomatoes.
I read it. It sucks (figuratively AND literally).
"Does NOT!"
I'll let you read key excerpts from his script, and YOU decide.
In a plot sure to gain acclaim and impetus with the vegetable rights movement, unscrupulous government bureaucrats and businessmen -- all represented as conservatives, Seymour insists, because Hollyweird won't make a movie about unscrupulous liberals -- work clandestinely to engineer genetically-enhanced "super tomatoes" on a confidential, well-guarded government preserve in eastern Colorado, and in the heart of Colorado's "Tornado Alley". On one fateful late May day, summer of '10, a mesocyclonic supercell thunderstorm hits the area head-on, with a resulting tornado plowing right through the heart of the preserve. And in a metomorphosis explainable by neither Man, science or Science Fiction Theatre 3000, one of the largest, genetically-enhanced tomatoes, combines with the fury of Nature, F-5 Tomato.
This just plain has "bad" written all over it.
"Does NOT!"
At any the killer veg advances to the east, acclaimed researchers and storm chasers swarm into the path of the wrathful supercondiment, seeking answers to not only how did this happen, but how they can stop it before it garners an Academy Award for Worst Picture in the History of Cinema.
"Will NOT!"
In one of what Seymour insists is a more seminal, gripping sequence of the movie, two researchers -- somehow interconnected sexually in an on-the-rocks relationship that only dire peril and bad script-writing can change* -- encounter the relentless, ravaging leviathan along the I-70 corridor, approaching Genoa, and the "chase" is on (along with the really BAD dialogue..."is NOT!"):
Female: Oh my GAWD...there it's BEHIND US!" *into cell phone*'s an F-5...we have an F-5 tomato on the ground, moving east at a high rate of speed! Are you tracking?
(Response from person on the other end of the phone is the equivalent of DUUUHHHHH, of COURSE WE'RE TRACKING, with suitably colorful metaphorics accompanying).
Male: Have we got time to deploy?
Female: Deploy WHAT? We have TOTO, not HOTDOG!
Male: Let's get OUT OF HERE!
(music uptempos as the "chase" is on...after a few moments and credulity-stretching scenes of tomatic destruction in their wake, the dialogue resumes)
Female: It's closing on us! FASTER!
Male: I...I can't believe HUNTS!
Female: *glares at him*...that's NOT in the script...
Male: I know...but we best get our Heinzes outta here!
Female: *another glare*...keep it up, buddyboy...
(music uptempos more...)
Female: you need to go FASTER! FASTER!!!
Male: I'm trying! It seems determined to ketchup!
Female: *sound of bone-jarring THWACK* just HADDA say that, didn't ya?
Male: What are you getting all stewed over?
Female: *another bone-jarring TWHACK*
Male: *into cell phone*..Ow..we have debris..I say again, we have debris!
Female: one more bad pun, and you're gonna think DEBRIS, lizard lips...
Before the climax ripens -- and before he finds himself in the soup and she can paste him for one more pun -- the movie is wisely cancelled by Paramount, only to be picked up by The Cartoon Channel and the South Park gang.
"Is NOT!"
Night of the Tomatoes. A real chili-ing meterological thriller.
*TWHACK* Ow...
*this appears borrowed from the movie Twister, only more poorly-written..."IS NOT!"

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"The Forgotten War" No Longer

*Note: this column was originally published on my "Out of (Cyber) Thin Air" website on June 24, 2000. It has been updated for release in advance of the 60th anniversary in 2010, without apologies; only thanks to those about whom I now repost*
Time again for a little history.
At appropriate moments in our history, we commemorate -- and rightly so -- moments grand and glorious in this nation's founding and maintaining of. One such regularly-celebrated epic is World War II. Remembered with statues, movies, books, museums, and lots of words from a lot of folks who owe a rapidly-dwindling few, more thanks than we can ever give them. Referred to as "The Greatest Generation", it isn't hard to want to simply cede them that accolade, when one reads and studies just what was asked of that generation, and what it cost them to defend our freedom in a two-front war of global proportions.
The question's been asked more than once: could we, or the generation that follows us, rise to the occasion, if needed, as our grandfathers did? Needless to say, asked and answered: we need look no further than the generation that answered the call on the morning of September 12, 2001, after another "day of infamy", the morning before. And continues to answer it, to this day.
Thank you, and God Bless every last one of you.
Another milestone is upon us, and one that seems to pass with a great deal less fanfare than World II. Four months from now is the 60th anniversary of the onset of the Korean War. It has been, over the years, referred to as "the forgotten war". It lasted a little over three years, and cost over 2 million lives, including over 50,000 Americans (33,000 of which died in combat).
It was a different kind of war, the impact of which was not clearly understood by either side at that time. In summary: on the morning of June 25, 1950, the armed forces of North Korea -- Soviet-trained and equipped -- launched an all-out offensive across the 38th Parallel, with the objective of overrunning South Korea, and unifying the peninsula by force, under Communist dominance.
They would come within an ace of success: what was left of the South Korean Army (ROK) -- American-trained and equipped -- reinforced by ill-prepared American and gradually other United Nations forces, were forced back into a small perimeter outside of the port city of Pusan. From there, ghastly battles -- fierce as any seen during World War II -- raged in the oven-like hills and valleys, as the Allies strove to hold the line, while building their forces for a counterstroke. A World War II hero and controversial figure -- General Douglas MacArthur -- then staged a risky amphibious landing on the western port city of Inchon in mid-September, in an effort to cut the North Korean supply lines, and relieve the Pusan Perimeter. Not long after the landings, near-defeat of UN forces became a rout of North Korean forces, and they were driven back across the 38th Parallel.
Then came yet another controversial decision: urged on by South Korean President Rhee and General MacArthur -- and ignoring promises of intervention by Communist Chinese forces -- President Truman decided to unleash US, and in effect, UN forces, to push north from the 38th Parallel, and do to the North Koreans, what they had tried and failed to do: reunification of the Korean Peninsula by force. After all, they -- the North Koreans -- were the aggressors; defeat and surrender were their only option.
At least, so believed MacArthur, and others of the old school brand of warfare.
With promises of going home by Christmas ringing in their ears, American troops pushed on north, taking the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, and moving ever closer to the Yalu River, and the Manchurian border. Several South Korean and one American unit, would actually stand on the banks of the Yalu, before disaster struck: disaster in the form of 300,000 Chinese, out of seemingly nowhere, in late November.
Whole divisions of ROKs were overrun and destroyed; the US Army's 2nd Division was caught in a "gauntlet" near Kunu-ri, losing much of their equipment and over 4,000 men. The US Army's 7th Division lost the bulk of "Task Force MacLean/Faith" on the east side of Chosin Reservoir in the northeast; but on the west side of that same reservoir, elements of the US 1st Marine Division -- strung out in combat elements between Yudam-ni and Funchilin Pass, a distance of roughly 60 miles -- made an epic stand, outnumbered as much as 6 to 1 or more, and fought their way out of a fate similar to that of the ROKs and the US 2nd Division. Surrounded and embattled until they cleared Funchilin Pass, the Marines, surviving US Army 31st/32nd Infantry units, and an elite British 41st Commando unit, "simply attacked in another direction", and fought their way to the sea and safety, inflicting staggering casualties on the Chinese.
By the summer of 1951, UN forces had regrouped south of the 38th Parallel, and after inflicting unimaginable casualties on the Chinese during a series of Communist offensives -- who were, at that time, willing to spend men against firepower, without counting -- drove them north of the 38th Parallel by the end of June, 1951.
Peace talks began in July of that year, first at Kaesong, and later at Panmunjom, and dragged on for more than two years. Meantime, the war degenerated into a World War I-style of man-eating stalemate, with ground taken and lost, more to provide negotiating 'chits', than to conquer and hold ground. Finally, on July 27, 1953, an uneasy armistice was signed, and the guns went silent that midnight, after more than three years of a rain of death on the peninsula.
The merits of the war in Korea, and our involvement in it, have been argued ever since. We had an uneasy, and somewhat unwanted ally, whose country was largely destroyed in the fighting, and remained ideologically and militarily divided afterward; we had an enemy, bloodied and savaged, but unbending and unbowed, and unwilling to let go of their dreams of domination of the whole by any means, if another opportunity offered. And we had our own country divided over the cost of having fought a war, not to victory, but to a seeming stalemate. We hadn't 'won' the war in the eyes of many; certainly not in the same fashion as we identified with World War II. Many of the people -- including a number of those who fought -- were left wondering, "it was for what?".
Not all could see, then or even later, that Korea was something of a turning point in the newly-dawned Atomic weapons age: the necessary-to-world-survival changes in the rules of the "game", were slow to register with many, and harder to explain to many more.
The rules are still hard to fathom, even today. More on that later.
As a reader and ponderer of history, I'm not here to discuss the pros and cons of the Korean War, save for an opinion I'll venture at the end here; suffice it to say that better writers than me have taken up many of those issues in excellent and well-researched accounts, and are available to those who seek them. Include in your reading lists In Mortal Combat by John Toland; This Kind of War by T. R. Fehrenbach; Breakout, by Martin Russ, among many others.
To paraphrase the words of Fox News, "they researched and wrote; you decide".
No, my purpose here is to pay belated and eternal recognition to those who served and sacrificed in the hills and valleys, in the 110 degree heat and -30 below blizzards, of the unforgiving Korean terrain. To remember places and names of battles that were no less honorable and horrific than Tarawa or Omaha Beach, and yet are nowhere near as heralded as Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima or Bastogne. Battles that, in their own scope, were as decisive as Midway or D-Day.
Names and places you should know of, and remember.
Places like Obong-ni Ridge, the Naktong Bulge, Taejon and the Pusan Perimeter. Inchon and Seoul. Hell Fire Valley, Hill 1282, Toktong Pass, Kunu-ri. Gloster Hill on the Imjin River. Chipyong-ni. Bunker Hill. The Soyang Valley. Hagaru. East Hill. Wonju. Bloody Ridge. Heartbreak Ridge. Porkchop Hill.
And beyond the famous men of the Korean War, there were the men who were on the ground, in the trenches, battling heat, arctic cold, deprivation and the enemy: men like Ray Murray, Ray Davis, Paul Freeman, Francis "Ike" Fenton, Robert Taplett, John "Blackie" Cahill, Walter Phillips, Joe Clemons, John Yancey, Jesse L. Brown, Chew-En Lee, Robert Gault, Henry "Gunny" Foster, Theodore Hudson, Joseph Owen, Baldwin Frank Myers, James Mount, Ed Reeves, Fred Davidson, Attilio Lupacchini, George Crotts, Preston Parks, Frank Munoz, Edward Schmitt, and countless thousands of others.
Men like my father.
He joined the US Marine Reserve in 1949, and was called to active duty in September, 1950. When he arrived in Korea in the spring of 1951, he was posted to his unit as an 81mm mortar gunner, and experienced the fury of the last two major Chinese offensives, as well as the massive UN counteroffensive that pushed the Chinese and North Koreans back north of the 38th Parallel.
On July 31, 1951, his war came to an abrupt end, as his buddy -- PFC Chester L. Corrello, Lima, Ohio -- stepped on a 'Bouncing Betty' land mine. Corello was killed; my father was badly wounded, and would spend the next year in and out of hospitals, recovering.
Whatever else he did and didn't do, he carried his Purple Heart proudly, to the end of his troubled life.
So I take this opportunity, as I did ten years ago, to pay tribute to the men of the Korean War. Men who served with honor in a war, like and unlike any they or their fathers had fought before. Men who answered a call to duty and did what they had to do, like it or not, and not always knowing the why, or the sense of it. Men who fought, died and held the far frontier in a new, little-understood kind of war between conflicting ideologies, ideologies that knew the rules of the game had to change in the Nuclear Age, but couldn't reconcile themselves to a better solution, because one side wished to compete for domination, and the other had to compete, or surrender.
And the surrender of liberty, to tyranny and oppression, is simply not an option. Not if what we cherish is worth having and worthy of passing on to the children of the next generation.
These men didn't return home, viewed as the World War II veterans were; nonetheless, they served and sacrificed every bit as much as our revered "citizen soldiers" of WW II did, and as all of our soldiers have, from the Revolution's Bunker Hill, to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Besides, and in the humble opinion of this writer -- an opinion born and formed of much reading and review of history, then and since -- it is clear today, at least to me, that they won the Korean War. For those who argue contrary, I simply suggest that they take a good hard look today at the quality of life and differing degrees of freedom and prosperity, south and north of the 38th Parallel. Freedom and prosperity is victory. Find that for me, north of the 38th.
Nothing more need be said.
So I mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War thus, and almost 59 years after his service ended there, I remember my father -- PFC Wayne L. Bay, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment, 1st Marine Division -- and his fellow veterans, living and dead.
Again, and always, thank you, and God Bless you all.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Art of Persuasive Suggestion

And how it should have had little to do here, but I'm not sure I digress.
The photos on the right really do deserve an explanation. And one shall be forthcoming. But email that crossed my scambaiting crosshairs in the early part of February, read as follows:
Hello friend,
my name is William Wilcox. I work with the Euro Lottery. I am soliciting your assistance for a swift transfer of 4,528,000 GBP, should you be willing to assist me in this project? you will be giving me just 40% of your winnings.
It went on with additional fluff and nonsense, and then got down to the ratkilling part:
Just as a brief, you just have to register online, due to my position in th ecompany I can make it happen that you will be the winner of the above stated amount, less my percentage for helping you surmount the odds. I will understand if you are not of interest, but I feel in you I find a person willing to work with me to our mutual benefit.
Ooooooooooookay. I can take a backhanded slap like that. And I can give it back, too, in a manure that William Wilcox might not recognize as one:
Friend? Are we acquainted? I don't see you in my rolodex. But no matter...are you related, by chance, to Wendy Willcox?
Which gives me a chance to 'splain the photos...back in '02, I came across a scambaiter who did his 'baiting' under the guise of Wendy Willcox (pictured above), and her companion dog Willis (the other picture; I'll leave it to the readers to figure out which is which). He even published a book, The Adventures of Wendy Willcox and her dog Willis, that had to do with his scambaits under the Wendy Willcox nom de gag.
I had borrowed the photo of "Wendy" for use in a barlight blog entry, as well as to insult a scammer's "attorney", but otherwise, it and the dawg had sat in my photo queue, genetically decomposing. Until now.
At first, I didn't think the decomposition would suffer any interruption, as Mr. Wilcox didn't respond immediately. But after 5 days, he did:
Hello, thanks to you for responding to my email, I am not related to Wendy Willcox, sorry. And then he went on to explain to me how, from his position within the Euro Lottery, he had spent two years setting up his gambit, and how he'd found me through reliable sources on the Internet and that this project is 100% risk and hitch-free provided you follow my instructions completely.
Sure...I could play along as has been my own SOP with past scams; but I wasn't ready to let go of the Wendy Willcox angle here:
You're NOT related to Wendy Willcox? Dang...too bad. I would have worked with you on ANYTHING, WITHOUT QUESTION, if you were related to Wendy Willcox.
After three days and no reply, it appeared that we were done. Then came Day Four:
I am pleased to tell you that after I think this over more, I am related to Wendy Wilcox. the way you spell it confused me. Wendy is my brother's daughter. i am glad that you are known to Wendy? So now can we proceed with the project?
Oh indeed, we can proceed alrighty, but not before:
Mr. Willcox (I got him to agree that he knows Wendy; let's see if I can get him to adjust the spelling of his name, too), I am thrilled to learn that after 8 years, through you, I have found Wendy Willcox! This is, indeed, a great day for me! As I agreed earlier, I will do whatever you ask of me on the aforementioned project; but first, will you have Wendy get ahold of me? This is MOST IMPORTANT before we proceed. Give her my email address and have her contact me.
The next day, I don't get an email from Wendy Willcox, or her dawg, Willis. I do get this from William Wil(l)cox *smirk*:
Hello, i regret i am not able to contact Wendy for you, so if it please, can we get to the business now at hand?
Since William has gone from not knowing Wendy, to remembering Wendy, and then changed his last name spelling for to draw me into his game, I owed it to him to be a bit more...stubborn:
William, I am adamant when I say unto you that I will do anything you ask, AFTER I HAVE SPEAKS WITH WENDY, and NOT BEFORE. So communicate with her for me and give her my email address. You want your 40%? Git 'er done. And that doesn't mean YOU doing her...keep it contextual.
Bear in mind here that I have never given this clod a name, and of course he is clueless about Wendy Willcox -- unless he does a google search, at which time he might put two and two together, add three, carry the five, and come up with 22,000 telephone poles an hour -- but in order to get me to do what I said I'd do, I get this next from his email addy:
Hello, its me, Wendy has been long the time, yes? I miss on you. will you now consent to work with William Willcox on his project? it will mean so much to me, and I remember you good that you will do this.
Ah, the art of persuasive suggestion.
But now that I've "heard" from Wendy Willcox...what IS one to do? It takes me all of a few seconds to decide:
WENDY!!!! Dadgum it, you Ozark heifer, it's been a coon's age! I never thought to lay font on you again in this lifetime, Wendy! Do you still look the same after all these years? And is Willis still with you, or did you stuff and mount him, as you swore you would when he went to Dawgie Heaven, after chasing one too many parked cars?
I will never forget that moonless night in Farmer Letch's wood shed, Wendy, the first time we met. How the total darkness made you so...seductive and inviting. How fumbling and bumbling I first was, in the blush of my budding manhood, at once shy and anticipatory, all thumbs trying to undo your training bra, and inadvertently getting it snagged on your front teeth, and you playing like Willis, having a tug-of-war with me, there in the dark, until your bra *BWANGed* off your front tooth, getting caught in the rafters...and after some preliminary petting, and preparatory to my first-ever "roll in the hay", you striking your lighter, and by the light of a flickering BIC, my eyes beheld you for the very first time.
Really, Wendy, I ran screaming from the barn because you dropped your lighter in the hay, setting it on fire; it had NOTHING to do with what I saw. Well, practically nothing. Well okay, so maybe it did have something to do with it. Well okay, so maybe it had a great deal to do with it.
Well okay, Wendy...I thought I was about to have sex with one of Farmer Letch's llamas. Really.
But please don't take that personal, Wendy. I was young and inexperienced then, and I can assure you that in the years since, I ain't never ventured into bar or barnlighting again, without first checking for the gender of, and number of legs attached to, whoever I was with.
But that's in the past, perhaps even far enough to put me beyond the statute of limitations. At any rate, your uncle has it in mind to have me help him give me the business. Do you approve of his machinations? If you do, wag your tail and bark once for yes, twice for no. Getting excited and peeing on my shoe will be taken as a no.
I await your response.
And I still do. Perhaps William Wil(l)cox DID google Wendy Willcox and her dawg Willis, and figured out he wasn't gonna get his 40%.
If so, I reckon HE'LL think twice about bar or barnlighting, too.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010


There are times that discretion really is the better part of valor.
Like most of us widdour own hair, it occasionally calls for an adjustment of length. I never was one for the Woodstock look, nor have I been terribly fond of the "fresh into boot camp" look that my father required of us our first few years. So I'll hang onto that I have, even as it's long gone from it's original brown, to a color that gives me an excuse for 'blonde moments', so to speak.
I used to have a favorite barber. She handled my ear lowerings with a familiarity that kept me comfortable and 'bad hair day free' for 18 years. But then she up and done the dangdest thing, and retired.
Obviously she didn't invest her retirement with Bernie Madoff, since she ain't back in the bidness.
So I hadda find me another barber. Luckily, I did: a cute, perky South Carolinian, who liked to change her own hair color every time I went in to adjust the length of mine. But at least in her hands, the scissors weren't akin to what the government's notions of "transparency" are these days. I was content anew.
But then she up and done the dangdest thing, and moved to Oregon. Maybe it was the jokes I told; I don't think it was the tips I left.
So for the past four years, my haircuts have been hit and miss, and I rarely get the same cutter twice at the emporium I use, out of geographical convenience. 99% of the time, I don't come out and hiss at my reflection in the window, not recognizing what's left of my hair.
But there are times...
One visit in the fall of '09, I went in to find a new, unrecognized, very cute and young lady sitting in the first open stall, staring dreamily at me as I walked up to the register. That she was blonde, and text book at that, became evident at once:
"Are you here for a haircut?" she giggled, with a *bat* of her baby blues.
"No, I'm interested in your $7.99 lobotomy special", was my dead-pan reply, with a couple of *nods* of the eyebrow.
That drew another *giggle*, some quick data entry, and then Cutesy calls over her shoulder through a seemingly empty shop, "Beulah, customer!"
And out of the backroom comes..."Beulah".
O-M-G. Near as tall as me. Near as big around as me. Blacker than black hair, with lowlights of orange in it, and cut spikily, like a Trojan horsehair helmet. She had enough face piercings to make a porcupine wince. Black lipstick and Bela Lugosi eye makeup.
O-M-G. I'm in the hands of a Goth. Or extraterrestrial, from the planet O-M-Goth.
With a voice that reminded me of Stripe from Gremlins, I thought I heard "Beulah" say something like "Gizmo, CA-CA!". But I'm suspecting it was more like "heh, my name is Mayhem. Like how would you like your head, heh, like totally rearranged today?" Pretending I didn't hear what I imagined I had, and being a guy -- showing fear was unacceptable -- I took a few seconds to carefully explain my customerly desire to "Beulah-Mayhem": trim it over the ears, off the collar, and thin a bit off the top. I kept it simple.
Her primal grunt of acknowledgment wasn't much comfort, especially as the air from the grunt whistled, out of tune, through her various piercings.
"Heh..*snort*..uh, you don't mind if I use clippers, do you?", as she wielded a pair of electric shears with what appeared to be hedge-trimming implements on them.
"Uh, well.."I started to mutter..
"Good...I have you, like, so totally done in no time, dude!"
With the first *tug* on the rope to start the chainsaw-sounding clippers, I knew I should have opted for the latter half of my favorite saying, discretion is the better part of valor, and chickensh** is the better part of discretion, breaking away in a dead run and warning all in my path that Hairmageddon was right behind me. But male machismo caused me a second of hesitation, and in that second, (nearly) all was lost.
Caught in a sudden 'storm' of flying particles -- all of which I hoped and dreaded were hair, no body parts -- I thought an octopus weed whacker was flailing my scalp from at least eight different directions. I wondered how I'd hear, with what might be left of my ears, down around my abdomen.
In two of the longest minutes of my hair's life, the fury of the storm broke, and passed.
As the cloud of debris settled, I heard her say "oh, buzzcut, dude...whaddaya think?". Grasping with reluctance, the mirror thrust into my mitt, I gazed into, not a mirror, but a portal of Time itself: crap...I had one of those 7 year old hair cuts! None of the rest of me looked that age.
Which was good, since I hadda drive home.
Rather than offer an honest critique of the unanticipated results -- she was, after all, still lurking there, blackish-orange hair, red eyes, black lips, piercings hissing like a leaky tire, and with that chainsaw-weed whacker thing poised menacingly over my right shoulder -- I muttered something to the affect that "this'll do until the next Winter Olympics", paid, and escaped with what was left of my scared-white hair.
It took a while to grow out, but by New Years' Eve, the scars from surgically reattaching my ears in the right place were practically gone. And my hair, once again, resembled the rest of my chronology.
In two visits since, I haven't seen "Beulah-Mayhem". And that's okay. We should face Hairmageddon but once a lifetime.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Who Dat?

I'm sure you thought this was gonna be a post about the New Orleans Saints.
*Buzzer*...I said all about that subject in comments on another blog, that I need to. Good game, with one team winning, one team losing, and a butt-cheek-load of pundits spinning their own respective psychoanalyses of the results.
No, what's coming h'yar is more pathetic and ludicrous.
It hasn't always been online scammers that I've had fun with and made light of. And it hasn't always been me, doing the "making light of". After all, I got conned into peeing on an electric fence in my very youth. Wasn't always the sharpest pencil in the box.
And in many ways, never will be ;-)
I have a bit of prankster in me. One rule of thumb I stick to: if I can't handle it being done to me, I don't do thus unto others. Most times, I plan a prank with some aforethought to that principle.
But once in a while, I'm a "spur of the moment" opportunist.
A former acquaintance and coworker of mine at work -- in another department -- was plainly NOT one of the sharpest pencils in the box. While she acted like one of those text-book blondes from the running jokes on same, she was an Italian-tempered brunette. But at times, she made the blondes in the jokes look positively Mensa.
One evening at work, I was doing what I was actually paid to do, when she stopped to chat with me about whatever it was she chatted about (it started out as an inquiry asto what I was doing, and it went downhill from there). During the course of which, she called me by a name not my own. Eh. In casual circumstances, I don't pay much mind to such, and didn't bother correcting her. The next several encounters, she called me by the same name. Again, eh.
But about a month later, she came up to me, clearly peeved:
"Why didn't you TELL ME that I was calling you the WRONG NAME?" For something that I wasn't that concerned about, she seemed genuinely annoyed. Knowing that she was sometimes easily-led down an obfuscational trail, I decided to indulge the little *TOING* flaw in my character:
"I didn't correct you 'cuz it doesn't matter. I answer to anything".
Here's a paraphrased recap of what followed (her in bold, me in italics):
That's ridiculous...your name is (my real name).
No...I don't have a *real* name in that sense. I answer to anything.
Stop it...of course you have a real name. My friends told me.
Your friends told you what THEY call me. That's not my real name.
Well...*somewhat exasperated sigh*...what IS your real name then?
I told you..I answer to anything. I don't have a *real* name.
That's nonsense! Everyone has a REAL NAME!
Not me. My parents were free-spirited, and wanted me to be the same.
I don't get it...
My parents encouraged me to be independent of labels, so I could call myself whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. A name is just a label. I am not stuck to a label.
But how can you work here, without a real name?
Well, for THOSE purposes, I have a *given* name...but day to day, I answer to whatever I want.
Really? I..I've never heard of that before...
Oh you know how Frank Zappa calls his kids Moonbat and Dweeb..
He does?
So...(I am really struggling to keep a straight face at this point) what can I call you?
Whatever you want. It's okay with me.
Can I keep calling you (the name she started calling me)?
Thankfully, she walked off before I lost my composure. I went on to tell my 'back of the house' cohorts what I'd done, to their utter delight. And this person -- her first name was Pam -- became known in our tight little venue as "Pam-alama-dingdong".
Yeah, I know...but I wasn't the only one feeding her lines of crap that she, and only she, was actually buying. Long as my ticket to Heckydarnpoo was already punched, I reckoned I might as well enjoy the pre-travel preparations and upgrade my seating, too.
Finally, someone got around to convincing her that I had been yanking her chain right along, and she was absolutely furious with me. And when she finally allowed herself to speak to me, she informed me that "I just can't believe what you are NOT a nice person, and I can't believe a word you say!".
Dang me...dang me...I heard that *TOING* again:
"Pam, I understand fully how you feel, and don't blame you at all. You really can't believe anything I say, because I don't believe anything I say. I can't control it. It's an inherent flaw in my character".
Like I said, *TOING*. After a few moments of this kind of back and forth, I got this from a now sympathetic Pam:
You poor man...have you thought about getting help? I mean, you don't really MEAN to lie all the time, do you?
I kept this newly-struck vein going for five minutes, and for yet another day, as a friend of mine would tell me later that Pam felt "really bad for me, and thinks I'm a decent guy, apart from my problem".
When this line of crap finally got explained to her, we were back to "I can't believe you did that to me!". And I was back to "well, I can believe it...I can't help myself!".
It's been about 6 years now, since I last had the chance to get her from "No way" to "Really?".
Can one now see why the online scammers I play with, never had a chance?
Ding dong...ding dong.
Not that there won't be future 'electric fence urinations' equivalents in my own future. As I freely admit, I'm not the sharpest pencil in the box, either.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's (almost) Valentine's Day: Why?

*From the holiday archives*
February 14 is St. Valentine's Day. A day currently dedicated to that (those) special someone(s). But what exactly IS the origin of this particular holiday, besides being something that benefits flower, chocolate, diamond and gift card purveyors?
As you've come to expect*, I took a bit of a look at the historical genesis of this holiday. What I found was quite likely proof of why I am and will remain single, but I digress.
St. Valentine's Day came about as the result of the alleged martyrdom of one or possibly two legendary persons. Both were Romans from the 3rd Century AD. One is purported to have been a Roman priest and physician, who fell into the personal disfavor of Emperor Claudius II Gothicus, losing his head in the process, and was buried on the Via Flaminia, in Rome. According to one subsequent legend, Pope St. Julius I would later build a basilica over the gravesite, a practice borrowed centuries later by the Meadowlands Sports complex in New Jersey, and Jimmy Hoffa, Sr (apparently without his consent as well).
It is also rumored that the martyred Roman may have been a bishop of Terni, who had a similar surgically imprecise head relocation, by the same Roman emperor. Either way, it resulted in martyrdom, and the establishment on behalf of these extinguished personages the St. Valentine's Day celebration -- a lover's festival -- about ten centuries later.
You may ask how we got from a headless Roman Christian or two, to a day of celebration for lovers? Beats me, but it makes as much sense as turning over the government and treasury to the same people in Congress that ran the economy into the ground in the first place, and I digress again.
Anyway, about 300 or so years ago and after the establishment of St. Valentine's Day, an obscure Italian entrepreneur -- Vincent Guido Fugeddaboudit Hallmarko, or so I am unreliably informed -- created what is believed to be the mother of all greeting cards. Until about 1800, paper valentines (cheap knock-offs of Hallmarko's first designs) were the norm. After 1800, and in response to a rising demand by persons wishing to honor their lovers with the memory of headless martyrs, hand-painted copper plates were produced. From these would eventually spring wood cuts, lithographs, chocolate hearts, the Franklin Mint, and finally, mass-produced greeting cards.
That's part of the equation. Now let's get to the more curious part of the St. Valentine's Day myth and mirth: Cupid.
Most of you recognize Cupid: an impish infant with wings, who flits around with a bow and quivver of arrows, shooting them into various and sundry, leaving them 'smitten' with love, lust, passion, and occasional clothing repair bills. Despite this curious trait, Cupid managed to keep his head (probably because he came long before Roman emperors with decapitative inclinations) and was designated as the recognized Roman god of love. The son of Mercury (the messenger) and Venus (goddess of flytraps), Cupid became a ready symbol for all things denoting love. A counterpart to the Greek god Eros; an equivalent to Amor, of Latin poetry. A love archer of wide repute. Cupid made the rounds of the known world, and became uniformedly associated with Valentine's Day, even as he wore no uniform of note.
But and alas, progress began to catch up with poor ol' Eurocentric, caucasian male Cupid. In America -- once upon a time a target-rich environment for Cupid -- a creeping societal cancer called "political correctness" began to zero in on the poor little bullseye-for-victims-advocates.
Religious fundamentalists objected to Cupid's "immoral, immodest attire" and lack thereof, in public appearances. Feminists objected to Cupid's contributions toward "the enslavement of women to male domination". Behaviorists objected to the symbolism of Cupid shooting arrows at others, suggesting this was contributory to encouraging youthful violence in society. Gun control advocates objected to Cupid's unrestricted use of a "deadly weapon". Native American activists objected to Cupid's "demeaning depiction of a Native American mainstay" -- the bow and arrow -- as well as his being from the same homeland as Christopher Columbus. The media hounded him; the tabloids had a "print everything and anything negative" jihad declared on him.
With the political correct pressure so relentless, Cupid's arrows increasingly missed the mark. He took to weekend binges on vodka-soaked gummy bears, denied knowing what the definition of "is" and "sex" meant, and finally -- after being roundly condemned on Geraldo and starting a stage-clearing brawl -- Cupid found himself relegated to being 'second assistant key grip' on the set of one of the worst reality TV shows ever, The Osbournes.
All Cupid had ever represented was almost irretrievably wrecked by groups with nothing better to do than whine like NOW, and The Huffington Post.
Despite all that, Cupid has managed to persevere as a representative symbol of love and St. Valentine's Day. It's just in certain places -- Washington DC, San Francisco, Denver, Massachusetts -- that Cupid feels obligated to wear dark glasses, a wig, denim overalls, and now uses an indelible paint-ball gun (pellets are alleged to be loaded with a biodegradeable, FDA-approved Love Potion #9 placebo).
So there you have it, whatever "it" means. Now, armed with this knowledge of what you're celebrating, go forth and do up the holiday right for the 'light of your life'. Later, as perhaps the lights are low and the mood is near upon, perhaps she'll ask you why St. Valentine's Day is celebrated thus. And you'll have the answer: you're commemorating an ancient, beheaded Roman and a naked, culturally-maligned midget Roman mythology character with a William Tell complex.
Though a feigned *shrug* and a "I don't know, honey", might be the wiser option.
* ie., dread

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day and

*A re-run from '08 and '09 for Valentine's Day: my pet rock, Seymour, after watching the movie You've Got Mail, suggested I borrow Tom Hank's looks and money, and THEN try the dating scene. After a brief discussion, I took away whatever Seymour'd been sniffing, and told him to sober up...LOL*
Either the young lady at the right is reacting to the billboard, or to the notion of hearing from me. Six one, half-dozen the other. In the case of the latter, I wouldn't blame her. Especially since I happen to agree with the billboard, which again highlights why I am, and will likely remain, single.

But there are some folks who don' know me vewy well, who just won't leave well-enough alone.
Amidst the avalanche of junk and scam mails I get, occasionally comes some seasonally-oriented ones seeking to fleece me legally and voluntarily. About this time last week, I got solicitations from something; Fannie; and a few others, reminding me what amorous holiday was coming up, and that I should remember so it as not to get the featured woman's reaction, by forgetting.
There was a time that I happily -- even with reckless abandonment -- indulged in the upcoming holiday with all sorts of gifts and tokens of esteem, love, and lust, with varied degrees of thanks and reward over the years. My ex-fiancee helped douse a lot of that fire, but I digress some.
And if the other reminders of what was coming weren't enough, I got, make it, make it three emails from one of the more well-known online dating services, Three solicitations within a week to join, so I can recreate in person, the woman's reaction pictured above.
Granted, I know that they're (probably) just well-intentioned and unknowingly misguided, wishing to get me into a situation where I should have to worry about this holiday every year. And they were offering me a "free personality profile" -- normally a $40 value. And I could join for free as well. Until, that is, I was notified of my personality matches; then, if I wanted to contact them to start something eHarmony up, I'd have to pay $$$ to be able to contact them.
Free, my ample backside.
Wahl...on the one hand, I should really thank them for their concern about my welfare, even if I'm not collecting any. Of course, a roll in the hay with the woman of my dreams ain't a bad thing to contemplate or do whatsoever (I heard that chorus of *oink oinks* out there). But with my limited (for now) assets, I can misspend quite well on my own, without having an online e company charge me for their notions of what I need (which may or may not come remotely close to what fires my own personal rockets).
On the other hand...simply hitting the *delete* button -- the wiser, reasoned, rational and more diplomatic of the options -- wouldn't do.
So I went from Dear Skunky, to a more in-character mode, "Valentine Scrooge Skunky", with the following reply to their corporate HQ (sent snail mail, since I couldn't find an email addy):, Inc.
PO Box 60157
Pasadena CA 91101

Dear eHarmonites,
I was raised to respect and appreciate certain things in life and society, among them not to pass gas in church and blame a dog for it. More sequitur to this letter, I was taught to send a thank you note to anyone who tried to do me a favor, however misguided and unsolicited that favor might be. Granted, you didn't consider the favor you tried to do me as misguided; you considered it a worthy, perhaps philanthropic, maybe even species-extending with an eye toward procreation favor, in the furtherance of our brand of being.
I probably just read that and said, "WTF?". So would I in your place, but I digress.
I am moved by your thoughtfulness at this particular time of year; of course, I am also moved twice daily by diet, but that's another matter. At any rate, I must decline, with dubious thanks, your offer of a freebie that really ain't, and would result in -- even if it worked -- even less of a freebie, all things considered.
Granted, it's arguable that I need some help in the relationship realm. My own efforts have proven a flop, especially when "the one that got away", did so running and screaming, and I was too slow to be able to catch up. Efforts by friends and acquaintances to "set me up", have proven to be very effective in "setting me up", though not in the manner that I believe they intended, nor certainly that I was eager to achieve, and even exceeded my own self-inflicted worst flops. In our next incarnation, I do believe that we should create a language that doesn't have so many double meanings -- being "set up" should have but one meaning -- but I'm digressing again.
Even if I were willing to part with the funding necessary to let eHarmony's computers do their amorous harmonization so as to harmoniously find a soul with which I could harmonize, I suspect that your systems would, after a period of thorough analysis, melt down. Remember the android Norman from Star Trek (TOS), when Spock put to him the following problem: "Everything I say is a lie. I am a liar"? You don't want your high-tech computer matching system to fry like Norman did, trying to sort through that algorithm now, do you?
Putting it another way, here's some stats for you to ponder about this hyar feller: I am 52, past warranty coverage. I'm proportional or overweight, depending on whether I'm being graded by an 80 year dirty little old lady from Pasadena, or an insurance industry health chart. I still have my own hair and teeth, though I'm not sure for how long. I am a working stiff who lives from check to check, has debt, and can afford chinese delivery once a week. My car is paid for, and is about to be discontinued by a failing auto industry. I am thoroughly heterosexual and very dedicated as a one-woman man, since having more than one would be beyond me, especially since I don't have one now, let alone couldn't likely afford more than one if I found one.
But...I will reconsider all of this, if you have a babe of a widow who's wealthy and will support me in a manner to which I am totally unused to, undeserving of, but am willing to adapt to. I'll even learn to take out the trash and empty the cat box. Of course, it'd help if she has the looks of Heather Locklear or Michelle Pfeiffer (let's remember the age I quoted at the outset). But I can adapt to somewhat less, since I was last compared in looks to Dennis Weaver, and I'm not sure if that was meant when he was alive or not. The comparison-maker was smirking at the time, so draw your own conclusions.
So that's your challenge. If eHarmony can salvage a love-flop like me, with all my admitted faults and drawbacks, then I will, in fact, believe that pigs can fly, and I am mate-able. Otherwise, I expect this will wind up on your "LMAO" bulletin board in the break room, and that'll be that.
Moi (I actually used my real name and address on this; just in case I actually get a real reply).

If I do get a reply -- and not one of those canned, form-letter ones -- I'll post it here. Assuming that the language is printable, and not one of the other definitions of "set up".
*2009 note: I didn't get a reply to this letter in '08. I reckon not to get one in '09, either; Neil Clark Warren & Co. don't seem to have much of a sense of humor 'bout this kinda stuff*
*2010 note: I didn't get a reply to either letter, but I DID get another offer from And Zoosk. And some unnamed singles site offered by Facebook. And And a Russian mail-order bride site. And from one that was pretty straight forward ("want to get LAID? Click HERE"); after watching the Super Bowl commercials, I suspect it was from a prankster at Denny's; they really DO need all the eggs they can get, but it ain't gonna work h'yar*

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Ground Hahaha-wg Day Revisited

In a twist that sort of resembles the worst combinations of the movie Ground Hog Day and auditions for American Idol, I had a scammer try to drag me into a Ground Hog Dayesque loop.
To his regret (I can only hope), I went along for the ride, bad lyrics and all.
The recently-deposed scammer, Joseph Johnson -- of "Job Opportunity!" fame -- didn't bother waiting a couple days to run up his latest scam flag up the pole, and apparently using the same email addresses as heretofore.
Including mine.
This time, the email was entitled HELP NOW!, and it featured Joseph Johnson as someone trying to get a (gullible) American to hep him coordnate Haitian releif fund. A bit late to the party, but there's always maggots around to nibble on the crumbs, I reckon. 'Specially where he's from, but I digress.
At any rate, it was pretty much a short and similar offer as in the previous scam...after I got done laughing my ample ass off, I couldn't hep but say, "oh HELL no...why not one more round!". But not as Ben Dover; no, this one called for the more experienced expertise of my good and handy character, Jack N. Ewehoff. His quick response:
Yes, this whole situation is terrible! Absolutely terrible! What's worse, there are lowlife, scum-sucking, goat-poking, libtard crapheads who see in situations like this an opportunity to take advantage of both the downtrodden, and those who wish to help them. I am very pleased that YOU are of a character that I can work with to help those in need. What can I do to help you give me this business?
I used the same mailing information and phone number as Ben did...what came back was a cut-n-paste of's previous instructions, on how to wire the assistance money that would be channeled to me, via Western Union, to ...... Adesina Tosin Nelson, in Moscow.
*snort* let ol' Jack get this h'yar straight...*chortle*...I'm supposed to receive mailed *donations..smirk* from a coordinator *har* allegedly in the UK, and Westren Union them (the catbox cheeseball never did get how to spell that right) to some person in Moscow, to help Haitians...*guffaw*? This is almost as good as our "stimulus" money going to create jobs in non-existent congressional districts.
So Jack sends him a quick I'm ready, let's get the donations rolling! There's no time to be wasted here!, only to get this eyebrow-raising response back:
okay Jack i read you...i wish only to cauton you to play true to me and not be one to take the money for you. i wish clearly you know this upfont.
I responded with a quick You'll know the taste of disappointment with me only if you play me thus. Which he apparently didn't get.
Instead of a couple of weeks, I get an email from Joseph within hours, that a donation has been mailed to me and that I should receive it shortly. So on Thursday, I shoot him a quick it's here, and I'm taking care of it just the way you warned me to. But of course, it couldn't be, but Joseph doesn't seem to grasp that, either, as an email later Friday confirms:
Jack, soonest you should go to Westren Union and wire fund to Mr. Adesina, and send me with no dealy the mtcn. much on you now depend for this i cannot say to you enough. And following that, came this: Jack, i need hear from you soonest on mtcn. dont dealy this i have to make haste on get this moving. mail me mtcn soonest!
Friday came up nicer than on the East Coast, though storm enough is brewing for a quickly- testy scammer, with enough twists and turns to almost qualify as my own version of the Super Bowel, with the following and increasingly silly exchanges taking place (much of it Friday night night into Sunday morning):
Joseph, I have received advice from a good friend of mine that suggests I keep the money, and instead of sending it via your suggestion, I place it in more dependable hands. What do you think? I think I choose the alternative plan.
Thank you for your clear and succinct advice, Joseph. I'll keep the money and use my plan. That okay with you?
hello...i just want to let you know that this is your last change so i think i have all your info with me and i will report you to the FBI so let me know soonest if you areready to send the money or not ok i give you just 12 hours so after that i will report you to the FBI ok.
My choice is to keep the money. 12 hours from now, that will still be my choice. FBI? *smirk*..I have donuts and coffee. How many can I expect?
(now I start with the pure, American Idolesque nonsense...)
*tone of chipped tuning fork....mmmmmmmmm*
As I..walked down, the streets of
Asssssssss...I walked out in Nairobi one dayyyyy...
I spied a young scammer
all dressed in brown burlap
dressed in brown burlap
as foul as his smell...
"I see, by your email...that youuuu..are a scammer.."
"I see, by your ree-sponse, you are a scammer too...."
"We see by our emails, that we are both scammers...
If you send an email
you can be a scammer too..."
you strange one but you think you can spend my money? nooooooo...justr to let you knwo that i have already call bank and the money will be call backkkkkk you silly asholeee.
Oh Joseph...bubbi, strange one here: and how, pray tell me, can the money be called back, once it's been cashed and the account on which it was cashed, closed out? Hmmmmm? My friend who advise me -- I think you know Ben Dover -- he tell me all about you. And now, a musical salute to my stupid friend Joseph (with no apologies to the Guess Who):
laugh-ing..what I'm doing at you, doof
Besides, you spell bad and yo' mama dress you funny...
Scammer got burned,
and I don't care
Scammer he pissed,
and I don't care
Scammer make "theats",
and I don't carrrrrrrrreeeee...
Da Scammer make me laugh
snerx snort*
I reckon your fans at your fly-infested internet cafe aren't applauding you now...*BUZZER* LOSE! WARNING...*BUZZER*...WARNING...*BUZZER*...FAIL! SCAMMER FAIL! JOSEPH FAIL! LOSER! *BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZER*
I laughed and BILL-yuns of years from now...the Internet laugh at you...your fly-infested peers at fly-infested internet cafe laugh at you...the merekats of the Serengeti laugh at you...when FBI show up for donuts and coffee, they, too, laugh at you. You lose ;-)
(and after all that, comes, as they probably don't say in France unless it's me, Joseph's "pastry resistant" late Saturday night): what is going to happen now can we share the money into 2 ok and more over we can work deals together and share future moneys ok. you good.
I am absolutely LMAO on this one. But ol' Jack N. Ewehoff simply MUST reply to this 'un. Simply must:
Joseph, your guts may only be exceeded by your girth, but I digress. Quite an offer you pitch me. Work with someone as accomplished as you, and split the profits. I should be honored. I have it penciled in to so feel, in 2014.
In the meantime, let's see what you've won...aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnndddddd the contestant now chooses from what's behind Door #1, Door #2, and Doooooorrrr #3...*drum roll*...*egg roll*....and our contestant has chosen what's behind Dooooooorrrr #3. Do you want to trade for what's behind Door #1? Jay, show Joseph what he would have won if he had chosen Door #1...oops...Jay, tell the wombats they can't do that in prime, does the contestant stick with Doooooorrrrrrr #3? If the contestant would wash more often, he wouldn't stick to it...going once...going twice...*phfffft*...sold, to the cross-dressing scammer in the ill-fitting red dress! Jay, go ahead and open up what's behind Dooooooooorrrrr #3......*waaaa..waaaa...waaaa...waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa*...*Klaxon*..*Buzzer*...and Joseph, you have won.....a free internet session in a wind-swept tented Internet Cafe, with a free latte mocha full of 1,000,000 dead flies, and an IBM 286 desktop with 28.8 dial up.
In uddah woids, Joey...*BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZER*...I turn down your arrangements. Don't you just HATE when that happens? Sux to be you, shore 'nuff.
i dont like you
Neither does my ex-fiancee. Want her number?
I guess there must be limits to what even a scammer will accept...he didn't write back for the number. It would have been a wrong one, anyway.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

An Opportunity Gone ASkunk

I think I'm graduating to official curmudgeondom h'yar.
Not a week into the new year, I got me one of them things, knowd roundabouts as "opportunity knocking". I should have suggested they use a higher grade of gas, but I digress.
Mr. Joseph Johnson sent me a "JOB AVAILABLE!!!" opportunity, which said:
Do you need a part time job? I know the economy is not good for many of you in the USA and I am looking for someone who can handle my personal and business errands at his/her spare time. Someone who can offer me these services: mail services: receive my mails and drop them off at UPS (nothing ellegal) shop for Gifts Bill payments sit for delivery (at your home) or pick items up at nearby post office at your convenience. Let me know if you will be able to offer me any/all of these services.
Opportunistic as (almost) always, I checked my dossier of characters, and found that Ben Dover wasn't doing anything just now:
Send me some details...sounds like easy money to me.
It took him four days -- probably swamped with applicants -- but he finally got back to Ben:
Hello....get back to me with details requested and you can also reach me on this phone (it started with country code 44 -- the UK).
You note the dearth of "details requested". I reckon I got me one of 'those' scammers, whose a bit lean betwixt the ears. So Ben heps him out and asks for some:
I'll be happy to provide you with details, when you get off your font and tell me what they are. You don't have dementia, do you?
A day later, Joseph responds without admission of error or dementia, asking me for full name, full home address, full city (as opposed to a ghost town, I guess), full zipcode, full phone number, and full age.
*Urp*...I'm full. And Ben...fully complied (with some previously used info of little use and less so to a census taker). And an hour later, Ben got this:
Thanks so much for the informations so I will inform you immediately the payment has been sent out ok thanks.
And there things sat, with not a peep from ol' Joseph, until Ben sent him a "wazzup?" prod on Monday, January 25. A day later, Joseph responds:
thansk so muchf ro the mail but i assure you that you will receve the payment this week so imemdiately you got it do get back to me and let me know.
I'm glad to see that Joseph's email quality ebbs and flows as opportunity's knock becomes increasingly despondent...but we finally start getting down to it after Ben sends anuddah prod on January 26:
Dang, Joseph, it FINALLY arrived with my Enzyte prescription. Some of the font on the check is enlarged, so I think some of the prescription spilled on it. But no matter, I'm still grinning like Bob...anyway, now that I have it, what am I to do? Instructions, please.
From here on, no commentary, just the emails as they wuz (with his in bold, and mine in italics):
Thanks for the email and good to know you have recieve the payment, this goes to show your level of honesty and utmostness (I know what I said, but WTF??? My "utmostness?") am proud to work someone like you. Now you have fund you is must cash it and take for you $400 for you. The remaining balane will be transfered to a furniture company i have some supplies with in Moscow Russia, and you will be handle further task on that i will keep you post. You are must transfer balane to person i say here:
Adesina Tosin Nelson
24 Voldograsky Prospect
Moscow City
Russian Federation
You is endeaver get back with me all the needed Westren Union details to recieve the funds as soon as you recieved the funds...thanks again you utmostness and honesty.
Joe, I am giddy at the prospect of my utmostness being that which you say it is. And here I thought I hadda dearth of that kind of sh**. I gots utmostness. I am blessed. At any rate, I have your explicit instructions, and will make the utmostness of them with expedience and platypussedness throwd in for good measure. I find verbosity aids the visual digestive tract in these things, don't you? Soon as the deed is did, I be lettin' you know with utmostness.
Ben, i really apprecate you keep me update and this good you do with utmostness. do not forgive to get me back the westren union detail that is needful for make this happen.
No worries, Joey, I got your utmostness covered. Email confoundation to come soon, I promise.
Ben, i not to here from you soonest. is there no problem to be told?
Not a problem in the utmostness, JJ...the Western Union is confounded like a three-donged goat in a ewe convent. I will await my next assignment with sincere utmostness.
Ben, i am needful of the westren union informatons to make done this transactions. please to send them soonest.
JJ, it's covered. The Western Union went with utmostness to Adesina in Moscow City, just like you said for me to. Heck, drop a few drachmas, or whatever the Russkie money is called, and check with her. Ready for a new one!
Ben, it is needful of me to ask for the westren union informations from you. it is the mtcn numbers on the recept you have got from them. I am in need of soonest of this informatons please.
JJ, I sent it to Adesina. Ain't SHE the one what's needful of that stuff? You just line me up another job. I crave commissions like a three-donged goat hates ewe chastity belts.
Ben, this strangeness from you is make for me uneasy now. i like for you be honesty and utmost now, and give me mtcn i ask of you soonest. time is not aside for us.
Uh, JJ...time is WHAT? Explain, please.
Ben, i need NOW the mtcn. give it me please.
Whoa, JJ, give it a lube job and a tire rotation...explain to me first this time thing you threw into my pumps...what in the Maggie Thatcher are you talking about?
Ben, this is not utmost like befor now...please stop delay and give me mtcn soonest.
JJ, I told you that you told ME to -- with utmostness -- send the money to Adesina. That is what I done. Why do YOU need the mtcn thingee you keep harpin' on?
Ben, is my bussness to run, and you is hire to work for me. now please understand and do as i am tell you NOW. give me mtcn soonest.
Mtcn, mtschmeen, I ain't got it, JJ. When I sent it with utmostness, I didn't keep the receipt thing. I reckoned Adesina was smart enough to know what to do at the Westren Unionski there in Moscow.
Piss up a rope, JJ. It's Sunday, and I am at rest, as my utmostness of Maker decrees. Phfft. It'll wait until tomorrow.
Well, get some...hospitals are full of the kind of patience you seek.
Well, JJ, to be perfectly utmostness with you....there ain't a Westren Union mtcn to send you. I didn't wire the money.
JJ, forget it...after cashing the check, I ran into a high school flame of mine, Wanda Wadderpriceiz, and well...danged if she ain't a high-grade call girl...that's a skank in the UK, I think. Anyway, she looked sooooo good...well....I blew the whole wad for a night of mindless passion with Wanda, JJ. But not to worry, you can write it off as business shrinkage. So let's move on to the next transaction! I am ready in the utmostness!
I don't reckon it'll be as bad a time as that three-donged goat in a ewe convent is having, JJ. But my ninja pet rock, Seymour-san, eagerly awaits your best efforts.
I am disappointed to report that Joseph Johnson stopped replying to me, even after 'Seymour-san' send him a "hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-YAHHHHHH!", followed (unbeknownst by Johnson) by a pet rock rolling around on the floor in agony, 'cuz the styrofoam cup didn't even crease...
"Did TOO!"
At any rate...another opportunity lost. I tell you, in this economy, how many more such opportunities can one Skunk afford to let slip with utmostness?

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