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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Holiday Spirit

The wharves around here get quiet around Christmas time. People go on vacation or take time off with their families. Urchin harvesters, lobstermen, yard workers, marine mechanics, they all pretty much stop what they're doing for a few days. It's like that everywhere, I guess.

I went up to Augusta to do my Christmas shopping, took my mother with me. We stopped at Morse's Kraut House off Route 220 for some German delicacies. I bought chocolate rum balls, barbecue sauce, and some canned salmon. My mother met a retired trucker who gave her a hug and a kiss. I wanted to buy more but after checking the gleam in the guy's eyes I hustled my mother into the car and continued on up to Augusta. Sheesh, and I thought my mother was outgoing.

My mother's at the stage in her Alzheimer's where she has to stop and talk to everyone she meets. This can be time consuming, at time downright exasperating. I'm like most men. We don't like to shop. We particularly don't like to shop with our mothers. If and/or when we do go shopping, we do so with the efficiency and planning of a space shot. We don't hob nob. We don't waste motion. It's get in and get out. Like a well planned military strike.

My mother doesn't know from military strikes. Nor does she follow acceptable shopping guidelines for men.

I bought almost nothing. She, on the other hand, bought $176.00 worth of beauty aids, which, incidentally, I paid for.

On the bright side, she promptly forgot what she picked out, so I wrapped them the following day and gave them to her for Christmas/Hanukkah. (Yeah, that's right, we celebrate both. Wanna make something of it?)

Meanwhile, Sandra and I had signed an agreement whereby we would not spend more than $50.00 on each other. I broke the deal by buying a nightgown and robe made in India. The combo cost me $155.00 even though it was probably sewn out of 20 cents worth of material by a fourteen year old kid earning $1.20 a month.

***Warning! Non sequitur Coming!***

Speaking of India, and products made overseas, etc., etc. You hear a lot of rubbish that we're selling off the U.S. to foreign interests and losing economic security and countless jobs in the process. Well, to all the economic fatalists out there, let me point out the following:

Turns out the revenue earned from foreign owned U.S. companies is roughly the same as the revenue earned from U.S. owned foreign companies. In addition, what anti-globalists and anti-foreign policy wonks use as an argument -- that the value or equity of the U.S. owned foreign companies is much less than the value or equity of foreign owned U.S. companies, i.e. foreigners own much more of the U.S. than the U.S. owns of businesses in foreign lands. -- is a misdirection of the truth.

What would you rather have? Would you want to make a million dollars a year from a company that cost you 3 million dollars to purchase? Or would you want to make a million dollars a year from a company that only cost $100,000? Kind of a no brainer.

Speaking for myself, as a small time passenger boat owner/operator, I can say with absolute authority that a more expensive boat costs more to own, operate and insure . . . and yet it does not necessarily provide greater equity. Moreover, you can make as much money from a smaller, less expensive boat as you can make from a larger, more expensive one. It all depends on the market and how good you are at making money.

Remember the adage, Buy Low - Sell High.

Good advice for the country. Good advice for fishermen. Good advice for the holidays.


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