Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, November 10, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 10, 2012 



Dear Savvy Senior: 

What can you tell me about body donations? With little money to spare, I’m looking for a cheap way to 
die and have heard that donating my body to science is free, not to mention it benefits medical research. 
Old and Poor

Dear Old:

If you’re looking to eliminate your final farewell 
expense and help advance medical research, donating 
your body to science is a great option to 
consider. Here’s what you should know.

Body Donations

Each year, an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Americans 
donate their whole body, after death, to medical facilities throughout the country to be used in 
medical research projects, anatomy lessons and surgical practice. 

After using your body, these facilities will then provide free cremation – which typically costs $600 to 
$3,000 – and will either bury or scatter your ashes in a local cemetery or return them to your family, 
usually within a year or two. 

Here are a few other tidbits you need to know to help you decide on whether whole-body donation 
is right for you. 

• Organ donors excluded: Most programs require that you donate your whole body in its entirety. 
So if you want to be an organ donor, you won’t qualify to be a whole body donor too. You’ll have 
to choose. 

• Not all bodies are accepted: If, for example, your body has been badly damaged in a care accident 
or if you’re morbidly obese, you many not qualify. 

• Body transporting is covered: Most programs will pay to transport your body to their facility 
unless your body must be moved from out of state.

• No special requests: Most programs won’t allow you to donate your body for a specific purpose 
– you give them the body and they decide how to use it. 

• Funeral services are not covered: Most programs will allow your family to conduct any final 
services they wish before taking custody of your body, but they won’t pay for it.

• Your family won’t be paid: Federal law prohibits buying bodies.

What To Do

If you do decide you want to donate your body, it’s best to make arrangements in advance with a body 
donation program in your area. Most programs are offered by university-affiliated medical schools. 
To find one near you, the University of Florida maintains a list of U.S. programs and their contact 
information at 

In addition to the medical schools, there are also a number of private organizations like Anatomy 
Gifts Registry (, BioGift ( and Science Care ( that accept 
whole body donations too. 

If you don’t have internet access, you can get help over the phone by calling the National Family Services 
Desk which operates a free body donation referral service during business hours at 800-727-0700.

Once you locate a program in your area, call and ask them to mail you an information/registration 
packet that will explain exactly how their program works. 

To sign up, you’ll simply need to fill out a couple of forms. But, you can always change your mind by 
revoking your authorization in writing.

After you have made arrangements, you then need to tell your family members so they will know 
what to do and who to contact after your death. It’s also a good idea to tell your doctor and put your 
wishes in writing in your advance directives. These are legal documents that include a medical power 
of attorney and living will that spell out your wishes regarding your end-of-life medical treatment 
when you can no longer make decisions for yourself. 

If you don’t have an advance directive, go to or call 800-658-8898 where you can get 
free state-specific forms with instructions to help you make one. 

 By Pat Birdsall

FYI: Last week I listed several ways for you to improve the safety of your home and I 
promised additional information from our local police department for this week’s column. 
What’s that expression? “The best laid plans…” Instead, I’m going to grouse about something 
that happens to all of us on a regular and ever-annoying basis. ROBOCALLS! This morning, 
as a matter of fact, I got a call from someone I hear from so frequently I feel like I should 
invite her over for Thanksgiving dinner. I’m sure you all know who I’m talking about…your 
friend and mine, “Rachel” from Cardholder Services. I caught a report on this very topic by 
Jim Avila on ABC News a couple of weeks ago. He really got my attention when he said that 
Robocalls are illegal whether you’re on the DO NOT CALL REGISTRY or whether you are 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receives 200,000 complaints a month about robocalls. 
The FTC said the “Rachel” telemarketing companies, all based in Arizona and Florida, tell 
consumers that they could drastically reduce their credit card interest rates if they pay the 
initial fees. Asking for such up-front fees for debt-reduction services is illegal, FTC said. For 
people that continue to get robocalls from Cardholder Services or any other potential scam, 
the fastest and easiest way to let the FTC know is to go to and click “File a 
Complaint.” You can also call (888) 382-1222 to file a complaint with the FTC. Maybe if 
enough of us follow through, we can discourage scam artists from zeroing in on this area…
We have to start somewhere.


For Your Funny Bone 

A doctor was addressing a large audience in Tampa. “The material we put into our stomachs is enough 
to have killed most of us sitting here, years ago. Red meat is awful. Soft drinks corrode your stomach 
lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. High fat diets can be disastrous and none of us realizes the 
long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water. But, there is one thing that is the most 
dangerous food of all and we all have, or will eat it. Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes 
the most grief and suffering for years after eating eat? After several seconds of quiet, a 75 year old man 
in the front row raised his hand and softly said, “Wedding Cake.”

 ~ ~ ~

For 15 minutes a small crowd watched my surf-fishing husband struggle to haul in something big. 
The drama ended when his catch turned out to be a waterlogged 4x4. As Ed worked the hook out of 
the chunk of lumber, a man in the crowd called out, “What did you use for bait, your Home Depot 





 Alberta Curran, Carmela Frontino, Lena Zate, Joe Pergola, Janice Kacer, Flo Mankin, 
Valerie Howard, “Mike” Ruggles, Lois Stueck, Joan Ruggles, Jean Wood, Shirley Yergeau, Kathi 
Jefferson, Pat Krok, Irene Nakagawa, Anna Ross, Mary Steinberg, Christine Durfort, Valerie Howard 
and Sue Quinn. To add your name to this list, please call the paper at 626.355.2737 YEAR of birth 
not required.


Quote of the Week: 

 In war, there are no unwounded soldiers. Jose Narosky~


ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart Park 
House (Senior Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre

YMCA San Gabriel Valley Intervale Senior Café: Monday-Friday at 12:00 Noon

(Participants are urged to arrive no later than 11:45 A.M.) 

 All seniors 60 and up can take part in the lunch program. There is a suggested donation of $2.00 

for those 60 and over and $3.75 for non-senior guests. Daily reservations are necessary as space is 
limited. Please call 24 hours in advance...626.355.0256


Free Blood Pressure Testing: On the 2nd Tuesday of the month from 11:00 am-12:00 pm: A nurse from 
Methodist Hospital, Arcadia volunteers to do the readings. No appointment necessary.


Bingo: Every Tuesday afternoon from 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm Cards are only .25c each! 

Free Chair Yoga: Every Wednesday morning from 11:00 am-11:45 am. Volunteer Teryl Willis offers 
this class that focuses on senior yoga techniques. It is geared toward gentle movements, breathing 
techniques and balance improvement. No reservations are necessary.

Free Legal Consultation: Pasadena attorney Geoffrey Chin volunteers on the 2nd Wednesday of the 
month. He focuses on estate planning, trusts, wills, probate, conservatorships and business law. 
*Appointments are a must. Please call 626.355.7394 to make yours. 

* Conflicting court schedules can occasionally cause cancellations.

Birthday Celebrations: The 2nd Thursday of the month the Senior Center celebrates the birthdays of 
our patrons at 12:30 pm. Please join us for free cake and ice cream and “celebration.” (The cakes are 
provided due to a generous donation from the Sierra Madre Civic Club.)

Game Day: Game Day: Every Thursday at 1:00pm. Poker is usually the game of choice, or should 
I say chance? Board games and other card games are also available. Outside, on the patio, a beautiful, 
one-of-a-kind chess table is anxious for players.

Free Strength Training Class: Free Strength Training Class: Every Friday from 1:00 pm -1:45 pm

Conducted by long-time volunteer Lisa Brandley. The class utilizes light weights for low-impact 
resistance training. Weights are provided by the Sierra Madre Senior Center. It’s a great way to stay in 
shape and to socialize with your peers. (Gossip included) 

Senior Citizens Club: Every Saturday-at the Hart Park House (Senior Center) Brown bag lunch 
at 11:30am; Club meeting at Noon; Bingo at 12:30- 3:30 pm. For more information call Pat at 



Wednesday, November 7, 2012: 

 Departure at 9:15 am from the Hart Park House. Lunch & Activities from 10:00 am- 1:45 pm

 Return to the Park House at 2:15 pm (time approximate.) 

 Cost: $15.00 (does not include lunch.) 

The Columbia Memorial Space Center is a hands-on learning facility that is dedicated to bringing the 
wonder and excitement of space to the public. Exhibits include: NASA Live, flight simulator, rocket 
launcher, Challenger Learning Center and a memorial for the Columbia crew. The 20,000 square 
foot visitor center is equipped with amazing technology and visual teaching exhibits with friendly 
and knowledgeable staff. After the tour the group will eat together at a local restaurant. For more 
information on the Space Center please visit

For more information and to register for the excursion, call the Hart Park House at 626.355.7394.


 Things are rough all over, and these desperate times have given unscrupulous 
characters opportunities to make a quick buck. Or in the following case, a very long, 
convoluted buck. My retired coworker recently received a letter from “Hing Chang,” 
a bank employee in Beijing, who verbosely informed her that she had a $30,300,000 
inheritance entitled to her as the last remaining relative of “Kim O’Rourke.” The 
actual letter was postmarked from New York, where Hing said he was visiting on business. How 
he was able to conduct business during the chaos of hurricane Sandy 
remains unexplained.

 Almost anyone (other than those who got scammed by Ed McMahon 
and Dick Clark’s Publisher’s Clearing House) is able to tell when the 
promise of money is too good to be true. And most people would’ve 
probably tossed Hing’s letter in the trash along with the Khol’s ad. But 
my friend’s husband thought it would be fun to play along with the 
charade (not seriously, of course). When you’re retired, you have time 
for things like this.

 My friend’s husband, posing as my friend, replied to Hing from 
an account he created for the sole purpose of doing so. I think the 
email address was something like “888O’RourkeStandard@yahoo.
com.” He told Hing that he was thrilled about hearing of O’Rourke’s 
estate, and eagerly awaited claiming the inheritance. “We will have to 
keep all our dealing strictly confidential,” said my friend’s husband, 
“as my husband doesn’t know I’m contacting you.” He then supplied 
an alternate address, claiming the Arcadia address was from 25 
years ago. Since that time, “my friend” explained, they’ve relocated 
to San Francisco. He then gave Hing the San Francisco branch FBI 
headquarters’ address, phone number, and fax.

 After that, I figured they’d heard the last from Hing. But a 
couple days later, we were pleasantly surprised when he replied with an equally wordy email. (His 
English is surprisingly good, so we think he’s having his correspondence processed through a heavy 
duty translation program, or proof read by a team of seasoned ESL teachers.) Hing wrote that he had 
blanketed the whole U.S. with mailings to everyone surnamed O’Rourke, in hopes of contacting the 
late Kim’s relatives --a truly altruistic act, when you consider the cost of postage. A handful of people 
responded to his initial letter; so Hing consulted his Buddhist guru to discern which respondent was 
the real deal. 

 Hing then delved into a long monologue about the life and times of Kim O’Rourke. Apparently 
Kim was around five feet tall, balding, and overweight, which eventually lead to diabetes and a fatal 
heart attack in his 60’s. My friend’s husband thanked Hing, since “she” had always heard vague 
rumors about her legendary cousin in the East.

 In Hing’s latest correspondence, he chronicled his own life and described his family. A solid 
citizen, he’s worked at the bank for over 20 years, despite the meager pay. China enforces the death 
penalty for those who commit white collar crimes such as embezzlement, etc. Thus, Hing is sticking 
his neck out to help my friend access her rightful inheritance. Hing is not asking my friend for 
money as a guarantee of her total cooperation. He’s merely requiring her to forward her bank account 
information so all the necessary papers can be drawn by a Beijing lawyer who is charging $300,000 
because he (the lawyer) will have to bribe some high officials. The details of this transaction will 
be addressed in future correspondence. When all this is over, Hing writes that he plans to retire to 
Canada and take up his first love, fly fishing and water colors. I will keep you all informed as the saga 


SENIOR MOVIE PROGRAM: Free Movies are shown on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday 
of the month. The films, one contemporary and one vintage, are chosen by the seniors 
themselves. This month’s selections are:

November 13-The Gods Must be Crazy (1980) South African film is a comedic 
allegory about a traveling bushman, who encounters modern civilization and its 
strange aspects, including a clumsy scientist and a band of revolutionaries. 

November 27- The Odd Couple (1968) Written by Neil Simon, the hysterical tale of 
two men separated from their wives who try sharing an apartment; one is a neurotic 
neat freak and the other is a fun loving slob. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau star.

Movies are shown in the Sierra Madre Council Chambers (222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.) at 1:00 PM.