My Losing Limerick

I wrote the following for a holiday limerick contest on Facebook. Alas, it lost:

Christmas lights on an evergreen tree,
A roaring fire, drinks après-ski.
A ham in the range,
Plus presents exchanged.
Wait, we’re Jewish! Quick—order Chinese!

My Petition on Whitehouse.gov

Here’s what I want: I want to buy products made in the U.S. whenever possible. It seems like a simple thing we can do to help create and preserve American jobs. It’s easy to do this in a store, where the product or package says “Made in USA” (too infrequently), “Made in China” (much more frequently), etc. It’s hard to do this online.

I want to have the same information when shopping online that I do in a brick-and-mortar store: I want to be able to know that a Poof-Slinky football is made in the U.S., whereas a Nerf football is not. (Amazon didn’t tell me this; USMadeToys.com did. I got a Poof-Slinky football for Toby for Hanukkah!)

As my friend Bill Mann points out, if you want to only buy Albanian-made or Azerbaijani-made, this would be beneficial to you as well.

I think this is a straightforward, sensible, nonpartisan, and easy-to-implement idea. If you agree, can you sign, forward, share, tweet, telegraph, etc.?

Here’s the title of my petition:

Require online retailers to provide country of origin information about products sold over the Internet.

And here’s the description:

In stores of all kinds in the U.S., just about any product—clothing, electronics, food—displays its country of origin (COO): on the product itself, on the packaging, and/or on display information nearby.

This helps us make informed judgements about product quality. It lets us be consumer patriots who support the American economy by buying American goods. But we can’t buy American if we don’t know COO.

COO is a field that already exists in product databases. It is easily propagated with preexisting data.

We Americans can be consumer patriots when we shop in brick-and-mortar stores. We should be able to do so when we shop online, too. Help the Web catch up with in-person commerce. Help us create and preserve good American jobs. Help us all have the chance to be online consumer patriots.

Thanks for your support!

Alas, Poor Country

From Act 4, scene 3.

An excerpt, with an ellipsis in the middle.

Text cut and pasted from MIT’s Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

ROSS

Alas, poor country!
Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot
Be call’d our mother, but our grave; where nothing,
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air
Are made, not mark’d; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy; the dead man’s knell
Is there scarce ask’d for who; and good men’s lives
Expire before the flowers in their caps,
Dying or ere they sicken.

MACDUFF

O, relation
Too nice, and yet too true!

MALCOLM

What’s the newest grief?

ROSS

That of an hour’s age doth hiss the speaker:
Each minute teems a new one.

[…] But I have words
That would be howl’d out in the desert air,
Where hearing should not latch them.

MACDUFF

What concern they?
The general cause? or is it a fee-grief
Due to some single breast?

ROSS

No mind that’s honest
But in it shares some woe; though the main part
Pertains to you alone.

MACDUFF

If it be mine,
Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it.

ROSS

Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,
Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound
That ever yet they heard.

MACDUFF

Hum! I guess at it.

ROSS

Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes
Savagely slaughter’d: to relate the manner,
Were, on the quarry of these murder’d deer,
To add the death of you.

MALCOLM

Merciful heaven!
What, man! ne’er pull your hat upon your brows;
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.

MACDUFF

My children too?

ROSS

Wife, children, servants, all
That could be found.

MACDUFF

And I must be from thence!
My wife kill’d too?

ROSS

I have said.

MALCOLM

Be comforted:
Let’s make us medicines of our great revenge,
To cure this deadly grief.

MACDUFF

He has no children. All my pretty ones?
Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
At one fell swoop?