Today, I had to walk all the way to the train station (about two miles away) to purchase the tickets I need to get to Edinburgh to spend New Year's living it up with my stupendous friends who have been living there this fall. It's still not clear to me why I was not able to buy these tickets online, and so I may have to take a page from another friend of ours and send an outraged letter, demanding the equivalent of the 10% online booking discount I lost because I had to buy in person.

Fortunately, though the day was cold, it was not rainy or windy, and so the walk was a fine one. And on the way back from the station, I saw the advertisement that is today's image. Several things made it imperative that I take that picture, immediately.

First and foremost: when I still lived in Ithaca, I used occasionally to go to Friendly's with certain friends--all of whom, it occurs to me, now live in Chicago. On the starter menu, there was a "kickin' Buffalo chicken salad," and one of my friends always threw down a dare: if we'd say "I'd like a kickinnnnn' Buffalo chickinnnnn salad," he'd do or buy something or another. I can't even remember what the prize was; I just remember the way he said, "Kickinnnnn' Buffalo chickinnnnnn!" And of course it was the first thing I thought when I saw this advert earlier.

But I also needed to show you, once again, exactly why it's a disaster that the dollar is so puny against the pound right now. Today, the rate isn't as much of a nightmare as it's been for a long time. This sandwich would only cost $6.02.

The six-piece pack of ginger shortbread I bought at Fitzbillie's on my way home from that walk cost me £3.40. You now have the data you need to solve for that price in dollars. Fortunately my essentials--milk, instant coffee, cereal, bread, cheese--are pretty much in line with what I'd pay at home. Just for instance, my good organic bread is 75p--which would be only about $1.50 at home, far less than I pay for LaBrea at the local Kroger.

Plus we have flowering trees here--though, to be honest, that makes me a little nervous.