Nov 292011
 

I was going through some old pictures and when I came across this one (below) it reminded me of my aimless wanderings that resulted in the writing of my wonderful masterpiece ‘The Cat’s Travelogue’ (if you are one of the few people on the planet not to have a copy you can get it discreetly here www.amazon.com and no one will ever know that you didn’t have one of the latest trendiest ‘must have consumer products’ because you can pretend that you had it all the time).

In The UAE They Dream Of The Sea

The picture comes from the ultra modern high rising cement constructed emirate of UAE and brought back all sorts of dreadful memories of a place where the contradictions of life are many, various and confusing to say nothing of their translations into English!

Imagine spending $20 billion on an hotel – imagine the Burj Khalifa – and then try to imagine why you wouldn’t spend $20 on correctly translating a sign from Gulf Arabic to English, if you can do that then you can imagine just what life is like in Dubai or the UAE!

The UAE is a place where ‘foreigners’ are loathed, but welcomed so that they can fill the seven star hotels and try their hardest to buy at least a tenth of all of the dreadful modern and over priced real estate that has been thrown up for them on newly created ‘islands’ in the middle of enormous lagoons which are now sadly sinking back into the depths of the lagoons from where they were dredged up.

UAE

The UAE is a place that likes to pretend that it is modern, go ahead and forward thinking but can’t do more than pretend, take a recent innocent example of a multinational shoe manufacturer (Puma) who thought that the very rich inhabitants of the UAE and the tourists, who troll around the place gaping at the enormous buildings, pleasure parks and the greater number of building sites where construction has ground to a halt, would like a pair of trainers with the UAE flag plastered all over them.

These ‘special edition shoes’ (whatever that can possibly mean) were intended to mark the 40th UAE National Day. All that Puma had to do was to make them and put a stupidly high price on them ($190 because they are special I suppose), stick them in their own stores and ‘bam’ they would be a few million dollars richer even if half of the products sold would have to be returned because they were so badly made in China.

UAE PUMAS

Well it was a brilliant marketing plan what could go wrong?

What went wrong was simple the very conservative inhabitants of the UAE didn’t like the the fact that the nations flag colours were being used on shoes!

At this moment it might be a good idea to cast your mind back to the Iraq war, just at the end when America was being thanked and celebrated before the Iraqis changed their minds, when the enormous statue of old walrus face was toppled and locals started hitting it with their shoes.

Saddam Statue Shoe Attack

Then a short while later after the Iraqis had forgotten all about the repression of the old ways under the tough guy with the big soup strainer and more importantly who had rescued them from torture and terrible moustaches some idiot threw a shoe at Pres. Georgie B, can you see a pattern emerging here?

Pres Bush Shoe

For some reason in the Arab world, best known only to Arabs, feet and footwear are considered dirty, the Cat who writes blogs thinks that it is such a shame that there isn’t more widespread use shoe polish and foot baths in the Arab world as that surely would sort of solve little problems like this and then the UAE could make a better pretence of being what it pretends to be – a modern country that is a great place for tourists and second home owners. Because as incidents like this demonstrate currently the mind set of the people is still firmly entrenched in prehistoric Wadi mud, remember the Cat who writes blogs is just a Cat and Cats aren’t as clever as humans! Are they? But I have to say this I am glad that Cats have Paws and not feet and never wear shoes, unless they are dressed up by idiot humans – but that is the subject of another blog and nothing to do with this one!

Just imagine for a moment if we were so precious about the British Union Jack or the American Stars and Stripes, we would have tacky mugs, tea towels and souvenir shop rubbish in general, Jimi Hendrix’s masterpiece of guitar playing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ would be lost forever and we would never have had anything to roll our ‘herbal’ cigarettes in at college would we?

US Flag Joint

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nov 242011
 

I’m a very inquisitive Cat and so usually I like to find out a lot of interesting information about places, events and so on and so forth and then turn them into little jokes, you just have to read either ‘Getting Out Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary’ or ‘The Cat’s Travelogue’ to know that; which is why I think I have failed the entire American Nation today and that makes me at the very least very downcast.

It seems a shame that there just isn’t much to say about Thanksgiving that is particularly interesting, weird or funny if, that is, you want to talk about odd traditions and practices and I do.

Yes I’ll admit there are some strange Thanksgiving Day notions such as the one that says you have to knock a few times on wood before putting the Turkey into the oven so that it will be tender and succulent, to say nothing of the fact that it’s best to first check the Turkey’s pulse! But that isn’t really an odd tradition like the ones that lurk around old Europe as Pres. George Bush once called us lot over here.

You know the sort of odd tradition I’m talking about like the one in Scotland where you must carry a bit of coal in your pocket as you go from dozens of strangers houses on New Year’s Eve and drink vast quantities of other people’s Scotch Whiskey, that’s called either ‘Firstfooting or ‘First Footing.’

I’m afraid I have no idea which is right ‘Firstfooting or ‘First Footing’ because both words are always said with a Scottish accent which as we all know is very close to incomprehensible nonsense at the best of times and totally alien on New Year’s Eve due to the vast amounts of Scotch Whiskey consumed by the speaker which has an effect not only on the amount of slur added to a Scots persons speech but also the number of ‘o’s’ added to words that not only contain ‘o’s’ normally but ones that have never been spelt with an ‘o’ before! To say nothing of the fact that if you look up ‘Firstfooting or ‘First Footing’on the internet all of the results are in American from the awful Wikipedia to the Websters Dictionary they use ‘First-Footing’ with a hyphen between the words and that in the main apart from where it has been used for centuries in the surnames by a few mad aristocratic English families and more recently by a lot of ethnic unmarried couples, is an American invention.

The only thing that is clear about ‘Firstfooting or ‘First Footing,’ as the picture below shows, is that you don’t have to be Scottish, look ridiculous and talk nonsense to join in the fun or indeed even wear a kilt!

Prince c in kilt

In fact it seems that the Scots didn’t invent the practice of ‘Firstfooting or ‘First Footing’ it gets its name from a Manx Gaelic word ‘Quaaltagh’ so it would seem that the Scots ‘borrowed’ the tradition from the Isle of Man.

‘Firstfooting or ‘First Footing’ is also practiced by the Serb nation who celebrate Polažajnik on New year’s Eve where they go to other people’s houses and get drunk. Even during the worst persecutions of their neighbours in the 1980’s the Serbs didn’t stop the custom.

The Greeks use a word similar to the Serb ‘Polažajnik’ when they go from house to house getting drunk on New Year’s Eve it is ‘Podariko’ for any of you who are vaguely interested and aren’t wondering what on Earth this all has to do with Thanksgiving like I have to say the writer!

So back to Thanksgiving! Happily (for me) I did discover one potential bombshell about Thanksgiving though and that is that if Thanksgiving has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26th 1863 it may not be a day of celebration for the whole country!

Abe Lincoln

I hear you ask what does that mad Cat mean?

Well if President (of the Union States only) Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving in the middle of the Civil War only the North would have observed it, I can’t imagine President Jefferson Davis and the rest of the Southern Nation embracing a Northern President’s ideas can you?

Not only that in 1861 President Jefferson Davis issued this proclamation about Thanksgiving Day which said it should be “a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer,” now that doesn’t sound like the sort of day that most Americans are going to have today does it? Although I expect it would make Turkeys all over the United States very happy indeed.

Jeff Davis

The reason why the Confederate States of America celebrated Thanksgiving Day for the first time in 1861 was not really Pilgrim related either. It was to celebrate a series of victories by Confederate forces in the east and west of the CSA and that’s probably not something that dear old Abe had in mind when he ‘invented’ Thanksgiving in 1863 is it.

Isn’t history wonderful?

So to lighten the mood and possibly to prevent a war between the south and north of America breaking out once again here are some Thanksgiving jokes.

Why did the Pilgrims eat Turkey at Thanksgiving?

Because they couldn’t fit a Moose in the oven!

What’s the best way to stuff a Turkey?

Get it to eat lots of pizza and ice cream!

If the Pilgrims were alive today what would they be most famous for?

Their age of course!

If you do want to hear loads of exciting, unusual and generally hilariously dotty traditions, practices and other mad things that humans get up to, let alone this Cat, then you could do no worse than read either, or better still both, of my wonderful works of feline literary genius which happily you can find either as paperback or ebooks here!

Paperback edition of Getting Out at Amazon.com

Kindle edition of Getting Out at Amazon.com

Paperback edition of The Cat’s Travelogue at Amazon.com

Kindle edition of The Cat’s Travelogue at Amazon.com

Lastly the really good news about Thanksgiving Day is that it was made in America (based on an English idea) and not made in China (copied from every nation’s original thought) and that means that it will last forever and not have been broken before it was taken out of the box, like all expensive rubbish that the hamfisted Chinese knock up over there!

I HOPE THAT YOU ALL HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND PURRS TO ALL MY CUDDLY READERS

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,