Archive for February 1st, 2007


A sad state of affairs

This afternoon I looked out my office window and noticed two helicopters hovering in the distance. I figured there must be some type of news unfolding, so I took a look at the website of a local TV station to get the scoop. Apparently, there had already been a string of suspicious packages or devices found in various locations throughout the city and the current developments focused on the fifth such device. The first one was detonated by the Boston bomb squad but from the video, it looked like the police were much less cautious with the fifth device.

That’s because it turned out to be a Lite-Brite! Remember those? Well, the devices weren’t exactly Lite-Brites but their appearance is definitely evocative of the once-popular children’s toy. They were apparently part of a strange advertising campaign for a show called “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”, which airs on Adult Swim, the after-hours incarnation of Cartoon Network, and depict a character from the show. How such a thing was mistaken for a bomb, I can’t understand. Admittedly, they were placed in strange places – like on the supports for bridges – so it’s not totally unreasonable that they might arouse some suspicion. But, in the end, it’s still just a Lite-Brite.

Tonight, a Boston-area man was arrested for putting up the devices under some new law that criminalizes the use, transportation, or possession of “hoax devices”. Can we please be serious? First of all, this was part of an advertising campaign and he was acting as an employee. Second, I don’t think anyone involved in this campaign even entertained the notion that these things would be mistaken for bombs. Third, they have been up for 2-3 weeks in Boston and a number of other cities around the country, without incident up until today. This is just ridiculous.

Anyway, the take-home lesson from all of this is that you should never bring your Lite-Brite out in public, lest someone mistake it for a bomb. That, and if these things really look that threatening, the government needs to rethink all the LED walk/don’t walk signs at intersections. Those things look a lot like Lite-Brites, too.

Jon Stewart, et al., do your thing.

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You tell me: bomb or Lite-Brite?


February 2007

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