Archive for the 'United States' Category

Holiday Economics

October 30th, 2006

So which special occasions do we (well, the US) spend the most money on? The National Retail Federation has the breakdown (via Snopes):

  1. Christmas (‘winter holidays’): $438.6 billion.
  2. Back to school: $54.2 billion.
  3. Mother’s day: $13.8 billion.
  4. Valentine’s day: $13.7 billion.
  5. Easter: $12.6 billion.
  6. Father’s day: $9.0 billion.
  7. Super Bowl: $5.3 billion.
  8. Halloween: $5.0 billion.
  9. St Patrick’s day: $2.7 billion.

A few surprises there. Firstly, why so much on Easter? Mother’s day and Valentine’s day are both going to have a lot of gift giving in there. Are there social/religious groups that give out presents at Easter? And secondly, clearly fathers are getting the raw deal, with a $4.8 billion shortfall! (Although you could argue that it still doesn’t make up for the $5.3 billion on the Super Bowl).

Finally: St Patrick’s day, $2.7 billion? That’s enough to buy about 3,070,000,000 litres of beer, or around 10 litres for every man, woman and child in the US. Good going!

(Although that’s American beer, so it would have the alcohol content of about 3 Australian beers…)

Have you ever wondered why there’s an obesity epidemic?

October 26th, 2006

Via The Daily Show, I give you the Jimmy Dean Chocolate Chip Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick:

Jimmy Dean Pancakes & Sausage

There are just no words…

What free trade agreement?

October 23rd, 2006

From The Courier-Mail (via Boing Boing):

THE United States has slapped a ban on Vegemite, outraging Australian expatriates there.

I don’t feel that I’m exaggerating when I say that this is the greatest outrage ever! Where’s Mark Latham when you need him?

Stupidest lawsuit ever

July 10th, 2006

No further comment needed: 

A Northeast Portland man is suing basketball superstar Michael Jordan and Nike founder Phil Knight for a combined $832 million. Allen Heckard filed the suit himself, June 29th in Washington County Court. Heckard says he’s been mistaken as Michael Jordan nearly every day over the past 15 years and he’s tired of it.

(Via Overlawyered).

Idiots to a high power

June 20th, 2006

While checking the Apple Movie Trailers site I came across a trailer for America: Freedom to Fascism. From watching the trailer, it seems to be the most prominent example yet of the tax protestor lunacies about the legality of the US income tax system. Except rather than being promoted through dodgy seminars and mimegraphed leaflets, it’s going to be on cinema screens across a country.

Needless to say, it is all completely unbalanced. Here’s a handy list of the ‘experts’ the trailer shows are in the movie:

This gaggle of tax protestors seems to have nothing new to say. Just the same old rubbish about flags with tassels, the 16th amendment, and so on. Surely there were better ways to waste money than to make a documentary about them.

Where in the World?

May 4th, 2006

The National Geographic Society has just published another round of its survey that always shows how poor people are at geography. There’s some pretty funny stuff in it (about a third of the sample think America has a population of 1-2 billion…), but some stuff I got wrong myself.

But if you think you’re so smart at geography, try the Geosense online geography quiz, which test where you think various world cities are.

Via Washington Monthly.