Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Me and Homeland Security

Honestly, I don’t mind getting these; some of them just crack me up:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Washington, DC 20528

Attn: Beneficiary,

This is to Officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we have thoroughly completed an Investigated with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you are having an illegal transaction with Impostors claiming to be Prof. Charles C. Soludo former Governor Central Bank Of Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Aziza, Mr. Frank Nweke, none officials of Oceanic Bank, none officials of Zenith Bank and some impostors claiming to be the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents. During our Investigation, it came to our notice that the reason why you have not received your payment is because you have not fulfilled your Financial Obligation given to you in respect of your Contract/Inheritance Payment.

So therefore, we have contacted the Federal Ministry Of Finance on your behalf and they have brought a solution to your problem by coordinating your payment in the total amount of US$800,000.00 which will be deposited into an ATM CARD which you will use to withdraw funds anywhere of the world. You now have the lawful right to claim your funds which have been deposited into the ATM CARD.

Since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been involved in this transaction, you are now to be rest assured that this transaction is legitimate and completely risk-free as it is our duty to Protect and Serve citizens of the United States Of America. All you have to do is immediately contact the ATM CARD CENTER via E-mail for instructions on how to procure your Approval Slip which contains details on how to receive and activate your ATM CARD for immediate use to withdraw funds being paid to you.

The total amount for everything is US$300.00 (Three Hundred US Dollars). We have tried our possible best to indicate that this US$300.00 should be deducted from your funds, but we found out that the funds have already been deposited in an ATM CARD and cannot be accessed by anyone apart from you the beneficiary which the PIN would be released to. Therefore you will be required to pay the required fee to the Agent in-charge of this transaction via Western Union Money Transfer or Money Gram International Transfer.

In order to proceed with this transaction, you will be required to contact the agent in-charge ( Mr. David Wills ) via e-mail. Kindly look below to find appropriate contact information:

NAME: Mr. David Wills

Immediately contact Mr. David Wills of the ATM Card Center with the following information:

Full Name:
Zip Code:
Direct Telephone Number:
Current Occupation:

Once you have sent the required information to Mr. David Wills he will contact you with instructions on how to make the payment of US$300.00 for the Approval Slip after which he will proceed towards delivery of the ATM CARD without any further delay. You have hereby been authorized/guaranteed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to commence towards completing this transaction, as there shall be NO delay once payment for the Approval Slip has been made to the authorized agent.

This letter will serve as proof that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is authorizing you to pay the required US$300.00 ONLY to Mr. David Wills via information in which he shall send to you, if you do not receive your ATM CARD containing your funds in amount of US$800,000.00 we shall be held responsible for the loss and this shall invite a penalty of $3,000.00USD which will be made PAYABLE ONLY to you (The Beneficiary).

Once you have completed payment of US$300.00 to the agent in charge of this transaction, immediately contact me back so as to ensure your ATM CARD gets to you rapidly.

Mr. David Wills
Special Agent DHS.

Note: Do disregard any email you get from any impostor or office claiming to be in possession of your ATM CARD, you are advised only to be in contact with Mr. David Wills of the ATM CARD CENTER who is the rightful person you are suppose to deal with in regards your ATM CARD PAYMENT and forward any email you get from any impostors to this office so we could act upon and commence investigation.

May 31, 2010 Posted by | Crime, ExPat Life, Law and Order, Scams | 3 Comments

Memorial Day 2010

May 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Memorial Day 2010

May 31, 2010 Posted by | Holiday | Leave a comment

Shhhh! I’m Reading!

The doorbell rang, it was after dinner, and we figured it was our son coming by, so we ran to the door. No-one there, but we can see back of the UPS man trying to cross to his vehicle on the other side of the road, and there is a small package on our porch.

I was briefly disappointed, but not for long. The package was a book I had pre-ordered:

I don’t often order a hardcover book; I don’t care that much. Most of the time. Now Stieg Larsson is another story. His last book, The Girl Who Played With Fire, was a cliff-hanger, which I read while waiting to move in to our house, while it was being rewired. I could hardly wait to find out how everything resolves, so I pre-ordered from Amazon, and started reading as soon as I had opened the box. ๐Ÿ™‚

While in Sam’s Club doing some shopping for Memorial Day, I noticed that on a very full book rack, the Stieg Larsson paperback books are flying off the shelf.

This time, I couldn’t wait for the paperback edition. ๐Ÿ™‚

May 30, 2010 Posted by | Books, Crime, Cross Cultural, Fiction, Law and Order | 8 Comments

Prince Attab of Baghdad

I love A-Word-A-Day. This morning, I read it aloud to AdventureMan – who knew? Who knew that tabby cats got their name from a cloth which was named for a district in Baghdad named after Prince Attab? You can subscribe to this daily e-mail by clicking on the blue type above. It’s free. Amazing, huh?

with Anu Garg


1. A domestic cat with a striped or brindled coat.
2. A domestic cat, especially a female one.
3. A spinster.
4. A spiteful or gossipy woman.
5. A fabric of plain weave.
6. A watered silk fabric.
7. A building material made of lime, oyster shells, and gravel.

For 1-6: From French tabis, from Medieval Latin attabi, from Arabic attabi, from al-Attabiya, a suburb of Baghdad, Iraq, where silk was made, from the name of Prince Attab. Cats got the name tabby after similarity of their coats to the cloth; the derivations of words for females are probably from shortening of the name Tabitha.
For 7: From Gullah tabi, ultimately from Spanish tapia (wall).

“I was playing whist with the tabbies when it occurred, and saw nothing of the whole matter.”
Charles James Lever; Jack Hinton, the Guardsman; 1857.

“Kay Sekimachi uses tabby and twill weaving to contrast black and beige linens.”
Stunning 30-year Retrospective at San Jose Museum of Quilts Textiles; Independent Coast Observer (California); Jan 4, 2008.

“Mayor Carl Smith suggested that tabby fence posts be used around the cemetery’s perimeter because the oyster-based concrete would better fit the island’s character.”
Jessica Johnson; Group Restoring Cemetery; The Post and Courier (South Carolina); Jan 21, 2010.

May 28, 2010 Posted by | Random Musings, Words | Leave a comment

Mongolian Porn

Today as I was emptying my spam folder, I glanced through and saw that one encouraged us to visit a site specializing in Mongolian Porn.

Somehow, that totally cracks me up. Porn is pathetic and laughable enough as it is, but . . . Mongolian porn? I cannot imagine . . .

Maybe they yak a lot?

May 27, 2010 Posted by | Humor, Mating Behavior, Social Issues, Spiritual, Women's Issues | 7 Comments

GMAC Rates American Drivers

This is an excerpt from Worst Drivers in America By State on AOL’s Wallet Pop:

GMAC’s sixth annual survey quizzed more than 5,200 licensed Americans from across the country on their driving knowledge and New York drivers fared the worst for the second year in a row, with an average score of 70 percent. That’s more than six percentage points below the national average score of 76.2 percent. New Jersey residents shouldn’t laugh too loudly at their neighbor’s expense. Garden State drivers finished second to last. Kansas, on the other hand, proved to be the best place to drive with a score of 82.3 percent. Oregon, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska drivers were also among the best performers on the survey.
Overall, though, the findings were pretty dismal. The study found that “nearly 1 in 5 licensed drivers — roughly 38 million Americans — would not pass a written drivers test exam if taken today.” A whopping 85 percent could not identify the correct action to take when approaching a steady yellow traffic light (hint: it involves the brake pedal). Many drivers also remained uncertain about safe following distances.

Nationally, the average score slipped from 76.2 percent from 76.6 percent. “When analyzed regionally, the results reveal that drivers in the Northeast may not be as road-rule savvy as their Midwestern counterparts,” according to GMAC’s press release. “The Northeast had the lowest average test scores (74.9 percent) and had the highest failure rate (25.1 percent). The Midwest region had the highest average test scores (77.5 percent) and the lowest failure rates (11.9 percent).”

Some other notable trends: Older drivers outperformed younger ones and men did better on the test than women but also flunked it at a higher rate. One-in-four drivers admitted that they did “distracting behaviors” such as selecting music on their iPhones, applying make-up or reading, though only 5 percent admitted to text-ing while driving.

(See full article from WalletPop:

2010 GMAC Insurance Driver’s Test Results

(Ranked in order of worst drivers by state to best drivers by state)
Scoring is from 1 to 100 on a 20 question test.

1. (WORST) New York – 70.0
2. New Jersey – 70.5
3. Dist. of Columbia – 71.9
4. California – 73.3
5. Rhode Island – 73.8
6. Louisiana – 74.1
7. West Virginia – 74.8
7. Hawaii – 74.8
9. New Hampshire – 74.9
9. Kentucky – 74.9
11. Florida – 75.2
12. Mississippi – 75.6
13. Pennsylvania – 75.8
13. Massachusetts – 75.8
15. North Carolina – 75.9
15. Arkansas – 75.9
17. Texas – 76.0
18. Connecticut – 76.3
19. Illinois – 76.6
20. Georgia – 76.7
21. Alabama – 77.1
22. South Carolina – 77.2
23. New Mexico – 77.3
24. Virginia – 77.5
24. Ohio – 77.5
26. Maine – 77.6
26. Delaware – 77.6
28. Colorado – 77.8
29. Utah- 77.9
30. Vermont – 78.1
30. Nevada – 78.1
32. Maryland – 78.2
33. Tennessee – 78.3
34. Wyoming – 78.4
35. Arizona – 78.5
36. Missouri – 78.8
37. Michigan – 79.0
38. North Dakota – 79.1
39. Oklahoma – 79.3
40. Wisconsin – 79.4
40. Washington – 79.4
42. Alaska – 79.8
43. Montana – 80.0
44. Idaho – 80.1
45. Indiana – 80.4
46. Nebraska – 80.5
47. Iowa – 80.8
48. Minnesota – 81.1
49. South Dakota – 81.2
50. Oregon – 82.1
51. (BEST) Kansas 82.3

See full article from WalletPop:

Florida – where I am living now – is the 11th WORST state in the nation. . . .

May 27, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Cultural, ExPat Life, Florida, Law and Order, Living Conditions | 5 Comments

Puns Galore!

Thank you, Kit-Cat! Some of these are really, really BAD.

Puns for those with a Higher IQ
(That would be you and me, of course) ๐Ÿ™‚

Those who jump off a bridge in Paris are in Seine.

A man’s home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.

Dijon vu – the same mustard as before.

Practice safe eating – always use condiments.

Shotgun wedding – A case of wife or death.

A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.

A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.

Reading while sunbathing makes you well red.

When two egotists meet, it’s an I for an I.

A bicycle can’t stand on its own because it is two tired.

What’s the definition of a will? (It’s a dead give away.)

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your count votes.

She was engaged to a boyfriend with a wooden leg but broke it off.

A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

If you don’t pay your exorcist, you get repossessed

With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.

You feel stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

Local Area Network in Australia – the LAN down under.

Every calendar’s days are numbered.

A lot of money is tainted – ‘Taint yours and ‘taint mine.

A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

A pun is its own reword.

He had a photographic memory that was never developed.

A midget fortune-teller who escapes from prison is a small medium at large.

Once you’ve seen one shopping center, you’ve seen a mall.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.

Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture is a jab well done.

May 27, 2010 Posted by | Humor | 5 Comments

Emir Pardons Saudis for Failed Coup Attempt in Qatar

Has there ever been any other mention of the failed coup attempt? Is the the one that was purported to have taken place late last summer?

Emir pardons Saudi prisoners
The Peninsula
Doha: In response to a desire by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, the Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has issued an Emiri decision pardoning a number of Saudi nationals sentenced for their involvement in the failed coup attempt to destabilise security and stability in Qatar.

Those released left the country yesterday accompanying the Saudi Deputy Commander of the National Guard for Executive Affairs, Prince Mitโ€™ib bin Abdulaziz, an official source at the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Saudi king later expressed his profound appreciation of the Emirโ€™s decision. The king praised the strong relations of kinship and good neighbourliness that bind the people of the two countries.

May 26, 2010 Posted by | Doha, Law and Order, Leadership, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Qatar, Saudi Arabia | 10 Comments

Kuwait or Qatar or Pensacola?

Showering after my water-aerobics class, I could hear voices discussing a local political-social situation. A benefits agency has groups of families working in it, and they know all the tricks. They know how to insure more of their own family members hired, and they know how to help all their family members (and friends) take advantage of all the entitlements.

Expats abroad call it nepotism, and scorn it as a third-world corruption. In truth, it happens everywhere.

There is an ongoing schism taking place in Qatar and Kuwait, countries that have been gracious and welcoming to me. The nationals of Kuwait and Qatar control citizenship carefully. The citizen base is about 20% of the population, on a good day. The rest of the population are people who are in Kuwait and Qatar to work. Most there to work can never hope for citizenship. For many, the poverty in their home country is so brutal that no matter how hard the working conditions, at least it is a salary, and they can send something home so that, literally, their families can eat. They dream – like we do – of educating their children so that they will have a better, more secure life.

Here is the problem. When 80% of the population is NON-Kuwaiti, or NON-Qatari, your country starts to change. One way in which things have changes is that in a very short time, the highways have gone from very quiet to gridlock, due to a dramatic increase in drivers and cars. In Qatar, the situation is made worse by nationalization of the taxi service, resulting in so few taxis that hotels now use private limo services, because finding a taxi at peak times is near to impossible.

That’s one issue. The second issue is language. Imagine your elderly parents going into shops to buy something – in their own country – and the clerks don’t speak their language. As they are stumbling and bewildered, some noisy “workers” walk in, state their needs, are understood, conduct their business and exit before you even get served. This is happening in Kuwait and in Qatar; everyone is speaking English. In a country where the workers are Indian, Nepalese, Philipino, Saudi, Yemani, Omani, Lebanese, Syrian, French, Dutch, English, Australian, South African, American (and about thirty or forty others) the common language has evolved to be English, not Arabic.

How do you think you would feel if it were happening here? If the great majority of cars on the road were not “us” but “guests” in our country? If the clerks in stores couldn’t understand what you want, because although they are in your country, they don’t speak your language?

Another problem is what to do with the huge, disproportionate number of geographically single males brought in to work as builders, cleaners, heavy equipment operators, dishwashers, drivers, security guards and other fairly low-paid positions? In Kuwait and in Qatar, non-married sex is strictly forbidden, even holding hands in public is considered an affront to morality. These men are banned from malls where families might gather, and from other public places. Their existence is grim, and they often find themselves unpaid, or paid far less than they were promised for their labor.

Last, but not least, this very modest Gulf culture has people – foreign guest workers – parading themselves on their streets in various states of undress. Think about it – that’s how we look to them. We have no shame. We bare our faces. We flaunt the glory of our uncovered hair. Sometimes a shawl might drop and a glimpse of bare arm or even a hint of cleavage might shock the modest eyes of a believer.

In Pensacola, there are also fundamentalists who wear long skirts, long sleeves, and determinedly modest clothing. I wonder what these believers think about the skimpy clothing on the beaches, or in the malls?

Coming home has been a real eye opener. It was easy for me to be critical of things I saw in Qatar and in Kuwait. Coming home, we joke all the time about “Kuwaiti drivers” here in the US, but the real joke is – they sure look a lot like us.

Last week, we saw a man here make a U-turn right in the middle of the road, and rock as he tried to regain control of his truck, and almost blast right through a red light he didn’t see. The back of his truck was down, and items loose in the truck bed were heading toward the highway – fortunately he figured that out, and last we saw, he had stopped to fix his rear door. Maybe he wasn’t sober. Maybe he had had an argument with his wife or boss or someone and was not paying close attention to his driving. All I know is that we have seen a goodly number of inattentive drivers here, too.

When a bureaucracy gets corrupted, when the rules are not applied equally to all, when select groups get favored treatment – here in Pensacola, at the immigration department in Kuwait or in the traffic department in Qatar – everyone suffers. It’s a political problem, a social problem, and a systemic problem. God willing, if we are truly evolving as a species, we will find a way to create truly fair and transparent systems which will work as they are ideally intended to work.

It’s on us. We have to make it happen. We have to want it badly enough to make it happen, even making sacrifices for the greater good.

I don’t have any answers. I don’t know how to make us better people that we are, how to make ourselves make the right choices. I do know this – whether it is a tiny village in Germany, or an eagle’s aerie in Kuwait, or the lush life of Doha – we are all more alike, and share more similarities and problems, than we are different. If we could only learn to see through one another’s eyes, maybe we could find ways to resolve our differences and learn to cooperate.

May 26, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Building, Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Cross Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Germany, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Pensacola, Political Issues, Qatar, Social Issues | Leave a comment