Ice Cream Parlors

April 1974. Columbus, Indiana. “General view of soda fountain area — Zaharako Bros. Ice Cream Parlor, 329 Washington Street. Family-run ice cream and confectionery business operating since 1900. This parlor was a major social center in Columbus for the first 50 years. Known for its elaborate interior and ice cream still made by the Zaharako family. Mexican onyx soda fountains purchased 1905; extra counter added 1949; store front modernized 1959.” 5×7 negative by Jack E. Boucher, Historic American Buildings Survey. Found at Shorpy.

Around 1917 – Ice cream store on High Street in Holyoke, MA. My father is the young man in the background, his older brother to the right. Flanking them are Carlo Paoli and Adolf Paoli, both brothers of my grandmother, who owned the store.

Work-at-home Scams

Received today in my inbox an email from a cousin, with a link to this website: (I have obfuscated the link so it’s not clickable, but left it intact in case you want to see what’s there.)

My cousin, of course, did not send me this email – her account was hacked.

Would you consider it safe and ethical to deal with a company that advertises in this fashion? No? Well, you’re not alone. Just have a look here and see what kind of tactics this company uses to extract hard-earned cash from the wallets of desperate people.

Red flag No. 2: Try to leave the page or close your browser and this is what you get:

Any website that uses this technique is highly suspect, and I would never do business with any enterprise that employes mousejacking or browser exploits of this nature.

These scams just keep reinventing themselves with different names, on different servers. As soon as the heat gets too intense, they change names, IP addresses, and off they go again. They have no product, benefit only the people who developed the scam, and effectively steal thousands of dollars a day from folks looking for a way out of their financial desperation.

Stay away from them, and warn your loved ones.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Universal Truths

These have been floating around the Internet for a while, but they gave me a smile.

1) Triangular sandwiches taste better than square ones.
2) At the end of every party there is always a girl crying.
3) One of the most awkward things that can happen in a bar is when your beer-to-toilet cycle gets synchronised with a complete stranger.
4) You’ve never been quite sure whether it’s ok to eat green potato chips.
5) Everyone who grew up in the 80’s has entered the digits 55378008 into a calculator.
6) Reading when you’re drunk is horrible.
7) Sharpening a pencil with a knife makes you feel really manly.
8) You’re never quite sure whether it’s against the law or not to have a fire in your back yard.
10) Nobody ever dares make cup-a-soup in a bowl.
11) You never know where to look when eating a banana.
12) Its impossible to describe the smell of a wet cat.
13) Prodding a fire with a stick makes you feel manly.
14) Rummaging in an overgrown garden will always turn up a bouncy ball.
15) You always feel a bit scared when stroking horses.
16) Everyone always remembers the day a dog ran into your school.
17) The most embarrassing thing you can do as schoolchild is to call your teacher mom or dad.
18) The smaller the monkey the more it looks like it would kill you at the first given opportunity.
19) Some days you see lots of people on crutches.
20) Every guy has at some stage while taking a pee flushed half way through and then raced against the flush.
21) Old women with mobile phones look wrong!
22) Its impossible to look cool while picking up a Frisbee.
23) Driving through a tunnel makes you feel excited.
24) You never ever run out of salt.
25) Old ladies can eat more than you think.
26) You can’t respect a man who carries a dog.
27) There’s no panic like the panic you momentarily feel when you’ve got your hand or head stuck in something.
28) No one knows the origins of their metal coat hangers.
29) Despite constant warning, you have never met anybody who has had their arm broken by a swan.
30) The most painful household incident is wearing socks and stepping on an upturned plug.
31) People who don’t drive slam car doors too hard.
32) You’ve turned into your dad the day you put aside a thin piece of wood specifically to stir paint with.
33) Everyone had an uncle who tried to steal their nose.
34) Bricks are horrible to carry.
35) In every plate of french fries there is a bad fry.

The Old Wolf has *snrk* spoken.

Racism the Way We See It

A 1994 documentary, now approaching 20 years old, depicting how young Native Americans perceive racism. I would not be going out on a limb to say that the same film could be made today.

Racism exists. It cannot be denied, or covered up, or excused. It is tied to the same mechanism that drives bullying, in the family, the schoolyard, or the workplace. Racism rears its head when people deny their better nature and look for mechanisms to justify their behavior. It is fed by the “us vs. them” dichotomy.

In a world that works for everyone, with no one left out, there is no room for hatred or cruelty. Despite all our technological advances as a race (and here I mean the human race), in some ways we are still scrabbling about in the mud. If we are to reach the stars, these weak and foolish tendencies must be rooted out of the global psyche.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Chinese Turtle Farm

A post in Teresa Burritt’s Frog Blog coincides nicely with some photos sent me by an old High School buddy of mine, who now lives in China. Shown here are two pictures from a set he took during a recent visit to a friend’s home. This particular farmer also raises frogs, lizards, and the insects which feed them, as well as producing home-made rice alcohol.

Backyard Turtle Tanks

Turtles are washed off as the farmer drains and refills the tank.

GIF files that made me laugh

“Nine out of ten voices in my head tell me that life lived without laughter is a sin. The other one is just crazy.”
-Wolfington X. Analemma

This guy just learned the meaning of Karma.

Instant comfort.

Attack Roomba™


Unclear on the concept.

Again. And Again. And Again.

I can relate to this. What’s more, we have a kitten and that’s just about right.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Make your passwords even stronger

Back in 1998, Scott Adams did a Dilbert strip that made many IT professionals cringe in sympathy.


As painful as this may seem, it’s one of the few times that Adams had underestimated where technology was going.

Ars Technica recently published an article entitled “Why passwords have never been weaker—and crackers have never been stronger.” I recommend it to anyone who has data on the internet that they want to keep secure. I’ve posted about passwords before, but this article explains why the urgency to use passwords that are uncrackable is even greater. It’s a technical read, but even if you don’t read it, you should be updating all your passwords.

“Newer hardware and modern techniques have also helped to contribute to the rise in password cracking. Now used increasingly for computing, graphics processors allow password-cracking programs to work thousands of times faster than they did just a decade ago on similarly priced PCs that used traditional CPUs alone. A PC running a single AMD Radeon HD7970 GPU, for instance, can try on average an astounding 8.2 billion password combinations each second, depending on the algorithm used to scramble them. Only a decade ago, such speeds were possible only when using pricey supercomputers.”


  • Use a different password for each account. If one is compromised, the others remain secure.
  • Use combinations of multiple words (Seven Whipped Aardvark Quonset) which would take 27 undecillion years for a desktop PC to crack.
  • “It’s also important that a password not already be a part of the corpus of the hundreds of millions of codes already compiled in crackers’ word lists, that it be randomly generated by a computer, and that it have a minimum of nine characters to make brute-force cracks infeasible. Since it’s not uncommon for people to have dozens of accounts these days, the easiest way to put this advice into practice is to use program such as 1Password or PasswordSafe. Both apps allow users to create long, randomly generated passwords and to store them securely in a cryptographically protected file that’s unlocked with a single master password. Using a password manager to change passcodes regularly is also essential.”

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Selling it

Consumer Reports runs a section called “Selling It,” which documents advertised goofs, glitches and gotchas. Years and years ago I came across a bit on a box of Cheerios™ that offered consumers a free T-Shirt. The fine print on the coupon indicated that shipping and handling was only $18.95. This was back in the days before the internet or digital photography, so I wasn’t able to capture or document it, but I was absolutely gobsmacked that  General Mills would have the chutzpah to put something like this on their product, unless it was a failure in their quality control process.

Sadly, when it comes to separating workers from their dollars, some people have neither scruples nor morals. In fact, the following ad sits at the top of my “Advertising Hall of Shame”. It appeared in Parade Magazine, on August 12, 1990 (click for a larger version):

I have never seen a more deceptive, deviously-crafted advert in my entire life. It is designed to make the uneducated or the unaware think they are getting a satellite dish for $5.00 – even though it says multiple times that they’re not. In fact, what the ad says is:

“We’re selling pretty rabbit ears. Throw away yours, and buy ours.”

But here’s the text:

Why Are We offering Our Nationally Advertised
for only $5

  • No cable box necessary–uses “RF” technology to capture signals right out of the air!
  • Brings in every local VHF and UHF channel from 2 to 83!
  • Legal in all 50 states!
  • No wiring or installation!
  • Works like ordinary pair of “rabbit ears”!
  • You pay NO satellite fees because you DON’T use satellite signals!!!
  • You pay NO cable fees because you’re NOT getting cable!!!


Throw away your old TV rod antenna! The GFX-100 looks like an outdoor satellite “dish,” but works indoors like ordinary “rabbit ears.” No wiring or installation! Legal in all 50 states. You pay NO cable fees because you’re NOT getting cable!!! You pay NO satellite fees because you’re NOT using satellite technology or service!!! Works entirely via proven “RF” technology–actually pulls signals right out of the air. Instantly locks into every local VHF and UHF channel from 2 to 83 to bring you their movies, sports and special events just like an ordinary pair of “rabbit ears.” No cable box or special attachments needed! Enhances color and clarity, helps pull in weak signals. Compatible with all TVs from 3-inch portables to giant 7-footers. Sits on any TV top in less than 4 linear inches of space! Guaranteed not to utilize, replicate, transmit or interfere with any satellite signal. Complies with all applicable federal regulations. Not technical razzle-dazzle but the sheer aesthetic superiority of its elegant parabolic design make the GFX-100 a marketing breakthrough! At this price, put one on every TV in your home! (Sorry, limit 5 per address. No dealers or wholesalers, please!) We reserve right to extend above time and quantity guarantee. Hurry!
© 1990 RBM Ltd., 1200 Shames Drive, Westbury, NY 11590

Almost every sentence in this ad can be interpreted one of two ways. It’s so devious that it’s almost beautiful. I noticed with wry humor that they never answered their own question, but the answer is clear: “Because we want your money.”

I’m curious how many of these units RBM moved, because nine years later, on July 2, 1999, the same ad appeared in the Weekly World News (which goes to show which demographic they were targeting)

Word-for-word the same – only the price has doubled.