Jonar's observations

Observations: About symbols

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Jonar speaks with Bruce and Phil about the fake things we do, like lighting electric candles in churches. Jonar mentions Japanese restaurants that have floor dining, but the floor has a hole in it so that you can sit and dangle your legs into the hole, which means that you are not really ‘sitting’ on the floor. So why bother? Have you noticed that in the USA they describe things by their shape or colour, such as the White House, the Oval Office, The Pentagon. To listen to an excerpt from the radio broadcast, click on the green arrow below.


Here is a transcript of the audio file.

Host: Jonar Nader good evening and how are you going to tease us tonight?

Jonar Nader: I thought we would do some more observations. I happened to be at a Japanese restaurant and they have these tables that you are supposed to take your shoes off and kneel at. But these days you don’t kneel anymore, they have actually dug a hole and you sit around the table with your legs dangling in the hole. Well I just have to ask what is the point. Why do you have to pretend you are on the floor when you are not really?

Host: Why not have a normal table?

Jonar Nader: That is what I am wondering but I guess it looks traditional to be on the floor.

Host: Japanese sleep on futons on the ground as well.

Jonar Nader: So all these sort of fakey things led me to think about restaurants with more. You know when they ever serve a meal someone always comes with a huge pepper grinder and always ask would you like some pepper. Well it is not a very expensive device so why don’t they leave one on every table.

Host: It is almost part of the act.

Jonar Nader: Just give us a small one.

Host: They do that with grated cheese at Italian restaurants

Jonar Nader: Yes, now they have electronic ones where they are battery operated. Actually, I was in a restaurant recently where the waiter had a humoungous looking thing on his wrist which looked liked a huge mobile phone device where he takes the order. It is the shape of things to come,wearing these large devices

Host: What does he do? He presses in or types in an order?

Jonar Nader: Yes, on his wrist is this huge thing the size of two mobile phones and he communicates to the kitchen and says no onion, hold the lettuce or whatever so he doesn’t have to run back.

Host: he also doesn’t have to remember what has been ordered.

Jonar Nader: Yes, and speaking of these fakey things like the hole in the floor that is not meant to be, I was in a church recently. Well in the good old days you used to light a candle, well now you just press a button and a light comes on and then automatically after 5 minutes goes off.

Host: Oh it’s not the same!

Jonar Nader: No!

Host: I think in some churches candles are a fire hazard.

Jonar Nader: True true, but it is funny to look at, I mean even when you are looking at the world of the internet and the web the symbols that we use now are old fashioned symbols so the button you press to dial a number is an old fashioned looking phone

Host: Yes it is too.

Jonar Nader: And the letter that comes through that says you have email looks like an envelope

Host: Yes that’s true.
Jonar Nader: So there will be kids of the future wondering what this boxed shaped thing with a V in middle is all about.

Host: That is international sign language is it.

Jonar Nader: Yes I guess.

Host: I don’t know about you but I’m never sure at the signs for men and women at toilets now. I’m never sure which one to walk into.

Host: I think the one with the dress is indicative of being the womens toilet.

Jonar Nader: Some of them now are very subtle and the swisher the hotel the fancier the device and you wonder because in the good old days the women were the ones with the bigger hips but I think the politically correct lobby tries to change all that.

Host: I like it better where is says either ladies or gents you knew where you were.

Jonar Nader: Have you noticed that in the US they are very iconic for example the white house is called the white house and the oval office is oval in shape, and the pentagon is a pentagon. Isn’t it an interesting society that they only name things by shape or colour.

Host: Yes but in New York everything is fourth street or eighth avenue everything goes by blocks doesn’t it. They are very pedantic.

I would love to learn why we name suburbs or states the way we do. Adelaide was queen Adelaide, Sydney was Lord Sydney, Victoria was Queen Victoria, but in America where would they get Oklahoma, or where would they get Tallahassee where did New York come from was that from York in England?

Jonar Nader: Why for example aren’t street names ever reset. Don’t they sometimes rename a street and then they have a fight on their hands.

Host: That’s right they do.

Jonar is the author of ‘How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People’, and ‘How to Lose Friends and Infuriate Your Boss’. He is on the world wide web. Thank you Jonar.

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