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2005-01-21 17:36

Monday Review of Stuff

A David Lodge Trilogy: Changing Places, Small World and Nice Work.

David Lodge is regarded by many to be one of the finest comic novelists of post-War Britain. However, the competition is mostly Squiffy Amis, Pre.

We do not especially care for his humanitiesiste campus hilarities, although they are more than competently executed. We read each of these in a single sitting with a single bottle of wine, and they're OK and clever and multilayered and they made us laugh and we have nothing very strenuous against them but we weren't sorry when they stopped and we don't intend to read any of Lodge's other work.

We would surely have read no more than one if we hadn't bought this trilogy; if you want our disused copy, simply provide us with an address to send it too.

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2005-01-21 14:03

Smrgspost

1. Train Travel, Tragedy-Tinged

The glorious overnight choo-choo from Riga to Vilnius - a highlight of Twinkletree '03 - is no more, the grapevine offtips us. We had been wondering, since we are the proud owners of a vair interesting Thomas Cook European Train Timetable (Zagreb did it, but you didn't hear it from us) which's neglect of this route forebode ill for its tant if not its tre.

A sad sad loss, except for those of us who will now take to saying "Oh well coaches are all very well, but the overnight train was something else." Which, after all, it was.

2. Ukrainian Eurovision Euphoria!

Hoorah!

The new president elect of Ukraine, Victor Yuschenko has met with Eurovision organisers and pledged government support to help stage the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest.

Man, if I only gavoreetyed a non-trivial amount of the pa-russkie this would definitely and for sure be my holiday of choice. (Yes, I know that Ukrainian is a different langwidge, but everyone also speaks it, and anyway it isn't really.)

3. Blegbladet

"Blegging", you see, is begging on a blog! Which we will now proceed to do!

Can anyone recommend a translation of Rainer Maria ("Maria? Yes! Maria!") Rilke's Duino Elegies in the Engleesh? We have already settled on a German translation (by the author himself!) but there are about a metric shedload of Englishings, and we are at a loss for a preference. Translations into Frenchy-French or 'Wegian may also be considered, at our discretion.

We need to read these such elegies with not a complete lack of urgency since, you see, Duino is near the twin cities of Trieste and Trst, where we intend to holiday in passing, and the very castle indeed where they were composed was and is owned by prinsesses von Thurn und Taxis, at least one of which we still fondly hope to marry.

4. Smrgspost est omnia divisa in partes tres

Except, such as here, when it isn't! The exception being made for a Frenchy-French childrensbladet, Mon Quotidien:

For under half a euro (30p), subscribers get eight heavily-illustrated pages of brief news stories, cartoons and novelty items like word of the day.

The principle is that there should be no more than 10 minutes' worth of reading material, which specialists say is realistic at the end of a school day.

I wish they'd had such a something when I was a children, for sure, but the irony is that in Franceland notoriously few upgrowns read an upgrownbladet of their own.

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2005-01-21 11:40

Not waving but stalling

It is the world's most elegant wimmin, the Kronprinsessmary, and she is making a speech! In the tongue of the Danes ("Danish")! Without - and this is the most extr'ordin'ry bit - a safety net!

Det varede kun f sekunder. Stilheden, fra Mary gik i st midt i sin tale, til hun gik ned til sin hofdame og fik ordene p skrift, s hun kunne fortstte.

It lasted only a few seconds. The silence, from when Kronprinsessmary came to a halt in the middle of her speach, till she went down to her lady-in-waiting and got the written speech so that she could continue.

A future as a tightropewalker emphatically does not beckon, isn't it?

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2005-01-21 10:38

Of bums and 'bladets

It is Italy and its hilariously stereotypical public bottom molestnings! Only without the hilarity: a man in has been given a fourteen month suspended sentence for this such behaviour [BBC version].

But we were, when we came across the story first in Aftonbladet, more diverted by the prospect of visual aids:

I samband med hndelsen publicerade den italienska tidningen Il Messaggero en stor grafik med information om vilka kvinnliga kroppsdelar en man br undvika att rra, skriver Ekstrabladet.

In connection with the event the Italian 'bladet Il Messaggero published a large graphic on which wimminly bodyparts a man should avoid touching, Ekstrabladet reports.

You have to admit, such a something would be a something well worth the downtrackning! First stop, this such Extrabladet:

Efter at sagen blev kendt, publicerede avisen Il Messaggero en stor grafik med information om hvilke kropsdele, der vurderes som risikozoner for mnd med trang til at befamle fremmede kvinder.

After the story became known, the newspaper Il Messaggero published a large grafik with information on which bodyparts were designated riskzones for a man to something a strange wimmin.

Il Messaggero's own website is so bad I refuse even to link it, sadly, and the trail went cold there, but Italian 'bladets do have more modest visual aids.

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2005-01-21 09:37

D'oh!

Due to the configuration of our information feedlines we find ourselves not infrequently reading the Grauniad in the Frenchy-French, such as now on the discovery of British soldiers' abusive treatment of Iraqi prisoners:

Cette affaire a t rvle quand un autre membre du rgiment royal des fusiliers - et l'un des auteurs des photographies -, Gary Bartlam, 20 ans, a dpos sa pellicule dans un magasin situ dans sa ville d'origine, Tamworth. La police a t alerte et le soldat arrt le 28 mai 2003.

This affaire was came to light when another member of the Royal Fusiliers - and one of the photographers - Gary Bartlam, 20, handed in his film in a shop near his home town, Tamworth. The police were alerted and the soldier arrested on the 28 May 2003.

Digital cameras are the implement, these days, of choice for those for whom scrutiny of their fotografnings might be unwelcome, Gary, you alleged(?) plonker. Although distributing them on the Interweb, FDRUSA style, might also be unwise.

2.

And now a nice game of Bad Pope No Biscuit! Once more, it is the question of Aids, which the Vatican has helpfully caused everyone to be reminded - including some Spanish bishops - is of merely passing, worldly significance and by no means comparable to the harm that condoms can do to the future of one's immortal for all eternity. Some Spanish persons are, for base and wordly reasons of their own, no doubt, persisting in not seeing the Church's point of view:

"We would all understand," El Periodico says, "if the Catholic Church were to declare it morally preferable for the faithful, but without excluding other methods [as] immoral."

"But the Vatican's intention," it believes, "is to hinder... a method that saves human lives." So the Church "should not be scandalized if many believe that this where the real immorality lies".

We would like to see the Pope on trial for crimes against (worldly) humanity, for sure. It'd make great theatre, if nothing else.

Meanwhile, we are invariably slightly disappointed that the BBC's excellent news upproundings do not link to the original story, where available, but only to the nearest 'bladet. This leaves the idly curious reader with some fiddly digging to do, which we have duly done:

Todos entenderamos que, dentro de esta estrategia global, la Iglesia catlica considerase moralmente preferible para sus fieles alguna de estas prcticas, pero sin excluir ninguna. La Iglesia debera aceptar tambin que desde otros enfoques se promueva la demostrada efectividad del preservativo. Pero lo que el Vaticano pretende es desinformar y poner trabas a un mtodo que salva vidas humanas. No le debera escandalizar que a tantos les parezca que eso es lo realmente inmoral.

Silly Foreigners always to be writing in Foreign!

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2005-01-19 15:46

Curtain-crazed Kronprinsess Awarded Award!

It is Kronprinsessmary and she's been awarded an award:

Danmarks nya kronprinsessa Mary r vrldens mest eleganta kvinna. I alla fall enligt den brittiska tidningen Hello Magazines lsare, som rstat om saken.

Danmark's new Kronprinsessmary is the world's most elegant wimmin. At least according to the British snob-bladet Hello Magazine, voted on the matter.

One somehow imagines that Hello Magazine hasn't covered all of the outfits, isn't it? But still, Kronprinsessmary is the glamrprinsess of the moment, for sure. Our informal intuition is that prinsessor cease to be glamrprinsesses more or less as and when they start with the sproggning: Mette-Marit was renowned, we seem to recall, for her loveliness, which is by no means inconsiderable, until li'l Ingrid Wassname turned up.

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2005-01-19 12:13

When mackerel attack

It is goey fish fun in Norway!

Makrell i tomat, populrt kalt flykrsj, varmebehandles alltid. Men i september var det et parti som ikke hadde ftt denne behandlingen. Det frte til et forrtnelsesprosess, og det utviklet seg gasser.

Til slutt utvidet boksene seg s mye at de eksploderte. Totalt 1650 bokser av typen hakket makrell i tomat gikk i luften, skriver VG.

Mackerel in tomato, the popular kold flykrsj, is always heat treated. But in September there was some that escaped this such treatment. It continued rottening and producing gas.

In the end the tins swelled up so much that they burst. In total 1650 tins of chopped mackerel in tomato went in the air, VG reported.

Whee! How on earth did I miss such an excellent story in VG?

[Tack till Anna K for lnken]

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2005-01-19 10:14

Monday Review of Stuff

It is Julius Caesar by Charles ("William") Shakepeare!

I am going to see it on VI ("Saturday"), you see, and it is a good idea to read these things first. As it turns out, the plot is a complete rip-off of Murder on the Orient Express and there isn't even a detective and pretty much everyone ends up dead, especially at the end.

Even Midsommer Murders does the classic English murder mystery better than this!

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2005-01-18 17:24

Give me a sn!

Give me a kaos!

Heavy snow causing travel chaos

Well done that Blighty!

Nice climate change ("alleged climate change") for penguins, isn't it?

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2005-01-18 15:28

Dawkwatch!

It is Richard "All Dawk" Dawkins, holder of the Runcible Chair in Bishop-Baiting at the University of Oxbridge East West [Same difference]! And, re the recent tsunami, he asks or enquires:

In what sense of the word "why", does plate tectonics not provide the answer?

His belligerent incomprehension is certainly a lesson for us all, but the answer is nonetheless quite obvious: it is the teleologically-oriented sense of the word "why". "To what purpose", which is to say, "or end?"

It is a non-trivial observation that this class of question has no satisfactory answer, and for many persons it is an unsatisfactory observation that it has no non-trivial answer. But not for Richard "All-Dawk" Dawkins, of course.

[via, whence we have plagiarised a comment]

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2005-01-18 12:44

Fun with plastic bags

We transcribe selected langwidges verbatim:

ATTENTION: Plastic bags can be dangerous. TO avoid suffocation, Keep this bag away from babies and children.

ATTENTION: Les sacs en plastique sont dangereux. Ne pas les mettre la porte des bbs et bambins fin d'viter le risque d'asphyxiation.

NB!: Plastikposer kan vaere farlige, Unnga at sma bam og babys far tak pa dem.

VIGTIGT!: Plastikposer kan vre farlige. For at undg ulykker, hold denne plastikposer vaek fra babyer og bern.

If I were Norwegish, I think I'd be pretty cross about that.

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2005-01-18 10:34

Logkeepning innovations

In Lithuania many shops and buildings are annotated in roman numerals. For example, one might say (reconstructed from memory):

I-V 11-02
VI VII 12-22

And of course, these such numbers refer not to a number of floors but rather days of the week, which are notoriously ordinally named by Baltic tongues starting, as we ourselves strongly prefer, from Monday.

Recently, with an increase in the amount of loggnings (radio programmes, dietary ingestnings, homework) we are called upon to undertake, we didn't hesitate to adopt the Swedish date-writening method YYYY-MM-DD (with leading zeros) of which the chronological and lexical sortnings coincide.

But it is nice to also encode the day of the week sometimes, but we did not wish for a langwidge specific scheme, so we have duly adopted the Lithuanian convention for this. Today is therefore II 2004-01-18; please update your procedures.

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2005-01-17 16:10

Three (3) cheers!

1. Hoorah for the Republic of Ireland ("Eire")!

The very metric Republic of Ireland!

Northern Ireland motorists travelling across the Irish border are being warned to be aware of changes in the country's speed signs.

This week the signage will change from miles per hour to kilometres per hour.

I have been to the Republic of Ireland once, which is plenty, and Northern Ireland never, ditto, and I've given up driving anyway, but nonetheless: well done!

2. Hoorah for Matthew "Hoggy" Hoggard!

First awardee of the Freedom of this 'Bladet:

ENGLAND HAVE WON BY 77 RUNS AND HOGGARD HAS 12 WICKETS IN THE MATCH!

This has been an absolutely astonishing match. Test cricket at its absolute finest, for sure. (As well as some patches of utter rubbish in England's first stint in the field.)

3. And again!

I brought my radio in today, which I usually don't, and it was probably the best decision I've made all month.

Let's wallow some more:

Matthew Hoggard took seven wickets as England stormed to a stunning victory over South Africa in Johannesburg.

He's on the radio now; he sounds quite pleased...

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2005-01-17 samwidge (zulu)

Smrgspost

1. Sloven-i-a!

It's the new sensation that's sweeping the beardy, sandal-wearing parts of the nation!

Slovenia has been voted `Favourite European Country? at The Guardian, The Observer and the Guardian Unlimited Travel Awards for 2004, an accolade that recognises the quality of the holidays experienced by readers and the popularity of the country in the UK.

The 18th Annual Guardian & Observer Travel Awards took place in Rhodes at a gala dinner on 10th May and Slovenia was awarded first place in this very competitive category, ahead of perennial favourites such as Iceland, Finland and Norway. This is the first time that an Adriatic country has won, with a satisfaction rating of 95.5%.

The rest of the awards are here, but we warn you that it exhibits the legendary smugness of the Grauniad reader in doses that may well be toxic to those who haven't acquired resistance.

2. Long King the King!

The king of Sweden! He is, you will surely boggle to hear, the king of Sweden!

Kungen r kung igen

The king is king again

Were he a prinsess instead, which he is not, we might have read the story, which we have not.

3. Historian Hobsbawm Huffs, Puffs

It is Eric "Hobby-horse" Hobsbawm and he'll blow your house down!

This is an edited extract from a speech to the British Academy Colloquium on Marxist historiography, first published in Le Monde diplomatique.

Which was where we read it, and don't think we didn't; we are of course achingly hip, and we are also more than somewhat partial to old Hobby-horse.

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2005-01-17 10:28

Prinsesses, in black and otherwise

The series continues with Norwegish kronprinsess Mette-Marit:

Kronprinsesse Mette-Marit tente et lys i Oslo domkirke lrdag under srgegudstjenesten til minne om de omkomne i flodblgekatastrofen.

Kronprinsess Mette-Marit lit a candle in Ooshloo cathedral on Saturday during a mourningservice in memory of those killed in the tidalwavecatastrophe.

And a prinsess not really in black at all: it is the mysterious prinsess Birgitte:

Mnga drmmer om att vara prinsessa. Prinsessan Birgitta drmde om att bli sjukgymnast - men fick inte.

Many dream of being a prinsess. Prinsess Birgitta dreamed of being a physiotherapiste, but never did.

How come, you ask or enquire?

- Jag ville ju egentligen utbilda mig till sjukgymnast, men det fick jag ju inte. Fr hovet, dom tyckte det var olmpligt.

I wanted of course in fact to train as a physiotherapiste, but I didn't get the chance. The court thought it was inappropriate.

How times have changed! Norwegish prinsess Mrtha-Louise is in fact trained as a physiotherapiste.

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2005-01-14 14:55

Demos, none too demos

1. Overture

Where's your momma gone
(Where's your momma gone)
Little baby gone
(Little baby gone)
Where's your momma gone
(Where's your momma gone)
Far far away

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, Middle Of The Road

2. A question or enquiry

Le constat est alarmant : au cours des quatre dernires dcennies, le nombre des naissances en Allemagne a diminu presque de moiti. Prs du tiers des femmes ges de 40 ans n'ont pas d'enfants. Mais quelles sont les causes de ce phnomne ?

The observation is alarming: over the last four (4) decades, the number of births in Germany has almost halved. More than a third of 40-year-old women have no children. But what are the causes of this phenomenon?

3. An observation

A survey shows most mothers' dreams of a natural birth end in hospital shock despite the medical technology that exists today.

Three-quarters of 3,000 new mums said their labour was 'more painful than they ever imagined'.

4. A consequence

Le Financial Times de Londres fait le mme constat. "Les sentiments anti-immigration n'y changeront rien : le vieillissement de la population europenne et le manque de main-d'oeuvre obligent la Commission revenir sur la question." D'aprs le livre vert, le nombre de travailleurs europens pourrait diminuer de 20 millions entre 2010 et 2030 si le taux d'immigration reste le mme.

London's Financial Times makes the same remark. "Anti-immigration sentiments won't change anything: the aging of the European population and the lack of manpower oblige the Comission to reopen the question". According to the green book, the European workforce could decline by 20 million between 2010 and 2030 if the levels of immigration stay the same.

5. Nous avons, nous mme, un constat faire!

Yoorp, old chum, if you won't make babies and you don't like immigrants and your pensions are built on a generational pyramid scheme then you're in trouble, isn't it?

Personally, we have never understood why persons continued to have babies after it became optional, and we have always hoped our species would join the giant panda in attaining extinction through apathy rather than slaughter, so we're really not all that bothered.

But we don't really have much of anything against immigrants either, so we are probably just too weird to take any notice of.

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2005-01-14 13:14

Where is my pie?

Old King Cole was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl,
And he called for his fiddlers three.

Which is all very well, if, as is not apparently our case, the things you call for come.

The convenience shop ("store") where I used to buy many pies and large plastic bottles of Sunny Delite(TM) now sells neither.

I wish for some pie (it is a no-name "meat" pie for which I wish), and I wish also for much britely colored quasi-citric liquid for its downwashning, and my wishes are denied.

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2005-01-14 09:53

Six impossible things before breakfast

It is the Swindon Borough Council Multi-Faith Calendar for 2005!

The Dowager Countess, who introduced us to this phenomenon, was perplexed in advance that this year's edition was to be enhanced by the inclusion also of atheists; she neglected to understand what major atheist festivals would merit inclusion.

And so, of course, did we, with the proviso that we didn't, as we so often don't, believe a word of it. It was and is, Google soon revealed, Paganisme which is making its debut this year, with the mighty festival of Imbolc scheduled for the second of February. (Lock up your goats, Varied Reader!)

I'm almost curious about paganisme: is it like Cornish, where dribs and drabs of fossilised extinctnesses have been turned into a bizarre kind of cultural zombie by persons you would do well to avoid being cornered by at a party?

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2005-01-13 16:07

Self-help: Help yourself

What, you have no doubt often mused or pondered, does Glasgow psychologist and spokesperson for the British Psychological Association Dr Jim White make of self-help books?

Well...:

And Glasgow psychologist Dr Jim White, a spokesman for the British Psychological Society, added: "Self-help books can be really helpful but it does depend who has written it."

"Some should be seen as just a bit of fun, whereas others can make a real difference."

"Another problem is that the books are often not easy to understand, they are written for Guardian readers, and problems are often more common as you go further down the social scale."

A lucrative niche beckons, surely? Come 'Ere 'N' Say That!: Dr Beardie's Guide to those Difficult Words, isn't it?

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2005-01-13 12:54

Smrgsdivertissement!

1. Kronprinsessmary!

She is, like her father-in-law the Prinshenrik, so very patronising!

Kronprinsesse Mary har sagt ja til at vre protektor for Copenhagen International Fashion Fair, som er en af Europas strste modemesser.

Kronprinsess Mary has agreed to be the patron of Copenhagen International Fashionfair, which is Europe's largest fashionfair.

We're not, however, entirely convinced by her last outfit, which appears to continue her soft-furnishnings theme.

2. Kronprinsessmary igen!

"Kronprinsessmary likes fashion - and fashion likes Kronprinsessmary", the above story goes on to add, and if you like fashion and Kronprinsessmary, you'll love this prinsessuppdressning Flash doll doodle a bookish correspondent offtipped us to.

3. Huntnings and Paintnings!

It is all in a day's work for good old-fashioned cavepersons: why not enjoy Tom Gauld's jolly Hunter and Painter?

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2005-01-13 morning (zulu)

Why I am so very non grata

At least one (≥1) of our sisters has lived in Russophone territories within or having once been within the Union of Soviet Socialiste Republiques; in particular, Russia.

Part of the reason we never visited was the cash-flow difficulties associated with the decade's-worth of rigorous training needed to become, as I have, a certified Mad Scientiste, but another part, we have been in the habit of freely admitting to questioners or enquirers, is that we have no taste for third world countries.

We visit, for preference, only lands where democracy and the rule of law prevail, but this is not "ethical tourisme", it is simple paranoia.

But until now we have never had an opportunity to formalise this such arrangement:

Russia's parliament has given its initial backing to a visa bill that could lead to a ban on foreign visitors showing "disrespect" to the country.

Anyone found by a court to have offended Russian values, authorities or symbols may be barred from entering but the bill does not define such offenses.

Right, then. Russia is an uncivilised and possibly uncivilisable dump! The "war" in Chechnya is a scandalous farrago! Wodka was really invented in Polandland!

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2005-01-12 tea (zulu)

Monday Review of Stuff

It is the Passport to World Band Radio! ("World band" basically means "broadcast band of shortwave", as opposed to the very thrilling utility/military/amateur bands.)

This would be indispensible to persons interested in the subject even if it were poorly executed, which it is not. Reviews of receivers ("radios"), guides to stations (including addresses and websites), programming in English or otherwise, and frequencies take most of the guesswork out of finding the many somethings there are to be found in the ether.

Plus it has all the charisma of a train timetable, and an article on the history of radio in Thailand so boring that it may well cause your eyeballs to leap from their sockets to avoid reading!

(NB: I've linked to Amazon.uk out of habit or custom, but I bought it from the FDRUSA, which's zloty's plummetous decline makes this cheaper, even with shipping, for really quite modest orders.)

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2005-01-12 samwidge (zulu)

Smrgspost

1. Have a nice flygluff, y'all

It is USA Today's uproundning of Yoorpean budget airlines!

With a little planning, travelers can save money by using multiple carriers.

For example, a flier could book a trip from London to Rome on Ryanair, from Rome to Berlin on Air Berlin and from Berlin to Paris on easyJet - possibly for pocket change, depending on constantly changing fare promotions.

Decent list of airlines, too.

2. Around the world in 80 fabrications

It is Jules Verne, whose enthusiasm for Romania led to him visiting the land no fewer than zero (0) times!

In acknowledgement, he is the focus of Radio Romania International's current competition or contest!

The grand prize consists of two trips of 7 days for one to Hunedoara County (Western Romania). All is paid for, except for the visa and travel expenses outside Romania. The trips are scheduled between the 15th and 22nd of April 2005, and include a sightseeing tour of the main tourist, historical and cultural attractions of Hunedoara County.

Oh, those historical and cultural attractions! And trips for one (1), too, which spares the lucky victor the unenviable uppchatning chore associated with trips for two (2). ("Hey, gorgeous, fancy a trip to the historical and cultural attractions of western Romania? I won tickets in a competition hosted by Radio Romania International's shortwave service! No, wait, come back!")

3. Serbophile Online Shoppeurs, Rejoice!

All you ever needed or desired from Yugoslavia is now in one place !

Tous que vous avez besoin ou dsir de la Yugoslavie maintenant dans un endroit !

That's the country now formally known as The Glorious Yugoslavian Union of Serbia and Montenegro And No Montenegro Isn't Backing Away Nervously It's Just The Camera Angle, and the place of which they speak is Yu4you.com, and why not?

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2005-01-12 10:52

Beer ban bill busted: brewers beam

There hasn't been a lot of fuss about the final victory of the Good Guy in Ukrainia, of which we first heard on a Russophone radio station, but we, for one, were delighted. The Yoorovizhn Contest of Songs, after all, is to be held in Kiev or Kviv in May, and now we can all go along and have a nice democratique party!

But Vladimir "Putain" Putin has put the disappointment behind him and is focussing on new projects:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has vetoed a bill banning the drinking of beer in public, demanding amendments.

(- Boris, I have a new slogan for our campaign: "Putin: Doing it to the people!"
- Don't you mean "for the people", sir?
- No, Boris, I don't.)

[Permalink]


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2005-01-11 15:44

Smrgspost

1.

Why are so few Japanese books translated into the silly Engleesh, the Japan Times asks or enquires:

Is this partly because, globally, the number of English-language titles far exceeds the number of Japanese-language ones? Others might attribute it to a low demand for Japanese books among overseas readers.

Or is it simply because it's so, well . . . difficult to translate Japanese literature accurately into English or other languages? This is a view of the Japan Foundation, an organization for international cultural exchange.

Yeah? Is Chinese literature better served? Arabic? Finnish? Turkish? Even good-old Indo-European Lithuanian?

Don't make me come over there and test your hypothesis, Japan!

[via]

2. Let's share a nice readning, Bristle!

For the third year running, residents of Bristol have been invited to participate in their very own city-wide reading group. Over the next few weeks, 4,500 copies of The Siege, by Helen Dunmore, will be distributed to schools, libraries and businesses, along with 6,000 free reading guides, as part of the city's annual Great Reading Adventure.

It's still a pretty stupid idea in a city with no public transport to speak of, if you ask me, and I don't really want to read about the seige of St Leninsgrad. But I suppose I will.

3. Speaking of public transport

It is London's increasingly ramshackle Underground ("le sous-sol")! And it turns out its shackles were always at least somewhat rammish:

Rivalries between companies meant that lines often duplicated one another without providing proper interchanges (next time you change at Hammersmith from the District to the Hammersmith and City line, curse Victorian laissez-faire economics as you try to cross Hammersmith Broadway); lack of capital meant that the lines were not built large enough (this is why the underground shuts down at night; if London's system had allowed for four tracks instead of two, like in New York, the trains could run at night on some tracks while engineers worked on others); delays are caused by timorous tube builders, who followed the crooked line of streets when they could have tunnelled safely straight under buildings, avoiding the need for slow running on curves. Wolmar's book will tell you, too, why the Underground, like black cabs, barely ventures south of the river.

It's been over a week since I remarked to you how much better Berlin's public transport is, surely?

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2005-01-11 12:00

For shame, Danmark!

It is the Berlingske Tidende, a Danish 'bladet, premasticated by the nice BBC Yoorpean press review on the subject or topic of the recent stormkaos in that such land:

The paper finds it "astounding" that "wealthy Denmark... still uses an electricity grid based on highly vulnerable, 50-year-old overhead cables".

"This is quite simply not good enough," it declares.

Det er ganske enkelt ikke godt nok, you see. I have a feeling we will have occasion to reuse that such phrasening.

[Permalink]

2005-01-11 10:06

How to make a hypothetical someone's day

Blogger-in-exile Anna K is fond of Frenchy-French foodbladet Elle table; I am very fond of the Swedish langwidge; everyone likes nice freebies.

A copy of Swedish foodbladet Elle la carte, which merely sounds a little Frenched up, arrived at my new flat yesterday, having been redirected from my old flat, and even I, hardened curmudgeon that I am, am not displeased by this.

We are especially pleased by an advert for is-cream which manages to say on one page and with no subtitles:

Dulce de Leche.

Inspirirad av Argentina.

Let your tongue travel.

Even better, it's by Hagen-Dazs, the company whose name was famously perpetrated out of strings of letters not occurring in any actual langwidge. They are no our approved supplier of is-cream, of which admittedly we consume on average no (0) litres per month.

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2005-01-10 bleurgh (UTC)

I do not like this year

It is the wrong size, and I am also not keen on the colour.

Sadly, however, I seem to have mislaid the receipt

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2005-01-10 12:06

Where I want to go on my holidays

According to Lonely Planet, you can get on and off international trains as often as you like with a single ticket, which would mean that this itinerary:

Bristle - Budapest - Zagreb - Ljubljana - Trieste/Trst - Venice - Bristle

was four (4) countries all in one traintrip. (Plus two Easyjettnings, of course.)

(There's also a Budapest - Bratislava - Prague - Berlin train, but that can wait for another time.)

It'd be ever so grown-up to have everything booked well in advanced, but I am after all no spring chicken...

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2005-01-10 09:29

In which I apostrophise

1. To Bulgarian Radio International

I am very fond of you, but please don't play Jethro Tull ever again.

2. To Sveriges Radio

"Kidnappning"? You'll be hearing from our lawyers.

3. To the weather

You may have flooded oop north, but all you've achieved in Bristle is making me wet.

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