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3 March 2006

I really thought that by now everybody in the world had figured out that Bill Gates is not going to send them $10 for every e-mail they forward, that there are no relatives of Nigerian potentates ready to share wealth with them just because they have determined that the receiver of the e-mail is a good and charitable person, and that it's impossible to add 3 inches onto any dangly bit overnight.

But maybe not.  The old "there's a sucker born every minute" may be amended to read "there's a sucker getting his first e-mail account every minute."

Walt forwarded me one of the most recent offers he'd received.

If You are firm of purpose, active and are willing to earn some cash, then this offer is for You. The EcoLife Company is one of the largest cleansing facility dealers in the world. Every year we go out to the markets of different countries, keep and eye and study the demand and sales-market in every new country. As a result of our move to the market of USA, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France and Greece we are having temporary employee recruitment for the position of a financial manager. It is required for You to be:

Honest and executive
- You must have a bank account
- You must have several free time hours per day
- You must have a phone number we can get through to You
- You must have an email address
The fact that You need no specialized knowledge or some sort of
financial investment is sure an indisputable bonus of our partnership. The job we are offering to You consists of receiving bank wire transfers from our clients and partners on to Your bank account. Once the money is on Your account, You must send it to the customer's representative office that has the wares purchased by the customer in stock either via the Western Union or via the Money Gram. For Your service You get from 5% to 7% from the total amount of transferred funds. The EcoLife Company covers all other Western Union and Money Gram fees and costs. Your service won't be needed on a constant basis, but only for the time of our sales-market study in Your region and also for the time of registration of all necessary papers and the corporative accounts opening. You don't just earn cash by working with us, but also help saving and cleaning our endangered environment.

(Is it just me or is there nobody running scams these days who knows how to spell or who knows anything about grammar?)

First of all, I like that "You" is always capitalized.  Makes me feel positively God-like.  I also like it that the writer thinks that I am "honest and executive."  I wonder how that would look on a resume.  "I am honest and executive."  And it's also appealing that apparently I need no prior experience before they will entrust me, a total stranger, with the job of "financial manager" of what is "one of the largest cleansing facilities."

Somehow I don't see The Donald as being quite that trusting.

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The message loses me, though at "...must have a bank account." 

As Walt points out, this one has everything--you can make money and save the world at the same time.  What's not to like?  If only it rescued puppies too it would be irresistible.

Well, I've mentioned here that we occasionally listen to the radio.  On Sunday afternoons, everything comes to a halt and we tune in to "Says You."  We wouldn't miss it.

LenTillem.jpg (10402 bytes)We aren't quite so religious about Len Tillem.  Tillem is a practicing lawyer who answers general legal questions, provides legal advice and helps solve legal problems for listeners of San Francisco's KGO  newstalk radio on the weekends. 

While our day does not stop to listen to Len Tillem, if we are out driving around on a weekend afternoon, we always tune in the entertaining Tillem, whose Brooklyn accident and New York attitude are only part of his charm.  He loves a good story and encourages people to tell their stories while he helps them sort out their legal messes and avoid paying high priced attorneys.

Tillem's specialty is elder law, so he is particularly good with people who want to know how to divide up their stuff among their kids to ease the squabbles about who gets what, or that sort of thing.  But he also fields all sorts of topics and the other day he got a real doozie.

This fellow, for whom English was obviously not his first language, called in to double check on this e-mail he had received and the venture he was about to enter into.

It was one of the classic money laundering scams and I'll bet 90% of Tillem's audience could have recited the details along with this guy.

Tillem tried to explain that it was a hoax, and to encourage him to turn the e-mail over to the police, along with the certified check that the organizers were planning to send to him.

The thing that made this call so incredible, was that the guy kept arguing with Tillem.  This fellow wanted to get his money and somehow he wanted Tillem to let him know how he could make certain that the money was real and how he could keep his cut.  He couldn't seem to believe that someone would send a phony cashier's check.

Tillem kept saying over and over again, in as many simple ways as he could find, that this was a scam, a hoax, that the guy was going to lose all of his money if he attempted to cash the cashier's check that was being sent to him and to encourage him over and over again to go to the police.

I think that Tillem finally had to hang up on the guy, who was still arguing that surely there must be some validity in this offer.   (Because obviously he was an honest and executive person, I guess.)

I keep thinking how P.T. Barnum would have loved the Internet.  Barnum only had the people who attended his circuses to deal with.  The internet has opened the sucker base to the entire world.  I would dearly love to know exactly how many of these scams actually work and how much money has been bilked out of the accounts of gullible people just testing the waters of the Internet and hoping to become rich in the process.

(If you have enjoyed reading this piece, please send me $1 and forward it to 100 of your best internet friends or you will develop terminal acne and a plague of locusts will eat its way through your hostia bed.)

On a more serious note, here is a nice story which illustrates why women are reluctant to report a rape and to go through the hell that is involved with prosecuting the rapists.


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Sculptures at the Sacramento Airport


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