Ekstra News ain der East Side! (1908)

NYC History In Pictures

© AP Photo/New York City Municipal Archives, Department of Bridges/Plants & Structures, Eugene de Salignac. Spotted at Distractify.

I love this photo, titled “Workers dig along Delancey Street, 1908.” It was taken a year before my father was born, and reflects a New York of which I only experienced whispers as I was growing up there in the 50s and 60s. But there were still hints and shadows, so the picture calls to me.

I love the fact that the Yiddish of New York was so heavily influenced by English that the sign is almost a direct transliteration of the English text, with little bits of  German/Hebrew thrown in.

With all its incredible history, warts and all, I ❤ NY. I wish only that I could afford to live there in the style to which I have become accustomed (meaning, comfortable and safe.)

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Packaging Snake Oil

I’ve posted numerous times about health-related scams and sleazy marketing. For this reason, I have no small sense of irony spending time as a temp worker for a local nutraceutical company that serves many herbal and health-food concerns. Today I spent 8 hours helping to package about a million capsules of… wait for it… garcinia cambogia.

Temp work is fine, I guess. It’s pretty mindless work, although it can be physically demanding, and it provides some income where there would otherwise be none. But as one works, one’s mind drifts to the customers who will be buying this stuff at grossly inflated prices, thinking that this is the magic bullet to help them lose weight; it’s not, and they won’t. They’re just throwing money away on a powdered fruit product of dubious value.

Petroleum

From “Lucky Luke 18 – In the Shadow of the Derricks”

008

Competition was also lively in the 1740′s among some half a dozen proprietors marketing a form of crude petroleum under the name of British Oil. Early in the decade Michael and Thomas Betton were granted a patent for “An Oyl extracted from a Flinty Rock for the Cure of Rheumatick and Scorbutick and other Cases.” The source of the oil, according to their specifications, was rock lying just above the coal in mines, and this rock was pulverized and heated in a furnace to extract all the precious healing oil. (Old English Patent Medicines in America, George B. Griffenhagen and James Harvey Young. Found at the Gutenberg Project.)

Snake-oil salesmen have been around since the dawn of time. Sometimes they took the guise of shamans or medicine men – now they’re just con men and marketing specialists. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am a proponent of optimal nutrition including an adequate intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and co-factors, and there is a significant body of peer-reviewed science that documents beneficial effects from many natural sources: fruits, vegetables, plants, herbs, chemicals (think of aspirin), and so on. I have nothing against natural remedies, especially when there is adequate proof to show that they are effective. What rubs me the wrong way more than anything are the outrageous claims touted by advertorials and infomercials, picked up on by celebrities such as Oprah and Dr. Oz, and marketed in multiple millions of dollars to the gullible proletariat.

The nutritional industry is a trillion-dollar scam waiting to happen, and very little of what is sold imparts benefit commensurate with price paid. Add to that the fact that the landscape is so unregulated that one can claim almost anything as long as you include the standard disclaimer that your product is not intended to cure, prevent, diagnose or treat any disease, and that your claims are not approved by the FDA. That makes nutritional labeling similar to the CAN-SPAM act… you can get away with selling the moon as long as you word it right.

Let’s look at another product: Galaxy juice marketed by Joy Life international, a Chinese MLM company.

From their web page:

——–

GALAXY HIGH IMPACT JUICE BLEND

  1. Boosts energy levels in a novel way
  2. Contains a unique proprietary blend of antioxidant ingredients that may slow-down the aging process
  3. Enhances ability to focus and concentrate
  4. Taken with breakfast, this product has the singular unique property of reducing stress and in some manner enhances a positive outlook for the rest of the day
Ingredients:  Water, Super Fruit Blend: (Acia, Pineapple, White Grape, Pomegranate, Red Raspberry, Aronia, Red Grape, Cranberry, Elder-berry, Plum, Red Sour Cherry, Mangosteen, Goji), Chicory Root Extract, Xylitol, Super Food Blend: (Barley, Cayenne Pepper, Buckwheat, Flaxseed, Alfalfa Sprout, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Soy Isoflavones (40% Extract). Garlic 4:1, Wheatgrass 33:1), Antioxidant Blend: (Green Tea Extract, Alpha Lipoic Acid, DMAE, Idebenone, Ascorbic Acid), Citric Acid, Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.
——–
If this stuff boosts energy levels, it does so because of the natural sugars contained in the fruit blend, which is hardly novel; but I especially love the “in some manner,” which conjures up visions of handwavium and unobtainium. Don’t ask questions, it just works. Remember that Chinese medicine has largely been marketed to a Chinese population, a large percentage of whom are essentially ignorant of modern scientific realities. Were it not so, the rhinoceros would not be an endangered species today.
In Bernard Read’s translation of the 1597 Chinese materia medica “Pen Ts’ao Kang Mu”, the complete section on rhinoceros horn (“the best is from a freshly killed male animal”) reads as follows, with no mention of any aphrodisiac qualities:

“It should not be taken by pregnant women; it will kill the foetus. As an antidote to poisons (in Europe it was said to fall to pieces if poison were poured into it). To cure devil possession and keep away all evil spirits and miasmas. For gelsemium [jasmine] and snake poisoning. To remove hallucinations and bewitching nightmares. Continuous administration lightens the body and makes one very robust. For typhoid, headache, and feverish colds. For carbuncles and boils full of pus. For intermittent fevers with delirium. To expel fear and anxiety, to calm the liver and clear the vision. It is a sedative to the viscera, a tonic, antipyretic. It dissolves phlegm. It is an antidote to the evil miasma of hill streams. For infantile convulsions and dysentery. Ashed and taken with water to treat violent vomiting, food poisoning, and overdosage of poisonous drugs. For arthritis, melancholia, loss of the voice. Ground up into a paste with water it is given for hematemesis [throat hemorrhage], epistaxis [nosebleeds], rectal bleeding, heavy smallpox, etc. (Found at Save the Rhino)

But how is Galaxy juice being represented to their sales force, and hence by the sales force to potential customers? As an anti-cancer agent. Now, if US reps don’t want to run afoul of the FDA, they won’t say anything about that in a direct manner, but have a look at some of the slides from their own inspirational Powerpoint presentation:

slide-40-728[1]

slide-41-728[1]

slide-42-728[1]

slide-43-728[1]

slide-44-728[1]

Joy Life found a willing scientist, gave him a research grant, and wildly extrapolated his results. And a bottle of this fruit/grain concoction sells for $130.00 in China. Is it worthless? Well, looking at the ingredients, it’s probably a good source of antioxidants, but it won’t cure cancer, and it’s hardly worth the end-user price. Let it also be mentioned that Joy Life sells a few other things in the USA that are highly questionable, including:
  • The “Energy Cup“, a filtration system that ‘converts everyday drinking water into ionized, alkaline water, helping sustain the body’s natural pH levels
  •  The  “Anion Emitter” which is supposed to  ‘contain semi-precious stones infused with proprietary frequencies that carry a negative charge‘ designed to ‘bring the body into balance and energetic homeostasis while restoring health and reducing pain‘
  • The “Cation Shield“, Joy Life claiming it ‘helps strengthen your body’s bio-field while bathing you with the beneficial effects of negative ions to help combat EMFs.

Things of this nature fall directly into the quackery zone, and I’m astonished that they can get away with marketing this sort of garbage.

Fortunately for me, I won’t be working at this particular outlet much longer; another opportunity has come up which strikes me as being much more upstanding and worthwhile. But the size and scope of the former enterprise made me realize once again that the business of separating people from their hard-earned cash often has very little to do with providing honest value in return.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Followup to the Irish Lottery scammer

I mentioned a scam email from a Nigerian scammer earlier, and decided to yank their chains a bit. In the process, I discovered that these Lads from Lagos were a bit more inventive than the rest of their crowd.

So I wrote to “Mr. Stephanie Hughston” (is that anything like a Boy Named Sue?) just to see how they played their game.

To: transfer-online@ntwstbonline.co.uk
From: [redacted]
Subject: Contact Mr. Stephanie Hughston Re: Irish Prize

To whom it may concern:

I have been requested by Mr. Thomas Parker, online coordinator for the Irish Lottery, to contact you regarding the claim of my prize of €700,000, which is most wonderful. Please forward further details. I have included my data for your convenience.
Sincerely yours,
Wolfington X. Analemma
Here’s what came back:
From: NATWEST BANK ONLINE <transfer-online@ntwstbonline.co.uk>
To: [redacted]

Subject: RE: Contact Mr. Stephanie Hughston Re: Irish Prize

Attention: Wolfington X. Analemma,

 Compliment of the day to you from RBS Bank, we are here to serve you better. I am Mr. Stephanie Hughston, the Operations Executive/ Officer at NatWest Bank of London. We are in receipt of your demand draft approval from IRISH NATIONAL IRELAND/UK for the transfer of your prize amount with effective, safe and secure service. This bank has been instructed by the Irish National Lottery Anniversary Department,  to transfer the sum of €700,000.00 EUROinto an account in your name, in which your funds (BANK DRAFT) will be deposited to enhance further transfer to your local bank account into your Country.

  Meanwhile Wolfington X. Analemma You may give us a call during working hours for brief explanation via communication sequel to this funds transfer from this great Institution. Where finding Banking at its best. You may call my direct line for easy communication.   <+447010089271> 

  We are mandated by the IRISH NATIONAL IRELAND/UK to transfer the sum of 700,000.00 EURO, which was indicated by Head office (Irish National Lottery Board Ireland/UK.) to receive from this bank. Note however that payment will be transferred into a temporary online OFFSHORE Domiciliary bank account with us, which we enable you transfer the funds online into your local bank account in your Country . You will be free to ascertain a limited confirmation on this account and amount as it appears. More so in view to your e-mail to us, Irish National Lottery Board has issued out your fund particulars, origin certificate forwarded to our association head department of the NatWest Bank Plc by the Company Board for fund release which has been received by the Bank. This means that you have being officially cleared for fund release by the Verification Department at the headquarters of the NATWEST Bank Plc.

  To begin the Final step of the funds transfer process, which is the Payout of your funds as the legitimate beneficiary worth 700,000.00 EURO, with regards to this; you will have to set up an online temporary account for your winning prize online transfer to your local bank account in your Country.

ACCOUNT TRANSFER FORM
First Name________________
Last Name _______________
Residential Address_______________
Country Of Residence______________
City_____________
State________________
Zip Code________________
Valid Telephone Number________________
Office Telephone Number_______________
Date Of Birth ______________

NOTE: A SCAN COPY OF ANY OF YOUR IDENTITY CARD IS ALSO REQUIRED (PASSPORT OR DRIVER LICENSE)

   You are required to fill and send the form above to this office as soon as possible. On the above instructions, we solicit your co-operation to enable us dispense our duties and obligations swiftly. Thanking you in anticipation for your cooperation. Accept our felicitation and your immediate response is expected. We await your response. We thank you for your trust in our Banking System.

Thank you for your patronage.
Have a nice Day.

NATWEST BANK UK
London Branch Address:

45 Fulham Broadway,

London, UK,

United Kingdom

Telephone:  
+44 701 008 9271
Branch Banking Timing

Monday-Friday: 09:00 – 17:00

Saturday: 09:00 – 12:30

Sunday / Bank Holiday: No Banking
If this guy’s from London, I’m from Madagascar. The English is typical Mugu-ese, which is no surprise – and of course, the phone prefix is (44 70) which goes to somewhere else in the world. I send the requested information, along with a bogus driver’s license.
To: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
From: Mr Nashit Khan
Ref: Online Account Opened,Proceed with transfer online!

 
Attn: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
Dear Client,
Sir/Madam,


Thank you for contacting the NatWest Banking Institute London , At NatWest we seek to delight all our customers.Your questions and comments are important to us. Your mail has been received.
 

 I would like to say congratulations once again as your new account has been successfully set-up and credited. This is a notification to inform you that your account has been created/setup online from our transfer department to enable you transfer your funds to your nominated account online.


Please Note that you have a temporary Offshore Domiciliary account, the reason is because you are not our full client banking with us and because your account opening was free.


All temporary users must transfer their funds within two weeks,for this account is a temporary account. if it exceeds two weeks,your account will be inactive and can’t access statement of your account.


To Avoid this, all transfer must be made on time.

Here are the details of your Offshore Domiciliary account. You are required to Log into your internet Online Banking.

Here are the procedures to log in:


1: 
Click Here

Then click on  ” Click here to enter “

2: When the Pop up Window Display please enter your Account Number and Pin.


ACCOUNT NO:  
0777121047
PIN : 949

If this procedures are followed orderly,you won’t find it difficult to Log in. After you have successfully log into your account, you are to click of transfer and wait while a new page opens for you to input your bank account receiver details and click on transfer to proceed for your online transfer.


On the above instructions, we solicit your co-operation to enable us dispense our duties and obligations swiftly. Thanking you in anticipation for your cooperation. Accept our felicitation and your immediate response is expected. We await your response


We thank you for your trust in our Banking System. Do have a wonderful day as we look forward to providing you with all the best of our service. We await your swift response in other for we to proceed with your transactions.


Have a nice Day.

Regards,

Mr. Stephanie Hughston

NATWEST BANK UK

London Branch Address:

45 Fulham Broadway,

London, UK,

United Kingdom

Telephone:  +44 701 008 9271

Branch Banking Timing

Monday-Friday: 09:00 – 17:00

Saturday: 09:00 – 12:30

Sunday / Bank Holiday: No Banking
Just as a point of interest, notice that it’s hard to tell if the email is from Stephanie Hughston or Mr. Nashit Khan. I followed the indicated link, and got the following screen:
NatWest1
Clicking on the appropriate link I am taken to an official-looking popup:
NatWest2
which, when I have entered the “data” they provided me, sends me to another website:
ScamBank
Wow, it really looks like they’ve deposited a bunch of money into this account. Most of the Nigerian scammers don’t go to the trouble of setting up phony websites like this. At any rate, I click on the “transfer money” link and I get this:
ScamBank2
with an official-looking progress bar, but then this happens:
ScamBank3
Well, they didn’t mention anything about a “COT Code,” so I dutifully contact my “account officer:”
Greetings,
I have done as you recommended, however when I attempt to make the transfer I am presented with a screen that asks for a COT code. Please advise how to proceed.
-Wolfington X. Analemma
And back comes the “money shot:”
From: Mr. Stephanie Hughston
To: Mr. Wolfington X. AnalemmaRef: COT Code requirement by NatWest Bank.

Attn: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
Dear Client,
Sir
Compliment of the day to you.

Thank you for contacting the NatWest Banking Institute London , At NatWest we seek to delight all our customers.Your questions and comments are important to us. Your mail has been received, and we are pleased to inform you that we have received approval for the transfer of (€700,000.00 EURO) to your local nominated bank account. Sequel to the information of your files in our system and the immediate need of transfer of funds to your account.

The remittance department of the NatWest Banking Institute London hereby write to inform you that, Your transfer of funds would only be fully transferred to your account immediately the cost of handling charges/Transfer is been paid by you as the beneficiary of the funds as deposited with our bank. We shall provide you with the code as soon as you pay for its cost.

Sir, COT code is known as (COST OF TRANSFER ), It is a code that is given by the Head Department of NatWest bank to complete your online transfer of funds into your local bank account in United State . The Cot code charged for your online funds transfer into your local bank account is (€645 EURO).

Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma, the COT code will be release to you sooner we confirm your payment for cot code charge. Sir, I would like to speak with you upon acknowledgement of this email for Instruction on how to make payment for your cot code charges or via email for the payment instruction.

Note that your total amount has been insured to its real value as the funds have been deposited with a cover premium insurance bonded draft and as such funds cannot be deducted. This is in accordance with Article 44 Sub Section 144 of the England banking commission regulations as amended in the 1999 constitution. This is to protect clients and to avoid Misappropriation of funds.

On the above instructions, we solicit your co-operation to enable us dispense our duties and obligations swiftly. Thanking you in anticipation for your cooperation. Accept our felicitation and your immediate response is expected. We await your response.We thank you for your trust in our Banking System.

We await your swift response in other for we to proceed with your transactions.
Have a nice Day.
Regards,
Mr. Stephanie Hughston

When I asked how this “COT Code” is to be paid, this was the response:
To: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
From: Mr. Stephanie HughstonRef: COT Code requirement & Payment Instruction.

Attn: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
Dear Client,
Sir/Madam,
Compliment of the day to you.

Thank you for contacting the NatWest Banking Institute London , At NatWest we seek to delight all our customers.Your questions and comments are important to us. Your mail has been received and the content was well understood.

The remittance department of the NatWest Bank,United Kingdom hereby write to inform you that, Your transfer of funds would only be fully transferred to your account immediately the cost of handling charges/Transfer is been paid by you as the beneficiary of the funds as deposited with our bank. We shall provide you with the code as soon as you pay for its cost.

The cost of handling charges for your transfer of funds is €645 EURO . This cost of handling charges must be paid without delay to enable the speedy transfer of your funds to your Account. Find below the amount to make for the transfer of funds to your account:

Sum Total: €645 EURO

Sequel to your email, the total payment of €645 EURO should be paid via the nearest Money Gram outlet close to you. You are to pay a total €645 EURO only. This cost of handling charges/transfer must be paid without delay to enable the speedy transfer of your funds to your Account upon applying the cot code online . Find below the amount charge for cot code to enable the speedy release of funds to your account :

This payment for the COT is to be made out to the account department agent of our Money Gram receiving Unit, here in London,. She is the bank’s Account Officer by the Money Gram transfer Service from overseas customers only.
Please you are advices to make the payment to;

ACCOUNT AGENT DETAILS:
Name of Receiver: MRS. KATE JEFFERSON
Address: LONDON WC2A 2AE,
UNITED KINGDOM.

You are require to get back to us with the information below after payment.

1. Name of Sender ………
2. Address of Sender ……..
3. Total Amount Sent ……….
4. Reference Number . (REF 8digit)………….

NOTE: A SCAN COPY OF YOUR MONEY GRAM PAYMENT SLIP SHOULD BE ATTACHED VIA EMAIL TO THIS OFFICE FOR REFERENCE PURPOSE.

The Money Gram service provides a flexible means of sending funds overseas and also we make such transaction in our bank, and has been specially designed to meet your business needs in terms of cost and speedy Payments are sent using an electronic bank-to-bank transfer. which is suitable for both urgent and less time critical payments and enables the secure transfer of funds from the United Kingdom to overseas beneficiaries. When we receive the above payment information we shall immediately dispense our duties by releasing the cot code to complete your transfer into your Nominated bank as applied online for your transfer.

On the above instructions, we solicit your co-operation to enable us dispense our duties and obligations swiftly. Thanking you in anticipation for your cooperation. Accept our felicitation and your immediate response is expected. We await your response.We thank you for your trust in our Banking System.

Note: Give me a call as soon as your payment is done and provide details as requested respectively. We await your swift response in other for we to proceed with your transactions.

So now we’re back to the regular protocol. “Send us money via Western Union.” If I have not repeated this advice enough throughout this blog, here it is again: NEVER DO THIS. It’s always a scam. I told the drone I’d send him the money later that day. A couple of days go by, and I get this from him:
To: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
From: Mr. Stephanie HughstonRef: COT Code requirement & Payment Instruction.

Attn: Mr. Wolfington X. Analemma
Dear Client,
Sir/Madam,
Compliment of the day to you.

Thank you for contacting the NatWest Banking Institute London , At NatWest we seek to delight all our customers.Your questions and comments are important to us. Your mail has been received and the content was well understood.

Sir, what is the status of your payment as earlier promised?.

NOTE: A SCAN COPY OF YOUR MONEY GRAM PAYMENT SLIP SHOULD BE ATTACHED VIA EMAIL TO THIS OFFICE FOR REFERENCE PURPOSE.

The Money Gram service provides a flexible means of sending funds overseas and also we make such transaction in our bank, and has been specially designed to meet your business needs in terms of cost and speedy Payments are sent using an electronic bank-to-bank transfer. which is suitable for both urgent and less time critical payments and enables the secure transfer of funds from the United Kingdom to overseas beneficiaries. When we receive the above payment information we shall immediately dispense our duties by releasing the cot code to complete your transfer into your Nominated bank as applied online for your transfer.

On the above instructions, we solicit your co-operation to enable us dispense our duties and obligations swiftly. Thanking you in anticipation for your cooperation. Accept our felicitation and your immediate response is expected. We await your response.We thank you for your trust in our Banking System.

Note: Give me a call as soon as your payment is done and provide details as requested respectively. We await your swift response in other for we to proceed with your transactions.

Have a nice Day.
Regards,
Mr. Stephanie Hughston

He’s wondering where his money is. Sometimes, as you have seen before, I’ll send him a bogus MTCN and scan of a Western Union receipt just to see how many times I can get him scurrying back to Western Union to pick up non-existent funds, but this time I feel like it’s time to pull the plug.
To: NATWEST BANK ONLINE <transfer-online@ntwstbonline.co.uk>
From: [redacted]
Subject: Status of Payment

Cc:

Oh, did you actually think I was going to send you some money? I’m sorry I won’t be there to see the disappointment on your face. I’ve had fun wasting your time and getting your hopes up.You are a liar, a scammer, and a criminal. May Olumba Olumba Obu send black powder, disease and death to you and every other 419 onioburu.

Dem no born you reach, mugu – u no fit comot face, just skip along.

nigerians

gameover
And their response?
cricket… cricket… cricket…
Once again, be careful out there. This one was well-crafted enough (despite the bad English, which amazingly some people won’t pick up on) to fool vulnerable or ill-informed individuals. Protect and educate your loved ones against this kind of douchebaggery.
The Old Wolf has spoken.

I wonder which one would be worse?

I have long been an aficionado of odd foods (not too odd, mind you – thus far things like casu marzu and balut have been off my menu), but there are others that I really enjoy, such as haggis, nattōkimchiand others.

I’ve mentioned Hákarl over at my Banquet from Hell - it’s one that I’ve long wanted to try, if only to see if I have a stronger stomach than Gordon Ramsay.

Pronounced “haukatł” – with that peculiar Navajo “L” sound – this Icelandic treat is one that I approach with some trepidation. From the Wikipedia article:

Chef Anthony Bourdain, who has travelled extensively throughout the world sampling local cuisine for his Travel Channel show No Reservations, has described shark þorramatur as “the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing” he has ever eaten.

Chef Gordon Ramsay, after challenging journalist James May to sample three “delicacies” (Laotian snake whiskey, bull penis, and hákarl), finally vomited after eating hákarl, although May kept his down. May’s only reaction was “You disappoint me, Ramsay.”

On season 2′s Iceland episode of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Andrew Zimmern described the smell as reminding him of “some of the most horrific things I’ve ever breathed in my life,” but said the taste was not nearly as bad as the smell. Nonetheless, he did note that hákarl was hardcore food and not for beginners.

There is no shortage of pages on the internet that describe how totally Satanic this preparation of fermented shark actually is.  Yet the Icelanders continue to make it, and eat it.  It may be a plot by the brennivin industry to bolster the need for consumption, but I won’t be satisfied until I can try it for myself. If I ever get the chance to visit Iceland, I’ll return and report. Provided I survive…

Wikipedia article on Hákarl

Now, it appears that there may be a new contender in the “Ogudjegmåkasteopp” category – Korean fermented skate, lovingly titled 홍어 (hong-uh), supposedly from the sound that patrons make when they first smell it.

img_1791

Something about fermenting fish (read: letting it rot) creates a powerful ammonia smell. Last time I really smelled NH₃ was when someone dropped a bottle of it – the pure stuff – in a tiny, enclosed hallway outside a chem lab at my high school. Remember that the household stuff you use to eliminate streaking on windows is strong enough, and it comes in at between 5% and 10% dilution. So yeah, it was like eye-melting-lung-searing. It appears that hong-uh comes really close.

You can read more about this “delicacy” (a plate of it with steamed pork cost the writer about 80 bucks) over at the Korean Food Blog, whence I extracted the above image. Koreans keep shelling out large money to enjoy it, so I’m not sure if it’s something that really grows on you or whether it’s one of those things which, in a drunken stupor, illustrate how big your cojones are and how small your brain is.

At any rate, I’d be willing to try it.

Thus far, though, insects are still off the menu. A buddy of mine in Japan sent me a small bottle of hachi-no-ko (yellowjacket larva) to try, and it’s still sitting on my file cabinet. If I ever work up the guts to try them, I’ll let you know.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

 

The Curse of A.D.D.

I’ve alluded to the scattered nature of my mind before, but it’s worse than anything that could possibly be imagined. Like Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or clinical depression or a host of other “invisible” maladies, you’ll never know what it’s like unless you’ve experienced it. As a result, the body of humanity, which blessedly for them does not suffer from such things, tends to think that you’re just lazy, or a complainer, and that you should just sack up and get over it.

I had difficulty in school from the very start. I absorbed information like a sponge from the very beginning, but I couldn’t focus, and couldn’t organize the data in any meaningful way. I hated those “compare and contrast” exercises; the information was in there, but I could never get at it when I wanted to, although bits and pieces would often percolate to the surface at random moments. Look at some of the comments that appeared on my report cards:

  • “He must learn to concentrate on what is being done in class.”
  • “Doesn’t work to capacity.”
  • “Has done little homework, has kept no notes, and pays very little attention in class. He gets lost in his own thoughts, or some plaything or other during most of our class discussions;” this one was for 7th-grade science, mind you, a subject that has always fascinated me.

I can’t count the number of painful, tortuous parent-teacher conferences where two big adults would pile 16-ton weights of guilt on my little head and tell me that I wasn’t living up to my potental (that never-sufficiently-to-be-damned word), and that I needed to buckle down and pay attention and concentrate and do better. As well they might have asked a kid in an iron lung to run the hundred-yard dash… it just wasn’t going to happen. And despite half a century having elapsed, not much has changed on the fundamental landscape.

This is what it’s like in here:

9cACwsc

 

There are more downsides to this than I can count.

  • I can work hard and get things done, but it takes an incredible amount of mental energy.
  • Discussions are a challenge. “Esprit de l’escalier” (thinking of the right thing to say only after the moment has passed – and in my case, long after the moment has passed) prevents me from engaging in rational debate. Hence this blog, where ideas get worked out and crafted over time until they are more or less what I want to say.
  • Wife: “Don’t you remember that we talked about this?” Me: “No. Honestly.” Wife: “Doghouse.”
  • I used to use a Franklin Planner; I’d write everything down, prioritize it 123, ABC… and then I’d forget to look at it. At least a PDA or smartphone beeps at me to remind me to do something.

In the end, it’s a malady that just has to be lived with. I have methods of coping; this blog is one of them. Things that get written down are less likely to worry me later. To-do lists help, but chipping away at them is a slower process than it should be, because I still get distracted easily.

And one final note, after spending a couple of hours trying to craft this entry:

7zlo4

 

The Old Wolf has spoken.

It’s only a Done Deal if you give these scammers your credit card number

donedealscam

Notice the legitimate address for DoneDeal up there? It’s http://www.donedeal.ie, the home page of a legitimate Irish commercial site.

No surprises, then, that when the email leads you to http://recza.com.mx/donedealone/[obfuscated], red flags wave, sirens blare, and bells ring. Why would DoneDeal be using a web host in Mexico?

Of course, they wouldn’t. This is a phishing scam, pure and simple. I’ve received two in the last couple of days, the second pointing to a different website after the first one was shut down. You fill out an innocent-looking survey (and if you believe that they will pay you €150.00 for that 30-second effort, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you) and then you’re taken to a page where you enter your credit card details and other critical personal information:

Survey2

Most of my readers here know how to recognize a phishing scam from miles away, but most of us have loved ones and friends who may not be computer literate. Protect them; educate them; teach them NEVER to give out their financial data online unless they know what they’re doing.

DoneDeal knows about these bottom-feeders; whether they can do anything about them is debatable, but forewarned is forearmed.

The Old Wolf has spoken.