Communicators AND Others Enjoying Retirement
|October 2013||Fall Issue||Volume 13 - Number 3|
Welcome to the latest issue of the newsletter dedicated to the CANDOERs (Communicators AND Others Enjoying Retirement). This newsletter will be distributed quarterly. New issues will be posted on the Web for viewing on or about, January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15.
The CANDOER Web site and newsletter may be viewed by going to the following URL: www.candoer.org
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Internet and they won't bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.
Another summer over with. What a year it has been, so far. We are four degrees below our normal average temperature. Although August and September were very dry, October, so far, is making up for it. So far we have had 5 inches of rain over the past 12 days. Really cuts into the fishing!
Nancy and I made it back to my home town of Waterford, PA in July as we do every year for my high school class reunion and to celebrate my home towns founding, which is called "Waterford Days." I do their web site and am a member of the Waterford Days Planning Committee.
Unless I receive some stories before the next issue is due, there will be no next issue. It's all in our corner now!
help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.
By James F. Prosser
Coming from Green Bay, I am a Packer-Backer and football fan, whether it is the American type or the international soccer variety known by billions the world over as "footbol".
Shortly after arriving in Rome in 1986, I became directly acquainted with the incredible fanaticism Italians have for their national pastime and teams. I have often heard and read about the unruly fan behavior both at games and in the streets, and experienced it first hand.
Italians take their football and opera very seriously. Substandard performances just aren't tolerated. Opera is mentioned because there is a lot to be compared with football. The cast of players or characters are often the subject of "love - hate" relationships with the very vociferous fan clubs. They don't "boo" a bad player or performance, they get violent.
To make things even more interesting, corruption and scandals exist at all levels in the league, club management, refereeing, and players.
In one particularly seedy incident in 1985, some players and officials of a Sicilian club were caught bribing a referee to "throw" a game. As punishment the Italian National Football League (INFL) banned several players, heavily fined them all, and demoted the club to an inferior national league. The supporters of this team became so enraged they sacked the INFL headquarters just down the street from the American Embassy.
Attending my first game was quite an experience. There are no tail gate barbecues in Rome or anywhere in Italy for that matter. Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are sold outside the stadium perimeter. NOTHING is brought or sold inside the stadium. I immediately realized this was not anything like going to a Packer game.
That day, the animals were not in the zoo, they were in Rome's Olympic stadium for the Roma-Napoli game. I was fortunately located in the southeast bend behind the corner kick spot. I say 'located' because while there were seats, tickets are sold only by section number, nothing reserved. The broad running track, moat (yes, moat!) and chain-link fence put a fair distance between the fans (animals?) and players.
The term "animals" is not a bad analogy. The various sections of the stadium were clearly divided by 3-meter high glass panels with metal spikes fastened to the top edge to keep the "animals" from one section going into a more expensive adjacent one. At least that seems to be the intent. They do cross over anyway by the hundreds by forming pyramids of bodies against the glass panels and climbing up each other's backs to go "over the top". The police do nothing to stop this. They aren't even evident inside the stadium, outside, yes, hundreds of them. Containment of violence, not prevention seems to be the policy.
Behind the opposite north goal seated in adjacent sections were thousands of fans of the "Eagles" and "Ultras" fan clubs, bitter rivals. They filled the entire "horseshoe" and made a deafening roar throughout the match no matter what was taking place on the field. Smoke bombs, fires in the stands, loud fire-crackers, drums, singing, horns, assaulted your ears. During the first half when the visiting team was defending the north goal, they suffered through the distractions of people with strong arms throwing missiles and trash at the players whenever they had to go behind the goal to retrieve the ball. Great sportsmanship these fans do not display.
The next morning, I walked into the Embassy office of Administrative Counselor, Harry Geisel, who was in the middle of a description of his experiences the day before where the spectators were screaming, throwing garbage and trash at the performers and acting like animals. I interjected, "Oh, you were at the Roma-Napoli football match too!" He said, "No, I went to the opera last night where the performance was dreadful so the audience was really venting its spleen!" This incident is not uncommon in an Italian opera house if the performers don't measure up to par. Conversely, if the singer is excellent, the audience does not restrain itself either for they scream, clap, and shout until the performer does an encore of the aria, sometimes two or three times just to satisfy them.
In retrospect, I thought back to almost 2,000 years ago when "games" were held in the Colosseum and other places here. Things haven't changed too much. True, human sacrifices are out, and while there aren't wild animals any longer down on the performing field or stage, they now appear to be in the grandstands (more or less caged). The spectators demand perfect performance from their "gladiators" and anything less apparently causes them to behave as their ancestors did.
Submitted by Milt Aldridge
This article came from the March 2013 AARP Bulletin (page 26) Dead Ringers - Scam Alert Protecting the deceased from identity theft By Sid Kirchheimer.
Identity thieves are sinking to new lows-specifically, six feet under. Each year they use the identities of nearly 2.5 million deceased Americans to fraudulently open credit card accounts, apply for loans and get cell phone or other services, according to fraud prevention firm ID Analytics. Nearly 800,000 of those deceased are deliberately targeted-roughly 2,200 a day. The identities of the others are used by chance: Crooks make up a Social Security number that happens to match that of someone who has died.
It's called "ghosting," and because it can take six months for financial institutions, credit-reporting bureaus and the Social Security Administration to receive, share or register death records, the crooks have ample time to rack up charges. Plus, of course, the dead don't monitor their credit and often, neither do their grieving survivors. Sometimes, crooks glean personal information from hospitals or funeral homes. More often, the crime begins with thieves trolling through obituaries. With a name, address and birth date in hand, they can illicitly purchase the person's Social Security number on the Internet for as little as $10.
This time of year, criminals may file tax returns under the identities of the dead, collecting refunds (they totaled $5.2 billion in 2011) from the IRS. Each year, thieves steal the identities of nearly 2.5 million deceased Americans. The only good news here is that surviving family members are ultimately not responsible for such charges (or for legitimate debts of the dead if their names are not on the accounts). But ghosting can still cause plenty of angst. So protect yourself by taking these steps after a loved one's death:
*In obituaries, list the age but don't include birth date, mother's maiden name or other personal identifiers that could be useful to ID thieves. Omitting the person's address also reduces the likelihood of a home burglary during the funeral (sadly, this does happen).
*Using certified mail with "return receipt," send copies of the death certificate to each credit-reporting bureau-Equifax, Experian and TransUnion-asking them to place a "deceased alert" on the credit report. Mail certificates to banks, insurers, brokerages and credit card and mortgage companies where the deceased held accounts. If you're closing an individual account, make sure the institution lists "Closed: Account Holder Is Deceased" as the reason. For joint accounts, remove the deceased's name.
*Report the death to Social Security by calling 800-772-1213. *Contact the department of motor vehicles to cancel the deceased's driver's license, to prevent duplicates from being issued to fraudsters.
*A few weeks later, check the credit report of the person at annualcreditreport.com to see if there's been any suspicious activity. Several months later, go to the same site to get another free report from a different credit-reporting bureau.
*For more tips, visit www.idtheftcenter.org and type "deceased" in the search box.
By Charles Christian
9-11 Sept 2013
Stu Branch, retired head of State commo, volunteered to take over from me in the planning of this reunion as he lives in Reno. He put on a fantastic reception the first night in his elegant home overlooking the vibrant and exciting city of Reno.
Lane Durgin also lives there and assisted him. Stu and Sharon live high in the hills southwest of town with a great view.
They went to great effort with the finest booze and a lovely assortment of good finger food.
At the banquet the next evening, the four Agency types all sat together, by direction of Stu. The State types sat at two other tables. The dinner was fantastic and laid on by the chef (who we all met) at the beautiful Siena Hotel on the banks of the beautiful Truckee River in Reno. Valet parking and a nice location with a small hotel and not the gigantic Grand Sierra we out of towners stayed in.
I went first class. We took a 24th floor tower suite with a view of the north and the desert. At happy hour on the deck by the river we watched a guy in the water with a plastic bucket finding and picking up trash that washed down from the mountains or from being tossed in up river. The Truckee River has swift flowing and clear sparkling water.
Both nights ML and I had lots of visiting with Lane and Ginny Durgin. I worked with Lane in the 50's. He took over all commo sites west of the Mississippi not long after I had done a two year tour in Southern California in the projects which he also had in his domain.
Lane told me Ginny retired from the agency as a SIS 4. I had no idea she had even been working full time as a career employee.
I feel I put Stu out to dry with all that he and his wife did for all of us and especially for the guy who kick-started this event.
Stu was the M.C. at his house and I was the M.C. at the hotel. I told some of my many commo stories and had others come up and do the same.
I did mention to Stu that I retired from State and maybe should sit with them, and he said no. You folks have things to talk about that are more of interest to you then us.
I gave a benediction at the close of the evening. I also give a prayer for Harlow Jones, again, my old buddy since 1955 and one who needs them! I have been praying for him ever since the REFCOM reunion at Vegas two years ago.
What is funny about Reno is its location. It has the unique situation by its location of the clouds being formed by the very high Sierra Mountains just next to the city on the west and the great basin desert in the other three directions. The clouds have a flat bottom and a round top and do not move! They just stand there by themselves until they decide to dissipate come sundown.
The dry lake beds go for 40 miles or so and are over a great aquifer. When it is dry the water is deep, when it has been filled by rains (only 7 inches a year on average) they come up right under the surface. Smart guys use a long rod to shove down in the ground before going on to race on the flats. There are no rocks, gullies or anything to impede the driving of their pick ups. If safe to drive on, they will put a rock on the gas, climb out the door and sit on the roof and watch the passing sights for some time before they think it best to take over control again. Every few years some green horn goes out and loses his truck to the aquifer when it is full.
Stu's son, Mike, is a teacher at University of Nevada at Reno. He came and put on an information program about Nevada for us, which is the subject he teaches.
He and his wife have a spread north of town where he raises live stock. Stu designed their lovely ranch house. It recently burned. It was fully covered by insurance and has been rebuilt.
Great county! Reno is a fine place to retire. Many retirees get a job at the resorts-hotels-casinos to supplement their pensions. It has nice weather, very little snow, great skiing and other winter sports to the west. It is a quick trip to Virginia City and Carson City. Lake Tahoe is less then an hour a way.
The temperatures run into the 90's in summer, but it is a dry heat as it is west of the Rockies.
ML and I will now send a thank you via snail mail to the hosts.
Editor's Note: The following people attended. Agency attendees have an asterisk before their names.
Take care and be safe!