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2004-11-11 tomorrow (utc)

Service Announcement

I'm not here tomorrow: my little sister has hired her first van, and we're all very excited.

Trevlig helg!

2004-11-11 15:45

Off with their heads!

Some dreary bunch of republican no-hopeurs is plotting against the Swedish monarchy!

We link instead, however, to Lena Mellin's analysis:

Kampanjen mot monarkin har inga utsikter att bli framgångsrik. Svenska folkets stöd för kungahuset är grundmurat.

The kampaign against the monarchy has no prospect of success. The Swedish people's support for the Royle Hice is solid.

Without a monarchy there wouldn't be any prinsesses, and without any prinsesses there wouldn't be any prinsessgossip, and then where'd we be, eh?

Silly persons!

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2004-11-11 samwidge (utc)

Smörgåspost

§1. Skandall!

Norwegish prinsess Märtha Louise's planning permission application got fasttracked!

I love 'Wegia precisely because this sort of thing counts as an outrage, but the persons responsible are mumbling about security and stuff and hoping it will blö over.

§2. Some day, Sheila, all this will be yours!

It is the queen of Danmark and her lovely daughter-in-law, having their breakfast (at lunchtime, as is the Danish way) after the Royal Huntnings:

Det var ikke helt tilfældigt, at Mary og Dronningen i går ankom skulder ved skulder til frokost efter den årlige kongejagt i Grib Skov.

It was not wholly coincidental that Kronprinsessmary and the queen would come to breakfast side by side after the yearly or annual Royal Huntning in Grib Skov.

Are mothers-in-law this year's surprise fashion accessory for the bare-headed prinsess about town? Could be!

§3. Yasser Arafat, he dead

Gosh, I didn't even knö he had been poorly!

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2004-11-11 morning (utc+1)

Contra Newton

The incomparable Fafblogue:

Today we aren't gonna just talk to you about some "theory" a relativity. We're gonna talk to you about science. Leprechaun Science. General relativity says gravity is caused by the "curvature of space" which is crazy. Space isn't curved! It's big an black an empty an fulla spaceships! If it was curved how would spaceships fly in it? They would crash into the curves an blow up an stuff! Gravity isn't caused by any crazy "curved space"! It is caused by scientifical processes such as leprechauns.

It has bothered me for more time than none how easy a ride Newton's theory of gravity gets. (You may think it is a bit late to worry about such a something, but this is philosophy, and therefore has no use-by date.)

Newtonian gravity, I would remind you, is hypothesised in terms of instantaneous and unmediated action at a distance. This is utterly scandalös! A philosophe of the time ought to have dismissed it, as I do, out of hand on those grounds alone.

Mr Descartes, on the other hand, proposed a model with an admirable attention to the question of mechanisms. (It involved vortexes, as it happens. I've always been partial to a nice vortex, I freely admit it. Ask me about Kelvin's vortex theory of atoms, some time, unless you don't want to know.) The only thing wrong with it was that it was, well, wrong.

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2004-11-10 16:34

Educate me harder!

The University of Openness has embraced with a delight bordering on the boggling its task or mission of sending me Stuff. And very grateful I am, too.

But one of the cheery leaflettes had a ticky-box full of things to contemplate your feelings about, among which was "Supporting your ideas with reasoned arguments".

You can imagine, unless you can't, my horror at this such thought. I have been looking, since then, to guides to writing essays in the vastly preferable West Belgian manner, and so far this is the best I've found - the rubric is in Engleesh, but much of the content is as French as you like.

(All the books I've seen recommended to date, without exception, have been out of print. This annoys me more than somewhat.)

I'll see your "reasoned arguments", Silly Engleesh, and raise you a dialectique!

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2004-11-10 samwidge (utc)

Smörgåspost

§1. Yule öl!

Or "jul øl" as they call it in Norwayland:

I år kan du velge blant nærmere et halvt hundre ulike juleøl, og det skulle tilsi noe for en hver smak og anledning.

This year can you choose among almost a half hundred different yule öls, and that should be enough for every taste and inclination.

One of each, please!

§2. Skandalöst!

Kronprins Frederik og kronprinsesse Mary blev tiljublet af nysgerrige tyskere, da de mandag udnævnte seks fremtrædende tyske kulturpersonligheder til H.C. Andersen-ambassadører på rådhuset i Berlin.

Kronprinsessmary and her husband were welcomed by curious Germans when they on Monday named six leading German culturepersonalities as Hans Christian Andersen ambassadors at Berlin town hall.

But the fair Knudella, stung no doubt by this 'bladets boisterous bonnet badinage, is bare-headed!

§3. A cure for what ales you?

(Ales you, d'you see? Ha ha!)

Dutch brewer Heineken is to put labels on its beer warning customers about the dangers of drinking too much.

All West Belgian adverts, be they for öl or other flavours of drinknings, already offer the text:

L'abus d'alcool est dangereux pour la santé. A consommer avec modération.

The Beer Bus may be driven with sacred danger! Why not try a moderate, clear soup?

When oh when will Blighty follow suit?

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2004-11-10 09:19

On viruses

According to the criteria I was taught at school, viruses are not alive. They cannot, in particular, reproduce without the use of reproductive machinery that doesn't belong to them.

So, they are a ghastly but limited simulacram of life. Which is to say, they are zombies.

And their way of un-life is sustained by plunder and hijack of innocent living cells. They are, which is to say, pirates. Zombie pirates, in fact.

From now on, the expression "I've got the lurgi" is to be replaced with "I've got the lurgi, me hearties, arrrrrrr!". Thank you for your cooperation.

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2004-11-09 15:44

This time, for sure

The Dead Collector : Bring out yer dead.
[a man puts a body on the cart]
Large Man with Dead Body : Here's one.
The Dead Collector : That'll be ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't : I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector : What?
Large Man with Dead Body : Nothing. There's your ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't : I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector : 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body : Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't : I'm not.
The Dead Collector : He isn't.
Large Man with Dead Body : Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't : I'm getting better.
Large Man with Dead Body : No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
The Dead Collector : Well, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't : I don't want to go on the cart.
Large Man with Dead Body : Oh, don't be such a baby.
The Dead Collector : I can't take him.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't : I feel fine.
Large Man with Dead Body : Oh, do me a favor.
The Dead Collector : I can't.
Large Man with Dead Body : Well, can you hang around for a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
The Dead Collector : I promised I'd be at the Robinsons'. They've lost nine today.
Large Man with Dead Body : Well, when's your next round?
The Dead Collector : Thursday.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't : I think I'll go for a walk.
Large Man with Dead Body : You're not fooling anyone, you know. Isn't there anything you could do?
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't : I feel happy. I feel happy.
[the Dead Collector glances up and down the street furtively, then silences the Body with his a whack of his club]
Large Man with Dead Body : Ah, thank you very much.
The Dead Collector : Not at all. See you on Thursday.
Large Man with Dead Body : Right.

I'd show more respect, of course, but you don't generally get the Nobel Peace Prize without a lot of blood on your hands. (Can anyone say "Henry Kissinger"? Without reflexively adding "War criminal"?)

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2004-11-09 12:13

Twinkletree shoppnings

Oy, Santa where's my snö?

Skyltfönster dekorerade med snö och glitter, tomtar och kanske troll. Paket inslagna i glansigt papper med rosett.

Plate windows decorated with snö and glitter, Santas and maybe wizards. Packets wrapped in glossy paper with rosettes.

According to Expressen, Fortnum & Mason's and Harrods are the places to do your Twinkletree shoppnings in London, which suggests to moi that they're not really talking about purchase-oriented shoppnings, not that there's anything wrong with that.

And there are lots of other cities, too! (I never did get to KaDeWe in Berlin, either - no champion shoppeur, I!)

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2004-11-09 09:46

Prinsesses, discursive exploitation of

On what ground [...] could the legislature have fastidiously rejected the fair and abundant choice which our own country presented to them, and searched in strange lands for a foreign princess?

Burke, Rantnings on the Revolution in France

He goes on more than a bit, does Burke, but surely the advantages of Forren prinsesses are blindingly obvious?

Let's go back to where my story started, with Kant. Kant summarizes the Enlightenment [Upplysning] in the words sapere aude, which may be freely translated: dare to think for yourself. That is, Continental philosophy cannot, and in my view, should not expect any new prince(sse)s from over the water.

Critchley, Proper Philosophy

Sigh.

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2004-11-08 14:31

Why I am so sourcey

Quid ergo Athenis et Hierosolymis? quid academiae et ecclesiae? quid haereticis et christianis?

What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? what between heretics and Christians?

De Praescriptione Haereticorum, VIII:9, Tertullianus

And while we're at it, let's have a big hand please for Eric Voegelin:

One of the more oft-quoted passages from his work is the following:

The problem of an eidos in history, hence, arises only when a Christian transcendental fulfillment becomes immanentized. Such an immanentist hypostasis of the eschaton, however, is a theoretical fallacy.

From this comes the catch phrase: "Don't immanentize the eschaton!" (used by Robert Anton Wilson among other characters of popular culture) which actually simply means: "do not try to make that which belongs to the afterlife happen here and now", or "don't create heaven on earth".

Totalitarian regimes, selon Voegelin, are implicitly Gnostique which, selon Voegelin, is a Bad Thing. (It is pointed out for the benefit of any passing stupids that the condemnation of totalitarianism is by no means confined to these grounds by persons, such as I, who are not Voegelin.)

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2004-11-08 12:06

Once-Great Nation!

Since the FDRUSA turned out in bulk for the Torture Party, running on a platform of bigotry and fiscal imprudence, we will gloat henceforth on any and all bad news about it:

Dollarn rekordlåg: Kostar strax över sju svenska kronor - har rasat 36 procent på tre år.

A record low for the dollar: it's just over seven (7) Swedish kronors - has slumped by 36% over three (3) years.

Time for some nice tax cuts and religiously-motivated pork, I'd say!

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2004-11-08 morning (utc)

Translation Masterclass

Sorrows of Werther, William Makepeace Thackeray

Werther had a love for Charlotte
    Such as words could never utter;
Would you know how first he met her?
    She was cutting bread and butter.

Charlotte was a married lady,
    And a moral man was Werther,
And, for all the wealth of Indies,
    Would do nothing for to hurt her.

So he sighed and pined and ogled,
    And his passion boiled and bubbled,
Till he blew his silly brains out,
    And no more was by it troubled.

Charlotte, having seen his body
    Borne before her on a shutter,
Like a well-conducted person,
    Went on cutting bread and butter.

That's the way to do it!

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