Monday, June 26, 2006

I wish all wars could be fought this way

It is common knowledge that during World War II, decoys were used by both the Allies and Axis powers. The following story has never been proven to be true or not. I just thought it might be appropriate given the state of the world today.

Excerpted from the book, Masquerade: The Amazing Camouflage Deceptions of World War II, by Seymour Reit; Signet, 1980.

Another enemy decoy, built in occupied Holland, led to a tale that has been told and retold ever since by veteran Allied pilots. The German "airfield," constructed with meticulous care, was made almost entirely of wood.

There were wooden hangars, oil tanks, gun emplacements, trucks, and aircraft.

The Germans took so long in building their wooden decoy that Allied photo experts had more than enough time to observe and report it.

The day finally came when the decoy was finished, down to the last wooden plank. And early the following morning, a lone RAF plane crossed the Channel, came in low, circled the field once, and dropped a large wooden bomb.

Friday, June 23, 2006

You'd Better Pay, Pal!

Here we go again. I got another one of those pesky e-mails. You know, the spam kind. Once again, it was from my nefarious friends living somewhere on the outskirts of Paypalville.

You can click on the images to enlarge them for easier reading.

I sure am glad they are constantly working to ensure security by regularly screening my account. The problem is, I don't have one. Uh oh, my non-existent account was accessed by a third party. Hmm... I'd better look into this. I clicked on the link to complete the "Steps to Remove Limitations."

I'd better type in my fictitious e-mail address and password to access my fictitious PayPal account, if I know what's good for me. Let's see, where will it take me now?

Ooow. I'd better give them my fictitious credit card info while I'm at it... Oh yes, my fake address, too! Hey! While I'm being stupid and generous, how about if I throw in my Social Security Number, too? Now let's see...

BINGO! It's my lucky day. I have "!Successfully Confirmed [my] account Information." I like their use of upper and lower case. Sharp. Better yet, how about their impeccable use of the English language, "Now you will be Logon to your account again." Okay, let's click...

Darn. It took me to the real PayPal site where it asked for my real account address and password, which I don't have. I couldn't access my fictitious account.

What you see here is trickery, pure and simple. The e-mail directs you to a phishing site where they ask for your e-mail address and password. Then they pry very personal information from you, or at least try to, before sending you on to the genuine site. In the meantime, they're now busy spending your money. It's electronic rape, for anyone who falls for it. I just wanted to see how far it would go. Now I know.

This has been a public service message from Marinade Dave. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Big Brother's Always Watching

Ever since I was little, I was always the one who found hair in food. To this day, no matter where I eat, I'm the one. It pops out at me like a zit on the end of a nose. Oh yes, I've had them, too. For some strange reason, certain things just find themselves attracted to me. Hairrowing!

Last spring, the air conditioner stopped working in my car. I asked a friend, actually a good acquaintance who worked for an auto AC business, to take a look at it. I went to his house and he determined I needed a new evaporator. To make a long story short, we replaced it and it worked for a month or so. I went back and he replaced the o-rings sealing the high and low pressure lines to the compressor. It worked for about a month. I'd had enough of that, so I talked to my brother, Sam. He said, "Bring it over on Saturday and I'll take a look at it." Not only did he look at it, he fixed it by replacing all of the o-rings throughout the system. It's been working ever since. Mind you, the other guy said if it fails again, he'd have to replace the compressor. Also, Sam is not an AC guy. How come a trained professional couldn't figure out what my brother did?

Yesterday, Sam and his wife, Lindsay, had a delicious prime rib dinner for our father (and mother) in honor of Father's Day. When the folks left to go home, my father told Lindsay to tell me my right rear tire was very low. I went out to take a look and, sure enough, it was going flat. I looked around the tire and saw what I thought was a nail stuck in the tread. Going back inside, I told Sam. He said, "Hang on a minute or so and I'll take a look at it."

I told him, "I always carry one of those cans of fix-a-flat. I can just use that. Should I pull the nail out first?"

"I said, hang on a minute. I've got a tire repair kit in the garage." You know, one of those ones where you stick that needle thing into the tire with a strand of sticky stuff that looks like an unsalted pretzel stick hooked into it?

He took a look at the tire and found the nail and we walked back to his garage to gather up the necessary gear. He's got about everything out there. Welders, saws, tools out the yazoo. Tire repair kits? Air compressors? Which ones do we want to use? He got down on the ground and pulled out the offending nail. Hey, wait a minute. It's a screw! He fixed it and said, "Guess what? It's not the only one." A few inches away, another screw was embedded in the tire. Like I said, some things are attracted to me like hair on a plate. Nails and screws stuck in my tires. This wasn't the first time. He patched that one and filled my tire up with air. All better.

Today, at least here in Florida, garages and mechanics cannot repair your tires that way any longer. I think it has something to do with tire safety and liability, like it might blow out. As many times as I've had tires fixed that way, it's never happened to me. Now, they have to remove the tire and fix it from the inside. That would have cost me a chunk of change and I probably would have had to deal with a flat tire this morning.

"Sam, how can I thank you?"

"Don't worry about it. That's what brothers are for."

Brother Sam? You never cease to amaze me and guess what? I didn't find any hairs in my prime rib.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Did I feel threatened?

A few years ago I received an e-mail from a purported terrorist who worked for ADC out of Washington, D.C. I forwarded it to the FBI and below is how the entire situation unfolded. By the way, ADC is the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a civil rights organization committed to defending the rights of people of Arab descent and promoting their rich cultural heritage, so their website states. Marvin Wingfield is their Education Director.
From:"Marvin Wingfield"

Date:Sun, 27 Oct 2002 22:00:44 -0800

Personally I don't see much difference between Americans and Israelis.

Both are regrouped scumbags from all over the world and both massacred the original inhabitants of the lands.

America is terrorist state since it was created, Jews didn't told Americans to butcher Red Indians, Jews didn't ordered Americans to massacre Filipinos, Jews didn't asked Americans to invade Caribbean islands and annihilated people in there, Jews didn't dropped nukes over Japan, Jews have no aims in butchering Vietnamese, Laotian nation or Cambodians.

Americans did those things because they were born MURDERERS.

Now, regarding Palestinian cause, Americans are not under the control of Jews, but in fact Israel is the one under the control. Americans can flix their muscles whenever they want, and Israelis can't help but to obey the orders coming from Washington.

Blaming Jews is the thing that makes Americans sons of b*tch feel slightly comfortable with, because it gives them the sense that they are under the control of external power and they wouldn't do what they did.

This is bullsh*t, Americans are our enemies as being Arabs.

And one day when we are finished with Israel, we will force the bastards behind the Atlantic to pay it back with their own blood.

Arabs don't forget nor forgive.

Sorry if my words hurt you, but it's not a personal.

Revolution till victory

Marvin Wingfield

FBI response:
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 16:11:16 -0500
From:"FBI Internet Tips"
Subject:FBI Response

Dear Mr. anonymous:

Thank you for your tip to the FBI Internet Tip Line. It is being evaluated for it's strategic value, and will be disseminated, if appropriate, for further action. It is the policy of the FBI to not provide results of that evaluation or action to the providers of information. I would recommend that you contact and lodge a complaint with them regarding the sending of the email message. You should be aware that there is a high probability that is unaware that these messages are being sent from their email system.


David N. Rushing/jbv
Supervisory Special Agent
FBI Headquarters
Washington, DC

My letter to ADC:
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 07:53:11 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Terrorist letter

I received a threatening e-mail from your organization. I have no idea how my name and e-mail address came to the attention of the person who wrote it. Following is the letter and the response from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which I forwarded on to them. I do not believe your organization is responsible for this letter, but I do feel it is your civic duty to find the person responsible and deal with him/her in accordance to the laws of the United States of America.

I did receive a very good letter from the attorney for ADC, apologizing and explaining that, yes, Marvin Wingfield does indeed work for ADC and, no, he is not at all responsible for the e-mail. He stated that ADC and the FBI work closely together on terrorist matters and ADC takes these threats very seriously. He asked me to send him anything else I might receive in the future, which I didn't. He asked me to call him personally if I felt the need.

Somewhere along the way, I lost this final response from the ADC attorney, but the whole thing was handled in such a professional manner, I considered the matter closed.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Lord Will Provide

This is the story of Mike, a wayward sort of fellow, with a very skewed view of religion and life in general. I’ll start it with a joke.

Mike awoke one spring morning to find that the river had flooded the entire first floor of his house. Looking out of his window, he saw that the water was still rising.

Two men passing by on a rowboat shouted up an invitation to row to safety with them.

"No, thank you," Mike replied. "The Lord will provide."

The men shrugged and rowed on.

By evening, the water level forced Mike to climb on top of the roof for safety. He was spotted by a man in a motorboat, who offered to pick him up.

"Don't worry about me," he told him. "The Lord will provide."

Pretty soon, Mike had to seek refuge atop the chimney.

When a Red Cross cutter came by on patrol, he waved it on, shouting, "The Lord will provide."

So the boat left, the water rose, and poor old Mike drowned.

Dripping wet and thoroughly agitated, he came through the Pearly Gates and demanded to speak to God.

"What happened?" he cried. "I thought you would provide."

"For cryin' out loud, Mike," God said. "I did. I sent you three boats!"
When Mike first came to the company I work for, he wanted a job as a graphic designer. We didn't need one, but he was given the opportunity to learn how to burn plates for flexographic printing. He learned and actually did okay for a person who's never done it before. One thing we noticed right away about his quirky working habits is that he is partially responsible for the success of 3M Corporation. By that, I mean he had Post-It notes everywhere. He had Post-It notes to remind him of other Post-It notes. He worked with us for a while until business dropped off. Then, he was let go. One of the owners here managed to get him a job with a competing company, a few miles away. That worked out until they had seemingly had enough of Mike and his strange views on how to run a business.

Mind you, Mike is in his fifties, so it's not like he's inexperienced in the fine art of diplomacy and work habits. His standard excuse, when told of his unorthodox methods, is, "That's not how we do it in Jamaica, Mon." Oh, by the way, Mike is white, so don't think there's any racial prejudice implied here.

One of the other owners of the business where I work is a very nice guy. Nice to a fault and always willing to help practically anyone out. Mike came back one day and laid his cards out on the table for this other guy. He wanted to open his own silk screening business. He could do shirts, signs and just about anything you could screen. "All I need is a 10' X 10' area in your warehouse to set up shop," he explained. "I will pay you $300 per month, but I need the first 2 months free, to set up and get my business rolling." The two owners discussed it and agreed to give him a shot, although one was quite apprehensive about it.

"I'm warning you. He's not going to pay you one dime. He is going to milk you. Trust me," I emphatically stated.

Mike came in and set himself up. What began as a 10' X 10' area quickly turned into more of a 25' X 25' space, and I'm just talking warehouse here. That means it went from 100 square feet to 625 in a matter of weeks. He hammered here and there and had not yet gone out for any business. Next thing you know, he set up an office right behind me. "I need space to put my computer and run my business, you know, Mon," he told me.

"You know, Mike," I said. "You're coming up on 2 months now and you haven't even tried to get any customers yet. How are you going to pay the rent?"

Mind your own business. "The Lord will provide." And so He did. Mike has this knack of finding churches willing to help out the little guy. This particular one gave him $2,000 to help. Suckers. Not one cent of whatever money he acquired by any means was ever applied to rent. He spent his first 6 months here trying to formulate a plan. One partner wanted him out. The other was too nice of a guy. Mike remained for 1 year. He knows how to smell suckers a mile away.

After he settled into his desk right behind me, I noticed some other very strange things. For one thing, this is the office portion of the building we're in. You know, desks, copiers, scanners, computers... that sort of thing. Mike never wore a shirt. As soon as he arrived, he'd take it off. It wasn't really my place to say anything, but no one else did, either. While sitting behind me, he'd talk to himself. One morning, I asked him, "Do you always talk to yourself or did you just forget to take your medications this morning?" That didn't sit well at all.

He had this rude knack of passing gas whenever the spirit moved him. "Mike, would you please go outside if you're going to do that?" I begged.

“C'mon, Dave, it's a natural thing to do. We all do it."

"Yes, Mike, but do you hear anyone else around here doing it?"

Right after the South-East Asia tsunami hit, Mike told me about how the transmission was failing in his vehicle. He prayed and prayed to Jesus to fix it for him, since he had no money. Lo and behold, miraculously, his transmission was fixed. Verily, I said unto him, "You mean, that's why those hundreds of thousands of people perished, because God was too busy fixing your car?"

"Yes. They weren't Christians." I had to stop there. What could I say to an answer like that? Mind you, his vehicles were given to him. He has this knack for wresting cars from people. Oh yes, computers, too.

The mother of one of the owners owns rental property. One day, he was going to serve one of the tenants a 7-day notice to evict after not paying the rent for months.

"C'mon, give them a break, Mon."

"Mike," the owner said. "If my mother does not collect the rent, she's got to pay the mortgage out of her own pocket." Mike still didn't get it. Here's a guy who knows only how to take. Not very giving for a Christian, is it?

After a year of this, the owners told him we were going to have to move. We were going to have to find a smaller office and there wouldn't be any room for him. They gave him a month. He took two. He found some other suckers, good Christians, to take him in. "Have I got a deal for you!" he told them. That lasted a month. He took two. God only knows where he is now, but I'm sure the Lord is still providing.

One thing we've often wondered about Mike. He has a real talent for taking advantage of others. How successful would he be today if he had only applied himself in a positive manner throughout the years? Would he have been able to keep up with his child support payments?

Why hasn't the Lord provided?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

When We Was Five

Billy Preston will always be remembered as the Fifth Beatle because he played keyboards on Let it Be, The White Album and Abbey Road. There were others who aspired to that lofty title, and John Lennon once asked him to join the band, but the idea was dismissed by the others, since the Beatles were on the verge of a breakup anyway, after recording Let It Be.

One of Billy Preston's most famous songs is You Are So Beautiful, performed by Joe Cocker.

I remember him most well from The Concert for Bangladesh. It was released as a movie in 1971 and I took my girlfriend to see it. Back then, I went out and bought the album and 8-Track. It was great music - and still is.

Billy is with the Fab Two now, John Lennon and George Harrison. Long live Paul and Ringo. Long live the Beatles.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Here’s the rub on alcohol – It comes with a twist

My old friend, Wayne Trout, who I wrote about last June, was a very funny and talented man. Unfortunately, he liked to party hard and that helped lead to his downfall when he went to that Giant AM-FM Radio in the Sky last June. Wayne didn't mind practical jokes and he didn't care whether he was on the giving or receiving end. I remember an old story about some preacher of temperance and decided to write one to Wayne. Of course, I made up an authentic looking envelope and mailed it to him, with a SASE. Perhaps you've heard of it before. It went kind of like this:
Reverend Ernest P. Horton
World of Faith Tabernacle of Tolerance and Temperance
Eustis, FL

Dear Brother Wayne,

No doubt you have heard of me and my world famous work in the cause of temperance. For many years I have been appearing on the lecture circuit, traveling all around the country, holding Old Fashioned Hallelujah! Tent Revival Meetings. All are welcome. Perhaps you are familiar with some of my better-known talks such as "Down with the Devil Drink" and "Rum and Rebellion" also available on cassette tapes, free of charge for the asking. For the past two years, I have had as my constant companion a true and faithful friend, one Clem Fortuth, who sat with me on stage. I would point him out to the faithful at hand as a horrible example of the ravages of alcohol. Clem originally had a splendid background and was a man of fine education, reputation and family connections. During the years when he should have given thought to the development of his character, he grew an insatiable appetite for rum, whiskey, beer, Scotch, and other intoxicating beverages. There were times when Clem's condition was pitiful. Here was a brilliant man who became a wreck of his former self. He would sit on the platform with me, drooling at the mouth and staring at the audience with bloodshot eyes. Clem was a testament to the evils of alcohol. Unfortunately, last month Clem passed away. A mutual friend has given me your name and I wonder if you would kindly consent to accompany me on my fall tour? All provisions and lodging will be provided.

Very sincerely yours and I thank you in advance,
Reverend Ernest P. Horton
After reading it, Wayne knew it was a joke, but he couldn't quite figure out who sent it. I know he suspected me, since we were pretty close friends back then and he knew me well, but I never admitted it. Oh, yes, he asked. He asked a lot of people, showed it to everyone and laughed each time. In any event, that little story leads into a more serious one.

My friend -
I'll call him Mike - had a terrible drinking problem. It almost became his downfall, too. Many years ago, soon after we met, he asked me if I would come by and pick him up that Saturday morning. I don't recall where we were going to go, but I do remember arriving about 8:30 and he had a beer in hand and quickly offered me one. "Are you kidding?" I asked.

"No. Are you? This is already my 3rd one."

The more I got to know Mike, the more I understood he had a very serious drinking problem. I'll be the first to admit I like to drink occasionally, but nothing like him. Over the time I've known him, and that's been about 12 years, he's lost at least one year of work due to drinking, and I'm talking about the times when he did have a job. I've had long talks with him over those years, to no avail. The strange thing about serious alcoholics is that nothing is ever their fault. Nothing.
Never. It’s always someone else's. He would ride his bike home from bars (he didn't have a license to drive) and crash into parked cars. Then, when we'd see him banged up, it was always the other guy's fault. They ran into him. Hit & Run, each time. We all knew better.

The stories can go on and on, but there's a message here and it's about how the
Spirit of Death pays an early visit to some not sober long enough to realize it and never stops beckoning for those who remain nearby.

About two years ago, Mike collapsed after bleeding from his mouth. He was rushed to the emergency room and the doctors knew right away what it was all about. He remembers that night and when he awoke a month and a half later.

When too much alcohol is consumed over many years, the liver becomes damaged by
cirrhosis, a disease that slowly destroys the bile duct. The liver can shut itself down by not allowing it to perform its biochemical functions. Damaged and dead liver cells are replaced by fibrous tissue, which leads to scarring. Blood backs up in the portal vein, since the liver is not working, and flows backwards, under a lot of pressure the liver and other organs normally slow down. This can lead to varicose veins in the esophagus called esophageal varices. Under that heavy pressure, these tiny veins burst and you throw up blood. This is exactly what happened to Rick. His major organs began to shut down. He was placed on life support and the doctors purposely kept him in that condition. A respirator was connected to keep his brain from dying.

His sister and brother-in-law flew in from California to be by his side. They are basically all he has left. They remained here in Florida for over a week and were here for one of our now famous hurricanes.

Twice, the doctors wanted to shut down the machines.

Twice, his brother-in-law said
no. “All we have is time,” he said. They had to return home to be with their children and left me as the watchdog and messenger. Of course, they maintained close contact with the doctors. The second "no" came from California.

When Mike finally came out of his coma and was allowed to return home, his sister, brother-in-law and I had already decided the best thing for him was to move in with them.
Go west, old man. He fought it tooth and nail, but eventually acknowledged it was the best thing to do. With a liver function of about 2%, the doctors told him if he has one more drink, he’d die. In February of 2005, Mike left Orlando. He’s on total disability and is drawing Social Security and Medi-Cal, California's equivalent of Medicare. Things went seemingly well for about six months or so and then, one night he called. I knew right away what he had been doing. He went through a few of these setbacks, but seemed to overcome them and remained pretty sober for a while.

He called me the other night.

He made me promise not to tell anyone what he was about to say. I said yes, but don’t think for a second that I didn’t already know. We talked for hours and got nowhere. An alcoholic is not an easy person to rationalize with. They cry for pity. He said his sister wants him out of the house by July 1st. That's what made him drink again. No, I said, your sister wants you out of the house BECAUSE of your drinking. Try to impress them with the truth. You just can't do it. They suffer from an incredible lack of self-esteem and lie their way to the truth as they see fit. Remember, it’s never their fault.

He is drinking like the days of old

Here's the twist. I promised to not say a word. If I don't, he will surely die and I will feel guilt for the rest of my days for not giving him that one last shot at life. I am a loyal and good friend. I can keep my word or call his family. Or I can send him that letter.