The other day I was in the supermarket trying to figure out a way to earn enough stamps to get a free pan. Or actually half of a free pan. (But that is another story). And I saw a bag of ginger snaps that advertised to be “Swedish Style”. They looked awfully like Australian Arnott's Ginger Nuts to me, so I decided to give them a shot. When I tried them, they were a little softer and smaller than the Australian version, but other wise fairly similar. Score! So I don't know if they are actually Swedish style or if it is a labeling error because when I was in Sweden last year I wasn't on the look out for Ginger Nuts.
New Years Weekend wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. Very little discussion of politics.
Driving home yesterday from New Jersey, we were listening to The Big Listen which is what last week sent me into a tirade about American Exceptionalism. This week they interviewed a pair of sisters who live in Sydney and Germany. I felt like my faith in America had been restored just a tincy little bit. (Also if you are going to point out my hypocrisy, YES, if I am susceptible to exceptionalism it would be for the Australian sort, and the sisters were Australian).
What I wrote last week was intended as social commentary, rather than political, but I guess it has some political ramifications. I think a lot of people (Americans and non-Americans) look at the political system in the states and say “of of course if you just fix this one structural thing and do it more like this then everything would be solved”. If that one thing be guns or electoral college or whatever. Although I have strong opinions on those issues, my observations from living in Australia as an adult inform me in a different way. There are important differences in the systems of government used, and they have real consequences. The problem I see is the weird things that we obsess about and thus become controversial. For example, in America abortion is controversial, and in Australia building roads that connect from one city to another without horrendous traffic is controversial. It seems weird to most Australians that you would threaten to shutdown the government, or throw the supreme court into chaos over who should control a woman's body. Likewise Australians inability to build a proper freeway through Sydney would be laughable if I hadn't had to drive it a few times.
In Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next: First Among Sequels, he describes the problem in the non-bookworld of Thursday Next, which is the Stupidity Surplus.
The dangerously high level of stupidity surplus was once again the lead story in The Owl that morning. The reason for the crisis was clear: Prime Minister Redmond van de Poste and his ruling Commonsense Party had been discharging their duties with a reckless degree of responsibility that bordered on inspired sagacity. Instead of drifting from one crisis to the next and appeasing the nation with a steady stream of knee-jerk legislation and headline-grabbing but arguably pointless initiatives, they had been resolutely building a raft of considered long-term plans that concentrated on unity, fairness and tolerance. It was a state of affairs deplored by Mr. Alfredo Traficcone, leader of the opposition Prevailing Wind Party, who wanted to lead the nation back to the safer ground of uniformed stupidity.
I don't think Australia or America (or Europe or Asia) are “better” or “worse”. They have different approaches, all of them falling well short of perfect, and it is much easier to see the stupidity surplus being expended in the weirdly specific ways and say “our system is much better”, but your system (for whomever you are) also has a lot of stupidity. Admit it, if you were the King of Whatever you'd do things differently, I sure would.
From an historical perspective, I think that if people in America had been paying more attention to the political winds in Europe, people here (myself specifically for example) would have taken President-Comrade-Elect Thin Skin more seriously. (There was some talk about Brexit, but “It Can't Happen Here”). On the other hand Europe dragged both America and Australia into two world wars last century, and I think if people had studied the enormous loss of life in the US Civil War they might have done things differently? Probably not. But back then America was a backwater and Europe was exceptional.
Today really felt like shorts weather. Yay for spring! I was in the parking lot down at Wyoming shops today of all places and I felt better than I have in months just because it was so warm. So awesome to feel so alive! I am excited about the approach of beach weather.
$5 got me a once-again-working tyre and for $60 I replaced the ink cartridge in the printer (well more like $30, but I also got a B&W one), which I think I already had a replacement for in a drawer somewhere. These things would be much easier to find if they were on the floor where I can see them.
Also excited because 30 Rock is back on iTunes. I am pretty sure it is on TV here somewhere, but I am also pretty sure it isn't on Aunty which means commercials which I hate. Why does everything have to be about selling stuff? It seems like they can't even sell me something without trying to sell me something else now a days. Like the other day I noticed someone had an iPhone so I asked how she liked it. She said it was wonderful, except for the phone part (it drops calls apparently). Remember when we used to get phones primarily for... well the phone component? Apple has done this really amazing job of making us focus on things that aren't really important. That would make Steve Jobs a wonderful President don't you think?
Brendan Fraser was awful in that Dragon Emperor movie. He was terrible in the first two but he managed to set a new low. The start of that movie so wanted to be Indy 4, which is weird because it was the least cool movie from the series (though still so much better than any of the Mummy movies).
Wanted was pretty bad too, but it was the Russian version which sort of made it interesting. All of the writing was pretty much in English except for the stuff that was important and you were supposed to read, which was in Russian. The audio was English though, so it must have come from a source that was subtitled, although said subtitles had unfortunately been stripped. Cyrillic on the bottom of the screen is the only thing that would have saved it. Seriously. Why do I watch terrible movies? Still, I can't complain for the price of admission on either count.
I was driving in the car, and listening to the radio today when I was reminded of just how suck radio is in America. Because this radio was actually entertaining. Because I am in Australia. Which is not America. They were talking funny shit about Rudd and Howard. I wish they would just call the election already. It’s too bad they don’t have Halloween in Australia, we could estimate the winner based on sales of Halloween masks of Rudd and Howard like you can with US Presidential candidates.
Yikes! I have to vote tomorrow and I have no idea who to vote for, or even who is going to be on the ballet, aside from my current state MP. He is part of the opposition conservative Liberal party and it is apparently a marginal seat, meaning it’s a bit like I live in Ohio (except not as flat, and the beach is not as far away), so the vote might have an actual impact. There were no less than three helpful posts to sydneysiders today with useful information on finding out how and where to vote, but I am still confused. I felt like I was much better informed about the issues and candidates when I was living in New York.
“ “I come in peace,” it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, “take me to your Lizard.”
Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the non-stop frenetic news reports on the television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.
“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see...”
“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”
“No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “Why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in.” ”
—Douglas Adams, So Long and Thanks For all the Fish
( The Sublime )
In short, our range of topics was both wide and deep, and intellectually stimulating.
Then we drove back to Salt Lake City where we attended the annual Christmas Eve party for Don's (my step father) family. Gosh... where to begin. ( The Ridiculous )
Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the nonstop frenetic news reports on the television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.
"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."
"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"
"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."
"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."
"I did," said Ford. "It is."
"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"
"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."
"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"
"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."
"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "Why?"
"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in."
So Long and Thanks For all the Fish by Douglas Adams
Quick shower before she arrived and decided we would take Bull Hill trail which goes past some old ruins which I always find interesting to photograph. There was a large group (like 30 ) up ahead of us that we were eager to avoid, so we took evasive action onto a less trekked trail which took us to the top of Bull Hill and back around to her car. This actually worked out even better than the trail I had planed to take.
The whole time, of course, Jack was running up ahead and then running back to check on us. This helped tire him out, as by the end of the hike he was doing less of this. Jack, I should mention is e's German Shepard.
Then at four I was due to help a friend of mine unload her contents of her old home into her new home in Wappingers Falls, which not coincidentally is also her boyfriends home. We watched the SNL debate, which Joe had recorded from the night before. I thought it kind of sucked compared with what I remember of the SNL debates, and post election satire four years ago. Then again, they had more material to work with. We had a one sided political discussion. I have very strong opinions, but I prefer not to talk about politics, because I find it only affords me the opportunity to get me into trouble.
I'm tired, going to go to BED!