Fake Check Scams

Anyone with a mailing address is bombarded with requests for donations for a variety of causes. In particular, as Americans, we depend on our armed forces to keep us safe from attacks from unfriendly foreign countries. There are numerous organizations that raise money to help veterans, and the messages in their mail campaigns are often heart-rending. And there is a large variety of other causes, e.g., frightful diseases or conditions, who have similar mail campaigns. This situation is ideal for scammers. A popular scam is to send a target person a check, and when the person cashes it a process starts that steals money from him/her.  In our case, fortunately, the check was from a valid charity that we had contributed to, off-and-on, in the past. But this is the first time that we had received a check. It was a small amount, but we wonder why the Veterans of Foreign Wars has done this at this time. We will not cash this check because it will give whoever sent it to me my account number.

Drinking Too Much Water Can Kill Soldiers … or You

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“Death in combat is understandable. Death during training should not be occurring.” The problem is drinking too much water in combination with having too little electrolytes. It is not clear how effective Gatorade and its ilk are. One alternative from the past is switchel, an old-fashioned drink used (mostly during haying season, the hottest time of summer) to prevent farmhands from over-hydrating. There are different recipes, but the one my grandmother recalled was a combination of water, vinegar, ginger, and honey (of course, coming from a family of beekeepers, the sweetener was honey) Its main purpose was to prevent illness from drinking too much water (called “water intoxication”); horses have to be prevented from the same thing. Part of the death/illness prevention came from the taste of the stuff; you had to be pretty thirsty to drink anything approaching too much.