Living just east of Crazy

Scams – The Sea-gullibles are coming.

Written By: Eddie Snipes - May• 09•13

Check out this semi-official looking letter I received from a scammer.

I see where there are a lot of consumer complaints of getting ripped off. I started to toss this, but then thought it might be a good reminder for all of us to resist the temptations of well crafted scams. Of course, this isn’t well crafted, but there are many that are.

The first rule of avoiding scams is: No company wants to give something away without an expectation of gain. Companies do offer giveaways, but these are always tied to publicity. They figure the cost of the prize is worth the buzz of excitement when customers come to their site to give their email addresses, phone numbers, or share the news with their social networks. This gives them free publicity or it expands their marketing lists for others who can be emailed or called later.

No one wins a contest without entering. Companies don’t comb through the phone book to look for someone at random and offer them a free prize with no strings attached. Here are a few more scams that people fall for that simply amazes me.
King Eddie from the Republic Zandazina Coganisia has gone into exile. He is trying to smuggle money out of the country and found someone who has the exact same name – yep, it’s me. Eddie Snipes has such a strong African ring to it, I should have known that I had royal ancestors in that country. All I have to do is give my bank account and he’ll wire millions to me. For my troubles, I can keep 10%. Either that, or he’ll just take 100% of my account for being stupid enough to give him my bank account.

I’ve also won the European lottery, British Lottery, and Irish lottery. Multiple times. This is impressive since I’ve never played the lottery. Call 1-800-GULLIBLE to claim your winnings.

The FBI asset recovery division has millions waiting for me to claim what some drug dealing relative has left behind.

Scams go on and on. Some are very creative. Some look like official emails from your bank warning you that someone has tried to rip you off. Now you need to click this link to verify your info and prove you are the owner. Of course, you are clicking on a link that is designed to capture your information.

Another one that floats around is Gerber’s desire to give their money to your baby’s college fund. All you need to do is provide your child’s date of birth, full name, and Social Security Number. Can you say, “Identity theft?”

The scam I received today was supposedly from US Airlines – a bogus company. Out of the goodness of their heart, they randomly found a citizen that they could give $1,350 worth of flight vouchers to. Other than the obvious – no company is itching to give away $1360 dollars, there are a few clues that show this to be a scam.

No address. No official company letterhead would fail to have a return address on the envelope and a corporate address on the letter. The letter has grammar problems and does not use accepted corporate styles – i.e., companies don’t use ‘th’ after the date numbers. There is no fine print or disclosures that are required by law. The letter gave no reference to any contest I entered or how they selected me. There are other issues, but you get the point.

The bottom line is, don’t respond. If you email back, you confirm your email as valid. If you call, they will record your phone number and try to capture personal info or sell you something.

Scams are designed to sound appealing. They will create fear in order to get a knee-jerk response, or greed to make you want what is being offered. You’ll be offered an iPad, latest phone, money, trips, or other winnings. Anytime someone asks for personal info or they require you to pay upfront, terminate communication immediately. No company will send you a legal notice by email. No legitimate company will call you to ask for PINs or account numbers. If you are in doubt, ask for a call back number and verify who you are talking to. Call your company and verify the number you have been given.

Finally, never buy a high priced item online for impossible discounts. I’ve seen people reposting this on Facebook: This company made a mistake and I bought an iPad for $49 dollars. Act fast before they fix it.

Facebook is a scammer’s paradise. Many links on the side or posts by friends take you to sites where you are fooled into logging in and providing your email address or Facebook account to a third party. A friend signed up for information on how to get free grant money. All they had to pay was shipping. Within a few days, five or six charges showed up on their credit card from various daughter companies. It took weeks to stop the charges from coming in.

One recent scam a family member connected to gave access to invite friends to join their ‘community’ through your email. It was made to look official and all you had to do was log into your email. But you are authorizing your account to this ‘community’ and now they will spam your friends with your email.

Use caution and be suspicious of everything online – unless you are certain you are dealing with a reputable company. Don’t be scammed.

Eddie Snipes 2013

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Slysdexics are Teople Poo

Written By: Eddie Snipes - May• 01•13

cure for dyslexia

I didn’t even know how to spell dyslexia until I found out I are one. Once, when making a joke about dyslexia, a woman scolded me, saying that it was degrading, offensive, and I shouldn’t make fun of people who struggle with this problem. To which I replied, “I joke for my apologize.”

Since I was born and raised in the town of Dyslexia, I retain the right to joke about myself, and the people in our exclusive community. If you are one of those rare people who are unaware of it, Dyslexia is a condition where numbers, words, and other facts have a tendency of getting scrambled in our minds. For most of my life, I was unaware of my condition, or that it was fairly common. As a young boy, I saw a commercial about dyslexia where a boy looked at various street signs and saw what looked like a game of Jumble. I was grateful that when I looked at road signs, I didn’t see SOPT HADEA like those poor kids with dyslexia did. That translates into STOP AHEAD in case you’re confused.

For years, I wondered why I made such careless mistakes when writing words and numbers. I would right things like, “When I eat pees, it makes my stomach fill fowl.” By the way, if you don’t see anything wrong with that sentence, welcome to the club! Homophones are enemies of dyslexics, and the above example is the most common struggle I have with writing. Anyone who writes knows that you are to let the thoughts flow, and then go back and edit later. Finding homophones are a challenge, since they are words that sound the same as the word you intended to use.

I have made an interesting observation about my dyslexia over the years. When copying information, if I say it as I write, I catch most errors. I may say it wrong, and write it correctly, or say it right while writing it incorrectly, but I never seem to scramble both at the same time. I don’t know why this is so, but apparently the audio / visual department and the printing department in my brain are not plugged into the same database.

Dyslexia can have its benefits. When I was in the Army, I had the worst job of my life. I was in charge of signing out weapons and equipment for training. I had long hours and little freedom. The commander wanted each item signed out without taking the time to verify serial numbers, but also required that every serial number be accurately accounted for. The stress was tremendous. You may already suspect what happens when a dyslexic is put in charge of writing down hundreds of serial numbers in a short time.

One day, an inspector showed up to compare our inventory with what was issued. Each arms room was inspected several times a year, and it was counted toward the commander’s effectiveness. Out of hundreds of entries, I was amazed to find out that only one number was transposed. I felt quite satisfied, but the inspector did not share my enthusiasm. The arms room failed its inspection. Within the hour, I was sitting in a room with several officers to give an account for my failure.

There was talk about removing me from the arms room, and then my commander looked at me and said, “I know you failed on purpose.”

Everyone hated this duty, so it was a logical assumption. I started to open my mouth to plead my case, but fortunately I stopped my words. They were talking about firing me from the arms room – the job I hate. Maybe I should wait to see the ramifications before pleading my case. I was moved to a more tolerable task, and army life was brighter – thanks to my dyslexic mistake.

The challenges are amplified when I am facing things that are closely related. I’ve already mentioned homophones, but names can be a problem. I have five children, and that is too many options to sort through. If I guess wrong, I just say, “Whoever you are, get over here.” Lord help me if my sister and wife are in the same room. My sister’s name is Judie. That begins with a ‘J’, and ends with ‘ie’. My wife’s name is Jennie. Do you see any similarities? When they are in the same room together, my eyes start crossing and I vibrate until a hole blows through the back of my head.

After the steam quits belching out, I look at my daughter, Natalie and say, “Sophia, it’s time to quit playing, and put your yots away. You and your sisters get in the home, and let’s go car before I get dain bramage.”

So now you know. When you read my musings and see things like, “Piece like a river,” “My children are deer to me,” “Do you here that sound?” and “What a tail we weave,” you won’t be surprised. I do know the difference between their and there, but sometimes dyslexia hides these too homophones from my I’s.

Eddie Snipes 2013

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Humorous Homophones

Written By: Eddie Snipes - Apr• 23•13

Go slowly and read to the end…….

Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning.  A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language.  There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.  We take English for granted; but if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?  If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth?  One goose, 2 geese; so one moose, 2 meese?  One index, 2 indices?  Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?  If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?  Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’ ?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this.  There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is ‘UP.’

It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we arise in the morning, why do we wake UP?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends.
We brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning:  people stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP,look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add Up to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind Up with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn’t rain for a while, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so…….it is time to shut UP!
Now it’s UP to you what you do with this email.


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I have a way with animals

Written By: Eddie Snipes - Apr• 16•13

I first discovered my unique talent with animals at the age of six. While waiting for my pal, I played under an old oak tree. Out of the blue, someone pelted my head with an georgia pinesacorn. I looked around, but saw no one. Just as I resumed playing, another one bounced off my bean. A few minutes later, it happened a third time. Determined to catch the perpetrator in the act, I stood still and stared in the direction I thought they originated. Sure enough, another one bounced off my cranium. It seemed to come from the branches, but I didn’t see anyone up there. A moment later, another projectile appeared and I spotted the attacker. But surely my eyes deceived me, for the only living thing in that direction was a squirrel.

The beast darted to the tree trunk, rustled some leaves, and returned. To my amazement, that critter took aim and through an acorn at my head – and he did so with amazing accuracy. He had been practicing. To this day, I have yet to meet another person who claims to have witnessed such an event. Only slightly better are the odds of finding someone who believes my account. As strange as that tale may be, another sinister plot lurked in the woods. But this time I would come home with the evidence.

It was probably two years later when my grandparents bought a camping trailer. We all planned to go camping at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge, GA. That’s where I first met another childhood friend, Steve Plunkett. He had considerably more hair back then, but I won’t mention that. One of my great passions was fishing. Steve was gone and my family and grandparents were busy with other things, so I gathered my fishing gear and set out for a solo mission.

I found the perfect spot. A couple of tall Georgia Pines stretched upward by the water’s edge. If you’ve never seen a Georgia Pine, they are very tall, skinny, and without branches until you reach the top. When these varieties of pines grow, the branches die as the tree gets taller. Only the top few feet of the tree have branches and pine needles.

As I cast my line out and reeled in a few times, I felt something hit the top of my head. I know what you are thinking, but it isn’t all in my head. I looked up and saw a black bird hopping off the branch high above me, and another bird hopped onto the branch. The tree was filled with these birds.

I’m thinking that he probably knocked a piece of bark off the branch, or a pine needle fell when the birds were stirring. I returned to fishing and felt the bark hit the top of my head again. No big deal. But when I felt two or three hits, I looked up again. My eyes beheld a strange sight. The birds were lined up now. One hopped off the branch, and another hopped on the same spot. Then all the birds shifted. It was weird indeed, but I tired of watching the birdy merry-go-round when my neck started aching, so I returned to my fishing – wondering what a strange forest this must be.

Once I tired of fishing, I packed up and headed back to the camping site. I arrived and said, “Look what I caught,” and held up a stringer of fish.

“Oh, that’s nice,” Mom said, then she gave me a quizzical look. “What’s on your head?” She stood over me and took a closer look. “Good heavens, Eddie,” she exclaimed. “You have bird poop all in your hair!”

Ah! So that’s what they were taking turns doing.

Anyone up for a camping trip? I have a way with the animals out there!

Eddie Snipes 2013

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No Toy Left Behind

Written By: Eddie Snipes - Apr• 09•13

Years ago, my wife was going through her old belongings. She reminisced about civilwarcampchildhood memories as she showed her dolls, figurines, toy horses, and many other tokens of her youth. “What kind of things do you have from your childhood?” she asked.

I thought about a plastic horse that came in a pack of 100 cowboys and Indians. There was a hole on each side of the saddle where prongs on the side of the rider’s feet kept him in place. The rider had long ago journeyed to that great buffalo hunt in the sky. It was then that I realized nothing survived my childhood. Nothing except the rider-less black horse. And it only survived because it fell into a box of Christmas ornaments and was packed in the attic. Many Christmases ago, the cowboys and Indians fought for control of Mom’s ceramic Christmas tree. Apparently there were no winners, and only this horse lived to wander into the decorations. It was forgotten, but he survived. He’s now being trampled on the floor of my kid’s room.

Fond memories came flooding back when I thought on my childhood. Thoughts like my mother saying, “See if I ever buy you anything again,” after discovering my hammer-smashed Hot Wheels car collection. “Do you know how much these cost?”

“But Mom, that’s how we play the game. These are car crashes,” I pleaded my case.

“Can’t you use your imagination and pretend they are smashed?”

She just didn’t get it. It was so cool to make crashing noises while beating them with a claw hammer. These were the days when Hot Wheels made the cars out of steel. They didn’t fly into a million pieces like the cheap plastic ones of today. Of course they are worth a small fortune today, but not in hammered condition.

I discovered that GI Joe can only withstand about twenty adventures of crashing through the trees. We’d toss our soldiers high into a tree and see how many branches he could hit on the way down. He was one tough cookie. At least he was until the elastic cord inside him broke. In those days, GI Joe’s were about ten inches tall, and a brass hook connected the inside of his neck to his limbs. I didn’t know this until the twenty-first tragedy he had to endure.

After an amazing plummet through a tree, he banged off at least a dozen branches, and then landed in a wounded heap on the ground. I picked him up, expecting to straighten out his mangled body, but his arms were hanging loose. Then they dropped off. His legs soon followed, but were held up by his khakis. I tried stringing his body parts back in place, but once his elastic spine was broken, he just wasn’t the soldier he had once been.

One year I got a Sandlot Slugger for Christmas. It was a cool toy – for about 36 hours. The toy was mounted on a green stand that was supposed to be the grass of a field. A white marble rested on a tee.

You’d twist the slugger into position, push the lever at his feet, and his waist would snap back and swing the bat. His bat would hit the marble off the tee and it was game on.

There’s only so many times you can whack a marble before the boredom gives way to creative imagination. A brilliant idea dawned. We’d pitch to him instead of just having him hit off the tee. Marbles were impossible to hit, so we decided to throw rocks while the other would push the lever as the pitch went by. It took a lot of pitches, but he finally connected. And his bat disconnected.

We looked at the broken plastic bat and new it was not repairable. Oh well. Might as well finish the job. My dad had recently plowed up the back yard for a garden, and there were tons of rocks. So we became giants casting boulders at the intruder of our mountain. We tossed and pelted the slugger until I hurled a rock that caught my attention. It felt very heavy for its small size. Giants are notoriously dimwitted, so I didn’t notice the rock until after I hurled it away.

“What was that?” I said after launching it. We had placed the slugger in the grass a good ways from us, so I didn’t know exactly where my rock landed. I combed through the grass for several minutes and then found it. “Wow. Look at this.” I held it up for my best friend, also named Eddie, to see.

It wasn’t a rock at all. It was a lead die. I soon learned that our yard had once been a campsite for Confederate troops during the Civil War. To pass the time, soldiers would beat a few musket balls into squares, make dice out of them, and gamble. I had found something that once cost a soldier his lunch money.

My mother, ever foresighted, made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. She bought it from me for a whole dollar. It would be quite some time before I realized its value was more than a dollar, but she saved it from certain demise by getting it out of my possession. When I moved away from home, she was so happy that she gave me the die.

Now when my wife brags about her little stash of hootie-tootie toys and says, “What do you have from your childhood?” I can pull out my lead die and say, “This. Want to shoot craps for your toys?” I know which numbers it falls on!

Eddie Snipes 2013

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