Sunday, January 31, 2010

There Is Something Wrong With The Remote

To a six year old, the background music and the opening sequence was chilling: "There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. WE are controlling transmission"... And the finale: "You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to...THE OUTER LIMITS".
Something I will never forget watching as an on-the-edge-of-my-seat six year old in 1963. And something that I will never again allow my pet rock to watch. Not when I'm not home and a remote's within reach.
Seymour, as blog readers know, is my pet rock. Seymour loves the TV-DVD, and has figured out the necessary elements of the remote control ("on-off"). I didn't give it much thought, not being much of a TV watcher the past few years. Besides, Seymour's a rock. What trouble can he get into?
Don't answer that.
I naively figured I could let Seymour watch marathons of stuff while I was on the computer, or away at work. Well, one weekend, I let him watch a two day/night marathon of The Outer Limits (TOS), figuring that the way he hides from all sorts of "booger men", some of the creatures thereon would have him hiding under the loveseat.
I didn't reckon on Seymour's ingenuity and misplaced sense of territoriality.
I came home one Sunday evening to find quite the mess about the living room (moreso than my usual): a set of my tiniest screwdrivers were strewn about, along with little bits and pieces of assorted *stuff* that I would learn were "leftovers" from a disassembly/reassembly process.
And there, on the coffee table, sat a 'new-look' DVD remote. One, Seymour indicated with pride, would not only operate everything in the would defend it, too.
Me: "From what?"
Seymour: "From pteryaductyls...triciploplotz...yeti...and all those...those THINGS on The Outer Limits!"
Now, I have some suspicions over the years about certain unexplained things, like when a pizza delivery was awaiting me one night, and I hadn't ordered it. I laid it off as a prank caller, and bought me a pizza.
I'm beginning to think that Seymour set me up.
But never like became quickly apparent that Seymour had transformed my simple DVD remote. I pushed the 'on' button, and the TV came on...and the DVD...and the stereo...the computer...every light in the place...the oven..the microwave.
Even the friggin' toilet flushed.
I pushed the 'off' button, and I was standing in total darkness. Even the microwave LED clock went phffft. As did the green lights on the smoke detectors.
Okay, so the rock has learned priorities when I'm in the kitchen, but I digress.
Now I'm concerned...especially when I ask Seymour "what works what?", and all I get is a..." forget". This had "really baaaaaad evening" written all over it.
For example, while spending some time trying to figure out what the 'menu key' now did, I got a knock on the door, and opened it to find a local police officer: it seemed that my patio light was sending out international Morse Code, in sequence with my pushing the 'menu button'. What it was sending out, in code, was an obscenity in Spanish. Yes habla neighbors across the lot were not amused to be reading code that said that about their mamacita.
While Seymour sat there on the coffee table, with that inscrutable "pay no attention to the pet rock on the table with all the tools" look.
As I was explaining to the increasingly incredulous officer what my pet rock had done to the remote, I inadvertently directed the remote toward the kitchen, and hit the 'mute' button: a bright beam of light shot out the end of the remote, vaporizing the refrigerator.
After a moment of silence amidst the smell of ozone and fried leftovers, the officer shook his head, and with a terse "I didn't see a thing", left the apartment.
Currently, Seymour is on 'time out' on the patio, and being reminded that those sudden dashes of light across the night sky are space rocks that acted bad, and are burning up in cosmic detention. And there'll be no more DVD time for Seymour, or anyone else that visits here: not until I figure out how to safely undo all the what he dun to the remote.
Not to mention, how I'm going to explain to property management the scorch mark in place of a now missing apartment, across the hall. At least it was an unoccupied one.
I think.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hey, They Wrote ME, First...

It isn't my fault they didn't like my response; THEY solicited ME. All I did was comply widda request.
If ya don' mean what you ask for...then don't ask for it.
There I wuz, mindin' my own bidness, when one day-off afternoon, I gets this email with the header, Call for Papers. It was sent to me by what claimed to be Journal of Public Administration and Policy Research.
Okay, what could they possibly want from me, you ask? Me ask that, too. Even my pet rock, Seymour, figured it was the email equivalent of a wrong number, and I shouldn't answer it, like I did that last one. In fauxGerman.
Here's what they had to say:
Dear Colleague (I always HATE it when they call me that, and I am protocol dysfunctionally not sure how to colleagueally respond),
The Journal of publich administration and policy research JPAPR) is a multidisciplnary peer-reviewed journal published that will be monthy by Academic journals (it gives a web address link) JPAPR is dedicated to increasing the depth of the subject across disciplines with the ulitmate aim of expanding knowledge on the subject. JPAPR will cover all areas of the subject. The journal welcomes the submission of manuscripts that meet the general criteria of significance and scientific excellence, and will publish:
- Original articles in basic and applied research
- Case studies
- Critical reviews, surveys, opinions, commentaries and essays
Our objective is to inform authors of the decision on their manuscripts within four weeks of submission. Following acceptance, a paper will normally be published in the next issue. Instructions for authors and other details are available on our website and prospective authors should send their manuscripts to (a provided email address).
It went on with another paragraph of basic jibberish, and concluded in welcoming me and my viable research documentation for cataloguing and publication.
It was signed by Emeje Cynthia, Editorial Assistant.
I did note that, while sent to me, it wasn't addressed specifically to me. It was sent out under the auspices of "undisclosed recipients". Just like a lot of the scam emails I get. And at the bottom of their home page (which also told how to submit papers), there was a notice about a fee required for publication of $550, which didn't guarantee publication. *TOING*
But this wasn't your average, every day scam email: no promised inheritance. No ATM cards. No warlords leaving their kids billions in TARP money that a foreigner needed to claim as a 'next of kin', so once it was paid back, the Fed could double tax it. No crashed planes or ox cart accidents wiping out whole families.
They just wanted my papers. Papers relating to basic and applied research, case studies, critical reviews, surveys, opinions, commentaries and essays.
So despite my hating being called a colleague by strangers, I decided to do what any good colleague I reckon would do: I sent them a paper. I dug into my archives, and provided them with the following on a subject which I researched thoroughly, and used with great effect in dealing with email scammers from the idyllic burgs of Vaduz, Liechtenstein:
From: U. R. Phulovit, pHd
Date: not lately, dammit
Subj: Crustacean Obedience Training In The 21st Century
Esteemed Colleagues,
I was flattered to the point of obfuscation at your laudatory solicitation for my papers. Being THE leading expert on the subject of crustacean obedience training, and senior feller at the International Crustacean Obedience Training Institute (ICOTI) in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, I am more than happy to provide you with a precis of the extensive writings I have laboriously compiled these many studious years, and have you disseminate them for the benefit of whomsoever can find benefitianarianism therefrom.
The ICOTI has been THE pre-eminent leader in crustacean obedienceology since before the first TV ad for a Super Bowl, that featured lobsters stealing bottles of Budweiser (yes, that was one of our first successful students). Establishing the parameters of crustacean suspectibility to learning Three Stoogesesque pratfalls and slapstick, took many efforts and gallons of cocktail sauce, but today, ICOTI boasts of a graduation rate amongst trained crustaceans that exceeds 25%. Recidivism being what it is, we simply eat the drop-outs. But I digress.
Today, ICOTI not only provides crabs, lobsters and other mollusks for TV and movie opportunities; we provide trained crustaceans for a cornucrabia of tasks and professions, including but not limited to:
- military tasks (ie., minefield reclamation)
- construction (see enclosed photo)
- IT applications (from data entry to production of software and hardware)
- hospitality and entertainment (from the aforementioned TV ads, to cocktailing and happy hour hors d'oeuvres, for the aforereferenced recidivists)
And coming soon -- we project in time for the next Summer Olympics -- Liechtensteinian Crab teams for Ping Pong, Curling, synchronized table dance, and the 400 meter relay. We are even planning to branch out, and have in exploratory research at this time, a manatee rock 'n roll band we plan to roll out for American Idol in 2014*.
Our exhaustive records of success and ever-advancing improvements in technology will leave you astonished, as I'm sure this whole email paper will leave your vast audience of research-hungry site visitors.
Specifics on case studies and critiques are available upon your acceptance of this precis.
Having already once found me, you know where I am again to be so located. I eagerly anticipate your incredulous response.
I have the honor to be,
U. R. Phulovit, pHd
"Got crabs? We'll find something useful for 'em to do!"
I sent it to the submission email address I was provided with, and sat back, eagerly anticipating a new career in the publishing of called-for papers.
After two weeks, I got nuthin'. So on the off-chance that perhaps my paper had been mislaid or worse, I re-sent it. Still nothing. So a week later, I re-sent it again.
That did it: the next day, I got this reply:
Please stop sending this nonsense.
How rude. After all, they asked.
Seymour, stop *rolling* what I think are your eyes, and pass the cocktail sauce...
* if they'll quit electrocuting themselves by hooking up the amps while still in the water...dolts.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Shouldn't (be allowed to) Answer Phones

No, he isn't reacting to me. Unless he's the telethinger the other evening, then this is probably close to how I went over widdem.
As a few who know me have learned, I don't generally answer my phone. I let it ring until voice mail picks up, check the call back number, and if it's one I know, call it back immediately. Most often, it's a telemousketeer, or sometimes a bill collector (a lot of different-named folks have apparently used my number as theirs with bill collectors, judging from all the calls I get for persons with last names Garcia, Rodriquez, Gomez, Rivera, et al).
So I do, at least, try to make my voice messages somewhat entertaining. At present, a caller will be told by Groucho Marx, "I'm going back and clean the crackers out of my bed. I'm expecting company". A week ago, Groucho mused "Y'know you haven't stopped talking since I came here. You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle".
Yeah, I know...most young 'uns have no clue what a phonograph needle is.
I also have a treasure trove of Three Stooges bites that grace my voice message system. But once in a while, I have a *TOING* moment when the phone rings...and I answer it.
Granted, I'm not always sure how I'm going to answer it...that depends on (a) the ring tone and (b) what I hear in the seconds after I've picked it up. But last Monday night, I decided to answer it -- based on the ring tone, that told me it was long distance -- in German. Any of you who know me, know that I don't speak German. But I never let that stop me at times like this. And it went downhill from there (a recap of call as best as I can reconstruct it from memory):
Me: Bitte?
Them: *sound of people in background*..Yes, I am calling to speak with Mr (some name I've never heard of)...
Me: Bitte gefallen undt veerkendorken florken?
Them: *person on other end talking to someone*...uh yes, is this Mr. (whomever)?
Me: Nein undt no das Ben Dover, ja. Vas ist los?
Them: *asking someone in background something*...sir...sir, do you uh, do you speak English?
Me: Englander? Ver nein kaputen blorken dorfen! Sprechen Douche midde touche Bavarian undt schtuff. Vhyensee?
Them: *says something I don't catch*..Sir, I am not in a mood for games here...I represent (some bill collecting agency), and I insist on speaking to Mr. (whozeewhatzits)...
Me: Vassen das putchen schovin' midde spitzen sparken, hundsfott? Ich bich en flieger schiesse undt schtuff, putten scootin vinken blinken undt nodden!
Them: *says to someone "I've got a real nutjob here", followed by unintelligible chatter* Sir, are you Mr. (flubbengiver or something akin)?
Me: Ach two livers, neinen das fluken vorken douchen spitzen! Mein ahelm, bitte fallen on das facen midde splatten floppen!
Them: *very annoyed now* Sir, if you are NOT Mr. (fleegenvorken or whatever) I would appreciate a straight answer. I am very busy...
Me: Antwort? ANTWORT? Herr Fartfignewton, das dumkopf ist du, ja! Alles kaput, ja! Seig snarfen poopen!
Them: *had enough*..thanks for nothing!
Me: Awpeterstain, Herr Poodle Lipszen...*he hangs up*
Perhaps he or one of his cohorts will call back at some point. It isn't likely they'll get to speak to my faux German again (Seymour, my pet rock, spent the whole conversation giving me one of those " sound so STUPID with that accent!" looks). It might be my Chinese. Or my redneck (best of my worst). Or my very baaaaaad retired British brigadier.
But most likely, he or his cohorts will get to speak to my voice message. Perhaps my next selection will be Black Adder (Rowan Atkinson), evicting Baldric:
Baldric: But my lord, I'm been in your family since 1532...
BlackAdder: So has syphilis, now get OUT...
At least it'll be easier for whomever calls, to understand...

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Unheralded Scams -- II

*Part II from the archives, and a rather bad one, but hey...I be bad, too*

Not all scams are well-planned; some come about as the result of spur-of-the-moment opportunism, and someone low enough to seize and run widdit. Witness the following account:

The Great Tortoise Stampede of 1888. The place of origin: (rumored to have been) near present-day Las Vegas, New Mexico.

It was pretty barren looking then, too*.

The set-up: Natches "El Tortuga Grande" Libre owned a somewhat sprawling, if impoverished ranch about 20 miles E/SE of present-day Las Vegas, NM. Something of a maverick immigrant from the Galapagos Islands, Libre had tried to corner various and sundry markets he felt would be unique and hugely popular with the fad-oriented American upper-class Easterners.

After costly and futile attempts at raising and herding to market such exotic creatures as Amazon taratulas, New Guinea Carnivorous hamsters and Southwestern Jack'n Jillalopes, Libre turned to his home island for the answer: the Clapper.

Alas, in an age of kerosene lamps, it was ahead of it's time and sucked when it was introduced later anyway, but I digress.

Instead, what Libre chose to import and raise to eventually herd to a upper-class culinary market in the high society Northeast, was something totally unique from home: the Giant Galapagos Tortoise. Thus it was that Libre imported and raised the largest herd of Galapagos tortoises to exist outside of the Galapagos Islands.

The New York Livestock Exchange was underwhelmed.

But Libre would not be deterred. Once his herd was of sufficient size to warrant it, he and his highly-specialized tortoise wranglers and their faithful herding dogs -- border bassett hounds -- would make the long, thousand-mile trek to Dodge City, Kansas, where from he'd ship his herd off to gourmet Eastern markets.

And at a premium price per pound, he reckoned.

On a fateful April 1, 1888, Libre and his wranglers began their drive to market of the largest herd of Galapagos Giant Tortoises ever assembled in one place on Earth: 25,000 plus. Libre anticipated the drive to take 200 days and nights, planning for (ie., hoping beyond hope) 5 miles-a-day progress.

Word soon spread of this first-of-it's-kind event. Folks miles off the chosen track, eagerly anticipating the massive rolling dust clouds that had once heralded the passage of massive herd of buffalo in migration, were to see nothing like it. Folks closer to the track began to catch a sense of anticipation, as they marked the days on their calendars until the arrival of "the Herd". And then forgot about it as time went by, and "the Herd" didn't.

Libre was somewhat nonplussed by it all. He also became a bit nonplussed at the unanticipated slowness of the passage, and some of the nuisance pests his herd was experiencing on the trail. So as to receive help with the latter -- in hopes of speeding passage -- Libre telegraphed ahead to have a veterinarian meet with him on the trail ahead, near the town of Rocky Edsel, Colorado.
He became even more nonplussed as his ponderous, pest-infested herd plodded past the thriving town of 900, and he found it deserted. Nary a soul to welcome or witness the most unique drive of its' kind in human or reptilian history, let alone a veterinarian he'd urgently sought.

The same thing happened a few days later, in a town a few miles away.

Meantime, he would have been even more nonplussed by the reaction in the southwestern Kansas border town of Boggsville (now a county landfill): a few unscrupulous entreprenuers -- with a more literate telegrapher -- seized upon the unique opportunity the telegram had provided, and unlike their down-the-line Colorado brethren, chose to make the most of the pending event.

They set up bleachers for seating thousands of onlookers. They manufactured and marketed t-shirts, posters, picture-postcards and other assorted bric-a-brac. Vendors prepared an impressive array of concessionary booths to feed and beverage the anticipated throngs of curious and excited visitors. They advertised far and wide about the upcoming event.

They drew thousands from all over the Midwest.

And on the expected day of the arrival of "the Herd", thousands waited in tingling anticipation in the stands, looking to the SW horizon for the first signs of IT: The Great Tortoise Stampede of 1888. They watched. They waited. They napped. They knawed at increasingly stale prairie dog jerky and fajitas.

Meantime, many of the opportunistic t-shirt and bric-a-brac salesmen -- taking a page from Kenny Rogers as The Gambler a few generations before Rogers was born -- knew when to "fold 'em", take their profits and vamoose.

Gradually, so began the disgruntled exodus of the first of the losing-hope throng, who'd already found that they were stuck with bogus t-shirts and silly bric-a-brac. Slowly they began to drift away, wishing there was a Better Business Bureau they could write to about the "here-today, gone-today" concessionaires. The more resilient, the true believers and those determined to get something for the cost of the stupid t-shirts (I Survived The Great Tortoise Stampede of 1888) and vile rabbit hootch they'd consumed at two bits a throw, remained hopefully on their perches, not wanting to miss the first sight of IT: The Great Tortoise Stampede of 1888.

Until eventually, all but the most resolute gave up in disgust and went home. The most resolute remained in those stands until they died, their bones going pale white in the sun and snow of a savage Kansas winter.

For the message that Libre had telegraphed ahead had been misread up the line by a fledgling Colorado telegrapher -- and he had spread through his misunderstanding with the speed of today's Reuters faked photos -- by misreading and passing along this: Help, I have stampede in my tortoise herd.

What Libre had actually telegraphed was: Help, I have damned fleas in my tortoise herd.

As for Libre? He and his herd perished in a blizzard near the Colorado/Kansas border in December, 1888. One droop-earred border bassett hound survived -- Booger -- and was taken in by a rural SE Colorado family, proving to be the one and only survivor of and witness to the mythical Great Tortoise Stampede of 1888.

When asked about his memories of the event in his dotage, he is rumored to have put both paws over his eyes and brought up his dinner.

* which might upset a former visitor to this blog, who don' like me vewy well after I made fun of any part of his adopted state

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Unheralded Scams -- I

*One from the archives that I should have saved for April*

Scams have been around for at least as long as Man has. The opportunist versus the gullible.
Human wolves versus human sheep. The infamous "sucker born every minute", and the scam artist seeking that sucker with no end of angles to try on 'em.

My duels with Nigerian scammers -- and there are a plethora of folks doing what I do, some much better than I -- are a drop in the bucket, so far as what scammers are doing and trying. Telephone scammers strike for personal, bank and credit card info. There are door-to-door scammers -- like the infamous Travellers group -- who go to storm-damaged areas or homes of the elderly, seeking to steamroll the resident into home repairs -- paid for up front -- that are never completed, if even undertaken at all.

There are investment scams. Car sale scams. Scams on Ebay and other online sites. You can even argue that during election cycles, there are political scammers. We elect too damned many of them for our own good.

For the next couple of installments, I'm going to let you in on a couple of the more unheralded scams from the past. Scams that will leave you wondering why*.

Let's start with The Great Tsunami Scam of 1883.

Of course, if you live on an island or along the coastline of a major body of oceanic water, a tsunami -- or tidal wave -- is not a laughing matter. A major meteorological or seismic event, hundreds or even thousands of miles away, can result in catastrophic wave activity right on your door step (as the photos at the top right and left tend to sort of exemplify in a perhaps somewhat mildly embellished kind of way).

When you add to such apocalyptic images a throng of folks who are easily duped, you have the ingredients of a money-making scam.

Witness the following account:

On August 27, 1883, and after three prior eruptions within the previous 24 hours, the volcano Krakatoa, on the Indonesian island of Krakatau, exploded. The resulting tidal wave -- or tsunami -- roared into Sunda Strait (between the south coast of Sumatra and the NW coast of Java) reaching heights of 120 feet. When it cleared, 295 villages and towns along both coasts had been wiped out, along with over 36,000 residents.

Unlike today's 24/7 "instant news" -- real and/or made up -- back then, it took time for the story of the destruction of the island of Krakatau (about half of it was blown away or submerged in the final explosion of Krakatoa) to make it around the world. When it did, it ran shudders down the spines of a lot of coastal-dwelling residents.

It also spawned more than a few ethically-challenged opportunists. Including one in Nebraska.

That's right; Nebraska.

In his part of Nebraska -- mainly flat, where a 50 mile-diameter view could be accomplished by climbing a tree or an 8 foot ladder -- he had a farmer friend. This farmer friend had, as a part of his farm, the only "high ground" in that part of the county. It rose to a height of 125 feet above the surrounding fields, and covered a few dozen acres. Locals suggested one could see the lights of Denver, Colorado, on a clear night, as a faint glow over the horizon, from the summit of "Longview Hill".

The fact that Denver didn't yet have electric lighting, and was about 500 miles to the west, didn't dissuade the locals from making the claim; passersby acceptance of such only encouraged this future model for AlGore to proceed with his opportunity.

Convincing his farmer friend to allow him use of the predominant geography for a few days (the farmer was headed for distant Omaha to find a wife or buy a new plow horse), the entrepreneur seized upon the slowly-circulating news about the mighty tsunami that had swept all before it in the distant Pacific.

He started by obtaining published accounts of the Krakatoa tsunami. He then did a little bit of embellishing to the written copy (ala Reuters) with enhanced drawings of the "mighty wave", and the "fact" that it was proceeding across the Pacific, toward the US West Coast.

And that it was growing.

Then, quoting a seismic "expert" -- played by hisself -- and extrapolating out the wave effects as it neared the coast ("it would slow and rise in height, prior to overwhelming the California coastline, raging well inland, still being about 120 high into western Nebraska"), he quickly had the story published in the local paper.

It put the good, simple, God-and-media-fearing citizens in a tizzy.

"What the hale is we all supposed ta do 'bout this hyar wave thang?", the citizenry cried to the local town council. The town council -- locals elected by their peers -- met their responsibilities as many politicians before and since have: they scheduled a public meeting to discuss the pending crisis, and took the midnight train east to safer parts, the day before the meeting.

Abandoned, the towns' folk worked to come up with their own solutions:

"We could dig a giant ditch, to divert the water when it comes!"
"We could mount our homes on big stilts!"
"We could do what Randolph Scott would have done!"
"We need to pack up the women and the young 'uns and skedaddle!"
"But what about our homes? We cain' jest leave 'em!"
"Let's ask the seismic expert! He'll know what we should do!"
"The what?"

A couple old and grizzled ever-the-skeptics, tried to point out that that no so-called tsunami wave could not possibly push all the way inland, and past the mighty Rocky Mountains. But in the frenzy created by the story -- and fed by the opportunistic scammer, now wearing the guise of an Al Goreish "seismic expert" bearing his inconvenient truth -- they were drowned out by the mounting hysteria of impending doom.

At a subsequent public meeting -- one held two days before the wave was to hit California, the "expert" declared -- he spoke technically in geological gibberish, which impressed the simple crowd with simple educations. And he assured them that there was a "safe haven" within reach.

Longview Hill.

And for a per-person fee -- $25 -- he could arrange for every man, woman and child of the county to take refuge atop this geologic Ark in the path of The Million Years' Tsunami.

Money was passed like gas after beans for dinner; those who didn't have it, were unselfishly paid for by those who did. Rich and poor that day were one in crisis, and one in solution.

This 1880s AlGore was also adept at being an 1880s Robert Tilton ("Pastor Gas"), as well. And thus it became that Longview Hill became the center of population for one terrified but resolute Nebraska county.

As folks set up tents as temporary shelters and slit-trenches as temporary outhouses, the Al Gore/Robert Tilton of the 1880s -- packing more than $10,000 in cash -- mounted his horse and told the good and duped citizens that he was headed out to arrange for boats to retrieve them, and temporary shelter to sustain them until after the waters had receded. The good folks believed him.

Until The Day arrived, and The Wave didn't.

When reality finally dawned on them, the duped throng dispersed, seeking what solace they could in kicking themselves and anything else in reach, for their gullibility.

Meantime, the early precursor to Al Gore/Robert Tilton was living something of a high life in downtown Omaha, and working on his next scam angle: a tsunami warning for residents of Toledo (Ohio). As with most scams, one trip too many to the well proved fateful: folks thereabouts welcomed any change as an improvement, and the Al Gore/Robert Tilton precursor wound up head-first down an outhouse, once the deception was detected (ie., when Toledo's promised renovation didn't happen).

* you bothered to read this nonsense...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Anatomy of a Deja Vu

*From the 2007 archives, an oldie but a reprised goodie*

Some scammers never seem to learn.

Roughly a week after I had disposed of Mr. Kelley Ko of KelleyKo Fabrics and Textiles (see the Anatomy of a Piss-off series), as well as George Nyerere and his odious colleagues, they were back again.

Not to badger me about how I'd dun 'em wrong; but with the same scam offers, all over again. And sent to the same email address as before.

Talk about attention-deficit disorder.

In the case of George Nyerere and new friends (but same old bank that I'd gotten fired previously), I used the same email address to respond from, but just reversed my initials on all out-going emails (instead of URP, I was PRU). That situation is still on-going, and took a turn for the surreal, but that's for later.

When it came to Mr. Ko, I decided to hit him again, but from a different direction. So I created a new email account. And out of the archives, I dug up an identity sent to me by a scammer who'd tried me four years ago prior, and stupidly sent me photo copies of the passport and ID card he was using, before he realized I was playing him. Once in a great while I hear from this particular scammer, as he sends out a new series of the same old scam: I usually write back to him as him, castigating him for trying to steal his identity and violate his/my rice bowl. That usually shuts him up (by confounding the snarf out of him, I hope). But I digress.

So Kelley Ko ( sends me the following email...again:

Would you like to work from home and get paid weekly? If you are interested get back to us promptly. Best regards, Mr. Kelley Ko, Employment Co-Ordinator (KelleyKo Fabrics & Textiles)

He also has a website (if you'd like to see cheap and sleazy): visit

So from my newly-established email address, Mr. Ko receives this:


I am interested in this offer to give me some of your business. What are the details and how am I compensated, prease.

Masato Chan

A couple days later, gets this reply:

Dear Masato,

The company has been waiting to hear from you. You are aware that the US market is a very competitive one (for scammers, I'm sure) and we have to get a representative/book keeper as soon as possible so that we can get things going in the States. We have oustanding payments from our clients in the States and we need these funds to purchase new stock of material. This is a lucrative job offer as you will be getting 10% commission on every payment you cash on behalf of the company. Get back to us with the following information right away, so that we know if you are interested in the job offer:

First Name:

Middle Name:

Last Name:

HOme Phone:
Marital Status:


Nation of Origin:

I was prompt in reply:


I will fill out your apprication and await your decision:

First Name: Masato
Middle Name: Gyaaa
Last Name: Chan
Address: 135 Townsend Street
City: San Francisco
State: CA
Zip: 94107
Home Phone: (I purloined one from the AT&T Park office/ballpark complex, across the street from the address I used)
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Married (no kids)
Age: 55
Nation of Origin: USA (parents were Chinese immigrants)

I do have to mention one thing which I hope won't affect my emproyment status: I am hearing impaired. I cannot hear on the phone. If you cannot use me with this handicap, I wirr understand.

As if any handicap will stop Kelley Ko from snapping up any potential sucker:

Dear Masato Gyaaa Chan,
Hope that you are doing good. I got your email and I wish to inform you that your information has been well recorded by the company and it will be forwarded to our clients. We will let you know once we hear from any of our clients regarding a payment to the company. The company is aware of your condition and we do not feel that it will hinder you from working for the company. Your job is very simple and straight forward: you will acting as the company's representative in the US. You will be receiving 10% commission on every payment you handle on behalf of the company. We will let you know where to wire the company's balance when you have received any payment. The company is in dire needs of funds at the moment and we are counting on you to handle all payments on behalf of the company very promptly. We have to obtain funds to purchase new stock of materials to enable us meet the orders placed by our new customers on schedule as we cannot afford to loose them. I will get back to you soon.

So I get back to him sooner:


That's all there is to honorable apprication? I am hired? Okay-san...I will await your notification of first crient payment.

Two days' pass, and then it's time to revisit ol' deja vu'sville with KelleyKo:


I wish to inform you that there are further incentives attached to your job position as the company's representative in the US but this depends on your performance. And I wish to inform you that you will be receiving your first payment on behalf of the company tomorrow July 10th. We just received a message from our client saying that the payment has been mailed out to you by UPS. This is the tracking number: 1Z46FE371598365502. Look out for it and make sure that you get it. Once you receive the payment, you are to wire the company's balance right away after you have deducted your 10% commission. Go to a Western Union Money Transfer Agent near you and wire the company's balance to the names and addresses below as I have stated:

Julian Briggs, 768B Bath Road, Hounslow, Middlesex, London TW5 9TY, UK


Lisa Evans, 45 Central Road, Wembley, Middlesex, London HA0 4HN

(send to her the rest of the balance)

They are the company's purchasing agents here in the UK. I will be waiting for the wiring information of the company's balance as I have instructed now by Western Union.

Ever the dutiful employee, I respond thus:

Master Ko:

I have printed a copy of your instructions so that I can handre this as you have detaired it when I receive the money order. I wirr advise you accordionry when I have it, and when I have executed it.

A day later, Kelley tries to convince me he's dutifully tracking the UPS shipment:

Dear Masato,

I just tracked the mail our client sent you and I can see that they have been trying to deliver the package to you all morning. They are having a problem with your address. Go to the nearest UPS office near you right away and demand for the mail in your name. The company is counting on you to take care of this payment right away.

And so the 'fun' begins:


I don't know why they had a probrem with the derivery, so I will go pick it up. Stupid UPS drivers in this town! Can't read or write with the education system we have here. I have some errands to run and I wirr stop by my bank to deposit money order, and then get things executed as promised.

My 'employer' signals his appreciation of my efforts:

Dear Masato,

I got your email and the company appreciates your efforts. The company is counting on you, as we are in dire need of funds for new materials for our clients, and we have other outstanding payments pending for you to take care of. I will be waiting for the wiring information of the company's balance by Western Union.

Now we find out if he's really tracking a UPS shipment or not:

Mr. Ko,

I have picked up the package. I will notify you when I get my job executed as directed.

It becomes obvious with this reply that Mr. Kelley Ko is not tracking anything UPS, and is getting impatient:

Dear Masato,
The company has been waiting to hear from you. Please back to me ASAP.

So I ASAP him:

My humbre aporogies for not getting back soonest. Wednesday was a most busy day for me. Anyway, once it opens, I am going to my nearest Money Gram office to wire the funds. I wirr advise you when this is done.

Since he repeatedly insisted I use Western Union, I expect to hear something about the use of Money Gram. But nawp:

Dear Masato:

The company would prefer you use Western Union Money Transfer wiring, but Money Gram is okay too. Please notify me ASAP the wiring information and refrence number.

Now the fun REALLY begins:


My aporogy for the deray. Here is wiring information via Money Gram:

Jurian Briggs, 768B Bath Road, Hounsrow, Middresex, Rondon, TW5 9TY
$2,000, reference # 29430650

Risa Evans, 45 Centrar Road, Wembrey, Middresex, Rondon HA0 4HN
$1525, reference # 29430651

Not a comment about the dropped "L"s; but there does come a comment about the information:



What is going on here. The wiring information you send me of the company's balance does not exist. Let me emphasize to you that the company will go to any length to secure its funds. Get back to me ASAP.



What? What you mean the wiring information is farse? I send it! How is information farse? Exprain prease, before I go back to Money Gram rocation to inquire.

Now Kelley Ko starts looking more into my apprication:


Listen to me very careful. I have tried calling the phone number you provided and the person that picked it says that it is a wrong number. You have 24 hours to wire the company's balance as I have instructed earlier. The purchasing agents got to the Money Gram outlets and were told that there is NO history of any transaction with the information you provided. Wire the company's balance by Western Union Money Transfer today, as you were instructed, or we will be forced to take acition. You have been warned.

Oooooooh...shakin' in my knickers hyar:


Now just a minute. First, didn't I terr you I was hearing impaired? We no have conversation if I were home and you knew how to diar a number. Second, how I know you not misdiar the number? Rady you had speaks with say you diar wrong number.

Second, the Money Gram transfers were made. They take the money. They give me reference numbers and receipts. I have them. It's done. I know it done, cuz I do it. So I ask you: how do you know you can trust your purchasing agents? How you know they not get money and rie to you about it?

Until you make thorough check of your peopre there, I have no more to say.

Since I referenced the Money Gram receipts (which I didn't bother making up), Kelley jumps all over that:


Scan the MoneyGram receipts for the transactions that you claim you made and send to me right away. I am waiting for it.

More deja vu fun hyar:


I don't rike what you impry: "that you craim that you made"? I don't "craim" anything! I send money via Money Gram. This is FACT. With your unpreasant attitude, I no send you receipts now. I think probrem at your end, not mine. I await your aporogy.

Kelley no want to aporogize:


THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS. Send me the receipts NOW so that I can get to the root of this. I say again THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.

Phfffft. My ass:


No, I no send. Not untir you aporogize for your unwarranted and accusatory tact with me. I have met my obrigation to you as instructed, and you just bustin' my barrs, just busting my barrs, Mr. Ko. I say again I bereive some dishonesty from your purchasing agents. You best get to root of probrem there, and aporogize hyah.

Kelley has had enough of Masato Chan with this repry:




Don't you just hate when you disappoint someone? Well, maybe not when they're someone who doesn't matter.

After a day of letting Kelley stew, and one more MASATO I AM SERIOUS BUSINESS NOW..SEND MONEY OR ELSE! message, I let a little light show on Mr. Ko:

Dear Kelley Ko:

Okay, it's time to confess here. You're right: I didn't send any money via Money Gram. Nor am I gonna. You were right about me; I made up the reference number. You see, I am a bit of a cad. I am many things, including flatulent and thrice-concussed, but I am also gifted with -- or cursed with, I report, you decide -- an ornery sense of humor. So I decided to accept your offer, knowing it for what it was, and spend some of your time just totally pissing you off. Why? 'Cuz I could. And did.

But it gets better, Kelley...really, it does. And here's how it gets better: Kelley, you and I have met online before. That's right, fella. You sent me your bullshit job offer before. And I responded to it, then as now, and played you like a cheap ukulele. You see, you know me now as Masato Chan. But a short time ago, you also knowd me as U. R. PHULOVIT! THAT'S RIGHT, BUNGHOLE! I AM U. R. PHULOVIT! Thank you once again for playing Who Wants To Be Shown To Be A Stupid Online Scammer?

And just like the previous series of emails we exchanged, THIS SET WILL BE POSTED ON THE INTERNET AS WELL! I will allow the whole Internet world to see that you're not just a bloody buffoon, but a BLOODY DOUBLE BUFFOON! And I am including that cheeseball website of yours, so everyone online will know you for the CROOK AND SCAMMER THAT YOU ARE!

How do you like them fabric samples, wanker?

You have not been just a pleasure, Kelley Ko; you've been a double dumbass pleasure!!

Go ahead, Tree-Stump-Brain: send me another one!!! I'll go for the hat trick!

U. R. Phulovit/Masato Chan/???

I got back one more message from his email, but with no subject header and no text. I do believe I left him.....syntaxless ;-)

Thanks, Masato Chan, wherever you are.

*Note: in early '08, Kelley Ko DID send me another of the same emails; and I played him again, though he caught on to the game faster, and didn't give me the pleasure of more threats of legal action...dang it ;-)

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One Flew Into The Cuckoo's Mess

Before you ask, nope: I ain't tried it. Ain't gonna, neither.
Another blogging friend of mine recently recounted a time she got drunk across the 'Pond', and in her very eloquent, gifted way, made it a teachable moment, about how friends took care of her then, and how friends are there when one needs a steady arm and the support of caring friends, whatever the difficulties encountered in life.
I responded in part to her that I haven't found myself in that situation since after a Christmas party, which I thought was in 1989, but actually have been in 1990.
Not that it matters: barley hops and barlighting made for a lethal combination that night, so far as my seeing all twelve rings* of Saturn spinning at different directions. Then there was the next morning, waking up with a serious hangover and with someone else who had me thinking..."O...MG...I didn't...did I??? DOH...I did!".
She wasn't much amused that I didn't remember it, but I digress for the mo'.
Yep, that was my last time I drank to the point of intoxication. I didn't grow up a big party animal; my first sips of beer resulted "ack...phooey!". So-called "hard liquor" was worse. But I managed to down enough beers during our senior class high school "sneak" day, that I, at one point, was mouthing off to one of my fellow seniors -- all 6' 6" of him -- through the benefit of "liquid courage". Lucky for me, he thought it was funny, and I didn't get my 6' 2" frame reduced a couple more inches.
I wasn't the kind to go home and crack open a brew after work: I was more of the "social drinker". Playing golf, I'd have a few; bowling nights, I'd have a few. My undoing came at things like the golf and bowling banquets: there, I'd drink beer or worse (for a while, shots of scotch) like water, so by the time the dinner salad was brought, I was as likely to be face-first in it.
After one epic bowling banquet -- and a weekend to recover from it -- that Monday, one of my coworkers brought me $9 in crumpled one dollar bills:
"What's this for?" I asked.
"It's yours, from Friday night" he responded with a smirk.
"Okay..what'd I do dumb this time?"
He went on to tell me how I somewhat revived after eating some of my salad and wearing the rest, and sat at a table next to a railing above the dance floor; and when one 'hottie' from the league was down dancing, I was making paper airplanes out of one dollar bills, and lofting them down to the dance floor, all the time with this silly look on my face of happily unaware bliss.
My friends and teammates thought it was funny; she thought I was a dweeb.
After another epic outing, I was literally carried to my car, driven home, and escorted to the top of my stairs (I had a basement apartment at the time); I apparently assured my escorts that I could make it from there, and accepting that, they left me to finish what they'd started.
I fell down the stairs, and got tangled in my golf bag, strewing clubs all over the stairwell.
Fortunately, having been properly anestesiated (I know it's not a properly-spelled or real word, but it's my blog and I was drunk back then, so there), I suffered no serious improvement in my golf game or damage to the clubs.
I worked with some real characters in those days: one, my corporate 'mentor', was a gifted rogue, who liked to play roles when he travelled. At a bar in Los Angeles, only he and his LA homicide detective buddy, knew that he was NOT a corporate pilot; but that's the role he played there, and it got him lots of female attention. So on the first occasion that I accompanied him to his LA hangout, I had to take a 'role', too: I was to be introduced as the airline owner's "nephew". My buddy figured that would make me popular with whatever females might be present at the time.
What I knew of flying was (a) my arms wouldn't flap hard enough to generate lift and (b) I knew a cute stewardess from an ugly one. And that was the extent of my flight knowledge. So he gave me a crash course, which seemed fitting. And which, after my third screwdriver, didn't really matter. The one female there, closest to my age, thought I was cute and rich. It was lucky for me that I never saw her again, so I wasn't bound by the promise I made to give her a "mile high club experience in my uncle's jet", which came after screwdriver number 7 or 8, I think.
My buddy told me about it, 'cuz I don't remember it.
I also didn't remember reverently and very politely complimenting the "chef" of a Japanese buffet, after I'd gotten hammered on sake. My coworkers were in hysterics, as I was apparently complimenting a coat rack at the front door.
Again, they told me about it, 'cuz I didn't remember it.
Or the time at a bar in DC's Georgetown (J. Pauls, I think it was, back in February of '91), where we went after a day of investigative snooping in Virginia on a possible Workman's Comp fraud case; dressed up in suits, we sat at a table across from the bar. The place was perfect for a guy like me (early 30s, single, and a 5-1 women-to-men ratio present)...except I again began drinking my shots of scotch like water. So by #7, I was as suave as a door knob. Too bad, too: my buddy told me I was quite entertaining to two dynamite-looking lasses, as I bowed low to them, almost falling over, and pronounced them "doubtless fine female stock of the drop-dead-gorgeous variety", with a bit of a slur to my delivery. He wasn't sure if he or they laughed harder.
Again, he told me about it, 'cuz I didn't remember it.
There were other episodes, including a couple of two-day-raging-hangovers-afterward ones. The last such, was the aforementioned Christmas party.
I haven't been drunk since, even at times it seemed like the thing to do.
Which is probably just as well, or not: now, I remember each and every time when I do something stupid. It might have been better when someone had to tell me what I'd done. At least then, I could use the excuse of plausible deniability or something, or just claimed that they'd made it up...
DOH! They didn't!
* don't know if there ARE twelve rings of Saturn, but there were THAT night

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Laughing Duck

If you ever wondered what the AFLAC duck did during lean times between commercial shoots, let's just say that I didn't shoot the pic ;-)

A fellow blogger -- Frank Baron -- wrote and photographed a wood duck on a pond near his place. Very colorful photo-op, the wood duck. I used to have a wood duck, that had been gutted and imbued with telephonic parts. When it rang, it "quacked".

It was annoying, and fortunately, it didn't work very long.

During the spring of '91, I took a driving road trip for the company. During the process of which, I was able to drop in on a long-lost cousin, who lived outside of Rhinelander, Wisconsin. He and his family had a very nice house on the edge of a "private" lake. On the day of my arrival, he had to work, and his kids were off to school, so he suggested I make use of his modest fishing boat, and partake of some of the lake's swimming cuisine.
I didn't have to be asked twice, and had already anticipated the offer, bringing my gear with me.
Just not the right gear, but more on that in a mo'.
Once I had my gear loaded in his 14' boat with an undersized Johnson motah, I decided to start by doing a tad of lake exploration; this was, after all, my first and only time at this secluded lake. I dunno how many acres it encompassed, but it was rather small, by Wisconsin lake standards; and there weren't a great deal of houses surrounding it. So after an exploratory "lap" around the lake, I began applying my fishing eye to a likely spot to try my luck.
In so doing, I noted a side cove not far from where I was, and saw that it was populated with a few dozen ducks. Mostly mallards, along with a brown-headed one that I wasn't readily familiar with. And one pair of wood ducks. A duck that, up to then, I'd only seen in books. So since here were a pair about 100 feet away from me, I thought I'd motah ovah and take a gander up close.
See what I just did there?
At any rate, the other ducks didn't seem to mind my motorized approach all that much; but the wood ducks were apparently anti-social. They pointed themselves in a direction away from me, and swam off with a duck version of "hmphf".
I wasn't of a mind to be snubbed by mere water fowl; besides, I hadda motah, and I wasn't afraid to use it.
Gradually, I closed the distance on the wood ducks, who continued to swim away from me, making subtle course corrections; but my undersized motah was faster than their webbed motahs, and I finally ate up the distance, and eased along side of them, with about 10 feet of separation. As it appeared they might take flight, I decided a bribe might be in order, so I threw before them a little bit of "bait": some bread balls I planned to use to temp a more fishinary response.
I was amazed that it worked: the wood duck pair stopped, and moved toward my offering with a vengeance.
I regretted at this point not having my camera in the boat; then again, back then it was a very nice 35mm rig, and with my penchance for mishap, I didn't want to take a chance on sinking it in a northern Wisconsin lake, the way I had sunk a cheaper 35mm, in a Wyoming wilderness river.
So I have no close up photos of the wood ducks. Or the duck havoc that shortly ensued.
My tossing of bread balls apparently didn't go unnoticed back in the cove; suddenly, I needed an on-board radar warning screaming "VAMPIRE, VAMPIRE, INCOMING WATER FOWL!", as ducks swarmed the dinner "table".
I would later assume that these ducks got fed by some of the lakeside residents; at the time, I reckoned a few of them were just mallardjusted.
*Ducking boos and throwd anything handy*
Having survived my version of Duck Harbor, I motahed over to another cove nearer to my cousin's house, where I'd noted a submerged tree. Baiting up a hook, I decided to see what would bite. I initially set the depth of the bait at 3 feet, and hooked up a bobber.
In a scene that looked like a combination of a Marx Brothers romp and the Three Stooges, my first cast drew a bevy of ducks, eager for more of what I'd heretofore offered.
I was sure Daffy was around somewhere, egging these yahoos on.
Seeing that the bobber option wouldn't do, I switched to a bottom rig, and went for it.
Two minutes later, my rod end did an unexpected 180 downward, almost taking me with it, followed by snapping back almost enough to *whap* me in the face, as the line broke. I never saw what it was that hit it; my cousin had told me the lake contained bluegill, crappy, large mouth bass, perch, walleye and...muskies.
I knew I was screwed if I tangled with the latter: I had 6lb test line on a light rod I used for backpacking. A coffee cup plate-sized bluegill would feel like a whale. Something bigger...Jaws.
Twice more I rigged up, and twice more my bait offering got hit by something that threatened to throw me out of the boat, perhaps catapulting me into a nearby area code. My line never held long enough for me to even have a prayer of figuring out what I was dealing with. "Maybe a muskie and a duck had mated", I mused. Whatever it'd be called, I knew it'd be politer to say than a cross between a pheasant and a duck, but I digress.
Not far off, a mallard -- annoyed I'd closed the boat buffet -- was quacking in a "laughing" manner.
I hoped the last laugh would be mine; before it was time to head for the dock, I managed to hook and boat a bluegill about the size of...a bluegill. Same size as I'd caught by the dozens in Iowa and Colorado.
"I came all the way to Wisconsin to catch bait?"
Again, that damned mallard quack-laughed. I'm not sure that the wood duck couple didn't join in. And after I'd fed the basta...bums, too.
That was my one, and only, fishing experience in Wisconsin. And one, and only, up close encounter with a wood duck.
Henceforth, I'll just look at Frank's pictures. Being laughed at by a duck, I am convinced, has stunted my emotional development. Well, maybe a little.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

It Uses What...?

Yes, it's 2010.
I was reading in another blog about a blogger -- an admitted technophobe -- is amazed at the new electronic devices out there, and how her world has changed for the better, receiving some 21st Century technology for Christmas.
While me...I still won't let my pet rock, Seymour, rework an unused VCR remote into a home defense device. Yes, I still have a VCR. And the VHS format tapes that play on it. What's more, I still don't have a cell phone. Or an ipod. Or a blackberry. An HDTV. A WIFI anything.
I willingly admit I'm a technosaurus. Seymour says I'm a chickensaurus. Which 'splains the lifted photo on the right h'yar.
It isn't 'cuz I'm necessarily afeared of new technology. It isn't 'cuz I'm fiscally tight-fisted. I just wasn't a good money manager not so long ago, and live on a tight budget now, so I make do with what I have, until it breaks.
Then I make do without LOL.
*Seymour shot me a look of panic at that*
My stereo system's primary components are circa 1988 (that of them what still work). My TV is circa 1984. My microwave is circa somewhere between 1989-1991. I am content with a landline telephone at home, and being out of touch between home and work, or anywhere else I'm commuting. Until very recently, I used an old 35mm camera for storm chasing and other photography.
Dated technology may not be hip or the current fad, but it still works for me. Heck, I still use an amazing device for music, when I go to the gym. One that I guarantee you no one else has or uses there. Amazing technology, really, for something the size of a man's wallet. It allows me to listen to music while I exercise. It runs on one AA battery, for up to a month. And it is flexible: it allows me to change out the music I listen to, by way of these incredible little things called cassette tapes. Much smaller than the 8 trac they replaced, back when Jimmah Cartuh was royally screwing up everything he touched. Mine has an auto-reverse feature, so I can hear a whole 90 minute cassette tape, without having to stop and flip it over...very handy when trying to throw my back out on the elliptical exerciser, or whatever that abomination of fitness is called.
Even better, it has a clip that attaches snugly to the waistband of my sweats, convenient when I have to stop exercising and dry heave...I can do it hands-free, without some blue-looking thing sticking in my ear, like an outgrowth of an alien probe or something with a dental name to it.
And I still like my head phones, instead of those so-called 'ear buds' that the more faddish crap comes with nowadays. When I wanna drown out someone else who's babbling about work, affairs, or vaginal implants into their ear-mounted dental-named thingee, from a neighboring elliptical torture device, I can just notch up the volume a skosh, and I am in my own music world.
I'll use my Sony Walkman until it doesn't work anymore. Which is fine; I have two spares, one of which Seymour uses, when he's trying to pirate lyrics for new songs.
"Am NOT!"
At any rate...yes, it's 2010. My five year old Dell desk top still serves the purpose, married to it's dinosaur dial-up internet service. Much as my old-enough-to-vote Panasonic 19" TV does, when married up to the VCR, or even -- to keep Seymour happy -- the newer DVD player.
Though, I still have to keep the remotes away from Seymour, if you recall the pteryducktyl scare we had, a short time ago. I don't think the 21st Century -- or my neighborhood -- is ready for 20th Century technology, with a "phasers off stun" twist.
"Are TOO!"
Seymour, go to your under-the-loveseat time-out place.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Things Go Better With Coke And Spell-Check

I must email scammers are getting more sophisticated and are keeping up on current events. Before long, they're gonna have ME fooled.
Take this one, mixing together a company that is world renowned, and environment, during the World Crimemate Conference in Dopenhagen.
This one's almost as smart as AlGore.
And he made a credible-looking presentation, too.
Arriving on Christmas Eve, the email was meant to look official. Sound official. And the scammer really tried HARD to make it believably official.
As I read it, I have to say, he almost had me fooled.
Then he went and screwed it up. More on that in a mo'.
Witness the following email (short enough I can quote it in its entirety, with every last professionally printed typo in place):
As part of our environmental, social responsibilty and also to celebrate the Xmas and new Year, PepsiCo, makers of Mountain Doo (bwhahahahahahahaha) have awarded you and your family the sum of $650,000 USD in this end of year regional pomo. Contact the regional manger through the official e-mail address or call the phone number provided below; just give him;
(1) Your name (how could I win if they don't know who I am?)
(2) Respidental address (I have a respidence?...Who knew?)
(3) The country you are from (can I admit that without being targetted for an IED?)
(4) Age
(5) Occupator (I think this guy's using words from the word verifiers)
(6) Martial status (I got a brown and a black belt, that I wear with matching shoes sometimes)
(8) (yes, it's really numbered that way)..Phone number
He will tell how your price can be remit to you. Note: the final date for claim of price money is 30th December 2109 (for once, I'm in no more hurry than Seymour on this 'un). Hurry now and claim your prices.
Mr. Tiger Vineyard
He almost had me with this one. Right up to the name of the rep...Tiger Vineyard???
You just KNOW I had to reply to this 'un:
My Good Mr. "Vineyard",
*wink wink*...It's a pleasure to hear from you, "Mr. Vineyard"...*wink nudge*. Now I know how you're laying low, 'til the heat's off, but I digress. So, Mr. "Vineyard"...*chortle snort*...I am the winner of $650k from PepsiCo, makers of Mountain Dooo, eh? I am truly gratified, Mr. "Vineyard"...*wink guffaw*...I understand that you couldn't use the cover of representing Nike, or Cadillac, or Titleist, and still maintain your "lowered profile"...*smirk chuckle*...though, you could have, I suppose, taken up sponsorship for the Chicken Ranch in Nevada *elbow nudge*, or as a representative of the North Pole, where *ho ho ho* is a standard form of greeting that raises no eyebrows.
But really, Mr. "Vineyard"...your lowered profile is compromised by keeping your first name in play (see what I just did there?). Personally, I think it was a whorible choice from a pubic relations standpoint, if you catch the point I'm driving at. And speaking of driving, stick to golf balls, and leave the Escalades to your chauffeur. But I digress some more.
May I suggest you change that first name to Cabernet? A better nom de guerre.
But now, to your requirements. I am moved by your effort to give me the business on Christmas Eve, and my pet rock finds your offer of $650k alluring, because he's a pet rock and takes things for granite *ducking boos and throwd pebbles from Seymour*. But I must, with immense regret, politely refuse your offer.
See, I think Mountain Doo sucks. Things go better with Coke. Send me $650k from Coca Cola Co., and you'll make me an offer I can refuse, especially if your pants are down (I'm not blonde and my plumbing's wrong, you tree-nobbing horndawg).
And if my pet rock can help you with any other PR suggestions, feel free to contact Seymour again.
Phuck N Witchu
You never know when or if you'll get a response to a reply like that, but I figured that this dude was so close to fooling me, he'd write back as a representative from Coca Cola Company. Alas, not:
i am not undersand you. why you not fell out applicaton? you must to get price. hurry now.
Okay, so my golf and Tiger puns were wasted, as was my hint to change companies. Dang, I hate when that happens. Now I gotta fell out applicaton. Which I let Seymour do..with my help (to protect what's left of my keyboard):
(1) Your name Seymour Stonesascammer
(2) Respidental address 69 Assteroid Crater Way, Stone Mountain, GA
(3) The country you are from one full of minerals
(4) Age approximately 3.5 billion geologic years, give or take
(5) Occupator without hands, I'm not sure how to do that, but I hear it feels good...
(6) Martial status I can break things with ease, if I fall on them...hiiiiiiiii-YAHHHHH!
(8) Phone number how can you dial it if you can't count, you snail dork?
Like I said, he almost had me fooled. Then, he read Seymour's applicaton, and responded in a manner that led me to believe that I might just be bein' scammed:
dont write me no more asshol
That would have hurt Seymour's feelings, if I'd told him about it. Seymour still thinks we're all God's children, though he mused recently that God should spend more time on spankings and time-outs.
At any rate, that scammer was good. Dang near fooled me. Good thing I'd never drink a Pepsi with Tiger Vineyard. Unless he's got a couple hot blondes along...

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Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year, An Old Beginning

Yeah, I know: it's a new year. Even a new decade, or so I'm told.
So why shouldn't I start the new year and new decade with something new and different?
'Cuz I don't have to. I'm dead.
Yep, you read that right. I'm dead.
Says so right 'chere in this email I'm about to deal with.
After dealing with email scammers for going on 10 years, you'd think I'd get bored with it. You'd be right. Noting the dwindling reader comments when I delve into some of my duels with email scammers, y'all get bored reading them, too. Unnerstand that entirely.
But I did have to start the new year and new decade with the same ol' schtick. 'Cuz I'm dead.
And it begins pre-Christmas 2009, in an email from a Swiss official (or so she alludes to being) with the title, SWISS GOVERNMENT ENQUIRY ON CONTRACTS/INHERITANCE IN NIGERIA (yeah, she MIGHT be Swiss, but it always winds back up in Nigeria, don' it?). Her name -- meant to sound Swiss, I guess -- is Farida Menchen Fellgenvork. *snort*
I won't bore you with the whole email, just the relevant part of it: for your informations, we where about to contact you regarding your inheritance payment but unfortunatly we received an Email from a Lady called Mrs Carol Cage, she called us this morning with this telephone number (something international) informing us that you died three days ago and say to us she is your next of kin and we should instruct her how to receive your properties that rest within our control. Mrs. Carol Cage says she is from Watertown, WI 53094, USA, and gived us her banking detail for fund transfer. She state that since she is your fund beneficiary and next of kin, we are to transfer to her all your properties in our care in case this office finds you are not to be found there on earth. So we write to verify her clam and your status of death.
The really sad part of all this is -- besides her bad grammar and grandpar -- my inheritance that is up for grabs here is only $1,000,000 in deflating USD. My pet rock, Seymour, isn't even mentioned (and boy, is he ever pissed about that, along with me not telling him I'm dead; now he's hiding under the loveseat, thinking I'm a zombie).
Having some experience in replying to scammers as a party with experience at deceasedom, I reckoned my response would put paid to this medical probe (for my wallet) and that'd be that:
Mine dearen Schatzie Ms Fellgenvork: please excuse my late response (you'll see what I just did there in a minute): when one is dead, it sometimes takes time to work out the modalities of interastral plane communications. And I was never gifted with technology, though I find I have plenty of time on my bones now.
At any rate, I am the party to which you are speaking in the latest of senses, and I am, in fact, dead. So that much of your informations is correct undt gudt, ja.
Then we get to the part that falls short of suspension of disbelief: you say Mrs. Carol Cage of Watertown, WI, USA, contacted you to inform you I was dead. Well, Ms Fellgenvork, I am here in the spiritual sense to tell you that I don't know any Carol Cage from such a place. I never knew a Carol Cage. I don't know one here on the Third Astral Plane. I can further assert -- and you can publish this -- that I never had sex with that woman *see my shaking index finger bones?*. Nor with her daughter, pets, or kitchen appliances. I do know, however, from the unique position I occupy, that this Carol Cage you reference, has also sent out letters claiming relations with Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith, and tree stumps. She's kind of a strange bird, you might say.
If you need further elucidationaries from my earthly remains -- which does argue the point that I can't be found anywhere on earth; I'll tell you where you'll find my remains in a mo' -- please pay me further emails to the address upon which you found me, or for a personal visit you may drop by my digs at: 4334 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023, the Home of Peace Memorial Park. Look me up under Howard, Jerome "Curly". Literally.
That should have been it. It wasn't. But a few scant replies to and fro, would make it thus:
Sir, this is not laughing funny manner. Death is not a thing to make funny joke of. Are you obviously not death since you write? Respond serious please.
Herr Fraulein Fellgenvork, I am as serious as a porcupine enema. You emailed my astral email address -- kudos on your getting it, BTW -- and now you have my full, shadow world attention. My physical being is as dead as The Gong Show, but my spirit is awakened by your inquiry. As for funny, I found much funny in my day...Hey Moe! *Bonk*...Nyuk nyuk nyuk *eye poke* Ow! See? Now, what shall we talk about? My lost million? This bimbo that's trying to get it? Or something more paranormal? Bwhahaha.
You not dead stop this talk. you make me uncomfort with this.
Oh, Ms Fraulein Fellgenvork, you don't know the half of it. Once a spirit is contacted from across the astral bridge, there's no putting us back in the can. You have awakened me. And from your intent to do so, you are now STUCK WITH ME. Even if you sever email communications, I will be a part of your karma now. And I will affect your outcomes. Oh yes...just like a Stephen King horror story, "Sometimes We Come Back". And I shall. Bwhahaha.
You not serious! stop it you scar me with this!
You should have thought of THAT before you broke the astral seal, and let me out. Every time you send out malevolence on the Internet, you chance encountering the spirit world, and when you have opened the equivalent of Pandora's Box. She should have washed there more often...but I digress...I am your shadow now. I am the bad vibes and curse that will dog you and your family for generations. And you have only yourself to blame. And forget the witch doctor...don' work with me. Bwhahaha.
It's too late. Bwhahahaha.
No more responses from the Swiss Miss (or whatever she/he was). But I've continued to send an email a day, and will, until the account quits accepting.
Yep...nothing's changed in 2010. Booga booga.

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