In this blogposting...
* Mietek and Naomi
* Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?
* AGM XLI
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MIETEK AND NAOMI
The other day I had the very great pleasure of meeting Mietek and Naomi for the first time. And it didn’t happen a day too soon, either…
No truckshunter worth his or her salt should need to be told who Mietek is. But just in case you haven’t been paying attention for the last few years…
I first came into contact with him when I was doing Roots of the North-East almost ten years ago. I was seriously surprised to get emails from the man with the strange-sounding name - and from Canada, too. I quickly learned how creative and articulate he was, and that he was a fanatical supporter of Newcastle United.
I have to admit that it all seemed very odd - and that it continued to seem odd for the next several years, as Roots changed into the Blue Bus and then into The Nightshift. Emails continued to pass briskly across the Atlantic between us right up until I retired from the BBC. And that, I thought, was that.
But I was wrong. I continued to hear about Mietek through his various contacts on Facebook and then, a few months ago, was amazed to discover that he had transplanted himself and Naomi to Tyneside.
Since his move, he has been frequenting the Free Trade pub - a risky thing to do, considering that Lawrence is often there too - and many other places. At long last, it was my turn to meet the great man and his consort, but in the more restrained surroundings of Thornton’s at the Monument.
It was a talkative encounter, to say the least. I’ve always acknowledged my regrettable ability to talk the proverbial hind legs off an Arcturan megadonkey but I’m way outclassed by Mietek and Naomi, neither of whom appears to need to stop and take a breath. They have the gloriously happy knack of changing the subject midstream to something even more interesting and for introducing conversational cul-de-sacs that I was more than happy to follow them up.
They almost put on a floor-show - passing topics from one to another like verbal jugglers. I was utterly entranced - and didn’t get even the remotest opportunity to ask any of the questions I wanted to ask.
Everybody has a story to tell and I’m sure there are many people - on Facebook and elsewhere - who know what Mietek’s is. I’m not one of them, though - even though we have finally met. It’s going to take several more encounters to find out what he and Naomi are all about….
Isn’t Naomi a lovely name? And wasn’t she wearing a wonderful hat?
WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?
Our illustrious author Kev has sent me some putative answers that various august and noble historical figures may have given to this annoyingly persistent question…
Chickens at rest tend to stay at rest; chickens in motion tend to cross roads.
Chickens, over great periods of time, have been naturally selected in such a way that they are now genetically programmed to cross roads.
Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road moved beneath the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.
The question is not ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ but is rather ‘Who was crossing the road at the same time, whom we overlooked in our haste to observe the chicken crossing?’
The fact that you are at all concerned with why the chicken crossed the road reveals your underlying sexual insecurity.
Because the chicken is moving very fast, you can either observe the chicken or you can measure its speed; you cannot do both.
It didn’t. The rotation of the earth made it appear to cross.
To get a better look at the stars.
There was more resistance on this side of the road.
It was pressured to cross the road.
The other side had more potential.
There exist numerous parallel universes in which the same chicken is in differing stages of crossing the road. Only when one of the chickens has completed crossing the road do their functions coalesce.
In our day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Someone told us that the chicken had crossed the road, and that was good enough for us.
More contributions gratefully accepted.
Two thoughts occur to me, though.
Firstly, when did this ‘standing joke’ begin, and where? Perhaps more importantly - why? Who was it who first decided that asking why a chicken crossed the road was a logical thing to do? And why a chicken? Why not (say) a duck? Or an echidna? Or a tapir?
Was it a particular, historical chicken? Or is the question genuinely trying to find an explanation for the road-crossing proclivities of chickens generally?
And I wonder how my French friends would react if I asked them Pourquoi a le poulet traversé la route? I would be utterly unable to proffer any explanation as to why this vexing question has amused and perplexed the English for so many decades and would have to be content with funny looks, shrugged shoulders and hopeless expressions of O la vache! Les anglaises!
Secondly - who was (or is) Heisenberg?
Thanks Kev for a typically stimulating contribution.
For heaven's sake, don't forget that our next AGM will take place at 1100 this upcoming Thursday 4 July at Oliver's Cafe in Grainger Market.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
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