Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Yes, still alive, enjoying the benefits of permanent austerity and Ed Milliband's continuing impersonations of Marcel Marceau. (Sorry if my references are dated, but that's what happens when you reach a certain age - like with rocks, calcification occurs).
In the field of Great War remembrances, I came across Nigel Farage's enlightened take on 1918 in the Guardian today. It seems the voice of UKiP has come to the mesmerising conclusion that the war should have been fought for another six months to guarantee Germany's unconditional surrender. This, he argues, would have put paid to the notion that the nation had been stabbed in the back, which underpinned Hitler's rise.
Well, aside from that only being one facet of Hitler's ascension (hm, economic conditions might have been a touch more immediate and pressing), it is the most absurd sort of historical theorising. Really, he should keep to his message of 'too many immigrants' and not branch outside of his ken, as he doesn't seem to realise that hindsite is one of those games we can all play rather well.
I imagine Mr Farage has a few more historical cards up his sleeve:
1 - John Kennedy should have avoided Dallas in November, 1963 - or at least have been leaning slightly more to his left while driving in the motorcade
2 - Cunard should have opted for the slightly more expensive rivets for the Titanic
3 - Nate Fitzgerald should have opted for butter chicken instead of the beef vindaloo Sunday last (I believe I have violated the warranty on my sphincter)
4 - England should have scored more goals and allowed fewer in the last World Cup, which would have improved their chances of winning the championship
5 - And of course, someone should have killed Hitler in 1923
Clearly Mr Farage's insights show he is highly capable of making pivitol history-changing decisions in the future when the people of Britain elect him to the highest office in the land. Then again, he couldn't do much worse than the lot of toffs we've got in there now.
Have I missed any good historical observations? Why not leave a comment?
Stay well dear readers,
Friday, March 28, 2014
Well, I think we've all been mourning this week with the demise of Wedgewood Benn. While the degree to which he pursuits certain ideas could sometimes lack the pragmatic touch needed at the moment in time (nationalisation of the banks, for instance), he was true to himself, not to mention always out of step with modern times in that he actually believed in something.
At least we on the left still have Ed Milliband. We do still have Ed Milliband, right? I mean, the economy isn't exactly ticking along, the Shard apparently has an inbuilt magnet that draws economic migrants from Eastern Europe and George Osborne still has all the charm of a constipated deer tick, so surely it's easy pickings for the Leader of the Opposition.
Paging Mr Milliband...
My other insight for the week involves flossing. Why of all the oral hygeine-related tasks is it so hard to adhere to? I mean, it doesn't take a great deal of time, and the benefits are clear. Is it the blood? Does it feel too much like we're throttling a piglet every time we grip and pull tartar and assorted foodstuffs?
Oh, and finally, rather most excitedly, on the lady front, I had a bit of a snog with someone from work. We had drinks and a Chinese and I managed to cram my face into hers briefly as we parted. You may indeed call me Jack the Lad. Mind you, I can't kiss and tell (though to some degree, I realise I have done just that...) but we shall see how things transpire.
Another good question: why do I perspire when aroused? Is this normal? Do others? Surely this can't be a positive genetic trait, unless it's designed to provide a pheromonial signal that I am an acceptable mate. If any science types out there are reading, please do leave a comment.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Now, as many know, I generally stay away from geopolitics in my blog, concerning myself with the more day-to-day foibles of life, but given the amount of discussion this Russian 'invasion'* of the Ukraine has generated, I feel compelled to weigh in with my unbiased perspective.
*I don't believe a slow meander with frequent stops for tea breaks is an invasion
Frankly, I'm surprised that so many people are outraged by the Russian move into the Crimea, seeing as a few mere weeks ago most people barely registered the Ukraine, and those who did generally viewed it as a corrupt, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist backwater prone to violence. In the 20th century, the Ukrainians were best known for: a) starving their Kulaks with the assistance of Stalin, and b) manning the Nazi extermination camps. Quite an impressive CV.
And yet now, suddenly, the nation has become the Lost Children to Putin's Captain Hook, with US Secretary of State John Kerry attempting to look Peter Pan-ish by lecturing Moscow about 21st century diplomacy and the fact that a country can't simply stage an illegal invasion on false pretenses. (Saddam who?).
As for the 'invasion with scones and jam', one should note that Crimea was part of Russia for 150 years prior to the implosion of the USSR. Yes, Khrushchev 'gave' it to the Ukraine in 1954, but seeing as the Ukraine was part of the USSR, that there was an extremely large naval base at Sevastopol and most of the citizens were ethnic Russians, this was not exactly moving the Heavens. It's kind of like giving the Channel Islands to East Anglia.
The cynic in me can't help but feel the outrage in government and the media in the West is closely tied to the fact that there is a lot of money to be made from the Ukraine and 'we' want it instead of those underhanded, evil Russians.
As for this side of the pond, no doubt as soon as he's through advising Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks on ethics and Labour socialism, Tony the red Blair will get his mug on as many television screens as possible, while making certain to mention his foundation and autobiography.
I feel sorry for anyone caught up in real politiks, and I'm certain there are many very nice, kind, non-anti-Semitic Ukrainians and Crimeanites, but I'm not sure the general public of Western democratic countries should be feeling righteous or up-in-arms about the situation. It really only serves moneyed interests (as per usual).
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Well, it has been a busy time, what with my new work role and my desire to sleep 14 hours per night until the endless grey misery of winter subsides. Admittedly, transitioning from working a night shift in general solitude to engaging with the 'regular' work world during the day has been more stressful than anticipated. It is not simply the increased need to chit-chat (on the way to the WC, while getting biscuits, while waiting for the kettle, while walking, breathing etc) but the ceaselessly pressurised requirement to be (or look) busy while sitting at one's computer.
When on my own in the caravan doing order processing (my previous role, as many will know), I would work when work needed to be done, which on average was most of the time, if not slightly more. But when there was a lull - say for example when the computer system collapsed due to an excess number of sausages being ordered, or the printer jammed so incredibly that even God himself couldn't recover the sheer number of paper fragments in the recesses of its internal workings - then I was at my leisure.
I could put my feet up, have a look around cyberspace at cats jamming their lithe bodies into small spaces, or even on occasion close my eyes and express internal regret at extending my daily walk instead of having a proper afternoon kip.
But no, dear readers, in an office, one cannot interface with reality in this way. One must always appear to be advancing the company's prospects, either hard at the work at hand or researching better ways of packaging or something something efficiency.
If I were to be honest, my old, less respected role required my full concentration and saw little time for slacking. My new role seems to have been formulated for a small child, as I really only have about three hours of work to do daily. And yet, it is regarded as the more 'serious' role within the company.
So how does one 'kill time'* in an office environment?
*For those who remember Thoreau's admonishments about this rhetorical expression, I too am wincing.
On the plus side, my excessive time staring into a meaningless spreadsheet has led to an excellent new idea: IKEA-style shoes. Basically, one can order them from an internet site to be put together at home. The advantage would be that should a member of the fairer sex break a heel, she could simply reorder the heel and use the hex key to replace it quickly and easily.
It could also offer a range of options for style, decoration, etc., so that the wearer would not be beholden to the mass produced entity. Any commercial investors interested in partnering up out there?
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Well, tonight's cultural exchange group at my flat must be pronounced a smashing success. We had our highest attendance yet, with six persons of mixed nationality (two Poles, one Scot)and for once everyone brought a bottle or plate to the evening. While cheese and biscuits are not especially dear, I really was beginning to get steamed at the zeal and active hands of some members.
My contribution was a probing insight into Eric Clapton's 'I Shot the Sheriff', a song which has perplexed me on and off for decades. Did the protagonist in fact shoot the deputy and create the narrative as an elaborative, jauntily paced ruse; or is he indeed being 'set-up' by the law enforcement/legal establishment and the sheriff who he admits winging (with what I image to be a Saturday Night Special)?
At first, one is swayed by the pleading tone of the lyrics, but then, subconsciously, I believe one shifts to suspicion, largely due to the faux-Jamaican accent and the load of associations with violence and that particular Caribbean nation.
When I realised I was feeling this way, I consciously recognised my in-built cultural prejudice and went back to the evidence of the crime, which admittedly, is sparse. Really, it's just one person's point of view. The song may have been better served by giving the sheriff a chorus or full verse to argue his side of the story and refute the slanderous charges against him. It could have been a Sonny and Cher 'I've Got You Girl' sort of arrangement.
Of course in the greater picture, one has to question why Eric Clapton chose to adopt a faux-Jamaican voice and the kettle drums etc. After all, he was born in Surrey, which to international readers, isn't exactly Kingston lite. It strikes me as a type of musical blackface; but then, he did record the song in the 70s, and we weren't far removed from Peter Seller's riotous turn of bigotry in The Party or Spike Milligan.
When one of the gents mentioned the song was written by Bob Marley, admittedly, it took some wind out of my argument. I asked if he was next going to tell me that John Lennon's ripping 'Cold Turkey' isn't really about the dangers of leaving Christmas leftovers a bit too long. From experience, cold turkey has had me on the run more than once (though ham is often a more likely culprit).*
*This is a joke. I know the song is about heroin. I'm not actually an idiot.
Have a favourite song? Why not leave a comment.
Stay well, Nate
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Actually, given that I have ceased adding to this blog for an extended period of time, I should probably say, greetings whomever you are who has stumbled onto my website. But should there be any old acquaintances from the days when I would pen three to four missives about my miserable life per week (and be mentioned in the Drudge Report), a most warm and hospitable welcome back.
I am very well, in general. You may notice, however, that I have severely truncated the contents of the blog, leaving only a smattering of superlative fiction (never completed), the odd reflection, and highlights from my trip to Bath with my elderly neighbour Mrs Donaldson. I believe I have culled all mentions of wanking, which while scientifically proven to reduce a man of my advanced age's chances of prostate cancer, is viewed as vile filth in many corners of respectable society. And given that the government insists we're all pulling together and dead keen about society in this country once again(despite the same lot pronouncing it DOA not three decades ago) I am acquiescing.
Now, you're no doubt thinking, 'Nate, get on with it'. Well, my cull is not due to fears of GCHQ intrusion into my affairs (too late, as they've no doubt already found a way to read my thoughts and yours), but rather to professionalism. Yes, dear readers, after several years toiling three nights per week in a poorly insulated caravan at the meat distribution plant which employs me, I have been promoted. I am now some sort of assistant manager in the main office, day shift. I'll have to look at the contract again to see what silly title they actually appointed me. My desire is 'King of Meat' or 'God of Paperwork' but it's no doubt coordinator of something or other. I lose my meal allowance (they were being phased out anyway) but will get to partake in occasional conversation with other humans, which, as you may have guessed, I view as mixed blessing. I have also dusted off a few of my old ties. We live in exciting times.
So, as you can see, Cameron and Clegg's severe stigmatisation and throttling of the poor has seen a few green sprouts rise in the modern economy. We're likely now at the point we would have been in mid-2011 had Austerity not been pursued. Imagine, had Gordon Brown been a bit more lifelike during the last election, we would have a national postal service as well.
Please feel free to leave a comment. I may revive the blog should my new career path prove exciting (though I am wary of upper management snooping into my private affairs, so perhaps not. Who knows. Either way, it would be good to hear from you.)
Stay well, Nate
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
He added a splash of Glen Moray to his coffee. Yes it was 8.30 in the morning, but it wasn't like he was opening a purple tin. He simply liked the taste. You couldn't become an alcoholic from the odd nip of Scotch.
He looked at his reflection in the toaster.
Orwell had said every man got the face he deserved when he was 50. Kenneth had a few years to go, but he didn't expect the situation to get much better. His beard was kempt, though it had gotten a touch ratty since his redundancy. The wrinkles around his eyes spoke of loneliness. His hair was thin, but keeping up the fight.
What about people who had been bludgeoned, he wondered. Did they really deserve the face they got at 50. Say, one lived in a particularly rough section of Jo-burg or Detroit and was set upon by ruffians with iron bars. Would the mashed outcome of a rewired jaw and pulped nose be deserved?
Those who believed in karma might say yes. Kenneth decided it should go on a case by case basis. That is how he had always approached his work, taking each individual as they came. Though there were trends (the heavily tattooed ones tended to abuse the system - sorry, just a fact), but each person was a novel all their own to be opened and discovered.
But look where that egalitarianism had gotten him. Now he was a number in a category, one of many shuffling on worn shoes. He bet David Cameron dressed up at Maggie late at night at Number 10 and talked to an imaginary Dennis in a high-pitched voice, like an organ grinder's monkey which had swallowed vinegar.
No, this was not the face he deserved.