A repetitive Phishing Scam: Apple ID

Your Apple ID was just used to purchase TuneIn Radio Pro $3.99 Your receipt No.226816512

Your Apple ID was just used to purchase TuneIn Radio Pro from the App Store on a computer or device that had not previously been associated with that Apple ID. You may also be receiving this email if you reset your password since your last purchase.

This purchase was initiated from Spain.

If you made this purchase, you can disregard this email. It was only sent to alert you in case you did not make the purchase yourself.

If you did not make this purchase, we recommend that you go to iforgot.apple.com to change your password, then see Apple ID: Tips for protecting the security of your account for further assistance.


TM and Copyright ı 2013 Apple Inc. 1 Infinite Loop, MS 96-DM, Cupertino, CA 95014, USA.

All rights reserved | Keep Informed

Naturally, this message is not from Apple. iforgot.apple.com is a valid Apple page, but the link redirected to a bogus site which was almost instantly deleted, and would have gathered your personal and financial data.

I’ve seen this one appear several times in my email box, so it’s an active fraud; please be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Please support our HeadFunder campaign!

I’ve written about the Academy of Greatness before.



We have begun a HeadFunder campaign to raise the necessary funds to take the establishment of this unique school to the next level.

Why Another School?

For the most part, our school system is failing. With the occasional exception, schools are bogged down by government restrictions and imposed curricula, and focus on increasing national test scores to preserve their funding, rather than turning out educated, powerful, and socially-aware students who will hit the ground running and make a difference in the world. Bullying remains a rampant problem, largely unaddressed by school administrators and school boards. Most schools are, despite their best intentions, not safe places: you can’t learn if you’re always worried about who is going to slam you into a locker today.

We have good ideas that deserve to be incorporated into every school in our nation, but getting past the moat is a challenge. Every school, every district, and even private schools are run like small fiefdoms, and trying to bring new ideas into a school is usually met with the answer, “That’s not how we do things around here.” If you’re lucky, you might get 1% of your ideas even considered, poorly implemented, and soon forgotten. The only workable solution is to build a school from the ground up, with every member of the faculty and staff grounded and centered in the principles of excellence, safety, and contribution, to serve as a model for what the rôle of education in the world should be.

Existing School Structure

Matrix 1 Medium

Today’s schools are so bogged down in a framework of adhering to what other people think they should be that there are scarcely any resources available to teach children the skills that will enable them to face the world as compassionate leaders, able to see global problems and realize that they have the skills to contribute to significant change.

Planned School Structure

The school must be built on an underlying structure of social excellence which will build people of humanity and power who know how to learn, how to build, and how to give.

Matrix 2 Medium

It is our intention that by the time a student graduates from the Academy, they will have a clear grasp of not only the major problems facing the world, but the skills and determination to say “I can do something about that” rather than “someone ought to do something about that,” and be in a position to be lifelong contributors to the betterment of humanity.

Please help. Your tax-deductible contributions are welcomed and needed. And thank you.

An open letter: Dear Mr. Cumberbatch, I’m really, really sorry.

Sorry on a very personal level, because a person’s name is the icon and the symbol by which they are known all their lives, and it deserves to be respected. A certain man once had a dream that his deceased grandfather appeared to him and asked, “I would like to know what you have done with my name.” The man responded, “I have never done anything with your name of which you need be ashamed.” Our names and our family reputations are sacred things.

But I just can’t help it. Your monicker is so distinctive, and your acting prowess has garnered you such deserved fame, that your name can be mangled in an infinite number of ways – yet people still know who is being referred to.

I’ve seen myriad iterations, and every time I hear you mentioned in the media, or in conversation, my poor mind comes up with another one; it’s a curse.

Burgerking Chuckecheese
Ipecac Bandersnatch
Beanbag Cabbagepatch
Bumbershoot Cattleranch
Bensonmum Cadillac
Bentobox Charizard

are some of the more polite ones I’ve seen, or conjured up.

Of course, you’re not the first one to suffer such a societal affliction. Decades ago, when Engelbert Humperdinck was popular, people did much the same thing, but in the absence of the Internet, things just couldn’t go as viral as they do today. The best example I saw was in a “B.C.” cartoon by Johnny Hart where he was referred to obliquely as “Balthazar Bumperdingle.”

Your rôle as Khan was the first time I really became aware of you; since then, you seem to be everywhere at once. You have become the Paul Muni of the 21st century, and that’s a good thing, because your skills and versatility make you a delight to watch.

So thanks for the great entertainment, and please accept my brain’s apologies for buying into the linguistic buffoonery. You’re a classy guy, and I look forward to much more of your work.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Fracking: Commentary from on-site.

A recent article from The Guardian reports that Mark Walport, a leading UK government scientist, has likened risks from fracking to thalidomide and asbestos – in other words, technologies that had good intentions but hideous, unforeseen results. The article itself is worth a read.

Fracking In California Under Spotlight As Some Local Municipalities Issue Bans

More interesting to me was a report from a former shale worker that appeared on reddit, /u/Raleon. I found his commentary more unsettling than the original Guardian text:

Hey there, I drove oversize load escort trucks (flashing light trucks around huge transport loads) around the Marcellus shale region, specifically helping guide the trucks transporting the set-up and tear-down of wells, and guiding fracking injection fluid trucks in and waste trucks out. I talked to the drivers in particular quite a bit, especially during downtime in between trips, and the site workers a fair bit as well. My best friend is a geologist who worked for the drilling companies during the time the well is set up and functioning, specifically analyzing the soil samples to determine how deep they were and how far to drill so they didn’t miss the pockets they’re looking for.

Regulation is a mess, and corrupt as hell. I saw a lot of the violations myself, personally, because I was “one of them” as a driver. The sites operate under the radar most of the time, and when inspectors show up, they know well in advance just from the truckers on the way. Hide this, cover this up, release this water here to wash away that… it’s all of the companies, too, and could well be considered business standard practices for the Marcellus shale area across all of which I transported loads from site to site in. We worked with numerous companies, so this was not an isolated thing by any means.

The roads get destroyed, especially in rural areas. The water sheds get destroyed from the dumping, and in some places, the companies make so much money (and save so much from not properly disposing) that they’re fine with the operating cost of paying the fine the few times they get caught. There’s no process by which they can be shut down for doing it literally hundreds of times, so at a certain point, they completely give up on anything but the most basic pretense of following responsible procedures for disposal; before we start discussing the inevitability of their slurry slipping out into surrounding material even occasionally. It only really has to happen once for it to be shown to be unsafe, and we’ve got multiple cases in which it’s affected the surrounding earth, not to mention earthquakes, and, no less than two of which are contaminated water supplies.

In several of those states, the citizens quite simply do not have mineral rights on their property. That’s all well and good, rules and rules and fair’s fair, right? I mean, it’s no big deal if these people’s families were essentially swindled by a process they didn’t understand… but, such as it is, the only valid complaint they have is the complete destruction of local infrastructure for short-term benefits, benefits usually seen by the local governing crony’s beneficiaries and not the populace – but again, it’s not the fracking company’s fault that they specifically choose and bribe the easiest localities to get tax breaks or exemptions first, right?

It’s all legal, it’s just ethically circumspect; it remains legal because there’s been no specific regulation on the industry at all. The simple fact is that new things often are bad, and this industry has in no way shape or form set itself a good precedent for being trustworthy. There’s no time at which we should allow any industry to self-regulate, much like we don’t allow individuals who have a conflict of interest to continue to assert their power in that situation. Seriously, since when did we start taking people’s word for it? Reading Rainbow? Anyone?

It’s not that it’s new that’s specifically the issue, however; it’s that they’re actively trying to hinder independent research about the process, they spend an inordinate sum of money ‘selling’ the concept to us, and then refuse to allow the public information about something they openly share within the industry itself, as if it’s some patented secret only the good old boys club should know about; though they certainly don’t treat it like a secret within the industry.

We’ve already seen real issues with fracking – it’s time to take it seriously, and put it under the microscope, instead of hub-bubbing about back and forth about what it even is, when the real issue is that we’re not being allowed to tell them even something so simple as they’re responsible if they mess things up.

Right now, we’re not even capable of holding them responsible for their failures on the most basic level, and there’s no criminality for colossal mistakes either. If fracking caused an epic earthquake and killed millions of people / wildlife / made a large swath of land unlivable, there’s no one who would ever go to prison over their mistakes, because they can just shrug and say “we didn’t know, we didn’t do it on purpose, and there’s no way we could have known”, only because they won’t let us know what they know and that they know in the first place that it’s got serious drawbacks and real, actual, terrible possible consequences that aren’t fear-mongering. It’sidentical to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

There’s no accountability for a profit-seeking venture with public risks, and that’s a real issue.

The issue is difficult for the average lay person to sort through. There’s a lot of money at stake, and it’s hard to know whose information to trust, given that it’s so easy for paid shills to write convincing-sounding articles on the internet and elsewhere. I’m doing my best to read, sort, and filter it all, but at this point my gut tells me that this is an unproven strategy that will have severe ecological repercussions down the line.

I may be one small voice in the desert, but I think the industry is compromising the health of future generations in exchange for profit today, and it’s not right.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Supplements: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I’ve written here multiple times about medical snake oil.


Green coffee extract (debunked), garcinia cambogia, forskolin, caralluma, you name it: It’s all smoke and mirrors… but that doesn’t stop Dr. Oz and others from making a fortune promoting it. What’s next, portland cement?

On that note, have a look at the two following screen captures. The first, hawking Garcinia Cambogia, I published on 23 December 2013, about a year ago. The second, shilling for Forskolin, came from a spam link that showed up in my email yesterday. The third was added as an edit on August 21, 2015.




Edit: The last one, above, was harvested from a spam email received on 8/21/2015, two years after the first one above. The affiliate marketers just recycle the same old text with another “new miracle.” Do you really trust yourself to do business with people like this?

If you look at the body text of all three samples, you’ll see it’s essentially identical copy. What you see here is a good example of the dark side of affiliate marketing, which you can read about in detail over at The Atlantic. One salient quote:

The downside to affiliate marketing is its astonishing rate of fraud. Because affiliates put up their own money to pay for ads pushing these products, they have a strong incentive to dupe consumers, so they can recoup their investment. If you’ve ever clicked an ad or a “sponsored link” about, say, a spectacularly effective new weight-loss scheme, which then leads you to a fake news article (or “farticle,” in the industry parlance) filled with sketchy scientific findings and constant entreaties to buy a product “risk free,” then condolences are in order: you’ve likely stumbled into some affiliate’s trap. “Affiliates are the most creative bunch of people you’re ever going to find, because you’ve got 5,000 people promoting the same product, and they’re all trying to get an edge,” Jim Lillig, an Illinois-based affiliate-marketing strategist, told me. “So of course you’re going to have people pushing the envelope. Some will do anything and everything to promote a product they think they can make money with.”

What brought this on today is that while waiting for “Mockingjay, Part 1” to begin at our local theater in Payson, Utah, I saw an advertisement for a product called Q96. This has been and is being marketed in Canada and now the US as a natural product that allows people with severe mental disorders to stop taking their meds – and that’s just wrong. A little research turned up a comprehensive article at Salt Lake City Weekly, which is not terribly complimentary about Utah or Mormons when it comes to the MLM and nutritional supplement industry, but which tells the story of Q96 in a straightforward and reasonable way.

Now I need to clarify something: I’m not anti-vitamin or anti-natural-remedy by nature. Look at aspirin; if it weren’t for the efficacy of willow bark in reducing fevers, people might never have done further research to isolate the active ingredient. I strongly believe that many herbs, roots, and natural substances have beneficial properties, some which have not been discovered yet. But when I take something, I want there to be science behind it, or at least a proven track record among users for a given benefit.

There’s a really good article at Consumer Reports which lists 12 ingredients we would probably be better off not messing with, as well as a few old standbys that are most likely beneficial. For a quick reference, the ones to avoid are:

Aconite, Bitter Orange, Chaparral, Colloidal Silver, Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Country Mallow, Germanium, Greater Celandine, Kava, Lobelia, and Yohimbe.

Beneficial supplements are:

Cranberry, Fish Oil, Glucosamine, Lactae, Lactobacillus, Psyllium, Pygeum, SAMe, St. John’s Wort, and Vitamin D.

Further information and greater details can be found at the CR article.

My wife grows comfrey to make tea out of; she’s an herbalist and swears by it. For now, I’ll be chary about using it until there is more science on the subject. Tragically, herbs cannot be patented, and so there is no incentive for science to do a lot of research on natural substances like this unless someone funds the study.

I’ve written previously about my own ideas about how to proceed with weight release at the end of this article about the Açaí Berry: low-glycemic eating, exercise, and high quality vitamins and minerals. There are not many companies out there that offer really good supplements that meet all the requirements of completeness, availability, purity, potency, and safety – only about five that I know of – but there is certainly a lot of junk out there that will do you just about as much good as eating pebbles.

Do your research, and watch out for those who would love to separate you from your money and give nothing, or even harm your health, in the process.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Custom Laser Engraving: Getting the Word Out

Business can be a fickle thing, sort of like success in show business. Some people just get lucky and get the breaks; others struggle for a lifetime to make a living at their craft.

Advertising is expensive, and from what I’ve seen, the only people who make money from advertising are the advertising promoters.

So here’s a bit of free exposure for some friends of mine up in Canada who could use a boost.


They do all kinds of custom work.

Pet Gravestones


Wood Engraving


Metal and Glass

If you have any needs in this area, I know they would appreciate your business. Visit them at www.fractalcoffee.com.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

History: The United Seamen’s Service in Vietnam

This article was originally published in the NMU Pilot, the official organ of the National Maritime Union of America, AFL-CIO, June, 1970. As for why I’m republishing it here? Maggie was my mother, and I interfaced with the USS for a couple of years in the 70s at their club in Naples, Italy.

Margaret Draper makes good under fire with United Seamen’s Service Center in Cam Ranh Bay


WHAT do you mean, “whatever became of Margaret Draper?” Why, she is working at the most interesting job she ever had in her life and enjoying every minute of it. Margaret is Assistant Director of the United Seamen’s Serv­ice Center in Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam. She has been on the job for a year, putting up with all sorts of inconveniences like running out of her fa­vorite visual aid-lipstick, getting her hair mussed in helicopter downdrafts and sweating out occasional Vietcong alerts-all this so she can give the best of service to ship crews and military personnel in that godforsaken corner of the globe.

In the year she has been out there in Vietnam ­she’s due to be reassigned soon – Miss Draper has shared a lifetime of experiences, some good, some bad, and has profited from a new and deeper under­standing of the men she went to Vietnam to serve. “1 am constantly meeting the same diversity of pur­pose and attitudes in people that one finds any­where el se in the world and that, of course, makes each day stimulating. I have met men here who were formerly ranchers, hotel owners, stunt men, actors, sailboat racers, PhD’s, floaters, students and lost souls,” she wrote in one report.

Her presence in the Cam Ranh Bay Center pro­vides the men with a most photogenic reminder of home. Working closely with USS Director John Chambers, she performs a multitude of services running from arranging outdoor barbecues to shop­ping at the local Post Exchange to clearing away military red tape so a seaman can have a reunion at the Center with a son fighting nearby with the Ma­rines. “Margie Draper is always ready to help or assist you while you are there and there are many ways that a worldly seaman needs help and assist­ance,” one crew member wrote The PILOT recently from Vietnam.

The United Seamen’s Service opened the Center in Cam Ranh Bay late in 1966 at the height of the Vietnam sealift when sometimes as many as 100 ships waited in the harbor to discharge cargo. NMU used its influence to virtually move moun­tains of red tape so that the Center could open. The National Office sent Vice President Mel Barisic to confer in Washington with Maritime Administra­tion, Navy, MSTS and Department of Defense officials on the project.

Barisic and Assistant Contract Enforcement Of­ficer T. J. Walker made a total of three trips to Vietnam to expedite construction of the Center and otherwise improve mail service, shipboard condi­tions and shore leave privileges for merchant sea­men in the area. The Union also backed construc­tion of the Center in Qui Nhon.

Indoctrination course. Like all USS club person­nel from the States, Margie underwent a brie but thorough indoctrination before departing for her post in Vietnam. This included a tour of the hiring hall in New York, a visit to the Upgrading and Re­training School and talks with NMU officials at the National Office and port levels. “You have no idea,” she says, “How much easier it is to hit it off with the seamen when they find I know what a ‘killer card’ is, and what goes on at sign-on and pay-off’, and which end is up on a console in the engine room of an automated ship.”

Miss Draper’s arrival in Cam Ranh Bay last June was made less traumatic when she was greeted by Vietnam veteran Elmira Liebau whom she was replacing. Miss Liebau, known as “Lee,” was very helpful in getting the neophyte settled in surroundings that were different, to say the least. A “must” for the newcomer were instructions in the protocol for a woman living on a military base, a compendium of delicate do’s and don’t’s laid down by men, who else?


On  inspection trip to Cam Ranh Bay last year, Vice Admiral Lawson P. Ramage, then commander of the military Sea Transportation Service, tells Margaret Draper how delighted he is with the facilities of the USS.


A simple plumbing job can take weeks in Vietnam. Just like home, as USS Director John Chambers and Miss Draper find in business huddle above.

After giving Margaret an appropriate introduction to the mysterious workings of the ice-making machine and how best to coax the Vietnamese employees of the Center to give their all to their jobs, “Lee” went on to begin the second year of her tour of duty at a new post at Qui Nhon, leaving the “new girl” a full set of instructions on the care and feeding of a new cat family.

Some routine. After the first few weeks in Viet­nam, the days began to fall into a routine. That is, if you can call “routine” the explosion of bombs at the Convalescent Hospital last August 7. At that time security was tightened and everyone was in­structed to keep their eyes peeled for VC terrorists. After that scare, a steady round of visiting ships in the harbor to pay respects to the Captains and to leave notices of activities at the Center proved to be one of the more pleasant of Margaret’s varied duties.

Margaret with Sailors - Cam Ranh Bay - 1969 (2)

An average of 10,000 seamen visit the Cam Ranh Bay Center each month. Among them were these SS Britain Victory crewmen, (L-R) Cadet Kenneth Carden, Norman Leon,Jr., Miss Draper, Larry McCain, Roy Russel, Ricky Dermody. Taken in 1969.

At the Center her time is well spent meeting and greeting a succession of visiting brass from the American community. A lot of hard work goes into preparing special buffets for the merchant seamen and soldiers, but the reward of seeing the delighted smiles of the visitors more than compensates for the days and sometimes weeks of planning neces­sary to make these affairs successful.

The Center at Cam Ranh Bay never lets a tradi­tional holiday such as the Fourth of July, Thanks­giving and Christmas go by without making a spe­cial effort to bring a touch of home to the men out there. USS Executive Director Ed Sette was a spe­cial guest at last year’s Thanksgiving dinner and dined well on a turkey and all the trimmings do­nated from the freezer of the SS Rider Victory.

They also serve. People like Margaret Draper and John Chambers at Cam Ranh Bay, and Elmira Lie­bau and Bob Sprague at Qui Nhon, and other USS personnel in Centers around the world come into daily contact with the seamen who show their appreciation for their services in many ways. But back on the home front, a lot of hard work also is being done to get more funds from the seamen’s unions, from the shipping industry and from the various community funds with which to carry on their work in Vietnam and in other ports around the world. Not the least important aspect of the work of the staff here in the States is keeping open the lines of communication with the Department of Defense in Washington so that the Centers in Cam Ranh Bay and Quin Nhon can continue to render their much needed services. The United Seamen’s Service, in case you did not know, operates on mili­tary premises in Vietnam under an agreement with the Military Sea Transportation Service which states, in part:

“The United Seamen’s Service is a non-profit wel­fare agency, international in scope, established for the purpose of serving the American merchant ma­rine, military personnel, members of the United States Department of State, and other authorized contract workers with the services-” The agree­ment goes on to list 24 different services, some of which USS cannot render in a war zone and some of which are improvised as the need arises. But with­out these services, and without the zeal of dedicated people like Margaret Draper, morale among mer­chant seamen in Vietnam would be low indeed, so low as to seriously hinder the job of supplying our fighting men in Southeast Asia.


Dressed for party, Miss Draper gives final approval to trays of canapés fashioned by the chef, Mr. Do.

Despite the worldwide decline in merchant seamen (the huge computer-controlled cargo behemoths require ever-fewer humans to run them), the United Seamen’s Service still functions in seven centers around the world, providing necessary services to seafarers.

As I gradually work through mom’s papers, I know there are other photos and tales from this era, and I’ll do my best to get them up here as time permits.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

How to Fight Rogue Debt Collectors


Reblogged from CNN – you can see the original article here. Written by By Jen Haley on Feb. 29, 2008

Reposting this because it’s a good article, and people need to know what their options are. Despite signs of a recovery in our economy – by Mogg’s holy grandfather it took long enough – many of us are still struggling, and debt collectors can be vicious and relentless.

Personal story: 15 years ago or so, I had my identity stolen. A lost insurance card that had my SS Number on it was picked up by a druggie in Florida, who promptly had ID made for himself in my name and started charging rent, phone bills, ambulance rides and all sorts of things, never intending to pay… and then the bill collectors started coming after me. It literally took four years to get the mess cleaned up: police reports, working with the three major credit reporting bureaus, fraud locks on my accounts, and almost daily calls from bill collectors who didn’t care what I was saying. I explained endlessly that I did not owe these debts, that I was the victim of fraud – one lady said, “I understand that the debt is not yours, but I’ll discharge it if you pay 50¢ on the dollar…” I wanted to slap her silly.

So if you find yourself in a bind, this article will help you understand what debt collectors can do, what they can’t, and how to fend off the unscrupulous ones.

Rogue debt collectors — how to fight them

By Jen Haley

(CNN) — If you’ve faced a financial catastrophe — an illness or job layoff — and you’ve fallen behind on some bills, you’re well aware that debt collectors are eager to collect those payments.

But some collectors go over the line, threatening to have the person arrested, making improper bank withdrawals, intimidating people and making harassing phone calls.

In one case a collector threatened to call a woman’s place of work “until she lost her job,” according to the National Consumer Law Center.

In another case, a collector threatened to send the police to the person’s workplace to arrest them, said Joe Ridout of Consumer Action.

The Better Business Bureau received a complaint about a debt collector contacting someone’s grandmother four-to-five times a day, using threats like, “if she dies, then her life insurance can pay this debt off.”

John Fugate, a Texas consumer attorney relates a story about a rogue debt collector. The debt collector told the “9-year-old child of my college friend, who is the victim of identity theft, that they were going to take her mommy away forever.”

Complaints about debt collection agencies are on the rise. The Federal Trade Commission said they received more complaints against debt collectors than against any other industry for at least the past three years. And for the past five years, complaints are up about 43 percent according to the Better Business Bureau.

Some of the most common complaints from consumers include collectors using vulgar language, trying to collect more than they’re owed, sharing the consumer’s debt information with friends and family or trying to collect extra fees, like late fees or court costs.

That’s not to say all debt collectors are resorting to these illegal tactics. ACA International is one of the largest credit and collection industry trade groups and it maintains a code of ethics that prohibits this kind of behavior.

And ethical debt collectors are necessary. According to a study cited by the company, the collection industry saved the average American household $351 in 2005. That is how much money households would have spent if businesses were forced to raise prices to cover bad debt. The bottom line here is that if you owe money, you should make every effort to pay off the debt.

Here’s some expert advice on how to fight back against unethical collectors. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that debt collectors treat you fairly. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay your legitimate debt. But here are some basic rights:

  • A debt collector cannot call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree.
  • You cannot be contacted at work if the collector knows your employer disapproves.
  • If you don’t want to hear from a debt collector, write a letter telling them to stop. By law, they have to. Remember, the debt won’t go away and you can still be sued.
  • The debt collector can contact your attorney — if you have one. If not, your friends and family can be asked about how to get in touch with you.
  • A debt collector can’t misrepresent the amount of your debt.
  • A debt collector also cannot use profane or threatening language
  • Debt collectors can’t say that they will put a lien on your property or file a lawsuit unless the agency really means to do that and it’s legal.
  • Collectors can’t legally claim federal benefits, such as Social Security or your retirement accounts, like your IRA or 401(k).

Once you’re contacted by phone, you have the right to get a notice that outlines your debt, whom you owe money to, and what action to take if you don’t owe the money. Keep in mind that a debt collector can collect a debt owed by an ex-spouse. If the debt was incurred while you married, you are still liable for the debt after a divorce even divorce papers state the spouse is responsible for the debt.

If you’ve been contacted by a debt collector, but you don’t think you owe a debt, you must write a return letter stating that the debt is not yours within 30 days. Once a collector receives your letter, they should send you proof of the debt, such as a copy of the bill. Don’t be coerced into paying a debt you don’t owe. If you do pay just to get rid of the debt collectors, it’s an admission of guilt, and it will have a negative impact on your credit score.

Keep in mind that some debt has an expiration date. There is a limit to how long collectors can legally collect your debt. Generally this limit – called the statue of limitations – can range from three to 15 years according Ridout. Check with your state’s attorney general’s office to find out the limit in your state. You can find out who to contact at http://www.naag.org.

Sometimes debt collectors will try to collect on this old debt called zombie debt because it never goes away. Make sure you don’t accept a new credit offer from a creditor you never repaid. Once that creditor renews your credit relationship, the clock starts ticking all over again on your state’s statute of limitations.

If you think you’ve been treated unfairly by a debt collector, take action. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at 877-FTC-HELP or go to http://www.ftc.gov. You should also contact your state attorney general’s office.

You also have the right to sue a debt collector in state or federal court within a year of the date the law is violated. A victory will allow you to recover money for the damages you suffered plus an additional amount up to $1,000. A group may also sue a collector and for damages up to $500,000, or one percent of the collector’s net worth, whichever is less.

And the federal government plays by slightly different rules. In 1996, Congress passed the Debt Collection Improvement Act which allows the government to take a portion of federal retirement, federal salary and Social Security benefit checks to cover non-tax debts owed to the government.

There are some debts that you can’t get rid of. If you don’t pay your federal student loans for example, debt collectors can garnish your Social Security wages and prevent you from renewing any state licenses according to Mark Kantrowitz of Finaid.org. Debt collectors can even dip into your tax refund. Other debts like past-due child support and federal tax liens tend to stick with you.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Thank God He Found Me (Scam)

From: “Dr George Ben.” <ginikaoffice@yahoo.hu>

Subject: Thank God I Found You

Only I wish these onioburus¹ would keep their filth out of my inbox…

This is to officially inform you that we have verified your contract/inheritance fund file and found out that you have not received your funds via ATM CARD valued$3.5m, Now ever, you are hereby advise to get in touch with the HSBC BANK DIRECTOR today with your Full Contact information as follows:
  1. YOUR FULL NAME:………..
  4. AGE:………………..
  5. SEX:……………………
Below is their Contact Information’s,
Contact Person: Dr George Ben.
Email: ( drgeorgeben21@yahoo.co.uk )
Dr. Juliet Jude

If you get this email or one like it, do not respond. It should go without saying that this is a bald-faced scam, but since so many people continue to be robbed by Nigerian scammers, it’s worth it to say it again.

The Old Wolf has spoken.
¹ onioburu (n.) Nigerian word for “gong farmer” or night-soil handler.

Memories of the Hayden Planetarium

I grew up in New York City in the 50s. My mother was a Utah girl who had dreams of going to the Big City to become an actress, and by dint of sheer determination she did just that; but while her roots were in the West, she did her best to make sure her offspring (me) was given as much cosmopolitan exposure as possible. This included regular visits to the Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium.

I have posted a couple of the images below before, but I thought I’d get a few thoughts about this wonderful place of education down in one place. Other images have been gathered from various places around the internet; I have tried to give appropriate attribution where available.

The centerpiece of the Planetarium was the Zeiss projector.

1956, Planetarium 1

Publicity shot for “Pepper Young’s Wife”, TV-Radio Mirror, March 1957, showing the Zeiss Mark II projector in use at the planetarium from 1935 to 1960.

Sitting in the auditorium, watching that behemoth rise up out of the floor, and seeing the stars and planets and nebulæ and galaxies swirling around the ceiling long before Heinlein had written Have Space Suit, Will Travel fired my imagination and gave me a longing to know about what was out there. I remember one show where they gave the audience a little controller and asked them to try aligning two objects in freefall, much the same as a space docking maneuver… it was a great lesson in the nature of inertia.


The control booth of the Star Theatre. I loved that flashlight the operator had which would project a little arrow on the dome – a precursor to today’s laser pointers.

Around the planetarium, as with the modern version and others like it around the country, were scattered various exhibits that I would stare at for hours.

1956, Planetarium 2

Here I am mugging for the photographer (“Look excited! Look excited!”), but it wasn’t much of an acting job. I loved looking at that rocket. A color postcard of the same scene is below:


Photo of a planetarium postcard by Andy Porter. Caption reads, “THE VIKING ROCKET. This authentic 45 foot precision instrument is an actual rocket composed in part of sections recovered from the wreckage of Vikings built by the Martin Company of Baltimore and used by the Navy to probe the upper atmosphere. A rocket like this reached an altitude of 158 miles in May 1954.”


Photo above and text from the archives of the Museum of Natural History: In 1955, the “most notable event of the year” at the Hayden Planetarium was the opening of the Viking Rocket exhibition. “One of the pioneer exploratory vehicles of the Space Age,” according to a 1961 Museum publication, the rocket was one of 12 that launched from 1945 to 1955, allowing new research on Earth’s upper atmosphere to be conducted.

The next exhibit that comes to mind was the orrery in the Copernican room; the original theatre was outfitted with folding chairs.


From a postcard. The description on the back reads: “Copernican Room showing solar system. Animated model of the solar system showing the sun in the center, and six of the nine known planets revolving around it. The planets also rotate on their axes as the real planets rotate, moving always at the correct relative speeds. Circling the Earth is a smaller globe, the moon, while Mars has two moons. Jupiter is shown with four of its eleven moons, and Saturn with five of its nine. Around the walls are shown the twelve zodiacal constellations and in the center of the floor a reproduction of the Aztec Calendar Stone.”

This model, while not to scale and not terribly dynamic, was intriguing in that it represented the orbits of the planets in real time. That meant slowly.  The planets would change imperceptibly, with the inner rocky planets changing somewhat between visits, and the outer planets moving hardly at all. The sun glowed a deep orange.


Closeup of Saturn with five of its then-known nine moons, 10/10/1935. From the Collections of the Museum of the City of New York.

It is of interest to note that we have since identified 79 moons of Jupiter, and 62 around Saturn. [As of July 17, 2018]


American Museum of Natural History Library http://images.library.amnh.org/, image #327132 March 1960. Later, the room was transformed into a more formal auditorium.


The Aztec Calendar Stone

In another room was a place where you could weigh yourself on a series of scales which would show your weight on the Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Each scale glowed a different color, and to the eyes of a five-year-old, these were some of the most wondrous things in existence. Cards were provided with which to record your individual results.


Image from Popular Science, August 1952. Explanation from the Hayden Planetarium at their Facebook page:

“Another innovation, which has proved of great popular interest, was an exhibit illustrating the principles of the force of gravity by means of six specially calibrated scales showing the actual weight of the visitor on different planets. In this undertaking the Planetarium enjoyed the cooperation of the Toledo Scales Company.”
– American Museum of Natural History Annual Report July 1950-June 1951

John Pazmino of NYSkies Astronomy pointed out that the effect of different weights was done just at the level of the display, not internally. In other words, the needle went to the same angle on each scale, and only the numbers in the background varied.

The exhibit was later updated and modernized:


American Museum of Natural History Library http://images.library.amnh.org/ image #334305 September 1969

Like any good museum, there were souvenirs to be had.


From the collection of Tom Lesser.  I would swear on a stack of waffles that I had one of these; Heaven only knows what happened to it. I was too young at the time to appreciate much astronomy, but nowadays there are some wonderful planetarium and space-exploration programs available online and offline both.

know I had one of these keychain perpetual calendars, and loved it:


Again, sadly, lost in the mists of time.

The Willamette Meteorite was on display as well:

Willamette Meteorite

That is one huge hunk of extraterrestrial iron.

Many, many more photos can be seen at the Original Hayden Planetarium’s Facebook page. The ones I have gathered here represent my clearest memories, but the original planetarium had much more to offer. It was a place of wonder and delight. On my next trip to New York, I must be sure to visit the modern incarnation and see what has happened in the last 60 years or so.

Edit: The visit was accomplished, and the report is here.

The Old Wolf has spoken.