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2004-06-25 18:35

It's that time of year again!

(cf last year.)

The little frogs, the little frogs, they're really quite a sight
The little frogs, the little frogs, they're really quite a sight

No tails and no ears but they hop with all their might
No tails and no ears but they hop with all their might

Kou-ack-ack-ack, kou-ack-ack-ack, kou-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack
Kou-ack-ack-ack, kou-ack-ack-ack, kou-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack

The evenings are drawing in, you know...

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2004-06-25 fika (utc+1)

Sugar, sugar

And it's very much "Ah, honey, honey" as BBC news goes head to head with the Archies's classic pop fluff:

Sugar, pour a little sugar on it, honey
Pour a little sugar on it, baby
I'm gonna make your life so sweet, yeah yeah yeah!

The European Union is planning a major shakeup of sugar subsidies to answer charges that they hurt poor countries.

Yeah yeah yeah!

Pour a little sugar on it oh, yeah!
Pour a little sugar on it, honey
Pour a little sugar on it, baby
I'm gonna make your life so sweet, yeah yeah yeah!
Pour a little sugar on it, honey!

Part of the impetus for the change is a World Trade Organisation case brought by developing countries led by Brazil, whose sugar cane industry is challenging the generous handouts given to European sugar beet farmers.

Needless to say, the proposal has been criticised (by Oxfam) as not going far enough, but Oxfam is in the business of having principles (and bless it for being so good at it) while the EU is in the business of grinding out messy compromises (and bless it, too, for being at the very least better at that than it is often credited for).

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2004-06-25 11:56

Prinsessgossipupdates

§1. Knudella capped!

If I were to tell you that the headline of a story was Prinsessen under strikhuen ("The prinsess in a knitted cap"), would you excuse me from further Engleeshing of its contents? There's a perfectly good photo of a prinsess (the fair Knudella) in, as you might imagine, a knitted cap.

§2. Prinsess rights are human rights!

Meanwhile, a slightly worrying precedent has been set:

Princess Caroline of Monaco has won a major legal battle over the right of newspapers to publish pictures of her. The European Court of Human rights said photographs of her and her children should not have been published, even if they were taken in a public place.

In particular the Court, which apparently refers to itself in the third person, "considered that the general public did not have a legitimate interest in knowing Caroline von Hannover's whereabouts or how she behaved generally in her private life."

This case is about German trashbladets, which are probably the most feared prinsess predators in Yoorp, and overturns a previous ruling by a German court.

Of course, if the ECHR can impose its Will To Privacy on the Germans, this is going to repercuss substantially on the Yoorpean paparazzi in general. In principle, even the vile Engleesh tabloids could be exposed to the very alien concept of privacy, which would be a bracing novelty for their business models.

(Note that the ECHR has nothing whatever to do with the EU.)

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2004-06-25 morning (utc+1)

Ohrwurm du jour

I gotta keep rockin', mama, I ain't lyin'
My heart is beatin' rhythm and it's right on time
So be my guest, you've got nothin' to lose
Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise?

Woo-ee, woo-ee baby
Woo-ee, woo-ee baby
Woo-ee, woo-ee baby

Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise?

["Sea Cruise", John Fogerty]

NB: It's "du jour", not "de jour". Puh-lease!

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2004-06-24 'putering (utc+1)

Prinsessor say the funniest things!

Or at least say things funnily, at least when they're Kronprinsess Knudella - for it is she! (and the Kronprinsfred.):

Her blev de vist rundt i skolens laboratorium, hvor de begge var meget spørgende - selv om Mary dog måtte tage en dyb indånding, inden hun udtalte »havørred.« Men hun havde ingen problemer med at sige »rejer«, da hun bukkede sig ned og kiggede på nogle meget store af slagsen på en glasplade.

Here they were shown around the skool's laboratorium, where they were both very interrogative - even if Knudella had to take a deep breath before she pronounced »havørrad« ("sea-trout"). But she had no trouble saying »rejer« ("prawn") when she bent down to look at many large sorts on a glass plate.

Ha! You may have survived the glass plate of large shrimps, kronprinsess, but let's see how you fare against the local delicacies! (*snaps fingers at minions*)

[H]vidvin, røde og grønne sodavand, ostepops ved siden af en ny lokal snack, som bestod af tørret torsk med sælspæk. En delikatesse, som stadig er under udvikling, og som skal gøre det ud for flæskesvær.

White wine, red and green sodavand, cheesy somethings besides a new local snack consisting of dried cod and seal-fat. A delicacy which is under continued development, and which is designed as a bacon subsitute for pork scratchings.

Are you in the habit of eating seal-meat, kronprinsess?

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2004-06-24 samwidge (utc+1)

Smörgåspost

§1. Björk Björk Björk!

When there is Björk and a Greenlandic choir, the need to see any point in Ms Gudmundsdóttir's idiosyncratic vocal stylings is substantially reduced. And all the Greenlandic stuff is right at the start, so you can save much valuable time! [via PF, tack]

§2. Cognate with banker. (No, wait, that's rhyme.)

From a Michael Dibdin review hos Grauniad:

It's no coincidence that the Italian words for "strange" and "foreigner" are cognate. Anyone able to gain legal entry to Australia can become an Australian, but however long you live in Italy and however proficient you may be in the language, you can no more become Italian than you can Welsh.

Remarks such as these, while immensely gratifying to those who refuse to relinquish the superstition that words, and especially foreign words, are a form of esoteric magic, can work as poetry (e.g., J. Thurston Kluwberthal's "Yet another American sophomore in Paris, sigh", which opens Un étranger: a foreigner; a stranger) or as dinner party witticisme (e.g., the above quote), but they will bear no more weight than that.

Grinding it, by way of demonstration, with uncalled-for relentlessness into the dust, we may observe that Australia, like the USA, was conquered ("settled") by Europeans in historical times, and that immigration plays a central part in both their national mythologies.

Meanwhile, the word for "foreigner" is exactly the same in (the Engleesh-speaking communities of) the USA, Australia and England, but you can very certainly live in England for many years and still pass for "not really English" if you have, say, a foreign accent. (We don't, with a very few dishonourable exceptions, key off skin colour anymore. Well done, us!)

On the other hand, it is entirely a coincidence that the Swedish word for "foreign", utlandisk utländsk, is transparently cognate to the English outlandish, but it is no less amusing (or profound) for that.

§3. Tysk, tysk!

Our intrepid series of foopball meeja meeja coverage continues unabated by the palpable indifference of our Varied Reader. Today, Norway - which unlike Swederlund and Denmarklund isn't even in the competition - is gripped by an earnest national debate about exactly how pleased to be that the Germans are eliminated after a sound trouncing from the Czech Republic's B-team. Take it away, VG:

Tysk presse er nådeløs mot landslagsstjernene etter EM-exiten onsdag. - Denne troppen vil vi aldri se igjen, skriver Bild.

The German press is merciless about the national team after Wednesday's exit from the European cup. "We never want to see this squad again," writes Bild.

Norwegish Skadefro (like Swedish Skadeglädje) is only semi-cognate to the German and English Schadenfreude. Coincidence, you say? Maybe, maybe not.

§4. That's an awful lot of kvadratmeters, Märtha Louise!

Yes, prinsess M-L's planning application has gone through at long last:

Tilbygget blir på i underkant av 100 kvadratmeter, og arbeidet vil trolig starte opp allerede i sommer/høst.

The extension is on the underedge of 100 kvadratmeters, and work will probably begin in the late summer or autumn.

(Have you ever noticed that Lebensraum is cognate with living room? This is, as any Grauniad book reviewer could tell you, why the Engleesh spend so much time soliciting quotes to reupholster the Sudetenland.)

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2004-06-24 07:55

Is that a spasm in your paranoia or are you just doffing your hat?

For countless generations scholars have laboured to understand why anyone would take dreary post-beat nincompoop Charles Bukowski seriously. Today, this 'bladet exclusively reveals his secret: a surname beginning with 'B'.

Just think: Baudelaire! Becket! Bataille! Burroughs! Ballard! -
B! B! B! B! B!

Brilliant and possibly deranged tales of steely-eyed misanthropy and/or despair! Instant edgy outsider cache and hipster appeal! B, we salute you!

Until Bukowski. I bet he changed his name from Taylor or something.

Anyway, Ballard, definitive chronicler of the Reagan era and the Grand Old Man of apocalyptic literary surrealism, is on top form in this long Grauniad interview:

Can art be a vehicle for political change? Yes, I assume that a large part of Blair's appeal (like Kennedy's) is aesthetic, just as a large part of the Nazi appeal lay in its triumph of the will aesthetic. I suspect that many of the great cultural shifts that prepare the way for political change are largely aesthetic. A Buick radiator grille is as much a political statement as a Rolls Royce radiator grille, one enshrining a machine aesthetic driven by a populist optimism, the other enshrining a hierarchical and exclusive social order. The ocean liner art deco of the 1930s, used to sell everything from beach holidays to vacuum cleaners, may have helped the 1945 British electorate to vote out the Tories.

Well done, ocean liner art deco of the 1930s! A grateful future doffs its hat to you! (At least, it would if anyone still wore hats and knew how to "doff" them.)

What is so disturbing about the 9/11 hijackers is that they had not spent the previous years squatting in the dust on some Afghan hillside with a rusty Kalashnikov. These were highly educated engineers and architects who had spent years sitting around in shopping malls in Hamburg and London, drinking coffee and listening to the muzak. There was certainly something very modern about their chosen method of attack, from the flying school lessons, hours on the flight simulator, the use of hijacked airliners and so on. The reaction they provoked, a huge paranoid spasm that led to the Iraq war and the rise of the neo-cons, would have delighted them.

When J G Ballard talks spasms, Varied Reader, you would do well to pay attention.

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2004-06-23 16:11

Fluent, like a glacier

Greenlandic for silly Engleeshes:

Greenlandic for travelers is also sensibly arranged. Find a word or sentence in English in the first column. Beside it you will find the equivalent in Greenlandic. In a third column you will find a phonetic pronounce guide which makes speaking Greenlandic easier than you migth think. Greenlandic for travelers will also help you in many different settings; at the store or open market, out gunting or dog sledging, at the bank or at a resturant, even at the doctor's office, to name a few.

Is there anything more frustrating than when you get stuck for a Greenlandic phrase while out gunting? I, for one, hate that.

Danish-reading persons will certainly wish to check the other books by Hertling, Birgitte, including the mighty Qaagit, but they will also especially enjoy the story of C. E. Janssen's magisterially bonkers Elementarbog i Eskimoernes Sprog til Brug for Europæerne ved Colonierne i Grønland:

Nu var de europæere i Grønland, Janssens parlør var beregnet på, næppe læger. Derfor var det sikkert også nyttigt, at når alle disse dårligdomme var behandlet, så var der til slut et trøstens ord at give videre: "du skal ikke frygte, thi Gud med sin Hjælp er altid tilstede hos dig, og vil gjøre dig rask igen".

Et afsnit om levnedsmidler starter i den grønlandske kost: "pleier du at spise Sælkjød?", hvilket der er to svar på - "ja jeg spiser jevnlig Sælkjød" eller "da jeg lige nylig har spiist, skal jeg ikke have Noget".

Now, Janssen's phrasebook was prepared for Europeans in Greenland, hardly doctors. So it was probably also handy that when all these sicknesses were treated, there a consoling word to close with: "Have no fear, God and his help are always with you and will make you hale again."

A section on groceries starts with Greenlandic food: "Are you in the habit of eating seal-meat?", to which there are two (2) answers: "Yes, I often eat seal-meat" or "Since I've just eaten, no thanks".

[Tack till Danish correspondent in exile Birgitte för länkning, and David for Danish translation corrections.]

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2004-06-23 fika (utc+1)

Traditional! Folk! Costumes!

Prinsessor are great all the time, for sure, but a prinsess in a traditional folk costume is a thing especially to be cherished. New kronprinsess Knudella of the Kingdom of Denmark is thereby and thuswisely kronprinsess also of Greenland, and among the connoisseurs of prinsessor in tradtional folk costumes the Greenlandic folk costumes are highly prized. And today we will be serving our prinsess fashion special with a side order of polysynthesis, a term of art in linguistic typology dating back to von Humboldt and Schlegel themselves!

Une type polysynthétique, où toutes les relations grammaticales de la phrase peuvent s'exprimer par des adjonctions ou des transformations faites à un seul radical, aucun partie de la phrase ne peuvent être changée de place. A titre d'exemple on a cité le groenlandais; une phrase com kavfilioniarumagaluarpunga « je voudrais faire du café » n'est constituée que d'un seul mot.

(A polysynthetique type, where all the grammatical relations of the phrase can be expressed by additions to or transformations of a single root, with no part of the phrase capable of being moved from its place. By way of example we may cite Greenlandic; a phrase such as kavfilioniarumagaluarpunga "I wish to make coffee" is composed of a single word.)

(Hjelmslev, Le Langage, p. 125)

Greenlandic, d'you see! That's where kronprinsess Knudella is! In traditional folk costume!

»Hvor er den flot,» sagde hun, mens hun blev beundret fra alle sider. Efter besøget på ældrecentret tog Frederik og Mary videre til Grønlands eneste svømmehal.

"I wish to make coffee!" chortled the bizarrely-clad prinsess. Then she and Kronprinsfred went swimming with the penguins. Brrrr!

(Sorry, my Greenlandic is still a bit wonky. Definitely something about swimming, though.)

L'anglais moderne ... est devenue plûtot un type isolant ... Certains disent la même chose du français moderne, alors que d'autres pensent qu'il est sur le chemin du polysynthèse : dans la phrase je ne le lui ai pas donné, en tout cas, il n'y a pas qu'un seul changement de place possible (ne lui ai-je pas donné ?), si bien qu'ici on peut se trouver devant des mots-phrases sembables à ceux de groenland.

(Modern English ... has become rather an isolating type [of language] ... Some say the same thing about modern French, while others think that its heading towards polysynthesis: in the phrase je ne le lui ai pas donné "I not it to-him have NEG given", there is only one change of place possible (ne lui ai-je pas donné ? "Not to-him have-I NEG given?"), so that here one encounters word-phrases like those of Greenland.

(Hjelmslev, op cit, p. 125)

Did you know that the French have over 50 words for penguin, by the way?

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2004-06-23 morning (utc+1)

Sulkissimo!

The computers are down. I think it was me that crashed the server. I think I'm going to be fairly unpopular. Oh well.

When my computer is back up I have some languagey goodnesses for you, but until then how about some foopball? Last night's action is a bit complicated to explain, but the main points are such that a person equipped with the typical number of hands could assign a point to each hand and have no hands and no points left over (2):

  1. Italy are out because Denmarklund and Swedenlund drew 2-2, precisely the result that meant both of them were guaranteed to qualify at Italy's expense. (This is the complicated bit. Foopball moves in mysterious ways, isn't it?)
  2. Some Italian persons are not very happy about that:

"Uno scandalo". Alla fine la cosa più dura la dice Gigi Buffon, uomo solitamente pacato: "A qualcuno, ai ragazzi, il calcio insegna ancora qualcosa. Quando ci sono gli occhi di tutto il mondo puntati sul calcio e il calcio deve dare un segnale, ti aspetti che quel segnale sia un altro. Quando abbiamo segnato e mi sono girato verso i tifosi italiani per esultare ho capito che era successo quello a cui io non avevo creduto. Ma il calcio è una ruota e prima o poi questi li incontrerò di nuovo. E' una vergogna, un risultato schifoso".

"2-2, eh?" remarked Mr Buffon with a face like thunder, "A rum business, if you ask me!"

Honestly, though, you should have seen the look on Bouffanti's* face when he scored the winning goal and rushed over to the bench in rapture, to find only inconsolate despair on the face of his manager, who'd just heard, as had the eerily silent fans but not the players on the field, that Swederlund had just snatched the fatal equaliser in the last minutes of their game. Foopball is a rubbish game, but that was great drama. And I was watching on radio!

UPDATE: It couldn't have happened to a nicer team, isn't it?

The reason Italy have been pressuring Uefa over the past few days, to the point where Uefa allowed Italian TV two extra camera positions behind each goal (the Italians wanted seven extra), is because if Italy had been in the same position no one would have been surprised at a 2-2 result.

Only 44 days ago Italian police raided 12 clubs across Serie A, B and C during an investigation into match-fixing, shortly before which the Siena goalkeeper Generoso Rossi walked out of the club. Siena were high-profile suspects.

* (Probably) not his real name.

2004-06-22 15:42

Oi, Zlatan, show us your klackspark!

The mighty 8 sidor (news in vair vair vair easy Swedish) has this to say:

Matchen mot Danmark kommer att bli en hård kamp. Det kanske inte räcker med att spela bra. Det behövs också något extra. Som Zlatans klackspark som räddade Sverige i matchen mot Italien i fredags.

The match against Denmarklund is going to be a hard struggle. It may not be enough to play well. Something extra is needed. Like Zlatan's klackspark, which saved Swedenlund in the match against Italy last Friday.

Oh, all right - it just means 'backheel'. But if I ever need an Eastern Yoorpean alias, it'll be Zlatan Klackspark, for sure. ("The name's Klackspark. Zlatan Klackspark.")

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2004-06-22 13:41

Smörgåspost

§1. Why the name seemed familiar

England supporters clashed last week with riot police in the Algarve coastal resort of Albufeira and dozens of British nationals have been deported by the Portuguese authorities.

I've been to Albufeira, for a family Twinkletree three years ago. It's in Portugal's Costa del Concrete, and every bar was advertising Engleesh foopball on TV and Engleesh beer, and every street corner had a time-share salesdroid on it. (After the first two my big sis agreed to blank them in the pa-Russkie, which they are not in the habit of speaking.) It had, even in winter, the feel of a place where Engleesh foopball fans would be proud to riot.

Of course, I actually like the Costa del Concrete; you just need to get to a town that supports a population other than only of Engleeshes and marvel in its gloriously un-"authentique" (hoorah!) ugliness. It's scraggier and bogglier-eyed than, say, Florida.

§2. Dip me in chocolate and throw me to the Ukrainians!

Every lump of pig fat's dream, for sure:

For years people here have loved pork fat, known as salo. Normally, small slices of the white fat are eaten with black bread, raw garlic and vodka [and especially vodka, I shouldn't wonder].

[... But now:] For the equivalent of £1 you can now get four small sticks of salo covered in chocolate at Kiev's poshest Ukrainian restaurant.

§3. En-ger-lund ølpriceenquiry

Daylight robbery at the lager sheds! Scandal!

The powerful Commons trade and industry committee is investigating the rise of pub companies, known as "pubcos".

[...]

Stephen Alambritis, from the Federation of Small Businesses, says hundreds of his group's members had complained about the power of the pubcos. Drinkers could be paying 45p too much for their pint of beer because of the companies' powers, he argues.

§4. Smultronball

Wimbledon, in years un-such as this when there isn't any foopball, is the central sporting ritual of the Engleesh bourgeoisie. Strawberries and cream and England ("No, Darius, it's not 'En-ger-lund'. And wipe your mouth; it's got cream all round it.") being rubbish and a fresh crop of wide-eyed, miniskirted, Eastern European jailbait in the wimmins. But we only have eyes for Martina Navratilova, hurrah!*

In her first singles match at Wimbledon in 10 years, she pummelled Catalina Castano 6-0 6-1 in 47 minutes and was afterwards asked for her response to those critics. "Are they still saying it?" she asked, staring back at her interrogator. "I don't think so."

Yeah, shut up, silly critics! Go and practice saying "Navratilova" properly with nice long unstressed Czech vowels, because there's plenty more saying it to be done.

* Not in the sense of watching any tennis, of course. It is a dreary spectacle, and in no way diverting.

§4. Penny pinching, German-style

They're having to import small change from Austria, which also trades with the mighty Euro:

German shoppers who use notes to buy goods, and hoard their coins at home, are thought to be partly to blame.

Another possible factor is a tradition in some regions for brides-to-be to collect copper coins to buy their wedding shoes.

You'd think the Bundesbank would have a task-force dedicated to analysing trends in the coefficient of regional nubility, wouldn't you? The wedding-shoe-coin-hoarding-regions-nubility-taskforce, in which, incidentally, I should be very glad to serve if there are any vacancies?

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2004-06-22 samwidge (utc+1)

Foopballing victories, slightly glorious

Les bleus ont allés ! And they've got their shape back at last:

Les joueurs voulaient un 4-3-1-2 qui permettrait à Pires d'évoluer à gauche, Zidane dans l'axe, et Henry d'avoir moins de terrain à couvrir pour maintenir la défense adverse sous pression. Santini, qui a tout misé sur un 4-4-2 avec casting évolutif depuis sa prise de fonctions, a écouté.

The [Frenchy-French] players favour a 4-3-1-2 formation with Pires on the left, Zidane in the centre, leaving Henry with less territory to cover defending under pressure. Santini, who has been dead set on a 4-4-2 formation with evolving roles ever since he took over, has listened.

Santini, mate: It wasn't broken, and you really shouldn't have fixed it.

Meanwhile, an old favourite, for those who like their foopball even more philosophical:

The Germans playing 4-2-4, Leibniz in goal, back four Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Schelling, front-runners Schlegel, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche and Heidegger, and the mid-field duo of Beckenbauer and Jaspers. Beckenbauer obviously a bit of a surprise there.

And there have to be question marks over Schelling and Schlegel at this level. As indeed it proves:

Heraclitus a little flick, here he comes on the far post, Socrates is there, Socrates heads it in! Socrates has scored! The Greeks are going mad, the Greeks are going mad. Socrates scores, got a beautiful cross from Archimedes. The Germans are disputing it. Hegel is arguing that the reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, Kant via the categorical imperative is holding that ontologically it exists only in the imagination, and Marx is claiming it was offside.

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2004-06-22 09:43

Smultron moves in mysterious ways

His etymologies to perform:

The words straw (Old English strēaw) and to strew (Old English strewian) were in prehistoric times morphologically connected; the Primitive Germanic types are *[strawwan] 'a strewing', 'that strewn' and ['strawjo:] 'I strew.' At that time strawberry (Old English strēaw-berige) 'strewn-berry'must have described the strawberry plant as it lies along the ground; as straw became specialized to 'dried stalk; dried stalks,' and the morphologic connection with strew disappeared, the prior member of strawberry was isolated, with a deviant meaning, as a homonym of straw.

Leonard Bloomfield, Language

Strewn-by-Smultron's-mighty-hand-berries!

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2004-06-21 afternoon (utc+1)

Smultronsquad!

Sweden loves and cherishes its strawberries, of course, but there aren't enough to go round. Imports of lesser Forren strawberries take up the slack, of course, but there is a temptation for the less scrupulous to pass off their lesser Forren strawberries as the real thing. The mighty Smultron, lord of strawberriliciousness, and his Earthly representatives have a suggestion for you, sinister strawberry smugglers:

Dont! Even! Think! About! It!

I år är Jordbruksverkets växtinspektion beredda att möta fusket med ökade kontroller, uppger Sveriges Radio Jönköping. Ett tiotal utsända kontrollanter åker runt i landet för att kolla så att lagen efterföljs. Ytteremballaget till jordgubbskartongerna skall vara märkt med ursprungsland, odlare och kvalitetsklass. Misstänker de att något inte står rätt till kontrolleras uppgifterna med odlarna.

This year the Farm ministeries produce inspection is ready to meet fraud with increased checks, says Sveriges Radio Jönköping. A dozen roaming inspectors will be travelling in the country to check that Smultron's sacred law is followed. Outerpackaging of strawberrycartons will be marked with country of origin, grower and quality class. If they suspect something doesn't add up the information will be checked with the grower.

Some of you un-Swedishes may be wondering if the Swedishness of strawberries is really that big a deal. This is heresy, of course, in the eyes of Smultron and all his followers, but it is also so very misinformed. Magnus Engstedt (bärrådgivare på länsstyrelsen i Jönköping, whatever that is) is here to put you straight:

- Det är faktiskt så att våra jordgubbar är godast och det beror på vårt klimat. De kyliga nätterna här gör att sockret inte förbrukas vilket gör bären söta och goda. I Norrbotten har man de godaste jordgubbarna som finns att få.

"It is indeed and in fact so that our strawberries are the yummiest and that's a result of our climate. The cool nights here mean that the sugar isn't broken down, which makes the strawberries sweet and tasty. The strawberries in Norrbotten are the finest there are to be found."

And of course a bärrådgivare på länsstyrelsen i Jönköping is by ancient tradition sworn to strict objectivity in these matters, and quite right too.

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2004-06-21 samwidge (utc+1)

Ask not for whom the um-goose honks

There is no such thing as an um-goose; although gås is the Swedish word for goose, umgås means in fact "to see (spend time with) each other", and this is a something of which kronprinsess Vickan of Sweden and her allegedly deprecated boyfriend have been doing to an extent which by no means lacks considerability:

Kronprinsessan Victoria och hennes Daniel Westling umgås fortfarande lika intensivt med varandra.
Trots detta ifrågasätts parets kärlek.
Det senaste halvåret har flera tidningar åtskilliga gånger publicerat felaktiga uppgifter om dem.

Kronprinsess Vickan and her Daniel Westling are still spending lots of time with their um-goose.
Despite that the pair's love has been called into question.
In the last six months several bladets have on a number of occasions published false information about them.

Several bladets? We have only been aware of Expressen as being up to these particular no goods. Expressen is normally more prinsess-friendly than its deadly rival Aftonbladet*, but it's in danger of being left off the kronprinsess's Twinkletree card list at this rate, if Aftonbladet's anonymous source is to be believed. And for the record, it's all struntprat ("rubbish-talk"), so there:

- Kungaparet gillar Daniel. Han är ofta inbjuden till privata tillställningar som middagar och födelsedagskalas, berättar en källa.

The king and queen [who are the kronprinsess's daddy and mummy!] like Daniel. He is often invited to private occasions such as dinners and birthday celebrations, a source relates.

And he's even being invited to Öland ("Beer-duck") this year. Oh well; at least this way I don't have to keep up with contemporary Swedish fiction...

* And yet I still prefer Aftonbladet - it is so magnificently leftiste!

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2004-06-21 10:16

Constitute me harder!

I haven't read the constitution yet, but I'm already worried about this referendum thing:

Tony Blair begins the task of selling the newly negotiated EU constitution with a statement to MPs on Monday.

The trouble is, Tony Blair has already convinced the public that he's a liar and a shill for George Bush. Combine that with the level of ambient Europhobia in the UK and it's hard to see a critical mass of persons resisting the tempation to assume he's a liar and a shill for Franco-German federalisme.

Still,

At one point late in the day, God nearly scuppered accord. Poland and other Roman Catholic nations fought in vain to have a mention of Europe's Christian roots inserted into the constitution's preamble.

But Irish leader Bertie Ahern managed to steer a deft course through a bewildering maze of "red lines", blocking manoeuvres and obscure explanatory clauses so that all leaders could come away with a "win-win" solution.

The words "in vain" have never sounded so sweet. God bless you, Mr Ahern!

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