Watch the scams and a few thoughts on local gifts

Finished smoking the Thanksgiving turkey hours before the 49ers were smoked by the Baltimore Ravens on turkey day. Big Harbaugh brother feasted, but it might turn out to be a good time for the 49ers to have a plate of humble pie. Reminder for the faithful: One year ago through 11 games the 49ers were 4-7.
One year ago, my wife and daughter went shopping around midnight in Gilroy – to Target and the outlets – and didn’t see a soul they knew. This year it happened again with a different daughter. Weird to be in garlic town with so many other souls from out of town.
In town, the news that Gary Walton is closing the doors at Lizarran Tapas Restaurant didn’t come as a shocker, but it’s still disappointing. Gary’s concepts of community and local economic development outstrip the culture at City Hall which can only be changed by fresh, strong and clear leadership from the mayor’s seat and the City Council.
Just a few weeks ago, I was worried sick about my granddaughter, Tyler Grace, who was born with a surprise strep infection which came with pneumonia. All is well, now, however, she’s a month old and her presence at Thanksgiving blessed our family gathering. I like saying her full name because the Grace part fits. But her nickname, Cupcake, will stick with me, too. Cupcakes for dessert next Thanksgiving …
Yeeks, it’s hard to believe it’s time to buy the Christmas tree and get the decorations from the garage and onto the house and into the front yard. Magic Christmas wand where are you?
Not at AT&T wireless. Logged into my  account online and there’s a new requirement: enter your birth date. The scroll-down year-of-birth menu starts at 1861. Would like to meet the 150-year old fella’ with a wireless phone who pays his bills online.
An 84-year-old woman called me at the office last week and her story is one of those that really gets my blood a boilin’. She received a call about an upgrade to her Medicare card. What elderly person on Medicare wouldn’t want a free health care card upgrade. All they needed was a little personal information to process the new health card. That included a bank account number, of course. When she hesitated, the sweet woman on the end of the line was replaced by a pushy man. She, smartly, still refused. But it wasn’t over. The two had the chutzpah to call back the next day and harass her. She wanted people to know about the scam. So, if you know an elderly person, remind them that this time of year is particularly ripe for low-life, scum bag scam artists who prey on older people. Don’t give out bank information over the phone under any circumstances or pressure. Wonder if those rats on the end of the phone line ever had loving grandmothers?
On Black Friday, we published a guest column about keeping our money local and supporting each other. Part of it read, “You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US … And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.” In that spirit, I thought I’d pass along a few local ideas for gift giving: 1. Car detailing (best at Bonfante Collision Center); 2. Hair styling certificate (Loretta’s Looking Good Salon for mom); 3. Wine club membership for a year (Solis, Martin Ranch or Aver Family Vineyards for my tree); 4. Massage (a membership at Danielle’s Massage Envy a sure bet); 5. A coffee card and travel mug for First Street Coffee (Konni and Kassi’s friendly place); and 6. a year’s subscription to your hometown newspaper, the Gilroy Dispatch (I’d be happy to assist anyone with that). Suggestions welcome, just email me for next week’s column.
Only took a few weeks for Sal Tomasello to decide, upon further reflection, not to seek the open seat on the school board. Absolutely makes sense only four months after retirement, but with his energy and smarts Sal would be a great addition to a board that’s perhaps a little less intense.
Fuzzy Eads sent me this and, after all, a good laugh is important: “Witnessing the Republicans and Democrats bicker over the U.S. debt is like watching two drunks argue over a bar bill on the Titanic.”
It’s funny how thinking evolves. A decade ago, the animal shelters virtually shut down during the Christmas season for fear people would adopt animals during the holidays without regard for long term commitment. Now, they run specials – like the holiday $10 adoption fee going on right now. I remember clearly choosing my childhood dog at the shelter. Down the row I went, mom let me choose. So many “choose-me-please” barks. I settled on Maverick, a medium sized mutt with smoky black curly hair that covered his eyes and a clear ID on his chest, a perfectly placed tuft of white hair. “Mav” – despite his proclivity for chasing car tires – stood by me through thick and thin from third grade until the day I got the teary call from mom while in college saying she had to put him down. “Mav” the shelter mutt, happy, loyal and true. Thinking about a dog? Save a life and try the shelter first.
Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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