29 December 2009

Notes From America - Talking Turkey

A little exercise in compare and contrast. 

Good Turkeys

Better Turkeys

I wonder, if Benjamin Franklin had his way, would this freezer would be loaded with bald eagles for Christmas?

Notes From America - Consumer Price Index

Yesterday I went to the grocery store and spent one-hundred and twenty-eight dollars on cheese and tampons, indisputable evidence that the “economic down turn” (sounds ever so much more benign than “Global Financial Crisis”) is indeed real – as if it wasn’t obvious from the number of boarded up business, the decrease in rush hour traffic, and the overwhelming cloud of anxiety that seems to hang over most everyone I have encountered during the last ten days here in California.

Now, I have purposely mislead you into thinking that inflation is spiraling out of control here in the colonies, but in fact, the price of goods and services have dropped considerably since my last visit a year ago. Just as travelers to Australia spend a good percentage of their time gasping at the price of avocados and milk, so too have Kevin and I been shrieking with delight at the price of meat and mayonnaise.

So, in the face of slashed consumer prices, how, pray tell did I manage to spend $128 on cheese and tampons??

Because a super market in America is like a proverbial candy store. I adore strolling up and down each aisle, fondling all the exotic ingredients and evocative products which are unavailable in Australia, marveling at the array of salsa sauces, gasping at the selection of macaroni and cheese varieties, and ultimately, wetting myself over the price of beer, wine, and vodka – yes, that’s right, beer, wine and vodka right there in the grocery store!

Which, to any astute reader, will immediately explain how I managed to spend $128 on cheese and tampons.

Yesterday I bought a 6-pack of 6.2% lager for $2.99! With prices like that, I could balance my entire monthly budget and ride out the recession in perfect inebriation – albeit with a decidedly pinched look on my face!

15 December 2009

The Christmas Lap Dance

Somewhere in between reports on ecological terrorism and the latest attack on personal freedom enacted by the Australian Nanny Government, I heard a TV magazine teaser for a story about the damaging consequences of children sitting on Santa's Lap.  I made a mental note to blog my indignation, but then missed the show and assumed I could find reference to it with a quick Google search.

Well, evidently the internet filter isn't fully functional yet. And Thank Goodness!  Depending on your personal experiences or preferences, you may or may not be surprised at what the search term "Santa's Lap" brings up, particularly among the images!!  Faced with the staggering variety of Santa fetishes and the BDSM camp's answer to politically correct salutaions: "Season's Beatings" - I promptly forgot what I was doing, but I am sure to have added my IP address to the official list of Electronic Enemies of a Wholesome Web (aka EEWW).

Refining my search terms a bit, I eventually, I learned that the 'truth' behind the 'news' story I heard had nothing to do with persistent psychological scarring resulting from being the vicitim of a collective lie perpetrated by parents and society.  Rather, this exciting news flash had to do with increased transmission rates of swine flu.  How disappointing.

So, what do you think?  Does sitting on Santa's Lap lead to long-term abberations of social behaviour and a skewed outlook on male authority?

You be the judge:

(Note to Mom - Why didn't we shop at the mall with THIS Santa??!)

02 December 2009

A Little Whinge About Time Off Work

The relaxed Australian work ethic is a double edged sword when it comes to the Christmas Holidays.  On the one hand, it is wonderful that the entire country essentially shuts down from December 24th until the end of January, allowing families to have quality time together while the kids are out of school for the summer.

But, if your reproductive decisions were influenced by the ability take adavantage of off-peak travel deals, when all the little ankle-biters are safely tucked away in classrooms, then being forced to use all of your accumulated leave during the time of year when demand is high and prices are even higher - totally sucks ass.

At least, it totally sucks ass when your employer doesn't bother to tell you that you will be forced to use all of your accumulated leave until three weeks before the fact!  Especially if, five months earlier, you had already booked an outrageously short and expensive, mostly non-refundable consolation trip to Western Australia, when you would have much rather spent your precious time, not to mention your 20th wedding anniversary, with friends and family in the Northern hemisphere!

Fortunately, among the personality traits which I consider myself blessed to possess are elasticity and the ability to not be overly concerned about financial losses.  In a few quick clicks our entire Christmas vacation was re-scheduled, re-routed, and re-financed. 

So, who wants to join us in Reno on New Year's Eve for the proper celebration you were all denied two decades ago?