Drooling on the Pillow

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I got scammed last week by a guy who claimed to have been a security guard in my building and dying of some unspecified liver disease. I realized as soon as the fiver left my hand that I'd never met this guy in my life and, of course, I felt foolish, but I told myself that the guy was a real artist. He was very good. And I'm an idiot.

I had a girlfriend once who fell for the old dropped wallet scam and lost a couple hundred and some jewelry.

My mother once got a call from 'bank security' asking her to come to the bank, withdraw $500 and pass it to one of their agents to test one of the tellers they suspected of passing phoney bills. She would have done it, too, if I hadn't been there.

There's a certain residual sheen of innocence on the most jaded of us that endows others, unless their hands are actually dripping with blood, with an initial deposit of plausibility. Always rejecting a stranger's presentation of himself as a matter of policy is no way to live and scammers make a living hopping over our suspicions and making common cause with our greed or fear.

The guy in the picture was going door-to-door in Florida with a black medical bag offering free breast exams. At least two women, ages 33 and 36 took him up on it. I know, your first thought is (smacking forehead) 'Why didn't I think of that?' Perhaps you're not quite as cheesy a douchbag as you've become accustom to believing. Or, you're not a 76 year old loser who just wants to remember one more time what they felt like. And, since there's no mention of money changing hands this may actually be less of a scam than a uniquely Floridian ritual. It definitely is a warning, though. Itinerant proctologists cannot be far, um, behind.

The Smoking Gun via Environmental Republican.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

But They Support The Troops 

Fausta has some comments and links on the Whitney Biennial. Always crass, crude and stupid, reflexively and thoughtlessly left-wing and guaranteed beauty-free, the Biennial has become a virtual power-point display of how the art world has parted ways with the rails. Please understand that I'm not questioning the artists' patriotism or talent, merely noting that they have none of either.

Another depressing yelp was issued by Nina Burleigh at Solon.com and brought our attention by Professor Reynolds. This one really has to be read to be believed. She bought a summer house in Narrowsburg, N.Y. and, through a series of misfortunes that will make you weep, had to actually live there and send their defenseless son to kindergarten in the heart of Red Country. Reminiscent of the enormities committed at Abu Gharib and Guantanamo, the boy was forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. She swallowed that, but when the kid came home with an invitation to a prayer meeting in his backpack she did what any concerned parent would do; she sicced the ACLU on the school. Way to build those bridges, Nina!

Throughout the article, Nina makes assumptions about the state of mind of her neighbors that are nothing more than her prejudices beating the weeds in front of her. It's anthropology for her and a cruder, more backwards tribe never threw a UN relief worker in the pot. She states her position very clearly: "I cringed as my young son recited the Pledge of Allegiance. But who was I to question his innocent trust in a nation I long ago lost faith in?"

At a veteran's day celebration she suffers through overt displays of patriotism until the principal asked the assembled veterans to identify themselves.
Finally, a burly, gray-bearded Vietnam veteran rose
and said what no one else dared. After identifying
himself, he choked out, "Kids, I just hope to God none
of you ever have to experience what we went through."
Then he sat down, leaving a small pocket of shocked
silence. No one applauded his effort at honesty. On
the contrary, the hot gym air thickened with a tension
that implicitly ostracized the man, and by extension --
because we agreed with him -- me and my husband.
That strikes me as a pretty unexceptional remark for a veteran of any war to make and its a good bet that Nina imagined the response as hostile. To then project herself as sharing the opprobrium displays a self-regard and moral arrogance that is just stupifying.

Go ahead and read it. But I warned you.

Getting a 50kph Spinal Tap 

Here's a cautionary tale by way of Colby Cosh about a young Canadian metal-banger.
The 20-year-old man was walking beside railway
tracks on Sunday, the Norwegian heavy metal band
Gorgoroth cranked on his portable CD player,
Well, there's a check point right there. No blindfold?
when he was hit by a freight train.

Maggrah said he did hear the blast of the train horn
just before he was hit.

"I tried to jump out of the way, but I guess not in time,"
he said yesterday from his bed at Red Deer Regional
Hospital Centre.

"It was just instant. I was just walking and then I was on
the ground. I wasn't sure what happened. Then I saw
the train stopping up ahead. I thought, 'Holy crap dude,
you just got hit by a train.' "
He seems to be okay, except for a few busted ribs and a punctured lung. Fortunately, he learned a good lesson.
"Maybe the metal gods above were smiling on me and
they didn't want one of their true warriors to die on
them. Otherwise, I'd be up there in the kingdom of
Nigel Tufnel couldn't have put it better.
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