Friday, September 16, 2016

Hi! Whatshername Wants to be Your Friend on Facebook!

Brushy Creek Journal
Friday September 16, 2016
Partly Cloudy 92°F/33°C in Cedar Park, Texas 78613
Thundershowers  82°F/28°C in Roma, Lazio, Italia 00128
Deep down in my Facebook Profile there must be something that screams out Senior
My New "Friend!"
white male, divorced, lives alone with companion animal. Interested in meeting attractive young lady of diverse ethnicity. Well traveled, interesting career background, independent means!
 Now as anyone who visits my profile page can attest, that’s not what I wrote. I am NOT looking to get married again (Been there, done that – TWICE!), or even thinking about embarking on a deep and meaningful relationship!. And yet, occasionally, I will see a pretty face in my inbox with a request to be on her Friends List on Facebook or Twitter or Google Plus etc. The pretty face that I’m talking about in this blog has appeared in my Friends inbox any number of times, always under a different name.
Deep down, I am hoping to grow my list of followers for my Blog ( and my web site, and the other social media venues. I’m also working to encourage my Friends to buy my new book, LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target!  Published by Amazon Books, it’s being sold by, Barnes and Noble and Booktopia (In Australia). Like the radio and TV broadcaster that I used to be, now that I’m a writer, I’d like to build my new audience – people who love to read!
Facebook and the social media also enables me to stay in touch with my friends from my lifetime of wanderings. Being new to Texas, I am embarked, once again on restarting my life. Which means that I have started all over again finding a place to live followed by: a grocery store, a doctor and dentist, a gas station, some places to walk Lola, my poodle, and some new friends to hang out with. It takes time to put down roots. I know. I’ve done it a dozen times! Sometimes, I plan this. Other times, life happens. (Catch my drift?).
So then. Back to my personal observation that you do meet some very interesting people on Facebook. I’m also aware of the fact that there are some hustler types out there on social media trying to entice others with promises of wealth and passion beyond description. Most of these folks seem to be based in West Africa. (NOW, you’re catching on). And they are definitely not old high school chums who are trying to reconnect. I think that’s the case with the young lady who has sent me numerous Friend Requests, each time using a different name. I’ve gotten requests with the same face attached, albeit with different poses from this same woman calling herself variously: Better May, Anita Better May, Crystal Sureline, Hamdiya Mun, Suzzy Williams, Vonica Herry and, the list goes on.
My friends in law enforcement (and believe me, as the former News Secretary for the
Los Angeles District Attorney, I have plenty of those), all tell me that the young lady is
As "Crystal Sureline!"
just another pretty face on the front of a cyber-scam that involves a boiler room operation complete with computers operated by hustlers using purloined photos of models and other pretty faces preying on social media’s gullible souls. Frequently these cyberscams originate in the former Soviet Union or in West Africa, where the economy of third world nations like Kenya and Ghana seem to be built on enterprises like this. Since I have no way of knowing whether the lady who’s pretty face is part of all this or just another lovely whose photo has been ripped off, I won’t make any direct accusations about Anita/Crystal/Hamdiya/Suzzy/Vonica! After studying the photos very carefully, I am convinced that the girl in that medly of surnames is a real, genuine member of the fair sex. After all, there is only so much you can do with PhotoShop. So, I’m willing to give the real whatever-her-name-is the benefit of the doubt for a moment while I offer some advice about cyber-scams.

First of all, don’t reflexively accept the Friend Request! Check the person out first. I usually look at the list of mutual friends. Then I click on the sender’s Facebook page and check out their Friends list, the About section, and the Check-ins. If the wannabe friend was born in Texas, but now lives in Accra, Ghana, keep moving. If there is very little or no
As "Sandi Tomsen!"
information on the person’s page, I pass. I also don’t even bother with requests where there is not even a profile picture. Some FB fans may assume that they are protecting their privacy, but most likely there is is No There There! Kapisch? Frequently, the evildoers will resort to hacking someone’s Facebook page, and steal the real owner’s Profile picture. So when you get a message from your friend that asks, Have you heard the good news? Or have you gotten your federal grant yet? Call your friend or private email them and let them know they’ve been hacked. And, the first time they ask you for money so a doctor can treat them for Malaria, or make a donation to their church, or they are trying to scrape the money together for funeral expenses for their late mother in Mali, pull the plug! They’ve got a “live one” and you are headed to the poor house.
Use your internet tools to help you check out your new friends. I am a serial Google-er!  I also subscribed to a background check service called Been Verified! Nothing like it if you want to know if the guy who’s asked your youngest daughter out on a date has any drunk driving arrests. A lot of these resources are well known to old newsguys like me, but, even so, we occasionally wind up on the losing side of this game ourselves. But, I’ll save those stories for another blog.
Let’s get back to Better May, Anita Better May, Crystal Sureline, Hamdiya Mun, Suzzy Williams, Vonica Herry et al for just a moment, because I think I finally know who she is. And I owe my discovery to a combination of Google and my own dumb luck. A few days ago I got a Friend Request from a lady calling herself Sandi Tomsen. Ms. Tomsen looked familiar, so I dug a little further. Sure enough, Sandi Tomsen was also Better May, Anita Better May, Crystal Sureline, Hamdiya Mun, Suzzy Williams, and Vonica Herry! Oh Joy! My mystery beauty has crossed my path yet again. Before I responded, I copied her photo onto my Females on Facebook File to join another couple of dozens of JPEGs of the same lady striking different poses under different names. (Hmmmm! I wonder if the real people behind this little deal knew that their “Star” would wind up in a blog on internet scams?) Then…..and here’s the dumb luck part…. I right-clicked on the photo and clicked again on the Search for this image on Google option. Bingo! Up came yet another name! Same pretty girl, but now she was Aria Giovanni – an adult actress and model with her own web site and live chat room. Hmmm! The mystery continues. All I have to show for my research efforts is a string of phony names and a lot of pictures of the same pretty girl.
What I did learn from this experience is how to better protect oneself from people of ill-intentions on the internet. I’m still learning how to take advantage of search engines like Google. For instance, if your new Facebook friend sends you a love note or poem that
Actress Aria Giovanni
makes your heartstrings quiver, do this. Highlight and copy the text. Then paste it into the search engine. It will work like that anti-plagiarism software used by colleges and universities. Bang! Zoom! You’ll find out in a heartbeat whether the Flirty-Gertie on the other side is the original author or copying Lord Tennyson or Shakespeare. And now I know the same thing works for photos. I tried it on one of my own pictures, and it responded with the words Senior Citizen. True enough, but a little short of the mark.
So, after all that, I’m no closer to a meaningful friendship with my wannabe Facebook Friend than I was when I first got a Friend Request from Better May/Anita Better
May/Crystal Sureline/ Hamdiya Mun/Suzzy Williams/Vonica Herry/Sandi Tomsen. The trail of aliases seems to end at Aria Giovanni. But, even that may not be real. According to Wikipedia, Aria Giovanni is an adult film actress. That is backed up by IMDB, the Internet Movie Data Base. Now, adult film stars work under a flock of aliases, so, here again, I am left wondering what Aria Giovanni’s REAL name is. Hmmm! Hopefully persistence on my part will shed a little light on my minor mystery. And if her face appears on your Friends List, let me know. I’d love to compare notes. I’ll check back with  you later!
[Mike Botula is the author of the wannabe best-seller LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target!  (Amazon Books)  MikeBo’s Blog is a wholly owned subsidiary of his web site , and is linkedto Facebook,  Twitter and Google Plus!]
© By Mike Botula 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Unsinkable Charlie Watson-UPDATE!

Brushy Creek Journal
Saturday September 10, 2016
Cloudy, Showers 80°F/27°C in Cedar Park, Texas
Rainy and windy 64°F/18°C in Falmouth, England
Charlie Watson called me to say Hello! He sounds pretty hale and hearty for an Old Salt of 95! Ninety-five! Not unusual these days, what with all the improvements in lifestyle and medicine. The fact is that Watson’s life could very well have ended at age 23 on a sunny August afternoon in
LST 920 at Normandy 1944
1944, when his ship was torpedoed in the Dover Channel between Milford Haven, Wales and Falmouth, England. Now approaching completion of his first century, Charles Watson is one of the few living survivors of a German submarine attack on an Allied convoy off the coast of England two months after the D-Day Allied landings at Normandy. His ship, the LST 921 was torpedoed along with the British escort ship LCI(L)99. Survivors were rescued by crewmen from my father’s ship, the LST 920.

    Watson’s ordeal is described in my new book, LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target (Amazon Books) about my father’s adventures in the US Navy during World War 2. In an eyewitness account by LST 921 crew member Lloyd Meeker, who survived the attack in his own harrowing escape from the ship’s flooded engine room, recounted, LST 920 took us to Falmouth, England to a Navy hospital. There were lots of cuts and broken bones, Meeker remembered. The cook (Charlie Watson) was injured the most. The last time I saw him, he had both legs and an arm in casts. He was in traction and his jaw was wired shut. Meeker also recalled, we were told that 43 survivors and one body were taken off the LST 920. All of the rest of the men went down with the stern section!
    After being told about my book by his neighbor, Curt Pederson, Watson was calling me to thank me for writing about the experience and to fill me in on what happened to him after his rescue. Fully half of the LST 921’s crew was lost in the attack by the German U 667. Watson was one of the lucky survivors rescued by my dad’s ship, the LST 920. I was trapped below deck. Both my legs and one arm were broken. I was trying to crawl out when Meeker grabbed me and got me topside, Watson told me. Meeker got me into the water so I could be pulled onto a raft with some other guys from the ship. Then Watson told me a story that I’m sure he has told countless times since the torpedoing of his ship. All of a sudden, I could see a torpedo trail bubbling through the water, coming straight at me. All I could do was stare at it!  What happened next, I asked him? Damned torpedo zipped by right below me. It didn’t hit anything though. I told him about my father standing on the bridge of his ship earlier watching as a torpedo came straight amidships at the LST 920. At the last split-second, the British escort ship came alongside and took the U 667’s torpedo full force and was blown out of the water. What I didn’t know until Watson told me his story, was that my dad’s ship escaped being torpedoed a second time. As Watson was being hoisted aboard the 920, the Captain, Harry Schultz ordered a sharp turn as an evasive maneuver. Another torpedo, fired by the U 667, passed close by, but missed the ship.
    Watson was hospitalized ashore after the LST 920 reached Falmouth. He told me, the doctors put him in a full body cast with both legs encased in plaster and wired his jaw shut. Doctors tried to save his badly injured leg, but eventually a Navy surgeon named Wyler told him the leg had turned gangrenous and would have to be amputated. The news stunned the young sailor. Do you have any questions? Dr. Wyler asked him.  A lot of guys in your predicament want to know if I have the skills to amputate your leg. Watson acknowledged that the thought had crossed his mind. Do you follow baseball?  Asked the surgeon. Yessir! Watson responded. Well! Said Doctor Wyler, I’m the doctor who operated on Dizzy Dean’s elbow. Dean, was  a baseball great who played for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs before the war. I don’t know if Charlie realized it at the time, but Dean’s elbow injury ended his baseball stardom. But Watson’s operation saved his life.
    The crew of the LST 921 was awarded a total of one hundred Purple Hearts. many of them were awarded posthumously. Charles Watson earned one of them. Ensign Don Joost, the 921’s engineering officer was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism in rescuing many of the crew. Lieutenant Harry Schultz, the LST 920’s captain was summoned before a Naval Inquiry Board for disobeying orders when he turned his ship back to pick up survivors. After two days ashore, Schultz returned to duty and remained in the US Navy until his retirement. The U 667 struck a mine off the coast of France just a few miles from its home base, and what its crew expected to be a hero’s welcome for sinking four Allied ships on that mission. The wreckage of the submarine rests now on the bottom of the English Channel with all hands, a war grave.
    Charlie Watson is the first crewmember of either the LST 921 or LST 920 that I’ve heard from since LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target! was published. I’m sure I’ll be hearing from more. 

( MikeBo’s Blog is a wholly owned subsidiary of , and is linked to Facebook, and  Twitter and Google Plus! Mike’s new book, LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target has just been published by Amazon Books).

© By Mike Botula 2016