Having dealt satisfactorily with some of the big issues elsewhere, I can turn my attention to some of the less pressing stuff. Those of you who have read my solutions to the Middle East, world Hunger, Poverty, Global Warming and slavery will be glad to know that I am still working on the details of other issues:
I can’t tell you how much grief this stuff has caused.
Today, in the interests of improving my sadly deficient multitasking skills, (simultaneously walking/eating) I was walking across the kitchen floor, eating a scone covered in the stuff when a dribble started running off the edge. It dripped down my bathrobe, and onto the floor. I stepped in it. Of course.
Also, since you can’t transfer runny jam from the jar to the scone on a knife, I try to do it by tipping the jar. This gets jam all over the mouth of the jar, into the (what do you call those spiral things anyway?) spirals, and onto the table, which may or may not be covered by a cloth. The jam starts to run down the jar, creating the phenomenon of sticky-messiness or messy-stickiness.
In the case of jars equipped with raised lettering, you can’t tell if it’s just lettering, or the much dreaded m-stickiness, or s-messiness. You may have to run the jar under the hot tap to remove this, but don’t forget to put the lid on first!
One of my first stabs at this problem was to put the jam in the freezer, but then it freezes into a bright red disk, which is reassuringly solid, but unfortunately, just a little wider than the mouth of the jar, and has to be hacked out piecemeal with a Phillips head screwdriver. This does little for the taste element. My next attempt was to save up lots of used jam containers from restaurants, fill them with the runny stuff and freeze them as individual portions. This is a lot of work, and very messy if you have your stock of jam in a ziplock bag and the power goes out. (It’s even messier if you have them in no bag, or a bag of the non-ziplock variety, by the way.) I am exploring a more radical solution at the present time, ie, buying solid or semi-solid varieties of jam, but I agree with those who say that runny jam is probably going to be with us for a while.
The Drug War
I admit this is tricky one. The current solution of targeting the people involved in selling and using drugs, apart from the upper management and board level investors is a good one, and has managed to kill, maim or imprison a gratifyingly large number of miscreants. The war is not won, but next year will mark the hundredth anniversary of the first law to outlaw opium, and so it’s early days yet. Only time will tell if this approach is the right one. The price has been high. There are hundreds of inner city neighbourhoods where public order has had to be subcontracted to multinational pharmaceutical interests; the proportion of the US population in prison or under some sort of administrative supervision for drug offences is the highest anywhere in the world, including Iran and North Korea. Mexico is essentially a failed state that shares a very porous border with the US.
Some people argue that using the law to enforce moral and/or life-style standards is socialism, and we should let our young people develop their own standards and sink or swim according to the strength or weakness of their own characters. Unfortunately, time and again, our young people have shown themselves to be weak and self-indulgent, and unable to make good choices.
It’s true that the interdiction of drugs has put our police agencies under enormous stresses, and for a cop, if you have to choose between getting a briefcase full of money or a bullet in the neck, you have a difficult moral dilemma. Nevertheless, we should continue to encourage ethical behaviour in our police forces, and make sure that dirty cops go to jail.
There is a parallel here, with the other intractable problem I mentioned at the start of this post. More research, more Task Forces are needed if we are ever going to make progress in the problems of runny jam and substance abuse.