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Someone’s Looking Out For Fakes — Cagle

June 2006
BITS AND PIECES

Someone’s Looking Out For Fakes

A recent edition of Bits & Pieces chronicled the latest printing technologies that have made counterfeiting U.S. money nearly impossible for anyone but the most sophisticated of thieves. But even with the bevy of bells and whistles meshed in as security features, I wondered just how many people—particularly minimum wagers in the retail sector—would be capable (or care enough) to root out any funny money trying to be passed off as genuine.

Well, it’s time to put that cynicism to rest. A short while back, while lunching at one of Philly’s greasy spoons, I handed the cashier one of the new ten spots. The cashier held the bill up to the light, rubbed it and then scrawled a check on it with a marker.

“Hey, that’s a fresh bill; I just took it off the press earlier today,” this writer remarked.

“You’d be surprised at the number of fake bills people try to pass off on us,” the cashier replied. “Earlier today a woman tried to give a phony $20 bill. When I told her it wasn’t real, her face got all red and she walked out. And she was a truancy officer for the (nearby) school.”

To quote Augie Doggie, “Oh father, the shame!”

Despite all of the visual security features embedded in the new generation of greenbacks, our counterfeit-sniffing bloodhound/cashier used a different litmus test to make her collar: A tactile examination.

“See?” the cashier explained, rubbing her thumb and forefinger at the lower center of the bill. “You can feel the difference right here. I’ve caught a few that way.” It only goes to show that you never know who’s paying attention.

IRAQ’S PRINTING REVOLUTION: A report in USA Today showed a significant burst of growth in the number of printing companies following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The paper cited Pentagon sources as saying nearly 300 newspapers have surfaced following Saddam’s fall, where previously there were only nine government-sponsored newspapers and four magazines (PRINTING IMPRESSIONS, presumably, is not among the quartet.)

One Iraqi printer said that the number of printing shops has billowed from 350 to 800 in Baghdad alone. But the paper cited numerous challenges for these fledgling shops, from power outages and gas shortages to the need for increased security. Perhaps the most overwhelming problem is the lack of qualified technicians to make repairs. Any volunteers?

IT GATHERS LENTICULAR: Not moss, apparently. Rolling Stone magazine’s 1,000th issue hit the newsstands May 5 with two 3-D lenticulars applied to the covers. The complex production procedures for the milestone issue took 11 months to hash out, with a combined effort from Inserts USA, Quebecor World and National Graphics, as well as the magazine itself. Two 9x11˝ lenticulars were applied to more than two million 10x12˝ covers.

The covers, which were as costly as they were difficult to produce and adhere, toasted the mag’s anniversary with a 3-D collage of 100 musicians, politicians and pop icons who have made their mark on American culture since its November 1967 launch.

According to Inserts USA, all parties involved had to deal with a number of questions, such as the lenticulars’ ability to adhere to the cover, whether the hot adhesives would burn the lenticulars, and would the magazine’s stock support the weight of the lenticulars? As Bob Dylan once wrote (sort of): “The covers they are a-changing.”

BURGER BONANZA: PR guru Mark Bonacorso threw an On Demand show dinner bash for some printing industry scribes, analysts and other interested parties at Fork, near Penn’s Landing in the City of Brotherly Love. Bonacorso recently acquired Hayzlett and Associates from founder Jeff Hayzlett, who is now heading up the marketing efforts for Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group.

Can you believe that, amid the posh spread that included dishes like pan seared duck breast with hazelnut rhubarb sauce (correctly recommended by Bonacorso, a former chef) and halibut en papillote with lemon caper butter, the conversation turned to the allure of White Castle burgers and Skyline Chili?

One guest recalled taking a gross of White Castles (yep, 144) onto a Delta Airlines flight. Seated in the First Class section, our protagonist developed a hankering for a few midway through the flight. Cracking open the overhead bin, the compartment soon flooded with the aroma of those little devils. The man seated next to him gladly accepted a couple of burgers. Before long, more than a few dewy eyes were gazing longingly at the White Castle cache.

—ERIK CAGLE
 

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