Archive for April, 2011

Misplaced accents

Something weird happened the other day – I was on the porch checking the post when some passing chap asked for directions. That’s not particularly strange but what happened next was. When I replied, he said “Oh you’re British”. I was gobsmacked.

Almost all Americans think that I am Australian. I tell them that they could hardly be more wrong geographically and that I couldn’t sound much less Australian if I tried. The usual answer is that “you all sound the same’. HUH?

The other thing that really foxes them is when they say: “You’ve got an accent” and I reply “so have you…”. Then they look at me as if I had said something really stupid – as if they had an accent -Strewth!

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Chinese boxes

I’ve never been that fond of Chinese takeaways so I have until now not held in my hands that most American of American institution – the Chinese takeaway box.

These little lovelies have been featured in so many American films and sitcoms but somehow never made it across the pond. I love them, they are so nicely proportioned and clever. It’s almost worth buying a takeaway just to have some around.

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Hunting aliens

We’ve just returned from a short but eventful bike trip. Our summer trip starts from Las Vegas but the BMWs were in Texas so we decided to move them. It’s 1200 miles or so and there’s a great deal of nothing for much of that distance.

Right in the middle of many hundreds of miles of nothing (ok not quite nothing but flat, open plains as far as the horizon in all directions) is Roswell New Mexico. Visiting Roswell was the highlight of the trip for me because of its history:

In the late 1940s, an apparently disc shaped object from some sort of crash was recovered from nearby. Military reports referred to it as debris from a radar-tracking balloon. Nothing was made of this for around thirty years until a ufologist (made up title or what?), after speaking to a military contact from that time, proclaimed that the debris was actually an alien spacecraft. The military contact was subsequently featured in that eminent publication known for its rigorous journalistic integrity, the National Enquirer. And so the legend began.

I can see how it might all happen. There’s so much nothing around there that I think I might start seeing some crazy stuff after a few days there. Actually I think I might have seen some aliens in one of the bars – you know – the MIB types that look normal but then spin their heads through 360 degrees when nobody is looking…

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Parking peculiarities

Almost every day I drive down the street where I live, past the house before conducting a three point turn in one of two irritating places before parking outside my house. Why is that? Because there’s a really stupid law here that means that you have to park in the direction of the traffic. Always.

In the land of the free, where exercising personal freedoms is considered an individual’s right there is legislation relating to the direction you park your car. And nobody minds one jot.

And even more irritatingly they really enforce it. The police don’t tend to mind you parking on corners but parking pointing in the opposite direction is treated in the same way as parking in front of a fire hydrant. Madness.

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