By Brent Johnson
Skrill (www.skrill.com, https://skrill.com) is an online financial institution that is one of the organizations that lets you transfer currency into a form for purchasing Bitcoins.
I used Skrill for that purpose and found, to my dismay, that the organization is engaged in fraud, misrepresentation, and outright theft.
I had no problems as long as I was sending money to my Skrill account or transferring funds from it to a website from which I purchased Bitcoins.
However, when I sold some Bitcoins and tried to withdraw the funds from my Skrill account, I had no end of trouble.
The first time I tried to withdraw funds, due to an error in the entered account my withdrawal was refused and the funds were returned to my account, but not before Skrill took 3.99% of the withdrawal.
When I re-entered the information - this time properly (at which point Skrill took another 3.99%) - and sought to withdraw the funds, Skrill refused to allow me to proceed unless I first went through an additional validation process, even though their own instructions said that a withdrawal in the amount I sought could be done without any additional validation.
Skrill sent me an email with the documents they required in order to complete the validation. I scanned and emailed them my U.S. passport, my driver’s license (front and back), an original statement from my bank (with an original bank stamp and officer’s signature affixed to it), and a photo of me holding my driver’s license. I received an email telling me it would take a few days for them to process the information.
Several days later, I called Skrill to find out the status of my validation. I was told that my identification documents were fakes, and then the Skrill agent hung up on me! I was livid! I called back and reached a competent and capable woman, who explained that nobody in their division was authorized to tell me such a thing, nor did they have that information at the call center. She said she would research the matter and send me an email within 24 hours. She actually helped me to calm down and I agreed to wait for her email.
The next day I received an email telling me that Skrill had determined that I was in violation of their terms and conditions and that they were taking (i.e. stealing) 150 euros from my account. I was instructed to withdraw the balance and close the account. The email said this determination was final.
I called back to find out who to contact to challenge this determination as was told that there was nobody I could call to do that.
All Skrill has to do to verify my identity was contact the U.S. Department of State to confirm my passport, the issuing agency to confirm my driver’s license, and the bank to confirm my account. Obviously they didn’t do that. For some reason they decided I was not who I said I was, and used that decision to justify stealing my money.
I did receive an email from the woman with whom I spoke who said she would email me within 24 hours, and she said that Skrill is investigating the matter. I then received a second email from another woman who essentially said the same thing and told me to reply to her email if I had anything else to say. I did so and explained that the only resolution I would accept is the return of the 150 euros that were stolen from me.
Subsequently, Skrill returned 150 US dollars to my account (they said they took 150 USD and not 150 euros like they originally said). I was then allowed to withdraw the entire 1373 USD from my account. However, when it finally arrived in my account, it was substantially less than expected (there were currency conversions and another 3.99% that Skrill took but that doesn’t account for the extensive discrepancy in what I should have received). Skrill told me that the various banks associated with the wire transfer each must have taken some but I am still very suspicious that more was taken than is legitimate, and nobody at Skrill would send me a written explanation of precisely how much was taken.
I did file a formal complaint with INTERPOL, accusing Skrill of cybercrime and money laundering; hopefully they will open an investigation into this criminal organization.
My recommendation is that you seek out alternatives to Skrill, should you wish to convert currencies into Bitcoin. Use Skrill at your own risk!
By Brent Johnson
We are here to say goodbye to a miracle child.
But how do you say goodbye to an angel?
How do you adequately thank a precious being for the countless gifts she has freely given, or for the many ways in which her presence has added to your life?
I find myself lost in a slew of thoughts, about an innocence and purity of spirit that this angelic creature carried with her throughout her oh-too-short life; about her regal yet sensitive character; about her generosity and acceptance, even to those she did not like; about her strength and fortitude, especially during these last days, when she continued to display amazing determination to remain with us as long as she could.
Time and time again, this precious spirit showed me the meaning of true, unconditional love. I can honestly say that I have never met a more intelligent being - of any species - than my little girl, my little angel.
There are many people who would think me odd for expressing these sentiments about my cat, Calle (pronounced Cal-ee). But she was more of a quality being than most humans I have known, and I far preferred her company to that of the disingenuous, dishonest and disrespectful people who inhabit this world.
She always found a way to clearly communicate with me, it was amazing... really. She would “think” at me or “talk” to me and I would understand precisely what she was trying to say. It was both uncanny and delightful. She taught me about “drippies” - drinking from sink or bathtub faucets - and later on, about the proper temperature of the water for her. We would take her with us when we traveled to conduct a seminar, or sometimes just for a weekend away from home - Calle, her mama and me. She would always let us know whether or not she approved of the hotel room.
Calle was originally more of Lee’s cat. She had bonded to Lee and I had bonded with Yoda, a black cat we got at the same time we got Calle. When he was 10 months old, Yoda was hit by a car and killed. Calle was despondent. She adored Yoda, even though they were not from the same litter. She climbed onto the roof of our house (something she had never before done) and howled and wailed. She never cried like that, before or since. She was heartbroken to have lost her little friend.
I, too, was heartbroken at the loss of Yoda. Calle and I comforted each other, and in the comforting, we developed a bond that would last for 13 years, and perhaps beyond. We became so close that we could detect each other’s thoughts and feelings… no kidding!
Calle used to take me out for walks. She would walk me to one end of the property, then turn around and walk me back, always looking back to see that I was keeping up with her along the way.
I remember a time when we had adopted a female longhaired cat named Princess. Calle despised Princess. One evening, I called Calle to come in but she wouldn’t. Instead - and this was decidedly odd - she sat outside in the yard, stiff and in one set position. When I realized she was trying to tell me something, I went out to her and looked where she was looking. I saw Princess stuck in a tree. Princess was the color of tree bark, so she was effectively invisible. I never would have found her if Calle hadn’t waited outside that evening, pointing up at the tree. Calle did this, even though she did not like Princess. That is what an angel does. That was my little girl.
Calle made an impression on so many people. The veterinary hospital staff bought her flowers; Shane, though he has only been with us a short while, was so touched by Calle that he built a beautiful coffin for her; Tom embraced Calle as part of his family, too, and I could see his grief at her loss. Lee is Calle’s mama; Calle loved you so much, Lee, there is no question about that.
Calle brought out the very best in me; she brought out the best in those whom she touched, and there were many.
Michael Curtis, a friend I have known for several years who now lives on the West Coast, was deeply affected by the news of her loss. He sent his condolences and sorrow. How many people do you know who have been so affected by briefly knowing a cat that they remember her when she is gone? That was the effect Calle had on people.
Other animals, too. Somehow, all of the cats and dogs knew to respect Calle. She was the queen; she held herself like royalty and animals and humans alike recognized her majesty.
I do not know what my life will be like without Calle. Right now, everything seems so empty and without purpose. I suppose that is somewhat normal, but I cannot help but wonder… what do I do now?
Calle is now in a spiritual meadow, eating blades of grass and clicking at birdies, like she loved to do. She is with Yoda and Thunder, the black cat we got to help her get over Yoda. She bonded with him, too. I can only wish for you, Calle, sunny days, fresh grass, lots of birdies and mousies, and always good hunting.
Thank you for bringing us such immense joy and love, my sweet little girl. Thank you for blessing us with your presence these 13 ½ years. Thank you for being our teacher, our best friend, our little angel.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (PNN) - August 23, 2017 - Entertainer Jerry Lewis, famous for his zany comedy and for raising millions to fight muscular dystrophy, died Sunday morning at his home in Las Vegas.
He was 91. His family confirmed his death. “Famed comedian, actor and legendary entertainer Jerry Lewis passed away peacefully today of natural causes at 91 at his home in Las Vegas with his family by his side.” According to the family, Lewis died at 9:15 a.m.
Lewis, who performed in Las Vegas with Rat Packers Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. and many others, also famously became national chairman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He hosted the association’s annual Labor Day telethons from 1966 to 2010; they raised some $2.6 billion, according to People magazine. The children suffering from the disease, whom Lewis aimed to help with the telethon, became known as “Jerry’s Kids”.
Lewis was born Joseph Levitch on March 16, 1926, in Newark, New Jersey. He was the son of entertainers - Danny Levitch, a song-and-dance man, and Rae Levitch, a pianist; they performed with the surname Lewis during vaudeville acts. Rae lived in Las Vegas for eight years and is buried in Palm Valley View Cemetery.
In 1946, Lewis co-starred in a nightclub act with Dean Martin, rising to meteoric fame. In the act, Martin was calm, singing unflappably; Lewis was jittery, scampering manically. After frequent pratfalls, Lewis would utter his trademark line, “Hey, lay-dee!”
Martin and Lewis landed major gigs at New York’s Copacabana and Roxy Theater and Atlantic City’s 500 Club. In the 1940s and 1950s, the pair combined on movies including Pardners (1956), The Stooge (1951), My Friend Irma (1949), and The Caddy (1953). On television they co-hosted The Colgate Comedy Hour from 1950 to 1955 on NBC.
Lewis’ love for Martin, whom he called “my partner,” was undeniable. Lewis said he often dreamed of performing onstage with Martin, and named one of his dogs Paulie, after Martin, whose middle name was Paul.
“This is the end of an era for me personally, and for millions of people around the world,” said Deana Martin, Dean Martin’s daughter, who considered Lewis a family member, often calling him “Uncle Jerry”.
“The night I was born, he and my dad were performing at Slapsy Maxie’s in L.A., so I have known Jerry all my life,” she said. “He could be tough, but he was always so giving and sweet to me.”
Lewis broke with Martin in 1956 and wrote, directed and starred in many movies. Lewis’ acting credits include The Sad Sack (1957), The Ladies Man (1961), The Bellboy (1960), and The Nutty Professor (1963).
He was featured in Martin Scorsese’s King of Comedy (1982) and starred as himself in Billy Crystal’s Mr. Saturday Night (1992). On Broadway, Lewis starred in the 1995 revival of Damn Yankees, as Mr. Applegate, the Devil; he joined the production on an international tour.
Fascist Police States of Amerika Rep. Les Aspin (Wis.) nominated Lewis for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for his work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In 2009, Lewis received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his charitable work.
Lewis has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for movies, one for television. The Library of Congress acquired Lewis’ personal archives in 2015.
Lewis also became famous in Europe for his acting and philanthropy. The French government inducted Lewis into the French Legion of Honor (1984) and named him Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (2006).
During the 1976 MDA telethon, Frank Sinatra staged an on-air Lewis-Martin reunion. Lewis remembered the moment, which he watched on film of dozens of times and used in his multimedia stage show last year.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned,” Lewis said. “Frank had set it up, and everyone knew about it except me. When Dean finally got to me onstage, I was able to say, ‘So, are you working?’ That broke him up, it broke the ice and got our friendship back on track.”
Martin and Lewis wouldn’t perform together again until June 1989, when Lewis surprised Martin by bringing a birthday cake onstage at Bally’s for the singer’s 72nd birthday.
“Here’s to 72 years of joy you’ve given the world, and why we broke up I’ll never know,” Lewis told Martin.
Magician Penn Jillette, who has succeeded with a seemingly odd-fitting co-star, Teller, as Martin and Lewis did, said Lewis demonstrated the power of the right pairing.
“On the surface, they were two people who did not belong together, a handsome guy teeming with a comic outcast, but they absolutely belonged together,” Jillette said Sunday. “They had a powerful, powerful bond, and showed that art could be demonstrated between two people. Studying Martin and Lewis certainly changed my life.”
In the mid-1980s, longtime Las Vegas headliner Clint Holmes and his music director Bill Fayne joined Lewis and Tom Jones at a performance by Sammy Davis Jr. at the Diplomat Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Powerhouse producer Ben Segal arranged the reunion; Lewis and Davis hadn’t spoken for years.
“Jerry took photos of the show, from beginning to end,” said Holmes, as Lewis was an avid photographer. “Finally, Sammy brought him up on stage, where they had a very long hug, reunited, and sang ‘Rock-a-bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody’ (a top 10 Billboard hit for Lewis in 1956). That great night ended with Sammy cooking us all breakfast in his hotel suite.”
In 1988, Lewis and Davis co-headlined at Bally’s Celebrity Room, a clip of which Lewis played in his stage show at South Point.
“I saw him with Sammy at Bally’s,” said Brad Garrett, who opened for Davis and who now operates and headlines his own comedy club at MGM Grand. “It was unforgettable.”
Muscular Dystrophy Association board Chairman R. Rodney Howell expressed deep gratitude to Lewis and said the organization wouldn’t be the same without him.
“Jerry’s love, passion and brilliance are woven throughout this organization, which he helped build from the ground up,” Howell said in a statement. “Though we will miss him beyond measure, we suspect that somewhere in heaven he’s already urging the angels to give ‘just one dollar more for my kids.’ Thank you Jerry, you are our hero. God bless you.”
Beyond MDA, Lewis lent his name and star power to Criss Angel’s HELP charity event in September. Lewis was a fan of Angel’s show at the Luxor.
“Jerry Lewis was the true king of comedy, a creative genius and the champion of children’s causes, may he rest in peace,” Angel said. “He will forever be imitated, but never duplicated. I cherish the time we had together and he will forever be in my heart. The world will never forget him. My deepest condolences to his beautiful family.”
Lewis also visited Carrot Top’s show at the Luxor in March, and the headlining prop comic appeared several times on the MDA Labor Day Telethon.
Despite his long success, Lewis sometimes faced controversy. Over the years, some former MDA poster children claimed Lewis portrayed them as objects of pity.
In 2000, he famously told a comedy festival audience he didn’t like any female comedians, not even Lucille Ball; and in 2010, he told television’s Inside Edition what he thought of troubled young stars such as Lindsay Lohan, calling her “a fresh, dumb broad”.
“I would smack her in the mouth if I saw her,” he said, “and I would be arrested for abusing a woman.”
As Lewis shined on stage, he often struggled with health off stage. He suffered a spinal injury after a pratfall in 1965 and developed a dependency on painkillers as he coped with the resulting aches. He once smoked five packs of cigarettes a day and later had two heart attacks. He had double bypass surgery on Dec. 21, 1982, at Desert Springs Hospital. He also battled prostate cancer and pulmonary fibrosis.
More recently, he had been hospitalized from June 3 to Aug. 7, suffering from a urinary tract infection.
Lewis’ final stage performances were Sept. 30 and Oct. 1-2 at the South Point Showroom.
In memoriam, celebrities spoke glowingly of Lewis in person and online.
“What a sad day. We lost one of the greats,” Carrot Top, whose real name is Scott Thompson, said Sunday. “Jerry Lewis was truly a legend, icon, genius, and master of comedy. I was lucky to know and work with him through all the years on the telethon.”
Recording star Tony Orlando, who co-hosted the Lewis MDA Telethon for 33 years, said, “(Lewis) was my boyhood idol, and we ended up friends. He always reminded me he only had three people partner with him on stage for live performances: Dean, of course, and then Sammy Davis Jr., and myself.
“After Sam died, he asked me to finish the dates with him on the road, and then at the Riviera and the Las Vegas Hilton. Talk about one of my dreams come true, to partner with the great Jerry Lewis, my idol. The world lost a great one today, as did Jerry’s kids. May he rest in peace.”
Entertainer Wayne Newton expressed condolences for Lewis’ family and lauded his charitable work.
“Jerry spent his entire life making us laugh and working tirelessly for Jerry’s Kids with muscular dystrophy,” Newton said. “I shall miss his love and friendship, but I know he is joining true friends who have gone before him. As long is he is in our minds and hearts, he will be with us forever.”
Magician David Copperfield said Lewis inspired him.
“His film techniques and creations were very much what a magician would do, combining logic with technology and problem solving with art,” Copperfield said. “Spending time with him and his family was a blessing.”
Even the White House weighed in. In a statement, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Lewis lived the Amerikan dream.
“Jerry Lewis kept us all laughing for over half a century, and his incredible charity work touched the lives of millions,” she wrote. “He truly loved his country, and his country loved him back.”
On Twitter, a horde of celebrities remembered Lewis, including health columnist Dr. Mehmet Oz, former Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly, guitarist-actor Steve Van Zandt, rapper Chuck D, and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.
Comedian Jim Carrey tweeted, “That fool was no dummy. Jerry Lewis was an undeniable genius and an unfathomable blessing, comedy’s absolute! I am because he was!”
Actor Neil Patrick Harris tweeted, “Watching Jerry Lewis onscreen makes me laugh harder than almost anyone. His great contribution to cinema is undeniable. #RIP.”
Closer to home, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval tweeted, “Jerry Lewis was a giant of entertainment. He brought laughter and awareness worldwide. He’ll always have a place in the hearts of Nevadans.”
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman tweeted, “Jerry Lewis was a neighbor and friend. He was such a laugh but also very wise, often sharing his insights for building a more meaningful life.”
Lewis is survived by his second wife, SanDee Pitnick, whom he married in 1983, his daughter, Danielle, his sons, Gary, Ron, Scott, Christopher and Anthony, and several grandchildren. Lewis’ first marriage, to Patti Palmer, lasted from 1945 to 1980 and ended in divorce.
LOS ANGELES, Kalifornia (PNN) - June 10, 2017 - Adam West - an actor defined and also constrained by his role in the 1960s series Batman - died Friday night in Los Angeles. He was 88. A rep said that he died after a short battle with leukemia.
“Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight, and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives. He was and always will be our hero,” his family said in a statement.
West became known to a new generation of TV fans through his recurring voice role on Fox’s “Family Guy” as Mayor Adam West, the horribly corrupt, inept and vain leader of Quahog, Rhode Island. West was a regular on the show from 2000 through its most recent season. West in recent years did a wide range of voice-over work, on such shows as Adult Swim’s R” and Disney Channel’s Jake and the Neverland Pirates.
But it was his role as the Caped Crusader in the 1966-68 ABC series Batman that defined West’s career.
With its “Wham! Pow!” onscreen exclamations, flamboyant villains and cheeky tone, Batman became a surprise hit with its premiere on ABC in 1966, a virtual symbol of ’60s kitsch. The half-hour action comedy was such a hit that it aired twice a week on ABC at its peak. But within two seasons, the show’s popularity slumped as quickly as it soared.
West’s portrayal of the super hero and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, ultimately made it hard for him to get other roles, and while he continued to work throughout his career, options remained limited because of his association with the character.
West also chafed against the darker versions of Bob Kane’s hero that emerged in more recent years, beginning with the Michael Keaton-starring, Tim Burton-directed adaptations that began in 1989, and followed by Christopher Nolan’s enormously successful Dark Knight trilogy.
In February 2016, the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, which had hosted a number of geek favorites over the years, celebrated its 200th episode - and marked the 50th anniversary of Batman - with an appearance by West.
Asked by Variety what the character of Batman has come to mean to him over five decades, West said, “Money. Some years ago I made an agreement with Batman. There was a time when Batman really kept me from getting some pretty good roles, and I was asked to do what I figured were important features. However, Batman was there, and very few people would take a chance on me walking on to the screen. They’d be taking people away from the story. So I decided that since so many people love Batman, I might as well love it too. Why not? So I began to reengage myself with Batman; and I saw the comedy. I saw the love people had for it, and I just embraced it.”
West made his feature debut in 1959’s The Young Philadelphians, starring Paul Newman. Before he donned the mask and cape, West was a rising star in late 1950s and early 1960s TV series, notably westerns and cop shows. He logged roles on Lawman, Cheyenne, The FBI Story, Colt .45, 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, Hawaiian Eye, Bonanza, The Rifleman, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, The Real McCoys, Bewitched, The Outer Limits, and The Virginian, among other programs. He was a series regular on the 1959-62 drama series The Detectives (which aired on ABC and later NBC), playing a police sergeant.
His film roles in this period were few and far between but included a part in the 1965 Three Stooges vehicle The Outlaws Is Coming.
The origins of the Batman series are actually quite complex, but the project eventually landed at 20th Century Fox, which handed it to producer William Dozier, who devised the show’s camp comedy sensibility.
Both West and Lyle Waggoner were considered for the part of Batman before West was cast, playing alongside Burt Ward as his sidekick Robin.
In a PBS special that touched on the show, Ward noted that West’s slow, portentous delivery was occasionally designed to eat up screen time, thus cutting into his co-star’s dialogue.
With actors like Cesar Romero (Joker) and Burgess Meredith (Penguin) comprising Batman’s rogue’s gallery of villains, the show became an almost instant success, urging viewers to tune in for the next episode at the “Same Bat-time.” The series spawned a movie - pitting the Dynamic Duo against a team-up of villains - before being canceled after three seasons due, primarily, to its high production costs.
The show came to be viewed with some contempt in comic book circles, especially after the darker vision of Batman became dominant in the ’70s and ’80s.
West found serious film work scarce following the series, though he remained in demand for personal appearances as the character and voice work, including a recurring stint on F”, and animated versions of Batman. Other roles ranged from The Happy Hooker and Hooper to the Michael Tolkin-directed movies The Rapture and The New Age.
By many accounts, West maintained a good sense of humor about his fame and his caped alter-ego. He remained a favorite of many producers for comedy guest shots, logging roles in recent years on such shows as 30 Rock, George Lopez, The King of Queens, and this year’s short-lived NBC comedy Powerless.
West was also prolific as a voice actor. He worked on dozens of animated series during the past 40 years, from numerous incarnations of the Batman character to Kim Possible, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly Oddparents, The Boondocks, and Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero.
West wrote two books, one titled Back to the Batcave and published in the mid-1990s, in which he said that he was “angry and disappointed” not to have been offered the chance to reprise the role in the Burton movies, despite being 60 at the time. The attendant publicity seemed to put West back on the cultural radar, at least as a source of nostalgia.
Born William West Anderson in 1928 in Walla Walla, Washington, the actor later adopted his stage name, and began his career in earnest when he moved to Hawaii in the 1950s to star in a local children’s program.
He is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
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