Monday, May 12, 2008

Weird World

So a co-worker of my brother, Little Nicholas, found this story. I want to thank Jennilee for being on the lookout for good stories for this here blog.

Now here's my question: I don't smoke pot, but if I did and I wanted a bong, I would pleasantly walk or bike to the nearest head shop and purchase a happy little bong for "tobacco use only." And if I didn't have any cash, I would connect to the World Wide Web and find some instructions on how to fashion a smoking device out of an apple or a Pringles can or something.

An idea that would amazingly never float into my head would be to walk on down to the cemetery and dig up an 80-year-old grave to use a skull for a bong. I might be a bit odd, but I wouldn't do that.

I've never been to Houston, but I did date a girl from there once. She said it was boring there. I don't doubt her; she was honest. But I still feel like there's better things to do than digging up graves to make bongs. It's surely an interesting arts-and-crafts project, but ... Heck, just play hacky sack or something.


Anonymous said...

Try this one on for size...from today's NY Post...


May 12, 2008 --

A Manhattan man is feeling flush with anger after he says he was forced to sit in the bathroom for three hours on a cross-country JetBlue flight.

Gokhan Mutlu is now suing the airline for $2 million for having "mortified, disgraced, degraded and shamed" him by confining him to the can.

Mutlu says the bizarre incident happened Feb. 23, when he was a standby passenger for a flight from San Diego to New York.

He was told the flight was full because a flight attendant was taking the last available seat, but was then told she would sit in the "jump seat" and he could have her seat, 2E, the suit says.

He was issued a boarding pass and took the seat, but got a rude awakening as he began to doze off about 90 minutes into the flight.

That's when the pilot called him "towards the front of the plane, towards the cockpit, and advised the plaintiff that he would have to give his seat up" to the flight attendant, the suit says.

"The plaintiff was puzzled and asked what was going on," the filing says.

The pilot told him the "flight attendant wanted to be more comfortable and that the 'jump seat' was not comfortable for her."

Mutlu "asked if he was being directed to surrender the seat issued to him and to take the 'jump seat' for the remaining part of the flight, which was about 3 ½ hours."

The pilot told him the jump seat was for "for personnel only," the suit says.

"Even more puzzled and perplexed, the plaintiff asked if the pilot was directing him to stand for the remaining part of the flight," it says.

The pilot said no - Mutlu should just "go and 'hang out' in the bathroom," the suit says. In the meantime, the stewardess took Mutlu's seat, "closed her eyes and pretended to sleep."

When Mutlu began to argue, the pilot "became angry at the plaintiff's reluctance to go . . . to take his place in the rest room and took a much harsher tone with the plaintiff, advising him that he was the pilot, that this was his plane, under his command, and that the plaintiff should be grateful for being onboard," the suit says.

Mutlu says he was "imprisoned" in the bathroom for hours, which "seemed like an eternity."

He was ordered back to his seat when the plane ran into heavy turbulence, the suit says.

"Plaintiff walked back to his seat embarrassed, humiliated, mortified, disgraced degraded and still shocked beyond belief," and tried "to cover his face" as he walked up the aisle, the papers say.

The flight landed at JFK around 5:30 am, and the pilot stopped him as he was walking out "and asked if everything was okay. The plaintiff replied, 'No,'" the suit says. The suit seeks money for emotional damages.

A rep for JetBlue said the company doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Anonymous said...

BEHOLD - another gem off the newswire about a subject near and dear to your heart. Note the use of the phrase "taco truck culture". I'm hoping I can score a "Taco Resistance" t-shirt.

You can't make this stuff up...

Los Angeles in a stew over taco trucks By Daniel B. Wood
Wed May 14, 4:00 AM ET

Los Angeles - Swarmed around Leo's Taco truck on Eagle Rock Boulevard, about 50 night patrons are stuffing their cheeks with carne asada tacos – and chewing over one of this city's big controversies: taco trucks.

"Why should a taco vendor be able to park in front of someone else's restaurant and steal his customers away with cheaper food?" asks one man, spearing pinto beans on a paper plate with a plastic fork.

"But making them move every hour is a bad idea," says another as he orders a veggie burrito. "How can a truck vendor keep loyal customers if he has to move so often?"

These patrons, like many Angelenos, are as hot as salsa caliente over new rules that go into effect Thursday – what to do with the 14,000 roving restaurateurs who have brought inexpensive entrees, a sense of community, intensifying competition for diners, neighborhood complaints, and a political brouhaha to the street corners of Los Angeles County.

The new county law makes parking a taco truck in one spot for more than an hour punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail, or both. It replaces a longtime but rarely enforced measure that fined trucks $60 if they stayed in one spot longer than 30 minutes. The law affects unincorporated areas of the city – where about 60 percent of the population lives – and includes East Los Angeles, one of the biggest concentrations of Mexican-Americans in the United States.

The five county supervisors passed the new regulations unanimously a month ago, saying the volume of complaints had reached critical mass in recent years.

With less-expensive menu items and lower overhead, the mobile kitchens were forcing established restaurants to close early and suffer losses, according to the East Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and other business groups.

Bricks-and-mortar restaurants charged that taco trucks were too often parking directly in front of their establishments and siphoning off customers. Growing pressures within the Los Angeles economy – including the soaring prices of gasoline and food and slumping employment – have exacerbated the tension between stationary merchants who have leases to pay, employ many more workers than the mobile vendors – and who dearly need their patrons and parking.

"We have gotten so much negativity from the business community ... [complaining about] how much these trucks take away in business that we felt we had to listen and do something," says Maria Cerdas, a deputy for Supervisor Yvonne Burke. She says more and more trucks have ventured further into residential neighborhoods, where homeowners complain of loud gatherings and music until 2 or 3 a.m.

But the new law is generating a backlash.

Calling themselves the "taco resistance," some 150 of the city's 14,000 licensed vendors have stated they will refuse to comply with the law starting this Thursday. They have hired a lawyer, Philip Greenwald, a veteran of 40 years of representing mobile industrial caterers.

"These trucks pay taxes, they are inspected by the health department, and there is no legitimate reason to be pushing them around," he says. "This is not a matter of unfair competition but restraint of fair trade."

Others worry that one of the city's most distinctive social and cultural features could fall by the wayside.

"Thousands of Angelenos ... have long gathered at the trucks, in many cases since childhood, for quick carnitas burritos or mouthwatering cemitas, ... fired meat and other gut-busting goodness," says a recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times. "Call them what you will: roach coaches, loncheras, snack vans ... but taco trucks are a rich part of our region's heritage."

The Times and a leading political columnist in California, Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee, have called for the county's supervisors to rescind the law as unfair to those at the lower end of the economic ladder.

On Wednesday, a grass-roots campaign (, which has gathered thousands of signatures to petition a change in the law, is sponsoring "Taco Libre" – the chance to enjoy a last mobile entree before the new law takes effect.

"The whole taco truck culture in L.A. fills a void left by traditional restaurants," says Aaron Sonderleiter, whose website trumpets the rallying cry, "Carne asada is not a crime." He says the lower price of truck-vendored food (tacos for a buck, giant burritos for $2.50), longer hours of operation, and the outdoor venues create oases of neighborhood camaraderie, social interaction, and safety that are sorely needed in a city dominated by car travel, gang crime, and little pedestrianism and public transportation.

"This is about more than delicious and inexpensive food," adds his Web partner Chris Rutherford. "It's about people and community and neighborhoods."