There is something magical about the word “fraudster” especially when it shows up in the latest Nigerian email scams landing in my junk folder. Maybe the authors [sic] of these Nigerian email scams just love the sound of the word, or it’s all they know hearing themselves called a fraudster so often.

The word itself seems to be of recent origin; based on where you research via Google, it was coined between the years 1960 to 1975. Earlier versions were plain old fraud (1850), fraudsman (1610s) and frauditor (1550s), all according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. I personally prefer frauditor (based on some less-than-pleasant dealings with auditors, but I digress…).

Here is the complete email I received with no corrections whatsoever.


Attn: Beneficiary

We hereby inform you that the Scotland Yard Police, Interpol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, (FBI) United States of America, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria and all the African Crime fighter leaders have come together to stop scam/internet fraud in Nigeria and all round Africa. We have recovered over US$2.6 Billion Dollars from the people we have behind bars.

Our duty is to make sure we stop internet scam and money laundering. As for today we have put a lot of fraudsters in jail. We go all over Africa to pick this internet rats,We have over 8,273 of them in our jail around Africa and we are still looking for more. We are aware that a lot of foreigners out there have been deceived and lost their hard earn money to these fraudsters after promising them percentages in their letters/e-mails for their impending help to move funds out Africa including fake lottery winning notification and at the end of the day, they will collect thousands of dollars from you without a successful end. It was agreed that to retain the good image of our country and the rest of African countries, all the victims who lost his/her hard earn money to these faceless thieves will be compensated with just US$500,000,00 (five hundred thousand Dollars).

This we assume will help you to start a new life. Please, we apologies that you take our offer as little as it is due to the fact that (victims) in our pay list are too numerous. We en-back on this pay back from the money we recovered from these fraudsters, So you are advise to contact Mr Phillip John in the United State.

let him know if you are still interested to get your Master Card to you today as he have been waiting to hear from you to help him complete this delivery to you. contact him with your personal information bellow for your Master Card clearance and delivery.

Provide your details and forward it to Mr Phillip John to is contact details below or you call his number .+2348065322902


Agent Name: Mr Phillip John
Address Email:
Cell: +2348065322902

Thank and remain Bless

Mr. Michael J. Burn.
Supervising Manage

It’s so interesting to come across an email such as this one, so¬†thoroughly peppered with misspelled words and grammatical land mines. And yet there are people out there in the world who’ll get one of these and accept it as perfectly proper English, and just enough to actually bite. After all, there must be some sort of success rate, otherwise I wouldn’t get this crap in my spam folder.

Normally I would redact details such as phone numbers and so-called legitimate email addresses, but not this time.

I give this one a fraudster ranking of ‘4’ because of the number of times the word is used in the email, plus one for the fact it was sent by a fraudster. I may come up with some more elaborate ranking in the future, but for now I think this suffices.

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and yet life goes on – ruby and annie

Three weeks after loosing Max, we have Dreamboat Annie the Labradoodle and a much happier Ruby Tuesday. Or as Annie’s known informally, the wooly doodle. Or Annie-Banannie. She came to live with us a week after Max passed. She’s now five months. As can be seen in the back of mom’s Prius, they’re both pretty tight as far as canine buddies go.

She and Ruby have gotten used to one another and now play pretty heavily together. Tug-of-war, chase, dragon fights (where they play-mouth one another and make grunting sounds), and other doggish activities. Long walks every evening are now de rigueur once again. When they walk they walk together out front at a rapid pace. It’s been years since Max wanted to walk with any kind of pace and side-by-side out front with Ruby. Ruby is happy and I think pretty much over loosing Max.

As for me, it’s more complex. I have a lot of digital photos of the same period when Ruby first came to live with Max, at about the same age as Ruby is now. Being human my memories are a lot sharper, especially when helped by what I photographed and wrote about back then. Having Annie triggers an odd mixture of simultaneous pleasure in having her here while still feeling the pain of Max’s loss.

Life is neither simple nor slow. Annie’s introduction into, and interaction with, the household can’t be ignored while I mope around feeling sorry. It’s not fair to anyone, least of all little Annie.

Obviously there’s more to come. I just need to sit down and gather my thoughts into coherent sentences and paragraphs.

Posted in Annie, Dogs, Labradoodle, Labs, Ruby | Leave a comment

ruby’s lonely interlude

Ruby quickly came to realize that Max was gone and wasn’t coming back. It wasn’t like other times when Max had to spend a few days at the vets. This time Ruby knew, like we already knew, that Max was gone for good. Whether she picked it up from us, or figured it out on her own, or some combination thereof, Ruby did know. She fell into an almost human-like depressed state, choosing to curl up in corners of the furniture or spots around the house. From time to time she’d hear other dogs barking and would lift her head expectantly. But she’d quickly figure out it wasn’t Max and put her head back down, her eyes going down into a half-lidded, almost introspective, state. As if she were remembering times past.

I can’t help but feel her loss in this photo.

Posted in Dogs, Max, Ruby | Leave a comment

a quick note, and a short clip of max

MaxLastIcecream from William Beebe on Vimeo.

It’s been a while since the last post about Lucy. Writing about Max is a lot harder than writing about Lucy, and writing about Lucy was hard enough. This very short clip was taken by me at a McDonald’s across the street from our vet. Max loved his ice cream cones and as a final reward we took him over and got him one. I tried to film a longer clip, but was so emotional I couldn’t. But I think this is long enough. There’s no audio; it’s really not needed.

Right after this we went over to the vets and I let him and Lucy go.

I’m slowly coming around to wanting to write again, as well as photography and videography. There’s a lot that’s been happening in the world that affects me from a technological perspective as well, and I feel I need to speak out about that as well. I’ve also been very busy from a job perspective.

It’s time to re-engage with the world through my blogging.

Posted in Dogs, Labs, Max | 1 Comment

remembering lucy moments

Lucy - 22 August 2008 to 15 June 2015 Taken 7 May 2009

Lucy – 22 August 2008 to 15 June 2015
7 May 2009

We do not remember days, we remember moments.
Cesare Pavese, from This Business of Living

It’s hard to decide where to begin with little Lucy and big Max stories. They were both such larger-than-life personalities. That’s why their leaving left such deep voids in Judy’s and my souls. We still have two other cats and Ruby the yellow female Lab. So I decided to approach this as only an engineer can, in alphabetical order. We’ll start off with Lucy, the first Official Arcane Science Lab Mascot.

Lucy’s Arrival

Lucy officially came into our lives 22 August 2008 when she walked through our front door. Three weeks prior to that momentous day our next door neighbors had asked my wife if she’d put out cat food and water daily for two cats that they’d been feeding at their front door. My wife did this until that first weekend when I saw her ready to head out the door with another meal for them. I took the meals over and that’s when I first saw Lucy and another cat, a male ginger. I don’t know why I paid such close attention to Lucy, and I don’t think I ever will. But I did and from that moment her possible fate gnawed on my conscience. I wasn’t worried about the male ginger, as he was another neighbor’s cat and a fat freeloader. Lucy was just the opposite, frail and thin, at least to my eyes. That’s when I started to up the feedings to twice/day.

I kept those feedings up until the next weekend, when my concern over her well being grew ever greater. It was hotter than hell that August and the idea of leaving Lucy outside to fend for herself was getting to me. So one day, on a whim, as I was walking back from dropping off another meal, I stopped in the middle of the neighbor’s yard so that Lucy could still see me, and then turned back to look at her, and waited. Lucy wasn’t eating yet; she was watching me. We made eye contact and then she started eating. I stayed until she finished, which didn’t take long. When she looked back up she started to slowly move towards me. I waited until she got close, then I slowly turned and slowly walked back across our yards to my front door, always stopping long enough to see if Lucy was following. For the first two days she stopped, apparently afraid to leave the feeding spot.

But one day she followed me completely home as I’d hoped, and sat at the front door and meowed. I went in and got new dishes of food and water and fed her a second time. I figured she was still hungry and I was right. She started coming to my door every day, which was fine by me. The next door neighbors were home from vacation anyway.

Lucy’s outdoor living on my doorstep lasted for just several more days until one day I opened the front door, stood aside, and waited. Lucy looked up at me, then inside the door with the air conditioning flowing out, and made the decision to come on in on her own. That day was 22 August, and that started a long deepening relationship between cat and human. And two square meals per day in air conditioned comfort.

Origin Questions

23 December 2008

23 December 2008

I have no idea where Lucy came from, but I have my theories. When Lucy first came into the house she was wearing a flea collar. When I took her to a vet several days later I was told she’d been spayed. When I asked the vet where she might have come from the vet said she’d been raised as a lap cat and wasn’t really an outdoor cat. That lap cat behavior didn’t fully (re)establish itself until around Christmas of that year.

That meant, to me, that Lucy either ran away or was just simply turned out. Considering that 2008 was the height of the real estate collapse, where people were loosing their homes right an left, over time I came to believe she was turned out, or more precisely just left behind when a family left their foreclosed home. The reason or reasons why will never be known.

It meant I didn’t know her real age. The fact she was thin due to lack of proper nutrition didn’t help. She might have been anywhere from 1 to 3 years of age before she walked through my front door.

It took Lucy until Thanksgiving before she “became” the Lucy I’ll always remember. Before that time she was shy, backing away if I got close and stayed near too long. I made sure to feed her on a regular basis and then just let her eat. She managed to fill out during that period. She explored all the rooms in the house and all its hiding spots and would set up “shop” in different locations. She would seemingly disappear and put me in a panic until she either walked out of a hiding spot or I managed to stumble upon a spot. Her favorite resting spot was in the kitchen next to the washer and dryer when we were washing the blankets and towels. When they came out of the dryer still warm, I’d fold them and then stack them on the kitchen table to be put away. Lucy would home in on that pile like a heat-seeking missile, where she’d zoom to the top of the pile and then sit and watch everything happening around that part of the house. August to Thanksgiving 2008 was Lucy’s getting-to-know-us period. The house must have seemed chaotic to her, with two Labs (Max and Ruby as a puppy) and two other cats (Ellipse and Lulu). But she adapted to them and they to her. After that she made up her mind to adopt a person, and she adopted me.

The Long Stay

Lucy and Ruby
21 February 2009

Lucy integrated well into the household. She would have her moments with the other two cats, especially Lulu (everybody had moments with Lulu). She knew the drill about vet visits; she had no qualms at all about being put into a cat carrier and taken in the car to see the vet. I made sure to put her in the front seat. She’d talk up a storm and I’d reply back in a soothing tone. Once at the vets it was always a time of intense curiosity until the vet came to visit.

The photo at right shows the first time I took her with Ruby to the vet. Ruby had been born August 23rd, one day after Lucy showed up. We wouldn’t get Ruby until eight weeks later, at which point she was an instant object of curiosity for all the cats.

Lulu facing Lucy
6 February 2009

Lucy’s reaction to both Labs knocked down a common myth about animosity between cats and dogs. It didn’t exist, at least not in our household. All three cats loved to rub up against Ruby as a pup. I have to wonder if they thought of Ruby as a very big kitten.

Or perhaps it was because all the cats, being female, had deep maternal instincts that crossed species boundaries. Whatever the reason, all the little creatures in our household lived in relative harmony, except for the occasional standoff between Lucy and Lulu.

And that lasted all the time that Lucy lived with us. Whenever Lulu and Lucy got within seeing distance of one another, Lulu would start up a low growl that would set your teeth on edge. If it kept up long enough I’d call out to Lulu to knock it off. And she understood enough that it did stop.

How Lucy Got Her Name

Lucille “Lucy” van Pelt – Peanuts

Before Lucy was Lucy, she was called Gertrude by the next door neighbor. The neighbor is originally from Quebec, which may have something to do with the name. I personally feel Gertrude isn’t a fit name for man nor beast. I think Gertrude/Lucy felt the same way.

Lucy had been in the house for about two weeks when one day she decided to visit the back master bedroom and check out the bed. While sitting quietly and thinking cat thoughts, Judy came in the room and happened to notice her up on the bed. She walked over, bent down to say something nice, and while she was hovering over Lucy, Lucy reached up to bat her face away.

Lucy’s reach was with claws still retracted and was meant as a simple bat to get Judy back up a bit. The paw bat was strong enough and accurately placed such that Lucy, even though still recovering from her outdoor life stage, managed to put a little bruise Judy’s lower eye lid. There was no pain involved and she didn’t notice the bruise until a little later. When I saw the bruise and heard the story I immediately thought of Peanut’s Lucy, who was known to whop some of the other characters. I told Judy and from that time onward Gertrude was Lucy. And I think Lucy approved, because she quickly came to respond to that name.

How Lucy Won My Heart So Deeply, And Vice Versa

That process was pretty much over with me after those first two weeks in August. But winning Lucy’s heart took time, and required I just give her plenty of time and space to adjust to life in the house and come to see she was OK. As I wrote earlier I didn’t know how old she was, or what led up to her being homeless, or how long she’d been homeless. But I do believe that animals are not stupid. The bond of animal-to-human love and trust is easily built as well as broken, and while it can be healed, it takes time. So I gave Lucy all the time she needed. I made sure she was given ample food and water and the protection of the household. And over the next three months, her little soul did indeed heal, and I do believe, heal completely.

Reaching out to Judy 4 July 2009

Reaching out to Judy
4 July 2009

I knew it was healed when one day, out of the blue, she started to walk around my ankles, purring. And I don’t mean soft purrs. Lucy would purr like a motorboat. She’d be loud enough that even with my damaged hearing I could hear her standing straight while she was on the floor. That was around that first Thanksgiving.

We need to talk... 10 January 2010

We need to talk…
10 January 2010

From that point forward she made it her duty to visit me, especially when I was sitting in my lounger. She would patrol the house and on her way through the TV room, if she spotted me, she’d pick up her pace and then make a running leap into my lap. The first couple of times it was a bit startling, but I quickly grew used to it and would look forward to her visits. I give her rubs and she’d settle into my lap and purr, purr, purr.

Peek-a-boo 2 May 2009

2 May 2009

After determining that she was going to adopt me, she also checked to see if we could sleep together. She started to check that out by first sleeping at the foot of the bed. Later, after she grew comfortable with that, she would come up, curl up into a ball, and snuggle into my midriff. More than once when I woke up in the middle of the night I had to be careful not to squash a little cat. But that never happened, and she kept that up, especially during her illness.

During her illness I would reach down to rub her head and tell her how I loved her. Outside of taking her to the vet that was about all I could do. I’m pretty certain she understood the emotion if not the exact words. And it helped sustain her so that she lived a little longer.

Play time 22 April 2014

Play time
22 April 2014

She was like any other cat. She loved to play with toys, both conventional and 21st century. Her favorite conventional toys were the kind that she could play cat soccer with on the floor. Our house has tile flooring throughout, the easier to keep it clean of messes. It makes for a marvelously low-friction surface for rolling objects, for which all the cats found useful. But it was Lucy and Lulu who took the most advantage of the tile floor for playtime. The 21st century toy she loved most was the little red laser pointer. I would send her scampering from one end of the house to the other, and up walls, trying to capture the little red dot.

What follows are a few more photographs, in general chronological order. The final photos at the bottom are towards the end of both Lucy and Max.

Rolling thunder 19 June 2009

Rolling thunder
19 June 2009

Innocence incarnate 12 November 2009

Innocence incarnate
12 November 2009

Contented 1 May 2010

Contented Cat
1 May 2010

Clown 1 July 2010

Clown Cat
1 July 2010

Sharing the big chair 3 September 2010

Sharing the big chair
3 September 2010

I think, therefore I am a cat 25 May 2011

I think, therefore I am a cat
25 May 2011

Watching outside 27 June 2011

Watching outside
27 June 2011

Christmas Cat

Christmas Cat
25 December 2011

Mysterious Cat 6 June 2012

Mysterious Cat
6 June 2012

Camera Cat 7 January 2013

Camera Cat
7 January 2013

Watchful Cat 19 October 2013

Watchful Cat
19 October 2013

This photo shows Lucy’s one special house spot. It’s an old cabinet in front of the main window. We’d feed and water her in this one spot. Lucy would eat and then settle down to look out as the world passed by, one paw drapped. My daughter says that windows are like TV for cats.

Spy Cat 7 November 2013

Spy Cat
7 November 2013

A bag full of Cute Cat 25 March 2014

A bag full of Cute Cat
25 March 2014

Cat Napping 11 January 2014

Cat Napping
11 January 2014

Watching 26 July 2014

26 July 2014

Little Angel

Little Angel
15 September 2014

Coy Cat 15 September 2014

Coy Cat
15 September 2014

Lucy and Max, one last time 15 March 2015

Lucy and Max, one last time together
15 March 2015

There’s no other way to describe Lucy except as an exceptionally sweet and outsized personality in a small cat body. If her physical size had matched her personality she’d have been tiger-sized. Which makes why she was abandoned by her original owner(s) even more inexplicable to me.

It was the exposure to that outsized personality followed by its loss that has left such a painful void in my soul, every bit as big and painful as Max. She was around during some of the most tumultuous times in my life, providing solace and a barrier at home against an indifferent world. I foolishly thought she’d last nearly forever.

I’ll always remember these years I’ve enjoyed with Lucy, all her purring, the morning wake-up walks up my chest and into my face, the mischievous playfulness, and especially the unconditional love she showered me with. She broke just about every myth and convention I’d ever heard about cats and owning a cat, and all in a good way. She had her moments with Lulu, but everyone has had moments with Lulu, and to be fair to Lulu she’s been quiet and mopey with Lucy gone. She’s missing Lucy too in her own way.

Finding Lucy was one of the most improbable moments I think I’ve experience in my life. Yet I know that there’s lots more like Lucy in the world, and they need the same care I gave to Lucy. I guess it’s just a matter of time before I we find each other – again.


Posted in Cats, Lucy | 4 Comments