Here’s The Alleged Treasure…And The Alleged Treasure Burier

Forrest-Fenns-Hidden-Treasure-Split-1000

One of my jobs at the library is to loan books to other libraries.

Why, you may ask, would a library – building full of books – want to borrow another library_01book?

Because it’s a book a library patron wants, but the library doesn’t have in its collection.  So they send out a request to libraries all over the country, called an Inter-Library Loan, or ILL.

By a large margin the most requested ILL book I’ve encountered – three, four, even six booktimes a week – it The Thrill of the Chase by Forrest Fenn.

I couldn’t help but wonder – why?  It’s not a best seller and no movie’s been made, so why is this book so popular?

Forrest Fenn says – and that’s an important word, along with claims and alleges – that in 2010 he filled a chest with gold nuggets, rare coins, artifacts and gemstones worth more than a million dollars and hid it in the Rocky Mountains.

When asked why, Forrest says it was during the Great Recession and he wanted “to cheer folks up and to get them off their couches and into the great outdoors.”

Fenn’s Old Santa Fe Trading Company’s website says, “This book is the remarkable true story of Forrest Fenn’s life and of a hidden treasure, secreted somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe.  The book contains clues to the treasure’s location as Forrest Fenn invites readers to join in The Thrill of the Chase.”

So there you have it – those three, four, even six people a week want a book about finding a hidden treasure.  An alleged hidden treasure.

As recently as February 2018, 86-year-old Fenn claimed in Business Insider that the treasure still hasn’t been found.  The article goes on to state that “Thousands have tried to find the treasure” and, “At least three people have died in the search,” though another american dreamFebruary 2018 article says the number of deaths may be as high as six.

Ah, the allure of getting something for nothing – the American Dream.

Old Santa Fe Trading Company’s website says the book is “Sold exclusively through Collected Works Bookstore located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.”

Yet it’s also available on Amazon, with new copies of the book priced up to $1,365, and used copies going as high as $3,000+.

I’m thinking the only person getting rich is Forrest Fenn.

forrest gump_01 zip zero
Another Forrest – this one the Gump – said, “You never know what you’re going to get.”  In this case, all you treasure hunters, it’s zip.  Zero.  Zilch.

 

See Dick And Jane Learn A New Word!

See Dick and Jane.island_01

Dick and Jane are on their way.

Dick and Jane are on their way to their dream vacation:

A much-anticipated trip to a tropical island.

A tropical island far, far away.

A tropical island with white sandy beaches.

And swaying palm trees.

And cool ocean breezes.

And WiFi.

And cell phone connection.

Because Dick and Jane must….

Stay-Connected-top cropped_01

Dick and Jane wouldn’t ever, ever dream of going anywhere without staying connected.

Even on a dream vacation.

Dick and Jane are learning the new word for this:

workation_07 cropped

Dick and Jane are going on workation.

Because Dick and Jane must stay connected to their jobs.

So along with their swimsuits, sunscreen and sun glasses, Dick and Jane are bringing devices pile oftheir laptops, iPads and smart phones.

And lots of device chargers.

And lots of batteries.

You see, Dick and Jane are afraid.

They are very, very afraid.

Dick and Jane are very, very afraid that if they don’t stay connected to work, someone will think they are dispensable.

Someone will think they aren’t dedicated.

Someone will get fired.

workationSo Dick and Jane have been doing their research.

Lots and lots of research.

About how to have a successful workation.

They’ve read books and online articles.

Lots and lots of books and online articles.

They’ve learned how to keep track of time zones so they don’t miss important meetings.

And keep track of what day it is, so they don’t miss important deadlines.unpaid

And keep track of how many hours they work, even though they aren’t getting paid for it.

When Dick and Jane return home, they’ll tell everyone what a wonderful time they had.

They’ll post pictures on Facebook of white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees.

They won’t post a picture of Dick’s panic attack when the cell phone call with his boss was dropped. man cell phone call dropped_01
They won’t post a picture of Jane’s meltdown when her boss called in the middle a romantic tryst with Dick. woman on phone.jpg

And they won’t think about all the fun things they couldn’t do on their workation because…

They were workationing.

Workation print screen.jpg

Meet Your Next Airplane Seatmate. Think I’m Kidding?

I sincerely want to be a kind person.

I sincerely want to be kind, especially to those less fortunate than I.

I sincerely want airlines to stop allowing bogus “support” animals on airplanes.

When I say “support” animals I’m not referring to the professionally trained, well-behaved animals we see accompanying people with disabilities.  These are properly referred to as “service animals” and they, indeed, perform valuable services.

badger
NOT a service animal.

Instead I’m referring to the Noah’s Ark of  “support” animals that people claim are absolutely necessary to their well-being when traveling on airplanes.

The problem can be summed up in the old adage, “Give him an inch, and he’ll take a mile.”  That’s us humans – give somebody an OK for her “support” duck and somebody else will insist their peacock is a “support” animal.

Think I’m kidding?  Meet Daniel Terducken Stinkerbutt, a “support” animal whose owner dresses him in “little red shoes and a Captain America Diaper,” according to a report from ABC News.

support duck_01

Last year Daniel and his owner made not one, but two flights together, and his “hugs and kisses” helped her make it through the flights.

Seriously?  Hugs and kisses from a duck?

But that bird got on an airplane, so why not Dexter the peacock?

peacock_01.jpg

Alas, his owner tried – and was denied – their flight in January at Newark Airport.  Possibly because Dexter tried to kiss and hug the airline employee.

Lest you think “support” animals are limited to feathered friends, here’s a list of animals just recently banned by various U.S. carriers:

snake_01
Banned?  But he’s a support rattlesnake!
  • Hedgehogs
  • Ferrets
  • Insects
  • Goats
  • Rodents
  • Snakes
  • Spiders
  • Amphibians
  • Sugar Gliders
  • Non-household birds*
  • Any animal that is dirty/has an odor**

*I don’t know if Stinkerbutt fits into this category.
**Apparently passengers who are dirty/have an odor are still welcome.

One airline has also banned animals with tusks, horns or hooves, except for trained miniature horses acting as service animals.

horse largest.jpgYes, apparently miniature horses can be trained as service animals.  Notice in this photo how the owner is in the aisle seat, and the horse’s hindquarters are tucked up against the legs of the passenger next to him?  That owner is no dummy.

Wouldn’t you love being that other passenger?  Can’t you just see the scene at the airport check-in counter?

Passenger:  Whew!  I was afraid I was going to miss my flight – is my seat still available?

Airline Agent:  Sure is, and you’ll be sharing your leg room with a horse’s ass!

In spite of the “banned” list above, airlines are still faced with dilemma of banning rat with badgepassengers with their “support” cats, pigs, pocket pooches, kangaroos, marmosets, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, rats, badgers, bearded dragons and worse – skunks and elephants so far are not banned.

Banning animals = losing all that passenger revenue.

Or the airlines can cave in, keep collecting that revenue, and continue allowing passengers to go whole hog and bring on board any animal they want, regardless of the inconvenience –  urination, defecation – and danger of aggressive behavior toward other passengers.

Thinking I’m kidding about “whole hog”?

pig_04 cropped.jpg pig

Rant: Lies, Lies And More Lies

People tell all sorts of work-related lies. lie_03

Candidates lie to interviewers.  Interviewers lie to candidates.  Employees lie to managers.  Managers lie to employees.

And CEOs lie to everybody.

Here are three big lies you hear all the time:

  1. We absolutely do not anticipate any layoffs.
  2. Our organization truly does care about work/life balance.

And the biggest lie of all:

  1. Do what you love and the money will follow.

Lie #3 came to mind while I was reading an article by Scott Mautz, CEO of Profound Performance, an appropriate company name since the article is full of work-related profundities.  Examples:

  • Be clear on what you want and proactive in making it so.
  • Pursue the life and career that you want, not that someone else expects of you.  Thislie_02 cropped is the key to having a truly meaningful, fulfilling career and life.
  • Let desire to serve your authentic self drive your actions.

You’ll see a common thread between these thoughts and Lie #3:  If you’re thrilled working at your organization, and performing work that gives you constant warm fuzzies, then you’ll love, love, love it and make lots, lots, lots of money.

I decided to count how many people I’ve known, currently know, and ever expect to know that fit this description, and so far it’s…zero cropped

Zero.

The ideas of doing “what you love,” pursuing the “life and career you want” and “serving your authentic self” are absurd.  First of all, no employer cares if your “authentic self” shows up or not, as long as you’re on time, productive and efficient.

Second, the only reason we show up is because they pay us to, not because we find the work “fulfilling.”um no

If you don’t believe me, look for someone who says they love what they do.  If you can find one, ask if they love it so much they’d work for free.  Answer:

“Um, well…wait.  Um, did you say ‘for free’?  Gee, I don’t know, I…well, um…no.”

auto_workers_02So I’d like to encourage Mr. Mautz to step away from that rarefied atmosphere he lives in and talk to people in the real world, like our 18 million healthcare workers, our 12 million factory workers and our 500,000 teachers.

People who are too busy trying to support their families and make ends meet to spend time thinking about themselves, much less their “authentic selves.”

If you can’t find one of these 30,000,000+ workers, then talk to this guy.

I’ll bet he’d love to share about “serving his authentic self”:

potties.jpg

Drain the Swamp…Then Drink It!

Somehow the latest food fad slimed – er, I mean slid – right past me.drinking green cropped

I’m referring to swamp – er, I mean green – juice.

“Green juice” is a generic name for a supposedly healthy beverage that looks like it came from a swamp, or an algae-infested swimming pool.  It’s made from processed (squished) vegetables, plus other stuff that makes it possible to swallow.  For example, here’s the ingredients list from one brand:

yuck“Water, organic romaine juice, organic apple juice, organic celery juice, organic cucumber juice, organic lemon juice, organic kale juice, organic parsley juice, organic spinach juice, organic ginger juice, natural peppermint flavor, organic rosemary extract.”

You do know that some of this stuff was added to distract you from the taste of the rest of the stuff, right?

If you think I’m kidding about the swamp, a number of brands include algae, like chlorella and spirulina:

chlorella_vulgaris spirulina_02 suja

Contains Chlorella

Contains Spirulina

Contains Both

Just like swamps.  And swimming pools.

Green juice has become popular not because of the taste, but because of all the wonderful results promised by the producers:

Suja Mighty Greens will “make your body sing.” suja (1)
Blueprint Motion Potion will put “pep in your step.” Blue Print_01
Jus by Julie states, “This cleanse is the best of both worlds.” jus_01 cropped

I’d like to ask Suja Juice to share the data from their clinical research on exactly how their green juice makes a “body sing,” and exactly what that sounds and looks like.  Is the singing coming from the test subjects’ mouths, some other orifice, or a combination of

pep in your step_05
“Pep in your step”?

those?  Is the singing Top 10, Hip-Hop, Blues, other?

And what about “pep in your step”?  How many test subjects that drank Blueprint Motion Potion experienced this, and what did that look like?

As for Jus by Julie and the “cleanse” – nope, not going there.breville

Of course, you don’t have to buy cases of bottled green juice to make your body sing, etc.  You can just plunk down $600 for this lovely Breville 800XL Juice Fountain Elite, buy out the produce section at your grocery store, and make your own swamp stuff.

juicerToo pricey?  Then how about this nice Omega J8004 Nutrition Center Commercial Masticating Juicer for just $337?  It’s not just any juicer – it masticates!

Or, you could just walk around town until you find a neglected swimming pool, scoop up a bucket of that green slime – er, I mean juice – and drink it all down.

That “cleanse” will put some “pep in your step,” for sure.

running.jpg

Americans Invent, Then Invent Some More

We Americans are an inventive bunch.

cheese whizThe variety, quantity and importance of our inventions are truly awesome.  Just think of the impact on our lives of inventions like:

  • Computers.
  • Automobiles.
  • Cheese Whiz.

Equally awesome is the fact that no sooner does one American invent something…

Than another one invents a crime inspired by it.

Take, for example, snowmobiles.

bibawikOn a dark December night back in the mid-1950s, inventor Arnie Arneson of Biwabik, in northern Minnesota (population 213), was excited to be taking his invention, the snowmobile, for its very first test drive around town.  The test drive went well, and Arnie was thrilled.  So thrilled, in fact, that he parked the snowmobile in front of the town’s bar and ran inside to tell the owner, Olly Olafson, all about it.  Because it was 58 degrees below zero, Arnie left the snowmobile’s engine running to keep the fuel line from freezing.

No sooner had Arnie disappeared into the bar than a figure bundled in heavy winter clothes, including a ski mask, appeared from around the corner of the bar.  The figure ran to the snowmobile, sat down, revved the engine, and took off over the river and through the woods.  Arnie’s snowmobile had inspired the first snowmobile theft.

woodsman_02 snowmobile cropped.jpg

Arnie was still seen around Biwabik, but alas, not his snowmobile.

No doubt Arnie’s story came to mind if you heard about the latest invention-inspired crime:

The new Medicare card scam.

In May 2017 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that

new card“CMS is readying a fraud prevention initiative that removes Social Security (SSA) numbers from Medicare cards to help combat identity theft, and safeguard taxpayer dollars.

“The new cards will use a unique, randomly assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), to replace the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) currently used on the Medicare card.”

To translate that alphabet soup of acronyms, our government had woken up to the fact that using Social Security numbers as ID was a dumb idea.

Alas, because the CMS has done such a poor job of informing the 44 million beneficiaries about the new Medicare cards – “more than three-quarters of Americans wait what_02 croppedover age 65 know little or nothing about the federal government’s initiative” according to a recent survey – there’s a whole lot of people who are ripe for the scamming.

The scammers saw their opportunity and seized it – just like Arnie’s snowmobile thief.

The first batch of new cards had barely cleared the Post Office in April 2018 when a variety of telephone scams came to light.  These include scammers:

  • Posing as Medicare representatives calling beneficiaries demanding a processingscammer_01 fee to activate the new number, which they also ask for.
  • Telling beneficiaries that they are owed a refund from transactions on their old card and then asking for bank account information to process the reimbursement.
  • Advising beneficiaries that their new card has been kidnapped and will require a $5,000 ransom to release it.

OK, I’m lying about the last one, but you get my point:

New invention = new crime.

Americans will keep inventing and thieves will keep thieving.

What a country!

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Book Review: “The Wife Between…” Whatever

Publication date:  January 2018

Review, short version:  Four skunks out of four.

it's official_01Review, long version:

It’s now official:

I am done reading any book categorized as:

Women’s Fiction>Mystery, Thriller & Suspense.

One book in this category is Gone Girl.  Read it, hated it.

Another is The Woman in the Window.  Read it, hated it and wrote about it here, back in bookFebruary.

Now, in the same category, comes The Wife Between Us.  Started it, and couldn’t endure past page 100, out of 343.

All three books are Women’s Fiction>Mystery, Thriller & Suspense and have gotten raves from readers.  Gone Girl was made into a movie; a Woman in the Window movie is in the works; and I have no doubt The Wife Between Us is on the same path.

Three movies I did or will skip.

When a book is labeled a “thriller” it is, by definition, supposed to

“give readers heightened feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation and anxiety.”

To do this, authors contrive plots and sub-plots with twists and turns that keep you guessing, and racing to the last page to discover who actually did what to whom.  In The Wife Between Us, for instance:

Early on we meet Vanessa, told in first person, and Nellie, told in third person.  Vanessa was married to Richard, and now Nellie is engaged to Richard.

Anxiety!!!  (See above definition.)

Richard is an abusive psycho.

woman surprised cropped reversed
Surprised?  Excited?  Yawning?

Suspense!!!   (See above definition.)

Somewhere along the line we discover that Nellie and Vanessa are the same person.

Surprise!!!  (See above definition.)

Richard has an assistant named Emma, who is the daughter of the married professor Vanessa/Nellie had an affair with back in college.  Emma wants revenge on Vanessa/Nellie for breaking up her parents’ marriage.

Excitement!!!  (See above definition.)

At some point we meet Kate, Richard’s ex-girlfriend, whom he also abused. get it cropped Vanessa/Nellie is the wife between abused ex-girlfriend Kate and soon-to-be-abused Emma.

Get it???

I promise, if you look up the word contrived in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of this book.

Contrived

The Wife Between Us was supposed to keep me wondering, but all I’m wondering about is first, why I hung on until page 100, and second, why I tried another thriller after I suffered through Gone Girl and The Woman in the Window.

But amidst all this bad news there is some good news as well:

The book has two authors, Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks.

So I’m having twice as much fun mocking their efforts.

thriller 2018 soon to be a major motion picture
“Thriller” = “on-trend female-centric psychological suspense genre.”  Seriously? I’d love to see an ad like this say “Soon To Be A Minor Motion Picture!”