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Sunday, May 09, 2010


There have been developments in the naked pictures scam! It's probably best to just post the primary documents so you can see for yourself (sorry, no nudity involved).

From: Melissa Dunphy
Sent: Friday, May 07, 2010 10:37 AM
To: 'Jennifer Baumstadt'
Subject: RE: PAFA

Hi Jen,

Are you coordinating for PAFA in an official capacity? I just called Allison Syvertsen at PAFA, and she said she hadn’t heard of you. You tried to Cc your first e-mail to her, but I see you spelled her e-mail address incorrectly.


"Her" utterly AMAZING reply:

From: Jennifer Baumstadt []
Sent: Sunday, May 09, 2010 4:11 PM
Subject: RE: PAFA

Hi Melissa,

There is no Allison Syvertsen here at the Portland A of FA. There is an Allen Syvertson, who is our (acting) Project Coordinator. He should know me well, since he hired me and is my manager.

I have been working here for 11 years, the last three part-time since the birth of my child. I don't know if you would call it an "official" capacity, but it is a paid staff position and I serve on the Advisory Board and was its co-chairwoman in 2007-2008.

Hope that answers your questions.


I know. I know. I suppose I could have strung this out for a few more e-mails, but I have a busy X-Files viewing schedule to keep up this week.

From: Melissa Dunphy
Sent: Sunday, May 09, 2010 11:13 PM
To: 'Jennifer Baumstadt'
Subject: RE: PAFA

Hi Jen,

Have you heard of the website Google? It’s really neat. You can search for all kinds of things on the Internet and use it to verify information. For example, I searched for the Portland Academy of Fine Arts, but came up with nothing. Nothing! It seems really strange – nay, impossible – that an educational institution would have absolutely zero web presence. Also, the e-mail address you tried to forward your first e-mail to was at the domain That’s the domain of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, which, according to Google, is the only relevant PAFA in the country.

I looked up your IP address from the e-mails you have sent. They indicate that you sent them from a Verizon FiOS static address in NYC ( , and an Optimum Online account in New Jersey ( I have contacted the ISPs and told them about your activity, which I am sure goes against their terms of service. I also forwarded all our e-mails to PAFA (the real and only PAFA) in Philadelphia, as they were curious about someone conducting fraudulent activity in their name.

I also blogged about all your e-mails on my website

Thanks for providing some good laughs amongst me and my friends.


Hello, creeptastic person! If you're reading this, I am genuinely curious about the following questions. You can answer by commenting.

  1. Do you make money from this scam, or is it a sexual fetish thing? Or is there some other reason you try to scam naked pictures from random models? In a word: Why?

  2. Did you know that there are lots of pictures of naked girls on the internet that you can find without starting deceptive e-mail dialogues?

  3. Ignore that last question; I was being facetious. How many models did you fool with this scam?

  4. How long have you been conducting scams like this?

  5. Is this an original idea, or are you following in someone else's footsteps?

  6. How old are you? Are you actually male?

  7. What is your living situation? Are you in any kind of relationship?

  8. Have you ever been in any kind of trouble with the law?

  9. What's the kinkiest thing you've ever done?

  10. What is your favorite kind of cheese?

Friday, May 07, 2010


A couple of days ago, I got this weird e-mail totally out of the blue:
From: Jennifer Baumstadt []
Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 5:02 PM
Subject: PAFA

Hi Melissa
I do coordination work for PAFA and we wanted to inquire as to your potential availability for live modeling for advanced drawing classes later this semester or perhaps early next.
Kindly let us know if this something you have done or do, and if the latter, whether you have any pertinent visuals you can e-mail us prior.
Thank you.
Jen Baumsuadt

I've never done art modeling before, but it's not something I'd be averse to - especially at the institute where, in 1886, Thomas Eakins was expelled for removing a (male) model's loincloth in a mixed drawing class. But that Lycos address made me scrunch my nose a little, even if the e-mail was copied to someone at PAFA. I replied, asking for clarification on "pertinent visuals" and the type of modeling involved.
From: Jennifer Baumstadt []
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2010 12:23 PM
To: Melissa Dunphy
Subject: Re: PAFA

sorry i did not get back to you sooner, as i am traveling in W. PA. We are glad of your interest. Don't worry about holding poses for extended periods, we have learnt from experience that for the models to do so can be straining and uncomfortable, so the instructors will definitely "move you around." But expressive poses would be great. You may want to look at as we use that extensively for ideas. If you click on the differing viewing angles you can get a good idea. We try and keep our models comfortable, especially as to studio temperatures, for obvious reasons. Our current hourly rate is $20-25.00, but sometimes I can get that adjusted upward a little.
Definitely send on some photographs/visuals that you may feel are pertinent to what we do. I will share them with our studio mgr. (if you don't mind) and she &/or myself will be back in touch with you certainly. thanks.

The plot thickens.

I have some revealing self portraits I shot for a photography course several years ago (Pro-tip: if you want to do well in a college photography course, get naked. Guaranteed instant A+. No questions.) but I've never digitized them, and I'd certainly never put them inside one of the interwebs tubes. To consider doing that required some rigorous investigation of legitimacy.

Recall that the first e-mail was cc'ed to A quick Google search revealed that must be Allison Syvertsen, the coordinator of educational programs at PAFA. Oh, wait. That's Syvertsen, with an E, not with an O. Alarm bells! I got on the phone to her, and whaddayaknow? She has never heard of this Jen person.

Someone was trying to scam naked pictures of me!

And in a fairly sophisticated manner!

I don't know whether to be outraged, amused, or flattered. Oh, my Internet, you are full of surprises even after all these years. How far you've come since "Tits or GTFO."

Click for Part 2!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The online piracy debate in 1791

James Lackington was a London bookseller. The following excerpt is taken from his Memoirs: of the forty-five first years of the life of James Lackington:
I have been informed, that when circulating libraries were first opened, the booksellers were much alarmed, and their rapid increase added to their fears, and led them to think that the sale of books would be much diminished by such libraries. But experience has proved that the sale of 'books, so far from being diminished by them, has been greatly promoted, as from those repositories, many thousand families have been cheaply supplied with books, by which the taste for reading has become much more general, and thousands of books are purchased every year, by such as have first borrowed them at those libraries, and after reading, approving of them, become purchasers.