Beware: The Shocking Truth about Shingles Repair Scams!

Beware: The Shocking Truth about Shingles Repair Scams! There is a sucker born every minute!

I usually write about medicine and economics. In fact, I have written several non-fiction books dealing with medical topics (see the links below), so now, for fun, I am trying my hand at creative writing. Therefore, I must warn you that this blog post is a work of fiction!

My disclaimer, which I worked on with my new best friend, ChatGPT, goes like this: “The characters, events, and situations depicted in this blog post are purely fictional and any resemblance to real people, places, or events is purely coincidental. This blog post is intended for entertainment purposes only and should not be taken as a representation of fact or reality.”

The Classic Shingles Repair Scam

The classic “shingles repair scam” goes like this: There is a tipsy (vulnerable) old man in California, there is a hurricane, and a few shingles are blown off his roof. A $3,000 repair is legitimately needed.

An out-of-town roofer comes in. The elderly man, we’ll call him Tipsy, is told, “No matching replacement shingles exist.”

After Tipsy accepts this lie, he is told, “But wait there’s more. It’s much worse than we thought, all your shingles are bad!” Tipsy takes the roofer's word for it, he's not going to go up on the roof, he can't even get up on a step stool anymore because of vertigo. 

Before Tipsy has time to think, there’s more! “We must replace your entire roof for $100,000 otherwise your house is going to flood and be destroyed when the rainy season comes.”

Tipsy is taken aback. He does not have $100,000 in his checking account. He doesn't even have $3,000 in his checking account. 

“It’s simple, you just take out a home equity loan, because you have a roofing emergency,” the con man says. “Don’t you realize that if these shingles explode and your roof falls down, your kitchen will be flooded. The rain will come down on your appliances, and you will have to replace everything! It will cost you tens of thousands of dollars! Maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars!”

The roofer's sense of urgency was hitting Tipsy where he hurt. He loved to cook. The con man kept the pressure on Tipsy with more half-truths to create an even greater false sense of urgency. At one point, the con man even had Tipsy believing that the shingles on his roof had been put up by a scammer thirty years ago, a scammer who used “dog-house" shingles instead of real shingles meant for a residential roof.

“The dog-house shingles are cheap asphalt shingles,” the con man told Tipsy, and he even showed Tipsy a cheap looking asphalt shingle. “These are just like yours.” To demonstrate, the con man crumbled the cheap shingles in his hands.

It was the classic “bait and switch” technique used by scammers everywhere and Tipsy fell for it “hook line and sinker” as they say.

The out-of-town roofer also told Tipsy that he “felt sorry for him” and would give him a “great deal.” “But Tipsy,” he said, “You can’t tell anyone about this deal, you have to keep it a secret from your friends, family, neighbors, and everyone else. Why, I’d go broke if people knew I was giving out deals like this.”

Tipsy never learned the basic information, such as the risk of a roof leak, or the make, model, and cost of the new shingles versus the old shingles. He never even uncovered that matching shingles were available and were being used seemingly everywhere. 

Tipsy borrowed $100,000 from his bank to pay the roofer, and he dutifully kept the entire project a secret, because he had promised to do so for the nice roofer. Besides, there was pressure in the neighborhood to keep things like this a secret. Apparently, the con artist had planted a few seeds of discontent to keep the neighbors apart.

Tipsy went broke and had to move out. But even when it was explained to Tipsy in excruciating detail how he got scammed, Tipsy would not believe it!

Why can’t people who get scammed admit it? Well, it is embarrassing. There were allegedly people who defended Charles Ponzi almost to the bitter end.

Con men are smart, although a con woman, Big Bertha Heyman, may have been the smartest. Big Bertha allegedly scammed a rabbi and the Beth Israel Congregation!

The movie, Funny Girl, is allegedly about a con man named Nicky Arnstein, who was also a suave gambler. He allegedly did swindles with stocks and bonds, and he died in Fort Leavenworth prison.

The Ladies Deposit Company was allegedly a scam, and allegedly some victims kept up their support for Sarah Howe, long after it became obvious that she was scamming people.

One con man, Oscar Hartzell, scammed people with the last name, Drake, by telling them he wanted to give them their inheritance from Sir Frances Drake. Even after Oscar Hartzell went into Leavenworth prison, people named Drake kept sending him money!  

Tipsy is special, because he still has no idea that he was a victim of the “shingles repair scam.” As you might guess, he has already been scammed again, and the latest scam was literally done “right under his nose.”

Roofing scams are so successful in California, and allegedly in other warm weather places, that sometimes homeowners almost literally scam themselves! Sadly, consumer fraud experts say that variations of the “shingles repair scam” are still going on today.

Why can't people admit that they have been scammed out of their money?

 I had a conversation with ChatGPT and asked her/him why people can’t admit they got scammed, even when it is so painfully obvious to everyone that they got scammed.

My friend ChatGPT had this to say:

 “There can be several reasons why people might find it difficult to admit they have been scammed:

 “Shame or embarrassment: They may feel ashamed or embarrassed that they fell for a scam and didn't see it coming.

 “Denial: They may be in denial about the situation and believe that the scammer will come through on their promises.

 “Fear of consequences: They may fear the consequences of admitting that they have been scammed, such as legal repercussions, damage to their reputation, or loss of face.

 “Trust: They may have trusted the scammer and feel a strong emotional attachment to them, making it difficult to admit that they have been taken advantage of.

 “Regardless of the reason, it's important for people to speak out about scams so that others can be aware and avoid falling for similar scams in the future. Additionally, reporting scams can help law enforcement bring the scammers to justice.”

 Wow, that last line was a doozy! “It’s important for people to speak out about scams!”

 I must give some credit to ChatGPT!

ChatGPT is “...an AI model developed by OpenAI.” While writing this blog post, I had several conversations with “OpenAI's GPT-3 language model.” Thus, OpenAI was the source for some of this content. ChatGPT asked that I give some links:

PROMINANT LINK: https://openai.com/

THE CHAT ITSELF: https://chat.openai.com/chat

Books by BradMD – URLs:

(See disclaimer below) 

Surviving Prostate Cancer Without Surgery - Paperback

https://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Prostate-Cancer-Without-Surgery/dp/0971745412/

 

The Pledge of Allegiance to Freedom - Paperback

https://www.amazon.com/Pledge-Allegiance-Freedom-BradMD/dp/1953403042

 

The Prostatitis Syndromes 2nd Edition: Waking at Night to Urinate, Prostatitis, Chronic Prostatitis, BPH, Acute Urinary Retention, Anatomy, Pelvic Pain, Sex, and Men's Health Explained - Hardcover

https://www.amazon.com/Prostatitis-Syndromes-2nd-Retention-Explained/dp/1953403050


Uncles and Etymology - Kindle Edition

https://www.amazon.com/Uncles-Etymology-BradMD-ebook/dp/B08GH19J37

 

The Alligator Etymologist: Big Words # 1 - Paperback

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1953403069

 

Author Page URL:

https://www.amazon.com/author/bradmd

 

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE?

I might be an affiliate. I need to dig into this, but just in case, there’s this disclaimer: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate (if I am one) I earn from qualifying purchases. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. If you follow the links above, they will lead you to books of mine and I make money from those books.

 

 

 

If you can be Brave and True like Donald Trump

 If you can be brave and true like Donald Trump:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

(Regards to Rudyard Kipling)

President Donald J. Trump has been the greatest example of free speech in history. No one has spoken out and used the free marketplace of ideas better. He has called attention to our economic problems, bad trade deals, and our broken border, where organized crime and drugs are pouring in at alarming rates, and the criminals are bringing human trafficking with them. 

His immature critics seem to be unaware of the old adage that "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. In fact, the response of those with opposing views has been personal attacks, censorship, and totalitarianism. President Trump has endured political prosecutions, and witch-hunts, just for speaking freely by those who do not understand the principles of freedom. 




President Donald J. Trump has been awarded "Free Speech Award" by BradMD

President Donald J. Trump has been awarded the ultimate Free Speech Award for the year, 2022, by BradMD.

President Trump is Free Speech. Under the phrase free speech in the dictionary, future editions should say President Donald J. Trump. 

President Trump exemplifies why the Founding Fathers (such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison) of the United States of America specifically protected free speech in the First Amendment to the Constitution. Without free speech there is totalitarianism. Without free speech there is no freedom. 

President Trump exposed the "thought police" and the "deep state." When President Trump would tweet for example, we would constantly be told what President Trump thought as if We the People were unable to read and interpret what he wrote for ourselves. True statements would often be said to be false statements, racist statements, or against the public interest. 

True statements would often be undermined by the "hive mob." True statements would often be falsely suggested to mean something that was not actually said. President Trump's use of free speech to promote freedom inspired many to remember America's greatest philosopher, Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged), and America's greatest freedom economist, Milton Friedman. Trump is among America’s greatest philosophers and economists as well, because he got results despites mountains of hostility. President Trump has been America’s greatest president, surpassing Ronald Reagan, because Trump has an uncanny ability to get results.

President Trump has a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the Wharton School (a private business school) at the University of Pennsylvania. President Trump laid out a plan that will cure inflation, which he will institute as president in 2024. President Trump has been the greatest president in history on economics, using "the multiplier" to great advantage. President Ronald Reagan was the only other president who had a degree in economics.

Looking back, we are reminded that the first American President, George Washington, played a pivotal role in the Bill of Rights containing the First Amendment to the Constitution.

But today, much of the mob cannot handle free speech. They were not taught the childhood adage: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Without logic and maturity, and the ability to debate without violence, the issues cannot be discussed, and the free marketplace of ideas cannot lead us to the best solution. Congratulations President Donald J. Trump! You are an American hero.

P.S. I do not usually support politicians, usually I only support policies. However, President Trump delivered results. Depsite all the sound of fury of everyone else telling us what he really thought (the thought police) and what he really meant, PRESIDENT TRUMP GOT GREAT RESULTS. Trump delivered great economics and price transparency in healthcare. Then, Trump was unjustly attacked. Therefore, I support President Donald J. Trump for president in 2024, because I want good results again. I want great jobs and prosperity for everyone. 

Thanks for reading BradMD’s Blog!



Women's Rights - Play Hardball Literally!

If you're for women's rights, you need to do important things. Women need to quit playing softball immediately and start playing hardball.

Women are much more likely to make it to Major League Baseball (MLB) than they are the National Football League (NFL), where the biggest sports money of all is located, so why not go after that baseball money in the meantime?

Women softball pitchers are already throwing the softball 70 mph underhanded! It's much easier to throw a hardball fast than a softball, so major league baseball (MLB) may not be so far in the future for women.

Little boys can play hardball, but grown women can't play hardball?

Those of us who remember Iowa State girls' basketball remember that the girls had to play half court, because they were too delicate for full court. This went on way too long. ARE WOMEN STILL TOO DELICATE? NO. NEVER WERE.

Girls playing softball has gone on far too long. It's simple, all the college softball players need to start talking about women's rights. One day all the college softball players across the nation need to show up for practice with hardballs, and say look, from now on we're playing hardball. That would be one way to start anyway. Maybe it's not the smoothest way, but you get the idea. If the players are serious about women's rights, and equal pay for equal production, they're probably going to have to do it themselves one way or the other. Please think of a better way if you can.

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees allegedly signed for $360 million. So, he might be making $40 million a year. Why don't female softball players switch to hardball and go after the pot of gold that is Major League Baseball (MLB)?

I've had this idea for many years, but I've been leery of posting it because of some unknown, probably ridiculous, fear of some kind of blowback. But it's time. It's time for women's rights to take another leap, this time at the big leagues.

Copyright (c) 2020, BradMD (Brad Hennenfent, M.D.) All rights reserved. 

Treatment Scores - Journal Club - Masks for COVID-19

Treatment Scores are about coming up with a statistic that patients can understand, since the math of medical statistics can be ridiculous. Here is my first attempt to explain a (November 29, 2022) pragmatic #COVID mask study. It's about N95 masks versus medical masks. There were about 500 patients in each group.

The primary outcome was confirmed COVID-19 on reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

The primary outcome in the intention-to-treat analysis, RT-PCR–confirmed COVID-19, occurred in 52 of 497 (10.46%) in the medial mask group versus 47 of 507 (9.27%) in the N95 respirator group (HR, 1.14 [95% CI, 0.77 to 1.69]). 

So, N95 masks were 1.19% better than medical masks in this study for the outcome measured.

https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M22-1966

The primary outcome is a test. It is not whether the patient lives or dies. So, one always has to ask, does the primary outcome make a difference to the patient in the real world?

Movie review: Blacklight starring Liam Neeson

Blacklight, starring Liam Neeson begins with ignorant propaganda against the political right. All white people are racist right? 

The political right also all live in trailers and have Confederate flags. "Trailer trash" anyone? This political stereotype is so wrong. The actual political right believes in "maximum individual freedom" as opposed to government tyranny. That's it. 

My rating for the movie: 6/10. 

Dusty (Taylor John Smith) tries to bring in evidence about corruption in the FBI.

Liam Neeson, as Travis Block, doesn't figure out he's on the wrong side until Dusty is murdered.

Mira Jones (Emmy Raver-Lampman) plays a hapless but ambitious reporter. 

Actor Aiden Quinn, as character Gabriel Robinson, plays the bad guy in the FBI. The FBI is corrupt, which is certainly believable after all we have learned about the FBI over the years.

The action in the movie is pretty good; however, it's all filmed too dark, which ruins a lot of the film. 

Liam Neeson, as always, is an excellent lead actor for a dramatic action film.

The director of the movie is Mark Williams.

The cinematography is by Shelly Johnson. So, I have to assume he is probably responsible for the overly dark film where you cannot see the actor's faces. Bad lighting is a waste of talent. When will this horrible lighting trend be over with?

Please correct me if I am wrong about anything.

#homeschool your kids. Teach Gen Z, and their kids, the principles of freedom. The political right believes in maximum individual freedom no matter how the right is portrayed in movies. The political left believes in centralized government power, and centralized power results in tyranny.

Put the Patient First

"The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease." — Sir William Osler

Sir William Osler is considered the father of bedside medicine. 

Today, Dr Osler's advice is more pertinent than ever. I constantly hear about the medical system treating reimbursement instead of treating the patient. Our system is not a great system when it puts reimbursement from the government, or reimbursement from the insurance company, first. Why don't we create a system that puts the patient first? We have the technology to do it today.

To fix the system, patients need power and control over their money, so the first question when you go get healthcare would be, "How can we help you?" Not, "Are you Medicare or Insurance?"

We also need to stop having Guidelines. What we call guidelines today are usually just medical opinions from a government group. For example, we should call them CDC Opinions or NIH Opinions to recognize that any individual physician around the world might actually be the greater expert. Calling them opinions instead of guidelines would also recognize the subjective nature of the field of medicine. Medicine is not yet a hard science.

Guidelines are not evidence-based medicine.

Evidenced-based medicine means taking into account the values and preferences of the patient. Thus, evidence-based medicine is personalized medicine, not guidelines.

COVID-19 Lessons

An excellent article by John PA Ioannides, MD, and Professor Stephen H. Powis, points out that mathematical models did not do well during COVID-19.

The authors even suggest that models should not be called studies, but perhaps, "semi-formal speculations" instead.

I heartily agree with this. Models are not studies they are opinions. And, in addition COVID-19 guidelines should not be called guidelines, but should be called COVID-19 opinions. There should be no censorship, and physicians, and physician groups, all over the world should be free to post their opinions, and the evidence used to arrive at those opinions.

Observational studies also did not do well during COVID-19:

"In fact, the large background heterogeneity makes concrete assessment of the effectiveness of any and all non-pharmacological measures based on observational data extremely difficult, if not impossible."

For those interested in medical etymology the phrase "forme fruste" is used, which means the frustrated or weakened manifestation of a disease.

I highly recommend reading this article about COVID-19 lessons and going to some of the references described within the article.

Healthcare Freedom means no censorship, and having transparency, in medicine.

REFERENCE:
COVID-19 models and expectations - Learning from the pandemic - PubMed


https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36241518/ 

Ioannidis JPA, Powis SH. COVID-19 models and expectations - Learning from the pandemic. Adv Biol Regul. 2022 Oct 8:100922. doi: 10.1016/j.jbior.2022.100922. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36241518; PMCID: PMC9546779.


Age-stratified infection fatality rate of COVID-19 in the non-elderly informed from pre-vaccination national seroprevalence studies | medRxiv

This study by Dr John Ioannides, et al. is highly educational, because the infection fatality rate (IFR) is a key statistic for an emerging virus.

The study looked at the infection fatality rate (IFR) for covid-19 around the world.

The most fascinating paragraph was this one:

"The median IFR was 0.0003% at 0-19 years, 0.003% at 20-29 years, 0.011% at 30-39 years, 0.035% at 40-49 years, 0.129% at 50-59 years, and 0.501% at 60-69 years."

The authors do an excellent job describing how they collected their data. The authors also do an excellent job listing the potential flaws of their study.

In my opinion, John P.A. Ioannidis, MD, who has multiple degrees, is one of the best physician mathematicians in the world.

SOURCE:
Angelo Maria Pezzullo, Cathrine Axfors, Despina G. Contopoulos-Ioannidis, Alexandre Apostolatos, John P.A. Ioannidis
medRxiv 2022.10.11.22280963; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.10.11.22280963
This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed [what does this mean?]. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.10.11.22280963v1 

Innate Immunity Stimulation during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenge by Parvulan

This medical article is extremely interesting: "Innate Immunity Stimulation during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenge by Parvulan"

A killed strain of bacteria was administered to patients to increase their immunity:

"Corynebacterium parvum administration to 4000 fragile immune-depressed and multimorbid patients treated with a killed C. parvum strain to enhance innate immunity, integrating the adaptative immune response for long-standing antinfectious resistance."

It was 4,000 patients, and it was a retrospective survey, but some of the outcomes were very interesting.

The authors suggest that this treatment improved the physical and mental health of the patients, which in turn probably made them better off during the covid-19 pandemic.

"Our results confirm that C. parvum is quite safe and effective in supporting immune-compromised patients when epidemic or pandemic events increase ... risk...."

This was particularly surprising:

"A quick (48-72 hours) symptoms improvement and/or complete regression of the herpetic eruptions was observed in 1000 affected patients with disappearance or relieve of herpetic neuralgia (reduced in 80% of cases); also full recovery or frequency reduction (30%) of recurrent cystitis and prostatitis in 120 affected patients."

The authors are part of the Second Opinion Medical Consultation Network.

As noted in the article, Corynebacterium parvum has been  renamed Cutibacterium acnes.

LINK
The link to the full text article is here:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9076318/ 

REFERENCE
Palmieri B, Manenti A, Galotti F, VadalĂ  M. Innate Immunity Stimulation during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenge by Parvulan. J Immunol Res. 2022 Apr 29;2022:4593598. doi: 10.1155/2022/4593598. PMID: 35528612; PMCID: PMC9076318.