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2004-08-06 tea (utc+1)

Hej stnos!

Come for the prinsessgossip, stay for the dejtnings?

Well, not exactly, but since the aforeheretomentioned dejtnings service Du och Jag ("You and I [grammer]") is bundled in with membership and I am after all somewhat unattached...

A lot of frankly impertinent questions it asked me on the registration, though but, and having finally negociated that, all the wimmins seem to suffer from

  • levnadsgladhet (I dunno, "pleased-with-life-ness". Sounds distressingly perky, however you slice it);
  • sportiness; and in many cases
  • an quite unwholesome enthusiasm for Nature.

You can search for things, but you can't search for an antipathy to things.

There's also a helpful article made up of interviews with persons of sexuality for the benefit of those other than thereof, from which you clan glean useful tips for your many uppchattnings about what wimmins of lesboticity look for in a man. (I think it was meant to make more sense than this, but it doesn't.)

Still, composing a plausible profile of my own to replace the hurried stub that's there now will be Good Practice.


2004-08-06 11:36


1. Tact in Welsh!

We are so very Eisteddfod!

[At the 2004 Eisteddfod,] some members of the audience booed a speaker who addressed the meeting in English.

Laura McAllister was greeted with cries of "rheol Gymraeg" (Welsh-only rule) at the Tomorrow's Wales meeting.

Lord Elis-Thomas made the comment in Welsh "ffasgwyr iaith" (language fascists) when they refused to allow her to continue.

What exceptionally fun things we are learning to say! Let's divide up into pairs, and one of you shouts "Rheol Gymraeg!" and the other shouts back "Ffasgwyr iaith!".

Come on, that's not shouting! Try it again, and this time with feeling!

2. Molbohistorier

More tact!

The word "molbo", while literally referring to an inhabitant of the Danish village Mols on the western coast of Jutlandia, denotes in the Scandinavian languages (at least in Danish and Norwegian) a very silly and ridiculous person. Hence a Molbo-story describes what happens when the molbos of Mols try to solve problems of greater or lesser difficulty. As one might guess, they invariably fail to solve them...

With hilarious consequences!

Molboerne skulle engang grave en brnd. De fik under udgravningen en stor bunke jord til overs, som de ikke vidste, hvad de skulle gre ved, for den kunne jo ikke ligge der og flyde. En af dem fandt da p, at de skulle grave et hul et andet sted og komme jorden deri. Det syntes de andre var et godt forslag, men lidt efter spurgte en dog betnkelig: "Ja, men hvor skal vi s gre af den bunke jord, som vi fr til overs, nr hullet gravet?" Den klogeste af molboerne svarede: "Jo, det er da ligetil! Vi graver selvflgelig hullet s stort, at det kan rumme begge bunkerne p een gang!"

Some Molbos wanted to dig a well. The soil they dug out started to pile up, and they didn't know what to do, because they certainly couldn't just leave it lying arounnd. One of them came up with the plan that they should dig another hole somewhere else and put the soil in that. It seemed like a good suggestion, but after a while one of them ask thoughtfully, "Yes, but what are we going to do with the pile of soil we dig out of the new hole?" The wisest Molbo answered, "Oh, that's simple! We'll dig the hole big enough to have room for both piles!"

3. Bilbohistorier

A bilbo, on the other hand, is a mobile home, and Iceland - land of ice and ice, where the docile and sure-footed blonde wimmins, descended from those brought by Vikings, have a unique fifth gait, etc etc - is currently suffering from a plague of Norwegish touristes thuswisely equipped. (The photo is certainly striking, even if you have not the Norwegish.)

The great advantage of a motorised self-contained accommodation, of course, is that there is no need to dig a hole of any sort, so we shall never know for sure.

[Tak to Bjorn for linkages]


2004-08-06 10:05

In an increasingly global world

I am reading a long long artikell on permatanned ex-partyprinsess Madde of Sweden's mending of her ways. (Except the tan, of course.)

But the link will do you no good, Varied Reader, if - unlike me - you have not paid cold hard cash to subscribe to Aftonbladet's premium content.

My subscriptions now are to an electronic edition of a Swedish tabloid, and the paper edition of Frenchbladet Courrier International. I don't know about citizenship, but global consumption I can certainly do.


2004-08-05 16:03

Sugar and spice and all things nice

First, sugar:

At a meeting in Geneva to discuss free trade, the WTO upheld a complaint filed by Brazil, Australia and Thailand. They accused the EU of breaking trade rules by providing sugar export subsidies in excess of WTO limits. Development agency Oxfam called the WTO's decision "a triumph for developing countries".

This 'bladet continues to endorse Oxfam as the global social conscience we are too idle and ill-informed to manage in-house, so hoorah! from us, also.

Happily, though, we have ample resources in reserve for prinsessor:

Rpublicain(ne)s may complain their hearts out (preferably outside my earshot) but just think what would become of Danmark's flourishing millenery trade without their prinsessly patron!

In the same way that the FDRUSA has historically used national defence ("defense") as an excuse to prime economic development by pumping megabucks of tax-payers' money into the military-industrial complex, and has recently taken to transferring an additional tidy wedge into the private incarceration sector of its highly-profitable "penal" system, the expense of maintaining the Danish royal family more than pulls its weight in keeping boutique frockeries, hattistes and very probably flower-strewers in business.

And you can't get more hard-headedly capitaliste than that, for sure.


2004-08-05 12:34



"Star Wars is adolescent nonsense; Close Encounters is obscurantist drivel; Star Trek can turn your brains to pure of bat guano; and the greatest science fiction series of all time is Doctor Who! And I'll take you all on, one-by-one or all in a bunch to back it up!"

-- Harlan Ellison


"I am absolutely delighted that the Terry Nation estate and the BBC have been able to reach agreement on terms for the use of the Daleks in the new Doctor Who series," said Tim Hancock, agent for the Terry Nation estate.


Lets CE-LE-BRATE! by declaring it Tact With Daleks Day!


"Expulsion is the method which, in so far as we have been able to see, will be the most satisfactory and lasting. There will be no mixture of populations to cause endless trouble," declared British prime minister Winston Churchill. "A clean sweep will be made."

That would be the Sudetenland, of course.


A fringe German group, the Prussian Trust, has begun a series of lawsuits against Poland to recover property seized after the war - a move which has prompted near national hysteria as Warsaw remembers the 200,000 Poles slaughtered by the Nazis in the 1944 uprising.



Deep in the bowels of the State Library in Berlin, the yellowing pages of German newspapers tell the forgotten story of a mass poetic enthusiasm unseen before or since. The 90-year-old pages crackle as they turn from headlines proclaiming mobilisation and predicting swift victory, to thousands of poems.

"Leave fear behind! Wherever we must fight, our shots will strike! And our cannons are loaded with live fire," reads one. It is typical of the euphoric war poetry that swamped the German press after war was declared in the first days of August 1914.



2004-08-05 morning (utc+1)

Of tact and tourisme

The Norwegish coast in summertime! The Hurtigruten coastal express boat! The fjords! The glorious Lofoten islands! The rugged rocky coast! The glaciers! The sparkling crystal blue water! The endless days in the midnight sun!

Rubbish, isn't it?

Et amerikansk ektepar krever f tilbakebetalt hurtigrutebiletten fordi midnattsola de fikk se, var nyaktig den samme som de hadde i USA. Vi reiste ikke til Norge for se vr egen sol. Guiden forskte forklare hva midnattsola er, men turistene str p sitt.

Vi er blitt svindlet, raste de, og krevde pengene tilbake.

An American couple demanded a refund on their Hurtigruten tickets because the midnight sun they saw was precisely the same sun they had in the USA. "We didn't travel to Norway to see our own sun." The guide tried to explain what the midnight sun is, but the touristes stuck to their guns.

"We've been cheated," they fumed, and demanded their money back.

Insufficient respect, to my mind, is accorded to the inventiveness of American folk-cosmology. What model of the universe where these persons using? Perhaps a geocentrique one in which a mysterious second sun orbits the earth out of phase with the usual one, and can be glimpsed only from extreme latitudes. Rather than simply mock their navety, it would surely have been preferable to establish the parameters of their conceptual universe.

And then mock their navety, for sure.

Anyway, the bladet in question seems to specialise in displays of tact:

Mens arbeidslsheten stiger, 10 000 steuropeere har ftt arbeidstillatel

While unemployment climbs, 10,000 Eastern Europeans get work-permits

I'm sure that Oslo's pony-tailed pre-bubble-burstning Web designrs are devastated that all the minimum wage jobs gutting fish are going to Poles and Latvians.

[Touriste-tact link via Anna K, outboard social conscience by David]


2004-08-04 post-samwidge (utc+1)


1. My kingdom for a source!

An alleged source:

As of 1988, the U.S. census bureau determined that a stunning 13% of the population believe that some portion of the earth's moon is actually comprised of cheese.

They did, did they?

2. Would you some nice German to learn like?

Me too! These persons want to help. Check out the first section of lesson one for an experience that is instructive, if not especially in German.

3. Screen queen Knudella reigns ratings!

Kronprinsparret er suverne til at lokke familien Danmark til skrmen: Af ugens 20 mest sete TV-programmer tegner Mary og Frederik sig for de seks, deraf nr. t og to p listen.

The kronprinscouple are king when it comes to gluing Danish families to the screen: of the weeks most seen TV-programmes kronprinsess Knudella and her bloke account for six, including both first and second places.

Hoorah! Isn't it time for a dedicated cable Knudella channel? One with an InterWeb feed? I'll do the theme tune, in return for a lifetime subscription:

Where did you get that hat?
Where did you get that tile?
Isn't it a nobby one,
And just the proper style?
I should like to have one
Just the same as that!
Where'er I go they shout! "Hello!
Where did you get that hat?"

4. Foopball!

Foopball, foopball, foopball!

It's party-time all the time at the UK's Radio Foopball ("Five Live") as foopball makes its triumphant return, but the coverage is sadly not in Foreign there, so we shun it.

Instead we rely on Norwegish trashbladet VG to keep us in touch with all the latest gossips:

Hva skjer i engelsk fotball 2004?

What's happening in Engleesh foopball in 2004?

What indeed?

Les bleus de Chelsea didn't follow my brilliant plan of buying all the foopball players in the whole world, so that their opponents would be reduced to fielding sides of wimmins, childrens, cripples, household pets and even Americans, but the new manager has bought pretty much an entire squad at ridiculously inflated prices ("For Chelsea's spendthrift Russian hero, you certainly should add a zero", as the old foopball proverb runs) and had really better win everything, or he'll be a laughing stock.

"Kto kogo!"* as we Chelsea fans like to quip, "Kto kogo!"

* pronounced more like "ktoh kaVOH?", of course.


2004-08-04 fika (utc+1)

Osama October August Update

Sadly, I couldn't get any of the online gambling dens to talk to any of my browsers - they are so very sophisticated! - so I don't stand to cash in on my cynicisme but the record shows that I predicted an Osama October back in April, and now in the wake of this week's conveniently-timed security "alert" Pascal Riche of Libbladet remarks that the meme's gone mainstream:

Je discutais tout--l'heure avec un de mes confrres journalistes, un amricain qui couvre la Maison Blanche. Il est convaincu, lui aussi, que cette alerte est purement politique ("a leur ressemble bien"). Comme bien d'autres, il ne serait pas surpris que Ben Laden soit dj repr par les services amricains et que Bush attende le mois d'octobre pour donner un feu vert son arrestation. Les lecteurs amricains ne risqueraient pas de trouver cela un peu gros? "C'est pas le genre de problme qui embarrasse les gens de l'quipe Bush", assure mon confrre.

I was talking a while ago with one of my fellow journalistes, an American who covers the White House. He is also convinced that the alert is purely political ("it certainly looks that way"). Like plenty of others, he wouldn't be surprised if bin Laden had already been located by the American intelligence services and Bush were waiting for the month of October to give the green light for his arrest. Isn't there a risk the American electorate might find that a bit crude? "That's not the kind of problem that bothers the persons in the Bush team," my colleague insists.

For sure.


2004-08-04 09:49

Information wants to be useless!

With the silly season well and truly upon us, TV2 has an assortment of somethings, from which:

Snurre Spretts stemme, Mel Blanc, likte ikke gulrtter.

Bugs Bunny's voice, Mel Blanc, didn't like carrots.

13 prosent av amerikanerne tror at deler av mnen er laget av ost.

13 percent of Americans believe that parts of the moon are made of cheese.

Which provokes from me the observation or remark that my conception of uselessness is quite different from theirs: not a single source is cited for any of these somethings, which is a form of uselessness I find hard to forgive, and presumably not the one they had in mind.


2004-08-03 tea (utc+1)

Corners of foreign fields, slightly Englished

The silly Engleesh are thoughtfully taking up the slack in rural France created by urbanisation of the native population, not least in the Dordogne.

Avec trois vols quotidiens reliant Bergerac des villes anglaises, les commuters se rient du Channel: quatre jours dans les bureaux de la City pour trois la maison - une ferme prigourdine pomponne comme un cottage, o vivent demeure femme, enfants, labrador et canaris. Lance il y a une vingtaine d'annes par une poigne d'intellos et de snobs, la mode prend depuis deux ou trois ans des allures d'invasion. La Dordogne, c'est l'Arcadie des Anglais. Et les nouveaux arrivants sont de plus en plus jeunes et actifs. Ils achtent une ruine et la transforment grands frais: gtes ruraux, bed and breakfast, htels-pubs se multiplient... Ils donnent du travail aux maons et charpentiers du coin, remplissent de leur progniture les coles communales et installent petit petit une convivialit inspire des clubs et des pubs: comme ces habitus qui, depuis dix ans, viennent de tout le dpartement pour l'apritif rituel du dimanche midi sur la place de Monpazier (plutt stout que pastis), ou ceux qui participent aux concerts de la Socit musicale d' Eymet (presque deux tiers de British) ou aux charity dinners du Dordogne Ladie's Club.

With three flights a day linking Bergerac with English cities the commuters laugh - hah! - at the Channel: four (4) days in the office in the City for three (3) back at home - a farm from the Perigoud done up as a cottage, where the wife, children, labrador and canaries stay permanently. Started twenty-odd years ago by a handful of snobs and intellectuals, the fashion is starting to look like an invasion. The Dordogne is the Arcadia of Englishes. And the new arrivals are increasingly younger and more active. They buy up a ruin and transform it at great expense: country cottage for let, bed and breakfast places and inns are multiplying... They're providing work for the local masons and carpenters, filling the schools with their childrens, and instilling little by little the conviviality born of clubs and pubs, like the regulars who for ten years have been coming from all over the dpartement for the ritual apratif of Sunday lunch on the square at Monpazier (stout rather than pastis), or those who take part in the concerts of the Musical Society of Eymet (almost two-thirds British) or at the charity dinners of the Dordogne Ladies' Club.

It seems to be a not unusual feature of ex-pat communities that they cling with great tenacity to a way of life that is at least on its way to becoming an anachronisme in the parent land: whether it's the silly Engleesh playing cricket and conkers in the Dordogne or ethnique Turkish immigrants in, say, the Netherlands retaining a narrower view of Islam than has developed in Turkey. But so far the indigenously Frenchy-French do not seem to consider that these silly Engleesh intgristes pose a significant threat to the integrity of the Republique.

Meanwhile, a permanent British ex-pat sneers at the British touristes in Cyprus, and who wouldn't?

The standard holiday uniform for the average British male in the 18 - 30 bracket is based around a vest proclaiming allegiance to his homeland. On his lower half you'll see those funny little shorts that joggers wear and can only hope that there is some support underneath. Tattoos, earrings, baseball cap and sandals - thankfully never worn with socks - or trainers finish the look.

Altogether, now:

Yes I quite agree with you, I mean what's the point of being treated like a sheep, I mean I'm fed up with going abroad and being treated like a sheep, what's the point of being carted around in buses surrounded by sweaty mindless oafs from Kettering and Boventry in their cloth caps and their cardigans and their transistor radios and their 'Sunday Mirrors', complaining about the tea, "Oh they don't make it properly here do they not like at home" stopping at Majorcan bodegas, selling fish and chips and Watney's Red Barrel and calamares and two veg and sitting in cotton sun frocks squirting Timothy White's suncream all over their puffy raw swollen purulent flesh cos they "overdid it on the first day"!

(Yes, we've quoted that before. And don't think we won't do it again!)

[V'lobs linkage via Cline]


2004-08-03 samwidge (utc+1)


1. Norwegish cheese export subsidy crisis!

We like cheese! We even like Norwegish Jarlsberg cheese! (We can take or leave, and especially leave, that sweet brown goaty cheese they do though.) But now the future of Jarlsberg exports is plunged into crisis, and not in a good way:

WTO-avtalen kan srge for at Tine m kutte produksjonen av Jarlsberg i Norge med 12.500 tonn i ret. Et hundretalls jobber vil g flyten. Som flge av avtalen som ble inngtt natt til sndag, vil all eksportsttte til landbruksprodukter bli fjernet. For Tine Meierier er det drlige nyheter.

The WTO agreement can mean that [Norwegish cheese corporation] Tine will have to cut production of Jarlsberg in Norway by 12,500 tonnes a year. A hundred jobs will be cut. As a consequence of the decision reached on Sunday night, all export subsidies of farm produce will be cut. For Tine Meierier this is bad news.

It is, however, good news for farmers in developing countries who will no longer have to compete in markets rigged by the rich world's enthusiasm for keeping its farmers in the manner to which they have become accustomed.

2. Prinsess privatisation proposal, slightly preposterous

Meanwhile Gustav Holmerg, laissez-faire fundamentaliste extraordinaire, advocates privatising the Swedish royal house, since the public purse has no business supporting such an aspect of the entertainment industry:

Fr en del av njesindustrin r vad den r. Ngon ekonom eller etnolog borde (eller det kanske redan r gjort?) skriva om de europeiska kungahusen som en del av upplevelseekonomin, ngot jag upplevde sjlv i somras nr jag beskte Sofiero.

For a part of the entertainment industry is what it is. Some economiste or anthropologiste should write (or maybe already has?) about European royalty as a part of the leisure economy, something I experience myself this summer when I visited Sofiero [a royal chteau, palace or castle with gardens].

(He goes on to cite Bourdieu on fashion and transubstantiation in connection with the UK's lamentable prins Charles's lamentable range of boutique eco-hippy tat from his very own organique farm. But this 'bladet, while fond of Bourdieu, declines to discuss loser-boy Charles.)

In any case, the economic impact of the UK royalty in touriste revenues has been estimated*, and is quoted as being far greater than the revenues of paying attractions explicitly connected with them: for example, touristes have watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham palace for countless generations, and it is only recently that they have had the opportunity to be relieved of substantial cash by way of an interior tour.

And I don't think the American touristes, for example, would flood over quite so eagerly for a dynasty whose privileges were purely economique: they can, after all, get that at home.

* I have no idea whether the estimates are trustworthy, of course.


2004-08-03 morning (utc+1)

Bouvet Islands: Independence Now!

A nice BBC article on Gibraltar and other enclaves ends:

And will anyone disturb Norwegian possession of Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic which is uninhabited and covered with glaciers?

The Norwegian Penguins Liberation Front will, for sure.


2004-08-02 16:58

Exolinguogamy, Yoorpean-style

If you'd heard of Caf Babel and didn't tell me, Varied Reader, you did (or rather left undid) a thing other than which you should have done.

We learned of it, instead, via Courier International, in an article by Gionata Pacor on bilingual couples:

La cohabitation est le test dcisif pour vrifier la compatibilit d' un couple binational. Car chaque petite habitude de la vie quotidienne peut donner lieu un dilemme. Ainsi, dans les pays du nord et de l' est de l'Europe, les gens enlvent presque toujours leurs chaussures quand ils entrent dans un domicile priv, chose inimaginable en Italie ou en Espagne. La diversit des climats en est probablement la raison : il est normal qu'en Slovaquie, o il neige un quart de l'anne, les gens prennent l'habitude d'enlever leurs chaussures quand ils rentrent chez eux. Ce sont en gnral les femmes qui imposent leurs rgles sur ce point, et elles les imposent aussi quand elles vivent dans un pays aux conditions climatiques compltement diffrentes de leur pays d'origine.

Cohabitation is the acid test of compatability for a binational couple. Because each of the habits of everyday life can give rise to a dilemma. Thus, in the countries of northern and eastern Europe, persons almost always take off their shoes when entering a private dwelling, something unimaginable in Italy or Spain. Probably the diversity of climates is behind this: in Slovakia, where it sns for a quarter of the year, persons take care to remove their shoes when they get home. It's generally the wimmins' rules that prevail on this point, even when they are living in a country with a completely different climate from their country of origin.

Marriage can certainly demand some give and also some take, but to make a habit of treading sn and slush into the carpets of your home in Troms or Bratislava is surely no small sacrifice, however Spanish or Italian your wife may be.

Pour les couples binationaux, une question reste souvent ouverte : o se sent-on "chez soi" ? Dans une socit multiethnique et multiculturelle comme celle dans laquelle nous vivons, et malgr tous les efforts pour s'intgrer, on reste toujours "l'Italien", "l'Allemande", "l'Espagnol", "la Russe". "Avec la diversit des expriences, nos racines auront plus ou moins d' importance, mais de toute faon, c'est l o on se sentira le mieux qu'on aura l'impression d'tre chez soi", conclut Giovanni. Qui sait si, un jour, on pourra dire qu'on se sent "chez soi en Europe" ?

For binational couples, one question often remains open: where do they feel "at home"? In a multiethnique and multicultural society like the one we live in, and despite all efforts to integrate, one is always "the Italian", "the German", "the Spanish", "the Russian". "With the diversity of experience, our roots will have a greater or lesser importance, but in any case, it's where you feel best that makes you feel you're at home," concludes Giovani [a 28-year old living in Dsseldorf]. Who knows if one day it'll be possible to say you feel "at home in Europe"?

Jag r redan hos mig i Europa, tack. ("Je suis dj chez moi en Europe, merci bien.")


2004-08-02 fika (utc+1)


1. Touristes say the funniest things!

Iflge Bergensavisen (BA) dukket en amerikaner opp ved Turistinformasjonen i Bergen og spurte om f kart over hvor vikingene bodde. Han var overbevist om at de fremdeles levde.

According to Bergenavisen [a newsbladet, for sure], an American turned up at the Bergen touriste information office and asked for a map of where the vikings lived. He was convinced they were still around.

2. "Donald", Norway?

The duck is Kalle Anka ("Charley Duck") in Sweden, and Anders And ("Andy Duck") in Denmark, but just plain Donald Duck in Norway, apparently. A duck by any name would entertain, though, which is more than can be said of the lamentable Mouse: like Superman and Charlie Chaplin, the status of Most Iconic Exemplar of a genre immediately sucks the air out of any material they infest, leaving it drab and second-rate.

While the Duck rules:

- Donald er sjefen. Det er han flest spr om, sier Jan Petter Krogh ved Tegneseriemuseet og viser frem et eksemplar av det frste Donald-heftet utgitt i Norge.

"Donald is the boss. It's him that most persons ask about", says Jan Petter Krogh at the Cartoonmuseum and shows an example of the first Donald-collection put out in Norway.

3. Streichholzshchtelchen?


The German language council will spend the next couple of months sorting through thousands of entries for the most beautiful word in the German language.


According to the German language council website, someone from Melbourne suggested Streichholzshchtelchen (matchbox) because "if as foreigner you can pronounce it, then you can pronounce everything - and that's nice".

Marvellous. We are very fond at this 'bladet of German languageistes' increasing desparate gimmicks to preserve the language's status as the third Yoorpean heavyweight. So much so, that we have declared August "learn German month". Streichholzshchtelchen!

[UPDATE: It's Streichholzschchtelchen, silly Upsidedownian! Streichholzschchtelchen, for sure!]


2004-08-02 10:13

Da da doo dah

Here comes the sun! Again!

ntligen sol - nu kommer vrmen. Aftonbladets vderexpert lovar 30 grader i augusti

Sun at last - heat's coming. Aftonbladet's weatherexpert promises 30 degrees [Celcius] in August.

This perpetually-deferred summer riff is almost as good as the old-time snkaos, isn't it? For what it's worth, Swedishes, it's been baking in Blighty over the weekend. It's a very August sweltering hotness, and the waspses are loving it.


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