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2005-05-27 15:51

Oh the humidity!

It's hot hot hot today, which in Blightian terms means the high 20s, but I had to go to the library in the baking scorching sweltering heat that there is, except that on the way I happened upon a colleague and he lent me the book in question - it was a question of a book, you see - instead.

I hope it's an air-conditioned train going oop north this evening and I especially hope there's a seat on it for our Imperial arse.

And with this thought, I take, Varied Reader, my leave of you until Tuesday or I get a convenient spell of Interweb access, WCS.


2005-05-27 13:50


1. Prinsesspractice: pre-sprog pooch preparations

It is our dearly beloved Knudella walkin' the dawg her very own self:

Frederik og Mary har sagt, at de selv vil st for opdragelsen af deres barn, og det samme glder benbart for deres hund.

Kronprinsfred and Knudella ("Mary") have said that they will take charge of bringing up their children(s), and the same clearly goes for their doggy.

Childrens aren't just for Christmas, too!

[link supplied and quoted by Birgitte, tack!]

2. Careering around

It is on Tuesdays that I need to buy the Graun for jobs.

There are a few jobs knocking around involving data wrangling (from IT systems) to inform government policy at local or (specialised) national levels, and I fail to see why anyone should be better at that than I can arrange to be in short order.

3. Lunch

We all piled off out for lunch, and then when we got back one of our visitors remarked that he was looking for someone with my name, not realising that I was such a person. Maths departments, isn't it?


2005-05-27 09:52

For shame, Danmark Tyskland!

It is the Tsky-Tsk trashbladets, and they are targetting Unprins Marius (8). Which is entirely out of order, for sure - his mummy may be the lovely kronprinsess Mette-Marit, but he himself is both a children and a civilian.

Etter r med lgnhistorier om kronprinsparet, har tyske ukeblader begynt fabrikkere historier om Marius Borg Hiby (8).

After years of printing lies about the kronprinscouple, German trashbladets have started making up stories about Marius Borg Hiby (8).

Our thrashbladet of preference, Neue Blatt is not on the list of shame and in fact seems to have got the memo that Royle Hices are equipped with lawyers and are not afraid to use them.

Meanwhile VG goes on to huff:

Artiklene er langt fra hva en kan finne i norske ukeblader.

The articles are far from what may be found in Norwegish trashbladets.

Butter wouldn't melt, isn't it? Se og Hr, for one, wouldn't slander a fly...


2005-05-26 16:28

Footnotes to Plato or prolegomena to moi?

We are not a connoisseur of BBC Radio Hampstead's In Our Time, and we find it difficult to regret a situation that has minimised our exposure to Melvyn Bragg (an institution in British arts programming, and one for which we have but little time) but they are hosting a poll on the Greatest Philosophe EVAR.

Nominations are open to the public, which is as necessary as it is civilised given that their in-house list saw fit to include AJ "Freddy" Ayer but not Martin "Heigh-Ho" Heidegger.

My favourite philosophe is Rockin' Ren Descartes, but I'm not about to start exhibiting opinions on the greatest EVAR. (Actually, to hell with it: I'll have Karl "The Spectre" Marx, please. And that he probably wasn't a "philosophe" sricto sensu we consider an asset.)


2005-05-26 13:12

The fine line between genius and stupidity

I have a problem, and the problem I have is this: I know very little mathematics beyond what I did at school and a handful of (very useful) tricks I picked up on my MSc.

This means that it is not usually worth me worrying my pretty little head about exactly why I'm doing something, since I wouldn't understand. But when I do worry my pretty little head about things ideas appear in it, and sometimes they are good ideas but sometimes they are not.

Right now is one of one of these sometimeses: using a (version of) a technique I learned half a lifetime ago I have either done something very clever or something completely idiotic, and the only way to find out which is to tell my boss all about it.

In other news, cricket.


2005-05-26 09:45

Il Liverpool campione d'Europa.

Per la quinta volta, for sure:

Il Liverpool campione d'Europa. Per la quinta volta. Nella maniera pi straordinaria possibile. Raggiunge il Milan, in vantaggio 3-0 dopo i primi 45' nel secondo tempo, con un uno-due-tre micidiale, per poi trionfare ai calci di rigore. Una Coppa gettata al vento dai rossoneri quando gi si rincorrevano statistiche sui 4-0 a Steaua e Barcellona. Alla vigilia l'unico dubbio di Carlo Ancelotti riguardava la panchina. Con un uomo da sacrificare tra Kaladze e Tomasson. Invece il tecnico sorprende tutti, perch in tribuna non ci finisce n il georgiano, n il danese, nemmeno Costacurta. Bens Inzaghi, l'uomo che avrebbe dovuto vivere il suo momento di gloria in corsa.

When you walk
Through a storm
Hold your heeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaadddddddddd up higgggggggggghhhhhhh
And don't beeeeeeeee afraiiiiiid of the daark
(Et cetera.)

If anyone wants us, we've gone for a walk. Alone.


2005-05-26 22:38

A jinxning

When I tuned in, at half time, Milan led three-nil (3-0) and the pundits were well into their half-time funereal orations on the theme that Milan never ever ever concede goals, especially at foopball.

Then les rouges miracularised triply to be in a position to cling on grimly through extra time and sneak it on penalties.

The Scousers are going to be more than usually unsufferable, and it will indeed turn out that this is possible.

Mes chers bleus, shut them up next season and shut them up good, pretty please.

2005-05-25 16:35


1. A large fish!

A very large catfish!

2. A prinsess in a bonnet!

A silly bonnet!

It is the Kronprinsessmary of Danmark, who now has an entry in Den Blaa Bok, which is too posh even to be spelled properly, that's how posh it is.

3. Good grief.

Aftonbladet reviews William S Burroughs. But not just any old William S Burroughs - it is the cut-up trilogy of The Soft Machine, Nova Express and The Ticket that Exploded.

I think it is the Ticket that Exploded that was my first exposure to Burroughs at a tender age. God bless public libraries and their consummate indifference to the hands into which mind-altering avant-nutter gaysnuffpr0n bogglement falls or at least fell!

Word falling - Image falling!


2005-05-25 14:13

Why Identity Cards are so very necessary

  • They'll stop terrorisme! (They won't.)
  • They'll stop gazillions of pounds of benefit fraud (Most benefit fraud is the result of false declarations, not false ID.)
  • They'll stop identity theft.

Christ, I hate these people.

ID cards are the outward and visible manifestation of a project to create a centralised ID-number, to which all records held by government agencies and many by private organisations will be linked.

It is industrialised stalkning, and we hope you feel much the safer for it, Blighty. However, a children of five (5) could predict - quite correctly - that mandating a centralised single point of failure for identity security isn't so much idiotic as utterly perverse: it's not so much a chocolate teapot as a paraffin-soaked fireguard.

Blair and his chums are in it for the stalknings. That's the only thing it will deliver (albeit erratically - God bless, for once, the record of Government IT projects) and it's the only thing he ever wanted even if, as per bleeding U, he's given every bastard reason except the truth.


2005-05-25 12:17

Uppchattnings la Swedish

Aftonbladet has thoughtfully assembled a collection of uppchattning lines for your convenience, dont:

r det jag som r full, eller r du verkligen s hr snygg?

Am I drunk or are you really that pretty?

Also, from the book that inspired the article some toe-curling wretchedness, but also the jolly:

Urskta, jag har tappat mitt telefonnummer - kan jag f ditt?

Excuse me, I've lost my telephonenumber - kan I have yours?

(We're not kidding about teh wretched, Swedish readers, really we're not. You have been warned.)


2005-05-25 10:20

Q: Prinsess, is that frock dangerous?

A: No, it's completely armless!

It is kronprinsess Vickan! In just such a frock!

Mnga verraskades nr Victoria gstade p Polar Music Prize i mndags.
I rmlst visade hon upp sina vltrnade armar.

Many were surprised when Vickan made a guest appearance at the Polar Music Prize last Monday.
In a sleeveless frock she showed off her well-trained arms.

This, the pointing out of which is by no means neglected, is what comes of shacking up with a bloke who runs a gym.


2005-05-24 15:22

Somethings pending

  • Foopball (tomorrow): The final and finale of the League of Champions! (We are pretending to be neutral.)
  • Cricket (Thursday): Engerlund take on the mighty Bangles in the first Proper Cricket of the summer. We're looking forward to this, for sure. (Test Match Special on Radio Hampstead on 198m longwave, of course, and possibly also the Interweb.)
  • A nice Bank Holiday (Monday) when we're helping our little sister move house.
  • The French Referendum (29 May). Say Oui , foolish froggy persons!
  • The Dutch Referendum (1st June). Say "Ja", foolish cloggy persons!
  • Italy (10 June). We need to have some stuff sorted before then, though.
  • A pretend exam (20 June). Hilariously, this is also the day we fly back from Italy and we do not anticipate studying much while we're there.
  • Decent weather (no scheduled date). C'mon weather, play nice!

This is a lot of somethings!


2005-05-24 12:55

Let's have a heated debate!

On free movement of labour in the EU! And for bonus points, let's have it in Swedish! Johnny Munkhammar, lay down a neo-liberal vibe, if you would:

Kollektiva avtal bygger p att fackfreningarna fungerar som karteller fr arbetskraft, som hller priserna uppe genom att hindra konkurrens.

The basis for collective agreements is that unions act as a cartel for labour, which keeps prices up through restricting competition.

Which is to say (as he does later) that the unions' opposition to imported labour is simple protectionism, which it is, and that is bad.

Hans Tilly, union spokesperson for the building union, sees things unsurprisingly differently:

Vi ser att hgern vinner i lobbningskampen fram till EG-domstolen. Och hgern har som ml att f oss tillbaka till brjan av 1900-talet. Som arbetstagare ska vi inte lngre ha rtten att frhandla med arbetsgivaren.

We expect that the right will win the lobbying battle in the European Court. And the right has a goal to take us back to the beginning of the 20th century. As workers we will no longer have the right to negociate with employers.

Much of the debate in France about the EU constitution has been successfully framed by the "Non" camp in terms of protecting French jobs. We don't like this very much, since we are by no means keen on nationalisms, but it is not false that the free movement of labour will be disruptive in the short term, and the neo-liberals have (largely on principle) no constructive suggestions for managing the pain or for exactly what form their glorious new dawn will take.



2005-05-24 09:57


1. Bastille day, Shmastille day

The 14th of July is Vickan's birthday

Den 14 juli fyller kronprinsessan Victoria 28 r. Fdelsedagsfirandet ger traditionsenligt rum p idrottsplatsen i Borgholm.

On 14 July the kronprinsess Victoria will be 28. Birthday celebrations are traditionally located at the athleticsplace in Borgholm.

There's a boyband scheduled this year, if you like that sort of thing.

2. Sigh.

There's a prinsess Madeleine feature in Aftonbladet's Plus section, but we are no longer a subscriber thereof or to.

3. You didn't hear it from me, right?

Wife: Have you got anything without spam?
Waitress: Well, there's spam egg sausage and spam, that's not got much spam in it.
Wife: I don't want ANY spam!
Man: Why can't she have egg bacon spam and sausage?
Wife: THAT'S got spam in it!
Man: Hasn't got as much spam in it as spam egg sausage and spam, has it?

So we're doing Weber and Foucault and fammlies (oh my!) and we consider four (4) theories: a fairly Burkean conservatisme and three (3) sorts of feminisme: Marxiste, radical and liberal.

So I had bacon Marx feminisme and feminisme.

Wife (shrieks): I don't like spam!
Man: Sshh, dear, don't cause a fuss. I'll have your spam. I love it. I'm having spam spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam and spam!

Does anyone want some leftover feminisme, by the way?


2005-05-23 16:20

One swallow does too make a summer

If you're a lifestyle journaliste, at least.

A Norfolk shop selling second world war-era clothes is all the rage, Enid Blyton names are back in favour, and this summer millions of people who would never have dreamed of holidaying in Britain a decade ago will head for England's newly fashionable seaside. Whatever happened to the great English inferiority complex? Andy Beckett investigates.

That's "all the rage" as a boutique serving meeja hipsters, and "millions" my hairy white arse. Lifestyle journalisme is wretched at best, of course, but it becomes even more deeply unfunny if you are accustomed to writing social science essays which are expected to provide evidence, I can assure you. Anyway, the "explanation":

Rave culture and Britpop, the regeneration of museums and urban centres, the arrival of new restaurants serving self-consciously English food - the first of them, St John, opened in 1994 - had all begun to erode the notion that anything English was automatically embarrassing. At the same time, the sheer availability of foreign pleasures - EasyJet began flying abroad from British airports in 1996 - was creating the conditions, given the English aptitude for class distinction and one-upmanship, for a counter-reaction. "The English middle class discovered abroad and then the English proletariat discovered abroad," says [Jonathan] Meades [hamster-faced restaurant critic and bloviator about town], "so the English middle class had to have something else."

Sigh. It's not even a swallow, really, more of the rumour of a swallow. Outside of the Groucho Club, or wherever London's achingly hip congregate these days, this trend isn't even a rumour. It simply doesn't exist.


2005-05-23 11:46


1. Think of it not so much as losing a spokesman

as of gaining a zombie spokesman:

"We lose today more than a philosopher," said French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

"The entire European humanist tradition is mourning one of its most talented spokesmen."

But of course, you will object, it will be hard to disguise his zombiehood at a lavish state funeral! Quite right:

He left strict instructions that only friends and family should attend his funeral.

2. Good Lord!

It is Wikipedia on Eurovision '05.

That is simply frightening.

3. My other phone number is in Liechtenstein

One Roam sells Riiing mobile SIMs in the UK, which provide flat-rate roaming across Yoorp, at 0.39 EUR/minute (to land lines).

Plus you get a jolly Liechtensteinian phone number all of your own!


2005-05-23 10:02


It is Martin Stenmarck, Swedish competitor, after his thwartning:

Frlusten i schlager-EM knckte Martin Stenmarck.
Men nr sngaren kom hem i gr vntade en glad verraskning: 3 600 mejl frn Aftonbladets lsare.

Defeat in the Yurovizhn broke Martin Stenmarck.
But when the singer came home yesterday there was a happy surprise: 3,600 emails from Aftonbladet's readers.

Well, hoorah!

- 3 600? Det hr r helt fantastiskt, vilken grej att komma hem till. Jag tnker lsa dem allihop, det kan jag lova. Tusen tack!

3,600? That's fantastic, what a something to come home to. I'll read each and every one of them, I promise. A thousand thanks!

You'd better read them all, Martin Stenmarck: there'll be a test.

We demand, incidentally, that as of now unsuccessful British competitors also make abject tearful apologies to the nation.


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