All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

Paper planes, hot java

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
My son's paper airplane took an unexpected dive into my coffee - ironically, in my "Keep Calm and Carry On" mug.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

OKLAHOMA CITY – It was one of those moments where you have a good laugh with your kids. I was trying to watch Meet the Press (yawn! More pro-imperialistic propaganda) and enjoy my cup of coffee in my British “Keep Calm and Carry On” coffee mug that I picked up in a little shop in Alexandria, Virginia a few years ago.

I actually felt odd selecting that cup in light of the disturbing allegations against the royal family and Prince Andrew’s involvement in pedophilia and sex slavery, alongside some Clinton friend and all-around creep named Epstein.

Anyway, I’m standing up and watching Chuck Todd drone on and on and my two young sons are happily playing with their paper airplanes they just made. My 3-year-old throws a paper airplane and grazes my coffee cup.

“Hey! Don’t get your airplane in my coffee,” I say with a grin.

In the next moment, my older son throws his airplane in the air and it lands – PLOP! – right in my coffee cup, the paper rapidly absorbing the brown, caffeinated liquid. I couldn’t believe it. First, that was quite a shot – right in my hot beverage. But secondly, it was immediately after I asked that the plane not get in my coffee that it – got in my coffee.

I laughed hysterically, as did my sons. It was a fun moment.

Looking at the paper airplane in my coffee, I set it down (on the table, on top of a book about pirates). And thought: “There is something significant about this,” in reference to a Just Watching the Wheels Go Round sync post by my pal Darren in Brisbane, Australia.

Darren’s post, which I had read 20 minutes before this airplane-in-the-coffee incident, really resonated with me. The piece was titled “Was The Secret Life of Walter Mitty released a year too soon?

In this piece – among the best I’ve ever read by this insightful, synchromystic Aussie – he suggests (and convinces) that this cinematic take on the 1939 James Thurber short story (appearing in The New Yorker just a few weeks before the end of the Spanish Civil War – ‘Days of ‘39”), and a remake of the 1947 film with Danny Kaye. This new film, which starred Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty, was released Christmas Day 2013.

Writes Darren: “If you saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty last year when it came out at the cinema, you may want to view it again and ask yourself if it wasn’t released a year too soon. And the film gives off its own synchromystic clues that this may be the case as well, with the big clue in the film being the goat/sheep/ram imagery suggesting the time for watching this film and its relevance to current events may be just as “The Year of the Horse (2014)” is ending and “The Year of the Goat/Sheep/Ram (2015)” is beginning.” Specifically, in the Chinese zodiac, the Year of the Goat/Sheep/Ram starts on Feb. 19, 2015 and concludes on Feb. 7, 2016.

Goat? Sheep? Ram?

Interesting. I’ve been noticing a lot of references to all the above. Watching the fantastic1994 film Priest the other day, I was struck by a homily Fr. Greg (Linus Roache) gives early in the film where he tells the congregation: “Nice word. Scapegoat. It dates back to an old Jewish custom. They used to invest all the sins of the tribe into a goat. Then kick it up the backside so it escaped into the hills taking all the sins with it …”

Fr. Greg’s conservative homily, which suggests that “society” is the scapegoat, offends his liberal counterpart, Fr. Matthew (Tom Wilkinson). It turns out that the conservative priest is a closeted gay man in a relationship. This Miramax film was very controversial 20 years ago.

What is interesting is that I watched Priest immediately after watching the new film Calvary, about a humanistic Irish priest who is told by a man in the confessional that an evil priest sexually abused him as a child and that he was determined to kill him – a good priest (a shepherd, as it were). Fr. James (Brendan Gleeson) (a shepherd) has the weight of the pedophile-scandaled Roman Catholic Church on his shoulders and he is seemingly sent to Calvary – and sacrificed for the sins of the church. In fact, before Fr. James is shot and killed by the angry man who confronted him in the confessional, he tells his daughter that there is too much emphasis on sins and not enough about virtures.

This immediately brought to mind the idea of “the sin eater.” In 18th and 19th century Britain, “sin eaters” were people who performed a ceremony of religious magic where they ritually placed or waved food and drink over the body of a dead person and the unforgiven or not-confessed sins of the deceased were taken into the sin-eater as they consumed this “beggar’s banquet” of food and drink.

And this syncs with our entry into the Year of Goat?

From “beggar’s banquet” to “goat’s head soup”? Where’s Mick Jagger when you need him? Am I "getting your goat," yet?

As io9.com notes, “The practice of sin eating could be seen as a very macabre and misguided take on a Jewish tradition. Jewish priests would use a goat as the physical manifestation of the sins of the Jewish people, releasing the goat into the wilderness during Yom Kippur.”

What is odd is how I have been noticing the prevalence of goats, rams and sheep in recent weeks, especially while watching New Zealand-based web programs like High Road, where the well-known fact that that country is known for sheep and shepherds.

Shepherds …

And since Jan. 1st, I’ve watched several films where the four-legged creatures appear. While watching the 2002 British film 24 Hour Party People, about the Manchester music scene and the obnoxious TV personality and Factory Records founder Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan), who, at one point in the film, is on an assignment covering a farmer who has a duck that herds sheep!

This, before heading to a local watering hole for a couple of glasses of Sheep Dip Scotch.

Researching further, about the significance of this new year, under the horoscope and numerology elements, folks are told to avoid the colors “golden, coffee.”

Coffee? Just like the incident with the paper airplane in my coffee!

As it turns out, it was an Ethiopian goatherder named Kaldi who many years ago discovered the coffee plant after his goats began nibbling the bright, red berries and they became more energetic (jumping goats!). This led Kaldi to investigate further and his nose led him to the burning berries (thrown in the fire by a disapproving Islamic monk) and taking them out of the fire. He dissolved the charred coffee beans and brewed the world’s first cup of coffee – or so the legend goes.

Coffee? Goats? Chinese zodiac? Where is this all going, Griffin?

Well, we have not noted the airplane part of the story. And airplanes have been looming large as of late, as evidenced by the sudden disappearance and destruction of Air Asia flight QZ8501over the Java Sea (love me a cuppa java! perhaps the sync is the plane plopping into the "java," unexpectedly and rather startlingly?) It’s been a bad year for airliners, particularly in Malaysia/Indonesia area of the world. Perhaps the diving of the paper airplane into my coffee is a sign that we are diving from the Year of the Horse into the Year of the Goat with gusto! I also think we are not being told everything about what led to the crash of the Air Asia flight. I think Darren is on to something with his insightful post!

As Darren, back at Just Watching the Wheels Go Round notes, in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Walter turns 42 (my age) and starts his journey, which starts aboard a red-colored Air Greenland airliner, which looks oddly like an Air Asia aircraft, and as Darren notes, when the Air Asia logo is truned upside down, looks a bit like a goat’s head!

Walter decides not to observe life but actually become a participant in life. He notes how one of the only places Walter had ever visited aboard an aircraft was the city of Phoenix, Arizona. That city has come up before, and as Kaldi’s coffee beans literally come from the ashes to transform into one of the world’s most popular beverages, Walter “is now rising from the ashes like a phoenix,” as Darren notes.

Incredibly, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Walter in “The Fool,” a lot like Beatle Paul (Faul) McCartney as seen in the Magical Mystery Tour – which makes a lot of sense, magically speaking) the Tarot is followed remarkably closely, in fact, even incorporating the “Wheel of Fortune” card.

Which, (bear with me, dear reader) brings us back to the sync-heavy 24 Hour Party People film, where Tony Wilson, in one oddly jarring scene, is hosting Britain’s version of Wheel of Fortune.

Wilson (Coogan) says: “Welcome to the Wheel of Fortune. There it is, the wheel that throughout the centuries has been used as a symbol for the vicissitudes of life. Boethius himself in his great work 'The Consolation of Philosophy' compares history to a great wheel, hoisting us up, then dropping us down again. "Inconsistency is my very essence" -says the wheel- "Raise yourself up on my spokes if you wish, but don't complain when you plunge back down" Now spin the wheel.”

The producer tells the crew to edit that monologue, of course, but it was interesting, in the midst of this film about “Madchester,” hedonistic rock bands and the sad, final days of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis, who hangs himself on the eve of their first American tour.

Sticking with this line of thought and Tony Wilson in 24 Hour Party People, after Curtis’s death, the remaining members of Joy Division (a band that gets a lot of sync mention here at Dust Devil Dreams, particularly in reference to Donnie Darko and the key track “Love Will Tear Us Apart”) form the even-more successful 80’s New Wave band New Order.

Coogan, of a philosophical bent, quotes F. Scott Fitzgerald and says: “There are no second acts in American lives” And while bands in England may implode and reform, Wilson/Fitzgerald is suggesting it can’t happen here.

But, if The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is any indication, it can happen to one of us and does all the time. In fact, a great part of America is that one can lose it all and start over again as a new person, a better person.

By the way, as I researched the goat/coffee connection, I came across this fascinating Kickstarter campaign, launched in December 2014, promoting a neat invention for coffee consumers out there – the “Goat Mug”! You have to see it to believe it – here.

Let’s hope 2015 – the Year of the Goat – is a good one. I suspect there will be some serious turbulence during our journey, but we’ll all be the better for it.

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd
Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK