It’s been so long since I’ve posted, it took me six tries to figure out the password. But I’m back now and planning to write more regularly. One can’t annoy the Establishment by staying quiet.
Earlier this month I visited Denmark, a lovely country containing just one third the land mass and half the population of Pennsylvania. Packed in that micro-nation is a queen (Margrethe II), an entirely different language (Danish) and coins with holes in the middle (the Krone).
I won’t bore you with too many travel details, but a few stand out. As a gift for our hosts, I bought a bottle of my favorite bourbon, Blanton’s, which cost 349 kr (about $49) inclusive of the 25% VAT charged on every consumer item in Denmark. A bottle of Blanton’s at a PLCB store lists for $57.99, plus sales tax (7% in my county), setting you back $62.35.
How is it that a bottle of bourbon made on the other side of Ohio costs $13 more in Pennsylvania than it does shipped across a vast ocean, slapped with a 25% VAT and sold to you by a guy who gets six weeks paid vacation a year? Unless you have been asleep since 1934, that question answers itself. Privatize the LCB, stupid.
To be fair, it’s not all rainbows and bourbon in Denmark. The car tax is 180%. Not a misprint, sports fans. A $28,000 Subaru would cost a breathtaking $78,400 in Denmark. So not a lot of Yukons rumbling through their veje and motorveje.
Speaking of cars, we rented a Renault Grand Scenic, an able little wagon that comfortably fit four people and two dogs with fuel efficiency that would make a Prius envious at 64 mpg (diesel). Why I can’t buy one of those online from France and have it delivered to my house without permission from a dozen state and federal agencies is reason #172 why government sucks.
Movie Review: Speaking of sucks, anyone see The Birdman with Pittsburgh-area native Michael Keaton? I did, on the flight back. Save those two hours and go plant tulips, wash your golf clubs or take a nap. Keaton acted as well as he could have through that disjointed, claustrophobic and depressing script. The good news is that the main character – a schizophrenic, washed-up movie star – commits suicide at the end, so there won’t be a sequel.