The CBS 50th Anniversary Photo

This crossed my Facebook feed the other day, with the title “If you can recognize 5 of these people, you’re old.”

Well, I’m old. And I recognize most of them, but not all. So I did a little digging, and here are my results.

The photo (Click to enlarge):

CBS 50th Anniversary Gathering (1978)

The Key:

The Key is hard to read, so the following table lists the personalities with one of the things they are notable for. Not necessarily their most “famous” work, but one that I was familiar with or enjoyed. Journalists have no particular show attached to their names because they were all over the place.

1LassieLassie
2Jean StapletonAll in the Family
3Walter CronkiteJournalist – possibly the most famous of my generation
4Alfred HitchcockThe Birds
5Mary Tyler MooreThe Mary Tyler Moore Show
6Ellen CorbyThe Waltons
7Gene RayburnThe Match Game
8Vivian VanceI Love Lucy
9Milburn StoneGunsmoke
10Ann SothernThe Whales of August
11Barbara BainMission Impossible
12Nancy WalkerMurder by Death
13George BurnsGeorge and Gracie
14Cicely TysonThe Help
15Arthur GodfreyThe Glass Bottom Boat
16Red SkeltonThe Red Skelton Hour
17Gale StormIt Happened on 5th Avenue
18Danny KayeThe Court Jester
19Sandy DuncanRoots
20Telly SavalasKojak
21Dale EvansRoy Rogers
22Roy RogersRoy Rogers
23Ken MurrayFollow Me Boys
24June LockhartLost in Space
25Arthur MurrayArthur Murray Dance Studio
26Kathryn MurrayThe Arthur Murray Party
27Eric ScottThe Waltons
28Cami CotlerThe Waltons
29Bonnie FranklinOne Day at a Time
30William ConradCannon
31Eva GaborGreen Acres
32Allen FuntCandid Camera
33Tim ConwayThe Tim Conway Comedy Hour
34Danny ThomasThe Danny Thomas Show
35Bob KeeshanCaptain Kangaroo
36Dennis WeaverMcCloud
37Ray WalstonMy Favorite Martian
38Sally StruthersAll in the Family
39Garry MooreLaugh-In
40Linda LavinBarney Miller
41Douglas EdwardsNewscaster and Correspondent
42Betty  WhiteThe Golden Girls
43Bob SchiefferJournalist
44Ned BeattyDeliverance
45Charles KuraltJournalist
46Arlene FrancisWhat’s My Line
47Jamie FarrMash
48Adrienne BarbeauLove Boat
49Vicki LawrenceThe Carol Burnett Show
50Mary McDonoughThe Waltons
51Don KnottsThe Andy Griffith Show
52Lucille BallI Love Lucy
53Ed AsnerThe Mary Tyler Moore Show
54Jackie CooperHennesey
55Esther RolleGood Times
56Joan HackettThe Defenders
57Eric SevareidJournalist
58Mike WallaceJournalist
59Sherman HemsleyThe Jeffersons
60Jack WhitakerDeadly Heroes
61Isabel SanfordThe Jeffersons
62Judy Norton TaylorThe Waltons
63Bob DenverGilligan’s Island
64Caroll O’ConnorAll in the Family
65Dwayne HickmanThe Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
66Richard C. HotteletJournalist
67Will GeerBroken Arrow
68Lesley StahlJournalist
69Art CarneyThe Honeymooners
70Tony RandallThe Odd Couple
71Bob NewhartThe Bob Newhart Show
72Dick SmothersThe Smothers Brothers
73Hughes RuddJournalist
74Ted KnightThe Mary Tyler Moore Show
75Georgia EngelThe Mary Tyler Moore Show
76Jon WalmsleyAdam-12
77Charles CollingwoodJournalist
78Audrey MeadowsThe Honeymooners
79Valerie HarperThe Mary Tyler Moore Show
80Julie KavnerRhoda
81David HarperThe Waltons
82Bill Macy Maude
83Ken BerryF-Troop
84Art LinkletterHouse Party
85Glen CampbellTrue Grit
86Buddy EbsenThe Beverly Hillbillies
87Michael LearnedThe Waltons
88John ForsytheBachelor Father
89Steve AllenThe Tonight Show
90Carol BurnettThe Carol Burnett Show
91Jim NaborsGomer Pyle
92Beatrice ArthurThe Golden Girls
93Loretta SwitMash
94Ed BradleyJournalist
95Andy GriffithMayberry RFD
96Lee MerriwetherBarnaby Jones
97Demond WilsonSanford and Son
98Lynda CarterWonder Women
99James ArnessGunsmoke
100Dick Van DykeCold Turkey
101Jack LordHawaii Five-O
102Ralph WaiteThe Waltons
103Bernard KalbJournalist
104Martin LandauMission Impossible
105Rob ReinerThe Princess Bride
106Lynnie GreeneThe Golden Girls
107John AmosRoots
108Bob BarkerTruth or Consequences
109Bert ConvyPassword
110Dan RatherJournalist
111Richard CrennaThe Real McCoys
112Mike ConnorsMannix
113David GrohRhoda

Ode to [De]Joy

The essay below by one of my friends appeared on my Facebook feed yesterday, and it broke my heart.

We read during the election of Louis DeJoy’s efforts to hamstring the post office in order to bolster the irrational claims of The Thermonuclear Bowel Evacuation Formerly Disgracing the Oval Office that mail-in voting would lead to massive fraud. It wouldn’t, and it didn’t. But the actions of this Trump sycophant and donor, a man who has no business as Postmaster General of our nation, are continuing to have repercussions down the line and will continue to do so as long as this waste of human cytoplasm is permitted to continue castrating one of our nation’s most important institutions.

This is a cry from the trenches.


There is a gravestone somewhere with the inscription:

When you go to work tomorrow, I will be going, too, but only long enough to turn in my ID and my laptop.

The GOP Ten-Year Plan To Rape The Postal Service took its first blood on Friday, with hundreds of postal employees and contractors getting the word that their position has been eliminated. As usual, there will be new jobs posted, maybe, at facilities somewhere far from home and at a lesser salary, but a job is a job, and there will be struggles for these positions that will be as entertaining as the old gladiator battles in the Coliseum. And with similar results.

This came about because Louis DeJoy, who ran a shipping company that competed with the USPS, and was a major GOP donor, was appointed Postmaster General during the last administration. The board that oversees the PMG is still a pack of GOP curs, and will not remove him until enough of them are removed to force a vote. By then, it will be too late to save much of the USPS.

In the past year, the IT office that I work in has gone from twelve people to five. The UNIX support group is perhaps 2/3 the size it was at this time last year. The workload has not been reduced at all. Overtime is strongly discouraged. If you think this is a recipe for a catastrophe, I will not contradict you. But it will SAVE MONEY. Just like trashing the sorting machines just before the 2020 election was going to save money. I didn’t notice any savings, because the O/T put in by the employees to take up the slack would have more than eaten it. Oh, wait, they weren’t allowed to charge O/T. So a lot of them did their work off the clock. What a savings!

It will also cripple the USPS even further, so there will be more pressure to simply disband it and give the work to private corporations. Sending a birthday card by FedEx will cost about $15, instead of $0.55. But, hey, small government, right?

And giving us the shaft on a Friday morning of a long weekend was THE morale-booster that we all needed.

Oh, and the USPS employs more veterans than any other government function. So the “We Support Our Troops!” boys have just screwed over the veterans. Again.

I’m a contractor, not a USPS employee. The USPS unit at Peraton is only about 6 months old, having just been acquired from NorthropGrumman. So the scramble for new jobs there will be at least as bad as the one at USPS, because they were still trying to fit us into the organization as it was.

Screw it. I’m six months from turning 66. I may just sign up for the dole, and Medicare, and let the people who are trying to support their families get the jobs. I’m sick of this. I’ve watched the front line get screwed at Kodak, Informix, IBM, and now USPS, and the old men who made the decisions that got us there walk away with fat wallets. This is not how I had thought of retiring, those 40+ years ago, but, as some profound thinker said, it is what it is.

So, tomorrow I drive to San Mateo (55 miles each way, and that I will not miss), turn in all my gear, and drive home to see what happens next. I’d like to thank all the people who voted GOP in 2016 because they were afraid they’d lose their guns, on behalf of the hundreds of us who just lost our jobs.

On behalf of my friend who lost his livelihood and the countless others who have or will, many of whom will not be in a position to retire and say “Screw it,” thank you, Louis DeJoy, for shoving a stake into the heart of our nation’s postal system in the name of ideology and personal profit. May you roast in Hell forever, you simpering, thermonuclear asstrumpet.

The Old Wolf has spoken


PS: Congress, please remove the insane requirement for the USPS to pre-fund its retiree health benefits. Adopting a traditional “pay-as-you-go” method would produce billions of dollars of desperately-needed additional cash flow.

A brutal summary of Trump’s Presidency

A tweet from Ethical American (@AmericanEthical) which deserves to be read and shared widely.

Edit: A comment made me aware that Ethical American is not the original author, but: Redditor u/techsinger posted it because the original author encouraged people to share it widely. Redditor u/GaterMachetteSr then posted it to r/copypasta. Hence Ethical American was reposting with implicit permission, rather than stealing it. I’m still trying to track down the OP for attribution.

Edit 2: The earliest instance of this that I’ve found was by user paddyC at the politics.ie forum, dated 16 Feb 2021. Still trying to determine if sir or madam is the original author.

Only slightly bowdlerized for a family-friendly audience.

Click to view the original thread.

For what it’s worth, every one of the items listed here has been documented with painful clarity. This isn’t “fake news.” This is the real deal.


I owe my Trump-supporting friends an apology.  I’ve been critical of the Trump presidency these last four years and am still exhausted from the experience. But to be fair President Trump wasn’t that bad, other than when he:

• incited an insurrection against the government
• mismanaged a pandemic that killed nearly half a million Americans
• separated children from their families
• lost those children in the bureaucracy
• tear-gassed peaceful protesters on Lafayette Square so he could hold a photo op holding a Bible in front of a church
• tried to block all Muslims from entering the country
• got impeached
• got impeached again
• had the worst jobs record of any president in modern history
• pressured Ukraine to dig dirt on Joe Biden
• fired the FBI director for investigating his ties to Russia
• bragged about firing the FBI director on TV
• took Vladimir Putin’s word over the US intelligence community
• diverted military funding to build his wall
• caused the longest government shutdown in US history
• called Black Lives Matter a “symbol of hate”
• lied over 30,000 times
• banned transgender people from serving in the military
• ejected reporters from the White House briefing room who asked tough questions
• vetoed the defense funding bill because it renamed military bases named for Confederate soldiers
• refused to release his tax returns
• increased the national debt by nearly $8 trillion
• had three of the highest annual trade deficits in U.S. history
• called veterans and soldiers who died in combat losers and suckers
• coddled the leader of Saudi Arabia after he ordered the execution and dismembering of a US-based journalist
• refused to concede the 2020 election
• hired his unqualified daughter and son-in-law to work in the White House
• walked out of an interview with Lesley Stahl
• called neo-Nazis “very fine people”
• suggested that people should inject bleach into their bodies to fight COVID
• abandoned our allies the Kurds to Turkey
• pushed through massive tax cuts for the wealthiest but balked at helping working Americans
• incited anti-lockdown protestors in several states at the height of the pandemic
• withdrew the US from the Paris climate accords
• withdrew the US from the Iranian nuclear deal
• withdrew the US from the Trans Pacific Partnership which was designed to block China’s advances
• insulted his own Cabinet members on Twitter
• pushed the leader of Montenegro out of the way during a photo op
• failed to reiterate US commitment to defending NATO allies
• called Haiti and African nations “shithole” countries
• called the city of Baltimore the “worst in the nation”
• claimed that he single handedly brought back the phrase “Merry Christmas” even though it hadn’t gone anywhere
• forced his Cabinet members to praise him publicly like some cult leader
• believed he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
• berated and belittled his hand-picked Attorney General when he recused himself from the Russia probe
• suggested the US should buy Greenland
• colluded with Mitch McConnell to push through federal judges and two Supreme Court
• justices after supporting efforts to prevent his predecessor from appointing judges
• repeatedly called the media “enemies of the people”
• claimed that if we tested fewer people for COVID we’d have fewer cases
• violated the emoluments clause
• thought that Nambia was a country
• told Bob Woodward in private that the coronavirus was a big deal but then downplayed it in public
• called his exceedingly faithful vice president a “pussy” for following the Constitution
• nearly got us into a war with Iran after threatening them by tweet
• nominated a corrupt head of the EPA
• nominated a corrupt head of HHS
• nominated a corrupt head of the Interior Department
• nominated a corrupt head of the USDA
• praised dictators and authoritarians around the world while criticizing allies
• refused to allow the presidential transition to begin
• insulted war hero John McCain – even after his death
• spent an obscene amount of time playing golf after criticizing Barack Obama for playing (far less) golf while president
• falsely claimed that he won the 2016 popular vote
• called the Muslim mayor of London a “stone cold loser”
• falsely claimed that he turned down being Time’s Man of the Year
• considered firing special counsel Robert Mueller on several occasions
• mocked wearing face masks to guard against transmitting COVID
• locked Congress out of its constitutional duty to confirm Cabinet officials by hiring acting ones
• used a racist dog whistle by calling COVID the “China virus”
• hired and associated with numerous shady figures that were eventually convicted
• of federal offenses including his campaign manager and national security adviser
• pardoned several of his shady associates
• gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom to two congressman who amplified his [ ] crazy conspiracy theories
• got into telephone fight with the leader of Australia
• had a Secretary of State who called him a moron
• forced his press secretary to claim without merit that his was the largest inauguration crowd in history
• botched the COVID vaccine rollout
• tweeted so much dangerous propaganda that Twitter eventually banned him
• charged the Secret Service jacked-up rates at his properties
• constantly interrupted Joe Biden in their first presidential debate
• claimed that COVID would “magically” disappear
• called a U.S. Senator “Pocahontas”
• used his Twitter account to blast Nordstrom when it stopped selling Ivanka’s merchandise
• opened up millions of pristine federal lands to development and drilling
• got into a losing tariff war with China that forced US taxpayers to bail out farmers
• claimed that his losing tariff war was a win for the US
• ignored or didn’t even take part in daily intelligence briefings
• blew off honoring American war dead in France because it was raining
• redesigned Air Force One to look like the Trump Shuttle
• got played by Kim Jong Un and his “love letters”
• threatened to go after social media companies in clear violation of the Constitution
• botched the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
• threw paper towels at Puerto Ricans when he finally visited them
• pressured the governor and secretary of state of Georgia to “find” him votes
• thought that the Virgin islands had a President
• drew on a map with a Sharpie to justify his inaccurate tweet that Alabama was threatened by a hurricane
• allowed White House staff to use personal email accounts for official businesses after blasting Hillary Clinton for doing the same thing
• rolled back regulations that protected the public from mercury and asbestos
• pushed regulators to waste time studying snake-oil remedies for COVID
• rolled back regulations that stopped coal companies from dumping waste into rivers
• held blatant campaign rallies at the White House
• tried to take away millions of Americans’ health insurance because the law was named for a Black man
• refused to attend his successors’ inauguration
• nominated the worst Education Secretary in history
• threatened judges who didn’t do what he wanted
• attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci
• promised that Mexico would pay for the wall (it didn’t)
• allowed political hacks to overrule government scientists on major reports on climate change and other issues
• struggled navigating a ramp after claiming his opponent was feeble
• called an African-American Congresswoman “low IQ”
• threatened to withhold federal aid from states and cities with Democratic leaders
• went ahead with rallies filled with maskless supporters in the middle of a
• pandemic
• claimed that legitimate investigations of his wrongdoing were “witch hunts”
• seemed to demonstrate a belief that there were airports during the American Revolution
• demanded “total loyalty” from the FBI director
• praised a conspiracy theory that Democrats are Satanic pedophiles
• completely gutted the Voice of America
• placed a political hack in charge of the Postal Service
• claimed without evidence that the Obama administration bugged Trump Tower
• suggested that the US should allow more people from places like Norway into the country
• suggested that COVID wasn’t that bad because he recovered with the help of top government doctors and treatments not available to the public
• overturned energy conservation standards that even industry supported
• reduced the number of refugees the US accepts
• insulted various members of Congress and the media with infantile nicknames
• gave Rush Limbaugh a Presidential medal of Freedom at the State of the Union address
• named as head of federal personnel a 29-year old who’d previously been fired from the White House for allegations of financial improprieties
• eliminated the White House office of pandemic response
• used soldiers as campaign props
• fired any advisor who made the mistake of disagreeing with him
• demanded the Pentagon throw him a Soviet-style military parade
• hired a [] ton of white nationalists
• politicized the civil service
• did absolutely nothing after Russia hacked US
• falsely said the Boy Scouts called him to say his bizarre Jamboree speech was the best speech ever given to the Scouts
• claimed that Black people would overrun the suburbs if Biden won
• insulted reporters of color
• insulted women reporters
• insulted women reporters of color
• suggested he was fine with China’s oppression of the Uighurs
• attacked the Supreme Court when it ruled against him
• summoned Pennsylvania state legislative leaders to the White House to pressure them to overturn the election
• spent countless hours every day watching Fox News
• refused to allow his administration to comply with Congressional subpoenas
• hired Rudy Giuliani as his lawyer
• tried to punish Amazon because the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post wrote negative stories about him
• acted as if the Attorney General of the United States was his personal attorney
• attempted to get the federal government to defend him in a libel lawsuit from a women who accused him of sexual assault
• held private meetings with Vladimir Putin without staff present
• didn’t disclose his private meetings with Vladimir Putin so that the US had to find out via Russian media
• stopped holding press briefings for months at a time
• “ordered” US companies to leave China even though he has no such power
• led a political party that couldn’t even be bothered to draft a policy platform
• claimed preposterously that Article II of the Constitution gave him absolute powers
• tried to pressure the U.K. to hold the British Open at his golf course
• suggested that the government nuke hurricanes
• suggested that wind turbines cause cancer
• said that he had a special aptitude for science
• fired the head of election cyber security after he said that the 2020 election was secure
• blurted out classified information to Russian officials
• tried to force the G7 to hold their meeting at his failing golf resort in Florida
• fired the acting attorney general when she refused to go along with his unconstitutional Muslim travel ban
• hired Stephen Miller
• openly discussed national security issues in the dining room at Mar-a-Lago where everyone could hear them
• interfered with plans to relocate the FBI because a new development there might compete with his hotel
• abandoned Iraqi refugees who’d helped the U.S. during the war
• tried to get Russia back into the G7
• held a COVID super spreader event in the Rose Garden
• seemed to believe that Frederick Douglass is still alive
• lost 60 election fraud cases in court including before judges he had nominated
• falsely claimed that factories were reopening when they weren’t
• shamelessly exploited terror attacks in Europe to justify his anti-immigrant policies
• still hasn’t come up with a healthcare plan
• still hasn’t come up with an infrastructure plan despite repeated “Infrastructure”
• forced Secret Service agents to drive him around Walter Reed while contagious with COVID
• told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”
• [botched] the Census
• withdrew the U.S. from the World Health Organization in the middle of a pandemic
• did so few of his duties that his press staff were forced to state on his daily schedule “President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings”
• allowed his staff to repeatedly violate the Hatch Act
• seemed not to know that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican
• stood before sacred CIA wall of heroes and bragged about his election win
• constantly claimed he was treated worse than any president which presumably includes four that were assassinated and his predecessor
• whose legitimacy and birthplace were challenged by a racist reality TV show star named Donald Trump
• claimed Andrew Jackson could’ve stopped the Civil War even though he died 16 years before it happened
• said that any opinion poll showing him behind was fake
• claimed that other countries laughed at us before he became president when several world leaders were literally laughing at him
• claimed that the military was out of ammunition before he became President
• created a commission to whitewash American history
• retweeted anti-Islam videos from one of the most racist people in Britain
• claimed ludicrously that the Pulse nightclub shooting wouldn’t have happened if someone there had a gun even though there was an armed security guard there
• hired a senior staffer who cited the non-existent Bowling Green Massacre as a reason to ban Muslims
• had a press secretary who claimed that Nazi Germany never used chemical weapons even though every sane human being knows they used gas to kill millions of Jews and others
• bilked the Secret Service for higher than market rates when they had to stay at Trump properties
• apparently sold pardons on his way out of the White House
• stripped protective status from 59,000 Haitians
• falsely claimed Biden wanted to defund the police
• said that the head of the CDC didn’t know what he was talking about
• tried to rescind protection from DREAMers
• gave himself an A+ for his handling of the pandemic
• tried to start a boycott of Goodyear tires due to an Internet hoax
• said U.S. rates of COVID would be lower if you didn’t count blue states
• deported U.S. veterans who served their country but were undocumented
• claimed he did more for African Americans than any president since Lincoln
• touted a “super-duper” secret “hydrosonic” missile which may or may not be a new “hypersonic” missile or may not exist at all
• retweeted a gif calling Biden a pedophile
• forced through security clearances for his family
• suggested that police officers should rough up suspects
• suggested that Biden was on performance-enhancing drugs
• tried to stop transgender students from being able to use school bathrooms in line with their gender
• suggested the US not accept COVID patients from  a cruise ship because it would make US numbers look higher
• nominated a climate change sceptic to chair the committee advising the White House on environmental policy
• retweeted a video doctored to look like Biden had played a song called “[F] tha Police” at a campaign event
• hugged a disturbingly large number of U.S. flags
• accused Democrats of “treason” for not applauding his State of the Union address
• claimed that the FBI failed to capture the Parkland school shooter because they were “spending too much time” on Russia
• mocked the testimony of Dr Christine Blasey Ford when she accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault
• obsessed over low-flow toilets
• ordered the rerelease of more COVID vaccines when there weren’t any to release
• called for the construction of a bizarre garden of heroes with statutes of famous dead Americans as well as at least one Canadian (Alex Trebek)
• hijacked Washington’s July 4th celebrations to give a partisan speech
• took advice from the MyPillow guy
• claimed that migrants seeking a better life in the US were dangerous caravans of drug dealers and rapists
• said nothing when Vladimir Putin poisoned a leading opposition
• never seemed to heed the advice of his wife’s “Be Best” campaign
• falsely claimed that mail-in voting is fraudulent
• announced a precipitous withdrawal of troops from Syria which not only handed Russia and ISIS a win but also prompted his defense secretary
• to resign in protest
• insulted the leader of Canada
• insulted the leader of France
• insulted the leader of Britain
• insulted the leader of Germany
• insulted the leader of Sweden
• falsely claimed credit for getting NATO members to increase their share of dues
• blew off two Asia summits even though they were held virtually
• continued lying about spending lots of time at Ground Zero with 9/11 responders
• said that the Japanese would sit back and watch their “Sony televisions” if the US were ever attacked
• left a NATO summit early in a huff
• stared directly into an eclipse even though everyone over the age of 5 knows not to do that
• called himself a very stable genius despite significant evidence to the contrary
• refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power and kept his promise
• and a whole bunch of other things I can’t remember at the moment.

• But other than that…

If there is any justice in the world, they will be.

Oh, and don’t forget when he

• evilly mocked a disabled reporter¹
• told America that if he didn’t win in 2020 the election was rigged
• insisted that he won the 2020 election (The Big Lie)
• incited a mob of followers to attack the Capitol on January 6th, and promised that he would be there with them (he wasn’t)
• watched with glee as the events of January 6th unfolded
• continues to this date to insist that the election was stolen and that he is the legitimate president of the United States

The Old Wolf has spoken


Footnotes

¹ Of all the horrors that The Thermonuclear Bowel Evacuation Formerly Disgracing the Oval Office perpetrated upon America, this is the one which early on showed me that he is nothing but a cruel, pathologically-motivated third-grade schoolyard bully from a terminally-corrupt family, one who should never have been allowed within 10,000 miles of any seat of government or power or influence.

Thanks, Akismet

I’ve been running my blog long enough that Akismet pretty much knows which comments are spam and which are not. I haven’t actually seen a spam comment for approval in years.

Today I just peeped into my spam folder to see what sort of things were being trapped by Akismet, and there were 35 “comments” there; below, a list of the comments and what was being linked to:


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It is evident that blog comment spammers are still active, hoping for clicks and views at their disreputable websites. WordPress does a great job filtering this garbage out so a blog owner never sees it, but I have been to blogs and bulletin boards that have either been inactive for some time, or which don’t have a spam detector like Akismet, or which are relatively unmoderated – and they are full of literally thousands of junk comments like this hoping for wider internet exposure and search engine visibility. (I mentioned this 8 years ago in a previous post, but the algorithms and apps needed to blast out comments to every blog in the world are cheap and easy to obtain, so they’re still at it.)

If you have a blog, make sure you either have a good spam filtering process in place, or moderate it regularly. These people are the hqiz of hqiz-eaters; don’t give them any oxygen at all.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

China: Thanks for the intellectual property theft

If you’ve followed or read my blog for any length of time, you know that I have this gut-level aversion to spammers, scammers, sleazy advertisers, and just about anyone who takes money from others by way of lies or deception. I execrate these people with the fury of a thousand O-type blue-hot suns.

O-type Blue star – average temperature 25,000 K.

Say hello to the Rinne Corporation, two guys who put their heads together and invented a better mousetrap.

Sit this bad boy on top of a 5-gallon bucket, bait the top, and watch the vermin enjoy their last slip-n-slide. For what it’s worth, I just ordered one from them this morning.

Naturally, Chinese businessmen who have all the ethics and morals of a starving honey badger saw these things, and as countless thousands of them do, ripped off the idea, started manufacturing knockoff copies, and selling them all over the Internet (including Amazon).

Amazon listings for the Flip-and-Slide bucket trap. Only the first one, from Rinne, is genuine. The others are cheap knockoffs from China for which Rinne gets no benefit.

Amazon states for the record that they are “trying” to shut down illegitimate storefronts, but based on results they are not putting a whole lot of real effort into it, and every day these scumbags exist on their website, they’re making money – so they don’t really have a lot of incentive to do much about it.

And of course the Chinese Communist Party encourages this theft of Intellectual property. National industrial policy goals in China encourage IP theft, and an extraordinary number of Chinese in business and government entities are engaged in this practice. There are also weaknesses and biases in the legal and patent systems that lessen the protection of foreign IP.

As the new Chinese leadership settles in, IPR issues loom. The fundamental question is whether the new leaders will confront the major societal and policy forces that continue to work against IPR. The patent and trade-secret legal environments, for example, require reform. The patent system encourages Chinese entities to copy and file foreign patents as if these patents were their own, and seems to establish the right of Chinese entities to sue the foreign, original inventor that seeks to sell the technology in China.

2013, The IP Commission Report (The Report of the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property)

In 2021, based on what is being seen on the Internet and elsewhere, the problem is not only not being addressed, but is proliferating at an exponential rate. Facebook¹ doesn’t care; Google doesn’t care. They’ll happily take money from deceptive advertisers without a second thought.

Mobile ads presented on a search for “tip bucket mouse trap original

The first company (feelmoob.com, great name right?) has its mailing address in Reykjavik, Iceland, with tech support listed in Burundi, according to ICANN. The second, “Find Good Gear” makes no attempt at misdirection but is registered in China. The third one, Kellyys.com, appears to be an identical copy of the first one with only the name differing. All three websites have the following somewhere:

MADE IN USA –  We are a very small family-owned manufacturing company which started out in our home garage. We now own a large warehouse where we manufacture and hand package our products. Support American Business

Even with access to a Roget’s Thesaurus (both in hard copy and online), I do not have words enough to express how badly this kind of repugnant jiggery-pokery enrages me. Sales by theft of property, sales by outright lies and deception are the hallmark of China’s business model, and there’s not a thing honest businesspeople can do about it. Our government works so ponderously that by the time anything is done (and what is done will be a pathetic, watered-down version of what should be done), the criminal enterprises will have made a fortune, disappeared into the mist, and reappeared under a new name selling a new pirated product.

The only thing consumers can do is take the time to make sure they are buying from American companies, and preferably the originators of products they see. It takes time and effort, but if we’re ever going to turn the tide against conglomerates who outsource everything overseas, it will be worth it.

The Old Wolf has spoken.²


Footnotes

¹ The following is an example of a Facebook ad that I see almost daily:

Every single one begins with a variation of “We are sad to announce that we are closing our collection.” This is the purest horse 💩, and people fall for it in droves. This is similar to the signs I see periodically – there used to be an outfit in San Francisco’s Chinatown that had one of these on their storefront for years:

They’re closing their collection all right… and they’ll be back next week under a new name, peddling the same cheaply-made and overpriced stuff that they are now.

And that’s not to mention the ever-present teeshirt vendors who photoshop celebrities into their ads for products with stolen, unauthorized artwork. As the linked website says,

When those products are infringing on copyrights, or are misappropriating celebrity images, it’s incumbent on Facebook to crack down on them.

But they’re not, because it hurts their bottom line when they do.

Pissed off!

² if you don’t like what I’ve said here, complain on your own blog. This is not a place for debate.

For the Easiest Travel on Earth…

Cross-posted from Livejournal 5/3/2021, and edited slightly for current relevance

♫ For the easiest travel on earth,
Take a Trailways, take a Trailways,
For the easiest travel on earth,
Take a Continental Trailways bus. ♫

♫ Go Greyhound, and leave the driving to us! ♫

A post in Teresa Burritt’s Frog Blog (an earlier version, now defunct, but the current one is still full of interesting things) included the following picture:

Like many of her posts, this got the old gears grinding and brought back many memories of cross-country bus travel, some pleasant and others… well, “interesting.”

Back in the 50’s, you could truck around for $99.00 for 99 days, unlimited travel to unlimited destinations, and break your journey anywhere; I suspect this is what the poster above referred to. Naturally, it was the 50’s, and the buses were notorious for intolerance and segregation¹ (see here for some of the details of that shameful situation), but also became a focal point for the civil-rights movement. For comparison, you can read the Trailways Wikipedia entry.

Back in the 60’s I took several trips by bus from New York to California and back; there’s no denying that it was challenging. Even as a relative youngster, sleeping on a bus is less than luxury. The seats didn’t recline much if at all, much like the cattle-class seats on a modern airliner. Stopping at all hours of the night at lonely, sometimes seedy cafés in Broken Clavicle, Iowa or Whistling Rock, Wyoming is not luxurious… and I will forever associate such places with the smell of Postum™ ². As I drink neither coffee nor tea, it was all I could get if I wanted something hot besides cocoa; like Sanka™, it came with a metal pot of hot water and little envelopes.

Sanka and Postum, as offered in restaurants

Sleeping on the bus was so challenging for me I would often resort to sleeping pills, but those made the night-time stops fairly grueling – staggering to the restroom while under the influence of those soporifics is unpleasant at best. Eventually I stopped using them and just toughed it out.

One upside was being able to watch the countryside go by without worrying about the stresses of driving, and another was the interesting people one could meet on the way. Yes, there were the “other” kind of people as well, along with the fat ladies puking in the aisle if they couldn’t make it to the onboard lavatory, but the really unpleasant incidents that one hears about were thankfully quite rare, and I never encountered one. While I never lost a bag during an actual trip, one box I shipped from New York to Pennsylvania via Greyhound arrived opened, damaged, with much missing, and full of gravel. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see what happened to that one.

I’ve checked – you can still travel by bus today, if you are hardy. But the advantages seem few, given the cost of other alternatives.

A round-trip fare from SLC to JFK would cost $499.00 at senior, economy rates, and take about 48 hours each way. Allow a bit for what passes for food and such along the route.

That compares to the lowest airfare of $353.00 for the same dates.

It would cost around $381.00 for gas in a 40mpg Prius at an average cost of $3.50 per gallon (which would take at least 8 days, coming and going, meaning additional lodging and food costs.)

Amtrak would cost $492.00 and take 61 hours, if one can get through without service disruptions.

At this point, the biggest advantage, shared with Amtrak, seems to be seeing a lot of countryside without having to do the driving yourself. The fact that Greyhound is still in business speaks to the fact that many people are willing to take this option – and naturally, there are other routes which may make taking the bus more advantageous.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


Footnotes

¹ John Howard Griffin’s experiences at a Greyhound Bus station in the South in 1960, as well as on the bus trip itself, recounted in Black Like Me, are chilling.

² Postum faded into history in 2007 but enough people clamored for it that it was successfully revived by Eliza’s Quest Food in 2013. There are recipes for home-made varieties, and one product, Ersatz™, claims to be a good Postum™ substitute. During the war, Ersatzkaffee was commonly given to Allied POW’s, and here we have an Ersatzersatzkaffee being marketed to those who crave it. The world is so full of a number of things. Now one can get things at the grocery store like Pero™, a European coffee substitute (known in Europe as Karo™) which is similar but much better-tasting, but rarely available in restaurants.

Plane Accident – Happy Ending

Cross-posted from LiveJournal 4/28/2021

Occasionally on the Interwebs one comes across rather sensational photos. I’ve seen this one in numerous places, with a caption like “Tragic accident caught at the moment of death,” or some such.

It always disturbed me, just because it was so poignant, and I could only imagine the terror of the two pilots as they augered their plane into the ground at 150 MPH or whatever.

Well, guess what? It was an accident, and it was unfortunate, but no loss of life was sustained. The nosewheel collapsed on landing, leading to a spectacular flip, but no deaths.

Click Here to view the photo in full size.

Uff da!

Fortunately, things are not always as they seem, and it always pays to do some fact-checking.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Press the Numerical Button One Now!

It is beyond me how Manasseh Jordan Ministries can still be operating. He is one of this country’s worst robodiallers, and has been sued more times than I have fingers and toes to count on.

https://www.scammer.info/d/24136-america-s-worst-robodialer-manasseh-jordan-ministries

“Prophet Manasseh Jordan

Apparently he comes to the business of defrauding people honestly, if one can even say that – he is the son of “Master Prophet E. Bernard Jordan,” another Prosperity Gospel preacher. The Wikipedia article confuses father for son in some of the references, but it’s not hard to see that the road apple didn’t fall far from the horse’s ass.

Just got another call from him tonight – from 775-954-0107. Instead of a spoofed number, it goes right to his recorded message:

“They are trying to take something. Press 1! Press 1! There has been spiritual warfare that is coming up and this is why the enemy has been messing with your stuff! Press 1 now to hear this blessed word, press 1!”

If you do happen to press 1, you get his long-winded spiel of spiritual gobbledygook (he’ll fight this warfare for you, etc., including some really weird “speaking in tongues” stuff), but it ends up in his hitting you up for that “great reward seed of $46.46, that $146.00 seed, that $246.00 seed, adding that 46 cents for your great spiritual reward, please hold while I connect you to the blessed operator!”

It’s 2021 and this guy is still operating, and sadly he seems to be amazingly successful as people continue to send him money so he can live a lifestyle of decadent luxury. He’s been fined by the FCC twice, and illegally robocalls millions of cell phones every week, and they can’t seem to shut him down, or don’t care to. It’s a disgrace.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Please be very careful with promoted posts on Facebook

Edit: Went back to check and as of 4/29/2021, the “wewinns” shop was nowhere to be seen.

Vanished into the mist

For “promoted post,” read “advertisement.”

I’m using as an example one that showed up in my newsfeed yesterday, from a company which calls itself “wewinns.”

They are offering a complete date set of Morgan silver dollars for $199.99 (reduced from $699.99!)

Beautiful, right? The Morgan really is a gorgeous piece, especially in uncirculated condition. Notice the first description:

Morgan Silver Dollars are an excellent way to own a piece of history, while concurrently investing in the physical precious metal silver.  Morgan Silver Dollars are composed of 90% silver and 10% copper.  They weigh 26.73 grams.  This equates to approximately .7734 Troy ounces of silver and approximately .1 ounce of copper per coin. Uncirculated collectible coins.

Next, we have coin highlights:

Coin Highlights:

Arrives inside of a protective plastic slab courtesy of the NGC or PCGS!

Struck from 1878 to 1904!
• Contains .77344 Troy oz of actual silver content.
• Bears a face value of $1 (USD) backed by the federal government.
Issued a Grade of Mint State 66 by the Professional Coin Grading Service or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.
• Obverse features the effigy of Liberty.
• Reverse includes the American bald eagle.

When I was a kid, collecting coins was much less complex. Coin grades were:

  • Cull
  • Fair (F)
  • Good (G)
  • Very Good (VG)
  • Fine (F)
  • Very Fine (VF)
  • Extra Fine (XF)
  • Almost Uncirculated (AU)
  • Uncirculated (Unc)
  • Brilliant Uncirculated (BU)
  • Proof (P)

“Cull” was a damaged coin with no value, and “Proof” – as today – are specially-created strikes for collector. In between, coins were graded largely based on the subjective opinions of countless coin dealers.

Now, things are a lot more complicated, but a lot more formalized. The PCGS that this advertisement invokes has a very detailed designation and a numerical grading system by which coins are qualified. According to their website, MS66 is defined as “Well struck with a few marks or hairlines not in focal areas.” In other words, a pretty, uncirculated coin.

The next statement from the “wewinns” website reiterates the condition of the coins you will supposedly get:

Each of the Morgan Silver Dollar Coins offered by us in this product listing is available to you in Mint State 66 condition from either the PCGS or NGC. Coins in Mint State 66 condition are five grades below the perfect grade of 70 on the Sheldon numeric scale. A coin with an MS66 certification has minimal, but apparent, detracting marks or hairlines.

Following more generic information about Morgan dollars, the sales website goes on to say:

In this product listing, we guarantee you a Mint State 66 condition Morgan Silver Dollar.

Now things get interesting. After some more description of the beauty and rarity of the Morgan dollars, we see this:

Each Morgan Silver Dollar is presented in circulated condition with most major design details visible, and is protected in an archival crystal-clear case that allows for easy and safe viewing of both sides.

“Most major design details visible.” To me, that sounds like an F-12: “About half of detail now worn flat. All lettering remains visible.”

But then in the next bit, we go right back to the shiny new coins you thing you’ll be getting:

Year: 1878 to 1921
Grade: Choice BU
Strike Type: Business
Denomination: $1.00
Mint Location: “S” – San Francisco
Metal Content: 0.7734 troy oz
Purity: .900
Manufacturer: US Mint
Thickness: 3.1 mm
Diameter: 38.1 mm

I have no idea what “Strike type: business” means, unless it just implies general circulation coins and not a proof.

I was curious enough to click the “Contact Us” link on the bottom of the page:

Email:[support@wewinns.com]
Phone: +86 181 2462 2758

Is anyone suprised that country code 86 is China? My email to the support staff read as follows:

I am interested in your offer, but I am confused.
Your ad says the following things:
“Uncirculated collectible coins.”
“Issued a Grade of Mint State 66 by the Professional Coin Grading Service or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.”
“Each of the Morgan Silver Dollar Coins offered by us in this product listing is available to you in Mint State 66 condition from either the PCGS or NGC.”
“In this product listing, we guarantee you a Mint State 66 condition Morgan Silver Dollar.”
“Each Morgan Silver Dollar is presented in circulated condition with most major design details visible.”
“Grade: Choice BU”
So, are these coins that you are offering uncirculated, with a grade of 66, or are they circulated and in generally poor condition? You are aware, are you not, that a full set of Morgan dollars in grade 66 typically sells for over $125,000?
I look forward to your speedy response.

But I will be surprised if there is any response at all. [Edit: there was not] If you get anything at all from this outfit, I’m pretty safe in thinking it will be a collection of very poor-quality coins, and that their website will be gone – only to resurface the next day with a different name.

Now I won’t go so far as to say that every advertisement promoted by Facebook is painfully deceptive or outright dishonestly false… but in my experience, a vast preponderance of them are just that, and a large percentage of them come from China. And Facebook continues to happily take their advertising dollars, and countless people are defrauded by unscrupulous enterprises.

It is worth noticing that the current PCGS quoted price for a complete date set of Morgan dollars in MS-66 condition is $165,605.00, and a complete date set in F-12 condition (Fair) is quoted at $1,272.00.

At one point, the Danbury Mint was offering a 28-coin date set for $2,238.60, but that was a limited-time offer and is sold out. [While Danbury is a legitimate company, please be aware that – like the Franklin Mint and other specialty “Mints” – what they sell is fairly overpriced and unsuitable for investment, but they do have pretty things. Just expect that you or your heirs will probably not even recoup what you paid for them if they ever try to sell.]

So heaven only knows what you might get if you drop $200.00 into this Chinese bank account; most likely a bunch of counterfeit coins, or nothing at all.

Be very careful with these ads. Discuss this with vulnerable loved ones, particularly the elderly who might be more susceptible to greasy advertising techniques like this.

Edit: Another, very similar ad page is found at
https://www.silver-ccoins.com/products/1878-1921-morgan-dollar-silver-coin-lx-1, and it uses almost identical wording, with a lot of additional promotional fluff added. The company behind this one is Vankin Co. Ltd. in London. Beware.

Edit 2: This report focuses on an individual who was conned into buying counterfeit silver dollars (made of steel); the report ends by indicating that these bogus dollars were likely mass-produced in China. One more red flag that this particular deal and ones like it should be run away from at great speed.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Once Upon a Time, A Long Time Ago… it was Great to be a White Male in America

I grew up in New York City in the ’50s. So when a friend of mine posted this, and I watched it, I was naturally struck with feelings of nostalgia for times and events in my life that are now gone forever.

But along with the nostalgia and wistfulness was an overpowering awareness that I was watching the documentary of a reality that only existed for some Americans. The stark contrast, totally ignored in this yearning little video, is well represented in this image from Life Magazine:

Those happy folks in the back, smiling in their car… those are the people we see in the video. The ones in the front, waiting in a bread line, were not even visible anywhere.

It was great to be white in the ’50s.

You grow up in that environment, and you grow up a racist, and a sexist, even though there may not be a malicious bone in your body. Racism and sexism were in the blood and bones and DNA of society, and you were bombarded with blatant or subconscious reminders that women’s place was in the kitchen (barefoot, pregnant, and with no vote)¹, and black lives didn’t only not matter, they were totally invisible.

See Dad and Jim play. Watch Mom and Mary wash the dishes. And enjoy it.

This one was relatively subtle. There was much, much worse out there.

With a history like that, anyone born in the ’50s or even the ’60s is going to have these attitudes driven deep into their psyches, and they are devilishly hard to expurgate completely. That’s why a person who wants to have a positive effect on the world around them needs to pay attention to the advice below (which applies to any “-ism,” not just racism) and practice it on a daily basis. Not unlike alcoholics in recovery who realize and understand that they are never really “cured,” these ways of thinking will surface at a moment’s notice given half a chance.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


Footnotes

¹ Things have improved, at least on the surface – but sexism in American society is still a very real phenomenon, particularly in the workplace. Advertising agencies, still embarrassingly aware that sex sells almost more than anything, still pump out sexist ads, although in the #MeToo era, some companies are issuing mea culpas (but only when they get caught out).

As for racism? Sometimes I wonder if we’ve made any progress at all since Selma. Some of the things I’m seeing now in terms of voter suppression in Georgia and other GOP states recalls a very dark stage of American history, as outlined brilliantly by Heather Cox Richardson.