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2005-05-20 15:36

One langwidge to the tune of another

We acquire some while ago from a charity bookshop a nice Assimil book on le nerlandais, which is in fact good old-fashioned Dutchy-Double-Dutch.

And then recently, coincidently at exactly the time we should really have been working vair vair hard on an essay, it occurred to us that it really was about time we knew our way around the Dutchy-Double-Dutch, since after all it is substantially easier that German.

We have no recordnings, of course, but the phontique transcription is not so very terrible, even if it is so very Frenched-up, and we're actually very impressed with the mthode Assimil so far.

Most perplexing fact: it claims to be based on Het niewe nederlands zonder moeite which can only possibly be a teach-yourself Dutchy-Double-Dutch book entirely in Dutchy-Double-Dutch, the point of which is far from obvious to us. (We are familiar with immersion teachning, but immersion self-teachning strikes us as a much less good idea.)

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2005-05-20 12:27

Culinary tact!

Because of Yurovizhn there are more Swedishes of the journalistique persuasion in Ukrainia than is generally the case, and one has discovered the yummy pigfatdelicacy salo:

Salo utger sig fr att vara mat. Men - ngot ohlsosammare eller ckligare finns bara inte.
I Ukraina kan ingen medborgare tnka sig att avst frn sin salo.
Det r grisflott, rent ister. ts i skurna skivor. Steks i het panna ibland. Finns som lttrkt ister eller rent och ofrfalskat flott.

Salo looks like food. But nothing could be yuckier or unhealthier.
In Ukrainia no citizen would dream of giving up salo.
It is pigfat, cleanly ister(?). Eaten in sliced slices. Fried in hot fryingpans sometimes. It comes as lightly smoked ister or as clean and unadulterated lard.

(And this from the land that invented stinkyfish ("surstrmming")!)

Anyway, most of the hilarity is directed at chocklate-coated salo, which is pretty obviously a novelty item. We wish to try only proper salo served properly with garlic, gherkin and wodka and especially wodka, and we anticipate great enjoyment of it. So there.

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2005-05-20 10:18

I voted for Estland

They didn't get through. The things that did get through were mostly described in my notes as "Dull balladd" or "Folkstomptoss", although we'll defer to Aftonbladet to lavish tact on the successful Norwegish entry:

Bajsndiga norrmn utan utstrlning leker Def Leppard. Kul kalkon.

Constipated charisma-free Norwegians play Def Leppard. A total turkey.

Danmark is through, too; full results hos Aftonbladet.

Incidentally, we found that both the German broadcasters and the Beeb were streaming TV over the interweb - our band is not so very broad, but even so we found the full-screened Real Player more than simply intriguing. (We suspect that we should stick to the Germans or the TV licence people will declare themselves to have a legitimate grievance against us, which would be a Bad Thing.)

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2005-05-19 13:03

Help me, Interweb, you're my only hope!

It is the semifinals of the Schlager!/Melodifestivalen/Europiske Melodi Grand Prix 2005/Yurovizhn tonight, and the BBC has exiled it to the obscure shadowy land of "freeview" (i.e., settopbox enabled) TV.

Amid the caustic reviews of contending platters hos Aftonbladet we learn that

SVT snder semifinalen direkt med start kl 21.00.

It's live on the telly!

But we checked, and it isn't on the radio. Danmark, also, has gone audiovisual only: it's on DR1 (Mad props to the Danish TV/Radio timetable webpage - all the others suck, but it is vair nice.)

But let us say three (3) Hail Interwebs for Norway which has cleared the airwaves to make space on radio P1. (Norway is in the semis this time round, of course. We'll vote for them if we can figure out how to from Blighty.)

Norwegish radio and the Interweb, isn't it? If the synergy were any stronger the fabric of the space-time continuum would be threatened!

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2005-05-19 11:15

Prinsessgossipupdate!

1. Kronprinsess and consort go concert!

It is the kronprinsess Victoria of Sweden!

R'n'b-drottningarna Destiny's Child lockade kungabarnen till Globen i gr.
- Det r alltid kul att g p konsert, sade kronprinsessan Victoria som kom tillsammans med pojkvnnen Daniel.

R'n'b-queens lured the royal childrens to the Globe yesterday.
"It's always cool to go to concerts", said kronprinsess Victoria who came with boyfriend Daniel.

She is so magnificently - so regally - bland!

2. Frockshock!

It is the frockly frugality of Kronprinsessmary (ne Knudella), as spotted by eagle-eyed prinsessgossipcorrespondent and Upsidedownian Anna Louise:

Our Imperial dignity, of course, forbids that we should ever wear the same frock twice. Or for that matter even once.

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2005-05-19 09:57

Gergeous George's Finest Hour

Nobody seems to like "Gorgeous" George Galloway very much, including us, but many persons, also including us, like the FDRUSA's Imperial warmongers even less, and Gorgeous George certainly knows how to make show:

"As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns."

[...] "Now you have nothing on me, Senator, except my name on lists of names from Iraq, many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad."

(The embedded RealPlayer crashes our favourite browser; beware.)

Even Christopher "Hatchet-Job" Hitchens gives a favourable review:

A visiting parliamentarian might perhaps avoid the word "lickspittle" when speaking of the distinguished Senator before whose committee he is about to appear.

(I should perhaps declare a small bias here: on spotting your own correspondent, Mr Galloway shouted that he was a "drink- sodden ex-Trotskyist popinjay and useful idiot", some of which was unfair.)

However, as the dull hearings proceeded and Galloway waited his turn, the senators began to make blunder after blunder.

Avoid the word "lickspittle" when speaking of distinguished Senators before whose committee we are about appear, though? American ettiquette is so very complicated!

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2005-05-18 14:09

If life gives you firebrands, make firebrandy

It is our fiery friend sa Linderborg, accompanied this time by Erik Wijk, and she is arguing in favour of treating the Iraq "insurgency" as a legitimate military opposition to imperialist occupation. She ("they") dispenses briskly with the idea that withdrawal would lead to an even bloodier civil war:

Bakom denna humanitrt vdjande myt dljer sig ett klassiskt kolonialt maktsprk om den vite mannens brda, vsterlandets civilisatoriska mission och stackars underutvecklade folk som inte klarar att ta hand om sig sjlva.

Behind this humanitarianly appealing myth is hidden the classical colonialist rhetoric of power about the white man's burden, the West's civilising mission and the poor underdeveloped peoples who aren't fit to govern themselves.

Which is perhaps not entirely false, but given that Iraq's present geographical and diverse ethnic composition is itself largely a result of colonialism, we wouldn't be in any hurry to bet against a bloody civil war.

And while a conclusion on whether the occupying forces are doing more harm than good doesn't strike us as especially foregone, surely there is an anti-Imperialiste counter-flypaper argument that if the FDRUSA's forces are preoccupied with the occupation of Iraq then at least it won't be tempted to invade anywhere else for a while.

Why is Blair still Prime Minister, by the way?

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2005-05-18 12:30

It is like unto a curse! It is like unto a curse! But we laugh at curses!

We famously had no time to explore Venice on a conference visit samwidged between a wedding and an Easter, and our post-conference shmoozing in Genoa is in turn being curtailed by our need to get back for a pseudo-exam at the hands of the University of Openness.

We blame, of course, the Popes late and current: they fear - they tremble at the prospect! - of Our Imperial Majesty reconnaitring or even invading the host country in which their malignantly tumorous headquarters lurk.

You are right to fear us, Holy Father(s), but quite quite wrong to think that you can thwart us!

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2005-05-18 09:27

Of Samwidges and Scandals

Our glorious by-Imperial-appointment samwidge shop is a lah-di-dah deli staffed by nice young middle class wimmins, and when I get my morning coffee ("americano") they can be seen behind the counter making the day's samwidges.

There are nice baguettesque ones, but also annoying sliced bread triangular ones which we always do our best to neglect. And how very wise we are! For they make two (2) full-slice samwidges on top of each other, slice diagonally, and put each double-half in the samwidge box. You would, which is to say, be sharing slices of bread with a complete stranger! This is contrary to all known rules of samwidge ettiquette, we argue, and probably also to God's holy law.

(We do not, in any case, especially wish to see our food being prepared, although we seldom object to the sight of wimmins bending over.)

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2005-05-17 15:17

It is Syttende Mai!

But it is not just any old Syttende Mai, it is the hundredth Syttende Mai since syttende mai got Capitalised!

And this year even Sweden is joining in:

Folkligt, festligt, flaggor - och ledig dag.
Den 17 maj r det dags att snegla p Norge.
Var med och trna infr 6 juni - och skicka en hyllning till broderfolket p lnken hr intill.

Folkly, partily, flaggs - and a day off.
This 17th of May it's time to sneggle Norway.
Join in and get in practice before the 6th of June - and send a greetning to the brotherfolk through the link below [not pictured].

Sweden, you see, has cancelled (Ping-Ping-)Pingst, Pentecost, Whitmonday and Pingsteren to make space in its festive calendar for a Glorious Nationalday of its own on the 6th of June.

Meanwhile, back in Norway, a pregnant kronprinsess takes a break:

Kronprinsesse Mette-Marit tok en pause ved 12-tiden, men den gravide kronprinsessen kom smilende tilbake etter en halvtime.

Kronprinsess Mette-Marit took a pause around 12, but the pregnant kronprinsess came back smiling after a halfhour.

Kronprinsesses, pregnant or otherwise, are easily the best bit of Glorious Nationaldays, of course. Smiling and waving and dressed up in their many Traditional Nationaldresses and waving and smiling!

Roll on Sjtte Juni and don't spare the rollers!

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2005-05-17 11:36

Dirty, Smelly, Lying Hippies!

So Herv Kempf fingered Greenpeace as instrumental in engineering a moral panic about GM foods, and I got to remembering that I have issues with Greenpeace anyway, dating back to the Brent Spar fiasco.

Tell us a little about that, Dirk Maxeiner, if you would:

For me as an environmental journalist, however, when Brent Spar happened I began to wonder about the difference between credibility or trust and truth. Credibility and truth are not the same. Sometimes credibility is even the opposite of truth. Shell has told the truth about Brent Spar. It was Greenpeace who did not tell the truth. Their information about the amount of potentially harmful substances in the rig was simply wrong. As we know today, the sinking of Brent Spar would have had practically no ecological impact on the marine system in the North Atlantic. In 1995, however, Greenpeace had the credibility and Shell only had the truth, so the oil company didn't have the slightest chance against Greenpeace.

(Further investigation suggests that Maxeiner has an agenda too, but the analysis above matches our own recollection of the episode and that's good enough for us.)

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2005-05-17 09:08

Would you buy a second-hand bonnet from this prinsess?

Strayans would!

Digest, digest, readerly -
Who's Straya's most trustworthy?

It is of course the Kronprinsessmary!

Den australske lge Fiona Woods er den person, som australierne har mest tillid til. Derefter er det sanglrken Olivia Newton-John, og p en tredjeplads kommer kronprinsesse Mary. Det er tidsskriftet Det Bedste, der har lavet meningsmlingen over de 100 mest tillidsvkkende australiere.

The Australian doctor Fiona Woods is the person that Australians have the most trust in. Next is singeuse Olivia Newton-John, and then in third place comes the Kronprinsessmary.

It is the periodical the Readers' Digest, which has carried out the survey of the 100 most trustworthy Australians.

Not being in power in any meaningful sense correlates, we infer or deduce, with trustworthiness, but the polarity of the causality flux is certainly open to debate.

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2005-05-16 16:05

Why I am so very resourceful

Way back when the Nouvel Obs was our hebdo of choice, they had an excellent feature on Genetically Modifid Organismes, and it was vair informative.

And by the miracl of modern archiving is some of that good stuff, with Die Welt's ecology correspondent, Herv Kempf:

N. O. - L'opinion europenne s'inquite bien plus que l'opinion amricaine. Pourquoi cette diffrence de raction?

H. Kempf. - Aux Etats-Unis, le dbat sur les biotechnologies a eu lieu trs tt, et il a t trs vif. Il s'est referm, car la communaut scientifique a ragi habilement en laborant ses propres rgles sur le gnie gntique, ce qui lui a permis d'viter d'tre trop troitement encadre par des lois. Il faut se souvenir aussi de l'atmosphre qui rgnait aux Etats-Unis la fin des annes 1970: chec au Vietnam, puissance de l'URSS, monte de la concurrence du Japon, de l'Europe... On vivait l-bas dans une sorte d'angoisse existentielle. La micro-informatique et les biotechnologies sont arrives, et elles ont t accueillies avec enthousiasme: c'tait un moyen de reprendre l'initiative, de retrouver un certain leadership.

NO: Yoorpean opinion is much more concerned than American opinion. Why this difference in reaction?

H. Kempf: In the US, the debate about biotechnology took place very early and was very lively. It was settled, because the scientific community reacted cleverly in stting its own rules on genetic manipulation, which allowed it to avoid being too narrowly restricted by laws. You have to remember the climate of America in the late 70s: failure in Vietnam, the power of the USSR, the rise of competition with Japan and Europe... They were living in a sort of existential angst. When micro-computing and biotech came along they were enthusiastically welcomed: it was a way of regaining the initiative, or recovering a certain leadership.

That's his story and we're sticking to it. (He does Yoorp next, but we're not translating the whole thing.)

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2005-05-16 12:33

Of Bloggs and 'Bladets

We don't do "meta", of course, and the question "Is bloggning journalisme?" interests us not at all or slightly less, but there are now Aftonbladethousebloggs and we are mostly vair pleased:

Det var hftigt att se en bver!!!!

It was so cool to see a beaver!

But while bloggning is many things, in common with everything else in the known universe it is not an excuse for more than two (2) consecutive stops.

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2005-05-16 10:47

One (1) measly percent (%), Silly Engleesh

In Blighty it is exceptionally well known that the EU costs billions and billions and billions of our glorious pounds sterling. But in fact:

The European Commission says spending must rise to meet the need of financing poorer eastern members.

But Germany, whose sluggish economy contributes most to the EU, says the sums involved are too high.

France, the UK, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden have supported the Germans in calling for the budget to be kept at a level of 1% of the EU's gross national income.

The commission had proposed a limit of 1.14%.

Mad props to the Prime Minister of Luxembourg though:

"I'm happy to be able to announce to you an agreement, in the sense that it is clear that we don't agree," said Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker after the meeting.

Persons often agree with us in just that way or manner!

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2005-05-16 20:10

Sndag smrgspost

1. Sommarprinsess, happened so fast

It is the lovely prinsess Madeleine of Sweden, and she is in the process of making the difficult transition from winterholiday to sommarholiday chic!

I och med att sommaren nrmar sig med stormsteg rder brda dagar fr prinsessan. Hon har trappat upp trningen p gymmet, gr lngpromenader och undviker snabbmat som pizza och hamburgare.

Inasmuchas sommar nears itself with leaps and with bounds, prevail hasty days for the [lovely] prinsess. She's been training in the gym, going for long walks and avoiding fastfood like pizza and hamburgers.

It must add a certain whatsit to the beach beautification krisis when you can be reasonably confident the papparazzi of several nations will be taking more than somewhat of an interest in your figure. (The viligence of our Imperial Ninjas means that we do not generally have this problem, of course.)

2. Blogmoot in Bristle

Anna K and Vronski were in town, which was very jolly, and they will be more so in the future, which will, we hope and anticipate, be more so in the future.

But an important question remains to be resolved: SR's P3 Star or NRK's mPetre? (Neither link is direct, sadly; launch the radio players and frob for them by name.)

We love them both dearly! (We have bought an Unterwooferspeakersystem to plug into our laptop with which to relish their magnificence. The Unterwoofer has a special coefficient of Unterwoofing knob on the back, and you can turn it up and make it go Boom! Boom! Boom!!)

3. Belgium, man, Belgium.

The Belgian government has won a vote of confidence in parliament after months of failed negotiations about language rights in an electoral district on the edge of Brussels.

Brussels is, as my Varied Reader knows of course, nominally ("officially") bilingual, in the sense that it's embedded in Flemophonia but everyone speaks French. Suburb creep into Flemophonia proper is therefore every bit as hilarious as the traditional Belgian linguistic tetchiness would lead you to expect.

Any student of post-national cosmopolitanisme, such as for example us, is going to have to spill some ink on Belgium, for sure...

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