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2006-03-17 16:23


It may have been sning again in Bristle this morning - ridiculous but true! - but the seedlings of Espring are battling their glorious way through the frost, and Yurovizhn will be upon us before too long.

In Serbia and Montenegro, the selection process has become slightly tactful:

At the competition in Belgrade on 11 March, the audience booed and threw bottles at the stage when [Montenegran band] No Name were declared the winners.

The group were forced to leave the stage without performing a reprise of their song, and Serbian runners-up Flamingos sang instead.

The stand-off continues.

Happilier, Hoteyes has the songs for preview, and hoorah hoorah for that! We're voting for Finland this year, for sure, and we haven't even heard any of the songs yet!


2006-03-17 14:40


1. So, you vant to be Cherman?

It is of course the celebrated Hessian test, of which most ridicule has for some reason been in Cherman:

GERMANS have reacted sceptically to a proposed citizenship test revealed this week that would ask candidates to name three philosophers, name the doctor who found a cure for cholera and identify a Nobel laureate.

Like many echte Chermans, we'd fail this comfortably, except for the philosophers. (Bergson, Merleau-("My little")-Ponty and Bergson, since you ask, and yes I can have Bergson twice or you'll get an earful on the metaphysics of identity and don't think you won't.)

2. Always wibble wibble wibble, eh, Mr Blair?

It is the moment Blair finally declared himself unfit to govern:

Mr Blair is planning to deliver a speech next week to justify the war, and answer the deep misgivings within his own party at the continued occupation of Iraq. Although there was never any evidence to link Saddam to the attack on the Twin Towers in New York on 9/11, Mr Blair yesterday said he would be linking the war which toppled Saddam with the global battle against terrorism.

Asked by journalists whether he would do it all again, Mr Blair unhesitatingly replied: "I most certainly would."

We look forward to his retirement very much, for sure.

3. Our brain hurts

We must have had a bad peanut in the pup last night or something.


2006-03-17 10:40

Oh dear, how sad, never mind

It is the "World" Baseball "Classic", the FDR's Mickey-Mouse competition for "national" teams! And the FDR itself has been eliminated:

Even with Roger Clemens starting perhaps the last game of his illustrious career, one of the greatest assemblages of U.S.-born players ever bowed to archrival Mexico, 2-1, in the final game of the second round and was eliminated from the tournament.

Instead Japan, which lost a scintillating one-run game to its archrival Korea on Wednesday night, joins Korea, Cuba and the Dominican Republic at San Diego's PETCO Park for the semifinals on Saturday.

We're particularly glad that Cuba is still in, although we're supporting Chapan ourself.


2006-03-16 15:06


1. Belgium, man! Belgium!

It is the treins:

Avec 91,9 % des trains arrivant l'heure ou avec moins de 5 minutes de retard, le rseau ferroviaire belge est l'un des plus ponctuels d'Europe, juste derrire le Luxembourg.

With 91.9% of trains arriving on time or less than 5 minutes late, the Belgian trainnetwork is one of the most punctual in Europe, just behind Luxembourg.

2. Binnenland, buitenland, in my lady's chamber

What's up with this "binnenland/buitenland" thing (essentially, Domestic and Abroadian)? It is the Intergalactic and the Economiste which are the only two (2) bladets we know that don't admit to a Heimat, which is the way we like it, and both nonetheless show very clearly when they let their hairs down that they are firmly rooted in the FDR. (The Economiste pretends not to be, we concede, but it is.)

3. An enormous fisch!

We do so like our enormous fishies!


2006-03-16 13:50

Why we are so very exceptional

It is the Netherlands, where we will be emigrating in a bit:

Homofile som kysser og en toppls dame som kommer opp av sjen. Det skal de som nsker immigrere til Nederland se p video dersom de nsker komme inn i landet. [...]

ta testen koster om lag 2800 kroner, mens forberedelsespakken med filmen, en CD-rom og et album med bilder av kjente personer fra Nederland koster om lag 500 kroner.

Det er noen unntak fra testen. Beboere innenfor EU, asylskere og faglrte som tjener mer enn om lag 350 000 i ret trenger ikke ta den 30-minutter lange databaserte testen. Skere fra Amerika. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan og Sveits er ogs unntatt, skriver AP.

PS! Den nederlandske ambassaden i Norge opplyser at de ikke har videoen

Homosexuals kissing and a toppless laydee coming out of the sea. That's what in a video to be shown to would-be immigrants to the Netherlands when they want to come to the country. [...]

To take the [compulsory immigration] test costs around GBP 250, but the preparation pack with the film, a CD-ROM and an photo-album of famous Dutch persons costs around GBP 50.

There are some exemptions from the test. EU citizens , asylumseekers and professionals earning more than around GBP 30,000 a year don't have to take the 30-minute long database-based test. Applicants from America, Australia, New Zilln, Canananada, Japan and the Switzyland are also exempt, AP says.

PS! The Dutch embassy in Norway says it hasn't got any of the videos.

Which is slightly intriguing since Norway is not on the list of exemptions, which by no means amount to a geographical proxy for "white"ness since after all Japan is included. Anyway, exempt or not exempt we want the package.


2006-03-16 11:13

Outside the cosmometropolis, darkness is falling

So in Yoorp free papers like Metro are gaining ground as paybladets lose it. However free papers like Metro are overwhelmingly based in cities, and distributed to no small extent at public transport ("metro", hence the name) stations. The whole point of their business model is to not have distribution costs, since this is actually what the cover price of the newspaper amounts to paying for - the content is paid for by advertising.

So what happens to the peasants in the provinces when the glorious future comes?

It already pisses us off that the Intergalactic Scrapbook-Tribune runs an advert saying you can have it delivered if you live in the UK and then explaining in the small print that "the UK", for Intergalactic purposes, means inside the M25 London orbital autobahn. And that the Financial Times will deliver to the same area plus Oxbridge.


2006-03-15 15:34


1. Langwidge is the horizon of our world, and Danish is the cloud on it

It is Danish childrens and the Danish langwidge, which they don't get either:

Danskan svr att frst - fr danska barn

Danish is hard to understand - for Danish childrens

They start speaking later in Danmark, and who can blame them?

Gratuitous prinsessmaterial included!

2. Defaecation, Sherlock? Certainly not!

It is Danmark again:

FN's Komit mod Racediskrimination har afgjort, at Danmark overtrdte FN's konvention om racediskrimination da politiet afviste en anmeldelse af Pia Kjrsgaard.

The UN's committee on Racialdiscrimination has decided that Danmark breached the UN's convention on racialdiscrimination when politicians refused or declined to investigate Pia Kjrsgaard.

That's Ekstrabladet cribbing from Jyllands-Posten, irony fans.

3. Continental drinknings

It is not exactly as you might have heard:

Young people from Seville to Bilbao, from Madrid and Barcelona to Vigo and Santiago de Compostela, plan to take over the centres of more than 15 cities on Friday night in an unprecedented nationwide drinking contest.

It is the latest, and by far the most ambitious, example of el botellon - or "big bottle" - when underage drinkers laden with plastic bags of bottles of spirits and cola take over town centres for an all-night drinking session.

4. The post-news 'bladet

But we are young, we've gone green
We've got teeth nice and clean
See out friends, see the sights
Feel alright!

"Alright", Supergrass

It is the new NRC.Next - the evening paper's morning paper for the money-rich (but stingy) time-poor (but idly curious) mover and shaker of today!

Tell us about their shoes, editor-in-chief Hans Nijenhuis, for we yearn to know!

"Money is not the issue," he said. "These are people who on a Saturday afternoon buy shoes for 250 euros on a whim. At the same time, they are shopping on the Internet for the cheapest airline tickets."

That's nothing! We sometimes buy shoes, book airline tickets, refresh our RSS feeds, undermine the foundations of western society and feed the cat at teh same time, and we hardly ever even buy shoes at all! Dance to our tune, Hans Nijenhuis - if you dare!


2006-03-15 11:34

The miracle of extrapolation!

It is Bevlkerungswissenschaftler Prof. Herwig Birg

Experten warnen: Wir Deutschen sterben aus, in kaum mehr als 12 Generationen!

Experts warn: We Chermans out die in kaum more than 12 Generations!

(What you mean "we", Kimosabische?)

Anyway, the usual extrapolation nonsenses aside,

Im Schnitt bekommen deutsche Paare gerade mal 1,38 Kinder. Nur sterreich, Italien, Spanien und Griechenland schneiden noch schlechter ab.

On average Cherman couples have 1.38 childrens. Only stria, Italian, Espain and Greeceland schneiden now worse ab.

We are of course an old-fashioned social democrat, so we wonder if this can be shown to correlate with a world where wimmins are expected to hold down a day job while a lack of state support for childcare means that working wimmins can't fit children into their busy lives.

(The FDR doesn't fit the Yoorpean pattern, but we are not very interested in the FDR and its many Harvard-educated stay-at-home mothers hothousing their wretched progeny in the bogo-traditional way or manner.)


2006-03-15 09:51


It is the Central Park penguinpair Roy and Silo, who have now gone their separate ways, and the history of their relationship in the best of all possible 'bladets. It's a shame Slavering Slavoj doesn't do qveerteori, though.


2006-03-14 16:40

Pots and kettles

It is Denis Dutton!

He is a philosophe, which is jolly, and something of an Edge-head and (therefore) something of an evopsycho:

Just as we acquired a liking for sweet and fatty foods in the Pleistocene and earlier, we acquired aesthetic interests. These cover such diverse areas as landscape preferences, the persistent themes of love and death in stories and literature, and ideals of female beauty. It's fascinating and provocative material.

Needless to say, he's also a fierce Freud-wuz-wrong'er - there's no one as gullible, as GK Chesterton used to delight in pointing out, as a hardened sceptic.


2006-03-14 15:55

Pride, like a lion

It is the vexed question of whether we are proud to be Zwedish. We are, as it happens, not, and we're in good company:

Svenskar bland de minst patriotiska

Zwedishes among the least patriotic

Of course some might point to the fact that we are technically not, in fact, Zwedish, but then how do you explain our joy and delight at being Belgian, which we are also technically not.


2006-03-14 11:39

A pastblastning, slightly OMG!

It is is the Beeb's 2001 entry in the Least Promising Opening to a Story Filed under "Sci/Tech"!

The choice of font used in e-mails and type-written letters could say more about an individual's personality than their creative writing skills.

Graphology - the art of studying handwriting - has been used for centuries to try to analyse people's characters, but since the demise of personal handwriting, the experts have moved on to typefaces to look for clues to our identities.

Do you think it improves, Varied Reader? You think, if so, wrong:

The Psychology of Fonts, commissioned by Lexmark Printers and written by psychologist Dr Aric Sigman explains how a typeface will significantly influence what the reader thinks about you.

Courier is seen as the choice of "sensible shoes" type of people or "anoraks" and curvy icons like Georgia or Shelly suggest a bit of a "rock chick" personality.

We are now officially depressed, and not just because the idea that fonts are used in emails was apparently established in minds of the chronically stupid in 2001, although we concede that that doesn't help.


2006-03-14 10:02


It is Kayseri in Turkey!

Restaurants rarely serve alcohol, unmarried men and women don't mix on the streets, and there is little in the way of nightlife. Yet the new entrepreneurialism sweeping across the province is providing an unlikely catalyst for a remarkable religious transformation.

We love that "yet", for sure. (Does anyone study the rhetorical manoeuverings of the popular press? We know that there was a moronic school of sub-Derridean weirditude, but AFAWK they were mostly lexically oriented and completely useless.)

A new form of Turkish Islam is emerging here, one which is pro-business and pro-free market, and it's being called Islamic Calvinism.

One of the first to use this description was the former mayor of Kayseri, Sukru Karatepe. A softly-spoken man who taught sociology before entering politics, Karatape noticed striking similarities between the changes in Kayseri and the famous thesis of the German economist Max Weber, who argued that the strong work ethic of the Protestant movement gave birth to modern capitalism.

Cherman "economiste", Beeboid? Harsh!


2006-03-13 15:32


1. Globollocks, education style

It is China and India. Apparently we're going to "compete" with them on education, which ought to be interesting. (No, no one has or will ever read Krugman and/or realise that there is no zero-sum game being played out in the economics of inter-nations. This is sad, but what can you do?)

Les pays europens doivent-ils rvolutionner leurs systmes ducatifs ? C'est ce que conclut une tude ralise par Andreas Schleicher, du dpartement de l'ducation de l'Organisation de coopration et dveloppement conomiques (OCDE), pour le compte du Lisbon Council, laboratoire d'ides bruxellois.

A better reason for improving European education systems is that they aren't very good and could be made considerably better, but maybe the Lisbon council is playing a smarter game by imagineering up the spectacle of the Chinese and Indian brains basking in Yoorps ancient and glorious gravy, who knows?

2. Snowfall disruption?


Anyone looking for the first signs of spring in northern Britain found themselves plunged back into mid-winter yesterday with heavy snowfalls causing widespread disruption.

3. Snow havoc?


Thousands stranded as snow wreaks havoc

4. Snekaos!


HSV vandt trods snekaos

Hamburger SV won despite snkaos

Thanks, Danmark, we needed that!

5. Today foopball, tomorrow the international warcrimes tribunal

It is the FDR:

Today, rednecks watch American football while middle-class, dope-smoking, French-cheese-eating anti-war-activists watch European football on cable and wear Barca shirts in bed. This, explains Foer, is why "people with actual power believe that soccer represents a genuine threat to the American way of life". Football is a global phenomenon, played with the same rules wherever you go, decided mutually by an international organisation. Much like the UN, in other words. Or the WTO. Or any of the other busybodies which threaten the hegemony of a superpower. To "American exceptionalists" who believe that the US is above all rules and beyond all laws, a global game like football is obviously just an insidious way of imposing international laws on the Land of the Free.

That's nice. (Have you ever been spotted attempting to back away slowly from a newsbladet, Varied Reader? Embarrassing, isn't it?)


2006-03-13 11:45


1. Well done, kronprinsess!

It is kronprinsess Vickan of Zweden standing on a something while a soldaatje gives her flowers. Why, you ask or enquire? It was her name day! And what's that, you pursue or upfollow? Well, days are allocated (non-uniquely) to each of the sensible Zwedish names and when it is your name day everyone is very pleased that you have such an excellent name.

It is all very ridiculous, and by no means comparable to the accomplishment of having been born on a particular calendar day, celebrations of which such even the Dutch have very sensibly refined to a high level. The flowers were tulips, of course, no doubt to acknowledge this fact.

2. Sigh.

It is the most breathlessly gloopy fluff article on an exercise craze we can remember seeing in a nominally grown-up newsbladet:

Budokon, the Hollywood-endorsed health and fitness craze sweeping across the United States, is poised to take hold in Britain.

The discipline - a fusion of yoga, martial arts and meditation - is inspired by the centuries-old training systems of Buddhist monks. Essentially, it offers an emotional, physical and spiritual work out.

The founder is alleged to be a black belt in taekwondo and karate, neither of which was previously known to us as especially Buddhiste. But if you take "inspired by" as "nothing to do with, except for marketing purposes" then fair enough. But where oh where is the Indybladet's cognitive immune system?

3. About time too!

It is Turkisch fr Beginners, as now being seen on Cherman TV.

Wer Dienstag ins Vorabendprogramm der ARD zappt, wird anfnglich denken, er sei bei einem trkischen Sender gelandet. "Trkisch fr Anfnger" heit die neue Serie, die dienstags bis freitags jeweils um 18.50 Uhr zu sehen sein wird.

Who Tuesday in the Earlyeveningprogramme of ARD zaps, becomes anfnglich thoughts that they by a Turkish channel have ge-endedupon. "Turkisch for beginners" is called the new series that Tuesdays to Fridays jeweils on 18:50 hundred hours to see is become.

We can't wait for Tuesday, although since we don't have a TV and we aren't in range of ARD broadcasts this isn't especially why.


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