Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What I Learned

Some memorable quotes from Esquire magazine's "What I Learned" feature:

"I left a meeting right after they hit the World Trade Center. I went to my apartment, which looks south, and I watched it out my window. I could see the line of fire across the North Tower. I had my binoculars and a video camera—though I didn't want to video it. I saw a few people jump. Then I saw the South Tower go. It was so unreal, I had to confirm it by immediately looking at the television screen. CNN was on. That was the only way to make it real. Like my son said: "It was like watching the moon fall.""
Robert De Niro, actor

"The night after September 11, my tour manager went out and bought an American flag and put it up onstage. I didn't want it to be on the stage, though, when I was playing. I'd have felt more comfortable with a peace symbol up there, or maybe a big peace symbol over the flag. I let him keep it there, but I felt uncomfortable about it, and it made some of the other guys in the band uncomfortable, too. Everybody's got their own private feelings about these things."
Lucinda Williams, country music singer

"You can't ever wipe out evil. But it's like this: If someone comes to your house bent on killing you or your family, what do you do? You don't negotiate with them. You don't try to understand why they're coming to kill you and your family. You kill them. That's what you do."
Bill O'Reilly, talk show host

"I was talking to George Bush one time when he was president—not George W., his daddy—and I forget what provoked it, but I said to him, "I'll tell you one thing, it's a good thing I'm not in your shoes." He said, "Don't you think I know that?""
Jimmy Dean, singer and sausage-maker

"One of the things I believe fervently was said probably 175 years ago by Clausewitz: In battle, outcomes are determined by this trinity. You have to have a decision by the state. You have to have military capacity to get the work done. And you have to have the will of the people. In my lifetime, I have not seen the enduring confluence of those three things until post-9/11."
Tommy Franks, General, Commander In Chief, US Central Command, US Army

"The terrible truth with which we must all contend is that the day may come when nuclear arms fall under the control of some idiot someplace in the world. And that will be the day of reckoning."
John Kenneth Galbraith, economist

"There is nothing more terrifying than ignorance in action."
Phil Spector, producer, songwriter

"Call me old-school, but I miss the cold war."
Garry Shandling, comedian

"If you want results, press the red button. The rest are useless."
Homer Simpson, cartoon character

"Nobody should give a shit about an actor's opinion on politics."
James Caan, actor (Sonny Corleone in The Godfather)

"In television, nobody really knows anything."
Mark Burnett, television producer, reality shows

"Some people are walking around with full use of their bodies and they're more paralyzed than I am."
Christopher Reeve, actor

"Casey Stengel was one of the funniest guys I ever met. Funny without trying to be funny. My first year broadcasting the Yankees was his first year as manager. I'll never forget, we went to a bar after a night game in Cleveland. He ordered a draft beer and knocked it down in one gulp. I said, "Jeezus, Casey, why do you drink your beer so fast?" And Stengel said, "I drink it like that ever since the accident." I said, "You were in an accident?" He said, "Yeah, somebody knocked over my beer.""
Curt Gowdy, broadcaster

"I got so depressed in Vietnam that I decided that I didn't want to live anymore. So I swam out into the ocean as far as I could, and I got out there in the middle of all these sharks and barracuda and sea snakes, and I thought, What the fuck am I doing out here? I turned around and swam back as fast as I could. That was one of the most profound moments in my life."
J. Craig Venter, molecular biologist, mapper of the human genome

"In the fifties, I went to see this analyst. It was the vogue. I told him, "Now, look, before we go into this—I have to be free to create; I have to be free to do things. I have to be free to get up when I want, sleep with anyone I want, do what I want to do. I can't be regimented; I have to be free!" And he said, "That's fine. Just be careful you don't become a slave to freedom.""
Rod Steiger, actor

"I wouldn't call girls a hobby. It's a pastime."
Elvis Presley, entertainer

"If sex is a pain in the ass, then you're doing it wrong."
Rodney Dangerfield, comedian

"The less jewelry, the better the marriage."
Heather Locklear, actress

"Women and tigers are exactly alike. They have the same temperament, emotions, and vulnerabilities. They must be spoken to softly--but it doesn't hurt to carry a big stick just in case."
Roy of Siegfried & Roy, Las Vegas big cat act

"The only way you can make a deal is if you're ready to blow it. Rejection breeds obsession."
Robert Evans, Hollywood movie producer

"Anybody who picks up a guitar and tells you that there's some inner message that they're trying to convey . . . it's nonsense. They're not being honest. The reason they're doing this is they wanna get lots of chicks and they don't want to work for a living."
Gene Simmons, Rock Star, Kiss

"Never be the first to arrive at a party or the last to go home, and never, ever be both."
David Brown, movie producer, Jaws

"I think historians will look at Bill Clinton with puzzlement and make the following judgment: that it was a great waste."
John McCain, US Senator, Vietnam War POW

"I don't think about whether people will remember me or not. I've been an okay person. I've learned a lot. I've taught people a thing or two. That's what's important. Sooner or later the public will forget you, the memory of you will fade. What's important are the individuals you've influenced along the way."
Julia Child, chef

"A corporation is a living organism; it has to continue to shed its skin. Methods have to change. Focus has to change. Values have to change. The sum total of those changes is transformation."
Andy Grove, Chairman of Intel Corporation, maker of microchips

"I've never seen dead people."
Haley Joel Osment, child movie star, Sixth Sense

"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people."
Phil Spector, producer, songwriter

"The whole era when I was busy being a big movie star was terribly disconcerting. I was cared for and cosseted, and yet I was totally dependent. I didn't know where the cornakes were kept. I didn't know how to turn on my own washing machine. That might sound very chic, but I'm telling you: When you don't know how your own life works, you get disconnected."
Faye Dunaway, actress

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Nigerian Scam

The Nigerian scam consists of a bogus appeal by email to you out of the blue by some African guy needing your help to free millions of bucks trapped by some quirk of local politics. You'll need to pony up a few grand to get a slice of those millions. And pony up. And pony up until you either catch on or have given up all your assets to the Nigerians.

Here is a pretty good case study of the Nigerian Scam taken all the way to the end: John W. Worley was wooed, screwed, and tattooed. Even at the end, when he's left holding the bag, he's begging for more. It's the latest answer to the age-old question, "How stupid can you get?"

Brad Christensen of Quatloos, on the other hand, demonstrates the proper way to handle Nigerian scammers.