I’ve had requests for more cartoons. I’m assuming because cartoons are much easier to laugh at without having to read all those many, many words. I have also taken a segment from The Bay Area Brit and given it its own site www.DiningWithElvis.com
It’s still a work in progress, and hopefully it won’t just become a “Shit My Roommate Elvis Says,” kind of thing, but I can’t make any promises.
Oh yeah, and today is the anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Enjoy!
In two weeks I’m flying to the east coast for a long weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing two dear friends get married…but there’s a big problem. I am not sure why, but I have the worst luck when it comes to flying. I’ve never been much of a fan of floating 38,000 feet in the air in a can of human sardines, but at least now I fully comprehend why.
I have bad flight karma.
“Well, dude, if you had ‘bad flight karma’ then wouldn’t the plane hit a mountain or something,” you’re probably saying. Well that’s a bit extreme.
No, I’ll give you an example of bad flight karma, as it pertains to me: If there’s a guy on the plane whose nickname in college was “Moose,” “Bull” or “Meat,” I one-hundred percent guarantee that he will be sitting in front of me. No doubt about it. In fact, while at the gate waiting to board, I could pass for psychic by grabbing the biggest man at the gate and announce. “Sir, although we have never met, I can tell you that you are sitting in Row 7 seat D…Sir take a look at your ticket and show it to the audience. Amazing.”
As I get comfortable in my seat, I usually watch in horror as the lug drops his full weight in the seat in front, and a meaty bear paw seeks out the recline button. Within moments I can literally count the hair follicles of his crew cut. From the moment the safety belt signal is switched on before takeoff, until the moment that the flight attendants come by just before we land, the college linebacker has had his head in my lap.
However, there’s something about my personality or perhaps my upbringing that refuses to seek out that extra few inches of comfort by reclining my seat back intruding in the airspace of the person who had the misfortune to sit behind me. By this token, I should have better flight karma–right?
So back to this whole theory about the plane crashing because of my bad flight karma. Well crashing’s all well and good, if the other 223 passengers and flight crew all survive. But realistically, that’s not going to happen now, is it? If you’ve ever seen one of the “Airport” movies, or even the spoof, “Airplane,” you know that there is a good chance that on the flight there will be a nun that can play guitar, a child that needs an emergency liver transplant, and a transsexual flight attendant who is leading a triple-life. All good people with great flight karma.
So, as I found my seat, on Flight 224 from Oakland to Denver on leg 1 of my flight, I tapped “Moose” on the shoulder firmly and smiled.
“How’s it goin’?”
“Er, okay,” he said, looking at me nervously.
“I just wanted to introduce myself,” I said. “I’m the guy that’s sitting behind you.”
“Er, okay,” he said.
My theory was this: by putting a face to the person that this 270 lb linebacker was sitting in front of, it might make him think twice before reclining. It actually worked. Although the force of his natural weight did dictate that he was closer to me than I would have liked. But he didn’t make my life any more miserable than it might have been. Kudos to you, Moose.
Ironically, the woman that sat behind me, was lucky that I have a no-recline policy as a consideration to my fellow travelers, as she had tried to cut in front of me in line to buy a sandwich at the airport gate, and when I called her on it she didn’t apologize. Ooh, bad airport gate karma, lady.
I do believe that Moose and I bonded, and I urge everyone to tap the person on the shoulder in the seat in front of them and smile and say, “Hey, how’s it goin’?” You just might have a slightly more pleasurable journey, and in kind, if you don’t recline, you will build up good karma points making sure that the plane I might be on, won’t crash.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Bad Flight Karma, Bay Area Brit travels, Denver to Baltimore, Good flight karma, Looks like I picked the wrong week, Matty Stone, Recline or not recline, The Bay Area Brit | 2 Comments »
This week’s news in the Bay Area was dominated by highs and lows: The S.F. Giants World Series victory and parade, the mid-term elections, and the lenient sentencing of a BART officer for killing an unarmed man, and the demonstrations which followed. I steered away from these hot topics to interview The Bay Area Brit Foreign Correspondent, Benjamin Addington, after last week’s San Francisco 49ers game against the Denver Broncos in London. I was curious about the NFL’s impact over there.
How popular was NFL when you were growing up in England?
We had the merest glimpse of it on a show called World Of Sport, which would occasionally live up to its ambitious name by offering scant highlights, but it was impossible to gain any understanding of the game from a three minute report which devoted as much time to the cheerleaders’ legs as it did to anything that happened on the field of play.
Ah, the distractions, got to love them. So when did things start to take off?
In 1982, Channel 4 created a one-hour highlights programme that spawned a generation of devotees with a proper understanding of the sport. The opportunity to examine the game closely revealed a complexity that could scarcely be guessed from the World Of Sport excerpts. It was as amazing as discovering that a cattle stampede is a meticulously choreographed event with each cow’s movements determined by a carefully constructed plan.
Do you think the fact that the games are 3 hours long affected its popularity?
Although American Football now receives in-depth coverage on Sky Sports which shows three games live every week, for many fans, the Channel 4 days were the golden era. And yes, one hour of play and two hours of TV commercials might fly in the U.S. but not here.
So how popular are the two teams that lined up against each other last weekend?
Two of the most dominant teams from the Channel 4 highlights period were the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos and it’s hard to say just how excited the fans would have been if Joe Montana and John Elway had led their respective teams over to London for a regular season match in their heyday.
Wasn’t the game at Wembley Stadium well attended?
The relative paucity of the 2010 Niners and Broncos didn’t stop an enthusiastic crowd of 80,000 plus from showing up, but it was pretty evident that the majority of fans were more excited by a glimpse of Jerry Rice and Roger Craig on the sidelines in their ambassadorial suits than they were by the opportunity to see the current crop of players duke it out for the number one pick in next year’s draft.
It seems the British and Americans will never agree on what “football” really is.
American Football has been marginalised by its television coverage. Only a small proportion of British viewers pay the subscription fees to watch the sport, and its audience is tiny compared to those who watched the Channel 4 highlights. Even though Sky’s broadcasts are infinitely better than those ancient clips on World of Sport, the latter had ratings that Sky can only dream about. It turns out that those cheerleaders had legs…in more ways than one.
* * *
Halloween is over for another year and we have slowly crept into November. The last day of October and the first of November are mixed in a strange marriage. For after the night of scary monsters and frightening creatures from the underworld, today we wake up to the Catholic celebration of “All Hallows” or “All Saints Day.” The jump from costumed evil and mayhem to a day celebrating Catholic saints is a short leap.
When I was but a young sapling living in England, we didn’t celebrate Halloween, because it was too close in proximity to something called “Bonfire Night,” which takes place on November 5th. On Bonfire Night, the English light big (controlled) bonfires all over the country, and burn life-sized human dolls (effigies which sit atop the wooden log stocked pyramids.) The doll is traditionally made from old clothes stuffed with newspapers, and bears the face of a creepy looking bearded man. He is designed to be highly flammable and has a fate which has been determined by the actions of a devout Catholic over 400 years ago.
As the bonfire burned, there’d likely be a small fireworks display, and the revelers would eat baked potatoes and bangers (English sausages) and then of course, they’d probably stand around and make fun of each other, because the English are really good at that.
In the week or two before Bonfire Night, you might see kids proudly hovering over their homemade creepy character (Guy), panhandling for change. Sort of like a modern-day version of a Dickensian, grubby-faced urchin selling matchbooks on the street “Penny for me last book o’ matches, guv’na?” The tragedy for these kids is that they completely missed out on Halloween. Instead, they’re supposed to “Remember, remember the Fifth of November.”
The “Guy” is an effigy of the conspiracist Guy Fawkes, who, with 12 other Catholics, tried to blow up King James I and The House of Lords on the day of the state opening of parliament in 1605. Ultimately, the plot failed, as Guy Fawkes was discovered red-handed by the King’s guards with 36 kegs of gunpowder in the dampened cellars of the House of Lords. Awkwaaard.
Their mission was to replace the Protestant monarch with a Catholic. However, the 36 kegs would have done much more than just kill the King. The explosion would likely have killed all the lords, politicians, elite members of English law, guards, and senior members of the Church, not to mention the many civilian people who would have likely perished in their wooden homes from the subsequent fires.
This band of 13 Christians believed that their actions were justified by their devotion to their religious cause. They were a cell of fanatical extremists attempting to carry out pre-meditated devastation in the name of their religion. Kind of eerie. I think you know where I’m going with this: Its not much of a stretch to compare their mission to a recent act of terrorism unleashed on America. Of course the considerable difference being that Guy Fawkes and his men were Christians who worshipped Jesus and God. Not the same thing at all, right?
Now of course this didn’t mean every Christian living in England wanted to blow up The Houses of Parliament–because that would be ridiculous.
In modern thinking though, Guy Fawkes could be considered as a hero to some, but an evil terrorist to others. Ultimately it depends on your religious views.
Strangely, something else came from Guy Fawkes. Have you ever wondered what someone means when they call you “guy?”
“Hey, guy, can you tell me the time?” And why are men euphemistically called guys?
In the 1800′s, (200 years after The Gunpowder Plot) the name “Guy” would mockingly refer to any man who was attired strangely, probably in reference to the various odd states of old and weathered clothing fitted on to an effigy. As in: “Look at the state of you; you look like a Guy.”
English fun-making at its finest.
The noun “guy” would eventually just come to mean a man. So next time you call someone “Guy” or “guy,” make sure they don’t know the history behind the Gunpowder Plot, and just what it is that you are really calling them….because some guys can get offended over the most ridiculous things.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: All Saints Day, Bonfire Night, Christian fanatics, Gunpowder plot, Guy, Guy Fawkes a terrorist, Matty Stone, Some guys are easily offended, The Bay Area Brit | 1 Comment »