Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Same Old Email Scam

Yet another email scam asking for money, but this one's gone viral - you may have seen it on other blogs already:
Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gramm, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

Henry Merritt "Hank" Paulson Jr. is the United States Treasury Secretary and member of the International Monetary Fund Board of Governors. He previously served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chuck E. Cheese

I was very cruel to my husband today. DS had a birthday party to go to and I suggested to DH that he might like to take DS. He knew that the party was at Chuck E. Cheese's, but apparently what that involved was unclear to him so he said yes. I've never been there myself, but I've heard enough about it that it was the last place I wanted to spend my Saturday afternoon!

Several hours after he returned home, and three beers later, he was still shaking his head in amazement.

"An onslaught to the senses."

"No wonder people don't like America if they think that's a typical American experience."

"It was so awful!"

"Hell on earth!"

"Chuck E. Cheese would make a lot more money if they sold alcohol to anesthetize the parents, but they probably couldn't sell it fast enough!"

Apparently the parents of the birthday boy were stunned too. "It wasn't like this 20 years ago!"

DS, on the other hand, had a blast and wants to know if he can have his next birthday party there.

That would be a resounding "NO!" from both parents.

Apparently I now owe DH big time!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chain letter - forward it if you like

I usually just delete chain emails that have been sent to me and dozens of the sender's closest friends. The one I got today was a little different. If you've read my blog recently you know what my political leanings are, so you won't be surprised by the fact that I thought the suggestion I received via email today seemed like a pretty good idea. Good enough that I thought I'd pass it on. If it's not to your taste, feel free to ignore it. Most importantly though, whether you agree with me or not, whether you follow through on the suggestion in the letter or not, if you have the right to vote on November 4th, DO IT!
Dear Friends:

We may have thought we wanted a woman on a national political ticket, but the joke has really been on us, hasn't it?

Since Palin gave her speech accepting the Republican nomination for the Vice Presidency, Barack Obama's campaign has raised over $10 million dollars. Some of you may already be supporting the Obama campaign financially; others of you may still be recovering from the primaries. None of you, however, can be happy with Palin's selection, especially on her positions on women's issues. So, if you'd like to make your opinion known, may I suggest the following fiendishly brilliant idea?

Make a $5 minimum donation to Planned Parenthood. In Sarah Palin's name. A Planned Parenthood donation is tax deductible.

And here's the good part: when you make a donation to PP in her name, they'll send her a card telling her that the donation has been made in her honor.

Here's the link to the Planned Parenthood website.

You'll need to fill in the address to let PP know where to send the 'in Sarah Palin's honor' card. Use the address for the McCain campaign headquarters:

McCain for President/Sarah Palin
1235 S. Clark Street, 1st Floor
Arlington, VA 22202

Feel free to send this along to all your women friends as well as your men friends and urge them to do the same.


The idea of fund-raising for Planned Parenthood in this way was first suggested in 2001 by an LA Times journalist. Back then it raised over $1,000,000 for Planned Parenthood.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm not dumb

I know these online tests of 'intelligence' are really very silly, but I still like it when I do well!

Just wondering though, who on earth would post a score like this on their blog?

Especially when with just a little savvy you can change it to one like this:

And which one was my real score? I'll let you figure that out!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Spare Change Challenge

Not quite sure how they came up with the dollar amount as I thought I gave 'good ' answers to their questions except for the question about comparison shopping for insurance, but Quicken reckons I waste about $6/day:

Quicken Spare Change Challenge

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A first

I voted all of once in the United Kingdom before I left. Then for many years I couldn't vote in the USA, and although technically I had (still have?) the right to vote in the UK it was not practical for a variety of reasons. Since becoming a US citizen, I have voted in every major election and probably only missed one local election.

I don't think I have ever given money to a political campaign before, so tonight was a first. We had just finished dinner when two very polite young gentlemen came to the house soliciting donations for their political party. One kindly entertained the children by juggling while I went to find my purse. (It was a small donation, made in cash, not with a credit card - a gesture, that's all, but a meaningful one for me.) DH agreed that if a little of our money could help towards the result we'd like to see, it was worth it even though it's not tax deductible.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Camping with a tent (Camping part four)

Despite our success camping without a tent, we decided this year that we would buy a new tent. A significant motivating factor was the fact that we were planning to visit a particular campsite that does not have any lean-tos. DH has a couple of very small tents, but for family camping they are just too small. (I snuck one of them into the car last year, but much to my surprise we didn't end up using it.)

I think the new tent is probably similar in size to the one we used in Europe when I was growing up. As DH and I put it up for the first time in our backyard, he kept muttering to himself about how huge it is. The advertising blurb claims that it sleeps 10. Hmm - not if you use it the way we planned to, it doesn't. It sleeps 10 with no room for anything else. We planned on using half the tent as a sleeping area, and the other half with a table and chairs and a kitchen setup would be more like a screenhouse.

We tried out the lilos (air mattresses) in the tent the first time we put it up. Two singles and a double fill one half of the tent. So much for there being room for 10 people! The lilos were wider than I remember the ones we had when I was growing up though.

In the end, the children slept in one half of the tent and DH and I slept in the other. We did set up a table in the tent the first night we were away as we ate dinner rather late and the mosquitoes were ferocious, but the rest of the time we used the wooden picnic table provided at the campsite. Even a tarp over the table couldn't keep it dry at night though. The dew was amazing! The stove was on the picnic table, and the other kitchen stuff was set up just beyond it (out of sight in this photo) on a table we'd brought with us.

DH is an Eagle Scout, which is a good thing. As we put the tent up the first night we managed to break one of the poles. He, of course, was prepared for such an eventuality with a roll of fiberglass-reinforced packing tape. We discovered when it rained on Day Three that perhaps we really did get what we paid for with such a cheap tent. Luckily, the bags of clothes absorbed most of the rain that got in through the leaky seams. The Eagle Scout was prepared for this too with a bottle of seam sealer. We don't know whether it did the trick or not though as it only rained the once . . . We will have to put the tent up in the backyard before we go camping again and spray it with the garden hose. Personally, I think the fact that the tent didn't look entirely taut had something to do with the leaks too.

I thought the liberal provision of trash cans implied no worries about wild critters on the campsite, only to be told after a few days that there was a momma and baby bear who regularly wandered through looking for food! At that point I realized that the dog I'd been looking for (and failing to find) that was shedding clumps of brown fur was, in fact, a bear. Fortunately, I never found it. Nor did she find us, or our food.

This was the site on (by far) the busiest night we were there:

It was a very peaceful place. Quite a contrast to Queechee, where we were serenaded by loud stereos from the surrounding campers and woken in the middle of the night by drunken yahoos. Here everyone was asleep early, and we woke to the sound of loons, seagulls, and lobster boats. I'm looking forward to going back next year!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Search engine stats

I was a little surprised looking at the stats for this blog tonight to find that almost a quarter of the people who got here via a search engine had been looking for information about Smarties and or M&Ms! I wrote that post 20 months ago! All those readers and no one has sent me any English Smarties yet to test my theory that the last tube I had was stale :-( Even more surprising is that it is not the page that has received the most hits. Despite 'mad cows' not seeming to show up as an often searched-for term, that page is the most often viewed after my home page!


Canoez asked about gurning:

HRH isn't very good at it apparently ;-)
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