Re: Not What It Looks Like

1

The underwear: a gift for my cousin. She's fussy and will only wear one kind of underwear and it can only be bought in NYC so my aunt asked me to pick some up for her.

The pillowcase: I had a nosebleed this weekend (as I do when I sleep when it's dry out) and didn't have time to wash the pillowcase when I was home. I didn't want the stain to set and by some logic thought it would make sense to bring it with me on the road, wash it when I did laundry there, and bring it back home clean.

The camera: my old camera, a gift for my brother.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 1:27 PM
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Too perfect.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 1:31 PM
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I have no idea where the three human toes came from, though.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 1:31 PM
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The list of addresses, officer? That's just my address book. Varying numbers of stars next to them? Um....


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 1:33 PM
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The first three comments are reserved for reader guesses, Becks.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 1:39 PM
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The bunny suit? No, it's just my, uh, Halloween costume. And I don't know how those holes in the fabric got there--I must have torn it accidentally.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 1:40 PM
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Takes me back to the pre-9/11 days of airport security. I did a college lit tour of Ireland, during which we (lamely) performed Yeats' "The Dreaming of Bones." In a misc. farmer's field we found some horse bones (we think?), and incorporated them into the play. I brought them home with me in my suitcase.

At US customs, the guy at the scanner asked me, "What's in the middle of your suitcase?" I paused, puzzled, and then said, "Oh! Bones!" Pause. "Horse bones."

The security guys looked at each other, and I casually picked up the bag and continued on through.

The end.


Posted by: Jon WR | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 1:47 PM
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The security guys looked at each other, and I casually picked up the bag and continued on through.

That's pretty remarkable, because they are usually fanatical about enforcing the agricultural import restrictions.

It used to be, back before the inspections were combined under CBP, that you got sent to a separate agricultural questioning area, where some USDA guy would grill you about whether you had any manure on your shoes. Back then, I figured the best way to bring a pound of smack into the country would be to let the ag guys find a ham, and then they would pat themselves on the back for saving American swine and let you right on through.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:15 PM
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Back then, I figured the best way to bring a pound of smack into the country would be to let the ag guys find a ham, and then they would pat themselves on the back for saving American swine and let you right on through.

My mother the flight attendant knew people who would smuggle forbidden meat-products into the country by putting a couple of tangerines or something in the top of the relevant piece of luggage. The Kennedy Airport Citrus Beagle would find the tangerines, they'd take them away from you and yell at you, and then they wouldn't look through the bag to find the ten pounds of uncured sausage.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:18 PM
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I was behind a woman in the TSA line one time (actually, it was pre-TSA, but same difference) when they asked her to open up her bag. The security guy pulls out a pair of handcuffs and holds them up. She didn't look like the type to embarass easily, but she was visibly mortified.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:19 PM
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I never mind the ag guys, because they are responding to a serious problem in a proportional fashion, rather than promoting fear to support a political agenda.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:19 PM
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The Kennedy Airport Citrus Beagle is a great phrase that deserves to be used elsewhere.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:21 PM
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I never mind the ag guys, because they are responding to a serious problem in a proportional fashion, rather than promoting fear to support a political agenda.

I don't particularly mind the customs inspection in general. I mean, someone has to control the borders and inspect for contraband. I declare stuff I buy abroad, and I get my drugs domestically.

BTW, I would not try the trick with the tangerines that LB mentions, because the SOP these days seems to be to x-ray every bag that gets tipped by the beagles. Also, the officers are usually very careful to ask you "Is that all that you have?" Making false statements to a federal officer is a serious offense.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:24 PM
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I never mind the ag guys, because they are responding to a serious problem in a proportional fashion, rather than promoting fear to support a political agenda.

Absolutely true.

However, I personally imported some mangosteens from Canada earlier this year, after establishing that the reason they were banned is because of concerns over tropical flies that might accompany them. I didn't see any flies, and figured that if it's safe to have them in Toronto it's safe to have them in other places where it gets down to 0 degrees in the winter, so it seemed morally acceptable.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:30 PM
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Someone I talked to claims to have, back in the day, set up his friends for uncomfortable security screenings by slipping aluminum foil silhouettes of firearms into their books.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:30 PM
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x-ray every bag that gets tipped by the beagles

Yeah, now you have to smuggle your ten pounds of uncured sausage the old-fashioned way: wrapped in condoms and hidden in your butt.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:30 PM
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Always practice safe smuggling.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:32 PM
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14: The ban on citrus from Canada always amuses me more than it should, because sometimes the offending citrus is from Florida. They're Florida oranges! They're citizen oranges! They have passport!

The ban on beef blows.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:37 PM
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I didn't see any flies, and figured that if it's safe to have them in Toronto it's safe to have them in other places where it gets down to 0 degrees in the winter, so it seemed morally acceptable.

The problem is the fly eggs on the fruit, which are invisible to the naked eye and not necessarily killed by cold.

I think there is room for debate about some of the ag regulations, but the "no fruits and vegetables" rule is reasonable.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:37 PM
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I would not try the trick with the tangerines that LB mentions

Oh, yeah, that's totally pre-9/11. This is Mom's stories from the 80's and 90's.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:41 PM
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The "no fruits and vegetables" rule makes sense to me, but, c'mon, that raw-milk Camembert? That's mine, dude.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:44 PM
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That's mine, dude.

Condom. Cavity.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:48 PM
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c'mon, that raw-milk Camembert?

As I said, I think some of the regs are open to debate. Raw milk cheese aged less than 60 days is a good example, because the prohibition is meant to prevent a disease (listeriosis) in humans, not to protect animals or the agricultural economy (listeria is endemic to ruminants anyway). I tend to think people ought to be able to judge that risk for themselves (although the ability of listeria bacteria to cross the placental barrier complicates that calculus somewhat).

I tend to think cured hams ought to be allowed on the same theory, but there might be a biological rationale for that regulation that it not apparent to my untutored eyes.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:55 PM
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Condom. Cavity.

And the best part is, the smell won't give you away.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:56 PM
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A lot of the ag regs seem ridiculous. The raw milk cheese ban is a sin against cuisine.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:57 PM
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My thinking was that if it was allowed in our wintry neighbor to the north, it was only banned in our country because our country contains areas much closer to the equator. But I live close to Canada.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:57 PM
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16: Consider the lambskin (i.e. intestine) condom. You're describing ground meat wrapped in intestine three times. Why not just put the meat directly in your butt and avoid the redundancy?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:58 PM
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Raw milk cheese aged less than 60 days is a good example, because the prohibition is meant to prevent a disease (listeriosis) in humans

If this is true, then half of Europe would be suffering from listeriosis. Plus tourists like me who gorge themselves on good cheese every time we are over there. I mean, it's absurd.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 2:58 PM
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was behind a woman in the TSA line one time (actually, it was pre-TSA, but same difference) when they asked her to open up her bag. The security guy pulls out a pair of handcuffs and holds them up.

Which airport was this, KR?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:02 PM
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I've heard that in France, maybe ten people a year die from cheese-bacteria. I mean, it would suck to be one of them, but I'd rather eat delicious cheese than play the state lottery anyway.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:02 PM
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Why not just put the meat directly in your butt

I do believe that has always been the standard recommendation ATM.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:03 PM
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26: It helps when trying to control disease in general, to have border checkpoints even if the public health regimes on either side of the border are equally solid. It is simply a matter of keeping new mutations from spreading too quickly, ailments that one population is used to from hitting new population, etc.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:04 PM
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The raw milk cheese ban is a sin against cuisine.

My utilitarian calculus goes in favor of raw milk cheese as well, just as I don't cook chicken to the USDA recommended 180 Fahrenheit or beef to 160.

In all fairness, though, this is a public health regulation that applies to all cheeses, not just imports. The regulatory process has chosen a particular spot to mark the optimium between consumer utility and public health and safety. I would prefer to see the line drawn elsewhere, but fundamentally I respect the right of the rulemakers to draw this line in conformance with a democratic process, i.e. I'm not a libertarian.

In the same vein (no pun intended), I look upon smuggling of raw milk cheese as a cavalier's delict; anyone who will go to the trouble and take the risk deserves to enjoy the cheese.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:04 PM
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My mom came out to Portland once to do a forensic pathology consulting job, and on the way back home her carry-on was a hat box containing... a human brain!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:06 PM
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Which airport was this, KR?

LAX, if memory serves. Why? Was that you with the handcuffs?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:06 PM
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example: When I lived in Canton NY, I thought it would be nice to go up to Ottawa for the annual tulip festival and bring back some live tulips. But that is not allowed, because it can spread plant disease, even though tulips are legal on both sides of the border. I'm cool with this.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:06 PM
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Why? Was that you with the handcuffs?

No, but my wife has a humiliating story in which she's the woman with the handcuffs in her bag. Didn't happen at LAX, though.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:09 PM
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my wife has a humiliating story in which she's the woman with the handcuffs in her bag

It might not have been LAX. I'm a hyper-frequent flyer, so all the airports run together after a while for me.

It's also plausible that more than one woman has forgotten to put the handcuffs in the checked luggage.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:13 PM
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I think the most ridiculous agricultural restrictions are the ones put forth by the state of Arizona. They think they have a major citrus industry that they need to protect.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:13 PM
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I think the very definition of "hodgepodge" is for a putative invasive species to be permitted everywhere in North America except Hawaii, California, Arizona (understandable so far); Georgia; Pennsylvania; Vermont; New York City; Windsor, Ontario; Langley, British Columbia; and Douglas County, Nebraska.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:17 PM
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all the airports

One of Calvino's invisible cities is an endless airport. Another is an endless suburb.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:21 PM
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How about a delicious fruit that it is permitted in New York, Vermont and Connecticut, but prohibited in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:22 PM
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40: I was wondering, Why would anyone want a hedgehog, anyway? and then realized I was confusing it with the porcupine.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:26 PM
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Frankly, if I were a parent, I would be thankful for a hodgepodge of animal control laws. "I'm sorry Junior, but thanks to decades of ad-hoc regulatory overreach, no one named Junior can have a pet of any kind. I don't like it either, son."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:33 PM
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I don't like it you either, son.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:37 PM
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Who says what you tell your kids has to be true? According to my father, I still haven't reached the height limit at which one is awarded full citizenship and legal rights. They kept on moving it up an inch at a time while I was an adolescent -- I was all excited when I hit 5', but unfortunately the height limit had been raised to 5'2" by that time. And so on. I believe it's 5'9" now, and has been stable for a couple of decades, but so have I.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:37 PM
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When you're not pet people, the things you tell your kids do have some of the quality of dodges. "Your brother has asthma" was what we used, even after it was no longer true. That's actually why my daughter became fixated on an African Pygmy Hedgehog: hyper allergenic.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:38 PM
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I broke the law several times by travelling through Virginia with a bird my ex-wife and I owned.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:39 PM
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The funniest thing about the Arizona regulations mentioned in 39 is that the Navajo Nation, which is not on good terms with the state of Arizona despite occupying a huge chunk of it, refuses to go along with them, so there are checkpoints when you drive off the reservation where they stop you and ask where you're coming from. If it's on the reservation but within Arizona, they just wave you through; I assume if you say somewhere outside the state they ask you if you have any fruit like they do at the checkpoints that are actually along the state borders.

(Note: This is the way I remember it from when I lived in Arizona as a kid. They may not do this anymore.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:58 PM
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I think it is terrible that those birds are discriminated against on religious grounds.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 3:59 PM
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78: That's way kinky, apo. I think a lot of states outlaw bestiality, though, so...


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 6:50 PM
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77: Really, apo? The whole thing? You've surpassed yourself this time.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 6:55 PM
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Surprisingly, it is okay to import live mice from Canada.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 7:21 PM
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I betcha sometimes the little bastards even import themselves.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 7:42 PM
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Without a certificate of health?!?!?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 7:47 PM
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79: okay, now I totally don't believe you. How would it even have gotten back out that way without lube?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 7:51 PM
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55 to 78.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 7:56 PM
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This is about to turn into the Richard Gere thread, isn't it?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 8:02 PM
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Did I miss something delete-worthy? Or are there comments here that aren't visible to the naked eye?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 8:27 PM
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Someone respond to mrh so we can get to 78 already!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 8:29 PM
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You guys are making me laugh. Here's my contribution towards getting to 78.

(My Father was insane about smuggling raw milk cheeses back from France. He'd hide them in his luggage, not carry-on though, so when they arrived they'd have the texture of having been frozen and then thawed - totally ruined. He had authority issues and was compelled to do it again and again. So irritating.)


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 8:41 PM
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I believe the proper response is to somehow force apostopher to make the appropriately numbered comment.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 8:51 PM
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they'd have the texture of having been frozen and then thawed - totally ruined

You know, I never considered that the reason for liquids or lotions spilling all over one's luggage is sometimes that they freeze in the unheated baggage compartment.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 9:31 PM
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Seems like it would kill the pets that get shipped below.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 9:32 PM
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64 to 78, obvs.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 9:34 PM
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This is the thread to mention that Jessica Biel might have herpes too, right?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 9:42 PM
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I hear Tina Yothers is clean, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 9:44 PM
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they freeze in the unheated baggage compartment

The baggage compartment is heated and pressurized to the same extent as the passenger compartment (e.g. about the same as 8,000 feet above sea level). The stories you hear about stowaways freezing to death are people who stow away in the wheel wells, which are unheated.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 9:47 PM
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I'm not sure state laws on fruits and vegetables would run on an Indian reservation. I'm thinking not. But Congress may have done something with this . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 9:53 PM
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63: I think it might be the reduced pressure - typical cabin altitude on an airliner is something like 8000 feet.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 9:53 PM
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Tina Yothers

Mentioning that name is almost sure to make me laugh in just about any situation.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 9:54 PM
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71: Then I'm sure you're looking forward to her appearance in #78.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 9:55 PM
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She's notoriously flaky.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 9:56 PM
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I'm not sure state laws on fruits and vegetables would run on an Indian reservation. I'm thinking not.

They don't. Hence the situation in 49.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:01 PM
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It seems wrong to advance the thread with an on-topic comment, Teo.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:04 PM
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64: Sometimes animals do die in baggage. I'd much rather drive cross-country than put an animal into the baggage area, it freaks me out.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:07 PM
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74 -- Actually, I wouldn't rule it out, either. Laws regarding Indians are complicated.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:21 PM
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Well, it might apply in some cases, but most Arizona state laws are not enforced on the Navajo Reservation. Not going on Daylight Savings Time, for instance.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:34 PM
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Sorry, just got back from traveling across state lines. And boy does my ass hurt.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:34 PM
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Teo stole my 78.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:35 PM
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Damn, sorry. Should have checked the numbers.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:35 PM
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Teo is so banned that I can't even describe it using human language.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:37 PM
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82: chtkt! Paw-kik! Thla-o├Âurgh!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:42 PM
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0101010001100101011011110010000001101001011100110010000001100010011000010110111001101110011001010110010000101110


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:45 PM
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I blame CharleyCarp for using comment 77 to respond to me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:47 PM
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Teo, quick, run up to To'hajiilee. Laws against comment squatting won't be enforced on reservation land.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:52 PM
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There are much closer reservations than To'hajiilee. Sandia's like a mile away.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 10:55 PM
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87 -- Yeah, I know, but there are other good reasons to head up there. Better stargazing, for one.

The others I'll discuss over a beer (not in T!) next time I'm out your way.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-22-07 11:13 PM
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The baggage compartment is heated and pressurized to the same extent as the passenger compartment

This makes me wonder then- what was wrecking the cheeses? Was it stupider than this - was it that he was leaving them in the trunk of his car on the way home? This was a repeating thing that happened, we'd all have to try some of the wrecked hidden cheese and say "mmmm" like nothing was wrong.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 10-23-07 8:48 AM
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