My Reality


At least twice now someone going by the name of “Joe” has called from “the gifting center” with an Appleton phone number.

His first question was, “can you hear me okay.”

Of course I didn’t fall for that trick, to get my voice recorded saying, “yes.”

The question remains. Am I still paranoid if they are really out to get me, or am I paranoid because they are out to get me?

Skimming, phishing, spam, shimming, evil twin attacks and the like have proven, to me at least, that they are definitely out to get me.

Every time I Google a topic, I immediately get incessant ads for any and all products even remotely related to the search.

I have no idea how a scantily clad female in a “plunge V-neck backless play suit,” can be the result of an online trip to Cabelas.

Videos in an endless loop pop up with no  conceivable way to close them, except to close out the link. For the record I will never, I repeat never, buy a “Bissell Little Green Portable Spot and Stain Cleaner, 1400m…”

I’m tearing up the carpet.

I get marketing, really I do. But their intrusion into my life has become personal. They can’t be doing this to everyone.

When I click the link to “unsubscribe” it only gets worse.

Now that my credit card companies have finally imbedded a chip to defeat the skimmers at the gas pump and ATM, a new gadget called a “shimmer” has been found inserted into the card reader.

It defeated my chip.

It’s like they know what I’m doing before I even do it.

They, the other “they” insist that I check my credit rating and reports once a year through the big three credit reporting agencies.

Yeah, like Equifax?

My phone texts me with special offers from an unknown number that cannot be blocked. Only an unidentified number to call…

My driver’s license information has been sold, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

I’m not worried  about that so much. They’ll have to take a number-and wait for “Counter D-8.”

The fraudsters have gotten very clever, using names and phone numbers that appear to be familiar. Like Joe from Appleton, WI with a 920 area code.

I don’t know anyone from Appleton. Why do they keep calling me?

Every now and then, it’s obvious that they are not from around here.

“Mr. Willoson, I like to be …….”

I got another suspicious email the other day from:

“Comrade: I have deleted all of your personal information from our databases. Your social security number, bank account numbers, names of family members and addresses, along with your dog’s rabies shot record.”

“You don’t have enough to steal.”

“Joe” called again the other day. I responded by saying, “No I don’t hear you Joe, but I know where you live and I will come to get you.”



Prayers For The Lost

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Millions of Americans over the last few days have been offering prayers and condolences for those killed and wounded in the shooting in Las Vegas.

59 people  killed, over 500 wounded in a shooting that took place during an outdoor concert.

Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

Once again we have experienced the carnage of hate heaped upon innocent people.

Once again we offer our prayers for the victims and their families.

Is anyone praying for the shooter? Stephen Paddock and his family?

We don’t know and might not ever know how he came to think that this act of evil was the only thing left for him to accomplish in this world.

He committed suicide as the police were forcing their way into the two room suite he rented in order to commit mass murder.

I don’t think Stephen Paddock was born evil.

Something in his life caused him to evolve from a wide eyed innocent child into a horrific monster.

One would think that if he wanted to leave a legacy of revolution or promote some misguided cause he would have surrendered and used the media platform to continue his tirade of hate.

Like others before him; Dylann Roof, Syed Farook, Adam Lanza, Harris and Klebold, one would expect there to have been clues and behaviors that would tell the story of his descent into a  life of hatred. Some history of despair which could only be healed (in his mind) by the need to carry out this pure evil act.

Someone, family members, a girl friend or acquaintances must have had some inkling of his solitary, secrete life.

Instead they described him as “caring, kind, quiet.”

His brother was quoted as saying “This was a complete surprise to us. When you find out let us know.”

But then, he killed 59 innocent people and himself.

Since 1984, some 54 murderers have gained notoriety from mass shootings.

Some were disgruntled employees turned down for a promotion or fired from jobs. Some were students spurned by teachers or classmates. Some (or all) were suffering from mental illness. Some were avowed terrorists and supremacists.

Killing was their way to further a cause, get revenge, or get their own Wikipedia page.

There was a time that suicide was an act of despair carried out alone, away from scrutiny of the sun.

Now, more and more often it seems, people bent on killing themselves have found the need to take  innocent lives with them.

By all accounts Stephen Paddock had success, money, and people who cared. He traveled, had company and for all practical purposes, seemed to enjoy his life.

So what happened that pointed to violence and death as the only way out?

How many others are out there waiting for their psyches to justify mass murder?

And should we be praying for them?