Archive for August 15th, 2006

AOL After Neo-Nazi Gold

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America
Online is prepared to take a backhoe to a Medfield couple’s yard in
a search for as much as $500,000
in hidden gold and platinum bars it believes may have been buried there
by their neo-Nazi son who made millions off of Internet spam scams.

AOL, the giant Internet provider, said it’s only trying to collect ill-gotten
assets from Davis Wolfgang Hawke, a former Westwood High School graduate-turned-neo-Nazi
cyber con artist.

AOL is determined to recover a $13 million settlement that it was awarded last
year by a federal court in a civil lawsuit against Hawke and his spammer cohorts.
AOL said it believes there may be gold and platinum bars on Hawkes’ parents’
Medfield property or on his grandparents’ property in Westwood.

"We have reason to believe (gold) is hidden" in Massachusetts, said
AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham, emphasizing AOL plans to give recovered
assets back to its scammed subscribers.

Hawke, 28, has disappeared since a federal court last year in Virginia
awarded AOL a $13 settlement against Hawke and his spam partner, Braden
M. Bourneval, a 21-year-old New Hampshire chess champion who settled
with AOL.

Published reports have said Hawke may have purchased as much as $500,000 in gold
bars from the millions he raised. AOL wouldn’t confirm that number, but Graham
said it does have receipts proving Hawke routinely purchased gold and platinum.

from the Boston Herald

Imagine that – two bloggable stories in one day
from the Herald. This one has it all – AOL, Spam scams, gold bullion,
buried treasure and neo-Nazis – almost.  All that’s missing
is  a sex angle.  Maybe we’ll find him holed up in a Bangkok
brothel…

Careful What You Wish For

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Thought wacky, nuke-hyping, Israel-threatening
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wasn[t annoying enough? Well,
now he has a blog.

State-run TV announced the blog’s launch Sunday, but www.ahmadinejad.ir – which
is written in Persian, but translated into English, French and Arabic – almost
immediately crashed due to a huge volume of traffic.

In his first entry, Ahmadinejad wrote about his childhood, the country’s Islamic
revolution and the Iran-Iraq war, Aljazeera.net reported.

And like all good blogs, Ahmadinejad’s asks readers to participate in a scientific,
objective online poll: "Do you think the United States and Israel are pulling
the trigger for another world war?"

The entry was 2,000 words long, but Ahmadinejad apparently has learned the lesson
all good bloggers must: At the end he wrote, "From now onwards, I will try to
make it shorter and simpler."

Ironically, Iranian authorities currently are stepping up arrests
and pressure
on popular bloggers.

from the Boston Herald

Those of us trying to push a blogger into the White
House should take note, although there is a world of difference between
a blogger who gets elected to office and an office-holder who starts
a blog. On the other hand, Bush wouldn’t be seen within a light-year
of a blog, or a blogger…

Airing our Undies

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In the past we have written of Zapatos,
the funky warehouse shoe and clothing store, featuring seconds, overstock
and, we suspect, the contents of an occasional mysteriously missing
big rig. Name brands at a faction of list price, almost perfect Nikes
and Bass for twenty bucks, hooded sweatshirts with slightly smudged
logos
for
$3,
bins of sneakers sorted only by size.

Owned by a crusty archtype named Eric Schapero, Zapatos
serves mostly Boston’s active Latino population and the homeless-looking
denziens who haunt the projects and alleys around the sprawling Boston
Medical Center. Yesterday, for some reason, we found ourself with our
unmentionables at a stulyfying presentation on an Ugandan Refugee Camp
in a computer lab on the Medical Campus in between the hospital and
the shoe store.

We know that what is happening in Africa at this very
moment is the most tragic affront to human dignity and and the sanctity
of life on the face of this sorry  planet, but we have to confess
to an inability to concentrate on it for more than 45 minutes without
becoming dangerously depressed.

After the presentation ended, we huddled our group
in the grassy green lawn outside the building. Students, professors,
doctors and interns came and went in mufti and scrubs, sandals and
sneakers.  It was a gorgeous day.

We felt the need to shake off the aura of death and
disease that still hung in our minds from the horrifying slide show
we had just seen. "Hey," we offered, "Who wants to go shoe shopping?"
They are, after all, Business Professionals. Don’t ask why we took
a bunch of Business Professionals to the Medical School for a presentation on NGO’s in Ugandan refugee camps.

Their reactions to the Schapero business operation
were mixed. The Europeans, accustomed to shopping for high fashion
in Paris
and
Rome, were almost as horrified by Zapatos as they had been by the refugee
camp. The Asians dove right in, digging for bargains.

We had explained to them that the selection was always
changing, and if you were looking for a specific thing, it was pure
chance whether you would find it. We were looking for a new pair of
Topsiders, for example, but this week they had nary a pair. On the
other hand, when we enter with an open mind, we always find something
we need.

However, on this trip we discovered a new danger in
going the discount route. We ended up buying some new underwear, three
pair for one low price, a major American brand, labeled "Slightly Imperfect"
(see photo). When we got them home, we realized they were straight
out of the Goldilocks catalogue
– one pair was for Papa Bear, one for Mama Bear and one for Baby Bear.
At least, Norma Yvonne says she’ll wear the small ones…..