Monday, November 19, 2007

Ye Olde Shitty Exchange Rate

Yeah, we're all feeling the exchange rate over here, especially those of us paid in U.S. Dollars. I feel for the people in Europe though, and I feel for myself because I want to go to Europe next year in April and it's going to be incredibly expensive.

So I was reading this article today talking about some folks' reactions in Europe and I got a bit of a chuckle.

Apparently there's this woman in her 60s, one Eunice Lipton, who weighed in on the subject:

"The dollar is having a terrible impact on us," said U.S. writer Eunice Lipton, a New Yorker who most of the year lives in Paris with her husband, artist Ken Aptekaar.

It's really important that you read any quote by her in a faux-high-society accent.

"We earn our money primarily in the States and then transfer it here. In the last few days we have transferred $15,000 which became 10,200 euros and that is killing us," she said.

Oh, Eunice. I'm sure it's going to be a lean winter for you and your husband.

She continues:

"I can't complain because the Americans have had it round the other way for years. I'm in my 60s and I've been coming here since I was 19 and most of that time I've been able to eat in great restaurants for very little money," she said.

"In the past, I knew the exchange rate was great for us and I sort of gloated about it, without trying to be rude. Now our terms of reference are different. It is not amusing. I just hope it gets better."

Oh, it is "not amusing"? I'm sure that for someone who is "amused" by things such as a transferring 5-figure amounts here and there and spending most of your time in France, this would indeed be most "not amusing". And also, thank you for just "sort of" gloating about it, so as not to be rude.

She goes on, showcasing her aversion to rudeness:

"It's not going to make me go back to America," said Lipton in Paris.

"It won't stay this way. (President George W.) Bush hasn't cared at all about what the dollar is worth because he is so provincial. Americans are provincial in general and most of them don't even realize what the dollar is worth overseas."

I love this attitude. Americans aren't aware of the U.S. exchange rate overseas because they're "provincial"....not because they aren't transferring large sums of money into foreign currency. The reason she is aware of the exchange rate is because she's non-provincial and wuuuuuhldly....not because she is transferring large sums of money into foreign currency. Right? Right? How rare -- "worldly" people dismissing those who don't share their interests as "provincial". What what?? You don't know that the dollar is weakening against the yen? You rube! And what's this you say? You weren't aware that Japanese whalers are alpha-maling their way into protected waters to commence Humpback Holocaust '07? Hilljacks, every one of you!!

I'm sure blaming Bush gets her a lot of mileage out there in Gay Pair-ee too.

Frenchman: "Zee doll-air! Eet eez, eeeh, how you say, seaux leaux!"

Her Royal Highness Mizz Lipton: "BusHitler McChimpyBurton!"

Frenchman: "liouxlz!"

Dear Eunice,
While I'm not in the US of A right now, I'll go out on a limb and say that most Americans care about as much about the exchange rate in France as they do about whether or not it will "make you go back to America" or not. Why? Not because they're provincial, but because neither has any bearing on their world view. Am I saying that the international exchange rate doesn't effect them? Of course not. But they're not feeling it directly, so it's completely off their radar, relevant or not. In the meantime, I'm sure you'll be tightening your belt and preparing for a winter consisting of baguettes and water. Maybe you can throw some cheese in there to clear your palate of that nasty crow taste that your French friends are going to make you eat after living all fat and arrogant for so long.

Love always from the provinces,

Saturday, November 10, 2007

No justice! No peace!

So get this, the Japanese government is cutting the salaries a bunch of its contracted workers, so they're going on strike this month.

For 4 hours.

Yeah, they're striking for 4 hours. Nothing says "we'll leverage our demands by paralyzing our employer" like a 4 hour strike. Union representatives added that if their demands are not met, they'll "make scary faces" and "jump up and down a lot".

What a bunch of power-playing masters of negotiation. Fear them.

My boss told me that when he was teaching English for companies in Japan, the workers would go on strike from 11:30-12:30 in the afternoon. During their lunch break they'd sit there with signs, then return to work at 12:39 on the dot.

I have over some of these guys working under me now, so I asked em how many were striking and they came back saying that no one is interested in striking and that they'd all be at work. But it turns out they're not allowed into work, so even if they're not interested in taking part they still have to strike and take 4 hours of no-pay time in the shorts.

That union doesnt sound like such a great idea anymore, does it there Shinsuke.

I get unions. I get why they started. But I also get what they've turned into. It doesn't really seem to jive well with the Japanese personality though. This isn't the Land of the Free, Home of the Cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face. Aside from the residents of St Petersburg, no one is more willing to use their house for firewood than a "Union Guy". Food schmood, we'll deal with that later. You can take the food off my plate, you corporate bastards, but you can't take my pride!! Now pay me $35 for driving this forklift or we'll all stop working, harrass Mexicans who do it for us, and badmouth Chinamen for stealing our jobs when we prevent our steel mill from competing with them!

O rly? Confrontational nature of this sign aside, if one of my employees had this sign, I would immediately assume that they had an inflated sense of entitlement and would do the minimum amount of work possible. If they were, for whatever reason, authorized to leave early, they'd be the first one out the door, but if asked to stay 10 minutes more to take care of something, would start shouting union bylaws.

That being said, it's a shame that the Japanese government is shorting these people like $300 a month.. But weak-ass reactions like this make it apparent why the Japanese middle-class are still working like slaves for low salaries and put up with sub-standard living conditions.

Other than that, I was sitting my couch after eating an entire bag of shrooms and smoking an ounce of hash work the other day and I got a kick out of this video.

I think it caught my attention because I completely flipped the fuck out cuz I had just eaten a bunch of shrooms the video is shot in one take, like those Ebay commercials.

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