Stateside with Rosalea: Speaking of..
As usual, it was a real buzz to get back to Oakland, and even better to get back to my bed after the three-and-a-half movie flight from Sydney to LA. If I were a little less tired, I'm sure I could come up with a fun quiz for you, like: what is the first thing that architects learn about designing airports? Ensure that there's only one seat for every twenty passengers waiting in the gate lounge. By what percentage is the price of food increased once you're past the security check-in? If you guessed 250 percent, try again, only higher this time.
Speaking of food prices - as one of the lucky people with a seat at Kingsford Smith gate 10 lounge very loudly did - eating out in Sydney costs an arm and a leg. For the price of coffee and a muffin there, you could get a full breakfast here. Mind you, you're hard pressed to find horrible coffee in Sydney so I guess you're getting what you pay for.
Whilst in Sydney, I almost fulfilled my triple Ambition de Nostalgie by eating a meat pie out of a paper bag, scoffing a sausage roll, and savouring melt-in-the-mouth fish and chips from their newspaper wrapping. Alas, the paper bag had a fancy faux-French name on it, the sausage roll had seemingly had a close encounter with some spam (the type that promises to increase your penis size), and the newspaper wrapping is a mere fiction. When even the sausage rolls are supersized, you really have to wonder what the world is coming to.
Speaking of supersized, I saw an astonishing documentary on SBS, the multicultural channel, about Fat Girls and Feeders. It came on after the SBS world news, which had pixelated the images of the folks who were ambushed in Fallujah. No such pixelation for the 800lb women in the documentary, who were stark naked for the most part. The documentary was made by England's Channel 4, but it's about men in the US who grow women like prize pigs, and the silly cows that let them. I doubt if it would ever be shown here in the States.
Speaking of censorship, Alanis Morissette is certainly having a grand old time with it, isn't she? A couple of weeks back she was on a local SF radio morning show being interviewed about how she'd had to re-cut some tracks on her latest CD because radio stations might not play it for fear of being fined. The DJs - beeper in hand - had a great phone-in competition asking callers to guess which swear word it was that had been cut. Turned out it started with an A and ended with an E.
Speaking of body parts, here in the States a woman's private parts are referred to as "bush", which is partly why T-shirts saying F*** B*** are so popular even with people who support the president. "Dick and Bush" is an even bigger haw-haw-haw (except when you see their framed photos above the entrance to the immigration hall at LAX).
Speaking of immigration - and Canada too, actually - when Jim Carrey appeared on a show that late night comedian Conan O'Brien taped Up North a month or so ago, he did a huge rant about not wanting to get a US passport, spitting the words "manifest destiny" and rolling his eyes like a madman. One of the questions you have to answer when you go for citizenship is to do with Manifest Destiny, which is the concept of the occupation of the entire continent as the divine right of the American people. The term was later used to justify US involvement in Hawaii, Alaska and the Philippines.
Speaking of Jim Carrey, a car-chase street scene for the sequel to the only film I've ever liked him in - The Mask - was being shot in Sydney when I was there. But neither he nor Cameron Diaz are in the sequel. See. Now they've both got something in common with me, the lucky things!!
And finally, speaking of movies, I must draw your attention to the unspeakable. Ballot Access News is reporting that the CEO of Netflix, a very popular DVD movie rental service here in the States, donated $100,000 to the campaign to keep everybody but the top two vote-getters in California's primary elections off the ballot in the following November's general elections. The proponents of this idea have enough valid signatures to get that proposal put on this November's ballot for voter approval.
If it passes, it effectively means that there will only ever be Democrats or Republicans on the ballot. Talk about your Big Siamese Twin Brother!