Author: marga (Page 1 of 157)

Blackmail Scam – Beware!

Beware of Scam Emails Demanding Bitcoin, Threatening Blackmail - City of  Lone Tree

Scammers are now trying to blackmail you by claiming that they have broken into your computer and taken charge of it. As you can see in the letter I got below, they claim they installed some secret software that allows them to see everything you in your computer, and even watch you. They claim that they’ve seen you log into to porn sites and they will show everyone what you’ve been doing while you look at them, unless you give them a huge sum of money on bitcoin.

Now, it’s obvious that this scam will only work on people who actually masturbate while looking at online porn and who are ashamed of it. I’m sure that’s a very small number, but they work on volume. They send e-mails like this to millions of addresses and some people will fall for them. I’m posting this here just in case you are one of them.

Let’s be clear: it’s a scam. They didn’t break into your computer and they have not been watching you. I can tell you this is true because not only have I not gone to a porn site on my computer, but I don’t even have a camera or microphone installed. Indeed, the e-mail they have for me wouldn’t give them access to my computer in the first place.

Now, if you use gmail, these e-mails are automatically flagged as fishing, and they go directly into your spam folder. But if you don’t, please delete them without paying them any mind. Under no circumstances give the scammers any money.

Dan Sullivan via
to marga


I have to share bad news with you.
Approximately few months ago I have gained access to your devices, which you use for internet browsing.
After that, I have started tracking your internet activities.

Here is the sequence of events:
Some time ago I have purchased access to email accounts from hackers (nowadays, it is quite simple to purchase such thing online).
Obviously, I have easily managed to log in to your email account (

One week later, I have already installed Trojan virus to Operating Systems of all the devices that you use to access your email.
In fact, it was not really hard at all (since you were following the links from your inbox emails).
All ingenious is simple. =)

This software provides me with access to all the controllers of your devices (e.g., your microphone, video camera and keyboard).
I have downloaded all your information, data, photos, web browsing history to my servers.
I have access to all your messengers, social networks, emails, chat history and contacts list.
My virus continuously refreshes the signatures (it is driver-based), and hence remains invisible for antivirus software.

Likewise, I guess by now you understand why I have stayed undetected until this letter…

While gathering information about you, I have discovered that you are a big fan of adult websites.
You really love visiting porn websites and watching exciting videos, while enduring an enormous amount of pleasure.
Well, I have managed to record a number of your dirty scenes and montaged a few videos, which show the way you masturbate and reach orgasms.

If you have doubts, I can make a few clicks of my mouse and all your videos will be shared to your friends, colleagues and relatives.
I have also no issue at all to make them available for public access.
I guess, you really don’t want that to happen, considering the specificity of the videos you like to watch, (you perfectly know what I mean) it will cause a true catastrophe for you.

Let’s settle it this way:
You transfer $1650 USD to me (in bitcoin equivalent according to the exchange rate at the moment of funds transfer), and once the transfer is received, I will delete all this dirty stuff right away.
After that we will forget about each other. I also promise to deactivate and delete all the harmful software from your devices. Trust me, I keep my word.

This is a fair deal and the price is quite low, considering that I have been checking out your profile and traffic for some time by now.
In case, if you don’t know how to purchase and transfer the bitcoins – you can use any modern search engine.

Here is my bitcoin wallet: bc1qzd5ufq2qqnx0ryh97zfnz64ff9g3ck9mjgc8zl

You have less than 48 hours from the moment you opened this email (precisely 2 days).

Things you need to avoid from doing:
*Do not reply me (I have created this email inside your inbox and generated the return address).
*Do not try to contact police and other security services. In addition, forget about telling this to you friends. If I discover that (as you can see, it is really not so hard, considering that I control all your systems) – your video will be shared to public right away.
*Don’t try to find me – it is absolutely pointless. All the cryptocurrency transactions are anonymous.
*Don’t try to reinstall the OS on your devices or throw them away. It is pointless as well, since all the videos have already been saved at remote servers.

Things you don’t need to worry about:
*That I won’t be able to receive your funds transfer.

  • Don’t worry, I will see it right away, once you complete the transfer, since I continuously track all your activities (my trojan virus has got a remote-control feature, something like TeamViewer).
    *That I will share your videos anyway after you complete the funds transfer.
  • Trust me, I have no point to continue creating troubles in your life. If I really wanted that, I would do it long time ago!

Everything will be done in a fair manner!

One more thing… Don’t get caught in similar kind of situations anymore in future!
My advice – keep changing all your passwords on a frequent basis

The Monkey

You would think that given how many times my mother has told me the story, I would know exactly how many months salary she saved to buy me el mono, the monkey. But as it always happens with stories you hear a lot, you stop listening and the details become fuzzy.

It was either a whole month’s salary or three. Now, three seems excessive. Would you save three months’ salary to buy a toy? It’s hard to believe. But toys in Argentina were expensive. Everything was expensive. American democracy survives only through the importation of cheap goods made by quasi slave labor abroad, and the elimination of excess populations through mass incarceration and drug addiction. It’s the bubble that’s about to burst. In Argentina’s history, it burst many times – thus the price of toys and recurring military dictatorships. I was born during the military dictatorship of Onganía.

My mother tells me often how much she paid for this monkey, in terms of her labor, to show me how much she loves me (or, at least, with how much illusion and love she was waiting for me – she bought it when she was pregnant). I get it. But I don’t need the tales. I can see her love for me in all the photos of both of us. I can feel her love for me as an adult – a far more complicated love, mind you – in all her actions and attention. She fucked me up, in the same but different way I’m sure I’ve fucked up my children, but with love.

I am sure I liked the monkey, maybe even loved it, but, as Oscar Wilde so profoundly said in the Ballad of Reading Gaol, we always kill the thing we love. Or in my case, lose it.

So it happened that one day when I was very little that I went with grandmother, as was usually the case, to play in the swings at the campus of the Estudiantes de La Plata soccer club, over by the tennis courts, behind the always dirt-brown children’s pool, I left the monkey behind. I don’t remember the details. Why did I bring the monkey? Did any of my siblings or cousins come along? Where did I forget it? All I can remember is the desperation of having lost it.

I picture the swing – though once again, my mind goes fuzzy. All I can really see is the brick-red color of the ground. I know the swing was metal and wood – but then again, aren’t they all? But I can’t tell how many swings there are. Is there also a calesita? A subi-baja? What is stranger is that I don’t even know if we found the monkey. It probably didn’t matter. The trauma of having lost it was enough. I knew my mom would get mad. And if you think I’m scary when I get mad, you haven’t met my mother.

Some time later, I believe, my mother bought a new almost identical monkey for my sister Gabriela. At least, I associate the monkey with her. It had a shirt and overalls and, like this one, even though you can’t see it in the photo – it was holding a banana in its hand.

Celebrating a doll birthday party, you can see the monkey on the background.

Eventually that became a problem. Gabriela developed something akin for a phobia against bananas. She couldn’t see them. She couldn’t smell them. She could not hear the word banana. If she did, she would throw a fit. A kicking and screaming fit. A swearing and yelling fit.

Our brother loved bananas. I don’t know which was the chicken and which was the egg, though I always assumed that it was her hate/resentment/anger/etc. at David that made her develop this hate for bananas. Or, as she would call them porquerías inmundas. I’ll let Google translate try to work that one out.

Gabriela’s issues with bananas were so deep that around 1984, when she was hospitalized to study the petit mal epilepsy symptoms she was experiencing, the doctors noted how even in her sleep her brain waves would go wild if the word banana was said in her presence. Mostly, my parents let her get away with ruling out all mentions of bananas from the house. And thus it became a weapon of sibling fights.

Dealing with the monkey’s banana was relatively simple. They covered it up with surgical tape until you couldn’t even see its shape. Still, I don’t think Gabriela played much with that monkey after she developed her phobia. I think that my mom still has the monkey, I might even have seen it at her house when I went last week when my father died.

My feelings about him are conflictive. I don’t feel compelled to give him a hug, I don’t smile when I look at his pictures, but then again, I don’t exactly feel animosity towards this toy.

And yet, I wrote a whole essay about him.

As I end, I realize how much I associate this monkey with my mom. My father must have picked it up a thousand times, I must have seen him holding it, but to me, he and the monkey were strangers. The monkey was all mom’s. She paid for it.

The fuzziness of memory

Some things are fuzzy. Tonight, as I was falling asleep to a 538 podcast on the Latino vote, it was the image of the main downstairs bathroom at my grandparents home that came to mind. Don’t ask me why.

It was a large bathroom. Though everything in my memories from childhood is large, both an artifact of the fact that these memories are from when I was small and that many of the urbanized spaces I occupied were small in comparison to those in American suburbia. So this was a relatively large bathroom.

It was a sad one as well. Maybe there is a vague olfactory memory of mildew that makes me think that, though no visual memories of such visit me. Maybe it was the black toilet seat. Or the memories of my grandma sitting somewhere with her feet in a bucket of scalding water. The overall memory is there, but it’s so hard to focus on specific parts. I can’t really see any details on the bathtub, the shower is hazy. I can’t see a shower curtain. But on the shelf below the large mirror, I can see my grandfather’s shaving equipment. A yellow brush he used to put the shaving cream on his face. Even then this was terribly old fashioned, as were the jars of gomina, the hair gel my uncle Mikita kept in the upstairs bathroom. The brush puzzled me. My father didn’t use one. It puzzles me now whether my memories of it are all from before my grandfather died (the summer before I turned seven, I confirmed this with my mother), or whether that brush remained in its place after he died, forgotten, with nobody bothering to throw it away. I wish, I was thinking as I was falling asleep, that I could print these images in my brain and then look at them more closely. Maybe then they wouldn’t escape me as water or very fine sand, between my fingers.

Like the memory I just had of a boat trip through what seems like a swamp. A long time ago, but where? Somewhere in the Yucatán peninsula when I wrote that chapter for a guidebook right after college? Or maybe in Nicaragua, but then why can’t I recall Mike being there? Or is it totally a dream?

My family in front of my grandparents house. The window on the wall on the left looks into the bathroom I described. In the photo, my mother is standing. My grandmother Zuni seats holding my brother besides my grandfather Tito, who is holding my sister. My uncle Titi holds his son Fernandito and my aunt Cuqui, her son Luisito. I am the one in the middle with a grouchy face.


In today’s stream of consciousness through memory lane, let me talk about ice cream.

Argentina has the best ice cream. Believe me. It does. It’s probably because of the flavor of the milk, because even Argentinian style ice cream in the US does not compare.

The best flavor of Argentinian ice cream is, of course, dulce de leche. And more specifically, dulce de leche granizado – which is dulce de leche mixed with shredded chocolate. As a child, whenever we went to the ice cream parlor, I would order that and either strawberry or pineapple sorbet.

That’s another thing. Why can’t American sorbet taste as good as Argentina’s helados de agua? Water is water, right? And even when it varies, it would vary within Argentina as well. Perhaps I should finally look and compare recipes. Or perhaps I should accept that all food from childhood tastes better (except for Argentine cookies, American cookies are far superior. Same with cakes.)

Foto de Don Antonio Helados, Buenos Aires: Cucurucho de chocolate y dulce  de leche - Tripadvisor
Photo taken from the web

Growing up, ice cream was a very special treat. It was expensive! Very expensive. And you could only get it at ice cream parlors. They didn’t sell tubs of ice cream at the supermarket, which was just as well, as our freezers back then weren’t cold enough to keep it frozen. I think my parents got a modern refrigerators a couple of years before we moved to the US, which my aunt Gladys then took, but the market for supermarket ice cream had not yet developed.

My parents did make their own ice cream in a small machine. But the results, for whatever reason, weren’t very good. I’m guessing the recipe might have been at fault. I do remember that it called for unflavored gelatin. Maybe it was because of the lack of a really cold freezer.

So real ice cream was something we got when we got our report cards – as a reward for doing well, but we always did well enough, so it became just the time when we got ice cream. Ironically, this meant that we got ice cream only during the cooler months, when school was in session.

My second grade report card.
Ice cream │Helados - #Icecream | Recuerdos de la infancia, Niños de los 90,  Cosas vintage

In summer, we had to content ourselves with Frigor brand ice cream novelties. In reality, this mostly meant popsicles – which you will not be surprised to learn were much tastier in America. They came in all sort of shapes, and they varied by season, but we usually were relegated to the cheapest one. On super special occasions we might get or be able to afford an ice cream bar – un helado de crema -, but that was very rare. Indeed, even the popsicles would have been rare if it wasn’t for the fact that we – my brother and I – went to day camp during the summer, and for dessert after lunch we got half (una patita) of a two-stick popsicle like the ones in the picture to the left.

Once in a blue moon, my dad might buy a kilo of ice cream for the whole family. We then got to specify which flavors we wanted, and we’d end up with a scoop of a dozen different one – which would then all meld into one flavor.

As you can imagine, when we came to America and found how (relatively) cheap and abundant ice cream was at supermarkets, we were in high heaven. So much so that for quite a while we didn’t miss dulce de leche ice cream (which, btw, doesn’t taste anything like the Haagen Daaz version).

I do now. And very much so. It’s possible to make it at home, but it’s soooo expensive (as it requires dulce de leche imported from Argentina). My kids are grown up, but still at home, so maybe I should make it for them as a treat when they get their report cards.

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