Musings From the Bench

musings from the bench-2This past Thursday morning a Mr. Williams received a phone call from the IRS. The man calling told Mr. Williams that he owed more than $6,657 in back taxes and he was risking criminal prosecution unless he paid up immediately. Mr. Williams ran for his checkbook and was all set to cut the IRS a check when he was told “no checks, cash only”. Now I’d like to think that when Mr. Williams heard that, a red flag popped up but that was not the case. At that point Mr. Williams was so shaken that he was ready to do whatever the authoritative voice on the phone told him to do. He was told that several certified letters had been mailed to him and since he hadn’t responded to them he was now facing an appearance in court. That’s when Mr. Williams was transferred to another person who said she was the court clerk and gave him his court date telling him the only way to avoid an appearance was to pay his debt immediately. Again he was told the IRS does not accept personal checks but would accept cash. And the federal government would prefer having Mr. Williams deliver the $6,657 cash in person to a stranger in the Home Depot parking lot.scam theft

Even though no red flags went up or bells and whistles sounded, Mr. Williams didn’t think anything was amiss until he went to the post office to find out what happened to the ‘several certified letters’. He told his story to the postal clerk behind the counter and she said she thought he was being scammed and to go report it to the police. And that’s just what he did.

When police heard his story they told him he was clearly being targeted by scammers and they probably got his name and number out of the phone book. Turns out there are quite a few telephone scams going around these days in addition to the IRS one. There’s the relative who’s been kidnapped in Mexico, or the one where a relative traveling across the country needs bail money. Police told Mr. Williams if he’s ever contacted again, he should never, ever under any circumstances give out any money to anyone over the phone.

An investigation by police of the phone number used for this scam ((202)-506-9529) is based in Beltsville, MD. A reporter for our local paper called that number, asked for the IRS. He was told by the person answering that he had the wrong number and that person hung up. A reverse-directory search by this reporter using showed the same number being used in multiple scams.

A real IRS spokesperson said these scammers usually tell people to use a pre-paid debit card and then request the debit card number. This type of scam had the IRS issue a consumer advisory in April to warn people to be on guard against these particularly aggressive phone scams. Callers are frequently insulting and hostile in order to scare the potential victim into compliance. 

I’m certainly glad Mr. Williams went to his post office to inquire about the whereabouts of all those certified letters. I don’t know how old he is but $6,657 would be hard for anyone to replace.


I was watching TV when this commercial came on advertizing Huggies Pull-Ups. If you aren’t familiar with this product let me tell you it replaces the need for a diaper on a child old enough for advanced potty training, and if I get this youtube video posted correctly, you’ll be able to see it for yourself.

Little boy David successfully completes going to the bathroom to do number 1 and pulls up his Pull Ups. Then his Mother has him flush the toilet. This sets off a chain of events that would make Rube Goldberg proud ending with confetti, and a sign celebrating David’s First Flush.This celebration is so over-the-top that I’m left wondering just what this kid will expect the next time he flushes the toilet or if he’ll grow up expecting a parade when he learns to wipe his butt after a number 2.Now you can tell me all you want that this is just a commercial and the celebration is just part of the ad campaign, but you’re talking to someone who worked for an elementary school and I’m telling you the kids I came in contact with thought they were hot spit if they could walk and chew gum at the same time.

A Participation Award, a certificate for a free personal-size pizza for reading the required number of books in a semester (and if Mom or Dad read the book to the child, it still counted towards the pizza). Anything and everything to make sure each child had a healthy self-esteem just short of the child winning an award through hard work. Didn’t get all the words correct on a spelling test? Well, you got half of them right….here’s your trophy. And don’t think things get any better once they get to high school or on to college. Real life is hard and nothing comes easy even if you are prepared for the fight. It’s time to let kids learn through failure instead of trying to smooth their path with meaningless successes. Maybe then they wouldn’t get so easily frustrated and bring guns to school. I don’t know….it’s just a thought.


Sometime last week EJ the man who writes the Blog About Nothing on Friday posted to Facebook that his parents were celebrating 42 years of marriage. Take it from me, that is quite an accomplishment…..hubby and I have been married 40 years so I know from where I speak. My parents were married for 48 years (Dad died in 1996) and my great-grandparents were married for 63 years (Great-grandma died) But the most impressive long-lasting marriage I ever heard about was between Edna and Harold Owings……82 years, and as far as I know, still going strong.


They met in the fifth grade and became boyfriend and girlfriend. Harold would put a candy bar from his dad’s candy store on her desk every school day or two candy bars if he thought she was mad at him. They married on Thanksgiving Day in 1931 when she was 19 and he was 20. She’s 101 and he’s 102 and they both say they are just as much in love now as they were then. What’s their secret for a successful marriage? “Being considerate to each other and not spending beyond their means” kept them from arguments. “We just stayed happy.” Good advice.

I think the shortest marriage I ever heard of was between Britney Spears and Jason Alexander. No, not the Jason Alexander who played George Costanza on the TV show “Seinfeld”, the other Jason Alexander who was a childhood friend. As he tells it, Britney invited him to Las Vegas and while they were “kicking it” she said, “Well, let’s get married”, and he said, “Sure, you know, let’s do this.”britney and jason

55 hours after the Wedding Chapel ceremony the marriage was annulled.

kim and kris


Then there was the spectacle that was the marriage between Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. That lasted 72 days. I gotta say it didn’t look like there was much respect displayed by either person for the other in that 72 days. I think Kim was all caught up in the planning of the ceremony and her dress, and flowers, and just the whole being a Bride.



They say that in the US, the average divorce comes after 8 years of marriage. I don’t know about Japan, but after 6 years one wife is calling it quits because her husband doesn’t think Disney’s Frozen was that good of a movie. See, there’s a website in Japan where people can post reviews of movies called Kikonsha no Hakaba (ominously translates to The Gravesite of Married People)–I kid you not–and her hubby had this to say about the film, “It’s an okay movie, I guess, but I didn’t really care for it personally. Do you really think it’s that good?” To which his wife replied, “If you can’t understand what makes this movie great, there’s something wrong with you as a human being. I want a divorce!” Now she again lives with her parents who are acting as the intermediary for the two. One aside to this story…..the husband has a degree in Danish Literature and the movie ‘Frozen’ is based on the Hans Christen Anderson story “The Snow Queen”. Maybe he didn’t recognize Disney’s unique rendition. Or maybe he thought the book was better. To paraphrase the ‘Seinfeld’ Soup Nazi, “No Snowman for you!”

frozen poster

Thanks for reading. Until next time.









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About Jane Gray 58 Articles
Born in the '50s, grew up in the '60s, got married in the '70s. Gave birth in the '80s and started collecting social security in 2013. My time is my own and I don't mind sharing my opinions on everything with everybody. I hate injustice, the truth is easier to remember than a lie. I like the New England Patriots, the Boston Celtics, the New York Mets, and that English futbol team from Liverpool.


  1. Thanks for mentioning my folks. They’ve been together 42 years and counting. Considering my old man just turned 67, and my Mom will be 70 in December, I hope they’ll live long enough to spend a couple more decades together.

  2. Also I remember those Pizza Hut reading participation awards. My little sister had those. Of course, I’d con my old man in buying me my own pizza because SHE did well in school. LOL.

  3. Jane, you have a knack for touching my hot buttons. I recently had a scam call from someone representing himself as Time Warner Cable. He was offering to upgrade all the services I currently have, to include all the HBO’s as well as Cinemax, Encore, Starz, and the 50mps internet All for less than half of what I currently pay The catch was to give him my credit card number now for 6 months payment in advance. I also read somewhere about a school that wouldn’t flunk kids because it hurt their self-esteem. How in the hell is this kid going to survive in the real world? These things really make you wonder what type of world we’re creating.

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