Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Confessions of an allergy sufferer

I scoffed at the notion of allergies before moving here. SCOFFED, I tell you!

It just seemed so vague to me. “Oh, my allergies are really acting up.” What does that even mean? I’m sorry these beautiful flowers are somehow making you feel less than 100 percent, but maybe there are bigger problems in this world than your fragile immune system.

WELL GUESS WHAT? I take it all back. Two things about the Valley I will never, ever, ever understand are a) its bizarre predisposition for allowing rocks to hit your windshield on the highway and b) the havoc it wreaks on the bodies of people who have experienced zero problems in their decades of existence in other locales.

I seriously don’t even know where it comes from. People talk about the pollen count, and I’m like, pollen from what? Everything is a cactus or a dumb bush. I have to drive three blocks to see real grass in my neighborhood, yet I experience a violent, 10-minute sneeze attack every morning that thoroughly annoys my wife because she somehow thinks I should sneeze more quietly. And even if there is something in the atmosphere, why hasn’t the Arizona sun burned it off? For six months a year, you can throw a bucket of milk in the air and the sun will evaporate it before it can hit the ground, but it can’t destroy a little pollen? DO YOUR JOB, SUN.

I apologize for my angst, but I haven’t been able to see out of my eyeballs for the past three weeks. They are constantly watering and all I want to do is stay home all day in the dark and rub my eyeballs until the itch is satiated, which is impossible because the itch is NEVER SATIATED. I have a better chance of rubbing my eyeballs straight out the back of my head than reaching a point where I can say, “That feels better, I can stop now.”

The good news is that the action of rubbing the eyeballs feels great—better than sex—but the results … not so much. Unless you think appearing as if you just watched “Beaches” while holding your dying pet is attractive. The other day I sat at my desk at work and rubbed my eyeballs INTENSELY for a good few minutes, and then someone walked in and I looked up and they were like, “Ohmygosh are you okay? Did something happen? Do you need anything or just some time alone?” I was like, “I AM OKAY,” but then I really did start crying. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?

I tried taking Claritin, but that did squat. I also tried Benadryl, which also didn’t work. (Fine, it was Wal-Dryl. Why would I pay for Benadryl when I can get Wal-Dryl? DON’T JUDGE ME.) I’m growing more convinced that my allergies are growing stronger with each passing spring, and are currently immune to all forms of medication. At this point, I don’t think my eyes will make it. I have already purchased a tiny headstone for them with the epitaph, “Mike’s eyeballs: rubbing them felt so good, but at what cost? RIP.”

And now I find myself, yet again, anxiously awaiting the sweltering heat of summer as an alternative to the absolutely perfect weather right now that is rendering me unable to fully enjoy it. Until then, I am practicing the art of sneezing more quietly because sneezing is a voluntary action that is totally under my control. WISH ME LUCK.

                                           Looking good, ADAM! (ADAM is me.)

Note: This column appears in the 4/2 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/3 issue of the Peoria Times.

Spam email of the week










Friday, March 27, 2015

Spam email of the week


I don’t know a lot about investing but this email seems nice.

Dear Friend,



Got it.

I hope this email finds you in good health. I m Dr. Donald Adams, originally from Fiji Islands,

Oh thanks for clarifying. For a hot second there I thought you were Dr. Donald Adams of Afghanistan, the famous expert doctor of medicine.

but I am presently in Afghanistan as an expert doctor of medicine.

Afghan person: Help, this man is having a heart attack! Is there an expert doctor of medicine anywhere?

Doctor: I am a doctor.

Afghan person: An expert doctor of medicine?

Doctor: I am … but a neurosurgeon. (hangs head in shame)


On the 12Th of April 2014 my wife and I were approached by a British Soldier, Warrant Officer Faulkner Spencer, who handed a box full of cash totaling TWENTY-TWO MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS ONLY {$22,800,000.00} to me and my wife for safe keeping and begged us never to disclose this to anyone.

I have two things to say: 1) nope; 2) you failed.

Unfortunately,exactly two weeks later news reached us that he had an accident and died in an Helicopter crash in Takhta Pul District, Afghanistan.

Kindly view the link below for confirmation:

This link without a doubt proves you’re taking the real name of someone who died as the thin veil of truth to cover up this cantaloupe of a lie.

My wife and I wants

WE NEED AN EXPERT DOCTOR OF GRAMMAR, STAT! Ha ha, j/k Dr. Donald Abrams—you seem like a good guy.

to use this opportunity to seek for your assistance to help us repatriate this fund to your country for investment purposes because the fund is not safe here and we can no longer hold on to this fund since Officer Faulkner is no more and we are willing to compensate  you with 35% of the total sum for your help.

This fund is no longer safe here. Only 65 percent of this fund is safe here.

We will be very grateful if our proposal is considered and given the urgent attention it deserves.

The gratefulness of strangers is what drives me to live. A THOUSAND YESES.

This is our private e-mails:
Dr. Donald Adams.

Thank you for your private emails. This has been worth it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spam email of the week



My name is Barrister Daniel Gidado ESQ. I would like to present to you a Business Proposition for your consideration.

Unsolicited business propositions are kind of my thing. Spit your game, son.

I hold on Trusts the sum of $128,000,000.00 that belongs to my late client.

RIP your client. He hustled till he died. Now he dead. (That was my eulogy; I drop the mic at the end and break down in tears.)

The aforementioned funds were blocked in my Trusts Account pending when a Beneficiary will be appointed by me to claim the said funds as contained in the Trusts Agreement.

I have a feeling you’re going to tell me this dude who was worth $128 million had no friends or family, which makes sense because people hate being around money.

I am ready to appoint you

Here we go.

as the Beneficiary cum Investor

Whoa hold up. Is this a fertility clinic or somethin’? Because I don’t think mine works and I just-

of the aforesaid funds herein provided you accept my offer and ready to make the business with me.

At the risk of sounding all business-like with a bunch of #businesslingo, allow me to say: I am ready to make the business with you.

Our Sharing Ratio is 50/50.

As the beneficiary cum investor, I believe I am entitled to … (flipping through giant law book, searching for “cum investor”) … I can’t find it. OK.

I will appreciate if you will send me your telephone number for verbal discussion of this offer in full detail.

Yes, we should definitely talk about this over the phone. My number is 286-468-3787 (CUM-INV-ESTR)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The mystery of the missing birthday gift

During a phone conversation with my dad, he mentioned that he and my mom had sent my wife a gift for her birthday. Did we get it?

“I don’t think so,” I said. “I got the mail yesterday and there was nothing from you guys … and nothing at the front door either.”

“Well, they said it should have arrived yesterday,” he said. (Note that “they” are my dad’s No. 1 news source. I don’t know who “they” are, but my dad trusts them even though their information is iffy. Last year my dad claimed that “they” had discovered that tilapia is not an actual fish, but a manufactured combination of fish parts, like a fish hot dog.) “You know how they are with those things.”

Indeed, even considering how little I know about “they,” I do know how they are with these things (liars). Anyway, that was how we ended our conversation, with me telling him that I’d get in touch to let them know when she got the gift, which I totally would have forgotten to do if given the chance. In fact, I completely blanked on asking my wife if she had somehow received my parents’ gift unbeknownst to me, although I did check the mail again and under our front mat that afternoon. Still nothing. It dawned on me that my dad did not provide any clues as to what the gift was, not particularly helpful when you’re looking for something more vaguely defined than “they.”

Things took a turn for the interesting when my mom called later that evening. My wife missed the call, but checked her voicemail as we finished reading the girls their bedtime story. My wife then turned to me with that all-too-familiar expression of frustration mixed with bewilderment and said, “WHAT the heck did you say to your dad?”

As usual, I had no clue how to respond, although in that moment, as my mind raced with the possibilities of what it could have been I’d done wrong this time, I was reminded of a conversation about a birthday gift.

Welp, turns out what I had said to my dad was that my wife had not received a birthday gift. Which was wrong, apparently, because the birthday gift had arrived the previous day. Wanna know why? Because the gift—I am still laughing even as I write this—was an e-gift card.

An e-gift card! Guys, an e-gift card.

My mom’s voicemail was the result of a totally unnecessary customer service call with the chic women’s fashion store Anthroplogie, during which they apologized for not sending the e-card—which they had—and sent it again, so my wife had a flurry of YOU’VE RECEIVED AN E-CARD emails when she finally had time to log on later that evening.

In trying to get to the bottom of what happened, my dad initially maintained he had told me the gift was an e-card—false—which turned into a promise he had mentioned “a card of some sort.” That is not my recollection—the zero clues I had to work with left me with the impression he had no idea what the gift was—and I remain curious as to how he must have processed my assertion that I had not seen a card sitting by our front door, or why one would have been there in the first place: “COULDN’T FIT THIS TINY CARD IN YOUR MAILBOX SO WE SHIPPED IT IN A REFRIGERATOR BOX. LOVE, THE POST OFFICE.” Whatever the case, only the communication flow in my family will leave you looking under your welcome mat for an email from Anthropologie.

In conclusion, my mom bought my wife a birthday gift, and everything would have been fine had two people COMPLETELY uninvolved not talked to one another. And while some may be quick to blame my dad and me for the unnecessary confusion, we must not forget the misdeeds of “they,” who pretty much started this whole mess. Man, they are the worst.


Note: This column appears in the 3/26 issue of The Glendale Star and the 3/27 issue of the Peoria Times.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spam email of the week

Subject: Message on hold

This message is on hold. Except it’s here because here it is.

   I do not know if you remember me, we had a discussion some time ago about your situation.

Ah yes, my in-depth conversation with a nameless stranger about my, ahem, situation. Of course I remember you! You were the guy who I gave my email address to and said, “Yo, rando—email me if you have any visions, aiiiiight? It’s been real.” And then I pretended to pay the tab but I didn’t LOL. Is that what this is about?

Can you imagine...tonight I had a vision about you, a vision in which you were the star!

OMG ... ME? Really? A star? In some wack-job’s vision? Hold up … (adds this new information to resume under subcategory of “Star Quality”) … OK, so … did I dunk from the foul line? Please tell me I dunked from the foul line.

I’ll admit, this really intrigued me.

You don’t say? Having a vision intrigued you? Ha ha this is you:

You: (has a clear vision of the afterlife) Hmmm, I am somewhat intrigued by this DERP DERP.

So much so, that I got up and did a study on you.

Seems normal. So … (crosses legs) … tell me a little bit about myself.

What I have discovered about you is incredible! We need to talk about it as soon as possible because there are some big changes ready to happen, in your near future!

I’m sorry—I didn’t get your name …

What will happen to you is incredible! Do not wait...click here now, so I can tell you what I saw.

Or—OR—you could just tell me here?

I know that you often question your decisions, or wonder if you did the right thing.

Wow, this information is so specific to me as a human being and does not apply to anyone else who has ever lived. I can honestly say the only decision I have NOT questioned in life is the decision to not click on your terrible link. I feel good about that one.

My friend, there is no doubt in my mind, clicking this link right now, will be the best decision you make today.

I don’t know though … maybe I should click the link? DAMMIT I have questioned all of my decisions.

 Awaiting your reply.
   Your Friend,

CHRIS! Ah yes, Chris. That’s it. Chris, my man. Man? Anyway … (clicks link) (computer explodes) (immediately leaves work and tries to dunk from foul line at local gym) (fails)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spam email of the week


Request: ACCEPTED. It’s like, who doesn’t want to escape to Bangladesh after reading about a Phoenix metro area school board meeting?

Dear Sir/Madam,


Welcome To Bangladesh!!!!!

Thank you!!!!! IT’S BEAUTIFUL HERE.

It is our great pleasure to introduce Mam Holidays Bangladesh and our variety of travel products and services that we offer in Bangladesh.

Are we talking about Bangladesh? It is not clear.

Oh, and is this part of the Mam Holidays travel series? If so, COUNT ME IN. I did a Mam Holidays Key West excursion with some co-workers in 2006 and it was off the hook, yo. Let’s just say I’m no longer allowed on the Mam Holidays Key West Booze Cruise.

With over 10 years of personal experience in serving the individual and group travelers, we have the expertise in all kinds of leisure and adventure tour operations that include Sightseeing in Bangladesh, Holidays Tour Package, Honeymoon Tour Package, Expeditions, Cycling Tour, Trekking, Hiking, River rafting, Camping tour, Home stay

That’s dope how “not going to Bangladesh” is part of the Bangladesh adventure tour. I like options.

Adventure Tour, Hotel Booking, Car/Train/Bus Rental, Boat/Bus ticket booking,

These “adventure tour” highlights seem to devolve into the mundane things you have to do when you travel.

Mam Holidays Bangladesh Adventure Tour includes:

  • Seeing Things
  • Romantic Honeymoon Trekking
  • I Don’t Know … Riding a Bike?
  • Checking Into a Hotel
  • Unpacking Your Suitcase
  • Requesting More Towels
  • Renting a Car
  • Buying a Bus Ticket And/Or Flagging Down a Local Boat
  • Checking In For Your Flight Home 24 Hours In Advance

Anyway, I don’t know what this email is.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

High school drama interrupts classier one

There we were, my wife and I, sitting on the couch trying to watch a DVR’d episode of Downton Abbey, capping off yet another wild Saturday night (church, Pita Jungle), when we heard ruckus from outside.

We should not have been surprised. When we had pulled into our neighborhood an hour or so earlier, our street was flooded with cars, and there were kids on top of many of the cars and they were doing teenager-type things, like being dumb jerks. We drove by slowly to let them know what’s up, “what’s up” being that we had to get home to put our kids to bed and watch a PBS British drama. Anyway, they were on notice. (They were not.)

Our small dog, still woozy from the anesthesia of having a tooth removed earlier that day, was on my lap when we heard the noises coming from outside our front door. I unconsciously carried him outside with me when we went to see what was happening. What was happening when we opened our front door was that kids were scattering all over the neighborhood because, we later discovered, the cops had been called on a parents-aren’t-home party a few doors down. Two bumbling idiots in particular had just run across our front yard and were heading toward our backyard gate.

“HEEYYYYOOOO, I DON’T THINK SO!” I yelled, and I can only imagine how intimidating it sounded while holding a 13-lb dog who was half asleep. (Later on I was glad the stakes weren’t raised, forcing me to say, “Don’t MAKE me put my dog down who just had a tooth removed!”) My wife had added, “GET OUTTA HERE, [expletive]!” and this seemed to work, diverting the morons to our neighbor’s yard. Unfortunately for them, our neighbor was watching everything from his front balcony, and he said, “Get off my property,” only in a way that included several unprintable words and which seemed to imply he was Clint Eastwood and which convinced the idiots to do just that.

Kids were jumping into vehicles left and right and cars and trucks were peeling out. I heard a police siren and I motioned to the street, pointing, as if me pointing to the street would be the break police were looking for. “Thank you, Mr. Kenny, for pointing out where the cars were.” (pins medal to my chest) Only I soon realized the siren was coming from one of the culprit trucks, because OF COURSE one of these idiot kids had a police siren on his truck. Dammit.

The escaping vehicles honked incessantly and ran over the beverages they had left in the street, splattering fruity alcoholic drinks placed in Big Gulp cups everywhere. Most of our neighbors were outside by then, all of us standing in our driveways, and as the endless line of vehicles purchased by oblivious and enabling parents sped out of our neighborhood, these high schoolers yelled out, calling us very terrible names that I can assure you no one on Downton Abbey has ever used.

I felt like a dorky parental extra in Dazed and Confused II or Varsity Blues: Peoria, but at the same time my heart beat with excitement I haven’t felt since doing the same thing 20 years ago that time I thought I saw Joe Pesci while on vacation (it wasn’t him … still though! Joe Pesci!).

We conversed with our neighbors for a short while about how other people’s kids are the WORST. We never saw any actual cops, which was probably for the best considering I was pretty much in my underwear and also drinking a Miller Lite. Because yeah, I may be 36 and married with kids, but I still know how to party.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, then we went inside and finished watching Downton Abbey and then went to bed early. I mean, c’mon, guys—our dog just had a tooth removed.

Note: This column appears in the 3/19 issue of The Glendale Star and the 3/20 issue of the Peoria Times.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spam email of the week


Never heard of ‘em. BUT, as an adult human who has no idea at which institutions he has invested his money, maybe I should listen.

Attention: Beneficiary,

We have moved your funds down to the United State  of America First Credit Union.

Standard operating procedure. Foreign bank moves all my money, without my consent, to an American bank—and in doing so, identifies America as having one state—and notifies me by email.

With this, you can easily receive the funds without any more hindrance or delays.

To be honest, it WAS becoming a hindrance to have to travel all the way to Africa to use their ATMs so I could withdraw $20 to buy a soft pretzel. It’s a wonder I put my money there in the first place. Oh well, it all worked out in the end regardless.

The government here is having some defaults in their management and they are not granting a direct transfer from here because the fund is high and the amount is ($5,000.000.00)Five Million US Dollars. So we decide to forward this down to the United State - America First Credit Union for an easy payment to you.

Read: The government here is cray and won’t let us transfer the money, so we transferred the money.


Try and contact the bank now so they could complete this payment to you without any delay.

I was led to believe earlier that this transaction was complete and wouldn’t require any action on my part. It’s like, how involved am I supposed to be in the life of this $5 million? I’m not its dad. This sucks.

Please do comply with them so your lost hope could be restored back once more and everyone will have rest of mind about this your transfer.

I have lost hope? I feel like maybe there’s something you’re not telling me. Does my money have lupus? Either way it's comforting to know that all ya'll there are losing more sleep than me over this $5 mill. Good lookin' out, yo. (pounds chest twice, kisses fingers and waves kiss toward Africa)

Please make sure you identify this code to them (UN-26D4) that is the transaction code number we have given to them for you regarding the funds. So take note they will ask this code from you.

The code makes it official. Who will ask for the code? I hope it’s not a ridonk name because, up until I received this official code, I had my reservations about the legitimacy of this email. I’m not giving my code to some wack job.

Contact Person is. Mr. KOLOKI LUKE

Whew. OK, cool. Imma holla at KOLOKI in a hot minute. Just tryin’ to finish this pretzel.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spam email of the week


Birthday services are just another thing we offer here at the weekly, community newspapers I work for. Is your birthday theme “school districts” or “council meetings?” Because we have paper plates for both. Also, I am a stripper.

Hello am Juliet I need Your Event planning service for my Mother 70th Birthday

I’ve already purchased a hilarious card about how your mom is over the hill and also an old fart and there is a butt on the card that farts when you open it and the fart smells like old people. It’s gonna be great. Is your mom allergic to nitrogen dioxide?

coming up on the 17th of March,

Damn, Juliet—can you give a playa some advanced notice? I mean, believe me, we’ve put together lavish birthday parties for mothers on shorter notice in the past here at these newspapers, but it’s like … c’mon.

am making it a confidential Surprise Birthday for her and the Family am her only Child...

Hold on I’m writing this down … surprise party … one guest … got it.

All I need from you is to get a Location and Coordinate the Event for 3hr

Oh, that’s all you need? A three-hour long surprise birthday party for a 70-year-old mother of one on five days notice on a Tuesday which is also St. Patrick’s Day? Lucky for you I booked the McDonald’s Playland on Deer Valley and 83rd three weeks ago just in case something like this happened. Hope that b*tch likes a swirly slide.

which my Budget  is $1800

That should work.

but its Flexible

Actually I just remembered I’m going to need $3,500.

and also Did you accept Credit Card method as Payment?

I don’t know, did I? Ha, ha, j/k Juliet—of course I don’t. Cash only.

1:: My budget is $1800 but its Flexible and also Did you accept Credit Card method as Payment?.

This is you:

I am going to make a dumb list with double colons.

1:: I am going to make a dumb list with double colons.

2:: Time 3pm to 6pm on the 17th of March  or any other available date and time convenient for you?.

It’s hard to imagine a more convenient time for a “confidential surprise birthday party” than mid to late afternoon on a Tuesday that is also a holiday, but hey, like I tell all my clients because it is also our motto: Whatever is best for your mom.

3:: I want you Book Hall in Town for 30guest (Adults Age 40 - 70).

I feel like you asked for help but are trying to dictate all the details. Ugh! I’ve gone ahead and canceled Playland and booked Generic Hall in Town on Riverside Ave. They have a room specifically for 30 old people with one TV that plays “NCIS” on a constant loop. Party is gonna be OFF THE CHAIN. Literally though, you can’t wear chains there. Choking hazard plus nearby gangs.

4:: I want a Purple linens for the tables with centerpieces balloons to dress the table.

I’m guessing that means you expected there would be tables. Dammit.

NOTE:: I Did not need Catering Service and DJ service from you::


(takes out party to-do list, crosses off "DJ Premier hosts, also makes his famous corned beef and cabbage)

She had a Favorite Band I want to hire them as a surprise for her birthday as Surprise for her

Is it Train? It better be Train.

and also Its only Cake,Drinks and Pizza that will be served as refreshment 

Pizza is my favorite refreshment. Second favorite: drinks.

which I will personally make arrangement for that too.

You know what, Juliet? Why don’t you just handle this party yourself? Sheesh. I mean, really … I don’t even know why I try. (sadly opens over the hill fart card, it farts loudly)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Reflections on an inability to properly reflect

For Lent this year, in addition to giving something up, I decided to, as instructed in the gospels (Luke?), “step up my spiritual game.”

I wanted to pray better. To be more specific, I wanted to meditate.

Everybody talks about meditating and how uplifting and spiritually cleansing it is, and I’ve always wanted to try it. Well, truth be told, I have sort of tried it in the past, to no avail. I have learned that I am a seriously distracted person who cannot focus. That, or I fall asleep. I’ll be thanking God for various blessings and before I know it, I am riding a unicorn on top of my Aunt Dottie’s old house in New Jersey.

Even within places designed for prayer, I struggle to stay on task. Although we try to go every week, only about 2 percent of the time can I walk out of Mass and actually say, “I got something out of that.” Most of the time I am in la-la land or attempting to harshly whisper, “GET THAT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH.” Or in the bathroom with a child whose bowel movements seem to coincide weekly with the responsorial psalm. 

Anyway, I really wanted to reap the benefits of meditation, so I decided to dedicate myself this Lent to doing so. Twenty minutes a night. I made the necessary preparations by Googling “how do you meditate” on my phone five minutes before my first session, which led me to a Buddhist web page that wanted me to buy a meditation book. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I looked elsewhere, and came across some helpful tips, such as: “Sit in a cross-legged position with your eyes partially closed and turn your attention to your breathing.” How does one partially close their eyes? LET’S FIND OUT.

I went into our guest bedroom, kept the lights off, sat on the floor cross-legged, and began my meditation:

Here we go … about to meditate … (looks at clock, reads 9:03) … this is great … I am a good person … Breath in, breath out … breath in, breath out … wax on, wax off … Ralph Macchio … FOCUS … breathing now … I am breathing … Oh no, I am too focused on my breathing and not breathing naturally … I am having trouble breathing … how do you breath? … I forget how to breath! … do I call 911? … NO, you’re fine … just relax … think happy thoughts … green grass … baseball … gotta get tickets to spring training … focus … I am so uncomfortable sitting like this … my legs are too long to sit cross-legged … (uncrosses legs, lies down) … that’s better … God doesn’t mind, right? … God, do you mind? ... no? ... cool ... still breathing, still alive … are my eyes partially closed? … they feel all the way closed … definitely closed … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … (jerked awake) WHERE AM I? What? Oh geez … (looks at clock, reads 9:10) … Good enough.

And that’s pretty much how it’s gone the past couple of weeks. I’ve considered adding “the idea of meditating” to the list of things I’ve given up for Lent, but I don’t want to call it quits just yet. I feel like my inner peace might be right around the corner if I can just Google the right thing.

             Yo, you guys still awake? Do you have an extra sheepskin blanket I can use?

Note: This column appears in the 3/12 issue of The Glendale Star and the 3/13 issue of the Peoria Times.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Spam email of the week

Subject: Details of Our Investigation (Read And Understand The Truth About Your Fund)!!!

The air of legitimacy is invisible, but if you could see it, it would be three clouds forming exclamation points.

Internet Advance Fee Fraud/Fraud Alert Department

That is definitely a thing. But just to be sure, you guys got a reference?

Our Ref: EFCC/NG/FG/2015

Say word. What about a motto? All good crime divisions have a motto.

Motto: No Body Is Above The Law.

That motto is [sic].

All Security Agencies.

I am not a security agency. I am Mike. Should I still pay at-

Respectively, this is to inform you personally that after thorough Investigations reviewed of your transaction records, your funds transfer release documents by the Federal Intelligence of the Economic Financial Crime Commission {E.F.C.C} of the West African Region in conjunction with the Department of the Homeland Security {D.H.S} of United States of America, National Security Agency {N.S.A} and the International Monetary Fund {I.M.F} assessment report.

Well, you definitely know what letters are, but that is unfortunately not a sentence. We’re off to a good start.

The Audit reports given to us shows that you have been going through difficult times partnering with Criminals, Fraudulent Characters, Thieves and Internet Fraudsters to the release of your funds, which has been delayed by this dubious officials, thereby rubbing you of your hard earn money and made you a Scam Victim.

Far be it from me to wonder why the E.F.C.C. (LOL) is coming to the defense of someone who is willingly partnering with fraudulent characters, although I will say that being rubbed with money is the least of my problems. I wouldn’t even call it a problem as much as a fetish. I got 99 problems but getting rubbed with money ain’t one.

We the Federal Intelligence of the Economic Financial Crime Commission {E.F.C.C} in conjunction with the Department of the Homeland Security

Imma let you finish (I’m not), but please—just tell me who I have to contact about this.

Directly to the Head, International Banking Division of Diamond Bank Plc.

FOR YOUR FUNDS, apply directly to the head.

Me: (walks into Diamond Bank) YO WHERE THE HEAD AT?

Man: (wearing name tag that reads “The Head”) Can I help you?

Me: Oh no doubt, no doubt. Trying to cop my funds from the EFCC, na mean? But first off … (takes out handful of dollar bills) … can you rub me with this?

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Spam email of the week

Subject: From The U.S Department Of Homeland Security.

Oh snap.

Or Missouri. Whatever. Point is, the seal makes it official.

Good Day To You,

I hope this email finds you in good spirit and in good health?

You are good at differentiating questions from statements, Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security Supp. Shullman Napolitano.

because i am quite aware of your losses in the past years now through this security office intelligent track devices, it may surprise you that i am also aware of your Consignment Boxes Pursuit In Benin, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Spain, France, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Korea and etc .

Welp, the jig is up. You know about my worldwide box pursuit. I am chasing box everywhere. What can I say? I got consignment boxes in different area codes.

I do not intend to spoil your day or to put you under duress.

This bonkers-ass nonsense email is literally 1,600-plus words, so you bet your box I am under duress.

When i arrive in the Benin Parliament in Cotonou and going through all cases of unpaid funds, i found your Consignment Box Clearance File lying on the Foreign Affair Office Desk without any attention

That’s the federal government for ya’. It’s like, I pay my taxes. Can someone at least pay attention to my box? Is that so much to ask?

To my greatest surprise, during my recent routine Re-Checking, i personally discovered that your Consignment Content Declaration Document (C.C.D.D)stated that your Consignment Contains Personal Effects meanwhile, it contains United States Dollar Cash Us$40 Million Dollars,

To MY great surprise, the secretary of U.S. Homeland Security is illiterate.

i can assist you to legally clear your Consignment Funds and personally make the shipment to you on my traveling back, but you must agree with the following conditions. Because i have called our office in Washington,Dc from here in Benin, who has been intercepting all your E-Mail Communications, telephone Text/Sms messages & all telephone Calls, with the help of Mtn, Tigo Vodafone And Airtel Network Benin.

I should have known Tigo Vodafone was involved. DAMN YOU, TIGO VODAFONE! (shakes fist at the sky)

Anyway, sure—I agree to the conditions you have failed to mention.

I wish to notify you about the latest development concerning your Consignment Box content of your total USD$40 Million that was already handed over to me today.


Your Consignment Box content of your total USD$40 Million was assigned to me today

Uhhh you like just said th-

after the meeting held between me and some of the top Parliament members of Benin and the Foreign Affair Minister in the Benin Capital Commecial Headquarters Cotonou,

Oh snap, you saw my box after the meeting. This is a major development concerning my box.

due to the delay by you as nobody has heared from you to receive your Consignment Box For Long time now.

I’m very sorry none of the top parliament members of the Benin Republic have *heared* from me in a while. It’s just, with the kids and all, and like … I just got a new phone … ya’ know what? No excuses. It’s my bad.

The only Fee you will Pay to confirm Your Consignment Box received in your possession is the "Air Flight Weight Fee" of  your Consignment Box which is the sum of $150.00 only.

Only one-fitty to get four mil, playa? I ain’t mad atcha. Also:

Flight rep: (chewing gum, not making eye contact) Please put your consignment box on the scale.

Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security Supp. Shullman Napolitano: (puts consignment box on scale)

Flight rep: (filing nails) Any liquids hazardous materials animals foreign foods including unlicensed meats lotions or weapons inside?

Napolitano: No. Just four million dollars I mean some … stuffed … cabbage … dolls. Some stuffed Cabbage Patch doll things.

Flight rep: Your box weighs 10.3 lbs ... (grabs paper, reads from it) This airline is legally obligated to weigh all boxes so that the airplane doesn't get so heavy it falls from the sky to the ground because of gravity therefore we must charge an air flight weight fee relative to the weight of your box if you have any questions please contact the FCC ... (puts paper down) The air flight weight fee is $150 cash credit or debit?

Napolitano: I will pay now but ultimately divert this fee to the box owner (does evil laugh).

Flight rep: Don't care please swipe with the stripe facing up to the left, NEXT.

And as soon as i arrive in your state, i will give you a telephone call and instantly send an email to you from my official Ipad Hand Computer

Please do that. I will check for the email on my official iPhone finger box and process the information with my head computer. What an age we live in, amirite?

Send the fee of $150.00 via Money Gram or Western Union Money Transfer using the below stated receivers name and information.

Receiver’s Name:.... OBIEDO JOHN TANSI
Country:. . . . . . . . . .Benin
City:. . . . . . . . . . . . Cotonou
Amount:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .USD$150.00
Question:. . . . . . . . Urgent
Answer:. . . . . . .Today

Seems legit.

But remember that after (Some Days) you did not make the Payment,

It’s almost as if someone forgot to edit this before it went out.

then i Will have not other option than to regard your funds as unclaim and divert it to Us Government Reserve Fund or to Benin Government Treasury. Please treat this as a matter of urgency.

Believe me, Shullman, my man (woman?)—I am treating this with mad urgency. I owe it to myself, to you I guess, and to this great country of Missouri. Anyway, I just sent you the money. It should spill out of the bottom of your hand computer any minute.

p.s. Please don’t let any strangers on the plane touch my box.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

‘I’m back’ - wheeling and dealing on the Internet

Our development had a community garage sale this past fall. For the first time in the seven-plus years we’ve lived here, my wife and I finally decided to participate. It did not go well.

We sold a step stool and some kids DVDs, and we realized a few weeks later we could have used the step stool. That was it. Near the end of the allotted garage sale time, it was a cool, very fall-like 99 degrees, and I sweat as I lugged everything back inside, the loose change I had received for “Veggie Tales: Lord of the Beans” jingling in my pocket.

We had stored everything in our guest bedroom, but with a slew of guests on the horizon, my wife thought I should try to sell some of the items individually on our community garage sale Facebook page. I was already very upset at our community for not buying our very nice items in person, but I had few other options. Spite does not lead to sales, as they say. Probably.

You may or may not recall that I successfully sold a workout power tower on this community FB page not long ago. Rather than give me the confidence to sell again, I was more inspired to retire, to go out on top like Michael Jordan when he retired the first time after, metaphorically, selling a power tower of basketball feats. But now I was called back into action and, not unlike Michael Jordan when he unretired a second time, my first order of business was to sell some Asian-inspired lamps.

Nobody wanted our lamps. Not even a “like” on my picture. (Not that I ever understood that. Oh, you “like” that blender. Then why don’t you BUY IT, FREAK?) Acknowledging the lack of diversity in our development, my wife lamented that I described them as “Asian-inspired” even though that was the truth, and wondered if I would have been better off listing them as “American lamps” or “freedom lights.” Basically what I’m saying is that I couldn’t sell my lamps because everyone else is racist.

Weeks went by, and my lamps post languished, falling deeper and deeper into obscurity. Making matters more frustrating was the frequency and alarming popularity of posts that surfaced that had nothing to do with selling anything. “ISO a hairstylist who ain’t too $$$” received 11 likes and eight comments. “Does anyone know what happened at Safeway??? Saw two cop cars there” received three likes and 28 comments. And, of course, “Would anyone be interested if I was making and selling lactation cookies?” received two likes and three comments. And hey, I like a good lactation cookie as much as the next guy, but WHAT ABOUT MY LAMPS?

Amazingly, just when I thought all hope was lost, someone did want our Asian-inspired lamps, like two months after I posted it, because they remembered them from the actual garage sale. It was a weird Facebook page MIRACLE. Never have I been so thrilled to accept a mere fraction of the original cost of an item due to my wife’s stylistic whims! 

Yes, we are currently going for a rustic beach suburb chic, Pottery Barn meets Country Living aesthetic. And while I totally made that up, one thing that decor obviously doesn’t call for is Asian-style lamps. Or a faux leather ottoman, which is something else I sold on the FB page. One like and 15 comments on that baby. Fifteen. People were calling “next” even after it was sold, and I wondered where all these Johnny-come-latelys were when that dang ottoman was sitting in a hot driveway for four hours. NO MATTER.

Point is, I am wheeling and dealing this family back into a usable guest bedroom. And this might be the lactation cookies talking, but I feel like I could sell the guest room itself if it wasn’t nailed to the floor. Wait, is it? I am going to check.

Note: This column appears in the 3/5 issue of The Glendale Star and the 3/6 issue of the Peoria Times.