The War Against Lemonade

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Stress: n. The confusion caused when ones mind overrides the body’s natural desire to choke the living  out of some  that desperately needs it.

I’ve always tried to keep this blog at a level that all family members will find appropriate. That’s not going to stop, but sometimes the level of stress that arises when I really, really want to say what I think about government stupidity that has risen to the thermonuclear level overwhelms me.

An article at Forbes entitled “The Inexplicable War on Lemonade Stands” outlines a disturbing trend, driven most likely by the same lack of common sense and blind devotion to rules and procedures found in most school boards, districts and principals’ offices.

Fortunately, there are a few good spots among the bad and the ugly:

Restrictions

Red: Shutdowns or enforcement action
Yellow: Restrictions in place
Green: No restrictions or entrepreneurship encouraged

Click through for a larger map with descriptions.

There’s a clear difference between a licensed food truck or vending operation, appropriately subject to local ordinances and health regulations, and kids’ lemonade stands. Some of the comments from the Forbes article are quite interesting:

Keir in Germany said,

It took a mass public outcry to finally get the authorities to back down. Thank God I live in Germany, a country that knows all too well the dangers inherit in a state where the police overstep their mandate to trample on the well-being and livelihood of the common man. The state looks after its people whilst allowing them to live as they see fit without undue interference. The US seems more and more to be following a fascist route; as its influence diminishes around the world, it seeks to enforce its dominance upon its own people. There doesn’t appear to be any hope given the general decline in its education system and completely ignorant, unqualified people who run for office and are given headlines due to notoriety rather than experience and ability. What a dystopia the US has become, and we in Europe, grateful for the US of three generations ago, can only shake our heads and bemoan the loss of a former model and friend.

Gabby responded,

I remember growing up in an America that looked on with great favor kids who setup lemonade and kool aid stands. I used to do this all the time. I also sold greeting cards door to door, and ran a babysitting service when I was in high school. The idea in our country that anyone could do great entrepreneurial things, starting from the poorest of circumstances, and succeed beyond one’s wildest dreams, is what set our country apart from the rest of the World. In fact, in my state where I live, we have success stories in spades. These success stories though wouldn’t happen today, most likely, because the people who started these businesses weren’t backed by big bank loans, venture capitalists, ect. and they weren’t hindered by draconian regulations, rules, and expensive licenses, permits, and the need for regulation commercial kitchens. One lady whose potato chips are known locally all over the state, started in her kitchen in the 1930′s. A successful furniture retailer here, started selling stuff from his garage, and a lady whose name is on some very well known cookies, started baking and selling her cookies, right from her kitchen. I am hopeful that our citizens are starting to see what is going on, and are becoming involved to stop fascist ideas from ruining our country.

lymanlapstrake also responded,

This is an excellent comment and I agree with you 100%. Upon reflection however, I have concluded that this is not necessarily a law enforcement problem, but rather a people problem. Yes, we the people of the U.S.A. are the worlds most litigious society (Google this phrase). There are about a million lawyers sitting around waiting to litigate. The enforcement takes place because someone complains. If nothing is done idiots will probably sue the parents for unsanitary practices or some such nonsense. We cannot help but meddle in each others business. So I think the enforcement is a defensive measure on the part of the authorities. Nobody wins and to my way of thinking it is the fault of our nation having become a society peopled with an excess of wingnuts.

These are excellent comments, although I would not go so far as to invoke the word fascism. The last comment to me seems to be the most relevant – there are just too many attorneys hungry for billable hours who are willing to sue anyone for anything, and driving the culture of litigation that permeates our society (don’t get me started on the demise of the school playground, I’ve already ranted about that here.)

To conclude, I refer you to the popular obituary of Common Sense, widely attributed to “unknown” or George Carlin, but actually written by Lori Borgman and published in the Indianapolis Star in 1998.

The Death of Common Sense

Lori Borgman | Sunday, March 15, 1998

Three yards of black fabric enshroud my computer terminal. I am mourning the passing of an old friend by the name of Common Sense. His obituary reads as follows: CommonSense, aka C.S., lived a long life, but died from heart failure at the brink of the millennium. No one really knows how old he was, his birth records were long ago entangled in miles and miles of bureaucratic red tape. Known affectionately to close friends as Horse Sense and Sound Thinking, he selflessly devoted himself to a life of service in homes, schools, hospitals and offices, helping folks get jobs done without a lot of fanfare, whooping and hollering.

Rules and regulations and petty, frivolous lawsuits held no power over C.S. A most reliable sage, he was credited with cultivating the ability to know when to come in out of the rain, the discovery that the early bird gets the worm and how to take the bitter with the sweet.

C.S. also developed sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn), reliable parenting strategies (the adult is in charge, not the kid) and prudent dietary plans (offset eggs and bacon with a little fiber and orange juice).

A veteran of the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, the Technological Revolution and the Smoking Crusades, C.S. survived sundry cultural and educational trends including disco, the men’s movement, body piercing, whole language and new math. C.S.’s health began declining in the late 1960s when he became infected with the If-It-Feels-Good, Do-It virus.

In the following decades, his waning strength proved no match for the ravages of overbearing federal and state rules and regulations and an oppressive tax code. C.S. was sapped of strength and the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, criminals received better treatment than victims and judges stuck their noses in everything from Boy Scouts to professional baseball and golf.

His deterioration accelerated as schools implemented zero-tolerance policies. Reports of 6-year-old boys charged with sexual harassment for kissing classmates, a teen suspended for taking a swig of Scope mouthwash after lunch, girls suspended for possessing Midol and an honor student expelled for having a table knife in her school lunch were more than his heart could endure.

As the end neared, doctors say C.S. drifted in and out of logic but was kept informed of developments regarding regulations on low-flow toilets and mandatory air bags. Finally, upon hearing about a government plan to ban inhalers from 14 million asthmatics due to a trace of a pollutant that may be harmful to the environment, C.S. breathed his last.

Services will be at Whispering Pines Cemetery. C.S. was preceded in death by his wife, Discretion; one daughter, Responsibility; and one son, Reason. He is survived by two step-brothers, Half-Wit and Dim-Wit.

Memorial Contributions may be sent to the Institute for Rational Thought. Farewell, Common Sense. May you rest in peace.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

What brand is your state famous for?

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Click to enlarge

Found at designtaxi.com. Maps on the Web has created a map that shows the most famous brand to come from each state in the US.

For obvious reasons, the map is creating a stir among those who don’t agree with the particular choice made to represent their state. Regardless of how it all shakes out, I found the map intriguing as I only knew the origins of a few of these brands.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

 

A Conversation with Hitler (recorded)

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Adolf Hitler having a conversation with The Marshal of Finland on his birthday in 1942.

This conversation was secretly recorded; this is the only known recording of Hitler while not giving a speech. The video below provides translated subtitles to the conversation.

Hitler deserves no particular focus or attention, but as a historical item of interest, this has value. The only time I ever heard his voice was in his recorded speeches, when he’s reveling in his bombastic madness. It sounds uncanny to hear him speaking in an intimate, conversational setting.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The Bjälbo stone

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A runestone which was used as building material in Bjälbo church, Östergötland, Sweden. Photo taken in 1907.

Swedish: “Käcke män reste denna sten efter Grep, sin gillesbroder, Juddes son. Love ristade runorna”.

English: “Valiant men raised this stone in memory of Grep, their guild-brother, son of Judde. Love carved the runes”.

 

Japanese memorial to an allied casualty

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Grave marker found by Allied troops on Kiska Island. Erected by members of the occupying Japanese army, who buried an American pilot who had crashed there. The text of the sign reads:

“Sleeping here, a brave air hero who lost youth and happiness for his mother land, July 25 – Nippon Army”

Practicing the Cello in Africa

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©2011, Andrew McConnell, Published in the Guardian. This photo earned the photojournalism award from American press photographers.

A BBC article gives some more information about the orchestra and chorus. The orchestra was featured in “Kinshasa Symphony,” one of the finalist films in the 6th Annual Africa World Documentary Film Festival.

  • Kinshasa Symphony (95m) by Klaus Wischmann (Germany)
    Two hundred orchestral musicians are playing Beethoven’s Ninth – Freude schöner Götterfunken. A power cut strikes just a few bars before the last movement. Problems like this are the least of the worries facing the only symphony orchestra in the Congo. In the 15 years of its existence, the musicians have survived two putsches, various crises and a war. But concentration on the music and hopes for a better future keeps them going. “Kinshasa Symphony” is a study of people in one of the world’s most chaotic cities doing their best to maintain one of the most complex systems of joint human endeavor, a symphony orchestra. The film is about the Democratic Republic of Congo, the people in Kinshasa and the power of music.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Chester E. Macduffee and his Diving Suit

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What looks like the packing crate for Robby the Robot is actually a diving suit invented by Chester E. Macduffee, seen here in 1911. The suit weighed 250 kilograms (550 lbs) and was successfully used at a depth of 213 feet in 1915 – because it was not watertight, it was equipped with a water pump that removed water from the leg sections. Very little is known about Macduffee himself; this website provides some additional information and more photos.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

So much junk, so many scumbags.

A recent comment posted to one of my blog entries:

Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks.

Typical of blog spam comments, the commenter includes a link to a Fotki.com “journal” in Spanish, which then links to a Spanish version of Holly Hayden’s [1] “H Miracle” hemorrhoid “cure”. Sheer snake oil, marketed to the most gullible sector of society. I perused the website until nausea overtook me, and will not provide a link to it. For only $69.96… Wait! Time-sensitive discount, only $37.00, you get

“a completely natural, guaranteed cure that’s far cheaper and safer than recurring creams or surgery … in my honest opinion. (That’s only the price of a few movie tickets …. a good family dinner …. or just 0.62 cents for 2 months.)

hmiracle

As seen on Ask, MSN, AOL and Yahoo: 100% pure baloney.

This lady is repackaging Preparation H, or manufacturing something akin to it, and selling it at ten prices with the worst sort of dishonest, barely-legal hucksterism. Notice the disclaimer:

The H Miracle system has a consistent 96.4% proven success rate at eliminating hemorrhoids safely, powerfully, naturally and easily. The small percent that doesn’t permanently cure includes those who may have a rare, complicated health issue that goes well beyond hemorrhoids and its usual variations. I have to be honest about this … despite the fact that the vast, vast majority of sufferers (including yourself) will be raving about the phenomenal results. Luckily, we have a personal strategy inside for those with more complex issues and even they end up benefiting tremendously …

In other words, if you buy our crap and it doesn’t perform, we’ve got an even more expensive product for pitiful anomalies like yourself. But in the meantime, we’ve got your money and our asses are covered.

The dishonesty of websites like this – and there are thousands and thousands out there – dismay me no end. People read, people believe without doing any research whatsoever, and people waste billions of dollars on quack remedies which do nothing for them. The link refers specifically to weight-loss nostrums, but there are countless other schemes and scams, many of them promoted by prominent figures who are either paid for their endorsements or who were bamboozled into believing that these products had some actual value.

The simple fact that the manufacturer of this product resorts to injecting trash comments like this into people’s blogs, hoping to raise their search-engine rankings, is a bright red flag waving in the middle of the meadow – it says “Stop!”

stop

Crampton, Gertrude and Gergely, Tibor, Tootle, Golden Press, 1945

No legitimate product, service, or company would ever advertise like this. Beware of such; stay far, far away.

On that note, today I received a memo from “Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank”:

Federal Reserve Bank Board New York.

NOTIFICATION OF CREDIT FROM Federal Reserve Bank.
Attn: Beneficiary: Please Sir.

Based on our findings in the investigations department we wish to warn you against some Miscreants, Hoodlums and Touts who go about scamming innocent people by claiming to be who they are not and thereby tarnishing the image of this wonderful country.

Instruction was given from the Office of Presidency ,United Nations (UN), World Bank and (IMF) to transfer your overdue fund through International ATM Debit/Master Card which you can use in any ATM and cash point machine anywhere in the world, shopping or banking for all your needs.
This directives was given to us at the Federal Reserve Bank after the joint meeting of the above mentioned bodies to help check the activity of fraud and illegal movement of money across the world.

You can withdrawal money from your International ATM Debit/Master Card from any ATM MACHINE location or center of your choice nearest to you, in any part of the world. You are advise to reconfirm your address where the Courier service will dispatch your ATM Card to you within 48hrs.We Have Been Mandated By The ECOWAS Parliament To Issue Out $10.5 Million only on your contract, inheritance and lotto promos related funds Also For Your Information, You Have To Stop Any Further Communication With Any Other Person (S) Or Office(S) To Avoid Any Hitches In Receiving Your Payment.

1. Your full Name:
2. Delivery Address:
3. Your direct Tel, Cell: Nos:
4. A copy of your ID or ID numbers for Identification:
5. Your Nearest Airport:

Finally, this is very urgent and important the bank are waiting to hear from you right away today, Bear in mind that the tracking number of your parcel will be given to you immediately the Processing charge and Stamp fee is received to avoid any immediate STOP ORDER from the United Nation office.

Note That Because Of Impostors, We Hereby Issued You Our Code Of Conduct, Which Is (ATM-110) So You Have To Indicate This Code When Contacting The Card Center By Using It As Your Subject.

Below are few list of tracking numbers you can track from UPS website to confirm people like you who have received their payment successfully.

Name : Donna L. Vargas: UPS Tracking Number: 1Z757F991598420403 (www.ups.com)
Name : Rovenda Elaine Clayton: UPS Tracking Number: 1Z757F991596606592 (www.ups.com)

CONGRATULATIONS. The Bank Wait For Your Expedite Response. Please Call The Ups shipping Agent Now (347-348-0897) Mr Steven Parker.

The bank Wait For Your Expedite Response.

Yours sincerely,

Mr.Ben S. Bernanke.
Ref.: bensbernanke/frb110/pres/un/wb/imf/pt.
Chairman Federal Reserve Bank Board New York.

This is the most transparent of Nigerian garbage. I called the above phone number just to see who would answer, and I got a message (in a British accent) indicating that the party was not available. I’m certain that somehow this number is wired to forward calls to a number in Nigeria or somewhere like it. Notice the mention of a “Processing charge and Stamp fee,” the which, once paid, would open the floodgates to an endless litany of requests for additional fees, bribes, charges, stamps, and whatever the victim is willing to send to collect his nonexistent funds, until he finally gives up in disgust.

Sadly, crooks and scammers like this are largely beyond the reach of the law; US federal agencies are powerless to act against these drones, and often the governments of the countries in which the scammers operate are ineffective in dealing with or party to the scam.

To be safe,

  • Never send money via Western Union or similar service anywhere, unless you are initiating the transaction and know who will be receiving the money.
  • Never give your banking or credit card information to anyone who requests it via email.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


[1] “Independent Remedy Researcher & Official Article Columnist.” Now there are some impressive credentials, I tell you what.