Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Nigerian Landlord

Shortly after I posted my fanciful online encounter with Anya in “From Russia With Love”, I became embroiled in a REAL online scam.

Back Story:
We have our old house listed for sale in town. In the last couple of days we received four phone calls from “renters” asking about our house for rent advertised on CraigsList. Our house isn't for rent. One of the callers thought there was something suspicious about the ad after e-mailing the "agent" listed in the ad and receiving a reply from Nigeria!

We subsequently found that apparently two fake ads had been placed on CraigsList which were later flagged and deleted before we could view them. But shortly a third ad was posted – there it was, complete with pictures of our lovely home advertised for rent for $700 deposit. The only contact provided was the “spoofed” e-mail address of the listing Realtor.

I decided to pose as a prospective renter for my own house under the adopted name of Jay Edgar Hoover. I have copied my e-mail exchange with Nigerian scammer into an Adobe Acrobat document which you can read in it's entirety here. (My side of the correspondence is colored blue.)

After my "application was accepted", the guy in Nigeria actually called my cell phone asking for "Jay"... not thinking, I told them they had the wrong number. Damn, stupid mistake! But eventually they called back. I told them I didn't know how to wire money to Nigeria - In actuality I was stalling them; I wanted to have my tape recorder by the phone to record the conversation. I heard lots of voices in the background, it sounded like a classic "boiler room" operation.

Alas the scammers apparently caught on that THEY were instead being scammed; no further e-mails nor phone calls were received.

As it turns out, one of the couples who called us from the fake ad about renting our place turned out to be genuinely interested. If our house doesn't sell by the end of the month, my Nigerian Landlord may have done me a nice service by referring us to some potentially suitable renters!! (I wonder if I should tell him the place rents for $1,100/month instead of the $700 he was asking for?) ~ Nahhhh!

I'm on -the-road this weekend. Hope to catch up to your blogs and comments on my return Monday. - R

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Quarter Life Crisis

Never trust anyone over the age of 30. ~ Timothy Leary
My “baby” recently celebrated her 30th birthday earlier this year. When she was born I had just turned 30. Back then I had a good job (which I hated) and my marriage was beginning to unravel. Mt. St Helens would blow a couple of months later on May 18th and that Fall Ronald Reagan would be elected president. Overall, though, life was pretty good for us Thirty-Somethings back then.

Fast-forward another thirty years. It’s tougher now to find work or to buy a house. Our country’s finances are in a seemingly endless downward spiral into national deficit. We import way more than we export, primarily because we don’t make anything any more. Our expectations are high but our opportunities seem scant. As a Baby Boomer I have often said that I feel that our generation has lived in the best times man has ever had, and will ever have, on this planet. All the while the global population will soon exceed 7 Billion people.

My kid’s generation is facing “Quarter Life Crisis”, the sinking realization that they may not have an entirely better life than we enjoyed during our peak years. There are books and web sites devoted to the concept. You can probably download them onto your Kindle.

Some of the recognized symptoms of Quarter Life Crisis are general insecurities about the ability to have meaningful employment, sustained income, friends, family and primarily, fun. In short, the same things our generation worried about as we were reaching Mid-Life crisis. Although one of the major differences facing the younger generation is that there is more competition for fewer resources than there was in the Boomer generation. Advanced technology, in the form of instant access to information, may really only serve to make these inadequacies more apparent.

Our parents often helped us financially when we were young. But we now note that it is somewhat more difficult to help our kids to the extent our parents helped us. Many of our generation are considering “reverse mortgages” to supplement our dwindling purchasing power. In times passed, parents could be expected to hand off their house, or at least some estate, to their kids. Today, even with the mortgage paid off; our medical insurance premiums alone are now more than our house payment was – about a third of our retirement income. We Boomers are feeling the squeeze.

Some pop sociologists lay the blame for Quarter Life Crisis us Boomers, claiming we brought up our kids in a permissive atmosphere, implying to our children that they deserved anything they wanted; that life should expected to be fun and entertaining, or that upward mobility was a given. Did we raise our kids with a sense of entitlement? Did we promise them better lives than we had? Perhaps; but I think it is a gross generalization. I think we hoped that we raised our children to feel they are at least as deserving as anyone else (not better). Hopefully we were able to instill some sense of ethics and justice – what goes around; comes around. I hope.

The new corporate mindset within this country has now been hard-wired into our culture and politics. It has resulted in the largest transfer of wealth in our history since the Great Depression. In a decade the disparity between what executives earn compared to their workers has gone from 30% to a 300% difference. They have effectively gutted the Middle Class.

One has to wonder why, philosophically at least, the wealthy are so eager to kill the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg that has been the progenitor of their wealth. The symptoms have manifested itself in the form of the housing and related financial collapse of 2008, high unemployment, widening trade and budget deficits. These are very real issues which affect our children directly. Most of our kids feel there will likely be no Social Security available to them when they reach retirement age.

So how do we advisr our kids about dealing with Quarter Life Crisis? What can we do besides simply dying off and leaving them our dwindling assets?

Hopefully the solution won’t be to seriously implement “Logan’s Run”.

Friday, October 22, 2010

From Russia with Love

Love and marriage, love and marriage,
goes together like a
Лошадь и вагон. - Perry Como
I received a welcome deviation from the usual e-mails imploring my assistance in lubricating millions of dollars from bureaucratic Nigerian bankers; this one informing instead that there were lovely women in Russia eager to marry me. After researching what potentially heinous sort of malware awaited my libido-driven click, I felt confident enough to visit

There the site informed me that: Thousands of Russian women from Ukraine and Russia want to get married, create a family, and be happy. We offer russian [sic] dating service for men seeking beautiful russian women for dating and marriage.

What a surprise, it seems that only the most lovely among former Soviet Bloch unemployed models are seeking Western husbands. Apparently all the plane-Janeofskies have already paired-up with suitable Volga boatmen from the village. These poor girls are left to cast a wider net, it would seem.

Having previously already married two blonds in my lifetime, I decided to remain on familiar territory and dashed off a quick note to Anya (pictured above). Unfortunately I was informed that my message could not be delivered without first submitting my VISA... not the immigration kind, the plastic kind. Apparently Prime Minister Putin is sensitive to potentially imbalancing his country's trade relations with the United States. I certainly can't blame Pootie-Poot for not wanting to let go their number one export without ensuring sufficient Rubles in return.

But somehow my furtive attempts at communicating with Anya managed to skirt the People's Ministry of Communication attempt at censorship and I received a delightful e-mail from Anya. Her hope was that the requirement to secure American dollars (widely acceptable in Russia) could be temporarily forestalled until we got to know one another better.

I told her that her photo was stunning and I would greatly like to see more of her. Unfortunately, she explained, all scanners in the Ukraine are "pay scanners" requiring a credit card number in order to operate. Obviously I would need to increase my efforts in appealing to her good graces and Eastern European charms if I were to successfully woo additional information and likenesses from her.

Knowing Ukraine to be a poor country I tried appealing to her on a simlar level; I explained that my credit was exhausted and that, now homeless, I was reduced to e-mailing her from the convenience of the free computers in the public library. I explained that, though already married, I was a member of an off-shoot religions sect in Utah which not only allows, but encourages, the taking of multiple wives. But due to my flagging financial situation, multiple criminal convictions and dwindling amounts of both teeth and hair, American women seemed a bit to "haughty" to yield to my many charms.

My appeal apparently wormed its way into her heart as Anya finally relented and e-mailed another picture my hopeful new Russian bride:

Monday, October 18, 2010

False Heroes

This post comes on the heels of my recent post Spitting out the Truth prompted by a comment made to that article by fellow blogger, Secret Agent Woman who remarked regarding a veteran she knew who had lied about his war experience - her comment suggested this entry. Thanks, Secret Agent Woman.
Eighty year old Portland resident Lafayette Keaton was a local hero. A veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, Keaton was honored by local veterans groups and often invited to speak of his experiences to civic organizations and local schools. Friendly and unassuming, this quiet man would show up in his dress uniform sporting the Silver Star he had earned for his acts of heroism during the Korean War.

But Keaton spoke mostly of his harrowing and vivid accounts of his three deployments to Vietnam. Recalling his experiences in the Army Rangers he admitted that he still awakens with nightmares. But his proudest accomplishment, as he tells it, was of his participation of the liberation of the Japanese prison camp in Los Banos, The Philippines, during WWII.

However it turns out that the only real war Keaton has been fighting all these years has been with the truth – Keaton joined the military 1952, too late for WWII. He served only two months in Korea in an administrative position and well after the cession of combat. He has never set foot in Vietnam. Keaton is a fraud. [1]

One evening my wife Nancy and I had the pleasure of dining with an acquaintance, Dr. Loren Pankratz. Loren is Consultation Psychologist and Clinical Professor at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. Previously he has worked at the Portland Veterans Administration Medical Center; he has a special interest in deception in medical patients.

Loren has been hired as a consultant, as an expert witness by attorneys in cases where patients were suing their psychologists or psychiatrists for malpractice in “repressed memory” cases. These are incidents of people who have falsely been led into believing they were suffering repressed and blocked memories of horrific, sometimes even ritual, abuse. In the vast majority of these cases, the repressed memories have turned out to be false; the results instead of impressionable patients and their clinicians all too eager to encourage these fictitious beliefs.

Loren’s book, Patients Who Deceive, was drawn from his experiences treating patients who “acted out” illness. [3] Later, during his tenure at the Veterans Administration, floods of new patients returning from Vietnam were being assessed for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Many of these vets complained of night terrors, depression, drug addiction and physical ailments. When interviewed clinicians often heard patients describe horrible atrocities allegedly witnessed by these returning vets. The belief grew that these men were part of a growing epidemic of PTSD. Pankratz was particularly troubled that that treatment for PTSD was often unsuccessful for a particular segment of these patients.

Loren and others began treating PTSD vets at the VA hospital. However, unlike most of his peers, he took one additional step of requesting copies of their military service records. What he found surprised him – many of these supposed war-traumatized vets had never served in Vietnam or in any war zone. A few, it even turned out, had never been in the active military.

Our culture is rife with fiction about Vietnam vets. Movies such as Rambo, and Born on the Forth of July, for example, promote the idea that our war in Vietnam disgraced and dishonored not only our country but the men and women who served there. Almost anyone will admit seeing the supposedly “homeless vet” on the street corner holding a sign on which is scrawled “Vet will work for food”. Having myself worked in state human services, I knew for a fact that many of the homeless "vets" on my caseload had never served in the armed forces. Anyone could claim to be a vet for the simple price of a used cammo jacket from the military surplus store.

In his book, "Stolen Valor", by Dallas stockbroker and Vietnam vet B.G. Burkett, he recounts similar such stories. [5] Burkett was interested in raising money for a veterans memorial in Texas. But he was stymied by the negative image of Vietnam vets presented in the media; a hodgepodge of shaggy bearded and long haired misfits, whackos and losers who did not fit his memory of the elite and polished units with whom he served. Armed with the Freedom of Information Act, Burkett confirmed his suspicions; that many of these so called vets either never served or were never in a theater of combat.

What are we to make of this deception? The news media would suggest that significant numbers of our service personnel returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan with significant and permanent mental disabilities. But Loren Pankratz and some others don’t believe the problem is as wide spread as suggested. True, readjustment to civilian life can be difficult particularly in tough economic times at home. Military deployment is indeed hugely disruptive to families and finances. There is no doubt that the traumas of serving in combat can generate life altering changes.

But Pankratz reveals that most returning vets want the same things we all want; a home, loving and supporting family, meaningful work and a happy life and secure future. Most find ways to reconcile their experiences, some of them traumatic indeed, yet eventually reintegrate successfully back into civilian life. Yes, there are indeed substantiated cases of PTSD. However Loren says that the vast majority of cases, these veterans do get better over time.

Yet there will always be the patients who deceive; their symptoms belie a deeper extent of their illness, and in some, their strong need to be ill.
Pankratz: My favorite example is from the National Vietnam Veteran Readjustment Study (NVVRS), research that consumed four years and $9 million (Kulka et al. 1988). Six women in the study claimed that their stress was caused by being a prisoner of war. Not one of the many researchers involved in the study apparently realized that no American military woman ever became a POW in Vietnam. [4]
~ ~ ~
“War hero impostor falls to the facts”, KATU TV news web site, March 14, 2010
"Fake Heroes", Today's Officer magazine, Fall 2005
“Patients Who Deceive”, Loren Pankratz, 1998
"More Hazards: Hypnosis, Airplanes, and Strongly Held Beliefs", Skeptical Inquirer Magazine, June 2003
"Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History", B.G. Burkett, 1998

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Repo Man - First Blood

Fresh out of college with a Biology degree, I was eager to put my “science” to practical experience. However, pickings were slim and I soon reached the acceptance that ANY employer willing to pay me would be greatly appreciated. I accepted employment for a large Pacific Northwest Bank. As it turns out, as a scientist, I was in good company; virtually none of my fellow bank employees had degrees in finance or business – mostly Liberal Arts majors; there was even a guy in the commercial lending department who graduated from seminary. But I digress…

This bank wanted its future loan officers to understand implicitly what a “bad” loan was. Therefore budding young loan officers began their tenure collecting bad debts in “the field”. My entry level position was, therefore, as a “Repo Man”.

This was going to prove to be a tough gig for a shy, 5’ – 6” 145 pound middle class white boy. I was already fairly shy; so much so that I would avoid calling the movie theater to check show times unless I was fairly SURE I would get a recording. My first trial was making it through the interview, which I thought I had blown as the old codger interviewing me never gave me the opportunity to say anything. Miraculously I was hired and soon found myself in “training”. My training constituted riding along for two weeks with another experienced “Outside Collectors”. Once fully trained, I was issued my own vehicle, credit card, assorted Portland road maps and a briefcase full of delinquent accounts.

Here was the game: If the bank (me) could get the collateral back to the car dealership before the delinquency passed the 90-day mark, the car dealer would have to make the delinquent loan good for the Bank. We usually were assigned cases at the point where they were about 60 delays delinquent; previous collection efforts having failed to this point.

So here I am someplace in rural Oregon out on my own my first week on my own. I pull up to the delinquent customer’s house (referred to in repo jargon as “the Flake”). Step one; position your car (door unlocked) facing toward the street in the event one should need to make a hasty escape. There on the front lawn I positively identify “The Collateral”; a bright red Toyota Land Cruiser. Of course this house happens to be situated by itself in the middle of a field, visible for miles in any direction. My reconnaissance reveals that this location is NOT going to be an easy target to sneak up on should I have to return later in the dead of night. Noted.

I knock on the door; a HUGE man steps out the screen door and onto the porch. He’s wearing torn red and black plaid shirt and bib overalls. The stereotype generator in my mind suggests his name might be either “Tiny” or “Bubba”. I am dressed in a sky blue leisure suit.

I launch into my spiel – “…you are two months delinquent on your account, blah blah…ignored notices, blah blah blah.” Then I wrap it all up with my demand “… and if you do not bring this account current, I will be required to take yon vehicle into my possession.”

At the close of my speech – total silence… except for the annoying dog at our feet barking incessantly throughout my entire dialog. Bubba, not wanting his response depreciated by the interrupting dog, draws his leg back then punts the dog into the air and clean off the porch. While the dog is still in flight, he then turns to me and says: “So a little guy like you is going to drive my car away?” Summoning Herculean effort in retaining my composure, I respond: “Yes, sir… I’ll just move the seat forward and drive it off.”

I think the disparity in our body builds mutually suggested that physical combat, at this point, was not warranted. To my relief, he agreed to arrangements whereby he would come into the local branch office the following day and pay up his arrears. I believe I have pulled off a coup.

However, a few days later the branch informs me that Bubba never showed and his account is still delinquent; the guy just blew me off.

By now it’s a Friday afternoon. Having the “key code”, a local locksmith has cut a key for the Toyota. I am at “the Flake’s” place of employment, a manufacturer of railroad freight cars where he is a welder. I cruise up and down the employee parking lot until… there it is, the red Toyota Land Cruiser. I gain access to the vehicle; It is full of fishing gear. He apparently has a big weekend planned.

The engine fires and I slowly drive this guy’s car out of the employee parking lot. Damn, he’s going to be pissed when he gets off work and finds his car gone! I’ve just repossessed my first car. Oddly, my right foot is trembling... it will tremble like that with every car I repo over the next two years.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Spitting Out the Truth

Say what you will about the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, at least American and Coalition service men and women are receiving almost universally unflagging support and the highest praise. We should admire those among us to have the courage to make the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our freedoms. The intelligence, or lack thereof, on the part of our leaders in choosing to enter into such conflicts should in no way overshadow the sacrifice of those who have to do the dirty work. After all, we don’t want to repeat the disgraces heaped upon our returning Vietnam soldiers – of being spat upon and told they were “baby killers” when they returned home from an unpopular war.

Though I was in college at the time of the Vietnam war, I was called for my induction physical in preparation for being drafted. Fortunately, I never received my official “Greetings” letter. However I do have many friends and acquaintances who served, both voluntarily and involuntarily; some of whom were deployed to Vietnam. Oddly, only one of them ever said they were spat on while in uniform upon returning from the war.

Joe mentioned the incident during a party where he was talking about his two sons currently serving overseas. I like Joe but he has always been the kind of guy who likes to impress... particularly if there are attractive women present. Sure like many, he pads his credentials a bit and I usually brush off a lot of what he says as harmless bluster. But truthfully; I don’t believe for one moment that anyone spit on him… perhaps for other reasons, but not likely in the context of his being a uniformed returning vet.

I have always been troubled by these accounts of spitting on returning Vietnam veterans; frankly the image of such alleged deeds chaff against my “reasonableness meter”. Yet these stories persist in the news media. I heard it yet again this week cited by a National Public Radio reporter. Earlier this year, Conservative reporter Glenn Beck conjured up a story of an Iraq War veteran being spat upon at a rally in Washington.

The image of a war protester spitting on a soldier or veteran generates an extremely visceral response – and I believe that is precisely why this myth tends to persist. The metaphor is a strong indictment of those who oppose war in general and certain wars in particular. It has all the elements of a very jagged propaganda tool.

In researching this story I discovered a book written by Jerry Lembcke, "The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam" (New York University Press, 1998). Jerry is an associate professor of sociology at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts and a Vietnam veteran himself. Troubled by the pervasiveness of this story, his book is the result of direct interviews of hundreds of veterans claiming being spat upon. What he discovered was that ALL of these accounts appeared to fall apart when the claimants were pressed for details. Indeed, though the media still seems to report these incidents as fact, there remain no substantiating news articles, tape or pictures to support these claims.

What Lembcke found even more remarkable were that in virtually all such accounts, the soldiers always walked away in sadness or shame – never, it seemed, did any of these service men “punch the lights out” of any of these spitting war protesters. Such altercations would clearly have generated some level of media coverage, if not police incident reports.

Lembcke states: …the Veterans Administration commissioned a Harris Poll in 1971 that found 94% of Vietnam veterans reporting friendly homecomings from their age-group peers who had not served in the military.”[1] According to the people I know personally who served in Vietnam, they recall nothing but praise and support for them. In fact, several remember their service as a positive experience.

Then why does this myth of war protesters spitting on veterans seem to persist? As Jack Shafer of Slate Magazine writes: “The myth persists because: 1) Those who didn't go to Vietnam--that being most of us--don't dare contradict the "experience" of those who did; 2) the story helps maintain the perfect sense of shame many of us feel about the way we ignored our (sic) Vietvets; 3) the press keeps the story in play by uncritically repeating it... 4) because any fool with 33 cents [postage] and the gumption to repeat the myth in his letter to the editor can keep it in circulation.[2]

With upcoming elections, currently our nation is awash in all manner of urban folklore being spewed forth over the airwaves in an attempt to sway the appeal of one political candidate over another. Unfortunately when emotionally-charged issues are involved, one of the first casualties is the truth.
~ ~ ~

1. Spitting on the Troops: Old Myth, New Rumors, The Veteran, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Spring 2003
2. Drooling on the Vietnam Vets, Slate Magazine, May 2, 2000
3. Beck went beyond NY Times' and Sparling's (contradictory) accounts of "spitting incident" to ask: "Have we learned nothing from Vietnam?", Media Matters for America, February 1, 2007

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Chase is Afoot

Back when I was in high school, a very interesting social network somehow formed. Nobody was really sure who the members of this group were as they were pretty much self-declared. Nor were there any apparent leaders; in fact, no one had any clear idea of who founded the organization. Nonetheless, it was not long before the high school administration became concerned that a local chapter of the HSJ, "The Horny Sons of Jerusalem”, had been established within the student body.

As far as anyone could tell, the sole purpose of this organization was to orchestrate the annual “HSJ Nude Relays”. Held each year during a warm spring evening after school at an undisclosed location, the school would become abuzz over the anticipated event. Someone even circulated the club’s alleged logo; an erect “flying” penis, sporting a set of Roman god, Mercury style wings. Fanciful versions of the HSJ logo could be glimpsed penciled on the back of notebooks or book covers. Cute.

Of course, due to the evocative nature of the HSJ’s principal activity, to avoid the authorities, the precise whereabouts of the “relays” was announced strictly by word-of-mouth, usually the day of the alleged event. Not surprisingly, as the word spread like a chain reaction through the school, it wasn’t long before the school administrators would seize upon this intelligence… which they then passed on to the local police department.

As fate would have it, though, gossip mills the following morning told of how the local police had been thwarted in a fruitless attempt to locate and bust the HSJ Nude Relay participants and “supporters”. (Yes, pun intended) Apparently skittish that the cops might have been tipped, the Relay had been postponed at the last second… another time and location to be announced.

Before long word would again spread of another HSJ Nude Relay, the school would once again pass the info on to the cops…only to find themselves yet again on another Wild Goose Chase.

This cycle repeated for weeks before the school administration and police began to suspect that there may not actually be any Horny Sons of Jerusalem or clandestine Nude Relays.

What is most remarkable about this story is that large groups of people actually BELIEVED this organization was reality. School officials wanted to believe there was an organization that was promoting students to naked through the streets of town. Their belief lent credibility to the cops who were no less in a position to doubt the school administrators. So fueled by hormone charged adolescent imagination, the HSJ took flight even though it didn’t really exist.

Yeas later when I was out of state in college my mother sent me a clipping from the local town newspaper. The article described that police had been tipped to be on the lookout for naked runners in the streets, apparently part of an organization of local high school students called the “Sons of Jerusalem”. (The newspaper editor obviously dropped the word “horny”). The torch, as it were, of a noble tradition had been on passed to the next generation.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Michigan Mai-Tai

Something on a lighter note to usher in the weekend after all this talk of cancer and surgery and the like - Introducing: The Michigan Mai-Tai

The back story:
Our good friends Kate and Will used to travel back to Kate's hometown in Michigan every year to visit parents and siblings. Each time they returned they would present me with a special gift: a six-pack of Vernor's Ginger Ale. At the time, the product was not available to us here in Oregon. This woman would lug six heavy bottles of this delicious golden concoction in her luggage. It was "manna from Michigan" to me.

Upon experimentation with this product, I found that mixing it with a splash of rum accentuated the sweet biting taste of this ginger ale and it quickly became my favorite drink.

Since then the Vernor's marketing conglomerate extended it's product base to the wilds of Oregon and so I can now pick up six-pack cans at the local grocery store. After a while I was introduced to the Cosmopolitan Cocktail which became my new favorite.

As my cocktail science began to diversify, I started making Cosmos out of all kinds of juices; blueberry (pretty good), pomegranate (mediocre), cherry (mmm, no). But mango worked wonderfully well and so my Mango Cosmo became the new family favorite.

Then one day I found myself out of Mango vodka; though I had rum and, of course, the fridge was well stocked with Vernor's. Well, science is all about experimentation, so I poured some rum over ice in a cocktail glass then added a jigger of Mango Nectar, floating Vernor's ginger ale over the top to fill the glass. The result was a lovely gradient of yellow to gold and an exquisitely tropical lilt to the palate. It was like a Mai-Tai but with ginger ale.

I dubbed it the Michigan Mai-Tai in honor of Kate who introduced me to Vernors by graciously lugging her luggage from the mid-west weighted down with bottles of ginger ale.
Half-fill a highball glass with ice. Add:
1 jigger rum
1 jigger Mango nectar
fill with Vernor's ginger ale
Add a "squirt" of grenadine to give it a sunset blush
Drop in a maraschino cherry for good luck.
Mango Cosmo:
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add:
2 jiggers Mango vodka
1 jigger Triple-Sec
1 jigger sweetened lime juice
1 jigger Mango nectar
Shake well then strain into (very important:) "chilled" martini glasses after coating the rims with a dusting of sugar.