Friday, November 30, 2012

Marmalade on Toast Versus Jam on a Croissant a Comparative Study

This time last year I read and article about people not eating as much marmalade as they used to. If people don't like marmalade, that's fine. But I think people do. I've tried to do my bit, my mother made me a nice pot of it and I went through it like a divil, but I couldn't tip the trend.

Marmalade, like butter, and other breakfast-y, things suffers from a bad reputation. A bit like that girl with the dyed streak in her hair your mother told you wasn't to enter her house. As with that buxom lass, it's bitter and sweet at the same time, it livens up your stale bread like she livened up your adolescence. Pause before reading the next paragraph and think about how she might have grown into her looks.

Marmalade on toast was last week. Today, I had a croissant with blackcurrant jam and one of them fancy cappuchinos (La-de-fuckin-da). Neither breakfast contains eggs1, and are all the poorer for it. (Although the pastry of the croissant may contain one egg, but it's just not the same.) Croissants aren't all that bad but they're certainly not healthy, they are Frances answer to American fast food it turns out. It's a shame because what the french cook slowly they cook well.

1. Yes, I know that a croissant contains egg but if you can't see the egg on the plate then it's not really breakfast.

Cuisine de France Croissant

Yuk, dry tastless fast food. Hates it we does. Plus a loud talker got on the train the other day.

What is it with these people? I don't even think the people he was talking to wanted to hear about his docu-drama for Canadian television. I'm certain I didn't. The rest of the train looked like they were ready to caste their ballots too.

Imagine a world where nobody has an indoor voice. Libraries would be as busy as shopping malls. The theatre would be a burly hum of vain comments1. I wouldn't ever bother going to a hear any classical music whatsoever unless I was the entire audience.

1. The internet, perhaps?

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Full Anglo-Irish Breakfast

If you are looking for information on the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation look in the Irish Independent this is about these great islands formidable breakfasts.

Much loved by truck drivers  the humble plate of egg'n'pig that makes up 98% of breakfast served in tawdry B&B's on these islands gets a bad reputation. Rightly so. Michael Bywater, in his book Lost Worlds laments, that while other nationalities lend their names to acts erotic adventure1, (c.f. Greek) or a particular passionate kiss (c.f. French). The English have an associated 'pork orgy', and since the Irish insist of claiming this as their own also, then I say let them have it. I would have thought to 'Irish' would  mean to add alcohol. After all Irish Coffee enjoys a fairly decent reputation and it's not nearly as bad for your health2.

What  a shame to single out the least delicious breakfast as the national dish. If this blog aims to provide anything it's the wealth of breakfast that are steadfast traditions of this proud Atlantic archipelago.

I've been told to watch my cholesterol so the full English is something of a hazardous material in my blood vessels. I've never been much of a fan however since like most popular foods it's been subject to a race to the bottom as competition has driven the costs down. The only thing worse than cheap bacon, after all, is a cheaper sausages. On a boozy lads night out in Donegal I was treated to a 'Full Ulster Breakfast'; how this local delicacy differs from every other fried or grilled swine-fest by the addition of some fried bread, leaves me mute. It's purpose is to act as a sponge, just in case you missed some of the rendered animal fats as they ran from the pan. But that entirely points to how lacking in imagination and versatility this dish really is. Ultimatly it's not it's health issues that will kill it, (but probably will kill us) but how boring it is.

1. Greek sex is basically sex when your doing it wrong3
2. As everyone know caffeine and alcohol cancel each other out. Right?

3. Not wrong as in; mortal-sin4 wrong. More wrong as in; that's-not-what-the-Ikea-instructions-say-where-it-goes, wrong. If that sort of thing melts your butter and you can find a willing friend who has a single room apartment in Paris and a pack of Lurpak, you go like the clappers. Then blog about it and the Guardian will not doubt give you some sort of award.

4. All sex acts can be put into context. Wierdness becomes relative when one thinks about the fact that some people get their jollies from axillary (armpit) sex, so much so that it even has a slang term.

Road rage before breakfast, then some sensible porridge walnuts and honey.

The other day I was involved in a spat of road rage. I wasn't the raging one, but I did feel pretty aggrieved that someone felt that they could raise their voice to me. Nor was I the one driving dangerously/aggressively. I did beep at the other driver's behavior (in a car park) at which point he got out of the car and started shouting.

"Don't you beep at me! Don't you fucking beep at me!"

He was probably in his mid-fifties, stood about 5'6'' tall weighing in a about 170 lbs, portly, not athletic, with a white handlebar mustache rolled up shirt sleeves to show off his blurry tattoos, an open collar to show off his flattened herringbone gold chain that snaked over a rug of white chest hair. Maybe he was older than think. He walked around to the driver side window eyeballing me. I stayed in the car and lowered the window enough to hear him and look like I was legitimately interested in what he had to say, but probably not enough that he could reach in the car. I suddenly felt a conflict between being very much restrained by my seat belt and the desire not to look like I was taking off my seat belt to confront him. I figured it would pan out like this: He would shout at me; I would make small slow nods but wouldn't appear too supplicant to him, he is after all, behaving like an ape. Then he would get back in his car and drive away.

"Don't you beep at me! Don't you ever beep at me again, d'ya hear me?"

I'm tempted to hit the horn at this point, but instead, considering I've never met him before and will probably never meet him again I simply say,

"Okay, I'll never beep at you again. Do you know what you did?"

That last sentence didn't help the situation. He started to go purple and repeat himself further. You'll excuse me if I don't write it out again. By that stage there was a queue of cars behind me trying to get out of the car-park and the bus couldn't leave, because his car was blocking the exit. I'd made a decision, unless he attacked me or the car, I wasn't getting out. This is my neighborhood after all and I didn't want to be seen brawling in the train station car park if I could avoid it.

After pumping out his sentence a few more times. He walked away eyeballing me then called me a rude word for a lady part and thanked the bus driver for waiting. Which just goes to show just because you're acting like a thug is no excuse for not having good manners.  He then drove off and was held up for another ten minutes as the level crossing barriers came down.

I joined the queue behind him with the bus between us. I started to think about what made him so angry. Surely he didn't go from a state of tranquil morning contemplation to Dr Bruce Banner's angrier id because I beeped at him. He had been driving aggressively and widely in he car-park (hence my beeping) so I assume he was late for work. Perhaps the the person he dropped off at the train station delayed him. As a counter factual, it's an interesting potential chain reaction considering what could happen if I had been in a fightin' sort of mood1.

Breakfast was when I considered the what ifs over porridge with walnuts and at least a table spoon of honey. He had only shouted and used bad language, that doesn't mean you can't stand up to people who are loud and verbally abusive, but in the context of a one off I still feel it was better not to escalate the situation in to a mêlée. If he had damaged the car, well that damage to private property. Had he attacked me? I'm young enough and fit enough to fight him off assuming he fights fair and isn't a master at Krav Maga2. So the biggest risk was his age weight advantage and agitated state3. I reckon I could've had him.

Lets be havin' ya.

1. I am only ever in a fightin sort of mood if I'm in a whiskey drinkin' sort of mood earlier, and since this took place at 07:30 hrs; there is no earlier.
2. Anyone will tell you Krav Maga has nothing to do with a fair fight, and more about just repeatedly punching someone's testicles until they give up their homeland.
3. Seriously I thought there was a chance he could have a heart attack. Not something I wanted to be responsible for.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Arrant Pedantry.

The casual reader of this blog might be tempted to think of me as a neo-conservative linguistic fetishiser. To some extent this is verily so. I don't mind admitting to being a bit of a grammar fascist. Less in the particulars of where the perfect comma should be placed, and more in terms of the readers right to judge the levels of education of the writer, based on spelling mistakes and sentences that are ambiguous or worse still, make no sense whatsoever.

Don't misunderstand me. I am an appallingly lazy speller and can be errantly slapdash when it comes to proof-reading my own work, but I disguise this by the use of computers' spell checker. It's not perfect, but I feel I make some effort.

The reason I make this paltry effort is less-so for the benefit of the reader, and more so to gain a grammarian high ground. I've been on the critical end of people whose grammar fantasies are wrapped up in ritualised sadistic humiliation, and it's not nice. Of those times when I've taken ten-o'-best from an English graduate, I've either been incorrect, and therefore deserving, or haven't armed myself with enough knowledge to defend my, originally correct, statement. Each time I've noted how extraordinarily effective such a distracting line of argument is.

Remember the soundness of an argument might have nothing to do with how well articulated it is and the opposite is true.

"If the glove don't[sic] fit, you must acquit."

There is a modern school of thought that says it doesn't matter how bad your grammar/malapropism as long as your point is understood. This is of course absolutely correct, and I would not be so foolish to argue against it.  But while that is particularly true of the spoken word; mistakes in the written word, like that photo of your groping a buxom coed on a boat in Cancun, just can't be undone.  There's nothing like a strongly worded letter to make ones point and for every error; subtract a righteousness dollar from the argument.

My maternal grandmother would return letters from her children with the mistakes marked and corrected. She had seven children all of whom have excellent English.

Feel free to submit your corrections in the comments section.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Things that common sense isn't.

"Le sens commun n'est pas si commun" - Voltaire.

People use the phrase "It's just common sense," a bit too often. It's tempting to think that common sense isn't what it used to be (much like nostalgia); but I suspect it has always been a vague catch-all for obviousness.

Mostly the term "common sense" is tacked on to whatever plagiarized ideology is ringing in the ears of the bien-pensant. For example: Socialists and capitalists will both contend that their theories are born of common sense (or at least common decency). The capitalist will contend it is common sense to expect people to work hard for reward (which is often true) and a socialist will counter that unless government uses taxes to provide social welfare then those without means will remain without means (also by and large true).

Common sense is probably not that complicated. It could probably be summed up within the sentiment of self preservation; not putting ones hand in the fire, not eating yellow snow, not publishing libelous material in a blog post, et cetera. We could make a list of all the things that are commonly thought of as sensible, but where's the fun in that.

Common sense cannot, by definition, be anything that is learned. And, since the lexicon of human knowledge is vastly of acquired information; common sense is very rare indeed.

By the way, if you want to sound clever1 you can call it a priori reasoning.

1. It doesn't make you sound clever. It makes you difficult to understand to those who don't know latin2.
2. It's commonsense really.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why I hate1 the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company.

It should come as no surprise dear readers that I'm not a fan "breakfast cereals". People who don't make time for breakfast are unconsciously saying something about there own self worth. Remember: Time is not money; it is something of incalculable value.
People today think their breakfast has to come in a box and be made from mashed-up and dried, corn or wheat. I've nothing against either corn or wheat, but pre-mashing things is what mother do to toddlers food. Lets remind ourselves why cornflakes were invented; to discourage sexual desire. They are possibly the first convenience food. We've given convenience food a try; it's turned two thirds of us into fatties, surely it's time to throw out anything that comes with a toy, or collect a million tokens an claim your nunchucks.

The misguided fools; didn't they know our sexual desire is what the soviets wanted from us all along.

Do you want that? Do you? Because that's what you'll get, that and your arse wiped for you.

1. Hate is a strong word. I couldn't be arsed2 hating them.
2. I don't care if the queen likes them and gave them a royal warrant3.
3. She gave John Lewis a royal warrant but I've never seen her there.