A reader who knows that sometimes I channel Roseanne Roseannadanna sent me this message:

“Dear Martini Martinilini, I know you get a lot of e-mail. It looks as if you are taken in by some of the e-mail you have been getting. That can happen to anyone. But especially you.

“So I thought I would try to help a little. If you are getting e-mails that have Subjects like ‘Pursue your goals,’ and they are from senders like ‘Online bachelors,’ those are not what you think. I would not want you to be disappointed. Those are not really from bachelors (guy who are not married). They are trying to sell you fake college degrees.

“I know you would have figured this out sooner or later, but maybe this will save you some trouble.”

Well, that is right thoughtful of this faithful reader. However, I already knew that some of those e-mail senders are likely to be married. They might even be practicing bigamy or trigamy.

As for those college degrees, I wasn’t going to send for any of those. Or if I did, why would I settle for a bachelor’s degree when here is an offer with the subject “Become a doctor of anything” from a sender called “online doctorate”? Why not start at the top?

There are many such offers out there. It seems that most of the doctoral programs offer PhD programs, which might indicate that you don’t have to bother with punctuation while doing your coursework. Or maybe it has to do with the PhD Phactor.

These schools are accredited. They all say so, and would they lie? They are accredited by all sorts of groups, which are roughly as genuine as the distance learning schools they accredit.

I should ask that faithful reader about the e from “online bachelors” that stresses flexibility. Are we sure that is about an academic degree program?

Isn’t it odd that there are few offers concerning masters degrees? I did see something on Craig’s List mentioning Dominators, but no Masters.


Recently I received a top-secret dispatch that informed me that an esteemed colleague is about to become a nonagenarian. I will not reveal the name of this highly accomplished person, soon to be considered venerable, having attained such an age. He is almost but not quite related to me. And did I mention he is conservative, and converses about conservation? And that he is of the Swedish persuasion?


“Did you see that about Mickey Rooney?” someone asked on the phone. I hadn’t, so I started Googling. A little later I did catch a few mentions in the news.

There he was, addressing a Congressional committee on the topic of elder abuse. It seems that some step-children had been abusing him, controlling his assets, even denying him food and his medications.

What have we seen of Mickey lately? I could remember a few commercials. There were several for life insurance, the kind that would pay final expenses and provide money for your children, meaning grown offspring who should not be burdened with funeral and burial expenses.

There were some for Ranier beer, and there was one made for Super Bowl use but never aired because it showed Rooney in full back-al nudity.

In at least one commercial I remembered, Mickey’s seventh and current wife was the main protagonist, and Mickey was more like a prop.

In Mickey’s recent request for a restraining order against two step-children, he said he had been forced to perform, against his will. My guess is that he was being pushed pretty hard to do those commercials. He seemed embarrassed in them.

The whole sad situation put me in mind of a scene from some old movie, in which he and Judy Garland are supposed to be tooling along through the countryside, with Judy driving a “roadster,” and they sang “Can You Use Me?” Now, the question is, can others “use” Mickey, in a negative sense.

Mickeyhas admitted having had problems with substance abuse. Perhaps he didn’t manage to hang onto much of the money he made in films.

Here is someone whose name is known by millions, and who could be called a beloved actor, an icon. Imagine him being a victim of elder abuse!

Then imagine dozens of elderly persons in McKean County being victims of some form of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. Then reflect that this is a tragic reality, not an imaginative scenario.

You may know of some. In some cases it is a matter of inattention by family, of friends being unaware of the situation.

In some cases it is a matter of deliberate exploitation by relatives or other members of the household.

Sometimes it is a matter of the wrong person having been placed in charge of a person through an abusive guardianship.

Abusive guardianships are all too common in this country, as are abuses of powers of attorney (attorney-in-fact).

If you know of an elderly person who may be a Mickey Rooney without the fame, an older person being exploited or abused or neglected or at risk, tell the Office of Aging. I’d be interested in knowing about it, too, as would an area group just being formed, aimed at combating abusive guardianships.