Tracking Pterodactyls

From an Orange County Weekly blog post:

Author Tracks Pterodactyls Among Us

“Jonathan Whitcomb is actually based in Long Beach, where as a cryptozoology author he offers an explanation of the mystery lights of Marfa, Texas, and Papua New Guinea. Human inhabitants in both places have observed in the sky balls of light that seem to split into two, fly away from each other and then turn around and fly back together.

“Such sights have produced legends about dancing devils or ghosts and scientific explanations involving lightning or earthlights. Whitcomb has a far different explanation: bioluminescent predators flying together until they notice an increased presence of insects.

“The pterodactyls–which are actually known as pterosaurs–then split up because their meal of choice–big brown bats–feed on insects. When the brown bats, known as Eptesicus fuscus, start feeding on the insects, the pterosaurses bear down on the bats from opposite sides. With tummies full, they return to flying together again.

“Hey, it’s a theory, one that Whitcomb is sticking to based on eyewitness accounts from the American Southwest and the southwest Pacific. He’s even written a book about it, Live Pterosaurs in America . . .”

Cover Your Debit Card PIN

Watch out for the person who may be watching you enter you PIN code when you swipe your debit card. If the PIN pad (card reader) has been tampered with, all a crook needs is your PIN code to swipe the money out of your bank account.

But the PIN pad need not be watched by a live human, for some of them might have a small camera watching for your code entry. The safest thing to do is cover the pad while you enter the numbers, a difficult thing to do without practice, but apparently becoming more necessary now that debit card fraud is becoming much more common.

Michaels Craft Store Frauds

The U.S. Secret Service [had been] investigating a debit card fraud case that started in Illinois [around early 2011] and has now spread to twenty states. Investigators say crooks tampered with PIN pads in the Michaels checkout lanes, allowing them to capture customers’ debit card and PIN numbers. Michaels now confirms that it found . . . ninety compromised PIN pads in eighty of its stores.

Here’s advice for keeping your bank account safe:

  1. “Re-PIN your debit card several times a year.” Perhaps that is the least effective way to protect your money, for a crook can get into your bank account within hours of when you swiped your card at a bad PIN-pad card reader; check the next suggestion:
  2. Use a credit card instead of a debit card. Well, that would solve the problem, but some people use a debit card for good reasons.
  3. Keep an eye out at gas stations and at ATM’s. That includes covering the PIN pad with one hand while you enter the numbers with the other hand. That may be the best protection.
  4. For after-the-fact protection, check your account information regularly, looking for any suspicious withdrawal, and notify your bank immediately when you see fraud.
  5. Don’t use your debit card too often. The safest place may be your bank ATM machine, especially if it is inside the bank itself.

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Child Care Long Beach

The Hobbit – The Movie

The upcoming Hobbit movies will feature some familiar figures: Orlando Bloom will again play legolas; Sir Ian McKellen, Gandalf; and Elijah Wood, Frodo Baggins. Other interesting participants should include:

  • Beorn – Mikael Persbrandt
  • Bilbo Baggins – Martin Freeman
  • Goblin King – Barry Humphries
  • Thorin – Richard Armitage

The two films, in epic fantasy genre, directed by Peter Jackson, are an adaptation of the 1937 novel by J. R. R. Tolkien and are a prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Regarding the history of the original novel The Lord of the Rings, one source has attributed the following to Tolkien: “But for the encouragement of CSL [C. S. Lewis], I do not think that I should ever have completed or offered for publication The Lord of the Rings.”

To quote from the opening of the book The Hobbit:

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle.”

Why is June 18th Special?

In 1429, Joan of Arc leads French soldiers in defeating the main English army at the Battle of Patay, turning the tide of the Hundred Years’ War.

In 1767, an English sea captain is the first European to reach Tahiti.

In 1812, the U.S. Congress declares war on the United Kingdom, starting the War of 1812.

In 1815, Napoleon loses the Battle of Waterloo.

In 1923, the first Checker Taxi appears on the streets.

In 1937, John D. Rockefeller IV is born (American politician)

In 1939, Lou Brock is born (American baseball player)

In 1942, Paul McCartney is born (musician with the Beatles)

In 1959, Ethel Barrymore dies (American actress)

In 1979, SALT II is signed by the United States and the Soviet Union.

In 1983, the astronaut Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space.

Using the Same Bank Account for 98 Years

June Gregg, of Ohio, still uses the same bank account that her father opened for her when she was less than two years old. In other words, she had her present savings account opened in 1913, for June Gregg is 100 years old. It may be a record for bank customer loyalty.

(Yahoo News)

“That perked my ears up, because I was like, `1913?!'” said Doug Shoemaker, general manager of what’s now a Huntington National Bank branch in this community, 45 miles south of Columbus. The bank’s investigation found out that not only was it the same account, but also that the account number changed only once, when Columbus-based Huntington acquired the plainly-named Savings Bank in the early 1980s, Shoemaker said.