Framing the Dialogue

A Bird In the Hand Will Cost You 20 Bucks

…six geese a laying,

F i v e    g o l d    r i n g s,

Forget the calling bird this year’s rings will cost you $350. and the nine ladies dancing will cost you $4,759, but a partridge will only set you back $20.

It is that time of year.  Actually I started seeing Christmas decorations several weeks before Thanksgiving.  When I was young, stores didn’t put out Christmas decorations until December 15…what a great day.  I also had to walk two miles each way to school into strong headwinds and uphill each way.

On Monday I was treated to the annual article outlining how much it would cost you to buy each of the items in the famous Christmas tune…The Twelve Days of Christmas.  This is not very remarkable except my daily paper placed the article on the front page…above the fold…right below the masthead.  Was there really nothing else to put there?  This is a big city.  There had to be a traffic accident or somebody’s mail getting lost.

I don’t want to put some poor reporter out of a gig, but is this really news?  I suspect the writer agreed as the author was listed as “staff and wire reports.”  I wonder how long it actually takes someone to track down these costs?  Did a professional writer do this or was this some poor intern’s task?  Since they produce this every year, do they have a fancy spreadsheet that they simply update?  Who has the annual reminder on their Blackberry notify them that it is time?

The article did put a 2008 spin with talk of $4 gasoline and the bad economy.  Wait, I think gas was around $2 when this was published.  Makes you wonder when this was written and why it is above-the-fold news?  At least they correctly called it Christmas and not The Twelve Days of Holiday!

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