‘Catch Me if You Can’

I don’t think I lead a sheltered life, but every once in awhile I seem to “wake up” and hear about something that’s been in the news for years. I wonder, have I had amnesia, been in a coma, or simply had too much Scotch.

So last night we watched the movie “Catch Me if You Can” about a check forger (Leonardo DiCaprio) being chased (sort of like the movie “The Fugitive”) by an FBI agent (Tom Hanks) that came out in 2002. It’s based on the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr. who wrote a book about his experiences in 1980 after having appeared on the quiz show “To Tell the Truth” three years earlier.

According to the movie, Abagnale was so good at forgery, he ultimately worked for the FBI in a check fraud unit and designed anti-fraud procedures used in today’s banking system. The movie kept our attention even though I was a little preoccupied about how this story could have been in the national consciousness for some 43 years without my being aware of it.

Sometimes I feel like one of those people in a TV movie who’s been in a coma for 25 years and wakes up to find the world has completely changed. Yet, I have supposedly been awake between 1977 and 2002 and logic tells me I should have been aware of at some bits and pieces of this story.

Either that or the movie studio spent a lot of money just to play a practical joke on me.

Malcolm

 

Today’s stunning Potpourri of stuff

In no particular order. . .

  • I listened to Trump’s speech this morning. It was more low key and measured than I expected. Having said that, I’ll probably wake up tomorrow and read that we bombed something in Iran. I hope we don’t.
  • I tend to agree with Melinda’s comment on yesterday’s post about writer weblogs. She thought people tended to visit after buying a little-known author’s book (or hearing about them) just to learn something more about them rather than to buy a book. I haven’t cancelled my website yet, but I did get rid of a pricey add-on that I really don’t need.
  • My ex-wife and I haven’t spoken (or written) for years, but we both hear about each other via our daughter. I learned yesterday that my ex-wife’s older brother died two days ago. I messaged my daughter that I was sorry to hear the news. That’s all I can do since leaving a message on his Facebook profile or any of his family members’ profiles would probably be seen as a very unwelcome intrusion. He was a great guy.
  • Homemade chilli is simmering in the Dutch oven. Maybe some of it will be around later in the week when the bad weather hits the Southeast. Right now, our low temps here in north Georgia are in the high 20s.
  • I’m currently reading and enjoying Dora Goss’ The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl. It’s the third in her Athena Club series. The club looks into mysteries and other weird stuff. Club members are reading the manuscript as it unfolds, so we frequently have comments and dissenting opinions about the way the story is being handled.
  • It’s been fun watching the special “Jeopardy” competition this week between three all-time winners. Even when we know the answers, the champs say them before we do.

Malcolm

Recent Spam Has Been Low-Quality Stuff.

Do you ever wonder who writes SPAM? Is there a college course or maybe even a degree program (sort of like an MFA) that teaches effective SPAM techniques that will maximize your time, your words, and your income? If the recent SPAM in my queue here is any indication, it appears that border-line illiteracy is the primary entry mode into a SPAM-writing career.

  • I read your blog every day and tell my friends about it and think about it while using the bathroom. Most bloggers don’t have the time to write gospel every day. Find out how a curated stream of lightly plagiarized and repurposed posts from the dark web will bring you more readers than you can shake a stick at.  We guarantee that only 3% is infected with malware.
  • When you cheat on your wife, do your paramours still say “this old man has still got it?” If not, you’re missing the best life has to offer. Contact Mister Pimp’s Generic Viagra and you’ll find that being over the hill doesn’t mean you’re dead in bed.
  • Having trouble writing New Year’s Resolutions? Tell us your worst sins and we’ll craft resolutions they might even get you arrested. Contact Sing Sing, Box 666, for details.
  • Want a college degree without doing the work? MFA, PhD, MD, THd: we cater to all needs. Plans include forged transcripts from the nation’s best universities. We promise, you probably won’t get caught. Contact: DiplomaMill@EasyPeasyDegree.net
  • Your a writer, rite? If you’l endorse are book piracy cite, we’ll cut you in on the prophets. Can’t beet that, rite? Simply display our stolen HTML code in the right-hand column of you’re blog, and we’ll cut you in. No harm, no fowl. Need more info: freebooks@stolenwords.org.

You can thank your lucky stars that the WordPress SPAM catcher filters out 99.99% of this stuff so that you never see it. However, if you feel you’re missing out, let me know in a comment and I’ll give these SPAMMERS your e-mail address. Hope this helps.

Malcolm

The holidays make a nice scapegoat

I saw a graphic on Facebook several days ago that said, “Stop blaming the holidays, you were fat in August.”

Well.

Likewise, I suppose we can also say that we were behind on our chores in August, our letter writing, our hobbies, and a lot of other things that we’re now blaming on the holidays.

common scapegoat

Who believes our excuses anyway? Wouldn’t it be simpler to say, “I’m overweight because I eat too much” and never get any exercise rather than blaming those 75 extra pounds on Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Or, admitting that we’re short of funds because we spent too much of Black Friday due to a general lack of discipline rather than suggesting Black Friday came along and drained our bank accounts?

We’re all in this scapegoat business together, aren’t we? Let’s say you’re at a cookout and are just grabbing for your 5th beer when somebody says, “I really need to cut back but I don’t want to be rude.” Everyone joins in because, WTF, who wants to admit being rude. Likewise, granny invites us over for dinner. We don’t want to be rude, especially if we think it might cause granny to have a stroke, so we eat enough for three people and need to borrow granny’s walker to get out to the car.

In general, people seem to like ready excuses for why they got drunk, ate too much, or lost their jobs. These excuses are worth their weight in gold. After all, what sane person wants to accept responsibility for the insane habits they’ve spent a lifetime developing?

So, I’m here to tell you, if you’re eating or spending or drinking too much during the holiday season, it’s not your fault.

Malcolm

Had to mortgage the house to pay off the maxed out credit cards so I could do more shopping

When we were children, people we didn’t know came into our bedrooms at night and brainwashed us to believe in a deep state kind of way that it’s patriotic to overeat on Thanksgiving and overspend on Black Friday.

Wikipedia Photo

I don’t know what I bought today because I was on the run most of the time from rabid shoppers who kept trying to yank my latest deal out my hands before I got into the stolen armored car I was driving today. I seem to have a garage full of electronic equipment that will enrich my life along with the lives of the store owners and the corporate CEOs. It’s been a long day. It continues to be a long day because I’m writing this post from the lobby of a bank where I just cashed out a stack of I Bonds to make sure I had funds left for a stop at Quik Trip on the way home.

You probably have similar stories to tell, stories you’ll pass down to your children and grandchildren about the importance of buying lots of stuff. Nobody has even explained why we need the stuff, only that we need to buy it. If you leave it in the box it came in, your grandchildren can sell it for big bucks on Antiques Road Show 75 years from now. They (your grandchildren) will either think you were totally insane or the cat’s pajamas when they get the cash.

If the fates are with them (your grandchildren), that cash will be enough for ten or fifteen Black Friday’s worth of shopping to continue the tradition.  By then, people will probably be buying by rote without realizing how patriotic shopping was when the tradition started back in the 1950s.

I don’t mean to sound cynical about all this.

Malcolm

 

Briefly noted: ‘Anticancer Living’

During my final visit with the oncologist, he prescribed this book along with an on-line group called Cancer Navigators. Both present a wealth of information for people who have survived cancer as well as people who are ageing into the period of their life when cancer becomes more likely. Most of us ignore the statistics about the percentages of men and women who will get cancer in their lifetimes until a family member, a close friend of colleague gets it–or until we get it.

There are changes each of us can make in our lives from diet to exercise to weight to attitude that will promote the kind of wellness in our lives that will make cancer less likely. This book goes a long way in outlining how we achieve our best possible chances of never getting cancer or of surviving it with a viable and meaningful lifestyle if we do get it.

From the Publisher:

“The scientific data on the link between lifestyle, environmental factors, and cancer risk has been accumulating at an accelerated rate over the past decade: Every week we learn something more that we can do as individuals to decrease the risk of can­cer and improve the likelihood of long-term survival. Many of us—patients and doctors included—do not realize that changes in our daily choices and habits can improve quality of life, increase the chances of survival, and aid in the healing process for those with a diagnosis. These ideas were pioneered in David Servan-Schreiber’s Anticancer: A New Way of Life, and became the basis for a research study developed by Lorenzo Cohen and Servan-Schreiber at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“Introducing the concept of the “Mix of Six,” Cohen and Alison Jefferies make an informed case that building social and emotional support; manag­ing stress; improving sleep, exercise, and diet; and minimizing exposure to environmental toxins work together to promote an optimal environment for health and well-being. While each plays an inde­pendent role, the synergy created by all six factors can radically transform health; delay or prevent many cancers; support conventional treatments; and significantly improve quality of life—as many testi­monies and stories of those in the anticancer com­munity eloquently show.

“Anticancer Living provides an accessible, pre­scriptive guide to wellness based on the latest scien­tific findings and clinical trials, and it showcases the community of doctors, researchers, caregivers, and patients who have been inspired to create change.”

Highly Recommended

I won’t know until sometime in January whether the radiation and hormone therapy zapped by prostate cancer. If so, I’m a survivor twice over since surgery took care of my kidney cancer several years ago. According to current thinking, all men get prostate cancer if they live long enough, so I doubt that had if started reading this book after the kidney cancer surgery, I could have avoided the prostate cancer. But who knows?

Suffice it to say, avoiding cancer is better than getting it, and yet so many people–including me–are averse to doing the obvious kinds of things that lead to a healthy body, brain, and mind. I don’t know if that’s laziness or the false idea that cancer is random no matter how healthy one is. I think we’re overly influenced when healthy people get cancer and when people who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day never get it.

Have a happy Thanksgiving and, for goodness sakes, take care of yourselves.

Malcolm