Rune Sore-bees: A Dialog by Shelly Berman, and more.

(Cross-posted from LiveJournal)

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Shelley Berman, a very funny man

Despite the fact that it has been widely copied and published on the net as an actual conversation from a hotel in Asia, (/r/forwardsfromgrandma) and purportedly published in the “Far East Economic Review” (it wasn’t), the dialogue below never actually took place in any hotel anywhere in the world. It is an intentionally composed humorous fiction and is entirely the creation of Shelley Berman, written as a chapter in his book, published as A HOTEL IS A PLACE, A HOTEL IS A FUNNY PLACE, and A HOTEL IS A VERY FUNNY PLACE, by Price/Stern/Sloan Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 1972, 1985. Any claim to the contrary is utterly baseless and erroneous. I post it here not only because it’s very funny, but because the true attribution (and the correct version) deserves more widespread exposure.

(Reading hints: You are on the phone. The other party is also in the hotel.)

Morny, rune sore-bees.

Oh sorry, I thought I dialed room service.

Rye. Rune sore-bees. Morny. Jewish to odor sunteen?

Yes, order something. This is room thirteen-oh-five. I want…

Okay, torino-fie. Yes plea?

I’d like some bacon and eggs.

Ow July then?

What?

Aches. Ow July then? Pry, boy, pooch…?

Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry. Scrambled, please.

Ow July thee baycome? Crease?

Crisp will be fine.

Okay. An Santos?

What?

Santos. July Santos?

Uh…I don’t know…I don’t think so.

No? Judo one toes?

Look. I really feel bad about this, but I just don’t know what judo-one-toes means. I’m sorry…

Toes! Toes! Why Jew Don Juan toes? Ow bow eenlish mopping we bother?

English muffin! I’ve got it! You were saying toast! Fine. An English muffin will be fine.

We bother?

No. Just put the bother on the side.

Wad?

I’m sorry. I meant butter. Butter on the side.

Copy?

I feel terrible about this but…

Copy. Copy, tea, mill…

Coffee!! Yes, coffee please. And that’s all.

One Minnie. Ass rune torino-fie, strangle-aches, crease baycome, tossy eenlish mopping we bother honey sigh, and copy. Rye?

Whatever you say.

Okay. Tenjewberrymud.

You’re welcome.

This is almost like “Anguish Languish” in its delightful mangling of the tongue. If you do it in the right accent, it does sound like it could have taken place in the Phillipines or somewhere similar.

Since we’re on the subject of Shelley Berman, we might as well include for your gratuitous entertainment his little piece, “Hotel Soap,” which despite multiple forwardings via fax and email, also never happened.

Dear Maid,

Please do not leave any more of those little bars of soap in my bathroom since I have brought my own bath-sized Dial. Please remove the six unopened little bars from the shelf under the medicine chest and another three in the shower soap dish. They are in my way.

Thank you,
S. Berman


Dear Room 635,

I am not your regular maid. She will be back tomorrow, Thursday, from her day off. I took the 3 hotel soaps out of the shower soap dish as you requested. The 6 bars on your shelf I took out of your way and put on top of your Kleenex dispenser in case you should change your mind. This leaves only the 3 bars I left today which my instructions from the management is to leave 3 soaps daily.
I hope this is satisfactory.

Kathy, Relief Maid


Dear Maid — I hope you are my regular maid.

Apparently Kathy did not tell you about my note to her concerning the little bars of soap. When I got back to my room this evening I found you had added 3 little Camays to the shelf under my medicine cabinet. I am going to be here in the hotel for two weeks and have brought my own bath-size Dial so I won’t need those 6 little Camays which are on the shelf. They are in my way when shaving, brushing teeth, etc.

Please remove them.

S. Berman


Dear Mr. Berman,

My day off was last Wed. so the relief maid left 3 hotel soaps which we are instructed by the management. I took the 6 soaps which were in your way on the shelf and put them in the soap dish where your Dial was. I put the Dial in the medicine cabinet for your convenience. I didn’t remove the 3 complimentary soaps which are always placed inside the medicine cabinet for all new check-ins and which you did not object to when you checked in last Monday. Please let me know if I can of further assistance.

Your regular maid,
Dotty


Dear Mr. Berman,

The assistant manager, Mr. Kensedder, informed me this A.M. that you called him last evening and said you were unhappy with your maid service. I have assigned a new girl to your room. I hope you will accept my apologies for any past inconvenience. If you have any future complaints please contact me so I can give it my personal attention. Call extension 1108 between 8AM and 5PM. Thank you.

Elaine Carmen
Housekeeper


Dear Miss Carmen,

It is impossible to contact you by phone since I leave the hotel for business at 745 AM and don’t get back before 530 or 6PM. That’s the reason I called Mr. Kensedder last night. You were already off duty. I only asked Mr. Kensedder if he could do anything about those little bars of soap. The new maid you assigned me must have thought I was a new check-in today, since she left another 3 bars of hotel soap in my medicine cabinet along with her regular delivery of 3 bars on the bath-room shelf. In just 5 days here I have accumulated 24 little bars of soap. Why are you doing this to me?

S. Berman


Dear Mr. Berman,

Your maid, Kathy, has been instructed to stop delivering soap to your room and remove the extra soaps. If I can be of further assistance, please call extension 1108 between 8AM and 5PM. Thank you,

Elaine Carmen,
Housekeeper


Dear Mr. Kensedder,

My bath-size Dial is missing. Every bar of soap was taken from my room including my own bath-size Dial. I came in late last night and had to call the bellhop to bring me 4 little Cashmere Bouquets.

S. Berman


Dear Mr. Berman,

I have informed our housekeeper, Elaine Carmen, of your soap problem. I cannot understand why there was no soap in your room since our maids are instructed to leave 3 bars of soap each time they service a room. The situation will be rectified immediately. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience.

Martin L. Kensedder
Assistant Manager


Dear Mrs. Carmen,

Who the hell left 54 little bars of Camay in my room? I came in last night and found 54 little bars of soap. I don’t want 54 little bars of Camay. I want my one damn bar of bath-size Dial. Do you realize I have 54 bars of soap in here. All I want is my bath size Dial. Please give me back my bath-size Dial.

S. Berman


Dear Mr. Berman,

You complained of too much soap in your room so I had them removed. Then you complained to Mr. Kensedder that all your soap was missing so I personally returned them. The 24 Camays which had been taken and the 3 Camays you are supposed to receive daily (sic). I don’t know anything about the 4 Cashmere Bouquets. Obviously your maid, Kathy, did not know I had returned your soaps so she also brought 24 Camays plus the 3 daily Camays. I don’t know where you got the idea this hotel issues bath-size Dial. I was able to locate some bath-size Ivory which I left in your room.

Elaine Carmen
Housekeeper


Dear Mrs. Carmen,

Just a short note to bring you up-to-date on my latest soap inventory. As of today I possess:

  • On shelf under medicine cabinet – 18 Camay in 4 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2.
  • On Kleenex dispenser – 11 Camay in 2 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 3.
  • On bedroom dresser – 1 stack of 3 Cashmere Bouquet, 1 stack of 4 hotel-size Ivory, and 8 Camay in 2 stacks of 4.
  • Inside medicine cabinet – 14 Camay in 3 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2.
  • In shower soap dish – 6 Camay, very moist.
  • On northeast corner of tub – 1 Cashmere Bouquet, slightly used.
  • On northwest corner of tub – 6 Camays in 2 stacks of 3.

Please ask Kathy when she services my room to make sure the stacks are neatly piled and dusted. Also, please advise her that stacks of more than 4 have a tendency to tip. May I suggest that my bedroom window sill is not in use and will make an excellent spot for future soap deliveries. One more item, I have purchased another bar of bath-sized Dial which I am keeping in the hotel vault in order to avoid further misunderstandings.

S. Berman

Shelley Berman has spoken.

The Egg by Andy Weir

This exists in multiple places on the Internet; it went viral a few years ago and I remember seeing it at that time.

The Internet, however is a big place; I’m sure there are some of my readers and/or followers that haven’t seen it, so I thought it was worth sharing here. You can see the original post here, with translations in numerous languages.

While this is not entirely consistent with my own cosmology, there is a significant intersection, and it has some very powerful thoughts in it.

uUntq

The Egg

By: Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you god?” You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?”

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”

“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”

“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You said.

“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”

“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”

“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”

“So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.

I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human being who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.” [1]

You thought for a long time.

“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”

“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”

“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”

And I sent you on your way.

In some ways I am reminded of Isaac Asimov’s famous short story “The Last Question,” which remains at the top of my list of science-fiction writing for the yearning questions about man’s destiny that it poses.

A hat tip to Andy Weir for a superb piece of literary exposition.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


¹ For me, this paragraph is the core that resonates with me the most powerfully as it relates to the here and now.

My New Western Digital Passport Ultra: Delightful hardware, hideous software

shopping

About the size of a pack of poker cards. Lightweight and functional, stores 1 Terabyte of data; I can back up my entire hard drive and that of my wife onto one little box.

Unfortunately, the WD SmartWare (which should be called something more obscene and less family-friendly) is the abomination of desolation.

The thing refuses to back up my large files, despite upgrading to the latest version (2.4.6); worse than that, there are processes running in the background – specifically WDBackupEngine.exe, but others as well – that will not die, can’t be killed, and consume so many resources that my greased-lightning core i7 box slows down to the speed of London traffic.

resources from WD

The WD forums are full of complaints about this issue going back to 2011. Western Digital has not provided a workable solution, and the fact that their latest software has not solved the issue points to the fact that they are either insouciant or incompetent.

I understand the need for background monitoring for a system that backs up changes on the fly and provides a dynamic mirror of the source disk or portions thereof, but the process should not bring the rest of the system to a screeching halt.

I have reluctantly removed WDSmartWare from my system and will have to use the device as a manual backup, which is still a lot better than having to use multiple devices. Again, I like the box itself, but the management software has no business existing.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Wizards in Winter: Taking it to the next level

In 2005, Carson Williams, a Mason, Ohio electician, decorated his home and synchronized it to the music “Wizards in Winter” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. A higher-quality version of the original video that was circulated by email can be seen below.

Not to be outdone, a neighborhood in Yucaipa, Calif. decided to one-up the Joneses, as it were, and got everyone on an entire block to come up with a similar synchronization. They recorded the result with a drone; it’s breathtaking, to say the least.

Paul Ó Neill, the creator of TSO, was moved. He told Billboard “We were incredibly honored and flattered when we first saw a house in Mason, Ohio, sync their lights to ‘Wizards In Winter,’ but to see a whole community band together and do something like this is beyond words. We only hope they don’t send us the electric bill!”

Here’s the neighborhood video:

This is one of my favorite pieces of music, largely as a result of the original video; I was delighted to see this evolution.

Probably not good for epileptics, though.

The Old Wolf has spoken.,

Attn;Beneficiary!

The Lads from Lagos never seem to give up. What saddens me is that as long as these letters keep going out, it means that somewhere people are falling victim to this fraud.

38_021022_nigerianemailmain.jpg.CROP.original-original


From: “MR.JOHN FRANK” <office_moneygram@yahoo.com>

Subject: WELCOME TO WESTERN UNION HEAD OFFIC

WELCOME TO WESTERN UNION HEAD OFFICE
BENIN REPUBLIC COTONOU
MR.JOHN FRANK

Attn;Beneficiary,Information reaching us from our corporate headquarters now, states that you only have 72hours to effect payment for the activation of your MTCN to enable you cash up your first $5,000.00 from your total (fund us$4,800,000,00,) since you are finding it difficult to make this payment we have decided that you are to go ahead and pay whatever you have from $105US above for the activation fee since you are not able to come up with the required sum, time is of the essence here.

You are to pay what ever you have from $105US above for the activation fee we will activate your MTCN upon receipt of this payment.here is the payment for the $5,000 usd but you can not pick it up because the chairman of the western union say that before you pick that money you must pay the any amount you have from $105US above OK

Here is the Senders Information;
Sender Name, MIKE
sender last name, OGUEJI
MTCN:):759054421
Amount Sent $5000.00

Please be inform that we just give you Nine Numbers for now and the remaining one number will be giving to you as soon as you send the activation fee of $105 usd today I will give you the complete number to pick up your fest payment of $5,000.00 uas as well,

Be informed that you will have to pay the balance sum of your activation upon cashing up of your first 5,000.00 usd, also i am using this medium to inform you that failure to pay the balance sum will leave us with no option but to deactivate your mtcn of which you will and can never cash up the balance sum  I will wait to hear back from you in regard to this massage so that I will give you the information that you will use to send the $105 usd.

You are advice to get back as soon as you receive this massage so that we will furnish you with the information needed to send the activation fee of $105 usd to able us release your first payment to you as promise kindly give urgent attention we are waiting

MR.JOHN FRANK
EMAIL: (westernunion132@qq.com)
WESTERN UNION HEAD OFFICE BENIN
REPUBLIC COTONOU OPERATION MANAGER)


For what it’s worth, qq.com is a Chinese hosting outfit. For the love of Eudora Welty and the Concert of the Galaxy, never respond to emails of this nature.

☛ NO ONE IN AFRICA HAS MONEY FOR YOU. THEY ONLY WANT YOURS, AND THEY WILL HAPPILY TAKE AS MUCH AS YOU ARE WILLING TO SEND THEM. ☚

Please protect your loved ones. Make sure they understand this.

DrudgeSirenSmall NEVER SEND MONEY BY WESTERN UNION, MONEY GRAM, GREEN DOT MONEYPAK, OR ANY OTHER METHOD TO SOMEONE YOU DO NOT KNOW. YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED. DrudgeSirenSmall

Phishing: My Yahoo Account has “expired.”

Phishing, as I have mentioned numerous times elsewhere, is rampant. In a world with over 7 billion people, it’s hard to say how many electronic bad guys there are out there, but even if its a relatively small number, the nature of the web gives the bad actors a lot more access to a global pool of potential victims than your average con-man enjoyed in pre-internet days.

This email arrived this morning:

yahoo1

Two things:

  1. YahooMail is always free. There’s a no-ad service you can pay for, but the drones are counting on the fact that grandma or grandpa (or any other potential sucker) won’t know that.
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    A significant portion of internet users are terribly un-technical, and find computers are to be feared; if they use them at all, it’s on a cookbook level. “If you see it on the internet, it has to be true” is sadly a part of far too many people’s psyches, hence many people get taken advantage of in myriad ways.
  2. See that little yellow circle by the link? If you hover over it with your mouse, you’ll get a popup indicating how any particular website has been rated by users for trustworthiness and child safety.Yahoo2That’s a function of a browser extension called “WOT” (Web of Trust) that I have mentioned elsewhere. It’s invaluable for stopping problems before they start. The circles displayed are green, yellow, or red, and you can follow the “Click to view details” link for more information, user reviews, or to rate a site yourself if you have a (free) account.It’s not perfect by any means – WOT can be subject to shill reviews and malicious comments from unethical competitors and the like, but like anything else on the internet, it’s part of a body of evidence and I find it extremely useful as a canary in the mine.  In this case, the top-level domain “twomini.com” is rated very poorly on both counts, with the one user-posted review stating “Domainhoster hosting sites used for fraud, scam and Accountphishing.” Which is certainly true in this case.

If you hover over the “go here” link, your browser indicates that you are being directed to “http://bit.ly/10VyM2I&#8221; which is most definitely NOT a Yahoo address. It’s a shortened link which expands to:

DrudgeSirenSmallhttp://infoskale.twomini.com/obyno/Connect%26True%3DUser1%25%3DXclusiv-
3D%23Anonymous7Dole%3DReason%26Upgrade1%25continue%25True4.php DrudgeSirenSmall

Web addresses like that are not necessarily bad in and of themselves, but they are not what you would expect to see when you visit a major site like Yahoo, or Comcast, or your financial institution. Those little drudge lights up there point out that this kind of URL is a red flag for suspicious activity, and to proceed with extreme caution.

If the victim unwisely clicks on the link, they get this:

Yahoo3

which quickly redirects to this:

Yahoo4

If you try to “log in” from this screen, your account information is sent to Russia or the Ukraine or Nigeria or somewhere else, and the bad boys now have access to all your email, as well as an account to send out spamvertising or other scams with, and they do so on a regular basis. The victim is then sent back to the regular Yahoo Mail  website, and continues on their merry way none the wiser.

indiana_jones_grail_knight-you-have-chosen-poorly

I logged in several times with user names like “ScammersEatCamelDung”, just to make sure they got the message. Of course, it’s possible that responses are simply harvested into a login script that will never be seen, but what the heck; I’ll take any opportunity to insult one of these wastes of human cytoplasm.

Please be careful out there, and for the love of Ella Wheeler Wilcox and the music of the spheres, protect your loved ones. If you have people you care about who use the computer and who are not tech-savvy, educate them on how to protect themselves from scammers.

We demand that people get licenses to drive a car; it’s a shame no basic training is required before venturing into the potentially-scary world of the internet.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Kids love puppets, past and present.

FTP_children_watching_marionettes

Children watching marionettes in New York, 1935 (From Wikimedia)

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Alfred Eisenstaedt Children At A Puppet Theatre Paris Picture. It appears the French kids really get into this.

431411

Children watching a puppet show in the street. Honshu Shizuoka Izu Peninsula, Japan
Photograph: George Dixon Aked, 1937

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Children watch puppets and performers at the Polynesian Luau – Orlando, Florida
Photo: Philip Guataer, 1981
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

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Modern puppeteer Nicola McEldowney entertains children with Just So Stories in Cambridge, MA, 7/20/12 — at Henry Bear’s Park.

Of course, marionettes are not only for kids. Although the puppet show in the Sound of Music was put on ostensibly by the children of the family, it was actually the famous Bill Baird and his troupe who created the puppets and the segment, for the enjoyment of the adults.

soundofmusic

Puppets can be useful, too:

Grondahl - Puppets

© Calvin Grondahl

The Old Wolf has spoken.