Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hey buddy, can you spare a dime?

A dime could actually buy you something at one time.

Here's a menu from Woolworth's lunch counter from the 1950s

Sound cheap?

Well it is!

Let's see exactly how cheap by comparing 1950's dollars to 2009 dollars.

Using this table and generously assuming the menu dates from exactly 1950, and also adjusting for inflation since 2007 when the calculator was made, we get the following prices:

Egg Salad Sandwich  $2.75
Triple Decker Sandwich  $5.75
Super DeLuxe Ham Sandwich  $3.59

Two Scoop Malted, Milkshake, or DeLuxe Sundae  $2.19
Slice of Pie, Cake or a Cup of Cocoa  $1.49

King Sized Coke  89¢

So it's not JUST inflation at work here.  It's the current trend of overcharging for basic staples and comfort foods.  You would think that in an age of advanced farming, transport, manufacturing, food preparation and marketing, that basic foodstuffs would be cheaper now than in the past when it was harder work to make such things.  But apparently modern business philosophy dictates the necessity to squeeze larger and larger profits out of everything.  Too many comfort food establishments will easily charge you 2x or 3x more than the prices here and still offer you subpar food (as you'd get from woolworth but without the friendly waitress) but we still love our retro chic restaurants despite the crappy food and high prices.

Think about that next time you buy a $4 coffee, a $12 burger and a $6 milkshake.



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

SIGN THE ARTS PETITION have President Obama create an "Ambassador of the Arts" position. I've been performing over seas
for years and making a living at it. In other countries, they pay performers good money to perform and
there is money in the government to support arts easily accessible. Why shouldn't America treat its'
artists the same way??

Sign here!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


After watching tons of political peeps promenade out in a never ending parade which included Bush Sr and Jr, Michelle Obama and the Obama girls, a collection of foddy dod senators and other old geezers, finally Obama strolled out to an overwhelming applause.

Aretha Franklin sang "My Country Tis Of Thee" and actually made the song sound like a cool hit instead of the stodgy old jam it normally is. Her hat was funny.

Biden was so excited. He very politely thanked the justice who swore him in at the end of taking his oath. What a nice fellow.

Obama slipped up on his oath -- he was probably a *little* nervous!!

His speech was however, poetic, 'articulate' and metaphorical. I took notes on the speech and I have some comments on it. Here are the pieces of his speech that I could type as he spoke:

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear...we remain a young nation but in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things...In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given; it must be has been the risk takers, the doers, the makers of things, some celebrated...for us, they packed up their few worldly possessions...endured the lash of the whip...for us, they fought and died...time and again, these men and women sacrificed and worked until their hands were raw...this is the journey we continue today. We remain the most powerful, prosperous nation on earth. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services, no less needed...our capacity remains undiminished...everywhere we look, there's work to be done...we will act, not only to create new jbs but to lay a new foundation for growth...we will restore science to it's rightful place...we will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories...all this we can do...all this we will are some who question...for they have forgotten what this country has already done...those of us who manage the publics knowledge will be held in account...only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government...without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control...and so to all the other peoples and goverments of people who are watching today, know that America is a friend of each nation and every woman man and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity...and we are ready to lead once more...our power alone can not protect us, nor does it allow us to do as we please...we are the keepers of this legacy, guided by these principles once more...we will begin to responsibly lead...with all firends and former foes we'll work tirelessly...we will not apologize for our way of life...we say to you now that our spirit is can not outlast us and we will defeat you...for we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength not a weakness...we are shaped by every language and culture...we can not help but believe that the old hatreds will someday pass...that our common humanity will reveal the muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect...know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you can destroy...know that you are on the wrong side of history but we will extend the hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. To those nations like ours who enjoy relative plenty, we can no longer endure suffering...for the world has changed nad we must change with this moment, a moment that will define a generation, it is this spirit that must inhabit us all, for as much as government can do and must is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke that finally decides our fate...our challenges may be new...but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hardwork, courage and fairplay, loyalty and patriotism...these things are old...these things are true...they have been the quiet force of progress throuhg ut our history...what is demanded then is a return to these truths...a recognition on every part...firm in the knowledge that...this is the price and the promise of citizenship...this is the source of our confidence...this is the meaning of our liberty and our creed and why...[we] can join in the face of our common dangers...let us remember these timeless words...with hope and virtue, let us endure what storms may come...when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end...with eyes fixed on the horizon...we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it to future generations...

He acknowledged "non-believers" in his speech...Awesome. I don't understand the non-separation of separation of church and state in all of this, but I do appreciate that Obama at least acknowledged the non-believers.

"I'm a leftie, get used to it" he said, as he signed the presidential papers.

"I was told not to swipe the pen" he quipped, seeming very nervous!

What is he signing? His life away?

Four of the last 10 presidents have been lefties, the newsies commented. They also said that Obama joked that "Hillary Clinton gave him most of his grey hairs..."

Also, that 882000 rode the DC metro which shattered all records, and of all the people who rode it today, only one pedestrian was hit but not killed. Not bad! A change has come!

Bye Bye Bushie Bye Bye

OK, that's it, the inauguration is pretty much over. Now there's a post inauguration luncheon. I wonder what's on the menu?

My answer has arrived: Seafood stew and apple cinnamon sponge cake with some kind of glaze...

I have a theory that the next big revelation in the world will be that animals will stop being used for food, and animal slaughter will be realized for the Cowschwitz that it truly is!

My favorite Obama speech moments were: his acknowledgement of non-believers, his offer to reach out a hand to those who are willing to unclench their fists and saying that we would harness the sun, winds and soil to run our cars and our factories. Awesome! We went from a warmonger-ing nation to a peacemonger-ing nation like (*snap*) that!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Die Roten Punkte -- not just for punks

Die Roten Punkte AKA The Red Dots

A friend recommended I see Die Roten Punkte (from Australia) after he happened to catch them
at an open mic in Manhattan last Tuesday. Has someone suggested you see a
band or show and you actually get up off your lazy ass and go, and then you
are so freaking delighted that you did because they are the coolest thing you've
seen in awhile?

That's Die Roten Punkte, or "The Red Dots".

The "brother and sister band from Berlin" Otto and Astrid Rot are the most fun
I've had in a weekend in a long time. They put on a funny show of original, incredibly
catchy rock sprinkled throughout with very silly little bits. I rarely see musical
comedy I really love, and I do love them.

They were here in NYC doing shows at the St. Marks' Theater, they created a
little whirlwind in town going from a light to packed house over the course
of a few days, and now they're gone again, jiggity jig. If you want to see them
now, you'll have to drive up to Canada, as they're on a 9 city tour across our
neighbors to the north.

You can also hear their music HERE.