Tag Archives: People

That Playboy Gary Oldman interview

This comes under the category of “Well, it put a smile on my face”. Gary Oldman fulsomely deserves something like one of DK’s old ‘Bloody Devil’ awards for outspoken sweariness. Read the Playboy interview here. I enjoyed it immensely.

The terrified mealy mouthed statement from Gary’s agent published underneath an article about the interview in the Barclay Brothers Beano about ‘Taken out of context‘ and but, but, but, ‘he really supports gay marriage‘ underneath made me chuckle all the more. Sounds like Urbanski is terrified that the interview would be a career killer for Oldman, and hence his fat agents fees would dry up.

Which is where the issue over political correctness lies. PC is dishonest and mendacious. It makes honest words curdle in the face of authority’s wrath. It’s the trump card in Victimhood Poker. The battle cry of the perpetually thin skinned. The poison of society. Passive-aggression for the emotionally retarded. I think what’s really wrong with PC is that it’s from people who’ve been told by bloodless bureaucrats what emotions they should have as opposed to what they’re really feeling.

Like a lot of people, I applaud Mr Oldman’s forthright stance on many issues. I consider his name on a movie billboard a hallmark of quality work, regardless of his political views. He’s entitled to them. They are honestly his and do not detract from his work. Such honesty in public life is very rare and like all rare things, precious and worthy of preservation.

Update: Score (Yet another) one for the forces of darkness. Oldman has ‘apologised’ because of pressure from the pro-Israeli Anti-Defamation League. Even though his comments were a defence of free speech citing what happened over a drunken rant by Mel Gibson and not a direct attack on things Jewish.

Neuro-Linguistic programming for kids – a small epiphany

Down at the drug store this morning getting a knee strap to help reduce the pain of an ancient knee injury, I was fitting said item when a young family pulled up in their big Ford F250 pickup. Mum, Dad and two boys, and a babe in arms. Now in England this is a recipe for chaos. Sulky, ill natured kids who don’t want to be there and exasperated parents who would rather be anywhere else than with their whining ungrateful little mini-thems. Over here in BC it’s (Well, mostly) a totally different atmosphere.

One of the things I’ve noticed, being a recent import to these shores, is how generally quiet and well behaved many Canadian children are. But I’d never quite made the connection until today. Babe in arms, about a year old I’d reckon. Too big to be a newborn, too chubby for a Toddler, was swung into Mums front facing papoose and began squalling. Dad was leading his two boys across the car park, urging them on without raising his voice. Answering their torrent of questions and demands with a good natured; “But that’s not what we’re here for.” Mum was paying attention to the baby and using the same quiet, insistent and non-confrontational voice. There was no demand for the child to “Behave! Or else!” Just patient explanation that yes they were going to the store, no they already had too many toys and treats, and we’re going out this afternoon for a picnic. Please keep your voice down, I can hear you perfectly well. No heightened emotions, no drama and after the first exchange, no raised voices. The kids weren’t being ignored, au contraire, they were being engaged every step of the way. None of the usual parent to child guilt or threat exchanges. Just persuasion. I’ve overheard children at every turn presented with a “How would you feel if….?” option followed by a suggested positive outcome. In this particular case I got the feeling that this was a long-practised routine which both parents engaged in. A form of neuro-liguistic programming of their children, encouraging their progeny into preferred behaviours. Specifically not behaving like self-entitled little socipaths. At least until the soup of raging adolescent hormones turn them all into Kevins. Been there, done that. Twice, God help me. With girls, who make teenage boys look like pussycats, let me tell you.

Most of us grow out of the more unlovable traits of childhood. We can even break the generational cycle of abusive relationships, should we develop the will. Unfortunately this is often a protracted and very painful process for the person involved, and can be a terrible waste of a human being. Heavens to Betsy, some might even end up bloggers.

Which rather leads me to the thought that we are what we are programmed to be. Larkin expressed it as “They fuck you up, your Mum and Dad” but then again, Larkin was always one of my least favourite British poets. Having seen that side of the coin, I’m becoming convinced that parents don’t have to screw up their kids, they can engage, communicate and guide. Minimise the damage peer groups and aggressive marketing can do to kids minds by ensuring a child knows where their support mechanisms lie.

So it is with grown up life. Treat people with trust and engage them without being judgemental and my experience is that most will respond positively. Not too much trust mind, just enough to account for the one in twenty five that is a conscience-free zone. Treat everyone like wayward children, regulate their every waking moment with near incomprehensible rules they can’t help but break, and what response profile will they follow? Got it in one.

A Victorian afternoon

Taking advantage of our new domiciles proximity to the provincial capital, Mrs S and I took the bus downtown to have a pootle around and a few drinkies without the necessity of putting hands anywhere near a steering wheel.

Around one of the clock, having bought birthday presents to try and heal a rift with sister in law, Mrs S saw a jewellery store on Government Street and bade me wait outside in the sunshine, which I did, just settling down on a bench to peoplewatch from behind sunglasses and generally chill. While I was amiably ensconced on a bench, from down the street came a steady drumbeat. Thump, thump, thum-thum-thump. At first I thought it was a busker. There were guitarists, violinists, so hey, why not a drummer? The only thing was this sound kept getting closer. At length I caught sight of a small phalanx of marchers, about a hundred or so coming up the street, holding a banner in front, a good portion of which was obscured by two marchers, one a well built girl consulting her phone, and the other a stripy hi-viz jacket wearing body. The sign read, at least from my angle ‘TWALK’.

“Oh that’s interesting” thought I in my innocent reverie. “Must be a march to raise funds for breast cancer perhaps?” At this point a guy in a black T-shirt and faded jeans, to my minor annoyance, stood on the bench I was sitting on, as did his girlfriend. I glanced around at the banner again. Still the girl in front on her iPhone or whatever, blocking out my line of sight. The marchers were chanting something I wasn’t paying really attention to. Hell, I’ve seen enough demo’s and tend to zone them out. My major concern is always to get where I’m going and let the marchers get wherever the hell they’re going.

As the front of the march drew level with where I was sitting, Mrs S arrived and said into my ear with a grin. “I bet you didn’t expect to see that today, Bill?” I stood up and turned around to take a look. Too right, several of the female marchers were sans brassieres. Letting it all hang out so to speak, or in several cases letting their exposed nipples wobble fearsomely on a ‘Slutwalk’. Holding banners proclaiming their opposition to being raped or otherwise sexually molested. None of which has changed my mind from my previous post on this subject. While I am in full accord with the view that how a girl dresses does not automatically entitle every red blooded male to haul her off down a dark alley for some non-consensual sexual activity, I still think that three years on from one Ontario Cops original remark, still to be harping on about it is a bit obsessive-compulsive to say the least. Especially as a number of the marchers weren’t exactly, how can I put this gently, (Ducks behind keyboard and hides) that likely to attract the kind of sexual misconduct they were protesting against. As I whispered into Mrs S’s ear as the marchers passed us; “Now I know why the brassiere was invented.”

As I swung my gaze around, the guy who’d stood on the bench next to me gave me a nudge and made some remark about the procession. Tell you the truth I wasn’t really listening, I’d just caught sight of the bar I’d been looking for. Mrs S and I went into the pub to lay the dust on our tongues with a couple of nice beers. The marchers carried on up the street.

An idle thought…

Whilst out at one of the many coffee shops in town the other day, I ran into an old work buddy from a previous job. We shook hands like the friends we are, and had a general chat about this and that. How were things at the old place, catching up with the gossip. Usual stuff. Then Nick (Not his real name) tried, as he always does, to switch the conversation round to his favourite topic. Specifically my lack of faith in ‘climate scientists’ (Well actually only a minority of them, really). To which I simply did what I always try to do, smile in a sort of pitying way and try to keep the conversation light.

Now Nick is a dyed in the wool lefty. Lovely bloke, but totally wrapped up in his own little collectivist world view. Despite this I think he’s a decent sort and actually enjoy listening to him talk. At least for no more than fifteen minutes at a time. After that, I tend to imitate an old school tabloid journalist, make an excuse and then leave. Well, it’s frowned on over here to mock the mentally challenged in public. We’re supposed to embrace inclusiveness. Although this is sometimes quite an effort.

As he was going on about people being ‘deniers’ and how their blinkered thinking was dooming the planet, while my brain was idly spinning its wheels waiting for him to stop, the thought occurred to me that all these causes Nick gets aerated over are about making other people rich. How talking up ‘Climate Change’ will ‘save the climate’ – maybe in one of those new ‘climate savings accounts. which are really more about raising taxes and buying political influence than actually doing anything constructive. Massive subsidies for ‘renewable’ energy projects which go to line the pockets of people who don’t really need more money from the people who do. Which is kind of ironic, because Nick’s what we used to call in my early college days, an ‘action socialist’. He likes to talk in an impassioned way about how ‘the people’ in a collectivist sense, need leadership from people like his heroes. Even when it is gently pointed out to him that I’m one of ‘the people’ and can make my own mind up on things thank you very much, because despite all the drama queen like prognostications, planet Earth isn’t doomed at all. The current era, compared with others, is decidedly benign, and despite the prospect of a chillier century to come (according to certain Astrophysicists) unlikely to cause the end of the world. Well, unless someone blinked and missed a large rogue asteroid heading our way, in which case I stand corrected, or rather vaporised. What can I say. Life, enjoy it while you can.

Sometimes when I listen to Nick, it’s like hearing the White Queen from Alice through the looking glass declaiming that she likes to imagine six impossible things before breakfast. Yet I know him to be a humane and generally decent individual who I actually like. Funny that. What he actually does is embrace a series of ‘talking points’ which he has been told will make the world a ‘better’ place. Who for is not a question anyone seems to be asking. Especially him.

My idle thought is this; who really benefits from these talking points? Certainly not the ordinary person in the street. All we seem to end up getting is the bill or the shaft. Maybe it’s something like rich Hedge fund Managers who are getting rich off say, short selling the gas retail market or trading in carbon credits? Which are games for the super rich who can afford to employ people to prime useful idiots looking for a noble cause like Nick. Alternatively the social ‘theorists’ who have decided that only they know what’s good for the world, and that anyone else, well, they’re just collateral damage.

I swear, if David Suzuki was caught on an ice floe, red to the elbows, with a blood dripping club in his hands and pile of fluffy corpses in a sack at his feet, Nick would make up some excuse about helping the First Nations protect the poor Polar Bears from a virulent Seal pup carried disease induced by man made CO2 emissions. Perhaps if Al Gore was caught buggering Penguins in his private pool at one of his beachfront properties (How’s that for a sea level rise, huh?), or say if Barack Hussein Obama was found to be deliberately ordering drone strikes on Red Crescent (The Islamic version of the Red Cross) hospitals, Nick would spin an elegant excuse, made up on the spot, to excuse the slaughter of innocents by his heroes. Not that these things are likely, but the idea raises an ironic smile.

As an aside, rumours are circulating that drone strikes are being ordered a bit too readily and have killed about two hundred children to date. I heard a radio interview about three weeks ago with a man who claimed to have been a drone operator that children were considered ‘legitimate collateral damage’ and even ‘targets’ in the ‘War on Terror’. Which is rather like trying to win hearts and minds by hitting people over the head with bricks. It’s worth noting that although the program started during Bush’s time, most of the drone strikes in question appear to have happened upon the current incumbents watch. But you can’t convince people like Nick that this is happening. He’ll just claim it’s all a racist plot to destabilise a man who was given a Nobel Peace Prize simply for being elected. Which I always thought was a bit strange. Even Nelson Mandela, a far worthier man, didn’t get one until later in his career. Personally I think Colin Powell should have run for office to become the USA’s first non-white president, at least he has experience of command and organisation. Then again I heard Powell didn’t go for the nomination because he has more brains and integrity than most aspirants.

Not that this matters to the vociferous people like Nick who appear to believe in fluffy pink unicorns and pixie dust. With which I have no objection by the way. Same as I have no objection to people who collect garden gnomes and treat their lawn ornaments like real people. Just don’t expect the rest of the world to, or pay for your obsessions, okay? Unfortunately people of Nick’s mindset don’t see things that way. Like so many collectivists before them, they do not really care about most people. Just their own preferred group. The rest of us will be, like Pol Pot’s victims, just casualties in the collectivists race to their utopia.

Herding cats for fun and profit, an observation

Well, it’s decided. We’re moving to Victoria at the end of the month. Basically because Mrs S wants to be closer to the action. Victoria being a much less snoozeworthy place than Nanaimo. Better bars, Cafes and restaurants, and here’s the kicker, all within walking distance. Even a modestly decent Tandoori restaurant. No need to worry about driving and getting pulled by the cops if you’ve had a glass or two over the odds. So we’re getting ready to pack up and shift all our worldly goods.

Apropos of sweet bugger all, I was doing a quick run through my blogroll this morning and I was particularly struck by how much victimhood is at the root cause of so many societal problems. Tears before bedtime because some TV celebrity (allegedly, which he didn’t) used a word so often used as a self reference by a certain racial sub group. A man arrested for publicly quoting a speech by a long dead politician. Another man denounced like some Soviet era dissident for saying the same word in private to his girlfiend (Not a typo). A local radio DJ in the UK fired for playing the ‘Unauthorised’ version of ‘the Sun has got his hat on‘ instead of the less safe ‘Abdul Abulbul Amir‘. People harping on about, and demanding money with menaces over an institution that was rightly abolished in the civilised world over two centuries ago. From the descendants of the very people and institutions who spilt their own blood in its abolition no less. Call that gratitude? On the whole, I’d say not. Come on guys, victimhood should have a sell by date. I’m pretty sure one of my ancestors was hanged for sheep stealing back in the 1700’s, and a few more were kicked out of their tenancies during the great medieval sheep clearances. Do I go crawling with begging bowl in hand about injustices done to my forbears? No, I’ve got more important things to do. The next generation needs support. Sights to see, bills to pay. The institutions and people that did the harm are long in their graves, and it’s high time the serial whiners built a bridge and got over it.

The world seems to be filled with infantile offence takers looking for some kind of redress for every imagined slight. From an alleged ‘grope’ forty years ago seen as an excuse for stripping a charity of its funding to complaints of a word beginning with ‘R’ used to shut people with an opposing viewpoint up. The cure for which was mooted by one well known actor saying Stop talking about it. As far as skin tones and cultures are concerned we should be building bridges, not burning them. We are all human. All blood is red. All else is biological adaptation to local conditions. Failure to adapt and integrate is a matter of personal choice, and should not be actionable, nor used as an excuse to knock a 91 year old veteran anti apartheid campaigner off his bicycle. Or declare a war.

Honestly, one would have to be mad to try and make sense of it all. Listening to all these complainants and trying to mollify them for the sake of a quiet life rather sounds like herding cats for fun and profit. I’m often moved to wonder where the grown ups are to give these habitual complainants a soundly slapped bottom and tell them to go off and do something a little more positive with their lives. Instead all we hear is “Waah! Nasty man is being howwind to me! Stop him Mommy, stop him!” I say this as someone who was, as part of his daily round, routinely verbally abused and occasionally threatened with physical assault by a terminally petulant public, then found that the very people he relied upon for backup suffering unexpected catastrophic spinal failure. Not to mention those paid to look after his workaday interests being as much use as the proverbial chocolate teapot. Boy, was that an education. I used to bitch about it, but seek compensation? Being forced to wear unsuitable footwear which caused real physical pain and injury might have been cause, but really? I chose, like so many of my contemporaries, to pick up and move on.

My view? Perhaps all these offence takers should be arrested and charged with theft, because that’s exactly what they’re doing. Stealing offence, time and also personal liberty from others with their self absorbed thin skinned whingeing. The problem with offence seekers is that they don’t actually want to fix anything when their pet peeves are given credence, they just want money, and the petty minded sense of power a grovelling public apology brings. Which is poor compensation for the inferiority complexes which spawn these complaints, complexes which only intensive psychotherapy can rid them of. If they could only be bothered to try.

/rant

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have my own particular cats to herd, but not from this company.

Or this one;

A thought experiment on referenda

Ballot boxThis mornings cerebral peregrinations hit a big ‘what if’ as I was giving my usual cursory scan to Zero Hedge. Specifically this story about the pending referendum in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.

First thought was “Who are the organisers?” Is it really a free vote?
Second thought was “1.7 million ballots?” That’s a lot of counting.
Third thought was “What would give the result legitimacy?” Would it be binding? Certainly by the winners, but how about anyone else?
Fourth thought was “DIY Referendums. What an intriguing concept.” Instead of waiting for the vested interest owned politicians to ‘call’ one, why not have a privately sponsored vote on something like ohh, lemme see now, membership of the European Union for example. Which begs the question; how would you get such a privately sponsored referendum recognised by the Electoral Commission?
Fifth thought was “If a bunch of broke Ukrainians can do it, why can’t others?” I mean, what do you need? Voters list? Available publicly. Hell, if every telemarketing company can access the voter rolls, why not? For voting purposes hire village / community halls on a specific day. Cheap enough. Recruit volunteers, assigned randomly for each locale to act as voting officers. Download each voting ward onto a simple spreadsheet, crossing off each name as they vote (Insist on voter photo or signature ID). Each vote goes into a sealed steel box which has a unique serial number, just like regular voting. Hire local couriers to pick up the ballot boxes at close of voting and transport to volunteer vote counters. Count vote. Announce result. Yay. Power to the people and all that stuff, yeah? That’s without sorting out any type of Electronic voting via the jolly old Interweb.
Sixth thought was “But who’d help pay for what is effectively a private referendum?” You could probably do one on a local scale with volunteers, but on a national? I believe there are departments of the United Nations who would just love to help. It could even be crowd sourced.

Of course there are a million things that could go wrong. Like Icelands attempt at crowd sourcing a new constitution. The powers that be could just decide to ignore the result, get their media poodles to militate against it, or organise a Police swoop on the crowd sourced, volunteer manned polling stations and effectively steal the results and ballot boxes. Politically motivated ‘Hacktivists’ could crack electronic voter results and play les bougres idiot with them. But that sort of thing only happens in third world countries doesn’t it?

Yeah……

I wonder if they know

All these advocates of ‘Green’ energy. That their prophet in chief of climate doom Al Gore has been quietly dumping his stocks in that sector. Since 2012 no less. Odd that. All these people who infect every comment thread on Green Energy or Fracking articles with their ignorance of power generation and distribution; not aware that one of their causes chief cheerleaders has tiptoed his money to other, more lucrative investments.

‘Green’ energy is in real terms a joke. Wind Turbines that rarely deliver more than twenty percent of rated output. More likely single figures. Unit lifespan less than advertised. Cabling and distribution requirements more complex and therefore wasteful than say a modest 480MW four hall gas turbine power station with a far more massive landscape footprint and environmental effects. Even so they are far more effective than Solar, which isn’t much use in a temperate climate. As for the half baked mutterings about building solar power stations in the Sahara or Spain and stringing thousands of miles of high tension cable around the place, anyone proposing or supporting such an idea knows less than bugger all about power distribution. Tidal energy, well, if you could get around the issues with silting, flotsam damage or persuading people to have one on their doorstep instead of a lot of mud flats only used by wintering birds crapping all over the place. Maybe. Multiple small scale hydro-electric plants might work as part of a power generation and flood management strategy. If there weren’t so many half witted NIMBY activists campaigning for the removal of useful dams so that the Lesser Spotted Newt or similar could have a foetid swamp to wallow in. Along with mosquitoes and other assorted species.

So ‘Big Al’ has let his money do the talking. A long way away from ‘Green Energy’ schemes which were never really workable propositions. I’ll bet he’s already sold off all his exposure in ‘carbon credits’ too. He’s seen the writing on the wall, and no matter what you might think of him as a politician and the causes he advocates, that boy is not dumb when it comes down to dollars and cents.

Spandex and mad people

Upon my return to Canada from the UK, I’ve been given to musing about all the sights and sounds I experienced whilst there. Specifically the urge amongst many to wear skin tight clothing, particularly cycling gear. Even if they do not own a bicycle.

If there is one type of clothing that should be outlawed by international treaty, I think it should be Spandex, or any elasticated skin skin tight clothing. Leggings especially. The frame of the modern urban or suburban human is mostly best covered to conceal its shortcomings. Which in this day and age are legion. I blame this expectation of perfection on photoshopped seventeen year olds in glossy near-porn advertising photos. The truth is that none of us over nineteen have the body we’d like, but there you have it, and it’s no use trying to look otherwise. Likewise, no female over nineteen, unless a professional model, should go in for body painting.

Excellent reasons not to wear skin tight or Spandex type clothing in public:

  1. It amplifies the size of buttocks. By at least three times. It matters not that you have a superb physique, honed by daily sessions in the gym with not an apparent ounce of flab or even the merest hint of cellulite. After the age of nineteen, Spandex worn skin tight will make your arse look like it has been half-filled with bad jelly
  2. It makes you look flabby when you’re not. The slightest wobble is exaggerated past all ridicule. Each crease, each dimple develops a motion and mind of its own.
  3. Whether intentional or not, your genitalia will be on public display. Even the most discreet panty lines are blindingly visible, and anyone ‘going commando’ will be obvious to even the least observant. For females this is not so bad. For males in cold weather – well let’s just not go there. Even the most well endowed amongst us will end up with the look of a badly decapitated turkey
  4. Even the most benign perspiration stains make Spandex riding shorts look like the wearer has had an involuntary emission, loss of bladder and possibly also bowel control. None of which should be on public display. Unless of course the possessor wishes quiet ridicule to dog their every footstep. Which it will
  5. Frankly, it looks slatternly. Like you’ve mortgaged any dress sense you might have had and gone for the uber-chav look in spades. Like a Croydon facelift and metalflake purple nail varnish

To illustrate by example. About two weeks ago I was sitting in a UK Starbucks, mulling over an Americano, just idly staring out of the window, when a couple in cycling gear dismounted outside, both in their mid to late twenties, both slimly built. Fit, bright eyed and a little rosy cheeked from exertion, all smiles and self involved chatter. The girl came in to buy them two lattes as I recall, while her boyfriend responsibly locked up their bicycles. The day was damp and the Spandex skin tight, so on the way in I got an inadvertent eyeful of female camel toe and deformed limp male genitalia waggling within their elastic restraints, on the way out the motion of half toned flab was enough to make a seasoned mariner hurl a haddock. So I hurriedly averted my eyes. From the male posterior, certainly. Out of the corner of my eye I caught the expressions of certain other denizens of the coffee shop who had also watched the cycling pair come and go. I’m no mind reader, but I can read body language and faces fairly well. The expressions I caught were certainly not those of envy. Eyes rolled, three schoolgirls looked after them and giggled mockingly, and one chap hunched over his laptop glanced their way and gave a revolted shudder. Now either the pair were well known locally as those with freakish habits or had been identified as tax inspectors, I don’t know. In a good light neither was unattractive, but the skin tight cycling gear obviously affected the coffee shops clientèle most unfavourably.

For a replicable proof, any cyclist thus clad should undertake the following experiment. When next holding up traffic while pedalling up a steep hill in low gear, take a glance behind at the following line of traffic. They will, you may observe, be meandering within their lane. This is not due to any lack of control on their part. If the cyclist were to be able to observe their expressions more closely, he / she will detect an expression of amusement hastily concealed within the following vehicles. The burning questions answer being; yes, your arse does look really big in that. Enormous in fact. Possibly even deformed. Yes, the drivers behind are trying very hard not to collapse in hysterics. Sorry, but you made the fashion faux-pas. You might as well be dressed in a dayglo pink tutu with a sign over your head saying “Comic relief – please mock”. Any beeping of horns should be considered justly earned applause for your buttocks comic turn.

Spotting a scam

I love Canadians. They’re so damn, well, uncomplicated. Rather like Paul Gross’s Mountie character Benton Fraser from ‘Due South‘ they’re extremely polite (mostly), easy going (except when the cable TV cuts out in the middle of the Hockey game) and oh so pleasant to deal with (when not being terribly passive-aggressive). At least in comparison to their UK counterparts who often are all too ready to froth at the mouth and throw Teddy out of the pram at the least provocation. Unfortunately this makes many of my Canadian friends all too vulnerable to every scammer and confidence trickster who sees an easy mark.

To the practised eye, scams stand out like pink sparkly searchlights in the night. Mainly because they sound like some modern day fairy tale. Long lost relative, or friend of a friend left you a huge pile of cash / winning lottery ticket / lost treasure of the Golden Behind in their will, and they just need your bank details to pass your good fortune to you?  Yeah, right.

Disney don’t make ‘em any better.  Pixie dust,  Unicorns and Rainbows rule.  Polar Bears are fluffy, huggable things, not massive slavering predators always on the hunt for protein.  Any protein.  Including human.  Oh yeah, and Dolphins are kind and gentle, if you conveniently forget about the beating Harbour Porpoises to death thing, yeah?

Now to us cynical sorts, whose eyes have been forced open by dealing with the slings and arrows of outrageous UK local authorities, the single rule to apply is; if it sounds too good to be true then it is.

A Canadian friend of ours recently got taken in by scammers. When he finally got round to showing me the email that had kicked it all off I put my face in my hands, groaned quietly and asked. “You haven’t sent these people any money have you?” He had the good grace to admit that yes he had.
“You know this is a scam, don’t you? For Pete’s sake mate, don’t send them any more.” I groaned. The scammers were asking for five thousand bucks to release several millions from a ‘locked’ bank account in the Far East.

So how easy was the con to spot? Very. Childs play in fact. I get two dozen of these missives a week, aren’t I a lucky chap? I derive considerable amusement from reading them all before throwing said missives into my yawning pit of hell-spam, ne’er to be seen this side of eternity. All right Bill smartarse Sticker, if you’re so bleeding clever, why don’t you tell all the boys and girls out in there interweb land how to spot one of these con tricks? Plaisir mon vieux. There now follows a brief lesson in scam spotting.

When one of these ‘too good to be true’ emails lands in your inbox. Ask yourself the following questions;

  1. Who is this?
  2. Where did they get my details?
  3. What is said glittering prize?
  4. Why did they pick me?
  5. How come they write such appalling English?

If any one of these questions make your bullshit detectors twitch, bin the offending email.  Or at least run a few simple checks. Does your benefactor really work at the United Nations? No matter how much their cause may tug at your heartstrings. African orphanages, baby animals threatened by eeeevil hunters or whatever. Remember, a little judicious cynicism now will save a whole heap of heartbreak later. I routinely bin these false messages of monetary gain because I never buy lottery tickets. You’d be better off betting on three legged horses at those odds. I also really used to know two people who worked for the UN in Geneva, but we don’t talk. Not even at Xmas. I don’t have any long lost relatives. Certainly none that would give me any money. Besides, any such offer would come directly from a UK based lawyer who I could check out in the phone book.  Any such legacy would also have to make it unscathed through a family who can make a shoal of ravenous Piranhas look like charm school graduates. There are specialists who trace relatives of large and small fortunes, but they write well spelled, grammatical English, and never, ever, ever, ask for your bank details or cash up front to ‘unlock’ funds.   Not even in ‘good faith’.  Nor do any of them live and work in Nigeria.   That last statement might be considered ‘raaaaacist’, but it is nonetheless correct.

If still not sure; check the originating email address.  If the organisation is a .com, why does the email address  end in .in.th?   It takes ten seconds to check out using WHOIS.com.   Is there a phone number?  Type said phone number into the search bar of your web browser and let Google, Bing, or any one of the many search engines bring enlightenment to your browser.   Then try one of the local phone directory services.  411.com for North America or in the UK 118118.com. The work of seconds.

When finding out that you are not heir or beneficiary to a massive business deal / lost millions, which the tax man would no doubt want an unhealthy bite out of, console yourself thus; it might have been real, but with all the scams out there, the odds are that it wasn’t. Add the sender to your spam or junk mail list and move on. There’ll be another one along shortly. That much is guaranteed.

In a word, Genius

Well now. Here’s a classic example of the law of unintended consequences coming out for a quick dance of joyful mischief.

Girl Guides in the USA who raise funds to go to camp or for their troupes by selling the traditional range of Girl Guide cookies have been setting up their stalls outside the new Cannabis shops currently springing up in States where cannabis has been legalised. A perfect example of the market in action if ever I saw one, but who saw it coming?

Really it makes perfect sense. The ‘Munchies’ are a well known phenomena of cannabis use, and to cater for that appetite on the part of those Girl Guides carries with it the mark of sheer genius. Marking them out as smart kids who will go far. The girls in question saw a need and catered to it, incidentally making piles of cash for a cherished cause.

Unfortunately this does have a dark side. The next thing you know is that there will be Girl Guide gang wars. Hot competition between cookie sellers over favoured locations. Perhaps Bake sale gang bangers might try to horn in on their action resulting in female fisticuffs breaking out over the frosting and heaven knows what else.

More seriously there’s going to be hot (Groan, sorry) competition over the super profitable pitches for hot dog stands or fast food restaurants close to these new Cannabis shops. Talk about a licence to print money. Maybe even tie-ins. I mean there’s an opening for a whole new set of menu selections at every fast food joint in the country. Do you want fries with that?

Oh my giddy aunt. That has just cheered up a very snowy evening.