Unfortunate

My conservative friend has opinions on just about everything that differ from mine. Understandably at the moment one of our biggest differences is over the war in Iraq. He thinks we need to stay, I think we should probably go, but that we lose either way. He thinks it’s the centre of the ‘global war on terror’, I think that it was a distraction from it that has now become a part of it. I’m simplifying on both sides of course, but the idea is that we don’t agree. Nevertheless, as wrong as he thing he is, his positions are reasonable.

it’s unfortunate, therefore, that in a recent post he calls for white feathers to be sent to Republicans who oppose the recent troop escalation in Iraq. Quite apart from the unpleasantness of the gesture, it’s also poorly chosen. The white feather isn’t a symbol of cowardice – you don’t get a white feather because you don’t dare tell a woman you love her, or you won’t quit your job to go freelance, or you won’t make a parachute jump. A white feather is given because of perceived cowardice when an individual won’t fight in a war (such as in the Mason book Marty mentions).

The cowardice part is almost figurative – the person might be the most genuine conscientious objector, but the fact that they won’t fight is proof enough of their cowardice. In contrast the war is literal; it’s not a fight against something, or a struggle against ideology, it’s an actual war, people with guns shooting at other people with guns in a trench or a desert.

Without checking, I’ll guess that most if not all of the politicians Marty mentions can’t be presented with a white flower because they’re over the maximum recruitment age (recently raised to 42 from 35). Marty, ironically, is not.

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Memory

I’m listening to a ‘best of’ podcast of the Chris Moyles show. The current one is actually a ‘best of best of’, also known as filler, so I’ve heard some of it already. One of the pieces featured Ricky Gervais, and he spoke a line that reminded me of the first time I heard it when we were living in Minneapolis. Interestingly (using the word loosely, of course) it didn’t just remind me generically of the time, but of the specific moment when I heard it – it was just here, which is further along Franklin than I would normally be but the road was busy and I was struggling to cross. So now you know.

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Right Nice

There is a Franglais-like language in parts of Canada called Chiac, based on French grammar and syntax but with some English words thrown in. I was reading the example sentences given (such as Ej schwimmais dans l’ocĂ©an pis j’tais right soaking wet (I swam in the ocean and got soaking wet) and noticed the odd use of the word ‘right’, as an amplifier. My in-laws use the same construction, using ‘right nice’ to mean that something was better than ‘nice’. It appears that the Acadian people and the residents of the Independent Republic of Yorkshire have more than their internal loyalties in common.

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Je suis un Moron

Ever been to visit your cousin in London, returning home alone while the rest of your family heads off to Leeds, only to discover that the key you brought with you is for your nearby Aunt’s house, not yours, so you have to stay there until your wife can overnight her key to you?

You haven’t? OK, I guess maybe it’s just me.

Update: It has become my habit (to my wife’s dismay) to wear shorts in all weathers. This is fine when you can return home to a warm fire, but not when you return to an unheated office in a relative’s house. I don’t even have a sweater with me.

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