Today’s news:

Carmine’s got a crystal ball, and it’s called the past!

for The Brooklyn Paper

I’m madder than a turtle trying to get across the Belt Parkway on a Tuesday morning over the fact that this New Year is hardly original, and is bringing back the same old stories — like my inevitably break from plans to go on a diet.

Look, you all know that every New Years Eve I make a pledge to myself and my lovely wife Sharon that this is the year that I will lose 20 or 100 pounds.

And when I say it, I mean it. Really.

But something happens shortly after that ball drops at Times Square — someone pops open a bottle of bubbly and starts frying up sausage and peppers. And within 15 minutes into the New Year, I break my fast.

But you and I both know that, after pondering the problems of the world today, it becomes obvious that I shouldn’t even bother getting in shape, because it’s the tortoise’s life for me — and those darn things live to be like 450 years old!

You know something? If walking is so good for your health, then the postman would be immortal. And I’ll tell you right now that he is not. And he’s not the only example of how exercising and eating right isn’t the bees’ knees.

Look, a whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water instead of Sprite — and is full of blubber!

So you better believe that I’m sticking to my “re-tired,” lifestyle, which means I’m tired over and over again.

Because the only exercise I get is when I pull on Tornado’s lever to zip pass you whippersnappers on the sidewalk. Oh, and typing these columns for your weekly enjoyment also makes me break a sweat.

And in other news you heard before, the scammers are back, and they are preying on the elderly. How do I know? Because they made the mistake of giving yours truly a call!

The other day the phone rang and my wife beat me to it (which is miraculous, because I am literally waiting by the phone for it to ring so I can tell whoever’s on the other end just what I think). So she says hello, and the guy says he’s calling from the bank, and that our funds have been locked. He gave here a different number to call, and told her she should give the person over there here account information.

Well, I told Sharon that she should of, because the money we have is stored in places much safer than banks — like in mattresses and under floorboards (but that’s a column for a different day!)!

So Sharon did call the bank — to report these scammers!

A couple of days later my mother-in-law received a call from a someone who said he was a U.S. Customs House employee, claiming he had a package addressed to her that had $500,000 cash and a $500,000 check in it. Well, I guess he has some sort of x-ray vision or something, because how else would he know what was in the package. He told her that all she had to do was bring $500 in, and he would release the money to her. Well, not surprisingly, we did not fall for this one, either.

Finally, I heard on the 1010 WINS that there were two guys claiming to be from Con Edison going around Bensonhurst and robbing seniors after lying about a “problem” in their homes. So don’t let anybody in your home that you don’t know.

Lastly, the Bensonhurst West End Community Council which I am the president of, is fighting to get a traffic light on Harway Avenue and Bay 49th St. near PS 212 because the crossing guard there said it is dangerous. Well, the city surveyed it and said it didn’t meet the Federal guidelines that require a traffic light.

I would like to point out that those are just guidelines, and if the city cared about keeping kids safe, it would put a light there. You don’t need the federal government to make this very local decision. Jiminy crickets, will someone at the Department of Transportation open his eyes before a kid gets hurt?

Oh, and last but not least, let me remind you that it is income tax time again. Hey, did you ever notice: when you put the words “the” and “irs” together it spells “theirs?”

Look, it’s no secret that I am the communications specialist for the one and only Assemblyman William Colton, and when he gives you a chance to get back some of your do-re-mi, a specially communicate it.

That’s why I’m telling you today to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is available to married couples with children making below $49,078 a year or couples without kids earning up to $18,740. Single individuals with children can apply if their income is less than $43,998 a year or without children up to $13,660. New Yorkers got back an average of $2,163 in 2011 because of this tax credit.

Assemblyman Colton advises those interested in applying for this tax break to call 311 to make an appointment for free tax services offered by Volunteer Informed Tax Advisors. Hundreds of volunteers are ready to help you!

Screech at you next week!

Carmine Santa Maria has never been scammed, thanks to his keen sense of common sense. Read his column every Sunday on BrooklynPaper.com. He can be reached at diegovega@aol.com.

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