Thursday, July 19, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

That Is So Fake!

Have you ever wondered why, sometimes, a cashier will hold a piece of paper money up to a light to check it? He or she is checking to see if the bill is a counterfeit, or fake. Here is what they look for:

The paper of a real bill will have red and blue fibers embedded into the paper. Counterfeits sometimes have some red and blue printed on top.

If you hold the bill up to the light and look to the right of the person's picture, you will see a watermark-a same color image-imprinted into the paper. Fakes usually do not have one.

If you hold a $5, $20, or $100 bill up to the light and look to the left of the person's picture, you should see a thread. On a $10 or $50 bill it will be on the right of the person's picture. No thread, it's not real money.

If you keep it up to the light and look for tiny print on that security thread, it will say "USA Five" on a five-dollar bill, "USA Ten" on a ten-dollar bill, and the higher denominations will say the amount in a number, such as "USA 20". If it doesn't match the bill or is not there, it is a fake.

If you look closely at any bill $10 and higher, in the lower right corner there are numbers. Move the bill up and down or back and forth. The ink should change from copper to green or black. If the color stays the same, it is fake.

Check the serial number on the bill. The digits should be spaced evenly and printed in the same color as the U.S. Treasury seal.

Sometimes, stores are provided with special markers which, when used to write on a real bill, will remain transparent. If the bill is a fake, the ink turns black.

How do you know if you have a pair of real Nike shoes?

Be sure the 'swoosh' symbol is right and that it is the same size on both shoes. Check the stitching on the shoes; fake Nikes have uneven stitching.

Check the soles: If they are plastic and slippery, they are not Nikes. Nikes use only rubber soles.

Check that the SKU number (the numbers under the bar code) printed on the label inside the shoes are the same as the one on the box. If they don't match, the shoes are not real Nikes.

Nike shoes come in sturdy shoe boxes. If there is no box, or if it is flimsy, thin cardboard, they are not true Nikes.

Be careful of buying Nikes from an online retailer who doesn't provide the original shoebox. Also be suspicious if the seller tells you to order a size bigger than usual and are unavailable over a size 9. Nikes run true to size and, with custom orders, can make shoes in virtually any size. They also come with arch supports; fakes do not.

If the shoes are coming from China, Hong Kong, or Philippines, be wary: Asian markets are the primary producers of fake 'brand name' goods.

How do you know if it's a real diamond??

You need to have a stone checked by a professional jeweler to tell for sure. Meanwhile, here are some tests you can try:

Shine a small flashlight on the stone. If it is a real diamond, it should create a halo like aura around the stone. Any shadows around it will look gray and not rainbow-like.

Breathe on the stone. If it fogs up, it is not a real diamond but is likely quartz, glass, or cubic zirconia.

A cheaper stone will probably have a cheaper setting. Check to see that the type of metal is stamped into the inside of the ring, such as "24k" or "Sterling." If not, it is likely the stone is not real, either.

Just a few tidbits today. Keep It Real!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Stars and Stripes: What Do You Know About Flag Etiquette?

This post was originally published on July 2, 2012

Did you know this about our national flag???

  • The flag should be displayed daily at public places such as schools during school days, public libraries, and government offices. It should also be present at polling places on election days.

  • No flag shall fly higher than the national flag, and no flag shall fly to the right of the national flag as you look at it. Have you noticed the state and national flags at school? This is why the state flag is always lower and to the left.

  • The only place our national flag is at the same level as other national flags is at the United Nations.

  • When you attend a parade or other event where the flag is being carried past you, etiquette indicates you place your right hand over your heart until it passes. If you are in the military, you will salute. If you are out of uniform and carry a hat, you place the hat over your left shoulder so that your right hand is over your heart.

  • When the flag is raised for the day, it should be done briskly. When lowered at the end of the day, it should be lowered 'with ceremony.'

What about the flag at half-staff? First, keep in mind the terms "half-staff" and "half-mast" are actually the same, however, to be correct, a 'mast' is only present on a ship, so "half-staff" is more correct for any flag flying on land (on a pole, which can be called a staff).

  • The President or Governor of a state can proclaim a flag should be flown at half-staff in honor of a person who has served his or her country and has passed away (it does not have to be a person who served in the military). No one else is allowed to make that decision.

  • The etiquette for having the flag at half-staff is to raise it initially all the way to the top of the staff, then lower it slowly to half staff and leave it that way for the day. At the end of the day when taking the flag down, the flag is to be raised back up to the top of the staff and then lowered completely to be taken down.

  • The flag is to be flown at half-staff on Memorial Day until noon only.

  • The flag should not be left on display after dark unless properly lit so you can still see it.

  • To properly fold a flag, it is first held by a person at either short end. The flag is folded into thirds, one side in and then the other side over it. One person then grasps the flag at the corner and folds it into triangles. After the last triangle, the ends are tucked neatly inside.

  • When placed on a casket, the flag's stars should lie on the person's left shoulder.

  • Nothing should ever be pinned to the flag, and it should not be used as cloth to make anything. The flag should never touch the ground or any other surface below it. An old flag that is ragged should be 'retired' by giving it to a local VFW for them to dispose of.

Flag rules established by the 94th Congress, 1975-1977 (during our nation's Bicentennial).  For even more flag etiquette, visit: .

Happy 4th of July! Fly the Flag..........and be safe!!