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Springer Spaniel Sunset by Jenna Keefer

Wiser’s Wramblings: Can’t Sleep-Get Up and Do Something, but Don’t Brush!

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By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels

Once again, I must heed Mr. Vance’s theory on sleeplessness. “If you can’t sleep, get up. If you get up, do something.” As of earlier in the evening Wednesday night I was of the thinking that with Thursday’s upcoming busy schedule I probably wouldn’t have time to put together a Wrambling this week. It turns out that at 3:00 AM Wednesday into Thursday morning I have nothing better to do, so here goes. It’s a bit unusual but I am not alone in my sleeplessness as my wife sits across from me on her couch/love seat working her Kindle as she too is having trouble sleeping.

The scanner chatter has been pretty active given our first measurable snow fall. Prior to the 5” or so received Tuesday night there were already numerous calls reporting people having fallen and either just needed “lifting assistance” or were injured. One call in particular, was for a person weighing in excess of 300 pounds. “Extra lifters” were called out for that situation. Two areas seemed to be infected with neediness in that multiple calls were for the Scio area and even more-so in and around the Northern Allegany County area around the towns of Granger and Allen.

The Genesee Valley Chorus (GVC) has put the finishing touches on their musical selections to be performed Sunday, December 3rd at the North Main Street, Wellsville location of the Grace United Church. Some of the musical selections presented by the chorus will be enhanced by musical accompaniment including several in the stringed instruments of the violin family. The instrumentalists will also feature Carole Aldrich, long time, and well-known pianist, having once been a music teacher at Scio Central School and having been the primary accompanist for several churches and/or choirs. The Chorus will be directed by Andrea Harris. There will be no admissions charge but donations that help support the purchase of new music for future performances are gratefully accepted. Different “Sponsorships” are also available, and you can contact any of the groups officers for additional information if interested.

Chorus director Andrea Harris, in noting one of the songs titled I’m Still Standing, aptly described our resilience in re-building after the Covid disruption and interruption of the past couple of years. We are Still Standing. For anyone not already familiar with GVC, the chorus was founded in 1976 as a celebration of our country’s 200th year anniversary.

I recently purchased a new TV for our family room to take advantage of Smart TV features. Unfortunately, it seems to be smarter than yours truly. This new TV and programming seems to have occurred in the fledgling months of a marriage between ESPN+ and Roku TV, as they seem to be inescapably tied together, at least through my Spectrum account. Our unavoidable exposure to this flagellation has several downsides. Spectrum, being the only “full service” internet option    is far from “user friendly,” and is fraught with intermittently good versus horrible service. By “full service,” I mean Internet, TV, and Phone service. In any conversation where any problems related to those areas are mentioned, the almost unanimous reply comment is; “Oh! You must be on Spectrum, aren’t you?” These problems apparently are not limited to “general” public usage as several retail and business establishments also cite this as the root of their problems as well.

When you see a written comment followed by the three dots (periods) as in …, have you ever wondered how that notation came about? What prompted that, or what does it mean. As with my vocabulary knowledge I went about using that notation based on my assumption that I knew what it meant. I did, but, as several people now do I just used a random number of dots…..unknowingly. The dots “…” are known as Ellipsis. This is the most common notation implying that a thought or topic continues unwritten. In legal writing the dots are replaced by three asterisks *** or * * *. The sentence or comment then requires “ending” punctuation with a period or question mark.

When I was wiping some dry crumbs off my plate the other day it reminded me of a topic, on which, I believe I’ve mentioned once before. Given my proclivity for minimizing costs, which some might call “frugal,” and others just consider “cheap.” Paper plates are considered disposable. Some people do just that after the first use. Not me! I will re-use a paper plate, in all three sizes, at least once, if not several times. If the plate, or dish, has been used for something mostly “dry,” I will wipe it off and restore it to the cupboard to live another day. I do this even with foods that might leave a little food smear on the plate, if it can be wiped clean. Most plates have a bit of a “slippery,” or “glazed” finish, so re-heated lunch offerings (saved, obviously) do not soak into the texture of the plate. These too can be wiped clean, and the plate re-used.

I learned something new yesterday, once again proving that; “the world is a classroom, and we all remain students, if we so desire”.

I received an Amazon package in the mail. I was not home at the time, so my wife opened the package. NO! This is not a violation of my privacy, as my wife uses my name and accounts for all of her on-line purchases. She didn’t recognize the purchase, so when I returned home she asked me why, or when, I had ordered a Ring, Video Doorbell. Puzzled I replied that I hadn’t. We each searched our recent purchases as the shipment had come from Amazon. Neither of us had ordered anything from there. As I looked the package over for any identifying “order numbers” or information telling us who, other than us it was meant for I noticed that the mailing label seemed thicker than normal and a slight second edge appeared on what turned out to be the “top” of three labels.

 As I carefully picked at the edge of the top label I was able to peel it off displaying a label underneath. That label had an address, and name to a woman from Utah. The original label still felt thickerer (my word) than normal so I continued to investigate. Surely enough there was another label beneath the middle label and it too had an address with name. That label, as was the top label was in my name. I am assuming that the labeling was some kind of Amazon labeling machine malfunction. So now, as in a 60’s Alfred Hitchcock mystery drama, I had a mystery within a mystery.

Prior to this discovery I had posted a note on Facebook (FB), asking if anyone (aiming this at my family members all active on FB,) had mailed me a package, describing only that I had received a mystery package, not yet having discovered nor disclosed, the mystery labels.

The replies were nearly immediate from personal family, and FB family, advising that I was likely a victim of “Brushing.” According to my reference search, “Brushing” is an “Online retailer practice of sending people items and products they hadn’t purchased in order to fraudulently improve their store’s rating.” This creates a fake transaction and gives the seller credit for a sale, which boosts the seller’s sales. The next rung up the ladder for the seller is to make a false rating on a survey of the sales value.

While not ignoring a “gift horse in the mouth” receipt, I researched the legality and potential for personal harm or consequence. According to USPIS (United States Postal Inspection Service) my receipt of this product was likely part of a larger marketing scam, often not generated in the US so perpetrators are hard to track down. As per USPIS (with a little editing to make typing corrections);

This is how it works.
A person receives packages or parcels containing various sorts of items which were not ordered or requested by the recipient. While the package may be addressed to the recipient, there is not a return address, or the return address could be that of a retailer. The sender of the item(s) is usually an international, third-party seller who has found the recipient’s address online. The intention is to give the impression that the recipient is a verified buyer who has written positive online reviews of the merchandise, meaning they write a fake review in your name. These fake reviews help to fraudulently boost or inflate the products’ ratings and sales numbers, which they hope results in an increase of actual sales in the long-run. Since the merchandise is usually cheap and low-cost to ship, the scammers perceive this as a profitable pay-off.

This is why it’s bad.
While it may appear to be a victimless crime—you did after all get some free stuff—the reality is that your personal information may be compromised. Often scammers obtain personal information through nefarious means and with ill-intentions and use it for several scams and other illicit activities in the future. Your fake review may prompt people to purchase worthless stuff.

In other instances, bad actors are using a person’s address and account information to receive merchandise then steal it from the home before the resident can intercept it.

Climbing off that horse, and on to another mid-stream. Which also opens the door to introduce another Wiser’s Wrambling’s Word, that being Midstremity. Defined, that would be something between the extremities of highest and lowest, or oldest and youngest etc.

I had the honor of this year’s first barbershop Christmas singing outing yesterday. The Maple City Barbershop Chorus, based in Hornell, NY,religiously goes around visiting “Senior living facilities and Nursing Homes” sharing our Christmas cheer in the form of our close harmony barbershop renditions of the age-old Christmas Carols. Yesterday we visited Maple City Rehab and Updykes Willow Ridge facilities in Hornell. I will likely mention our next outings and perhaps present an invitation to join this singing group as blatantly as I advertise the musical opportunities presented by the Genesee Valley Chorus (GVC). Both of these singing venues would be an outlet for those who love to sing, and who perhaps miss being able to sing in organized places, other than in  the solitude of your shower.

Sunday, December 3rd, offers the 2023 Annual winter concert “Winter Wind and Song” at the Wellsville Grace United Church with other details as noted on the accompanying poster.

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