Saturday, April 22, 2006

Charlie Sheen Is Not Very Nice

Denise accuses Sheen of pedophilia and murder, among other things.

Ah, the lives of the rich and famous.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I (Attempt To) Track Down An Identity Thief

A little over a year ago, I became the victim of identity theft. Someone opened a bank account in my name at Commerce Bank. Since Commerce doesn't wait before crediting your account with cashed checks and money orders, it's very easy to scam them. Most banks don't put the money in your account until they've verified the checks and money orders are real. To Commerce, this is inconvenient. Also, Commerce Bank doesn't believe in little details like making sure the addresses match, making sure the person's driver's license matches, or anything else like that. So this guy used the account he opened up under my name and cashed bad checks. I'm still getting calls from collection agencies to this day, despite having reported the whole situation to the police, Commerce Bank, my own bank, and all three credit agencies.

So I have a vendetta against identity thieves.

I got an email today on my work account. It read, in part:

Chase Bank is constantly working to ensure security by regularly screening the accounts in our system. We recently reviewed your account, and we need more information to help us provide you with secure service. Until we can collect this information, your access to sensitive account features will be limited. We would like to restore your access as soon as possible, and we apologize for the inconvenience.
It then asked me to go to a website, where they would "confirm my identity."

I was immediately suspicious. Because, first of all, I don't have a Chase bank account. And second, the website they wanted me to go to was not "" but instead, a website called ""

If it's one thing my mom taught me, it's to not trust guys named Gerard (unless they're "Deputy" Gerard, from The Fugitive). So first, I went to the website, which allows you to mask your IP address. Then I went to the website.

It was poorly designed. Clearly not a professional job. I once designed a site that mimicked the NYU athletics website and did a much better job of making it look good. Clearly, this site was not affiliated with Chase, despite the many attempts to convince me otherwise. It asked me to complete a brief survey (for which I would be paid $20 dollars!!!) and then asked me to give them my account number and account information.

I was pissed. Not only was this clearly an identity scam at work, but it was a bad identity scam too. It was a scam designed to prey on only very, very stupid people. And they had assumed I was one.

I typed the web address into the search engine at This website allows you to look up the owner of the domain name. A lot of times, the owner will mask their identity, by registering through a third party. In this case though, it appeared I had hit the jackpot:

derek gerard
kewanee, IL

[Update: Less than 2 hours after I posted this info, I got a second email with a different website link. That website was registered to a different name and address. So it's possible that info was as fraudulent as the webpage. So, for the time being, I took the contact info down until I can verify it.]

The domain was registered on 4/20/06. Suspicions confirmed. We have a thief. And we know where he lives. Maybe. Immediately I went to Google Maps. Hey you bastard, I can see you!

Did You Know: Kewanee is the "hog capital" of the world. Irony?

I typed the address into the white pages, and the name S.J. Anthony came up. One of the options was to "look up criminal records," which I didn't want to spend good money for. But if somebody out there does, they can look up "Derek Gerard" or "S.J. Anthony" and let me know what they find.

No. I haven't called the number. I'm at work, and I can't imagine how the call would go. I'll call tonight anonymously from my cell phone. I'm think 3 a.m. might be a good time.

Anyway, I sincerely hope that my sleuthing has prevented at least one other person from falling into this trap. And if you do speak to Derek/S.J. tell him the police are on their way.

The email I sent:
Dear Derek/S.J. Anthony/Whoever,

I received an email from you, pretending to be Chase bank. You gave me a link to your website,, where you tried to steal my bank account information. I just wanted you to know that I have published your name, address, telephone and email address online, so that everyone will know you're an identity thief. I even posted a link to a satelllite photo of your house!!

Now if you would please give me your social security number, I could make you feel what millions of Americans have felt. The pain of having your identity stolen. You should be ashamed of what you're doing.

I'm looking forward to hearing your response. Maybe it will convince me not to go to the police. But I doubt it.


Fuck You
[UPDATE II]: Sadly, as I educate myself more about the techniques of these identity thieves, I'm starting to realize my efforts may have been, at least in part, in vain. As puts it: "Social-engineering schemes use 'spoofed' e-mails to lead consumers to counterfeit websites..." In other words, our dear friend Derek Gerard may not be the thief we're looking for. Although I still don't trust him.

Here's some tips if you receive an email like the one i received: Consumer Advice.

I guess I won't be calling that number. But I did report the scam to the authorities. These guys have to be stopped.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I Play Lacrosse, I'm Not A Rapist

(Original air date: April 18th, 2006)

I started playing lacrosse my sophomore year in high school (I would like to point out, not an all-boys school). I was riding the pine on the baseball team, and my English teacher, Mr. Ronco, who was also the lacrosse coach, said he thought I could be good at it. So I gave it a shot. Next thing I knew, I was starting on the JV team. The next year, I was starting on the varsity. The year after that, I got a recruiting call from the coach of the NYU club lacrosse team (more on him at another time).

Lacrosse was unlike any sport I'd ever played before. Before long I was wowing people by twirling my lacrosse stick and managing to keep the ball firmly cradled in the mesh pocket. When people saw me carrying a lacrosse stick, they'd suddenly get real curious, "What is that? What sport is that?" I felt special. Like a member of an elite club. I felt cool.

And lacrosse took off. I almost felt responsible. Two years after I started playing, my hometown high school started a girls lacrosse team. My sister was one of the first to sign up. Soon it seemed like programs were popping up all over the Jersey shore. I was proud to play lacrosse.

I still am. But well. Those damn Duke kids had to ruin everything.

It started innocently enough. I was wearing a Michigan Lacrosse T-shirt. I wear lacrosse t-shirts a lot. Someone asked if I played lacrosse. So I responded, "I was on the NYU lacrosse team." Normally, their response would be "cool." But this time, it was "Oh, like those Duke kids."

No. Not like those Duke kids.

Even my family, while I was home on Passover, had to bring it up. "What do you think of those Duke lacrosse kids?"

You mean those Duke kids? Who happened to be on a lacrosse team?

And then today in the elevator, a collegue who knows I played lacrosse for NYU mentions the Duke lacrosse thing to me.

And I'm like, "Yeah, I know."

6 of the ten articles that first appear when you type "lacrosse" into the Sports Illustrated search engine are about the Duke kids. However, if you type in "Duke"... only four of the first ten are about the rape scandal.

And on Yahoo! if you type "lacrosse" they say "Also Try: duke lacrosse"

What's with that?

My point is, yeah, these accused Duke kids played lacrosse. But what happened has nothing to do with lacrosse. And I think its sad that the most exposure this sport has gotten, pretty much ever, is this negative story. So I want to set the record straight.

Most lacrosse players do not rape people.
Lacrosse players are not all rich, spoiled kids.
OJ never played lacrosse.
Just because I played lacrosse, doesn't mean I have some deeper insight into the Duke scandal.
There are other things going on in lacrosse that you can mention. Learn about it here. Get the latest stories here.

This whole Duke mess is terrible, and I do hope it causes colleges to increase their scrutiny of athletes' behavior in every sport. I just hope that lacrosse can someday make it into the mainstream news for something good.

UPDATE: I feel sick even linking to this article in Slate. But it's a perfect example of the stigma Lacrosse endures.

I said I felt like I was in an "elite club." That doesn't mean lacrosse is "elitist." When it comes to choosing sports to offer, most schools stick to the basics, because of cost reasons. Obviously, schools with more money can afford to offer more sports. One of those sports may be lacrosse. As a result, lacrosse tends to attract players who go to wealthier schools. Wealthier kids.

But that doesn't make the sport elitist. Lacrosse is not exclusive. Golf has its Augusta Country Club, which bans women and didn't even allow black people to play until after the 1960's. Baseball banned black people up until Jackie Robinson.

Lacrosse on the other hand, never excluded anybody. In fact, the game was created by Native Americans. It was picked up by French colonial settlers (who gave it it's name) and then played ever since by a mix of Americans who were introduced to it. By the way Slate asshole, many Native Americans still play the game.

Wanna go to a pro football game? Try affording a ticket. Pro lacrosse on the other hand, you can see on the cheap. Floor seats even.

I would love it if Lacrosse could expand its reach into schools throughout the economic strata. But funding for schools is low as it is. And while Lacrosse equipment has become a lot cheaper, it's still pricier than a baseball mitt. But does this mean that Lacrosse players are all spoiled snobs? As a guy who doesn't consider himself a spoiled snob, I don't think so.

I never did skoal. I saw a stripper once, in a Montreal club with my girlfriend. And I feel its absolutely indefensible that this Slate guy, and others, are condemning an entire sport and its players because of this Duke thing and what they themselves "percieve" and "assume." Last time I checked, Ray Lewis, who covered up a murder, won the NFL Superbowl MVP award. Barry Bonds, who consumed many, many illegal steroid drugs, is still in uniform. And Kobe Bryant's still getting endorsement deals. So don't say all Lacrosse players are assholes because of some Duke kids. There are athletes in every sport who act like assholes. And I hate Duke kids. So do most people who didn't go to Duke. It doesn't matter if they played lacrosse or not. Won't you secretly celebrate when J.J. Redick falls like a brick in next year's NBA draft?

Alright, I'm done.

UPDATE 2: No. You know what? I'm Not done. This guy on Slate cites "Steve Stifler" a FICTIONAL character, as an example of a lacrosse player. Um. Ok. Let's pretend this was valid. He neglect to mention that the Chris Kline character also plays lacrosse. And he turns out to be the most respectable person in the movie (even more so because he chose to stay away from "American Wedding"). How about him as an example of a lacrosse player? Oh, that doesn't fit into your nice little argument?

I'm sorry this Slate guy is still upset, after all these years, that an assistant lacrosse coach once made a bad joke to him. But that doesn't mean it's alright for him to be an anti-laxite.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Birdbrain Hunter Kills Beloved Bird

Sayonara Gobbles

Rufus, the friendly turkey, was killed by a mean old hunter who apparently was too lazy to do the actual "hunt" part of hunting, opting to shoot a turkey that had been adopted by a Idaho restaurant.

"I know it's hunting season, but I know we're going to miss Rufus," said Jean Ballard, who lives near the cafe and gave Rufus his name. "I hope the guy is proud of himself."
Dear Hunters... Shooting a turkey in a parking lot IS NOT A DAMN SPORT!!!!!!

Monday, April 17, 2006


Women like to sit. According to Carrie.

I consider myself a gentleman. I hold doors for women. This week, trying to catch a cab on a busy Saturday afternoon, I let two girls take the cab even though I was obviously waiting there first. And if I were on the Titanic, I would have let the women and children go first, even if one of them was stupid enough to throw the damn Heart of the Ocean diamond necklace overboard. Why'd she do it? Why!?!?

But if I'm sitting on a subway, and some perfectly healthy girl enters, and has to stand... do I really have to get up and give her my seat? Really? Even though she would Mace me in a second if I tried to hit on her? This isn't a lifeboat we're talking about here. Yeah, women have to put up with a lot. PMS for one. But us guys have to deal with a lot of crap too. Like girls with PMS.

Maybe I would have given up that seat before this weekend. I went to a bar with my friend, who I'll call J-dawg. I decided to approach a group of girls.

Now I'm not a swarmy character. As I said, I'm a gentlemanly guy. Me and J-dawg were having a disagreement over whether guy bartenders or girl bartenders poured better drinks. So I decided to ask the girl her opinion.

Here is how it went.

Me: (confidently) Hey.. excu..

Girl: You do not want to be talking to me.

Me: What?

Girl: Trust me. You do not want to be talking to me.

Me: (terrified) But I, uh...

Girl: Ok, what do you want?

Me: (retreating into a shell) Uh... I gotta go.
Yeah. Brutal.

I went to get another drink. I ordered a vodka tonic, cause I'm doing the kosher for passover thing. I overheard the girl next to me mention Passover and I started talking to her. She was Jewish too. Drinking a vodka and diet coke. We had a nice conversation. Got into one of those east-coast vs. west-coast debates (she was from California). I started to get over the searing pain caused by the brutality I'd just suffered. THEN this Jewish girl's friend comes over.

Jgirl: This is my friend, Bitchy McNopersonality

Me: Oh hey, I'm Adam, nice to meet you.

Bitchy: Yeah.

Me: Are you from California too?

Bitchy: No.

Jgirl: She goes to school with me.

Me: Oh yeah? What do you study?

Jgirl: She's studying biology, she's doing a paper on Penguins.

Me: Oh yeah? You think that maybe, when no one is looking, they fly around?

Bitchy: They can't fly.

Me: So you don't think they're just trying to fool us.

Bitchy: No. They can't fly. Are you an idiot?

Me: I'm just joking.

Bitchy: (to friend) Let's go.

Me: You ever hear of this new thing? It's called humor?

Bitchy: Nice meeting you (drags friend away).
Needless to say, after this night, I started to question the whole chivalry thing. Why be nice to girls when they'll treat you like shit and not even bat an eyelash in remorse? I was nice, friendly, not drunk, dressed reasonably well (I had an abercrombie polo on). Why react so bitchily toward me? It was as if I'd whipped out my penis and asked the girls to suck it. All I did was say hi!

So girls, women. The bottom line is this. If you want this whole chivalry thing, you're gonna have to earn it. Women back in the day had no rights, no property, and had to wear things that are now used in Abu Gharib to torture prisoners. Yet, they were polite, well-mannered, sweet. Chivalry made sense because, hell, if they could be nice after we men treated them like second class citizens, they deserved to get in the lifeboats first.

But if you're going to act like a bitch, there's no way I'm standing up for you on the subway.

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