Flip Flop Flying

A train

with 11 comments

As I was walking Billy yesterday afternoon, trying to stop him from eating the remains of a discarded döner kebab he found next to some bushes, I got to thinking. And it was a thought that became a train of thought. A train with quite a few carriages.

Is it an interesting train? Well, I dunno; it was for me. I’m also interested in how this process works, and maybe if I write it all down here, I can work it out. Actually, I don’t think it’s that difficult, the brain just connects things that are close together and keeps on truckin’. I should point out that this is in no way a pre-prepared thing, I just happened to have my camera with me, so turned on the audio recording bit just so I could remember all the various tangents when I got home. Anyway, this is how my mind wandered from Celcius to the idea of Europe as a community to Diwali and to the state we’ve got ourselves into. I’m gonna write it in the present tense as that’s how it came out at the time.

Blimey, it’s actually really cold today. Maybe I should put my gloves on, and re-wrap my scarf around me neck. I wondered if it’s below zero. Must check when I get home. It must be. Huh, funny that; how I always refer to cold temperatures in Celsius, but hot temeratures in Fahrenheit. I guess other British people do that too… I reckon newspapers do as well when it’s a scorcher or when there’s a cold snap. Minus 6°C sounds way colder than 21°F. And when it’s hot, 96°F sounds a lot hotter than 35°C. I wonder which I should use on an averagely pleasant day…

I quite like that, though; that there’s these differences. I like miles and kilometres in different countries; I like that some countries drive on the left, some on the right; makes the world a tiny bit more interesting I suppose. That thought still doesn’t apply to the American abbreviated month/day/year date format, though. That’s just confusing when the format looks the same as the non-US day/month/year style.

I like different currencies, too. I like having a load of strange jangle in my pocket, having to work through it slowly to find enough kronas or pesos to buy some chewing gum. And the old Dutch money was so pretty before the Euro came in… I guess the Euro’s easier, though, when you travel around the EU countries. But, really, how difficult was it to do a bit of maths on your holidays? The Euro’s not for us, anyway, is it? It’s for big businesses. Note how the European Community became a European Union, sneakily rubbing out the idea of community.

It’s a shame that, really. I like the idea of a European community. I like our shared history, I like our differences, I like how we all say we hate the French yet still love so many French things and actually being in France. It certainly is a shame that a lot of people, certainly in the UK, seem down on the EU. I guess that’s cos the press have hijacked the concept of Europe and turned it into a Keep Our Beef British type of issue. Lower the portcullis, men! And prepare to fire the flaming arrows from the crenellated parapets at Fritz and Pierre!
There’s so many cool things about Europe that we’d all enjoy. We all go on holiday to other European countries and have a great time, why is it that suddenly when we’re back home with a copy of The Daily Mail or The Snu (sic. I just can’t bear to even write their name correctly) in front of us, we’re all anti-Europe?

(Here, have an advent calendar picture break. Consider it like a chocolate digestive biscuit treat for getting this far.
It’s the decorations outside a big shop that sells books and CDs and stuff. Nice decorations, I think. Shame the staff are quite often surly and downright rude.)

Okay, where was I? Oh yes…

I guess it’s so much easier for the right wing people in any situation to get attention for their cause… Since when was a nice, liberal idea like, “Hey, everyone’s kinda cool, let them do what they want” used to get people ready to fight for the cause? Especially when you can have psychotic, hate-filled loonies like Bill O’Reilly barking at you, reminding you that everything is the fault of some gay men who happen to want to get married to each other. That makes it easy, huh? Blame the other person. They are the ones who make your life shit, nothing to do with your own shortcomings, oh no.

And all this harping on about protecting Christmas from the liberal nutters… Yeh, like Christmas is under threat in any way whatsoever. Fucking idiots. How about this: you stop fretting about the non-existent threat to Christmas and just enjoy it. And maybe investigate the joys of the festivals of other religions. Every seen Diwali, Bill? It’s magnificent. (When I was studying, I lived in a part of Derby that had a large Hindu population.) Why would you not want that happening on a public scale? It’s no threat to you. Why try and demand that we all pay due deference to Christmas and Christmas only? Let’s all admire each other’s special festive seasons. Why is that hard to get a grip of? I know exactly why you don’t want to get it: cos you know if normal folks actually spent some time watching other cultures having fun, they’d stop wanting to blame them for all the ills, and where would their gaze turn? To you and your cronies, skimming as much off the top as you can get away with. (I guess the good thing about this, Bill, is that, as a Christian, you’ll get the the pearly gates, and yer man’ll whip his book out, look for your name, let out a chuckle, and then whisper, “You backed the wrong horse, Bill!” And just as the smile on your face is replaced by a look of horror, you’ll plummet down and down into the bowels of Hell.)

And, oh, doesn’t my heart sink a little bit every time I walk past the Indian restaurant on my street with all the Christmas decorations. I wonder if they really want to have those up there, or do they just feel like they should have them up? And if I’m thinking about something like that, is it any wonder that there are people who see the West as nations involved in some sort of – oh no, can’t believe I’m actually using this word, but here goes – crusade?
And what’s the upshot of that? Well, the more hardcore of those people might just wanna do something about it.
Which makes me quite sad.

And you know what? What also makes me sad is that I can’t just go for a walk with Billy and enjoy watching him running around with an Afghan hound, having the time of his life. I wish I didn’t have all this stuff in my head, I wish I could just stand them and watch him desperately chasing the Afghan and think to myself, I love my little Billy.

Post script: I cleaned up the text this morning, spelling, grammar, etc. But after writing the bulk of it last night, the first thing I did was go to the BBC site and check the Champions League results. All my doom and gloom disappeared as soon as I saw that Manchester United had lost and were bottom of their group. Bwah ha ha!

Written by Craig

December 8th, 2005 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

11 Responses to 'A train'

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  1. Christmas came early last night didn’t. Alex Ferguson looking really miserable (as opposed to just miserable like normal) – what a Christmas present!

    BTW your litlle rant about Christmas and the media etc, reminds me how embarrassed I feel when ever I buy a paper from my newsagents and the cover has some politically correct rant going on or complaining about other religions or races, asylum seekers etc and seeing the look on the face of the lovely Indian ladies I hand my money to and I think, I wonder if they are at all saddened and hurt by what the papers say and they have to sell and do they think that I share that papers feelings. Or have they worked out that I only buy the papers for the telly guide, the cartoons and the F1 coverage!

    CoCo

    8 Dec 05 at 12:24 pm

  2. Guys, stop with the middle class guilt!

    Other people get joy from christmas like you do from Divali and Hannukah (and whatever).

    the brain

    8 Dec 05 at 1:06 pm

  3. CoCo: Indeed it did come early. I hope he doesn’t get sacked, cos he’s doing a great job of ruining his reputation and the club.
    Brain: It’s not guilt, it’s frustration that there’s always someone with access to the front page of a newspaper willing to prod away at these issues. It’s just so easy for them to be negative the whole time, thus distracting us from the real issues.

    Craig

    8 Dec 05 at 1:17 pm

  4. Hear! Hear! On both accounts.

    CoCo

    8 Dec 05 at 1:21 pm

  5. I wish my dog Toby could run around with other dogs, but I’m never brave enough to let him off his lead in case he runs away. Did you train Billy to stay with you or did he just learn to on his own? If you get what I mean…

    Anna

    8 Dec 05 at 1:40 pm

  6. No, didn’t train him, he just kinda knows how far away he can go, then he’ll look around and make sure I’m still there.
    If you’ve got an enclosed field or park or something, try it there first.

    Craig

    8 Dec 05 at 1:50 pm

  7. I wish you could do an animation of Bill O’Reilley’s visit to the pearly gates, but I don’t know if I could watch/listen to an animated version of him without seething with frustration.

    PBS had a great documentary on last night about the good old days when newspapers actually wrote articles of substance about legitimate and important things going on in the world. I wonder if people back then realized how lucky they were. I’m telling you, see Good Luck. Good Night when it opens in Berlin. It will make you feel hopeful that someone as mainstream as George Clooney recognized the importance of putting a movie like this out right now.

    b

    8 Dec 05 at 5:52 pm

  8. what a fantastic rant. top marks.
    craig for president.
    I don’t see what’s middle class about it. Maybe the working classes shouldn’t worry about such things as how they’re being manipulated and just keep their heads down and make more money for the ruling class, huh?

    dave

    8 Dec 05 at 7:13 pm

  9. I would like to do something O’Reily-ish to cleanse myself. Not sure what, mind. And I’m looking forward to the Clooney film.

    Dave, thanks dude.

    Craig

    8 Dec 05 at 8:11 pm

  10. check this out

    NYtimes

    maybe you’ve already seen it, but it just ad’s to the insanity of the holidays. Some things are to be said for having the holiday commercial, supposed jews like myself can feel guilt free when deciding that the Santa Train really is necessary. Because in all truth a Hanukkah bush just isn’t that exciting. Nice entry though :) couldn’t agree more.

    Rebecca

    8 Dec 05 at 10:03 pm

  11. Thanks, Rebecca, that was interesting. This is weird how often O’Reilly just bulldozes thru facts for his own ends.
    Where are the assassins when you need ‘em?

    Craig

    10 Dec 05 at 7:18 pm

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