Monday, October 31, 2005

Sequels And The Peter Principle

Just when you thought movie sequels couldn't go any further down the path of ludicrous, someone comes along to challenge the movie version of the corporate Peter Principle: sequels will be created to their lowest level of pathetic, and stop.
Now Sly Stallone is planning to come out with not only Rambo IV; he's going to come out, around the same time, with Rocky VI.

Thus, the movie version of the Peter Principle will have to make way for the Stallone Addendum: some sequels sink to their level of pathetic...and then find a crack in the floor.

Granted, this is the movie business, where real life seldom meets illusion; when it does, illusion rarely loses. After all, look what Spielberg did for sharks and extinct dinosaurs. Not to mention the South Park duo, making credible marionettes out of the likes of Michael Moore and Sean Penn.

So I guess anything is possible in the movies. Stallone is 59; and the movie business isn't the NFL. If Jerry Rice had been a movie star, he wouldn't have been washed up at 42.

So maybe, just maybe, Stallone can pull off the Rambo IV premise with a great script, superb special effects, and a sh**load of make-up.

But I'm having more of an imagination issue with a 59 year old actor -- who'll probably be 60 by the time shooting begins -- pulling off a credible sixth version of Rocky Balboa.

I'm just not sure that what computer wizardry did for a T-rex, it can do for Sly at 60.

Unless he's planning to box George Foreman? 30 second rounds, with liberal application of Geritol IVs and Ensure between rounds? Maybe they can dig up computer enhanced Howard Cosell for the color uncommentary ("There's the bell for Round 2, and Rocky has trouble getting into his walker; Foreman is waiting in the middle of the ring, right where he stayed at the end of Round 1, afraid he'd never be able to get off the stool for Round 2...they dug me up for this? It's a travesty..").

Hollywood is in a rut; which answers where the movie Peter Principle found a place to sink beneath pathetic.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Anatomy Of A 419 -- In The Beginning...

In the Beginning, there comes the letter. No, not the one pictured at the right (this is from another scamster whose companions the Rev. U. R. Phulovit left waiting futilely in a train station in Frankfurt, Germany, in early '05, for a meeting with the good Reverend to collect $14,500 Euros in cash...LOL...they were so not understanding about it all...).

But this hyar is an example of the kind of scam emails I get in my Yahoo email account, set up specifically for these compost-brained bungholes; all it takes is (a) open an account under an assumed name, and (b) visit a few online guestbooks 'harvested' by 419ers. Leave your bogus name and email address in a few of the aforementioned, and within a week, like flies to dung, hyar they come ;-)

This one identifies hisself as Prof. Michael Azie, Auditor General of the 'Federation' (of Nigeria), and the title of the email was "Can You Be Trusted?".

To differentiate betwixt my comments and those from the original text, original text will be in italics.

(The supposed-to-look-official header)

CONFIDENTIAL FAX: 234-1-7595284 (well, at least it was...*snort*)
CONFIDENTIAL TEL: 234-1-7769814
MOBILE#: 234-805-85-50587
From the Desk of: Prof. Michael Azie
Auditor/Paymaster General of the Federation

(now we get to the rat killing, if you can sort out the initial babble; all typos are as they are in the original email)

After waiting to hear from you or your Partners who introduced you into this transaction for a long time now, I decided to make this direct approach today being the 21st of October 2005 so as to let you know that I do not have anything in mind against you. I do not know if you have asked yourself why ever since you were introduced into this transaction, you have been going round in circles without getting to the bottom or end of this and also why each time the release of these funds is approved, all of a sudden, the payment will be stopped or one problem or the other will come up. (I ask myself about this daily; really, honest...*wink*)

If you have not asked this question or you do not know, this is an opportunity for me to tell you. (I just love inexplicable elucidation, don't you?)

Some time ago the people that introduced you to the project approached me and requested me to assist them conclude a money transfer deal they had with you, they requested me to assit them by putting in your name as the Original Beneficiary of the funds in question in order to make you appear as the rightful beneficiary of this funds. I agreed on conditions that they will pay me $100,000 US as soon as your name appears as the beneficiary. I did as agreed and demanded to be paid but your friends started telling me stories (must all be DNC operatives, eh?). They even told me that you promise to send money to me. Do you know that up till now, I have not received a single cent from them and have not set my eyes on any of them?

(Neither have I, bucko, but I digress).

Based on their attitude, as the Auditor General of the Federation, I decided to stop the release of the funds through a strong worded petition to the Office of the President of Nigeria himself because I cannot be denied of my right in my own office considering the risk as it might affect my job. Secondly, I know personally that you are not the rightful beneficiary of the funds in question, althought I am the only person privileged to know this information and it is a fact. Why I am making this clear to you is that I can see that you are still making effort (I am?) spending money in order to conclude this project (I am?).

Now I am ready to forget the past, I do not need the $100,000 any longer from you (because you've ripped off someone else?) or your so called partners but a share of 30% of the total sum (which I have no idea what that is, since I have no idea who he thinks he's talking to, since my mythical name never once was on the text of this hokum). I need your assurance that those your colleagues or any Goernment Official will be totally kept out of this transaction, I know that none of them is aware of this development after trying their best to conclude it without my consent (crooks cheating crooks...apparently this is no honor among thieves..).

Finally, now re-assure me that you will be willing to offer me the 30% of the fund that you will assit establish a foreign account in your country where my share will be lodged. You can contact me immediately on Direct Phone 234-1-7769814 ext 7172 or Mobile 234-805-85-50587 to enable me to furnish you with detailed information on what you are to do from now on. But if the reverse is the case, do not bother yourself to reach me.

Hooha. Now, bearing in mind that I haven't the foggiest notion of what this ethically-challenged, congenital moron is talking about -- his email was not addressed directly to me as the good Dr., or to anyone in particular -- I shall, as the good Dr. Phulovit, respond, as if I do. Sorta:

From: Dr. U. R. Phulovit, ICOTI

To: Michael Uzi

Date: October 26, 2005

Subj: Can I Be Trusted?

Dear Mr. Uzi: Trusted with what? I have a sterling personal reputation; I have an unassailable professional reputation. Trust and I are synonymous; open up the dictionary under 'trust' and it's my picture you'll find.

If you wish to give me the business, you simply put forth or fifth the essentials of your business, and I will carefully peruse every last syntax error of it. Then, if I am satisified, we will proceed.

But to begin with a question as to my personal integrity...sir, not only do you undercut your effort, but how would you like your lower lip pulled over the top of your head, and be induced to swallow? Hmmm?

If you wish to give me the business, put forth your best punitive efforts; insult me, and you will swallow yourself.

I have the honor to be,

Dr. U. R. Phulovit, pHd, ICOTI and aka Dr. Dysentery/WWE Wrestling Frauderation

You wouldn't think that a reply like that would be the kind of thing to perpetuate a 419 scam.

You'd be wrong.

Next up: Anatomy of a 419 -- Preliminary Skirmishing

Friday, October 21, 2005

The 419 Files: A 'Sithole' In Progress

Normally, I would consider the picture at the right indicative of what I find at the end of the rainbow, particularly when I play Powerball, but I digress.

On this occasion, this is exactly what I'm going to help a Nigerian email scammer find.

One with the improbably appropo name of 'Joseph Sithole'.

Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how I'm gonna play that one now, does it? Or rather my alter igor in such cases, the one and only Dr. U. R. Phulovit, pHd KMAM*.

I received my first offer from the esteemed and soon-to-be-sauteed Mr. Sithole yesterday; using the ever-so-mild variation of his last name in reply, I didn't expect a follow up. But these 'challenged' persons of dubious antecedence and buffalo breath, tend to get excitable about any kind of reply, even a mildly denigrating one. They think they've hooked a live one.

In essence, the mugu (aka in Nigerian dialect as "a big fool") thinks he's hooked onto a bigger one. Moi. Or more specifically, Dr. Phulovit.

I'll update you as the effort to give me the business (a line I frequently use with these cretins) proceeds apace. At the moment, I am awaiting his presenting me with an emailed copy of his 'passport with photo'. Only after I get his, will he get mine (next update).


* Kiss My Ass, Mugu

Update: October 26, 2005

The opportunity of a phototime is apparently put on hold. Mr. (Oops)hole didn't reply to my insistence on him sending his bona fides before I sent mine; so I sent mine. Still nothing.

I suspect it had something to do with the manure in which I addressed him: Mr. (Oops)hole.

Ignorance is bliss, but apparently this one wasn't quite that ignorant after the first reply.

I do passionately hate when that happens.

Oh well...another 419er is tapping at the email account of the good Doktor Phulovit; with a wee bit of Irish blarney -- okay, a wagonload of it in my case -- ah'll git him to ken an' go fer it. Aye, 'tis a fine mugu he is, be gosh and begorrah.

It's either that, or a meeting with my Southern redneck cousin, Dr. Waldorf Billybob Lipshiz, pH-duheee. Ah'm no' thankin' he'd take kindly to bein' told to git his goat-smellin, egg suckin' backside over hyar so's ah kin open up a can o' whupass on the danged galoot.

Besides, I can't even read what I just writ. And Cousin Lipshiz is a speech therapist?


Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Crushes of Life

Don't you just luv a good crush? Or at least, wish you could?

Crushes. Who ain't had at least one in their lives? No one I know can claim to have been immune to the allure of a crush. What creates them, what feeds them, why they sometimes pass and sometimes last a lifetime, is anyones' guess.

A psychiatrist will charge you hundreds of dollars an hour to answer that, so it's cheaper I leave that one alone.

Over the years, I've had my crushes: one on an elementary school classmate (ette); that's one I not only got over, I'm damned to explain what the heck I was thinking back then.

Answer: I was a kid; I wasn't.

I had others through the junior high/high school years. None of them I ever got to date; none of them I ever got to know particularly well. And just as unexpectedly as they came, they went.

One I dated for an extended period in college; but she really didn't qualify as a crush; she, I was head-over-heels in love with, and I was never near that limber, then or later. To this day, I miss her, and wish I'd been the better man at the moment of decision more than 20 years ago.

But I wasn't, and she remains the mythical "one that got away". Lucky her.

But a few other 'crushes' have lingered over the years: two of those pictured above, I adored growing up, watching them on their respective sitcoms. Even now, my knees would buckle to meet either, though my youthful 'crush' has since matured adultly 'crush'? To fantasize about knowing them in their primes, with me in mine...oh well. Missed it by that much.

Well, perhaps a wee more.

And of course I've known other crushes: the other two pictured above are local news celebs who I could reasonably say I have something of a crush on, though neither is available, let alone knows (or cares) I exist. Nor am I willing to go to John Hinckley lengths to let 'em know it.

It ain't much of a life I lead, but I like that what it is, thank ye.

I had other celeb crushes, too: Heather Locklear. Shania Twain. Sandra Bullock. Meg Ryan. Roseanne Barr.

Just kidding on that last one; seeing if y'all were paying attention or not. Roseanne Barr? Ewwwwwwwww.

Occasionally, one can be accused of having a crush on someone: a coworker, friend, peer. And it needn't be limited to physically present: the Internet is a whole new world in which to develop crushes, real and imagined. My pet rock, Seymour, has two online crushes (one in TX, one in Japan; you both know who you are).

Recently, I was told that I had an online crush. Don't you just hate when you're the last to find out these things? I know I do. But then, I'm kinda slow in these things. Someone else described it as chickensh** overcautiousness brought on by previous experience and a faux hope that one of my above-pictured crushes will discover me in the eleventh hour, but I digress deliberately.

At any rate, I have to admit that it might have some fact to it: she is accomplished, attractive, and has at least one screw loose, 'cuz she likes me. I could do worse. Hecky darn poo....I have. And another advantage to it: for folks to think that I have a crush on this person, suggests that they think I have great taste; it doesn't necessarily say as much for this person's taste, but that's my brutally candid modesty talking and another matter entirely.

But, as I said, it only might have some fact to it. After all, were it true and I admitted to it, I might open up a flood of cyberstalkers, speculators and competitors. This might not be good (though, like tweaking my Nigerian 419 scamsters, it might be kinda fun, sorta). Relationships are complicated enough, without adding in the enigmatic factor of rogue human screwiness, aka the obsessive cyberstalker, or some Fatal Attractionesque person of obsessive/compulsive tendencies.

Not to mention, my own oft-expressed issue with someone who is technically a GUD*.

Then might have some fact to it.

Unless/until Barbara, Dawn, Kim or Cheryl discover me.

Yeah, right. Seymour will learn to dance the waltz, first.

* Geographically UnDesirable

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let it...*BONK*

Sunday, October 8, 2005...a day which will live in infamy. The first measurable snowstorm of the 2005-2006 fall/winter season came acalling on Denver Metro, and points 360 degrees of the directional compass.

It got stuck, too.

Now, this photo doesn't depict what things looked like in Denver proper; but the Eastern Plains did. So did areas south and west of the Denver area. And the Monday morning (October 9) rush hour commute was more akin to bumper cars on a far more grandiose scale than that found at your local Six Flags; even the Six Flags old guy had to sit this one out.

But, like an early season storm, it was here and gone; if you missed it (FTS), worry not. There'll be more.

For me, the storm had miniscule impact: it did slow things down some at work, and it did cause Clear Creek Canyon (aka, US 6) to remind CDOT and us commuters just who runs things in the canyon, as it threw some rocks onto the highway just short of 5:20 AM: one was the size of a beach ball on steroids; the other, the size of a bath tub.

The former Jeep, left resting on its' top against the mountainside, was not amused (the driver wasn't injured, though a witness did say he peed hisself when the bath tub landed in front of him on the road).

At any rate, with the reminder that it's that time of the year again for the joys and multiple, heartfelt expletives deleted experiences of snow/ice-bound commuting on occasion, I offer this column I originally penned four years ago, defining the joys of winter driving, and the various kinds of drivers found therein:

And no, I'm not saying where, if at all, I fall on the list therein...

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Idiots Unite!

October 8, 2005: on many a calendar, and in some US cities, folks will mark the official Columbus Day holiday. In Denver, that means another holiday for poor, underworked state and federal government employees, as well as a parade.

And a protest.

The Sons of Italy are among those who stand behind the parade; elements of AIM and other fringe groups stand in the way of the parade.

The Denver Police will be standing in the middle.

I spent a little time yesterday, listening to the comments of both sides in this annual 'war of words', and sometimes worse. According to various and sundry spokespersons for the protesters, Columbus is guilty of committing slavery and genocide against the American Indians for hundreds of years. According to various and sundry spokespersons for the proponents, Columbus was one helluva navigator who discovered America.

Neither side gets it right.

Columbus -- between 1492 and 1504 -- made four trips to the 'New World'. The first, and most celebrated, had him leaving Spain with three ships on August 3, 1492, and arriving in the 'New World' on October 12, 1492.

The present-day Bahamas. Specifically, San Salvador.

Last time I checked, that isn't a part of North America, let alone the United States. If it were, Cindy Sheehan would be demanding that Dubya quit "occupying" it, but I digress.

Granted, on his last journey, Columbus did land in present-day Nigaracua. Last time I checked, that is in present-day Central America.

Christopher Columbus never set foot in North America. Never saw a single Native American on North American shores. And -- unless he was omnipresent and omnipotent -- he never enslaved, murdered, nor abused a single soul on the North American continent.

The same cannot be said for his employers, and the nationality that made up the crew he sheperded across the Atlantic: The Spanish. Their record in the Caribbean, South and Central America, Cuba and Florida, is another matter.

Factually, who actually 'discovered' North America has been speculated upon for years: whether it was wandering Siberians, seafaring Vikings attacking persons with high interest credit cards, or some Eddie Murphy character, one thing is as certain as Howard Dean stupidity: it wasn't Christopher Columbus.

Of course, the AIM activists and their small cadre of sycophants -- including the infamous alleged plagiarizer, proven America hater and faux Native American, Ward Churchill -- don't say a word about any of that. Nor do they acknowledge the savagery, the cannibalism, the human sacrifices, the practices of slavery and genocide, by various and sundry indigenous tribes that Columbus did discover in his voyages. Let alone, some of the same barbarous practices by some (not all) tribes on the North American continent. Practices that existed well before contact with, or the potential for racial contamination by, a single Eurocentric.

It's easier for them to ignore their own history, turn Christopher Columbus into Adolph Hitler, and threaten to go fascist if their demands aren't met: that the City of Denver end the Columbus Day parade. The Columbus Day holiday. The Columbus Day anything.

While the Sons of Italy, and Columbus Day parade organizers, vow to meet threats with a parade.

Leaving the Denver Police to stand in the middle.

In a civil, tolerant society, a group disagreeing with the basis for a parade by another group, holds a counter parade of their own. Both sides have a voice; law and liberty see that both sides get to exercise it.

But idiots within and without AIM seek to stifle dissent of their own twisted views of history. Not uncommon in the liberal ideology.

Thus, today, October 8, 2005, Denver will see the annual Columbus Day parade. And the annual Columbus Day parade protest, chocked full of idiots having little, no, or a skewed view of what it is they're protesting.

Should prove interesting.

Except to the Denver Police Department.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

You Say Potato, I Say Enthusiasm Regulator

Let me be clear: the gentleman pictured at the right here is not me.

Check back with me in 12-15 years, but I digress.

But if you look carefully at his expression, and you saw me at work, at the store, at the gym, taking out the trash, walking my pet rock or on any kind of regular basis, you'd think we were one.

And that we were mightily bored.

I'm here to tell you, it ain't so. It just looks like that.

If you're the least bit familiar with the comic genius of Buster Keaton, it was he who made 'dead pan' famous, and it appeared to come so natural to him. I was years in my envy.

In the last 10 years, I have been accused of having just such a 'dead pan' expression, oft-times in a back-handed complimentary fashion. Friends and coworkers know it well. It wasn't always true: I was quite expressive in my youth. It usually got me in trouble: in school, in public, at the dinner table, on some of the most inopportune occasions.

That expressiveness didn't serve me well in young adulthood, particularly in my chosen vocations of law enforcement, and later on industrial, corporate, and gaming industry security. A college professor of mine once taught us that a key phrase for our line of work should always be adhered to, particularly in crisis management: keep the situation from getting worse; you getting emotional won't accomplish that.

A bit too much expressiveness and overenthusiasm could be ruinous.

And, of course, I'm a guy: we're expected to be strong. Silent. Hard to read, like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, or Al Gore.

That was one baaaaad book, but I digress.

On sparse occasions, I have relapses toward overt expressiveness, even as a pseudo/reluctant adult. It's useful now and again: after all, when listening to someone about something important to them -- even when I'm truly interested in hearing what they have to say -- it tends to go over like a fart in an elevator when my expression is akin to the photo; I have a couple dents in my head and countless "you insensitive (expletive)" labels attached to me to prove it.

But the 'dead pan' so superbly portrayed by Buster has served me well on many occasions down the years, especially when you don't want to let them "see you bleed". It didn't come naturally to me; I had to work at it.

For my first 20 some-odd years, it was an uphill struggle: especially when I was involved in public sector security and/or law enforcement, and having to deal with rather emotional persons, fresh from some real or perceived slight to their rights, property, ego, etc. Whilst they emoted and vented, I was required to be the epitome of calm and collected.

I even had to perfect the subtle, melee-averting art of covertly biting the lip to keep from laughing in the face of a person who was so laboriously putting their personal "I'm a self-centered, 50%-off-the-defective-gene-pool-sale, whiny buffoonesque moron" sign on public display.

I've gotten pretty good at it. But as stated, I wasn't a natural; I needed help.

And my faux company of faux products for all sorts of dubious occasions -- Bonco, UnInc. -- came through for me in a big way, with my own personal Enthusiasm Regulator By Bonco.

Batteries not included. Of course.

Now, when I'm working on a project at work, and some schmu..fellow employee, noting my surface lack of enthusiasm, comments about it, I just give them my standard 'Buster Keaton playing poker' face, and say "I'm fine; really. It's just my enthusiasm regulator is engaged".

"Your what?"

"My enthusiasm regulator".

Some know better than to ask further, but the uninitiated just can't help themselves, being from the "inquiring minds want to know" generation. So I 'splain it thus: the average person is only blessed with so much enthusiasm for a 24 hour period. Deduct from that the waste or "latent" enthusiasm that is used up when one is asleep (dreaming, sleepwalking, the unexplained woodies, etc), first waking up, on the can, or generally in a place where run-of-the-mill enthusiasm isn't needed for the moment, and you only have a residual x amount of enthusiasm for those waking hours wherein public intercourse demands it be applied.

Some folks seem to be blessed with more natural enthusiasm than others. Me, well...when I was born, something went pbbbbbbt besides my backside when the doctor decided to instill my first blast of conscious enthusiasm on my aforementioned backside with the flat of his hand. Whatever it was, I was shorted a full ration of enthusiasm.

Perhaps it was the fact that the doctor welcomed me with that 'whack' at 4:45am. Wake me up that way now, you best be wearing body armor.

At any rate, it wasn't right, it wasn't fair, and some stupid liberal didn't look out for me by demanding that a greedy, mean-spirited rich, overachieving enthusiast give me some of that which I was entitled to but was shorted of through no fault of my own...*snort*

... so I just make due.

And thanks to The Personal Enthusiasm Regulator By Bonco, I make due just nicely. By rationing my daily dose of enthusiasm, so as to never run out at the worst possible time.

Thus, my oft-times 'dead pan' expression that suggests to some that I'm bored with life, them, my work, my culinary disasters, my relationship apocalypses, and/or am hiding my emotions behind a shield of stolid *yawn*... is really little more than the result of my very effective enthusiasm regulator. It is merely seeing that I don't run out of necessary enthusiasm before my daily activities and need for enthusiasm for that day are done.

That usually satisfies the inquirer. That they shouldn't have bothered.

At any rate, should we -- you, the reader, and me, the blogger -- ever meet, don't for a minute think that my expression (as depicted above) suggests I am disappointed or unimpressed with what I behold.

It's just me and my enthusiasm regulator, making sure I keep a little extra in reserve, in case an unnamed blogging pal ever arranges for me to meet Barbara Feldon.