Linswritings

Archive for December 2010

The Better Business Bureau just released their Top 10 Scams of 2010. Remember; never give your personal information over the phone to anyone. If you do you may be a victim of a scam.

Many of these scams are prevalent in the Denver-Boulder, Colorado area as well as throughout the country.

•#1: Roofing scams

Roofers or people acting as roofers take down payments and never start work or in other cases, never finish work that was started. There were many other problems in the industry as complaints to the BBB against roofers rose over 400 percent in 2010 compared to 2009.

•#2: Phony debt collectors

Many consumers in 2010 were being harassed about debts they did not owe or already paid. The BBB found that many of these people who were calling were criminals pretending to represent collection agencies.

•#3: Free trial offers

Companies that offer “free” trials continue to rack up complaints for charging for the free trial and not clearly disclosing the terms and conditions behind the offer.

•#4: Grandparent scam

Beware of calls from scammers pretending to be a grandkid in distress that needs money wired to them to get them out of jail or flown back home. This was a very common scam not only in the Denver-Boulder area but also across the nation.”

•#5: 876 Jamaican sweepstakes scam

The BBB said it continues to get complaints about calls coming from a Jamaican area code: 876, offering prize money. Some callers even pretended to be representatives of the BBB. Typically, the callers tell people to wire a certain amount of money in order to receive prize money. Once again, never, ever wire money to someone you don’t know and trust.

•#6: Mail fraud

Mail fraud continues to be a main topic of inquiry calls into the BBB. These are typically sweepstakes offers or job offers that contain fake checks and instructions to wire transfer a certain amount of funds in order to receive fictitious funds.

•#7: Door-to-door scams

If you are tired of those door-to-door solicitations, beware that many of them are scams. BBB warns of shady contractors, alarm sales, magazine sales and anyone who uses high pressure. The BB suggests you say, “I’ll take your information and contact you if I’m interested.” Then use that information to check them out with the BBB.

•#8: Craigslist scams

Craigslist continues to be saturated with scammers. Scams include employment and real estate scams on the site.

•#9: Debt relief scams

The BBB said unscrupulous companies and scammers wreaked havoc on those suffering in a down economy by offering debt relief or debt elimination, charging high up-front fees with little or no results.

•#10: Advance fee loans

Offers for loans in exchange for an advance fee continued to be an issue in 2010. Consumers are told they need to provide a large fee before the loan will be deposited into their bank account. Once the consumer sends this money, (usually via wire transfer), they never get their loan and can’t get a hold of the “company.”

In this high tech age, privacy is all but forgotten. What you email or twitter or put on your Facebook account can be read by anyone. However, a man from Rochester Hills, Michigan found that reading his wife’s emails may bring criminal charges against him.

How could this happen?

Thirty-three-year-old Leon Walker was suspicious that his wife was having an affair. He was able to use his wife’s password to get into her Gmail account and found out that his wife was having an affair. However, Walker claims that he was trying to protect their children from neglect because he found out that his wife was having an affair with her second husband who had been arrested for beating her in front of her young son from her first husband. So this means his wife is a three time loser when it comes to husbands. Walker justifies using his ex-wife’s email because he thought that she would take their daughter to her second husband’s house and he probably didn’t want his daughter exposed to this affair.

Walker and his wife were granted a divorce but an overzealous Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Sydney Turner is charging Walker for a felony computer misuse. This wacko Assistant Prosecutor claims that these charges are justified.

However, according to a privacy law writer, Frederick Lane, explains that typically felony computer misuse charges are used to prosecute identity theft and stealing trade secrets. He says he questions if a wife can expect privacy on a computer she shares with her husband.

There are stupid criminals and I guess there are honest criminals. According to an article by the Associated Press, a drunken driver reports himself to police in Iowa City, Iowa.

Francisco Castro, a 25-year-old man, called 911 on Christmas morning to report to the police that he was too drunk to drive. The police found the man in his parked car. A follow-up test showed his blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit. At least this wasn’t a false or stupid 911 call, it was a serious one that took a drunk driver off the road.

Remember, don’t drive drunk. But I highly suggest you call a friend or family member before you call the police if you want to report yourself too drunk to drive. The cost for drunken driving is very expensive plus you will spend time in jail or rehab. It would be better if you would just sleep it off at home.

Last night’s Sarah Palin’s Alaska featured a three day trip to a logging camp at Afognak Island. Only 80 people live there year round and when winter hits they are cut off from civilization. Now I know people need to go where the jobs are but I’m all for civilization and all of its amenities.

But what made this episode very interesting is that Sarah tried her hand at logging, from cutting down a tree, stacking a logging truck to pushing logs onto a river for delivery. Logging is very hard work but as she astutely pointed out that we all need trees to be logged for our everyday use. She knocked the conservationists by saying that they write their protest on paper about stopping logging but where did the paper come from? From trees of course! Also as any good logging company knows that if you cut down trees you need to replace the trees with seedlings so that there will be trees for the next generation to use.

This shows that loggers are conservationists. In addition, by cutting down the mature trees, it leaves the younger trees more space, water and sunlight to grow. It also slows down any type of bug infestations that mature trees tend to get as they age. A healthy forest makes for healthy trees.

Before they left Afognak they went to a party with gifts to give to some of the residents. They played a form of Bingo where everyone got a present to open. It looked like fun.

Then it was on to a raceway at Kodiak Island where Willow and Todd raced stock cars to see who would have the fastest time. Sarah was pleased that Willow beat Todd by 2 or 3 seconds. It sounded as though Willow was having fun driving the car.

Throughout this episode Sarah was trying to make the point that because Willow is sixteen it was time for her to start making decisions about her life. Sarah tried to put her into situations to learn how to be pro-active and to make decisions. It seems that Willow was doing all right but I found it a bit disingenuous when Sarah said that she was proud of Willow making a salad at a logging camp. Heck, if she can’t even make a salad then Willow is in deep trouble. But I get the point; Willow is growing up and needs to understand that she needs to be more independent than she is right now. Anyone with a teenager understands this.

On January 9th will be the two hour finale for this program .Glad it will be over but I’ve heard there may be a sequel next year.

Until next time,

Linda

Last night’s episode featured a family road trip in a very nice RV and a day with Sarah’s daughter, Piper. The Palin Road Trip was a two day trip to a glacier where they went white water rafting.  The Class III rapids, which is for experienced rafters, was on the Matanuska River that feeds off a glacier. This means that the water is very, very cold.

Then they went ATVing to a mining camp. While they were ATVing they stopped and tried their hand at shooting clay pigeons along the way. Of course, Sarah did well with the shot gun and then they went off their merry way to the mining camp. Here Piper learned to pan for gold and got some nuggets to take home.

After their road trip they stopped at Sarah’s parents’ house where her father proudly showed off his 14 foot high antler collection. Only in Alaska would you see that adorning some one’s front yard. No pink flamingos for them but antlers instead.

Sarah decided to spend the day with Piper where they went to a restaurant in Anchorage where she decided to wait tables for awhile. Why? I don’t know, but Sarah wanted to show Piper what it means to work and to be patient with customers. Okay, whatever, guess they had to fill in some time for this episode.

The fun part of their day together was when they went to Punch Bowl Glacier where they got to do some mushing. Of course they showed the cute puppies and then took a ride on the dog sleds.

There are about two more episodes left in Sarah Palin’s Alaska and the end can’t come any faster. I’m getting the idea of the way of life in Alaska is. To be honest with you, in the middle of July I want to wear shorts and flip flops and not heavy coats and wool hats. But when you go camping in Alaska in July its cold and wet all the time. Maybe Kate Gosselin wasn’t all that big of a baby. It is still too darn cold in Alaska. Give me sunshine and a beach in July and I’m a happy camper.

Next week we follow Sarah and her daughter, Willow, to a logging camp. Then we find out if Willow can drive a stock car. Just remember, only two more episodes and it’s over folks.

Until next time,

Linda

In Birmingham, Alabama copper thieves trying to steal copper wire, burned down the city’s 35-foot-tall Christmas tree. These Grinch type thieves tried to steal Christmas from the city. Police were unable to catch the thieves and for a couple of hours the city had no Christmas Tree.

Police report showed that the thieves stripped electrical wires off the Norwegian Spruce early Wednesday morning, and then started a fire. The thieves were attempting to separate the copper wire from the plastic insulation on Christmas decorations. The fire spread to the tree and the tree burned.

However, there is good news for the city of Birmingham; a local radio station donated a new tree within hours. Hopefully these low-life thieves will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest.

The National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths has ranked the state of Colorado as 11th in the nation. The coalition found that the number of child abuse or neglect deaths in the state rose from 1.77 in 2001 to 2.65.

As a result, the coalition is asking for more federal funding of between $3 billion to $5 billion. The money would go towards increase in home visits of those known to child protection services. They also want a reform to end confidentiality laws that prevent sharing of information between authorities and the news media.

Now I agree that child abuse or neglect is something that needs to be taken care of. However, giving more money to the problem won’t fix the problem. Parenting classes as well as families helping out with young parents to cope with day-to-day child rearing wouldn’t cost any money. Where were the federal monies fifty or sixty years ago when families were the center of attention in raising children? There was no money from tax payers, but families coming together to help and support each other.

Today, too many young people count on the federal government to take care of all of their needs. They need to learn that it takes individual responsibility to take care of their needs and not the federal government.

There are stupid criminals and then there are stupid criminals who are real losers. This guy has the honor of being both – stupid and a loser.

In Louisville, Kentucky, the police reported that a meth suspect who was in the hospital crashed through the ceiling into the ER.  It all happened when the police were called to the hospital to interview 27 year-old Nicholas Fultz after he showed up at the emergency room with suspicious burns. He claimed that he got the burns from alcohol. However, a female witness said that he was a known meth dealer.

She had picked him up in her car and while he was inside he pulled a bottle out of a paper bag and the bottle exploded causing the burns. The substances in the bottle were ingredients of a meth lab. In addition, he had a list of clients’ names using meth.

While Fultz was being interviewed by the police at the hospital, he slipped away by climbing into the ceiling and crawled over into the next room. I guess he thought he could escape police this way. However, he crashed through the ceiling into the hallway of the ER.

Now Mr. Fultz is no stranger to crime. He has had multiple charges such as robbery, drug charges and assault. For this episode he is charged with manufacturing meth, trafficking in controlled substances, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and giving an officer a false name or address. He should also be charged with being a stupid criminal who is a three-time loser.

Parents, tell your kids don’t do drugs or else you will grow up to be just like this guy.

One more week of this staged show, once again I hope this is the last one. Last night, John Fuller, President and CEO, of Johnny Rockets Diner was featured. The Diner is a 50’s style diner that serves comfort food but has a lot of the 50’s and 60’s appeal. There are 320 locations throughout the U.S. and have served over 13 million hamburgers.

John Fuller seems to be a no nonsense kind of guy who doesn’t seem to get rattled easily. Of course, he really isn’t looking for a job, he has one, so any mistakes he would make won’t get him fired. Mr. Fuller seemed more of an egg head kind of guy but yet understanding of how to run a service industry.

The show took us mostly to the east coast of Johnny Rockers Diners where the economy has been pretty bad. Of course, the sad sob stories of the handpicked employees were told while we watched Mr. Fuller bumble his way through making a hamburger, serving customers and trying to dance. You see every half hour the employees of this chain break out in song and dance to entertain the customers. Of all the things he was concerned about was the dancing part. He can’t dance, and that showed when he tried to dance, but that wasn’t all the worries he had. At one of his diner’s which is a sports lounge and bar, a franchisee owner’s in-laws spotted him right away. Was his cover blown? No, as I said this show is staged and all went well. However, he better be concerned about the sports lounge and bar because it wasn’t making any money. This is more of a concern than either having his cover blown or not be able to dance.

The only other good business decision to come out of this show was that he now will have all of his newly hired executives train in one of his diner’s for a week. In this way they will have a better understanding of the business as well as the people working for the company.

At the end, there was weeping and crying from his employees, but Mr. Fuller kept his composure. He did a lot of nice things for these hard luck employees and now everyone loves Johnny Rockets Diner and the President and CEO.

Please make this the last show – I can’t take it anymore!

Until next time,

Linda

Last night’s Sarah Palin’s Alaska featured a day with Kate Gosselin and her eight children. Her kids are cute and seemed well behaved but I can’t say that for their mom, Kate. She seemed bored and inattentive when it came to a survival training class as well as a camping trip.

As Sarah explained on the show the camping trip is a tradition with her family. They try to go camping during the summer months to enjoy the outdoors and each other. But before they could go camping, they went to a “Learn to Return” survival course because the area they were camping at had lots of bears, mostly brown bears. The course showed what to do if attacked by a bear and also how you can protect yourself if a brown bear would attack you. This meant using a high powered bear rifle to shoot if the bear attacks. Kate was not for that at all. She did say that she would be willing to protect her children but she didn’t like guns. Well, I guess she picked a wrong place to go camping.

Sarah was very proficient in shooting the rifle as well as Kate. Throughout the show the two women said that they had a lot in common, they were both mothers who loved their children, both were high profile mothers and that’s about when the comparison stopped. Kate hated the outdoors, she was cold and wet and whined every minute she was there, which was about a half a day. Granted it was raining and camping in the rain is no fun, but come on, suck it up and deal with it. The only person who was smart during this camping trip was, Todd – Sarah’s husband. He stood on a river bank and fished. He kept himself away from the group so he wouldn’t have to deal with Kate and her whining.

Sarah and her family were buzzing around the camp area entertaining the kids while Kate stood under a tent freezing. Serves her right, if she was smart she would have been moving around to keep warm. Did you check out the white designer jacket Kate was wearing? Now I’ve been camping for many years and you do not wear a white designer jacket when you go camping. It attracts dirt and mud like a magnet.

It seems to me the reason Kate wasn’t having any fun was because she wanted to be the center of attention. She wanted everyone to cater to her whims and feel sorry for her. The Palin family didn’t pay her one bit of attention. Even little Piper was fed up and didn’t want to see them off on the plane when they left. When a 10 year old acts like that you know there is something wrong.

At the end the Palin family did enjoy their camping trip because they were all together and enjoyed each other. That is what camping is all about.

Next week Sarah will be doing a lot of things – river rafting, ATVing, shooting and mushing.

Until next time,

Linda