I know I have been promising to write more about Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence. I will have some really great news about the latest events in my favor, but I had to stop and put all my efforts into releasing my new Holiday Extended Play CD. I am really proud of it and will have what I believe is some real good and unique holiday listening for all my fans. It will be called It’s December, and will be available on CD Baby and all of its outlets internationally. I’m really grateful for all the interest and many readers at Steve Hoffman’s Music forum and now the Japanese forum,  Simon & Garfunkel Web Forum at http://www.sandgforum.jp/

Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse of my new It’ December CD.

it s december cd photo

The title, It’s December, is derived from my new song which may be s first that mentions and appreciates the different belief celebrations in December, including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. My favorite line is, “And the prayers of one and all will be let there be peace.” Hopefully, that will happen. It even mentions snow and Auld Lang Syne.

There are a couple more surprises on the new CD that I will get into here when it is released in a couple days. Please stay tuned. More later.

For all who have tuned into my posts about the lack of credits on my Simon and Garfunkel’s 1965 original mono mix on Sound of Silence, I apologize for not posting some more sooner as I promised. But there will be some important surprising new information which I expect to reveal very soon and a lot more to share with you. I am delighted to see a recent increased record number of visitors here.

Since we are nearing the fiftieth anniversary of Sound of Silence being one of the greatest songs ever written, I will have even more interesting stuff to share with you very soon. It’s the kind of information that you want your great-great grand-kids to know about. Please pass this along to all your friends who have recently visited me here, and ask them to come on back and stay tuned.

This is a brief follow up to my post about who mixed or didn’t mix Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence single and album, and to reiterate to a few who shouted sour grapes. Since there were so many people who read and responded to my post, I was compelled to continue with my research and found others who apparently cashed in on taking credit on this single and album. I was really shocked to find so many others who have stepped up and put their name on the credits. My take on this is just that I believe each and every one of us are entitled to be proud of all of our accomplishments and if nothing else, we want our grandchildren and beyond to know of our achievements, awards, and honors.

But in this case, I have missed out on the Grammys, the RIAA awards and any other hoopla that goes with the success of a person or persons. And on March 22, 2013, it was announced that the album will be preserved by the Library of Congress in the National Recording Registry, calling it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” But of at least five or six who have now claimed credit, we wonder which mix was it? And, is it important? Your damn right it is important. This is another event that my grandchildren might like to read and boast about if my name was on it. It’s just a little more history to add for any interested descendants.

More research reveals that certain writers and journalists have carelessly taken the distorted information and written about it again and again as “gospel” obviously assuming that it must be the truth if it was in print and so and so said it. In my next post I will be writing about yet another character, who stepped in attempting to set himself up by putting down everyone around him and dragging in yet, and giving another false credit to another character.

But the real shocker came last night when I surfed on YouTube and found about eight or ten audio renditions of different mixes on Sounds of Silence by S and G. No master or album numbers, nor producer-engineer credits were posted but there were two that totally shocked me about the incompetence and total lack of musicianship displayed in the mix or remix. Totally unbelievable that over fourteen million people have been subjected to a mix that features the harmony voice out in front with the lead voice buried. One, called “Original version from 1964” can be heard at HERE was heard by 10,607,164 people. Another at HERE was heard by 3,722,014 people.

Knowing that this, or any mix must come from the original tapes, I’m sorry to say that this screw-up is totally inexcusable by those who may have overstepped the line in their quest for stardom in the music-recording business. There is more to be told on this which I will continue in my nest post.

Lastly, let me say that I was the first to cover the song as an artist for the Columbia Record Club in 1965, right after Simon and Garfunkel’s record became a hit. Regretfully, it can’t be published on YouTube without the permission of the copyright holder and Sony.

UPDATE NOV. 30, 2014

Columbia Records, Sony and RIAA have finally gotten it right and issued the proper credit on the single and album in question and here it is. I will be doing a follow up post but meanwhile, here is the RIAA Three Time Multi-Platinum Award with the Official RIAA engraving. No fakes, all genuine. It only took fifty years but is is done.

 

SOS CREDITS

 

And here is the award. Please pass it along to your friends who doubted and some of whom shouted, “sour grapes.”  I am totally proud of this!

 

SOS RIAA AWARD

 

ORIGINAL POST CONTINUES HERE

Simon and Garfunkel could have fixed this credits problem a bunch of years ago, but they didn’t. Paul knew but chose not to and the other guy rode to fame with them.

When it appears that someone may have stolen from you, covers it up, and gets away with it, you have not so fond memories about it with the possible loss of many thousands of $$$ from it hurting you big-time.

No sour grapes intended, but recording credits really do matter. And I could name a couple clichés that might fit. But I just want to finally get the truth out there once and for all to finally set the Simon and Garfunkel story straight on what may be one of the biggest credit thefts in music recording history. Some might say THE biggest. Note that I say “may” and “might” based on my knowledge of the facts. And I’d be willing to swear in an Affidavit that these are the facts.

When I came to Columbia in ’63, I am proud to say, I was the top pop editor-mixer for some time, and favorite of most all of their pop A&R producers. Unspoken was that we actually co-produced with most producers who put it all in our hands of how a record should sound. It was a few years later, when our begging for credits finally became a reality, and I finally got my first Gold Record with the Looking Glass’s Brandy.

In the sixties the norm at Columbia Records was that studio engineers laid down the tracks and we mixers edited and molded the final mix. The studios even had rotary pots. For the layman, those are the volume controls for each microphone or tape track. Any engineer will tell you that they are totally impossible to properly mix with. One could never achieve what I did on the single and the album working with rotary pots. But that’s what the Columbia studios had until our move to Fifty Second Street.

They called us “editors” but we mixed and gave the records the final sound, and then the mastering engineer, with tasteful limiting, not messing with eq, echo and stuff done nowadays in mastering, then got the highest level possible on the disc. Just off the street, and having worked (singing and playing) in just about every studio in town, I was the only engineer at Columbia who knew and understood rock at that time, with my limiters, compressors and equalizers cooking. The other engineers laughed at me and ridiculed me. But I managed to get the highest and hottest level possible for the mastering engineer. Classical producers hated me and one die hard union engineer threatened me when I laid out a musical score on the console to read. That’s another good story.

This was just a few years before we engineers pleaded and begged, and finally got credits on records. But it was too late in this case and a few more. On July 26, 1965, A&R producer Tom Wilson brought some newly overdubbed tracks down from Columbia’s 799 7th Ave Studio A to my mix room 607 to mix. They were Simon and Garfunkel’s original tapes of Sounds (or Sound) of  Silence and Somewhere with Bobby Gregg’s drums and some guitars added, I believe, by Vinnie Bell and Bucky Pizzarelli. I pulled out all the stops and made the mono mix. And here are those mix notes.

 

SIMON  GARFUNKEL S O S MIX crop072665

My mixing notes from Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence mono mix, July 26, 1965

Engineers reading here might notice the heavy high end Pultec equalization boost on the voices, low end roll-off at 60 Hz and 200 Hz boost to get the bass to sound on small speakers like the one I mixed on (See photo). Being a bass player, this was my little secret. It goes without saying that I had a limiter in each of the four channels. Note that, that night and the next day I mixed the great Teo Macero’s Sax Fifth Avenue album, which is out there to this day, and once again with no credit to me. Five days before that, see notes of mixing a Judith Raskin single.

Paul Simon was in Europe at the time, returned a few weeks later and we drove together in my car and played a bar mitzvah club date together in Jersey, whereas I told him of the events. I also moonlighted playing and singing with bands and the bandleaders would usually hire a guitar player to join the conventional dance band to play and sing some rock songs of the day, thus, why Paul was there. His daddy, Lou Simon was my competitor, who also was a bass player with the club date bands. See about Lou Simon 

Fib Lafayette speaker # 99-4551 - Copy

My little speaker I used to mix my mono records on, and also use to this day like an earphone to sing 

Their record made it to the top and Simon and Garfunkel were back in the studio and more overdubbing with Tom Wilson (with rotary pots). And here is how it was glossed over in a 2005 interview when the interviewee admitted that Simon and Garfunkel had no idea this was happening, and he said, “Paul was in England and Artie was off teaching somewhere. And we do these overdubs, and it’s released, and Sounds of Silence became a huge hit, and all of a sudden it’s “get these guys back!”

Note that he doesn’t say here that he mixed it, but obviously, to the unwary reader it is implied and understood. It is assumed he did it all. He says “And we do these overdubs, and it’s released.” He obviously forgot what he had said moments before in the interview with the facts about studio and edit-mix rooms at Columbia: “In those days, the studios were studios, the editing room was an editing room, and the mastering room was a mastering room-all separate. Dates were done, the tapes came into an editing room where they were edited and mixed down to a two-track and a mono, from there to a mastering room.”

He says, “the tapes came into an editing room where they were edited and mixed.” Later, as Sounds of Silence was climbing the charts, Tom Wilson came to me to mix the mono Simon and Garfunkel album. And Tom brought Bob Johnston in and he mixed the stereo album with Mike Figlio. Johnston also took all the credit down the line in his interviews. The stereos at that time were really throwaways since mono ruled.

Months later, we moved to 49 East 52nd Street. Unbeknownst to me, the studio engineer had stepped in and taken all the credit obviously implying he was the hero who did it all, especially the original mix and the album mixes, using the studio rotary pots yet. Tom Wilson was no longer there and Bob Johnson was on the scene.

RoughmixdDon overdubbing a world record

Me in 1967 singing with my little speaker using the first one inch 16 track at Columbia. Yeah, that’s the machine they recorded Bridge Over Troubled Waters on.

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Me, today overdubbing and still using the little speaker. Note the Gold Record (The Looking Glass) behind me was one of the first with engineer credits. It would be nice to have one of the Multi-Platinum Awards of Simon and Garfunkel hanging next to it and Dylan’s later Multi- Platinum Desire and Hard Rain.

Then came Bridge Over Troubled Waters. I was proudly moonlighting, paying dues to SAG, AFTRA, Local 802 Musicians Union and Local 1212 Electrical Workers Union, and Clive Davis had signed me to sing four sides on Columbia. So, I booked time through the Columbia A&R Department. I was busily recording my Columbia sides with our new one inch 16 track machine. And then one day, my boss came and ordered me to release it to Simon and Garfunkel and the “other” engineer, and deliver it to them in Studio B.

This was the studio engineer who, from all indications, had taken all the credit for their new hit and was now a big man at Black Rock and Simon and Garfunkel’s hero. There was more behind the scenes politics that had taken place before and after our move to the new studios, whereas we had new mix rooms and some studio engineers were mixing in the studios. So, I rolled the monster on down to Studio B and also invited myself to listen to Cecelia. It was a throwaway. Never make it, they thought. Everyone hated it and I guess I pissed them off when I said it was really good and I liked it. During a break I invited Paul up to my mix room to hear a cover record that Columbia Arranger-Producer Ed Shanaphy had me singing on Sounds of Silence for the Columbia Record Club. He even hired Bucky and Vinnie to play on my cover record. Paul stood there with his mouth open and uttered, “Wow! It sounds like us.” Duh! Well, that, along with my other covers singing Almost Persuaded, Jackson, and Gentle On my Mind, at least it got me AFTRA scale, sounding like the ones who did them originally and had the hits. 

As Paul started to leave the mix room I cornered him and reminded him once again that I had done the original mix that launched them to stardom on Sounds of Silence and his words were, ”But I thought ___ did it.” Right, he did all that fancy mixing in the studio using rotary pots. And I said, “No, man. And I told you all about this on that Jersey club date.”  There was no response but just a blank stare. “Enjoy the machine,” I said, as he walked out. I was still pissed that they interrupted my sessions and  took the 16 track machine away from me. But I was just a nobody.

DON CASHBOX AD - Copy

Well, at least Columbia promoted my Al Kooper creation of House in the Country with a nice big ad in Cashbox 

And so, I had to wait for them to finish “Bridge” before I could finish overdubbing my sides, one of which was a world record of overdubbed voices. Who knows if maybe I had had the mixing credit on Sounds of Silence, my name would have been seen by millions and one of my records may have jumped out there. Weird, that if you click on this website  there is copy of House in the Country for $130. One of my other releases with about thirty overdubbed voices at that time was My Silent Symphony, that you can hear if you click here. I only wish that a DJ somewhere would start playing it again and create a new buzz on it. It still sounds great, I think, and not dated. Tell me what you think with a comment.

After “Bridge” it was more fame and fortune for Simon and Garfunkel with the other guy riding along with his best kept secret about the credits. I guess he was deciding that nothing would be undone since my name would never be printed on the labels and couldn’t prove anything. After all, no one would know nor care. I saw Paul once after that. They had split up and he was in the studio with a different producer-engineer.

I guess I could rationalize and say that maybe the other guy never said he mixed it, but just rode along for the ride with the implication and certainly cashed in. Well, I’d like to undo it and I believe the world needs to know, even if it is almost 50 years later.  I am damn proud of that mix.

I’ll say now to Paul “fix it. You knew. It’s never too late. Since Tom Wilson is no longer with us to dispute other claims by Bob Johnston who also took credit, you knew that I did the mix that started you on the way to being international stars. This is especially after my recently reading that Paul Simon is a 12-time Grammy winner and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I can truthfully say that I was also one who helped you get there.

Strangely, the Columbia box #5029  that I initialed containing the mono tape and signed on that date, was replaced and the mono tapes and mono album that I mixed were nowhere to be found according to a source. They don’t exist. But my mix & equalizer notes do exist from that day and those notes are here for all to see. And I don’t lie. And if anyone disbelieves my notes, I invite you to have them checked for the timing of the forty-nine or so years that have passed, and the age of the paper. Of course, there will be doubters. There always are and I guess they’re entitled. But if they want to do any proving, they can play the stereo and the mono side by side and listen for the extreme high end EQ and play on small speakers and check the bass on my mixes.

And so, I propose that Columbia/Sony take the mono vinyl album and re-master it with the proper credit and give some credit where credit is due.

http://www.ampeg.com/story.html

Reaching Out and Helping When You Can

This post is about  helping others when you can, and secondly about protecting your fingers if you are a musician or anyone, in fact, making a living with their fingers.

I have been playing and singing music for many, many years, and the learning I have received as a working musician is more like getting a PhD. Throughout my professional career beginning at age 13, the camaraderie of most all musicians I have known and played with has been astounding, with the almost universal desire to want to help other musicians, and others, any way you can.

When I went on the road at 18, I found myself with my bass and my L7 Gibson guitar in New York months later, with a $24 a week gig in a take out place, sweating the musicians union residency rule. There were several older musicians I had met at the musicians hangout, Charlie’s Tavern, that had a profound effect on my life.

Charlie's Tavern
Charlie’s Tavern in New York

Where all the New York Musicians hung out

Three of them were extremely successful and were very generous in helping this 18 year old succeed, while 1500 miles from home in Texas. And one was Zeb Jullian, a down and out great jazz guitar player who had lost his two middle left hand fingers and was struggling just to stay alive. I met three of these guys at Charlies, where you learned on the road was the musician’s hangout in New York. Bass player Everette Hull, who invented the Bassamp system and started Ampeg, hung out there and he took me under his wing. He had me to substitute at his weekly gig on his night off. Years later after the Army, back playing again in New York, and studying audio, he hired me making Bassamps. Then, there was Dominick Cortese, session accordionist, and first man and contractor for the great A & R Columbia person Mitch Miller, who introduced me to “Happy” Powers, Local 802 membership chairman, who bent the rules and let me do th rest of my 3 month “sweat” in Montreal with a band. And no sooner than I returned, Dominick set me up with Alan Holmes at the Hotel Astor with the highest paying music gig in the city.

TME SQUARE ASTOR

 My gig at the Astor (on the left) with Alan Holmes at 19 years old – 1951 Note the marquee sign

And then, Uncle Sam said, “I want you.” The moral of all this is that older and caring musicians helped me get to a very successful point in my career, and also taught me the concept of giving back. I felt the inner pain of Zeb Julian, having been a great jazz guitar player, and suddenly being robbed of that by losing his precious fingers. I then tried to help him any way I could. He almost threw my prized old Gibson across the room in total frustration when I proposed to try to play a little with the two fingers. When I saw it was to no avail, I helped in other ways the best I could with a little money, some clothes, and some encouragement to seek some counseling, but most of all to stay away from the booze.

One of my paybacks to Dominick was 25 years later. It wasn’t much, but a small token when I was co-producing Bob Dylan’s Desire Album. We had earlier recorded the song Joey and I thought it needed some Italian flavor, so I called Dominic and the great guitarist, Vinnie Bell in to the studio to overdub on the song. It was seven minutes long and they both nailed it in one take, which underlines the statement “learn your ax well,” but most of all, also to protect your fingers at all costs.

I kinda laughed a little once when famed classical pianist Glen Gould walked into my Columbia edit-mix room one day to edit tape wearing gloves. When I reached out to shake hands, he just pulled away. No shake. But that encounter stuck in my mind and should have been embedded further when 2 1/2 years ago I almost lost those two left hand middle fingers, while using a modified grass-blower. When I saw the x-rays I was devastated that they were broken and hanging by the skin. The doctor wanted to just cut them off and sew it up. And then I told him the Zeb Julian and Glen Gould stories and I begged him to save them, if at all possible. He did, but had to fuse the ring finger at the joint. The finger being straight prohibits most chord playing, but I am ok with the bass, working around it. I should practice more, but the tips are extremely sensitive and hurt when I play.

I am telling this because you may not have heard it from anyone else, especially someone with the first (left) hand experience and knowledge of a great musician being robbed of his greatness in guitar playing. If you are investing your whole life in those fingers, protect them with everything you’ve got. Constantly be on guard as to what stupid little accident could injure them and ruin your life. So please heed to my advice. Protect the fingers. Also, reach out and help when you can.

 

I’ve been so doggone busy with my Indiegogo Campaign that I have neglected to post any new posts. So let me just say that probably the most important words I can say here right now is to ask all my readers to support me in my campaign to promote my newly issued Patent on my Miniaturized Loudspeaker Placement Platform. After four years of frustrating times, some of which were told here, it finally came in February.

patent_pgSMALL

 

And I  AM SHOUTING THAT IT IS THE NEWEST AND MOST FABULOUS WAY TO LISTEN TO SURROUND SOUND

 

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 John Fox enjoying a video game

And I’d like for you to be part of the team making the next big leap into the world of listening to music, movies and playing video games in 5.1.

This is my invitation to one and all to come aboard for a most exciting adventure. I need your help to promote my recently Patented miniature 5.1 surround sound listening system of loudspeaker placement.

First, if I reach my goal, I’ll be showing it at America’s largest Inventors Trade show, INPEX (Invention And New product Exposition) in June at Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

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My Patent is based on my startling discovery that little loudspeakers can sound  the same at a few INCHES away, as they do at a few FEET away.

Hundreds of the biggest and best companies in the US will be at the Inpex Show, scouting to find, and take on new and unique inventions either by buying a patent outright or licensing to manufacture and sell. I will consider all ways.

You probably know that the costs for exhibiting in a high class trade show like this one can be very  high, and individuals, as well as companies, spend thousands to put their best foot forward.

Soon after the show, if we get the funds, I’ll introduce and demonstrate the invention to fellow recording engineers and mixers, audio enthusiasts, and speaker companies in Philadelphia, New York and Nashville. I’ll also be inviting the press.

I’ve included the budget at the Indiegogo site, and if we exceed that amount, I’ll just keep plugging away, and show in more places like Chicago and L.A., and maybe more, and try to get on national TV. And if we go way over, I might even consider starting a company to make and distribute the platforms.

If you make a pledge of any amount, you’ll be invited to one of the showings, and you can bring your favorite video game, music or movies to try it out, or just bring yourself.

We’ll mount an extensive press campaign to all the trades with our 600 word releases also going to at least 100,000 journalists, twice.

Thus, the newly Patented Miniaturized Loudspeaker Placement Platform

 

GRLFSMALL

NOW IT CAN BE “MINI-FIELD” 

INSTEAD OF “NEAR-FIELD” – AND ONLY INCHES AWAY

So, a movie, music or a game addict, and even we STUDIO engineers, can crank it up at 3 AM, and not bother the neighbors. But now, I really need you to make a PLEDGE.

It was hard to come up with perks and incentives related to my invention, so, I decided to offer some of the finest dining places in the country and some famous jazz, country, classical, and Irish music places as perks and here’s a few:

New York’s

21 Club

Four Seasons

Carnegie Deli

Birdland

NY Philharmonic Orch. at Lincoln Center

Meehan’s Irish Pub in St. Augustine, FL

Philly’s Old Ship Moshulu Restaurant

Grand Ole Opry 

So, how did all of this come about?

I got the idea a few years ago when I was shooting my miniatures. I’m also a miniature craftsman and have made little working chandeliers, some of which are in museums.  was writing my book, The Fine Art of Photographing Miniatures, especially chandeliers and rooms, and how to make them look like they’re real and FULL size. I was setting up the lighting and the camera to shoot a colonial room my wife had built.

PHILA_PARLOURSMALL

 Note that the camera is only inches away at that established eye level of about four inches (four feet) off the floor

Seeing as how the furniture and chandelier looked so real at only a few inches away, I wondered how little SPEAKERS might sound from inches away. So, I went to work experimenting, and my research revealed that the intensity of sound levels drops off in inches just like it does in feet, and in the same proportions. Acting the same as light does in its intensity, they both follow the Inverse Square Law. The Patent Examiners, after intensive searching “prior art” Patents, found that no one had ever come up with this idea and after four years, issued my Patent.

Thus, the newly Patented Miniaturized Loudspeaker Placement Platform.

So I am asking everyone who reads this to help me get to that important show, where I can shout it all out to those important companies and then on to the three big city demonstrations RECORDING PROFESSIONALS AND SPEAKER COMPANIES. And, with your much needed help, that right company will find us, and we’ll get the word out to everyone. Make a pledge and I’ll appreciate it, MORE than you’ll ever know. And if you can get to Pittsburgh, I will be getting a limited number of badges to see the show. If not at Pittsburgh, at least you’re invited to one of the demonstrations. Well, I hope to see you there.

Oh, I forgot to mention that my smart ass-istant “Buck” made the first pledge of a buck and wanted change for a five..

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Wouldn’t keep his mouth shut

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And he finally got “all wrapped up.”

 And now, he is one of the perks.

 

 

This is a continuation of the post about “Sister” Anna Maria and his/her efforts to retrieve money in a Nigerian Scam sneak attack through LinkedIn, by offering me 12.5 million dollars. The purpose of this is to warn all who choose to listen of how the Nigerian scammers (called 419 scammers) have infiltrated the world with their well planned scams to appear to give millions for nothing. As we all have been warned since birth, something for nothing just doesn’t happen and nothing is free. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8I_KcO-k_Q where Nakhon Ratchasima police in Thialand have arrested a Nigerian man for allegedly duping a Thai woman into sending him tens of thousands of baht after leading her to believe he wanted to marry her. When you get to the YouTube site you will see dozens of cases of busting the criminals.

And so, after sending Anna Maria the letter as was in my last post, lo and behold, they screwed up and I received the exact same original email through LinkedIn again, starting over as if no other communication had existed. It was the exact same (form?) letter as she/he first sent, beginning with:

“Beloved one in the Lord
I am Mrs Anna Maria Agara, Am sorry to come into your privacy. I want to hand over this noble project to you with trust.i have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer .It has defied all forms of medical treatment, right now, I have only about a few months to live and I want you to distribute my funds($12.5 MILLION US DOLLARS) to charities home as my promise to God.i have set aside 40% for you and your family.

“please i want you to stand as new beneficiary of my husband fund,and i will make sure that the bank transfer the money into your account,all the document is with my attorney Recently my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next four months due to cancer problem, though what disturbs me most is my stroke. Having known my Condition, I decided to donate this fund to church or Better still a Christian individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein.” I want you to use this money support churches, Orphanages, Research centers and widows propagating the Word of God and to ensure that the house of God is Maintained…”

Throughout their campaigns the scammers demand secrecy, and you are not to tell a soul. Then, they want you to give your bank account number so they can transfer the funds. DON’T EVER DO IT. They will rob you of every penny if you do. Well, for some good clean fun, see the scam baiters at these websites, “playing 419 scammers at their own game.” http://scamsandshams.wordpress.com/, http://www.419eater.com/html/baiting.htm, and http://www.419eater.com.

If you are up for it, they all present good advice to wear the bastards down but warn not no to piss them off, threaten them or call them names, for fear of retaliation of sending you a virus, etc. So I continued with the religious game that they had started in the first place. This time I pulled out all the stops with my writing and brainstorming. So far, not a word. Some may say I am sacrilegious, but no, I am playing their game but by my rules. But also, perhaps I put the fear of Goid into them as you will see. They are going to the extreme playing their holiness card and so am I, merely trying to tell them what they want (or may not want) to hear, and going to my creative extreme. But in this case they may not want to hear me telling them that God is watching and may send them directly to hell, not passing “GO” and not collecting the $200 as in Monopoly. But you and I can laugh a little if they believe it. And this is how my new reply went:

“Dear Sister of the Lord, Anna Maria Agara, I am very sorry for your loss of your husband and the awful state of sickness you are in but I have some wonderful news about that, below, which you will rejoice over from now to kingdom come.

“As soon as I received your email from you, I hurried over for my daily meeting with my Priest friend at the church, Monsignor Yehudi Houdini. He is the illegitimate son of one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century,  Yehudi Menuhin. Monsignor Houdini (He likes to be called Yahoody) is probably one of the greatest cellists in the USA now, and he wears his hair, mustache, and beard exactly like Jesus did. We both play in the local symphony orchestra, and it is just an awesome Heavenly sight, and people come from miles away just to see what appears to be Jesus sitting there with utmost emotion playing and praying every single note on his historic Andrea Amati cello from 1600. You would think you were sitting right next to Jesus when with Monsignor Houdini.

“When we meet daily in the reconciliation room at the church to play and pray together, I accompany him and sometimes he goes into a deep trance while playing. I asked him today to pray for Anna Maria, beloved Sister of the Lord. I told him of your unfortunate circumstances, a widow in mourning with only a few months to live and to serve the Lord. He prayed and lo and behold by the grace of God, he went into one of his deep trances and then began to play the song “There by the Grace of God.” And then he started to sing,

“And all the drugs in the world
Can’t save us from ourselves
Victims with the saddest hearts
Passing by the grace of god
There by the grace of god

With grace we will suffer
With grace we shall recover
There by the grace of god
There by the grace of god”

“I wasn’t too sure of the chords in the song and had to fake it in order to accompany him. His lips moved again with no sound as if he was speaking to the Lord, and gazing up in front of him. And then he smiled as he shook his head in an affirmative manner, while he played the blessed notes. And then he stopped playing.

“He turned to me and said, ‘God has spoken to me, and Sister Anna Maria must be told that she is not to worry, that she is NOT yet ready to enter into my Kingdom, and that she has much work to do, and that she may live to be a hundred earth years, a very small fraction of eternity in hell if she disobeys my codgeric, eccentric, enthusiastic, elastic words.’

“And then, Yahoody said to me, that the Lord wants Sister Anna Maria to enter the convent and become a nun to serve Him in the greatest way possible for a little sister of the Lord. She is not to deliver the 12.5 million dollars to Don Meehan, but to only deliver half of that and to work with him across continents to achieve a better number of events to promote her causes of her charitable desires. She will work from inside and he will work from outside. And she is not to question Don Meehan’s favor of God’s love,  generosity and kindness.

“And the Lord also told Yahoody, ‘I will be watching over both the sister and the brother to do my bidding, and they both shall adhere faithfully to my Commandments. And let not even one soul question my words. Now, go in peace my son and deliver the message firm and strong in my name.'”

“The Monsignor was quite shaken and was in a state of shock after the apparition. He then said that the Lord told him of a secret about Sister Anna Maria that shall not be revealed until after the trust fund transfer is accomplished, and that the transfer should be accomplished immediately. And the Lord told him that many questions have to be answered first and the Barraster Lawyers of Sister Anna and of Brother Don must talk and agree before anything transpires, such as personal information. But he warned again that Sister Anna Maria and her Barraster (Bare-ass-ter) lawyer, especially, must follow His Commandments or suffer grave consequences of an eternity in hell with Satan if they do not.”

I continued writing to her, “Beloved Monsignor Yehudi Houdini strongly advised me that I should listen to the words of the Lord. And so, I will follow the Lord’s direction and wait for your reply, in deep anticipation that it will be soon.”

And so far, after 11 days now, no further word has come from the criminals, posing as brothers and sisters of the Lord trying to steal what they can from unwary strangers. Feel free to follow my line if you by chance hear from them.

 

I just discovered a wonderful and fun way to pass a couple hours by way of a LinkedIn email I received from an obvious 419 Nigerian scammer. I couldn’t stop laughing at what I wrote to them. But  whatever you do, don’t believe a word of what I wrote to them. Somehow, they have managed to sneak into LinkedIn, with authentic looking credentials, friends, and business professionals, to make them look real. Of course, LinkedIn will be informed as well as the proper authorities. And I don’t mean to offend any religious person who may read this. But when anyone  lies and plays the religious card to steal, opens themselves to any and all means to expose them.

I’m sure that most of us have been a target of the well known scams offering millions of dollars to unwary recipients. The first time this happened to me, I was totally unaware of the game of these criminals and was sucked in by what appeared to be total honesty by “Abou,” who turned out to be the classic scammer working from the west coast of Africa. I was only sucked into paying for two long distance phone calls that probably rang up to money in his pocket. And when I was informed and was sent documents of proof of the shipment that the multi-millions in “cash” would be shipped in boxes, and  for me to pay to have them forwarded to me. Or the alternative was  to fly to Spain and collect the boxes with the cash, my further research made me catch on to their game. There would also be more fees for me to collect the “empty” boxes. And then I got calls and email wanting to know why I didn’t show up in Spain. They are experts at their game of crime and there are a million stories outlining their tactics of swindling millions from unwary folks.

So, a couple weeks ago I got this email through LinkedIn from “business” contact professional Anna Maria, with a look of total realness, and with 106 business contacts. Her profile was that  did “legal” work and I assumed she was another lawyer. And so, I accepted her as a contact to add to my 193 contacts. And then, talk about ingenuity and imagination, she sent me this, verbatim, punctuation and all:

“Greetings. I know that this letter may come to you as a surprise, I am Mrs. Anna Maria Agara from Italy. I am Philanthropists.and have been engaged in the building and establishment of humanitarian foundation Because of my present ill health I am currently in the hospital where I underwent treatment for lung cancer, and I am contacting you to donate the sum of $12.5 million USD with trust. this fund is meant for building of Orphanage Centers, less privileged widows and HIV/AIDS Victims in the society, ETC, in fulfillment of my late husband wishes.and you can invest this money in any where of your choice We have been married for many years without any child and the doctor confirmed to me that I will not live more than four months from now,that’s why i am taking this bold step donating this fund to you. Contact me on this my private email address: (—————), so that I can send you more information. Remain blessed, Mrs. Anna Maria Agara.”

She states that she is from Italy and that is the assumption. But whoa! Does this smell of 419 or what? She/he doesn’t know me from Adam and assumes (From my LinkedIn profile) in her writing that I am a good Christian? I then proceeded to ponder over what and how is she/he going to try to swindle money out of me now that she/he has the LinkedIn contact and my email address. Or, if I don’t play my cards right, will she/he get into my computer and get personal information or plant a virus if I piss her/him off? Her next email, while assuming I am a “good” Christian and she is trusting me, a stranger, went like this (note the same punctuation and typos):

“Beloved one in the Lord.I am Mrs Anna Maria Agara,  Am sorry to come into your privacy. I wantto hand over this noble project to you with trust.i have beendiagnosed with Esophageal cancer .It has defied all forms of medicaltreatment, right now, I have only about a few months to live and Iwant you to distribute my funds($12.5 MILLION US DOLLARS) to charitieshome as my promise to God.i have set aside 40% for you and your family. please i want you to stand as new beneficiary of my husband fund,and i will make sure that the bank transfer the money into your account,all the document is with my attorney Recently my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next four months due to cancer problem, though what disturbs me most is my stroke. Having known my Condition, I decided to donate this fund to church or Better still a Christian individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein.”

Right! Usual story. And why would she choose me, a stranger over her “church” to administer millions? Am I that stupid? No! I’m supposed to give her my bank account numbers and guess what? And so, I searched the Internet search engines with these questions,  “how to play with scammers” and “playing 419 scammers at their own game.” I found these three websites, http://scamsandshams.wordpress.com/, http://www.419eater.com/html/baiting.htm, and http://www.419eater.com.

Those groups of people thrive on wearing the criminals down, wasting their time and spreading the word to the unknowing many about how to handle them. I was cracking up reading some of the baiting tactics. But wait until you read mine. If you are up for it, they all present good advice to wear the bastards down but warn not no to piss them off, threaten them or call them names, for fear of retaliation of sending you a virus, etc. Some were real gems, and so I started writing and composing some gems of my own. I took Mrs. Anna Maria’s cue of hers being a strong religious game when seeing her assumption that I am Christian, she wrote:

“I want you to use this money support churches, Orphanages, Research centers and widows propagating the Word of God and to ensure that the house of God is Maintained. The Bible made us to understand that blessed is the hand that Giveth. I took this decision because I don,t have any child that Will inherit this Money and my husband relatives are not Christians and I Don,t want my Husbands money to be misused use by Unbelievers. I don,t want a Situation where this money will be used in an ungodly Manner,that is the Reason for taking this bold decision…”

She went on to ask for 1. Name; 2. Address; 3. Country 4. Phone; 5. Age;  6. occupation 7. Email

(And signed)
Yours in Christ,
Regards,
Mrs Anna Maria Agara.

And so, how does she/he know if I am Christian or not? Well, I took the advice of the aforementioned baiting site and said that her lawyer and my lawyer should talk. And then came her Barrister Paul Jean with his crap. I sent him my lawyer’s 13 questions to answer which he ignored totally. After my second request to answer came his/her response with the phony documents. Remember that their emails are reproduced here exactly as they were sent, punctuation and grammar. Lawyers, with many years of study,  generally learn to speak and write properly :

(From: jopu jopu) Barrister Paul Jean
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2014 10:39 AM
Subject: Fwd: Attn Mr Don Meehan.

“Mr Don Meehan,
Feel free in this transaction, because every thing about this transaction is legal and reality, but this transaction must TOP SECRET, security reason.
One more thing, Mrs Anna Agara said you and i should not allow any body to be aware of the fund, because there husband family member need the fund, so keep this to your self alone, until the fund is to get.
Open attachment find death certificate including with deposit certificate of Mrs Anna Agara late husband documents.”

DEATH CERT

Note that is reads “English Version.” What other versions are there? I learned that English is the official language in Nigeria, so, why can’t they get it right when writing? Note that Anna Maria above in bold said she was from Italy. And the death is in Lome, Togo, (almost ten years ago) west coast of Africa, where Nigerian scams rule.

 

DEPOSIT

Note that it says:  “Original Copy?”  Deposited 14 years ago. American funds? Not Togo or Euro? NOTE COMMISSION ON TURNOVER – .5%  .5% OF 12.5 MILLION AMERICAN DOLLARS = $60,000. I’ll bet the ranch that this is obviously to be paid by the turnover to the sucker. 14 years, not touched, no activity no interest paid etc.? Also, nothing here about Italy, and when I did a Google search for http://www.siabd.com they returned:

Oops! Google Chrome could not find http://www.siabd.com

(Barrister Paul Jean continued) “Bellow is message, which you will re-send to the bank headquarters through there E-MAIL ADDRESS <ccb.ccb@one.co.il> immediately, because the bank headquarters is waiting for your response now. Bellow is message, which you will re-send to the bank headquarters through there E-MAIL ADDRESS <ccb.ccb@one.co.il> immediately, because the bank headquarters is waiting for your response now.”

When I saw what was on the documents I wrote Mrs. Anna Maria, outdoing myself playing the “religious card and name dropping” I wrote this:

“In a dream last night I believe that I received alms from the Almighty in Heaven with a blessing and a message. I have received, on occasion, important revelations like this that prove to be true. And in this blessed moment it is a revelation that your life will be spared and that you will live a long life. I have great faith in Jesus that He will not increase your despair AND THAT YOU WILL LIVE TO BE 100.”

I went on to write: “Lastly, and most importantly, your Barrister attorney Mr. Paul Jean is without Christian Trust, inasmuch as he has sinned exceedingly against the most Holy Commandments by lying to me and has not answered important questions my attorney set forth regarding your late husband’s Trust. He is not of the Lord’s friends, but apparently a friend of Satan. And certain things have occurred to make me believe he is not on your side and is on the side of the relatives of your dead husband who are trying to take the fund from you for their own selfish purposes… I need someone who I can trust and I cannot at this point trust Mr. Barrister Paul Jean. If we are to continue with this transfer, I would prefer not to do business with Mr. Jean, since he has not been up front with me and he does not have my 100% trust…”

Note that I purposely misspelled the word Barrister once as Barraster. (As in Bare ass ter)

The next day I was almost falling on the floor laughing out loud when I pulled out all the stops and wrote this:

“Dear Mrs. Anna Mara Agara,

I am extending my forgiveness of Barrister Paul Jean and I will explain herein. I had a very heavy heart last evening after sending you the email yesterday. And so, I decided it was imperative to attend Confession to my dear priest friend, Monsignor Yehudi Houdini. He was the illegitimate son of one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century,  Yehudi Menuhin. Msgr. Houdini and I attended seminary together and were ordained to the priesthood together on May 31, 1970. He stayed on, but I left the priesthood after three years because I decided that the Lord needed me to perform my many talents doing His work assisting others out in the world. Monsignor Houdini (He likes to be called Yahoody) is probably one of the greatest cellists in the USA now, and he wears his hair, mustashe, and beard exactly like Jesus. We both play in the local symphony orchestra, and it is just an awesome Heavenly sight. And people come from miles away just to see what appears to be Jesus sitting there with utmost emotion, sometimes in tears, playing and praying every single note on his historic Andrea Amati cello from 1600. However it is disturbing to me and others that because of his age he must color his hair and beard to continue to look like Jesus and he is criticized for this.

“But to sit across from Monsignor Yehudi Houdini at Confession in a small darkly lit reconciliation room, you would think you were talking directly to Jesus and the chills usually run up and down my spine. The same prayerfulness and stature in the playing of the notes on the cello can be seen in Yehudi’s posture when his eyes meet mine in the reconciliation room. This is the ultimate God experience and gives the penitent an extra assurance that his sins are truly forgiven, and that he is in God’s hands. After saying the Penance given by Msgr. Yehudi of three Hail Marys, and the Monsignor’s instruction to trust the words of Barrister Paul Jean and ask his forgiveness, I felt a great burden lifted. Do you think the Barraster will accept my apology? By the way, the rumors are that the Monsignor will be appointed to Bishop in the near future and that he may one day be elected Pope.

“When I told Yehoodi of my dream and my apparent revelation, he reminded me that in all of history of revelations of Jesus and Mary at Fatima, Bayside, Medjugorje and lately at Oshkosh, Looneyville and Ding Dong, Texas, Fart, Virginia and Timbuktu on the African Coast, discernment of all these heavenly visions and apparitions must be discerned properly, since Satan comes in posing as Jesus and Mary. Msgr. Houdini warned me that the news to me in my dream about you, Anna Maria, being healed and living a long life could very well be Satan lying with his dirty tricks, and NOT Jesus. Therefore, he cautioned me not to believe this so quickly, and that you may, indeed, pass into His Heavenly Arms soon, as the doctor has predicted, in months or even days as Barrister Paul Jean has indicated to me. And further, he has directed me to extend to Barrister Paul Jean a token of forgiveness and that I should also return to converse with my trust in him, and not judge him.

 

‘As you know, priests are sworn to secrecy under the pain of mortal sin in the confessional and cannot reveal to anyone what is said in the confessional. And we know that secrecy with Mr. Agara’s Fund is of utmost importance because of Mr. Agara’s relatives wanting the money. Lastly, the Monsignor pleaded that I implore of you to have a priest come to your hospital bedside and deliver the Last Rites to insure your place in Heaven at God’s side where you belong. Also, please tell me the name and place of your hospital, as I would like to send you roses. And so, lets proceed with the Trust as soon as possible and I promise to do all that you have wished for.

Yours in Christ, Don Meehan ”

Like I said, don’t believe a word of what I wrote.

Oh for goodness sakes! She/he has ignored my last plea extending forgiveness to her/his Barrister (Baraster) lawyer and the next day has now sent the exact same original plea. I can’t wait to continue to play the religious card. Please stay tuned.

P.S. So, please  glance at the “official” Certificates and see if you can spot some phoniness. Please leave some comments on what you see and also spread the word about the criminals.  

TO BE CONTINUED