Monday, June 16, 2014

Magazine Subscription Scams

Dear Madame L,

I keep getting notices in the mail that look like bills. They have my exact name and address and a bunch of numbers like on the mailing labels for various magazines I subscribe to. But they're not from the actual magazines, but from some other company.

I've been throwing them away, because after all I keep track of what magazines I subscribe to and when I have renewed them or not. But why isn't some government agency doing something about this?


I May Be Dumb, But I'm Not Stupid

Dear Scam Spotter,

Madame L is glad you have not paid these "bills." This is indeed a scam, mostly aimed at seniors, and it seems to be working on some people.

If you pay these, and your subscription is not renewed, and you contact the magazine, they will most likely inform you that they have no relationship with the company that sends out the fake bills, and you will be out the money.

There are many other scams out there, some of which are listed on this page. Please continue to be vigilant! And thanks for sharing your experience, for the benefit of Madame L's other Dear and Faithful Readers.


Madame L

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Weird Word of the Week: Reticule

Madame L chanced upon this word in "Aunt Dimity and the Duke," by Nancy Atherton.*

In this book, a reticule is a small handbag, with netting and a drawstring, decorated with embroidery or beading (which is Google's definition of the word). Ruth and Louise Pym, 90-something-year-old twins whom the heroine of the story meets early on, carry reticules.

Google also provided Madame L with a plethora of images of reticules, such as this one.

Madame L loves the very idea of such a reticule and hopes you, her Dear Readers, will do a Google image search to see some of the many lovely variations of reticules.

Madame L had heard the word in another context, though, so she looked it up to be sure, and, sure enough, a reticule is also the "network of tiny lines that make up a sighting device's eyepiece" (which is the definition of the word). These could be in a gun scope or sight, a telescope, or a microscope.

Madame L was fascinated to learn that the word reticule, which is also sometimes spelled "reticle," comes from the Latin "reticulatus," because of the net-like pattern, which comes from the Latin "reticulum," or "little net."

Madame L would love to have read a spell like "Reticulatus!" in the Harry Potter books resulting in a spider-web-like net being thrown over a bad guy. Even better, she would love to read a book in which little old ladies like Ruth and Louise Pym are carrying their dainty little reticules while looking through a telescope's reticule.

*Madame L will write a review of this book, anon ("soon, shortly"). Madame L is inspired to use words like "anon" when she reads words like "reticule" in books like "Aunt Dimity and the Duke."

Why Soda Is Even Worse For You Than You Thought

Dear Readers,

Someone has just sent Madame L a message with a link to a fascinating article explaining that many sugar-sweetened soda drinks are even worse for the body than many of us have thought.

This is because have more fructose in them than they claim or admit to having, an amount of fructose that is correlated with diabetes and liver damage. This graphic makes it clear.

Do read the original article, which explains in more detail about fructose versus sucrose, diabetes, and the liver. And do note that the information, and the graphic, come from a real journal, "Obesity," not some fashion or feel-good or fake-fitness magazine.