Checks in the mail

I don't write checks very often anymore, and I don't usually carry much cash on me. I pay for most things with my check card (debit card), usually by running it through VISA as a credit transaction. I can pay most of my bills online now. So I don't write checks very often.

I still have the occasional bill or payment that requires a check, so I finally got low enough on my starter checks that I decided to order a new batch of checks. I went to Checks Unlimited and found the type I had used on a previous account and liked so much (Autumn Leaf). I submitted my order, and a couple of weeks later got the checks in the mail.

What was different this time, though, is that they send you a relatively flat package instead of boxes of checks. They say this is so they won't be obvious to thieves as check boxes. Here's the interesting part, though. They include flat, unfolded check boxes, so you can fold the boxes into shape and store your checks in them.

Frankly, the package they sent the checks in is pretty sturdy, and I wouldn't mind just storing them in that. But I couldn't resist putting the boxes together, so I sorted out the checks and stuck them in the boxes numerically. A relatively simple activity, but still one of those slightly time-consuming activities when you have nothing better to do.

It's not quite as elaborate as these Phillip-Morris mailings I occasionally get. Somehow I ended up on their mailing list, and they started sending me stuff. Colorful, extravagant, fold-outs, boxes, flaps, and other interesting things. Once I got a free cd, but it was nothing I was terribly interested in. But for the most part, their mailings don't provide any activity as useful as the check boxes. Ah, well, back to a real hobby, like blogging.


Robin Hood

Mill Creek Entertainment, a company best-known for its cheap dvd's, has just recently released the complete first season of The Adventures of Robin Hood, the 1950's television show that starred Richard Greene:

I had seen a few of the episodes and greatly enjoyed them, in spite of their half-hour length and being in black and white. I picked up this collection at 'evil' Wal-mart for five bucks and have been watching these early episodes in chronological order. These are fun shows to watch, and they stayed fairly close to the legend of Robin Hood.

Everybody knows about Robin Hood and his Merry Men. They stole from the rich and gave to the poor, right? Well, not exactly. They didn't steal from the rich merely because they were rich, but because they gained their riches unjustly. Robin and his men helped those who were being wronged or too heavily taxed by Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Thus, some libertarians see Robin Hood as a good guy. And to a large degree, I suppose we can consider him to be so. Still, we should probably consider just what Robin Hood was trying to defend. Prince John was the brother of King Richard, and John was ruling in Richard's absence. Robin was fighting against John's corruption and evil, and the sheriff was his best-known enforcer of John's laws and taxes. And yet, John was the rightful ruler in Richard's absence. And why was Richard absent? Because he was away on the continent fighting in the Crusades against Muslims! Perhaps the heavy taxes were necessary to pay for Richard and his army while they were fighting. And Robin himself is usually considered to be one of Richard's knights who, for one reason or another, had to leave the Crusades and return home.

Basically, though, Robin was awaiting the time when 'good' King Richard returned from the Crusades and once again ruled justly over his people. So, according to Robin, good government is just a matter of having the 'right people' in rule. That doesn't seem too libertarian to me.

Of course, like most legends, the legend of Robin Hood grew and changed over time. Many of the legend's best known features came much later in history, and the earliest stories of Robin Hood bear little resemblance to the portrayals by Errol Flynn or Richard Greene. More about the legend and history can be found on the link in the title of this post, or at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Hood

I've also seen the 1922 Douglas Fairbanks silent film Robin Hood, and it was really quite impressive for its time. Well worth watching if you like Robin Hood.


Say "emulsified"!

If you read "The Little Things", you'll remember that I talked about the difference between individually wrapped slices of American cheese and sliced cheese that's not individually wrapped.
Wikipedia comes through to explain the difference:

The individually wrapped cheese slices are typically the least like natural cheese. These "slices" are actually individually poured onto each plastic wrapper and then set to emulsify. Small (e.g., 16 to 36 slice) blocks of presliced, but not individually-wrapped, American Cheese are also marketed, often with the branding "deluxe" or "old fashioned".

Viva, la difference! You can go to the linked article for the full story on American cheese.