What are you talking about?

I received the following as a spam comment on a previous posting, “I think not” of September 23. The post dealt with an email I received “confirming” my order of 12TB of space from Apple on iCloud at a price of $1,499.99 US. At the time that would have been $1,890 Canadian.

The message I received was this:
B: I think not! If I hear any more from you about this, you’ll be hearing from my solicitor. Sorry, but I don’t have any references I can cite.

To save him any (well deserved) embarrassment, I’ve deleted his email address.

Now, unless he was the person that sent the original attempted scam, his threat to sic his solicitor on me is meaningless. And he further shot himself in the foot by stating he doesn’t have any references he can cite.

So I can only think this person is just some troll trying to stir up some excitement on New Year’s Eve.

Enjoy your (socially distant) New Year’s Eve and have a safe 2022.

Remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

Get the damn shot

DATE: Dec 31

TITLE: Get the damn shot

You say you don’t want the COVID shots because you don’t know what’s in them.

Look at it this way: when you were young your parents had you vaccinated against various things such as measles and smallpox. Neither you nor they knew what was in them. I remember lining up in school to get a Salk polio vaccine. I doubt strongly whether my parents of teachers knew what was in that needle. They just knew it would cure polio. If you were in the military there were various odd things jabbed into your arms and you had no idea exactly what the hell was being injected into you. Therefore your “I don’t know what’s in the COVID shot” doesn’t hold water. You’ve had mystery substances put into you since you were a child and you’re still here.

Let’s look at what you’ve heard is in the serum: microchips. Each vial contains about five adult shots so the chances of you getting the shot with the chip are one in five. In order to ensue that every dose would contain a chip there would need to be enough chips in the vial to be visible to the naked eye. And since every vial I’ve seen, either in person or on the news, is clear I doubt there are microchips in the serum. I also doubt you’re important enough to be tracked.

If you’re throwing up these smokescreens then you are afraid to admit you’re scared of needles or you’ve been misled by scaremongers.

This pandemic is real and COVID 19 is killing people. Get the damn shot.

Cat.

Thanks to my son for the comments on the microchips.

How many will answer?

DATE: Nov 20

TITLE: How many will answer?

I found the following in the spam folder of one of my email accounts earlier tonight.

From: ING BANK OF TURKEY
Reply To: mrsel@ya

Dear Friend,

I got your e-mail address contact through your country’s Information exchange online while browsing and after that, I decided to contact you to ask for your assistance in this urgent matter that requires trust, confidentiality because you might receive this message in your inbox, Junk/Spam folder.

My name is Mr. Selim the senior Manager of ING Bank Turkey, Acibadem Branch of Istanbul Turkey (IBT) European Banking Corporation Limited Europe. I am a 55 years old man, married with three children. I have a very urgent, confidential, and profitable business for both of us Valued at (Twenty Five Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars). This fund is an excess of what my branch in which I am the senior manager made as profit last year. I have already submitted an approved End of the Year 2020 report to our Head Office, and they will never know of this Excess. I have since then placed this amount of (Twenty Five Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) on a SUSPENSE SECURITY without a beneficiary. As a Senior Manager of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money thus I am impelled to request your assistance to receive this money as the beneficiary of the funds.

If we could do this together, we shall share these funds 50/50 between us accordingly and this transaction is 100% risk-free, as no-risk involved during or after this transaction. All I need from you is to stand as the original depositor of this fund, also to keep this deal confidential between us. If you’re interested, kindly write back for more information, while I shall explain more in detail as soon as I receive a response from you.

Thanks for your kind understanding! Awaiting your response,

Mr.Selim

The Senior Manager of ING Bank Turkey,
Acibadem Branch of Istanbul Turkey (IBT)
Bulgurlu Mahallesi Acibadem Caddesi No: 156 34660 skdar / Istanbul

Okay now, let’s tear this apart. The first sign this is not real is that it wasn’t sent to me specifically. In fact, there is no addressee shown at all. Second, although it purports to be from ING Bank in Turkey, the actual email address was a gmail account. I highly doubt the ING Bank in Turkey, a subsidiary of the Dutch multinational ING, would use gmail as their default email. Next, the “reply to” address is “yandex”, which a quick Google search tells me is a Russian search engine among other things.

$25,500,000 is a lot of money in any currency and the proposed 50/50 “split” would mean I’d stand to receive $12,750,000 US,( $16,060,000 CAD at the present exchange rate) if this were in fact legitimate. That itself may entice people to respond.

If I were to respond – I’m crazy, but not stupid, so I won’t – I’d probably be asked to provide various bits of personal information, including my bank account numbers. The result of my gullibility would be to give them access to my account and my huge balance of about $3.84 cents. Of course they would assure me they only wanted the banking information so they could transfer the money to me, but in actuality, they’d just drain my money.

Then there are the legal problems. Most banks are required by law to report any deposit over $10,000 to the government. So, unless I could prove I won the money in a lottery, I’d be answering a lot of questions from federal investigators.

Oh yes, and the personal details “I am a 55 years old man, married with three children.” is a nice but unnecessary touch. I suppose it’s supposed to make me feel all warm and fuzzy and more willing to listen. Well, Selim, I’m a 77 year old grandmother with a healthy streak of cynicism.

If you should receive this email, or any email like this, just delete it. Not every scam artist is a Nigerian Prince, some are Turkish bankers.

Stay safe and remember to give an artist a virtual, socially distanced hug – we need love too.

Cat.

Not your decision

DATE: Nov 11

TITLE: Not your decision

Yesterday was beautiful in southern Ontario – sunny, 13 degrees (about 55F) – so I decided to get the cameras out and get some final photos of the fall colours. One of my favourite spots is a pedestrian bridge over a creek near my home. This bridge approximates the route of the original highway, so the original abutments are still there and, as with most man-made surfaces in an urban area, have been used by graffiti artists. One in particular caught my eye, so with some careful gymnastics, I took this photo.

I was hanging off the side of the bridge trying not to drop my cameras into the creek which accounts for the angle. If you’re having trouble reading it, it says “We don’t want your kids to be trans”. First of all, who exactly are the anonymous “we”? And why in hell is my kid’s status any of their concern?

Should any of my children or grandchildren be trans, how exactly will that impact the life of the person who painted this comment? Oh, I know some people are offended by trans people for no reason other than someone being trans doesn’t fit with their view of the world and “the way things should be”. Well, tough!

The gender identity or sexual orientation of someone isn’t the decision of anyone other than the person involved. As a parent of course I’d like to have a discussion about the choice with the child involved, but in the end, it’s still the child’s decision and I would support that decision. It isn’t and never will be, the decision of some anonymous graffiti artist.

I have lived in this area for a little over seventeen years and there have been very few incidents of anti-trans actions. I’ve been called names from a distance and never to my face, but nothing more. The only other indication of anything related to trans I can recall was this: one day I noticed that someone had taken a broad-tipped felt marker and printed the words “I wish I was a girl” on the back of a bus stop. Other than that, it has been a quiet and picturesque little village.

According to an article I read on the CBC News website this past weekend, there has been a significant increase in transphobic activity in Canada in the past couple of years. The article mentions that this seems to be seepage (my word) from similar activities taking place in the UK and US over the past few years. At face value, this sign would appear to be a clue it has struck my quiet little corner of Ontario.

So to the unknown paint can artist, that is none of your business and not your decision.

Cat.

I think not

I got the following email this morning:

Payment Confirmation

Order Invoice <smithfre9642@

09:28 (3 hours ago)

to ewanherbalmagic, bcc: me

Thank You For Your Recent Purchase With iCloud by Apple Inc
This is an auto-generated confirmation email for the purchase that you have done.
You will receive another email with the invoice shortly.
This charge may appear in your account in the next 24 hours of purchase.
If you want to cancel or modify your order, visit iTunes/apple. store or call at xxx-9348
Please find your order information below:
Order Number: FNJ DCC NM2M
Order Date: 23-Sep-2021
Order Name: 12 TB iCloud Space
Amount: USD 1499.99
Paid via iTunes
We hope you shop with us again soon.
Apple Inc.
Helpdesk : xxx-9348

There is so much wrong with this message.

First, it was sent from a gmail address. I somehow doubt Apple is using gmail. Next, notice that it wasn’t sent directly to me, but to someone else with a bcc to me. I suppose the hope is that I won’t notice that and no, I have no idea who “ewanherbalmagic” is.
This was sent to an email address that I set up for a specific purpose and isn’t one I use as a matter of course, so is not attached to my iTunes account.

Now that I’ve disposed of the obvious errors, let’s look at the rest: According to the message I purchased 12 Terrabytes of iCloud storage at a price of $1,499.99 USD. That price is the equivalent today, September 23, 2021, of $1,889.99 CAD but there is no guarantee Apple would process it today, so that Canadian amount could be different from my calculation. And, I have a 1 Tb drive that still has 884 Gb free, so such a purchase would have been completely frivolous as well as far too expensive.

My feeling is that they expect you to have questions/suspicions about this message and you will either call them or use the email provided. I’ll save you the trouble and tell you that the address provided is not the way the real iTunes site shows up in your browser. This is a scam or phishing so, if you get such an email, I suggest you just delete it.

Cat.

Not this year

Today is June 29. On this date I usually change my profile picture on Facebook to a Canadian flag, or a photo of a maple leaf and leave it up until July 5 because that brackets both Canada Day, July 1 and Independence Day in the US, July 4. But not this year.

I’m still a proud Canadian, but this doesn’t seem like the year to celebrate this country. Here are three numbers to help explain why: 215 – 104 – 751. If you’re among my followers and readers from other countries you might not grasp the meaning of these numbers, but if you’re Canadian, I’m quite certain you understand at least the first and last of these.

For those who for various reasons – COVID 19 takes up much of most newscasts – aren’t aware, those three sets of numbers represent the numbers of unmarked graves recently located by various means, including ground penetrating radar, at the sites of now defunct residential schools.

215, Kamloops B C at a school run by the Roman Catholic Church.

104, southwestern Manitoba. None of the news articles I can locate mention which church ran this school. This didn’t seem to receive the same amount of national coverage as the other two.

751, southeastern Saskatchewan at a school run by the Roman Catholic Church.

Following is an abridged definition and history of the residential school system from The Canadian Encyclopaedia:

Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools that were established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Although the first residential facilities were established in New France, the term usually refers to schools established after 1880. Residential schools were created by Christian churches and the Canadian government as an attempt to both educate and convert Indigenous youth and to assimilate them into Canadian society. However, the schools disrupted lives and communities, causing long-term problems among Indigenous peoples.

… residential schools became part of government and church policy from the 1830s on, with the creation of Anglican, Methodist, and Roman Catholic institutions in Upper Canada (Ontario). The oldest continually operating residential school in Canada was the Mohawk Institute in what is now Brantford, Ontario. This began as a day school for Six Nations boys, but in 1831 it started to accept boarding students.

Survivors of these schools speak of harsh conditions: forbidden to speak their native languages upon threat of punishment; the boys forcibly having their hair cut, and physical and sexual abuse. A survivor from the Kamloops school, in an interview, said that if a child suddenly vanished overnight, it was assumed they had simply run away, and the schools would encourage that assumption. The overall aim of these schools, in the words of one survivor interviewed, was “to take the Indian out of the child”.

The Roman Catholic order than ran the Kamloops school has announced they will provide whatever documentation they still have to aid in the identification of these 215 poor unfortunate children. I’ve not read or heard of any such offers regarding the Manitoba and Saskatchewan sites. Both the Ontario and federal government have announced they will make funds available to help in the search for unmarked graves and identification of the remains.

I realize that now, in 2021,society’s attitudes have changed greatly since these schools were introduced, but I can think of nothing at any time in history, not just the history of Canada but the history of the world, to justify such treatment of children.

I can’t say if the news of these discoveries in Canada had any bearing on it, but Deb Haaland, the American Secretary of the Interior this past week announced an investigation into the American version of residential schools. I’d like to be optimistic, but I fear that investigation will reveal similar events in the US.

As a result of these sad and tragic announcements, many cities and towns are cancelling their planned Canada Day celebrations. They too find it hard to celebrate this nation’s birthday.

We as a nation have failed these children and I personally don’t think we have anything to celebrate this year. Maybe next year.

Cat.

They are persistent

I checked an email account for the first time since late last week. In it I found the following two emails:

Geek-Squ Renewal (actual address: adammuche1959@)
May 29,2021

Dear Customer,
Thank you for subscribing Defender Firewall Protection From us .
Today the Service Will Renewed Automatically with $349.89 on the same account provided to us.
Order ID: DFP1476608 Date: 29-05-2021

Description Amount

Geek Protection $349.89

(Inclusive Tax)

Total $ 349.89

Note :- Charges will appear on your statement after 8 hours once debited.
If you want to cancel the charges for $349.89 Auto Renew This time.
Get in touch with us :- +1 (800) (674)

Thanks Regards,
Account Dept.
Defender Firewall Protection
+1 (800) (674) Geek Squad (actual address: felixdolphin060@)
May 31. 2021

We Are Renewing It For You

Dear Customer,
Thank you for choosing Geek Squad Pc Support with us.
Today Subscription Will Be Auto Renewed automatically
with $ 399.99 on the same account provided to us.

Customer Support- +1(800) 274
Order #16589GS-59856
Details are giving below –
Account Type:- Personal Home Subscription
Product :- Geek Squad PC Protection
Quantity :- 1
Tenure :- 3 Years
Payment Mode:- Auto Debit
Renewal Amount – $ 399.99

This Email Confirms That You’ve Renewed Your 1 Year Subscription To Geek Squad For $ 399.99 On May 31 2021

To Cancel The Subscription You Can reach Us at +1(800) 274
Regards
Geek Squad Team
Contact +1(800) 274

To keep myself out of trouble with WordPress (again) I’ve left off part of both the actual email addresses and the phone numbers.
I believe Geek Squad is the tech support team at Best Buy, which presents the scammers with their first problem. The last thing I bought from Best Buy was about 3 years ago, and that was a copy of TurboTax. I paid $20 cash for it, so there is no reason I’d have signed up for tech support. If I can’t put a disk in the drive and follow instructions, I shouldn’t be allowed near a computer. And since I paid cash, there is no record of either a debit or credit card number.

These emails came from different addresses, both gmail and both phone numbers are different. Note also the amounts differ. The first is for $349.89 tax included and the second for 399.99 with no mention of taxes. If the scammers are working together, and I find it hard to believe two separate people came up with the idea of a Geek Squad scam at the same time, you’d think they’d at least stick with the same price. Also notice the awkward sentence structure.

One other possibility just came to mind. Somewhere in western Canada is a woman who seems unable to remember her email address and frequently gives out mine in error. I say “in error” because I’ve received family newsletters and vacation plans from her friends. I’ve also received emails regarding orders from legitimate businesses in western Canada. I know because I’ve phoned a couple of these firms upon receipt of their messages.

If you have bought goods from Best Buy and signed up for support, if you get one of these emails, check with Best Buy then delete the message.

Summer is almost here. Stay safe, wear a mask when and where required and remember to give an artist a socially distant hug – we need love too.

Cat.

From the home front

DATE: May 7

TITLE: From the home front

Ontario is currently in the middle of a four week mandatory stay at home order intended to slow the spread of COVID 19. For me, the only real change is that I now stay home because I’m told to, not because I want to. But it does give me some time to think and ask questions I probably normally wouldn’t dream of.

Before I get to the questions and other observations, Canada is conducting its official census this month. This year it is all being done online. I’ve already filled out mine and hit “send”. I noticed a couple of questions that I don’t recall seeing on the census before. The first dealt with gender at birth, and part B of that question was current gender. The second asked about past or present military service. In all the years I’ve been doing the survey, I’ve never been asked that before. If you’re curious, my answer was “yes”.

I haven’t picked on commercials for a while. There has been one on recently for Scotties tissues. At the end, there is a scene where the actress is crying and the tag line is something like “send in the Scotties”. Only problem I have with this is that although the dogs are cute, they aren’t Scotties – they’re West Highland White Terriers.

Okay, on to the questions, actually just a multi-part single question: When and how did certain languages become associated with certain fields? For example, in law and medicine, Latin appears to have become the lingua franca. When, why and how did this occur? As I understand it, much of our law is descended from ancient Greece and the middle east, as is medicine. So how did Latin become the common language of these fields?

Classical music is another case. Italian seems to be the common tongue among composers, yet not all composers were Italian. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms didn’t speak Italian in their daily lives. There are French composers as well, such as Saint Saens, Delibes and DeBussy. Norway gave us Grieg and Finland added Sibelius. Yet each of these composers use Italian in their notations.

Ballet seems to be the province of French terms – pas de deux, barre, jete.

Who decided, and when, that such-and-such a language would become the common tongue of a field of endeavour?

I blame all these questions on Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario. If he hadn’t told me I had to stay home, I’d have been out with a camera and wouldn’t have time to dwell on topics like this.

Stay safe and remember to give an artist a socially distant hug – we need love too.

Cat.

Miscellaneous musings

1 – I’ve come to the conclusions that people in my neighbourhood either can’t read, can’t count, or both. There is a small convenience store down the street from me. This is a long, narrow shop with limited space. On the front door, taking up most of the width of the glass, at eye level, is a sign that reads “2 people at one time only” in large red characters on a white background. As you may be aware, many levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal, have imposed restrictions designed to slow or prevent the spread of COVID 19 and one of these is a restriction on the number of people allowed into an establishment at any one time. As I wrote above, this is a small store, so the maximum number of customers is set at two. I don’t know how many times, I’ve been in that store with one other customer and watched two or three more people walk in, completely ignoring the capacity sign they’ve been staring at. C’mon people, those restrictions are for your and my safety. Learn to read and count. It should be easy: one, two.

2 – Maybe I should change my surname to “Scrooge”, but doesn’t it seem to you that broadcasters started their Christmas programming earlier than usual this year? One radio station in Toronto began playing 24 hour Christmas music on November 2! And some of the cable stations I have access to (note “have access to” not watch”) have been showing Christmas themed movies since late November. By the time the actual holiday arrives, we won’t care because we’ll have been so inundated in the previous two months.

3 – I’ve been reading many comments over Jill Biden using “Doctor”. These comments are usually along the lines of “she isn’t a medical doctor, so she shouldn’t use the title.” Excuse me, but by that logic, a dentist shouldn’t be called “Doctor” either, but I’ll be you do use that title even though by the logic you’ve used against Dr Biden, the dentist wouldn’t be entitled to is. I have to disagree with this viewpoint. Any doctorate requires many years of study and great effort. Doctorates aren’t handed out the way presidential pardons seem to be recently. Anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort of earn a doctorate, in any field, deserves the right to use the honorific. I suspect the party affiliation of the people condemning her use of the title plays a part in their comments.

Stay safe,
Cat.

How gullible do you think I am?

Don’t answer that. The question is intended for whoever sent me the following text message yesterday morning:
(613) xxx-6064 (I left the exchange out on purpose)

We are Private Lenders. looking for courier or delivery drivers part /full time in the GTA Get paid upfront daily with a certified cheque to make loans delivery in small envelopes to our customer and for each delivery, you make between 150$ to 500$ depending on experience.
Requirements are that you’re 18+ and interested to start right away Text us your name and best time to reach you

Okay, first, area code 613 is eastern Ontario – roughly Ottawa west to Belleville.

An observation: whoever wrote this needs to study up on punctuation.

I have several questions regarding the remuneration, such as it seems to be an unusually high amount for each delivery. Right away that calls the legality of this into question at least to me. I’ve worked as a courier in the past and the thoughts of making the same money for one delivery as I was making in three days seems suspicious. Also, getting paid daily “upfront” by certified cheque would indicate to me that this “Lender” knows in advance what my deliveries would be each day. Looking at the logistics of this, the “Lender” is located in eastern Ontario somewhere so even if they’re in Belleville, it’s still at least a two hour drive to get the cheque and deliveries to me. If they’ve driven that far already, it would only be about another 45 minutes to downtown Toronto, so why wouldn’t they do the deliveries with their own driver? Unless there’s a reason they don’t want their driver identified.

No, I didn’t text them my name and availability. For one thing, I don’t own a vehicle and as I’ve written above, this seems very sketchy.

Stay safe and since you can’t hug an artist right now, think pleasant thoughts about us and our endeavours – we need love too.
Cat.