Bill, funny stories, Germany, modern problems, politics, technology

“Will you RELAX?!” knotty gets a rare phone call, causing unfounded alarm…

Last night, as I was disassembling my latest completed puzzle project and preparing to start the next one, my Apple Watch started ringing. I wasn’t expecting a phone call. Indeed, almost no one calls me, ever. But I answered the call anyway, since it looked like it came from a Washington, DC number.

Just finished last night! Hilarious musician Paul Thorn’s second limited edition puzzle is based on a beauty queen drag show his dad held at their Mississippi church in the early 80s. Paul was the winner.

A rather awkward sounding man asked for me by name. I told him he was speaking to me. It turned out he was from Democrats Abroad, an organization that encourages Americans who live overseas to vote blue. He wanted to make sure I had an absentee ballot coming. I assured him I did. He started reading off information I had obviously input when I connected with this organization some months ago. I probably did it because I was so eager to get a ballot. There have been years when we’ve received them too late.

Bill came into the room and immediately looked very suspicious. He kept mouthing “SCAM” at me while wringing his hands. I was annoyed with him, and quietly asked him to relax. He continued to stand there, frowning and shaking his head, urging me not to talk to this man from Democrats Abroad who had a barely detectable German accent, but otherwise spoke perfect English.

I verified my information with the guy, who was rattling off where we had previously lived in the United States and my phone number. I was pretty confident that this dude was who he said he was, especially since the call had come from a DC phone number. He verified that I had requested my ballot and lamented that the mail might be too slow. I didn’t mention to him that I would be using the APO system to receive and send the ballots, rather than German mail. Then the guy said maybe Texas would let us vote by email. Honestly, I don’t remember if we can do that, but I’ll do that if it’s allowed.

Bill still looked suspicious, and it was really distracting me, and making it hard to follow the conversation with the caller, so I suddenly snapped at him “Will you relax?!”

The guy I was talking to was obviously startled, and said “Are you talking to me?”

I laughed and said, “No, I’m sorry; I was talking to my husband.”

He sighed with relief and said, “That’s good. I do get nervous when I make these calls.”

“I’m really sorry.” I said. “I do appreciate your call.” I can’t blame him for getting nervous, either. I think I would hate to have to call strangers and talk to them about voting. It’s a step or two higher than telemarketing or fundraising for colleges.

The guy said he was calling us from the Harz mountains, which are near Thuringia. I then surmised he must be a German local calling on behalf of Democrats Abroad, somehow using a DC phone number. Perhaps he’s just employed by them, or maybe he’s a dual citizen, as our half American dentist was for years before he finally went with full on German citizenship. I guess he was tired of paying taxes to two countries. Can’t blame him for that. Or, maybe it’s a German who works for Democrats Abroad, because Germans don’t want to see Donald Trump or his minions getting back into power– even though some of Trump’s (reluctant) relatives live in Rheinland-Pfalz, not so far from where we live.

We finished our call on a courteous note, and the caller gave me one last encouragement to vote in November, which I can hardly wait to do. I was amused that he wished me and my “relaxing husband” a pleasant evening. Then, after we ended our call, I looked at Bill and said, “I appreciate your concern, but you know, I can handle my own business.”

Bill agreed, then explained that he thought the caller was a scammer because he thought the man had sounded nervous, and he had encountered such a caller in Texas who had turned out to be a scammer. I love that Bill is protective sometimes, but this was not a situation that called for it. At the same time, I feel kind of amused, yet sorry, for that poor guy who thought I was yelling at him to relax. He probably won’t forget that call he made to me. He must have had an immediate reaction to hearing me snarl at Bill.

As for me, I’m struck once again at how little use I have for the phone anymore. I used to use it daily. Now, it’s a surprise when I get a phone call, and when I do get one, most of the time I get it through my watch, and it gets broadcasted to everyone in the room. Same thing goes for my car, which I used to drive regularly… now it sits in the garage for weeks. Now that I think about it, Caller ID is now kind of obsolete, since so many people use computers to call others. Ditto to the phone book. Who uses those anymore, unless they’re total luddites? I feel like I’m in the Jetsons Age. I was about to write that I “hung up” the phone, but now I realize that I didn’t even do that. Who hangs up the phone anymore?

Ah well. Yes, I plan to vote absentee, and as soon as possible. My fingers are itching to cast a vote against the vile and deplorable Greg Abbott, whom I hope gets wheeled out of Austin as soon as humanly possible. So that Democrats Abroad dude doesn’t have to worry at all. I WILL be voting, and praying for a blue wave to wash out the extremists who are taking over the country with their anti-women views. Maybe it’s a pipe dream to hope for a Democratic governor in Texas, but I can dream, can’t I?

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true crime

An email I got this morning…

If you’ve been watching the news feed, you might know that the late Jeffrey Epstein’s ex girlfriend, 58 year old British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, was arrested in New Hampshire yesterday. Epstein, of course, was a notorious sexual predator who was extraordinarily wealthy. Ghislaine Maxwell was Epstein’s girlfriend, but she also is accused of recruiting a lot of his victims. Because of her part in the disgusting human sex trafficking ring he was running, Maxwell was finally picked up by the FBI. She was remanded into custody and awaits transport to answer charges in New York, where she’s been accused of helping to recruit and groom Epstein’s victims, some of whom were as young as 14 years old.

I followed this case somewhat before Epstein died of “suicide” in jail last year. Many people think Epstein was actually murdered. Maybe he was. He had very powerful friends who had a lot to lose if his real story was ever made public. He was linked to people like Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, and of course, our very own orange idiot, Donald Trump. I watched all of the episodes of Filthy Rich, the Netflix documentary series about Epstein, and blogged about them. I know he was not a good man.

So, knowing that Epstein was a complete and total scumbag, imagine my surprise this morning, when I got this rather hilarious email from a “financial advisor” to Mr. Epstein:

I usually toss these kinds of emails without reading them. I just couldn’t help myself this morning. When I saw Jeffrey Epstein’s name and “charity” in the same email, I had to have a good laugh. Naturally, this email is bullshit, although it somehow made it to my main mailbox rather than the spam roundfile, where it belongs. These people trying to capitalize on greed must be enjoying some success, or they wouldn’t keep doing it. Whoever wrote this is obviously full of crap, though. Here’s a hint… pick a different dead wealthy person other than Jeffrey Epstein. Even if this was legit, I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with his filthy money.

As for Ghislaine Maxwell, she is denying any knowledge or participation in Mr. Epstein’s dirty dalliances. However, if you watch Filthy Rich, you will quickly hear the accounts of the many women who were victimized. And according to their very believable accounts, Ms. Maxwell was up to her armpits in Epstein’s sexual perversions. She was all about helping him satisfy his cravings for sex, power, and “massages”. She would win the girls over by befriending them, taking them out shopping or to the movies, and convincing them to give Epstein massages, after which they would be sexually abused and perhaps farmed out to other wealthy, powerful men.

It’s about time she was charged.

Maxwell would allegedly try to normalize the abuse by talking frankly about sex with the girls, undressing in front of them, being present when the victim was undressed, and being present when Epstein was molesting them. Reading this description of what Ghislaine Maxwell did brings back memories of my dealings with the neighborhood pervert, who, when I was about ten years old, befriended me and gave me attention that I wasn’t getting from my family. He used to show me men’s magazines and talk to me about sexual topics. I think that affected me a lot more than I realized at the time. Because I was a child, I didn’t realize that what he was doing was sexual abuse. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized just how inappropriate and wrong it was. Fortunately, in my case, there was never a graduation to the next step, which would have been totally horrifying.

When I think about what those young girls went through, because they had bad home lives, wanted to be models, or were simply hoping to make a friend, it breaks my heart. Those kinds of offenses have ripple effects that affect innocent people. For instance, because of what happened to me, my husband has to deal with some baggage that makes it harder for us to enjoy intimacy. And the women who were abused by Epstein and Maxwell and everyone else of their ilk are passing along that damage to their significant others and children, as well as their other friends and loved ones.

Anyway… I am glad Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested. I want her to get a fair trial and, if she is proven guilty, I hope she does some time. Hopefully, she won’t “commit suicide” before she’s been brought to justice. And I hope the idiot who sent the above email– probably not really named Lawrence Pierre– doesn’t manage to fool anyone with this foolishness. It’s shameful to try to rip people off, but especially when you’re doing it by appealing to greed with a criminal’s money. If anyone gets any of Epstein’s filthy lucre, it should be his many victims.

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