Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A REALLY CRAZY RECESSION REACTION STORY


I've been to Stamford-- way back in the mid 90's with Sheldon Craig-- who I haven't seen or heard from in many years. But we left New York City by train and went on a one day trip to Mark Twain's old house, which by the way is right next door to the old house of Louisa May Alcott, the author of "Little Women". Twain's house was amazing and it was quite a treat for me. Stamford was known as Rippowam by the Native American inhabitants to the region, and the very first European settlers to the area also referred to it as such. The name was later changed to Stamford after a town in Lincolnshire, England. The deed to Stamford was signed on July 1, 1640 between Captain Turner of the New Haven Colony and Chief Ponus. By the Eighteenth century, one of the primary industries of the town was merchandising by water, which was possible due to Stamford's proximity to New York. In 1692, Stamford was home to a less famous witch trial than the well-known Salem witch trial, which also occurred in 1692. The accusations were less fanatical and smaller-scale but also grew to prominence through gossip and hysterics.Starting in the late 19th century, New York residents built summer homes on the shoreline, and even back then there were some who moved to Stamford permanently and started commuting to Manhattan by train, although the practice became more popular later. Stamford incorporated as a city in 1893. But the reason I write about my memories of this town today and my memories of it is due to a very odd story that appeared in this morning's USA TODAY. Of course the recession has caused job losses, and famous companies like Ritz Camera and the Reader's Digest failing. It has caused people to lose their homes and steal clothes off the clothesline-- and that you can figure out why! But believe it or not Stamford and other cities in Connecticut have a new crime that has been created-- and the reason the paper says is all being blamed on the recession. The crime although petty is becoming very alarming to local merchants. And that's because what is being stolen from stores is now growing to quantities that are really alarming. One guy in Stamford was busted for being caught with eight hundred packages of this. Another five hundred and eighty-seven. A third guy was caught with four hundred and there were a total of seven more arrests in which the thieves had at least two hundred and fifty packages in their position. No, its not cans of coffee. It's not apples or oranges. It's not cigarettes-- that would be easy to understand. The thieves were trying to resell them to kids and adults alike and so far the number of thieves in any quantity has now risen to twenty-six in one month. Oh yeah, its not condoms either. What's been stolen and then is being re-sold to kids and adults alike--It's.... now, get ready, friends, because this is a strange one and I can't figure out this one........
It's packages of CHEWING GUM-- mostly Wriggley's but also Clove and Trident. All stolen like the little coffee creamers at Seven-Eleven. And being re-sold at street corners. Now that's weird. Eight hundred packages of Juicy Fruit? Now if you're gonna steal something and re-sell it-- why CHEWING GUM? The world is a very strange place. Now wouldn't dear old Mark Twain or Will Rodgers have a field day with that one. I continue working in Alhambra until Friday and then go over to the Magic Kingdom for Saturday and Sunday training. I have to buy black laced shoes. I hate laces on shoes-- oh well. I also talked to an old friend yesterday who's a Franciscan scholar on American History and Political science. I hadn't talked with him in years but he found me though the Creative Horizons web site. Boy, did he give me an education. History and political science fascinate me. They were my minors in college. Robert of Smooth Sounds also called me. It seems someone has stolen old masters from a studio in which he used to work and put them in their entirety on a web site and is selling them. He wants to sue. Well, that's all fine and good but I advised him to review his copyright certificate, and then enlist a take down artist and a musicologist to determine how much copyright infringement is involved here. To go into court and sue based only on what is heard on a recording master puts the work up for speculation and conjecture. But if a take down artist puts this material down as an arrangement and this printed material is also brought into court, the speculation and conjecture disappear. I also advised him to copyright the sheet music after he has assembled all of this into a single book. Poor George Harrison found this out the hard way after he was sued over the song "My Sweet Lord" by the composer of "She's So Fine" Copyright is a really important issue to do right and maintain properly. Well, until next time. And to Stamford residents I ask the question: "Does your chewing gum lose it's flavor on the bed post overnight?"

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