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2006-01-19 11:19

Why I am so slightly dissatisfied

Kauderwelsch's Allemand: Mot mot (credited to Jumpin' Jacques Derrida at the above link) has been our reference for the langwidge for a couple of years, on account largely of its size.

However, we just recently found out that German adjectives are declined differently in three (3) circumstances: with no article, with an indefinite article and with a definite article. The mot--mot merges the first two (2) of these, with a hybrid table. (There is also an error in the table of dclinaison of the definite article, but we had previously taken that to be an isolated incident.)

We may yet find ourselves in the grammar/phrasebook business in self-defence, is how it may or may not come to pass. (There isn't anything useful for Dutch, sadly, since our German is still fairly blah.)


2006-01-19 10:46

Freezy and breezy!

It is the weather, of which there is forecast to be quite a bit:

Rkna med att frysa de nrmaste dagarna.
En extrem kldchock kan ge -50 grader i de hrda vindarna.
Dessutom blir det snkaos p mnga stllen.

Expect to freeze in the next few days.
A wave of extreme cold could give windchill temperatures of -50C in the hard winds.
Besides which, snkaos is expected in many places.

Wrap up warm, Varied Reader - we're off (weather permitting) to East Belgium (AKA "The Netherlands") this afternoon.


2006-01-18 16:12

Unless you're in / The town of Turin / I certainly see no / Need to call it "Torino"

It is Turin! Or it may be Torino!

Turin or Torino? It's the Olympic version of "You say tomato, I say tomahto."

The city in northern Italy that's hosting the Winter Olympics next month is "Torino" to the locals and NBC. For most of us non-Italians, it's always been Turin.

"I believe readers are seeing it on television with the NBC logo, it says 'Torino,' the Olympic Games," Ron Fritz, sports editor at The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., said Tuesday. "And then they see it in the paper, 'Turin,' and they're thinking we got it wrong."

Which is right and which is wrong? Let's have a heated debate!


2006-01-18 12:31

Kulturheavyweight Titlefight!

1. The Red Corner

It is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!

Casquettes, T-shirts et chopes de bire mais aussi cartes jouer, barboteuses et balles de golf: l'Autriche, qui ftera en 2006 le 250e anniversaire de la naissance de Mozart, dcline sur tous les modes et dans toutes les tonalits le nom de son enfant chri.

Caps, T-shirts and biermugs but also playing cards, barboteuses and golf-balls: the strichia, which celebrates in 2006 the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, dclines on all fashions and in all tonalits the name of its cherished infant.

We want un "ours Mozart" en costume et perruque d'poque and we want it now!

2. The Blue Corner

It is Rembrandt "Rembo" Harmenszoon van Rijn, our favouritest painter!

Dit jaar is het vierhonderd jaar geleden dat Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), de wereldberoemde schilder van De Nachtwacht, in Leiden werd geboren.

This year is the fourhundredth year geleden that Rembo (1606-1669) the worldfamous painter of The Nightwatch, was born in Leiden.

(The Dutch are under the very amusing misapprehension that Rembrandt is especially famous for the frankly underwhelming Nightwatch, but for heaven's sake don't spoil it for them.)


2006-01-18 10:07

For shame, Danmark!

It is lots and lots of sn:

Skolebusser krte fast, og trafikken p motorvejene sneglede sig afsted, da strstedelen af Danmark blev ramt af store mngder sne.

Skoolbusses drove stuck and the traffic on the motorways snailed itself out of town, when large parts of Danmark where ramt of large masses of sn.

So we have sne, we have what can only be described as kaos, but the Danishes are all like "oh, let's call it a ‘sne-inspired disruption to traffic and services’, how about that?"

That's not good enough, Danmark! Sort it out!


2006-01-17 16:15

Shininess considered harmful

It is Robert "Crummy" McCrum glurping on about the e-book - now only 5-10 years away, for an unlimited time only! - and he say:

When it comes, the e-reader will store hundreds or thousands of titles and support a digital rights management technology that will allow publishers to police the way their copyrights are exploited. They will not, for instance, want e-readers to be able to send books to their friends' readers. To retain commercial advantage, publishers may also want to allow access to a title for a limited time before it has to be repurchased.

The real reason the last Sony effort tanked was the disastrous crippling their content arm inflicted on it, and until recently we'd confidently bet that consumers would tell publishers to stick similarly broken denial-of-serviceware up their e-arse.

But then the Mac-heads broke rank—and who, barring curmudgeons like us, could blame them: the iPod is after all very shiny—and our bet, for one, is off. (But it'd be slightly cool to have a good platform to make editions of the Gutenberg corpus for anyway.)

Bonus quote:

The on-demand book will lack the aesthetic appeal of a conventional hardback, but in the knowledge economy of the 21st century, this may not be significant.

The conventional hardback has the "aesthetic appeal" of a Soviet-era car park, Crummy old thing, although it lacks the convenience. (Where do they get these persons?)


2006-01-17 14:07

Brazil: Nuts about 'bladets!

It is a slightly unusual take on the journalistique enterprise:

On the first day of 2006, the lead story in Rio's O Globo newspaper was about the fireworks and festas of the night before. In the days before and after, ample coverage was given not only to domestic politics, trouble in the Middle East, and yearly retrospectives, but also to the seaweed invading the city's beaches, how to avoid traffic congestion on New Year's Eve, and the paper's annual competition to choose outstanding social entrepreneurs. [...]

Our priority is obviously news," says Luiz Garcia, a veteran columnist at [Rio's O Globo] who writes a daily critique of the coverage for the staff. "But the thing we do well is provide a service. We tell you who to complain to if the meat at your supermarket is off.... We tell you how to do your taxes online. We help make life easier for our readers.

Which is all very well, but where do you fit in the lifestyle, travel, motoring, lifestyle, celebrity-gossip and lifestyle features if you do that? Eh?


2006-01-17 10:40

It's not dirt, it's proactive immunity stimulant!

It is Agnes Wold, immunologiste, our new favourite public intellectual:

Snusk r bra fr hlsan.
Nu fr feministerna std av experter: Vi borde stda mindre. - Allergier kar p grund av att det r fr rent, sger Agnes Wold, immunolog.

Dirt is good for your health. Now feministes are supported by experts: We should clean less.
"Allergies are increasing because it is too clean," says the immunologiste Agnes Wold.


2006-01-16 16:10


1. Darts, Keef!

It is the Darts World Championship, contested by two (2) Dutchpersons and exceptionally popular with many (>2) Dutchpersons as a result:

Ruim 3,4 miljoen Nederlanders hebben zondagavond de finale van het officieuze wereldkampioenschap darts in Frimley Green op televisie bekeken.

Bijna 43 procent van de Nederlanders die tv keek, had afgestemd op SBS6 om de strijd tussen Jelle Klaasen en Raymond van Barneveld te volgen.

More than 3.4 million Dutchpersons watched the darts on Sunday evening.

Around 43 percent of the Netherlands who watched TV, [...]

3.4 million is 43 percent of 7.9 million; since the population of the Netherlands is about 16,407,491 (July 2005 est.), we infer or deduce mostly that the TV-watchers as a whole were a minority of the population.

2. Freebie Forewarning, Finally!

Newspaper DVD list. It is far from complete and hard to Google up, but at least we didn't have to do it ourself.

3. And finallij!

In at least some fonts, Dutch "ij" is set with a distinctive glyph with the tail of the "j" tucked under the "i". We call this a ligature, and we've added it to our list of those a font really ought to support, but we've had (so far) no luck at all getting anyone to confirm or deny its presence in individual fonts. Sigh.


2006-01-16 12:42


1. Anyone for pancakes?

It is India vs. Pakistan! (It often is now that relations have thawed enough to hold matches, since there is a backlog to catch up on.)

Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid were closing in on the world record opening partnership in the first Test against Pakistan before bad light stopped play.

Which is all very well, but Pakistan 679-7d; India 403-0 at stumps on day four (4) tells its own story: this is the deadest pitch anyone can remember anywhere, anywhen.

2. Baptise me quieter!

It is li'l prinsess Leonor de Todos los Santos, the future queen of Espain, and she has slept through her first big state occasion which is a good start, for sure.

3. Who's Hgerstrm, anyway?

It is Ernst Cassirir! Writing about this such Hgerstrm! That Cassirir was seeking asylum in Gteborg at the time (he was slightly Jewish) and had taken Swedish citizenship and that Hgerstrm was slightly Zwedish also is certainly just a coincidence.


2006-01-16 11:03

Ce plat pays qui est le mien!

Avec un ciel si bas qu'un canal s'est perdu
Avec un ciel si bas qu'il fait l'humilit
Avec un ciel si gris qu'un canal s'est pendu
Avec un ciel si gris qu'il faut lui pardonner
Avec le vent du nord qui vient s'carteler
Avec le vent du nord coutez-le craquer
Le plat pays qui est le mien

"Le plat pays", "Jumpin" Jacques Brel

To say nothing of its hospitable tax regime! Yes, it's Belgium, man! Belgium!

Belgium has one of Europes most onerous personal income tax rates — at 50 per cent for top earners — as well as other hefty tax burdens. But it has become an unlikely haven for super rich foreigners because it does not tax capital gains or wealth, in contrast to France and the Netherlands.

Luc Legon, a director of accountants PWC in Belgium, said: “For people without earned income, Belgium is a very favourable country for tax.”


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