Flattery may get you deleted – reprint

If you’ve read “WordsupPressed”, you are aware that I no longer have admin access to my previous site, “Catsworld1″.  The site is still available for people to read however.  Over the past three months, I’ve noticed one of the more popular postings from Catsworld1 has been “Flattery may get you deleted” from September 17, 2012, so I’ve decided to reprint it here for my current readers and followers.

Flattery may get you deleted
Posted on September 17, 2012    

I found the following in my spam folder on WordPress this morning:

Amedar Consulting Group
amedar.pl x
Rady396@vp.pl
78.41.201.148    
Submitted on 2012/09/16 at 9:59 pm

I wanted to jot down a brief remark to be able to say thanks to you for all of the amazing pointers you are sharing at this website. My incredibly long internet look up has at the end of the day been recognized with sensible knowledge to talk about with my partners. I would express that many of us website visitors are definitely lucky to be in a fine site with very many special professionals with good hints. I feel very much lucky to have used the webpages and look forward to plenty of more excellent minutes reading here. Thank you again for everything.

On the surface, this sounds good.  But let’s take a look at it.  First of all, this was intended for my posting “From my television”, in which I take a swipe first at a Lumosity commercial – the one with the line “exercising my brain is hard” (no it isn’t – try thinking) – then rip into YouTube for their refusal to remove that anti-Islam film at the request of the White House.

So right there, they’ve missed the mark.  As for “all the amazing pointers” about the only time I write anything remotely resembling advice is when I’m warning about the possible dangers of clicking on links in spam, or responding to requests to help move “x” millions out of some African nation, usually Nigeria or Burkina Faso.  “Sensible knowledge to talk about with my partners”.  Right.  The tagline on the profile reads “the world as I see it”, so I somehow have doubts my personal opinion would qualify as “sensible knowledge” unless the reader agrees with my views.

The “.pl” extension in the address indicates it comes from Poland, so I’m going to be generous (it’s early in the day and that may change) and say the awkward phrasing is the result of some online programme, such as Google Translate, turning the Polish into English.

I have written of other messages from Amedar Consulting Group.  I’ve also mentioned before that, according to an article I read, more and more scams and phishing expeditions are coming from that part of Europe.  According to what I can find on Google, they appear to be a legitimate company, but I somehow question whether a legitimate company would resort to spambots on blogging sites.  And that is what this appears to be – major league spamming.  I’m also suspicious when I get glowing comments like this from a company, especially a consulting firm.  If it’s that good, offer me a job 🙂

Like all of us, we’ll gladly accept genuine compliments, but we are also quick to delete obvious flattery and scams.

To my followers and readers, thank you.  Enjoy your week and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

Since it’s now Friday night, I’ll change that ending to “enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

And, considering what happened in Connecticut today, please pray for the people of Newtown.

Cat.

Don’t think you’re safe

At the request of a friend, I have reprinted this from my original page “Catsworld1” as she feel it bears repeating. I have made a few minor changes from the original to fit the new page.  C.
As my profile shows, I’m transgendered, which for the most part is a non-issue, much like my red hair.  It does however play a role in the piece which follows.  What I didn’t mention, and also has a bearing on this essay, is that I’m in my late ‘60s.

If you have access to Facebook, you can look at my photos and judge my appearance for yourself.  Just  search for “Cat.tee790″  And, if you send me a friend request and mention WordPress, I’ll accept.  Now that I have that out of the way, I’ll continue.

About five years ago I had to deal with a stalker.  Yeah – late sixties, trans, 5 foot 11 and (at the time) about 180 lbs and being stalked by some wacko.  If any of my readers have had the experience of being stalked, you understand the terror at knowing someone out there considers you prey and is actively hunting you.  In my case, this sense of panic was heightened by the fact my stalker was an Emergency Services Supervisor and he would frequently use his supervisor’s vehicle.  As it was painted with the same colour scheme as the local ambulances, every time I saw a vehicle in those colours, I’d look for a place to hide, in case it was him and not an ambulance.  For all those years I was his target, I prayed I wouldn’t need EMS services, knowing he’d probably show up.  Fortunately I’m reasonably healthy for 60 something; not prone to falling down and am careful when crossing streets.

Being trans, when I reported this to the police, they were less than sympathetic; in fact they did nothing.  I suspect part of the reason no action was taken is because they saw the EMS supervisor as being “one of their own” and part was the discrimination I face daily.  My problem was eventually solved by a friend.  She contacted some of her former classmates who ride motorcycles and are considered anti-social by most people and these friends had a “chat” with this stalker.  Interesting thing: these men had seen me about town and told my friend that while they didn’t really understand, they did admire my courage.

So, dear readers, just because you may not be a doppelganger for Angelina Jolie or any other male epitome of female beauty, don’t think it can’t happen to you.  If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.  My advice is simple: If the same person shows up wherever you happen to be twice, it could be coincidence, if they show up three times or more, this person may have targeted you.  Tell someone, preferably someone you trust, as soon as you can.  And always be aware of your surroundings – not just the physical surroundings, but the people as well.  Just an idea, but I got into digital photography after these incidents, so usually have a camera with me now and am always looking around for things to photograph.  If I see someone suspicious, or who just makes me nervous, I take their  photo and record date, time and location.  If they keep appearing, I take more photos, but I’ve found that usually one photo is enough because I make no effort to conceal the fact I am photographing them. You don’t have to be a photographer with a fancy camera since  most cell phones these days have cameras.  Don’t be afraid to use it for things like this.  And if the person persists, go to the police with those photos and, if possible, a written report.

Enjoy your week and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.  And always be aware of what’s happening around you.  It could save you a lot of stress or worse.

Cat.

Spam can be such a gold mine

The spam folder can be real gold mine when looking for something to write about.  I hadn’t checked my email spam folder for several days into a little while ago.  The following is the first item in the listing:

ConfirmNow mail@d1ogbreedsd-info.co via rapid.leadingguides.net
    
02:18 (9 hours ago)
        
to gcathoward

hello gcathoward@gmail.com

10-13-2012,Ticket #M8965 to your [100-1000]Usd cash advance.

Our records indicate you may Have cash on hold

Please look over your loan application.

Sincerely,
[Customer_Services]

First, I’ve removed all the links from the original message because as I found out with my original site, Catsworld1, WordPress considers anything with more than one link to be spam and shuts you down.  There was a “click here” link after every single line in this email, so I’m not taking chances.

“Our records indicate you may Have cash on hold”.  Fine.  You’ve got my email address, so email it to me thank you very much.

“Please look over your loan application”.  Well, that might be difficult because the only forms/applications I’ve filled out in the past week were some forms for the Ontario government and I haven’t submitted them yet. They’re still sitting on my writing desk because government forms have fees attached, so I’ll have to wait for my next pension cheque.

Notice the amount is rather vague “100 – 1000 Usd”.   A hundred dollars US is about 102 Canadian right now.  Rather have the grand.  It might come in handy for some of the other messages in spam, such as the following:

Lonely Cheating Wives. mail@uarkcashrekdemoroot12.co
    
16:26 (19 hours ago)
        

Why Wait have an affair with a cheating wife today

Or this one:

_MarriedBut-Lonely_ contact1@libertyreservefsd.au
    
12 Oct (1 day ago)
        
to gcathoward
Hello gcathoward@gmail.com

Looking to Date a Married But Lonely Wife?

Neglected and Lonely Housewives..searching for love Search for Discreet Housewives looking to Date.

–Thank you–
–Marriedbutlonely–

Once again I’ve removed all the links.   I think the thousand dollars on hold for me might help with these two messages.

Somehow I think all three of the messages I’ve mentioned in this posting are nothing but phishing expeditions and anyone responding would find there is nothing there for them except a lot of grief.

The other two messages were first, an offer for a $100 certificate from McDonalds.  I’ve read articles that state nobody ever actually gets a hundred dollar certificate from the clown, but they’ve given lots of personal information based on the hopes of doing so.  Personally I don’t think I’ve spent $100 at McDonalds in the past year.  The second was an offer from Blockbuster for movies and games delivered right to my mailbox for free.  Right.  Blockbuster in Canada has gone bankrupt and doesn’t exist any longer, so where are these coming from?

So, I’m not going to claim money I didn’t apply for.  I’m not going to concern myself about all these lonely housewives, one reason being “Cat” is short for “Catharine”, and McDonald’s doesn’t appeal to me (except their fries – love their fries) and I can’t figure out how a bankrupt company can send me anything.   Gonna be a quiet weekend obviously.

Enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.  And if you find messages such as those I’ve just written about  – delete them.

Cat.

Bring him to justice – my perspective

As you know, since mid-August I have written a series of postings under the general title “Bring him to justice” on my previous site “catsworld1″ and reposted here.  These postings deal with the Toronto Police Service search for a man named George Flowers, aka “Mr Flowas” wanted for aggravated sexual assault.  Here’s the link to the Public Safety Alert issued by the police:  http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/newsreleases/pdfs/24254.pdf   The reason this was issued, and why police want him is that, according to the Alert, he was diagnosed HIV positive in 1996, but neglected to tell any of his partners.  I know people he dated, some of whom have since tested positive.

With the exception of Toronto news television station CP24, which ran an item once, and one of the newspapers, which devoted two column inches to the Alert when it was issued,  there has been no media coverage of this.  I have learned through people that I seem to be the only source of information on this man and the search for him.  As you can imagine, the fact the police are finally looking for him has awakened memories in his victims and subjected them to much unwanted and unnecessary stress.  I have all postings in the “Bring him to justice” series checked and approved by some of the people I know, just so you don’t think I’m callously adding to their stress.

When I began this series, I felt it would be a supplement to whatever coverage the commercial media gave this search.  I didn’t realize it would be the only coverage.  I’ve already taken a swipe at the media in “Bring him to justice – media questions” over that, so I won’t revisit it now.  I’m sure there are people out there who would wish I’d stop writing about this, for amazingly he still does have some supporters.  But, I’m doing this for my friends.  The lack of media coverage has some of them questioning whether anything is being done at all and if this series can at least show them the name of George Flowers is being kept before the public, then I’m doing some good.

I’ll admit I have no idea what those people who are positive have gone through in rebuilding their lives since the diagnosis, but I do have some idea of the stress they are now suffering, for writing this series has been hard on me.  Listening to my friends, and reading some of the comments – most not posted because I felt doing so may identify someone – and private messages I’ve received has on occasion been both heart-wrenching and encouraging and yes, I’ve shed tears over some of the comments.  People telling me what they’ve been through since knowing George Flowers, and also telling me to keep it up because my posts keep them going.  To those people, I offer my humble thanks and assure you I won’t stop until he’s in jail.

I do this for these people and for my friends, because what kind of person would I be if I wasn’t willing to stand up for my friends?

Cat.

Writing 101 by Cat, or what would I say?

This was originally posted on Catsworld 1, but the response was so good, I had to repost it here.  I promise this will be the last one.  C.

On my recent posting “Blogs: opinion pieces or news reports?”  one person left a comment and made reference to teaching them how to write in the style I use.  I thought about that for about thirty seconds.  I didn’t want to spend more time analyzing it lest I become the centipede.  You know the story of the centipede, don’t you?  You don’t?  Well, I’ll tell you then.

One day a tiny ant was watching a centipede pass by, legs all moving with military precision, not tripping over its feet or kicking the leg in front of it.  The ant stopped the centipede and asked how he managed to keep everything so well organized.  Having never thought about it, the centipede had to admit he didn’t know.  After the ant went his way, the centipede sat and thought about the question and tried to analyze his actions.  Not finding an answer he liked, he gave up and decided to carry on to wherever he had been going.  That was when he discovered that in his attempts to figure out just how he did it, he’d managed to lose the ability to co-ordinate his legs and he kept tripping.   I didn’t want to spend time analysing how and why I write as I do for fear I’d end up like that centipede and forget how to write.

But, a few things from that thirty seconds may be worth repeating.  First, write the way you speak.  That’s the best advice I was ever given.  If you don’t use “ten dollar words” in your  everyday speech, don’t get all fancy when you’re writing, even if you can get those words in a “two for one” sale”. If you try to use words you’re unfamiliar with, you will probably use them in the wrong context, so my advice on that matter is simple: Don’t do it. The way I write is the way I speak.  I know that people are told “write what you know”.  Well yes, it is always good to have some knowledge of your topic before you put a single word on paper (or screen – I still prefer to write in longhand) especially if you’re writing an instructional piece.

In addition to “write what you know” I would add “write what you feel strongly about”, be that the antics of your local politicians or something else.  If you want to write an opinion piece, write it with passion.  If you feel strongly enough about something that you want to voice your opinion, let that fire show through in your writing.  My personal view where it relates to opinion pieces is that if I’ve upset someone, then I’ve done my job properly.  Of course that attitude is probably helped by being 68 and not really caring what others think of my opinions.

There you have it – Writing 101 by Cat.  I hope I’ve offered some suggestions you may not have considered.

To my followers and readers, enjoy the rest of your week and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

Just a bit off-topic

For a writer like me, who writes about whatever catches my interest, spam folders can be a goldmine. I found the following in my WordPress spam folder this morning:

good articles
Zaiss289@o2.pl
37.203.214.144    
Submitted on 2012/09/21 at 5:33 am

Thanks, I’ve just been looking for information about this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I have found out so far. But, what concerning the conclusion? Are you certain about the supply?

Sounds like a great comment doesn’t it?

First of all, this was sent from Poland, as shown by the “.pl” extension. In recent months there has been a great increase is scams, spam and phishing expeditions from that part of Europe.  Therefore the “.pl” raises my shields automatically.    Obviously this was written by someone who speaks English, as opposed to some others I’ve received which appeared to have been written in Polish, then run through a translation programme, such as Google Translate.  Oh, the words were all there, but the order was so convoluted, the message made no sense at all.

Now, let’s examine the content. “Thanks, I’ve just been looking for information about this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I have found out so far.”  Flatterer.  You know, this might have been a great comment and worth moving from spam to comments except for one little detail.  The posting this was intended as a comment on was “WordsupPressed”, which was about my  problems with catsworld1 so I doubt you were looking for information on bloggers who’ve had problems with WordPress.  Too bad spambots aren’t more discriminating.  But then again, if they were, I’d lose a lot of blogging material.

“But, what concerning the conclusion? “ The conclusion?  I suppose I could say the conclusion is “and Cat blogged happily ever after in her new home, “anewcatsworld”.  I could, but that would just be sarcastic.  Accurate, but sarcastic.

“Are you certain about the supply?”  In a word, “yes”.  I would appear to have a guaranteed and never ending supply of topics, such as the idiocy of my local politicians, spam like yours and the mis-use of the English language.  So I would say the supply is assured.

It’s Friday and the last day of summer. Enjoy what is left of the summer and the work week and remember to hug an artist – we need love (and genuine compliments) too.

Cat.

Turn where??

This was freshly pressed last month from Catsworld1

Have we become so convinced GPS technology is so infallible that we’d rather follow instructions from an in-car unit than believe what we can see through the windscreen?  What is it about these units that seems to remove the last vestige of common sense from vehicle operators?

An item in today’s on-line Toronto Star tells the tale of a man in Alaska who had just driven his vehicle (a Subaru, not that the make has any bearing on the story) from a ferry.  Then, when his GPS told him to make a hard right turn, he did so – and drove down a boat ramp into the harbour.  Now granted this man had just moved to Alaska from the lower 48, but even so, I’m certain he’s seen boat ramps, or photos, or videos of boat ramps, so it shouldn’t have been an alien construct.  The vehicle apparently contained most of his possessions, plus two dogs and a cat.  He was rescued as were the dogs.  The cat drowned.

Now, if your GPS told you to make a turn and you suddenly found yourself driving down a concrete ramp toward a body of water which had boats floating in it, don’t you think you might have the sense to do two things – first, HIT THE BRAKES!  And second, doubt the accuracy of the GPS instructions.  But, hey! The GPS says turn here, so turn here it is.  I recall reading, quite some time ago, about a man in England who also slavishly followed the instructions from his GPS.  Because of his apparent conviction the system couldn’t be in error, he drove his rather expensive vehicle (can’t recall exactly, but I believe it was a Rover of some description) down a horse trail, which narrowed the farther he went.  Imagine what tree branches would do to the paint on the sides of a Rover – ouch!  Eventually, when he found himself stranded at the edge of a cliff, he had the sense to use his cell phone and call for help.

A few years ago, my son came to visit me from the west coast.  He’d been raised here in this part of southern Ontario and knew the roads well.  He’d had lunch with his brother and was driving to visit me.  Before he left the restaurant, he programmed my address into the GPS app on his cell phone, more to see what it would tell him since he didn’t need the instructions.  Just as well he knew where he was going.  The GPS would have had him make a turn down a road some two miles east of where he actually should turn.  The GPS got ignored.

Unfortunately these tales of people driving into farmers’ fields or boat ramps or down dead end roads based upon instructions from a GPS unit are far too common.  People, two things: the GPS unit is made by humans.  The software (maps, etc) is written by humans.  Humans are fallible.   And second: Do you not know how to interpret what you see through your windscreen despite what the GPS tells you.  Had this man in Alaska used his sense, his car and possessions wouldn’t be waterlogged and his cat would still be alive.  The GPS is not intended as an alternative to intelligent thought and action on the part of the driver.  In fact it is nothing more than an electronic map.  And unfortunately it isn’t as accurate as a paper map.

Enjoy your week and remember to hug an artist.  If you’re driving, remember that you know more than your GPS does.

Cat.

WordsupPressed

Early yesterday morning I attempted to post another one of the scam warnings I put up frequently on my previous site, catsworld1.  WordPress has a strict “no advertising” policy and it seems all blogs are scanned automatically for certain key words.  Apparently my posting contained some of those key words for my account has been suspended.  It never gave me an opportunity to delete the offending blog, it just blocked access to my account.  I even had the posting tagged as “scams” but apparently the scanner doesn’t look at the tags.

If you’ve been following my postings, you are aware of my “Bring him to justice” series, dealing with the Toronto Police search for one George Flowers, wanted for aggravated sexual assault.  According to what I’ve been told, my postings have been the only source of information on this matter – the Toronto media have done very little (one mention on an all news TV station and about a 2 inch single column item in a local paper when the Public Service Alert was first issued) – and the detective in charge of the case sent me an email telling me she appreciated my efforts to keep his name before the public.

I have appealed their scanner’s decision, going so far as to send them a copy of the police email. I explained, as I did in the previous paragraph, that I seem to be the only source of information the public can access.  Apparently it did some good, for yesterday afternoon I received a reply telling me what the problem had been and that my account had been reinstated.  That’s nice, except that I still can’t access catsworld1.  I’ve followed their suggestions and still can’t get to my site.  So, the alternative was to do nothing, which isn’t in my nature, or do what I did do and that is open a new site “anewcatsworld”.  I know, the name shows very little imagination, but by the time I did set it up I had no patience left.

As I wrote above, the “bring him to justice” series is very important for a couple of reasons.  As the detective wrote in her email to me (“Bring him to justice – update of September 5) I appreciate you making more people aware of this investigation as we deem this situation as a major public safety risk. The commercial media have done extremely little.   Another reason is that I know people who this man dated, some of whom have since tested positive, which is why I’m publicizing the police search for him.  And that is why, after a short piece welcoming you to my new home, I’ve reposted the “Bring him to justice” series.  Sorry if you’ve read them before.  I will also be reposting “Turn where??” which was Freshly Pressed last month.

As I am able to confirm more information I will be adding to this series.

Enjoy the rest of your week and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

Bring him to justice – media questions

DATE: Sept 17

I’m upset.  No, upset doesn’t cover it – I’m pissed.  With the Toronto media.

This past weekend a service station attendant was killed.  Someone pumped over $100 worth of gas into his vehicle, then attempted to flee without paying.  The attendant was struck by this vehicle and dragged some distance.  He later died in hospital.  The police know who they’re looking for and have issued a Public Safety Alert for this man on a charge of second degree murder.  And the media are reporting this search and publicizing the man’s name and picture.

Yes, this was a tragedy and this man deserves to be off the streets.  According to news reports, this wasn’t the first time he’d pulled a “gas and dash”.  His name was also mentioned in reference to some prowling incidents in the west end of Toronto.  Granted this was a very public event and a provincial politician, who frequently used that station, has  said he’ll try to change the law so drivers have to pay before they fill up and there is of course public outrage over the callous behaviour of that driver.

But is this really any different than the search for George Flowers?  George Flowers, aka “Mr Flowas”, according to the Public Safety Alert – and here’s the link: http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/newsreleases/pdfs/24254.pdf has been HIV positive since 1996 and never bothered telling his partners.  How many women has he sentenced to death with his silence?   The police alert was issued August 13.  To my knowledge, a local television news station, CP24, mentioned it once.  The Toronto news radio stations have the bulletin on their websites, as do some stations in western Canada – Winnipeg Manitoba, Edmonton Alberta and New Westminster BC come to mind – but it has not received the general coverage this hit and run has seen.  Why not?

Is it, as I wrote above, that the hit and run was such a public incident, or that a politician is involved in finding a solution to prevent the problem in the future?  Or is it that the search for a serial killer who used sex as a weapon, for that is what George Flowers is, or will be, less “glamourous” than a hit and run?  Let’s face it.  With this “gas and dash” fatality, the news crews can get footage of the station and the area and speak with people from the neighbourhood.    Other than a news anchor reporting on the search for Flowers, news footage is scarce.  His victims won’t want to appear on camera.  They have spent years in some cases trying to rebuild their lives after getting a diagnosis of HIV positive and being on television would destroy those lives and violate their privacy.  But surely the print media and radio could be doing a better job of publicizing the search for George Flowers.  I’ve been told I’m the only person who has written anything about this matter.  While I have a good number of regular readers as well as many others according to the site statistics, I don’t have the coverage commercial media has. George Flowers is as much a hazard as is Max Edwin Tutiven, the apparent driver of the SUV.  So why isn’t the media doing more?

Cat.

Bring him to justice – stop the nonsense

DATE: Sept 11

My recent “Bring him to justice” series about George Flowers has certainly stirred things up in certain quarters.  This has been evident in the comments these various postings have attracted.  I’ve not posted most of the comments received for various reasons, some of which prompted the subtitle of this posting.

There were several personal attacks, which didn’t live to see the light of day.  You know nothing about me, so why are you trying to ascribe qualities to me and motives to what I write?  Perhaps it’s just as I wrote in the first piece, “Bring him to justice” and I’m simply trying to help friends.  But you’re so caught up in your paranoia you refuse to see that someone can do something without having an ulterior motive.  I must admit though that one of these attacks did manage to call me something I’ve never been called before – a drama queen.  Can anyone who’s read this series honestly tell me I come across as being a drama queen because of something I’ve written there?

There was one, let’s call it a rant for that’s the way it read, that didn’t get approved because it mentioned information that I had but never used in any posting and was inaccurate in other details.  If you’re going to manufacture facts and try to support them with something not written in the postings, you may as well have started your message with “I’m a supporter of George” for it’s that obvious.

I’ve also had several that asked questions that I felt could be better answered in a private email, rather than by posting the comment, then adding my response.  They ended up in the spam here on WordPress and my email also ended up in the trash because my response was returned with the notation “email address does not exist”.  If you’re going to leave a comment – no matter how glowing the compliment – then ask a question, don’t use a phony email address.  What you wrote may have contained something that I’d missed in these postings and would have included had I been aware of it, but if you choose to hide behind a fake name and email address, the only place your comment is headed is the spam folder.

To those who would send these frivolous comments, stop the bullshit.  I know, or know of, at least four people who have had their lives ruined by this monster and I want him off the streets.  These postings have  taken a toll on me as well and my patience is at an all-time low, so just cut the crap.  I don’t have time for your nonsense.

Cat.