Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Game: Redskins Vs. Seahawks

Redskins won the game on Nov. 27 by a score of 23 to 17, scoring a touchdown on their opening drive and highlighting great performances by quarterback Rex Grossman and running back Roy Helu.

This photo shows that fans on opposing sides CAN get along, in spite of the rude and drunken behavior shown by some of the Seattle fans.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Do You Trust Me?

This man asked God, "Why did You make me this way?"

God's answer was: "Do you trust me?"

Some of my favorite quotes from Nick Vujicic's testimony:

"I'd rather have no arms or legs here on earth, temporarily, and be able to share God's word with other people..."

"There is no point in being complete on the outside when you're broken on the inside."

"God loves you. He hasn't forgotten your pain or your suffering....Hope is in the name of God. Hope is when you compare your suffering to the infinite love and grace of God."

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I just found this beautiful song by the Iranian singer Shahrzad Sepanlou, which I hope you'll enjoy:

(Not-so-random information to go with this song: The singer's name is usually transliterated as Scheherazade, the woman who told a wicked king just part of a story every evening. She never finished the story, so the king let her live so he could hear the end of it the following night. This singer makes me feel like hearing more and more stories in her beautiful voice. Sir Richard Burton, who translated her thousand-and-one stories into English, said her name probably means "World-Freer" and comes from the Persian root meaning "Lion-Born.")

Here's the singer's blog. Enjoy!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fiction Friday, November 25, 2011: The Last Unicorn

Madame L didn't discover "The Last Unicorn," by Peter S. Beagle, until she was an adult, which is a pity. It's just the kind of elaborate fairy-tale she enjoyed so much as a child, but it's even better than most of the ones she read back then.

What would a unicorn do when she realized she was the last one of her kind left in the known world? Well, duh. She would try to find the others and free them from the evil enchantment of a dark and evil king.

Why do so many people think the unicorn is just another pretty white mare?

Who can see her for what she really is, a magical and beautiful creature who can bring love and peace to their souls? Who will help her, and who will try to stop her from her quest?

Where is the hero, and why has his real father hidden him from the evil king? How can the magician and the cook help?

How can the hero win the heart of the unicorn? Can he keep her love? Will he be changed, and will she?

And how are all our hearts changed by being around unicorns, whether in the flesh or in the pages of this great story?

"The Last Unicorn" is available from for $9.75.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

5 Kernels of Corn

I guess everyone has heard that story of the five kernels of corn. The gist of it is that while we celebrate the plenty of the fall harvest for Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims actually subsisted at least for awhile on a daily ration of five kernels of corn during their early time in America.

In fact, it's been part of our family tradition for some years to start our Thanksgiving dinner with only five kernels of corn on each person's plate, a reminder of our bounteous blessings today.

Trying to research this story, I've come upon some fascinating details about the lives of the Pilgrims and the Indians in those early years. For example, the idea that the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving as a religious observance is false, according to The truth, according to this site, is this: 

"The 'thanksgiving feasts' in England generally occurred on September 29, not in November; and the Pilgrims would not have observed them because they were Catholic holidays.  The Pilgrims did not observe religious holidays in England, and that is one of the reasons they fled to Holland in the first place--the English were trying to force holidays and ceremonies on the Pilgrims who opposed them... The Pilgrims did not even celebrate Christmas or Easter.  The Pilgrims 'First Thanksgiving' most likely occurred sometime in October, and was not a religious holiday or observance, but rather a harvest festival that included feasts, sporting events, and other activities."

From this site I also learned that a lot of other "facts" I've learned or misremembered from elementary school were wrong. Some of the stories about Squanto and Samoset I thought I knew from long ago are so wrong as to be outrageous. I was shocked as I read through a few of the short biographies of the Mayflower passengers and their behavior once they reached America. 

(They went into Indian villages and stole the Indians' provisions and desecrated their burial sites, fought with each other, got drunk a lot, and so on. Read some of their histories for a kind of soap opera view of their lives. Here's the list of passengers, with links to short histories of each one.)

So, they were human. How disappointing, when we were raised to think of them as (like Mary Poppins, I guess) practically perfect in every way). But what really struck me as I've read a little more about these Pilgrims who came over on the first Mayflower, and those who followed within the next 20 years or so, is this: They really did come to America to flee religious persecution, to practice a pure form of Christianity. 

So, another thing I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving is the founding of this nation, where we still enjoy religious freedom. (And all you have to do, to appreciate this freedom more fully, is live someplace where it doesn't exist.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A New Mars Rover

Artist's depiction of the rover "Curiosity," from the NASA website
A new Mars Rover will be sent on its way to the Red Planet this weekend, the car-sized "Curiosity," which will be loaded with more scientific instruments than the adorable little mini-Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.

The new rover's mission will be to look for signs of water, carbon, and other elements that would have to have existed on Mars if it ever supported life.

This article gives more details about the rover's capabilities and NASA's expectations for it.

And more information about what else scientists are learning about Mars, including the presence of graben in the Claritas Fossae region, check out the NASA website.

Graben in the Claritas Fossae region of Mars; NASA photo

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Congress: Cut Your OWN Health Care

Congress: If you voted against Medicare/Medicaid you shouldn't accept taxpayer-funded health insurance.

In April, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid. And now even Democrats on the so-called Super Committee are talking about cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

Essentially Congress is telling senior citizens and the poor that tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires are more important that providing a health care safety net for our most vulnerable.

But did you know that members of Congress get great taxpayer funded healthcare? In fact, they get one of the best health care plans in the world.

It strikes us as the height of hypocrisy to be accepting government-provided, taxpayer-subsidized health insurance while denying seniors, the disabled and the poor the basic coverage that Medicare and Medicaid provide.

That’s why we’re circulating this petition demanding that members of Congress who voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid stop accepting taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for themselves.  If they believe our most vulnerable citizens should buy insurance on the corporate, for-profit market, shouldn’t they do the same?

Sign the petition.  Tell Congress: If you don’t believe in publicly-funded health coverage, don’t accept it.

That's why I signed a petition to The United States House of Representatives, which says:

"If you voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid, you must stop accepting taxpayer-funded healthcare for yourself and your family."

Will you sign this petition? Click here

Thanks! And pass it on!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mormon Scholars Testify

And here's an update on Jeff*, whose testimony has been published on the website "Mormon Scholars Testify."

He begins, "I was raised a Catholic, but I became an atheist..."

At first the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints and its teachings struck him as going counter to every scientific principle he held dear. What made the difference was realizing that he could actually perform an experiment with the church's teachings (see Alma 32): Plant the seed of faith and nourish it, let it grow, and see how your understanding begins to be enlightened and your knowledge begins to grow. 

The result of this experiment was a series of blessings and miracles of which Jeff writes: "Some of these miracles were small, some were big . . . but together they make a compelling, cumulative pattern. The aggregate of all these miracles and answers to prayer has become so overwhelming that I could never deny my faith—I would have to ignore my entire previous life experience to do so."

He concludes with a paraphrase of a statement by astronaut Don Lind:  "This is the only religion I can follow and not have to believe one thing on Sunday and something else the rest of the week. This is the only religion I can adhere to as a scientist.”

 (*Full disclosure: I'm married to Jeff.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Chip Other Chips Eat

An update on what Jared's been up to:

Sorry I can't put the video right here because it's not on YouTube, but this link should take you to it on the  Doritos "Crash the Superbowl" contest.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Fiction Friday, November 18, 2011: The Hunger Games

Madame L has just watched the trailer for the movie, coming out next March.

That's a long time to wait, but it looks like it will be a good adaptation of the book. For those who haven't heard, "The Hunger Games," by Suzanne Collins, is the first in a trilogy about a post-apocalyptic United States where teenagers are sent as "tributes" to fight to the death. The book is engaging and realistic fiction for young adults. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers as her community's tribute female to save her little sister Prim, who has been selected by lottery, from the ordeal.

Book Two is "Catching Fire," and Book Three is "Mockingjay." Madame L knows children as young as age 11 who have enjoyed these books, although the books are violent and deal with issues not generally treated for such young children.

Madame L recommends the books for adults and mature teenagers. They're all available at, as are an "unauthorized guide" to the series and a book of essays by other YA (young adult) authors about the Hunger Games series. Why would anyone need a "guide" or a bunch of essays about these books? Madame L has no idea and will not waste money on them. (And Madame L wishes YA authors would spend their time writing new and better books for their YA audience instead of critiquing each others' books.)

Here is an excellent summary of the plot, complete with still photos from the movie. 

(As always, Madame L will be happy to share her own copy of the books with interested readers. Just write an email message to "ellemadame[at]" if you'd like.)


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lincoln's Best Internet Quote

I just stole this from my friend Kathy's column at

“The problem with quotes on the internet is that it's difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine.” --- Abraham Lincoln

I'm going to add some more details here (soon, very soon) about that car and our memorable trip to Montreal.  (And I hope to find a photo of that car somewhere in our computer archives.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Joe Walsh: Hopelessly Clueless

No, Joe Walsh is NOT the one who's clueless. It's me.

I was looking at news sites today and read something very disparaging about some politician named Joe Walsh.I thought, when did Joe Walsh go into politics?

It turns out that the Joe Walsh in politics is the kind of person who yells at the people he hopes will vote for him:

While the Joe Walsh whose music I love is still doing what he's been doing for years: playing and singing some of the great rock ballads of all time:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fiction Friday, November 11, 2011: Wishin' and Hopin'

Madame L here, with another Christmas story. The great Christmas tradition of horror stories (for example, Dickens's "A Christmas Carol") is overshadowed, in Madame L's humble opinion, by the newer American tradition of funny Christmas stories.

(Why don't we have a lot of purely religious Christmas stories? Possibly because no one is ever going to be able to out-do the original, Madame L supposes. And we all get a little goofy around Christmas time, especially as children come up sharply at this time of year against their parents' and teachers' various and numerous failings and hypocrisies, so humor is definitely in order. [And because God has a sense of humor --- we know that's true because he created humans --- we know He won't mind.])

Madame L has just finished reading "Wishin' and Hopin'," by Wally Lamb, laughing out loud through almost the whole book. 

The story begins when the narrator, the smallest kid (counting girls, not just boys) in his fifth-grade class, and his best friend Lonny, the biggest kid in the class (because he's in the fifth grade for the third time), cause poor Sister Dymphna to have a nervous breakdown.

The story ends with the Christmas pageant, in which Mary eats too many sweets and gets sick, her two understudies fight over the doll playing the part of the Baby Jesus and end up tearing its head from its body, the live lambs get loose and run all over the stage and into the audience, and the Star of Bethlehem can't decide if it's going to stay above the stable or go off like a shooting star into the heavens. 

Madame L read part of the story to her husband, which made him recall some of his experiences with the elementary-parochial-school Sisters of Mercy, one of which he recounts here.  (Madame L is hoping he will recount some of his junior-high-school experiences with the Christian Brothers in future posts.) 

"Wishin' and Hopin'" is available, new, from for prices ranging from $8.00 to just under $1,000. (Madame L wonders about those prices! She got it used from for $5.00.)

Madame L recommends this book almost as highly as "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," which she'll review soon.

Gentle Readers, enjoy! 

Thank You Uncle James

Thank you, Uncle James Wynn, and all veterans, for your service.

(Photo from Wikipedia page)

Uncle James served in World War II, was a prisoner of war in a German camp, and returned to the U.S. in poor physical health after being essentially starved during his time as a POW. Yet he married his sweetheart, Aunt Alice, worked hard to become a successful businessman, and he and Aunt Alice raised a wonderful family.

For his story, please read this narrative, from his own journal, and these notes from the journal itself, which was miraculously not discovered by his captors.

If you don't have time to read the whole story, at least read his testimony:

"I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and committed my life to Him and to following Him as a born-again Christian believer the first week of January, 1944. I had no idea at that time how soon I would experience what a wonderful and perfect helper the Holy Spirit would be. He helped me maintain a complete trust in His presence and His watchful care and He gave me a special inner peace that I enjoyed throughout all the experiences mentioned in this very memorable episode of a long and exciting life. At this time in my life; through experiences, considering past events and daily seeking the will of God, I have come to this conclusion: If you seek the will of God and His direction in every decision you make, it will lead you to a true joy in His Presence forever."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

National Parks Free This Weekend

In honor of Veterans Day (November 11), entry fees to all national parks are waived this weekend, Friday through Sunday.

This is the final fee-free day for this year, but the National Park Service has already announced 17 more free days for 2012.

Hemingway's Nobel Acceptance Speech

Read and listen. (Hemingway didn't give the speech in person, but recorded it in Cuba and asked the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden to read it for him at the award ceremony in 1954.)

No writer who knows the great writers who did not receive the Prize can accept it other than with humility. There is no need to list these writers. Everyone here may make his own list according to his knowledge and his conscience.
It would be impossible for me to ask the Ambassador of my country to read a speech in which a writer said all of the things which are in his heart. Things may not be immediately discernible in what a man writes, and in this sometimes he is fortunate; but eventually they are quite clear and by these and the degree of alchemy that he possesses he will endure or be forgotten.
Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.
For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with good luck, he will succeed.
How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way what has been well written. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.
I have spoken too long for a writer. A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it. Again I thank you.

What did Hemingway find so hard about writing? George Plimpton asked him if he revised much. Hemingway answered that he rewrote the last page of Arms 39 times. Plimpton asked, “Was there some technical problem there? What was it that stumped you.” Hemingway replied, “Getting the words right.”

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Reviewing the Catalogs

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I think it's a brilliant idea to save all the Christmas and "holiday" catalogs one receives each year, but I'm not going to do it this year is just too short, plus, what would I do with all of them?

I did have a chance to make an estimate, though, with no work required: In one week (7 catalog-mail days) of being away from home, I received 19 catalogs, which my sweet husband saved for me "stratigraphically" in a six-inch-high pile, which allowed me to run through them in quick order, laughing uproariously as I found catalogs from:

---Lands' End, Lands' End Men, and Lands' End Kids
---Deseret Books
---Leather Coats Etc.
---Acorn, Toscano, and Magellan's 
---The Sportsman's Guide, The Musician's Friend, and Creative Irish Gifts
---Patagonia, Heartland America, Gardener's Supply Company, and Family Traditions

---And my all-time favorites, Chinaberry and Isabella. These are my favorites partly because I've actually bought stuff from them in the past (unlike Acorn, Magellan's Leather Coats Etc, etc.), but mostly because they have the cheesiest, funniest-to-read, and yet amazingly endearing descriptions of all their items.

The best way I can think of to review these descriptions is to make a list of some of their all-time oft-repeated descriptive words:

---amazingly endearing (yeah, I stole that one)
---makes you laugh out loud and weep at the same time
---hilarious and heartbreaking (but ya gotta love the alliteration)
---hope and redemption
---delights, delightful, deliciously (you get the idea)
---you don't need to know anything about [whatever] in order to enjoy this [whatever]
---wit, wry intelligence, heartwarming, hugely, hugely heartwarming, wry and witty intelligence (etc.)
---absurd, magical, clever

Ah, that's enough, though I could go on and on. But the point is not just to joke about the cheesy reviews and the mind-set they presume readers and buyers have so that I can show how superior I am, but to say what a sucker I am: Because I love reading those descriptions, and I've bought stuff from these catalogs, and I've agreed with those descriptions.

So, out of my six-inch-high stack from seven days of catalog mail, these two, which by the way are from the same company, stand out; and I recommend them: Chinaberry and Isabella.

You can order online or by phone. I'm going to order a couple of toys, three books, and a Christmas hot-chocolate mug from the sale/clearance section of the Chinaberry catalog, plus some skin-care items from the Isabella catalog.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ju-Jitsu Students Nab Hotel Robber

The Oregonian reports today that two Eugene men, in Los Angeles for a tournament, foiled a robbery attempt in the motel where they were staying.

The L.A. police were so impressed that they posted the video on YouTube:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What's Jared Up To?

Well, here he is in a web interview talking to aspiring screenwriters about how to deal with producers:

And here are some of his other tips for writers: 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My Garden Wall: Update

I realized when I got back from my trip that my wall needs to be taller, but I'd used all the blocks that were small enough for me to carry from the construction site where they'd allowed me to pick them up.

So on Wednesday afternoon, after work, Jason went with me to the site, with a 10-pound maul, and broke up some of the larger ones for me. He broke them, and I carried them to the curb.

Then one of the construction workers drove over in a big back-hoe-front-loader machine (huge, impressive machine!) and started using the front-loader to break up pieces for us. Soooo much more efficient and labor-saving than what we'd been doing! He broke up a few of them and then called out, "That's all for now. Almost time to quit."

 (All photos thanks to Jason.)

We thanked him profusely and hauled the blocks to the trunk and drove home. Jason helped me unload them from the trunk then went in to put a bandage on his smashed finger (yes, ouch!) while I hauled them down to the back yard.

When I got out of the Watershed Stewards meeting to help with the Community Amphibian Monitoring Project  presentation given by the project's founder and coordinator, Peter Ritson, it was raining. I thought, oh well, there will surely be more more non-rainy and not-too-cold days before they finish that construction and haul away the rest of the asphalt chunks. 

On Thursday morning it was not raining and it was not too cold, so I went back to the site, with the maul, and started breaking up pieces as I'd seen Jason do, and hauling them to the curb. One of the guys walked over and said, "If you can wait for about an hour and a half, we'll bring the back-hoe over and break them up for you, so you won't have to break your back. Go home and have a warm drink and come back." Again, profuse thanks.

I went back two hours later to find no more pieces had been broken up, but I still found pieces, half buried in the sand and mud, that I could carry home. The wall is now about 4 inches higher, and that should be enough. But now I have ideas about extending my little walkway from the back of the house on both sides to the steps going down.

Fortunately for me and my projects, when Jason and I went together to the site on Friday afternoon, we found that about half the pile had been broken  into chunks we could carry. (Even so, they averaged about 40 pounds each, and some we estimated weighed as much as 70 pounds.)

We got two huge trunk-fuls this time, enough (I hope) to finish all my projects in the back yard.

Here's the wall so far. I'll update with new photos when I finish the paths going to the stairs on the sides.
Meanwhile, doing this kind of work, I think maybe I can feel my muscles growing. (If pain = growth, then for sure I can feel them growing!)

Why is this so much more satisfying than any workout in the gym?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fiction Friday, November 4, 2011: The Last King of Scotland

Aunt Louise presents the usual Friday column by Madame L:

Madame L was so depressed the other day. What was wrong, she wondered.

Aha! She'd spent the afternoon finishing reading "The Last King of Scotland," by Giles Foden. No wonder any more.

This historical novel about the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was brutal on Madame L's emotions.

It's not just the dictator who is brutal. Everyone around him takes on some of his character. Even the narrator, young Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan, who originally goes to Africa to help in a clinic, succumbs to the dictator's demands and becomes disillusioned with himself and everyone around him.

After treating Idi Amin, who has had an accident in his red Maserati, Garrigan is pressed into service by the dictator. It's all downhill from there. Garrigan is as fascinated by Amin as one is by a dangerous snake. He becomes embroiled in palace intrigue, sees his old allies leave the country, die in battle or jail or from lethal repercussions by the dictator's henchmen, and spends some time in jail himself.

He even becomes the unwitting agent of death of one of those old friends, and when he finally summons up the courage to leave, he goes through more ordeals as the Ugandans fight the Tanzanians and Amin is deposed.

The book is a scathing indictment of human nature. It's heartbreaking. It's depressing.

The delusional dictator apparently felt some kind of kinship with the Scots, apparently really believed he was the Last King of Scotland, apparently believed he could save the Scottish people (whom he thought wanted saving) from the English. Here are some of his self-bestowed titles, courtesy of

His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular, and the (uncrowned) King of Scotland.

Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, this book is a masterpiece. Madame L will soon be watching the movie based on the novel, and will report on it.

First, though, she's going to clear her mind and her emotions by reading "The Last Unicorn," which she hopes (based on reviews) will be more uplifting. And then maybe she'll watch that movie, too.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What She Said

Thanks, Laura, for your perceptive comment. You wrote:

The whole thing about people having challenges we don't see is an interesting dilemma to me, especially in the church -- I agree to a point of not letting your problems overtake your life or gripe about them to other people too much or whatever -- but there's a danger of not showing them AT ALL for the sake of pretending to be perfect.

That was a rambly sentence, but I'm too tired to phrase it better.

It's a fine line we walk. And I know that wasn't the point you were trying to make. For that, I think of the little saying about if everyone put all their problems in a big pile so that you could swap them out with someone else's, you'd probably pick your own back up because at least you know how to deal with those ones.

In other words, I agree. :)

Yes, it's so true that we try to be --- or to look --- so danged perfect ( because we're a church of people trying ["striving" --- remember who used to use that word all the time] to be perfect, happy, and perfectly happy.

So if we're not "perfect" enough, or not "happy" enough, or as perfect or happy as we perceive someone else to be, then there must be something wrong with us.

So I'm trying to let myself be a little LESS perfect. I think that helps me let other people be a little less perfect, too.

Because maybe when I'm being so judgmental of other people, what I'm really doing is judging myself. Less judging in general is better, I think. 

Thanks for clarifying this for me and giving me a chance to think about it some more.

More thoughts? 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We Must See Past What It Seems

My daughter just sent me a link to this post, and I hope you'll all check it out: We Must See Past What It Seems.

I cried as I read it, thinking of the many times I have not seen past what other people seemed and so have judged them unfairly.

Another daughter shared this quote from Plato, or someone: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." (For a fun exercise in futility, try finding the original source of this quote online.)

And a sister and I talked last week of how everyone we know has troubles stacked high, though we never see them.

This will be a new goal for me: to be kind in word, deed, and thought; and to refrain from judging others.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Job-Hunting: A Warning

So, I've been looking for a job, not full time, but I've posted my resume on a website that supposedly helps people find jobs. (What a joke.)

So far, I've received email messages from two insurance companies (I'll write about those "job opportunities" later this week, just for laughs) and someone operating a scam that reminds me of the Nigerian 419 scam:

The message is supposedly from a Chris Milam in California, and it sounds like it might be more suitable for me than the insurance jobs:

Subject: Job 1320163085

Text of message:


Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Chris Milam, and I am the representative of BEA Travel Company. Currently, there is a  position in our company. I think that you may be interested in the following details:

   Job Position: PayPal Manager
   Salary: $25 USD per hour up to $50,000 USD a annum.
   Type: Part-Time and up - from 20 to 40 hours a week
     - Possibility to combine this job with your full-time job
     - Flexible schedule
     - Free educational training

If you are interested in, please reply us to with your contact information.

Kind regards,
Chris Milam

Of course I Googled this so-called company, which led me to this interesting website. (I didn't find any information at I searched for the company's website, which doesn't exist, and the email provider of Chris Milam, which is a free email site.

There are apparently other, similar job scams out there. Reading through the comments on the website is enlightening. I'm pasting below the most informative comment:

100% scam. 

There is no job. 

There is no legit company called BEA travel, no senior cashier and senior manager.

There is only a scammer trying to steal your hard-earned money and maybe your freedom.

The next email will be from another of the scammer's fake names and free email addresses pretending to be the "senior cashier" and will demand you cash a large fake check sent on a stolen UPS/FedEx billing account number and send the money via Western Union or moneygram back to the scammer posing as the "account manager". When your bank realizes the check is fake and it bounces, you get the real life job of paying back the bank for the bounced check fees and all the bank's money you sent to an overseas criminal.

And then the email after that will be from yet another of the scammer's fake names and free email addresses pretending to be the someone else and will demand you accept packages purchased with stolen credit cards at YOUR home address. Then you are suppose to use a stolen UPS/FedEx billing account number to send the electronics, clothing and jewelry overseas. When the websites, credit card owners and UPS/FedEx discover the fraud, you get the real life job of paying back all of them. Then the local law enforcement comes knocking asking why are you fencing stolen merchandise for someone you never met, don't know their real life name and have no idea even what country they really live in.

Western Union and moneygram do not verify anything on the form the sender fills out, not the name, not the street address, not the country, not even the gender of the receiver, it all means absolutely nothing. The clerk will not bother to check ID and will simply hand off your cash to whomever walks in the door with the MTCN# and question/answer. Neither company will tell the sender who picked up the cash, at what store location or even in what country your money walked out the door. Neither company has any kind of refund policy, money sent is money gone forever.

Now that you have responded to a scammer, you are on his 'potential sucker' list, he will try again to separate you from your cash. He will send you more emails from his other free email addresses using another of his fake names with all kinds of stories of great jobs, lottery winnings, millions in the bank and desperate, lonely, sexy singles. He will sell your email address to all his scamming buddies who will also send you dozens of fake emails all with the exact same goal, you sending them your cash via Western Union or moneygram.

You could post up the email address and the emails themselves that the scammer is using, it will help make your post more googlable for other suspicious potential victims to find when looking for information. 

Do you know how to check the header of a received email? If not, you could google for information. Being able to read the header to determine the geographic location an email originated from will help you weed out the most obvious scams and scammers. Then delete and block that scammer. Don't bother to tell him that you know he is a scammer, it isn't worth your effort. He has one job in life, convincing victims to send him their hard-earned cash.

Whenever suspicious or just plain curious, google everything, website addresses, names used, companies mentioned, phone numbers given, all email addresses, even sentences from the emails as you might be unpleasantly surprised at what you find already posted online. You can also post/ask here and every scam-warner-anti-fraud-busting site you can find before taking a chance and losing money to a scammer.
6 "Rules to follow" to avoid most fake jobs:

1) Job asks you to use your personal bank account and/or open a new one.
2) Job asks you to print/mail/cash a check or money order.
3) Job asks you to use Western Union or moneygram in any capacity.
4) Job asks you to accept packages and re-ship them on to anyone.
5) Job asks you to pay visas, travel fees via Western Union or moneygram.
6) Job asks you to sign up for a credit reporting or identity verification site.

Avoiding all jobs that mention any of the above listed 'red flags' and you will miss nearly all fake jobs. Only scammers ask you to do any of the above. No. Exceptions. Ever. For any reason.

If you google "reshipping scam", "fake check cashing Western Union" or something similar you will find hundreds of posts from victims and near victims of this type of scam. All that mumbo-jumbo about filling out forms, taxes, training, requirements, etc are just there to make people think it is a real job. Scammers are, unfortunately, thinking of new and creative ways to steal an honest citizen's money.