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Summit Up

SUMMIT UP

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column with another heart-warming story about your tax dollars at work.Yes, our conservative readers are going to think we’re just bitter about the results of the election this past week. They’d be wrong (we didn’t think for a second that John Kerry would ensure we could get the cheap gas we need to power our 600-horsepower diesel martini shaker).Rather, this little news item just concerns us – since we have so much intellectual property to protect.Stop laughing. Seriously. Stop that.Anyway, the Associated Press tells us that terrorism lurks in unlikely places. Where? How ’bout the toy store. The AP says that, last month, the owner of Pufferbelly Toys (a name that drips with insurgency and threat, if you ask us) in St. Helens, Ore., was minding her own when she got a phone call from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. You might remember them: They were created by the Patriot Act to keep our borders safe from all but Taco Bell products and NHL recruits coming in.No, the owner wasn’t passing microfilms with Los Alamos nuclear secrets concealed in Barbie dolls. She wasn’t even illegally selling Tickle Me Elmos to Iran. When two agents arrived, in person, they asked her if she was selling the Magic Cube.The Magic Cube is not some secret cyber-link to Pentagon computers. It’s a knock-off of the Rubik’s Cube, which you may remember as that frustrating puzzle you smashed against the wall after concluding it could not be solved by anyone other than a mutant genius (and yet somehow became one of the most popular toys of all time).The agents told her the Magic Cube was illegal. What does that have to do with the Department of Homeland Security? Well, what you didn’t know about the Patriot Act is that it didn’t just secure our borders (har, har), it protects intellectual property – you could call it a bone thrown to the corporate interests sick of seeing these far-flung countries bootlegging their products.So, the agents made the owner remove all the Magic Cubes from her shelves and promise to stop selling them. They even watched her to make sure she did it.We wouldn’t be telling you this if there weren’t more to the story, of course. The twist is that Rubik’s Cube’s trademark expired a couple years ago, so there was no infringement on intellectual property rights.Maybe it’s just us, but between goose-stepping into toy stores and deporting Cat Stevens (after he lands in the U.S., despite being on the terrorist-don’t-let-him-board list), we’re not feeling any safer.Then again, our readers better not go around repeating our jokes: We’ll sick the boys from Homeland on you.***Thursday, we wrote about moving from one psychic trauma to the next: the madness of election campaign advertising blending right into the onslaught of holiday advertising. It brought out some horrible, repressed memories for Paul Hagan:”I just can’t wait to hear that blind white guy singing ‘Feliz Navidad.’ The whole song is in English except the chorus?”As we often remind our readers, Paul, don’t expect anything in this world to make sense. Just put the cotton back in your ears, keep your head down and plod along. And drink plenty of hot toddies.***It’s Sunday, and did we tell you about standing in line to vote? You know it’s the 21st century in Summit Up Land when the guy in line at the back answers his cell phone and says, “Yeah, dude, I’m gettin’ my vote on.” And when he answers it a second time, he says the same thing. Ya gotta love where we live, don’t you?If you don’t, you better have a good reason, and tell us all about it at summitup@summitdaily.com, fax at (970) 668-0755 or just tell us how it’s all gooood, bro, on the voicemail at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237.We’re out switching the colored stickers around on our Rubik’s Cube …


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