It’s been cold lately and I’ve spent far too much time inside doing research on the internet. Sometimes I get distracted.
My computer lets me check out really expensive stuff from stores whose showrooms I would never visit and whose wares I would be too poor to even look at.
Take for example the Titanic-DNA watch by Swiss watch maker Romain Jerome. It is made out of scrap from the actual Titanic. That’s rare watch making stuff. The watch sells for $75,000, but, that’s not the most unusual or expensive of the Romain Jerome inventory. The company makes another watch, also from Titanic materials, that only tells you whether it is day or if it is night. Apparently if you’re rich enough to buy the $300,000 timepiece, the meeting starts when you get there. The watches sold out within 48 hours of their launch. The article I read didn’t say how many watches were in that initial batch.
Watches are not the only expenditure of the rich and famous that leave me shaking my head in wonder. Apparently there are now people who call themselves “baby consultants.” These entrepreneurs will, for a fee, take care o those many preparations required for having a new baby in the family. Overworked, pregnant, professionals can hire consultants to shop for baby’s clothes, strollers, car seats, cribs, decorate the nursery, make recommendations for the most posh birthing centers and schedule spa treatments for the expectant mommy. They will come up with lists of appropriate names to give the new baby, a trademark which sets him or her apart for the rest of his or her life. These kids will not be one of twelve “Marys” in their class. The consultants will even prescreen prospective nannies.
As a former working mother, I wonder how these overachieving expectant mothers will be able to handle the sleepless nights and unrelenting screams of a colicky infant along with their 60 hour a week profession? Perhaps they can outsource the rest of the demands of parenting as well.
The economy and fuel costs seem to have inspired some to strange feats of larceny. According to the Associated Press, there has been an outbreak of theft of used cooking oil. A San Francisco grease hauler is increasingly finding empty used oil barrels at the back of his usual restaurant stops. It is costing him thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Perhaps the police will have to start pulling over all cars with exhaust that smells like French fries and ask to see a receipt for the used deep fryer fat.
Other thieves, capitalizing on a rising scrap iron market, are stealing man hole covers. The city of Philadelphia lost more than 600 of the heavy, cast iron lids last year. Chicago streets had 200 missing in one month. Since the covers weigh a couple of hundred pounds each, it requires heavy lifting, but not much work. The thefts are explained by the fact that scrap metal prices reportedly have gone from $77 a a ton in 2001 to more than $500 currently.
The real money in metal, however, is in copper. Rising copper prices have made copper pipe and wire a frequently stolen commodity. Not only are whole reels of the wire being stolen from construction sites, but thieves regularly strip it out of abandoned and vacant properties. Thieves who strip pipes and wires from vacant houses obviously are risk takers or not very smart. Some have been electrocuted when they neglected to disconnect the power before stripping the wires. Other houses have been flooded when the pipes have been cut out or blown up after the gas lines have been taken.
The slumping economy has had a silver lining for some. The makers of Spam, the infamous meat in a can, report that sales for their product is up seven percent from last year, in spite of a substantial increase in the price of a 12 ounce can. I guess it’s still a good deal.
This is just a sampling of the mountain of useless information waiting for us at the click of a button. Oh, the things we discover while trying to overcome procrastination and writer’s block.
Copyright © 2015 Janet Jacobson and Sustaining the Northern Plains