Yardley, Monday 24 December 2001
The sun rises at 7 am. Lovely to wake up without the aid of an a-sun. During the day the sun is nice and still warm enough to lunch outdoors. Long live global warming.

A white Christmas is unlikely. Never mind. At night plastic snowmen, Santas, reindeer and Mary statues turn the gardens into a orgy of light (lifeuncommon.org/...).

The latest Star Trek series is showing on television here, a series not yet available on BBC2. Jonathan Archer (startrek.com/...) is the captain of the Enterprise on some stardate between TOS (bbc.co.uk/...) and TNG (bbc.co.uk/...).

The Enterprise equipment looks somewhat more old-fashioned than on TNG. Yet the recording technique is obviously more modern. A split between modern and old-fashioned, an contradictive feeling that I often experience over here.

More modern old-fashioned


Americans are early adaptors of new technology. "New" and "good" are synonymous here. The latest gadgets make perfect Christmas presents.


E-commerce is a widely accepted way of doing business. Commodities such as books and air tickets are predominantly ordered on-line.

It is still possible to go window shopping in the stores of Barnes and Noble (bn.com). These brick-and-mortar stores are becoming little more than the physical showcase of the web store. Ordering on-line is cheaper.


Everything is focussed on convenience.
  • Beer bottles have twist tops.
  • Nobody washes office shirts. They are simply dry cleaned.
  • Houses are made of plastic imitation wood, easy to powerhose.


Society is a way away from nature.
  • Ski slopes get fresh artificial snow on a daily basis.
  • Heated footpaths from parking place to office building are the norm.
  • The lawn is mowed with a mini tractor, even the smallest garden.
  • A hand geared car is the ultimate in 'back to nature'.


Pounds, gallons and miles are the only units of measure. The modern metric system is completely unknown here. It is as if they never gained independence from England.

Outdated technology

Household appliances make me think of the fifties. Washing machines are old-fashioned top loaders, with an agitator that wears the laundry out but fails to clean it properly.

Banking system

An on-line Internet money transfer can take about seven days.

The reason: The systems of the various banks are rarely connected. The back office processes on-line money transfers by creating an old-fashioned cheque and snail mailing it to the beneficiary. The beneficiary must cash the cheque personally.


Shopping is the national pastime, with Christmas as the commercial peak. Satisfying material needs is a neverending quest, a unquenchable thirst.

Will the American ever ascend to the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs (cgey.com/...)? Or should I really interpret plastic surgery as the ultimate in self-actualization?

Alone in the world

On a micro scale people live on separate private islands, along rather than with each other.

There is no feeling of international cohesion. old-fashioned remote island thinking, as if there are no roads, airplanes or means of communication yet. Global warming for example, is something other countries just perceived to be a problem (lycos.com/...). Isn't it great to have lunch outdoors in December?

Long live CO2!

So much for pondering.

Till next week.