Archive for con

Conman David Blaine caught out

Posted in TV, Venting with tags , on September 25, 2008 by Apollo

Looks like I was right the other day, when I fingered David Blaine’s latest supposed “stunt” as nothing more than yet another of his cons dressed up as… well, I don’t know. He doesn’t do illusions, he doesn’t do magic, he just hoodwinks people.

His latest money-spinner was a claim that he would be hoisted by his heels over the Wollmann ice rink in New York on Monday, and that he would remain that way until Wednesday night.

I said it was rubbish, a rubbish idea, and a rubbish claim – don’t take my word for it, I can’t stand the guy, even looking at him is enough to irritate me, let alone his smug, condescending, arrogant and insulting approach to everyone.

See what his fans said on the BBC:

But some claimed they had been duped into believing Blaine would remain inverted for the entire 60 hours.

“I am totally unimpressed,” said one onlooker. “If his name hadn’t been David Blaine I would never have come.

Blaine shrugged off criticism during the stunt, telling one interviewer that he was “not going to pee all over myself”.

No, leave that pleasure for the rest of us, you’ve been doing it to us for long enough, we deserve a chance to get out own back.

Ach, he’d probably video it, and sell it to a fetish site.

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More boring that watching dried paint drying

Posted in TV, Venting with tags , , on September 19, 2008 by Apollo

I’ve always thought the most pathetic so-called illusionist in the world, the insipid and insulting David Blaine, was good for nothing other than offending anyone that he conned into watching him, as his “feats” were such blatant fiddles (and have had their “how-to” shown by proper illusionists, presumably similarly unimpressed), but I was wrong, and although he won’t be hanged the right way to make his next three-day sopor even vaguely relevant, Apollo’s cat came up with a suggestion for making the thing a bit more interesting:

Inspired by the cat’s thoughts, here’s my suggestion for making David’s 3 day special more interesting:

Some worship him, I really don’t know why, his magic is far from impressive, his attitude is far from endearing.

I can only assume he knows the right people, and who to give shares in his ridiculous takings. An undated entry in one of the Blaine-worshipping sites stated he made $6 million from performing street magic in a year. If that’s the case, then I can only say he’s overpaid by about $5,999,999 or so.

If he was actually going to be hanging upside down for 3 days, there might be a chance of something hemorrhaging – other than the wallets and cheque books of any gullible mugs around him – but he’ll have some sort of fiddle organised so he’s not really hanging there for 3 days, so there’s no chance of an outcome.

Conned by American Inventor

Posted in TV, Venting with tags , , , , on September 14, 2008 by Apollo

Last year we (non-satellite viewers in the UK) were treated to the second series of American Inventor. A rather dire presentation of a few worthy people insterspersed a morass of others that have no idea about what an invention or business is, or with any finacial brain cells between their ears – if the riduculous amounts of tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of dollars that they claim to have spent on their ideas is to be believed. Not only they, but their families need looking after by psychiatrists or guardians.

We’re currently being treated to another series, and after I had a look at the show’s background was disappointed to see that we’ve been shown the only two series in reverse order. What we saw last year was shot in 2007, and the current offering is from 2006! The only good thing found was the concept seems to have been dropped.

I likened the first (second?) series was something akin to “car crash TV”, and as the presentations rolled up in front of the judges it was less a case of “What’s next?”, and more of “Oh no! What Now?”, as a series of largely deluded individual strolled in, sometimes with their similarly deranged (brainwashed?) families in tow. You just wonder which one is going to mow the judges down in a bloodbath, or alternatively is going to collapse and drop dead from a heart attack or stroke when they’re turned down.

It’s a real shame – if the producers had just vetted the applicants seriously, instead of for entertainment value, there could have been a good show here, and not a travesty where success was more dependent on hard the applicant might cry and plead about being peniless, living in a carboard box, and having sold the kids off to slavery – and sent the partner out (or gone out) on the street to make some money for food.

I think there are two great surprises associated with this show.

The first is that Peter Jones was not only associated with, but is said to have been party to its creation. Even though there was the chance of picking up a good business investment somewhere along the line, listening to him speak about business would suggest he’s not that intersted in quite such a longshot.

The second is that I’m watching a show produced by smarmy creep Simon Cowal, who has made millions by doing nothing other than getting a cut of money earned by others in the name of celebrity – something they should pay for privilege of, rather than having ordinary people fund for their worthless hides.

Dragons Dens Series 6 Ep 1

Posted in Noteworthy, TV with tags , , , , on July 22, 2008 by Apollo

The sixth series of BBC2’s Dragons’ Den kicked off tonight, and managed to deliver the now familiar mix of worthy cases for some funding, together with a dash of hopefuls that have you wondering if there is a team of orderlies in white coats  waiting at the exits with those jackets that are tied shut at the back, and have no holes for the hands to exit the sleeves.

But first, a word about the camera operators – are they ex-Top Gear employees? This programmes, also BBC2, used to suffer from truly atrocious camerawork as the operators seemed to view with one another from week to week to see how could produce the most irritating and intrusive and fades while moving from scene to scene, leaving you eyeballs feeling as if someone had used them to play ping-pong. Dragons’ Den seems to have the same problem now, with jarring step focus changes, odd angles, and unnecessary changes of view. We can only hope the operators are spotted by a music video producer, and moved on quickly.

There’s really one team of cowboys to comment on this week, and its the pair of con artists that turned up caliming to produce water from air. When you’re presented with crap that like from the moment they open their mouths, you know you’ve got trouble, and they went on to prove this in style. They were full of it every time they opened their mouths, even suggesting that producing water by using electricity to condense it by chilling the air was green and environmentally sound – as one of my colleagues used to say when presentations like this started “At least Dick Turpin wore a mask”.

Deborah Meaden– was spot on when she picked on the browbeating techniques of the “super-salesman” and pegged him as a Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman, not only was he willing to admit that he had been such a bully, he was ready to boast about it. You can go find Kirby yourself, I’m not advertising for them. This has to be one of the most reprehensible companies around, and you may remember them for their repeated appearances on That’s Life with Esther Rantzen. As far as selling goes, Kirby’s salesmen had one tool, get in your door and don’t leave until you’ve made a sale, if that means browbeating the customer for hours (the pitch can be 2-3 hours once they’re in)  until they’ve been beaten into submission, then so be it. And the deal is not cheap, neither are Kirby vacuum cleaners, finance is preferable, and they choose area where their victims will need finance to purchase their cleaners at vastly inflated prices – how else would they make their money? They just loved to people to who had no money to sign up for finance, then chase them for payment for years. Then there was the service, or lack of it, as those same folk who were being chased for their payments had no cleaner – once it broke, it was a case of weeks and months for service, if it was ever delivered.

I’m genuinely stunned that anyone standing in front of the Dragons would even admit to being involved with Kirby, worse still, the idiots with the water-from-air machine even described their operation as pyramid selling, and various other reprehensible descriptions too. It’s a wonder the Dragons didn’t call security and have them thrown out on their ears.

I have a special place reserved for people like Mr “super-salesman” – First against the wall when the revolution comes!

I’ve always been amazed to see that a tiny little Kirby shop stays open along the road from me. I only found it by chance some years ago, when I decided to go exploring down streets I don’t usually have a reason to go down. I didn’t even associated it with the Kirby con, and went to have a look in the window, and there were the cleaners, looking as ancient as they ever did. I don’t know if they’ve ever been updated, I haven’t been back for years, but they looked like escapees from the 1940s or thereabouts, as if they just kept churning the same stuff out year after year, until the machinery wears out. While they may be lovely aluminium castings, they have a price tag somewhere in the £800 or more (maybe lots more now since I haven’t come across then for years now) range, for an obsolete machine, to be paid at £10 a week, plus a suitably exorbitant rate of interest. Not a bargain, or even a good deal.

I went into that little shop once, not for anything Kirby of course, but it had a big sign over the window advertising service for a vacuum cleaner I do own – and I was looking for a part after a coin had trashed a blade inside one of its turbine brushes. When I eventually managed to get the less then intelligent girl minding the store to understand I wasn’t in the shop for anything to do with Kirby, but because of the sign, realisation dawned, but I was then informed that “He didn’t do that anymore, but had just left the sign up”.

I’m glad “He” was out that day, or it might have taken me 2 or 3 hours to get back out the door!

Whatever, the chancers were ejected with not a penny, and their plan to fleece their sales staff and customers was more than quickly uncovered.

The participants that won finding in this opening programme weren’t from the usual genres either, so the Dragons may be looking to invest in different areas in the the current economic climate, so it will be interesting to see if this is a one-off, or of the trend continues next week.

On reflection, I think they missed a trick, and should have kept Mr Kirby super-salesman there for another three hours or so, trying to talk his way into the money before they turned him down. He was already sweating buckets just from starting his pitch, and would have melted away to a wee greasy spot, or had a stroke or something if they’d kept him going. He would have deserved it too, for providing a sample machine that hadn’t been properly purged or set up, and was producing cat’s pee for the Dragons to sample.

Ambulance chaser clones and the DPA

Posted in Venting, Vermin with tags , on February 15, 2008 by Apollo

I have a deeply entrenched disgust for, and despise those who seek to make money out of the misfortune of others, especially where that gain is made by exploiting those who have suffered in some way. There’s the further problem caused by this sort of rubbish, as it generally introduces additional costs or constraints that genuine claimants would not have had to bear had the con artists not practised their filthy art.

We already have the ambulance chasing scum that operates on a No-Win-No-Fee basis, and can afford to take the most trivial of cases to court after convincing punters that they are due compensation. As if we need the courts filled with cases such as the one where a claim was raised when some of this filth made a claim on against a shopping centre on the basis its floors were too hard, and their client had got sore feet as a result.

While the Governement deserves to be brought to account for the farcical way they take care of peoples data (especially as the keep reassuring us that we can trust them with our personal identification data that they want to place in a National ID Database to go along with their vile ID Cards, there is no excuse for legal firms to be conning individual out of their money on the basis that they are due compensation as a result of the Government’s present unacceptably poor data security.

While the information regarding the DPA (Data Protection Act), and the criteria for compensation when data is lost, is freely available on the web, it seem the scummy end of the legal business is out to make a fast buck out of this ‘opportunity’, and is offering £5.99 packs that they claims will help some of the 25 million victims of the HM Revenue and Customs data loss last year make a compensation claim.

It doesn’t take the greatest brain in the world to work out that with the business infrastructure already in place, any organisation promoting these packs will turn a tidy profit even if only a small percentage of that number of ‘victims’ is attracted, and parts with £5.99.

The beauty of the scam is that these con artists need do nothing after they have sold the pack, needing only to inform the potential claimant that there is no point in proceeding, so they don’t even need to have the staff available to follow up. And who knows, there still the potential for a little Gold Mine in amongst a potential 25 million clients, as there is a possibility that at least one will have suffered a claimable loss, so it’s win/win.

Read more at:

Consumers warned on data loss compensation packs