Kickoff For June 8, 2020

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I’ve found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


The Hollywood Con Queen, wherein we learn how one man, using extensive research and a remarkable ability to mimic, managed to bamboozle people at all levels of the entertainment industry.

The Million-Dollar Scammer and His Many Mormon Marks, wherein we learn how Al McKee undertook a massive affinity fraud campaign, taking advantage of the good nature of his neighbours in Utah, fleecing them, and even taking one of them down with him.

The Postal Inspector Who Took Down America’s First Organized Crime Ring, wherein we discover how postal inspector Frank Oldfield took on, and took down, a criminal syndicate intimidating the fruit business in early 1900s America.


Why I Built a Dumb Cell Phone with a Rotary Dial, wherein Justine Haupt explains the why and how behind her home-brewed mobile phone, and looks at the response it received.

Can tech for good be as profitable as plain old tech?, wherein Marie Mawad and Amy Lewin look at whether European firms can create tech that’s profitable, useful, and which actually have a positive social purpose.

A Train to Nowhere, wherein we learn about Britain’s hovertrain project from the 1960s, which was touted as revolutionizing train travel but which encountered to many problems and too much competition from other schemes.


Walking the Kumano Kodo, wherein Edward J. Taylor takes us on a journey down a trail walked by Buddhist and Shinto pilgrims (and others) for centurries.

On the Complicated Questions Around Writing About Travel, wherein Intan Paramaditha gives us a different view of travel, one without the romanticism of much of the travel literature out there and without the glamour of Instagram stories.

Heartlands: Tachiaigawa, wherein Rebecca Saunders takes us on a tour of a working class section to Tokyo, and in doing so exposes us to its rich history.

And that’s it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt