Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stealth Chinese Drug Paraphernalia in Chicago Area Dollar Store

Those clever Chi-Coms have devised a
dope pipe which looks like a tobacco pipe.
They sell them in Dollar Stores
Many municipalities around Chicago and elsewhere have long had ordinances banning the sale of "drug paraphernalia" -- dope pipes, bongs and toke clips -- the kinds of things that would readily be found in the ubiquitous "head shops" of the late 60s.

But leave it to those clever, entrepreneurial Chinese to find a way around this.

While walking in Skokie this past summer, I spied a product in the window of the Dollar Store at the corner of Oakton and Knox.

It's box blared "Durable Tobacco Pipe".

Having recently resumed pipe smoking after a bit of a hiatus, and attracted by the $2.99 price tag, I went in and bought it.

Sure it wasn't going to be a Peterson or a Savinelli, but for 3 bucks, if it did anything at all, It was a steal, right?

It looked just like a regular old bent briar smoking pipe.

Made by the Chi-Com Zhaofa Corporation of Shanghai, its box told me in broken English that the product was:

"--Durable and can be used repeatedly for a long time.
--Made of high-quality special materials. Not contain any harmful objects.
-- The rubber ring can prevent smoke and tar from leaking.
--Remove tar while using for about 10 times.
-- Replace with an auxiliary rubber ring if damages."

I have been buying pipes for some years and never was treated to such admonitions before and frankly, I'm still not sure what some of them mean.

So when I got my new $2.99 Chi-com pipe back home, I discovered that I was now the proud owner of a very cleverly disguised dope smoking pipe.

The bowl contained a perforated metal lining which cut the bowl size in half -- perfect for a small bit of pot.

The "rubber ring" to "prevent smoke and tar from leaking" was actually an adaptor that fit above the metal lined semi-bowl, and had a very tiny bowl, perfect size for smoking a crack cocaine "rock" or a bit of hashish -- but utterly useless for tobacco smoking.

Stuck with the crazy thing, and $3 poorer for it, I decided to at least give it a try with tobacco in the steel semi-bowl.

The taste was hideous. And the steel bowl became almost too hot to handle.

A friend suggested that the awful taste may be due to the fact that the "steel" bowl may have actually contained some lead -- a not uncommon occurrence in Chinese products.

So if any of you readers out there find yourselves with possible use for a well disguised, Chinese made dope smoking apparatus, I have an almost unused one available for a mere $3.

Or I'll trade it for your grandfather's good old, well broken-in briar tobacco pipe.

Monday, January 16, 2012

AON and Playboy Fleeing "World Class City" Chicago

Chicago native Hugh Hefner is
heading for the warmer ambiance of El Lay

Two longtime pillars of the Chicago business community, AON insurance and Playboy announced this past week that they are moving their corporate headquarters out of Chicago.

Playboy, which was founded here in 1953 by native Chicagoan, Hugh Hefner, originally planned to move only its editorial departments to the West Coast, but announced on January 13, that it was moving everything out, lock, stock and bunny ears.

Playboy didn't explain why it was leaving for LA. Ultra-lefty California is going broke, just like Illinois and it certainly is no tax haven. Maybe Hefner just likes the weather and ambiance of El-Lay better than that of glacial Chicago.

But AON Corp., which is heading for greener pastures in London cited the financial benefits of a more global effective tax rate overseas compared with the United States

That makes sense when you consider that the top corporate tax rate in the US is 38% compared to 26% in the UK. And the Conservative British government has enacted a schedule for further reducing corporate tax rates to a top rate of 24% by 2014. In contrast, the socialist-oriented Obama regime continues to howl for ever higher corporate taxes.

Add to this the recent move of Illinois Democrats to increase state taxes on corporations by 65% and you don't have to be a genius to see why it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to do business here and hire employees here.
AON Founder, Chicagoan, W. Clement Stone
would have surely approved of AON's move

AON was started by Chicagoan W. Clement Stone in 1925 with a $100 loan, a shoeshine and a smile. The thrifty and positive-thinking Stone turned that into Combined Insurance and then in turn into AON -- one of the largest risk management firms in the world.

Stone was a hard-core business conservative and a big financial backer of President Richard Nixon and the, then dominant, Illinois GOP.

Love Chicago, as he might have, Stone is surely not turning over in his grave at news of this hard-headed, sensible, decision to abandon Chicago.

In fact, W.Clement Stone would surely have approved of AON's decision to flee Chicago's socialist morass.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Zion-Benton Twp. SD 126: Hefty Salaries For Petty Union Malcontents

The Zion-Benton SD 126 union workers were
appalled that they should pay for health
care increases like everybody else

Posted below are the 2011 salaries for all of the teachers and administrators from Zion-Benton Twp. School District 126.

These are the very same union government workers who showed their colossal concern for educating youth, by shutting down their schools for four days last week as they went out on strike.

They were appalled by school board proposals to slow down their salary schedules to take it longer for them to haul down the fat $100k plus paychecks for their part-time 9 month gigs.
So committed to education
that they shut down their schools

They were shocked that -- like the private sector workers who pay their salaries --they were actually asked to pay for the health insurance premium increases, that their friend Obama's health care scheme provoked.

Here are the names and salaries of these Zion-Benton SD 126 trade unionist government workers as taken from the Family Taxpayers Network Teachers salary database, which was obtained under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit:

Zion-Benton Twp HSD 126 2011 - --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NAME SALARY Ahonen, Cyranda $64,146
Alger, Joseph $53,449
Anderson, Katrina $72,037
Anglada, Lawrence $89,189
Anselm, Thomas $71,019
Arason, Christine $58,922
Asciutto, Mary $70,576
Barnes, Latoya $42,285
Barnes, Lauren $44,061
Belmont, Alice $104,982
Berkley, Jonathan $50,477
Bible, Lonnie $120,419
Blase, John $73,455
Blickhan, Lorie $82,431
Booth, Jerry $129,344
Boroski, Brian $87,386
Boyle, Dayle $81,347
Brenneman, Jeffrey $42,048
Brown, Heather $18,295
Brown, Jennifer $84,660
Buck, Anne $117,301
Budzik, Mary $121,520
Burd, Jeffrey $83,562
Bush, Christopher $46,934
Byrne, Emily $49,517
Cade, Abigail $41,982
Cannon, Sarah $45,889
Carlson, Jacob $99,138
Catalano, Pietro $48,889
Ceskowski, Stephen $97,370
Cianfrani, David $60,661
Clark, Christine $219,646
Corcoran, Michael $81,456
Courtaway, Katherine $42,842
Cruz, David $67,992
Curtin, Brian $133,875
Cuttill, Drew $52,873
Davis, Jay $110,310
Davis, John $108,670
Derifield, Alison $42,444
Di Gangi, Melissa $68,235
Digrazia, Christine $87,634
Dodge, Angela $40,139
Dotson, Bridget $56,372
Drucker, Paul $70,668
Duncan, Catherine $69,334
Dziekan, Rebecca $70,733
Edwards, Jarrett $75,275
Engstrom, Heather $69,716
Engstrom, John $53,661
Feekin, Christine $45,453
Felske, Bonnie $68,000
Fenchel, Todd $91,503
Ferguson, Krista $44,007
Flores, Samuel $58,788
Galgan, Tadd $90,933
Goldman, Barry $44,283
Gomez, Andrew $90,644
Goss, Susan $101,373
Grafman, Deborah $50,132
Gregg, Tara $59,501
Grieco, Tina $72,011
Grubb, Judith $111,686
Hall, Brent $51,852
Hanrahan, Melissa $72,986
Harmeling, Chris $63,027
Harvala, Jennifer $52,810
Harvala, Matthew $61,284
Helland, Elise $102,894
Holdcroft, William $65,524
Hoy, Jennifer $82,703
Hughes, Travis $65,035
Humphrey, Sarah $49,654
Ianson, Donna $91,841
Isaacs, Michael $49,844
Isquith, Adrienne $90,783
Joel, Stacey $57,034
Johansen, Sandra $91,296
Johnson, Carrie $87,715
Johnson, Nicholas $71,394
Johnson, Rebecca $69,475
Johnson, Tanya $43,790
Kapolnek, Erin $43,890
Karner, Michael $68,495
Keefe, Erin $49,110
Knight, Timothy $56,828
Kohler, Tina $62,083
Kolarik, Jasey $67,125
Kuhl, Heather $57,616
Lashever, Laura $91,002
Latham, Erin $49,922
Leden, Maggy $75,890
Ledman, Michael $72,246
Lee, David $109,632
Levy, Eric $53,038
Lichter, Susan $112,455
Liddle, Audrey $129,470
Lieberman, Allison $71,825
Lindemann, Linden $112,962
Lindle, Karen $83,242
Livas, Matthew $43,313
Lobo, Jeffrey $64,253
Lopez, Erin $64,845
Lucke, Margaret $91,964
Luedtke, William $64,935
Lukavsky, Molly $48,184
Lunsford, Hal $75,518
Mahoney, Jonathan $50,177
Mahrt, Sarah $50,466
Manning, James $86,073
Marhefka, Jennifer $48,659
Martensen, Scott $82,021
Massong, Amanda $40,061
Massong, Ludwig $137,595
Mc Laughlin, Laura $55,241
McGue, Corinne $94,404
McKay-Guzik, Kellye $35,990
McKnight, James $50,842
McLaren, David $83,024
McNamara, Timothy $52,842
McPherson, Nathan $49,694
Means, William $129,185
Melott, Melissa $67,342
Meyer, Jessica $54,954
Meyer, Maureen $134,085
Michmerhuizen, Jesse $79,560
Mitchell, Ryan $74,896
Mudarth, Melanie $57,023
Muff, Rebecca $86,110
Muff, Robyn $107,350
Myrum, Jeanne $68,587
Nadolna, Rachel $45,836
Neilsen, Leslie $50,351
Niemi, Burton $101,333
Niemiera, Kristen $77,750
Oconnell, Daniel $51,262
Ogren, Sandra $111,934
Patterson, Jill $59,910
Paulsen, Marsha $94,239
Pavelske, Mary $58,486
Peckler, Scott $101,009
Pelli, Jody $71,197
Pickering, Amy $73,966
Prostka, Eric $43,634
Raymond, Emily $47,837
Reese, RaVonya $54,674
Regnier, Kelly $93,784
Richter, Steven $118,307
Ritchey, James $64,860
Rodriguez-Newton, Colleen $64,387
Rosenquist, Karen $107,842
Rossie, Nicholas $65,074
Rubin, Brad $66,208
Ryczek, Michael $87,340
Rymer, Michelle $70,222
Rymer, Richard $82,691
Scherer, David $63,151
Schiappacasse, Timothy $49,659
Schneider, Calvin $156,399
Schwisow, Lindsay $53,437
Sevener, Jeffrey $67,140
Sexton, Julie $69,597
Sherman, Genevieve $84,110
Shorey, Lauren $49,579
Smyk, Kevin $99,057
Standridge, Michelle $72,840
Stanghelle, Deborah $53,744
Staples, Tiffany $54,190
Stateler, Mark $74,200
Stavropoulos, Alexander $49,303
Stecher, Ariane $51,537
Stone, Ella $41,957
Strauss, Arden $102,419
Strickland, Robert $112,586
Subrinsky, Jordan $72,436
Surin, Barbara $67,992
Sutz, Howard $73,449
Swanson, Steven $40,591
Swanson, Suzanne $88,629
Tangorra, Launa $55,508
Tate, Nina $109,152
Tennant, Stephen $89,750
Theodore, Melissa $70,650
Usher, Nakisha $61,063
Valerugo, Brian $78,258
Villalobos, Ernesto $65,815
Vlagos, George $56,679
Voss, Spence $67,330
Vukovics, Joseph $50,886
Waddick, Emily $60,527
Wade, Cheryl $79,433
Ward, Lynn $64,750
Waters, Christopher $64,006
Weigel, Jeff $85,992
Weiner, Angela $80,000
Westover Tejada, Suzanne $58,035
Will, Deborah $78,927
Willems, Kate $53,266
Wiltjer, Alyssa $43,357
Womack, Elise $99,108
Woodson, Lisa $60,717
Worrell, Dr. Gail $141,028

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Walgreen's Goes Soviet-Style: Do You Want a Bag For That?

Gum at Red Square: No Shirts, No Shoes,
No Service and Bring Your Own Bag

Some years back I read that the large Soviet-era Moscow department store Gum, required their customers to bring their own bags.

Gum was a one place shopping venue for Russians to buy just about everything from shoes to groceries -- that is on those rare occasions when the store actually had shoes or groceries in stock.

And they had so little respect and concern for the customer that they wouldn't even supply a simple convenience such as a bag.

Now it seems, the Deerfield-based national drug store chain, Walgreens is going the same route.

After you pay for your purchase at Walgreens these days, the clerks ask you, "Do you want that in a bag?"

Walgreens Clerks Now Ask You If You Want A Bag
This is obviously a new corporate Walgreens policy, although the clerks I have asked deny it.

At three different Walgreens stores -- Howard & Western on the Evanston/Chicago border, Milwaukee & Western in Bucktown and in the Loop -- I have been asked by clerks: "Do you want that in a bag?"

Once, when my purchase was a six-pack of Walgreens' excellent house brand beer, the clerk asked: "Do you want that in a bag?"

I said, no, I'll just tie the six-pack to my belt and walk down the street and pull off the cans and chug them as I go along, the way the Canadians do --- of course I want it in a bag.

The provision of a bag to shopping customers is a convenience stemming from the free-market understanding that the consumer is king. Bags for American shoppers are as customary as providing cream and sugar for a restaurant customer's coffee.

But apparently infected with some corporate fixation on "going green," Walgreens has decided to "go Soviet" --- and to let the customer be damned.