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2005-12-22 12:19


1. For shame, Nederland!

It is a silly immigration test!

Would-be immigrants hoping for Dutch citizenship will need to pass a special test on Dutch language and culture, the country's parliament has ruled.

What's that, Varied Reader? No, sillyhead, they don't mean white would-be immigrants!

Some 14,000 applicants, mainly from Turkey, Morocco and Surinam, are expected to sit the test each year.

2. Oh noh, it's a camauro!

It's Benny!

WHEN Pope Benedict XVI arrived in the popemobile for his weekly audience in St Peter's Square, onlookers could have been forgiven for thinking Santa Claus was in town.

To keep warm against the bitter cold, the pontiff wore a red velvet cap, trimmed with white fur which, together with his scarlet cape, gave him the look of Father Christmas.

The traditional hat, known as a camauro, was commonly worn by popes in the medieval period to keep their heads warm on cold days and it featured on many paintings at the time, but it has rarely been worn in modern times.

That's his story and he's sticking to it. (He just realised Santa had better poll numbers and is trying to muscle in on his turf. Camauro, indeed!)

3. Still the Manne

Janne Ahonen kan titulera sig Finlands bsta idrottare anno 2005. Vrldscupsuvernen vann omrstningen i stor stil fre Tanja Poutiainen och Tommi Evil. Fr Champions League-segraren Sami Hyypi blev det bara en fjrde plats.

Janne "The Manne" Ahonen is Finlands athlete of the year. 'Nuff said. (We hadn't heard of the others anyway.)

4. God jul och gott nytt r till alla!

May all your trees be twinkly, and we'll be back when we're back - we're not sure they have Internets in Derbyshire, where we're going shortly.


2005-12-22 10:49

Not so much losing a radio station as gaining a world

It is the BBC World Service and especially its eastern European services:

The Slovak section of the BBC World Service has fallen silent after 66 years on air - the first of eight European language sections to do so.

Hello Slovakia! This is London calling! You're on your own now.


2005-12-21 17:24

Non impendimentia!

So I nipped down, having an appointment, to the Bristle register office to get them to start the process of certifying me as being unimpedimented in the marrying of my belovd in Abroad.

The three(3)-week delay turns out to be due to what amounts to posting of the many banns so that persons can, should they wish to and they better hadn't, object.

Then we need to get that such stifficut, the reproduction one that claims we were born to human parents that we keep in our sock drawer (which is indeed an odd place to keep human parents, ho ho) and get them all apostillated, book the town hall, arrange the party, and we'll be all set to say "Ja!" (which is all they mostly do in Abroad, apparently).


2005-12-21 12:58


It is Bildbladet's christmasalbumsfeature and it alerts us (in an irritating pop-up window) to Banaroo - you will surely remember their gold-selling "Dubi Dam Dam"? - and their delightful "Christmas World" long-player.

We are reliably informed that the ballad "Coming Home For Christmas" is particularly good.


2005-12-21 11:33

Chuckles, we hardly knew you

It is Max "Chuckles" Weber and it is especially an Englishing of a review in the Germanbladet [Is That] Die Zeit? of a large new biography of said scintillating sociological scamp.

To sum up Radkau roughly, Weber's first phase, leading up to his psycho-physical breakdown in 1898/99 which it took him years to recover from (at his own request he was finally relieved of teaching duties in 1903), is obsessively determined by his sexually unfulfilled, allegedly unconsummated marriage with Marianne Weber, by his impotence, and by his masochistic tendencies. Attendant to these are Weber's continual pollutions, or nocturnal ejaculations, which he saw as extremely detrimental to his creative powers.

(We shudder to contemplate what the Googlebots will think, but after all we no longer have access to searchs in our many logs.)


2005-12-20 14:13


1. Things you never thought you'd miss

It is the rebellion against the renewal of the FDR's "Patriot" Act

"We need to be more vigilant," agreed Senator John Sununu, a Republican from New Hampshire, where the state motto is Live Free or Die. He quoted Benjamin Franklin: "Those that would give up essential liberty in pursuit of a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security."

There was a time when every second wingnut on Usenet made that their constant refrain. Bush's political legacy will surely be that he outed so many Shmibertarians as big fans of torture and scapping habeas corpus. (Tax is still bad, of course.)

2. What you say?

Dieven hebben op het Britse eiland Wight een babypingun gestolen.

They've stolen a baby pingun! The cads!

Return the babypingun at once or your in deep trouble, silly thieves.

3. Twinkletree Travesties

Tenk hvis du lot de tradisjonelle kulene hvile p loftet i r og heller pyntet juletreet i fargene til fotballaget i ditt hjerte.

Are you an idiot or an oaf? Then why not deface your nice tree with random foopball-themed tat?

Stay away from Liseberg, Gteborg, Gothenburg, Zweden - they've had an outbreak of designrs attack their nice Twinkletrees. It is very sad.


2005-12-20 10:34


'D Riddance, says us:

Antonio Fazio resigned on Monday as governor of the Bank of Italy, finally succumbing to the mounting pressure of a banking scandal that has severely damaged the reputation of the country's business community.

A brief recap, sir or madam?

Mr Fazio had resisted calls for his resignation since the summer when court documents highlighted the close relationship which he and his wife had with Gianpiero Fiorani, a banker involved in a controversial takeover battle [for an Italian bank. The rival suitor was ABN Amro, and Italian banks do not get taken over by foreigners -DvB]. The calls reached fever pitch last week after Mr Fiorani was arrested on charges of running a criminal network for personal gain and market abuse related to the takeover battle.

Italy, eh?


2005-12-19 16:55

Finns det ngra svensktaliga tomten hr?

We know what you're wondering or musing Varied Reader, but the answer is mostly no:

Finsksprkiga jultomtar finns det gott om. Men att f tag p en svensksprkig tomte i huvudstadsregionen r som att hoppas p en vit jul i Kenya - nst intill omjligt.

There are plenty of Finnish-speaking Christmas-santas. But getting hold of a Swedish-speaking Christmas-santa in the Helsingrad region is like hoping for a white Christmas in Kenya - almost impossible.

We, for one, bet there's sn on Kenya mountain; will that do?


2005-12-19 13:13


Ho ho oh no! It is the patriarchs of the Greek Orthodox church and they're worried about the dangerously low levels of Jesium in today's Twinkletree knick-knacks:

-Bilder med sn och renar innehller inget julbudskap. De br frestlla Kristi fdelse, sger rkebiskop Christodoulos i en predikan i grekisk tv.

"Pictures of the Baby Jesus and angels have nothing to do with Twinkletree. They should have reindeers and flying sleighs. Ho ho ho!", said archbishop Sossageodouloupouloupos in a rant on Byzantine TV.

Our thoughts exackly, archbishop!


2005-12-19 10:13

Oh Twinkletree!

Oh Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum,
wie grn sind deine Bltter!
Du grnst nicht nur zur Sommerszeit,
nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit
Oh Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum,
wie grn sind deine Bltter!

Oh Twinkletree, oh Twinkletree,
You're tasty fried in batter!
You groan not much in Somerset
Nine buttons and a chair you bet
Oh Twinkletree, oh Twinkletree,
You're tasty fried in batter!

(These Chermans are crazy, for sure.)

Die Deutschen lieben ihren Weihnachtsbaum. Deshalb haben immer mehr einen zweiten - im Garten, auf dem Balkon oder im Kinderzimmer. "In diesem Jahr sollen etwa 25 Millionen Christbume verkauft werden, etwas mehr als im Vorjahr", sagt Jens Stengert von der Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald (SDW).

Ja ja, we are all especially at this time of year about the Twinkletrees completely crazy! "Mmmm... trees!", said Jenny Stonegoat of the Cherman Forest Somethingsociety.

We have a Tannenbaum, a kerstboom, a julegran, a juletr and a Twinkletree this year. They are very nice.


2005-12-17 15:22

"Yes! Yes!"

European leaders have agreed the next seven-year EU budget after two days of tense talks ended in the early hours.

The UK gives up 10.5bn euros (7bn) of its rebate, some 20%, while the budget grows to 862.4bn euros, helping to fund the development of new member states.

We want the rebate dead, with a side-order of CAP reform, so this is fine by us.

Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, whose country will get 4bn euros more aid than the UK had at first proposed, punched the air and shouted "Yes! Yes!" when the deal was done.

(Props, also, to Ms Merkel for allegedly engineering the Franco-British compromise. We suspect we're going to get on other than spectacularly well with her future agenda, but she does seem to be a bit good at politics and we like it when persons are good at things.)

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