Tag Archives: USA

Put The Kettle On, America

10 Feb

Another reblog, I’m afraid.  It raises a question that was never answered to my satisfaction.  I have a few more readers now, more than half of you American, so perhaps the answer will be forthcoming this time.

Electric kettle

Image via Wikipedia

This is something that has puzzled me for years: are there no electric kettles in the USA?

Watch American movies and tv carefully: whenever a cup of tea or coffee is made, the character fills a kettle and puts it on the stove.  No-one ever plugs a kettle into the wall.  Why is this?  Is there a ban on their use in the media, like there is for cigarettes?  Does the American Government know and is not telling us that electric kettles cause cancer? 

There is also the question of tea: why do Americans drink tea with the bag still in the cup?  I know this is so because the string and label always hang over the side on telly.  The tea must be stewed by the time they get to the bottom of the cup.  No wonder there are so many hairy people in the States.  And don’t get me started on how they drink it the minute the boiling water is poured in – do they all have asbestos lips? 

My own theory is that America has traditionally been a nation of coffee drinkers and directors want to show their characters’ individuality by making it obvious that they are tea drinkers: maverick detective with hirsute trout pout clears name by killing seventy-three queuing assailants with six bullets, and rounds off the day with a nice cup of Earl Grey. Or it could just be a matter of product placement.  But that still doesn’t explain the weird absence of electric kettles.

‘Queuing assailants’ came from a writing class, where we discussed the fact that there are no new stories, then segued into movie clichés: the baddies always take turns fighting the hero instead of rushing him en masse.  It’s usually a him.  He might have – in fact, he will have – a gorgeous female sidekick and she will have a fabulous name and these days can kick butt as well as him, but she will inevitably be captured and be reduced to ‘the girl’: Let the girl go/just give me the girl/blow up the Isle of Man or the girl gets it.  If I am ever captured and the Hub rescues me and I hear him say, ‘Let the girl go,’ the first thing I will do after my grateful smooch will be to kick his butt and leave him for a dentist.  It annoys me.

Then there is the matter of coffee drinkers: we see them in their homes, loading their stove-top kettles or their coffee machines.  Next scene: a cardboard cup of coffee in their hands, bought from Starbucks on the way to fight crime.  What’s that about?  Are the stove-top kettles decoys?  Or a subliminal message…if it ain’t from a street vendor you’re killing the planet?

One final question: do I spend too much time watching tv and worrying about inanities?

Time For Kick-Off

13 Jun

It’s almost midnight and I’m supposed to be tucked up in bed, fast asleep; but my neighbours don’t want me to. Remember our seige a while back? We’ve just had the night version. I don’t have any photos for you this time, but I can give you an eyewitness account.

I was reading in bed when I suddenly heard screaming and I looked out of the window to see who I now know as thirteen-year old ‘Callum’ screaming at the flats opposite. I won’t bore you with the details – just take six teenagers, an England-US draw and some booze, throw in as many eff words as you can find, add one large family and assorted friends and neighbours, and you’ll get the idea. It all really kicked off, though, when Callum phoned his Dad to complain he’d been beaten up and Dad came tearing round in his car – which he abandoned in the middle of the street – and chased the lad who had touched his lad down the street.

It was about this point that I noticed a nosey woman in a ground floor flat opposite, watching the action from her open window. She was lucky not to get a brick through it: we’d already had the beatee kick a parked car and the beater urinate all over the same car until someone complained it was her friend’s car; that’s when the beater turned, water stick in hand, and continued his business in the road. That nosey woman really should know better than to let herself be seen by aggressive drunks – turn off the light like I do.

One family imploded, goading an elder sister who was trying to calm things down, encircling her in a rather frightening way, particularly given that they were all related. The police finally arrived at that moment, so the younger lads ran off to watch the Dad batter the beater of his son and then get arrested.

The head count was a little lower this time: only four police vehicles, two ambulances, four paramedics and eight cops. No guns, as far as I could see. The police stayed for about forty minutes, calming things down, warning some, cautioning others, and telling off my next door neighbour for interfering in police business when she came out in her nightie to complain that her grandchildren were trying to sleep.

Tempers finally cooled and the police and paramedics went off to tackle another bunch of volatile drunken England fans on another street just like ours elsewhere in the lovely town of Stockport. Some of the neighbours celebrated that no-one went to hospital or jail by cracking out the pear cider and Stella, and now a little party is taking place on the steps further up and some of the lads are yelling profanities at some of the mothers (not necessarily their own) and vice versa.

O, to be in England…not.

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