Nice try, but no cigar

I found the following in an email account I had set up for a specific purpose. This account is not used for anything other than that purpose and since I wasn’t wearing my glasses when I set it up, I misspelled my name. No matter, Dr James still sent me this message.

Attn E-mail Address Owner,
Spam
Dr Kevin James <k_james90@>

Feb 5

Attn E-mail Address Owner,

Website:
Address: Plot 1261, Adela Hopewell Street CO/B/REP, Republic Of Benin.

Email:

( 0022966850550 )

Attention: E-mail Address Owner,

Sequel to the meeting held today with Federal Bureau of Investigation, The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is compensating all the scam victims and your name and email address was found in the scam victims list.

However, we have concluded to effect your own payment through Western Union® Money Transfer, $5,000 daily until the total sum of your compensation fund is transferred to you.

This is your first payment information:

MTCN#:8412393243

Sender’s First Name: Richard

Sender’s Last Name:Michel

Amount Programmed: $5.000

You are advised to get back to the contact person trough the email below for more direction on how to be receiving your payment

Contact person: . . SIR. INNOCENT JOHNSON
Email address: . .
Tell phone: . . . +22966850550
Thanks,
SIR.INNOCENT JOHNSON
Director Western Union Money Transfer,
Head Office Benin Republic.

Click here to Reply or Forward
0.12 GB (0%) of 15 GB used

I’ve removed any email addresses strictly because I’ve had an account shut down by WordPress in the past when I tried to post a similar message with too many links.
Let’s take a look at it. First, it was addressed to “E-Mail Address Owner”, despite the text saying my name had come up in their investigation. Good clue it is a phishing expedition. The poor spelling and grammar are also good indicators the sender does not have you best interests at heart.

There is no mention of just how much money has been allotted for me (although I can guess it is really zero), nor exactly how I got scammed. Since I either delete this type of message or, as in this case, use it as fodder for a blog, I doubt I’ve been scammed by a Nigerian or Benin prince.

Should you choose to actually try to contact “Sir Innocent Johnson”, I’m quite certain you would find him anything but innocent.

Something else in these always acts as a warning to me and that is the fact that so many of them mention they are working with the FBI on resolving the issues. Well, I’m not an American, and could honestly not care less what the FBI does or doesn’t do. I doubt strongly they would really do anything for the benefit of someone who wasn’t an American citizen. So, as I wrote, Dr James: nice try, but no cigar.

If you receive any message of a similar nature, just delete it. The only enrichment taking place will be to the benefit of the senders of the message, not you. It could be your identity, your information, or the contents of your bank account. In any event, just say “no”.

Cat.

Do it your way

Every once in a while, someone will look at some of my photos, or read something I’ve written and suggest that I should teach photography and/or writing. That presents a problem for me.

I’m sure that each of you is very good at some pastime that gives you a sense of accomplishment. But, how would you go about explaining to somebody else just how you do it? That’s the problem with my photography and writing. Oh, I could probably teach each, but the course would be twenty minutes tops. I’ll try here to explain how I do what I do.

Photography: My philosophy is simple – if something catches your attention, snap it. You may look at the image on the camera screen and not see what you expected, but wait until you get it up on the computer screen when you process it. (I do digital photography, so my comments are restricted to computer processing.) The larger image may show you something surprising that you can turn into a beautiful photo. The photo at the top of this is an example of a photo I thought was “okay” until I saw it on the monitor, then it went up in my estimation.

Take advice if offered. I’ve had some free-lance photographers give me some advice that I think is worth passing on. First, remember that a digital camera darkens an image about 30 – 40% from what you see with your eye. You’ll want to restore that brightness before anything else. This of course wouldn’t apply if you feel the darker image is more effective.

Next, a free-lancer told me to avoid weddings if at all possible because you’ll never please everyone.

Finally, if you want to be a free-lance news photographer, the best advice I was given for this was “f8 and be there”. You can’t take the shot if you aren’t at the scene and an aperture of f8 will give you a decent depth of field.

As I said, I do digital photography and process my own work. There are many photo processing programmes available. My personal preference is a Corel programme called “Paintshop”. Some people prefer Adobe’s Photoshop. I’ve used both and prefer Paintshop. If you can, try as many as you can – some places offer free trial copies – before spending your money on one.

The choice of camera is up to the user. Many of my best work was done with a Canon point and shoot, including the header photo. I currently use a Canon DSLR, but depending upon my plans for the day, I have often used the camera in my phone. The quality of phone cameras has improved greatly.

I’m torn about suggesting photography courses. Yes, I can see the benefits for some people, but when I told an artist friend it had been suggested I take one, her comment was “Why? That would only ruin you. The course would only teach you to take photos the way the instructor does.” If you feel you’d benefit from one, go for it. As my friend said, if you feel competent, save your money.

In photography the most important advice I was given was that you have to have imagination and the ability to think outside the box. Photography is as much about feeling as technique.

Writing: I’ve always written, at least back as far as Grade 5. I was fortunate in having teachers who encouraged my writing and have since received advice from others. There are many courses in creative writing available through community colleges that you can take. My ex-partner was part of a group of writers who would meet once a week and present short stories for criticism. Some members were published authors; some were taking courses and others just sat down to write. Through the members of this group (I was a casual member since they often met at our house) I learned the proper format for submitting stories, but that’s about all.

Most often, aspiring writers are told “write what you know”. That is fine if you’re writing factual articles and stories. I have a blog and frequently write opinion pieces that I laughingly refer to as “rants, raves and reasoned discussions – reader’s choice.” The main exception to that is a series of blogs under the general title “Bring him to justice”. This series concerns the attempts by the Toronto Police Service to arrest a man charged with several counts of aggravated sexual assault. This series is factual and, full disclosure here, I’m doing it because I know several people he dated.

For my fiction, it’s rather difficult to write fiction strictly sticking to “what you know”. If I’m writing fiction, the process usually starts with me asking myself “what if…?” then writing a piece to answer the question.

Perhaps the best advice the writer me was given was “write the way you speak.” If you don’t use multi-syllable words as part of your usual vocabulary, don’t use them in your writing. I sometimes paraphrase this as “if you don’t use ten dollar words all the time, don’t use them in your writing, even if you get them half-off. You’ll probably mis-use them.” Something else – spelling counts. Spell-check is great in most cases, but if you use a homophones – and yes, I had to check the definition of this – such as “hear” or “here”, spell-check won’t catch it. Proofread, then proofread again.

There. My courses on photography and writing are finished. As the title suggests “do it your way.” Class dismissed.

Remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

Permanently blocked

As I type this, I have three unfinished stories dating back several years in my projects folder and I don’t think they will ever get finished.  Not because I’ve had a major case of writer’s block, but for another reason.

When I began working on these pieces, I was in a much darker place and the tenor of these work reflects that – very dark and brooding.  Times have changed and I am no longer in that place and despite reading over what I do have down, I still can’t get back to that darkness and in all honesty, I don’t want to.  Still, there are some wonderful descriptive passages among those words, but I can’t figure out how to incorporate them into new pieces. Here’s an example:

“Rattle, clatter, clunk.”  The lid of the letter box announcing it had been fed intruded into his consciousness. Hoping there might be more than rejections, bills and flyers, Colin hurried to check.  Three pieces of paper awaited his grasping hand.

“Looks like the usual stuff: ‘occupant’ and ‘householder’.  Oh well, I suppose it’s better than no mail at all” he muttered to himself.  Ever since Colin had decided to become a full time writer he had developed the habit of talking to himself,  but with so many story lines chasing each other around in his mind, he hadn’t noticed that he did so.  “Well, let’s see.  We have something from a local business, addressed to ‘occupant’.  Sorry folks, ‘occupant’ doesn’t live here anymore.”  He folded up the flyer and threw it into the recycling bucket.  (With the amount of paper he went through, mostly from having to re-write frequently,  Colin was very conscientious about recycling.)

“An envelope from a publisher.  Let’s see what they say.  Hmm, they think the  novel has possibilities, but the genre doesn’t fit in with their catalogue.   Oh.  Well, that’s an excuse I haven’t heard in a while.  I’ll just add this to the collection.  Maybe one of these days I’ll just put out a book of rejections I’ve received and call it something like ‘A Thousand Times “No” ’. ”

But despite some of these descriptions I find myself stuck.  I can’t get back to the dark side on these and can’t find a way to recycle the good bits into something else.  So I suppose I’ll have to do what I do with photos I screw up and hit delete.  This is what an artist friend of mine suggested, reasoning that because they were started during a black period, there is lot of negativity attached to them, so I’d be better off getting rid of them.  And I have to agree with her.

Oh well, there will be brighter stories ahead, I know it, so I’ll just carry on and keep blogging until those stories appear.

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love (and ideas) too.

Cat.

Notes on a phishing expedition

I found the following in my gmail spam this morning and it easily lends itself to explaining some of the telltales it is a scam and/or phishing expedition. I’ve put the areas I wish to discuss in boldface for you.

CONTACT HSBC BANK FOR YOUR BANK TRANSFER UPDATE

Mr. Stanley Clarke @gmail.com>

01:48 (9 hours ago)

to

HSBC Regional Bank FL (HSBC Regional Bank)
Avenue Cotonou , BP 988 Cotonou Benin Republic.
Telex :5211 F B COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC .
Tel::+22968579277
From the desk of, Mr. Stanley Clarke ,
Director Payment Department. Hsbc Bank
of West African(HSBC Regional Bank)
Instant compensation Payment valued at US$7,500.000.00 usd

It is my modest obligation to write you this letter as regards the authorization of your owed payment through our most respected financial institution (HSBC Regional Bank). I am Mr. Stanley Clarke , the chief executive officer, foreign operations department HSBC Regional Bank, the British government in conjunction with U.S government, united nations organization on foreign payment matters has empowered my bank after much consultation and consideration to handle all foreign payments and release them to their appropriate beneficiaries.
Having received these vital payment numbers, you are instantly qualified to receive and confirm your payment with us within the next 48hrs.

Be well informed that we have verified your payment file as directed to us and your name is next on the list of our outstanding fund beneficiaries to receive their payment before the end of this first term of the year 2015. Be advised that because of too many funds beneficiaries due for payment at this first quarter of the year, you are entitled to receive the sum of Seven million Five hundred thousand United State dollars (7,500.000.00 us dollars only) as part payment of your fund.
So you are therefore advise to re-confirm the following Information for immediate payment processing.

1) Your full name:…..
2) Your full address:….
3) Your contact telephone and Fax:…..
4) Your profession:…….
5) Any valid form of your identification/driven license:…

As soon as we receive the above mentioned information, your payment will be processed and released to you without any further delay. Be also informed that You are not allowed to communicate with any other person(s) or office so as to avoid conflict of information, you are required to provide the above information for your transfer to take place through HSBC Regional Bank to your personal bank account.

We look forward to serving you better.

Yours sincerely.

First, I doubt strongly a firm with the global reach of HSBC would be using a gmail address. Email would probably come from their own site. Incidentally, I deleted the sender’s name which was shown as “johnsonmarkso99″ because I’ve had a problem with WordPress not liking too many email addresses in blogs – they take it as spam and shut you down.

Next, Benin Republic. Benin seems to have become the new Nigeria for this type of scam. I’ve also received similar messages from Burkina Faso among others.

Another clue this is a shotgun style scam is that it isn’t addressed to anyone in particular.

US$7,500,000 is a nice amount to offer. Not too large as to seem suspicious, yet not small enough to make people ignore it. However, the way they showed the amount “US$7,500,000.00 usd” is not the way a legitimate banking operation would show any dollar figure.

Dummy, you forgot to change the year to 2016. If you did indeed mean “the year 2015″, you’ve been very lax in performing you duties in advising me.

Now that they’ve dangled the bait in the form of seven-and-a-half mill, they set the hook. Notice the information they ask for, especially the inclusion of a copy of some form of identification. If you were foolish enough to actually send them the requested information, you can not only kiss the 7.5 good-bye, but you’ve given them sufficient information to steal your identity. But of course since you’re one of my followers or readers, you have the smarts not to fall for this.

The fact you are advised not to tell anyone about this is to stop you from going to the authorities once they’ve stolen your name. (Damn!! Since I’m telling you, I guess I’m not getting my money. Oh well.)

There is one more thing that is glaring in its absence. They ask for all kinds of information except for the number of the bank account in which you want the money deposited. Were this legitimate, wouldn’t you think they’d need that information?

These are a few of the things to watch for the next time someone tells you they’ve got millions for you and they are all red flags.

Enjoy your weekend (unless you’re in the northeastern US, in which case, stay safe); don’t take any wooden nickels and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat

Are you for real?

Following is an exchange on Facebook that took place between December 12 and today, when I lost patience and blocked the man.

01/12/2015 17:03
Hello,My name is R. I saw your Face book and profile and became interested in you, i will also like to know you the more.

Me: Everything I’m willing to divulge is available in the “about” tab

02/12/2015 02:48
R: How are you doing, thanks for your respond to my message and I know long distance is a challenge but if two people are determined the moments spent together can be magical.good morning.

02/12/2015 14:17
Me: It is even more of a challenge when one of those people isn’t interested.

06/12/2015 15:15
R:What do you mean my dearest please try to bare with me and keep in touch.

Wed 03:52
R:Happy new year to you my dearest, I can’t wait to hear from you as well. Please try to be honest with me because I do want to meet you in person.

Me: R:

1 – I do not appreciate being called “my dearest” even by people whom I know.
2 – I’m a lesbian and am involved with someone.

03:19
R:I am sorry for been called you that, and what do you mean by Lisbian..Well how old are you…It we be a great time to meet you here C, you are so pretty and I do love your appearance as well. How are you today? Its nice to hear from you, I am R. I am 49yrs from British. An Engineer. Is nice to meet you here. let me know your Age.

This man is scary on a couple of levels. First, from his messages, he doesn’t seem that intelligent. His name indicates he may be foreign born, so English may not be his first language and if so, I can forgive his syntax. If the content of the messages is indicative of his thought processes, and he says he’s an engineer (doesn’t say what kind) I’d worry if I was anywhere near anything he worked on or operated.

“What do you mean by Lisbian” (sic). First thought – nobody can be that dumb in today’s age and media saturation. I was tempted to explain to him the origin of the term, but decided doing so would just be a waste of energy.

Second thought – if he didn’t understand Lesbian, at least the “I’m involved with someone” should have sunk in. But no, not him. As you can see in his last message, he still wants to get together with me. And notice he wants me to travel to England. Most days I’m doing well if I have bus fare to go downtown, never mind a flight to England. As for my age, as I told him, that’s in my “about me” tab on Facebook (I’m 71 by the way).

Reading these messages from him, I conclude that either (a) he is as dumb as he appears from this correspondence; or (b) he’s jerking my chain. Either way, it still comes down to “are you for real?”

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.
If you’re reading this through Facebook, and interested, send me a private message and I’ll tell you his full name. C.

Weekend fiction from Cat

I wrote this in 2009 and may have posted it before, but can’t find it in my records.  Enjoy and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat

WHEN SPACE CAME TO THE RIVER
© 2009 gch

It was the murder of the young hag that started it all.  I still don’t know where Aubrey got that pair of scissors.  I’d have sworn he didn’t have them with him that morning.

We’d left home about three hours beforehand to travel downstream.  I had business to attend to in the county seat and Aubrey, well, Aubrey was bored, so he volunteered to come with me as lookout.  Normally a lookout wouldn’t be needed, but what with the drought and all, the river was running awfully shallow in places, so I said okay, you can come, but behave yourself.  I’m kinda glad he did come along or I’d have probably torn the bottom out of the boat within the first mile.  I knew where the hazards usually were and steered around those areas.  But, even though the boat only drew two inches with both of us on board, it still got a little noisy as we scraped over some spots that usually had deep water.

Round about ten, we decided to take a break.  Navigating with the river this shallow and still with its normal amount of traffic was very hard on the nerves and I for one could use a short break.  Everyone seemed to be short tempered that day.  Maybe it was the heat; maybe it was that everyone was a little more tense because of the low water.  The reason didn’t really matter.  All that was necessary was to know that people were touchy.  We passed a hydra, busy arguing with itself over the best route, each head threatening the others with physical violence if such-and-such a course wasn’t followed.  That wasn’t a problem for us.  With our shallow draft, we could go just about anywhere for one thing, and Aubrey was his usual carefree self, which helped relieve the tension.

It was just before the bend where the inn stood that we came upon the two hags.  The younger one was playing a musical instrument – playing it well, actually – but Aubrey, being Aubrey, had to make a disparaging comment about her ability.  He made the comment to me, but the hags have hearing that puts a dog’s to shame and she heard what he said.

Well, it took a few minutes to thread a way through the other boats tied or anchored off the inn, so by the time I’d made the boat fast, the hags also arrived.  Spotting Aubrey, the young hag made straight for him, screaming imprecations at him and threatening to rip his ears off and his tongue out.  He just stood there, motionless, until she made the mistake of reaching for his ear.  I mean, I’ve known Aubrey all his life and I’ve never seen him move so fast.  One second he was standing there, the next he had one arm around that hag’s neck and the other holding a very long and viscous-looking pair of scissors.  I don’t know what he said to her, because he was speaking very quietly into her ear, and the older hag, standing beside me, just gasped, but whatever it was, it only served to rile her even more.  The young one reached up with her hands in what looked like an attempt to claw his eyes out and the scissors flashed.

He didn’t stab her in the neck.  Not Aubrey. He opened the scissors and almost gently inserted one half of the now open blades into her neck, then, “snip, snip!” he cut her throat open that way, much like cutting a piece of cloth.  Then he just let the body fall, calmly bent down and wiped the scissors on her clothes and then they vanished back into wherever he’d had them hidden. I didn’t know that boy had such a sadistic streak in him.

With the excitement over, the crowd dispersed, many of them returning to the inn and their refreshments.

We entered the inn and Aubrey excused himself to wash the blood from his hands.  I sat down and ordered something light.  Since we still had a couple of hours on the river ahead of us, I didn’t want anything too heavy for it might make me sleepy and I couldn’t afford that to happen as we were starting to get a lot of cross-river traffic as well.  I knew when Aubrey entered the room, for all conversation stopped for a few seconds.

The old crone who ran the inn walked behind the counter to relieve her daughter for a while.  Seeing her, a voice called out “Avenus, when did it start?  When did all this violence and indifference to life begin?”  A few other voices called out “Tell us, Avenus, you know.”

When I call Avenus “old” I’m not talking seventy or eighty.  I’m talking six or seven hundred.

Pouring herself a drink of some sort, she stood quietly for a few minutes.  Then, “you want to know when it started?  All right, I’ll tell you what I remember.”

There was a sudden spurt of movement as people signalled for refills.  She waited until everyone was satisfied and silent again.  “I’ll tell you, but I guarantee you won’t believe me.”

She took a sip of her drink then began in a soft voice. “Would you believe that at one time there were no crones, no hags, no hydras, none of the others as well?  Would you believe that at one time, there were only humans?”

Glancing around the room, I noticed that very few in attendance looked human, although we all called ourselves by that appellation.

“It was about, oh, five hundred years ago when it happened. The superstitious called it an omen.  The religious claimed it was a sign from whatever deity they worshipped that he/she was displeased with the human race.  Those who claimed to be scientists stated it was just a meteor.  The lunatic fringe loudly proclaimed it was the beginning of an invasion.  Me, I don’t know what it was, but I suspect the loonies were a lot closer to the truth than anyone else.

“Whatever it was apparently came to ground, or rather water, in the lake that feeds the river.  People looked for it, but although it had been seen to strike, then sink below, the surface of the lake, nobody could ever find a trace of it.  Other than a lot of dead fish, there was no outward sign anything unusual had happened there.

“Keep in mind the river wasn’t as busy as it is now.  Over the centuries, we’ve moved away from the roads and used the river more and more.  And you know”, she paused and took another sip.  “There was no logical reason for that.  You all use the river, so you know how dangerous and uncertain even a short voyage can be.  And the roads meant we could travel farther and faster carrying heavier loads and more crops.  No, I’m afraid whatever fell that day turned us into water people.”

A voice interrupted.  “Avenus, what do you mean ‘turned us into water people’?”

“About a year after the Fall, as it came to be known, people began to die.  The medical people were puzzled by the sudden spike in the death rate and did some autopsies and other less pleasant things and found strange organisms in the bodies.  The stories were always eerily similar: each person or family had been fine until about six months previous and each person got their water supply from the river.  So the white coats looked at the river water and sure enough, they found those same organisms, which were unlike anything ever seen before.  It took some kid, fresh from college to put two and two together and actually get four.  He was a hiker and on one of his trips, he ventured beyond Fall Lake, to use its current name – and now you know why it’s called that – and took water samples from the river feeding the lake.  Tests on those samples came back clean.  So he deduced that rather than agricultural or industrial pollution causing these alien things in the river, the real cause was whatever had fallen into the lake.”

“Avenus, if these organisms made people die, how are we here?  Why isn’t this an unpopulated woodland?” I heard myself say.

She looked straight at me and smiled, almost as if I’d been planted to ask just that question.  “Why?  How?  Because the human body adapted.  Granted a lot of people died, but eventually our bodies adapted to these strange organisms and incorporated them into our systems.

“Did you know that people who move away from the river – I mean far away inland,  not just away from the riverbanks – usually die within six months?  In most cases doctors can’t figure out why a seemingly healthy person just keels over and dies.  But, I think I know.  It’s because they now have a different water supply that doesn’t contain the organisms.

“We, all of us, have now reached a stage in our development where we need those organisms in order to survive.”

She paused and looked at me, then took another sip of her drink.  Looking around the room, she continued.

“Before the Fall, there were just humans, as I said.  These alien organisms are the reason we now have hydras, hags, crones and all the rest.  Every one of us has some ability not normally found in people.  The crones, such as myself, have extreme longevity.  I’m five hundred and twenty three years old and expect to live at least that long again.  I don’t know why and the doctors can’t explain it, but for some reason, rather than kill me, my body was able to absorb and assimilate the organisms when I was younger.

“The hags, for example, have hearing far beyond the range of most creatures, not just humans.  I’ve had a hag tell me she could hear the supersonic sounds a bat makes.

“The hydras have their own unique abilities.  One day, right here in this room, one head told me they were telepathic, which the other heads vehemently and promptly denied, of course.”

Looking at Aubrey, she continued, “Some of us have super-human speed.  Young man, I’ve been around a long time and I’ve never seen anyone move as fast as you did today, and I’ve seen a lot of fights and other things in my years running this place.”

Aubrey had the good sense to look embarrassed.

“As for the indifference and violence?  I’m afraid that is just an old human trait honed over the centuries, from long before I was born.  If someone or something looks different from you, they are fair game and their life doesn’t matter.  It’s been that way a long, long time and I doubt we’ll ever change it.

“So, was the Fall an invasion? Was the lunatic fringe right?   Look around the room and decide for yourselves.”

Scanning the room again, she spoke once more, in a much softer voice than previously  “You wanted to know when it all started? You wanted to know when the violence and indifference started?  Now you know.  It started when space came to the river.”

Hello. old friend

I finally broke down and bought new toner for my laser printer.  I had the manuscript for my autobiography (no, it isn’t finished yet – I’m still alive, aren’t I?) as well as two collections of short fiction I wanted to print.  Just because I can’t find a publisher doesn’t mean I can’t have copies on my bookshelves.  And living on a small government pension pretty much eliminates the idea of self-publishing, so the trusty laser and corner copy shop for binding it is.

It has been a while since I looked at the fiction and I found that reading these was, in some cases, like finding a new author.  I’d forgotten some of them, so each page seemed like a brand new story.  And I must admit, some of this stuff is really good, even if I must say so myself.

Once I’ve finished and have added them to the bookshelves, I’ll have something else to read, and some of the shorter pieces may find their way onto this blog under the general heading “weekend fiction”.  That way, you can decide if they are as good as I think.

Enjoy your day, try to stay warm and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

It isn’t necessarily accurate

I haven’t picked on commercials in a while, so I think it’s time I did.  Three targets today – one television, one radio and one from Facebook. Let’s start with the TV ad.

Recently the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has been running ads touting the joys and ease of using on-line banking to pay bills.  One such spot shows someone getting out their chequebook, some stamps and envelopes in preparation to paying their monthly bills – you know, that thing we all do once a month.  The ad also shows their identical twin sitting at their laptop doing the same thing and finishing much faster.  CIBC is pushing this so hard you would think this is a new concept and the “best thing since sliced bread” (what really is the best thing since sliced bread anyway?  Just asking.)  News flash for CIBC: while I know you were the first to computerize your account records back in the ‘60s, I’ve been paying my bills on-line through my bank for a couple of years.  Time to join the 21st century.

Radio next.  I’ve been hearing an ad for Pearle Vision (did you know they’re part of the Lenscrafters group).  At one point the woman voicing the spot mentions something to the effect they consider eye care a “sacred mission”.  Don’t know about you, but anytime someone says something is a “sacred mission” I run the other way.  Everyone’s eyes are different – different problems, prescriptions, or whatever.  If these people are fanatical enough to consider eye care a “sacred mission” I worry whether I’m going to receive what I need, or what they think I need.

Finally, Facebook. If you have a profile, you have seen all those annoying ads running down the right side of the screen. Sometimes I think these are written by people who have only the barest knowledge of English. The other day I happened to glance at one that suggested I could buy a vehicle with bad credit today.  Now why on earth would I want to buy a vehicle that has bad credit?  My credit is pretty good so why would I want to buy something that’s going to ruin my record?  A few more minutes working on the text for the ad would have been well spent and cleared up any possible misunderstanding – such as what I wrote here.  Perhaps that I was educated back in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, when teaching English was taken seriously accounts for my “language police” attitude on occasion, so I blame the education system.  A sidebar on this one.  About three months ago, a man and his son applied for passports and that was when the man discovered his son couldn’t write his name.  Cursive script is apparently not taught in  Durham Region schools any longer. Printing yes, but actual handwriting?  Don’t be so silly.

Enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

By the way, I usually write these postings in longhand, then enter them.

C.

I don’t need it

The following ad popped up on my gmail today:    Free Spell Check Toolbar – http://www.DictionaryBoss.com – Avoid Spelling Mistakes with Free Spell Checker – Download for Free!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t word processing programmes such as Word and WordPerfect come with spell check built in?  I know for a fact WordPerfect does because I sometimes use it, in fact I’ve got it set for Canadian English. I got Microsoft Word Starter as part of Windows when I got this system and yes, it too has a spell check feature (I just checked).  So why would anyone need to download a spell check programme from some outside source?

My concern with this particular programme being advertised is that I probably couldn’t make use of it for I suspect it is an American programme and would constantly correct words like “colour”. As I said, I don’t need it since I don’t use the American lexicon.  Another concern is this: what did they use as a source for their spellings?

Cat.

I think I’ve been insulted

The following was in my WordPress spam this morning and of course had no bearing on the intended post:

That is really interesting, You are an overly professional blogger.
I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to in the hunt for more of your excellent post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks

This is what the Oxford University Press, the dictionary WordPerfect uses since I have the language set as “English – Canada”, has: overly >adverb excessively.

How is it possible to be excessively professional?  I suppose another way to put that would be “how can one be too good at what they do?”  Think of the professionals we commonly deal with, such as doctors.  Would you change your doctor because they were “overly professional”?  Probably not.  You’d want him to be as professional as he could possibly be.  You’re not going to say “Gee doc, don’t you think you’re being overly professional there?”

Now, although I write, I would hardly consider myself a professional blogger.  In my writings (rants/ravings/reasoned discussions [your choice]) I try to write in a manner people find entertaining.  Topics are usually whatever catches my eye on any given day or, like today, something in which I  think I can find some humour.  Everyone needs to laugh at least once a day.  I’m biassed of course since I’m the writer, but I don’t think anything I’ve posted here has been excessive.  If it has, nobody’s ever said anything, so I presume it isn’t.  I suppose whoever wrote it intended it as a compliment, but the phrasing of the rest of the comment makes me believe they may have used “overly” in error.

Since it’s Friday, enjoy the rest of today and your weekend.  Remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.