Friday, August 31, 2007

Emily Sleuths: Case of the UK Scam Letter

This picturesque pond scum is my entree to a story about scam letters.

Recently I received an envelope with a UK postmark, on lawyerly letterhead from Humprhey's and Company attorneys, in all their lawyerly regalia. It told a convoluted story of client, and his family killed in a fiery crash with no heirs. Because my name was like the client's name I might be heir to the unclaimed estate: $4.9 Million UK pounds! Oh my! I could respond by phone, or by email to:

This is an old scam in new scamshell. I detest scammers -- it is disgusting to prey on the gullible, disabled, desperate, and uninformed. I sent the UK envelope and letter along with a handwritten note expressing my distaste for scammers to the Springfield office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, Consumer Fraud Division.

On a lark, I wrote to "Barrister David Campbell":
From: "Emily Dickinson"
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 12:37:19 -0400

Dear Barrister David Campbell,

I have received your email about the sad deaths and estate of your client.

The letter, in its entirety, including envelope, and poorly composed offer, has been forwarded to the Attorney General, Consumer Fraud Division, State of Massachusetts.

I guess you will have to think quick, and stop mailing to our state, since our top police folks are now watching you.


THE RESPONSE ( 12 hours later)

Dear emily,

Well too bad as what i sent to you is only a proposal . There is not fraud determined here and i guess you and your attorney knows that. You can only ignore not take part and thats it . I don't know why all this insult is coming up.

Well you take care and remain poor.
Happily, Barrister Campbell!!!! I never expected such a quick and comic response. Further, I hope exposing this ruffian to bloggerly sunlight will cause his tired old scam to comletely fade away, in Massachusetts at least.

I did not photograph the original -- my apologies. If a reader has received a similar letter or if I retrieve a copy from the AG, I will gladly post it here.

Be safe and be skeptical.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tobacco Times

Pretty as a petticoat, a tobacco blossom:

On the way to the drying barns:

I often wonder about orientation of the barns. Were they oriented to the sun, by having the slatted side facing south ? Or did some farmers bet on the slatted side facing west to catch prevailing breezes?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Still Life with Mashishi and Cucumber

The Amherst farmer's market brought these lovely lemon cucumbers to town Saturday, while my favorite agricultural marketing students from the University of Massachusetts came home with these little green exoticss, Brazilian "mashishi" cukes harvested from their experimental farm in South Deerfield.

Tomorrow, I shall chop the little darlings in half and compare. The Brazilian cukes, properly spelled maxixe, are part of an effort to develop markets for specialty Brazilian vegetables.


Variety is the spice of life... the yellows are sweet, the maxixi are tangy... sliced thin, with an accent of bite-sized tomato, paper thin red onion..... what a summer treat!

In another part of Amherst, a tractor brings in the marshmallow harvest.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Republican of a Different Kind

Green petticoats hanging in slatted doors,
Awaiting a promised prom,
Hubbard and butternut bursting forth,
Cabbage in big-leaved prime.

The valley this day was a romance,
An idyll of bountiful earth,
Till a barnside in hard-working Hatfield,
Offered a counter to birth.

Under the sign, near Lincoln's name is Its worthwhile to stop a moment and think of these and others who suffer in war.

UPDATE: According to a neighbor's post at flickr, this sign is in Whately.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

No Crime Intended

An exceedingly rare "elephant portfolio" of John James Audubon's life-size birds is missing from its custom-made display case in the Special Collections room at the Amherst College Robert Frost Library. Librarians report that within a few weeks it will be no longer be missing.

Farther down the Norwottuck Trail, a snowy egret has been sharing perches with three great blue herons. Meanwhile three wild turkeys lurking one morning in the meadow of the Brickyard Conservation Area ducked and covered before they could be properly seen.

I often think how Audubon would have loved a simple point-and-shoot camera.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Pittsfield Police Report

Last week two bulls loose in Sunderland's Squire Village, and now this. A thousand pound cow in a Pittsfield pool. If loose lips sink ships, what do loose cows do?