To the New York Times

Edit: The Times on January 8 responded to reader criticism of the obituary in question. Their response, while acknowledging some failings, essentially circled the wagons and justified their position. This is still unacceptable.

On January 3, The New York Times published an obituary for Thomas S. Monson, late president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who was revered by its members as their prophet, seer, and revelator.

Monson

Instead of taking the opportunity to pay tribute to an honorable and humble servant of humanity who spent most of his 90 years of life ministering to the lonely, the widowed, and the forgotten, they took an opportunity to turn what should have been an expression of respect into a reprehensible potshot at the Church and its doctrine, commonly known as Mormonism.

A respected newspaper that is charged with reporting facts objectively and without bias instead decided that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was fair game for mockery and disparagement, and prostituted their reputation for a chance to take a reprehensible Cheap Shot at an organization of 15 million members that has done immense good throughout the world since its inception. Instead of an obituary, the piece became a virtual hatchet job, echoing the complaints of disaffected members and sounding like something that might have been written by Gerald and Sandra Tanner.

The Church is a community of faith that believes in ongoing, modern revelation, that believes in a Church led directly by the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s not a democratic institution where people can agitate and effectuate changes in doctrine. They are free to participate, or not. They are free to follow their leaders, or not. They are free to remain members, or not. They don’t even have to think the same way as their leaders if they don’t want to, and they can remain members in good standing. If the Church is not for them, let them go where they may and find joy – but a vocal minority that captures the attention of a click-hungry press seems to think that they, not God, are directing the affairs of the Church, and they are bitterly angry about this.

It is these feelings and protesting voices that the Times chose to bring to the forefront of President Monson’s obituary, not his nearly a century of life and virtual decades of compassionate service on a personal level as well as an administrator in the Church’s hierarchy. This represents a gross contravention of decency and reputability, for which the Times owes every Latter-day Saint and every lover of respectable journalism a heartfelt apology.

The Times is a newspaper. There is nothing that says they can’t do all the investigative journalism or “exposé” pieces that they want, as long as the facts they report are verifiable and accurate. That’s what journalists do. But to rest this sort of poison-pen letter on the memory of a good, honest, and decent man, possibly one of the most Christlike individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of associating with, is the ultimate abrogation of all principles of decent journalism that there could be, worthy of a trash publication like The National Enquirer and not one of the nation’s flagship newspapers. Shame, shame, the very deepest shame on The Times.

I trust that they will do the right thing, and express appropriate regret for this horrible lapse of judgment, from writer to editors to publisher. They are, of course, free to choose – but they should remember that every choice has prices and benefits, and choose wisely.

The Old Wolf has Spoken.

 

Never call 888-710-4402

If your computer running Chrome suddenly locks up and you get these display screens:

Scam1

Scam2do NOT under any circumstances call the number shown (888-710-4402). You’ll be connected to scammers in India who will tell you all sorts of incomprehensible things about your machine and ask you to let them connect with your computer.

Look at how bad the English is – practically incomprehensible. This is NOT the number for Microsoft Technical Support. These folks are liars, criminals, and all-round Very Bad People. Allow these drones to access your machine and you’re likely to end up with all your files encrypted by ransomware, or have your machine turned into part of a spamming robot network, or have your financial data stolen, or something equally insidious.

Kill Chrome using the Task Manager and re-launch. These exploits are usually encountered when malicious code is run from an ad somewhere on a page you visited, and is usually not the fault of the page itself.

Be safe out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Funny, Funny Mother

It’s Christmas, and if you haven’t ever seen this you deserve to. We all deserve to. I first heard this read at an office Christmas party; the reader, one of the loveliest people I have known, read this with an absolute deadpan delivery – and they almost had to carry me out on a stretcher.

I have no idea who the original author is, despite exhaustive searching. If anyone knows, please leave a comment and I’ll add the appropriate credit.

Funny, Funny Mother

See Mother, see Mother laugh. Mother is happy.
Mother is happy about Christmas.
Mother has many plans. Mother has many plans for Christmas.
Mother is organized. Mother smiles all the time.
Funny, funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother smile. Mother is happy.
The shopping is all done. See the children watch TV.
Watch, children, watch.
See the children change their minds.
See them ask Santa for different toys.
Look, look. Mother is not smiling.
Funny, funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother sew.
Mother will make dresses.
Mother will make robes.
Mother will make shirts.
See Mother put in the zipper wrong.
See Mother sew the dress on the wrong side.
See Mother cut the skirt too short.
See Mother put the material away until January.
Look. Look. See Mother take a tranquilizer.
Funny, funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother buy raisins and nuts.
See Mother buy candied pineapple and powdered sugar.
See Mother buy flour, and dates, and pecans, and brown sugar,
bananas, and spices, and vanilla.
Look. Look. Mother is mixing everything together.
See the children press out cookies.
See the flour on their elbows.
See the cookies burn.
See the cake fall.
See the children pull the taffy. See Mother pull her hair.
See Mother clean the kitchen with the garden hose.
Funny, funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother wrap presents.
See Mother look for the end of the Scotch tape roll.
See Mother bite her fingernails.
See Mother go. See Mother go to the store 12 times in one hour.
Go, Mother, go. See Mother run faster. Run, Mother, run.
See Mother trim the tree. See Mother have a party.
See Mother make popcorn. See Mother wash the walls.
See Mother scrub the rug. See Mother tear up the organized plan.
See Mother forget the gift for Uncle Harold.
See Mother get hives. Go, Mother, go. See the far-away look in Mother’s eyes.
Mother is disoriented.
Funny, funny Mother.

It is finally Christmas morning. See the happy family.
See Father smile. Father is happy. Smile, Father, smile.
Father loves fruit cake. Father loves Christmas pudding.
Father loves all his new neckties.
Look. Look. See the happy children. See the children’s toys.
Santa was very good to the children.
The children will remember this Christmas.
See Mother. Mother is slumped in a chair. Mother is crying uncontrollably.
Mother does not look well. Mother has dark ugly circles under
her bloodshot eyes.
Everyone helps Mother to her bed.
See Mother sleep quietly under heavy sedation.
See Mother smile.
Funny, funny Mother.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas1

The Old Wolf has spoken.


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What’s in a Logo?

Companies spend large money developing a logo that speaks to the world. They are an integral part of brand recognition – who in the world doesn’t recognize the Coca Cola logo, even if they don’t speak English or use Roman script?

Image result for coke logo

Who in the world doesn’t see the “golden arches” and immediately know that McDonald’s is close by?

Image result for golden arches

These logos and these brands are worth millions if not billions of dollars, and they are ferociously protected and actively marketed around the world.

Some logos, however, are more than eye-catching; they’re supremely clever, some from equally powerful companies and some from local enterprises.

amazon

Amazon, of course, ships everything from A to Z and a lot of stuff in between. The arrow, in addition, looks very much like a smile, suggesting how pleased you’ll be with your order. Just don’t talk to the people who work there – they’re not terribly happy with their job conditions.

Baskin Robbins

Baskin-Robbins prides itself on its 31 flavors (seen above in the logo) but not on their value as health food. Duh. John Robbins, son of founder and owner, left the empire for more wholesome pastures, and encouraged his father to step away from the inevitable when he got him to live a healthier lifestyle after the father had been diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Years before, partner Burt Baskin had died from a heart attack.

Anyone who grew up with black-and-white televisions and saw color for the first time probably saw the NBC “proud as a peacock” logo:

Today’s stylized logo retains the peacock, even if you have to look for a bit to find it:

CBS

One of the cleverest logo inclusions is the one FedEx (or their designer) came up with. They want you to know that your package is on the way, and so that little subliminal arrow helps you understand that they move stuff, and quickly.

FedEx1

Never seen that arrow? Here it is:

FedEx2

Spartan golf clubs are represented by a man with a powerful swing – but if you look at the entire picture in a different light, you see a Spartan warrior in profile with his iconic helmet.

Spartan

This is one of the most delightful recent designs I’ve seen, with a very creative use of positive and negative space – the swan, the mallard, and the ampersand (&) all combined into a very pleasing and evocative image. Artwork was created by John Randall.

Swan and Mallard

Ever look closely at the Toblerone logo? Seen the bear in that mountain? Berne, Switzerland, is notable for its bears, icon of the city.

Toblerone2

But wait, there’s more!

Toblerone

Yes, the home city of Toblerone is also found in the name.

Then there’s the Tostitos logo. Look closely and you’ll see two folks sitting at a table with salsa, sharing a tortilla chip.

Tostitos

Le Tour de France logo clearly represents a person on a bicycle, with one wheel yellow, probably evoking the yellow jersey that the winner gets to wear. Unless he’s outed for massive doping, but that’s another story.

Tour de France

The official Toyota explanation of their logo is as follows:

In 1990, Toyota debuted the three overlapping Ellipses logo on American vehicles. The Toyota Ellipses symbolize the unification of the hearts of our customers and the heart of Toyota products. The background space represents Toyota’s technological advancement and the boundless opportunities ahead.

But whether or not they intended it, the image has an additional fillip of intrigue:

Toyota

One of my earliest PC-type computers was a Vaio – and their logo is a brilliant blending of the analog computers of the past (represented by the sine wave seen on an oscilloscope ( and the digital computers of today, represented by the “1” and “0” of binary bits.

Vaio

Yoga Australia managed to work the shape of their homeland into the image of a young lady in a yoga pose – Oi oi oi, mates!
Yoga Australia

Lastly – and there are many others that I haven’t touched on in this post, but these were some of my favorites – is the logo for Hitachi, which I have written about in detail.

Hitachi was once one of the most well-known brands in electronics; for more about this fascinating logo, click through.

Naturally, there is the other end of the scale – logos which are awful for any number of reasons.

Image result for terrible logo designs

This one just hurts to look at because of the clashing colors.

Many of the ones which have been called out can’t be shared here, as I try to keep this blog on a family-friendly plane – but if you’re interested, just do an image search on “the world’s worst logos” and you’ll see what I mean.

Logos, like domain names, can contribute to the success or failure of an enterprise, which is why companies are willing to spend significant amounts having their logos designed. If the stars align, a logo can be a tremendous and memorable success.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


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DistilPure MSM is an organic,  non-petroleum natural-source MSM
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Grits *is* good.

When I was a kid, I remember seeing cans of Hominy in the grocery store.

The fact that it looked like alien bloated corn that had been exposed to gamma rays and gotten very sick (oh wait, that’s huitlacoche) didn’t do much for my desire to ever try it.

Image result for hominy

I became more aware of its presence because I worked at  the Daitch Shopwell on 1st Avenue between 57th and 58th Streets in New York, and had to price cans with these stamps and purple ink:

Price Stamps 2

But time heals all things… or at the very least tends to change things, particularly one’s tastes. You can visit my Banquet from Hell, and see why I was awarded the honorary title of “Grand High Culinary Inquisitor” by Howard Tayler, author of Schlock Mercenary.

I am passionately fond of Menudo, a wonderful, hearty Mexican dish which includes both tripe and hominy, and later fell deeply in love with grits, a porridge made with ground hominy and very popular in the south. Again, I had heard of this as a kid and had no desire to try it because it sounded like eating finely crushed gravel. Fool that I was.

Grits is related to the Austrian Grieß, although the latter is made with semolina and makes wonderful dumplings. Nothing is more warming and comforting on a cold morning than a steaming bowl of buttery, peppered grits:

Image may contain: food

You’ll notice that I use the singular when describing grits, and that’s because it’s not plural. Grits is singular, and grits is wonderful.

For authentic confirmation of this fact, I turn to a lovely oral essay by Kathryn Tucker Windham,¹ an American storyteller, author, photographer, folklorist, and journalist:

I never remember sitting down to breakfast in my childhood home in Thomasville without having grits. And it wasn’t the instant kind, either. My mother, before we went to bed at night, would put the grits on to soak, put the grits in the top of a double boiler, let the grits soak overnight, so it would be ready to cook in the morning. And oh, I guess it tasted… I was just accustomed to good grits.

And I will now stop a minute to carry on my campaign for trying to convince people that grits is a singular noun: you say “the grits is good, the grits is hot.” Just because it ends in an “s” doesn’t make it plural; it’s in the same category with “news” and “measles.” So bear that in mind.

But… on special occasions, sometimes for supper we’d have grits again. Cheese grits, sharp cheddar cheese, grated and stirred up and hot grits. Aah, it was marvelous. And if my brother had gone hunting and had come back with quail or dove we’d have grits with the dove and quail. There’s just no finer eating in the world than that on a cold weather’s day. And the baked sweet potatoes that were always better in the winter time. Just slathered with butter and baked until they were soft, and almost mushy inside. Slit ’em open and put butter that we got down at little Miz Anderson’s, bought butter from her, she had a good cow that had rich milk and wonderful butter.

And the soup that my mother used to make, vegetable soup, I’ve never had any as good as she made, and I don’t know how… I’m sure she didn’t have a recipe, she just used what was available – but sustaining, comfortable winter food and somebody would have a hog-killin’ and we’d get some of that fresh meat, the ribs and he pork chops, and the… oh, it was all so good, and that was … the hogs were killed only in the wintertime on a very cold day, and they were a treat to have, and I always looked forward to them. But it was the grits, that stuck to your ribs and was sustaining, comfort food. And if you want it really comforting, add cheddar cheese, sharp, and stir it up, and eat, and enjoy.

I heard this piece on NPR years ago, and you can still listen to it at WLRH in Huntsville. Add that beautiful, mellow southern accent and you can feel her joy in the memories of her childhood, and the rich goodness of the foods she relished… including grits.

Which is divine.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


¹ Many of Windham’s works, including audiobooks, are available over at Amazon.


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DistilPure MSM is an organic,  non-petroleum natural-source MSM
Certified by analysis to be 100% bio-source
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If you are being harassed by the EU Business Register / World Business List / European Trade Register / Waldberg and Hirsch

I have written several times about the “EU Business Register Scam.

The same scam continues to be played out, with people being taken advantage of by a deceptive solicitation implying free listing in a business directory, and then being charged €995 x 3, and harassed by a “global debt collection firm” if they decline to pay – simply because they missed the small print.

Today I received an excellent and welcome comment from reader CZECH_FIRM at one of the articles, and it’s valuable enough that I felt a full post was warranted. I have taken the liberty of cleaning up the translation from Dutch a bit (based on rules of grammar, but not having seen the source text.) This user contacted the Dutch police and received this definitive response:

Dear Sir/Madam:

If you have been defrauded by making a payment, you should report this to the police.

We have been warning people about this company since 2015. I cannot confirm that there have been any past investigations regarding this company. In any event, if  you receive any invoices from this company, you can forward them by email to valse-email@fraudehelpdesk.nl.

Please see the warnings about this company below:

DECEPTIVE FORM FROM “WORLD BUSINESS DIRECTORY”
March 4, 2015
Businesses receive a form from EU Business Services Ltd. The business gathers company data to be published in World Business Directory. It is implied that the update is free, but whoever responds ends up signing a three-year contract.

Advice: You do not have to do anything. You are not obliged to respond to these types of offers. You can simply throw the document away.

Have you also received a dubious mail? Let us know so that we can warn others.

Warning for World Business List emails

Be on the lookout for an e-mail about enrollment at the World Business List in Zeist. This e-mail is from the address: general.company@globalcompanies.online or info88@globalcompanies.online. and contains a PDF file where “the company” indicates that you can be in a list of companies when you fill out the form. If you return this you will be committing yourself to a three-year contract. It seems free, but costs 995 euros a year.

Kind regards,

Sandy Honders-Egter
Medewerkster wijksecretariaat
Politie I Midden-Nederland I Utrecht stad I wijkteam Centrum
Kroonstraat 25, 3511 RC Utrecht
Postbus 8300, 3503 RH Utrecht

T 0900-8844
Work days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

So it appears that at long last, we have confirmation that the Dutch police are working on shutting down these drones. Reporting any invoices or interactions with these companies to the email address above ( valse-email@fraudehelpdesk.nl )will help them in their efforts.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken

 

Extracting a Light from a Christmas House

So, like my wife and me, you love Christmas (or Hallowe’en houses) and you love to set up your Christmas village, and now – it happens more often than you’d like – you’ve pushed one of those never-sufficiently-to-be-accursed clips all the way into the house and you can’t get it out.

You’ve worked at it with tweezers and hemostats, and you’ve got one side out, but that other one is just unreachable. Yarg snarl yarg.

Here’s what I do, and I hope someone finds it useful.

1) The first thing to do is get one side out all the way. With a long tweezers or a hemostat, this is usually pretty easy.

20171031_135347

2) With a thin piece of duct tape, pinch the metal clip to the body of the lightbulb.

20171031_135544

3) Now you can push the lightbulb all the way back into the house and have enough room to grab the second clip.

20171031_135706

4) Out it comes. Take off the duct tape, re-seat the bulb, and you’re good to go.

Happy Holidays!

The Old Wolf has spoken.