Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's just a little baggie.

LOS ANGELES – Three executives at a stuffed toy manufacturer were arrested Friday on suspicion of laundering millions of dollars for Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers, authorities said.
The arrests followed a two-year, multi-agency probe into the Angel Toy Corp., located in a downtown warehouse.
"It's no small irony that a multimillion-dollar company which promoted itself as retailer of cuddly stuffed animals was allegedly acting as a financial linchpin for drug trafficking operatives," said John Morton, director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Two co-owners of the business, Meichun Cheng Huang, 57, and Ling Yu, 52, were arrested, along with chief executive officer Xiaoxin Ju, 48.
Is there any other use for these 1-inch square baggies than this? I mean, seriously. Somewhere there is a little baggie factory (probably in China) turning out these tiny things. There's even an adorable little plastic strip to seal it up nice and air tight, away from harmful air or flame.
I wonder if they're called "Pocket Sized" or something? They probably come in boxes of 10,000 and use ten times as much packaging to distribute than the weight of the actual product.
I guess the fact that a portion of the company's revenue comes from the distribution of illegal drugs shouldn't bother anybody, right? After all, they fill a need, and who's to say what people are doing with those big bags, besides packing sandwiches.
It's all in the name of marketing, and who cares how they earn a profit? You have a perfect right to make your own 1-inch square plastic bags or buy them from someone else, so don't blame the company for the way people use products. We humans find several alternate uses for ordinary products. We're resourceful that way. "Hey, look what else you can do with these things!" We're the Louis Pasteur's of deviant behavior.
I'm sure there are any number of fruits that get jammed up people's rectums, baby products used for masturbation and an entire sub-culture devoted to whipped cream, so there is no accounting for ones purpose in purchasing an item. They are all perfectly legitimate products that we see fit to humiliate in a sexual way.
Maybe people put actual spices in them to take to cook-off's and backpacking? Maybe the 4-H club uses them to package seeds? There were no seeds in mine, so I'm just spit balling ideas here.
Anyway, if you have an interesting use for 1-inch square plastic bags, pass it along and I'll share it with the group. We're all about widening horizons around here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's so hot, I saw a Mexican frying an egg on his Ass.

Thermostat now displaying "WTF?" Not even sure how that's possible.
- from Howard's Twitter and/or Facebook page.

We're a funny bunch, us humans. There are certain places where we hate to perspire and other places where we love to. That's where we call it sweat, in the places we love to.
The temperature around these parts rose to over a hundred degrees (102 at 4:54pm, when you'd figure it would be starting to cool off) and according to the weather guys, it "feels like" 102. That's great, but do you know what it really feels like? It feels like I got stuck in a big plastic bag and somebody turned on a huge sun lamp...for 8 hours.
Doesn't it feel differently in the sun and the shade? Of course it does. They measure the temperature in the shade, so how can being in the sun "feel like" the same temperature? That's where these scientists come down to Earth for me.
When it is this hot, I lose all interest in outdoor activities, and I'd bet that the outdoor shops take a financial hit today, too. Not too many people running out to buy tents and Coleman stoves, I'd guess. We want to shop for things that will keep us indoors. Of course, the reason I lose all interest in being outdoors is because it's too God damned hot!
People choose to live in places like Hawaii, south Florida and the Caribbean Islands, even though they have the ability to leave. That's odd to me, since if I lived there I'd dread the summers enough to make me want to get out. But people live in places like Alaska too, so I guess there's a median group in there someplace. That's where I belong - in the median group.
I don't want the heat for the beach or the cold so it can snow ("Because snow is so beautiful.") and the kids can jump around and miss the next 5 days with the flu. If I could go back to whatever force built this nest we call a Solar System, I'd ask him to have us spin in such a way that the earth's temperature is consistent. We don't need the Polar ice caps. They're disappearing now, and look what's happening. I'll bet that there are places on Mars where you can just sit, and the temperature hardly ever changes. It's about 500 degrees, but it's a consistent 500 degrees. You'd get used to it.
That's what people tell me, you'd get used to it. Get used to this? Even snakes and lizards are saying, "No, I'm staying under the basement." They tell me that whether it's hot or cold, so at least they're consistent. How do you get used to a temperature where your own body heat is making you uncomfortable? There's another day of this, so maybe by then, we'll be used to it. Right.
I think that's why people like the seasons. Because they don't have to get used to anything. In February it's so cold that you've forgotten days like today, and vice versa. Somehow, we seem shocked when stuff like this happens. It's really just the Sun's angle to the Earth and some upper-air winds. It happens every year.
Aren't you used to it?
Incidentially, the title is a joke, and it's MY JOKE. If I hear some hack comic doing it, I'm suing.
I know, I could have said burro instead of ass, but that wouldn't be funny, would it?

Monday, July 5, 2010

An undue amount of attention.

Sports and entertainment are funny businesses. They don't behave like real life businesses and the people involved aren't treated like real life people.
Take, for instance, the Tiger Woods affair. Or affairs. Our area just finished hosting the AT&T tournament at Aronomink just outside Philadelphia. The local papers were full of coverage on the event, since big time golf doesn't come to our area often. Those of us who follow the game have gotten used to headlines like "Tiger 12 shots off the pace" or "Tiger third going into final round" where there is little or no mention of who is leading the tournament. Tiger got the ink.
Since his ignominious fall from grace, not much has changed. The first two days, when he was in danger of missing the cut, the paper lead with that story. Who is leading the tournament? See paragraph three.
It seems that no amount of personal shame or degradation could keep his name out of the headlines or his followers from trailing him on the course. Today, the recap of his exploits took up a quarter of page 2 under the caption "Woods leaves fans with one highlight."
In real life, Tiger would be shunned by the general public and shamed into a life of seclusion. In the world of pro sports, he is glorified as he always was, and is maybe a bigger figure in his personal failures than he was before.
After all, he was a successful professional golfer, his name was a brand and he had a beautiful wife and children.
Maybe we like celebrities more when they come down to a level closer to where the rest of us reside?

A special note to my fellow New Jersey residents.

I had some idea what I was going to write about today, but in between that and turning the computer on, I've lost track. The Independence Day weekend is winding down, and I'm one of the fortunate few to have Monday off, so I can spend a few minutes in quiet contemplation.
Showing fireworks on television is one of our stranger customs. Most of the lure of fireworks is the expanse of the explosion over your head and the shock of the explosion when the boom rattles your stomach a little. I don't sense any of that on TV. Television compresses the event to a screen-wide view, and the accompanying music is always louder than the explosions - not that it would help much. My TV sound isn't going to rattle anything.
The other big event around here is traffic. One of the reasons I'm up at 3:45 working on this mess is that I made a late-night trip home from a friend's and wound up in shore traffic at 2:30am. 2:30am. am. I was in traffic at 2:30am on the Atlantic City Expressway. "Express" is a relative term. Since Atlantic City added casinos in 1977 the traffic has tripled on a road that was designed and built in the 1960s. It was backed up 10 miles heading west to the wonderful Egg Harbor Toll Plaza, which takes $3.00 of fun out of your holiday weekend. The other part of the fun it sucks from you is the fun of driving 65mph.
There is an EZ-Pass lane or two, but folks like me who had the forethought to purchase an EZ-Pass ("EZ" is a relative term) still have to wait in traffic with people who are paying cash because the implementation of the EZ pass a few years ago added another wrinkle to a road that was already antiquated. Even if they had a high-speed EZ Pass lane, it would take you so long to get to it that "high speed" would be a relative term.
Amidst all this, the state of New Jersey is about to implement a 2% cap on property tax increases each year. That's wonderful unless you believe, like me, that capping taxes at 2% does two things: First, it insures that taxes will increase by at least 2% per year and second, it means that there won't be enough money to pay for the new services that will be required by our burgeoning population.
I had an economics professor at Widener University who told us, "Whenever you hear a politician say 'no new taxes' you can translate it to mean 'no new services.'" It costs money to provide police, fire, trash collection and other municipal services. The money comes from ... anyone? ... taxes. Your property taxes. If they already don't have enough money to pay for the necessary services, then how will they be able to pay for them in 3 years when the population of some municipalities will rise by 10% to 20%, but taxes will only have risen 6%? There's some complicated math, but I think you get the picture.
I haven't heard one of the property tax cap supporters propose similar legislation to put a cap on new home construction. It seems to me that the two concepts are ideal together.
So, hold your breath that our legislators can figure that out because I'm not that smart, and I figured it out.