Good morning and greetings, spring equinox fans. As you know, I like to bring the important news stories of the day to the pages of this blog. If you peruse a daily newspaper, you’re bound to come across enough interesting and wacky stories each week that will make your head spin like Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, (the original Black Jesus) used to in the open court. This next story, written by Stephanie Reitz of the Associated Press, is one that I felt should be shared with my cyber audience, just in case health care, Afghanistan, Iraq or travails of Oscar winner Sandy Bullock weren’t doing it for you.
In a Hollywood-style heist, thieves cut a hole in the roof of a warehouse, rappelled inside and scored one of the biggest hauls of its kind — not diamonds, gold bullion, Old World art or Taylor Swift concert tickets, but about $75 million in antidepressants and other prescription drugs.
The pills — stolen from the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. in quantities big enough to fill a tractor-trailer — are believed to be destined for the black market, perhaps overseas, which ironically, will probably end up being consumed by white people.
“This is like the Brink’s pill heist,” said Erik Gordon, a University of Michigan business professor who studies the health care industry and the history of tongue depressors. “This one will enter the folklore.”
The thieves apparently scaled the brick exterior of the warehouse in an industrial park in Enfield, Mass., during a blustery rainstorm before daybreak last Sunday. After lowering themselves to the floor, they disabled the alarms and spent at least an hour discussing feelings of isolation and loneliness before loading pallets of drugs into a vehicle at the loading dock.
A spokesman for Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly, put the wholesale value of the drugs at $75 million and said they included the antidepressants Prozac and Cymbalta, the anti-psychotic Zyprexa, some fresh antipasto, two sticks of antiperspirant and a crate of anti-lock brakes.
The thieves could easily net $20 million to $25 million and probably already had a buyer lined up, possibly an online pharmacy or someone in South America, Asia or Queens, New York, where regulations on drugs and drug cartels are lax.
Zyprexa and Cymbalta were Eli Lilly’s two best-selling drugs last year. Prozac was Lilly’s first billion-dollar drug and the company’s top seller before it lost patent protection and mojo several years ago. But not to worry for anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, insomnia or being an Oakland Raider or Golden State Warrior fan, as the thefts will not cause any national shortages of the products.
This story conjures up the New York Times slogan, “All the news without having to squint.” Now let’s move from manic depression to this week’s photo impressions. There hasn’t been much action on the sunset front in 2010. As a matter of fact, except for a few brief highlights back in early January, there has been nothing on the color front at day’s end. I’m talking zero, zippo, nothing-there’s been more color at Republican Party cookouts. I went back into the archives and was shocked by the lack of color at the twilight hour. And much like followers of NBC’s Brian Williams, I’m watching every night, waiting at the dusk desk for some digital action.
So I was delighted when this sunset seemingly appeared out of nowhere last Monday night. When I hit the cliff, I could see there was open sky at the horizon, but I did not know it would translate into this kind of March magic, something Kansas Jayhawk fans will not experience this year.
With the waves breaking below me at Stockton Avenue and Canadian geese flying overhead, the sky kept changing colors, which was a reality I could live with. If you like glowing skies, this was a good night to huddle along the coast. I was as happy as Nancy Pelosi hearing Dennis Kucinich saying he would hold his nose but still vote yes on health care.
There was also an unusual aspect to this March surprise. If you look closely at photos #3-6, you’ll see two yellow spheres appearing in the sky. I have no idea what they were. Remember, this was after the sun set into the horizon. In the words of David Crosby, “What are their names and on what streets do they live?” If anyone out there has an aerodynamic answer, please feel free to contact me and clue me in. And also let me know how Ohio University beat Georgetown.
On to the humor from the late of night. “You know, I was thinking about this health care problem. If you took all the money the Republicans have spent to stop health care and all the money Democrats have spent trying to get health care, we could afford health care. PepsiCo announced it will voluntarily remove all high-calorie sweetened drinks from schools — no more sugary drinks in schools. This is part of their new program, ‘Leave No Child With a Bigger Behind.’” –Jay Leno “Everybody changed their clocks last weekend for daylight savings. So you move it ahead. And even the Taliban move their clocks ahead. They moved it up to the 11th century.” –David Letterman
“Well here’s something interesting. And I guess this goes with the job. President Obama announced over the weekend that he gets 20,000 letters a day calling him an idiot. But in all fairness, a lot of those letters come from Dick Cheney.” –David Letterman “President Obama talked about health care reform at a senior center in Strongsville, Ohio, today. The most common question he got: ‘When’s bingo? In his weekly radio and Internet address, President Obama called for an overhaul of the ‘No Child Left Behind’ law. It will now be called ‘The World Needs Janitors, Too.’” –Jimmy Fallon
“This is pretty cool. One of President Obama’s childhood friends just found a photo of Obama as a schoolboy, taken more than 40 years ago. It’s just him and some kids playing little Barack’s favorite school game, ‘give the speech. Obama was a great ballplayer when he was a kid, but naturally, the other team never let him pass anything.” –Jimmy Fallon “According to a survey, 67 percent of pet owners say they can understand what their pets say when they bark or meow. It doesn’t sound impressive until you realize that only 5 percent of Californians can understand Gov. Schwarzenegger.” –Jay Leno
So that our first report from spring break. I hope you’ve been enjoying the March Madness as it’s been wall to wall NCAA basketball. I’ve never seen my wife or daughter so excited about their brackets. Next week we’ll take a look at an local institution that makes Santa Cruz a must-see place to visit. So enjoy the springtime breezes and we’ll catch in the low box. Aloha, mahalo and later, John Wall fans.