Sunday, December 05, 2010

Cold Brittania, Dept.

So, your sobsister is back from a short week in London Town, which did not have me low or even have me down.  And, as I've done in the past, I thought to share with you some observations, ruminations and gentle expectorations regarding our trip.

  1. It was frickin' gelid in Londinium.  While we were lucky not to get any of the November rain, pace Axl Rose, or even any of the November snow that subsequently pasted Blighty, we were happy for the heavy sweater/pashmina/coat/hat/gloves cocoon.
  2. Related to this, with the same indomitable spirit that saw their great-grandmothers face down the Blitz, London girls were wearing miniskirts and sheer stockings in cold that would make Inuit quake and fold.  Take that, Adolf!
  3. The UK Passports line upon arrival looked like a Lahori production of The Usual Suspects.  I could be wrong, but I sense a significant demographic shift.
  4. Enjoyed some brilliant gastropub fare, very much in the new-cuisine-from-old-England vein.  Snail and bacon pie.  Roasted bone marrow and parsley salad.  Whole partridge with wilted greens and chestnuts.  Meat and two veg built the Empire.  Take that, Adolf!
  5. Gitmo nothing!  Put a few wannabe terrorists in United's Economy class seats for an eight-hour flight, and they'll be selling out the cause faster'n you can say "72 virgins."
  6. Hearing American tourists' voices while on holiday abroad is like thinking of your mother while having sex.  Unless you enjoy thinking about your mother while having sex.  In which case, despite my general espousal of moral relativism, I can do nothing but heap shame on you.
  7. London Underground's trains are snug.  Were the cars only a bit narrower, you could k-nock k-nees with the person sitting opposite.  Were the ceilings only a bit lower, severe curvature of the spine would be endemic throughout the resident population.  Yet, they are awfully charming, their miles of connecting stairs and tunnels obviating the need for expensive gym memberships.  Which might explain why, in Central London at least, I didn't see any fat people who weren't middle-aged men tucking into stacked plates of steaming offal.
  8. Emergency vehicles in London drive fast.  And I mean Jerry Bruckheimer car chase-fast.  Saw several take it on two wheels, oddly enough on the straightaways.  By contrast, Choc City's emergency vehicles only drive that fast when the "Hot Doughnuts" sign is on at the Krispy Kreme.
  9. Great cities have rivers that divide them, each part having its own character to the extent of its difference defining it in contrast to the other half.  The Seine and the Rive Gauche.  The Tiber and Trastevere.  The Thames and South London.  The East River and the Outer Boroughs.  Washington, D.C., is notably absent from this discussion.
  10. "Take a slash" has become my new favorite way to indicate to companions that I have to excuse myself to avail myself of the conveniences.  Blended with rhyming slang, it makes for incomprehensible good fun! "Sorry, luv, I've got to get my plates up the apples to take a slash!"  In the words of George Bernard Shaw, "We are two nations separated by a common language.  Also, Audrey Hepburn had no fucking business playing Eliza Doolittle.  Fact."
More later.
I'd say "more earlier," but I'm bound by linear time.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Don't Go Home with Your Hard-On, Dept.

For an inspiring tale of one academic's quest for knowledge, even at personal risk, please click here for the story of Dr. Giles Brindley, a man who has inched his way into scientific history and legend.