Stan’s tidbits keep you thinking

From the scraps of paper and backs of business cards found in the pockets of my favorite blue blazer before I send it to the dry cleaners:

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta vowed that the United States would take military action to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon if diplomacy fails.

“Military action is the last alternative when all else fails,” he told the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “But make no mistake, when all else fails, we will act.”

In other words Mr. Panetta is saying, “Let’s wait. Let’s wait, let’s wait.”

OK, Mr. Panetta. Let’s wait. But how long do we wait? What will you say if you wait one day too long and wake up to find Jerusalem obliterated? “Oops?”

That’s not good enough.

• • •

Now that several airlines are charging for luggage, more and more of us are checking less and bringing more in our carry-ons. I can’t help but notice the flight attendants looking the other way as passengers come aboard with duffel bags the size of garbage cans. Last month I saw a man wearing two jackets board with a stuffed flight bag and bloated pockets. I asked him how he got past security with metal objects such as a can of shaving cream and a razor.

“I buy what I need when I get there, then surrender it if they catch it on the return.”

• • •

Here’s another scam: this morning I received a very official-looking e-mail from the Internal Revenue Service. Most of us panic when the IRS contacts us. What do they want? I’m in the 50 percent that pay taxes and I’m always on time. Uh-oh! What’s this all about? I breathed a sigh of relief after reading the first line that directed me, as a non-resident, that I am exempted from blah, blah, blah. All I have to do is forward a lot of secure information to the writer, a woman who supposedly is an IRS agent in charge of blah, blah, blah.

I am a resident of the U.S., have always been, and have no intentions of moving out. Furthermore, I really doubt if the IRS wanted information from me, it would, as it has done in the past, not contact me via e-mail. Again I wonder: do people really fall for this?

I guess if you do not reside in the U.S., you just might.

• • •

The Georgetown Law school student who insisted that you and I pay for her extracurricular activities is not a “slut” or “prostitute,” but she does seem to exaggerate a bit. Her claim about the cost of contraception being more than $3,000 a year is a bit high. Sure, I shut down my pharmacy years ago, and I understand that prices of pharmaceuticals, like everything else, have increased significantly since then. But by how much?

I asked my search engine and was sent the following: “For patients not covered by health insurance, birth control pills typically cost $20 to $50 a month.”

Even at the high-end of 50 bucks a month, the total comes to $600 a year — one-fifth of the amount she claims. This proves what I have been saying for years: lawyers are taught to lie while in law school

• • •

In February, 2010 the Costa Europa slammed into a pier in Egypt in high winds. Three crew members were killed and four passengers were injured. The following October the Costa Classica smashed into a cargo vessel in China’s Yangtze River, injuring three people. At least 25 people were killed this past January when the Costa Concordia ran aground off the Tuscan Island of Giglio.

Two weeks ago, the fire that broke out in the engine room of the Costa Allegra caused the ship to lose power and air conditioning during a 90 degree plus day. I am StanGershbein@Bellsouth.net telling my good friends who are considering the terrific sales that Costa is now offering, No thank you. I’m sticking with Royal Caribbean.

Stanley P. Gershbein's column appears every Monday on BrooklynDaily.com.

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