aka That Major Credit Card Company…
(from whence I medically retired)
Being a fraud investigator for a major credit card company was always educational. Having worked with ex-military and ex-cops before as a PI, there were expectations with regard to fact-checking, double-checking and due diligence.
Because most of the staff had not the experience, background or education, sometimes short cuts were made. (This is not to say that some of those investigators weren’t excellent…)
Fast forward to meetings for the IACCI (The International Association of Credit Card Investigators, which later morphed into Financial Crimes Investigators in a new name). Our building had lots of meeting space, so we always volunteered a place for the organization to hold meetings. Folks from other financial institutions and local and federal law enforcement usually attended.
This particular day, the Attorney General for the State of Arizona was scheduled to attend and speak. I was familiar enough with the AG’s Office to know he was a Democratic mover and shaker. His name was (and is) Terry Goddard.
The black rubber marquee with white press-in letters stood proudly in the foyer opposite the main entrance, announcing both the meeting, and welcoming our guest speaker. (I considered taking a photo of it with my cell-phone, but, only recently had personal photos inside the building been banned.)
The marquee read:
Welcome Attorney General Teri Goddard
Whatever nimnul who had prepared the sign either had no idea who the AG was, or was a poor speller.
I toyed with the idea of letting it go, because I can sometimes be snarky that way, but did eventually alert management as to the error, and it was duly corrected.
Kinda wish I’d taken the picture, though…
I’m quite proud of the infinitesimal dent I have made in the gun world, training and educating a few folks about gun handling and safety, self-defense and tactical awareness. Even those who went away from the classes choosing not to own a firearm, or perhaps not to carry one, have a more informed basis on which to change that decision later. And, teaching is fun! That look on the neophyte’s face when they touch off that first round and see it strike paper is well, sublime.
One of the more interesting things about the time in which we live is the instant communication offered by the Internet. And with it social networking. I discovered about a year ago that a former co-worker at TMCCC had a husband who was not only an active gunnie and shooter, he was encouraging her to do the same. And so together they have taken training, obtained their CCW permits, and collect firearms. And are also active in their children’s shooting education as well.
He is an emergency room physician, and saw the need for a gun. She saw the need to protect her family. And, my only regret is they made this evolution and didn’t know I was a firearms teacher! Otherwise, I’m quite proud of them both.
Here’s Jennifer in a recent photograph on Facebook, with her favorite shotgun. Formidable’, eh?
A NC Gun Blog recently posted a post entitled The sap is a fun and interesting defensive tool. This got me to thinking. When I was in private security, I used to carry both a nightstick AND a sap. And I had two saps, one of woven leather straps wound around a cylindrical spring (with a bulbous lead end); the other flat steel – beavertail shaped – with a lead-weighted tip, as well. It was fortunate early on my partner Ron showed me all about knees and collarbones, otherwise I might have inadvertently killed someone!
In my early days of private security, sometimes, we were not allowed to carry firearms. So we carried these assorted striking implements. (This doesn’t mean that we also didn’t have firearms – shhhh!). I remember Ron responding to drunken altercations in the exclusive country club where we worked. He’d pop open his Samsonite briefcase and take a half-second to decide which sap was the best, then head out. It was almost like Arnold Palmer deciding which iron to use.
As one of the other blogs said, I never considered carrying a sap as a primary tool before. But where the prohibition is against firearms and/or knives, this might work (?)
(beginning of whine…)
We in the AZ desert are in the middle of the ‘so-called’ monsoon season. Historically, the temperature rises, along with the humidity, making virtually everyone more miserable. And moist. This is sometimes punctuated by
haboobs. (Native Arizonans say dust storms.)
I began my day with my short swim session. The pool was cooler this morning, as it didn’t get as hot yesterday, and had sprinkled a bit. It felt pretty good. (written a couple days ago)
However, I was tasked with running to the store for my roomie afterward (done best before blogging), and even though the store is 1/2 mile away, the Sun had appeared and it was both hot and muggy. Not Chattanooga in August** muggy, but uncomfortable. It was as if after my swimming and showering I’d not dried off. And having many health issues, including arthritis, I felt pretty crunchy.
Wet and crunchy is how I like my cereal, not my person.
I was reminded of Lonnie, veteran and good friend. When we worked together at TMCCC, he’d stop by my desk and inquire, “How ya doin?” This translated to ‘there’s a front moving in from the Pacific Northwest and I’m feeling it, are you?’. We are in Arizona. I always did. We called ourselves ‘the barometrics’.
I keep telling myself that more NSAIDS and swimming will eventually help. Today, however, not so much.
(end of whining, for now)
*ya know, like chocolate cake. I don’t know what you were thinking!
**90 degrees/90% humidity – been there, had the saturated t-shirt!
On my masthead, just below ‘Guffaw in Az’, is my motto. A phrase which has been defining much of my life, even before I began blogging.
“Struggling to keep what is rightfully his, but with a hearty laugh.”
This is in part because over the years, my financial success has been marginal (largely due to my own character defects) and also in part due to my various health issues. Statistics state I should be long gone, but I’m still flipping off the Reaper.
Now that I’m medically disabled, by income has dropped significantly from my 20+ years tenure @ TMCCC, and with this loss a plethora of financial ‘issues’ have developed. One of these was a choice: buy food, or make the mortgage payment. I chose the former.
You remember my previous postings regarding a project? This is about said project.
And the mortgage company finally decided I should leave. And so I have. And Molly’s basketball goal must stay.
Rancho Guffaw is no more. The two-bedroom, one bath home I bought to share with my daughter has reverted to the bank. It was a good fight, and perhaps I could have done more to save it. But the house is my age, and continues to need maintenance. With my current financial condition, I might have been able to get square but then there were always other issues. Like roofing, and repiping. And, I’m simply not financially equipped to do that.
Thankfully, I’ve not had to depend on the kindness of strangers. A good friend has offered me a place to land, open-ended. A spare room large enough to be called an apartment. And I’ll be splitting the expenses. Hopefully both of us will be saving some money.
“Guffaw’s Mancave?” ” Guffaw’s Freehold?” Haven’t come up with a suitable name, yet.
But, I’m still here, tired, but still kicking, and surprisingly, still laughing heartily. All’s right with the World. – Guffaw
There are a number news stories addressing the fact that ‘The Queen’ (Elizabeth of Britain) is celebrating 60 years on the throne this year. There are also a number of blog posts regarding this fact, and the fact that the Britain of 60 years ago is hardly the equivalent of the current state. In short, she is no longer Great.
My family genealogy takes me back to British History, in fact the family Coat-of-Arms shows three crosses, delineating (I’m told), the Guffaw family was in service of the Church in three Crusades. But much of this side of the family emanates from Ireland. (The other from Germany).
And my maternal side of the family is D.A.R. material, having fought against the British in The American Revolution. As previously recounted in these pages: Sybil Ludington
While I’m proud of my family’s heritage and history, proud of being of Irish, German and English stock, however, I am an American. Much to the dismay of a number of my friends who are anglophiles who are reveling in the current 60 year celebration of the Queen.
While perusing all the hubbub about this matter, I remembered an event years ago, when I was first working at TMCCC.
A female co-worker was quite emotional regarding the shocking loss of Princess Diana, and was going on-and-on about how sad the event was. The Princess was beautiful, she helped so many charities, yatta, yatta, yatta. While I recognized the loss, it was not as if she were an American icon, a Jackie Kennedy for example?
But, we read to our young children fairy tales about princesses, and set ourselves up for this anglomania, especially in our women, who remember the princess fantasies of childhood. And this attachment seems especially strong in our connection to Britain, rather than Monaco or some other European duchy.
I’m (in)famous in my small circle for opening my mouth and inserting
my foot both feet up to my knees. Repeatedly. I did not disappoint in this circumstance.
After seemingly endless hours of adulation for the Princess, I’d had enough. And I said, “I thought we fought a war to get away from those a$$7372s!” Which, of course, was true.
My timing might have been a bit off.
I was treated with icy silence the rest of the day by the person whom I offended. It was rude of me.
But I still don’t get the fascination with ‘The Royals’. In a Nation born of fighting them; to divorce ourselves of the class warfare embedded in Europe.
To be here, in the United States, 236 years after the Declaration of Independence, after freedom from the oppression of the ‘upper classes’ only to have it remanufactured by the so-called 99%, to promote Marxism and anarchy. Because that worked so well in Europe.
Looks like I put my feet in my mouth again…
(with apologies to The Firesign Theatre)
During one bookstore visit, I remember seeing a new book entitled The Politically-Correct Dictionary. This was a fairly new term in my lexicon, and I picked it up to page through, thinking it was a satirical book. It wasn’t. It was dead serious.
I’ve blocked most of the definitions from my mind, largely because they were stupid and/or offensive to me.
One that sticks in my brain though was GRAFFITI (n.) People’s art. (progressively dismissing private property rights and vandalism crime in one fell swoop)
Fast forward to an entry courtesy of WyBlog (May 21, 2012). It seems Dharun Ravi, the roommate of Tyler Joe Clementi McAllister, who was embarrassed by Mr. Ravi, outing him on a secret camera, was convicted.
Mr. McAllister committed suicide, allegedly because of this outing.
Dharun Ravi will serve a 30-day jail term, beginning on May 31.
Ravi will have a three year probation sentence. He will also have to complete 300 hours of community services, and attend a counseling program relative to cyber bullying and alternate lifestyles.
He will also have to pay $10,000 to the probation department. The sum will be allotted to a facility dedicated to victims of bias crimes.
Now I’m no advocate of gay-bashing, or outing, or publicly embarrassing anyone. It’s very sad this young man ended his life. And I find Mr. Ravi’s behavior beyond contemptible. But, equally contemptible is a court system which attempts to brainwash a citizen because he isn’t ‘thinking correctly’. It’s like this clown preacher who’s been on the news, stating all the gays should be rounded up and put into camps, so they will eventually die off from no procreation. He’s a complete idiot.
But in The United States, the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights enumerates specific natural rights, including free speech, containing within it the right to be complete idiots. If we allow government to ‘tweak’ the thinking of the most egregiously offensive or narrow-minded of us, who’s to say the next step isn’t ‘he’s a gun person (or a libertarian), he needs reprogramming’?
This is why I Hate Hate Crime. Whether the perpetrator stole the loaf of bread because he didn’t like the color of the baker’s skin, or because he was hungry, or was just a thief, should make no difference. Theft is theft.
And government ‘counseling’ in the name of political correctness is brainwashing.
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire
h/t J, Chris Wysocki
When I worked for many major corporations, I was pro-union. The idea that the bosses could pretty much do as they pleased, and fire you at their pleasure, all the while playing with the labor laws really pi**ed me off. (AZ is a right-to-work State). When I worked for M*******, the electronics giant, many of us spoke of unionizing, in spite of not-so-veiled threats from management not to do that, and when I worked for TMCCC, some of us spoke sotto voce about the need for the financial industry to unionize. We weren’t talking about abusing the system and having 25 hour work weeks @ $155/hour + 7 weeks paid vacation, we just wanted to be treated fair and square.
Now that the current administration keeps waving the union flag, AFL/CIO socialist types visit the White House almost weekly, and SEIU thugs terrorize and threaten honest citizens, I’ve had to reconsider my stance regarding unions. Certainly, unions were necessary due to the tactics of the robber barons of yore, but now they seem to have developed a life of their own, and political clout. And they are as abusive to their members as the employers are, if not more so! How would you like your union dues to go to a candidate your union supports, when you don’t?
Many folks proselytizing the corporations bad/unions good class warfare meme play on the idea that corporations donate to the politicians, making then all evil. Especially, those evil Koch brothers.
Here are the facts:
h/t Free North Carolina, A Trainwreck in Maxwell
I was in a physical rehabilitation center adjacent to Phoenix’s Good Samaritan Hospital. This was after one week of a ‘regular’ hospital stay, following three weeks in intensive care.
Following the accident.
‘They’ we hoping I might be released at the end of the week. Turned out, not until the end of April.
I was learning to walk again. And to function again in the real world. Daily physical therapy, followed by an exhaustion nap. And, some days I got to take a wheelchair out of my room to the laundry room. And do my own laundry. Daily routines reestablished. All part of the rehab.
After my daughter was killed.
So, here I am leaving the laundry room, making a button-hook pattern back to my own room in the halls in my wheelchair, when I pass the elevator. It opens and Cletus Botrell walks out.
Cletus was a friend and co-worker from TMCCC. An older gentleman. One with quite a past. Military, law enforcement, farming, who knows how many other skills? Now a credit card fraud investigator, like me. No, that’s not true, he was much better than I. With all the demeanor of a country gentleman. Fooled lots of folks into thinking he was a country bumpkin. Hardly.
And here he was stopping by to see me. On Easter Sunday.
So, I asked him, “What the Hell are you doing here? It’s Easter Sunday, you should be with your family!?” And he responded, “Well, I figured as much, but with everyone busy with the holiday, you’d be alone. I thought you could use some company.”
We had a nice visit, if you can call crying a nice visit.
Cletus had saved me once before. My very first day at TMCCC. I’d just received the company welcome from the general manager, and the security briefing from Lonnie Cook (written about before in these pages in the Unknown Soldier post, another friend of Cletus’) when I arrived at the Investigations Section of TMCCC.
Forty investigators whose task it was to investigate all the credit card fraud for the company essentially West of the Mississippi. And I was a newly minted fraud investigator, arriving for training.
I walked up to Steven ********, the Investigations Manager at the time, expecting a handshake, a ‘welcome aboard’, directions to my desk, where to get supplies, what my telephone number was, that sort of thing. And where, when and how my training was to begin. He looked me up-and-down, muttered “We don’t have time to train you.” spun on his heels and marched away.
So, here I stood, with my pants figuratively around my ankles, and a voice says, “Here, pull up a chair, come sit with me, I’ll show you how to get started. Then, we’ll find you a desk.” It was Cletus.
Always there. And here again in my rehabilitation.
He became ill a few years later, and we lost him.
I think of him often, especially on Easter.
Murphy’s Law @ Lagniappe’s Lair reminded me (inadvertently) of two things:
1. While this is Guffaw in AZ, we’ve not had guffaw fodder in a while. And we (I) need to.
(Visit the link, above), and,
2. A long-forgotten episode at TMCCC*.
I worked with a number of folks who survived the drudgery of credit card investigation life through humor. Silly jokes, costumes, general intentional stupidity. Non sequiturs. Attempts at mirth. Insanity.
There was a new guy on board. Seemed relatively quiet, kept to himself, did his job. Mike something.
Mike and I got along, but save a couple innocuous conversations about home life (he had a wife and infant child) we hadn’t spoken much. But one of the rabblerousers caught his attention, and planted a seed.
So, one day we were standing together, adjacent to one another, awaiting some pointless management pronouncement when he turned to me and said:
“I’ve always loved you!”
To which I responded (to him and a waiting audience, breathlessly awaiting my reaction):
“I hate Illinois Nazis!”
And then we went back to work as if nothing happened, while our secret audience went into hysterics.
If you don’t get it, go to the link, above!
*for the uninitiated, That Major Credit Card Company, from which I medically-retired a few years back.