Another phishing Scam to watch out for


Your Apple ID was just used to download Skate Simu 3$ from the App Store on a computer or device that had not previously been associated with that Apple ID.

To: (redacted)
Date: Oct 13 (2 days ago)

Dear W R Jonathan Graham, (clearly not my name)

Your Apple ID was just used to download Skate Simu 3$ from the App Store on a computer or device that had not previously been associated with that Apple ID.

This download was initiated from Morocco.

If you initiated this download, you can disregard this email. It was only sent to alert you in case you did not initiate the download yourself.

If you did not initiate this download, we recommend that you go to to change your password, then see Apple ID: Security and your Apple ID for further assistance.


TM and Copyright ı 2014 Apple Inc. 31-33, rue Sainte Zithe, L-2763 Luxembourg.
All rights reserved / Keep Informed / Privacy Policy / My Apple ID

The problem here is that in the email message, that “” was a front for a redirect to another website, “” (which has now been taken down), which redirected to a phishing page designed to gather personal information, passwords, and credit card data.

There are people working behind the scenes to protect the innocent – later in the day, this warning showed up at the top of the email:

Be careful with this message. Similar messages were used to steal people’s personal information. Unless you trust the sender, don’t click links or reply with personal information.

The links in the email had been disabled, and as indicated, the phishing website had been taken down. But it pays to be careful. It is rarely adviseable to click links in emails directly, but rather enter them yourself in the URL window.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Just Telling It Like It Is

I am re-blogging this in toto from “Not Always Right” because it’s hilarious, and pretty much summarizes a huge percentage of the kind of nonsense retail workers have to deal with.

Just Telling It Like It Is

(Two customers approach the counter, the first being a tall, bald man and the second being an elderly lady.)

Customer: “Hi. I’m every customer ever, and I have a bunch of stupid questions and unreasonable demands.”

Me: “Hi. I’m every employee ever, and I present a negative attitude as well as an unforgivable ignorance of both the products my employer sells and how to conduct myself civilly with other human beings.”

Customer: “Like an idiot, I have approached you with no idea what I want. But I nevertheless expect you to keep your full attention on me while I waste your time.”

Me: “That’s fine. I’ve already tuned you out and began to sing the theme song to Duck Tales to myself in my head as you bring us collectively closer to death without having accomplished anything meaningful.”

Customer: “Regarding [liquor], I will now proceed to barrage you with questions about it that either you have no way of knowing, or which I should already d*** well know the answers to.”

(I hand him a bottle of the liquor he mentioned and start to ring it up.)

Me: “I respond to your worthless questions with vague and unsatisfying responses, as my cranial faculties are occupied with lewd and lascivious irrelevancies. That will be [price], you personification of the downfall of western civilization.”

Customer: “I object to the price quoted, even though it is clearly indicated on the shelf behind you, and suggest some sort of extortion on your part, undoubtedly fueled by prejudice towards some aspect of my appearance, race, culture, or creed.”

Me: “Although mentally I am most certainly questioning your intelligence, parentage and/or upbringing, I merely offer transparently insincere apologies.”

Customer: “I proclaim in brash and vulgar terms my dissatisfaction. I make a laughable and grandiose claim of my own importance, such as being a millionaire, the brother of your company’s CEO, or perhaps the good old-fashioned ‘Do you have any idea who I am?’ I further suggest that I could have you fired effortlessly and fully intend to do so for the insufficient quantity of butt-kissing you have exhibited toward me over the course of this transaction.”

Me: “I sadly inform you that my superior is not present on the premises and unhelpfully refer you to the company help line. Quietly I memorize the details of your face so that I can fantasize about committing acts of unspeakable and grotesque violence toward same at some later date.”

(The customer begins walking out the door.)

Customer: “Vague and impotent threat to your person and questioning of your sexual orientation!”

Me: “Sarcastic suggestion to have a nice day!”

(He walks out the door. The old lady behind him looks thoroughly perplexed by our exchange.)

Old Lady: “Who was that?”

Me: *shrugging* “My manager.”

As implausible as this representative scenario seems, it is repeated countless times in various incarnations across our nation in every conceivable retail store. I have not yet figured out what makes people act like Internet Trolls in real life to people behind counters or wearing clerks’ or servers’ uniforms; it is as though they feel empowered to treat those who serve them with all the dignity and respect that Donald Trump or Leona Helmsley would offer a trash collector.

The thing these wastes of human cytoplasm don’t realize is that their cover has been blown. They may get what they want by screaming and bullying and calling corporate (who will more than likely give them the moon to keep them as a customer), but everyone knows they’re a douchebag.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Rabbi, is there a proper blessing for the Czar?

There’s no question in my mind that websites like Yahoo! Answers, FixYa and other such social answer sites are generally not worth the powder to blow them to Hell with. The blind leading the blind is what comes most frequently to mind.

But occasionally one finds an exception.

Listening today to the soundtrack to Fiddler on the Roof, this particular question happened to strike me, and I started wondering… Is there?


From Rabbi Andy Vogel:

Everybody loves this scene from “Fiddler on the Roof”: The townspeople acknowledge that in Judaism, there exists a blessing for everything, and then they wonder, ‘Rabbi, is there a proper blessing for the Czar?’ He thinks for a moment, then, comes up with the answer: ‘May God bless and keep the Czar… far away from us!’ The line is an oldie, but what a goodie.

But then, just a few weeks ago, I found the actual blessing for the Czar. . . .found. . .an old machzor, a High Holy Day prayer book, published in 1895 in Petrokov (today Poland, but until 1919, part of the Russian Empire). I thumbed through it, and saw that it contains the full Hebrew text of the High Holy Day prayers, and includes a Yiddish commentary and translation on every page. What a find! And then, turning to the Torah service, on page 97 of the Rosh Hashanah volume, I saw it, the prayer for the Czar, beautifully composed:

“May the One who gives power to kings, and sovereignty to princes; may the One who is the Ruler of rulers… bless and keep, guard and aid, exalt and raise the Czar Nicholas Alexanderovich, and his widowed mother, Czarina Marie Feodorovna [here, my knowledge of the Russian monarchy is a little weak], and his wife the royal Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna, and their heir, Grigory… May God save them from all harm and pain, and may all their enemies fall before them. And may the Merciful One put in the heart of the Czar compassion and good deeds for the People of Israel…” 

Mazel tov, Rabbi!

The Old Wolf has spoken.

John Cleese to quit movie making

And that’s sad. But in a larger sense, there is a time and a season for everything.

Cleese’s announcement was made public in The Mirror, reflecting comments made at a promotional event at the Cheltenham Literary Festival at which time he said in typical style, “I have only got five or six years left and I will be gone – I won’t have to worry about ISIS or Ebola, I am looking forward to it.”

A few more years and I'm outta here

Sorta the same sentiment as the above, although the honored Mr. Cleese is nowhere near this decrepit. He’s 74, about 11 years older than myself, and I’m looking forward to as many good years as I can squeeze out of this body before I have completed my work on this earth. But there comes a time when one is ready.

Just recently someone pointed me to Cleese’s wonderful eulogy at Graham Chapman’s memorial service:

Should I be fortunate enough to outlive John Cleese – we never really know when the bus will come for us, after all – I will be most curious to see if someone can eulogize him in the same irreverent manner or as appropriately.

Of interest was a comment that Cleese made revealing that the Python team were never “huge friends”.

John said: “The key to understanding Python now is we have all driven off in completely different directions. Michael [Palin], as you know, makes those travel programs that I put on any time I can’t sleep. Eric Idle is very good at lyrics so he is writing songs. Terry Gilliam is off trying to raise money for one of his plotless ­extravaganzas. And Jonesy [Terry] is just insane – he writes children’s books and recently went to Lisbon and directed an opera about vacuum cleaners.”

Their recent reunion and grand farewell in London is an event that I was very sad not to be able to attend. These gentlemen, Chapman included, brought me many a belly-laugh and much joy in the theater of the absurd. While all of them but Chapman are still with us, in ten years or so, most of them will probably have gone on to the grand cheese shop in the sky. And I may be there with them; I hope they have some of that Venezuelan beaver cheese available.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Found: The Swan Song of a Modern Hiawatha


For decades, I’ve had a snippet of a poem running around in my head:

“Simple math and shrubbery pruning, checkers, lunch and water polo.”

This comes to mind often when I consider the un-challenging slate of classes for which I see many college freshmen sign up.

Today someone posted something on Facebook – which, thanks to the lack of a search function I can no longer find – that made me think of it again, and despite earlier searches on Google coming up poor, this time I got a hit.

The link took me to a page in the Gainesville Sun from August 10, 1985, in a column by Bill Henderson. He credited the source thusly:

“To honor the coming season I would have you read an ode to the football player himself. An ode I stole some years back from some fellow hack that I would acknowledge if I could remember his name.”

Having seen the full text of the poem again, I was pretty sure the original appearance of the poem was in Mad Magazine, of which I was a faithful and voracious reader through the 60s and 70s. A bit more Googling, and I had located the source: Mad #100, January 1966: “The Swan Song of a Modern Hiawatha” – with apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha.”

So here, for your gratuitous enjoyment, is the full text of the poem as it appeared in Mad. Be warned – this is politically incorrect for our day and age, and needs to be framed in the mindset of the 60s.

Edit: With thanks to commenter Dave Meek who pointed out that a line was missing in the first stanza. A search for verification led to a discovery of the entire issue of Mad #100 online in PDF format, enabling me to add the image above, as well as an entire stanza that was also missing.

The Swan Song of a Modern Hiawatha
Text: Tom Koch / Art: Don Martin.

By a pond in Minnesota
Near the stagnant Green-Scum-Water
Stood the campus of Nokomis,
Rotten football school, Nokomis;
Sent forth players weak and gentle:
(Mostly horticulture majors.)

Then one autumn thru the pine trees
Through the black and gloomy forest,
Strode the freshman, Hiawatha;
Strong with limbs like reindeer sinew,
Signed to play for Memphis Normal,
He was lost and asked directions.

“Shut my mouth,” drawled Coach Kowalksi,
‘Ya’ll are here; the South awaits thee,”
Hiawatha gazed in wonder
At the snow up to his armpits.
“This is Dixie?” thus he mumbled,
“Stupid Redskin,” joshed Kowalski.

So it was that Hiawatha,
Son of Ishkoodah, the comet,
Donned his new Nokomis beanie;
Huddled in the bunk assigned him.
“Geez, it’s cold!” wailed Hiawatha.
“Hush, my fullback,” cooed Kowalski.

Soon the young brave, Hiawatha,
Found himself matriculated;
Signed for classes that befit him;
Simple math and Shrubbery Pruning,
Checkers, Lunch and Water Polo,
(Perfect course; wrong institution.)

In their quest for football players,
All the frats sought Hiawatha
‘Til they studied close his features,
Then, as one wheel aptly put it,
“I dunno, Could be an Injun’
Yet to me, he still looks Jewish.”

One by one did Hiawatha
Learn to know the campus creatures;
Erickson, the hot rod owner,
Nippersink, the brooding Commie;
Best of all, he soon discovered
Emmie Sue, the Chi Omega.

“Ee-wa-voom!” yowled Hiawatha,
(Football practice now forgotten),
I was taught by wrinkled Grandma
How to woo the elk and otter,
Speak of marriage to the pine cone.
THIS the old crone failed to mention.”

Days of torment quickly followed
For the harried Coach Kowalski,
Left with three men in his backfield
While the fourth played hanky-panky
Out behind the pipestone quarry;
Fiendish plans engulfed the mentor.

On that frigid autumn evening,
Emmie Sue, the Chi Omega,
Listened with a wide-eyed horror
As the coach, most confidential
Warned her darkly of “the nut who
Thinks he’s living now in Memphis.”

Came the dawn and grieving Emmie
Sought the help of Doctor Swinehorst,
Dean of studies Psychiatric
At the Med School of Nokomis.
“All’s not lost,” the Doc assured her,
“If you think you can afford me.”

Soon the young brave, Hiawatha,
Lay upon the couch of Swinehorst,
Lay there fearless as the birch tree,
“Tell me of your childhood trauma,”
Said that Doc with notebook handy;
“What of Mom and Dad and siblings?”

Hiawatha answered calmly,
“Daddy was a white-fire comet;
Mom a songbird in the willows,
I had many forest brothers:
Brown bear, moose and timid rabbit.”
“Ach du Lieber!” cried out Swinehorst.

Emmie Sue, the Chi Omega,
Heard the tragic diagnosis.
“Crazy as a loon,” said Swinehorst,
“Even thinks the loon’s his sister,
I’d suggest you drop this savage;
Date instead my son, the dentist.”

Hiawatha, brokenhearted,
Now without his love beside him
Turned his thoughts at last to football;
Learn what meant the mumbled signals
Of the quarterback, Wochowicz;
Scrimmaged ’til his bridgework rattled.

Happy then was Coach Kowalski,
Dreamed he in untroubled slumber
Neath the full moon, Nu-see-wah-goo,
Of Nokomis, undefeated;
Dreamed of glory soon to come on
New Year’s Day in Pasadena.

Only Gitchee-Goomee Teachers
Hated rival of Nokomis,
Barred the path the coach envisioned,
Waiting tensely for the kickoff,
Hiawatha eyed the bleachers;
There sat Emmie with the dentist.

“Aush-wea-ecch,” moaned Hiawatha
As the pigskin bounced before him,
Caromed off his furrowed forehead
Toward the goal where Gitchee-Goomee’s
Tackle grabbed it unmolested,
Scored the first of 14 touchdowns.

With the Dean on Monday morning,
Hiawatha got the message:
“F” in Math and Shrubbery Pruning.
“Memphis pledged I’d pass,” he bleated.
Roared the Dean in tones like thunder,
“Memphis! Buster, you’re in Flunksville.”

Quiet reigns now in Nokomis.
Gone is Emmie; gone the dentist;
Gone the mob lynched Kowalski.
All that’s left; a voice heard faintly;
Hiawatha, college dropout,
Back home chatting with the chipmunk.

I can now present you with the original in all its glory, accompanied by Don Martin’s hilarious illustrations (click each image to enlarge):

Hia1  Hia2  Hia3  Hia4

You’re welcome.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Headlines don’t sell papes… Newsies sell papes!


Newsboys and girls in New York, 1910. Much more history about New York’s Newspaper Row can be seen at

I loved the movie Newsies, but photos from the era give the lie to all the song and dance. It was, doubtlessly, a dog-eat-dog, uncomfortable, tiring, dangerous and difficult world for the children who hit the streets selling papers for the newspaper barons.


Headlines like this were a newsie’s dream – everyone wanted to find out what was happening. The newspapers were the Internet of the early 20th Century.

Unfortunately, most daily headlines were usually boring, so embellishing the truth a bit would help move a few more papers:

‘Trash fire near immigration building frightens seagulls’ —> ”Terrified flight from flaming inferno!” (From “Newsies”)

Thus the seeds were sown for later generations of tabloid journalism:


Which, of course, were inevitably made fun of:

This collection of politically-incorrect satire is one of my most treasured possessions. It’s sheer brilliance.

Now, of course, newspapers are almost extinct, and struggling for survival. Most of us have to depend on the responsible journalism of television, cable, and the internet:


The Old Wolf has spoken.

Congratulation from Samsung. Uh, No.

In yesterday’s email:


SAMSUNG Office (Paddington), London,

United Kingdom.
London, W6 9PE.
Company No: 4620511
Dear Email Owner,
This is to officially inform you that your E-mail have been verified and pronounced as the lucky winner of 500,000.00 GBP, in the 2014 Award By (SAMSUNG Draw Promotion UK) wishes to congratulate you over your Email Address success in this financial bailout plan. Your Email Address emerged as one of the ten final recipients of a Cash

Please Contact Us.  {}

1. Full Name’s:
2. Sex:
3. Country:
4. State/City:
5. Contact Address:
6. Mobile/Tel Number:
7. Marital Status:
8. Occupation:
9. Date/Age:

The grammar and spelling is enough to make this a dead giveaway as a Nigerian scam. If you get this email, or one like it, throw it directly in the trash. If you respond, you’ll be hit up for as much money in fees and taxes and transfer agents and bribes as you are willing to shell out. As for what you’ll get?


And that’s the sum total of the transaction. Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has Spoken.

Forskolin – It sounds vaguely indecent.


Just got this in my spam box today. It appears that Dr. Oz has now moved from hawking garcinia cambogia to this new garbage, Forskolin. The name sounds thoroughly unsavory for reasons I won’t go into here.

I found a great post over at Science Based Medicine that says many of the things I’d normally post here, so I’ll just refer you to that article, and other posts on the same website are worth reading as well. One good quote I will extract – all of these weight-loss nostrums

“…fit the same pattern: a small grain of plausibility, inadequate research, exaggerated claims, and commercial exploitation. There are always testimonials from people who lost weight, probably because their will to believe in the product encouraged them to try harder to eat less and exercise. But enthusiasms and fads don’t last. A year later, the same people are likely to be on a new bandwagon for a different product. Dr. Oz will never lack for new ideas to bolster his ratings. Enthusiasm for easy solutions and for the next new hope will never flag as long as humans remain human.”

In short, it’s all bulldust. But as network marketers will tell you, health and wellness is a trillion-dollar industry, and everyone is trying to get a slice of that pie. As one associate put it, that business is big enough that it would be sufficient to lick the knife that cut the pie. The sad part is, the pie is a lie. Most of what is hawked and marketed has little or no value. As I mentioned over here, if you want to release weight, eat less, eat better, and exercise more.

As a final note, a couple of rules of thumb regarding spam messages like the one above.

  1. It’s a scam. Legitimate businesses don’t advertise using spam
  2. Never click the link that says “unsubscribe.” You’ve just confirmed to these unethical dipweeds that your email address is real and active. It will be sold to other scumbags, and your level of spam will increase.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The driverless car: 60 years on, and still on the drawing board.

In a story published in 1953 entitled “Nobody Here But…”, the Good Doctor Asimov wrote,

“We were especially interested in the automobile angle. Suppose you had a little thinking machine on the dashboard, hooked to the engine and battery and equipped with photoelectric eyes. It could choose an ideal course, avoid cars, stop at red lights, pick the optimum speed for the terrain. Everybody could sit in the back seat and automobile accidents would vanish.”
They promised us flying cars, too,
but this idea looks like it’s going to happen a lot sooner.
The Google driverless car is a reality. Watch Steve Mahan, a blind individual, get taken to Taco Bell. These cars have now driven over 500,000 miles without a serious accident when the car itself was in control. While the technology is not yet perfect, it does not need to be; as long as the driverless car reduces accidents – in other words, if it’s better than human drivers – there is no reason why industry, including the insurance companies should not get on board. It will save lives, and reduce insurance costs dramatically.
That’s not to say that the technology is easy to develop:
Google’s engineers are dealing with problems like this increased by an order of magnitude. But based on results, they are doing it.
Right now, the technology costs about $75,000 to $85,000 per vehicle, more than the car itself. But I fully expect that my grandchildren will be able to make full use of this technology, long before flying cars are ever – if ever – practical. And the Good Doctor Asimov would be proud.
The Old Wolf has spoken.