Monday, 18 January 2010


I got back from NY in NY last weekend, but a combination of jetlag and a cold has kept me offline for a while.

(And buying Football Manager 2010 on a whim at the airport probably wasn't my brightest idea ever.)

Moving swiftly on to a week last Saturday, and I found myself on an extremely uncomfortable and turbulent flight across the atlantic. For once I wasn't sat next to a baby, a mother and badly behaved five year old, a fat man, a man who smells of chamomile, a fat woman or - best of all - someone talking continuously about the bible. In fact I was sat next to two pleasant young women flying to England to study for a while.

The elder one was studying at Oxford, had a boyfriend at Oxford, thought everything was great at Oxford etc. One of those otherwise nice people who proudly wears the 'obvious superiority' of their chosen University in a way reminiscent of He-Man brandishing a sword and exclaiming "By the power of Grayskull!!!"

The younger one was bafflingly flying to London to study American college. For four months. I think that's probably the definition of dipping your toe into the murky waters of foreign lands.

As it was the younger one's first trip outside of the Americas, the elder one thought it would be worthwhile filling her in with a few tips and advice. At this point I was stoically reading my book whilst idly listening in (we didn't converse until midway through the flight when they were both so terrified by our impending fiery death that they started bombarding me with questions to distract themselves from why the plane was moving vertically more than it was moving horizontally).

Some of her advice was useless but pointless, to wit 'how to pronounce Warwick' or 'how to pronounce Nottingham'. Some of it was quite pertinent - one should always know what side of the road to travel on, or to add milk to your tea - and some of it was hilarious:

Elder one: "The hardest problem is the accent."

Younger one: "Oh, I just lurve the accent on men."

Elder one: "That's the problem. You fall for them because of the accent, but after three or four months you'll see that English men are just as much bastards as American men."

I failed to suppress a snort at this point. Three of four months?

Three or four MONTHS?!?

THREE or four months?!?!?

Three or FOUR months?!?!?!?

That's just wrong no matter how you write it. No wonder American students are seen as easy prey when they come over here. An acquaintance I was at university with used to feast* almost exclusively on them to the extent that when he graduated we made him a mock US tour t-shirt, complete with locations and dates. In a mere three years he'd touched on 90% of the states at least once, and he'd touched on Texas more times than was hygienic. I do believe his greatest regret was not completing the set. (Though he did try and claim that one had a Hawaiian grandmother and that should count on the basis that eligibility to play football for a country goes back to your grandparents, but we were having none of it.)

Three of four months though?! It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to see that English men are, well, men. An ability to hold a door open to let a woman through doesn't equate to royalty.

In the end however, she did dispense possibly the best advice ever:

"Over there, it's not Math it's Maths. They say it's short for Mathematics. Never say Math. You will never recover if you do."

Amen, sister.

As many of you are aware I'm rather anti-religious. Faith I'm fairly relaxed about, we all believe in whatever we believe in - but organised religion has killed more people than the Flu, whilst being ever so more unpleasant. So it was interest today when I read the following statistics:

Percentage of Americans who attend church
every week: 40%
Percentage of Britons who attend church
at least once a month: 15%

Britain 1 USA 0.

And while we're on the subject of the USA (these links are great, I should do this for a living), I do so like this Brooklyn street name:

There is a New Utrecht and there is a New New Utrecht (seriously), but I wasn't able to get a picture.

This was also my favourite advertisement:

Join the millions who have discovered the 'joy of saving'? Sign me up, my good woman! It kind of reminds me of this sketch :)

And finally, if you haven't already seen it, here's a video showing exactly why you should only drive on black ice if you're a complete idiot...

*His words!


Pearl said...

You do know how to turn a phrase, don't you?

I have to admit I laughed quite a bit at this post. I'll bet American women ARE easy prey, but I wonder just how many of them were going to be easy anyway?

And as for 40% of Americans attending church weekly, really? From where? The only people I know who attend weekly are my parents, and really not even them if they're being honest about it. I just think more Americans are apt to lie about it and TELL you that they go to church.

It's the land of the free, alright, but most Americans are a bit uptight about religion.


Anonymous said...

That Pearl...such a wordy girl, isn't she?

I haven't gone to church in years. Many judge me harshly for that. They can piss off.

Little Squirrel...America is full of idiots. I'm an idiot. But really, you gotta love us and our serious lack of intelligence...especially when it comes to MATH.


Red Squirrel said...

Pearl - oh some of them are easy prey indeed. The ones with the silver ring are to be avoided, but that's easy to spot. For the others it's normally their first time away from their normal lives - that normally equals Ms Yo-yo Knickers.

As for the church thing - I just relied on the internet for that information :)

Sweet Cheeks - I would comment, but Mrs RS is smarter than I :)

Anonymous said...

Two worlds divided by a common language eh? I once was in Tennessee and literally could not get the woman serving me to understand my request for "a can of Coke".

Red Squirrel said...

Ah, now if you'd tried to ask for a Diet Coke then it would've been understood - it's the universal language!