More Scam Spam Fun!

Email ScamSince I had a bit of a virtual romp with Olga a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been receiving some other types of interesting propositional emails from people.

Some like this one from 楊惠君.

Disclaimer: This is an actual email, copied and pasted from my Yahoo email account. It was not altered in any way, in order to make it more ludicrous or humorous. I did not compose the email sent by Mrs Vina Long.

From: “”楊惠君”” <yhj888@masterlink.com.tw>

To:

Sent: Friday, March 8, 2013 5:51 PM

Subject: From Vina.

.

Hello.

I am Mrs. Vina Long an aging widow suffering from cancer, a long time illness. Before my late husband died we had no children. I have some funds I inherited from my late husband. I will ask my attorney to prepare the necessary document to transfer the funds from my husband online offshore account and property to you. I want you to help me with this as I am very sick and cannot do this myself as I have to make my last wish come true. I have an estate in Medford NJ (USA) and a total sum of GBP£4.3Million (Four Million Three Hundred Thousand Great British Pounds Sterling) in my late husband online offshore account, which I have instructed my attorney to transfer the account of the person I have decided to make my next of kin. I need you to sell the property in Medford NJ USA. And 30\25 of the total sum should be transferred to any orphanage home. I need a very honest and God fearing Christian that will use the fund for God’s work, I found your email address from the internet and decided to contact you. Please if you would be able to use the funds for the Lord’s work, kindly reply me back.

Thanks again for you concern and Stay blessed.

Mrs Long

vina-long001@live.com

.

This is terrible! My heart goes out to Mrs Vina Long! O the unfairness of it all, widowed, suffering from a long cancer illness, having no one to bestow her fortunes on! What could be worse. I ask ya. Just what could be worse.

Of course, her cancer being a “long” illness rather than a “short” one, seems beneficial. Maybe I can point that out to her.

My heartfelt reply to Mrs Vina Long follows.

Hello Mrs. Vina Long,

I am replying you back and am sorry that you are an aging widow, suffering from cancer (a long time illness). Also, I am aging (aren’t we all?) but not a widow. Cancer is sometimes a short term illness, though, so let’s hope your particular illness continues on for a very long time. We are all terminal, don’t forget this, and perhaps you will outlive the cancer. Meaning of course, that something else will get you in the end. Not a pleasant thought, unfortunately.

You say before your late husband died, you had no children. Does this mean that you had children after he died? If so, that is also most unfortunate.

It is very generous of you to ask your attorney to prepare the necessary document to transfer the funds from your “husband online offshore account” and property to me. I am already quite well-to-do and look upon this as a possible tax problem. Can your attorney advise me about that?

Of course I am willing to do what I can. I have no real knowledge of how to sell real estate or of Medford, NJ. The only thing I can say is, I can put on a killer Jersey accent! So maybe I will fit right in down there in “Joisey” Hahaha!

For the humor, I apologize, but am trying to cheer you in this, your hour of great need. You being so sick and all. Sometimes a laugh helps the spirits lift, know what I’m sayin’?

For my next area of confusion, I see you have decided to make me your next of kin. Can you do this? Could you please adopt me first? I am willing for you to become my guardian. God knows, I need guarding (and guidance) because even though I am old in years, I still behave like an utter ass sometimes.

So on to the estate in Medford. I am to sell the property and 30/25 of the total sum should be transferred to any orphanage home? I am not so good at “the maths” as they say there Across the Pond, but it appears as if this is greater than the price I would receive for the property. Does this come out of the 4.3 Million Great British Pounds Sterling?

Please do not underestimate my honesty. It is utter and complete. Trust me — you can trust me! I live to do these good deeds whenever I hear from people such as you.

As for God-fearing, need we fear God? I have always had a problem with that. I guess I don’t fear Him, so does this eliminate me as your potential next of kin? I am very sorry to have to say this, but, since I am so honest and trustworthy (and trusting too!) I will tell you the truth. So can we just strike out the God-fearing part and maybe substitute God-respecting? Or maybe we could just remove that clause altogether?

I will however, use the fund for God’s work. He works in mysterious ways, I’m told, so maybe God wants me to invest in a hedge fund.

You found my email address on the internet? How did you know I was honest because of that?

I am very grateful and honored to be chosen for this, and to do “God’s work”.

Please write soon, and tell me what steps we need to take to get the adoption completed. I am looking forward to becoming your next of kin.

You stay blessed too, Mom (can I call you that now?) and write soon…

Your Devoted Next of Kin

Okay! I’m all set to become the NOK of Mrs Vina Long, I guess.

Really. Can we stop with this stuff? There is not a person left ON THE PLANET who will not do the triple eye roll at this. Congratulations though, for landing in my Inbox, and not my spam folder. You must be doing something right.

Unfortunately, to date, I have not heard back from Mrs. Vina Long.

Age is Just a Number (Sometimes a Big Number)

Here we go again. First thing on a Monday morning, I get a notice of a new post on Boomer Cafe. It’s called How Old Are You? One Baby Boomer Says It Really Does Not Matter. It’s written by a guy named Stew.

Yet another baby boomer yelling about how “you are only as old as you feel” and “age is just a number”. Bah.

Stew says:

As a person who is “older” (okay, I have trouble with that word), I have learned a few things about aging … mainly, I don’t understand what everyone is talking about. I don’t know how old I am unless I calculate it. When asked, all I know is that I am as old as I am feeling that day – be it 26 or 42 or maybe 31. And that is what I tell people.

Well, Stew, I have learned a few things about aging too. And here’s what I have learned.

  • It takes me longer to do things than it used to.
  • I am now afraid of slipping on ice, when I used to play on it.
  • I now have to read on a Kindle so I can make the text real big.
  • I now have aches and pains in places I never suspected would hurt.
  • I now go places and look around and think “everyone here is younger than me”.

The above is just a sampling. There is so much more. So do I feel 26 or 42 or 31 on certain days? Maybe if my mirrors came with PhotoShop installed, I would feel that way. But no, Stew, not really.

Stew likes to skydive. Doesn’t that just figure? People who blah-blahther on about how they don’t look at calendars except for when they have a dentist appointment always skydive. What is the point of it? Why would anyone even consider skydiving for one minute? Don’t you have enough respect for life to think, but wait, what if that little pull cord thingy doesn’t work? Yeah, think about that. I recently bought a temporary electric toothbrush. It has a little button to press for vibration. It doesn’t work. It’s defective. So think about that pull cord again, Stew.

Speaking of the dentist. Sure, you only consult the calendar when you have an appointment. Old people have to go to the dentist more. Their crowns break, their gums rot, the longer we are on this earth, the more we chew things and the more our teeth get busted up. That’s why you are going to the dentist, Stew, and why you have to consult your calendar.

Don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade here. But shit aging happens and saying you are 26 when you are really 62 just means you are dyslexic, not “young at heart”.

Here’s another good idea. Stew doesn’t think we should travel south. Don’t go to Florida. Everyone in Florida is old.

Stew also says:

My idea of a challenge is not seeing how few times I can hit a dimpled white ball for 18 holes. The only dimples I want to see should be resting on the pillow in bed next to me and making me feel … and act … 25.

This is probably not a good idea, Stew. This sounds like promiscuous behavior to me. Or, sounds like you have a thing for younger women. Very problematic. Or maybe when you say “dimples” you are referring to some other part of the anatomy? In that case, okay. But 25? Really? You taking some of that “Vigara” that keeps showing up in my spam folder?

(And as an aside here, if people are going to spam you with ads for drugs, wouldn’t it be prudent to spell what you’re selling correctly? Just wonderin’.)

So, I did a triple eye roll at Stew’s post. Stew, you need to consult your calendar. You were born back when stamps cost two cents. When your phone number had four digits. When the milkman left dairy products in glass bottles on your doorstep. When you got S&H green stamps at the grocery store. When people still said “gee whiz”. When jello was a food staple.

There’s nothing wrong with aging. I think we, as aging grownups, might be better off accepting our new limitations instead of trying to pretend otherwise. Nothing screams “old geezer” more than someone trying to pretend they are thirty years younger than they are.

Shibui, that’s what we need in this country. Respect your age. It’s what got you where you are.

Who Is This Person Anyway?

Today I updated my About page. Yesterday I updated my website. The more posts I write, the more I can’t stand the Goody-Goody in me to surface. That’s not me. It’s not who I am. Sarcastic, that’s who I am. So no more Ms. Nice Woman. WYSIWYG.

It’s an opportunity to get you to read the new About page. You know you want to do it and I’ll know how many of you actually clicked on it. My stats will show the counts. So go ahead. Make my day.

I started following a blogger this week, The Cheeky Diva. I don’t know how I ended up there, but it was from a link from a blog I already follow. Sometimes, I link to one, which links to another, and on and on it goes, until I can’t remember how I got there but it doesn’t matter because it’s a blog that I like and one from which I think I can learn something. Mostly, how to be yourself, how to get your voice onto the page.

It doesn’t work to deny your real voice. This is who I am. This is how I really feel. That’s what should come through. The Cheeky Diva does that. She really lets it all hang out there, from her extremely dysfunctional family when she was growing up to what’s happening to her today.

When the email announcing her new post came, I clicked on it. It was great. The first post that I got after becoming a follower of her blog, went Freshly Pressed. This is something I have talked about a lot in the past. It is probably boring to non-bloggers but interesting to the WordPress community because it is something everyone wants to achieve.  It’s just those WordPress Gods bestowing honors on posts they think are really, really good. Sometimes I can’t see why they are good, but that’s probably because I’m not always interested in the subject matter. But not the case with this particular FP choice.

Of course, it’s not for everyone. I admire her ability to be that honest, to be able to write candidly about her childhood. I’m not sure I could do it, but then I had a completely Goody-Goody type of childhood. I love the wit, the irony, the sarcasm and the comedy of some of the bloggers I follow. One of these days, I’m going to put up a blog roll which will list them all.

So, in keeping with my new quest for bloggery realism, I have been collecting pictures and data for a series of posts I will call “Why Would Anyone Do This?” I’ll be posting the first one next week. I am fascinated by certain things people do, that I find odd, or stupid, or uncomfortable, or really weird. I have several posts in mind.

While I was writing this, another blogger I follow received notification that she is being featured as one of the bloggers of the day on bloggers.com. Wow, that’s great too. Maybe it’s because all good things happen to bloggers I follow. That’s it. I am the catalyst for all the mighty achievements happening in the blog worlds of others. I need to remain calm here, squash my feelings of invidiousness.

Really. It’s okay. I’ll be all right.

(Note: It appears my last post was reposted this morning. All my followers will get an email about it. I was just adding tags. Honest! It’s WordPress’s fault.)

 

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

35 Aphorisms Written by a Cool French Guy

Recently, I was involved in a discussion about aphorisms, which, simply put, is a saying expressing a belief, usually true. Think, quote of the day.

There are millions of recorded aphorisms, and web sites devoted to them, one in particular I found helpful, in that the aphorisms were categorized based on love, friendship, life, etc. I chose love, thinking, maybe I could blog something about my Perigee Moon character and his rather rocky road to a lasting and fulfilling relationship. I discovered a majority of the aphorisms I particularly liked were authored by a French gent who lived in the sixteen hundreds, so I decided to research him and discuss his aphorisms exclusively.

His name is François de la Rochefoucauld and he was considered the greatest maxim writer of France, a maxim being “a compact expression of a general truth or rule of conduct.”  I believe roughly, maxim = aphorism, or at least they are enough alike that M. de la Rochefoucauld’s maxims appear in nearly every list of popular aphorisms.

Here is a picture of Francois:

Notwithstanding the big hair, he is a comely fellow. Sometimes it’s hard to tell, with the strange getups those dudes used to wear, and the wigs, facial hair, and the rather petulant expressions they all seem to portray which makes me surmise things that aren’t necessarily true.

He had an unremarkable military career of twenty years, and ended up in some court or another, one of those places where they ate, drank and entertained themselves until they were so bored they created some scandal just to relieve the tedium. He was married quite young, to Andree de Vivonne (“who seemed to be an affectionate wife, while not a breath of scandal touched her”) and yet he had relationships with a couple of other ladies as well, so there might have been a bit of dalliance going on there, which was okay for the Ms but not the Mmes. Oh, wasn’t that always the way?

Given the subject of some of his most interesting maxims, I believe it safe to suppose M. de la Rochefoucauld might have been enjoying some strange on the side. But who knows? I could be wrong about it, and thankfully he can’t sue me for slander or defamation of character since he’s been dead for 400 years. Speaking of 400 years, it’s interesting that these aphorisms (or maxims), are as appropriate today as they were then.

Here are 20 of my favorites with snarky comments:

  1. “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” We’re watching you, Kim Jong-um, Mr. Current-Supreme-Leader.
  2. “How can we expect another to keep our secret if we cannot keep it ourselves.” You should have read this, Anthony Weiner, before tweeting those jockey shorts pics.
  3. “We hardly find any persons of good sense save those who agree with us.” Just ask a conservative Republican or a liberal Democrat. It’s the one thing upon which they can both agree.
  4. “A refusal of praise is a desire to be praised twice.”  You’re pretty. My nose is too big. You’re beautiful. My mouth is too small. You’re exquisite. I’m too fat. Okay, you’re right. I guess you’re actually pretty nasty.
  5. “It is the prerogative of great men only to have great defects.” William Jefferson Clinton.
  6. “It is easier to appear worthy of a position one does not hold, than of the office which one fills.” Ohio Governor John Kasich.
  7. “Preserving the health by too strict a regimen is a worrisome malady.” It’s the old joke, where you give up things that are fun to do, and take up things that are not fun to do, and you may not live longer but it will seem like longer. A lot longer.
  8. “Attention to health is life’s greatest hindrance.” Ask any hypochondriac.
  9. “We do not despise all those who have vices, but we despise all those who have not a single virtue.” Rush Limbaugh. Congratulations for having no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
  10. “The greatest miracle of love is the cure of coquetry.” As soon as a couple shares a laundry basket and a bathroom, coquetry is pretty much history, and in its place the willingness to discuss just about anything.
  11. “One may outwit another, but not all the others.” Is this the same as “fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again. “ George W. Bush.
  12. “Some people resemble ballads which are only sung for a certain time.” Remember the Macarena? Think about that, Kim (Kardashian).  
  13. “The world rewards the appearance of merit oftener than merit itself.” Donald Trump comes to mind.
  14. “Those who occupy their minds with small matters, generally become incapable of greatness.” See, Jerry Falwell? Everyone has forgotten about you.
  15. “We all have strength enough to endure the misfortune of others.” We should all think of this one, each time we watch a news report about those affected by natural disasters.
  16. “True love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about but few have seen.” That’s because you can’t find true love on Match.com. The odds are as good as being struck by lightning and winning the lottery – in the same day.
  17. “Those who apply themselves too much to little things often become incapable of great ones.” Any person who participates in any capacity to the production of Dancing With the Stars, and this goes double for you, Bruno.
  18. “There are foolish people who recognize their foolishness and use it skillfully.” Paris Hilton.
  19. “The love of justice is simply in the majority of men the fear of suffering injustice.” The NRA.
  20. “Mediocre minds usually dismiss anything which reaches beyond their own understanding.” Fox News.

My hope is not to offend any readers; I have probably shown my true colors here, which is a shade of blue-purple. I suspect most are left-leaners anyway, or you wouldn’t have been hanging out here for this long. Am I right?

The following of M. de la Rochefoucauld’s maxims are too insightful to deface with jokes, or references to bad people. I like these. They were written 400 years ago and are as true today as they were then.

  1. “It is a kind of happiness to know how unhappy we must be.”
  2. “In their first passion, women love their lovers; in all the others, they love love.”
  3. “In jealousy there is more of self-love than love.”
  4. “One is never so happy or so unhappy as one fancies.”
  5. “Neither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily.”
  6.  “Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example.”
  7. “Everyone blames his memory; no one blames his judgment.”
  8. “There are very few people who are not ashamed of having been in love when they no longer love each other.”
  9. “It is almost always a fault of one who loves not to realize when he ceases to be loved.”
  10. “When a man is in love, he doubts, very often, what he most firmly believes.”
  11. “There is only one kind of love, but there are a thousand imitations.”
  12. “If we resist our passions it is more from their weakness than from our strength.”
  13. “We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves.”
  14. “Absence diminishes little passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans a fire.”
  15. “When a man must force himself to be faithful in his love, this is hardly better than unfaithfulness.”

There are many more of M. de la Rochfoucauld’s aphorisms (maxims), this is a mere sampling. They aren’t platitudes and they aren’t dark sayings. They are packed full of meaning, no wasted words, yet with no loss of substance. I detect some melancholy poetry as well. He was an experienced writer and a deep thinker with a devotion to the romance of chivalry. Each one could be the subject of an entire essay.

Three Deceptive Food Labels That I Found in Ten Minutes

Without much difficulty, make that without any difficulty, you can find examples of stupid food labels that are nothing more than deceptive advertising, euphemisms designed to make you think you are eating better, healthier foods, when clearly you’re not.

I do not eat two of these foods but do fancy a nut or two once in a while. Sometimes questionable items end up in one’s pantry though and one has no memory of how they came to be there. When there are children around, unhealthy stuff has a way of sneaking in. One would think the way we protect our kids nowadays, we’d protect them from eating junk but, alas, I guess the protection stops at the nearest Burger King.

Triscuit Rosemary & Olive Oil Crackers – Kids would never eat these. This is grownup junk food. These crackers are so flavorful with artificial ingredients that they completely disguise the taste of the cheese, which is the only way crackers should be eaten anyway. Everyone thinks Triscuits are good for you, and contain fiber, which they do, but they also are loaded with fat, carbs and sodium. But the fun part is the claim on the front of the box: NATURAL FLAVOR WITH OTHER NATURAL FLAVOR. What is the natural flavor and what is the “other” natural flavor? Sounds like a good letter to Nabisco, to ask that question.

Kirkland Extra Fancy Mixed Nuts – Nuts are good for you, a good source of protein, unless you have some digestional issues like diverticulitis. My question here is the application of the “extra fancy” description. Are nuts fancy? What exactly makes these nuts fancy? Is it their shape that makes them fancy? Their size? Their color? And once one has determined why these nuts are fancy, what exactly makes them “extra” fancy? This is a great puzzle to me.

Aunt Jemima Butter Rich Syrup – Note that the word “syrup” is in small letters and the “butter rich” is in big yellow letters. I would not eat this particular food but for those who would, there are a few issues here that need some discussion. This looks suspiciously like something that should not be consumed by anyone who is not a grizzly bear. It looks scary, even to the untrained eye, in its artificiality. But wait! Our fears are assuaged because in small letters it says “Natural Butter Flavor With Other Natural Flavors – Contains No Butter”. Yes, I know it’s hard to see that on the picture here, but it really says that. I am not making it up. This opens up a crapload of questions, so I needed to put them in a list.

  1. Are the letters yellow because that’s the color of butter?
  2. When people put syrup on pancakes, they usually also use butter, so is this extra butter?
  3. Should we not put real butter on our pancakes if we are using Aunt Jemima Butter Rich Syrup and would that be too much butter?
  4. What is Natural Butter Flavor?
  5. What are Other Natural Flavors?
  6. Is Natural Butter Flavor also an Other Natural Flavor?
  7. How can there be Natural Butter Flavor if there is No Butter?
  8. Do we really need butter in syrup anyway? Shouldn’t syrup just be, well, syrup?

These are three items I found with hardly any searching. There are others, probably even funnier than these. Yet it’s kind of sad to think consumers can be fooled by these kinds of phrases which are designed by experts in marketing and the English language (and probably psychology) to dupe the public.

Watch your labels, and better yet, try to buy things that don’t have labels. Things like fresh vegetables and fruit. And if they have labels, it’s a lot better if the ingredients are pronouncable. Stuff that ends in “acetate” or “oxide” or “phosphate” should probably be bypassed. Other questionable ingredients contain the word “gum” and anytime you see “natural flavorings” be concerned, be very concerned.

So, how about commenting about your favorite misleading food label? I’d like to hear about it.

  

Can You Make a Boring Subject Funny?

Interesting search criteria today, which resulted in a click on the Home Page of this blog – “fiction book on getting rid of baby boomers”. I am pretty sure this searcher did not get what s/he hoped for.

I guess there are a lot of younger people out there who would like to get rid of baby boomers. We must be the thorn in the sides of many Gen Xers (and younger) but getting rid of a whole generation of people would be difficult to achieve. Maybe they don’t want to support us, our socialized incomes that they are forced to contribute to? Maybe they think, as we age, and retire, and go on Medicare that we will bring on even more financial ruin to this country? Or, maybe, we’re just regarded as a bunch of self-centered, me-first, egotistical cry-babies that everyone else loves to hate.

Speaking of Medicare, is there anyone else out there who is tired of getting Medicare mailings? Can anyone enlighten me, if there is a subject more boring than Medicare? Can anyone further enlighten me, on why they feel it necessary to bombard us with mailings every single day? Is it because it’s so confusing to begin with? Is it because they think more is better when it comes to junk mail? The following is a partial list of the types of junk mail one can expect to receive when one reaches a “certain age”:

  • Medicare and Medicare related mailings, including (but not limited to) Medicare Part A (hospitalization), Medicare Part B (doctors),  Medicare Part C (HMO’s which are too complicated to explain here), Medicare Part D (drug coverage), and enough Medicare Supplemental Insurance information to fill the bed of a Ford F-250.
  • Invitations to lunch or dinner, but oh by the way, you are required to sit through a presentation of how to protect your assets through annuities.
  • Hearing aid devices (to my knowledge, I am not yet deaf).
  • Funeral pre-arrangement plans.

I refuse to think of myself in these terms, that the wheels are falling off. When I hear that particular phrase, I always think of the little red wagon, the Radio Flyer. Everyone had one back when we were kids. The wheels may be getting wobbly, but they are not falling off. The paint is peeling, and the metal a little rusty, but basically the wagon is still street-worthy.

Mailings for Medicare always seem to have pictures of people with gray or white hair, smiling Crest Whitestrip smiles, who are enjoying very active lives. They go to the beach and ride bikes a lot. I think some of the people in these pictures are really younger people with old-looking hair. Good news and bad news. The good news is you get the gig to be a pamphlet model, the bad news is you have to wear a gray wig and pretend you’re 65.

Recently I received, as part of my brand new Medicare Supplemental Plan, an invitation to sign up with the “SilverSneakers” program. Really? I guess I have an aversion to signing up for programs with dumb sounding names because it went immediately to the recycle bin, even though there were lots of pictures of happy looking (albeit older) women who were very satisfied with themselves for “getting fit and staying healthy”.

Earlier this week, ten (that’s 10!) letters from my Medicare Supplemental Plan came on the same day.

I decided to blog about it, Medicare and the mailings forthwith , in the hopes that I could take a subject that is more boring than watching Pimp My Ride, and try to make something humorous out of it.

A while back, I blogged about Idiot Letters by Paul C. Rosa. The following is a Paul Rosa-type letter I composed, back to the Medicare Supplemental people who had sent the ten letters. Here it is: