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2004-12-10 15:25

Poorly prinsess party out-pullning

It is prinsess Madeleine! And she has got the lurgi! And, which is slightly devastating, will not be attending the Nobelprizeoutgivingdinner!

Hon r nedbddad, har feber och r ont i halsen, sger Ann-Christine Jernberg.

"She is down-bedded, has fever and a pain in the neck", says Ann-Christine Ironmountain

Ann-Christine Ironmountain, I can confidently assure you that right now I feel considerably worse than any such prinsess. But do I slack off in my country's hour of need? Do I shirk the duty for which fate has destined me?

Bloody right I do! Trevlig helg!


2004-12-10 12:50

Nothing is blue, everything has forgotten

As the old man of the mountains used to quip enigmatically. Still drunk then, it has turned out, and still drunk now if I do not miss my guess. Mr Bombay and his performing sapphires have done for me.

I have a vair vair boring paper to respond to vair vair tiresome referees's comments to, and it has to be done today or else. (There isn't really much of an "or else", given that this is academia, but we do like to pretend.)

If anyone needs me, I'll be starching my upper lip.


2004-12-10 09:56

A mighty drinkning

Let us say, since it is the case, that I haven't been home last night, and I'm not sure if I'm hungover or just still drunk.

Expect lower even than usual standards of clarety and rigger, for sure.


2004-12-09 15:13

Why I am so vair vair geeky

The University of Openness will be wanting its essays referenced in the popular Harvard (Someone, 1900) style. I will be writing and typesetting them, needless to say, with Emacs and LaTeX.

But I've just upgraded to Suse Liunx 9.1, and the bundled TeX distribution didn't include the Harvard BibTeX stuff.

It's all better, now. But, oh, what fun I have not had. (It isn't, I regret to say, easy being a geek.)


2004-12-09 smawidge (utc)


1. Engleesh, all too Engleesh

Over tien jaar zal bijna de helft van de wereldbevolking Engels kunnen spreken. Dat blijkt uit een Britse studie die donderdag in Edinburgh is gepubliceerd. Uit het onderzoek blijkt dat rond 2015 in totaal drie miljard mensen zich in het Engels kunnen uitdrukken.

In ten years half of the world's population will speak English, according to a British study published in Edinburgh on Thursday. The research shows that around 2015 a total of three billion people will be able to express themselves in English.

This is the British Council saying this, though, so don't stand down the Saltsprinkling Squad just yet.

2. Sour grapes

Who'd be a Frenchy-French winegrower, eh?

Competition from Australia and Latin America has seized an important share of France's export market, which is in its sixth successive year of decline. [...]

At the same time, a bumper crop of grapes this year has caused a glut of French wines, while domestic consumption steadily drops. The average French adult now drinks about 50 litres each year, compared to 126 litres in the 1960s.

Needless to say, they are reacting in time-honoured Frenchy-French style by holding demonstrations. In particular, against the government's publicity campaign against alcoholisme. They may be a drain on the health services to you M. le ministre, but to us they are our most loyaux customeurs!

3. I haven't been so surprised since the sun came up this morning

So, Greece defrauded its way into the Euro. And guess what?

Italy joins Greece under scrutiny for misreporting data


A report drawn up by the European Commission has alleged that Italy has been underestimating its deficit since 1997.


2004-12-09 09:53

Russo-German Tact!

Historically-(isn't it always)-motivated:

The so-called "Russian-Germans" are descendents of immigrants invited to Russia by Catherine the Great in the 18th Century.

Oppressed during the Soviet era, they were allowed to leave for Germany by Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s, and more than two million have done so.

And their descendants have been granted a right to return to German, which they have exercised, and in the process created Russophone ghettos in (in particular) Berlin, "so" the right of such persons to immigrate now going to be restricted to those who can demonstrate competence in German.

Because, as we all know, Ett land, ett sprk, ett folk!

Skipping, as you shouldn't, over some feecha journalisme, we find a revealing remark:

Around the corner from Alexander Reiser's office a small class of middle-aged Russian-German women grapple with verb conjugations, helped by Mariana Fox, a retired Russian teacher who lives nearby.

"I want to help them speak their mother language," Ms Fox says. "They are our brothers and sisters. They are German, they're not Russian. They can't speak the language because it was forbidden."

When the FDRUSA was still sane, this was often one of the things it was most conspicuously sane about. Now, I think it's probably a lost cause for the forseeable.



2004-12-08 16:08


1. Unprinsessly ponchos

It is Mr Bush and Mr Putin! Together! In Mejico! Wearing ponchos!

2. He's not the Prince of Darkness,

he's a very naughty boy!

Instead of the usual Father Christmas, visitors to Satan's Grotto at York Dungeon are greeted by a man dressed as the Devil with a red face and horns. [...]

"It is not just complaining for the sake of it," [a priestly type] continued.

"There are real evil forces and we in our work come across people who are damaged seriously through their involvement with occult forces."

3. Stuff!

I forgot to mention that among the Stuff the Amazon pixie brought was a Berlitz Engels-Nederlands woordenboek. Dutchy-Double-Dutch, here I come, ready or not!


2004-12-08 12:19


1. Bah!

The University of Openness is now scheduling Stuff for delivery next Tuesday.

2. Bah preemption!

I was all set to moan about Amazon's recent tendency to interpret "usually despatched within 24 hours" as meaning "I'd give it a week if I were you", but then the Amazon pixie visited.

3. Livlkarens besk

You can read Aftonbladet's review, but la-di-dah DN's is behing their paywall. With so many 'bladets operating a short public window, I think I need a meeja web cache/archive to stay sane as a European studiesiste.

Since I can't find a pre-built one, I may yet find myself back down t' code mines.

Meanwhile, on the translatr:

Like most literary folks, the couple dream of hitting the best-seller list - Nunnally works part time as an office manager for an architectural firm, employment that gives them both medical coverage. Her latest candidate for best-sellerdom is her translation of "The Royal Physician's Visit" by Swedish author Per Olov Enquist, which will be published this fall by Overlook.

She missed the gravy-train with her translation of Miss Smilla's Feeling For Sn, translated on a royalty-free per-word contract; let's hope she caught this one.


2004-12-08 morning (utc)


Can anyone say "Long winter evenings"? But, really, wow!


2004-12-07 15:13

Let them eat salmon, yuck!

Enfin je me rappelai le pis-aller d'une grande princesse qui l'on disait que les paysans n'avaient pas de pain, et qui rpondit: Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.

At length I recollected the wise saying of a tall prinsess, who, on being informed that the country people had no cod on account of it being so well hidden, replied, 'Then let them eat salmon. Can't stand the stuff myself, mind you.'

- Jean-Jacques "Snack-Attack" Rousseau, Confessions, book 6

And lo!

Un saumon sauvage pch dans la Seine, aprs 100 ans d'absence.

A wild salmon caught in the Seine, after 100 years of absence.

This is an upcleanning story, at heart, of course.


2004-12-07 samwidge (utc)

They're not extinct; they're just hiding!

Codfishes! Come out, come out, wherever you are:

N viser en studie av hyse i Nordsjen at fisk trolig kan ha hukommelse som strekker seg over flere r. Hyse skal ha opparbeidet en forblffende evne til unng bli fanget i garnet - ved bruke overlevelsesteknikker de lrte seg tidlig i livet. Ekspertene er sikker p at andre arter, som torsk og hvitting, er minst like kapable til det samme.

Now a study of North Sea hyse has shown that fishes really can remember things for several years. Hyse have developed a surprising ability to be avoid being caught in the nets - by using "survivaltechniques" that they learned earlier in life. Experts are sure that other species, such as cod and hvitting are at least as good at this.

If it wasn't for sonar-equipped mega-trawlers, they might even have had a future. Sadly:

Commercial fishing should be banned in 30% of UK waters to save threatened species, an influential report says.

The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution said the UK had to "reduce the capacity of the UK fishing fleet to an environmentally sustainable level".

Needless to say, it's recommendations are being opposed by fisherpersons and ignored by politicians.

The RCEP also said some of the effects of current fishing practices were ruinous: a recently-introduced net with a mouth the size of 50 football pitches, for example, and bottom-trawlers which plough furrows up to 6m wide and 0.15m deep for many km across the seabed.

Let's see you hide from that, then, Colin McCodfish, eh?


2004-12-07 09:40

Today we are mostly matching prinsesses with inanimate objects!

1. Poncho!

It is prinsess Madeleine! And she is wearing a poncho!

I gr tog prinsessan Madeleine och kronprinsessan Victoria emot unga forskare p Stockholms slott -och det var just en poncho som prinsessan Madeleine kltt sig i.

Yesterday prinsess Madeleine and kronprinsess Vickan met young researchers at Stockholm castle or chteau - and she was wearing a poncho.

Apparently ponchos are set to be this winter's must have, but we, for one, recommend accessorising them with a prinsess if avoiding ridicule is a priority.

2. Book!

Prinsess Mrtha Louise of Norway, who has to earn her own keep these days, has followed the time-honoured route of persons unilaterally convinced of their own talents and written a childrens' book:

Prinsesse Mrtha Louise opplever en salgssuksess uten like med boken Hvorfor de kongelige ikke har krone p hodet. Hittil er boken trykket i 20.000 eksemplarer.

Prinsess Mrtha Louise experiences a sales success without like with the book "Why the royal wears no krown". To date the book has been printed in 20,000 examples.

Did we all read the long interview with Prinsess M-L exclusive to Plus Medlemmar, which we surely all are? As a thinker, she makes a great prinsess, for sure.

3. Skis!

It is kronprinsess Vickan of Sweden:

Victoria och Daniel Westling har varit p hemlig skidsemester. Kronprinsessan har blivit friluftsprinsessan och tillbringade helgen i lngdskidspret.

Victoria and Daniel Westling have been on a secret skiing holiday. The kronprinsess has become an openairprinsess and spent the weekend on cross-country ski trails.

They are electrically lit, on account of the dark, you see.

4. Bogglement!

It is kronprinsess Vickan again! And she is apparently now considered fit to undertake one of the most solemn and onerous duties of 'Wegian royalty, the Twinkletree interview with a frog:

I r fr grodan Skurt nja sig med att intervjua kronprinsessan.
- Silvia tyckte att hon redan hade trffat Skurt s mnga gnger, sger hovmarskalk Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg.
Grodan Skurt r en av landets mest rutinerade hovreportrar.

This year Skurt the frog will make do with interviewing the kronprinsess.
"Silvia thinks that she has met Skurt so many times", says hovmarskalk Elisabeth Tinsel-Warblog.
Skurt the frog [it says here] is one of the country's most experienced court reporters [honest].

It isn't, as we have previously had occasion to remark, easy being a prinsess!


2004-12-06 15:59

Council of Ministers: An Upstitchning

As per bleeding usual:

EU justice ministers meeting in Brussels on Thursday (2 December) took further steps on controversial proposals to retain data about telephone calls and e-mails as part of an overall fight against crime and terrorism.

Kudos to the Germans, who spotted (as they have reason to, after all) some of what this sort of behaviour can lead to.

And kudos also to The Scotsman for headlining the story Fury over EU Bid to Log Private Communications. And remember: when the EU stitches you up a treat, cherchez les ministres.

And a hearty raspberry in the general direction of David "Security" Blunkett, who we suspect knows very well what this sort of behaviour can lead to, and finds it good. (He wasn't there, presumably being too busy with his recent meeja stardom to stitch us up in person, despite being one of the chief architects.)


2004-12-06 12:46

Hooray for Jos!

Jos ("Hans Christian") Anderson, that it. And in particular his many ambassadors and ambassadrices, of which in most particular the lovely Kronprinsessmary of Danmark. But also some new translations of his charming fairy tales:

The most handsome of the pair is the Penguin Viking edition, which comes with a plush red cover, gold-tipped pages and a bookmark, angling it towards the Christmas market. In fact, this is a book that has so much sense of itself that it is quite possible to imagine it as a character in an Andersen tale, one of those inanimate objects that develops a crush on a snowflake. What it also has is a translation by Tiina Nunnally who did such a brilliant job on that unlikely hit of 2002, Per Olov Enquist's The Visit of the Royal Physician.

I knew, it embarasses me somewhat to confess, nothing of this unlikely hit (AKA Livlkarens besk) until just now. Knowing, as I now do, that it was both in Swedish and much concerned with the ideas of the Upplysningen (Englightenment), and for all I know may even involve prinsessor and is certainly available in cheapo Pocket format, I feel I will be owning a copy before long.

And big kudoses to Tiina Nunnally for translating bi-'Wegianally, also, as well!


2004-12-06 09:32


1. Mudhoppning

Skihoppning, which is to say, with no sn. The big story in VG is that Their Boy woulda won, if the judges had done the decent thing about conditions.

Happily, for once Finwegish Hufvudstadsbladet also covers the hoppning, and simply remarks that Their Boy won, and has now won a record-equalling first four stages.

Actually they do concede that Ljkelsy [sic] had the worst of the conditions, eventually.

2. Peppercakehousecompetition!

Over at VG. Sadly I am too silly an Engleesh to know much of peppercakearchitecture. Maybe next time.

3. Mmm, wine

It is Nicholas Lezard reviewing a book (Phylloxera, by Christy Campbell) on how the bad-nasty Phylloxera insects nearly put the kaybosh on Yoorps vineyards.

Featuring frightful insects, superstitious Occitanophone peasantry, and a guest appearance by American rootstock as the fifth cavalry!


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