Are US$30 a page translations a good deal? Read on

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We are quite aware that a few of of our competitors are advertising translations for US$27 and US$30 a page. Some matters should be considered before you entertain the validity of such offers.

One would assume that translations for US$30 a page mean that every page would be charged this amount, irrespective of word count. At least, one implies that from such ads. The reality is quite the other.

All such sites impose a condition - the low price applies to documents that are 250 words or less. That would mean very short documents, such as a birth certificate, a drivers license etc. That is not what their ads say, or the landing pages of some sites. Their intent is to get you on their page, and then flip flop on you.

Many birth certificates have more than 250 words, and some of then have less than 250 words, but two pages! For the 2 pager with less than 250 words, the company would then charge you US$60.00! That is, more than we charge. Not only that, some companies charge an additional US$10.00 to issue documents on paper (!), and US$10.00 for mailing. Thus, this 2-pager (advertised for US$30.00) would cost a whopping US$80.00, whereas, with our company you would be paying only US$56.00, including priority mail.

Adding insult to injury, a lot of these companies issue so-called summary translations, based on pre-prepared templates. These are often rejected by the Immigration and other entities. We prepare the full text of the translation, including any remarks, we do not use templates.

Other companies make the text run longer than 250 words, by describing stamps with very long descriptions. Others charge for notarization on the side!

As for the exclusive use of electronic translations, as opposed to paper documents, we beg to differ on the information that electronic documents are widely accepted. Most agencies, including the USCIS, insist on paper documents. And that is why the company is charging an additional US$10.00 for the paper document. That is based on our 31 years of experience in this field

You, as a consumer, must weigh your risks before doing business with any company.

At Legal Translation Systems you will get your birth certificate translated for US$50.00 (plus mail, if applicable):
- irrespective of the number of pages of the birth certificate
- irrespective of the number of words of the birth certificate
- you will get the paper document at no additional charge, and if you want, a PDF by email for free
- our price includes notarization by a Notary in good standing;
- the notary and translator are not the same person
- full text translated, not templates.

As for other one page documents, in our long experience in this business we have seen 1 page documents with as many as 1000 words, depending on the nature of the document! Powers of attorney run at least 600 words a page, and transcripts can be more than 500 words a page. Their US$30.00 or US$27.00 a page soon becomes US$72.00 a page!

However, because you have landed on their site, you might end up doing business with them!

So, be careful, weigh your options. Do not be fooled by switch and bait techniques.

http://www.legaltranslationsystems.com

Intersection Safety programs in Miami Beach

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Who doesn't like good surprises? I do. Yet, by the same token, nobody likes bad surprises. I don't either.

Getting a photograph ticket in the mail is a nasty surprise. A nasty surprise that will cost you a few dollars, I might add.

Yet, like the long security lines in airport check-ins, if it means I will be safer at the end of the day, I am all for it, even if it means I or my wife will get a ticket every once in a while.

The question is, does that really improve safety as it is now?

The other day I was traveling in my car, a block away from my office. I turned on Harding, from 72nd street, and could see the light on the corner of 71st and Harding in all green splendor. I marched on at about 20 mph.

Much to my surprise, as I was nearing the intersection, a green pick up truck darted at high speed through the intersection, crossing the red light.

Let us analyze this.

1) The pickup driver could not claim the light had just turned, because it had been green to me since I turned onto Harding. Therefore, the light was red for him.

2) The pickup driver could not claim he was at such high speed that he could not stop his vehicle. That is because he had a short block to get up to that hefty speed from Collins Avenue, unless, of course, he had driven from the Atlantic Ocean! He simply accelerated heavily and aggressively with the clear intent of violating that red light. If somebody got on his way, oh well...

3) The pickup driver had no regard for anybody traveling on Harding, behaving as if he owned the road. One can only reach the conclusion he wants to commit suicide, is a potential murderer or is simply a very unsafe driver who does not deserve to be driving at all.

In other words, since there is no friendly "intersection safety" camera on that corner, and no policeman in sight, our nasty pick up driver, who almost killed me (my car is very small, and I would probably die from impact, he would hit my door at a right angle) got no punishment.

Which leads me to the question. What is the criteria for installing such cameras? It seems to me that if the idea is to foster safety in our streets, then, every single intersection with a red light should have such a camera! Simple. Had that been so in this case, at least I would know the bad driver would get a hefty fine that day.

On the other hand, if the criteria is choosing intersections with historic large numbers of red light violations, the idea might be to increase revenue for the State/City or County rather than providing safe streets for taxpayers. I would hate to think all the government is really interested on is making a few extra bucks...

Obviously, the pick-up driver knew this intersection had no camera, so he abused it. He probably keeps a low profile in intersections that do have cameras. In other words, the safety cameras in a sense promote unsafe driving. I do suggest installing these cameras in every red light, thus providing a more level playing field and real safety everywhere.

What a difference does a letter make

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A single letter can make a lot of difference.

Take the word dope. It can mean drugs, mostly illegal drugs that make people do crazy things, plus sends a lot of folks to jail. I know, a lot of readers probably take drugs and will even say they are healthy, blah, blah, blah. Consider this. Even seemingly innocuous pot causes a number of problems, including impotence in older men. Yes, a lot of people in this current generation have to take the blue wonder pill because they abused pot when younger. So, if you want to limit your sex life to your youth years, continue to enjoy pot and save money for the blue pill. I will not even mention cocaine, crack, heroin, crystal meth, etc etc. There is no need for that, is there?

Dope can also mean a stupid person. Thus, somebody who abuses dope is a dope himself. Or something like that. In other words, there is nothing positive in the word dope.

Change the d to n. Nope. Ok, it is not a real word, it is slang, but so is dope. Bear with me, don`t lose the poetry in this.

Although nope is a negative word, the results of saying "nope" can be positive. Like saying nope to dope. Sheer poetry. Therefore, the negative word stands the middle ground here. Depending on how you use "nope" you are on the right track. As long as you are one of these negative people that say "nope" to good things as well.

Then change the "n" to "h". Not only do you have a real word now, Hope, but what a beautiful word it is. Whether you are aware of it or not, hope is what drives us from leaving the bed in the morning. Hope the day will be better, that yesterdays' woes have stayed behind, and there is a way for things to get better or improve. Nothing can be more positive than hope. Even if you do not consider yourself "spiritual" you need it to have a mentally healthy life.

Yes, Hope is a word you should carry in your heart at all times.

So, for 2012, no dope, some nope, full of hope.

Shorties but goodies

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We are always one insult away from making an enemy.

It dawned on me that certain doctors, rather than taking the hippocratic oath, have taken the hypocritical oath.

Talk about irony. One of the top credit rating companies in the world is called MOODY's. Few things are moodier than the stock market, or markets in general...

Pure meritocracy does not exist, in the same sense that pure democracy is utopic.

One thing that people learn real fast is arrogance. Some people can get PhDs in arrogance in a few months, given the right conditions.

The truth is, most people stumble upon their careers

Delta to Rome from Miami - a bad idea

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Got nothing against Delta. I have flown the airline a few times, without a hitch.

The problem is the flight to Rome, from Miami, is operated by Alitalia.

I remembered reading that Alitalia almost went belly up last year. However, given that American's connections to Italy, from Miami, were kinda weird, we decided to fly Delta - that is, Alitalia.

I knew all along it would be Alitalia equipment and crew. I could not imagine it would be as bad as it turned out to be. The plane, both ways, was and old 767. It was somewhat dirty inside, the seats had uncomfortable cushions, some of the earphone connections did not work. The food ranged from bad to terrible (let me add little), even non alcoholic beverages were served sparingly, onboard service was slow and indifferent. The bathrooms did not feel clean. The overhead luggage compartment was small. In other words, not what you what expect from a world class airline.

The real problem, however, was that on the way to Italy, the flight was almost 6 hours late, because "there was no plane". The very nice ground attendant was very apologetic, checked us in early anywhay for the flight that had been moved to 10 PM from a 4:10 PM departure. Then she gave us a piece of paper, mentioning compensation and $12 meal vouchers.

After perambulating around Miami International for almost six hours, I noticed a lot of people walking around with the same paper in their hands, some gesticulating, many of them going to talk to the Alitalia personnel at the podium. I decided to read, and found it said that flights over 3 hours late entitled travelers to compensation.

I warranted this was worth further probing, for it talked about 600 Euros a pop. Sure enough, the girl at the counter said we were entitled to compensation, and that I should contact Alitalia two days after the flight.

I decided not to bother with this during the trip, and contacted the airline upon returning to the USA. As a response, I got an email from Alitalia that said that the flight was late for "technical reasons", thus, we were not entitled to compensation.

I ask this question, which I believe is reasonable. Why did Alitalia give us the papers to begin with? If their policy is not to give compensation for "technical reasons", and supposedly they knew technical reasons prevented them from boarding us on time that day, why give a piece of paper that told us otherwise? It simply makes no sense.

Honestly, if I were not given the piece of paper, I would have not asked anything. I would have gotten over the fact the flight was late long ago, for the stay in Italy was superb. Because I was given the paper, I asked, and now am an upset customer.

This rubs off on Delta. American carriers now advertise tons of destinations they really do not fly into. For instance, in Miami, American advertises daily non-stop service to Madrid, but service is really provided by Iberia. The so-called code sharing might be a nice marketing exercise that expands your destination coverage without requiring equipment, assets and workers, when it works well. When it does not, it just creates bad will between the travelling public and the airline.

That is why I will think twice before I book another Delta flight ever. It simply rubbed off badly on them.

Two thirds of all billionaires are self made

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This is what an HSBC advertisement says.

Ask me what is the largest industry in the world, and I will say, dream selling!! It comes in various sorts and shapes, from vitamins, to discos, modeling agencies, cars, real estate, travel, colleges, cosmetics, entertainment, sports, advertising, etc. Plus the get rich industry.

Selling dreams globally generates trillions of dollars a year, and it is practiced in every country. Every one has a dream. If they don`t, advertising sure tries to create one.

The millionaire-making industry has been around sometime, generating millions of poorer people that were suckered into myriad seminars, tape buying, webinars, books and MLM kits that gets them nowhere. I guess now they are trying to sell the dream that becoming a billionaire is easy, in fact easier than if you inherit money.

I beg to differ.

The ad copy seems to infer that two thirds of the billionaires of the world got to be that way on their own, without anyone's help. In other words, any regular joe can do it with their savings account, saving from their paycheck, as long as he is diligent, a hard worker with a dream and talent. You know, the lemonade stand dream.

What a hogwash!

Even if two thirds of the world's billionaires were self-made, they obviously got a push start somewhere. If not inheriting, from family, from somewhere else. Getting the right connections, investors in Wall Street, etc. It is impossible, I repeat, impossible to become a billionaire on money you make on your own these days. It was possible in the 19th century, not anymore. Billions are made on highly leveraged transactions, through traffic of power, connections and shady transactions. Small companies do not get huge organically, they need tons of external capital to grow. Without this, you will not make millions, much less, billions. This is the lie of all lies.

The Facebook and Microsoft success stories make good copy, but these companies would not have gone anywhere without millions of outside investment.

A good start is going to Harvard, Yale or an Ivy League school. That is why people go there, to make connections, not to study. Well, you went to a so-so college, never to grad school. Forget it.

Additionally, most of the world's billionaires are paper billionaires. They hold stock positions or options they cannot even think about selling, or else the prices drop to nothing in a matter of minutes. If you factor in the amount of money the companies they own owe, you come to the conclusion (rightfully so) that everything can come crashing down real fast.

So, the next time you dream about becoming a billionaire, think twice. Do not buy into this lie.

Alitalia from Miami to Rome

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A lot of people like to travel in the destination country's airline when going overseas. The idea is to start absorbing the atmosphere even before you get there.

We took an Alitalia flight from Miami to Rome a couple of weeks ago. We actually bought a Delta ticket, but the flight was operated by Alitalia.

I will not bother you with the details of the over 6 hours of departure delay. This is a matter for another post, for there is a promise of compensation that I hope, will materialize.

From the get go, I knew I was entering an old plane. It was a 767. The lay out was old, with small space in the overhead luggage compartments, and side video screens. The seats were awful, and looked very tatty. The staff on board was OK, but the food was not very good. So much for absorbing atmopshere before flying! Italy has wonderful food just about anywhere you go, Alitalia does not.

The advantage of flying non-stop was, of course, decimated by the long delay. In fact, we stayed for hours on end at the Miami airport, refusing to go back home. I worked a bit, so I did not waste time, but this essentially killed a whole afternoon in Rome. By the time we got to the hotel, it was over 4 PM.

Supposedly the delay was due to lack of equipment. I thought that perhaps the old 767 was a substitute plane. Much to my disappointment, this was the same plane on the way back.

Too bad that Alitalia, that has ten Boeing 777, and newer Airbuses on its fleet, decided that Miami is a subpar market, worthy of old planes.

Incidentally, the food on the way back was no better, in fact, it was worse than on the way to Italy. The seats appeared worse than before too, in fact, people were walking up and down the aisles, because they were so uncomfortable.

Thus, unless you are flying the Magnifica class, I cannot really recommend this Alitalia-Delta flight. I am, of course, assuming Magnifica is any better. Go American, you are certainly better off.

Thank God the trip was otherwise wonderful.

So much for the information super highway

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Sometimes, I used to get a little self conscious about a lot of outdated information on my website. This site started life as a directory of Brazilian exporters, in 1995. That was a bit too early for Brazilian exporters to understand that the initiative should be supported, and by the time they understood, the business model required tweaking. But I lacked both the time and resources to do it, so I left it on its own.

Thus, a lot of information has been around since 1995. I still lack the time or resources to remove any outdated information, and given access to it is totally free, nobody can really complain about anything. I am not about to spend two months to look over thousands of pages of information. Sorry, folks, I still eat and have a mortgage to pay.

Well, I recently went into the U.S. State Department website to locate the addresses of foreign country consulates in the USA. It took me a couple of days to sort out the countries I needed information from, and then, from that list, I took out honorary consuls (who, I suppose, do just about nothing but carry the title) to avoid waste.

Much to my surprise, a lot of the U.S. State Department site information is outdated, so quite a bit of mail was returned undelivered. So much for avoiding waste.

The State Department does not lack either the resources or funds to keep the site updated. I suppose there is quite a few junior people and interns sitting about who could tackle this task and solve it within five days, if they just quit texting, sipping lattes and looking at Facebook. Yet, I guess, the Department institutionally finds it unnecessary to keep the information on its site current.

So much for the information super highway. Al Gore must be crying.

At least I am no longer self conscious about my site...

A short one

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Worthless efforts are unjustifiable when you know they are so beforehand

Am I going crazy or is Newsweek going crazy?

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Granted. I had not picked up a copy of Newsweek for a long time.

So yesterday I went to a drugstore to pick up a prescription, and was drawn to the header on top of the magazine name on the current edition of Newsweek. It said, I paraphrase, the 20 most stupid laws in America, page 32.

I like "most stupid" lists, don't ask me why.

I picked up the magazine. I was very surprised how light it was - a little over 50 pages. I remembered when I was a subscriber, the magazine was consistently over 100 pages strong. Then I started to glance over at the pages, and was negatively surprised by the lack of advertisers - and quality thereof. It looked like U.S. News and World Report in its final days as a weekly magazine.

Then I turned to page 32, and, surprise, there are no "the 20 most stupid laws in America".

I went bonkers. I looked at the index, it was not there, and never giving up easily on my quest for "most stupid" information, I looked at every page to see if the article was there.

Nowhere to be found.

No wonder the magazine is going down the dumps.

Carlos, the Terrorist

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If you are looking for information on Carlos the Jackal, a famous bygone era terrorist, do not read on. This is about another Carlos, me, who is not a terrorist.

Unfortunately, this is not what the last three airport security personnel seem to think. Mind you, in two continents.

The fact is, I do not look like a terrorist, at least not in most people’s minds. I am tall, fair skinned, have never worn a beard or moustache. A lot of people say I have meek eyes, and in my fifty years, I have never gotten in a single fist fight. As you can see, I am no spring chicken. I abhor guns and weapons in general, do not fancy explosives. I am not violent by a stretch, am polite, and am not an activist in any cause. I keep a distance from politics, and do not like wars. I refrain from traveling with tons of gadgets, in fact, do not even travel with a cell phone. Plus, I have a calm demeanor around airports (and elsewhere) and do not mind flying at all, so I am not a wreck before boarding a plane.

Yet, I have been obviously picked for further examination the last three times I took a flight. Believe me, I even go as far as totally emptying my pockets, removing watch and belt, before going through security to avoid inconvenience.

Honestly, if this means a safer flying environment, I do not mind at all. Above all, because I have nothing to fear, for the reasons outlined above. The problem is that I have been observing around security areas, and notice that a lot of people who do look suspicious, ease by, not a question asked. I am not saying that profiling should be used by security personnel. However, using negative profiling (frequently stopping people such as myself or the eighty year old lady who could barely stand up and was being harrassed before me) will certainly not result in safer flying conditions anywhere. Either that or I hit a jackpot, without winning anything.

I am supposed to take another trip soon. For the sake of science, I will let you know if I was picked again.

To be, or not to be

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Militant atheism is actually a form of proselytic religion

Just wondering...

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Believe it or not, General Motors was founded by a guy that had Crapo in his name.

A big dose of honesty

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I prefer having 10,000 clients and 10 friends, than 10,000 friends and 10 clients.

And this has little to do with money.

A reflection on efficiency

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Go figure - a client that consistently took as long as 120 days to pay crummy 3-digit invoices, claiming all types of crazy things to justify delays, was the first to send a 1099. I reckon for certain things - not paying invoices - they are very efficient.

Shorties

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A reality check is the type of check most people don't like to get.

Social networks are not meant to display anti-social behavior

Fancying yourself is a start, but should not be the ultimate goal

Dreaming is Ok and desirable, as long as you keep the real ball rolling

Tweeter exists so that people who do not know how to write believe they can write a blog. Microblogs for microminds.

Charisma will only get you so far. At the end of the day, integrity will carry one through.

Why carbon footprint, when most of it is gaseous anyway? I never heard of a gas foot.

Nowadays, there is plentiful of talk of competence in companies, yet, it seems incompetence abounds. Just like associates and stakeholders are downsized without much consideration. I guess that is what they call reverse psychology.

idontPad, idontPhone - because idontHear and idontSee well...

Ruffling feathers

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Single mindedness might help obtain career success, but also might ruffle some feathers elsewhere. If success does not come, you end up with pretty much nothing.

A funny thing

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A fake celebrity Facebook profile with about 500 friends, gets more birthday wishes than a real person's Facebook profile with 3000 plus. By a long stretch.

It goes to show that people thrive on dreams, and deny reality.

Thus the Age of Spin prospers.

Bad payer translation companies

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If you are a professional translator you have certainly been taken for a ride by a bad payer. If you are lucky, by a couple of companies, and if unlucky and imprudent, by quite a few.

Most of the bad payers these days seem to haul from India and China, but you would be surprised. I just read this article pertaining to translation companies located in the U.K. I suggest you read it carefully, too.

http://www.trally.com/translation-articles/00021/crisis-in-the-translation-industry.shtml

A lot of people get into the translation industry for the wrong reasons. Quite a few fancy the fact this is globalized business, in a global economy. Getting cross-border clients expands the markets, but it can also expand even more the amounts of debt you are unluckily to ever recover.

What can you do?

I suggest you do like banks. Establish credit limits. Never extend more than 500 dollars (or equivalent) to an unknown client. See how the client pays you. As the relationship grows, increase the client's credit line. Don't accept further assignments from a client that owes you past due money.

Don't be too excited with multiple thousand dollar (or Euro jobs). The higher the amount, the less likely you are to be paid - or paid on time, if you are lucky.

R.I.P., U.S. News and World Report

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The inevitable fate came for a magazine that, at one time, was my favorite news magazine published in the USA. The last issue came in today's mail.

Since changing from a weekly to a monthly magazine, U.S. News and World Report seemed on the verge of closing, And closing it did, although the company will continue to publish a news site - another among the billions of internet sites cluttering the web - which I will unlikely ever visit.

As a monthly magazine, U.S. News became a boring "Best of" magazine, basically selling dreams rather than stating reality. After all, who has money to go to the best colleges, best hospitals and retire at the best places? As I said in a previous post, it became a Playboy of the current generation.

I will miss the magazine of yesteryear, but I honestly cannot say I will miss the latest iteration of the publication.

R.I.P., anyway.

A confession

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Let me make a confession.

Sometimes I have looked at other blogs with certain envy. You know, the guy or gal has twenty five comments for every posting. With luck, one out of 20 of my posts, might ever get a comment. Comments hypothetically mean somebody is reading (and caring) for your material.

Then it occurred to me, when I returned from an overseas trip, that getting twenty five comments per post is not such a good thing after all.

The b2evolution software used in this blog is great, however, there are tons of spammers across the world that abuse it. Simple, they use some type of robot to send comments to blogs that use the software, containing stupid messages such as "great blog", "the best blog I have ever read" etc, in the hopes that the silly comment will be published. The aim is not no much to advertise the goods, but rather, create thousands of external links that might boost the spammer's google ranking.

I did not get 25 comments on my way back. I had thousands of comments from such spammers that sell fake Nike shoes, pills for all types of things, and whoknowswhat. So I realized, with more than 3000 posts in my blog, that if I got one comment a month for each, that would be 3000 comments, 36,000 in the course of a year. 25 for each post, well that is 900,000 comments. And the thing is, people that comment want some feedback too, so I would need to put in another 900,000 replies to keep the interactivity going!

What a waste of time would that be!

My envy is gone, thank God, in fact, I shut off comments on most of my blogs and I am glad I got one less thing to do a day.

Ah, and blocked quite a few of the known spammers.

Sorry, if you want to write me, send an email to carlosdepaula@mindspring.com. I promise I will respond.

Safe surfing.

Carbon credits as commodity

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The sale of carbon credits as a commodity is as silly to me as getting income tax deductions for driving below the speed limit.

Or getting local tax deductions because you constantly suffer from constipation.

A very sexy blog

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It is amazing that a large proportion of Internet searches still have to do with sex. The more amazing thing is how a blog that has nothing whatsoever to do with sex, such as mine, has a vast number of sex related searches.

Sure, the google algorithm might be intelligent, but not that much. I write about a vast variety of subjects, in two languages, so google might get the notion that this is the place to be for perverts galore. Likewise, if you mention Lady Gaga, Madonna and Angelina Jolie in a posting - after all, I do comment on the nefarious effect celebrities have on society as whole - and the word sex might pop up here are there within the context of a serious discussion, google might service clients by linking the two relevant words.

In the same fashion, if you mention the words gay, lesbian, pedophilia, penis and a large number of other words, the search engines make a connection that is not valid. If you use the words naked or nude then, in any context shape and form, the oversexed visitors will be taking numbers to visit your blog.

They will obviously be very disappointed, for the vast majority of the pictures they will find on my blog are of racing cars, sans bodacious pit babes, the large busted and beautiful women that seem to be everywhere on race tracks around the world - except on the bleachers, where the women are generally quite common, some downright ugly. Sorry, race fans.

So far I have not been called names by any unhappy visitor, and honestly, it makes very little difference to me that the visitor came to my site under false pretenses.

But it just goes to show how we cannot trust the redefined relevance of the age.

So much for client being number one

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Back in the non-information age, reputable companies and institutions used to reply to correspondence, any type of correspondence, even if the answer was no. Funny that, in the age where information, mission statements, corporate citizenship and what not is so important, most companies do not bother to reply to posted letters. I guess the only thing that catches their attention is subpoenas.

Get Rich Schemes (continued) or Get a Life. COM ,

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I just got this nasty telemarketing call the other day.

This woman, with a not very nice voice, was literally screaming on the phone, in a recording of course!!! I MEAN SCREAMING!!!! It was so terrible, I continued listening, keeping a safe distance from the phone.

Talk about get rich quick schemes...

The name of the company is getreadyreserve.com.

I visited the site, for the sake of curiosity.

I was not impressed. I wanted to tell them their telemarketing call was terrible, but there is not a single email address to write to.

Figures.

GET A LIFE, DOT COM!!!!

Get Rich Quick Schemes, VII

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One of the most prolific schemes around is the foundation and free government funding scams.

Most people probably heard of them, because these are aggressively promoted by telemarketers. It does not matter that you are on the don't call list, they will call you, and keep on calling you even when you ask to be removed from their lists.

The story they give you is that there are billions of money the government and foundations are easily giving away, and you are silly if you do not get your share of this free money.

Lavish seminars are held in hotels all over the country, and, again, at the end of the seminar most people are compelled to buy packets of information which will allow them to locate sources of free funding. A pot of gold, free for the taking.

When you get your packet, you realize - SURPRISE - that it is not easy to get funding. Yes, there are thousands of sources of funding in the U.S.A., both foundations and government programs, but the requirements for requesting funding are very strict and subject to scrutiny after disbursement. For instance, billions are distributed a year to scientists through grants (money that does not need to be repaid) for research programs. But this money is not meant to finance your dream trip to Hawaii or the purchase of a boat.

There are billions available for legitimate charities, but again, the burden of proof is great.

Misuse of funds might throw you in jail.

You will not find anywhere in these lists that promises easy money, without any heavy, documentary proof of use and capacity, and track record. MONEY IS NOT GIVEN AWAY FOR NOTHING.

At the end of the day, thousands of people spend hundreds of dollars in true, but unusable information, buying another dream.

Get Rich Schemes VI

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Some of the other Get Rich Schemes on the internet sell you the idea you can become rich almost instantaneously, making money with the google adsense program.

Again, the problem is not adsense itself, but rather, the "coaching" provided at great cost by scamsters.

To make a substantial amount of money on adsense, you have to have a site with hundreds of thousands of pages, with relevant information, and great google positioning (ranking). This is basically impossible on the short run, for a single operator. Building interactive sites, where other people are building content for you is a bet, however it is not that easy. My blogs, for instance, have over 3,000 posts, and I would say less than 10% have ever received a single comment.

What some of of these "coaches" might teach you is how to get google against you. In other words, they sell you tricks to build a site (a lot of times with content used without permission, by itself, illegal), sign up for google adsense, and then ilegally get thousands upon thousands of hit on ads, through various means.

Guess what, the google algorithm is a tad smarter than you, and you might make a few bucks for 3 or 4 months, but eventually, get kicked out of the program. Forever. Yes, you will get caught.

On the other hand, it is not that easy to get relevant ads to show on your page. In fact, I would say it is impossible. On this page alone, you will see most of the ads that appear on the right have nothing to do with the subject. This greatly reduces the possibility somebody might be interested on the ads.

Guess what again, the same thing happens in newspapers and magazines. However segmented they might be, you might see an ad on the business page that has no connection whatsoever with the subject of the articles. The advertising business has been this way from day one.

Not only that. The likelihood some advertiser might target my blog as priority medium, and bid high, is very tiny. This onky happens with the likes of CNN, Huffington Post, etc.

Thus, before you dish out a few dollars for an "insider's guide do adsense millions", get some sense into your head. Expect a few hundred, perhaps 4-figures during the course of the whole year.

It is not that easy.

Get Rich Schemes V

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A lost of the online get rich schemes sell you the idea that you can make thousands of dollars from affiliate programs. In order for you to have a site that generates thousands of dollars from affiliate programs, you better have tens of millions of hits a month. Otherwise, expect 5 dollar checks.

The scam is not the affiliate program itself - those are legit, although not good business for most people. The scamsters are business coaches abound, who sell you the secrets to making millions in affiliate programs, and charge you a rather substantial amount of money to set you up. There are tons of websites that claim to have the key to be successful, working at home, using affiliate programs. Stay away from these. They will sell you no secret - just a dream.

Here is an article I wrote about affiliate programs, about 4 years ago.

WHAT IS REALLY UP WITH AFFILIATE PROGRAMS - SHOULD YOU BOTHER?

You might have seen ads for myriad seminars claiming they will tell you the secrets of making millions with affiliate programs. There are plenty of books, CDs, DVDs, sites, etc, promising affiliate riches for savvy businesspeople such as yourself. You might have spent quite a few hundred dollars on such programs and discovered, at the end of the day, that they are as much as a dud as the schemes involving federal grants. So, if you have not spent those hundreds of dollars yet, read on. I hope you do not take that foolhardy step.

Are there people or companies making money with affiliate programs on the Internet? Sure there are, but if your site does not have multiple hundreds of thousands or millions of page views a month, don’t bother applying. I speak from experience.

This is not another one of those “sour grapes” articles, written by a failed entrepreneur and meant to discourage people to do things “right”, just because the author failed, because “he did it wrong”. It is neither an expose, although, I suppose, there is a little willful bad faith in the affiliate hype. As a disclaimer, I did not spend the hundreds of dollars on CDs, DVDs, books and seminars, so I do not have any axe to grind with these companies/individuals. Most of my learning has been done the hard way, with independent research.

The real heart of the issue is whether such money is available for start ups or small operators, such as yourself. I reckon that if you are reading this article, you are likely not the webmaster for Amazon.com or yahoo.com, rather a well meaning individual who wants to make a few bucks on the internet - after all, everybody is supposedly doing it.

Affiliate programs seem a good bet on theory, as they link your site with major companies, including Fortune 500 companies, and the financial perspectives are almost endless. In theory, that is. The problem, though, is the same for everybody: traffic, traffic, traffic.

I have had a traditional store, and I have a webstore. Whereas most of the people that entered my traditional store bought something, their overall number was small, sales volume low, expenses high. In my webstores, I get more than 15,000 visitors a month, and on a good month, 1% might buy something. Don’t be disheartened, this is how the internet works. Huge numbers to see any “action”. Webhosting costs surely beats New York commercial rents by a mile, so all in all, I am better off now than then.

This should show you something straight forward: that 1% of the people that enter my pages will actually dish out any money (and this is a good ratio), and 99% do not. What makes you think that hundreds of people will click on your affiliate banners and actually do business with your advertiser, if even your total page views per month are lower than 10,000? Mind you: you still need huge numbers of clicks from your site to generate actual sales, as only 1 to 2% of the visitors who click to begin with might actually make a purchase from your advertiser. So we are really talking about 1% of 1%! So make the calculation yourself!!!

So the big million dollar question is, how to get enough traffic to actually generate affiliate income. Many wise guys will try to extricate further money from you with promises of improving your google rankings, telling you that what you need is in fact better search engine position. That is a half truth or half lie, depending on how you look at it.

The reality is that search engine position is meaningless if your site lacks content. No content, no affiliate income. No content, no multiple search results. And I am not talking a couple of hundred pages, I am talking thousands upon thousands.

I am not exaggerating. First of all, in order for a visitor to click on your advertiser’s banner, he/she has to stick around in your site for a while. The 30 second visitors are no good. They either have not found what they want in your site and are unlikely to click on your affiliates banners or do business with them, before leaving your site forever, or they are the worst type of compulsive surfers that plague the web, for the lack of something better to do.

So you have to grab the interest of your site’s user, enough to warrant repeat visits. Fresh content will definitely help on this context, and original content even more. But again, you have to add thousands and thousands of pages, to ensure ever increasing traffic.

In my first 6 months with affiliate programs I made a whopping zero dollars. I signed up for over 30 programs, in three different sites. Even sites that required no purchasing (all the visitor need to do was fill a form), generated zero dollars for me. My combined readership is over 100,000 page views a month, so, in 600,000 page views about 6,000,000 ad impressions (not all 30 banners show in every page, on the average, only 10), I got $0.00. Ouch!

I believe that one of the reasons for this failure is that my sites have quite diverse content, they are not specialized. Perhaps, if I did concentrate in certain subjects, and signed up for affiliate programs specific to these areas, I could earn some income. For instance, if my site were about medicine, and all content medically related, I was bound to make some money already.

I did find, however, that the actual clicks to the affiliate banners numbered in the thousands. So what is up with that?

Well, we go back to my first thought. I got thousands of banner clicks, in the whole, but not enough to even approach the individual 1% threshold for sales I get in my own webstores. So I am still mathematically sound, but that does not in any way help my bottom line.

So the people making money with affiliate programs are the large search engines, newspapers, magazines, and huge content and e-commerce sites. A few, subject focused sites with lower traffic might also be doing OK, but forget about millions.

You might ask then, why do companies create affiliate programs, if most affiliates do not generate enough clicks to generate hard sales? Guess what, you are providing free advertising for them, just like I am providing it for the good folks on the left frame of my site. Their logos are still being plastered all over the place, without their disbursing a single cent. They do not come out losing at all. In a sense, you don’t either, as known advertisers add to the seriousness of a site.

I would say that a program such as google’s adsense might be better for small time web operators. This still requires thousands of pages of content and substantial traffic, but you make money with every click, rather than business transactions that never happen. If you click on my adsense ads above I am making money; on the ads on the left, you got to make a purchase. Read my article on keywords and you will find out that the top Internet searches and most expensive keywords have little to do with each other. It is easier to get people to go around on your site clicking on google ads which are going to generate a few cents here and there, than to get a person to click on a banner and spend a few hundred dollars that will earn you about $5.00. Altogether, adsense is a better deal, and might earn you a couple of hundred dollars a month.

That said, a word of advice. If you do have a webstore, don’t put adsense in it, because all it is going to do is retrieve your competitors ads, and dissipate your sales. They will leave your store, perhaps forever. The cents you are going to earn with the click are not worth the dollars you might lose from your prospective customer.

So build up content. No matter how you look at it, you will need it.

Get Rich Schemes III

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Who, in modern America, has not been suckered into an MLM on his lifetime?

I was, very early on my life. I soon found out that MLM's are about hype, dreams, and no substance. The folks that make real money are the company and perhaps a few people at the top of the pyramid. MLM promoters don't like their business to be portrayed as a pyramid, but that is exactly what they are. A peak (the company) with a wide base and three corners. That is at least a triangle...

People at the base sustain the numbers and make no money.

People who fall on the MLM trap are often so mesmerized by the whole deal that they do crazy things. In the first MLM meeting I attended, in my landlord's house at the time (I was still a college kid, give me a break), the guy conducting the meeting drank detergent to prove the product was environmentally sound. I wonder how long he survived doing this.

The common feature of all MLMs is that you have a buy a starter pack. In 1980, it cost me almost 80 dollars, a lot of dough for a struggling college kid. The first (and last) rally I was suckered into was like the Republican or Democratic convention. A few folks going up the podium and stating how much money they made the year before (again, I wonder what story they told the IRS), and lots and lots of motivational books and tapes being plugged in.

By the way, this is another way the MLM purveyors make tons of money, selling motivational crap.

I had seen enough to realize what really goes on. The point is not selling the goods. The point is just signing up tons of people to buy the starter kit, and perhaps, tons of books and tapes (now CDs and DVDs), and keep the cycle going. I have no idea whether the crazy detergent drinking man ever sold one gallon of his environmentally friendly compound, but I suppose he pushed tons of books during his "career".

The system is so pernicious that in order for you to start making money even from getting your friends to sign up, you have to sell quite a few starter kits. Most people quit before they actually make a cent from sign-ups.

Funny is that some people move from one MLM to another. I suppose for dreamers the story is very compelling.

Later on, with no intention of participating, I went to a couple more MLM meetings, just to see whether anybody used a different modus operandi. They are all the same, whether the "business" is selling vitamins or mortgages. You buy a starter kit that costs in the neighborhood of a $100, hear exaggerated rags to riches stories, and get pushed tons of motivational stuff.

So, the next time you get invited to an MLM (Multi Level Marketing) meeting, you know the score.

If you want to make money from MLM, you have to invent your own "program".

Get Rich Schemes II

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Yesterday I recalled the ads that used to appear in the magazine "Income Opportunities", around 1986.

These were mostly full page ads, normally with a photography of the person who claimed to have found wealth quickly, using a certain technique or method. Techniques or methods he or she was willing to share with the public, by means of a report. Not a free report, obviously, but one that cost about 20 bucks, which was quite a lot of money at the time.

The pictures normally featured a huge house and expensive car. Sometimes the dressed-up man was accompanied by a younger, pretty woman. Boats also made appearances in these ads. Some of these folks went as far as publishing their alleged bank deposits for the last few months. I wonder what story they gave the Internal Revenue Service...

The ads normally defied all advertising practice. Normally, an ad tries to convey as much information as possible with the least amount of text. These ads did the reverse. They were full of text, that told as little as possible about the product you were about to buy! Here and there, they contained rags to riches stories that could awaken the sucker in the hardest and smartest of souls.

This was way before the age of the Internet, so you had to buy a report, which more often than not was a flimsy and ugly booklet. Yesterday I described one of the businesses promoted - looking for money underneath bleachers in stadiums or parks, after a game.

At least one of the guys was very honest in his report. He said the way to make money was write a report like he did, telling other people to write reports just like the one you had bought, and continue the cycle. In other words, the business was just selling dreams. There would be enough suckers for him and for you. Of course, he didn't use these very words - he made it all sound like it was a legitimate business, and made you feel like a savvy businessman, rather than a sucker.


Whatever happened to Mr.

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It is a funny thing.

In the 80's, when I was in my 20s, I used to get lots of telemarketing calls. People used to address me politely as Mr. de Paula, and Sir.

Now that I am pushing 50, whenever one of these jokers get me on the line, they treat me as Carlos. Some are anything but polite.

What happened to Mr.?

And courtesy?

The new Playboy magazine

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Several generations of Americans grew up "reading" the magazine that portrayed beautiful, scantily clad women, so perfect and well proportioned, that their very existence seemed impossible.

Times are changing.

A new type of Playboy magazine has emerged.

It is U.S News and World Report. The once good news weekly magazine now wastes its readers time with issue after issue of "Best of" magazines that sell unattainable dreams to hordes of Americans.

The Best Colleges, the Best Hospitals, the Best Graduate schools, the best places to live at. Who can afford these? The Best Hospital ranking issue claims to have assessed over 4900 hospitals, yet, less than 140 make the list in one or other specialization.

In other words, most people are having to get mediocre health care or college educations, while dreaming of one day getting hospitalized or getting enrolled at one of the institutions that make the list.

Just like other generations dreamed of marrying Marilyn Monroe...

Partisan politics

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Partisan politics might one day doom us.

What we really need are patriots, who look after the welfare of the country, rather than that of special groups.

If the middle class is the majority, it should have a voice, rather than simply paying the bill and putting folks in power.

Without the middle class, there is no U.S.A.

Computer problems

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It gets tiring communicating all day with unruly bits and bytes that do whatever they please, in detriment of my reasonable commands.

Merchant services

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If you run a business that has so far has survived without accepting credit cards, think twice before you sign up.

Yes, they lure you with those low fees, 1.5%, 1.6% right. It is not too bad, you still walk away with 98.5%, 98.4% of your money.

Not so fast, cowboy.

I don't want you to look at the statement they send you to find how much you are really spending, after you sign up, because by then it is going to be too late.

The company that does my processing supposedly charges only 2.16% of sales. Great!

But they might also charge $0.19 per item. That means you pay $0.19 for a $1,000.00 charge or $5.00 charge. If you have low average sales, that cuts your profit by a large margin.

It does not stop there. In addition to the percentage discount the following nice fees and surcharges appeared on the latest statement. Mind you, they have no explanation whatsoever as to what they might mean, you have to figure it out yourself.

NQS-VS KEY ENTERED
NQS-VS KEY REWARDS 1
NQS-VS KEY REWARDS 2 MOTO
NQS-MC INTNL STANDARD
NQS-MC INTERREGIONAL PREMIUM
NQS-MC STANDARD
NSQ-MC CONSUMER WORLD CARD
NSQ-MS CONSUMER ENHANCED VALUE

These ate up another 28 bucks

Plus other fees
AMEX PER ITEM
VISA APF
VS MISUSE OF AUTH SYSTEM FEE
WEB MINTORING FEE (?)
STATEMENTS
DATA GUARD FEE

Another 22 bucks

So by the time they are through with you, the fee has doubled.

That is not all. You have to check with your bank whether they charge you a fee for every deposit make to your account.

Talk about bottom line. It is more like bottom of the ocean with an anchor around your neck.

You might not get 98.5% of your money, try something like 92% or 93%.

I got a new dad!

english

Yes, indeed.

He is nice and rich, however, a bit stingy with money. My own money, it turns out.

Chase has all these promotions to boost debit card use, yet, they restrict my spending on the debit card to 3 grand a day, and ATM withdrawals, to 500.

I guess I have been a bad boy lately.

I suppose they will say they do this for security reasons. Yet, they have this terrible system now where you just show the card, without any PINs or signatures, and BAM, it is charged.

Dad, please let me have some of my own money I worked so hard for. PLLEEEEEEEEEEAAAASE!!!

The privacy wars

english

I wonder if Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, would enjoy a site that publicizes all of his secrets, including account numbers, document numbers, tapes of sexual encounters, list of all his relatives and friends. You see, confidentiality and privacy are a funny thing - we prize or own and defend it to the hilt, but dismiss others'.

REGISTER.COM - SHAME ON YOU

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Register.com is a domain registration company that takes pride on its "number 1 customer service". It makes sure you know this in phone recordings and all over its site's front page, claiming high J.D. Power ratings, among other things.

Trouble is, Register.com is way off in the way it prices domain registration and how it provides services. The basic rate they charge is $35.00 a year, a bargain in 1997, but an outrageously high price nowadays. If you are paying more than $10 for an annual domain registration these days, you must have your head checked, unless there is a very good reason for it. For there is very little customer service you get in return for the excessive price in this case, you see.

I had such a reason, so don't write me off as a cuckoo yet. Unfortunately I had this old domain for a webstore I actively operated until about a year and a half ago. I still have the store on the net, but it is mostly empty. While I was operating the store I could not risk something going wrong with the domain, which had fairly high google rankings, so I did not transfer to a more sensibly priced company. How smart I was.

I did not give up on the domain, but thought this year was the time to get it out of register.com and start paying market prices. I don't know now, but when I signed up for the domain, at 35 bucks, you still got a large register.com advertising banner at the bottom. To get rid of the banner, AND SHOW my clients I had a secure website, I had to pay an additional 40 odd bucks - A YEAR. Yes, that is customer service for you!!

Since the store was making money, I just saw it as another nagging business expense. Now that it is dormant, I decided to shift to another company and wait on the future.

I followed the transfer procedure to the tee, as stated on the register.com site, according to the new registrar's information and according to the phone representative, wherefrom I got a transfer code. Yes, they do make it a tad difficult for you to remove your domain from there. But I persevered.

Much to my disgust, I just discovered that rather than pointing to my website, my domain, which is now registered in another registrar but still under my name (and the change shows in whois for anybody that cares), is pointing to a nice and dandy register.com page, laden with tons of advertising on the hottest item I sold on my webstore, Havaianas flipflops.

I sent an email, and there was no response. So I called.

Guess whose fault it was? Yes, mine. The representative, who turned rather nasty once I began probing with some very embarrassing questions, told me the reason why that "coming soon" page showed was because I did not change DNS information on the new registrar. I replied that no one at register.com, on the page, or verbally, told me I needed to do that, and that for a company that prides itself on customer service that is the least I would expect.

Then he had the nerve to tell me the new page it was pointing to, the "coming soon" page, had nothing to do with register.com!!! Yes siree, I am supposed to believe that the powers that be on the Internet must have created a page advertising register.com, and while at it, figure out what is it that I sold so somebody could make some money from my traffic... He simply would not answer why register.com's logo and name appeared on the upper right hand corner, and the name of the company appeared again, with disclosure notices, bottom center.

He also failed to explain to me who was getting revenue from the Havaianas ads that appeared in profusion on the "Coming soon page". After saying at first, matter-of-factly it was not register.com that profited from the digital pamphleteering, then he conceded he did not know.

I never got even an I am sorry, even when he was nice on the phone.

I was going to illustrate this page with a pdf of the register.com page that appeared with my domain. But guess what? the page cannot be pdf'ed, and it cannot be converted to jpeg, tiff, doc or text. IT CANNOT EVEN BE PRINTED, believe it or not.

But since I like to document my woes, here are at two pictures I took of the page at 1:51 P.M. of June 17, 2010, for all the world to see. One shows the whole page (the white spot is to obliterate the name of a sponsor), and the upper right hand corner shows my domain, brastudo.com, plus register.com's logo and phone number.

This is what should show http://www.brazilyellowpages.com/store

Shame on you, register.com

A little thought

english

30 years ago, when there was no TQM, ISO standards, computers were rare, there were no ponderous company mission and vision statements, associates were called mere employees and Human Resources, personnel department, and a lot of the work force was not even college educated, you could normally resolve a simple dispute on the phone with a single and friendly call in the USA. Nowadays...conclusion, we have become nothing but a gigantic blob of over educated, title dropping and ego inflated incompetents, living off a veneer of scientific standardization. This is a crisis of the will to act and be accountable.

How wars get started, or how a letter makes a difference, or the power of proofreading

english

On a normal business Friday, a friendly e-mail exchange....

______________________

E-mail from: Joe Baraboskin
To: Larry Bothy

Dear Mr. Bothy

Thank you for work. Will send you bull later.

Joe Baraboskin

____________

E-mail from: Larry Bothy
To: Joe Baraboskin

Dear Mr. Baraboskin

I take strong exception at the manner in which you are referring to our activities, which we deem to be an honorable one. I hope to hear a retraction from you

Larry Bothy

________________________

E-mail from: Joe Baraboskin
To: Larry Bothy

Mr. Bothy

Don't know what you refer, so I am not retract anything. I believe content is all truth.

Joseph Baraboskin

______________________

E-mail from: Larry Bothy
To: Joe Baraboskin

Joe

I always trusted that our relationship was, above all, dictated by mutual respect. We do understand you might have more prominent clients than us, but believe this should not be a license to offend us. Retract now, or do not expect any further work from us

LB

______________________

E-mail from: Joe Baraboskin
To: Larry Bothy

LB

Listen, am tired of your baloneys. You think you big shot? I wish you pay as fast as threat. I have tons of clients and do not need this, especially on cold Friday night. If you not want send me business, is fine with me. Business from you is nuisance.

JB
______________________

E-mail from: Larry Bothy
To: Joe Baraboskin

you brute

You should learn that courtesy is really important in the business world. Didn't anybody teach you politeness in your country? Just to prove we are not your kind, don't forget to send the bill for this final job, although you don't deserve. You will get paid right away, and don't worry, you won't get any more nuisance from us. Have a crummy day.

L

_________________

E-mail from: Joe Baraboskin
To: Larry Bothy

Hey

Here is stupid bill. You are blood spits son of dog woman pork! Don't even dream of don't pay.

I know things, many things on you. Get cancer fast!

J, a direct descendant of Gengis Khan!

_______________________

E-mail from: Larry Bothy
To: Joe Baraboskin

That is it, no more payment for you. I just tore your bill. You can sue me if you want, and you can stuff the things you know. Try me, you nasty soviet, I also got some dirty laundry on you and I know where you live.

Remember I am a mason from Texas and my cousin works for the IRS!

Your worst nightmare, LB

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