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2006-04-13 00:33

Why I am so very quiet

We're away for "Easter", whatever that is, and we're passing by Bungaloo on Tuesday on our leisurely way home for reasons that our Varied, but Memorable, Reader will surely not fail to speculate accurately on.

Regular bloggage will recur on Wednesday, although our meanwhilewhile outage may be a thing of sporadicity.

2006-04-12 13:38


1. Coinage!

It is Slovenia, which has some pretty cool Eurocoins planned for January!

2. And you thought the Nuke Iran thing was crazy?!

It is unquestionably crazier:

Le populaire personnage de dessins anims de Walt Disney Winnie l'ourson est devenu immortel Hollywood mardi en recevant en grande pompe son toile sur le "boulevard de la gloire".

The popular personage of animated cartoons of Walt Disney, Winnie the Pooh, is become immortal in Hollywood on Tuesday in receiving in great pomp his star on the "boulevard de la gloire".

Harvey the invisible six-(6)-foot white rabbit we could've coped with, but a drawing?!

3. You'd hsite too, mate, with the public in this mood

It is a proposed ban on smoking in public places in France:

Le gouvernement hsite sur la faon d'interdire de fumer dans les lieux publics

The government's a scaredy-cat! The government's a scaredy-cat! Neener neener!

Consultation is the better part of resolve, eh Monsieur Le Ministre ?


2006-04-12 11:16

Honk honk honkbal!

It is the Haarlemse Honkbalweek!

Japan doet mee aan de 23e Haarlemse Honkbalweek (21-30 juli). Het organisatiecomit van het evenement kon de komst van de Aziatische winnaar van de Baseball Classic dinsdag trots melden.

Chapan is coming to the 23rd Haarlem Honbalweek (21-30 July). The organising comittee of the event can the coming of the Asiatic winner of the Baseball Classic on Wednesday announce.

We don't really approve of nationalteams, though, since they are an implicit affront to our considered cosmopolitanisme. We would rather the event were attended by the Milwaukee Brouwers or the Brooklyn Cyclones or the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Red Barons or - best perhaps of all - the Montgomery Biscuits.

But if we are - and we are - stuck with nationalteams as a feature of the Esporting Universe, we'd much rather see the Haarlem Honbalweek than the smelly old fooball World Cup. Fond though we're trying to learn to pretend to be of foopball, we hold it to be a self-evident truth that stickbal is the better game.


2006-04-11 19:18

Why I am so very fantastic

Well, no. We bought Britain's celebrated blimpbladet, the Daily Telegraph (along with the Intergalactic Expat-Tribube and the unabashedly communiste Morning Star, our regular balanced bladet diet) for the Fantasy Cricket, but:

  • It costs a fiver a team to enter
  • We don't actually know much of anything about the county game (go 'Shire, though but!)
  • we can't be bothered

You can get Interweb video feeds of minor league base-ball, incidentally, (and they're free as a teaser in April) but the four-(4)-day county cricket game does an excellent impersonation of non-existence, outside of the blimpbladet and (grudgingly) some of the other grown-up papers.

We quite fancy seeing the 'Shire in a pyjama game if we can squeeze it in before we elope, though but.

2006-04-11 13:46

Zrich? Nein danke!

It is clean and dull and hospitable to the wealthy:

Zurich provides the best quality of life for expatriate staff, according to a survey of more than 200 international cities.

The study conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting ranked cities on the basis of personal safety, health and education facilities, transport, other public services, social, economic, environmental and political factors. New York with a score of 100 was used as a base line.

Admire in passing, though, the way the mighty Doshbladet neglects to get this wrong and proclaim without the necessary qualifications that "Zurich is the world's best city to live in". Because let's face it, we'd bet cold hard cash it isn't. (The top three (3) are Zurich, Geneva, Vancouver, and that tells us everything we need to know, especially given that Mercer wish me to "register" to get the full Top 50. Apparently a burning committment to Total Business Excellence turns persons into catatonically dreary simps and scaredy-cats. Who knew?)


2006-04-11 11:15

Oh all right then

If, in the wake of inconclusive elections and turmoil - turmoil! - in the financial markets, we absolutely have to go to Italia and head a Government Of National Unity and eat much delicious pasta and many delicious pizze, then so be it.

It isn't easy being an Emperor!


2006-04-10 16:03

All Romania's Roads lead to Yoorp

They're ahead of Bulgaria in the race to join the EU in 2007, but the consolation prize would in any case be a 2008 entry so whatever!

Romania was shown an open door on Thursday to join the European Union in January 2007 after Olli Rehn, the EUs enlargement commissioner, praised the country's judicial reforms and its crackdown on corruption.

And then Srbia has promised to hand over Ratfink Mladic, and Croatia's going strong.

In other news, we succumbed to the discounted Oxfamian lure of De Smith and Bazier's Constitutional and Administrative Law, despite a freeze on book-buying. (Zorrie Zweetie!) We're writing an essay on constitutions, and the Engleesh one is by no means the one least in need of additional explication. (And it irritates us greatly to have no clear idea how "our" government functions, in so far as it does.)


2006-04-10 11:36


The Dutch word "er" is syllable-for-syllable probably the most insolent word in a contemporary Chermanic langwidge.

It crops up er everywhere, often without any obvious er purpose or motivation. Drives us er crazy, it does. (Although the sentence we got really stuck on this morning er turned out to be in Norwegish, where "er" is mostly harmless.)


2006-04-10 09:45

I'm too spicy for my brain

Condiment the first: American foopball: Admirals winnen in Berlijn. We'd forgotten there was an N[sic]FL Yoorp, and so had everyone else:

The N[sic]FL Europe era has been beset by instability. The England Monarchs were shut down after the 1998 season, being replaced by the Berlin Thunder. In 2002, the Barcelona Dragons became an official section of FC Barcelona, adopting the name FC Barcelona Dragons, but folded after the 2003 season when Bara dropped its sponsorship. A new German franchise, the Cologne Centurions, took the Dragons' place in the league in 2004. The Scottish Claymores, one of the 3 teams added to the league in 1995, were also discontinued with their replacements (Hamburg Sea Devils) being established for the 2005 season. With this change, presently five of the six teams are from Germany, with one from the Netherlands, leading some of the league's detractors to refer to it as 'NFL Deutschland' or 'NFL Germany'.

Do the natives actually watch that nonsense, or is it all just for ex-pats and servicepersonnel?

And then on we browsed, to encounter condiment the second: Belgisch voetbal: Standard neemt koppositie over

Belgian foopball, what an excellent idea! We fondly imagine it is played in teams of six (6) on bicycles with liberal use of flans and tarts.


2006-04-07 12:04

Bier of the yier!

It is in Chermany at least Krombacher. We're not sure we've ever had Krombacher; is it any good?


2006-04-07 10:12

Intellectual autobiography, slightly compressed

When we were in our tens, we wanted to know how the universe worked, so we studied hard and eventually headed off to university to study physics.

When we were in our twenties, we wanted to know how the universe worked, so we studied philosophy in our Copious Spare Time.

When we reached our thirties, we wanted to know how the universe worked, so we enrolled on an OU course in social science.

We haven't, as the old joke goes, got very far in terms of answers, but we're very pleased with the progress we've made on the questions.


2006-04-06 17:36



When it comes to state-of-the-art sociology, Erving Goffman makes a lot of nannies and schoolmarms in the discipline crap their panties. This latest spicy laxative will show you why.


The structure of the chocolate laxative can be discerned throughout today's ideological landscape: it is what makes a figure like Soros so objectionable.

"Nobody has to be vile", Slavering Slavoj Zizek in the LRB (6 April 2006).



2006-04-06 15:31


1. Sarko goes tact!

It is Nicholas Sarkozy, French interior minister and the man most likely to get a leg-up from the ruin of Villepin's ambition to contest his first ever democratic election as a presidential candidate:

Mr Sarkozy's condemnation of the "poverty of the political debate" and the "opaque decision-making process and insufficient responsibility" of the French system, is a thinly veiled criticism of Jacques Chirac, president.

His call for constitutional reform, including a stronger parliament and more accountable president, will also boost his image as the candidate of "rupture" despite being a top member of the current government for five years.

We do sometimes wonder why France has a parliament when it appears to do nothing worth being told about (we certainly never are). We do also sometimes wonder why the Hice of Lordships exists, before you start.

2. Sigh

It is Apple, hopefully the only company in the world that could make the 'bladets big time on the strength of porting Windows to an Intel box.

We're waiting for someone to do a bootleg port of Mac OS-86 to generic whiteboxes, and then we'll talk.

3. We play the - how you say? - hardball, yes?

It is the Internationale Olympic Committee!

Baseball yesterday was told to toughen its fight against doping if it wants to be reinstated to the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee last year voted to remove baseball and softball from the 2012 London Olympics.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said the sports could apply in 2009 for a spot in the 2016 Games. In the meantime, Rogge said, baseball needs to take further steps in confronting performance-enhancing drugs.

We are of the opinion - based on extensive hearsay - that all of the FDR's private esports are riddled with steroid-enhanced performers.

Plus of course the renaissance of honkbal in its domestic market on the '90s hinged on the neo-Big-Ball homer race between Mark "Juicy" McGwire and Sammy "Say-it-ain't-so" Sosa, to say nothing (which is plenty) of the lamentable (but buff) Barry Bonds and his alleged career home run record quest.


2006-04-06 10:27

Let's have a heated methodological debate!

It is, and not for the first time, Lisa Jardine and Annie Watkins, and their on-going - and not unhilarious - attempt to construct a sociology of gendered reading practices by talking to their mates.

The novel that means most to men is about indifference, alienation and lack of emotional responses. [...]

Professor Lisa Jardine and [her trusty sidekick] Annie Watkins of Queen Mary College interviewed 500 men, many of whom had some professional connection with literature [all their mates live in Hampstead too, how jolly!], about the novels that had changed their lives. The most frequently named book was Albert Camus's The Outsider, followed by JD Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five.

In what sense does "most frequently named" by 500 men imply "means most to men"?

In any case, J&W conclude, as they always do, that girls are much much better than stinky old boys:

Women, by contrast, most frequently cited works by Charlotte and Emily Bront, Margaret Atwood, George Eliot and Jane Austen. They also named a "much richer and more diverse" set of novels than men, according to Prof Jardine.

We, meanwhile, are proud to boast that no novel has ever changed our life and we don't expect that one ever will. Outside Hampstead, we anticipate that this would be the modal response.

[Thanks to Simstim for the link]


2006-04-05 18:26

We give up

We're too tired and much too fed up to do anything much now. Except, of course, attempt to catch up on our Chermanbacklogmountain, which is growing and growing and growing again.

Sigh. Let's try again tomorrow...


2006-04-05 16:20

Why I write such excellent Cherman

My tutor's comments on my homework could be paraphrased as "You write very good Cherman for someone who clearly doesn't know any Cherman".

Still, we got a good pass (B or 2i) and we weren't expecting that.

Why I am so very quiet was a six-(6)-hour meeting. Sigh.


2006-04-04 17:28


It is like cake, except perhaps in the delivery mechanism.

It is also the Phantom Tartthrower, Nol Godin, and his victime of choix, the flamboyantly-coiffed public intellectual philosophe Bernard-Henry Lvy (like a kind of French AC "DC" Grayling, only with brand-name recognition outside his publisher's office). BHL - for it is he! - is arguably the perfect victim:

Few have been more outstanding flanees that Bernard-Henri Levy, a man so sensitive that he was once credibly reported as observing that "when I find a new shade of grey, I feel ecstatic". He has also famously remarked that he dislikes seeing a woman pay in a restaurant. "I think," Levy explained, "that money does not suit a woman; or rather that I would not fall in love with such a woman." His own varied talents constitute, by his own account, "a landscape which does not have a fixed place in the classic topography of culture."

These are the kind of observations that guarantee the philosopher express deliveries of creme chantilly for years to come. "He is the worst," says Godin, who, on the subject of Bernard-Henri Levy, tends to sound like Herbert Lom on Inspector Clouseau. "He is the worst this decade." He is especially critical of Levy's consistent urging of armed intervention against the Bosnian Serbs, given that the philosopher, unlike other intellectual militants such as Andre Malraux or George Orwell, has shown no inclination to enlist himself.

But if a taste for personal involvement has not been a feature of Levy's contribution to the Bosnia debate, he cannot be accused of having shrunk from unarmed combat once the pies have started flying. At Levy's baptismal flanning, in Liege 10 years ago, the author of "Testament of God" delivered an unambiguous response. "I didn't even feel the uppercut," Godin told me, "because I was so happy to gaze up from the floor and see the peak of French intellectual thought so thoroughly snowbound." Levy, who emerges from his books as a reflective man unshakably committed to qualities such as reasonableness and tolerance, was dismayed to find that footage of the incident, which shows him shouting to his prone assailant: "Get up, or I'll kick your head in," was repeatedly broadcast on French television.

At the time of that article, the BHL pie-count stood at five (5); now it has achieved a truly magnificent seven (7):

Nol Godin a fait d'une tarte deux coups samedi lors du Salon du livre Paris en touchant par deux fois sa cible favorite, le pompeux cornichon Bernard-Henry Lvy.

Arriv au Salon parisien en compagnie de ses gardes du corps, le philosophe franais ddicaait son dernier ouvrage 'American Vertigo' sur le stand de son diteur lorsque vers 18h15, une quinzaine de guerilleros burlesques membres de l'Internationale Ptissire ont pouss leur cri de guerre Gloup, gloup, gloup annonant l'entartage imminent de leur victime prfre.

He took bodyguards to a book fair, and they got him anyway! Gloop gloop gloop, for sure, Mr Lvy!

Godin should be awarded an award, for sure! We'd favour a Nobel (a real one, preferably peace, and certainly not the Micky Mouse "economics" one) but a Medal of Honour would be a start.


2006-04-04 14:39

Andre the Giant does not have a podcast, on account of him being dead

Do you remember lyin' in bed,
With the covers pulled up over your head
Radio playin so no one can see?

"Rock'n'roll Radio" The Ramones

It is klartext - Zwedish news explained in a simple way or manner! - and it is finally podular!

Also the mighty Dutch Nieuswlijn - that lijn of Nieuws! - now has a working RSS feed, which is an advance other than of smallness on the previous one.

With the inevitability of an inevitable thing, the Linux software for slurping up pods and squishing them into my green mp3-player is flaky and as negligibly documented as it was hard to find. (It isn't, as our Varied Reader surely knows, easy being green.)


2006-04-04 09:55

Silly hippies, now they're double-yummy!

It is, of course, our delicious friends, the whales. Five (5) private Japanese companies are ditching their shares in whaling concerns; a "public interest" company is buying them. Thus:

Japan insists that efforts to hunt whales will be redoubled. From now on, whaling will be seen as something backed by the whole of Japan, not just private firms, an official said.

(An official what said?)

Did you know, Varied Reader, that we are formally banned from being classified as a Leftiste precisely because we consider the environmental lobby more of an malign influence on Western democracy than the Zioniste lobby? (Although we have plenty of contempt and loathing spare for biotech companies and oil companies, too. They might even be worse than the hippies, sometimes.)


2006-04-03 16:33

Bicycle Bi-post!

Wheel the first

It is the Tour of Flanders:

Pour la deuxime fois, Tom Boonen, champion du monde en titre, a remport le Tour des Flandres, la grande classique cycliste dispute sur 256 kilomtres entre Bruges et Meerbeke.

For the second time, Tom Boonen, reigning world champion, has won the Tour of Flanders, the great classic bicycle race disputed over 256 kilomtres between Brugge and Meerbeke.

That would be the Famous Belgian Tom Boonen, yes.

Wheel the second: It is an April Fool!

Snart blir det frbjudet att cykla fortare n 20 kilometer i timmen p vissa stllen i Stockholm. Polisen glds ver mjligheten att f beslagta lagvertrdarnas cyklar, skriver Dagens Nyheter.

Soon comes a ban on cycling faster than 20 km/h in some places in Stockholm. The police are rejoicing over the chance of nicking law-breaking cyclists, writes lah-di-dah DN.

They take their April Foolses seriously in Zweden; we take our bicycles seriously in Imperial Belgium. And it's true what they say about the wind, for sure.


2006-04-03 14:16

What the universe is made of

The Ancients had the right idea, but it isn't Earth, Fire, Air and Water, it's Sossage, Bier, Bubbles and Belgium.

(We had a rubbish journey back to Blighty, thanks for asking, but then journeys reluctantly undertaken are seldom satisfying.)


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