Ad writer Rich Siegel of L.A. has fun scamming a scammer in the book "Tuesdays With Mantu: My Adventures With a Nigerian Con Artist."
Tired of receiving e-mails promising him unimaginable riches, Siegel answered one, posing as a simple-minded factory worker who was more than eager to deposit $45.5 million in his bank account -- and keep 25%.
"Do you think the money will arrive before Xmas, it would make shopping a whole easier," Siegel wrote in his intentionally ungrammatical manner.
Mantu, his benefactor, said of course, as soon as Siegel sent his personal banking information. Siegel stalled him with a variety of nonsensical excuses, including his pregnant wife's ordeal taking a "daily dosage of Kryptonite."
At one point, Siegel agreed to meet Mantu in the African country of Togo, adding, "I've had their sandwiches here and they are great."
After countless e-mail exchanges, Siegel ended the negotiations by having his "widow" send Mantu a fake newspaper obituary, recounting how he had been decapitated in a car accident. Doctors had been unable to "reattach the head to the torso," the obit sadly reported.
Tuesdays with Mantu (cont.)
With the drawn-out bargaining, Siegel calculated he "effectively wasted 45 Nigerian man-hours that could have been used to chisel retirement money from innocent Americans."
A new reality show?
Actually, the SeaWorld sign meant not that families were exchanging unruly kids but that it was the boarding area for a water ride (see photo). This was the spot, my spy Alice Clifner of Mission Viejo said, where one parent could hand the little one to the parent in the craft.
Everything's topsy-turvy these days
In Costa Mesa, Diana Hensley spotted a sign that might seem disorienting if you didn't know it referred to a parcel delivery point (see photo).
Now for some good news
Bob Patterson notes that no holiday-season grocery strike seems imminent so there'll be no need for assurances, such as the one he snapped at a tree lot a few years ago (see photo).
The fur was really flying
I can't believe this happened in sedate Laguna Beach. "A woman allegedly pulled women's hair at 11:37 a.m.," the local Coastline Pilot said, "after a dogfight in which two dogs were allegedly attacked by a pit bull at a dog park."
Good news for striking writers?
"Remind me to give the writers more money," a famous comic said on the radio the other day after one of his jokes bombed. Unfortunately the comic was Fred Allen and it was a 1945 re-run of his show on Sirius radio.
Who says technology is robbing us of our humanity? I just received the sweetest message from a publicist on my answering machine. The message said: "It was nice to have spoken to your voice-mail today."
Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012, and by e-mail at email@example.com