Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Monday, February 20, 2017

Closed Coffins And A Disastrous Demise

It's been awhile since I've done a eulogy blog. Needless to say, don't ask me to do a eulogy or a wedding speech. It'll probably end up like this.

“Thank you, Reverend Warbeck, for that kind introduction. Dear friends. Thank you all for coming out on this day for such a sad occasion. We mark the passing of a dear husband, father, son, brother, and friend. We mourn today for Charles. I was asked by Gwen to do the eulogy, given that I knew him even longer than she had. Gwen, I’ll try to do my best.

When we think of people dying, of funerals, of sad occasions, we think of people who have lived a long, productive life and who have died peacefully in their sleep. Like my dear grandfather George. He went in his sleep, not screaming in terror as I imagine the passengers in his car must have been doing.

We don’t think of those who have died in the prime of life.

Forty two? You’ve still got so much living left to be done.

And yet Charles left this world at the age of forty two.

It all makes you think of the fact- we’re all mortal, after all.

Some of you have memories of the first time you met Charles. The first time I met him was back in our Oxford days. We were both studying the law. Ended up in some of the same law classes, including one particularly boring one taught by Professor Entwick on tort law. Let me tell you this, if it’s possible to bore someone to death, Old Man Entwick could have done it. I swear, tort law is dull as you can imagine to begin with, but listening to his lectures was more boring than watching paint dry... oh, hello there, Professor Entwick. I hadn’t realized you were still among the living.

Well, Charles and I managed to muddle through all that, and somehow passed that course. By the way, Professor, I don’t imagine you can retroactively fail me after twenty years for that whole boring remark? No? Good.

We became friends. Got on well together. Chased girls, went drinking on the weekends, played rugby, somehow got through and got our degrees. He went off to London. Me, being a proud Scot... I went to Edinburgh. We got ourselves established in the law, set up practices, built up our own reputations, stayed in touch. You know, I somehow wonder... if I’d gone to London too, well, aside from the whole would I have met my wife conundrum... oh, don’t worry, dear, it’s a hypothetical, and I’m sure you and I would have met anyway.

That’s beside the point. What I wonder, given what happened... might I have died too?

We’ve all seen the news stories that came out. The death tolls. The horror and destruction that was brought across London. Those of us who were safely out of the path of damage, we looked on in horror and disbelief at what was happening. We thought of those we knew in London, hoped they were safe, among all that.

Well, for one dear friend to all of us, he wasn’t safe.

Charles didn’t get home that night.

Instead he ended up crushed in his BMW by the foot of what can pretty much be called a giant dinosaur.

Who’d have seen it coming? I mean, we all knew he was out there, of course, somewhere in the vastness of the oceans, but usually he attacks places like Tokyo, or New York, or maybe the American west coast. Usually he picks fights with giant monsters somewhere else. But not in Britain. Not in London.

Why did Godzilla have to come here?

And more to the point, why did he have to stomp Charles and his BMW into a fine paste?

And as an aside, how much of what’s in that coffin before us contains bits of the BMW?

Well, we all saw the news stories. There were strange reports in the North Sea of freighters being attacked by something big in the water. Or some things, as it turned out. And then, before we knew it, they were crashing out of the ocean and into the Thames. That gigantic lizard we all know and fear, of course. Godzilla. He was there. And flying through the air attacking him? Rodan. And Mothra. And King Ghidorah. Which reminds me... who names these things?

So there they all were, fighting their way up the Thames. The government’s sending in the military, calling for help. Hundreds of thousands of people evacuating. London in a panic. Somehow King Kong got involved. I mean, I thought that big ape lived on the other side of the planet. How did he get off Skull Island?

You know, if Charles had been just a few minutes faster getting out of the office, none of this might have happened. I’m not talking about the death toll in the thousands... I mean, one lawyer leaving his office a bit quicker wouldn’t have prevented the large scale destruction we’ve seen thanks to five oversized monsters kicking the crap out of each other. I’m sorry, Reverend Warbeck, I shouldn’t have said crap, not in a church. To be more precise, kicking the hell out of each other. Was that the wrong word too?

If he’d only turned right instead of left, perhaps he’d have avoided his fate. Perhaps he’d be home right now with Gwen and the children, or we’d all be attending another funeral. I hear that Alister Hodges is having his funeral as we speak, but hey, we all know Alister, and I can say with confidence that none of us will miss him, am I right?

No, instead there he was, amid all the destruction, trying to drive away among the chaos. The oversized beasts were busy destroying the Shard, and to be perfectly honest, none of us are really going to miss that architectural abomination, are we?

At least they left some of the real landmarks alone. Though unfortunately London Bridge really did fall down.

That’s not really the point. Sorry, I tend to get sidetracked, particularly when ministers are starting to look impatient and annoyed with me. Sorry, Reverend, won’t happen again, I promise.

Anyway, there was Charles, driving through traffic gridlock. I can’t imagine what he was thinking in that last moment of his life. Maybe he was glancing in the rear view mirror looking at all the carnage and destruction behind him. Maybe he was cursing himself for not leaving sooner. Maybe he was wondering what that giant shadow was that seemed to be descending all around him in the last two seconds of his life.

Well, we know from the footprint left behind that it was Godzilla that stomped Charles, his car, that bus, and the three orphans into strawberry jam. I shouldn’t have used that visual. Sorry. I don’t usually get asked to do eulogies. And after this, I probably never will be asked again.

At least it was quick. Charles didn’t suffer. Unlike that poor bastard who was just caught at the edge of the whole thing and ended up having his legs crushed into paper sized width. I imagine the rest of his life will be pure agony.

Needless to say, there’s been a lot of heartache. A lot of grief. A lot of terror. But we will carry on. We’re British. It’s like the signs say: keep calm and carry on. Fortunately for all of us, those monsters are gone, and they’re not coming back.

It’s a good thing the government brought in some outside help. They summoned the only person on the planet Godzilla was scared of.

They called in Lars Ulrich.

It turned out that the world’s grouchiest lawman was on vacation in Ireland, and the government called for help. One parachute drop into the city later, he was kicking monster ass all around, making every single one of them cry. Particularly after Rodan asked why the drummer from Metallica had parachuted into their fight.

Well, that’s all fine and good. The monsters got throttled, beaten up, and bloodied. They all beat hasty retreats back into the ocean. The grouchy Mountie went back to his vacation after knocking out Piers Morgan, and all Piers did was ask where the rest of Metallica was. But the damage is left behind. Our dear friend Charles is gone, and he’s not coming back. All we can do is mourn for him.

And we must wonder if, by chance, some bit of those three orphans or those bus passengers or that poor bastard's legs are currently lingering in that coffin with what’s left of Charles.”

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Melville Never Saw Scammers Coming

"To the last, I grapple with thee. From Hell's heart, I stab at thee. For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee." ~ Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Captain Ahab, that cantankerous old sea dog who never let go of a grudge, seemed to have a bit of a dispute with a cranky whale in Melville's classic book (which everyone's heard of and few have read). I guarantee that if he'd ever encountered the modern day scourge of spam and internet scammers, he'd conclude that perhaps the whale wasn't that bad a critter. This came through into my junk mail recently.

Google Incorporation
Stamford New Road,
Altrincham Cheshire,
London, WA14 1EP
United Kingdom
Tel : +44 7010091907
Attention: abc

Prize Claim Procedure

A parcel containing your won demand draft and other documents has been sent to our Correspondent and assigned attorney in India. You are advise to contact him via email immediately with the below contact details for further direction.

Barrister Connard Smith Esq
Phone No: +919910549256

Contact him with your personal Id. proof, residential address and mobile number. He will direct and inform you on how your winning fund will be remitted into your bank account by the appropriate and approved financial institution (R.B.I).
Thanks for being part of our program. Congrats!

Regards,Dr. June Brown
Event Manager

And there we have it. Our spammer dangles ye olde lottery scam right there in front of us. The alarm bell starts with the address- which, if you google it, brings up articles on scam alerts as opposed to a legitimate organization. The content being a British lottery by way of India is another alarm bell, what with the simple fact that I don't play lotteries in Britain. And then there's the creative phrasing. "A parcel containing your won demand draft". Excuse me, what?

There are other tell tales. Spacing issues here and there. Language that comes across as too formal. Capitalizing a word that doesn't need it, such as correspondent. And then there's the name of the so called correspondent. I mean, Connard Smith? Well, at least you've got one accurate thing in that junk email- Con being the heart of it all. Who's ever heard of the name Connard to begin with? Did his parents lose a bet?

While the scammer isn't the usual sob story praise be to God of the usual Nigerian scammer, it's definitely a scam. I mean, the whole text shows up on scam alert pages. I particularly find the close rather eye rolling. "Regards, Dr. June Brown Event Manager." That's rather a step down for someone who's either gone to medical school or gotten a doctorate. An "event manager" for a British lottery. Uh huh. Particularly given that said "doctor" can't even write this nonsense without making mistakes.

Nice try, scamming scammer. We know you're not real. Well, you are real, but not British real. You're just a scammer hoping someone is dumb enough to buy into your scam. Keep trying.

It's too bad you're not actually in Britain. I'm sure Her Majesty wouldn't mind turning the Tower of London back into a prison. I'm sure the beefeaters would love to get their hands on you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Scammers From The Sixth Dimension

Of course they never take a hint. They're stupid. They think spamming us will result in sales. They send spam comments to our pages with endless diatribes (a self righteous holier than thou wanker named Steve comes to mind) that have nothing to do with the post. And of course the email of  scammers turn up in junk folders, with the usual scam message. Such is the case with the following, which turned up in my junk mail some days ago.

Interim Assistance General Manager,
Assistance Inspection Director
Honolulu International Airport
300 Rodgers Boulevard,
Honolulu, HI 96819, USA

Hello Good Friend

                       Re: Your Abandoned Package For Delivery

I have very vital information to give to you, but first I must have your trust before I review it to you because it may cause me my job, so I need somebody that I can trust for me to be able to review the secret to you.

I am Mr.William  Emmad, head of luggage/baggage storage facilities (Operations,Maintenance,Transportation) here at the Honolulu International Airport,Hawaii USA. During my recent withheld package routine check at the Airport Storage Vault, I discovered an abandoned shipment from a Diplomat from London and when scanned it revealed an undisclosed sum of money in a metal trunk box. The consignment was abandoned because the Contents of the consignment was not properly declared by the consignee as “MONEY” rather it was declared as personal effect to avoid interrogation and also the inability of the diplomat to pay for the United States Non Inspection Charges which is $3,700USD. On my assumption the consignment is still left in our Storage House here at the Honolulu International Airport,Hawaii till date. The details of the consignment including your name, your email address and the official documents from the United Nations office in Geneva are tagged on the  Trunk box.

However, to enable me confirm if you are the actual recipient of this consignment as the assistant director of the Inspection Unit, I will advise you provide your current Phone Number and Full Address, to enable me cross check if it corresponds with the address on the official documents including the name of nearest Airport around your city. Please note that this consignment is supposed to have been returned to the United States Treasury Department as unclaimed delivery due to the delays in concluding the clearance processes so as a result of this, I will not be able to receive your details on my official email account. So in order words to enable me cross check your details, I will advise you send the required details to my private email address for quick processing and response. Once I confirm you as the actual recipient of the trunk box, I can get everything concluded within 48hours upon your acceptance and proceed to your address for delivery.

Lastly, be informed that the reason I have taken it upon myself to contact you personally about this abandoned consignment is because I want us to transact this business and share the money 70% for you and 30% for me since the consignment has not yet been returned to the United States Treasury Department after being abandoned by the diplomat so immediately the confirmation is made, I will go ahead and pay for the United States Non Inspection Fee of $3,700 dollars and arrange for the box to be delivered to your doorstep Or I can bring it by myself to avoid any more trouble but you have to assure me of my 30% share.

I wait to hear from you urgently if you are still alive and I will appreciate if we can keep this deal confidential. Please get back to me via my private Email:( for further directives:

Thank you.

William  Emmad
Interim Assistance General Manager,
Assistance Inspection Director
Honolulu International Airport
300 Rodgers Boulevard,
Honolulu, HI 96819, USA

First, I should probably point out that this email ended up in my junkmail bearing the name William Emad. Not William Emmad, as his email insists he is. Second, googling that name, or its variant spelling, comes up with articles warning you about scammers. So clearly he's been at this awhile. Now he'd like to make you think he's the interim assistance inspection director, but come on? Is that even a title? Wouldn't it be assistant?

And then he gets right into the usual scammer motif. Calling me "Good Friend", capital letters and all. Well, sorry, but you're not my good friend. I have enough friends, and unlike you, they can string words together into an actual sentence. Scammers like you ought to know I rather resent being called good friend by wankers I've never met before. 

It's not long before we see more tell tales of the scammer. Improper grammar, improper spacing, improper punctuation. Capital letters where there doesn't need to be capital letters. Sentence structure suggesting English isn't his native language, which you'd find odd for someone claiming to work in Hawaii (sorry, Emmad, but we already know wherever you actually are, it's not anywhere near those islands). He can't even keep his totally fake job title straight. First he claims the above title, then he says he's head of luggage and baggage storage facilities.

He claims to have this opportunity before him that has to be kept hush-hush. An abandoned shipment from a British diplomat containing money. He makes all sorts of other claims about said diplomat being unable to pay certain charges. He suggests I'm the claimant for this package, which is a surprise to me, given that I don't know any diplomats in London, particularly anyone so cheap that they'd abandon a totally fake wad of cash. Then he wants to split the cash- which, if he was an actual official in an actual position, he could not do- just as long as we keep this all between ourselves.

"I wait to hear from you urgently if you are still alive." Isn't that nice of our scamming scammer? So very thoughtful. Well, sorry, Emmad, but you're not going to be hearing from me. Not that I'm dead (though I wouldn't mind one bit if you'd assume that position). It's that I don't buy this sort of nonsense from scammers like you. Nice try, but hey, maybe one of the hundreds of thousands of other people you randomly send emails to will be dumb enough to actually buy into your scam.

It's too bad you're not actually in Hawaii. We could take you on a helicopter flight. Right over Kilauea, and drop you right inside a lava eruption. It's a win-win. Well, not for you, because hey, you'd be in horrendous pain for the 0.006 seconds it might take for molten lava to end your life, but at least it'd be quick.