18h UTC; THURSDAY, 27 DECEMBER 2012: For someone online like moi with an online mall--or, even more so, an online e-tailing presence with the likes of Zazzle.com--don't you just hate it when you get spam e-mails of the Lads From Lagos school insisting that they'd like to see your catalogue of wholesale merchandise for their retail presence (or reasonable facsimilie thereof), and want ordering information posthaste?

Let me just respond thus: First off, how do we know you're a reputable retail establishment ("brick-and-mortar" such, I assume)?

Second, how do we know you're on the up-and-up, and not dealing with stolen credit or debit card payment information?

Third, how do we know you can be trusted?

And fourth, given that you contacted me by e-mail, aren't you aware already of a number of e-tailers as can supply retail accounts wholesale, or even offer drop-shipping iconas a viable retailing option (especially online)? And pray, what would preclude your doing a Google search therefor?

Something worth thinking about in any event.

Meanwhile, for such specimens of conservative Zealotry and True Belief adamant, hard-wired even, in insistence upon AmeriKKKa "needing to be more like China" in hastening socioeconomic recovery, jobs creation (preferably sudden and spontaneous) and "reclaiming prosperity" all the sooner, I have some nice fresh news for you (via the BBC):
Elaborate state-funded banquets have been banned for China's top military officials, state media has reported.

The move comes after a diktat from central government earlier this month that aimed to curb extravagance and tackle corruption.

Xinhua news agency says receptions for high-ranking officers will no longer feature luxury banquets or alcohol.

The diktat, passed on 4 December, has also now sparked similar rules for civilian officials in Beijing.

The Communist Party's Central Committee, which includes civilian and military personnel, dictated eight ways that officials needed to change their working practices.

In line with the diktat, the military has now ruled out welcome banners, red carpets, floral arrangements, and souvenirs.

Officials will also no longer be allowed to stay in luxury hotels during inspection tours and vehicles will not be allowed to make excessive use of sirens.

"Military Commission officials are also required to discipline their spouses, children and subordinates and make sure they do not take bribes," the Xinhua report said.

In a separate report, Xinhua said the Beijing Municipality had become the first local authority to introduce the rules for its civilian staff.

Beijing officials on business will now have simple buffets, rather than banquets.

China's new leader Xi Jinping has repeatedly warned of unrest if corruption and perceived privilege within the Communist Party are not tackled.

The country's political leadership has been rocked by a scandal involving Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing party leader once seen as a candidate for top office.

His wife has been jailed for murdering a British businessman and he awaits trial on charges of corruption and abuse of power.
If these practices won't exactly preempt the spread of corruption and abuses of power, let alone translate into significant value for money expected to translate into taxpayer dividends, Your Correspondent doesn't know what will. That, and Beijing's increasingly superstitious paranoia about Teh Innerwebz being a threat to the Natural Order of the State prompting further controls thereon of late.

Finally, a shoutout to such among the smartfone crowd who came across my new mobile apps and were able to download them: How do you like them? And how willing would you recommend them to your fellow smartfone junkies? (BTW, you can also access those apps via the QR codes off to the side of this and the Online Mall pages, respectively. And note where there are different app variants for those with Java-enabled mobile platforms--as may or may not include Windows 8--and those using the iPhone or Android platform.)

And now, back to the holiday hiatus for once....

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