A little bit about a lot of things:

• A West Side tradition continues this Easter weekend when egg hunts are held in Gustine and Newman.

The Saturday before Easter has been synonymous with egg hunts for many, many years.....with Gustine’s in particular spanning generations.

The Gustine Lions Club has held an Easter egg hunt for, well, forever it seems. That tradition started long before I arrived on the West Side some 35 years ago and continues to be as popular as ever.

Several thousand plastic eggs with goodies inside are planted through the tall grass of Schmidt Park for youngsters to find.....and the young participants make sure that no egg is left behind.

The sound of a siren promptly at 10 a.m. starts the mad dash of youngsters across their designated areas to collect as many eggs as possible, and they miss few if any.

In Newman, the annual Easter egg hunt started by the Knights of Columbus at St. Joachim’s Catholic Church many years ago offers a second go-around......that event begins at 1 p.m. on the grounds of Hunt Elementary School.

The family-oriented egg hunts are a great way to start a special weekend, and we appreciate those who make them possible.

But a word of advice.....don’t be late!

The waves of children who flood across their designated egg-hunting areas have scooped up every hidden egg in the matter of a minute or two. So be on time, be ready, and happy hunting!

Have a safe and blessed Easter...

• So what if you had the world at your fingertips.....you could virtually venture to anywhere in the world, see wonderful photos from around the globe, delve into history, and endlessly research people, places and things.

What if you could explore whatever topic caught your interest, sparking the imagination and opening up new vistas of information.

The ability to do so is a reality in today’s world, courtesy of the internet.

But most of today’s younger generation probably don’t realize that we older folks had a tool that let us do the same thing.

It was called the encyclopedia.

Many of today’s students probably aren’t familiar with encyclopedias.

But they can Google them to learn more.

• Be cautious out there. In today’s world, sadly, one must constantly be on guard against scams and con artists.

A person in Gustine recently lost more than $7,000 to a con artist who portrayed himself or herself as a relative of the victim through text messages.

Another Gustine resident advised us last week that she had been getting calls from scammers trying to get her to divulge her Social Security number.

We’ve all gotten the scam calls or messages, that can take forms ranging from “This is Dean, I’m in jail in India and was robbed of my wallet, please send money to bail me out,” (even though you saw me at work earlier that day) to “I’m with the IRS and we’re going to send somebody to arrest you if you don’t send a payment immediately to clear up back taxes” to “you won the lottery (which you didn’t enter), and we are prepared to send you $38 million in winnings. All you need to do is wire me $18,000 to process the paperwork so I can release your funds!”

Other forms of scams include the “phishing” expeditions which send internet messages that purport to be from official sources or agencies....but when you fall for the bait and click on the link or whatever, you unleash a virtual intruder. Been there, done that.

Scammers prey on greed, fear, compassion.....all those things which make us human also make us vulnerable.

And the scammers/phishers can be very convincing.

Never, ever send funds or give out personal information based on somebody’s call, text or other communication, regardless of what premise is presented. Don’t be bullied, shamed, coerced or scared into parting with your money.

And think long and hard before clicking on any computer link which is at all suspicious.

Most of all, I think, take a minute and really evaluate what is before you. Trust your gut.

I suspect that most people who are victimized look back and realize that they missed red flags.....but in the moment, we don’t always step back and think things through logically.

There have always been con artists, people with no moral qualms about separating honest folks from their hard-earned money.

But the tools of today’s world make them perhaps more a threat than ever.

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.