WOW #47

Telephone

The Word Of this Week is a word that we all know – or should; it’s

Phishing

Phishing Trip

Ring……..ring……..ring……..
Son – Hello
……..(one second……..(two seconds)……..(three seconds)……..(four seconds) click
(Boiler room – 50 voices in background)
Strike one!
Paki – Hellooo….is this Mr. J. Smith?
Phone is in the wife’s name – Mrs. J. Smith
Strike two!
Son – Yes
Paki – This is the security Department of Visa (Sure it is 😛 )
There are three credit cards in the house, and they are all MasterCards
Strike Three!
Paki – There has been suspicious activity on your Visa card. A few minutes ago, there was a $600 transfer to Western Union. That is often a sign of online fraud. Did you make that transfer?
Son – What are the last four digits you have on that card?
……..Click Yerrr Out!

Sorry! The suckers aren’t biting today – and tell your cousin, the Prince of Nigeria, to stop sending us those get-rich-quick emails.

Remember, folks – TANSTAAFLThere Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch – and there’s always someone ready to try to take away a lunch that you’ve already paid for.

Be alert!!
We need all the Lerts we can get. 😉

You’ve been selected to receive money – Sure you have

You’ve won a prize – in a contest you don’t remember entering

Buy a ticket for this foreign lottery – they just change your dollars to rials before they steal them

You’ll get a bonus or gift if you buy now – see TANSTAAFL

They aggressively claim that you owe money on your taxes – no civilized country’s tax department would approach you in this way, or demand payment in prepaid iTunes cards 🙄

The phone rings once, then hangs up – if you have call-display, do not call an unfamiliar number back. It will direct you to a pay-per-minute site

They say that you’ve been the victim of a fraud (see above) – they’re just after your banking information

They offer to fix your computer – they will download all your financial information

They’re selling an extended warranty on your car – talk to your dealer, face-to-face, rather than some unknown on the phone

They won’t answer your questions (see above) – don’t let them deflect or refuse. They have all the answers…. until you ask an inconvenient question

They’re collecting for a charity you’ve never heard of – then why would you donate?? Real charities don’t demand your credit card number over the phone.

They threaten to have you arrested – There are laws which prevent governments and organizations – even collection agencies – from doing this. Just hang up

They want personal information, like Social Security numbers – for identity theft and fraud. If they called you, never give it out.

They’re collecting a debt you don’t remember – you have the right to a mailed copy of any claim. Demand one!

They claim to have kidnapped someone you know – Some scammers now use social media to find the names and whereabouts of your friends and family members, and use that information to impersonate kidnappers and demand ransom money. It may sound terrifying, but it’s most often fake. Definitely don’t pay them anything. Instead, contact your friend or relative immediately, and report the call to the FTC/CRTC or the police.

They want you to invest in something – Unless it’s someone you know, they get no dough!

They just want to confirm your debit or credit card number – this is the fastest way to get defrauded

They want you to make an immediate decision – even if it’s something you want, pressure = fraud. Hang up and do your own research.

The call looks like it’s coming from your own phone – hackers claim that they’re from the phone company, and just want you to verify those magic numbers. Don’t do it!

They’re too friendly – It’s nice to talk to nice people….until they steal you blind. Beware of unknown callers who seem really, Really friendly.

It’s a jungle out there. Keep your eyes on your fries – and your wallet, and online data. 😳

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I Have Poor Relatives

Shabby Man

Once upon a time there was a poor little boy from a poor family. His Father was poor.  His Mother was poor.  The maid was poor.  The cook was poor.  The butler was poor.  Even the chauffeur was poor. One day, he went to his father and asked if he could have a pony.  His Father said no, because they were too poor to afford a pony.  The poor little boy went to his piggy-bank, took out enough money to buy himself the pony, and put the rest back….

We are often so busy with our own lives, that without really obvious clues, we think that everyone is pretty much like ourselves. It takes an observant and analytical mind to notice the struggles of those at the bottom of the financial, pissed-on trickle down ladder.  I am distressed that a $180 pair of distressed designer jeans looks just like my four-years-old $24.95 Wal-Mart pair.

This is why politicians, who are already being paid far too much to do a job that their predecessors did without pay, as a Public Service, feel free to waste millions – Billions – of our dollars, and still fraudulently pad their office budgets and expense accounts.  They have no idea, and don’t care, what it’s like at the bottom of the pile, and it’s been this way since long before Marie Antoinette offered to “let them eat cake.”

It is just as illegal for a millionaire to sleep under a bridge, as it is for a homeless man to do so.

I recently had a conversation with a friend. It seemed that both of us were keeping an eye on family finances – total income vs. expenses – only I think that he was doing it at a much higher level than I was.  I’ve never asked how much he makes.  It’s none of my business, and doesn’t affect our friendship.

With his experience, training, intelligence and education, I suspect his annual salary is somewhere north of $100,000/year. His talented wife probably makes half of that.

With my learning disabilities, and poor short-term memory adding to my tendency for procrastination, I’m lucky to have accomplished what I have during my life. About 15 years ago, before I retired to live on Government and company pensions – with a bunch of overtime, I grossed $44,000, but the wife had been ‘downsized.’  Earlier, when I made $38,000, she added $19,000.

This is not a whine! I’m still doing better than a lot of people, including the little guy who busks in the cold, outside the local grocery store.  As an engineer, Jim Wheeler says that it is not worth his while to stop and pick up a penny.  I still grab the occasional one or two from the ‘Need A Penny/ Leave A Penny’ tray at the corner store.  People abandon them because the Mint has stopped making them.

I always check the reject chutes of the coin-counting machines in stores. Sometimes I find Canadian coins, as well as foreign ones which I add to my collection.  It’s quick and easy to eyeball the change chutes of vending machines.  I’m not too proud to (discreetly) stick my finger in the few payphone chutes that still exist.  The last time I did, I found $2.  It’s all relative.  $2 to a millionaire is nothing, although Bill Gates (or his minions) cashed a check for 39 cents.  $2 to someone who is eating cat food (We don’t.) means a lot.

Having pets is a wonderful experience. I would not want to get rid of any that we have, but the wife wants even more.  I cannot convince her that, between food, treats, litter, and vet bills, each animal costs us about $1000 a year.  I would sooner have that money to pay down our still-existing mortgage, or use it to take enjoyable trips, while we are still physically capable of doing so.

Some people waste money, too often MY money!  Some people scrimp and save, show restraint and fiscal control, and budget their money to get them the most they can.  I’d be patting myself on the back, but I’m busy crawling around on the floor, trying to find that quarter I dropped.  I’ll be back up at the computer in a couple of days.  Please come back again then.   😉

A Phish Out Of Water

The other day, while I was out being threatened (More on that later), the wife was being phished. Since the son and I were out running errands, she took advantage of our absence to sit at the PC in the computer room, and pay some bills online.

She had just accessed the bank’s website, and was viewing activity on our account for the last 30 days, when the phone rang. Jane Doe? Yes?? This is Walter, at the accounting department of XYZ Bank. I want to talk about a $200 deposit that was made to your account, 11 AM, on June 18.

She wisely said that she’d check into it, and would call him back. What was his number? The bank’s accounting department would be in Toronto, with a 416 area code. He gave her a local, 519 number. What extension?? Oh, that’s a direct line.

She scrolled up the page and, of course, there was no such deposit. She tried calling his number back. We’re sorry. The number you have called is equipped for outgoing calls only. It was worrying that this scammer knew her name, which is not listed in the phone book, and the fact that we banked with XYZ. We paranoidly shred everything that has a name or address on it, to the point that a Christmas present from the son, was a new cross-cut shredder which makes confetti.

She called the bank’s 1-800 customer service number, and reported the incident. They said they’d look into it, but it’s like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.

Meanwhile…. I’d had a Tri-Fecta week.

Shopping cart

A woman in a grocery store had backed into my cart, and apparently hit her elbow. Ow! Ow! Ow! – WELL?? Well what? Are you going to apologise? NO!

I left another store a couple of days later, and went to climb into my car. Suddenly, the owner of the van to my left, leaned past his windshield and yelled, “Take it easy on my van! It’s brand new, and I don’t want it all scratched up.” Uh, Okay…. “I told you, don’t scratch my van!” I didn’t – I didn’t touch it. “I’m warning you. Take it easy on my van.” Even with my door fully open, it doesn’t touch your van by two inches. Take a look. “Just watch yourself! I warned you to stay away from my van. I hate ignorant cocksuckers like you.” (My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with the facts.) and climbed in and roared away.

The coup de grace came on Saturday morning. When the son got home from work, we went out together to do some shopping and errands. As we finished the last, it was nearing lunch time, and he offered to treat, at a Subway shop.

We followed a family in, parents early 30s, boys 6 and 8, and waited patiently as they all worked their way down the counter, picking out toppings. Dad went first, then the excited, indecisive boys, followed by mom in ballerina mode, arms akimbo, hands on hips, swiveling back and forth, making decisions.

She finally made her last choice (Swiss cheese) and moved up to the register, where dad was paying. I moved up, and started giving my choices, when she and her Tai Chi elbows came dancing back. I tried to back out of her way, but one of her flying elbows just touched my ample tummy.

Being the well-mannered Canadian that I am, I said, “Oops, I’m sorry.”, and she danced away again. I continued picking stuff for my sandwich as hubby spoke to her….or so I thought. Suddenly I heard, “Hey! I’m talking to you!” Wha’?? “Watch what the fuck yer doin’! That’s just fucking disrespectful. I oughta slap the shit outta you!”

So, he’s taught the boys that it’s okay to use foul language in public and threaten people, all 5’ 8”, and 150 lbs. of him. A lover, not a fighter, and almost 71, I think I could have taken him, because it would not have been a fair fight. If not, I brought along my son, The Bear. At 6’ 2”, and 275 lbs. he could just squeeze this mouthy idiot’s head till all the shit ran out his ears.

As they headed for a table, he leaned in and hissed, “Yer just lucky I had the wife along today.” which, while not the dumbest thing I’d heard all week, was well up in the top ten. If he hadn’t had the Prima Ballerina, she wouldn’t have bumped into me, and this whole damned drama scene wouldn’t have occurred. Shit, take your meds, and attend those court-ordered anger management sessions!

Then he sat down with the wife he was so worried about, pulled out his smart phone, and proceeded to ignore her and his sons while he phoned three friends to set up a golf game the next day, and then play Candy Crush.

As the President of the local Grumpy Old Dude Association, I’d like to claim that I’m an irritating old turd, and own these, but:

You weren’t watching where you were going, and walked into my cart. I didn’t touch your vehicle! Open your eyes and look.
Your wife backed into me – and I apologised.

If these had valid causes, I’d blame them on urban overcrowding pressure. What in Hell causes people to get so angry and aggressive about imaginary slights and insults?

#483

Pros And Cons

There have always been ways to separate the gullible from their money, but the internet has provided the pros with a method to practice their cons, quicker, easier, more anonymously, and over a much wider scope.

I resentfully awoke the other day, 2 hours before my much-needed beauty sleep normally ended, to a ringing telephone.  Sullenly answering it, I was assailed by a too-perky, recorded female voice informing me that her corporation was aware that I was paying too high an interest rate on my credit card (How?), and this was my last chance….Yadda, Yadda, Yadda!  Bottom line – pay money.

At the end of the recording, the voice said, “If you no longer wish to receive these notifications, press 2 now.”  If this was my last chance, why do I continue to receive 2 or 3 of these calls every week?  And you can push that number 2 till it falls off the phone, the wife has stabbed it dozens of times, yet the calls persist.

We used to get about the same number of calls from some Paki, who told us that he was from Microsoft, and they had noticed that we had problems with our computer (again, how?!  hundreds of millions of computers, and you noticed a problem, on mine?).  Even many users with MSN.com as their home page, didn’t recognize a Microsoft connection.

Perhaps Microsoft threatened legal action of some sort.  Now they tell you that they are from “the Word Program Department,” and if you’ll just perform their electronic voodoo, and let them take over your computer, they’ll fix it all better – right after they empty your bank accounts and max out your credit cards.

When the wife has the time and patience, she lets them babble their spiel, and then acts all confused, “because we only have Macs in the house, and we don’t use a Word program on them.”

Despite the Do Not Call List, which they can’t read in Pakistan, we continue to get calls for various duct-cleaning services.  The disabled daughter lives in a one-floor housing unit with no basement.  She recently told us how she stopped all these calls.  Quite truthfully, she told them all that her unit is heated with electric baseboard heaters – no ducts!  The wife had a chance to use that line on Sunday morning.  Feel free to try it yourself.

While I was out running a few errands the other day, the doorbell rang.  Since the wife wasn’t feeling well, she didn’t go downstairs to answer it.  When I returned home, there was a brightly-printed flyer hanging from the mailbox.  It was from the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Apparently, if they don’t get the chance to personally beat you with a copy of The Watchtower, like a dog shitting on your lawn, they leave this crap behind.

Even worse, when I more closely examined it, I found that they have their own website, JW.com, and a QR code printed on the corner of the sheet.  You can find everything you wanted to know about the Jovies by scanning this with your Smartphone.  I learned everything I wanted to know about them from the fact that they come around, uninvited and unwanted, disturb your life, and leave shit behind.  These Children of God have become Children of the Information Age.  Thanx Internet.  😦

Early on an autumn Sunday afternoon, the doorbell rang.  Cracking the front door so that a yapping dog wouldn’t leak out, I saw a clean-looking, 20ish male, dressed in (a uniform?) a light-blue, long-sleeved cotton shirt, dark blue, neatly-creased slacks, with a black nylon lanyard around his neck.  He held up a laminated plastic ID with his picture and name (maybe), but no corporation name.

What I have to believe was a fine line of bullshit, was beautifully crafted.  “I’m from the Home Inspection Department, (Of what company, or Government level?) I’m here to check the integrity of your house. (What integrity?)  I’ll just leave my shoes out here”….and actually looked puzzled, as I closed the door on him.  Phone me, or email me, or even write me, and we’ll arrange a mutually convenient time.

Who comes around, unannounced, and unidentified, on a Sunday?  And yet, he and his patter looked and sounded so good, that I’m sure many home-owners unquestioningly opened their houses to him – and then later, wondered where the laptop or the jewelry went to.  I suppose I should have reported him to the Fraud Squad, even tried to get a picture of him, but I am not my neighbor’s keeper.  Caveat Emptor!

Thieves I Have Known

Every office or shop has one or more, the guy/gal who takes home a roll of Scotch Tape, or a box of pencils.  Working with vinyl sheet and felt, at the auto-parts shop, they used to buy scissors by the case.  A supervisor opined to me that the company would be able to stop buying scissors when every employee had a pair at home.  (I have two pair, plus a couple of part-rolls of duct tape.)

Usually the thefts are small enough not to be noticed, or at least overlooked.  Sometimes though….

I discovered roller-skating as it made a big come-back when I was about 16.  My record was 9 two-hour sessions in one week – every evening, plus Sat. and Sun. afternoons.  I started with rental skates, but, each pair is different, and they’re never Yours.  Soon I wanted to buy my own.  I went to the hardware store in town which sold them.  They had sold out of the shin-high Bauer skates in my size, but had a pair of Dunn’s ankle-high, men’s, white.  I bought them, and never thought about them.  The small towns up north must be more open-minded.  No-one ever commented about me wearing “girls’” skates till I moved here.

The first pair had been the old cone and ball-bearing type wheels.  When I moved to the big city, I decided to get a pair of the new precision-bearing type, which Bauer made right here.  One of the ladies at the Adult Education told me that her neighbor could get me a pair for about half-price.  Go to his house, tell him what size and type, and a week or two later you picked them up and paid cash.

A couple of years later, after graduating, I got a job at the Bauer plant, and found my supplier making hockey blades and, quite coincidentally, his brother-in-law the sole warehouse worker.  Six months after I left, I heard they had both been fired, arrested and charged.

At my next job, at the steel-fab plant, there was also a pair of brothers-in-law, both Turkish.  This was the first time I heard the term “camel-chaser” applied.  They took it as playful razzing, returning “squarehead” to the German co-workers.

One summer they took their wives and kids, all in one station-wagon, to a beach, 90 minutes drive away.  They settled them down on the sand and told them they were going into town for a beer.  They drove back to the city in an hour, parked in front of their baby sitter’s, a block from the house, ran up the street, carefully not attracting attention, and set a fire in the basement of their home.

Then they ran back to the car, raced back to the beach, and spent the day on the sand.  When they returned to a pile of ashes and an insurance claim, late that evening, they were shocked….that people had seen them driving, and running, and heard them talking about returning to the old country.  Sorry guys, not for at least two years less a day, for arson and insurance fraud.

While I was busy making boots, shoes, and slippers, there was a promotions manager from the down-town main plant who used to come out to our warehouse almost every week.  He was responsible for displays in local malls, and at trade shows.  He would show up with a clipboard and a list of styles, sizes and colors, and hand it to the warehouse manager, and later drive away with a trunk-load of footwear.

One day, as he was doing this, a senior executive from main branch was in the warehouse and was intrigued, and started asking questions.  How often does he do this?  How many pairs does he take? Does he provide a project number?  Are these deducted from inventory?  It soon became apparent that the “trade show” he claimed, didn’t exist.  Like my skate supplier above, he was stealing (or having stolen for him) to order.

At the same plant, despite a security guard at the entrance, the two young dopers in the rubber-moulding department used to carry out pairs of winter boots in their backpacks.  They traded them to their dealer for hash, which they brought back and smoked, on the job.  One night, they were so baked that they produced 46 pairs of boots in a row with large holes in them – and never noticed.

At one company, one of the senior maintenance men was the go-to guy for welding.  He used steel flat bars, angles and hollow structural tubing to produce racks and ramps and stands as processes changed, or were added.  He was also responsible for keeping an eye on metal stock, and having it replaced as needed.

His shopping list confused a new purchasing clerk, because the inventory showed hundreds of feet of all material.  An investigation revealed that he had a lucrative home business.  He built trailers – campers, ATV, snowmobile, etc.  He was having the company purchase and pay for, material in excess of their requirements.  He used company time and equipment to cut it to precise size and shape.

He would then take it out the back and pile it on a hardwood pallet, along with undersized, damaged or otherwise “scrap” steel.  This was available to any employee to buy at scrap prices, or even be told, “Just haul it away.”  Since he knew when the pallet was full, he always got first chance at it.  He even used the company forklift to put it in the bed of his pickup, but always returned the pallet for refill.

Have any of you worked with a paper-clip pincher?  Or even worse, one of these?  Are any of you the office paper-clip pincher??!  I still have a 12-foot Lufkin steel tape measure I got 45 years ago at the steel warehouse, along with a fine-tip felt marker which, surprisingly, still labels my coins.  Oops!  😉

Motor City Madness – Part 3

Coming Unscrewed

We were up early Sunday morning, if you can call nine AM early.  It is for us, but we had things to do and money to spend.  I went down to the office to check us out.  It was a peaceful morning, no beer party, no hookers, no trolling queers.  There’s a Denny’s just down the road, so we planned to have breakfast there.

Michigan is catching up with the rest of North America.  No longer is the Denny’s half smoking, and half drifting smoke, hak, hak!  We got a nice table near the back window and a pleasant, mature waitress who came from Ireland years ago.  Prices at this Denny’s are about half of what the captive Denny’s attached to Days Inns in Niagara Falls charge.

I was reminded of my post titled Lazy and Incompetent, when I found that Denny’s now has pancake balls.  They’re like Tim Hortons Timbits, small balls of thick pancake mix, deep-fried.  These are for people too busy or lazy to actually cut up pancakes.  Just stir some butter and syrup into their serving bowl, and spoon them into your mouth.

As we were waiting for our order, we looked out into the parking lot and spied a large young Negro woman getting out of a Jeep.  She was wearing (?) a micro-mini dress which barely covered her assets.  This was like two hundred pounds of potatoes in a hundred pound Spanx bag.  She leaned back into the Jeep to retrieve something and I saw everything but her appendix scar.  Then she tugged the dress down again….in the front.  The entire room watched as she sashayed to the front door.

After breakfast, we went up to the big Meijer store.  The grandson and I sold our rolled coins to Customer Service.  The wife found some correctly sized pullovers, cheap, in four nice colors.  We also brought back some liquid coffee creamers in flavors not yet available locally.  I’m looking forward to hot chocolate with some Crème Brulée added, but, we came for beet sugar.

There were only fifteen four-pound bags of Peninsular brand sugar, the kind we usually buy, on the shelf, so the grandson bought it, for use at his place.  The wife and I took six five-pound bags of the Meijer brand for ourselves.  They would have put out more Peninsular, later in the day, but we didn’t plan on going back.  This means we hauled back a total of ninety pounds of sugar to Canada.  That’s just about the weight of the fiancée who didn’t come with us.  She might have had to walk home.

The grandson discovered that, by using self-checkouts, we could pour in and get rid of most of the rest of our pocketfuls of loose change.  I still need five State quarters to fill my set.  I had hoped to get one or more on the trip, but, by having exact change for almost every purchase, we never got any new coins.

Then we went to the Gibraltar Trade Center, across from the motel.  Over 200 vendors in an arena-sized building, we wandered for a couple of hours, and ended by getting some good quality food at the surprisingly diverse food court.

The first thing we bought was some sandalwood musk-oil to add to my manly bath gel.  Our daughter is fascinated by things Egyptian.  The surprise second item purchased, was a solid gold scarab beetle pendant with semi-precious scales for the head, thorax and wings.  It has an ankh molded on its belly.

A middle-aged female (wo)manned this jewelry sales counter.  The owner must have been desperate.  I wouldn’t have let her supervise a Japanese snake race.  When we decided to buy the item, she didn’t know what the price was.  She phoned the owner, who told her that all the items are sold by weight, at today’s gold price.  She couldn’t figure that out, so he walked her through it.  The price came to $232.45, and we proffered our MasterCard.

She walked over to the desk and pushed the card through the slide-reader, and told us it hadn’t gone through.  I mentioned that it was a chip-card, and chip-cards don’t scan when swiped.  She walked around to the other side of the desk and pulled it through the reader.  Since she’s now facing in the opposite direction, the magnetic strip, which was on the inside, is now on the outside.  It didn’t go through.  She reversed grip on the card, and tried yet another time, and claimed it didn’t go through.

She phoned up and bothered the owner again, who probably said the reader might not work, but she stated it as a certainty.  There was a “white” ATM not twenty feet away.  We walked over and took a $200 advance against the credit card, and paid the balance out-of-pocket.  The ATM fee was $3, and my bank charged another $2, for out-of-country use, plus instant interest on a cash advance.

Two days after we got home, the wife was checking the on-line bank statement, and there was the $232.45 charge.  It did go through, at least one of her many tries.  If it goes through as a chip-card, we have to input a PIN number.  If it goes through as a swipe, we have to sign and authorize the charge, and receive a copy of the machine tape.  Neither of these things occurred.

The wife called the bank’s 800 number and spoke to a nice man in the Anti-Fraud department, even though this was probably just incompetence, not intentional fraud.  She downloaded a complaint form, filled it out, I signed it, and she faxed it, and a copy of the bill-of-sale showing payment in cash, to the bank.  We had the money back in our account within three working days.

If my readership doesn’t drop off drastically from on-line sleeping sickness, I plan to eventually post about our triumphant return.  Now there’s talk of the son and I going back for the spring show.

Moneypit

It’s the 24th of April in Southern Ontario.  I live as far south as Detroit, and it Snowed today.  Wha’Happun?  Did we not get Mother Nature a nice enough present for Earth Day?

I took the car to the Chevy Dealer last week, to have them Deal with the no-start problem.  As I suspected, the charge was almost $600.  Then the service manager said the traction control/ABS brakes thing was a separate problem that would take almost another $500 to cure.  The cats may have to go on a diet when we start eating their food.  I don’t know whether any one of these fixes has taken care of the fainting speedometer, and I haven’t been locked out of the car recently.  My key would sometimes fail to turn in the lock, but that was just because it is the most-used, and most-worn.  They charged me six bucks and cut me a new one.  The wife traded her seldom-used one to the son.

I found another automotive idiosyncrasy the other day.  We stopped at the pharmacy, on the way home from the wife’s doctor, with a list of prescriptions.  As usual, she wasn’t feeling too energetic, so I went in alone, leaving the keys in the ignition.  Just as I was coming back out, in hobbled the wife.  She had remembered a question or two she wished to put to the pharmacist.  She told me she had pushed the door-lock button, as she got out.  I asked her for my keys.  Oh, were they still in the lock?  She has her purse, does she have her keys?  Yes! At least we aren’t locked out.  I walked over to the car and opened the driver’s door, and turned to look at her.  She was still fumbling to get out the remote on her key-ring.  Apparently, if you leave the keys in the ignition and push the lock button, all the doors lock, except the driver’s.  So there sat the car, with the driver’s door unlocked, keys in the ignition, and no-one watching it.  The only thing missing was a large sign on the roof reading, Steal Me.

The day after I posted about taking the daughter to pick up her hearing assistors at the better hearing clinic, I read a short piece in the local paper that said that two employees from the clinic in the next city, which we used, and one from a branch in a city down the highway, were arrested and charged with fraud.  It is Alleged that they overbilled for goods and services and charged for services not rendered to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, the Canadian Ministry of Health and the Federal Long-term Assistive Devices Program.  My guess that they were under investigation was correct.  We’ll never get the stolen money back, and now we’ll have to pay more to have them prosecuted, and possibly jailed.

I’m still reading.  They’re still S**tting.  A story in the local paper is headlined, “In pursuit of riches in the asteroid belt.”  It’s about a plan to capture near-Earth asteroids, and mine them for things like platinum, which is really valuable, as well as water for human space-use, and iron, for building structures in space.  It would be relatively easy and inexpensive to do because these hunks of rock are closer than the moon.  They are Not, however, as implied, in the asteroid belt, which is a couple of hundred million miles away.

Quebec, our beloved Francophone province, has a Quebec Office of the French Language, despite the fact that the poutine they speak is almost incomprehensible to people in France.  When they import French-language movies, made in Paris, they have to have subtitles to be understood.  This warehouse of cultural egotism threw a snit-fit last week.  A hospital in Montreal, where 75% speak English, purchased some soiled linen baskets from a supplier in the USA.  The baskets say, ”Soiled linen”.  The petty language police got up on their Frogs-legs to protest mocking their culture and disrespect for Quebec’s linguistic uniqueness.  Dear Quebec; Get over yourselves!  After the Battle of The Plains of Abraham, two hundred years ago, you were offered the options of being a defeated people, or a productive, co-operative part of this great country.  Please choose one and shut up about it.

Over the years, many people have suggested that those receiving social assistance, welfare, unemployment, etc., should be required to perform some sort of service for the community which supports them.  Various provinces and cities have enacted ordinances which prevent this.  For example, the number of hours put in, divided into the amount of money given to an individual, might result in a figure less than the minimum wage law.  We can’t have that.  That might incite someone to actually get a paying job.  Just keep handing the money over with no strings attached.

Some social engineers have come up with a back-door approach which gets around some of these problems.  The Language-Nazi doesn’t have any great objection to a scheme which will reduce the Unnecessary burden on an already strained economy.  I am steamed, however, about what they’ve decided to call it.  When someone is forced to put in work without direct payment, it will be known as Mandatory Volunteerism.  This joins Military Intelligence, and Government Ethics as one of the most linguistically self-contradictory phrases ever invented.

BrainRants would probably tell you that, this is the Army system, just without the stupid name.  “I want three volunteers!  You, you and you!”  My handicapped daughter lives in geared-to-income housing.  She can’t sweep sidewalks or clear drains, but she is the president of the housing complex she lives in, and puts in lots of hours on her computer, making sure that goods and services are obtained, and payments are made.