Yesterday was a busy day for me as I spent most of it putting out the fires a thief started while cleaning up the mess this asshole has now created. Most of y’all have heard me mention before that I do not possess any credit cards with the exception of a gas card which I use once to twice a month just to keep it active. Otherwise, as a household we operate and function with either cash or either one if our debit cards. Yesterday morning I was looking at my bank account on-line and noticed three odd charges. After speaking with my wife, who was at work, it was determined that these transactions were not made by either one of us. However, they listed my card as the card used. So I call the 1-800 number for the bank we use and since my cell phone is linked with my account I was automatically switched to the fraud prevention dept as soon as I entered my account information. An automated message comes on with instructions on how to use the following information. It begins to list what turns out to be twelve transactions which nine of them were questionable and immediately declined. After the automated version I was able to speak with a fraud prevention banking agent.
She began with my spending habits and how I use my card each month to pay the same things for basically the same amount of funds and then I have PayPal payments which are also explainable. Then she listed the nine which were declined which equaled just shy of $3,000.00 and the nature of the attempted purchases. Here is the shocker, they all happened in a small 25 mile radius in a city she could not release in fucking Canada. Want stranger? The three “pending” charges equalling less than $10.00 were also in the same city in Canada. The end result is that all the charges have now been declined, my card has been killed, and my wife’s card and my daughter’s card have both been put on fraud watch for suspicious activity. Problems solved, right? I suppose only time will tell. She explained that this is being investigated and I will be informed if the person(s) is caught because I will be able to press charges based on the international agreements and both countries fraud laws. But still, how does this help me sleep at night.
My wife and I spent the better part of yesterday evening going over the possibilities of where my card specifically was targeted and then compromised. We came up with nothing, as we both pointed out, we did just spend 12 days in South Dakota where my card was used predominantly for 95% of the purchases we made. But there is still no actual answer. It was interesting to me to look at the list of places this asshole was declined. I remind you, all attempts were made in person, meaning the asshole had to swipe a card in a credit card reading machine if some sorts. The best one was that the asshole attempted to pay his/her wireless bill in the store. Why is this good news? To begin with the fraud department now has an account number, a cell phone number, and the name and address on the account. Great, right? Probably not because it is most likely all fake or stolen. For now this is resolved and the wannabe thief has been stopped. Well, my card is no good to the asshole, but who knows how many more stolen cards/numbers he/she possesses or how they are obtained. Now I don’t know if this asshole is Canadian, nor do I know if this asshole lives in Canada, but I would have to suspect the answers to be yes since the asshole was attempting to pay personal bills which are Canadian.
Before we start jumping in my ass for something I have said I will remind everyone I am not calling all Canadians assholes, just the asshole(s) fucking with my money. Everything having to do with Canada is purely circumstantial based on the information provided to me. So I don’t need no angry yankees busting my ass and filling up my comments or email with bullshit. Agreed? Still friends? Also, in a way this post should serve as a PSA for everyone. Keep an active eye on your money and your accounts. No, I did not mention which bank I use and no I will not divulge that information. Wasn’t it a rapper, many moon ago, who had a line that went something like “keep your money on your mind and your mind on your money” or something like that? His name eludes me at this time. I think it was Snoop Dogg or what ever he calls himself. Yes, I am very out of touch, I know. I really don’t know what to say, none of us are safe because none of us really live off the grid of society. Shit happens and now we live to fight another day a little wiser. Again, Canadians, I wasn’t trying to anger y’all. Unless you are the slimey asshole thief, then yes, by all means, be very offended.
The Sting Of The Scorpion Wishes The World A Happy Halloween
On this Halloween I want to pass on my wishes for everyone’s safety. There will be many of y’all going out tonight to do a variety activities around the country and around the world. So, in the tradition of Halloween, let’s see how everyone around the world partakes. Halloween is most popular in the United States and Canada. Halloween is the holiday when the most candy is sold and is second only to Christmas in terms of total sales. Interestingly trick or treating originated in Ireland. Obviously it is celebrated in different ways.
In Austria, some people will leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before retiring on Halloween night. The reason for this is because it was once believed such items would welcome the dead souls back to earth on a night which for the Austrians was considered to be brimming with strong cosmic energies.
The Belgians believe that it is unlucky for a black cat to cross once’s path and also unlucky if it should enter a home or travel on a ship. The custom in Belgium on Halloween night is to light candles in memory of dead relatives.
Modern Halloween celebrations in Canada began with the arrival of Scottish and Irish immigrants in the 1800s. Jack O’Lanterns are carved and the festivities include parties, trick-or-treating and the decorating of homes with pumpkins and corn stalks.
In China, the Halloween festival is known as Teng Chieh. Food and water are placed in front of photographs of family members who have departed while bondires and lanterns are lit in order to light the paths of the spirits as they travel the earth on Haloween night. Worshippers in Buddhist temples fashion “boats of the law” from paper, some of which are very large, which are then burned in the evening hours. The purpose of this custom is twofold: as a remembrance of the dead and in order to free the spirits of the “pretas” in order that they might ascend to heaven. “Pretas” are the spirits of those who died as a result of an accident or drowning and whose bodies were consequently never buried. The presence of “pretas” among the living is thought by the Chinese to be dangerous. Under the guidance of Buddhist temples, societies are formed to carry out ceremonies for the “pretas,” which includes the lighting of lanterns. Monks are invited to recite sacred verses and offerings of fruit are presented.
In Czechoslovakia, chairs are placed by the fireside on Halloween night. There is one chair for each living family member and one for each family member’s sprit.
At one time, English children made “punkies” out of large beetroots, upon which they carved a design of their choice. Then, they would carry their “punkies” through the streets while singing the “Punkie Night Song” as they knocked on doors and asked for money. In some rural areas, turnip lanterns were placed on gateposts to protect homes from the spirits who roamed on Halloween night. Another custom was to toss objects such as stones, vegetables and nuts into a bonfire to frighten away the spirits. These symbolic sacrifices were also employed as fortune-telling tools. If a pebble thrown into the flames at night was no longer visible in the morning, then it was believed that the person who tossed the pebble would not survive another year. If nuts tossed into the blaze by young lovers then exploded, it signified a quarrelsome marriage. For the most part however, the English ceased celebrating Halloween with the spread of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation. Since followers of the new religion did not believe in Saints, they saw no reason to celebrate the Eve of All Saints’ Day. However, in recent years, the American “trick or treating” custom, together with the donning of costumes for going door-to-door, has become a relatively popular past-time among English children at Halloween, although many of the adults (particularly the older generations) have little idea as to why they are being asked for sweets and are usually ill-prepared to accommodate their small and hopeful callers.
Unlike most nations of the world, Halloween is not celebrated by the French in order to honor the dead and departed ancestors. It is regarded as an “American” holiday in France and was virtually unknown in the country until around 1996.
In Germany, the people put away their knives on Halloween night. The reason for this is because they do not want to risk harm befalling the returning spirits.
The Halloween celebration in Hong Kong is known as “Yue Lan” (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts) and is a time when it is believed that spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours. Some people burn pictures of fruit or money at this time, believing these images would reach the spirit world and bring comfort to the ghosts.
In Ireland, believed to be the birthplace of Halloween, the tradition is still celebrated as much as it is in the United States. In rural areas, bonfires are lit as they were in the days of the Celts and children dress up in costumes to spend the evening “trick-or-treating” in their neighborhoods. After the visiting, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends. At these parties, many games are played, including “snap-apple,” in which an apple on a string is tied to a doorframe or tree, and players attempt to take a bite out of the suspended apple. In addition to bobbing for apples, parents often arrange treasure hunts with sweets or pastries as the “treasure.” The Irish also play a card game where cards are laid face-down on a table with sweets or coins beneath them. When a child selects a card, he or she receives whatever prize might be found there. A traditional food is eaten on Halloween called “barnbrack.” This is a type of fruitcake which can be baked at home or store-bought. A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake which, so it is said, can foretell the future of the one who finds it. If the prize is a ring, then that person will soon be wed and a piece of straw means a prosperous year is forthcoming. Children are also known to play tricks upon their neighbors on Halloween night. One of which is known as “knock-a-dolly,” where children knock on the doors of their neighbors but then run away before the door is opened.
The Japanese celebrate the “Obon Festival” (also known as “Matsuri” or “Urabon”) which is similar to Halloween festivities in that it is dedicated to the spirits of ancestors. Special foods are prepared and bright red lanterns are hung everywhere. Candles are lit and placed into lanterns which are then set afloat on rivers and seas. During the “Obon Festival,” a fire is lit every night in order to show the ancestors where their families might be found. “Obon” is one of the wo main occasions during the Japanese year when the dead are believed to return to their birthplaces. Memorial stones are cleaned and community dances performed. The “Obon Festival” takes place during July or August.
In Korea, the festival similar to Halloween is known as “Chusok.” It is at this time that families thank their ancestors for the fruits of their labor. The family pays respect to these ancestors by visiting their tombs and making offerings of rice and fruits. The “Chusok” festival takes place in the month of August.
Among Spanish-speaking nations, Halloween is known as “El Dia de los Muertos.” It is a joyous and happy holiday…a time to remember friends and family who have died. Officially commemorated on November 2 (All Souls’ Day), the three-day celebration actually begins on the evening of October 31. Designed to honor the dead who are believed to return to their homes on Halloween, many families construct an altar in their home and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, fresh water and samples of the deceased’s favorite foods and drinks. Frequently, a basin and towel are left out in order that the spirit can wash prior to indulging in the feast. Candles are incense are burned to help the departed find his or her way home. Relatives also tidy the gravesites of deceased family members, including snipping weeds, making repairs and painting. The grave is then adorned with flowers, wreaths or paper streamers. Often, a live person is placed inside a coffin which is then paraded through the streets while vendors toss fruit, flowers and candies into the casket. On November 2, relatives gather at the gravesite to picnic and reminisce. Some of these gatherings may even include tequila and a mariachi band although American Halloween customs are gradually taking over this celebration. In Mexico during the Autumn, countless numbers of Monarch butterflies return to the shelter of Mexico’s oyamel fir trees. It was the belief of the Aztecs that these butterflies bore the spirits of dead ancestors.
In Sweden, Halloween is known as “Alla Helgons Dag” and is celebrated from October 31 until November 6. As with many other holidays, “Alla Helgons Dag” has an eve which is either celebrated or becomes a shortened working day. The Friday prior to All Saint’s Day is a short day for universities while school-age children are given a day of vacation.
Halloween is usually celebrated amongst family, friends and, sometimes, co-workers. However, some areas hold large community events. Parties and other events may be planned on October 31 or in the weekends before and after this date. Adults may celebrate by watching horror films, holding costume parties or creating haunted houses or graveyards. Many children dress up in fancy costumes and visit other homes in the neighborhood. At each house, they demand sweets, snacks or a small gift. If they do not get this, they threaten to do some harm to the inhabitants of the house. This is known as playing ‘trick-or-treat’ and is supposed to happen in a friendly spirit, with no nasty or mean tricks being carried out. However, if your children take part, it is important to accompany them and to check their ‘treats’ to make sure they are safe to eat or play with. Some families carve lanterns with ‘scary’ faces out of pumpkins or other vegetables or decorate their homes and gardens in Halloween style. These were traditionally intended to ward off evil spirits. If you are at home on Halloween, it is a good idea to have a bowl of small presents or sweets to offer to anyone who knocks on your door. This will help you to please the little spirits in your neighborhood!
The Sting Of The Scorpion Wishes The World A Happy Halloween