Sunday, 30 June 2013

Confederation cup

Just back from Fado's watching Brazil defeats Spain 3-0. Very satisfying. For an Italy fan.

And another reason to love Atlanta. Watching the game with two football (soccer) loving Americans, running to your Brazilian and Italian friends, and everyone celebrating. Yay. Now: pizza. 

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Living in Atlanta, #45

You have no plans on a Sunday so you drive up to a state park, find a good 5.5 mile loop trial, along a lake, and have yourself a good hike. On the way home you stop for some groceries, and you spend the evening cooking, and then consuming, oreo crust white chocolate cheesecake.

Friday, 28 June 2013


There are several things I still do not understand.

For example: I am told tipping is mandatory in America because employees earn less than minimum wage so we are topping up their pay.

  1. Is this true in all industries?
  2. Are all these employers breaking the law?
  3. And if so why are we so complacent about it?

I'm not against tipping, or a commission-based pay structure. The opposite extreme is a place like Switzerland, where there is almost no tipping and service is so bad you often wonder if you are in a candid camera skit.

But why is a tip based in the size of my order? That seems arbitrary as well. For example if I am in a restaurant and I order lobster, is my service better than if I ordered chicken tenders? Is there another way to calculate tip that would align it with actual quality of service? And what about repeat service? If I am happy with my hairdresser I can assure you I will return over and over again. What is that worth in comparison to a one-off tip?

Thursday, 27 June 2013

What I learned today

It is, indeed, possible to buy wine in the state of Georgia before 9 o'clock in the morning.

Friday, 21 June 2013

What is alimony about?

Have we moved beyond the days of a spouse as a burden, necessary mainly for home maintenance, money and procreation?

My latest post at

Wondering about support

I work at Acme Inc. Ltd., and I have been for 10 years now. But I have realized, recently, that my strengths no longer align with what the company needs. And the company’s growth strategy no longer aligns with where I want to be in ten years.
So now we decided to part ways. Maybe I was the one to sever our agreement, maybe the company decided they no longer needed me, or perhaps – it does happen – we mutually agreed that we were no longer a productive team. I forget how it exactly it went down. But that doesn’t matter.
Here, however, is the catch: I now have no job. Which means no salary. That salary was an agreed amount paid to me in return for my services to Acme Inc. Ltd. And I used it to live. You know: buy groceries, pay my rent, keep my utilities on, and even a holiday or shopping spree now and again. After all these years of getting along, I think that Acme should:
“recognise any economic advantage or disadvantage to employees arising from employment or its breakdown”.
You see where I am going with this: I want support payments, to maintain me in the lifestyle to which I have become accustomed, until I find my next job. Because, see, Acme Inc. Ltd. has more money than I do.
How does that sound?
Nice, perhaps, if you are the one leaving the job. Outrageous if you are still working at, or an owner of, Acme Inc. Ltd.. And just a little bit crazy if viewed from the outside.
The quote above is actually paraphrasing Canada’s Divorce Act, and the above scenario is an alimony agreement. The correct quote states that decisions in alimony payments must “recognise any economic advantage or disadvantage to spouses arising from marriage or its breakdown”.
My question is: why?
Let me premise right away: child support is not alimony, and I am not talking about child support in this post. Let me also premise that I support any payments or exchange between two agreeing parties. If I am divorcing a spouse and I am concerned about my ex not being able to live by the same standards he enjoyed as my partner, and I wish to give him money or a house to rectify that, then fine, I am free to do so.
What I do not understand is alimony as a law.
Let’s remember that in previous generations (and indeed going back to antiquity), alimony was to be paid to a woman (scorned), because her support was a husband’s duty (those old traditions didn’t necessarily always favour men). This was back when a woman was seen as a financial burden – one which plenty of men or parents were happy to carry, but a burden nonetheless.
Have we moved beyond the days of a spouse as a burden, necessary mainly for home maintenance, money and procreation?

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Utopias Elsewhere


Department Store Number 1 was a tacit admission of the desirability of an abundance of material goods, consumption of which was very much a proper goal of mankind. Such an admission of the obvious would not have been in any way remarkable were it not that socialists so frequently deny it, criticising liberal capitalist democracy because of its wastefulness and its inculcation of artificial desires in its citizens, thereby obscuring their ‘true’ interests.