Florida Stranger than Fiction

Florida Cat redefines the slang expression “banana hammock”

Orange cat resting on a bunch of bananas in a banana tree.
Stranger than Fiction

The picture tells you whose idea it was

News clipping titled “Alberta couple sells off ‘very impressive’ collection of John Deere memorabilia” with photo of couple standing among a collection of toy John Deere tractors. Dan looks dejected; Donna is beaming.

You can click here for the news story about the sale of this collection, but for the full story, just look at Dan and Donna Specht’s body language and facial expressions.

Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me Music Tampa Bay

Join me, Tom Hood and the Tropical Sons at JolliMons Island this Tuesday!

Tap to view at full size.

After a summer hiatus, Tom Hood and the Tropical Sons (of which I am a member) are playing gigs again — this time on the third Tuesday of the month at Jollimons Island in Clearwater from 6 to 9 p.m.

We’re part of their Tuesday “Raw Talent Nights,” where the stage is open to musicians who want to join in on the open mic fun.

If you’re down Clearwater way, join us, whether you want to hop onstage and play, or sit back and enjoy the music!

Stranger than Fiction

“A” for effort; “ת” for execution

At least they tried. The sad thing is that the picture in the “Happy Rosh Hashanah” sign shows the food that’s actually associated with the holiday.

Consider this a reminder that if you’re working with unfamiliar subject matter, consult a subject matter expert, or at least someone familiar with it!

(In case you were wondering, “ת” is “tav,” the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet.)

Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me Music

We’re getting the band back together this Tuesday!

“Raw Talent Night” poster announcing “Tom Hood and the Tropical Sons will host Trop ’N’ Rock Night every third Tuesday.”
JolliMons Island is in Clearwater — 301 S Belcher Road.

This Tuesday, September 19th at JolliMons Island in Clearwater, I’ll be onstage with the accordion and playing with Tom Hood and the Tropical Sons. Come on down and enjoy some good food, drink, and live music!

Joey deVilla and the Tropical Sons playing on the dock at Bayou Bistro.
It Happened to Me Money

I ’m a cryptocurrency scam magnet today

The postcard

This postcard appeared in our mailbox this morning — here’s the front…

…and here’s the back:

Note that there’s no postmark, which means that it was delivered by hand. How oddly and delightfully analog!

The link takes you to a simply but nicely designed page that makes the standard Bitcoin pitch that’s been around for years, with the usual talking points such as the expanding money supply and inflation, the fixed supply of Bitcoin, “it’s digital money and a computer network!”, and a couple of bits about how Bitcoin “isn’t volatile” and that “Bitcoin help stabilize the Texas energy grid through mining.” I’m not sure how that last one can possibly be true.

The “wrong number” text message

Later, just before 2:00 p.m., I got a text message from an unrecognized number: “When is your birthday?”

Just for kicks, I turned it into a conversation:

In case you were wondering, Nguyet Anh Duong is known in US defense circles as “The Bomb Lady” for her work on developing a thermobaric weapon.

Here’s the last bit of our conversation:

Blame my inner 14-year-old: the town name “Mianus” will always be funny to me.

Want to know more about “pig butchering” scams? ProPublica has a great article titled What’s a Pig Butchering Scam? Here’s How to Avoid Falling Victim to One.

This is most likely a “pig butchering” style scam. It takes its name from the fact that you fatten up a pig before killing it for its meat. The term comes from the land of delicious char siu pork, China, where it originated. It’s now practiced here in North America to great effect: recently, a woman who matched up with a scammer on Hinge ended up losing $300,000 and a man lost $1 million.

Sometimes it starts via a dating or social media app, but another common approach is the text from a stranger with an attractive profile picture. The initial text messages make it look like they’re texting a wrong number, and after some seemingly-embarrassed apologies, the scammer strikes up a conversation. Then, as they gain your confidence, they start steering you towards some kind of questionable online investment, preferably one that makes the money hard to track once it’s gone.

Chances are that whoever’s supervising the texter playing “Tina” saw my responses and said “Stop wasting your time; this guy’s just yanking your chain,” which is exactly the case.

There’s an episode of the Jordan Harbinger Show on the topic of pig butchering — you can either listen to it or watch it below:


This 9/11 post took a “Milkshake Duck” turn

Part 1 of a series of tweets by Bill Ellmore (@BillEllmore):

I was booked on United Flight 93 on 9/11, 2001, flying nonstop from Newark NJ to San Francisco CA. Around midnight the night before, a coworker called me urging me to change my flight to fly into San Jose instead. This meant I had to give up my 1st class seat and move to a flight that left 20 minutes later (from the same gate) with a stopover in Denver.  I was very reluctant but I did it. 

When I got to the airport, I watched people boarding flight 93 and I was upset that I was not leaving earlier, in my 1st class seat on a direct flight. I didn’t notice or care about the people as they were boarding, only myself.  

When I finally boarded my plane, we were 7 planes behind flight 93. When we were 3 plans away from we taking off, the pilot told us to look out the right side of the plane because it appeared the Twin Towers had been hit by a plane. I thought it might have been a small Cessna until I saw the second plane strike the other tower. 

We were grounded just before taking off. I changed that day. I now take every opportunity to get watch and if possible, get to know the people I’m boarding a plane with. I never hesitate to give up my seat for a later flight if requested. I’ve had two children since 9/11 and went to multiple mission trips to war torn countries. Every day I wake up breathing is another gift from God. 

Never forget 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
Tap here to view the original post

Okay, so far so good…

Part 2 of a series of tweets by Bill Ellmore (@BillEllmore):

The reason my coworker told me to change my flight was she took the same flight on 9/10 and the commute from San Francisco to Mountain View would make me late for my meeting whereas traveling from San Jose to Mountain View would be faster in the morning.
Tap here to view the original post.

All right…

Response tweet from Mark Davis (@MarkDavis8919):

she saved your life with advice, which you followed. 

what ever happened to your coworker?

Response from Bill Ellmore:

Sad to say, I ultimately had to fire her for poor performance. It was difficult
Tap here to view the original post.


Response tweet from “Sourdeath Sam” (@SourdeathSam):

Bro coulda just said “she is working elsewhere now but I wish her well”

Response from Bill Ellmore:

Sorry for being honest
Tap here to view the original post.

I hope he extended her a little extra understanding for providing some life-saving advice, but there may have come a point where dismissing her (and ideally with a generous severance package) would have been fair.

Still, a response like the one “Sourdeath Sam” suggested would’ve been far better. Bill’s response to Sam’s suggestion is a poor excuse — “I’m just being honest” often really means “I’m a dickhead, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Milkshake duck?

Watercolor-and-ink Illustration of a duck drinking a milkshake through a straw.

The term milkshake duck is internet slang for something or someone that achieves internet stardom or “viral” status and public adoration and endearment, and then soon after, some terrible fact about them comes to light.

It comes from this classic tweet/post from The Site Formerly Known as Twitter:

Tweet by @pixelatedboat:

The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you the duck is racist
Tap here to view the original post.

For more about milkshake ducks — including some examples — consult the Milkshake Duck entry of Know Your Meme.