Friday, April 29, 2011

Unmarked Squad Cars

Unmarked police cars are supposed to be hard to spot, right? Well in the States, they're pretty easy to identify - by no fewer than three characteristics:

1. Most of them are Dodge Chargers
Whereas the police car ("interceptor") of choice has always been the Ford Victoria, police departments across the US think the best way to avoid detection is to disguise their vehicles as muscle cars. Perhaps they should be more imaginative in their range of models.

Most unmarked vehicles are black
More lack of imagination on the part of the nation's finest. And since relatively few regular cars are black, unmarked squad cars tend to stand out like a sore thumb - not least because they look like normal police vehicles, albeit without flashing lights on the roof or the stickers on the side.

3. Police vehicles have what looks like an extra wing mirror
This is the biggest giveaway of all. Because police officers want to be able to illuminate stopped cars at night without having to get out, they have a spotlight mounted next to the driver's (and sometimes the passenger's) side wing mirror, which they can move around using a clumsy-looking handle that extends inside the vehicle.

As a result, when you see a black Dodge Charger with what appears to be double wing mirrors, you have plenty of time to slow down, stop texting, put down your beer and hide your unlicensed guns before the cops see you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Lost: One season. Answers to the name of "Spring".

Spring is a friendly, three-month season whose most distinctive features are sunshine, mild temperatures, leafy trees, flowers and birdsong.

Spring first went missing about a week ago, although it briefly reappeared. However, Spring disappeared completely during a freak winter storm on April 18, which brought about two inches of snow. It has not been seen since.

If found, please return to its owners in suburban Michigan, who miss it dearly and look forward to being reunited with their beloved Spring as soon as possible.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fighting Disease Through Poor Nutrition

We had another WTF moment at our children's elementary (i.e. junior) school this week.

My son came home a few days ago to tell us that his class was collecting money for charity. It sounded like a good idea, so I asked him to explain more.

Apparently some people from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation had come to the school not only to promote their "loose change" fundraiser, but also to inform and educate the kids about type 1 diabetes, a talk which, I must presume, also included the causes thereof, one of which is poor nutrition.

Because the US is a meritocracy par excellence, in which it seems that nothing is done without a payoff, and adults and children alike are routinely enticed into doing good by being offered an incentive, the JDRF spokespeople said they'd organise a special treat for the class that raised the most money for their research into the treatment and prevention of juvenile diabetes.

So what prize did this healthcare charity choose to offer the children?

A pizza party.