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On Tuesday, March 4th the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Blue Star Restaurant in Schoharie, and it was another cold morning. This scribe generally does not mind winter, but enough already.

This scribe has enough information in his little note book to cover three weeks of columns. Notes like wacky weed, lungs, bears and bees, finding money, animals and cold, “scams”, computer time, e-bay, running out of wood, medical proof, egg yolks, mirror on the wall, bats, lime and cloves, and one more this scribe can’t read because the scribe tried to squeeze it in and now can’t figure out the dumb word, and then this scribe really ran out of room. Needless to say only a few will be expanded upon.

The first one will be the mirror because it is a short anecdote. The OFs sometimes see themselves in a mirror at a mall, or even reflected in the glass of some of the stores in the malls and are taken back because the OF doesn’t recognize the person they are looking at. They say to themselves, “WHO IS, that OF in the window.” It takes a little time for it to sink in but it is the OF. Some of the OFs say they sometimes jump at the reflection and become scared because they think it is their old man.

The OFs started talking about these phone scams that are a big problem. The OFs thought that these problems were in large metropolitan areas. Not so. Two of the OFs have been approached in two separate instances and both were radically different.

One OF reported that the phone rang in his living room and his wife answered it. The person on the other end of line said that they were calling from Georgia, and that their granddaughter (and they gave her name) was in jail in Atlanta from being at a party. They said that someone from the Attorney General’s office would call at a certain time the next day. They had all the particulars, but did not ask for money.

The next day, at the time they said they would call, they did call. The man said he was from the Attorney General’s office in Atlanta and that they needed two thousand dollars to take care of their granddaughter’s expenses, and that she recommended the OFs, who were her grandparents, because she did not want her mother and father to find out.

The OF said it all sounded very professional except that he could tell it was a foreigner on the phone because he did not sound like he was from the Atlanta area, or anywhere else in the US. The OF told the gentleman calling that he would have to make arrangements to get the money and he would contact them when he did. The OF was given a phone number in Atlanta to call.

The OF said he hung up and called his granddaughter on her cell phone and SHE DID NOT answer. So the OF became concerned and called her parents. The parents told him where she was (she was in school) and she was probably in a class and this school does not allow cell phones in the class. Sure enough a while later the granddaughter called and said she was in class and could not use her cell phone. By the way the granddaughter and her parents live nowhere near Atlanta. So a happy ending with no money being sent to a fake address to a fake Attorney General and when the OF told the fake that he recognized a scam, the fellow hung up on him.

The other OF related his very recent encounter with the same type of scenario only this one was by e-mail. The OF received an e-mail saying one of their friends (and it named the friend) was in trouble in Indonesia. These friends of the OF are world travelers and are now living in west and this was plausible. Without going into the whole e-mail the OF was asked by his friend if the OF could e-mail two thousand dollars, (note the similarity in monetary request) to a specific destination so their friends could get out of their predicament.

The OF’s wife did not go any further. The OF’s wife fired off a letter to the friend by snail mail, because the OF did not want any electronic connection to their friend. A few days later the OF received a phone call from the friend who said that up to that point seventeen people had reported to them they had the same electronic communication.

The friends of the OF wondered how the people who sent the scam obtained the OF’s e-mail because the OF was not on their e-mail list. The conclusion was that not only did they work on the friends of the OF, but the friends, friends list and the OF must have been on one of theirs.

This is getting too scary. From what the OFs understood in both situations there is no way yet to catch these guys or round them up and stop them ─ these scams are worldwide. One OF thought we have no jurisdiction in other countries and that might be the reason these types of scams continue. The other thing we noted is that Berne, Knox, Middleburgh, and Schoharie, are not metropolitan areas, but that doesn’t seem to count anymore.

Spring may get here with the black flies, then summer with its mosquitoes. The OFs have a trick to keep mosquitoes at bay when eating out in the backyard. This tip came from Georgia. Take a lime, cut it in half. Take some cloves and at each joint in the lime stick a clove there. Then brace it up in some water so the flat side is up, place it at the center of the table, and voila…no mosquitoes. Of course, none of the OMOTM have tried this to see if it works because it isn’t summer yet, and maybe by summer time the OFs will forget all about it ─ forgetting is a common trait amongst the OFs. But the OF who played Heloise on this one said his daughter swears it works.

The OFs that met at the Blue Star Restaurant in Schoharie, and who can’t wait to see if the lime-clove mosquito chaser works were: John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Andy Tinning, Roger Shafer, Miner Stevens, Jim Heiser, Robie Osterman, Dick Ogsbury, Mark Traver, Glen Patterson, Chuck Aleseio, Otis Lawyer, George Washburn, Roger Chapman, Steve Kelly, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Henry Whipple, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Ken Hughes, Jim Rissacher, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Bill Rice, and me.