Friday, January 26, 2007

Winning Their Hearts and Minds.

Thanks to RATYHTL for the video.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

This Year's Winner of the "Not My Job" Award:

There ya go. Thanks to Greg for directing me to this site.


Friday, January 19, 2007

I'm Rich! I'm Rich! Yay! (Part 4)

Hello everybody!

For those of you just tuning in, here are Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the "I'm Rich! I'm Rich! Yay!" saga. Or you could just scroll down.

Well, I did finally get a response from the supposed attorney of my late wealthy distant relative. Interestingly enough, this email was sent from a third email address ( if you care). Here is the email along with my comments:
Come on, at least use my name here, as in "Hello Rob," or "Hello Mr. Dow,". If you're going to pull off a scam, you've got to remember the details. It's probably an automated system which would mean they get a lot of responses.
I got your mail, I want you to understand the means of getting the funds into your account, so peruse my mail.
What if I don't have an account? What if I don't know how to peruse?
Thanks for your email and interest in this pending transaction here is the full details of how this transaction will be achieved.

Firstly, I will like to clearly make you understand that legally, you have nothing to worry about as far as this inheritance claim is concerned. As a lawyer with Twenty Five years of experience I make bold to say with full authority that this business is 100% legal and safe. I hope you have read my first letter to your understanding? It is my desire to go into business relationship with you. But this is based on your professional assistance, willingness, trust sincerity and give out your undivided effort.
Well, he "make[s] bold to say with full authority that this business is 100% legal and safe." That's good enough for me.

I'm not sure what "undivided effort" means. Could posting this be an example of a "divided effort"?
Late Richard Burson Dow,is my client and I am his family attorney here in my country where he died with his wife and children. He has deposited the sum of $28.5million in a Finance company call Equity Development Bank of Nig here in my country before he died.
This is the only time my name was ever mentioned. Definately automated.

Wait a minute, didn't the plane crash just off the New York coast? He and his family must've survived the crash and swam for shore only to die just off the coast of Nigeria. Too bad they didn't go the other way--they might've made it.
I will provide all the legal documents, like the Deposit Certificate and his Death Certificate.
So where are they? What's the matter, not enough time to forge those?
Further to this I wish to let you understand that I am a man of 53years, married, with four children. But there is one thing I want you to know. I don't want a situation whereby we have started this business you will one day change. Because some times humans change when it comes to dealings with money. I have contacted you because we two can always understand each other. Moreso I want you to know that this transaction must be kept absolutely confidential. I am banking on you not to disclose this business to any body. I want us to go into business relationship, this is why I contacted you. If you are willing to work with me, you must always follow my instructions in order not to make mistakes.
Hey, he's got four kids. That means he's trustworthy. Ability to procreate=honesty.

Yes, "humans change when it comes to dealings with money." The other day, a young man in front of me at the bank turned into an elderly lady as soon as he deposited his check. One time I went to a grocery store and grew a third nostril while the cashier gave me change.

Unfortunately, I already screwed up the confidentiality part. But hey, hardly anyone reads this blog anyhow, so it's just like I didn't tell anyone.

By the way, I wonder why he wants it to be confidential?
I was the deceased attorney, this legally means that I am mandated to carry out any business dealings on his behalf, as if he was present. I was his attorney for several years until his death. I was his closest confidant as explained above, the deceased had no next of kin to inhenrit the mentioned amount and his entire estate. Being the deceased attorney I am the only person who can confirm to the Finance company the claim of any next of kin, and also advice the Finance company to effect payment to such a beneficiary.
He was "the deceased attorney"? He gets a lot of stuff done for a dead guy.

Since "the deceased had no next of kin to inhenrit the mentioned amount and his entire estate," that means that I'll be the one to "inhenrit" all the money! I guess that's better than having to "inroosterit" the estate.

He's the only person who can confirm to the finance company, yet he's the "deceased attorney". He must communicate with the bank through some sort of medium. I guess I have no choice but to trust him, just like he said I should.
when I authorize the payment to you, and the money gets into your account, you will take 40%, while I take 50% and 10% for any expenses we may encounter. if you agree with this, then this is how we are going to progress with the business-:
Hey, he gets 50%?! That's highway robbery. At least he's somewhat honest about being a thief.
(a). I will provide you with the recent bank statement of the deceased and his death certificate.
Again, where are they?
(b). You will be required to engage the services of a lawyer, who will professionally act on your behalf, as your attorney. such a lawyer to be hired, must be duly registered in nigeria and practices in nigeria. The attorney will process all the required legal back up documents from the high court of nigeria and forward same to the Finance company with the Finance application form for inheritance claims on your behalf.
Where am I supposed to find a lawyer registered and practicing in Nigeria? Actually, now that I think about it one will probably conveniently send me an email soon. From a fourth address.
(c). When the Finance company receives your claims application, they will immediately draw my attention to it notifying me that someone has put in a claim as the next of kin to the deceased. I will be asked by the Finance company to verify the genuiness of the said claim and recommend to them, what action they should take as regards payment.
He's going to "be asked by the Finance company to verify the genuiness of the said claim." Mmm, genuiness.
(d). The Finance company on the receipt of my confirmation, will now get in touch with you, through your attorney asking that you present them with your banking co-ordinates, so that they can transfer the money into your nominated account.
My "banking co-ordinates"? Does that mean he wants the latitude and longitude of my bank?
(e). When the Finance company receives your banking information, they will release the money into your nominated account.
My "nominated account"? Nominated for what, an Oscar? A daytime Emmy? A big withdrawl without my approval?
(f). Give me the following information:

1, Your Address:
2, Occupation:
3, Age:
4, Full Name:
5, Private Number:
I gave him an address to send the cash. What more could he want? Oh yeah, all that other stuff. I guess it makes the identity theft a bit easier.
The above is a very concise explanation of the entire process of this business transaction. This mentioned process will only take ten banking days to complete from the day that your attorney submits the papers to the Finance company. Now I will only do this business with you on the condition that you will promise to be absolutely honest with me, and that you will respect the confidentiality of this business transaction, and keep it as such.
He really wants things to be confidential. See my comment above.
Again we will have to familiarize ourselves, by providing a picture identity of ourselves, so that we can both know whom we are dealing with business wise. I will need to see your identity, and your postal and residential address. Attached is my client personal picture/ my call to bar certificate with my personal ID.
See my identity? Is that even possible? It's like seeing my personality. Though, I suppose he'd need to see my identity before he could steal it.
Forward to me your private mobile number with your country code for easier communication.
Is he going to try to steal my phone minutes, too? Make 1-900 calls?
Warmest Regards,
Barr.Thomas Cole.
See! I am going to be rich! Yay!

But I know some of you out there are the skeptical type and need more proof. Well, Thomas Cole also sent pictures with his email! Here they are, and you can click on then for greater detail:Well, that looks official enough to me. Of course, I could probably make one at home on my computer, but that doesn't matter. Now if only I knew someone familiar with Nigerian legal documents...
I'm no lawyer, but I don't think it's a good idea to send a scan of one's passport to just anyone. It's probably not a good idea to post a scan of someone's passport online for anybody to see. Like I said, I'm no lawyer.

Also, it looks like the signature says "Collins" not "Cole". Maybe they just do things differently in Nigeria.
There he is, the man of the hour, my late distant relative, Richard Burson "Dow". Apparently, he aged a few dozen years and somehow re-grew hair on his head by the time this picture was taken. And had plastic surgery. And grew a foot taller. And changed the color of his eyes.

Well, that's it. I'm not sure what I'm going to do next, but you'll be the first to know. Unless someone else reads my blog before you do. You better check for updates every half hour, 24/7, until my next post. Actually, to be on the safe side, check every five minutes. Hell, forget that. Go get a few days worth of water and snacks, grab a bucket to use as a toilet, and just stay on your computer at this site while continually clicking "refresh" every second until something new gets posted.

Until then, I'll be dreaming about all the things I'm going to do with 40% of $28.5 million.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I'm Rich! I'm Rich! Yay! (Part 3)

Hello everyone!

This morning I woke up to the following email message:

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.



Delivery to the following recipients has been delayed.

So there may be a bit of a wait before I get my $28.5 million. That's ok, they say wealth turns people into jerks. I don't know who "they" are, but I bet they're poor.

In the meantime, I'll continue to delete my "Fly For Free, Robin", "Get Your V1@gra", and "DateTheHottestLocalChristainsInYourArea" emails.


To be continued?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I'm Rich! I'm Rich! Yay! (Part 2)

Hello everybody!

For those of you who missed part one, here it is.

I replied to the email. I found it interesting that the "contact" email was slightly different than the address the original email was sent from. Anyway, here's what I wrote:

Dear Mr. Cole,

Thank you for your email. I was excited to read what you had written, except for the part about my great-uncle Richard Burson Dow being killed. I thought seven years was quite a long time to be on vacation visiting the pyramids, even though they are really big.

Regardless, I'm pleased to accept my $28.5 million dollars. I would like it sent to me in cash, preferably in bills because I would imagine $28.5 million dollars in quarters would be quite heavy. And even though nickels are lighter, $28.5 million dollars in nickels would probably be heavier than $28.5 million dollars in quarters because there would be five times more of them.

I've already began thinking about what I'm going to do with that money. The cup holder on my car sticks, so the first thing I'd do is get that fixed. Also, I could use some new shoelaces. I might even start buying the Philadelphia cream cheese instead of the store brand.

When you send me the money, send it to:

R. Dow
Lane Community College
4000 E. 30th Ave.
Eugene, OR, USA 97405

I eagerly await your response.

Best regards,
R. Dow
There ya go. If and when I hear anything back, I'll let y'all know.


Monday, January 15, 2007

I'm Rich! I'm Rich! Yay!

Hello everybody!

Some of you may not know this, but I have three different email addresses. One is my Lane Community College address that I use primarily for school stuff (imagine that). Another is my Yahoo address that I use to keep in touch with friends and family (when I say keep in touch, I mean forward lame jokes and annoying chain letters), as well as using for business stuff like shopping or paying bills.

The third is my Hotmail address. This is my junk e-mail address that I use for anything that I know will get me a lot of spam, such as registering for The New York Times website. A few years ago, I used the name "Robin Dow" for the hell of it to sign up for something I've long since forgotten. Now, most of the spam I get says "A free card for you, Robin," or "Robin, meet thousands of Christian simgles in your area," or "YOUVE WON @ FREE COASTA RICA VACATION ROBIN!" in the subject line. Unfortunately, nobody ever sends "Robin" any porn.

Usually, I just delete these messages once a week or so without even looking at them. But the other day, I got one with the subject line "Dear Dow". I was curious, so I read it. Here it is:

From the Desk: Barrister. Thomas Cole.
Thomas Cole & partners.
25 Wilson Road
Olodi Apapa
Lagos- Nigeria.
Private / Highly Confidential

Subject Matter: Invitation to act as Next-of-Kin

Dear Dow,

I presume this letter will come to you as a surprise, but as things unfold,we will know each other better. I will start by introducing myself to you. My name is Thomas Cole a solicitor at law.

I am writing in respect of a foreigner Richard Burson Dow, who happens to be my client an oil merchant and contractor who perished in a plane crash of 31st October 1999[WITH EGYPTIAN AIRLINE 990] with other passengers aboard.

Since the demise of my client I personally have watched with keen interest to see the next of kin but all has proved abortive as no one has come to claim his funds of US$28.5m(Twenty Eight Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollar) and all the relevant documents in the bank has no record of any next of kin. On this note, I decided to seek for whom his name shall be used as his next of kin so I have contacted you to assist in repatriating most especially, the money left behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where the huge deposits were lodged.

Particularly, the Equity Development Bank Plc where the deceased had an account valued at about Usd28.5 million dollars has issued me a notice to provide the Next of kin, or have the account confiscated.

I seek your consent to present you as the Next of kin of the deceased.I know you can assist me as I need somebody who is trustworthy and willing to assist me get the funds transfered.Whcih the account which my late client operate is valued at Usd28.5 million dollars can be paid to you, as my clients Next of Kin, and then we can share the amount on a mutual agreed percentage.

All legal documents to back up your claim as the deceased Next of Kin will be provided. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law and you should endeavor to keep it confidential.

Please get in touch with me at, to enable us discuss further about this transaction.

Best regards,
Thomas Cole.

Wow! I'm rich!

I've gotten these kinds of email scams before, but I thought I'd have some fun with it. First, I decided to investigate Egyptian Airline Flight 990 and see if it did crash. It did, indeed! What a lucky break! Not only that but there were 203 passengers and no survivors! That's 203 opportunities for me to become filthy rich! Woo-hoo! And get this, the crash happened deliberately! That's right, the co-pilot deliberately crashed the plane into the Atlantic Ocean just 30 minutes after it left JFK airport in New York. Yowza!

Okay, enough of the black humor that's not very humorous.

I thought I'd do some investigating. What I needed was a passenger list to confirm that "Richard Burson Dow" was actually on board. Then I would confirm that he was actually a relative of mine. Then I'd confirm he was actually rich. Then I'd confirm that he had an attorney in Nigeria. Then I'd confirm my confirmations. That's a lot of confirming for a scam that's obviously a scam, but you can never be too safe.

I did manage to find a passenger list. The names were in alphabetical order, so that made things a bit easy. Hmmm, no "Richard Burson Dow" on the list. Wait a minute, there's a Richard Burson. The article even included a photo of the poor old guy. Wow, the scammers used the name of a actual passenger and then pasted my name to the end. I was clearly dealing with geniuses here. Yep, I'm going to have my work cut out for me if I want to get my hands on my $28.5 million.

To be continued...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Yeah, What He Said!


I came across a quote from the late Carl Sagen and decided to post it here. During a lecture he was giving, he showed a photograph of Earth taken from four million miles away by Voyager 1. In the picture, Earth was a tiny indistinguishable speck of light in the cosmos. Here's the quote:

"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

There ya go. Next time, we'll return to hilarity and hijinks, I promise.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Tchaikovsky the Worm and Rapscallions

Good old North Idaho. It's not just a state- it's a state of mind. Here's proof:

See, only in North Idaho would you come across a worm farm that not only raises and sells worms, but also teaches said worms to compose. The worms compose songs, I guess.

And just think, this sign is just down the road from where my wife was raised. She married me, so something obviously ain't right with her.

We spent five days in the panhandle of Idaho, or "North Idaho" as the locals call it, as if it's its own state, seperate from "South Idaho". At one point while we were there, we went to the grocery store a couple miles away from this sign in Priest River. I swear, every person in the store stared at us the whole time we were there. It didn't seem like one of those things where they thought we were hideous freaks, though. It was more of a "hey, I'm not related to you, so you must not be from around here" curiosity type thing, even though Cathy was from around there, and I lived near there for almost eight years. I guess we've lost the "North Idaho" in us at some point, and now we just look like a bunch of weirdo foreigners. Luckily, they didn't think we were from California, otherwise they might have keyed our car.

The store itself was going through this weird transition, as if it was having some sort of identity crisis. They had recently expanded and added a fancy indoor sitdown espresso bar cafe, but their customers were logger type guys wearing dirty carhartts and flannels. It was an amusing dichotomy.

Anyhow, it was good to see the family while we were up there. And I'm not just saying that because some of them read this blog.

The nine hour drive each way was tolerable, mainly because we had The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on CD to help pass the time. The narrator was some guy named Norman Dietz. I don't know anything about him, but apparently he also narrated books by Kurt Vonnegut and Patrick McManus, so he must be okay despite his stupid name. He has this cool down-home Southern style accent, which was perfect for the story.

Listening to someone else say the words out loud was quite different than reading them. I found myself wanting to speak with his accent after hearing 12 hours of it. I also found myself wanting to use phrases like "rapscallion", "blim-blammin'", and of course, "It's the beatenest thing I ever struck". I think I'll try to work those into my vocabulary.

On the way back, a strange thing happened. I was driving on I-90, and there was a big pickup following a semi up ahead. They were going kinda slow, so I went to pass them both, and the pickup decided at that moment to pass the semi. I had to slam on the breaks to not hit him. I tapped the horn at the guy and eventually passed him a bit annoyed, but not terribly angry. Later, we stopped at a rest area and as I was standing at the urinal, a guy walked into the bathroom and asked if I drove that silver car.

"Yeah...," I responded, thinking he was about to tell me somebody just crashed into it or stole it.

But instead he said, "I want to apologize for cutting you off earlier. I just didn't see you there, and I feel real bad. I'm sorry."

There you go. No matter how backwards that area of the country is, the people are still cool, worm farms and all. This would never happen here in Eugene. No, instead, Eugene drivers would cut you off, then flip you the bird for having the nerve to be in their way. It's not like they can turn their heads to see you either, because they're using their shoulders to hold their cell phones up to their ears because they have an I-Pod in one hand and a bong in the other, and they're steering with their knees.

They're likely to be my classmates, too. You know, the ones who shout out in the middle of a lecture: "When's the next test?"

That reminds me, school starts in a couple days. Goody.

On that note, I think that's it for this edition. Until next time.