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Today I was reading The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé. The name of the story was Flight 714 to Sydney. This is my first time reading any of Tintin's adventures. In this story, we were introduced to Professor Cuthbert Calculus and Captain Haddock, as well as Tintin himself, and they all traveled to Djakarta.

It seemed that Professor Calculus was somewhat eccentric. Despite Tintin and Haddock repeatedly trying to make the professor understand that they'd just arrived in Djakarta, the professor seemed to not believe them. After landing at the airport, the professor saw a poster that said the following:

KEMAJORAN (DJAKARTA) INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

But the professor didn't read the whole thing, and seeing only Kemajoran, he started blaming the duo for taking them somewhere besides Djakarta! Then, angry, he said something like the following to them:

"Always the same, isn't it? 'Poor old Cuthbert, doesn't listen to word you say . . . head in the clouds again . . . always gets the wrong end of the stick!' And on and on and on and on and on!"

I could not connect this part with the rest of their conversation. What does the quote above, said by the professor, mean?

Here is the full rant in its entirety:

"Hey! Stop! Are you trying to make a fool of me?" yelled Cuthbert. They turned around to see him pointing to a sign that says 'KEMAJORAN (DJAKARTA) INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.' "There! Look! Kemajoran! Tell me, is this or is this not Djakarta?" said Cuthbert angrily. Haddock turned around and huffed. "Always the same, isn't it? 'Poor old Cuthbert, doesn't listen to a word you say . . . head in the clouds again . . . always gets the wrong end of the stick.' And on and on and on and on and on!" ranted Cuthbert. They kept walking and heard Haddock mumbling angrily to himself then he tripped over someone's luggage and into a man.

  • It's hard to tell what you're asking. Would you please clearly separate your own question from the passage you're asking about? – chrylis -on strike- Oct 2 '13 at 8:52
  • @chrylis, Now I am lost. Clearly I can't understand which part of the question seems hazy to you! I am asking to know the meaning of the conversation the professor said Always the same...... The part of the question before the quotation is context of the question. – Mistu4u Oct 2 '13 at 9:16
  • Okay, so this question is your paraphrase of the passage/conversation? – chrylis -on strike- Oct 2 '13 at 9:19
  • @chrylis, Yes, my request is to paraphrase, so that I can understand it's meaning clearly. – Mistu4u Oct 2 '13 at 9:29
  • Mistu4u: The question is hazy because you have asked about connecting this part with the rest of the conversation (what exactly is "this part" and "the quoted part"? Do those start with Always the same and end with on and on and on? Or do they start with Poor old Cuthbert and end with wrong end of the the stick?) Also, the "rest of the conversation" is not really in the question, so it will be hard for us to make that connection as well. – J.R. Oct 2 '13 at 10:18
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I'll take a crack at this, although I agree with chrylis that it's a little hard to figure out for sure what you are asking.

"Always the same, isn't it? 'Poor old Cuthbert, doesn't listen to a word you say...head in the clouds again...always gets the wrong end of the stick.' And on and on and on and on and on!" ranted Cuthbert.

Okay, forget about the airport and the context of the story. You have a group of people together, and one of them feels like the others think he's foolish. So he starts a rant:

Always the same, isn't it?

That means: No matter what we're doing, you think the same thing of me.

'Poor old Cuthbert, doesn't listen to a word you say...

Cuthbert is talking here, so he is saying what he thinks everyone else is thinking about him: namely, that he doesn't listen.

...head in the clouds again...always gets the wrong end of the stick.'

means: Cuthbert doesn't pay attention to what's going on around him; Cuthbert always finds himself confused in life.

And on and on and on and on and on!" ranted Cuthbert.

Means that he could keep going with his grumbling rant, if he wanted to, adding things like: Cuthbert always has his head up his ass, Cuthbert never does anything right, Cuthbert couldn't find his way home if you gave him a map and paid for his taxi fare, etc.

If I've not answered your question correctly, let me know, I'll delete my answer.

  • Absolutely meaningful. Two things just to know more about. 1) Who is the person who is talking here? and 2)head in the clouds again...always gets the wrong end of the stick. -Is it some kind of proverb or verbal expression understandable by natives only? – Mistu4u Oct 2 '13 at 12:43
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    @Mistu4u Head in the clouds means you're distracted/not really paying attention. To get the wrong end of the stick refers to misunderstanding the current situation. – WendiKidd Oct 2 '13 at 12:47
  • @Mistu4u, It's funny because the things that he is complaining about ("You unfairly perceive me to be distracted, unaware, and misinformed") are in fact exactly true: he is, during this very rant, distracted, unaware, and misinformed. – Hellion Oct 2 '13 at 14:18
  • @Hellion, Is it? (I haven't completed the story till now) But I was falling under the impression that he was somewhat "deaf a little". Because later, too, it was shown in the story that he misheard words and perceived differently. – Mistu4u Oct 2 '13 at 14:23

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