All the crap that my new Sony camera came in.

One of our elite Opera bloggers, Richard, did a post recently about the
trade crunch and the fact that cargo ships worldwide seem to be sitting
around at various ports simply because nobody is shipping much of anything.
Or at least far less than normal. And how that was due to the fact that
nobody seems to be buying anything due to the world-wide economic crisis.

In the Comments to that post, I happened to mention that I had recently
bought a new Sony point-n-shoot camera, but that I doubted it would
take up much room in a cargo hold unless it were surrounded by one hell
of a lot of those styrofoam cheetos things that they use for packaging.

Loku, another of our bloggers, responded to that, saying that he didn't
know what the cheetos things were. In case you don't know, here's what
one style looks like:

The ones above look more like pellets for pellet stoves. Most of the
ones I come across are white in color and look a bit larger and really
do look like Cheetos brand cheese snacks.

The box containing the box for my new camera didn't use the cheetos
things. It used the normal sheet on the bottom of stuff that I think is
called bubble wrap. It also used small sealed plastic bags filled with
air. The bags of air were new to me. I had never seen them before.
Here's what similar ones look like:

I took a look at the little bags. The printing on them indicated that
they had been manufactured by FP International. FP is a U.S. based
company with manufacturing plants in California, Kentucky, Georgia,
Illinois, Kentucky, Delaware and Massachusetts. They also have subsid-
iaries in France, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
And they have a sales office in Australia. So they really are an
international company — that's not just bullshit. Somebody recently
commented that here in the U.S. these days that we don't produce
anything, we merely consume. The American manufacturing base has
just seemed to walk off into the sunset over the past 20 years or so. So it
was good to run across a company here who was actually manufacturing
stuff, making products for consumption.

The little bags my camera box was packed in are called CELL-O Air
Cushions, and air cushions seem to be the generic name for this type
of bag. I also found out that the cheetos things that I mentioned are
called loosefill, or polystyrene loosefill. And I guess the non-technical
term for them is "peanuts" and not "cheetos."

But what really got me roaming the FP website was this line on the page
talking about the air cushions:

"For service and technical support, click here."

Technical support? For bags of air? Wow.

"The Field Service Division has a trained staff of service technicians,
operates a toll-free technical support line, handles spare part ordering
and distribution and runs training schools at three FPI locations."

In case you want the telephone number for that tech support, it's US
708-877-5180. Oh, I am so tempted. It's like my Uncle Paul used to say,
"If only a person had time to mess with this stuff." I would just love
to call them up and tell them that I'm having problems with my air
cushions. Is it safe to pop them with a needle to get them to collapse?
Can I use them as breast implants?

But it doesn't stop there.

"Training sessions are held at FP International facilities in Thornton,
Illinois, Commerce, California and Newark, Delaware."

Training sessions? I suppose they mean training on the machines which
blow up the air cushions prior to shipping. Because I hope that nobody
would be so stupid as to need to be trained on how to use bags of air.

I have to tell you, though, I'm not going to give FP International too
much shit about this. It is rare these days to find a company that
actually backs up its product to this extent, who generally seems to care
in this period when most companies are being run by officers who just
seem to want to run the company into the ground — and then take off
with their million dollar golden parachutes.

Which brings us back to the global economic crisis.

Me and my new breasts, courtesy of FP International.
I think those are definitely D-cups.