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Published on December 16, 2005 By FishHead In Current Events
Merry Christmas, Yo ho ho and a bottle of over-the-top-capitalism (probably in a red and white can) for all you festive season party goers.

I’m annoyed at capitalism. What you may say? Fishhead, the extreme right but intelligent guy annoyed at capitalism? Has the world gone crazy? Well it may just have done that.

I’m sure there are many evils of capitalism out there, you know, things like third world countries pulling themselves out of debt and all that jazz but I think I’ve found the true evils of capitalism hidden within this merry season. And no, I’m not talking about the over commercialization of Xmas, I’m talking about depriving my kids the chance to see some of the awesome Christmas lights displays around the surrounding neighborhoods.

How is this possible you may ask? Around the lovely city of Brisbane, Australia there are homes that light up around Christmas with wonderful displays of light. So over the past two weeks, whenever I’ve had my boys we’ve gone driving around the surrounding neighborhoods hunting out fairy lights. Sure we found the odd good house or two but overall there was a fair bit of wasted petrol, which in a six cylinder car is rather expensive.

But on to the point. My housemate and I decided that this would be made a lot easier if we could just find a list of houses that entered the local Christmas lights competition. I seem to recall a time when the local paper would print all of the addresses so parents could take their kids to see them. So we started searching.

It turns out that no such list exists these days. The most you can find it a list of 12 homes around Brisbane that you can vote on. 12 may sound like a lot but when they’re scattered around a city that takes an hour or so to go from one side to the other and just as long to go top to bottom, that would waste even more fuel. By now you should be pondering why this is, where has the list gone? You could even be forgiven for thinking maybe the hundreds of houses around the city that entered the competition have decided to protect their privacy.

No the actual reason is that there is now an official Christmas lights tour, charging 11 something dollars for adults. I don’t know if it’s the council profiting although it does use the Brisbane City Council buses.

I can understand the need and or want to make a buck but this is ridiculous. Surely people put up these lights because they want other people, and probably children, to admire them. I guarantee you the homeowners/tenants that put them up aren’t getting a slice of the pie when it comes to the profits.

It just seems a little dodge ‘tis all.

on Dec 16, 2005
That's pretty bad.... Here in SoCa the local newspapers publish directions to neighborhoods with extensive Xmas lights, no charge. Also, there are some fund raising organizations that charge tax deductible donations from supplying small bus transportation to, around and back to designated parking lots. Not sure what they charge thought. If the community you live is supplying transportation, it has to be paid for it some how. Sorry it's affecting you.

Happy Holidays.

on Dec 17, 2005
What does that have to do with private ownership of property and means of production? You'd prefer a system where a government beancounter hands out a list? Would it even be possible for a nation that separates church and state to do so?

I'm not following what this has to do with Capitalism. I think the word you are looking for is "greed", and the two aren't synonymous. I think if you look at the history of socialistic states wordwide you'll find there is no less greed.
on Dec 17, 2005
You see Titan, that's how i think it could be done. I've got no problem with the tours themselves, although a little on the expensive side i would think. But what about families like mine who want to go around for themselves, it can't be done which just seems a little Scrooge-like.

And i do understand the difference BakerStreet, i chose capitalism instead of greed for a couple of reasons. First, a few less people would have clicked on my heading if it read "Greed Sucks", i'd be stating the obvious. Also, whilst not too well versed in socialism, i don't think it would happen in that environment. Feel free to educate me though, my head can still fit some stuff in.

And i don't care who puts out the list, in this case it would be a radio station that runs the competition though.
on Dec 17, 2005
Capitalism is a state in which goods, services, and means of production are controlled by the private sector. The alternative is goods, services, and means of production being controlled by the state.

"Rationing" seems to be the first symptom of a purely socialistic society, and your neighborhood party official would probably have something to say about your flagrant waste of "the people's" electricity. If they allowed such wasteful items to be sold at all. Granted, there are different levels of socialism, but most nations that do it on lesser levels probably wouldn't be concerned with maps to Christmas lights and you'd still have somone peddling maps.

I agree that it is greedy, don't get me wrong. I just think that any enterprise has someone, somewhere who is annoyed and willing to call it greedy. Only through Capitalism and the free market are we allowed to decide for ourselves and not have other's definitions imposed on us.
on Dec 17, 2005
We have something like that.

The city takes over part of a park and puts up a lot of light displays. Cars go thrugh the park and look at the displays. Costs so much per car. They have a very good Santa, local crats people, food, characters in costume.

All the money goes to fund the City poice's after school programs and their other "keep kids off the streets" programs.

This will be out 6th or 7th year.

A local list of ornate houses is interesting. We have some houses that are really done well around here. Maybe it is something I should consider doing next year.

on Dec 17, 2005
Lol, staying at home is an option there's no doubt about that. It’s not so much the cost that bugs me; it's the fact that paying the 11 bucks is the only option. I just think that at Christmas there should be the option of going around as a family, without a screaming busload of people. Don’t get me wrong, I scream every now and again but these tours are possible with kids of my offspring's ages (2 and 4).

And I still don't understand how this sits with the people who put the lights up in first place. Putting a good display of lights up at Christmas doesn't seem like the thing to do just for a paying busload of people, it'd be for everyone wouldn't it?

And thanks for the lesson BakerStreet; it would appear that my memory isn't too bad. I did learn that sort of stuff at high school but that was a very long time ago. I was going to make a comment about people being too afraid to put them up in a socialistic society but figured that would be more communism?
on Dec 18, 2005
Honestly, this seems like something someone could put together on their own and make available on the Internet. Just because one person wants to sell something doesn't give them exculsive rights to do it.
on Dec 18, 2005

Fishhead. Where I live, we just got the most decorated city in the country award!  And a local (several actually) station does list a bunch of addresses that have the best one!  My wife is trying to get on that list! ()

I think what you are terming Capitalism, is just crass commercialism.  And it does not exist everywhere.  No one charges a pfenning around here, but you can see the list of the best places at www.wwbt.com!

Merry Christmas!  And if you dont want to fly, check the internet!  I think most are on the internet, here and all over the country (The INternet!  The real last bastion of Communism!)

on Dec 18, 2005
Woo hoo!

Finally, with only 6 nights till Christmas, the local paper has put out a semi decent list of lights! The cynic in me would tell you it was because they'd already made their money from the last 3 weeks of bus tours but the free spirit in me says i got one day this week to do a whirlwind tour of the lights. Could be tough as it doesn't get dark until past 7pm and the boys bed time is 8:30 but methinks they can have a late one. Maybe they read my blog?

little_whip that is exactly what we found as well, we figured it out after about the third night of driving around. Probably should have used my head before driving off.

The INternet! The real last bastion of Communism!
I'm not sure that the record and movie companies like that though

So, after all that a slightly positive ending. Merry Christmas all!

on Dec 19, 2005
Hey this site may interest you

http://www.brisbanechristmaslights.com/ it's got adobe lists of alot of streets with lights -- not just the 4kq http://www.4kq.com.au/ARNClassic/misc/snaps.asp ones

**Warunda St Kenmore
Kitchener St Sherwood
Callabonna St Westlake
Darnley St Rocklea

There are two W streets in Kenmore that have an amazing display -- this one house is OhMyGosh good)

Nolan st Raceview always did their whole street up every year when I lived there. (Santa balloons lollies etc)

Also there's a street in Brassall

My dad took us too this amazing display on Johnstone Rd Forestdale about 5 or 8 years ago --- very expensive displays on big mansion type houses -- don't know if they still do it.

There's Queen St Goodna and this block at the back of Goodna (behind the station side in the estate area) there were a few in Leichardt (Fraiser st) but that might be too far too drive.

I haven't see a comprehensive this year but those are the ones we went and saw every year when I was living with my dad.

Oh and you'd know about the ones in Forest Lake right?

(Ps sorry to intrude - I found you accidently I won't visit again and I won't make mention of this to anyone)

Merry Christmas!!
on Dec 19, 2005
Why not start a lighting contest on your own block?
on Dec 19, 2005
Lol, thanks Trina. Just to let you know I’m not hiding. Oddly enough that list wasn't there when I went looking. Well, it may have been but it hasn't been around for very long. That being said it's awesome someone is putting it together. That someone is a guy called Phil McDonald and it sounds really familiar, I’m looking into that.

I’ll certainly bookmark the link anyways. Thanks for that. We’ve been to the four listed so thurs nite will be hectic, friday night is fireworks in the city.

And I’m too lazy to start a competition.
on Mar 03, 2006
BakerStreet man you crack me up. You know you badly need a chill pill when you feel the need to defend capitalism to FishHead.