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2010-12-13 20:53

Snkaos can seriously harm your political career

At least in Scottland:

Der schottische Verkehrsminister Stewart Stevenson hat wegen des Schneechaos der vergangenen Tage seinen Rcktritt erklrt. Er htte viel mehr tun knnen, um die Menschen, die "von schwierigen und bengstigenden Umstnden eingeholt" worden seien, besser ber die Lage zu informieren, erklrte Stevenson am Samstag zur Begrndung.

The sort-of minister for traffic in Scottland's sort-of government has fallen on his own claymore as a result of the snkaos of the last few days. "Es tut me leid", he told a passing Begrndung on Saturday.

It all sounds a bit like a storm that could have been weathered to us, but we are reluctantly becoming jaded about this sort of thing.

2010-12-13 20:40

Source me harder, Oostria shout out edition

If you want to read about the referendum in Slovenia (to be confused with Slovakia) then (based on our sample of RSS feeds and printed media) the BBC and the Doshbladet ("Financial Times") aren't what you need, although they very often otherwise are. And the NRC Tradebladet, the best krant in the Netherlands, is after all only the best krant in the Netherlands and that isn't saying anywhere near enough.

For the Balkans and Central Yoorp you have to be dealing with the Oostriches. (Wikileaks hilariously exhibited remarks from the USA's many dysfunctioning functionaries to the effect that Oostria's political class smug and provincial, which it surely is, and indifferent to foreign policy, which it certainly isn't unless you consider it mostly in terms of enthusiasm for ill-judged ground wars in Asia.)

We still read German poorly, and we do not otherwise love Oostria, but we still follow Der Standard: if Slovenia holds a referendum on media regulation that ends up as a fiasco for the ruling centre-left coalition then we for one want to hear about it and apparently no one else is going to tell us.

2010-12-13 20:21

A billion times anything is a lot

But still:

India, the worlds biggest whisky drinker, could soon be flooded with some of the worlds premier brands after negotiations for a trade agreement with the European Union shifted into high gear.

Lately we've been working on almost - but not quite - acquiring a taste for whiskey, because we have a vacancy for a spirit we like just enough to drink without drinking too much too fast, which isn't very much or very fast when it comes to spirits.

(Everyone has to have a hobby, isn't it?)

2010-12-04 20:31

Mondag review of stuff, YouTube edition

(But without linkage, since I am not by any means encouraging the following.)

Roary[sic] the Racing Car comes from the same stable as Bob the Builder, but it is vastly more irritating. The writing is feeble, even by the standards of children's TV, and the voices are needlessly grating.

Needless to say, Boris van 't Blad loves it dearly. (It has autos in. He likes his autos.) The saving grace, so far, has been that he doesn't seem to mind watching the German or Swedish dubs of it, which are vastly easier to tune out of our head, but that surely can't last - this evening he was visibly puzzled at the lack of sense the dialogue was making.

(Yesterday we had a discussion about an elephant in a book in which he explicitly remarked on the fact that Mama and Daddy use different words for things, although he's been observing that distinction for months. It can't be long until he points out that neither of us speak German or Swedish on a regular basis - he already objects when I try to read him German stories.)

2010-12-04 19:35

More Sportbloggning: the flag that didn't wave

We're currently sort-of reading the autobiography of Janne "The Manne" Ahonen, Finland's finest skihopper of recent memory.

(Sort of, because we've been sick, the Countess has been sick, and the childrens have been restive. Also because it is in German, and we basically don't know German, although we are often willing to overlook that deficiency.)

It starts with his first retirement, a couple of years ago, which was promptly undermined by his un-retirement for the 2009/10 Olympic season (in which he didn't win much of anything, including Olympic medals), and this un-retirement is being prolonged this season.

To, so far, underwhelming effect:

Da den finske veteranen skulle sette utfor i frsteomgangen i storbakken i Kuusamo ventet han mer enn de tilmlte sekundene. rsaken var at Ahonen ventet p signal fra treneren sin. Men p trenertribunen var det akkurat da noe feil med elektronikken, slik at nedtellingen ikke var riktig.

When the Finnish veteran was set for his first jump on the large hill at Kuusamo he waited more than the permitted time. The cause was that Ahonen was waiting for a signal from his trainer. But the electronic timer at trainers' bench was faulty, so that the countdown was wrong.

(This is a Norwegian account, of course, but the Norwegian's hoppning coach is of course Finnish, and he for one is sympathetic to Ahonen's plight.)

Even when he's hopped Ahonen's form has been modest, and he has ruled himself out of the current round at Lillehammer to train privately instead.

He could still come back in a last blaze of glory at the Four Hills or later in the season, but after Larinto and Hautamki took a one-two at Kuopio, leaving him roughly nowhere down the field, it does feel like the guard has been somewhat changed.

(He's a good six(6) years younger than us. Sigh.)

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