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2006-04-28 17:12

"Fog in Channel. Continent isolated for three days"

It is a matter of ritual hilarity that the Times ("the Times of London") once printed the above headline. It lacks, however, veracity, at least in the sense that the Interweb has examples of persons seeking a specific citation, and none of persons who have found one.

This is a great disappointment to us, but a handy edition to our pile of evidence that just because someone "famously said" something, that doesn't mean they said it.

(We call this Berra's law, after Yogi Berra, who famously said "I never said most of the things I said.")


2006-04-28 13:18

What did the prinsess say to her daddy on his birthday?

It is Oostenrijk ("Austria")!

AUSTRIA this week unveiled "Temptress Europe" - a campaign to reawaken Europeans to the continent's "sensuous" side, as part of its presidency of the European Union.

Evoking the Greek god Zeus's mythical seduction of Europa, Hans Winkler, of Austria's foreign ministry, said he hoped the campaign would help to restore a sense of identity and joie de vivre across the 25-nation bloc.

Of course since this is Oostenrijk there is a cakey element to the many seductions:

For those whose idea of sensuality involves dessert, organizers will lay out a selection of European treats and their recipes to promote what they're calling "Sweet Europe."

But more to our taste there is a mighty bladetting:

On May 9, a European newspaper will be published across Europe. In this special edition of the widely respected Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.), the newspaper's wide network of correspondents will report from 27 countries. This newspaper for Europe Day 2006 will be published both in German and in English. The German version also will be available in the daily edition of the F.A.Z.

And where oh where will the Engleesh versin be available?


2006-04-28 10:37

What did the prinsess say to her daddy on his birthday?

Pappa, du regerar!

Daddy, you rule!

Hennes papa r ju kungen! (Her daddy is of course the king!)


2006-04-27 16:14

Ok dan

It is well-known that the Abroadians of continental Europe do not play any form of stickball (if you don't count, as no one seems to, Finland's mighty pespallo) and this leads to a great mystery: what do the menfolk talk about when the foopball stops (as it occasionally does) with no Other Foopball (such as the World Cup of Inter-Nations)?

Well, based on our negligent perusal of Dutchbladets, it is various flavours of racketball and also the mighty cycling around on bicycles, which we quite like to watch - it is soothing and takes approximately forever, which reminds us of cricket.

But why don't we all take up pespallo? After all:

Pesapallo is a European version of American Baseball. It's more brain demanding, needs more athletic abilities and it's much faster (and more entertaining). Pesapallo in the highest level has said to be the most tactical game in the world with American Football. But unlike Football and Baseball it doesn't require big muscles but _quick legs_, _tactital eye_ and _brains_ to master the game. Anyway the main reason why Pesapallo gives more than other games is that EVERYONE can play it! Women and men, boys and girls, together or apart.

And the Finnish would be world champions every time it was played among inter-nations for a decade or two (2) and you can't ignore the comedy value of that.


2006-04-27 14:57

Monday Review of Stuff

It is Johnny Cash III: American Man, and we don't like it as much as the first; it is unhelpfully contaminated with other musicians and we slightly detest reverential American retro-folk (we hate pretty much all of the Oh Brother where art thou? soundtrack except the fantabulous "Big Rock Candy Mountain")

We suspect that the Norman Blake in question is the flatpicking "legend" rather than the one from Teenage Fan Club, and we deeply wish it had been the other way round.


2006-04-27 11:20

Bit bans Ben's Bud, Bud bans Bit's Bier

Oh dear. Now, they're holding some kind of foopball nonsense in Chermany and the American perpetrators of Budweiser "bier" have muscled in on the act, and originally negociated an exclusive deal. We can imagine no clearer violation of natural law than being in Chermany and being also obliged to drink this such rancid gnat's piss, and we are by no means alone in this such sentiment:

Local beer drinkers were in uproar over Bud's exclusive deal to supply football grounds and related events during the month-long tournament that starts in June.

So now Anheuser-Busch, the parent company, will allow one of the country's most popular beers, Bitburger, to be sold in unmarked glasses - in return for a deal to use the Bud name in Germany for the first time.

Bitburger is known as Bit, a name ruled too close to Bud, so Budweiser has previously had to be marketed in Germany under the unwieldy moniker Anheuser Busch Bud.

Of course, with Cherman devoicing "Bud" will come out as "Butt", and this is by no means other than it ought to be.


2006-04-26 16:58

How much whine would a vineyard whine if a vineyard could chip wine?

It is those oaky chips - those perfidious, blasphemous oaky chips! - and they are coming soon to corrupt a glorious history and cultual near you!

Il n'y a gure plus de cinq ans, en effet, la Cour de cassation confirmait dans son arrt du 6 fvrier 2001 que l'levage de bordeaux AOC avec incorporation de copeaux de chne dans les cuves tait une "falsification". Depuis, la question est rgulirement pose de savoir s'il vaut mieux, selon une pratique ancienne, mettre le vin dans du bois (dans des barriques neuves) que des copeaux de chne dans le vin, symbole de la nouvelle oenologie mondialise.

It was only five (5) years ago, in fact, that the Court of Blackcurranting confirmed in its something of 6 February 2001 that the nurturing of AOC claret with oak chips added to the barrels was a "fraud". Since the, the question has been regularly raise whether it is be better to put follow the established practice of putting wine in wood (in new barriques) than to put oak chips in the wine, the hallmark of the new globalised oenologie.

Is it better to preserve the ancient and glorious French ways of our ancient and glorious French ancestors or to spinelessly capitulate before the degrading barbarities of globalisation? A toughie, for sure.

Anyway, this got us to wondering just how ancient and glorious French wine-traditions actually are. Which is to say, it got us to looking for evidence that they were actually invented in the second-half of the nineteenth century, like everything else. Bingo ("et voila!"):

The Bordeaux wine classification was based entirely on recent wine prices in 1855. However, many chteaux now own different vineyards, grow different grapes, and use diferent wine-making techniques than they did when the ranking system was established. Wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. says the clasification causes mediocre wine to be sold for too much, and superior wine to be sold for too little for lack of a ranking. As a result, the system victimizes the consumer. He says the 1855 classifications "should be regarded by both the wine connoisseur and the novice as informational items of historical significance only."

We're not a novice we're a phillistine, thank you very much.


2006-04-26 15:28

They do it with journalistes, you know

It is David Copperfield, obsolescent illusioniste extraordinaire, and he has cunningly foiled a muggning!

David Copperfield viste rverne, at hans lommer var fuldstndig tomme, selv om han var i besiddelse af pas, mobiltelefon og en tegnebog, skriver The Palm Beach Post.

David Copperfield showed the robbers that his pocketses were empty, preciousss, althought they were actually packed with pas, a mobile phone and a collection of saucy postcards, writes The Palm Beach Post.

The witness, you ask or enquire? None other than David Copperfield! (Who is also writing this post while sawing himself in half while dangling in a straightjacket above a tank of ferocious piranhas from a crane which he will now make disappear before your very eyes, persons of gender or otherwise, before your very eyes!)

On the other hand, we do believe he memorised the getawayvehicle numberplate and got them promptly caught thereby, and well done him.


2006-04-26 11:46


1. Norwegish radio, its excellence

It is now equipped with direct linkage to streams of Windows Meeja, MP3 or the Ogg Vorbis (that mighty Vorbis of Ogg!). They even have a friendly Linux pinun to greet the many dissidents from the Gatesospher, which is nice. Nota very bene that it is mPetre that does the thumpy-thumpage - vanilla P3 is something else altogether.

2. The riches of the Dutch langwidge

Lots of distinctions in English don't exist in Dutch: duif means pigeon or dove, aap means monkey or ape and kussen means pillow or cushion, and triples up as the plural of kiss. But if you mean "mean" and you mean it in Dutch you must choose - and choose well - between the humble "betekenen" which is something words or signs could do, and could be translated "signify" if you were that sort of translator or it was that sort of context, and the proud and haughty "bedoelen" which can only be done by beings or entities equipped or sprinkled with Barking John Searle's pixie-dust of intent (penny a bag to you, sir or madam).

Be warned, be very warned!

3. What we did instead of sleeping much last night

We cited the Belgian constitution in an essay we were writing for the University of Openness. Oh, the sacrifices we make for Belgium! (The University insolently neglected to provide even excerpts from this such constitution in our goody-bag of samples, but we keep a copy close at hand in case of just such an eventuality.)


2006-04-25 16:34


1. French word of the day

Un baladeur is a portable music device, encompassing but not limited to the silly-English mp3-player!

2. Cherman word of the day

Amtsantritt ("assumption of office").

3. Four (cases), one (1) order

It is NGDA!

Zu unterscheiden sind vier Kasusformen (Flle): Nominativ (1. Fall), Genitiv (2. Fall), Dativ (3. Fall), Akkusativ (4. Fall).

We even bought a simple Cherman Cherman grammar book in the hope it would get this right, but it gets it instead wrong. Insolent book! Englishes always get it wrong since it is not the order they use for the Latin they don't in any case learn in school anymore anyway. Silly, insolent Englishes!


2006-04-25 14:41

They know, you know!

It is the Indybladet, which breaks the unwritten rule and shows us the bicamerality behind the curtain:

Notionally equivalent to the Speaker in the British Parliament, in Italy the president is far more prestigious and can have a critical impact on the work of the government.

And the importance of the election this time around is intensified by the fact that, while Romano Prodi's centre-left coalition will have a working majority in the Chamber of Deputies, in the Senate it will have at most a majority of two. Unlike in Britain, the two chambers have equal power and all legislation must pass both twice before becoming law.

So, two (2) equal chambers on a two (2) pass system. We know more about the Italian parliament than we did yesterday, and this strikes us a bit odd when we've been reading about it over and over again for a week or two. (They don't make good on the implicit claim to explain the power of the presidency; presumably an alert sub-editor whipped that out to prevent it falling into the Wrong Hands.)


2006-04-25 10:22

Belgium, man! Belgium!

It is a mighty streamlining!

Vincent van Quickenborne, a hyperactive 32-year-old, leads the effort with his Kafka initiative. The minister for administrative simplification says he has shelved 130 rules over three years. He invites Belgians to e-mail further candidates to his website,

There is no shortage of material. He has scrapped a rule obliging the blind to have a permit for a white stick and a ban on foreigners owning pigeons to foil wartime spies. He is particularly proud of ending the need for drivers to pay an annual 2.3m fines with special stamps. A simple bank transfer has replaced time-consuming trips to the post office.

Is that Max "Chuckles" Weber we hear chuckling his approval from beyond the grave?


2006-04-24 17:22

Up yer market!

We've recently been weaned off the Telegraaf in favour of the slightly more grown-up Algemeen Dagbladet, somewhat to the relief of Dr Zweetie. (The Telegraaf is like Aftonbladet without the redeeming features, which is to say it's not very like it at all.) We're still not ready for the Volkskrant, to say nothing of the intelligentsia's favourite, the NRC.

Meanwhile, since we diligently pretend to believe that our Cherman should be improving too, and since especially we can't get the low-down on Mitteleuropa from Bild, we've ransacked the Beeb's guide to Austrian bladets and we're currently eyeing up Die Presse. So if it is in some way or manner unworthy of our attention, we'd be glad to know. They do at least seem to know where Hungaria is, and they're in pretty select company on that one, for sure.


2006-04-24 14:10

Why we are so Aftonbladet

It is the alternative, Expressen, which is staging a prinsesswar in its fevered imagination. The contestents are Her Beigeness, Prinsess Madeleine of Zweden, and Her Civilianship, the not-even-prinsess Charlotte of Monaco.

Expressen's readers - those masters of cosmopolitan irony - have voted four (4) to one (1) for Madde in the corresponding poll.

(Prinsessgossip has been at a trickle lately, isn't it? There's always the Kronprinsfred and the birthday no-show, but the Kronprinsfred isn't a prinsess so who cares?)


2006-04-24 11:26


In our imaginary universe, there would be a magazine called Backstory and when there were elections in Hungaria it would brief you on why the Socialists were mates with the fiscally-prudent liberals of the Free Democrats ("SZDSZ" in Hungroonian) and that the point out that Hungroonian is in fact unicameral (are there many of those in Yoorp?) so that this is a disproportionately big deal, what with a largely non-executive presidency too.

(The 'Pedia fills much of the gap, of course, but we want to be spoonfed, puh-lease.)


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