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It's The Law 


It's The LawBy Gene Lazo

I had to mail a package the other day so I went to the post office substation in Overstreet Mall. While waiting in line, I read some of the signs of welcome they had plastered all over the place: "No credit OR debit cards accepted," "Wait HERE until called," "Avert YOUR eyes, direct eye contact with postal employees NOT allowed." I then came across one that threw me. It said, "Due to increased security recommendations cell phone calls will not be allowed at postal windows."

I wondered just what sort of security breach using a cell phone created. Did they expect a terrorist to call in an air strike? Have cell phones escalated from weapons of mass annoyance to weapons of mass destruction? Or was it something more subtle like, "If we can't stop yakking long enough to mail a letter, anthrax-laced or otherwise, the terrorists have won."

The other thing I wondered about was who was making these increased security recommendations. My guess is it's probably the same guy who figured taking away on-street parking makes Charlotte a safer city. Perhaps this is really a ruse to get somebody to use mass transit; if Biff and Muffy aren't going to get on a bus, maybe a terrorist who is otherwise forced to park eight blocks away will. Plus, the danger of terrorists driving while talking on cell phones is reduced if they're all on buses.

Possibly, my confusion just reveals my lack of understanding of not only homeland security but of law enforcement in general. If that's the case, I figure I must not be the only one. So, the theme for this week's Beggar's Banquet is eating and thinking like a security enforcement officer.

Krispy Kreme Donuts: Vernon Rudolph began selling Krispy Kremes on July 13, 1937 in Winston-Salem. He originally sold his donuts wholesale to grocery stores, but the aroma of the baking donuts and sugar glaze lured people to his shop, begging to buy them direct. Rudolph cut a hole in the wall and the "Hot Now" craze was born.

Pros: Like eating sugarfied air when they're hot.

Cons: Incredibly ordinary when they cool off. When the "Hot Now' sign is lit, a crowd (especially at the drive-thru) will form. The sign draws Krispy Kreme Freaks much like the light at the end of the tunnel beckons believers to heaven.

Price: Original glazed are 65 cents each, $4.49 per dozen, 75 cents and $4.99 per dozen for assorted filled.

Fun Facts to Know and Tell: Once only a local regional favorite, Krispy Kremes are now available to police officers in over 30 states. They make over 5 million donuts a day and over 2 billion per year.

Dippin' Donuts: Located at 9101-110 Monroe Road in Charlotte, Dippin' Donuts is a privately owned business. Their apple fritters have a light apple taste with a nice texture and a sweet glaze that goes well with coffee. The Boston creams have a tasty custard filling the way they're supposed to instead of that icing filling you get at the supermarket. Appetizing, "old school" donuts.

Pros: They generally throw in some free donut holes with each order. They taste good even when not hot.

Cons: Only one location, no drive-thru so you have to get out of the patrol car.

Price: Regular donuts are 60 cents each and $4.99 per dozen (slightly higher for "fancies").

Fun Facts to Know and Tell: Homer Simpson's favorite donuts are the pink ones. Homer's most memorable donut quotes: "Donuts. . .is there anything they can't do?" and "American donuts. Glazed, powdered, and raspberry-filled. Now, how's that for freedom of choice?"

Watching COPS on TV while eating donuts: COPS became the first "reality" show when it hit the FOX airwaves 14 years ago. While very few critics thought it would last, COPS has become one of TV's longest-running shows, recently airing its 500th program. Its episodes feature drunken quarrels, abusive spouses and people who are seldom surprised to see police officers asking them questions in their living room while they watch Gong Show re-runs in their underwear.

Pros: COPS sates America's innate voyeuristic craving. It makes you feel better about yourself knowing that there are people out there more pathetic than a person sitting on a couch watching TV and eating donuts alone on a Saturday night.

Cons: A "desk job" and donuts can be an express trip to the cardiac unit.

Price: Included with cable, seen on WCCB Fox 18 in Charlotte.

Fun Facts to Know and Tell: Producer John Langley was a struggling documentary filmmaker when he pitched a low-budget show to the fledgling FOX television network. Since its debut in 1989, the show has taken us on patrol with over 1,500 officers. COPS has never visited Charlotte, though we are reportedly on its list of potential future cities. Perhaps our tough stance on terrorist cell phoners will put us over the top. *

You can e-mail Gene Lazo at

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