Friday, 30 November 2012


I have kept to the European tradition of shopping for food everyday. We no longer do the once a week shopping trip to the giant mall, we never really did that anyway. First I find that it takes away one day of your weekend and then the mall is crazy with people not looking where they are going and acting in a rude often unpleasant manner, not to mention the screaming kids in tow. In other words you come out feeling harassed and tired. So everyday I go out in the morning to shop in our local stores and find a different variety of people who have more time and are on the lot more relaxed.

One fun thing to do at the check out counter is to read the front pages of tabloids. On any given week it will be stories of marriage, divorce, death, tragedy or new beginning for some name in the news. It has to be either the Queen, William and Kate, Kate's sister Pippa, Bill Clinton, Cher or some other Starlet you would know only if you follow the Hollywood gossip. The headlines are always outrageous, recently one said: ''Queen is dying'' Next to it a smaller headline ''Queen ask Kate to get pregnant quick so she can give the Throne to William''. ''Kate going to fertility clinic'' apparently William is impotent or sterile or both, poor Kate. Bill Clinton has been dying for many months and his clearly photo shopped picture shows a skeletal Bill, he looks different from the image on live television, who is telling the truth. Kate is also always having fights with Camilla, they apparently hate each other. William has also ordered Charles to dump Camilla. As for Prince Harry, let's not go there, he is apparently another Princess Margaret in the making, orgies, booze, loose living. The tabloids also announced that Kate's parents are not invited for Christmas at Buckingham Palace, the Queen does not like them at all, big family food fights. Pippa is having numerous affairs with rich men all over London, she is portrayed as a gold digger, it is insinuated that her sister Kate was one too. All of it sounds like a soap opera a la Dallas or Dynasty.

Cher and Oprah are in and out of fat farms, clinics of all sorts, rehab programs, are having problems with money or family or both. The other starlets in Hollywood are getting married for the fifth or sixth time hoping for real love. They always seem to be going out with uneducated thugs picked up on the beach or at some disco and you know that they will end up in Divorce Court in 6 moths.

Some other funny headlines, all accompanied by strange photo shots, usually not photos anyone would want published, the idea is to make the subject look deranged or at least in an ugly mood:
Drunk Jackie Chan disinherits son
Mary Osmond meltdown
Vanessa Williams all washed up
Dr. Phil is a facist
Larry Hagman's death medical mistake
Mariah goes nuts

The theme of all these stories is that despite these people being rich and famous they cannot escape ordinary people problems, makes ordinary folks feel better I suppose. Any divorce story is usually followed about horror stories of abusive spouses, booze and drugs. Death stories are always a mystery or a cover up, look at Nathalie Wood, JFK, Elvis, no one ever dies of natural causes, the conspiracy element is strong in all storyline, usually because of money grabbing relatives.

It passes the time while I wait my turn at the Cashier counter. I do not know if anyone actually believes the stuff but I did see one lady pick up several tabloids, I hope its for entertainment and not serious reading.


  1. Wait a minute are you saying those stories aren't true????? Next think you'll be telling me there is not Santa!

  2. Yes and this morning another shocker Mitt Romney and his wife are divorcing. He is becoming the US Ambassador to the Vatican. Imagine!

  3. A long time ago, when I believed the media did not lie, I tried to believe what I read in the National Enquirer. Alas today, much wiser, I read the tabloids as I wait in line to see what outrageous headlines they are printing this time.

  4. I was struck by the difference 'food' is to Europeans. Americans buy in bulk, and they see food as fuel rather than something lovely. Such as utilitarian and mundane approach - phooey.

    1. yes the fuel word is the right expression here. Sad really.

  5. I really like the Euro way of food shopping. There is no excess and there's nothing mediocre. Here we will get all of our food at Shoprite. There, you get your meat for the one day at the butcher, and your bread at the baker, and your cheese at the cheese shop. And you always get a fresh flower for the table.

    Of course for me alone that is its own little hell. It means having to speak not just once a week to one lone cashier, but instead having to speak every day, 4 or 5 times a day, to 4 or 5 different people. And having to say more in order to place the order instead of just grabbing something off the shelf quietly.

    It wasn't too hard for my family to follow in that Euro tradition when I lived in New York City. Here in Vermont though forget about it. Especially in winter, we have to load up and prepare for long storms and being snowed in, and the small handful of stores in a 30 mile radius not getting their deliveries. To top it off, there's not a lot available here anyway so I buy pantry items online from British and Asian importers that will ship.

    1. Picturesque Vermont. Being a in a small place it can be more of a challenge.