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2006-05-04 16:54

Smrgspost, slightly Belgian

1. L'trange, c'est les autres

It is Belgium. Or is it?

Dans le cadre du plan Marshall pour le redressement conomique de la Wallonie, le gouvernement wallon a dbloqu un budget global de 60 millions d'euros pour l'apprentissage de langues trangres.

The Marshall plan for Wallonia allocates loads of money for learning foreign langwidges.

Foreign, you and we ask or enquire in unison?

Le public vis est constitu des enseignants d'anglais, de nerlandais et d'allemand engags titre dfinitif ou titre temporaire dans l'enseignement de la Communaut. D'autres bourses seront attribues des lves, pour permettre des jeunes diplms de l'enseignement secondaire ou de la formation en apprentissage de raliser une anne scolaire complte en Flandre, en Communaut germanophone ou l'tranger.

Yes, Virginia, Dutch is foreign, for these such purposes and Flanders (spit) is Abroad.

2. Bonus Belgium!

Le ministre belge de l'Intrieur s'apprte lancer, en Rpublique dmocratique du Congo (RDC), une campagne visant dcourager les Congolais de venir dposer en Belgique une demande d'asile qui risque de ne pas aboutir.

The Belgian minister of the Belgian interior in Belgium is preparing to launch in the Democratique Republic of the Congo, a campain aimed at discouraging the Congolese from coming to Belgium and asking for asylum which may not be granted.

Who bad is the "Democratic Republic of Congo"? Really worse than Wallonia?

3. Would you like wizz with that gee?

A fax came through to my office the other week, touting a book on just that subject. The publishers blurb promised; "A chilling picture of a debt bloated America that seems headed down the same self destructive path of the Roman Empire." Now, if that does not get your attention, nothing will.

Speaking as the Holy Roman Emperor (yes yes, in exile, thanks for reminding us) we have seen more comparisons of the FDR to the Roman Empire than you've borrowed dollars, Mr So-Called Journaliste, and our attention is not so readily bestowed as that.

Here are some figures. Whatever your politics, they should scare you. The US federal debt stands at $8,2-trillion. Yes: trillion with a T. American household debt — meaning ordinary Americans' mortgages and such debts — dwarfs even that. It stands at $11-trillion.

As J Paul Getty famously said (we have no idea if he also actually said it), "If you owe the bank $100, that's your problem; if you owe the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem".

Which is to say, the US domestic debt isn't our problem, but the national one might yet be.


2006-05-04 12:08

Is it smrgspost? It is, it is smrgspost

1. Sprachen Sie Foopball?

Wer wei schon, was "Abseitsfalle" auf Spanisch heit? Oder warum der Torraum bei uns 5-Meter-Raum heit, bei den Franzosen aber 6-Meter-Raum? Was meint der britische Fan mit "bicycle kick" oder "nutmeg"?

Who knows for sure what the Espanish for "offside trap" is? Or why the goal area is called the 5 metre box in Cherman but the 6 metre box in French? What British fans mean by "bicycle kick" or "nutmeg"?

Kauderwelsch - for it is they! - knows.

They also have travel guides to Cherman foopball stadiums, and a collector's edition boxed set thereof. They don't miss a trick, yer Kauderwelsch, and good for them. If you buy your foopball interlangwidge materials from anyone else, we have no sympathy at all.

2. Deserts are big and scary

We do not recommend wandering off in the Kalahari to play with the lions, as two (2) Swedish televisionpersons recently did:

- Deras bil hade exploderat och drefter gick de lngt till fots innan de kom fram till en polisstation i Ghanzi, sger Per Helgesson, projektledare vid SVT.

"Their car had exploded so they walked for a long time before they came to a polisstation in Ghanzi", says Per Helgesson, their boss.

We'd throw them to the lions for being so stupid, personally.

3. How to speak Merkan

It is ageing drug-cheat Barry Bonds and his performing adverbs!

Phillies fans may surely boo Bonds; it's the serenade that has greeted him on the road all season, and it's what he heard last night when introduced to Brewers fans. Phillies fans secretly must be anticipating what the confluence of a healthy Bonds and Citizens Bank Park could do to Ruth's second-place berth.

We'll skip the definitely-maybeisme of "may surely", but BrE just can't accommodate "Phillies fans secretly must be anticipating".


2006-05-04 10:54

What I have against helicopters

Firstly, they are an abomination in the sight of God, and secondly, Leonardo da Vinci bloody well did not invent them. Not working isn't a minor detail, when it comes to inventions, and "Oh I wasn't actually going to actually build one, actually" isn't a satisfactory excuse.

Thirdly, we are reading with frankly tedious slowness a Cherry Cotton adventure which has just spent ten (10) pages with him in a helicopter, and it turns out that our Cherman vocabulary is spectacularly ill-suited to the narrative exigencies of such a circumstance. Now that he's finally back on the ground it feels like someone has thrown the Warp Speed switch, in a good way.


2006-05-03 16:26

Alarm and Acorns

It is California, where men are fairly laid back men but the squiggles are fairly tense:

Windmolens maken zoveel lawaai dat Californische eekhoorntjes die leven in de buurt van windmolenparken zich vreemd gedragen.

Windmills make somuch noise that Californian squiggles which live in the neighbourhood of windmillfarms something something something.

They're jumpier around windmills, is about all we can tell you. (We can read Dutch pretty good with a dictionary, but not always with this such dictionary we have to hand.)


2006-05-03 13:31

Not your father's geography, and quite right too

It is a shock horror!

Selon une tude publie, mardi 2 mai, par le National Geographic, la majorit des jeunes Amricains font preuve de lourdes lacunes en gographie et sont incapables, par exemple, de situer l'Irak sur une carte.

According to an estudy published on Tuesday, 2 May, 2006 of the so-called Christian Era, by National Geographic, the majority of young American's show evidence of heavy gaps in geography and are incapable, for example, of situating Iraq on the map.

Our very own parents were equally insistent, in our youth, that geography meant knowing capitals and countries and rivers and stuff. Our teachers, however, held no such opinions, and they were the ones with the red pens, so we learned what they told us to learn.

A more important fact that where Iraq is on a map is how it got nation-statehood thrust upon it. (Hint: it wasn't rooted in the territory associated with a people exercising its right to self-determination.)

If certain persons we choose not to name had spent more time studying these such processes and less time on plotting the courses of their many missiles on charts or maps, then the world (as seen other than from Euston) might well be a better-ordered place.


2006-05-03 10:11

Boom chang-a euro-chang!

It is a beeboid writing about his record collection! But with a Yoorpean twist!

13 & God (great name), from Germany, are in a long tradition of Teutonic experimentation which pays off, on the whole. I really liked what I heard of the Croatian surf rockers Bambi Molesters on a website, but I've only managed to get hold of the first album which is less impressive.

Austria's Kruder and Dorfmeister are up there in my all time Top Ten but haven't done anything for a while. And why not?

There's Belgium's legendary Martin Lanout, but he's currently bandless.

The legends they tell about Martin Lanout! They say he even made a record once.


2006-05-02 15:27


It is a mighty fotografning featuring - from left to right - Prinzessin Madeleine von Schweden (23), Prinzessin Mxima der Niederlande (35), Schwedens Kronprinzessin Victoria (28), Prinzessin Mary von Dnemark (34), Prinzessin Mathilde von Belgien (33) und Norwegens Prinzessin Mette-Marit (32)!

Bild has plenty to say about their many frocks, but we're as sure it is quite impertinent as we are that it's in Cherman, and that's pretty sure, for sure. And Mette-Marit looks OK in curtains, so why not?


2006-05-02 12:07

Prinsessbookrant, slightly Google

It is Catherine Quicky ("Catarina Hurtig") and she has written a book about the many Zwedish prinsesses!

Sadly her observations are less interesting than Molesworth's sister's skool song, and sadder still Google won't fetch us the latter. Prolly the Chinese government's fault, really, of course. Like the Google Froup's interface having non-quoting reply as the default. Bloody Chinese bloody government messing with Google all the time!


2006-05-02 09:21

"Fog in Channel. Continent isolated for three days"

It is the mighty and meaty Bavarian Weisswurst:

The Weisswurst is something of a new creation, having been invented by accident in 1857 by frustrated Munich butcher Sepp Moser. Having used up the last of the thicker skin he normally stuffed sausage slop into, he turned to some thinner skin he had lying around to satisfy guests clamoring to be fed. Worried that frying the thin-skinned sausage would cause them to burst, he boiled them gently for 10 minutes. And voil, his guests were happy.

The Shpeegy-Spieg seems to have locked assorted feature journalistes (presumably American ones, if the strained jauntiness is anything to go by) in a cupboard and told them to write many hilarious articles about Chermany, nominally on the occasion of the foopball of Inter-Nations. Here they are on Bild-bladet:

For German politicians, it's a necessary evil. For German journalists, it's mandatory daily reading. For the German desperate, it's a daily dose of high-resolution soft porn. And for millions of Germans, it's the primary source of news.

Bild Zeitung, Germany's answer to the British tabloids the Sun and the Daily Mirror, serves up tripe, trash, tits and, almost as an afterthought, a healthy dose of hard news seven days a week.

"High-resolution" is an odd adjective for tree-ware, thinks us,


2006-05-01 16:30

Me me me!

1. Why I am so very certified

Our certificate in social sciences just turned up! We are so very official!

2. Why I am so very avuncular

Our second nephew-to-be just turned up! We are so very impressed!

3. Why I am so very slack

For once, the British "early May Bank Holiday" coincides with yer actual May Day, so we have been sleeping in.

Now it is time to read the Morning Star and sing the Internationale, of course; we certainly hope they schedule the Revolution, when it comes, for a civilised hour.

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