Courier Life’s

Stan’s no fool, but he plays one in April

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It’s springtime, and with the season comes the many solicitations for seasonable charitable donations for Easter, Passover, and everything else. I just saw something that had me scratching my head.

There were men out there on the street corners, dressed in battle-dress uniforms, wearing official-looking military buttons and medals collecting money for an organization called the Disabled Veterans of America.

Hey! Hang on, Sloopy! Many years ago I did quite a bit of volunteering my talents for an organization called the Disabled American Veterans. Is this the same group? Did it change its name? To find out what is going on, I immediately dashed to the Internet to open The Charity Navigator rates not-for-profit organizations from zero to four stars based on several things, including transparency of operations and fund-raising expenses. My personal donations go to three- and four-star charities. Two stars and less might as well cross my name off their list.

The Disabled American Veterans is a legitimate organization that rates three stars.

But when I looked up the Disabled Veterans of America, based in Michigan, the following is exactly what I found:

On Nov. 14, 2012, Lansing State Journal reported that Neil Thrasher, a “man who created fake charities with names similar to legitimate veterans groups and used telemarketing proceeds for his own gain, has been sentenced to prison.” The charities are Paralyzed Veterans of America and Disabled American Veterans.

This appears to be another scam, one of the many.

• • •

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s ban on big sugary sodas fell flat after a state judge invalidated the rule. The Washington Times asked if you agree with the judge? A whopping 95 percent of those who responded shouted “Yes!” Less than five percent whispered “No.”

I can make a case for both sides. I brought the subject up at a cocktail party, and even with some passionate arguments, our group of almost two dozen was split about even into three camps. There were the “yes” people, the “no” people and the undecided. What about you? What’s your thinking on this?

• • •

It’s that time of the year that we normal folks get a bit silly. You might want to drive a friend crazy by addressing an envelope to him, mark it “Personal” and mail it to him empty.

You might want to telephone your best friend when he is not home and leave a message with the number (718) 367–1010 and the name Mr. Fox or Mr. Lyon. That’s a very old, old prank and extremely sophomoric, but would you believe that they still work? The telephone operators at the Bronx Zoo tell us that they still receive thousands of calls asking for Miss Ellie Phant or Mr. Jim Panzie.

I have a friend who loves going to the nearby book stores and move all of the Clinton books from the political section to the fiction section. Of course he’s a Republican.

We also know someone who received a Bronze Commendation medal while he was in service. He receives many calls at this time of year from his relatives asking him if he knows the names of the people who received the silver and gold.

My favorite hoax took place a few years ago when this newspaper reported a realistic story of the approved plans to place a toll booth on the Mill Basin drawbridge. Readers were furious. I am wishing everyone a happy April Fools Day!

Read Stan Gershbein's column every Monday on

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Reader Feedback

Tinman from Sheepshead Bay says:
Everyone's gone a little nuts over the "soda ban." The selling of soda is NOT banned, just in 32 ounce containers., Wow, did hell freeze over? What's the big deal. Duh, anyone can still purchase two 16 oz. cup! And the court only overturned it because the actual law had too many loopholes, not because it was bad for citizens who crave that unhealthy dose of half a cup o' sugar.
March 30, 2013, 2:34 pm
Tinman Too from Sheepshead Bay says:
Check your front door step to see if there's a flaming bag of feces on Monday. You seem to like high school pranks.
March 30, 2013, 2:36 pm
Tinman Three from Sheepshead Bay says:
Just checking in on the feces. Any news?
May 19, 2013, 5:36 pm

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