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2004-12-17 17:14

Unintelligeing for fun and profit

As you doubtless well know, the world is a very wicked place, and their need to give an account of it means that newspapers are litanies of woe.

One quite effective coping strategy, I am certainly in a position to remark, is to view this such news through the haze of partial comprehension that arises from reading a language one barely grasps.

Of course, for this strategy to be effective you have to be willing to replace a language as you start to become competent in it, and we have recently therefore adopted, as is known, the Dutchy-Double Dutch for this purpose, and the NRC Handelsblad is our new news source of choice. (Blad is Dutchy-Double-Dutch for 'bladet, so we felt at home at once.) From which we learn of a recent development vis--vis Turkey and the EU:

Erkenning Cyprus als splijtzwam

It is so very much a splijtzwam, though, isn't it?


2004-12-17 15:59

Why I am so very unpatriotique

Selon Robin Cook, a political has-been:

Former foreign secretary Robin Cook has struck a blow for those who prefer their home comforts to a tropical beach or ski-slope, claiming Christmas is the best time of the year to be in Britain.

Writing in a diary column in the London Evening Standard, Mr Cook said: "I have always regarded it as unpatriotic to go abroad for Christmas."

We prefer to call it "cosmopolitan" round these parts, of course. But apparently record numbers are doing it this year:

Last year, 1.8m UK citizens left the UK during the festive period - and the figure is expected to be even higher this year.

(Readers of a delicate disposition might wish to avoid the rancid forthspewings of the lumpencommentariat at the bottom.)


2004-12-17 1103286904


Interweb, Interweb help us to guess
Which of them's smarter, the king or prinsess?

Daniel Nyln - for it is he! - was recently voted Sweden's most powerful journaliste, and not by an Interweb survey, either. He is certainly using his power wisely, if you ask us:

Kronprinsessan Victoria r smartast i kungafamiljen - tminstone enligt en underskning p internet.

Kronprinsess Vickan is the smartest in the royal family - at least according to an survey on the Internet.

Also, an outbreak of upsidedownianism is forecast among the 'Wegian prinsesses:

AUSTRALIA is expecting a double dose of Scandinavian royalty in March with Sweden announcing a visit by the heir to the Swedish throne, to coincide with that of Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden will visit in March for Swedish Style in Australia, a month-long celebration to highlight Sweden's excellence in design, fashion, music, travel, environmental sustainability and food.

Is that wise, Kronprinsess?

[Tack to Anna Louise for the second of these]


2004-12-17 omehead (utc)

It'll julfrukost ya

There is a glorious Danish history and cultual at Twinkletree called the julfrukost in which they have their breakfast, which is generally had at lunchtime anyway, and replace ("supplement") it with beverages of an alcoholic nature.

This is of course not Danmark, and although we have a similar custom, we do not especially call it that.

2004-12-16 13:24

Verisimilitude is only skin deep

Real programmers put the finishing touch to their figures by editing the Postscript files in a text editor.

(The alternative is Matlab; 'nuff said.)


2004-12-16 10:15

Felix, could you ask your ratbag prins father to pass the salt, please?

In frosty Danmark, where our scene is laid
The winter's grip is set to tighten yet
At court, despite the light of Twinkletree
And presents heaped about its base and feasts
Of samwidge-cakes and fish and yummy whale:
A prinsess and a prins turned back to frog;
A couple once, 'tis true, and deep in love
Have gone their sep'rate ways these last three months
But at this festive time the queen requests
A show, if only show, of union
Before their children and before their folk:
The ice inside is such as fire can't melt:

Drottningen tvingar prins Joachim och Alexandra att fira jul tillsammans. Nu vill hon f andra skilsmssofamiljer att flja de kungligas exempel.

The queen is forcing prins J. and prinsess Alexandra to celebrate Christmas together. Now she wants other separated families to follow the royal example.


2004-12-15 16:43

How not to get fat and weak, and cure RSI into the bargain

The von Bladet method!

  1. Fat and weak, for my purposes, is if I can't do a doorframe pull-up
  2. To avoid it, be sure to do some doorframe pullups occasionally
  3. If you can't, eat less

This is a cure for RSI in the fine tradition of "Stop it or I'll give you something to whine about!" therapy; I am still finding out if it actually works. But when I went climbing more my wrists hurt less, for sure.


2004-12-15 12:52

It's wrong, but it tastes so right!

Yummy but endangered; it's a whale's life:

Der var vgehval og andet lkkert grnlandsk hvalkd p menuen, da kokkeforeningen Nordisk Kkken afholdt Nordisk Kkken Symposium 18.-19. november.

En af gsterne var fdevareminister Hans Christian Schmidt (V), en anden den norske mad- og landbrugsminister Lars Sponheim.

Men nu viser det sig, at kdet efter alt at dmme var ulovligt importeret i strid med bde EU-regler og CITES-konventionens regler om handel med truede dyr.

It was something (pilot?) whale and other yummy Greenland whale meat on the menu when the chef's association Nordisk Kkken held their Symposium on the 18-19th November.

One of the guests was foodstuffs minister Hans Christian Schmidt and another the Norwegian food- og farming minister Lars Sponheim.

But now it turns out that to all appearances the meat was illegally imported in contravention of both EU rules and the CITES conventions on trade in endangered animals.

You can hardly expect the ministers of food of two kingdoms practicing whale hunting to know the ins and outs of that sort of stuff though, isn't it? Pass the gravy, there's a chap...


2004-12-15 10:32


IT IS an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
'By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?'

It isn't an ancient Mariner, sillyhead, it's Michael Fortescue of the Institute for Nordic Studies and Linguistiques at Shoppingharbour ("Copenhagen") University, and he wants to take the opportunity raised by the lexical (non-)problems faced by the Inuit as new fauna and meteorological phenomena encroach into their domain to have a quick word about the number of Inuit words for albatross sn:

Det forklarer professor Michael Fortescue, Institut for Nordiske Studier og Sprogvidenskab p Kbenhavns Universitet, der i flere r har arbejdet med sprog i bl.a. Vestgrnland.

Iflge professoren bruger grnlnderne til dels danske lneord til at beskrive nye ting. Men til at beskrive gammelkendte fnomer af stor betydning for hverdagen, f.eks. sne, holder de fast i det grnlandske sprog.

So [we omit what] explains Professor Michael Fortescue of the Institute for Nordic Studies and Linguistics at Copenhagen University, who has worked on languages from West Greenland, amongst others, for several years.

Acording to the professor, Greenlanders usually use Danish loanwords to describe new things. But to describe well-known phenomena of great importance in everyday life, e.g., snow, they stick with the Greenlandic language.

Fair enough, prof; much obliged! See ya!

He holds him with his skinny hand,
'There was a ship,' quoth he.
'Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!'
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
He holds him with his glittering eye--
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years' child:
The Mariner hath his will.

He's no grey-beard loon, he's a nice professor! Although I'll grant you the glittering eye.

P basis af fire basale ord for sne og is kan man lave hundredvis af ordafledninger, hvis man vil. Nogle af dem vil sjldent blive brugt, men de kan tilfje ekstra nuancer, siger han.

"On the basis of four basic words for snow and ice one can make hundreds of derivative words, if desired. Some of them will rarely be used, but one can add additional nuances", he says.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier - for it is she! - break the spell and rescue us, if you can, by a judiciously-timed inanity!

Vi kan ikke engang bekrive, hvad vi ser, lyder det fra formanden for den skaldte Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Sheila Watt-Cloutier, der taler p vegne af over 150.000 mennesker i Grnland, Canada, Alaska og Rusland.

"We can't even describe what we see", sounds it from the spokesperson of the so-called Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Sheila Watt-Cloutier, who speaks for over 150.000 persons in Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Russia.

You can just imagine poor young Quotherqon-Qomaaq, can't you? "Hello sn, hello yummy sealcubs, hello ... um... thingummijig."

It'd put anyone off their skipping, for sure. (Inuit has over a dozen words for thingummijig, of course, but even so.)

("Geuicy" Geoff Pullum, who has an albatross in his bonnet about this such stuff, has opened a richly-somethinged tin of whoop-bum on a silly Engleesh version of this story too also, as well.)


2004-12-14 16:58

Save the penguins!

It is a ginormous iceberg and it means the fluffy li'l penguinchicks harm!

Tens of thousands of Antarctic penguin chicks could starve because an iceberg is blocking their parents' access to coastal feeding grounds, officials say.

Adelie penguins on Cape Royds face a 180-km (112-mile) round trip in the coming weeks to bring food to chicks, New Zealand government scientists say.

It is so very sad! I know one naughty iceberg that won't be getting any biscuits under the Twinkletree!


2004-12-14 12:22


1. Why my cheese is so stinquant

La moutarde, le Roquefort, les chalotes et le foie gras franais, dj lourdement handicaps sur le march amricain, o ils subissent des droits de douanes prohibitifs, ont subi mardi une nouvelle dfaite devant la tribunal de premire instance de l'UE.

Mustard, Roquefort, chalotes and French foie gras, already heavily handicapped on the Americain market, where they are subject to prohibitive import duties, suffered a new defeat in the tribunal of the first instance of the EU on Tuesday.

It is a long and tangled tale, for sure, all having started when the WTO green-lighted punitive American countermeasures when we very sensibly refused to touch their hormone-injected cows with a bargepole.

But why not think of the poor Frenchy-French peasant farmers this Twinkletree and help them out by treating yourself to some nice Roquefort? This such consumeur activisme is a kind at which I think I could be good.

2. It isn't easy being a Twinkletree!

Expressen has lauched a competition to find Sweden's ugliest Twinkletree.

Since we, for one, firmly believe that all Twinkletrees are sacred, we are currently investigated whether we can complain that this is inciting religious hatred.

3. Battle of the 'Bladets!

My Courrier International subscription is up for renewal.

I've also had offers from Le Monde hebdo, which makes me wish I operated a household that could sustain readership of two (2) Frenchy-French hebdos, but is hardly a replacement (especially since I've never actually seen one), and Politiken hebdo from Danmark, which confines itself to domestique news for homesick ex-pats, and is just slightly too stiflingly parochial for anyone else.

So, is there any other hebdo worth considering or should I (which is the default) stick with CI? (Anyone suggesting Paris Match will be soundly chastised, for sure.)

(I'm still not on speaking terms with The Economiste, of course.)


2004-12-14 stuff! (utc)

I have stuff!

I have much stuff!

But at a recommended daily average of 16 hours a week, with a nominal use-by date of early April (i.e., 10 weeks away), that's 160 hours worth of doing, or four (4) full-time weeks' worth.

There is emphatically not that much stuff. But even so, I'm going to see if I can crank out the (off-peak) hours until it's all gone.

Stuff, though! It's very exciting!


2004-12-13 16:23

Workers of the world, unitenings thereof

The dastardly capitalistes are creating an increasingly global world for themselves; it is time for the glorious proletariat to have a go too.

Ett exempel r fackens arbete fr att inte General Motors ska kunna spela ut olika orter mot varandra. Den europeiska Metallfederationen har spelat en viktig roll.

En annan spnnande trend r att nationella fackfrbund samarbetar direkt med varandra.

Tyska Verdi och brittiska Unison enades i hstas om att stlla gemensamma krav p arbetsgivare och regeringar. Det finns en liknande utveckling i kemiindustrin.

An example is the unions' work to prevent General Motors from playing off locations against each other. The European Metalfederation has played an important role.

Another exciting trend is that national union associations are collaborating directly with one another.

German Verdi and British [white collar union] Unison united in the autumn to put a common set of demands to employers and governments. A similar development is taking place in the chemical industry.

Most of that leader article in the solidly leftiste Aftonbladet is put together from quotes from Professor Jeremy Waddington of Manchester University, which is in Manchester. Small world, innit?


2004-12-13 12:44

Stupid prejudices make bad law

The French school headscarf ban had to be smuggled in under a ban on religious symbols, of course, which had the side effect of catching previously inoffensive yarmulkas and turbans in the crossfire.

Now it's the turn of yummy chocklits:

Children in north-east France will be deprived of a traditional chocolate treat this winter, under the country's ban on religious symbols in schools.

The chocolate figures, depicting St Nicholas, were recalled from the area's schools after a teacher noticed large crosses on them, banned under the law.

The big question now, of course, is whether Twinkletrees count as religious symbols, if you take the precaution of having no angels on them.

"The teachers didn't have to touch anything," [the town's mayor] said, quoted by AFP news agency. "St Nicholas was a bishop, he is always portrayed with his cross and missal."

"Clouseau, you blundering nincompoop, brown and religious is normally bad, yes, but these are not in fact Muslim chocklits!", isn't it?


2004-12-13 morning (utc)

Desbladet sportsfocus!

First, let's go to the hoppning!

Ah, let's go to the hop
Let's go to the hop, (oh baby)
Let's go to the hop, (oh baby)
Let's go to the hop
Come on, let's go to the hop

AT THE HOP, Danny & The Juniors

And we seem to 've missed the episode where Adam Malysz (pr. "Mowish", to rhyme with "cowish") of Polandland took top spot, but Janne "The Manne" Ahonen is back on song:

Janne Ahonen bara lnade segerpallen till Adam Malysz, visade det sig. I gr tog han sin femte vrldscupseger p sex tvlingar, en makals inledning p backssongen.

Janne Ahonen only loaned the victorypodium to Adam Malysz, it turned out. Yesterday he scored his fifth worldcupvictory in six outings, a peerless opening to the hoppning season.

There's still time for the Norwegish team to regroup for the all-important Four Hills, for sure, but we've always had a soft spot for Janne "The Manne" Ahonen of Finland, too.

And now we turn to the only sport more fantastic than hoppning: the cricket! We boycotted, as the England team would have done if they could, the wretched malarkeys in Zimbabwestan, but now Our Boys are out in Seth Efrica, and they are doing what England cricket teams do best:

England finished the second day against South Africa A a perilous 98 runs ahead at 154-7, after more batting frailties.

It's only a warm-up, but they were 3-3 at the beginning of the second innings. At least Vaughn's in some kind of form again, though.


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