I get a daily newsletter from the National Retail Federation. I had to read this little blurb three or four times before I could fathom how asinine it is:
"Demand for steep discounts is fueling retail theft, the NRF said Tuesday. Web sites such as eBay and Craigslist as well as flea markets can be sources of stolen merchandise, including video games and expensive purses. This week, three federal bills aimed at fighting retail crime will be introduced in Congress. "Consumers are looking at alternative resources to find products," the NRF's Joe LaRocca said."
So, at first I thought, Are they saying that people want discounts so much that they're taking the old five-finger variety? Then I realized that they're trying to say that eBay and Craigslist sell things at such a discount and are so popular that they're tempting people into shoplifting just to provide products to sell on those sites at an appropriately discounted price.
Hey, ever consider that it might be poverty that's driving crime? Isn't increased theft one of the most utterly predictable results of widespread economic desperation? "Demand for discounts fuels theft"?! Poverty fuels theft. Jesus.
Like everybody I've been looking for simple ways of saving scratch. One is cook at home more, with fresh ingredients, many of them cheap organics bought in bulk at Costco. Before a couple of days ago, I'd never made pasta, but it turns out that it's super fun and incomparably delicious.
First off, you DON'T need a machine! Just a rolling pin. And flour, eggs, salt and olive oil. Here's a site that tells you how.
Oh, and you don't need a drying rack either. I just laid my noodles out on wax paper and it worked great!
Just got back from the New York International Gift Show, which went okay; our neighbors were envious that we were writing so many orders, though our totals were down markedly from past years. I did a lot of eavesdropping and heard a lot of woeful laments. This economy blows.
The big bright spot in my weekend was taking the subway to Brooklyn and meeting up with friends to see the Luminescent Orchestrii. I was enticed by this review in the New Yorker; my friends already knew all about these guys, and were planning on going to the show anyway. Everyone danced, kissed and screamed. Buy their album (!):
484 Union Ave., Brooklyn (718-609-0484)—Jan. 24: Sxip Shirey, like the mad impresario of an international punk circus, leads the Brooklyn-based Luminescent Orchestrii on resophonic guitar, with frequent recourse to melodeon, bullhorn harmonica, and various windup toys, bells, and whistles. The band’s two fiddlers, Rima Fand and Sarah Alden, are as adept at Gypsy violin as they are at Appalachian folk raunch. Benji Fox-Rosen favors a pint-sized double-bass, and adds jazz and tango to the mix. Their influences include Doc Watson, Igor Stravinsky, the Dead Kennedys, and the Bulgarian Women’s Choir. Just the crew to play your wedding, if you’re a nice Bulgarian girl marrying into a freak show. Joining them to celebrate the release of their third CD, “Neptune’s Daughter,” are the percussionist Mathias Kunzli, the artsy human beat-box master Adam Matta, and the clarinettist Greg Squared. With the klezmer clarinettist Michael Winograd and Oren Marshall, on electric tuba, as the opening acts.