My secret fear

A few weeks ago Alex Tabarrok asked readers to name their secret fear. Like Alex, I’d find working at a Starbucks pretty scary. But my real fear is that inspections like these will become more common:

“A male worker observed having bare-hand contact with one slice of ready-to-eat lime while placing on top of beer bottle for patron in bar,” the citation, dated Oct. 9, states. Bare-hand contact? How else is a bartender supposed to get a ready-to-eat lime slice into a bottle of Corona for a patron? According to the health department, there are two solutions.

Plastic gloves or tongs.

In other words, every time a bartender in New York City puts a lime slice in that Corona with bare hands, he or she is breaking the law.

Baristas and bartenders currently get off with pretty light attention from regulators (aside from rules about who we can serve alcohol to). My secret fear would be this changing for the worse, and me suddenly having to keep my muddler in a dipwell, handling fruit with tongs, no longer using eggs, leveling espresso with some stainless steel device, and forbidden from inserting speed pourers with my mouth to save precious seconds. OK, kidding about the last one, but the rest aren’t totally implausible.


Socks and Barney launches

My friend Steve from the coffee shop — purveyor of this bit o’ wisdom — has launched a new comic strip. Starring first animals Socks and Barney and running through the next election, the strip “will take a look at the primary and election processes through the most appropriate lens available: butt-sniffing, dumb animals.” Check it out here.


Spring, TX in the news

How come my hometown, full of generally nice people, never gets good headlines? Instead there’s this:

It’s become a Saturday morning ritual on a street corner in Spring.

Two dozen U.S. Border Watch volunteers, some wearing combat boots and military-style garb, face off with Hispanic day laborers and a half-dozen of their supporters…

”Thou Shall not Steal America,” reads a sign waved by a member of Border Watch, a group based in Spring.

A similar scene has unfolded over the past months at the busy intersection of Steubner-Airline and Wimbelton Estates Drive in northwest Harris County. The day laborers, many of them undocumented, gather each morning in the Speedo gas station parking lot.

And nearly every Saturday morning since September, dozens of Border Watch members have attempted to drive them away. They chant slogans, wave signs and film employers who pick up immigrants for work.

Between immigrants looking for productive work and protesters with nothing better to do than harass them, my sympathies lie with the former. This essay, in contrast, is lovely.


Prior art?

Debi points my attention to the SnūzNLūz, an April Fools’ Day alarm clock from ThinkGeek:

The SnūzNLūz uses the very complex psychological phenomemon known as ‘HATRED’. Basically it’s human nature to wish harm upon your enemies. Similarly, it’s human nature not to give your enemies gobs of cash so that they can grow big and dominate the world with their totally wrong, stupid and invalid point of view. ThinkGeek realized that. That’s why everytime you hit the snooze button, the SnūzNLūz will donate a specified amount of your real money to a non-profit you hate. The problem of sleeping in is solved.

Sound familiar? I like the new wrinkle about donating money to a hated enemy instead of to a beloved charity or wasting it in a paper shredder, but I think I had them beat on this one.

And yes, I’d definitely buy one if it were a real product.


Uri Geller on the Tonight Show

I haven’t caught any episodes of Phenomenon yet, but with Uri Geller back on network TV it’s fun looking back on this classic debunking orchestrated by James Randi and Johnny Carson.

The Tonight Show clip is about 5:45 in, but the whole video is worth watching for Randi’s Geller impersonation, Peter Popoff caught in the act, and a little “psychic surgery.”