Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief

Like many of you, my family and I are praying for the victims of the recent events in Japan. Unfortunately, when events like this happen, a crop of scams usually pop up. I think this post from Slashdot says it best:

Prepare For Massive Wave of Earthquake Scams

Posted by Soulskill on Friday March 11, @11:43AM
from the i-see-what-you-did-there dept.
wiredmikey sends this quote from Security Week:“Today’s tragic events of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami, as sad as it is, is a dream for scammers and fraudsters around the world. Tragic events are always something scammers use to their advantage, helping them prey on and exploit innocent victims. Scams are already spreading across Facebook, which started in a matter of minutes after the news broke of the earthquake in Japan. As I write this, scammers are hard at work, registering new domains and cranking out templates for their fake donation sites. This will be followed with massive volumes of email spam, Tweets through Twitter, and Facebook posts, as scammers gear up to solicit donations from around the world.”As coverage of the earthquake and resulting tsunami has proceeded, collections of videos and pictures are showing the extent of the devastation. The NY Times makes the excellent point that things could have been much worse if not for building codes and quake-resistant engineering. A state of emergency was declared at one of Japan’s nuclear plants, after the earthquakecaused cooling problems at one of the reactors. No radiation leakage has been reported, and the US Air Force has helped bydelivering coolant by air.

If you choose to contribute to the recovery effort, I encourage you to contribute directly to the American Red Cross.

Franklin’s 13 Virtues

On occasion, I tend to re-read books that have helped me through the years. For example, I regularly re-read Dale Carnegie’s books, David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”, and others. Right now, I’m re-reading Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography. Although I don’t think he ever got around to publishing his “Art of Virtue” book, I do like reading how he applied his 13 virtues to his life. Here they are:

  1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  3. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  4. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  5. Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  6. Industry: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
  8. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  9. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  10. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  11. Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  12. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


Terrorists threat levels, a British take on things

This arrived in my inbox today courtesy of Paul B. I’m a Monty Python fan, and this hit the funny bone for me today. Needed a good laugh, and HERE IT IS!



By John Cleese

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.

Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France ‘s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbor” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is canceled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

John Cleese – British writer, actor and tall person

Ode to Whitley

As some of you know, my studies were a blend of business, computer science, marketing, and economics. I am one of those rare cases where what I did my degree work in actually applies to my career from day to day. Most of my daily work is working with Auctioneers who want to market themselves and/or their auctions. With the rise of social media in recent years, it has been somewhat of a struggle to get them acclimated to the new marketing opportunities presented by social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Struggle? Not this guy! Look carefully at this screenshot from his company’s fan page:

Looks like a stick!?So let’s analyze this for just a minute.

  1. It has a call to action, the challenge (“What is this?”)
  2. You have to be a fan to see the full size image and win the prize (“Building the tribe”)
  3. The person who wins gets…. a BRANDED hat to wear and advertise RMEB (“Branding 101”)

Well done, Mr. Whitley. Interaction via Facebook at its finest. Everyone should do two things:

First: Click here and “Like” Mr. Whitley’s company fan page.

Second: Click here and “Like” Mr. Rasmus’ company fan page.

Why the second one? You’ll find out soon! Stay tuned.

The Haircut

Today’s Mailbag found a joke from Paul B. I had received this one a time or two before. Worthy of a laugh.

One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, ‘I cannot accept money from you, I’m doing community service this week.’ The florist was pleased and left the shop. When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door. Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replied, ‘I cannot accept money from you , I’m doing community service this week.’  The cop was happy and left the shop. The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door. Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill, the barber again replied, ‘I can not accept money from you. I’m doing community service this week.’ The Congressman was very happy and left the shop. The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut.

And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the politicians who run it.

Starving the Monkeys

I caught this video off a link from a friend’s Facebook wall (it was in a comment).


Interesting theories, so I think I will grab Mr. Baugh’s book sometime soon to learn more about his line of thought. Have you read it? If so, leave a comment below and let me know what you thought.

Clinton Portrait

Yet another mailbag joke courtesy of Dave W. (trust me when I say that my decision to do this mailbag->blog thing will involve a lot of Dave W. content). I lived in the Washington D.C. area when the whole Monica Lewinsky scandal went down. What a fiasco!

Clinton Portrait

The Clinton Library is now open & and they’ve revealed the Official Portrait…

Run Towards the Gunman

How many of you can honestly say that you would run TOWARDS a crazed lunatic with a gun? This video link was sent out to the VCDL mailing list recently. I’m sure that in the light of the recent shootings in Arizona, there will be a lot of gun control people saying we need to ban guns, ban this, ban that, etc. I’m just happy that there was a responsible citizen there, legally carrying a concealed weapon, willing to put his life in danger to defend others during the eight minutes it took for the authorities to arrive. Granted, things were under control by the time Mr. Zamudio arrived on the scene; but he was prepared in the event they weren’t.


Remember… even the U.S. Supreme Court rulings say that the police are not responsible for providing for the safety or defense of you and your family. That is your responsibility. The police are responsible for apprehending and arresting criminals.

The Haircut

This morning’s first mailbag entry is a joke sent by Dave W. I get quite a few jokes (of varying levels of decency) sent to me via email and will try to post them up when I can.


A young boy had just received his driver’s permit and asked his father if they could discuss his use of the car.

His father said he’d make a deal with his son. ‘You bring your grades up from a C to a B Average, study your Bible a little, get your hair cut and we’ll talk about the car.

The boy thought about that for a moment, decided he’d settle for the offer and they agreed on it.

After about six weeks his father said, ‘Son, I’m real proud of you. You brought your grades up and I’ve observed that you have been studying your Bible, but I’m disappointed you haven’t had your hair cut. ‘

The young man paused a moment then said, ‘You know, Dad, I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair and there’s even a strong argument that Jesus had long hair.’

To this his father replied, ‘Did you also notice that they all walked everywhere they went?’