Monday, May 23, 2011

More travel funnies…(3)

More travel funnies…(3)
Torrey Orton
May 22, 2011

Habits for peace

It's rained something around 5 inches (120+mm) in the New York - New Jersey area in the last week or so. Every dip that can gather water is awash and the lowlands are flooding… but not news worthily. Net effect for us is to have worn our wet weather gear more often than a month in Melbourne. Each day is threatening, especially in the afternoon.

As so often, facts do not inhibit personal or organisational habits. Yesterday we were in Princeton New Jersey to watch some junior lacrosse being played by Noah, a niece's 11 year old. Nice day, first over 23C (75F approx.) since we arrived on east coast two weeks ago, sunny with slightly massing clouds….We headed back to the car and passed a university club's lawns being decisively (volume) and thoroughly (carefully set spray patterns) watered by ground staff. What to think?? Must have been on the work schedule. Always a good idea to follow the schedule. It is management's principal expression of both power and competence, the backdrop to premonitions of worker disregard, disrespect and disobedience.

Whenever a worker's acting dumb, there's probably a dumb reason. Just keepin' the peace.

Sign free zone

The Heritage Hotel in Southbury, Connecticut presents itself as a leading locale for spas and golf and all round luxe in the region. It's also the one which lost our reservation (they found it, too, after a few days stumbling!). Anyway, we had survived our first return to driving on the right in 15 years or so by arriving on the outskirts of the very well-advertised town of Southbury looking for signals of the Heritage. Finding it took another 30 minutes, a search exacerbated by my driving timidity for sure. But, there were no signs if you came from the south as we did that day. The first sign, which was too late to obey unless you knew it was there beforehand, only came into view around a corner of a four lane junction – the kind I was still a bit delicate about negotiating. Had to turn around after passing through the stop lights the sign was guarding to get to use its direction.

Pennies from..??

I imagine to modernise the currency would be seen as a part of the world socialist conspiracy to undermine American values. Otherwise why do they still have one cent pieces – and one dollar bills for that matter – in common use?? I've been collecting pennies in dribbles for two weeks.

The undermining aspect would be the implicit recognition the buck's hardly worth a bang anymore. It is promising for Australia's place in a world of failing advanced economies that we acknowledged that two decades ago. A decade later we got signed up for real advanced economy status with a GST, which might be seen now as a symptom of incipient socialism had it not been introduced by a conservative government. The fact that Swedish rounding was the mathematics of choice might have been an excuse if others were lacking for an indictment. The case would have been closed if it were known that New Zealand had been first by three years in this rush to rational self-management.

Penny wise, round foolish? This wouldn't have rated so much ink but for another fact: Americans are still wedded to the pathetic, though empirically reliable, pricing policy of trying to make any whole number look smaller by dithering with decimals. But, then so are we. Hence, Swedish rounding is a terrific late capitalist creation. Too bad about the name.

And then there is this screamer!

Note seen on front door of neighbouring house:

"I've gone; the house is locked. The key is
under the log, top left on the wood pile"

True story; unimpeachable sources; impeccable credentials; direct personal experience. Only in the USA??!!





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