Of Bags, Bugs, and Bandits


Spread the word


Sic et Non aspires not only to be a beacon of reason and sanity — which, plainly, it’s achieved with consistent success since its first entry (as measured, among other things, by the derision it’s unfailingly attracted from the unreasonable and the . . . well, from certain other types) — but to be useful in daily life.


Herewith, accordingly, a couple of important notices:


1)  You might want to reconsider your use of those environment-friendly reusable grocery bags — that is, if you value your life and the lives of your family:




2)  And — have I posted about this before? — don’t send money to friends suddenly stranded overseas without first being certain that they’re even there.


I received the following email early this morning, from an acquaintance:


I’m writing this with great grievance, My family and I came down here to Manila, Philippines on a short vacation, Unfortunately we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed, All money, credit card and cell phones were stolen away from us, luckily for us we still have our passports. Our credit cards can’t be charged by the hotel as we already reported it as a stolen card and the card company had  canceled it, we can only get a new one when we make it back home safely.  We’ve been to the Embassy and the Police but they’re not helping issues at all, Our return flight leaves soon, we’re having problems settling our hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the bills. We are really freaked out here and we really need your financial assistance, I promise to reimburse you as soon as we return back. Please let me know what you can do so i can proceed by giving you all the details on how to get the funds to us here via Western Union.Kindest Regards,


This is scarcely the first such email that I’ve received.  And it’s not only that I travel a lot and have many friends who do so as well.  In fact, it’s not even because my friends seem to have a propensity for being mugged while abroad.


No.  This is — brace yourselves! — a scam.


Or, if it’s not, I really am the callous and hard-hearted “monster” — that was the term one poster used for me yesterday — of my detractors’ fantasies.  Because I’ve never, ever, stepped forward to help a single one of my friends when they’ve been caught in these situations.


The first time I encountered this particular criminal approach was early on the morning following a party at a friend’s house in Orem, Utah, that had gone until roughly 10 PM.


We were impressed to learn that she had just been robbed at London’s Heathrow Airport and badly needed our help.  We marveled because she’d said absolutely nothing, just a few hours before, about her imminent trip to London and had seemed extraordinarily calm and relaxed when, plainly, her flight had probably already left.  (How she still managed to catch it remains a mystery.  I don’t believe that she and her retired BYU-professor husband own a private jet.)


Anyway, don’t send money to these scam-artists.  And tell your friends and relatives not to do so.  This may seem obvious to you, but the criminals involved wouldn’t keep sending out such emails if they didn’t bring in income.  So somebody’s falling for them.


You and your friends and relatives should send your money to The Interpreter Foundation, instead.


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  • Lucy Mcgee

    Oregon banned single use plastic bags which were being used an an estimated 1.7 billion per year by shoppers in the state. Plastic pollution is a terrible problem along the Pacific coast as 100′s of millions of tons of plastics spiral around in the Pacific Gyre garbage patch, some of it eventually making it to shore. Plastic bags comprise about 6% of the Oregon beach garbage. These bags interfere with wildlife, clog up sewers and jam recycling sorting equipment in addition to being an eyesore. For those people to ignorant or lazy to spritz their reusable grocery bags with a soapy bleach solution every once in a while, or forget to wipe out those “spilled meat juices”, then they probably have no business shopping in the first place. Good grief.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    It’s not clear to me why shoppers in Oregon who don’t live near the ocean, like Bend or Pendleton, should have to worry about discarded plastic bags. Attacks on plastic bags and plastic water bottles tend to focus on worries about filling up solid waste landfills. However, there are huge areas of dry eastern Oregon that are ideal for slid waste disposal because their water table is over 500 feet below ground, and rain and snow are insufficient to mobilize the chemical contents of a landfill so as to affect drinking water. There is no shortage of landfill space. Making stuff biodegradable that will go into a landfill is stupid, since it will release chemicals and dyes into the soil, contribute to methane production (fires and greenhouse gases), and allow the land surface to collapse. Waste that goes into a landfill should be as inert as possible so it does not go anywhere. When the landfill is finished, it can be a golf course or soccer field.

    If we are really concerned about global warming, we should be actively cleaning carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and sticking it safely into storage so it does not become CO2 again. Ideally we would design this process so it could make a useful product that would finance the effort at carbon capture. There IS a process that does this. It is called making paper. Trees grown to produce paper pulp, such as white pine and cottonwoods, are intensely harvested and cut at about 5 year intervals. (No redwoods are harmed in the process.) The paper is sold, and either ends up on shelves or disposed safely in landfills, where it archeological studies have shown it will not breakdown for decades. The term for this is called “carbon sequestration.” If we are concerned with global warming, we should recognize that paper recycling is silly, and we should want to produce and use as much virgin paper as possible. We should back off on the whole “paperless society” notion and look for new ways to use paper productively to finance carbon collection, such as in clothing and other fibers, and building materials and furniture.

  • Lucy Mcgee

    I was incorrect that the ban is statewide. It exists in Portland, Eugene and Corvallis. I very much appreciate the bag ban in Portland. I agree with your views on landfills, something most people don’t think about.

  • http://plainandpreciousthing.blogspot.com/ Rozann

    I’ve gotten those silly scams. The first one was from an elderly woman in our Provo ward. She and her husband moved out of their large home in the tree streets into a smaller home on the west side. The first I hear from them after their move is a request for money, as they are stranded in London. I wrote back and said I’m sorry, you know WE don’t have anything, have you tried your children? She (the real person) wrote back explaining that someone had hacked her email and she was fine. The phony emailed again pleading for assistance. I responded that I knew he/she/it was a phony because the lovely couple would NEVER ask us, starving students with five children, for monetary assistance when they had much wealthier friends in the neighborhood. Also, knock it off, you are being reported to the cyberpolice! A year later it happened again. Do these thieves have no pride? Why do they believe they deserve something for nothing?

  • MajMarine

    As soon as I can figure out a way to get home from my vacation in Spain I will send money to The Interpreter. In the meantime, if you and your readers could help me, my wife, her mother, and our seven kids with a little something to help with airfare, I’ll gladly repay you next Tuesday…