Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Birdseed Indicator

I go to the pet store every three weeks to buy millet sprays for my Parakeet. Last year they were 3 for a dollar. This year the price went up to 45 cents a spray. Today they were 95 cents each. The treat part of my parakeet’s food budget has jumped from 17 dollars up to 52 dollars a year. I only paid 12 dollars for the bird, but the concept that the 52 dollars is just for bird seed, makes me see the world in a different light.

Of course, this must be a special case, and we should disregard the data. But what’s my reaction? The special treats for bird just aren’t going to happen as often anymore. The pet store raised their prices and now the bird has to make do with two sprigs of millet a month (Bird gets a tray of regular seed also, so he’s doing OK-- The millet is just his snack food)(Republicans don't starve their pets by waiting for handouts like Democrats)--(I'm joking here).

We’re not getting rid of the parakeet, but we will probably get rid of our cable TV. They want 15 dollars a month for 7 Spanish stations and 6 infomercial stations. I don’t speak Spanish, and this is supposed to the United States (figure that out). I can get PBS and the three news channels with just a TV antenna. What we are really looking at here is the fact; we are getting less for the same amount of money. Not to mention a reduction in the quality of the product being sold.

Of course, not everything is depreciating. I had a bunch of old gold and silver items that I’ve had for many years. A gold dental crown, two gold rings and a gold chain (20 grams in all) and about 3 ounces of scrap silver, like cuff links and tie clasps and took it down to the local coin dealer and got about $650 dollars which I converted to 20 silver maple leafs. My wife was so impressed; that she rummaged through her old junk jewelry (the stuff you get for Christmas) and we took that down and got another 20 silver maple leafs. It’s kind of surprising to see what you have just lying around the house that you wouldn’t think twice about.

Below is a picture that has been circulating around that I found humorous. Some of you have may have already seen it. It tends to suggest that there is a certain frustration with the way Congress is malfunctioning as of late.

I think we can readily agree that the present government doesn’t want to link COLAs to the price of millet for my parakeet. So from a government perspective, a bird in the hand will end up costing a lot more than two in the bush (from the Bush dynasty). On a positive note, the country can’t be going to the dogs, if we are too poor to afford bird seed ---Stand-by everyone, Obama will save us,---the question is, “Save us from what?”



Grow your birds millet in a flower pot. It's really easy to grow.
And you could keep a chicken in that cage as easily as a parrot.
Thanks for the great blog.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Mongo

I'll give that a try. I grow orchids-- why not a little millet? Thanks for the tip.

As for chickens, that's pushing it a tad. My parakeet's morning chirp wakes me up to a new world. The sound of a chicken clucking makes me want to strangle my neighbor who is raising them to eat.

Glad you like the blog, your compliments are my paycheck.

Take care.

dearieme said...

Move to London - there's now a large, wild population of parakeets for you to enjoy.

Anyway - measuring inflation: here's one answer; devise an index that reflects reality better than government propaganda does.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Dearieme

Thank you for the link.

Tullett has a more realistic approach as to what to include in an inflation index.

What worries me is the fact that inflation is not immediate. The cause of it can take a couple of years before it is felt.

Their figures of 7.8% in 2011 and 3.7% in 2012 totals about 11.5% for two years. Even though that reflects inflation in the UK, I suspect it could be even worse over here.

Franco Bollo said...

"We’re not getting rid of the parakeet, but we will probably get rid of our cable TV. They want 15 dollars a month for 7 Spanish stations and 6 infomercial stations. I don’t speak Spanish, and this is supposed to the United States (figure that out). I can get PBS and the three news channels with just a TV antenna."

I Cut The Cord in August of last year and save $74.44/Mo. I've since paid off a 40" TV, Blu Ray player, and a streaming video device.
You can buy a lot of Movies and TV Program Blu Ray's for $74.44/Mo.
Now comes the search for a reasonably priced ISP.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Franco

I am amazed at how much some people pay for cable a month. I know a few that pay over $100 a month for sports channels.

I was thinking of cutting the cord, but if I learn Spanish, I'll get most of the world news that I'm missing.

You right, those dollars add up. I don't see how the cable companies can charge so much for something that most of us don't really have the time to watch.

If enough people drop cable, prices could come down. I can watch almost anything now on my laptop even if it is blacked out. So cable could be in its death throes

Luke Smith said...

I pressed the "No" button - I want them in the "Trash Bin".

Anonymous said...

I cut the cord over 10 years ago and have never looked back. It's the best thing I ever did. Not a single TV left in the house, just laptops and iPads. Every once in a while I will turn on the TV while on business travel and get reaffirmation on my decision. There is just crap on TV nowadays even with 100+ channels. The actual new content on any one-hour show is probably less than five minutes.
There ought to be a metric that measures the amount of junk compared to actual new and useful information on a show and then be able to filter those shows out that are more than 10% crap. We'd probably only be left with the foreign channels... This metric would probably also correlate well with the unemployment rate.
BTW, great blogs. Please keep them coming.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Anon 1:42

Thank you for reading, glad you like my blog.

I really don't have the time to watch TV.

I agree about the junk on TV now. My son enjoys a few sitcoms, but there is only so many sex jokes before you've heard them all (with canned laughter no less).

You mentioned you have a laptop. You can watch a lot of TV if you download the Readon TV player. Every PBS program ever made is there for viewing. Google it for a link. There is a lot of adult content so watch it if you have kids. Another site I go to for sports is --that will get you to their current link, but decline any and all software downloads assume they are malware. The video will still pop up. Viewers upload their cable content to this site offshore and anyone can view it.

Thank you for your comments.