Friday, April 23, 2010

Signs that the economy is bad: the body parts edition

Welcome to another edition of "Signs that the economy is bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is the semi-regular feature (namely I do it when I find the time and feel like it) where I go around the Internet looking for those oh so subtle signs that the economy is still bad. Sure, there may be some optimist people out there trying to claim things are getting better. They are not fooling me. So, here are the stories for this week:

  • Things are so bad that people are losing body parts. As my two readers likely know, the Apple iPad is a hot and popular commodity at this time. Thieves are out in force to steal them when the opportunity arises, and if they have to take a piece of someone's finger to do it, well that is a small price for the thieves. The poor man, who went to buy an iPad for a coworker, ended up losing part of his pinky finger when the thief grabbed the bag from his hand, taking the finger along with the merchandise off his hand (found via Obscure Store and Reading Room).
  • There is a new booming market for bull semen. Yes, you read that right. Apparently high quality bull semen, which is used to help breed high quality cattle, is a hot commodity in the black market. The product can be valued at least 20K according to the article (found via Obscure Store and Reading Room).
  • The U.S. birth rate is declining, and this is linked to the recession according to the Pew Research Center. According to the study, "the analysis suggests that the falloff in fertility coincides with deteriorating economic conditions." Could it possibly be that some people are being a bit more responsible, or at the very least, more cautious when it comes to deciding to have a child or not? Could it be some people are actually realistic and deciding to use contraception in this economy? And personally, I always wonder about stuff like this when the religious wingnuts who condemn contraception clearly show no regard for families who may have economic issues. Maybe we should have those wingnuts be the ones who pay for any unwanted children, since they seem so willing to judge and advocate personal responsibility in others but not themselves. Oh wait, deciding to put off having a child in order to maintain some economic balance would be personal responsibility. What a radical concept. I say provide the best sex education available to our youth, and I mean comprehensive sex education, and go from there. And in case any nutjob out there is planning on a flame about how "abstinence only" is the way to go, allow me to point you to some evidence to the contrary, like this study from SIECUS on "Sex Education in Mississippi: Why 'Just Wait' Just Doesn't Work" (link to press release. You can get the full report there as well).
  • And if the bull semen black market just does not work for you, maybe you can get into the Japanese stewardess uniforms black market. Japan Airlines is going bankrupt, and as a result, there is a booming black market for their stewardesses' uniforms. According to the article, "for decades, the crisp, no-nonsense outfits have appealed to male Japanese tastes. New Japan Airlines (JAL) uniforms have long been in demand in the local sex industry for customers keen on role-playing fantasies, while rare specimens that have actually been worn are hugely sought after by fetishists and are worth their weight in gold." If anyone takes a fetish seriously, it's the Japanese. So, with the airline going out of business, everything has to be liquidated, including the outfits (found via Boing Boing).
  • And speaking of airlines having financial troubles, you know that your airline is really down the crapper when it can't pay its stewardesses (or anyone else for that matter). Air Comet, a budget Spanish airline, went broke and stopped paying its workers. The stewardesses decided to make a nude calendar and sell it to raise some money (WARNING: Link NSFW for some. They do have some additional photos at the link for those interested).
  • Now, when you need to get sponsorships or sell advertising space to cover your final funeral costs, that is certainly a sign the economy is bad. Now I don't want to make light of this story about a dying man who is selling ad space on the urns that will hold his final remains, but there has to be something wrong with this world when such is necessary. On the other hand, he is handling it with some humor, and in the end, this is a story about a man who wants to make sure his wife is not burdened with the final expenses. I only wish I had some money to spare; I'd be happy to buy an ad. But I also think how long before other people feel a need to do this kind of thing?(Article found via AdFreak).
  • And a last minute entry. You have to wonder how could the economy be in any good shape when those tasked with being watchdogs so banks and financial institutions don't do shenanigans spend more time watching porn than doing their work. It turns out SEC staffers were downloading and watching massive amounts of porn while the economy was going down the crapper, you know, when all those banks and financial institutions were pretty much robbing us blind. Now, those who know me know I have a fairly liberal attitude when it comes to porn (heck, I like some porn), but for the deity of your choice, watch it in the privacy of your home, NOT at work. I would think this could go without saying, but apparently some people are not too bright.

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