The news is always good for a few laughs on a slow day. Today is a slow day. This week's news does not disappoint . . .
Who says that coffee is addictive? In Amsterdam the Dutch government is planning to privatize coffee shops for Dutch citizens only. It seems that the government wants to save the "good stuff" for only the locals. The "good stuff" isn't a double mocha chocolate latte with two shots--it is marijuana--pot--the wacky tobaccy! The Dutch allow the legal selling of marijuana over the counter in coffee shops. Can anyone say, "Killing two birds with one stone"? I don't think that Folgers ever dreamed of this sort of coffee buzz.
Apparently this legalized practice has become popular among the tourists. The Dutch Justice Ministry has stated that this interest has created a "nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drug trafficking." Opponents to this policy change have declared it "tourism suicide." Opponents envision a growing black market if the law is kept as tourists--and locals--hit the streets for their coffee and pot. "Coffee pot" sort of takes on new meaning--gotta have that morning pick me up!
The grumbling is intensifying over light bulbs here in the United States. As of January 2012, the traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb will be contraband. According to the Wall Street Journal people are not happy about the switch--the new bulbs are more expensive, give skin a corpse-like pallor, and contain a trace amount of the toxic element mercury. The real issue is freedom--not conservation or ecology--but the freedom to choose. Most Americans prefer traditional light bulbs, which has created a rash of "civil disobedience" as folk stockpile the incandescent light bulbs. The paper argues that if the new fluorescent are so superior, "why does the government have to force people to buy them?"
Also, we can quit blaming President Obama for this change in light bulb policy. The guy actually has nothing to do with it--he's in the dark on this one. The policy was signed into law in 2007 by President George W. Bush. This is just another fine mess in Bush's legacy--we always knew he sat in the dark!
It seems the bright lights of the city are not as attractive and alluring as they used to be. The New York Times reports that despite all the talk about people moving back to the big cities the reality is much different. According to the Times more than 91 percent of population growth in U.S. metropolitan areas between 2000 and 2010 occurred in suburbs rather than in city cores. Today more than 60 percent of Americans live in the suburbs. That might explain the traffic congestion I experience on my commute from Joliet to the big city--suburban sprawl that creates a crawl!
A study by ScienceDaily.com proves once and for all that the color red is a "power" color. The report claims that the color red makes us stronger and faster--at least momentarily. The study conducted on students from elementary school through college showed that there was an improvement in muscular performance. Also, humans are hardwired to pick up on red "as a danger cue," states the study's author Andrew Elliot--thus there is a mental toll. Previous studies have shown that athletes facing a red-clad team tend to lose. Now I know why my beloved University of Nebraska Cornhusker football team--affectionately known as "Big Red"--has been so successful and dominate. All these years I thought it was because of the athletic superiority, hard physical training, excellent coaching, awesome training facilities, and teamwork . . . now I know that it wasn't any of that stuff . . . it is because people are scared of red! Go Big Red!
On the political scene Americans speak out about politicians' morals--or lack of! In a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center for the Washington Post, 57 percent of Americans say politicians get caught in sex scandals because they are under greater scrutiny than everyone else. Another 19 percent say it's because politicians have "lower moral standards than ordinary Americans." I kind of lean towards the 19 percent--we're talking politics here where morals seem to be the fine print that no one reads. The other is just an excuse.
Lastly, the closet dilemma is solved! Esty.com reports that in 1930 the average woman owned nine outfits. Today, thanks primarily to the lower price of garments made abroad in low wage nations, women purchase more than 60 pieces of new clothing a year. This is why the wife owns 75 percent of all the available closet space in the house--not just the bedroom! I used to think that it was a figment of my imagination--this discrepancy in space--that my side of the closet was smaller and more cramped,but now I know it is true. The wife tells me that possession is 9/10ths of the law!
Until next week's news I plan on sitting around in my bright red long-johns, next to my fluorescent light bulb, sipping my coffee pot, as I contemplate whether or not politicians even matter, moving to the suburbs, or just taking a nap. Until next week--laugh. Laugh because life is to short to waste on the news!