Second Guessing Knock Offs

In the past, I’ve talked about buying knockoff watches and other ‘almost’ things on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. You may decide for yourself whether my purchases have been good or not.

I really didn’t think there was harm in what I was doing. I wasn’t going to buy the high end, name brand, real deal anyway. I find it tough to believe anyone’s buying the Roleckcs and eschewing the Rolex. They certainly never lost a sale from me.

In the past I heard shadow stories about how buying knockoffs support al-Qaeda. Seriously, is there a story with less credence?

Here’s the part of the equation I never thought about. Knockoffs aren’t limited to designer clothes and accessories. There are knockoff drugs and auto parts being made. These knockoffs replace items that provide ‘mission critical’ functions.

My watches come from China (though the case may say otherwise). So did the knockoff Colgate toothpaste, with poisonous additive. Did one beget the other?

If my $30 watch fails, who cares? It’s different if it’s my Lipitor or airplane engine component.

We have become very dependent on the Chinese to make stuff for us. They do, on the cheap. But we’re also buying into their way of doing business, which doesn’t seem to have the same respect for intellectual property as we’re used to. On top of that, there is little regard for the manufacturing employees&#185, much less the consumers at the end of the trail.

Corners are cut. Ingredients aren’t what they seem. The controls we expect aren’t in place. Does anyone police it?

I don’t want to think my purchases encouraged this… but maybe they did

It’s troubling. I’ll admit it.

&#185 – A nameless friend, in China to produce some news stories, visited a plant where workers were plating metal, dipping it, along with their unprotected hands and arms, into a mysterious chemical solution. As toothless as EPA and OSHA are, I can’t imaging that happening here.

T.O To Go

A few minutes ago, Helaine yelled to me upstairs. “Are you going to write about the Eagles in the blog?”

That was her way of saying, “Write about the Eagles in your blog.” OK – who am I to resist, especially after such an emotional victory.

If you’re not a football fan, let me get you caught up in about ten seconds.

The Eagles are Philadelphia’s football team. They used to have a player… a star player, named Terrell Owens. Though he was a pain in the ass, he was our pain in the ass. At least he was until he became such a pain he threatened to create dissension within the team.

T.O. was let go.

A guy’s got to earn a living, so Terrell to his number 81 and went to the Dallas Cowboys. In Philadelphia, the Cowboys are tied with the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Kim Il Jung at the bottom of the popularity polls.

To make things a little juicier, T.O. was involved in some sort of incident with the Dallas police. Whether he attempted to commit suicide or just had an accident – who knows? The next day he was practicing on the field and smiling. It was weird.

Today the Cowboys came to play the Eagles for the first time since Terrell left. Fox saw fit to make it their marquee game, shown nationwide at 4:15 PM EDT. Anyone even peripherally connected with sports was talking about it. There was no end to the hype.

Quickly, the Eagles went to a 10-0 lead. Helaine and I pinched ourselves. Then we remembered, this is football the king of non-linear games. Ten points in the first quarter means nothing.

We were so right.

The game seesawed back and forth. Donovan McNabb, Eagles quarterback had a pretty good game. T.O. was ineffective. Still, the game was close.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles were up by seven, when a missed tackle, long pass and offensive pass interference penalty (all on the same play) moved the Cowboys eighteen feet from tying the game.

We had seen this before. So close – yet so far. When the Giants tied the Eagles in week two, they went on to win. Would the same fate befall the Eagles again?

Simply – no.

With the Cowboys charging, Drew Bledsoe threw to the end zone. The pass was caught, but by the Eagles Lito Sheppard who scampered 102 yards for an Eagles touchdown. Case closed.

Here’s the one awful part of this game. We were on an emotional roller coaster, as if it were meaningful in our lives. It’s only a game, but we allow the football season in general and the Eagles in particular to stake a claim on our lives.

Already, in the Eagles loss to the Giants, we took an emotional hit that lasted a few days. We were depressed as if something really awful had gone on.

Even though I can intellectualize the real meaning of football, that’s not strong enough to overcome my emotional attachment. It’s just as bad for Helaine, maybe worse.

The Eagles were picked to finish last in the NFC East. Now they’re leading the way. The emotion has just begun.

The Moral High Road

I’m not a fan of Saddam Hussein. He is as bad as it gets – a man willing to kill to eliminate or intimidate his enemies in the most vile ways. I do not shed a tear for him or his fate.

Sometimes, however, I think we lose sight of the fact that we are judged by the world for our actions, not his. Whoever thought it was a good idea to take photos of Saddam in his underwear and then pass them out like some high school prank, has injured all of us greatly.

Make no mistake, it doesn’t take Saddam off the hook, but we are losing… maybe have lost… the moral high ground. This is not the first public display which reflects badly on America.

Having morality on our side won’t help us with Al Qaeda or other terrorists, but it is important with much of the rest of the world.

The photos are an embarrassment. It is a shame.