Saturday, September 27, 2008

My wife's punk-ass moment

I've got to hand it to Squirrel. I've taught her well. Or maybe it's just that 10 years of eventual osmosis has done the trick. I have no idea. But anyway, here's the story:
I used to wake up at 9 p.m. every working night, but now that I want to get to work even earlier, Squirrel insists that I get up at 8:30.
Now, if there's one thing you must understand about me, dear reader, it's this—I do not like waking up. The only times I can remember rising from bed in a reasonably bright and active mood are those rare and lucky times when I've slept over twelve consecutive hours.
But when I've had only a standard eight or nine hours, I'm grumpy as hell when getting up. Squirrel knows this as well as anyone else, though she still insists on dancing around the room and singing my name and calling me her "drag" while doing so, even though she knows damn well that this will surely not put me in any better frame of mind.
And so, as you can guess, I've had plenty of opportunity to sound off about this routine in the past, and I have done so. Sometimes I've been so blisteringly sarcastic about it—such as stiffly saluting her, military-style, when awakening at 8:30 or 9 on the dot—that Squirrel wouldn't even speak to me.
Well, to quote Britney Spears: Whoops, I did it again, last Tuesday night. Squirrel woke me up at 8:30—on the bloody split second, as always—and I had several things to do before joining her in the living room. What Squirrel wants is to "spend time with me" for at least an hour-and-a-half every night before I head off to work, which involves me parking my ass on the floor in front of the TV and either watching something on DVD that I've already seen 1,000 times before or watching some documentary-like show on the television which always seems to be narrated by the same guy and always directed in the same style or some painfully left-wing comedy current-events programme (British television, in a nutshell). She actually considers this "quality time." Personally, I'd rather she just cuddled up to me in bed and talked every night as she occasionally does, but no—we've got to worship the idiot box on most nights.
So, getting back to Tuesday night, I heard Squirrel calling me at several points after I rose from the bed chamber.
"Hon, where are you?"
"I'm on the toilet, hon!"
Two minutes later: "Honey? C'mon!"
"I'm just getting a fresh pair of running pants for my workout this morning! I'll be through in a few."
One minute after that: "Hon?! What are you doing now?!"
"I'm making a cup of tea so I can wake up. Will you just hold your horses, for fuck's sake?"
Eventually, at 8:39, I walked into the living room and announced, "OK, break out the streamers and the party hats, I have arrived!"
Squirrel didn't say a word about it. I thought she'd just shrugged it off. We had a normal evening—or as normal as things are ever likely to get in this particular household.
The next night, upon waking up, I stumbled into the kitchen and discovered a party hat, still in its plastic packaging sheath, on the linoleum floor. I really didn't bat an eye at it, because I'm used to Squirrel buying strange things. But then I walked into the living room and saw her sitting on the couch and wearing a party hat. I stopped in my tracks.
"Uh, hon, can you tell me what's up with the party hats?"
"Well, I wanted to break out the party hats to greet the arrival of my gorgeous husband. I'm sorry that I couldn't find any streamers."
I was gobsmacked. I just stood there for a few moments, open-mouthed. Then I started chuckling.
I wasn't angry. I was impressed. My wife had just beaten me at my own game. I was proud of her, even if begrudgingly.
She even had the nerve to ask me the next morning, "Shall I break out the party hats again tonight?"
"No," I said. "You've had your little punk-ass moment. Now let it rest."
When Squirrel and I celebrate our 10th anniversary in Gothenburg, Sweden this coming weekend, I will be thinking of that. I can't imagine her having played this joke on me years ago, but now she knows how to fight fire with fire. I've taught her only too well.
But I'm proud of my girl. I love her.  I'm glad to have her in my life.
Happy 10th, hon. I'll be by your side for another ten, and another ten after that, and so on for as long as we both shall live. And it will be a pleasure, because you mean more to me than I think you even realize.
I adore you, even if you do never give me even one second's grace come waking-up time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What is wrong with some people?

I had the opportunity to teach someone basic manners yesterday morning.
I walked down the train platform to get on my preferred carriage and I thought that there was no-one left to disembark. Then I saw him—a dishevelled looking man of about 45 clutching a timetable or a map, about to get off. So I did what any decent person would do: instead of pushing past him to get on the train, I retreated a few spaces and stood well out of his way.
But, alas, he did what most people seem to do these days when you hold a door open for them or provide them with any other small courtesy: he completely ignored it.
So I sardonically told him, "You're welcome!"
He shot me a quick but nasty glance and mumbled something that was probably along the lines of "Piss off" or "Go Get Fucked."
"What's that?" I said. He didn't answer. He glared at me again.
So I stood in the carriage doorway and glared at him, and my stare told him that I meant business. He looked at me for perhaps just a second or two longer and walked off, not saying a word. He just walked away.
That's one confrontation that I won, hands-down. I stared the bastard down. I'm not proud to admit this, but it made my day. I don't like to fight, hardly ever do, and will go some reasonable length to avoid it. But when I'm charged up, I don't pull any punches.
I said it all with my stare. That look of pure poison that I bore down on him with told him, "If you don't back the fuck off right now, you're gonna get a pummelling." I didn't expect him to apologize—the time for that had passed. I just wanted him to have no doubts as to how serious a challenge I considered this if he didn't stop glowering at me and that I would rise to the occasion if he didn't.
Was I in the wrong? Am I just too angry a person, looking for any excuse to have a go at someone? Or, was I right to call this guy out?
As I say, he looked at bit dishevelled or disoriented. He had been clutching what looked like a map of the train system. Should I have just forgiven him for what was undoubtedly a bad morning on his part?
But consider this, dear reader: I may be high-strung and have a considerable temper. But—but—I still say "please" and "thank you" to people, no matter how good or bad I'm feeling. I never ignore people when they do me a courtesy. In fact, that sort of thing helps cheer me up if I'm hot under the collar. If I'd had a rough morning, and someone had stood aside while waiting for me to exit the train, I'd have acknowledged it. I would have said thanks. Sure, I might have mumbled it, but I'd've said it all the same. And that's all I wanted. Just a mumble. A positive grunt. Something.
What I didn't expect was some piss-poor attitude that would suggest, "well, of course you got out of my way, you little peon. What do you want, a medal for it?"
And that's the sort of behavior that I am not going to stand for. I simply won't tolerate it.
I just hope the next time someone holds a door open for him or stands out of his way when they see him coming, he does the gentlemanly thing.
Because, as far as I'm concerned, there's a very fine line separating a gentleman from a blinding-and-effing rage.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Anti-war ignorance and disrespect, British-Style

 It seems to me that anti-war sentiment in this country has gotten completely out of bounds. First we had Royal Air Force personnel being abused in the streets for daring to wear their uniforms into town on errands. (To be fair to Gordon Brown, he tried to quell the backlash at the time.) Then the National Teachers Union wanted to bar all Army recruitment personnel from schools. Soon after that came the story of the soldier who was thrown off a train for not having his armed services discount pass. When the rifleman tried to explain that he shouldn't pay the full fare because he was entitled to a discount, the train conductor told him, "I don't know what you're complaining about. It's not as if you've taken a bullet or anything." That anyone, especially in a public service position, could disrespect a squaddie as the ticket inspector did reflects just how low civilians in the U.K. are capable of stooping.
The immaturity doesn't even end there. A couple of weeks ago, a hotel refused a room to a soldier who was injured in Afghanistan.
Corporal Tomos Stringer was on leave and visiting a friend in the English county of Surrey. He tried to sign in for a night's stay at the Metro Hotel, but was told that it was hotel policy to not accept any of the Armed Forces as guests.
Stringer's mother, understandably enraged by this impudence, said, "We've been to America, and their military get treated like heroes over there. I think it's terrible they [the UK Armed Forces] can't even wear their uniform with pride."
It wasn't always that way, however. During the later years of the Vietnam War, American soldiers returning to the States were treated horribly by most of the general public. They were spat at, called "baby killers," and no-one cared that homelessness and alcoholism were their only rewards for fighting for their country. This was, of course, when the baby boomers, known for their me-first mentality, were coming of age, a terrible time in our history.
Now then, the prevalent mood in Britain appears to be that everyone should be proud to be British, to stop mimicking American trends and behavior. So why are they all intent on copying American anti-war ignorance circa 1972?
It's quite amazing to watch people in this country waving flags around madly whenever England has a big soccer match, to honor their outdated and irrelevant royal family, or at events of no particular importance such as the airy-fairy classical concerts known as The Proms. But when it comes to the brave fighting men and women of the British Army, the flag-waving abruptly ceases.
It's bad enough our troops have to fight with such limited resources and in such violent situations prevailing in Afghanistan and Iraq, but to demoralize them on top of it with infantile disrespect is the very definition of selfish behavior. Poor dears, the sight of a squaddie is enough to put them off their tea and biscuits, so consumed with white colonial guilt as they are! Instead of fighting terrorism, why don't we lay down our guns, open our borders completely and celebrate diversity?
It's time the British public smartened up and realized that their soliders do not have a choice as to what war they fight, that it's time to stop taking their displeasure with the war out on their returning soldiers. They are only doing their job.
The British public's childish, insufferable attitude to the very people protecting their freedom and way of life (such as it is) is a disgrace and only too representative of a nation that has lost its way.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Study: Why conservatives can't be clowns

(Previously published on Blogcritics)

This shouldn't entirely come as a huge surprise, but a study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln concluded that conservatives are more easily spooked by gory images and startled by loud sounds than are liberals.
In other words, just burst a balloon behind someone's back. If they jump three feet in the air, they're conservative. If they calmly turn around and shrug, they're liberal.
That being the case, I really don't think there can be many right-wingers working in the circus, given the presence of cherry bombs and balloons. Indeed, the only true clowns are liberals.
That is why I say this is not entirely a surprise because it confirms what I have always thought: 1. That there are deeply ingrained factors to a person's political stance; that is, a person's political beliefs are closely linked with their personality. 2. Political beliefs are also closely linked with just how much people trust their fellow human beings.
Those to the right believe in good and evil. They believe that people are responsible for their own actions and choices. Therefore, when something terrible or horrific happens, a conservative will likely point to the person himself as the sole source of blame. This, in turn, makes conservatives much more likely to recognize the inherent instability of society and humankind in general.
Those to the left, on the other hand, largely deny the existence of good versus evil with their trademark moral relativism, and believe that other extenuating factors contribute to a person's downfall. (Straight white males are closest thing to evil, according to extreme liberals.) Feeling that people are inherently good, they believe society should be much more open and less restrained.
Therefore, a conservative is not likely to hang around downtown past midnight because he acknowledges that potential danger the city's nightlife might pose to him or her. A liberal will deny the existence of any danger and freely walk about wherever they please.
Ergo, a conservative is naturally more cautious—or nervous, if you will—than a liberal. It's got nothing to do with bravery or courage. People on either side can display that. John McCain, the conservative, showed his mettle by refusing escape from capture and torture by the North Vietnamese unless his fellow soldiers could join him. John Kerry, the liberal, displayed courage by fighting in Vietnam when it would have been easy for him to have dodged it. This is simply about how individuals judge the safety of the world around them.
It could, in fact, even be said that it's a matter of which side is more likely to follow common sense. Again, I point to the likely lack of conservatives partying in the small hours of the morning in seedy areas of town as an example of this. Conservatives don't believe in courting danger.
According to the University of Nebraska study, I am clearly a conservative. Loud noises, such as exploding firecrackers or popping balloons, startle me, and I am distressed by grime and gore. In fact, I am a hemophobiac; I am afraid of blood.
Roger Highfield, Science Editor of The Daily Telegraph writes in the September 19 edition of the Telegraph: "Those most affected by the images—such as a spider on a face, a dazed and bloody person, or an open wound crawling with maggots—had the most Right-wing views. These views included support for military spending, warrantless searches, the death penalty, obedience, patriotism and the Iraq War.
"They also tended to be opposed to pacifism, immigration, gun control, foreign aid, compromise, premarital sex, gay marriage, abortion and pornography."
That's me in a nutshell, alright.
I used to work with some fellows who were quite fond of the website They would always call me over to look at images that I never wanted to see. They could stare at sickening pictures for hours, fascinated, while my stomach would turn at just one picture. Those guys I worked with were all Left-wingers, come to think of it.
You've got to hand it to conservative candidates and their voters and supporters, however. It can't be easy for them when they claim victory and the balloons start falling from the rafters.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Reflections on turning thirty-nine

Less than two months from today, I will turn 39. I won't say exactly when because I don't want anyone wishing me a happy birthday. I don't care for that.  I've always thought that the insistence people have in celebrating their birthdays is a bit narcisistic.
It's a strange year, 39. Not quite 40, but so close to it. It makes me feel weird.
Throughout my 30s, I took great comfort in saying, "Oh, I'm just 29 + n." So, at 35, I said, I was "29 plus 6." But now that I'm 29 + 10, that no longer seems appropriate.
Saying that I'm 40 minus 1? That's just depressing.
I've actually enjoyed being 38. In fact, I once heard a fifty-something talk-show host say, "What is it about us 50-year-olds, that we always say we're 38, or that we'd like to be 38 again? There's just something magical about being 38."
I had to smile. But now that 39 is looming, I don't know how to feel about it.
I spent most of my 30s doing what I never had neither the chance nor the cojones to do during my 20s. No explanation necessary; I think you get my gist. It involved a lot of partying and a lot of pot, a consequence of living in London, the city with the wildest nightlife on the planet. 'Nuff said.
I've outgrown all that now. I honestly think I'm ready to accept being on the verge of 40 and the maturity that comes with it. But I'm not 40—yet. That number won't enter my life until the late autumn of 2009.
So, how do I feel about turning 39 in the very near future? I'm just glad to still be in my 30s. I have one year left of my thirty-something years, and I will make the most of it.
But first, I'm going to enjoy and revel in still technically being 38.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Open letter to Lehman Bros. bankers:

Thanks, Lehman Bros., for the giant mess you've landed us into. You weren't the first, nor will you be the last. But, nevertheless, your demise is significant.
Naturally, you will be counting on the government to bail you out via the taxpayer, as with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and just as we taxpayers of Britain are bailing out our own failure, Northern Rock. I don't see why a refuse collector should contribute more of his earnings to help keep you people in the champagne lifestyle to which you fast became accustomed. It'll still happen though. Amazing how closely capitalism mirrors communism when times like these pop up, eh?
I'd love to laugh at your expense, to see you greedbuckets strolling away from your desks for the last time, tails between your legs, fit only for the bread line. Welcome to the real world, gentlemen (and super ladies). Alas, it's not that simple, for we are all of us in this together. When you jumped off the cliff, you had millions of other people attached to your rope and now you've brought them right down with you.
It's not bad enough that you had to imperil your own families, but you just made life harder for every other family in America and across the world.
In the end, you stupid bastards just wouldn't learn. You kept borrowing from each other, trying to attain leverage that didn't exist. Worse yet, you told financial analysts and consumers alike, "don't worry, the word 'crash' does not exist in our vocabulary, because it can't happen. 1929 was a long time ago, folks. Pass the champagne."
Care to share any of that bubbly with your former customers and employers who trusted you? They'd throw it back in your face.
I know I would.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Friday night mish-mash: Sarah Palin, Ground Zero photo, Russell Brand vs. The Jonas Brothers, advertisements and ratty birthday cake

■ I know that I gave voice to some considerable reservations that I've got regarding Sarah Palin, but what Obama had to say about her—"you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig"—is hitting very below the belt. Mrs. Palin seems like a genuine woman, a hard worker certainly, and someone capable of landing on her own two feet. I disagree with several aspects of her lifestyle and what she may promote, but my screed the other day should not have been interpreted as a total condemnation of her. At the very least, no-one should be under any doubt that I'll still be voting for McCain. Palin seems to be a very good fit, and it's drawing in more votes for McCain as white women abandon the Obama campaign by the truckload.
I don't know if Obama is really that bitter or really that stupid, but that quote really reveals the true man behind the messiah mask. I'd vote for a lamppost before I'd ever vote for him.

■ There was a picture in one of the English papers today showing a crowd gathered at Ground Zero to mark the seventh anniversary of 9/11. And it was one hell of a poignant picture.
You had a diverse mix in that crowd. And while I'm not one to bang on about the "beauty" of diversity like all the politically correct liberals do, I can certainly appreciate the sight of Americans from all backgrounds coming together to solemnly remember a tragedy that affected them all in profound ways.
We tend to forget that we're all basically one stripe—American. That's all that should matter.

■ Russell Brand, an English comedian, made quite an impact on the MTV Video Music Awards ceremony. In addition to calling George W. Bush a "retarded cowboy" while urging everyone present to vote for Barack Obama, he took a swipe at Disney's Jonas Brothers, the teen pop group who wear purity rings and have taken pledges of virginity.
Now, if you're not familiar with Russell Brand, count yourself lucky. The man is a talentless sack of crud. He made his name in the U.K. by hosting a pre-Big Brother programme. 'Nuff said about his credentials or the intelligence of the audience he appeals to. He also constantly brags of how many women he's bedded during his career.
So it's no surprise that this fop of a man-boy would take digs at a wholesome pop group. I'm not one for rosy-cheeked boy bands myself, but I think the Jonas Brothers are a blessing, a positive influence in a negative culture. Nick Jonas said there were no hard feelings and that "it's cool to see that he recognizes we are gentleman." Jordin Sparks, a supporter of the Jonas Brothers, really hit the nail on the head when she opined: "Not everybody—guy or girl—wants to be a slut." Amen to that, sister.
May the Jonas Brothers outlast Russell Brand, that's all I have to say.

■ OK, I work in advertising, right? Seeing that advertising is my work, the way I earn money—what precious little of it I have, that is—it only seems appropriate that I want nothing to do with that garbage on my time off.
But even if I didn't work with advertisements, my jaw would still drop at the very existence of ads to watch on Yahoo! Have you seen them? On the home page of Yahoo!, you'll sometimes see, in the middle right of the page, a commercial just begging to be watched. "See our new advertisement!" the company implores.
I don't get it. Who on earth would spend their leisure time watching a frigging commercial? Most people—OK, let's clarify that: most normal people—use the break afforded by TV commercials to either turn the volume down and tune out until their programme re-appears or to go make a cup of coffee or preen in front of the mirror or whatever.
Paper advertisements are not much better. I continue to be amazed at just how many stooges they use to try to convey what a wonderful purchase or service the company offers.
I don't imagine that I'm inclined to say, "Hey, look at this happy couple with their eight children enjoying this £500 sofa from DFS! You know, I really connect with them and their upper middle-class lives. They've convinced me to get this sofa!" And then when the DFS salespeople ask me, for statistical purposes, why I intend on purchasing the sofa, I can tell them, "Because the family in your most wonderful advertisement in the Pick-My-Ass Gazzette convinced me it was a necessary embellishment to my life."
Ugh. Just spare me the bullshit. If you want to sell me a sofa, show me a dude with three day's growth and shit-kickers sitting on a sofa holding up a sign announcing, "PISS OFF, THIS IS MY SOFA!" and then perhaps we'll talk, because at least that is a lot more realistic. Or, at the very least, I can identify with it a lot more.
With that, I'm off to bed ...

■ Actually, before I disappear, I'd thought I'd share this:

Just kidding. She'd happily share some with any who wished her many happy returns.
Happy 2nd, Saffy.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Thoughts on Sarah Palin

First things first: Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota was inspirational and dead-on-target. She spelled out a lot of what I believe in: deriding the idea of dialogue with Iran, stipulating that America must start providing itself with its own native sources of fuel, emphasizing the strong possibility of success in Iraq, and criticizing high taxes, as well as centering on her own life as a faithfully married woman, someone who clearly feels that monogamy is the only way to ensure a healthy family life as well as a strong soul.
All very well and good, except Mrs. Palin does give me a bit of cause for concern.
1. After my initial relief that John McCain did not pick Southern Fried Baptist Mike Huckabee as his running mate, as some pundits had predicted back in Febraury, I was distressed when he chose a female Alaskan version of him. The ol' huntin', shootin', fishin', dinosaurs-roamed-the-earth-with-mankind mindset on Palin is eerily too reminiscent of a GOP that just cannot shake its reliance on the hard-line Christian Right for its survival. Sure, the Democrats may be lumbered by their loony-Left, pea-brained contingent, but the Republicans can't lay claim to a completely normal cross-section of supporters either. I mean, it's good that we don't have the dreadlocked, unwashed, "down with America" types in our midst, but I don't feel any more comfortable in the company of hallelujah-chanting, creationist, Flat Earth Theory-believing cornfeds either.
What the hell ever happened to the middle ground? Or has that always been nothing but a myth?
I still wish dearly that McCain had gone with Mitt Romney. That would have been a hell of a ticket. To pick the heretofore relatively unknown Governor of Alaska seems a tad luckluster.
2. I cannot take Mrs. Palin seriously as a campaigner against teenage pregnancy and out-of-wedlock sexual relationships—which one would expect of her as a conservative—when her own 17-year-old daughter is pregnant by a self-confessed redneck who loves to brag about his loutish behavior online. The younger daughter clearly intends on taking after mommy in terms of having a large family; indeed, she's clearly not wasting any time in her aspirations to become a prolific breeder.
I'm just a little tired of people who claim to be "just a normal family" when, from what I can see, they are anything but normal.
3. Palin's quite big on gun ownership. I'm not against gun ownership myself. The Second Amendment may not have relevance anymore in terms of communities rising up against their own government, but clearly it establishes the right to private gun ownership. Ban private gun ownership and you have defaced and denigrated one of the original Constitutional Amendments.
However, I think if our Founding Fathers knew what was coming—leagues of outcast loners bred on too much violent film, television and videogames who see no other way to express themselves other than shooting everyone in sight when they finally snap one fine day—they would have ensured, as much as humanly possible, that guns did not land into the wrong hands.
Why is it that every time a conservative Republican talks about gun ownership it also happens that they are stolid members of the NRA? National Rifle Association? More like Nihilistic Retrograde Assholes. How insane is it that there is an organization in America, politically active and very influential, which believes that there should be no limits whatsoever on gun ownership, which believes that anyone, anytime, anywhere and under any conditions can purchase a gun?
Why, also, is it that countries that also have significant gun ownership, like Canada and Switzerland, generate so little news in terms of gun massacres? Is it because they have no version of the NRA, telling their people that they must have a firearm even if they're a totally deranged, psychopathic, paranoid lunatic?
No, I'm not against gun ownership. But I'm aghast at the NRA.
4. Sarah Palin is a hunter. Now there are plenty of people who like to test their skills as a shooter with clay pigeons or a stack of cans. Fine and dandy. But actually killing an animal and seeing that as a sport? It's just ridiculous. Where's the sport in that? It's bloodlust, pure and simple. If you're lost in the woods, you haven't eaten in several days, and there's no suitable plant material to eat, then I believe hunting is justified. In any other circumstance, it's bloodthirstyness. Let Mrs. Palin tackle a moose armed with just a stick. If she wins that contest, then I'll be impressed.
Again, Sarah Palin's speech was bold and struck a solid chord with the GOP faithful. That's all well and good. And I'm also very much enjoying the spectre of these liberal hypocrites decrying her existence. You know the types: they believe we need more women, minorities and alternative sexualities in office and influencing American life. Yet give them the likes of Mona Charen, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, or Andrew Sullivan and watch them protest. "But we didn't mean those sorts of women, those sorts of blacks, those sorts of gays," they'll bleat. If you're not sowing the seeds of disgruntlement on the Democrats' plantation, then you're just not acceptable.
Sarah Palin and I both share a respect for history and tradition, time-tested methods of law and order, and a deep distrust of the government.
But I seriously wish that she, and some of these same people with whom I share common ground, didn't think that having less than 20 children is ungodly, that animals were put on earth solely to provide mankind with food and to relieve his feelings of bloodlust, and that the planet is only thousands, as opposed to billions, of years old.
I mean, not to get religious, but God help us all.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

You know it's troubled times indeed when the public turns to baked beans

Well, due to the rotten economy, and with food prices constantly rising, people here in Britain are turning once again to their usual favorite staple food: The baked bean.
The Irish have their potatoes, the Japanese have their rice, the Canadians have their moose droppings, the Americans have their two double cheese Big Macs with three large fries and two milkshakes (some things never change)—and the British have their baked beans.
Why baked beans? They're not just a sort of traditional food here, but they're also cheap and easy to fix. They're even high in both protein and fiber, but low in fat. What else could you ask for?
Thought of something yet? No? Well, I'll tell you. I would ask to squash the gas-producing quality out of every baked bean, if there was only a way to do it. Unfortunately, no such technique exists.
Needless to say, with the British scoffing these little beans up for all they're worth because it's the only thing they can afford to eat, Britain is a rather bad place to live at the moment. I honestly don't know why anyone would drive or take the buses or trains to get where they have to go. They could propel themselves there. Baked beans = natural propane. Remember that, folks. All you'd need is a bike or rollerblades.
It's especially bad on those humid, foggy mornings that are only too plentiful over here that tend to smell of ass. And I guess, in these tough times, that's because they really do.
Think I'm exaggerating? Well, recall, dear reader, that I'm from the place known as "Beantown." The first people to establish Boston as a metropolis were the British, and these limeys surely brought their baked beans with them. Baked beans fast became one of the things that early Boston was famous for, and you didn't necessarily need to ever eat any to discern that for yourself. Legend has it that in those early days, huge, smelly fogs would hang over the city for days, comprised almost entirely of the gaseous end result of all the baked bean-eaters.
If you've ever wondered why Bostonians are a cantankerous and irritable lot, you need wonder no longer. It's all a direct result of a rather painful history, my friends, and it runs in the blood of every native-born Masshole. There were Boston Massacres long before 1770, only you never read about those. It's something we'd just rather forget. It was far better, and more convenient, to point to the Red Sox as the source of all our troubles.
But I digress ...
Now, if I'm sitting down on the bench at the train station and someone bends over right in front of me to pick up something they may have dropped, I'm going to have to kill them, or myself, or both. It's a scenario I can just see happening—and which is why I'm so frightened by it.
I don't eat the foul things myself. I've never been fond of baked beans and, unlike most of the general population, I've got my pride. I'm not saying that I'm immune from letting rip myself. But, for all that's good and holy, I tend to do that in private and I never want to eat a food that so encourages that disgusting bodily by-product.
Having said that, the baked bean seems like the perfect foodstuff for the British. We are, after all, talking about the very same people who invented toilet humor.