Thursday 21 July 2022

Letter From America

 From our foreign correspondent, mr mongoose:
  11th July 2022 at 23:25
It's me for Boston tomorrow. I shall look in when I can. If I am spared, back next week. 
14th July 2022
Survived the first day! Although my first Uber driver wanted me to walk off the airport under my own steam and meet him in the road. I stood there in the "Ride App Pick Up" area - numbered slots, security cameras everywhere, each driver getting out of his car to be seen on the camera... Nah. Apparently the oldest trick in the relatively new Uber book.
Having shed my US colleague to airport delays, she was spark out this morning and so muggins had to risk the streets for a pint of milk and some bread and eggs. Fuck me the local paki shop - in this case the local korean paki shop - had more security screens than the airport. Proudly boasting "No cash, No Liquor". I bought me trash and ran. To MIT tomorrow to be talked down to by the clever people. I shall try to be good.

15th July 2022 at 11:41
It is a land of groupthink, mrs i. Here in ruthless, sunny, Democrat, red-in-tooth-and-claw Boston venture capitalists swarm around the clever young things vomited out by the three great universities in the town. Everything is money and advantage; nothing is reflection and causation. The poor sleep in empty doorways next to the electric money engines of the accelerators and incubators. Everyone, everywhere an expert about how to carve a living from the public purse. Carve it once because it stays forever. Nothing ever closes, the gravy train is eternal, generational once you're on it. It is quite sick-making.
Everyone "ubers" everywhere in Mercs and massive people wagons which can only be corporately provided. The humble taxi driver fucked from his security and now a gig economy ghost. Double-chitted against being an assassin, they sit in air-conned splendour moving degenerate juveniles from oasis to oasis.
The food is wicked. Great mounds of it pushed into their mugs with their fingers. I was in a restaurant yesterday which proudly proclaimed its complete lack of cutlery the better to protect us all from the invisible lurgy.
My genteel suburb of Medford could be Belgravia. Unnoticed mums stealing out into the early morning sun wrapped as their mums were in Hanoi and Lagos to sweep the dust away and water the roadside plants. For fourpence doubtless. An hour's gig before getting the kids up to their local "public" school. The word spat out like a curse. These all ring-fenced and a guard at every corner. Cameras and hatred everywhere.
The visible people of course are as helpful and friendly as any on earth. Their brains manicured and trimmed of excess doubt and all contemplation. All of them their hats on backwards like a legion of half-wits from the hood. Everyone smiling manically because if you don't, mummy gets you all soma-ed up at 12-years-old. This is the American Dream and you will damn well smile while you act out your pretend part in it. 
17 July 2022 at 03:29
It has to be said that your typical American is a kind and helpful body. Ridiculously polite, patriotic and devout. Lost in somewhere today, I found and went into a tube station but there was nowhere to buy a ticket. Suspecting mandatory traceable electronic lunacy in case folk with MAGA hats try to storm Nantucket or some such, I asked a passing young man if he could help. Not only did he point me but he went back down 2 escalators and physically showed me the machines. There are three different types of ticket apparently. Non-transferable, natch. Much like home. There was no need for that, Sir, but thank-you. $2.40 for any one trip in the bay area by any public means.
And then across the river to see the scene of the Massacre of Boston.
The Old State House, seat of colonial government from 1713 to 1776. The cobblestone circle is labeled "Site of the Boston Massacre".
 A few squaddies fired on a few rowdies. Three were killed. The platoon leader and the platoon were all charged and tried. Defended by rebel lawyers, none were found guilty of murder. It was a bit of a ruck in the street and punches were thrown. Squaddies did what squaddies do. And yet still it is declaimed as being on a par with Dresden. The first local killed was miraculously a black lad. His star will never set. Indeed, he has never been more famous.
Mongoose at sea

In the afternoon to the shallows off Massachusetts Bay to look for whales. Three humpbacks and a minke sighted in the sea. Fifty or more of various makes and models on the boat gawping. I should have known. Yesterday, business done, we went to look at Harvaaaarrrrd. Two stops down from the scene of the crime at MIT.
Mr. Harvard. It is necessary to be photographed like that. It is a religious rite like any other.

 It was hot and busy so we had an ice cream. "How many scoops, Sir?" "Oh, three I think, pls. Cherry, chocolate and pistachio." 8 dollars later I was presented with almost a full fucking pint of ice cream. A scoop is bigger than a human fist. Fantastic ice cream it was but FFS. It is no wonder that the buggers are all enormous. (Ed. note - people living in the United States eat 48 pints of ice cream each, every year.)
A strange thing happened while we trying to drown ourselves in ice cream at Harvard. There is a statue there of, one assumes, the original Mr Harvard. And folk queue up to have their photo taken grasping the old boy's brass foot. So many have done it that the toes are polished smooth. It seems that the young peoples' selfie-taking habits are stretching to accommodate all sorts of nonsense. Likewise in a downtown park there are statues of the ducks from the "Make way for ducklings" kids book. Grown adults seek these ducks out and crouch down to be photographed.

All in all the yanks are very fond of their statues. There is something about them. Never a corner goes by without some notice telling me that this building or that is two or three hundred years old. The hobbit door in the church across the stream from me here is damn near 1500 years old. It's not their fault that they are cultural toddlers but it would help I think if they didn't pander to themselves. Put away childish things, folks
It's as if a country with so little history has studiously manufactured one. 
Mr Shoshan Stewart

Flying back overnight, I encountered Rory Stewart, see above, and can report that as well as being just as fantastically grotesque in person as he appears to be on the telly, he is also a near full shrunk midget. And he has taken the questionable decision to procreate and prejudice the gene pool unto a further generation. Mrs Rory - as is the unjust way in these matters - was, of course, a delightful figure in her summer frock, like something off a Greek pot, so she was, towering over Rory in every way, and looked good enough to eat in the jolly hockeysticks way she had about her.
Shoshana Stewart

The twin-looking young lads therefore may be spared the full consequences of daddy's disastrous draw in the Charlie Darwin lottery.

It is the truth the world over, mrs i. Relatively rich folk tend to have the time, the resources, and the education to eat well. It is the gig economy mum or the labouring dad who is too knackered to shop and cook of a night who sticks a takeaway or a ready-to-eat meal into the kids. Last day in Boston and my colleague demanded a "clam roll". I had no idea what such an item was or would look like but down to the seaside we went. The quayside was chocker with tourists. A whole historic building was given over to fast food. It was truly shocking but a clam roll was found, and was as big an amount of food as three people should eat as a snack. Or four. Again, this is far too much food for a small female person to consume, at about a million calories: salad cream, fried batter, bread and approx a few hundred calories of clams. Certainly more food than I eat in any usual day. It is mad that this is the most vivid message from my visit - the sheer horror of the continuous super-grazing.
Clam roll
 18 July 2022 at 17:14
Time for home yesterday, and so a quiet packing of bags before a couple of beers in the local bar. We watched the ball game on the telly with a nice bloke - a dad and a building company owner. Over a couple of burgers and a few New England IPAs, he had not a good word to say about Biden or anybody in Washington, he chuckled darkly into his plate at the mention of AOC and the new people. Now this is Medford and you need proven Democrat party affiliations going back to the Mayflower just to get served a beer, and so this can be seen as a marker that the woke/Biden/media Newthink coup d'etat is just that - a confection, a veneer as deep and as meaningful as the condensation on his beer glass.

What will happen over there? I do not know but they won't be hungry when it happens.


Mike said...

Well done, Mr mongoose. The first object was achieved - survival.

It reminds me of my first trip to India, in the late 70s I think - younger then, not backpacking, but not 5*, at the end of each day the first instinct was to get in a shower and scrub clean.

I bet you kissed the ground, papal style, when you arrived back in the West Country?

mongoose said...

Strangely enough, mr mike, all the time I was in country not only did I hear no gunshots, but not a swear-word, nor even a raised voice.

Mike said...

Pleased to hear that, Mr mongoose. I'm sure they knew an Ismaelite was in town, so went on their best behaviour, lest we dip our pens in acid.

Those clams look lethal.

Anonymous said...

I'm an American Southerner. We fry everything in lard, and are known for enormous portions of food. That clam roll is still enough food for an entire day, for me. For an eternity, actually, as I'm allergic to shellfish. It would be an agonizing death (I've had a preview), but a rapid one, so I have brevity going for me.
--Tennessee Budd

mrs ishmael said...

Hi, mr tennessee budd, frying in lard has gone out of fashion in England, but it remains a staple in Glasgow, where they invented the deep-fried Mars Bars. A Mars Bar is coated in batter and deep fried in lard. They even do it in my local chippie. I've not tried it, the very thought terrifies me.
When I was a kid growing up in Yorkshire, there was a chip shop on every corner. A bag of batter scraps, deep fried in lard, natch, was a free treat for kids. It tastes great at the time, but leaves a greasy, claggy coating in the mouth. You can only imagine what it does to the arteries. These days, I try to stick to a Mediterranean diet for my health. Olives, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, fish, lemons, pasta and red wine. I should cut back on the cheeses - but the Brig deli in Kirkwall does a smoked Brie that is unbelievably good, especially paired with a fruit cheese.

mongoose said...

Mr TB, my colleague is a slight female thing from NY state. She polished off the entirety - leaving the bread roll, actually. Why we searched for a clam roll when she wasn't gpoing to eat the roll defeats me. Could we not have bought some fried clams?

Stop by again, Sir.