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2005-09-09 15:56

Everyone loves a ginormous fish!

Bare-handed it mays-a-be, but shark versus bear it surely ain't:

Some people call it the Mount Everest of fishing. But most everyone else describes "noodling," or handfishing, as just plain crazy.

The sport's disciples wade river and lake bottoms, probing and prodding for the holes where monster flathead catfish lurk during breeding season. Handfishers then dive down and reach into the underwater lairs, hoping that a monster "cat" will chomp on the proffered bait --- the noodler's hand.

(Sorry to all you good folks out their about li'l old our prose - reckons we's a jess' been exposed to a dose too many of that National Geographihical magazine, but weehoo ain't it just the cutest?)

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2005-09-09 12:46

Go Yoorp!

It is Charles "Crusher" Clarke, UK interior minister ("Home Secretary") and scourge - like all of them in recent memory - of civil rights. It is, however, also the Germans sticking up for civil liberties and a curtailment of states' rights to stalk their citizens. (Can anyone guess why Germany particularly? Well done, exactly right!)

CHARLES Clarke, the Home Secretary, yesterday failed to win European Union backing for a plan to retain phone and e-mail data to help combat terrorism.

Mr Clarke's hopes of an agreement at a summit in Newcastle were dashed as EU members, including Germany, stood by their objections on civil rights grounds, and telecoms companies warned that such a scheme would saddle them with enormous costs.

Maybe we could get a nice German in as interior minister ("Home Secretary") or something? The local talent seems to be slightly compromised by indifference to human rights legislation and a relentless loathing of the population which we, unlike Blair, do not especially consider an asset.

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2005-09-09 09:51

Kozmopolitanizm; zlightly foopball

It isZlatan Imbrahimovic, Zwedish foopballing zenzation! With a name like that, though, you might wonder how autochthonous he is or was, and what the implications might have been:

Zlatan Ibrahimovic var nra att nobba det svenska landslaget.
I nya numret av Sportmagasinet avsljas det att Zlatan och hans pappa Sefik ville att han skulle spela fr Bosnien.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic almost snubbed the Swedish nationalteam.
In the new issue of Sportmagasin it is revealed that Zlatan and his father Sefik wanted him to play for Bosnia.

We dizlike nationalteamfoopball, of course, and our longztanding diztaste for the idea that nationztates are a fundamental unit of groop identity is not a zmall part of why.

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2005-09-08 15:50

Election tact in Norway

Social democratic conservatives vs. conservative social democrats - could someone wake us when it's over?

I do not think anyone can possibly understand how boring a general election in the world's best country really is.

There simply is not much left here to fix and, for one tedious moment earlier this week, it seemed the main debate between the political left and right would be the price of petrol, which is higher than normal in this country, too, these days.

But it's quite an interesting read for all that.

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2005-09-08 12:43

Vi blir tskilda Berliner!

It is the new Grauniad as of Monday:

Rusbridger says: "There will be a debate over the coming months about sections. The Times and The Independent, for all their compactness, are quite unwieldy in terms of trying to find out where you are in the book." "The problem you have with a tabloid is sections within sections within sections - you are back into that origami world of getting your law section from your sports section from your Bricks and Mortar from your business section." "I think the Berliner will give you immediately identifiable sports, features, G2, G3, as well as the main section - this way it feels to me much more convenient than a tabloid which has a very long run of pages."

Yes. A main section, a 12-page daily sport section, a stapled half-Berliner daily news magazine, and a G3 section. Heaven forbid (apparently) that UK 'bladets should confine themselves to stuff we actually need to know and shrink down to a size we could read between meals without losing our appetite.

Think - we implore you! - NRC Handelsblad not LA Times, British 'bladets!

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2005-09-08 10:02

This Sportning Vrld

1. Foopball Vrldscoup, as seen in Sweden

They're terribly excited about Zlatan "Klackspark" Ibramovic's last minute deadlock-breaking miracle-goal over at Aftonbladet.

2. No, they bloody didn't

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?

"Jerusalem", William Blake

Sigh:

It's not quite the haka, but England are hoping a rousing rendition of the hymn Jerusalem will inspire them in the decisive Ashes Test.

England captain Michael Vaughan has asked the entire country to down tools at 1025 BST on Thursday and join in a spirited singing of the famous song.

The above 'pedia article further observes or remarks that:

Jerusalem is the official anthem of the British National Party, British Women's Institute, and historically was used by the National Union of Suffrage Societies. [...] Since 2004 it has been played at the beginning of England cricket matches.

We'd've gone for the Great-War-tastic I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above, but that's just us.

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2005-09-07 16:33

Smrgsintray

1. It is "Slavering" Slavoj Zizek!

For sure:

Krnvapen t Iran. Varfr inte?

Nuclear weapons for Iran. Why not?

2. Plurilingalisme in theory and practice

and especially the gulf between the two (2):

PLURILINGUISME. Entre les recommandations des chercheurs et la ralit de l'enseignement des langues, le dcalage est maximal. Constat avec Claudine Brohy, coorganisatrice Fribourg de la Confrence internationale sur le plurilinguisme.

It starts out with MRI images of spicy brains, which we neglect to consider very informative about langwidge skills, since no one actually knows what they mean.

3. SQL

We have a plan to run away to sea - arrrr! - and seek our fortune, but first we need to know SQL. SQL sucks rocks, for sure; not for the first time, we're relying on O'Reilly.

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2005-09-07 13:00

Outgeekning

So, Zweden has gone mp3-audiobook, and we could very much do with a way to practice our Zwedish.

We are, thereby and accordingly, now in the market for an mp3 player, so that we can cop an earful of Zwedish on our pedestrian commutenings. (We also want to rip some Assimil langwidge CDs and whack those on too.)

Since books are, apparently, 400-800 Mb, we'll need space in the Gbs, and since we are not a designoid, we would prefer to avoid paying an Apple surcharge; suggestions very welcome.

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2005-09-07 10:03

Smrgspost

1. Langwidge engineering, slightly Caribbean

After 200 years of turning its back on geography, this English-speaking former British colony is searching for its Latin American soul.

Just seven miles off Venezuela and dappled with Spanish place names bestowed half a millennium ago by Christopher Columbus, Trinidad and Tobago has set the lofty goal of becoming a Spanish-speaking nation by 2020.

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the components of the West Indies cricket team and notwithstanding its proximity to Venezuala, they will need to have a better reason than international trade for this. Dutches, Swedishes and Finnishes all speakee the Engleesh for internationalist purposes, but they still speak their native jibber-jabber among themselves.

2. Nutella considered as a fundamental human right

On peut supprimer les allocations en espces verses un chmeur de longue dure, pas son droit au pot de Nutella. Dans dix des douze Jobcenter de Berlin, qui ont remplac les anciens offices du travail, les chmeurs de longue dure doivent dsormais s'attendre des sanctions s'ils n'acceptent pas les emplois qui leur sont proposs.

One can withdraw the spice allocations of the long-term unemployed, but not their pot of yummy chocolatey Nutella. In ten (10) of the twelve (12) "Jobcentres" in Berlin, which have replaced the old employment offices, the long-term unemployed can now expect sactions if they don't accept the jobs they are offered.

The link is a long and lyrical discussion of Nutella's place in the German Weltanschauung ("Weltanschauung"), which you would not want to miss if you have the Frenchy-French.

3. A word, 'Murkans!

It's Lego, not "Legos".

If you type in www.legos.com, in an attempt to reach the website devoted to the popular Danish toy company with the colourful plastic bricks, you don't get redirected to www.lego.com (the proper website). Instead, you get subjected to a lecture from the company on how to refer to it and its products.

"The word LEGO is a brand name and is very special to all of us in the LEGO group of companies," the page reads. "We would sincerely like your help in keeping it special. Please always refer to our products as 'LEGO bricks and toys' and not 'LEGOs.' By doing so, you will be helping to protect and preserve a brand of which we are very proud, and that stands for quality the world over. Thank you!"

We are not normally quite so prescriptiviste, but the BrEngleesh do this right, and the idea of Lego as a count rather than mass noun was a source of great distress to us when first we encountered it on the Interwebs.

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2005-09-06 17:57

Smrgsprinsessgossip

1. Prinsessschool I

It isn't easy being a prinsess. Luckily, you can take lessons:

I hst blir Victorias officiella taganden betydligt frre.
Hon ska plugga samhllsorienterande mnen p heltid, och hovet har anstllt en srskild studiehandledare: direktrshustrun och lraren Louise Dinkelspiel.

In the autumn [Kronprinsess] Victoria's official duties will be reduced.
She will study socialorientation subjects fulltime, and the court has hired a special studydirector: the direktrswife and teacher Louise Dinkelspiel.

Man, we have to work full time and share a tutor while studying samhllsorienterande mnen; it isn't easy being an emperor either. (Except perhaps the emperor of ice-cream.)

2. Prinsessschool II

Not to be outdone, her sister is studying history, to the tune of 20 pong!

Madeleine som lst konstvetenskap (80 pong), etnologi (40 pong), juridik (10 pong) ska nu slutfra studierna med 20 pong i historia.

Madeleine who has studied arthistory (80 pong), anthropologi (40 pong), will now conclude her studies with 20 pong in history.

If 20 pong is a full load for a year, her previous studies add up to six and a half. Maybe it's a semememester then?

3. Prinsess Mette-("Sicknote")-Marit

She can't open the Red Cross's new resource centre:

Mette-Marit skulle st for den offisielle pningen av Rde Kors nye resurssenter i Sandvika i Brum i ettermiddag. Men i gr kveld fikk Rde Kors melding om at den gravide kronprinsessen likevel ikke kunne komme.

But as the foto shows, she was fine for Ooshloo Fashion Week. (We're just saying, you understand.)

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2005-09-06 13:18

Why we are so very disorganised

Our OU course's online forum is organising an end-of-year party in Bristle, and we seem to be the only active subscriber actually in Bristle, so we're the designated hotel- and restaurant-finder.

Happily, though, it is on one of the few weekends we still have free, so we can attend ourself.

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2005-09-06 10:29

Monday Review of Stuff

Hall's haggis, which is reduced to 1.05 GBP for 454g (they're not allowed to call it 1 lb, which is the only reason they don't) in Tesco's, 's ingredients list runs as follows:

Pork lung (33%), oatmeal, pork fat, pork liver (11%), water, pork rind, salt, onion, pork heart (1%), spices, rusk, preservatives

And that's more or less how it tastes. But haggis is, after all, a form of sossage, and our theory of carnivoracity - which is ours! - holds that if you're going to eat animals, which we certainly are, you have to be prepared to eat up the less fashionable bits too, and even if haggis isn't top of our list of yummy somethings it is certainly our current favourite way to serve pork lung.

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2005-09-05 16:31

Why I am so very pedestrian (vindication remix)

If you wish to get from point A to point B and points A and B are in the same region of Blighty, and you wish to use the hilarious socialdemocratic ("public") transport that we have here, Traveline could be your new best friend.

We are relieved to find that it is in practice usually quicker to walk; Brizzle buses use the notorious "hub and spokes" model, where buses only go radially to and from the centre, which is rarely where we wish to go. Invariably in such cases a second layer of transport is planned to go circumferentially; even invariablier it is never actually provided.

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2005-09-05 13:39

Mr Structure, meet Mr Agency

It's the FDR!

Then there's the myth that this is the land of opportunity. That anyone born a citizen can aspire to being president. Even if she didn't go to Yale. And that anyone can use their own hard work and ingenuity to make it rich. This is one myth that many Europeans envy and also, sometimes, despise - mostly because we'd like to believe it too. It's just that while in theory anyone can be a doctor or president, the reality is that you really only have a chance if your father was one too. Even the Economist grudgingly admits that social mobility is higher in Germany (Germany!) than it is in the US. So when Europeans point to the inescapable but seemingly uncontroversial race and class-based poverty and injustice that also exist in America, we find incredulous the prevailing ideology that poverty is personal, not structural. Or the belief that poor people have just made bad choices. But usually in these discussions we're talking at cross purposes. Hell, we might as well be speaking French.

The hilarious bit, if like us you often mostly hate America, is the comments where the Right-o-slime crawl out to insist that blaming the poor is the only reasonable course of action.

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2005-09-05 10:46

Bogo-Bavarian and other Biers

It is Bavaria Holland Bier, slightly unfavourably reviewed:

Vile stale hop aroma, thin in the mouth, disgusting hop extract finish. It tries very hard to be nasty and succeeds totally. The low quality of the raw materials shines through in every phase. I can't imagine that anyone can derive the slightest pleasure drinking this muck. One of Holland's worst.

Don't hold back; tell us how you really feel. Additionally, there's allegedly been a cartel keeping dutchy-dutch beerprices artificially high:

Nederlandse bierdrinkers hebben mogelijk jarenlang te veel voor hun bier betaald. Dat is te wijten aan verboden prijsafspraken tussen de grootste vier brouwers.

Dutch bierdrinkers [and other drinkers of Dutch bier, of course] have probably been paying too much for their bier for years. That is te wijten an illicit priceagreement between the biggest four (4) brouwers.

Including, needless to say, Bavaria.

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2005-09-01 17:26

Reminder

We're on holiday in 3 short minutes's time, hoorah; we'll be back on Monday, as usual.

2005-09-01 14:42

Some arguments, more than somewhat compressed

The emphasis on individuality in New Age `spirituality' is a reflection of the liberalisme that forms the basis for capitalism.

`Marginal situations' (Berger and Luckmann) such as the awareness of death mean that a `symbolic universe' which integrates all levels of experience into a single order or nomos has to accommodate the death of the individual.

The liberal ideology operates exclusively at the level of the individual, and is therefore not a suitable basis for such a symbolic universe.

This is why economic liberalism tends to prefer coalitions with social conservatism or organised religion; it is likely that Libertoonianism is parasitical on the high degree of religious belief in the FDR - it conspicuoulsy has no purchase in Yoorp.

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2005-09-01 12:25

Royalmediatact

It is Zweden versus Norway !

I dag kommer det norska kungaparet, samt kronsprins Haakon och Mette-Marit till Sverige.
Aftonbladet lt en expertpanel utrna vilken av brdrafolkens kungafamiljer som r folkligast, sportigast, lyxigast-och vrst drabbat av skandaler.

Today the Norwegish royal couple, together with kronprins Haakon and Mette-Marit come to Sweden.
Aftonbladet let an expert panel find out which of the brotherfolks's royal families is the folkliest, sportiest, most luxurious and worst hit by skandals.

Of course Mette-Marit isn't coming, last we heard, but "brdrafolk" is a word we could've done without contemplating for some considerable time yet, for sure.

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2005-09-01 10:13

On things and their meanings

Dean to the physics department: "Why do I always have to give You guys so much money, for laboratories and expensive equipment and stuff. Why couldn't You be like the maths department? All they need is money for pencils, paper, and wastepaper baskets. Or even better, like the philosophy department. All they need is money for pencils and paper!"

There are persons who draw conclusions from the alleged fact that Newton left more manuscripts on astrology than on physics. We prefer to conclude that astrology is easier to write.

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2005-08-31 15:48

Sorry, what?

We've got Skype working. We're most of the way through emergency laundry. We learned the word "overmorgonavond" but we no longer have any particular reason to use it. We're writing some code and some other code. We're also writing a rant ("essay") about the philosophy of science.

We're very, very tired, but we are taking Friday very, very off.

Between now and then our scheduled service may suffer interruptions because we're our hold on reality isn't what it was, and it was never that tight.

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2005-08-31 10:24

Smrgspost

1. 568 ml of your finest British ale please, barman!

It's that metrication story, again:

De Britten zullen in de toekomst geen pint bier meer mogen bestellen, maar moeten "568 milliliter" tegen de barman zeggen. De Europese Commissie heeft bepaald dat het uit moet zijn met de oude imperial maten en dat Groot-Brittanni zich moet aanpassen aan het metrieke Europa.

The breakaway 'bladet can also exclusively reveal (i.e., we made it up) that the power-crazed Eurocrats have ruled that Dutchy-Dutch is in fact the metric equivalent of English and have demanded that the great British public switches! It's political correctness gone mad!

2. Yebbut surely it's a fission reactor anyway!

A Swedish nuclear power plant shut down one of its three reactors Monday because of an abnormal accumulation of jellyfish in the cooling system.

(Sorrie, hoor!)

3. Couldn't the ball come to the prinsess?

Kronprinsessan Mette-Marit stannar hemma nr den vriga norska kungafamiljen gstar Sverige denna vecka.

Kronprinsess Mette-Marit will stay home when the rest of the Norwegish royal family visit Zweden next week.

Poor old poorly old Mette-Marit; this is forever happening to her.

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2005-08-30 17:38

An increasingly global romance, Danish style

Krleksfrhllanden p distans r kanske inte s ovanliga idag. Men frgan r om inte det danska paret Sren och Vibeke Nissen tar priset.
Han finns p Nordpolen och hon p Sydpolen, med 1670 mil emellan dem.

Love affairs at a distance are perhaps not so unusual these days. But the the question is whether the Danish couple Sren and Vibeke Nissen take the prize.
He's at the North pole and she's at the South pole, with 16700 km between them.

That's an awfully long way, for sure, but we find it more than somewhat ironic that they are after all both Danishes.

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2005-08-30 14:36

Sweet sweet bier

Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.

- Dave Barry

It is 'bladetquotagestalwart Nicholas Lezard, reviewing the clearly deeply necessary 300 Beers to Try Before You Die!, by Roger Protz:

Not that Protz confines himself to small-scale producers, although there are plenty enough of those - you will also find Guinness in here (in the shape of its Foreign Extra Stout, made in 100-year-old tuns and with a powerful 7.5% alcohol) and Fuller's London Pride, now the best-selling premium cask bitter in Britain, and deservedly so. "It is the genius of British brewers to fashion beers that are complex and also highly quaffable, thanks to the low carbonation and balance of ingredients ... The balance of London Pride means that several pints will slip down easily but with maximum enjoyment," Protz writes. "Raise a glass to head brewer John Keeling and his team." Consider it done.

Mmm, London Pride. Meanwhile:

Britain is coming under pressure from the European Commission to say when it will honour its 25-year-old promise to go fully metric, converting miles to kilometres and pints to litres.

While 568 tasty ml of bier would taste as sweet by any name, it is our experience that a metric pint (AKA half-litre) is a perfectly adequate size.

[Takk to Anna K for the latter linkage]

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2005-08-30 11:03

Genderbugfixning, slightly Danish

Danmark style:

Premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen is maandag met alle zeven partijen in het Deense parlement overeengekomen dat de Successiewet wordt aangepast. Denemarken gaat net als Zweden, Belgi, Noorwegen en Nederland (sinds 1983) over op wat de cognatische primogenituur wordt genoemd: het oudste kind volgt op. Dit in tegenstelling tot het Castiliaanse stelsel, waarbij zonen van de koning voorrang hebben boven dochters, maar waarbij dochters voorrang hebben boven broers van de koning. Deze regeling is nog van toepassing in Groot-Brittanni, Spanje, Monaco - en officieel dus nog in Denemarken.

Prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen agreed on Monday with all seven (7) parties in the Danish government that the successionlaw should be modified. Danmark joins Zweden, Belgium, Noorway and the N:lands (since 1983) in a literal interpretation of primogeniture: the oldest child is the heir. This is in opposition to the Spanish situation, where sons of the monarch take precedence over daughters, who in turn take precedence over the monarch's brothers. This rule is still applicable in Groot Britain [It is?! Yikes!], Spain, Monaco - and officially still in Danmark.

Sor' i' aht, Groot Britain!

Via Agent Birgitte, the 'bladet's Danish correspondent in exile, comes a Danish account also:

- Der er i den danske befolkning et meget bredt og et meget strkt nske om, at vi skal have et samfund, der baserer sig p ligestilling, ogs nr det glder adgangen til tronen, siger Anders Fogh Rasmusse.

"There is in the Danish population a very broad and very strong wish or desire that, as we shall have a samfund, it is based on equality, also when it concerns succession to the throne", said Anders Fogh ("Foggy") Rasmusse.

By an extraordinary coincidence, our own samfund (whatever that is) is based on equality also!

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2005-08-30 17:54

There's a jam-outkickning going on!

Normally the area ambience kicks it strictly either the deeeeepest dub or the harshest rap in a variety of langwidges (embarassingly many of which are probably Englishes), which is fine by us. (We mostly listen to Purcell and stuff these days, but whatever.)

But earlier this afternoon drifing in through our kitchen window there was the unmistakable sound of blissed-out psychedelic guitar mimbling (vair old skool - not much distortion) and now there seems to be good old-fashioned garridge ("garage") rock.

We'd go out and find out what the hell is going on only we have an essay on the sociology of knowledge to write. (It's a Bank Holiday today, which is why we're at home. We should've mentioned that earlier, prolly.)

2005-08-30 12:12

Status report: fone's and phurniture's

fone's

The 'phone company has cut off our phone on the grounds that we wer using it, and their credit department (which has opted, with no foundation whatever, to believe we won't be able to pay the bill)'s "systems" are down, so they can't sort it out. Way to go, Telewest! The sooner VoIP eats your lunch the better; our own shopping list for the immediate future certainly includes a suitable handset.

Phurniture's

There may be less pedestrian-friendly shoppning experiences than Mr Ikea's celebrated phurniture shop, we suppose, but surely not many. Their delivery service is an especially good reason to own, as we now do, a handtruck to carry your nice new flat-packed 20 Kg table home on, as we just did.

A happy smiling Ikean spotted us struggling just outside the exit and dashed over to give us a hand.

"Where are you going?" he asked or enquired.

"Home", we said and struggled off alone.

2005-08-30 08:14

Why I am so hypothetical

Does BlairCo's wretched Thoughtcrime legislation extend, we wonder or muse, to meteorological Schadenfreude?

Is it, which is to ask or enquire, a deporting offence to publicly suggest - as we for one would not dream of doing - that Hurrican Katrina is a manifestation of Allah's displeasure with the FDRUSA, which we understand is alleged to be considerable in some quarters.

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