Tom the Dancing Bug: A Security Issue at the Office




      1. >Natural peanut butter requires refrigeration.

        As opposed to unnatural?

        I eat wholenut peanut butter (no added sugar) (which is yummy, btw) – only added ingredient is a little vegetable oil and salt – and it sits happily in the cupboard without ill effect.

      2. Cosmic overlord, you don’t know from natural. There’s plenty of no-stir, natural PB that doesn’t require the power of electricity to keep it fresh.

  1. Is it wrong of me to want a pelvic radio-groper? In the privacy of my own home, of course.

    It just looks like fun…

  2. It’s always good to boil down cost-of-security/cost-of-thing-secured to smaller numbers that people can relate to: although in this example I think that the security/condiment cost is lower than it is in TSA’s bigger projects.

    I like to use the example of installing a $100,000 security system to protect a dime when talking about the Security-Bill/Damage-done ratio at Toronto’s recent G20 photo-op. (Although the analogy is somewhat flawed since the only damage done was miles away from the convention centre and it wasn’t clear whether it was due to the conference or to the police deciding not to answer 911 calls from anywhere other than the convention area.)

  3. “Actually jenjen, here at the more progressive TSA we use All American natural organic peanut butter, which needs to be refrigerated”

  4. Blue, if your PB has vegetable oil added, it isn’t “natural”

    Natural peanut butter is ground-up peanuts. That’s all.

    that oil wouldn’t be partially hydrogenated, would it?

  5. I’m happy to see that this comic has sparked a lively debate on the spoilage properties of peanut butter.

  6. Actually you COULD just pass the peanut butter through the radio-groper for an extended period of time after sealing it. Any microbes would be killed, making it shelf safe (again).

    1. Unfortunately that would destroy the enzymes in it rendering the food pretty much nutritionally useless. While I do understand that your FDA prefers foods to be nutritionally useless I fail to see why any sane person would want to eat it !

  7. If I’m ever down, I always get a kick out of watching my dog eat it.

    All that licking is to LAUGH!

    Reminds me of old days too, TV animals “talking” out of synch. I bet they used p j for that.

    1. Absolutely correct! Mister Ed was indeed chewing PB the whole time…..Oh and hurrah for Tom the Dancing Bug. Best TSA satire I’ve seen.

  8. I actually think the bodscanners is the very first time the TSA is actually trying to act preventively, and not just patching up a hole in security brought to our attention by the latest would-be hijacker.

  9. i actually owned a horse related to that horse that did the snak-pak commercials (remember those?) and you could make him talk by scratching a certain place on his back. he also enjoyed a can of beer from time to time. hows that for off topic :)

    1. Oh, you got me started!

      I grew up on Laura Scudder’s natural peanut butter. (“Just peanuts and salt… that’s all” read the 1980s ad copy.) Had to stir it up, since the oil would separate on the shelf, so we’d keep it in the fridge after the initial stir to prevent it re-separating. I had 2 sandwiches of that stuff every day (along with some strawberry preserves on Roman Meal whole wheat bread) throughout the whole of the Reagan Administration. You really needed to use sturdy whole-wheat bread with cold Scudder’s peanut butter; your basic Wonder Bread would shrivel and shred like Dick Cheney’s Pocket Constitution if you tried to spread refrigerated crunchy natural peanut butter on it.

      Once I moved out of my parents’ house, I switched to Skippy Super Chunk with grape jelly (preferably from a squeeze bottle), but still on whole wheat. That natural peanut butter is for the birds. Just as banana pudding shouldn’t really taste like bananas, and root beer shouldn’t taste like roots, so shouldn’t peanut butter taste exactly like peanuts. “Peanut butter” is its own flavor, distinct from “peanuts”, and we forget that at our cultural peril.

      And “smooth” or “creamy” peanut butter is for toothless pantywaists.

  10. According to my completely arbitrary made up definition of “natural”, the only real natural peanut butter there is is the stuff that goes down your gullet after you’ve chewed up a bunch of raw organic peanuts.

    I mean other than that there is no such thing as an “unnatural” product because human beings made it, human beings are animals, therefore there is no difference between a product manufactured by human beings and a product manufactured by an animal (like honey). “Unnatural” peanut butter would be peanut butter that appears out of thin air after making a blood sacrifice to Yog-Sothtoth. I keep trying but no luck so far . . .

  11. If it was crunchy, then that explains the necessary procedures. Doing all of this for creamy is just silly.

    (you did ask for this)

  12. Actually, it’s for people with diverticulosis. Or impacted wisdom teeth. Or who want to get the full nutritional value of their peanut butter instead of shitting out tiny, little undigested nuggets.

    Trader Joe’s Creamy is good for those of us prefer our PB on the firmer side. Some brands like Laura Scudder are almost liquid.

    1. Peanut butter has nutritional value? ;^)

      My wife buys the TJ’s peanut butter for our kids. Poor dears. They also have to put up with organic preserves and hummus. Once they reach an appropriate age (I’m thinkin’ seven or eight), I’ll introduce them to the decadent pleasures that comprise Daddy’s side of the fridge. Real, all-American, honest-to-Bob Skippy peanut butter with all its sugar and preservatives. Cherry Dr Pepper. Gen-yoo-wine Kraft macaroni & cheese. Steak-Umms. The Number Four value meal at Carl’s Jr. Bavarian creme-filled donuts. Circus peanuts. Root beer floats.

      They’ll thank me, if any of us live long enough.

  13. Sad. This is what we’ve come to as a country. As human beings we should all realize it’s terrible to keep peanut butter in the fridge. It’s unspreadable.

  14. Word has it, that the TSA has handled more packages than UPS and FEDEX, together, so far this holiday season.

  15. They could perform a stomach contents biopsy or stool sample to find out if anyone has eaten peanut butter recently?! No way of knowing if its the same peanut butter but you would have caught they person with evidence to put them away for a while.

  16. sorry but i think the point is the TSA is bad at its job not that peanut butter is a non refrigerated food.

  17. Because it contains less than 1% moisture, peanut butter can’t support the growth of bacteria or mold. The oils in peanut butter will, however, eventually oxidize and become rancid if the peanut butter is exposed to oxygen. Long-lived antioxidants such as BHA and BHT are added to commercial peanut butter to prevent this, but simply storing peanut butter in the refrigerator slows down oxidation (and all other chemical processes) by a large factor.

    In any case, the TSA is all about perceived threats rather than real threats, so it’s perfectly consistent that they keep all their peanut butter in the fridge.

  18. I find it frustrating that TtDB focuses on TSA’s security policies, to which I am utterly indifferent, while failing YET AGAIN to address this raging peanut butter controversy. Cancel my subscription!

  19. Anon#14: The body scanners are a direct response to the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253, by explosives sewn into a pair of underwear, less than a year ago.

    After the incident, the Secretary of Homeland Security said “Our system did not work in this instance. No one is happy or satisfied with that.” Hence, body scanners and feel-ups.

    All this despite the fact that (a) other passengers jumped on him and subdued him, just as they have in every other terrorist attack since the morning of 9/11, and (b) he only succeeded in setting his own genitals on fire, not bringing down the aircraft.

  20. Laura Scudder’s “natural” peanut butter will not go catastrophically bad if not refrigerated (in a moderate environment), despite what it says on the lid.

    I always used to refrigerate it because I believed the “refrigerate after opening” admonishment, but at some point left it in the cupboard and realized it wasn’t going bad, and that it retained it’s easy-to-spread goodness. I haven’t refrigerated peanut butter since. Some jars have sat in the cupboard after being opened for 4-6 months. They taste great. FWIW, I do usually pour the oil off the top before stirring the first time I open it. It makes me feel better about the fat/protein ratio.

    And: it’s great that the groping is drawing attention to the stupidity of TSA “security”, but the stupidity would be there without the groping.

    1. Laura Scudder’s “natural” peanut butter will not go catastrophically bad if not refrigerated (in a moderate environment), despite what it says on the lid.

      No, not catastrophically bad, but the oil will re-separate, and lazyboneses like me find it a pain to re-stir the stuff every day. (I never owned a jar of Scudder’s long enough to find out how long it took to go rancid, since my usage of the product was during my 2-sandwiches-a-day years.) The stiffness of refrigerated Scudder’s kinda bugged me, until I hit on the idea mentioned above by Antinous and Anonymous, and I tried pouring off the oil. Sure enough, the spreadability went to hell. It became way too dense and crumbly for my taste.

      Obviously there’s no accounting for taste. I’ve been a peanut butter fan for over 35 years, and even though the first 15 of those years were filled with various “natural” PBs (mostly Scudder’s, but even hand-ground purely-peanut varieties), I’ll happily stick with my grossly adulterated Skippy from now on.

  21. I suspect the next episode will involve PB&J in the perp’s underwear, only to be discovered by the groper. TSA saves the day! BTW, is peanut butter a liquid, gel or aerosol?

  22. People, People, you all seriously need to consider getting some sort of hobby. LMAO All this about Peanut Butter. I’d hate to think what would happen if the topic shifted to nuclear disarmament or the life span of Culicidae.

    1. Would peanut butter (natural or otherwise), left unrefrigerated, outlive a Culicidae or nuclear attack?

  23. First of all, I grew up on “Skippy” and all its comparable brands, and they’re utter crap. When I actually started caring about ingredients in the food I ate, I was shocked that peanut butter wasn’t just, well, peanuts. Trader Joe’s pb is wonderful because it just peanuts–why the hell would you spoil it by adding salt and sugar? That’s like putting sugar on bananas or apples.

    And don’t even get me started on the fact that peanut oil is removed and replaced by palm oil to “preserve” it. Just buy what you need, and eat it. It doesn’t need to go in the fridge: I’ve been eating natural peanut butter for years and never have had it go bad from storing opened containers in the cupboard.

    1. The oil change is for spreadability and because palm oil is cheaper than peanut oil. I buy the TJs brand and pour the excess oil off the top because I like it denser.

  24. Antinous, you should save the peanut oil–it can be used for cooking.

    And yes, I knew that’s why palm oil was substituted, but I think it’s ridiculous: I keep my TJ peanut butter at room temp, drain off (and save) a little of the excess peanut oil, and it spreads just fine (if I drained too much it would be much less spreadable, no doubt). So I suspect it’s more for economic reasons, as you mention, that many peanut butter manufacturers substitute palm oil for the original peanut oil. Screw that. I wouldn’t buy a jar of olives with the oil drained out and, say, corn oil added. Why do it with peanuts?

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