Thursday, April 15, 2021

Thursday, 4/15

Because I have a big morning this morning—a dentist's appointment, and my second Moderna shot (!!), I'm going to leave you with something from, I think, 2017. But it's highly appropriate for today. Or, at least, what today used to be. And maybe it has a little extra something for all of our new Russian readers.

Back tomorrow with clean teeth, something new, and, hopefully, no side effects!

(jim@wmqt.com)

*****

You know, at least the spammers could put a little effort into it.

I don't know about you, but I've seen a marked increase in the amount of spam reaching my e-mail inbox the past month or so. It's actually getting to the point where I have to spend five minutes a day weeding out everything from offers for magazines I've never heard of to promises that I can make “(my) partner scream for hours”, which is something Loraine already does, at least when it comes to reading some of the subject lines in the spam that she herself gets.

I never actually open any of the spam I get; I just click “delete” and it's all gone. But someone, somewhere, must click on the spam and then actually reply to it. I mean, all it takes is for one sucker to justify sending out 10 zillion pieces of junk, right? However, I received one piece yesterday that made me laugh, and I had to open it, if only because it seems like whoever put it together wasn't even trying.

Now, I know almost all spam comes from a country other than the U.S. But it seems to me that the more savvy spammers make it sound like they know what they're talking about. After all, they're trying to reel in a sucker or two, and it's usually easier to do that when you look and sound like you know what you're talking about. Not the e-mail I received yesterday, though. First of all, it came from a company that called itself “Tax Releif” (spelled that way), and had as its subject line this--

“Taxes is our business”.

Like I said, I don't expect much out of spam (aside from the occasional laugh) but anyone in their right mind would know that, based on spelling and grammatical errors, this ISN'T a company that's legit. However, the errors were so egregious that I just had to see from where the e-mail came. So I opened the e-mail, which promised to get me “maximun (sic) savings on my taxes” sent directly to my bank account. And all I'd have to do is sent my Social Security and bank account numbers (nothing else) to a website that ends with a “.ru”. What does that all mean? Well, it means two things—that someone promised to do my taxes without needing to see any W2 forms.

And that “.ru” means the company is located in Russia.

Needless to say, I don't think I'll be having that particular company do my taxes this year. And I would hope that no one—absolutely no one--would get suckered in by such a low-rent, low-quality, obvious sham of a scam. But then that's the thing about spammers and scammers—it only takes one. Like I said before, it doesn't cost anything (aside from server time, which is usually pirated) to send out ten zillion e-mails, and if even ONE person decides that sending their Social Security and bank account numbers to a Russian company will give them a little “tax releif”, then they've succeeded without even putting much effort into it.

I know you're all smart and that you'd never fall for anything promised by spam, but just let me say this—if you ever DO fall for a spam scam, at least make sure you fall for one where everything's spelled right, okay?

Thanks.

(jim@wmqt.com)

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Wednesday 4/14

 If you're curious (and I know you're probably not) I have four new shirts in my closet. And go ahead—ask me why. I dare you.

Well, seeing as how you asked, I'll give you the answer. I have four new shirts in my closet because I have a bony left elbow. Bet you weren't expecting THAT answer, were you?

8-)

No, seriously. I had to go out and get four new shirts this past weekend because I have four old shirts with holes in the left elbow, and only the left elbow. The right elbows on all the shirts are fine. Everything else about the shirts are fine. But each and every one of them has a hole—a big hole—in the left elbow.

I guess I'm just lucky that way. Or I'm a freak that way. You choose.

Now, I'm not totally surprised. I'm a very bony person, not just in the elbows but in the knees and ankles and just about any other joint that sticks out of my body. So I could see why I might have a shirt or another piece of clothing develop a hole somewhere in it. But four shirts? And just in the left elbow and no other place?

Even I'm shaking my head in disbelief at that particular superpower. The upside, though, is that if I ever need to get a new job, I have at least one unique skill to stick on my resume.

Because that's something employers would be looking for, right?

So if you ever have a shirt with the right elbow worn through, and you want to even it out, send it my way. I might actually be able to put that unique skill to good use.

(jim@wmqt.com)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Tuesday, 4/13

 I hope I make it out of the week in one piece.

This is Restaurant Week in Marquette, a week when independent restaurants in downtown Marquette offer all kinds of specials to showcase the amazing work they do. Since restaurants have been among the hardest hit of businesses during the pandemic I figured I would do my bit and perhaps, just perhaps, see if I could get something from one restaurant each of the seven days of the promotion.

I'm just hoping I don't explode from the massive amount of great food on offer.

I've already tried two poutine dishes—a Fried Chicken Dinner poutine from Stuckos, and a Cuban poutine from the Delft. Speaking of Cubans, the Bodega has their take on one of my favorite sandwiches, so that's on the list. So is the Pho at Zephyr, the tempura salmon fingers at Elizabeth's, and the crepes at Contrast.

Top it off with a dish from one more place, and there's my week. I also figure that if I eat nothing but fruits and vegetables other than those dishes, I should only gain five or six pounds by the time the whole thing is done.

But I'm helping local businesses, right?

8-)

It's funny, because, technically, I'm not doing much different than I usually do. Oh, I don't get take out or eat in every day of the week, but I DO avail myself of the establishments I mentioned (plus many more). We're really lucky in that regard. Marquette is a place for great food, and a lot of it. For instance, within a one block radius of where I work there's a Mexican restaurant, three bistros, a fine dining place, two pubs, a sports bar, a deli, a Cajun restaurant, an Irish restaurant, a Hawaiian restaurant, and a German restaurant.

And that's just within a one block radius.

So, I guess you can see why I'm tempted by all the special dishes on offer this week. I actually don't know if I'll get through all of the ones I'd like, but I'll do my best. And, if I can't myself, I'll make sure as many people know what's going on as I can.

For all these cool places, it's the least I can do.

(jim@wmqt.com)

Monday, April 12, 2021

Monday, 4/12

 Geez. I hope I'm not being hacked by the Russians!

Over the past week or so I've noticed an uptick in readers of these ramblings. In fact, on a few days last week, I got almost twice as many readers as usual, which was a bit strange, because I wrote about things like hams and the first warm day of the year and seagulls becoming my co-workers, which aren't exactly click bait in the larger world.

Curious, I checked out the statistics portion of the site on which I post these and noticed something strange. Those extra readers from last week, the ones that almost doubled the number of people checking this out?

Almost to a person, they came from Russia.

In fact, one day last week I had more people from Russia check out this blog than from the U.S. and France combined, and those two countries usually make up 99.5% of the readers. I have no idea how (or why) so many hits were from Russia. I have no idea if they were Russian bots or Russian spiders. I have no idea if Vladimir Putin was bored one night. I have no idea if a Russian English-language class picked this blog to read (although if they did it was probably to see how NOT to write).

I just don't know.

Part of me wonders if Russia 's just practicing and refining techniques they might use in an attempt to meddle once again in the 2022 elections. Although, if that were the case, I have no idea what they would gain by reading my insights the Marquette Board of Light & Power lighting up a Christmas tree before tearing down a power plant. Maybe they have some kind of bot that goes through blogs and try to find content that they can leave trolling comments on. But, if THAT were the case, they'd find that with very few exceptions I try to stay away from politics and therefore they'd have very few instances in which they could leave fake comments.

I just don't know.

I will be curious to see if this continues, or if this was a one-shot thing. I'd be curious to know if this was indeed part of ramp-up to try & influence the election, or if was just part of a survey of the internet. And I'd also be curious to see if this WAS a language class learn how not to write, because if that were the case, I can point you to a lot of garbled syntax that lies within these walls.

Trust me on that.

I'll keep you updated as I find out more!

Das vidaniya,

(jim@wmqt.com)

Friday, April 9, 2021

Friday, 4/9

 The ham is finally gone. Thanks for asking.

Like many people for Easter, I baked a ham. It actually wasn't a whole ham; just one of those chunks that weighed three pounds. I slathered it with a brown sugar & honey glaze, and it made for quite the nice main course for our second pandemic Easter feast.

Little did we know that four days later, Loraine & I would still be eating it.

Seriously—that hunk of ham must have had some kind of self-replicating feature to it, because no matter how much of it we ate there seemed to be more that we needed to consume. I have no idea how that happened. We started with a three pound hunk of it, ate a large portion on Sunday, had leftovers on Monday, threw more of it into a salad Tuesday, used some of it for omelets Wednesday, and then finally finished it off last night when Loraine threw in the towel and tasked me with eating the last piece.

That's five days of consumption for a three-pound hunk of pig. Short of self-replication, how exactly does that happen?

Now, don't get me wrong. I like ham, and it really doesn't seem to be Easter or any other holiday without it. I don't mind eating it at all. I don't even really mind having to eat it for five days in a row. I just want to know the how & why we had to eat it five days in a row. It was a three pound hunk. How can it last five days? It's not like we cut off a little slice, had one bite, and called it quits for the day. Nope; we attacked the ham (pardon the pun) whole hog. We ate big chunks of it eat and every day.

And yet, it still took us five days to finish it.

I'm guessing we won't be eating any more ham any time soon; I think we're both looking forward to a ham-free meal or three. But the next time we do, I'll be curious to see if we can get through it like a normal couple does, or if we've picked up another one of those magical self-replicating hams.

Just like the one we finished last night.

Have yourself a great (and ham-free) weekend!

(jim@wmqt.com)

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Thursday, 4/8

 I have a new co-worker! I'm no longer toiling alone! Now, they just need to pick up after themselves--




Sorry; I'm guessing most people don't like seeing seagull poop first thing in the morning (or whenever you're reading this). But my new co-worker, a seagull, has, thanks to a missing panel, taken up residence in the awning right outside the station--

Like I said. At least I'm not working by myself any more.

I don't know if it's the year-plus of working without company or just the fact that I'm desperate for something, anything new in my life, but I've been watching with curiosity as the seagull has been making itself at home. For the past few days it continually flies out of the awning and into the church courtyard across the street, where it picks up a small branch or twig from the many bushes there, and then flies it back into the awning.

While watching it yesterday (don't worry; I was doing other work, too) I counted it making the trip almost forty times. I wish I had that dedication to whatever it was I was doing. I mean, it's obvious the seagull is not a dumb creature; it obviously knows what it's doing and the best way to do it. And I wouldn't mind sharing my office with someone like that.

Except, of course, for the whole poop thing.

Now, I'm kind of wondering what the seagull will do when someone comes and seals off the awning. Will it try to peck its way through the new panel to get back to its home? Will it just give up and start anew somewhere else? Will it stand out on the sidewalk, staring through the window at me until I let it back in?

Good questions all. And, actually, I'm kind of looking forward to seeing which one is the correct answer. After all, if even for a few days, it was nice to have someone to work with.

Even if it was a bird who poops everywhere.

(jim@wmqt.com)

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Wednesday, 4/7

 I really like the idea.

Marquette is in the midst of a de-construction boom, as least as far as power plants go. Two old coal-fired plants are being torn down, having already been replaced by natural gas & solar facilities. The good news is that we won't be contributing to climate change as much. The bad news is that the Christmas tree won't be lit up any more.

But at least we get to see it one more time this weekend.

Here's what's going on, with an explanation for those of you who don't live in Marquette. There's a big power plant on Marquette's South Beach, so big that you can see it for a couple of miles while driving into Marquette from that direction. Every holiday season they'd put up a 40 or 50 foot outline of a Christmas tree and light it up, and you could see the tree all the way across the bay in Harvey. However, the power plant is scheduled to be torn down in the next few months, which means that this will be the first Christmas without the tree.

Because of this, the Board of Light & Power is firing up the tree one last time this weekend, for people to take pictures or just glance at it once more. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights the tree outline will be fully lit, and if I had to guess your social media feeds will be filled with pictures and people enjoying the site for the final time before the whole building comes down.

It's Christmas in April, except for the gifts, the snow, Santa, and any squabbling relatives you only see that one day of the year.

I don't know whose I idea this was, but it is genius. While I don't think anyone cares that the plant itself is coming down, I have heard people who were bummed that they won't be able to see the tree any more. When you think of it, this is (almost) the best of both worlds. We get to see the tree one last time (and in fairly comfortable temperatures, to boot) and then we get to get rid of an eyesore on Marquette's lake shore.

It really is a win-win.

So grab your cameras, your phones, your kids, and any mistletoe you can scrounge up, and drive, bike, or walk down there this weekend. It's the end of an era.

But what a way for the tree to go out!

(jim@wmqt.com)