Posts

Ka-chingle bells: why we’re paying through Rudolph’s nose for a Xmas tree this year

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2020: The year a Xmas tree costs more than a NY cocktail... STICKER SHOCK isn’t something  the average New Yorker complains about day to day, let alone at Christmas.  As demonstrated by the fabled ”New York Meter” (a man ka-chinged his way around NYC to prove the cheapest day is spent holed up in a cinema watching back-to-back movies) everything is so hyper-inflated that a $16-not-$18 hamburger is considered a bargain.   But this year, what’s causing us to drop our $6 pumpkin-spice latte in the snow? The price of Christmas trees.    I’m not talking about the $6500 Rockefeller center lookalikes destined for cavernous corporate lobbies and Tribeca penthouses. I’m talking about the modest, 3-4-footer for the typical Manhattan studio or 1-bedroom apartment.  This kiddie size – still taller than a child who still believes in Santa - enables you to slide 3.5 gifts under it and hang more than a single  Charlie Brown red bauble without it falling on its tinseled tush.  And the Covid Christm

Still rolling after all these years: the Kosta Boda snowball

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The Kosta Boda snowball: the classiest affordable gift of the 80's, born in 1973 FOR THE BENEFIT of those D ownunder: last month  was Thanksgiving, the day when 'mericans down tools and celebrate the "the blessing of the harvest and the preceding year," according to Wikipedia . It's more like the blessing of the buffet, and generally not a day to bear gifts except for oneself, what with stores now opening on the actual day of thanks...is nothing sacred?  As an advertising/marketing pundit I use retail therapy to keep abreast of product design and retailing strategies (ok that's my excuse). My destination? The  TJ Maxx outlet in Wilton, Connecticut, where I'm visiting for the holiday.  Today it was empty. One explanation:  TJ's  merchandise is always on sale, so there's no real reason to make a beeline for it on  Black Friday.  "You're the first customer to acknowledge that," said the bored attendant at the jewelry

88 Ways I Know I'm Chinese: Redux

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The breakfast-fest known as dim-sim...aka Chinese tapas It's the Year of the Rat so... First, here's a fab field guide to dim sum , because that's what every self respecting Chinese does at some point (maybe months earlier or later), to celebrate Chinese New Year. To get you into the spirit, here's an old chestnut exhumed yet again, the fabled 88 Ways to Know You're Chinese . Google that phrase and you'll come up with all kinds of variations, but this one dates back to 2002 so is probably more original (it mentions a Walkman). I've taken the liberty of annotating them based on my own upbringing. The 89th way: you eat durian without holding your nose (or drawing blood)  If you're Chinese, see how many fit you, divide by 88 and  multiply by 100 to get your percent-Chinese rating. (But being Chinese and good at math, I didn't need to tell you that, right?). If you're not Chinese, try it and see how good a Chinese imposter

Kilauea is venting: My postage-stamp sized piece of Hawaii

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Dec 2014:  UH Forestry Professor JB Friday helps me  nip an invasive albezia tree in the bud  UPDATE MAY 2018: KILAUEA IS BACK and she's pissed...   It's been 4 years I visited my to my sliver of lava on the Big Island ( see photos ). Back then, Madam Pele was drooling a bit near Pahoa, providing every man and his volcano-sniffing dog a dramatic selfie moment (of which I am guilty, as you can see).  In May 2018, she's way more antsy.  The news is ablaze with images of roiling fissures opening up all along the half-mile wide, 30-mile long East Rift Zone, which runs just south of my subdivision.  the odds of the Kilauea Volcano erupting were slated as 50 in 700 years last time I asked, and this time, Leilani Estates is one unlucky subdivision.  My sliver is about 4 miles north of the fissure, as you can see from the red circle on the map below (thank you  http://bigislandnow.com ):  My sibdivision, Nanawale estates, is circled in red; my land is on the n