E-2 The Indiana, PA Gazette (UEISURE) Sunday, August 21,1994 Gem scheme leaves Americans holding stones N.Y. Times News Service PHILADELPHIA — He had bought old coins in the 1970s, when investments in something solid seemed the best hedge against rampant inflation. Dr. Kane Zelle, now a retired gynecologist from Tequeste, F!a., held on to the coins for two decades. But in January 1993 he received what appeared to be a very tempting offer in a letter from a Toronto gemstone trading company. There was just one hitch: the buyer would purchase the coins only if Zelle first bought two emeralds. A few days later, he mailed checks for 36 J50 and §5,400 to the gemstone company, Gheko Fox Yamoto. But a week before Zelle was supposed to sell his coins and emeralds, the company disappeared, and an appraiser told him that his new emeralds were worth only $900. "I'm old enough I should never have been suckered into this thing," said Zelle, who is 77 years old. "I'm really embarrassed by it." Zelle was not the only person to be duped. Hundreds of people across the United States were caught up in what the authorities described as the largest telemarketing scam in Canada. By early 1993, Canadian officials were already investigating Gheko Fox Yamoto, which operated out of an office building in Markham, Ontario, 10 miles north of Toronto. But it was not until a cluster of complaints from Pennsylvania in March of that year that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Metropolitan Toronto Police fraud squad joined the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in the inquiry. Last month, a federal grand jury in Harrisburg, indicted 25 people and eight corporations, all affiliated with Gheko Fox Yamoto, as well as nine other people and two other corporations on charges they bilked up to 1,000 people out of $35 million. Six defendants have pleaded guilty. Next week, at least three more Canadian gem sellers will be arraigned in Federal District Court in Harrisburg, Pa. What was unusual about the fraud was that Canadian salespeople preyed on American investors who already owned gemstones, or in some eases coins. Consumers thought they were selling then" gemstones; instead, they became buyers. • Officials say the mastermind of the scheme was Robert MacFarlane, whose operation seemed to fit the pattern of what Dr. Anthony R, Pratkanis, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz and co-author of "The Age of Propaganda: Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion," calls "the commitment trap." As part of the trap, the salesperson establishes himself as an authority figure then in stages lures the investor into becoming more involved. Around 1990, MacFarlane obtained lists of coin and gemstone investors from the late 1970s and early 1980s, the authorities said. He hired salespeople who called investors and insisted that the gemstone owners send in the certificates of authenticity before the exchange would agree to sell the investor's stones. Sometimes, the officials said, the salespeople would warn that an "overseas buyer" would make the deal only within the next 48 hours, so the American investors had to act quickly to purchase any additional gemstones needed to complete the portfolio, in Zelle's case emeralds. In a second round of calls, the salespeople would say that the deal had fallen through, but that they had found another buyer. Except this one did not want emeralds, he wanted rubies. The scenario, officials said would be replayed time after time. The Canadian companies actually sent real gems of demonstrably low quality to the American investors, and often insisted that investors call the International Better Business Bureau. But an International Better Business Bureau does not exist, and all calls were forwarded to the same suburban Toronto office in which the salespeople worked. House of the week Simplicity hallmarks up-to-date home The lines of this contemporary house are clean and lean, but the home still enjoys custom touches that make it special. Design F-5 by HomeStyles "Source 1" Designers' Network, offers open living spaces that flow together to make the most of its 2,221 square feet. The exterior shows attractive cedar lap siding and elegant, sloping rooflines. A stately column accentuates the covered entry. The rear elevation features an abundance of windows that bring the outdoors in. For outside enjoyment, a spacious deck spans the width of the house. The entrance foyer makes an ideal reception area. A handy -coat closet and a large storage area keep things in their place. • The foyer offers a grand view of the impressive great room. A two-story vaulted ceiling enhances the room's already generous size. Three walls of windows flood the room with natural light. Doors on either side of the room extend the entertaining area to "the deck, which is large enough for plenty of outdoor furniture and a barbecue. A large fireplace adds cozy warmth and the built- in entertainment center will enhance family nights at home- Open to this gathering place is a sizable dining and kitchen area, where a trio of windows provides a view of the deck. A large island cooktop also functions as a serving bar with room for three or. more stools. Generous workspace is increased by. a pantry and built-in desk. A kitchen skylight is optional. Just steps away from the kitchen is a powder room with built-in shelves and a shower stall. The nearby utility room includes a sink, space for a sewing center and access to the two-door garage. The main floor master suite provides the privacy of its own wing. A coved celling in the sleeping are heightens the feeling of luxury. A large walk-in closet and a conventional closet provide ample storage in the mirrored dressing area. The skylighted master bath boasts dual sinks, a whirlpool tub, a separate shower and a compartmentalized toilet. On the upper floor, two additional bedrooms, each with generous closet space, share a skylighted full bath. An additional room can serve as either a den or guest room. One side offers the option to enclose the room or leave it informally open; the other side boasts a wooden handrail and a striking view of the great room below. A linen closet is conveniently located near the two bedrooms, along with access to an expensive attic for storage. An optional basement provides ample for a recreation room, workshop or additional storage. UPPER FLOOR F-5 statistics Design F-5 has a great room, dining area, kitchen, three bedrooms, a guest room or den, two baths, a powder room and a foyer, totaling 2,221 square feet of habitable space. There is a garage; a basement is optional. Doors from the great room lead to a deck. The overall dimensions of 65'6" by 64'8" include the garage. For a more detailed, scaled plan of this house, including guides to estimating costs and financing, send $4 to House of the Week, PO Box 1562, New York, N.Y. 10116-1562. Be sure to include the number of the plan. Goatees galore: Renegade look is in! By JOHN MARSHALL Seattle Post-Intelligencer SEATTLE — Suddenly, they're everywhere — on rock" stars on MTV, on baseball stars on ESPN, on film stars on talk shows, and even on real men in real life. This has become, believe it or not, the Summer of the Goatee, perhaps the high-water mark of goatee popularity in all of goatee history. That outlaw form of facial hair is growing out on male faces all over America. For centuries, these weird bear- diets have been favored by those on the societal fringe — poets, revolutionaries, jazzmen, beatniks, fencers and folksingers (Peter, Paul minus Mary). But suddenly this summer, goatees have surfaced on the faces of so many twentysomethings, thirtyso- methings and oldersomethings that the goatee, of all things, seems precariously close to becoming mainstream. It's almost as if half of the guys in America are suddenly caught up in looking like those wild-and-crazy Dutch Masters. In resplendent goateedom, it's now Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, actor" Bruce Willis, director Spike Lee, Cy Young Award-winning pitcher "Black Jack" McDowell of the Chicago White Sox. And it's also bossman Bruce Springsteen, actor Brad Pitt, rocker John Mellencamp and writer Tom Bobbins. So popular has this long-unpopular beard style become that its renegade image may be going the way of outright trendy. It's almost enough to make any self-respecting goatee- wearer reach for his razor. Goateed Jason Coffelt, a 22-year-old car- .wash worker, admits, "It's kind of a bummer when everyone else has a goatee." Still, in Seattle, at least, many wearers of the goatee cling to the time-tested notions that goatee bad, goatee cool, goatee tough, goatee intimidating. As Steve Frey, a 34-year-old software company manager, says, "A goatee still tells people that you're probably not a banker." A 22-year-old Seattle bike messenger, who gives his name only as "Eddie," is far more blunt. "A goatee gives you a bad edge," he emphasizes. "It says I make less than $30,000 a year and I have a lot less to lose than you do, so you better backoff." And Art Renteria, another bike messenger, says, "Friends tell me that if they didn't know me, they'd look at me and think I was a mean person." That was exactly the look that pitcher Bobby Ayala was looking for when he was traded this year to the Seattle Mariners.. At his former team, the Cincinnati Reds, players were not allowed to wear facial hair, nor was Ayala the featured relief pitcher, that much-feared species, The Closer. But that was the role Ayala was expected to fill with the Mariners, so out came the facial hair in the form of a goatee. As Ayala explains, "I think it makes me look more intimidating and I'm in the role of the closer, so 1 want to look as mean as 1 can. I don't know if others think I look meaner. But I think I do and that's all that matters." Teammate Jay Buhner, the Mariners' rightfielder, became infamous briefly this year for his new haircut, first unveiled at spring training, a kind of bi-level whitewall skin-job that was dubbed the "Buhner buzz." But Buhner, even in his pre-buzz days, was known for. his BUly Goat Gruff goatee, which he grew for much the same reason as Ayala. "I just like the way it looks and it can be intimidating," Buhner says. "If it gives you a little extra advantage (with your opponents), you take advantage of that. Because that's what you're looking for in this game." Pro athletes, particularly baseball players, seem to be in the forefront of the goatee explosion, with at least a few players on almost every major league team joining in. But musicians and film stars are not far behind. Still, Seattle goatee wearers may want to be seen as cool cats with their hairy chin chins. But they do not, thank you, want to be seen as copy cats. Frey grew, his goatee to outgrow his baby face. Wally Bossie, a 22-year-old street barker, ended up wearing a goatee when he got fed up with his regular beard and cut it down to a smaller size. And besides, Bossie adds, "There's hair on a man's face so you might as well play with it." Justin Littell, a-19-year-old bike messenger, has had a goatee since he was a freshman in high school. He grew it for a simple reason — "because I could." Littell is one of those goatee devotees who is mystified, if not outright outraged, by the sudden popularity of goatees. He would probably ditch his now except, as he relates, "I've got a nasty scar beneath my lip that it hides." That goatees might one day be popular, or even too popular, never entered the mind of Tony Wolvertpn four years ago when he first considered growing his. "I was a student at Cornish (College of the Arts) when I first did this and then I'd only seen goatees on 17th-century portraits," he recalls. "I'd only seen a few real goatees and I thought having one might be too weird." Wolverton got over those feelings during the passing years, especially when he discovered that goatees prompted "no particular reaction from people." But the 29-year-old worker in an art gallery watched in considerable amazement this year as his goatee became only one of many goatees on the passing parade of men. "It now looks," he says, "like you're trying to look trendy." Rene Strange has no such concerns. The 68-year-old jazz singer has had a goatee, most of the time, for decades. It is a voluminous white goatee now, so distinctive that it often prompts compliments, although that is not why he wears it. Facial-hair styles for men may come and go, but Strange says he has just grown accustomed to his goateed face. HOME IMPROVEMENT When designing a computer area, there are many factors to consider By EDWARD LiPiNSKi N.Y. Times News Service People are increasingly learning about the values of personal computers. Its workstation is becoming a fact of life in many homes. For many people a station is simply an empty table on which the computer components rest. • That may be adequate for casual use, but serious users can pay a price for such a cavalier setup. Statistics show that computer-related injuries are increasing each year. '• It is hard to believe that a machine as innocuous as a computer can be a health hazard. But computer-related injuries include eye strain, neck and back pain, tension headaches, nausea and carpal tunnel syndrome. All can be virtually eliminated fay careful attention to workstation ergonomics. When planning a station, evaluate all factors that contribute to an ideal work environment. Start with the room, which should have a door that can be closed to shut out distractions, and choose a neutral color scheme like gray, beige or pastels, which are the most relaxing. Bright colors can be distracting, and dark ones can be oppressive. Adjust the temperature range to 65 to 72 degrees and the humidity to 30 to 40 percent. If you require an air-conditioner, it should not be on the same circuit as the computer. Keep light low. Replace wall switches with dimmers to allow maximum light control, and keep the room dimmer than for normal tasks. If possible, use indirect lighting, because it eliminates glare and reflections on the video display screen. Windows should have shades or blinds to adjust light. Because you will need light for reading printed matter, plan for adjustable spot lighting. Not everyone, of course, can commandeer a separate room for a computer, and some people can use just a corner of a larger area. The sole option is to alter the area as much as possible to fit the guidelines. Consider, for example, installing partitions to insulate the workstation from outside distractions. With the room customized, consider the furniture. The two most important pieces are the chair and computer table. It is function that is critical here, not style. Choose a chair that has an adjustable seat, and adjust it so that when seated your thighs are parallel to the floor and your feet are resting flat on the floor. In that position the back of the knees should be at a 90-degree angle. The chair should have a firm back and lumbar support. Armrests are optional, but many people find them confining. The table has to be sufficiently high to provide ample leg space, but low enough to position the keyboard comfortably. The average person needs a minimum of 25 inches from the table to the floor for leg clearance. The position of the keyboard should be enable the elbows to be at a 90-degree angle when typing. To meet those specifications the table top will have to be 26 to 31 inches from the floor. A table that is too low can always be raised on blocks. But a table that is too high presents a problem, unless the legs are trimmed, because it creates an awkward typing position that causes arm, shoulder and neck pain. Positioning the display screen is critical to avoid eyestrain. Most users set the screen on the central processing unit. Depending on the seated height, that may not be adequate. Here are guidelines for the screen. It should be 18 to 20 inches from the eyes. An easy way to check the height is to look at the screen. If the height is correct, the top line of the display will be slightly below eye level. Screen glare is by some accounts the single biggest cause of eyestrain. To help reduce the glare viewers can use a non-reflective screen or glare guard. Adjust window shades or blinds. Place the screen at right angles to the window and add shades or shields to lighting fixtures. Use the monitor controls to lower screen brightness and raise contrast. The position of the central processing unit is not critical. But place it so diskettes can be easily inserted and removed. Avoid using it as a storage shelf, because units generate considerable heat and need room to "breathe." After the components are in place and connected, owners are ready to plug in the unit. Ideally it should be on its own circuit. If not, the circuit should be free from the interference of heavy appliances that cycle on and off like refrigerators. To protect the computer from power fluctuations and surges, install a surge suppressor. Magnetic fields generated by electric motors can affect floppy disks. Disks near telephones can be erased. Some users store disks on the floor, but that makes them susceptible to the magnetic fields of vacuum cleaners. Static electricity can also harm computers. Maintaining proper humidity will usually eliminate this problem. If not, use static sprays on carpets and clothes. Warning: Do not spray the computer. To avoid tension and stress-related injuries, try changing positions , occasionally. Rest the eyes by looking away from the screen and refocusing on a distant object. Arise periodically, move the arms about and stretch.
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