Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Live LAP AID" -- V The Big "Event"

Just a few of the "Live Lap Aid" concert photos that Masato sends to Tony, in the wake of the "hugely successful benefit" for Tony and his rag.

Masato also includes a quick note in the wake of the "concert":

Tony, dude!

"LIVE LAP AID" WAS A SMASH, DUDE! OMG!!! The turn-0ut (see the pictures) was STUPENDOUS!!! And the crowds really rocked to the music and your cause!!! And the BANDS...THEY WERE HUGE, my man, HUGE!!! They gave it their ALL, and the crowds were reminiscent of Woodcock, '69!

Sadly, we had some technical difficulties, and our NPR feed failed us utterly just before the concert began. But I believe -- I am still awaiting confirmation -- that the PBS TV team was here, and salvaged the TV recording of "Live Lap Aid", preserving it for ALL TIME!!! If they got it, I have a contact with Bonco Records, UnInc., makers of a wide variety of products, and will see if they can't get "Live Lap Aid" onto CDs, DVDs and MP3s with all dispatch!

Now comes the more dreary part: the accounting of the proceeds. Our CPA -- he's a bit hung over from the doobage clouds, man -- is hard at work, tallying up the revenues and expenses, the credits and the debits. Once he has it all in hand, he'll let me know, and I'll let you know what to expect. I think your dream of a simple $300 used laptop from some low-life, humble magazine editor, is about to be trumped by a greater realization, Tony!

I'll be back to you, soon as I have the final numbers.

Tony is ecstatic:


Thank you thank you thank you!!!!I can't wait to see and hear all the sights and sound you send me.My staff impress with you and your efforts!!!!Now, how soon can I get to receive proceeds?I need equipment for our project.Thanks to you, we go forward.

Bless you


The Editor

By Monday, the ecstacy of the moment for Tony and Co. will, I reckon, probably go pbbbbt with the arrival of the CPA's post-concert gross/net report:


Uh...this isn't exactly what we expected. Here,'s how the final gross and net proceeds break down on "Live Lap Aid":

- total gross income (ticket/concession sales/other): $75,000

- total expenses as subcategorized below:

-- salaries: $25,000 ($2,500 x ten acts)

-- federal taxes: $10,000

-- state taxes: $6,000

-- municipal taxes: $1,000

-- municipal permits: $3,000

-- state, county and municipal "green" fees (to include: environmental impact report, noise abatement, street fecal cleaning, Save the Whales, The Audubon Society, The Sierra Club, Al Gore's Carbon-Offsets Mandate, PETA Mandate, ALF Mandate, ELF Mandate, State Nuclear Anti-Resurgence Fund {SNARF}, Habitat Originating Relief Klub {HORK}, Homeless Displacement Fund, Alliance Of Retired Hippies Reclamation Fund, Assisted Living Panthers Fund, ACORN, Moron.Org, Lindsay Lohan Cocaine Supply In Prison Fund, Paris Hilton Replace-A-Suicidal-Pet Fund, Rosie O'Donnell "If I Only Had A Brain" Fund, Acting Lessons for Ben Affleck Fund, Get Hillary A Face-Lift Fund, AFL-CIO Political Fund {since they have to ask permission from their members to donate dues now}, Save AirHeads America Fund, Cindy Sheehan Needs A New Schtick Fund and the DNC): $30,300

Net profit: -$300

In short, Tony, you and Creme De La Creme Magazine owe me $300. Certified cheque will be acceptable. Send it to Masato Chan, c/o Rage Against The Establishment Hamster Magazine, 135 Townsend Street, San Francisco, CA, 94107

I think that about covers it.


The response is, well...sorta priceless:


What???How can i owe you money???explain this at once!

Tony (he's apparently so nonplussed, he forgot to add 'editor' this time)

So, to a degree, I do:


Hey, that's the nature of the business, man. Concerts are expensive. Like most so-called "benefit" concerts, they rarely, if ever, benefit anyone but the ones who set 'em up or perform in 'em. Perhaps you learned something here today, if you see what I just did there, dude.

Will you be paying by cashiers cheque or Western Union?

Tony is quick with his decidedly negative view:


What kind of fool you tink me. I write you in good faith and you turn things all wrong and make a jest of me. I am reel. My magazine is reel. You see. You have concert you make me look fool with?You are not good man. I wrong about you.


The Editor (his way to re-emphasize his status, I guess)

Before "Masato" can reply, one last salvo issues forth from Tony, as he weakly proclaims his innocence:

You have waste my time.La Cream Magazine is reel.I am so unhappy with you!

Tony (oh whoops...what happened to his 'editor' tag?)

And he may not be the only one unhappy with Masato; if there really is a garage "underground" band named Cockleburr Enema, then they'll be unhappy about this, too.

*2009 Update: never did get another word from Tony about his alleged magazine. A mag of that name did exist, then and now, but it publishes, if still, out of Cleveland, OH, and not by Tony and his dubious antecedented crowd...DOH*

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Live LAP AID" -- IV

*Author's note: I dunno who the pictured group at the left is, but for the purposes of a pre-concert interview and "Live Lap Aid", they are Nose Picks*

Tony's enthusiasm almost knows no bounds at this point, but he seems to want the assurance that many a scammer wants -- a phone call:

Please give me your full name and full contact address and also your contact phone number both mobile and tele.So that i can call you before and after the Concert. Bless you.
The Editor

So I'll just try to sound like the harried concert-arranger that I'm supposed to be right about now, without knowing what it's like to be a harried concert-arranger:

Dude, this has to be quick for I am up to my proverbial ass in alligators here. All the little details involved in pulling this concert together are insane! But it'll be worth it, my man, for the end result!

My full name is Masato C(harles) Chan
My full address is 135 Townsend Street
San Francisco CA 94107

Don't bother trying to call me before Friday, Tony; I am running like a striped ass gazelle -- and I reckon you know how they run -- trying to get everything in line and ready: all the contracts signed, all the permits arranged, all the concessions, the power, the water, the sanitary, as well as the publicizing of this event as quickly as I can. By last count our promoter says he has 8 committed bands, and one stand-up comedian to do the intermissions. He also says -- but won't confirm just who yet -- that he might have at least one nationally-known name lined up to perform, though he has hinted that the person has big name recognition from his competition on American Idol!

Now if you want, send me your phone number, so I can call you after the concert and we have some of the preliminary numbers in from the proceeds.

Until then, time is tight, Tony...gotta run!
Tony is right back at me:

Top of the great day to you in the great city of the great country where it all happens!!! Appreciate so much all your effort and conerns about the project!!!

Give kudos to your treemendous efforts and am much happy to read this email from you.Give the promoter praise as well.But much accolate to you because without you it wouldn't have been.

We also have put in place some awareness program in all media house like the TV, radio Station and distributing flyers and traits. I hope to read more good news from you as time count!!!!

You ca ring me on +234-8028470412.

Bless you more and more.
The Editor
La Creme Magazine

The magazine's almost had more name changes than AlGore has new realities.

To further along the illusion of the bands being lined up for this happening, I send Tony a transcript of a short 'one on one interview' I did with the lead guitarist of the band Nose Pick; his name, Synus "Big Boog" Dangler. Long as I'm going for maximum BS here, might as well share with you the transcript I sent to Tony:

This is a draft copy of an interview I managed to fit in with the lead guitarist of one of the underground bands performing at "Live Lap Aid" on Friday. It is one of the up and coming local bands that hopes to cash in on the notoriety of playing at your benefit. Please feel free to run this interview in your next edition.

From Basements To The Bigtime: One on One with the lead guitarist of Nose Pick

By: Masato Chan, Editor

"Opportunity is fleeting, like a hummingbird in the wild. Grasp the nettles to gain the nectar, before the moment's, like, gone, man".

That's the attitude, if not as articulated, of today's interviewee, the lead guitarist of the self-styled "underground band" Nose Pick, Synus "Big Boog" Dangler. Here's what he had to say in this edition's "One on One":

MC: Welcome to this edition of One on One. What do you prefer to be called?

BB: Hey, whatever,'s only syllables.

MC: Okay, let's stick with your stage name. Big Boog, how did you come to settle on naming your band "Nose Pick"?

BB: Well man, it's like this, see...we all here, like, y'know, dig going against the flow of the Establishment. Kinda like, y'know, thumbin' our noses at the corporate Man, dig? So it seemed a good way to be and sing what we, like, rail against, dude.

MC: Makes good sense. So, what's the thrust of your musical genre? What seminal message subliminates your music?

BB: Wow, man, don't get heavy on me, dig? "Subliminates"? Man, we just wanna perform and do our tunes, man, for the like masses of the displaced and dissatisfied, cuz that's what being what we are is, y'know, like what we're about, man. We dig on the free spirits here in Haight-Ashbury; they're like doobage to the soul, dude. It's the mainline of our cultural experience, man, and a total flat-line groove that eases the soul, man.

MC: I think I got what appeals to you about your upcoming appearance in "Live Lap Aid"?

BB: Dude, it's like totally cosmic, playin' to benefit Tony and his cause, man. What he's about is so totally rad, and like anything we can do to help out a fellow time traveller in this out-of-sync dimension, we are so into that groove, man. Rock on, Tony!

MC: Yes, Tony and his staff at Creme De La Creme Magazine are in awe of the support they're getting, when all they really wanted was a free laptop.

BB: Bogus, Tony, my man, bogus! We, like, are gonna rock you up so much more higher, dude! Rock on, Tony!

MC: Do you see your performance at this venue as a stepping stone to better opportunities and more national notoriety for Nose Pick?

BB: Man, like whatever. Like what that old Hollywood chick once sang, "case a rot, sur rot, what will be, man, will be". First, we groove to help our main man, Tony.

MC: Well, thank you for allowing me the time to pick your brain for this edition of One on One, Big Boog.

BB: Hey man, like, y'know, whatever.
And that's the gist of it, straight from the horse's proboscis. Big Boog of the band Nose Pick, about their upcoming appearance at "Live Lap Aid" on Friday, July 27, at the State Street Commons in Haight-Ashbury. Be a part of it!

Tony is agog in awe:

This is lovely.It shall be taken note on and print out immediate for record.This is a great Improvement ad development if i may say. La Creme Magazine crew are given their kudos as well.Thanks so much ad hope to read more of this.

Finally, I send Tony this last email before "the Big Event" on Friday, July 27:

Time is tight, and I have a million and one things to do before we start to rockin' on the State Street Commons in Haight-Ashbury, at "Live Lap Aid"! I won't have time to get back with you until after the concert is over, my man, but wanted to give you a status report:
- we are still negotiating with both PBS and NPR for video and audio feeds. If that doesn't work out, our promoter assures me he has alternative sources to take care of this.

- we are confirmed at 10 signed acts for the concert; our surprise entertainer, a still anonymous participant from American Idol, two seasons ago, is not yet signed. But the promoter is hopeful.

When it's all over, I'll get in touch with you, Tony.
Rock on!
Last up: "Live Lap Aid" -- V: The Big Event

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Live LAP AID" -- III

The man of the hour: YERIMOH OMOSETOMEH EZEKIEL TONY, editor of CREME DE LA CREME MAGAZINE...or in a couple of emails, just CREAM MAGAZINE. Or Le Creme Magazine. Or Creme Magazine.


His quest for having some American mugu buy him a laptop is about to take a turn for the surreal. And so is "Live LapAid".

Using his photo as a centerpiece, and the information he provided, Masato Chan sent Tony an email describing to him a 'draft flyer' that will be displayed all over the Greater San Francisco area (not), advertising "Live LapAid", for Friday, July 27, from 12 noon to 5 pm.

We neocounter-cultures work fast, particularly when we don't have real counter-cultures mucking up the works with their brand of dysreality. And on that 'draft flyer', we list out the following acts and bands who have agreed to perform on behalf of Tony and his rag:

-Rage Against The Establishment Hamster (doing Spinning Wheel THIS, Bunghole!)

-Hung Daddy Dew Drop and the Wads (doing Porcelain Goddess Contain My Heaves)

-Meth Lab Bizarre (doing The Golden Gate Bridge Jump Song)

-Cockleburr Enema (doing Painful Rectal You)

-Nose Pick (doing the earthy Sticky Booger Boogey)

-Little Bo Byte Me (doing a variation of the Banana Boat Song, aka The Banana Whackin Song)

-Bobble Head and the Turds (doing Amazing Grace You're A Kinky Slut)

-Jimbo Morrison 'n Janet Joplan (doing We're Still Dead and You Suck Rocks)

-Flambe & The Flatulents (doing Phrapsody In Methane Phart I)

-William Shatner impersonator Jimmy T. (doing Lucy's Getting High On Door Knobs in a key hard to describe, let alone listen to)

-with a special guest appearance by veteran performer from American Idol, William Hung (thoroughly destroying his William Shatner impersonation of Lucy's Getting High On Door Knobs)

-And a special pre-concert crowd warm-up by a famous* improv comedian seen recently on HMO's Saturday Night at the Morgue, Nipplehaid.

Tony remains buoyant, but a bit circumspect about the entertainment line-up:

I appreciate this great thing you do for me and my project.I do not know these bands before.Are they customery of what is counter-culture?You are sure they bring people to listen?You can do this soon?I appreciate receiving proceeds so I can move project forward.

I okay with your concert.I thank you again!!!!

A quick assurance to the lad:

Chill, my man, be kewl. This is -- my promoter, Bury Flay, assures me -- the best possible cross-section of underground and counter-culture entertainment that is sure to bring out the bongs and pipes of Haight-Ashbury in droves. Absolute DROVES, dude.

We originally looked for an in-door venue, but we just couldn't find one that would work with the entertainment line-up we managed to scrape up. So we're holding this event outdoors, at the State Street Commons, in Haight-Ashbury, where many a famed street concert has rocked to the doobage, man!

And once the word on the street was out -- that you and your project were to be the recipients of our largess -- it sparked expedience, and it all fell into place! So in keeping with your expressed need for speed -- as well as to meet the cravings of so many of the concert goers -- we are ramped up and ready to rock this coming Friday! I'll send you pictures from "Live LapAid" as it happens for your magazine, Tony.

And by next Monday, I am assured by our CPA that 'll have a full accounting of what we managed to collect for you, less a few municipal fees and other expenses, and I'll get right on with getting it to you, my man!

Get ready for the magic carpet ride of a lifetime, Tony!

* er...famous maybe after this blog entry, but I doubt it...

Next up: "Live Lap Aid" -- IV

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Live LAP AID" -- II


Okay, I'm over it.

So all "Tony" is after is a piddling $300 for a used laptop out of me?

What a Third World cheeseball.

But wait...there was that absolutely mondo *TOING* that blew what's left of my brain cells into another level of schmuckdom, that made me just hafta go there.

And I break the news to Tony with genuine enthusiasm:

Tony, dude:
Forget your used laptop for a piddling $300, dude. We are sooooooooo beyond that now!

I was discussing your needs with my staff during our afternoon ideas 'n meth meeting, and we were pooling our available bread when one of my staff hit upon a totally rad notion: "Dudes! Let's do a charity concert for Tony and his rag!"

Like, totally cosmic, dude.

If it works for these establishment suits and other stiff-neck bugeyed conformists -- y'know, like FarmAid, LiveAid, EarthAid and KewlAid -- then we are sure as snortin' good quality junk that we can make this a hit that benefits you like no business anyone ever gave us before!

We're gonna call it "Live LapAid", and the venue will be one ouf our well-established top-notch underground coffee houses, right here in the bowels of the Haight-Ashbury district, a venue absolutely filthy in the tradition of counter-culture and free anything-goes!

I'm talking to a couple local promoters I know and they feel we can get a superb cast of some of the skidrow of Berkeley's and Haight-Ashbury's garage bands and acts, or a day of Railing Against The Corporate Machine, to aid our brother Tony and his mag. AND ALL THE PROCEEDS WILL GO TO YOUR MAGAZINE!

Whaddaya say, Tony? Are you in with us on this? I can have this all over the place inside of two days! You just give me the word, and it's ROCK ON, DUDE! And not only will the proceeds go to your giving us the business, but LOOK AT THE PUBLICITY YOUR PROJECT WILL GET OVER THIS, MY MAN! IT'S DA BOMB, TONY, DA BOMB!

With your needs in mind, we gotta move faster than bowels on this, Tony. You good widdit?

Either I'm getting fuller and fuller of genuine sh**, or this lad is, in the words of Bugs Bunny, "a gullibull...a nincowpoop"....or probably both:

Thanks! You must be a good man! Quite fascinating you have a good deal ahead concerning the project.I am alright with it in as much as it's for the betterment and development of the project.If this is feature and some more, I think Nigerian people would loive it talkless of the Americans if you could market the Magazine overthere as well.

Please let me know what to do and also when presisely this show shall take place??

As at the Moment we have about five Good Writers.I promise this project is going to be good deal.Bless you!!!
Editor that I've put my greedy, mean-spirited, conservative foot in am I gonna pull off an underground, counter-culture street concert in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, faux as it'll be?

Easy: minimal research and maximum BS...

After my first meeting with the promoters, I am convinced that you'll get all you deserve and more from the fruits of "Live LapAid"!

I have a very busy weekend ahead of me now, for I must confirm a venue for the performances, and work with the promoters to get a good mix and "draw" of bands and entertainment to bring out the Haight-Ashburyites like they flocked during the Summers of Love back in the 60s and 70s. We want a full deja vu for all those aging hippies who'll recall with fondness and fogginess a real "Summer of Stoned experience, man".

One local band I want for this is one I'm interviewing for an upcoming edition: they play a mix of heavy metal funk and hip-hop spirituality, ladled with a sound touched by angel dust. The group is Hung Daddy Dew Drop and the Wads, and I understand they have a gig on SNL in three or four months, depending on parole. They alone will be a huge draw for "Live LapAid"!

I'll be in touch early next week, Tony. In the meantime....I need your full name, the names of all of your staff, and your photo, for the promo posters I need to get to making. Time is a laptop, dude!

Ask, and sometimes ye shall receive:

I really appreciate your great effort and encouragement!!!!! My name in full...


The names of my staff are:

Anthony Esquire (Poet from Nigeria)

Kevin Johnson (correspondent from United State of American)

JAER (correspondent from China) (I thought he said there were five...oh well...)

My photo is enclosed.

Thank you!!!

So how does a straight-leg conservative bo-ring yahdbird like me, fake being a wild-eyed multi-nik from the most whacked-out place in Califorlornia? Actually, easier than the fradulent prof, Ward Churchill, plagiarizing and fabricating his so-called research: via the Internet.

Next up: "Live LapAid III"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Live LAP AID" -- I

*A classic five part scambait from 2007...I really didn't think I could pull this one off, and LMAO when I did*
I've really got to start thinking about getting a life one of these days. Really.
Okay, I'm over it.
Many of you readers out there know that I am not the soul crap magnet for Nigerian and other scam emails: many of my writing brethren are not immune to receiving this crap, either. One of them received the following in feedback on her website:


I am Male 25 yrs from Nigeria. I am undergrad of a University Studying Accounting.I am the Editor of CREME DE LA CREME MAGAZINE here in Nigeria. I Need WRITER/AUTHOR/POET and all others that could feature in the Mag, Also one who specialise on the entertainment Industries (Both in the Music, Movie and Fashion world).But strictly Entertainment.

Take care and God Bless.


The Editor
So to me, she forwards this along with a salute of sorts: "A scammer who tries to scam us poor starving writers has got to be worthy of your scamdelascam-busting talents".
Now I know why having a life is overrated; not having one leaves me ample time for stuff like this.
So I put my alternate email at to work, and once again became hisself, Masato Chan, editor of a San Francisco underground, counter-culture entertainment rag, Rage Against The Establishment Hamster Magazine, and cast out the bait to dangle before "Tony":
I find your proposition to give me the business interesting. I am the editor of what you might call an "entertainment underground" magazine for the greater San Francisco area. Perhaps I can provide what it is you look for. Can I inquire about terms, please?
Masato Chan
*Nibble Nibble*
Masato Chan,
Thanks for your mail.I am very happy to hear from you concerning the project.And it's also good to hear you are in the Entertainment scene.I think we can work together.We wish to showcase in the Music,Movie and Fashion world.Also we are working hard to make sure all is going on smoothly.Don't hestitiate to ask whatever you wish to know concerning the project.
The Editor
Since he wants to *tap dance* around the real thrust of his game, I'll join in a round:
Okay, I'll start by asking how can I help you? What do you need from me?
*Nibble Nibble*
Masato Chan,
Thanks for your response.I really appreciate the fact that you've dedicated your time to read my letter,I am so much happy to see and read your letter (the Smothers Brothers would love to play this one out lyrically, but I digress).Creme De La Creme Magazine is very young and we are really working hard to make it a bigger and great one,Basically,We wish to showcase the Music,Movie and Fashion News and Event and all other things like showcasing Articles, etc.
We are in a Contemporary world where by those in Nigeria and in other part of Africa could get acquainted with the Magazine even those in United States of America.We shall welcome any piece of advice which will empower us and make a great Influence and development.
We will also like to know if we can interview you base on your entertainment in San Francisco in order for it to be feature in the coming Edition of the Magazine.Hope to read from you soon.Thanks in anticipation.
Not quite ready to spill his angle here let's play along:
An interview for your next edition? I would be more than willing to sit for this. When you are ready, send me the questions you wish me to answer, and I will see to it. I promise you a first-rate interview for your next edition.
As becomes apparent, "Tony" wasn't really interested in interviewing me on the entertainment scene in San Francisco (good thing; I'd of made up a schlockload of crapola that the most strung-out hippy on Denver's 16th Street Mall could've almost seen through in a fleeting moment of lucidity); and his *tap dance* around what his real objective is comes to an end:
Masato Chan,
Top of the dayto you.Idon't mean an online interview but which ever way it is I will get intouch with you.
Please could you do some help for us, A seller in the USA wanted to sell us a used laptop for $300,Will it be alright???please can you arrange payment for this as we need it for the project.If you want people arround to know more about your Musical Entertainment you will need to send details so as for we to publish it.
Sooner or later, there's always a *TOING*. Just so's I can be straight on his angle:
So you need me to arrange payment for a sale of a laptop to you from a US seller, for $300? A laptop for $300? You won't be getting much of a machine, lad. Please clarify so that I am straight here.
As for details, I will prepare you a synopsis of upcoming entertainment from the bosom and armpits of the "underground counter-culture" here in the Haight-Ashbury district.
Yep...I got the gist of it:
Thanks for your response.Yes,This seller agree to make sale of the laptop to us for that amount.We don't have it.And we want to know if you can pay for it over there and then forward the laptop to us.This will contribute immensely to the development of the project.If you could do this for us we will appreciate it (oh, I have no doubt on that score).
Quickly get back to me with synopsis of the Upcoming entertainment and also all what you think can Motivate our reader so that we can feature it in the coming edition of the Magazine.
Lastly,I need your advice on how to move forward in the Industry.
The Editor
My first thought was "go get a real job or get a better scam you goat-smelling, egg-sucking, dysentery-brained buffoon"... But that wouldn't allow me to waste more of my/his unprecious time now, would it? But while I pondered a more measured response, Tony follows up with this:
Good Day to you overthere.I really appreciate all your effort for making it a success.But kindly let me know when exactly it shall be done in order for the seller not to sell the laptop to another customer, how soon can you help us in this???And let me know when I expect to receive the compilation.
The Editor
It was then that I had one of those absolutely mondo *TOING*s that convince me I just blew a cranial vessel or two.
Next up: "Live LAP AID" Part II

Saturday, March 21, 2009

From Here To (friggin') Eternity

I have the occasion to indulge in exercise to help offset my indulgence in culinary masterpieces like donuts and cake. You can guess which is winning, but I digress.
Instead of taking that exercise in my normal
venue -- my local gym -- I will, when the weather improves, opt for something more natural: a hike on a trail at a nearby 2300 acre open space park, called William Frederick Hayden Green Mountain Park.
I don't know who W. F. Hayden was, but I reckon he was part mountain goat. More on that in a bit.
From my first experience with the park in '03, to my first experience EVERY year thereafter, I have to reacclimate to the rigors of the experience. My elliptical exerciser at the gym just ain't Green Mountain. Witness my first ascent of this piece of God's Country:
Arriving at the park, I started by examining the oversized map, noting trails, elevations, and a couple of warning signs addressing proper diplomatic niceities in the event of encounters with certain wildlife residents hereabouts: rattlesnakes, mountain lions, yetis, etc. Along with the usual "make conspicuous noise, make yourself look bigger, don't run away, and don't hum the Oscar Mayer song", I was amused by the urging that if attacked, fight back.
I'll bet PETA wasn't as amused as I was, but I digress.
I didn't give much consideration to the terrain at first: it was foothills, with up and downgrades. Where I was starting from -- roughly about 5900 or so feet at the particular trail head I was at -- I would reach a summit of about 6880 feet, about 3 or so miles away. Reading this, I briefly pondered the alternative of donuts and coffee, but having come this far, I needed to to partake of the interlude with nature, and to get off my fat chair-filler, despite the lions and upgrades and hills, oh my.
Thus decided, I ventured into the great outdoors. After the first mild uphill grade of, oh, 15% or so, bringing on my first dry heaves, the trail thankfully leveled off for something like 150 yards or so, and presenting me with a distant vista of the grandeur of the Colorado Rockies. The sun was out, the temperature was moderate, the breeze was gentle. I began to believe I'd made the better choice.
Arriving at a trail fork after about a half-mile, I noted the right fork was all uphill, in the general direction of the summit of the park; the left fork led off toward C-470 and the western edge of the park, some 3.5 miles on. Deciding that the grade couldn't be as bad as that first 100 yards I'd done, I turned my bow to starboard, and was off to see the summit. The wonderful summit of Hyar.
Taking my first break after a decent interval of 100 yards -- to get oxygen and let the second set of dry heaves pass -- I noted the seemingly unforgiving nature of the terrain just off the trail, and found that the trail had been cut from that very unforgiving terrain. It was taking no pity on a novice, either.
Despite the visual vistas of God's Country all around me, as I continued an ascent that seemed to have no friggin' end to it, I noticed occasional mountain bicyclists and joggers -- younger and in better shape -- passing me up, like a muscle car passes a puttering Yugo on an interstate. I didn't mind too much being shown the chronological differences we obviously displayed, but I did take a wee bit of offense with one's shouted "passing on your left, Gramps" from the seat of a mountain bike.
If I'd had any leftover energy from my tryout for the upcoming Olympic Obscene Phonecall competition (I certainly sounded like a team member for most of my ascent), , I might have taken issue with the smartass. By the time my oxygen-starved brain cells had pondered a suitable comeback, the lad and his ride were out of sight and probably in the next area code.
Well short of the summit, which I still couldn't yet see from my (unad) vantage point, I was having to will myself onward, imagining one foot ahead of the next, and hoping my legs would follow the feet accordingly. Just when I thought I'd run out of gas and would have to stop, into my imagination stormed this severe-looking Marine DI, screaming at me "WHATSAMATTER, CANDY ASS? CAN'T CUT THIS WEENY HILL? A TROOP OF GIRL SCOUTS COULD HAVE LAPPED YOU TWICE AND SOLD 20 CASES OF FRIGGIN' COOKIES IN THE TIME IT'S TAKEN YOUR SORRY LUMP OF FLESH TO LIMP THIS FAR!!! GET YOUR GOAT-SMELLING EGG-SUCKING SORRY SHORTNESS OF BREATH MOVING!!!!"
My imagination's cold.
Thus intimidated, and just in case a troop of Girl Scouts was storming up the trail behind me, I found the strength to make onward toward the summit; I didn't want to have my oxygen-starved brain envision the imaginary DI storming back and demanding that I drop and do 50. My eventual reward: a fine, breath-taking view of the Denver Metro Area in one direction, and the C-470/I-70 corridors, along with the gateway to the Rockies, in the other direction. Since my breath was already taken by the ascent, I just stood there and waited for my obscene phonecall tryout to wind down. I was also thankful that while I stood there, sucking up enough oxygen that nearby birds were falling from the sky, I didn't see any sign of a Girl Scout troop lapping my dragging butt, with cases of cookies to hawk.
Which was just as well: I'd left my wallet in the car.
A couple of hours -- and about 6 miles -- later, I finally managed to drag myself back to the trail head, all natured out. As I limped to the car with visions of foot rubs, blister treatments and Krispy Kreme donuts in my head, I passed a young couple unloading mountain bikes from their SUV. Despite my physically depleted state, I hadn't noticed a depletion in my ornery reservoir:
Me: Enjoy the climb, but watch for those Girl Scouts up top, selling cookies; they're relentless.
Them *looking at each other, then me* You're kidding, right?
Me: *shaking my head and walking away, grinning*
The grin only got wider, knowing I hadn't warned them about that drill sergeant, either.
Which was just as well: a few more moments of getting sufficient oxygen back in my system, and I mighta felt guilty about that 'un ;-)

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's Your Turn -- If Ya Wanna

A few of my readers have complained that they'd like a turn at scambaiting a scammer, but they never receive any scam emails, and/or don't know where to look for them.

Well, just for those of you in the aforementioned category, I have saved a few of these, just very recently received, and will post them here for you to follow up, if you really want to, or have the same kind of 'no-life' that allows yours truly to waste so much time on them.

With no further adieu (gesundheit):

1. From Mr. Ali Ahmed (, a Read Carefully and Get Back To Me email that involves a fund left behind in a Burkina Faso bank, by a foreigner what died in one of those many falling planes from the skies of Burkina Faso. $15 million USD is up for grabs, and to help Mr. Ahmed out will entitle you to 30% of that total (which, of course, you'll never see). And Mr. Ahmed is a very pious sort, stating in his initial missive that "When I got your address i prayed and mediated fervently over it and i commited it into the hands of God that you should be the rightful person to help us out". Which, if true, just proves to me that God has a pretty off-the-wallclouds sense of humor, knowing me as He does, but I digress.

2. From Mr. Kavita Manju (, a Partner For Assitance plea, also from Burkina Faso, also for $15 million USD left behind by yet another foreigner what got hisself killed trying to ride one of them falling airplanes in the Burkina Faso air space, which is apparently more 'Bermuda Triangle' than the Bermuda Triangle. Mr. Manju is more generous, offering a willing foreign assistant 40% of the total, once you get over, in his words, "this message might meet you in (utmost surprise) however it's just my urgent need for foreign partner that made me to contact you". I'd be surprised, but after almost 9 years of this, I admit to a small degree of cyncism creeping into my 'surprise' reservoir.

3. For those of you who like mixing scambaiting with the likes of writing by folks like Stephen King, here's one: Barrister Frank Kujo (, with yet another fund from Burkina Faso, courtesy of the failure of aerodynamics in the skies over same. This one's a bit disappointing: only $10.5 million USD, but he'll give you 45% of that to be taken by his offer to give you the business. He wants you to know how trustworthy he is, because, in his words, "I contacted you because it is against our code of ethics to own and operate a foreign accounts and your assistance would be needed to claim the money". The guy obviously went to the same business school as Barney Frank and Bela Pelosi.

4. And there's Ibrahim Kone (, a staffer (he says) at the ADB Bank in...*surprise*...Burkina Faso, with $15 million USD from a deceased customer (how the customer became deceased isn't revealed, but if you like to wager in Vegas, put your money on an air ship that fah down and go boom). You get 40% for playing along, and the knowledge that 10% of the funds will be used to "helping the less privileges, motherless babies home and charity organization in the world". Awwwww. How touching, in a "touched by an anvil" kinda way.

5. And here's Mr. Ben Hammed, who claims to be the director in charge of auditing and accounting for the Bank of Africa (, and has found yet another $15.5 million USD, left after another foreign schlep bought a plane ticket on Burkina Faso Kamikaze Airlines. He asserts that "I will not fail to inform you that this transaction is 100% risk free". He fails to square that statement with the assertion in the early part of the email that "due to the sensitive nature of this transaction, it is top secret, and you must treat it with confidentiality". I think he's been talking to Baghdad Bob Gibbs of the White House spin machine. At any rate, for playing the game, you get (the illusion of receiving) 45% of the $15.5 million USD. Happy happy joy joy.

6. Our cup runneth over from Burkina Faso, with this submission for help from Suleman Kajima (, who is also the auditing/accounting director for the Bank of Africa in Burkina Faso. Fancy that. Apparently, Citigroup could take some lessons from BOA, what with all the directors of auditing/accounting they employ to handle all these multi-million dollar transactions from plane-crashed foreigners of descendent status. However, you might think twice about delving into getting the business from Suleman Kajima: he's only offering up $8 million USD, and isn't forthcoming about how much a 'cut' you gonna git for playing along as next of kin to a plane-crashed Floridian who placed all of his nest egg in BOA in Burkina Faso, before falling out of the sky in another faulty airliner there in '99. Y'know, and just as a digressive aside...the Rhodians collected all the scraps from left-behind Macedonian siege engines when Demetrius the Besieger (a successor of Alexander the Great) tried and failed to take Rhodes in the 3rd Century BC. And from all those siege engine scraps, they erected the 7th Wonder of the World, the Colossus of Rhodes (finished in 292 BC, and destroyed by an earthquake about 50 years later). Perhaps someone should start digging up all the airliner parts strewn all over Burkina Faso, and make the 9th Blunder of the World -- The Colossus Crash Site of Burkina Faso. But I digress. Anyway, Suleman's offer generally sucks, far as Burkina Fasoians go, but's your choice.

7. For something a little different -- and this guy gets the Brevity Award for his email -- there's Sun Ki Moon (, in which his simply titled email Business Preposition simply says, "I am a chinese national currently based in Nigeria and I have a business preposition. Regards". To get more details on getting the business from a chinaman in Nigeria, you have to show interest. Fortune cookies not incruded.

8. Other African nations don't wish to be left out here, as an email from Atiku Abubaka ( proves, who has an offer from Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire, where he's a bank official and, quote, this is not joke. Sadly, Abubaka is something of a piker, having only 3.5 million EUROS to tempt you with, but on the other hand, he does assert that "i would want you to know that this deal is 100% legal and risk free, though it requires confidentiality". Abubaka doesn't say how the foreign engineer became deceased, but I'll bet it wasn't slipping on a bar of soap in an airplane restroom.

9. Last but certainly not least, I had to save the tear-jerker: Stella Moses (, from the Ivory Coast, "an orphan that being I lost my parents", one to assassination, and the other to possibly falling out of the sky on one of them darn fool aeroduhnamic things with a hitch in its 'git-it-up-and-keep-it-up-thar", though that isn't said outright. She has only $9.5 million USD to tempt you with, but the mere fact of her orphan status -- and that she's only 19 -- will woo your sensitivities, like a Sally Struthers infomercial.

There ya go, folks. Wanna play? There're your choices. Go git 'em. Oh, and a brief PS: a thanks to a former "follower" of my blog, for routing these to me, after getting POed at me for recognizing him/her as a scammer. Despite his/her hope that I'd find this annoying, it's proven to be just more fuel for scambaiting fools ;-)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Just Lucky I Guess

On February 20, 2009, the New York Times broke a story about how Citigroup was scammed for $27 million dollars by Nigerian 419 email scammers (at least one of which was taken into custody when he entered this country from Singapore). They were taken in part because (a) the scammers faxed "authentic-looking documents" to Citigroup, along with (b) human contacts and cell phone numbers for Citigroup to contact to verify the *authenticity* of the documents.
We'll forget for a moment that Citigroup is one of them Federal Reserve bailout recipients *DOH*.
How is it, you might ponder, that Citigroup -- a large, multi-billion dollar financial, world-wide operation -- could get suckered by Third World scammers, on the basis of a few "authentic-looking documents" and some cell phone numbers?
You might try asking Citigroup. I doubt you'll get an answer.
When I first heard about this -- from a fellow blogger (Bob McCarty) who suggested to Citigroup that they ought to hire me to monitor their "authentic-looking documents" department -- I shook my head in amusement, forgetting for a moment that some of my tax dollars are bailing these idjits out *DOH*.
Then, I had one of those "don't you hate when this happens" *TOING*s: but for the grace of God and authentic-looking documents, there perhaps might have gone I, if I were as intellectually gifted as a door knob. Which might not be a bad thing if it'd get me a bailout from the government too, but I digress.
I mean, when I hear from the scammers, I receive documents meant to convince me that the scammer is authentic, and not a scammer. Apparently, however, most of the documents I receive aren't up to "authentic-looking" standards. 'Cuz I ain't convinced of their authenticity.
Perhaps I should apologize for coming along before the advent of dumbed-down education, and maybe I'll get around to the apology in 30 years, but I digress some more. Anyway, back to the documents.
Like fer instance, one of the latest ones I got, via Idris Musa and his cohorts from the Bank of Africa, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa (with branches from Abu to Zangabungabunga, and a BOA Superstore coming to the Serengeti, I reckon). After the preliminary hooha, his contact with BOA -- Rev (Dr.) Michel Comboro -- sent me what I was expected to treat as an "authentic-looking document", fill out, and send back, in preparation for being told how much the legal fees would be to process the transfer of a large sum of money made up of unpaid taxes by Obama cabinet appointees.
Now, common scambaiting courtesy demands that I fill out the form and send it back, and being the kind of person I am (no explanation needed), how could I not? But, I have to tell you that I am disappointed that I wasn't convinced of the authenticity of the document, as I read through and answered the 15 questions I was required to answer. Which I'll recap for you here, with the document questions in bold, and my answers in italics. All spelling is as it is in the doc:
1. What is the name of the deseased customer? Mr. John Korovo, which you printed in all caps immediately above this question.
2. What is his nationality? Don't you mean, what WAS his nationality?
3. What is his occupation? Corpse. I mean, you did ask what IS, as opposed to what WAS...
4. What kind of account is he operating in this bank? If he's operating any just now, you have proof of life after death, and can make trillions, dude.
5. What is his account number? *I just made one almost all cases, they don't care*
6. How old was he when he dead? As old as he was gonna get, I reckon.
7. What kind of relationship is you have with deseased customer? Ewww...none. Not into necrophilia, you pervert.
8. When exactly did he died? When exactly did his plane land nose-first without wheels?
9. Did the deseased customer own a firm in this country? I'm sure he did, like all deseased-from-air-travel-dysfunction foreign customers of BOA.
10. Ififyes, what is the name of the firm? The International Dung Beetle Construction Company *a tribute to the late blogger Horse Tail Snake, Gene Maudlin*.
11. Was he married before his dead? Dunno, but he sure screwed around a lot, what with a wild 'n frisky reputation that garnered him a nickname like Wang Ho.
12. If yes, what was the name of his wife? See answer to #11.
13. Did the deseased customer have children when he dead? I doubt it, unless his unknown wife was in labor when his plane had unrecoverable aerodynamic boomsedaisy.
14. If yes, mention their names? *oh, what the heck* Muck, Mire, Spike, Putz and Circumphrance.
15. State clearly the residence addres of the deseased customer in Burkina Faso?
If I state it clearly, this document has to have a recording device embedded in the fibers. How's about I write it? 69 Blowdtabits, 18 Avenue Lundun Puddytat, BP 4357, Ouaga 01.
With authenticity like that, I can see how Citigroup was taken in *DOH*.
And with the bank's response a day later to those answers (We is pleased to announced to you we are authentic with your answers and will begin to process you application), I can see how I might just have a reservation or two about the issue of authentication in this h'yar case.
Of course, I fauxsent the requested fees -- $3,500 USD for legal fees and document procurement, since they were so authenticated -- using an oft-used bogus Western Union receipt, resized just enough to make it mildly illegible, which they tried to cash twice before declaring me "a bad person of none honesty", along with a few other frills and dressin'.
Which, of course, with folks like these, I am *DOH* And I can authenticate that.
In the meantime, I have yet to receive an invitation from Citigroup to help them with their document authentication process. If my luck holds, I won't get one.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bad Skunk II: Unexpected Update

Bad Skunk. But getting better, badly. Sorta.
It seemed to me that after a couple weeks of ringing my phone and not leaving a message for the International Crustacean Obedience Training Institute -- *snort* -- I'd finally rid myself of Madison's Who's Who. They'd finally figured it all out.
*Buzzer* Wrong.
Wednesday morning, February about 6:48am, my phone rang; I ignored it. No message left. Again at 7:05am; same refrain. When it happened again at 7:15am, I was where I could see caller ID: NYC calling.
Then another call at 7:30am. Having pondered the options here, I chose the worse one and I answered the phone. Bad skunk. Baaaaaaad skunk.
Here's the gist of the call:
MWW: (I didn't catch his name): I'm uh...I'm trying to reach *me*...
Me: Congratulations; you have. Tell me, do you people ever receive training in using the second half of a voice mail system?
MWW: Excuse me?
Me: You're excused, and the question stands. Do you ever leave messages when the option presents itself?
MWW: Uh, Mr. *me*, I'm just trying to follow up on our conversations with you a couple weeks ago...
Me: You might have more success if you complete that other half of the training. However, now we're talking mano a you-o....what can I do for you?
MWW: Well, we never got an answer from you regarding a membership and publication in our upcoming edition...
Me: *easing off on the bad skunk a tad...sorta* You are kidding me, right?
MWW: What do you mean?
Me: Fella...even if my initial response to you wasn't a clear and concise clue, my follow up conversation with the lady who called here should have been. I mean...the International Crustacean Obedience Training Institute? That doesn't set off all kinds of flags and "whoa Nellies" with you?
MWW: *first sign of a tad perturbed*...Sir, just what are you talking about?
Me: Process this with me, fella: the International Crustacean Obedience Training Institute. Training crustaceans. Puh-lease...doesn't that sound hokey enough to make a point?
MWW: *second sign of a tad perturbed*..Sir, now just how are we supposed to know that?
Me: Tell the initial application, you claim to do a lot of research into the candidates you choose. What research went into me, my so-called "professional" credentials and my "executive experience"? And did you folks bother to check out my education? My so-called "masters" in "progressive crustaceanology" from the Harvard Business School? A phone call would have cleared that up quicker than duck diarreha.
MWW: Sir, I am calling to get your commitment to a membership; I don't work on the research end..
Me: That much is obvious, so let me help you with the're not going to get a commitment. Since you folks don't seem to get the obvious.. *time to quit being the baaaaad skunk*.. I'm not buying a membership.
MWW: Why not?
Me: Duh...because when I received your application, I thought you were just another scam or phishing email. So I was yanking your chain, just like I do the many Nigerian email scammers I hear from. There is no International Crustacean Obedience Training Institute; and if any of you would make a call to "Hah-vahd", you'd find there's no masters degree in progressive crustaceanology.
MWW: Uh, what is it you're telling me...*first sign of realization*...that you're just making all this up?
Me: Bingo, pay the gentleman in the red dress! It's a faux company I use to screw with email scammers. It doesn't exist. In reality, I am a nobody who couldn't get listed in the Nobody's Almanac, let alone in the business or professional world. I have a small time job and write humor on a blog. I am beyond the bottom of the "movers and shakers" food chain.
MWW: *he actually laughs*...well, I'll be....I have to admit, your situation did kind of sound rather odd.
Me: "Rather odd"? You folks shoulda figured it out after the lady interviewed me. Pardon me for being a bit astonished and amused that you're only now getting it.
MWW: Well sir, we do get some rather interesting and unusual listings that aren't faked, but *laughs again* I have to tell you that you are probably the funniest phone call I'll have this week.
Me: Well, it's my pleasure to entertain you so early in the day...but no membership here. I'm as professional as a pull chain on a toilet.
MWW: *laughs again* Okay, I get your point. Thanks for the explanation and the laughs.
*end of call*
Now MAYBE....just MAYBE...I'm finally done with Madison's Who's Who. Having said that....who's next?
That answer comes in a reprise of my ultimate scambait classic from 2007: Live LapAid!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bad Skunk

*Author's note: this is a two-part classic from 2007, that combined the best (and worst) of answering not only my email, but my the consternation of those being answered. The company in question -- Madison Who's Who -- has quite a lot of negative input in my research on them since this happened, but I digress*

I was bad again. Like that's anything new.

Certain emails that I receive should simply be deleted without acknowledgment. With most, I sometimes don't do that.

I should be more consistent.

The last time I gave in to a spontaneous impulse, I wound up having the Scottsdale Culinary Institute relentlessly pursuing -- for three months -- a student they never had a prayer of getting; nor should they have, what with me being the culinary barbarian I am.

It's happened again.

In mid-January, I received the following unsolicited email on the same email account that draws a goodly number of scam/phishing ploys:

From: Madison Who's Who
Subject: *My Name* Madison Who's Who Selection

Dear *my name*,

I am delighted to announce your nomination by the Governing Board of Editors of the Madison Who's Who of Executives and Professionals *TOING* to be an honored biographical candidate in the 2006-2007 edition. The Institute's International Board of research decided on your nomination due to research on individual accomplishments and contributions to society *DOUBLE TOING*. Based on many years of excellent reference and research compilation, the institute remains an authoritative figure in the field of noting significant accomplishments (with apparently some significant lapses in their research compilation, but I digress and they go on).

We have reviewed the endeavors of men and women around the world because of our research division reaching out to business libraries, educational institutions, and research centers worldwide. Much deliberation was held to choose those whose achievements and dedication toward exemplary goals were the best we have seen.

Upon final confirmation, you will be listed among thousands of accomplished professionals in the Madison Who's Who Registry.

If your jaw isn't hanging as low as mine is, you don' know me vewy well.

They went on to ask me to provide them with some basic biographical information, as our editorial deadline is quickly approaching.

I never heard of this book. In the circles I travel while navigationally-challenged, I likely wouldn't. I'm about as professional as road apple art. So it would have been natural and expedient that I just hit *delete* and move on.

But I didn't do that. I filled out the nomination application. Granted, I used my real name, just as they did. And my real phone number, since I didn't figure on a call back, especially since I didn't use my real occupation, title, etc.

Personally, I suspect they found some person of more societal accomplishments with my name, and mistook me for them: I think there's a realtor on the West Coast somewhere with my name. And there's that pathetic director of the bomb of a pathetic movie Pearl Harbor, who stole my name to have someone else to blame for his piss-poor choice of Ben Affleck, to overly bad act in it.

At any rate, I filled it out and sent it back. I figured that once they saw I was a research analyst for the International Crustacean Obedience Training Institute, that'd be that. A quick circular filing, and no more *me* in the Madison Who's Who.

Then late last week, my phone rang. It was NYC calling. A Ms. Somebody-er-other, from Madison Who's Who: I was being notified that I had been officially accepted by Madison Who's Who for the 2006-2007 edition.

Bad skunk...very baaaaad skunk.

As the phone call proceeded, I had a chance at redemption. A chance to "come clean". A chance to "fess up".

In full 'bad skunk' mode, I didn't take it:

*the following is a recollection of the call, as I wasn't set up to record it, dagnabbit*

Ms ?: I want to congratulate you on being accepted to be included in our latest edition of Madison Who's Who.

Me: Well, Ma'am, I am humbled beyond words I can conjure up to express my astonishment at this notification.

Ms?: Well, from what I understand, you're simply being too modest. I do need to get some additional information from you before we proceed with formalizing this process. Do you have a few moments?

Me: I certainly hope so. What can I add to for you?.

Ms?: You listed yourself as a 'research analyst' for the International Crustacean Obedience Training Institute. How long have you been there?

Me: About 5 years.

Ms?: What do you do specifically for the institute?

Me: I do research and analysis for crustacean remedial and spatial obedience training for building and developing their repetitive and cognitive skills.

Ms?: I have never heard of anything like this. Can you be more specific?

Me: Ma'am, so much of what we do at ICOTI is highly proprietary, but let me put it this way: have you ever watched the Super Bowl?

Ms?: No, I'm afraid I'm not very interested in sports.

Me *with a silent *whew* under my breath*: well then, it's hard to explain. But the 30 second commercials that sell for up to $2.5 million dollars each during the game occasionally include trained crustaceans, such as the Anheiser-Busch beer commercials. My institute trains those crustaceans for such roles.

Ms?: My! I've never heard of such a thing. What kind of education do you have that provided this ability?

Me: Oh, I have a Masters in Progressive Crustaceanology.

Ms?: You say a Masters degree?

Me: Yes Ma'am.

Ms?: And where did you obtain this degree?

Me: From Hah-vahd (that's how I pronounced it).

Ms?: Did you say Harvard?

Me: Yes; their school of Business.

Ms?: And what are your long-term goals in this profession? Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?

Me: In a mirror, obtaining my doctorate and doing the lecture circuit.

Ms? *she missed it*: Do you do public speaking and lecturing on this outside of your organization currently?

Me: No, at present I just do informal presentations internally and for visiting researchers.

Ms?: Well Mr. *me*, I must say you sound very professional and have carried yourself with impressive communication skills and erudition in this interview. I am most impressed, and feel our selection of you for inclusion of Madison Who's Who is a worthy one.

Me *masking my astonished mirth* well thank you, Ma'am. I am flattered.

Then she got down to, in the words of Rooster Cogburn, "the rat killing". In order for us to finalize my inclusion in the soon-to-be-published MWW, I would need to "purchase a membership".


I was offered the options of (a) 5 years at $589, or (b) a lifetime membership at $789. Ms ? was quick to point out the cost benefits of the lifetime membership, and urged me to opt for this choice.

Now I demurred; I expressed to her my sincere appreciation for the honor she and her fellows sought to bestow upon me, but that as I was not the sole proprietor of the business with which I was affiliated, I would have to discuss with my partners their opinions.

Ms ? then reminded me of the time constraints, what with the upcoming edition shortly to go to the publishers, and that I could make the "right" decision now, which she was "sure" they would understand.

I again demurred, until further "consultation with my associates".

She then offered me two lesser membership options, of 3 and 2 years, for as little as $289.


I politely told her that any fiscal decisions were mandated within the corporate entity to be approved jointly, and I asked her if I could call her back within the hour; she said that instead, she would call me back within the hour, and we parted telephonic company.

Which left me time enough to change the voicemail on my phone, just in case she did call back.

She -- or someone from there -- has tried to call me back multiple times. But danged if they'll leave a message (I know it's them on the caller ID when the phone rings) *wink*.

Of course, anyone calling me for the past week has found they have reached the International Crustacean Obedience Training Institute; the conclusion of the message is for the caller to "have a nice day and Happy Crabs".

So far, no takers.

Bad skunk. Baaaaaaad skunk.

And worse skunk to come in unexpected Part II ;-)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


A true letter exchange from the 2007 archives...The old family tree. From family to family, it highlights and hides historical figures one can trace their ancestry back to. Sometimes, to the horror and anguish of current-day, heretofore unsuspecting relations.
Different members of my family have delved into our own ancestral heritage. My oldest sister, using computers to supplement personal visits and the work of other relatives, has unearthed genealogical connections taking our family tree back more than 50 generations. So far, no tree-dwellers in the mix, but she hasn't stopped digging yet.
Thus far, she's found a famous writer, a couple ex-presidents, a Declarant of Independence, at least four members of the Mayflower, and a strong branch of European royalty.
And therein lies the rub: whereas ignorance is alleged to be bliss, knowledge can prove annoying, especially when you discover that you've been stiffed.
Witness the following letter I dispatched to my 27th cousin, once removed, over an obvious oversight on a significant day in the extended history of the family:
April 21, 2005
The Prince of Wales/Duchess of Cornwall
London, UK
Dear Most Royal Highnesses,
First off, may I extend to you my congratulations on your recent nuptials. It probably isn't good in the royal scheme of things for a prince to go duchessless very long, and it is well that you have remedied that void before God and Country. Jolly good show.
Having wished you and yours the best, I must now -- with all due respect -- chide your Highnesses for a most untoward breach of family protocol: the abject failure to send to your blood relations an invitation to the royal wedding. Even if, in practicality, we couldn't have attended, it's the thoughtlessness that counts here.
Forget for a moment that we are former colonists; forget for a moment that we had a bit of a row with a former King over taxation with or without representation -- we know how little difference that makes nowadays -- causing some of our more disgruntled selves to toss a spot of tea into Boston Harbor. All of which manifested into a couple of shooting wars and some hard feelings at other times. Despite all that, blood is thicker than tea-polluted water, even centuries later.
Point of fact, Highnesses: we're cousins. I am your 27th cousin once removed. Your Royal Mum, Queen Elizabeth II, is my 27th cousin. We are both direct descendants of William I, King of England; he was the Queen's 26th great grandfather, and my 27th great grandfather.
Granted, the path of me and my family's genealogical roots did stray a bit from the royal tree over chronology: after William I, a Duke of Normandy, a Count of Flanders, three Lords of Wignmore and three or four Knights, my lineage did dilute a tad. Well okay, more than a tad. Fact is, it diluted a great deal, as I'm now a mere lower middle class taxpayer. Nonetheless, we are bound by blood roots of the stoutest order.
Despite the slight, I and my family will forgive your Highnesses this breach of protocol; no doubt it was one of your royal subordinates who dropped the royal ball regarding the invitations, probably afraid of a "King Ralph" episode. But this brings me now to the real reason I have undertaken writing to you. And that is, what would you and the Duchess like in the way of a wedding gift? I had three possibilities in mind:
-- a blender (the generic gift, given by the unimaginative)
-- his and hers pot holders (ditto)
-- a Wal*mart gift card (pretty highly regarded in some parts of the former royal realm)
To be sure, a Wal*mart gift card might not be terribly fitting in the confines of Buckingham Palace, but I understand there might be one coming to Piccadilly or somewhere thereabouts, soon. Here -- like meadow muffins in dairy country -- they're all over.
At any rate, your Highnesses, let me know ASAP which would be your choice, and I'll see to it with familial expedience. After all, why let a little thing like being stiffed at such an important function, diminish our ties that bind?
Best wishes from us commoners to our royal cousins.
It took a month and a half, but here's the reply I got:
FROM: The Office of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
Date: 13 June 2005
Dear Sir,
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have asked me to thank you for your letter of 21st April.
Their Royal Highnesses have been overwhelmed by the incredibly kind letters and cards they have received in connection with their marriage, and they were immensely touched that you should take the trouble to write as you did. Your generous suggestion of a wedding gift was immensely kind (what kind, I'm sure she was loathe to say) however Their Royal Highnesses have made it a rule not to accept wedding presents from those not known to them personally. Therefore your kind thought is gift enough (see what they just did there?).
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have asked me to send you their warmest thanks and very best wishes.
Mrs. Claudia Holloway
Turned down a Wal*mart gift card, eh? Shocking, I know. But that's royalty for you. Even when it's "in the family". Sorta.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wazz Widdis?

A horse is a horse
of course, of course
it looks like this....yuck...
Wunst agin, I'm about to venture into a debate upon which I have only my own opinion, buttressed by my (apparent lack of) artistic taste to put forth.
And as I recently learned via another source, this makes me ineligible to debate, according to the supporters of the abomination pictured h'yar.
On the outskirts of Denver's International Airport, visitors and citizens are "greeted" (or bid an ominous farewell) by the sculpture pictured at the right. A giant sculpted horse. A giant sculpted Tidy Bowl blue horse. With big, angry red eyes, the kind that even Visine can't touch.
The originating artist -- Luis Jiminez -- dubbed this creation "Mustang". It was sold to the City and County of Denver for $300,000. Next time I make one of those silly putty ashtrays from shop class, I'm going to hold onto it and find a city this artistically gullible, but I digress.
At any rate, after spending a ridiculous amount of money for it, some city wonk -- my sources tell me the wife of the mayor that preceeded the current one -- thought that it would be a perfect representative for the City and County's artsy-fartsy crowd, if placed prominently to arriving and departing travellers from DIA.
For many who've seen this...."thing", debasing the visual approach to DIA, it has differing names. One I like just now is the Tidy Bowl Demonic Whorse.
Now, I could start by saying that the previous mayor's wife had all of her art taste confined to her mouth, but in the interests of being fair and open-minded -- of which I have no real interest in being, since it's my blog nyuk nyuk -- I'll start by saying where I sit on this 'un.
I am not what one would consider to be much of an art person. I can't paint. I can't draw. I can't sketch. I can't sculpt or model clay. I don't have an eye for taking oblique angles of differing items, and making something of them that makes others go "ooooh" and "ahhhhh", like a Coke can, or a strung-up collection of dildos that not long ago adorned a local library as 'art'. When I worked at a Fortune 500 company in the late 70s, my first exposure to "modern art" was this big, off-white thing that was representative of something "free-flowing and high-spirited". To me, it was a giant fiberglass wonton, or used kleenex. Pronouncing it thus wasn't well-received by the art crowd at that facility, needless to say.
Now, I know 'art' when I see it, when it's 'art' as I care to define it. When it comes to art, I'm subjective, and can live with that. I know what I like. I know what I don't like. I know what I think is authentic 'art', and what I think is authentic 'crap'. A photo of a mountain sunset in snow, or a plains sunrise, mixed with fog and auburn-edged, I can appreciate that as art. A painting of an 18th century sailing ship in a stormy sea, or a Rembrandt, or a sketch of a snow-capped mountain valley....I can see the obvious in these. A tornado, ravaging across the Eastern that, in my eyes, and hopefully in my camera lens, is art (it's other things to folks having their trailer park disassembled, but I digress). And I have some online and roundabouts friends who have an unerring eye for Nature's finest in art, especially with a camera in their hands (such as Mayden's Voyage, for example).
When I am confronted with a science beaker full of urine, with a crucifix in the middle of it, that isn't art to me. It's complete, total, unadulterated, hate-filled crap, the kind of empty-headed liberal nonsense that a lowlife segment of the population dares to haughtily claim is "art".
Now, my admission above -- not being much of an art person -- immediately makes my opinions on 'art' heresy, according to those who arrogantly claim to be more "gifted" of the arts. On the matter of the "thing" pictured above, a local radio talkshow host was castigated by an artist for having an opinion about the artistic value of "Mustang", after admitting that he wasn't as up on "the arts" as some claim to be. The talkshow host is decidely negative about the "thing" -- he calls it "The Blue Demon" -- and he regularly chides (good-naturedly) the current mayor to get rid of this eyesore from the premises of DIA, before it "traumatizes more kids with those scary red eyes". An opinion shared by a lot of regular folks hereabouts.
But according to the artist who called the show to defend the airport eyesore, a person who is not gifted of the arts, has no right to express an opinion about the worth of something an artist calls "art", no matter how patently ridiculous or deadly it is.
We'll forget the stupidity of the caller's "rights" argument for a moment, to delve into the more important here. Oh yes, my good readers. I did say, "deadly". This so-called piece of "art" is deadly. It killed it's creator, Mr. Jiminez, when a piece of the sculpture fell on him. I don't know who managed to complete it, let alone then sold it to the City over a year or so ago, a dubious piece of "art" with a murderous past, but whomsoever they are need to be hunted down and confined in a small room, and be forced to listen to all of Barney Frank's public speeches, until the guilty party(es) break down and renders up heart-felt repentance for bringing the conveyance of the Apocalypse, to Denver's aerial doorstep.
What's more, I don't reckon that the Tidy Bowl Demonic Whorse is happy with just one human sacrifice. Not with those satanic red eyes, glowering to the west toward the skyline of Denver. A skyline of over 2,000,000 potential human sacrifices, just waiting for the Tidy Bowl Demonic Whorse to unleash it's progressive, satanic powers upon the masses.
At the risk of offending the artsy-fartsy crowd out there, I am here to tell you....the Tidy Bowl Demonic Whorse needs to go. Now. Before it becomes animated and unstoppable, eating virgins and stampeding the cowed and the subjugated with it's satanic gaze, and devilish intent.
Just in case IT breaks loose and comes hunting it's antagonists, before it's time as a Denver eyesore is done...anyone know where I can get some 40mm rounds that -- hopefully -- will stop an attacking Tidy Bowl Demonic Whorse, what doesn't appreciate my criticism?