Category Archives: Community Interest

Of interest to residents of Lakewood, California

Beware of Debit Card Fraud

It’s getting worse, the frustrating fraud that steals money out of your personal checking account; in contrast, credit card fraud takes money from your credit card company with only a potential loss on the card owners part.

The main problem seems to be with PIN-input-card-readers that have been tampered with or altered or replaced by contraband ones. When a person swipes their debit card, the information is recorded for the thief. But something else is needed to obtain the PIN number: either a small camera or a human who spies on the person who enters the code.

How Hard to Guard Your Credit Card!

Advice for keeping your bank account safe:

1. “Re-PIN your debit card several times a year.” Perhaps . . . 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; . . . next suggestion:

2. Use a credit card instead of a debit card. . . . but some people use a debit card for good reasons. [next suggestion:]

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.

“Monkey Bird” or Pterodactyl in Washington

In this case, in the state of Washington, “monkey bird” does not refer to an eagle that eats monkeys; it refers to a nocturnal flying predator, without feathers, that some cryptozoologists would suspect is a modern living pterosaur.

Names for Strange Flying Creatures

Pterodactyl, Dinosaur bird, Flying creature, Monkey bird, Flying dinosaur—none of those labels is technically correct, if the idea is “pterosaur.” But the correct name is hard to spell.

Monkey Bird near Tacoma, Washington

We live in the pacific northwest (near Tacoma, WA) on many acres of mostly tree covered land with a creek. We have seen and heard a strange nocturnal, batlike creature. This thing is huge, light grey, skin with no fur, feathers or scales . . .

It makes a sound like a jungle monkey or bird, thus we refer to it as the monkey bird . . . There were two of them together and they seemed fearless of me when they swooped down at me more than once and returned way up to the top of the highest trees. I couldn’t get a look at the faces or eyes, mainly the huge grey bat wings approximately 4′ span.

In another eyewitness sighting report in the state of Washington, a biology professor observed strange flying lights over the Yakima River, lights that he believes may be from an unclassified flying predator that may be hunting Night Hawks and possibly also bats. Some cryptozoologists believe bioluminescent pterosaurs are responsible.

Flying Dinosaur and the Yakima River

A biologist (Professor Peter Beach) observed strange flying creatures over the Yakima River in Washington state, in recent years. Why are the creatures strange? They are bioluminescent.

Sci-Fi Film “Super 8”

Don’t expect another E.T. movie if you do decide to watch Super 8. A slight weakness in E.T. has been greatly magnified in the 2011 science fiction film: kids behaving too casually about a strange creature from another planet. In both movies some of the kids are adorable, but in the recent film, a monster is truly monstrous and destructive in the extreme, at least for most of the movie.

“Super 8” Not so Super

It reminded me of a time when I exited a theater in 2006, after viewing Lady in the Water: an aftereffect of watching a move while being aware that other movie watchers may be watching you foolishly waste your time. In Lady in the Water, the acting was superb (perhaps even better than in Super 8), but the story was unbelievable (even more than in Super 8). The principle weakness resembles that of Super 8, albeit perhaps more pervasive: Strange things being explained after the fact. In other words, if you hated that 2006 fantasy you would probably hate Super 8.

Super 8 is not Super Great

Creating a movie both engaging and satisfying to a discriminating viewer—that requires more than a healthy seed of an original idea, more than professional acting, more than astonishing special effects. Super 8 failed to satisfy me and my wife and engaged us only superficially, and then only up until near the ending.

Chess for Children

Studies have shown that playing chess can benefit children in a number of ways, and not just in potentially improving self confidence and self esteem. Playing chess can help kids improve concentration.

In a study by the New York City Schools, it was found that “Chess dramatically improves a child’s ability to think rationally . . . increases cognitive skills . . . improves children’s communication skills and aptitude in recognizing patterns . . . results in higher grades, especially in English and Math studies.”

In the Whitcomb Family Daycare, children are encouraged to learn to play chess and to learn to concentrate.

Chess Combination by Jose R. Capablanca

In a chess tournament in New York City, in 1918, Jose Capablanca (who would become chess champion of the world) played a brilliant combination against a master. Analysis of this combination may help children to understand the importance of analysis in more than just chess; it may help us to better understand the importance of clear thinking while analyzing something.

Pterosaur in South Carolina

One eyewitness of a live pterosaur decided to let her real name be used: Susan Wooten. Her account is recorded in the nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America and in a number of web sites, including this one: “Pterosaur Seen in South Carolina.” The following quotation is from the web site:

I interviewed Susan Wooten, by email, about her sighting of an apparent pterosaur that flew over a highway near a swamp in South Carolina. She told me that “It looked as big as any car, and had NO feathers, not like a huge crane or egret.” With a wingspan that she estimated at 12-20 feet, the creature glided over the highway, coming to as close to “twenty feet” high and “twenty-five feet” in front of her car. [Interview by Whitcomb]

The book has a whole chapter on this sighting in South Carolina:

Q: What highway number was it? . . . closer to Columbia or Florence?

A: Hwy 20 going from Columbia to Florence . . . about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to Florence. Columbia is a major (for us) city, but as soon as you leave it, it is nothing but woods, sand, lots of pine forests, and moves quickly into swamps.

Q: Do you remember anything about the color of the creature?

A: Darkish is about all I can say . . . can’t remember that . . . it was so much to take in at once—so startling.

. . . “I have a footnote, possibly of interest. Once I typed these answers, I went to your website and read . . . I was intrigued by the fact that some of these ‘ropens’ give off a luminescence at night. It made me think of when I was in college. We had a group that would often travel to Bingham, nearby. (Never even connected these things together, if in fact they could be.) There was an old abandoned stretch of railway leading into the swamp where we would . . . see the ‘Bingham Lights.’”

Those glowing lights flying around swamps in that part of South Carolina may be related to the mysterious Marfa Lights of western Texas, notwithstanding the “Bingham Lights” might be caused by barn owls.

The pterosaur seen by Susan Wooten, in South Carolina, may be related to the kongamato of Africa.