Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Scammers Out In The War Zone

I've written about them before. I'll write about them again. The spammers and scammers, the dregs from the seventh circle of hell who constantly try to irritate us with spam or scam email or comments. Most of the spam of course automatically gets shunted to junk email or to spam comment folders in blogs, but every once in awhile, one gets through. I can think of one (or two or three, it depends on if it's just the same person using three different online aliases) who's written on topic comments in my photoblog recently, as well as other photoblogs- but then goes and adds links to sites for gambling in far east Asia, Thailand movies, or anime. None of which I'm interested in. So even though those spam comments did get past the filters- they don't stay published for long.

And then there's the following message, sent to me recently through email. It turned up in the junk folder, which I check anyway- you'd be surprised how often junk email contains things that aren't junk. This one, though claiming to come from an American soldier, carried an IP address on it that routed to Japan.


Good day and compliments, I know this letter will definitely come to you as a surprise, but I implore you to take the time to go through it carefully as the decision you make will go off a long way to determine my future and continued existence. Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Sgt Linda Cade, in 4th Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment Unit here that Patrols the Helmand Province, Afghanistan. I am desperately in need of assistance and I have summoned up courage to contact you.

I am presently in Afghanistan and I found your contact particulars in an address journal. I am seeking your assistance to evacuate the sum of $26m (Twenty Six Million United States Dollars) to you, as far as I can be assured that it will be safe in your care until I complete my service here. This is no stolen money and there are no dangers involved.


Some money in US DOLLARS was discovered and concealed in barrels at a location in Helman Province when we conducted a foot patrol and it was agreed by all party present that the money be shared amongst us.This might appear as an illegal thing to do but I tell you what? No compensation can make up for the risks we have taken with our lives in this hellhole. The above figure was given to me as my share and to conceal this kind of money became a problem for me, so with the help of a Canadian contact working with the UN here (his office enjoys some immunity) I was able to get the package out to a safe location entirely out of trouble spot. He does not know the real contents of the package as he believes that it belongs to an American who died in an air raid, who before giving up trusted me to hand over the package to his close relative.

I have now found a secured way of getting the package out of Afghanistan for you to pick up. I do not know how long I will remain here, as I have been lucky to survive 2 suicide bomb attacks by Pure Divine intervention. This and other reasons put into consideration have prompted me to reach out for help. If it might be of interest to you then Endeavor to contact me immediately and we would work out the necessary formalities but I pray that you are discreet about this mutually benefiting relationship.

I will give to you 30% of the sum and 70% is for me. I hope I am been fair on this deal, Get back to me with your full information:

YOUR FULL ADDRESS....................
COPY OF YOUR ID..............

I wait for your contact details so we can go on.
Sgt Linda Cade,
United States Soldier:Afghanistan

Okay, there we have it. Some of the usual tell tales of the internet scammer can be found. Capitalized letters that don't need it, such as Patrols and Twenty Six Million. Awkward wording- "the decision you make will go off a long way to determine my future and continued existence." The dangling of money, the presumption of "yes, it's kind of illegal, but we've earned it, and I need money getting it out" sort of line. She (and it's not a she, but for the sake of the scammer's story, let's play along for a moment) insists it's not stolen- despite being "discovered" in barrels. Uh huh. Right.

Sgt. Cade goes on with the (totally fake) story of surviving suicide bombs (through Pure Divine intervention, mind you, not pure divine intervention, but Pure Divine Intervention), dangling that money offer out there and asking for discretion... right before asking me to list all sorts of information that if she were real (and she's not) she would already have.

Two things, Sarge- can I call you Sarge? No? Well, I'm going to call you Sarge anyway. So there. First, I looked up the history of the 64th Armor Regiment. Very impressive. They've been everywhere down through the years, and the 4th Battalion? They've been part of it every step of the way. Until a few years ago. You see, Sergeant Scammer... the 4th Battalion of the 64th was deactivated... and reflagged as the 3rd. And the 64th Armor as a whole left the Afghan conflict several years ago. You would know this if you were in the 64th Armor. Which you are not. 

Second, a cursory googling of the name Sgt. Linda Cade comes back with scam links with the same message as above- or another similar story by Sgt. Cade saying she's serving in Syria and came across a whole ton of money which she needs to move discreetly. She, he, or it- whoever it is behind a wall of aliases and a daisy chain of email addresses- has been at this for a good long while. It makes you feel sorry for the real Linda Cades of the world who find out they've got a common name with a scammer.

Nice try, Sergeant Scammer. Try someone else on the five million email addresses you sent this one out to.  Maybe there's someone gullible enough to buy your line and start feeding you thousands of dollars before they suddenly wise up. 

In an ideal world, we could have real soldiers use you for the subject of an artillery barrage.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sunny Beaches And Fine Music

I have another post in the ongoing embassy series Ottawa Welcomes The World today. I will be doing one more of these before turning the rest of the series over to my photoblog. Today I'm showing two different events for two Caribbean nations. Jamaica was the first of the two, with its embassy showcasing the country in the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa. There was travel information, food tasting, cultural information, and entertainment through the day.

At one point a music band was playing what you might expect out of the country- the reggae kind of sound.

The next act, however, was something different. The lead singer, also playing the bass (the first time I've ever seen a bass musician also singing) had more of a blues sensibility to her vocals. A saxophonist was with her. If you're wondering about the video screen behind them- this event took place during the world track and field championships, which was being live streamed to the event. Track and field is a big thing in Jamaica.

On another occasion, the nation of Trinidad and Tobago had the spotlight. There was a rich variety of flowers, photography of the country's culture, crafts, and clothing on hand.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A Day In The Life Of A Cat

It is the cat's turn to have her say, and she has plans that need to be seen to...

7:06 AM. Waking up at home. Taking a big stretch. Slept well. Dreamed of a big ball of yarn.

7:09 AM. Surveying the vastness of my domain from the back of the couch. Well, the weather seems to be cooperative today. We shall see if that lasts. If it does, I can carry out what I have planned. It’s been a few days, mind you, but that foul hound is going to have to learn some manners today...

7:18 AM. The staff finally comes downstairs. It’s about time. Did you know I was about ready to send a search party to find you? 

7:19 AM. Giving the staff a head bonk to the legs. She thinks it’s all about affection. What it really is about is reminding her who’s boss.

7:21 AM. Meowing insistently as the staff starts getting my breakfast ready. Very well, staff, chop chop, get to it as they say. 

7:22 AM. The staff has provided me my breakfast. Tuna in one bowl and milk in another are quite welcome. For whatever reason she persists in putting down a third bowl of field rations. There are times I find humans to be thoroughly peculiar.

7:23 AM. Settling into my breakfast. Very good, staff. Very good.

7:26 AM. Leaving the staff to have her breakfast in peace. It is the weekend after all, and I have plans. Plans that are on top of being spoiled rotten by the staff. 

7:30 AM. Sitting on the back of the couch, staring outside. In the distance I can hear the barks of that irritating mutt. Patience. Patience. All good things come to those cats who wait.

7:53 AM. Meowing to my staff to be let outside. She obliges me, of course. Now then, staff, I may be awhile. That does not give you permission to go off to town without clearing it with me first, do I make myself clear or what?

7:54 AM. Out the door and on my way. Things to do, places to see, scores to settle...

8:13 AM. Stopping by the farm next to that one where the irritating mutt lives at. Hopping on a fence. Spotting a donkey. The donkey sees me.

8:14 AM. The donkey comes on over. I deliver a head bonk to his head in greetings and inquire as to if that foul hound passed by. He confirms that it was so just a few minutes ago. He doesn’t much care for the dog either.

8:19 AM. Taking up a reconnaissance position along the property fence line with a clear view of the house. No sign of the dog, but his human’s car is out front, so it’s not as if he went off for a drive with her. Very well then. Here I am, and here I shall remain.

9:27 AM. Getting impatient. What? Is that dog having a nap or something? Get outside already!

9:49 AM. Patience. Patience. I know, I know, it’s a pain in the neck to have to wait, but like you said, all good things come to those cats who wait.

10:21 AM. Movement at the house. A door opening. The human is letting that annoying dog out onto the deck. He’s standing there with that dazed look common of too many dogs, sniffing the air. Now then, with any luck, all this warm sunshine might make him want to take a nap...

10:32 AM. Keeping an eye on the dog and the house at a distance. Sure enough, he's down on the deck, eyes closed. Start to advance on him in a few minutes. Slowly and carefully.

10:54 AM. Have made a careful advance upon the sleeping dog. Three metres away. Watching for any signs of wakefulness. Selecting spot to strike from. Considering escape routes if he has himself a bad reaction to my teaching him some manners. Looking forward to what’s next.

10:55 AM. Hissing loudly and smacking the dog on the snout with a paw. Taking great satisfaction in seeing him bolt upright. Sticking out my tongue at him in an extra taunt.

10:56 AM. The dog seems befuddled. As usual. I turn around and walk calmly away, feeling entirely pleased with myself.

11:16 AM. The staff greets me upon my return home and asks where I’ve been. If you must know, staff, I’ve been out teaching a buffoon of a canine some long overdue manners.

3:48 PM. The staff is out on the deck enjoying the day. For good measure, and to rub it in on that foul hound, I’m dialing his house number on the phone. After a moment, an answer- and silence. I express my contempt and amusement, and receive angry barks in reply. 

3:50 PM. The staff comes back in with a puzzled look on her face after I’ve ended the call. I maintain a look of pure innocence as she wonders if she actually heard the bark of a dog or not.

6:36 PM. The staff and I are having dinner. I am pleased by this evening’s main course- chunks of beef cut up into kitty bite size just for me. Very good, staff, very good indeed.

11:29 PM. The staff is off to bed. Just keep the door open, staff, in case I feel like wandering over your chest at four in the morning. I will rest content here for the moment, still feeling thoroughly pleased with myself over teaching that foul hound a lesson in manners. Not that it’ll take, mind you.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Day In The Life Of A Dog

It is time again for the point of view of the dog and cat, starting as always with the perspective of the dog appropriately named Loki...

7:02 AM. Waking up. Slept soundly. Dreamed of chasing the mailman off a cliff.

7:04 AM. Looking outside. Pleasant weather. The sort of weather that makes you think it’s going to be a wonderful day today. The sort of day when nothing bad can possibly happen to a good dog. And I am a good dog. A very good dog!

7:10 AM. Staring out the window at all those birds picking away on the grass. Enjoy it while you can, birdies, because the moment my human opens that back door, I’ll be charging out barking my head off. After breakfast, of course. Breakfast is a priority. 

7:15 AM. The human comes downstairs. I proceed to thump my tail and wag my tongue in greetings. Hello, human! Fine morning, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a bit peckish. I mean, it’s been nearly ten hours since I swiped that cookie you don’t know about, and I haven’t had a bite to eat since.

7:17 AM. Wagging my tail at the sound of that joyful sound- kibbles being poured into my bowl. Oh boy!

7:18 AM. Licking my chops after devouring the whole bowlful. This morning’s breakfast has been consumed just three seconds shy of my all time fastest record.

7:20 AM. Asking the human to let me out. I’ve got some birds to go bark at, you know.

7:21 AM. Sprinting out the door. Barking and sending the birds into a flutter of flapping wings.

7:27 AM. Running through the back fields, barking my head off. Happy as I can possibly be.

7:33 AM. Exploring the woods. Sniffing about. Using a certain degree of caution. Wouldn’t want to startle a skunk now, would I?

7:42 AM. Stopping by to say hello to Spike the Magnificent, Tormentor of Squirrels. Hello, Spike!

7:44 AM. Spike and I confer on all matters of consequence. The fact that this being the weekend means the mailman isn’t coming. Enemy movements of the squirrels in the night. And the texture and taste differences of Milkbone versus the generic variety of dog treat.

7:46 AM. Spike and I discuss the prospect that summer is ending. Yes, soon it will be fall, and all those leaves will be falling off the trees, waking us up at three in the morning as they rustle against the window. And as we both know, getting woken up at three in the morning obliges us to start barking our head off. Which for some reason or another tends to irritate our humans. I don’t know why, you’d think they’d appreciate our response time being so good, but apparently not...

7:51 AM. Well, Spike, I’ve got to get going. My human needs supervision, after all. 

8:06 AM. Returning home. Barking to signal my human that I have returned.

8:07 AM. The human opens the door for me. Never fear, human, I have not been in any puddles or streams, and I have not been rolling around in anything that might strike you as pungent, so there’s no need to give me a bath.

10:14 AM. Have successfully mooched a couple of cookies from the human while she’s having tea. Yum yum yum!

10:22 AM. Out on the porch. You know, with this nice sun, what would come in handy right about now? A good nap. Yes, that would be just about right. A good doze and a lot of warm. Settling down. Closing my eyes. Nothing can possibly disrupt my sleep.

10:55 AM. Woken up suddenly from a sound sleep by a loud, piercing hiss and what feels like a sharp jab at my snout. Bolting upright in a stupor. What was that? Who’s there, who.... wait. Focusing. It’s the cranky cat from down the road, glaring at me. And sticking out her tongue.

10:56 AM. The cranky cat walks away, looking rather pleased with herself. I’m too dumbfounded to follow. Which is probably a good thing. 

11:03 AM. The human lets me in. I’m still beside myself. Human? Tell me, and be honest. After all that time that I’ve pestered that cat, going on her property, barking at her while she’s in a sound sleep, I mean, even the stuff you don’t know about....  did I have that coming?

12:18 PM. Mooching a ham and cheese sandwich from the human. Yum yum yum!

3:48 PM. The human is out by the barn. I’m up at the house when the phone rings. Despite my better judgment, I knock it off the handle and listen. There are three heckling meows. It’s that cranky cat, taunting me! I bark up a storm.

4:00 PM. The human returns inside. I’m faking being asleep. No, I have no idea how that phone got off the hook. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

6:22 PM. Dinner with the human. Bacon pancakes always hits the spot.

11:41 PM. The human is off to bed. Very well, human. Have a good night. Sleep well. If I happen to start barking at three in the morning, don’t hold it against me. It’s either a serial killer scratching at the window, or a rustle of tree branches. I can’t really tell the difference that time of night anyway.