Silliness

Why’s there no Spanish expression for silly season / big gooseberry time / komkommertijd (nl: cucumber time) / Sauregurkenzeit (de: gherkin time) / morte-saison (fr: dead season) / nyhetstorka (sv: news drought) etc? Do the Spanish press and their readers really think important stuff is getting published in August (or the rest of the year,…

How to hack a lift, allegedly

Martin Sewell > TheDamnBlog. Panic was once engendered in a stoned drummer in a stuck lift by mentioning to him that the lift brand was named for someone who died (singing Higher and higher, no doubt) when his plane fell out of the sky. (This has nothing to do with Spain, where there are no…

Adolf Hitler probably not Catalan

Just as reincarnationists invariably turn out to have been princesses in earlier lives, so mad, sad Jordi Bilbeny is incapable of retrospectively assigning any but worthies to the Glorious Catalan Nation. His work on Columbus demonstrates a basic ignorance of historical sources and method–Mr Ockham let loose on Mr Bilbeny would make Sweeney Todd look…

Ethnic mascots

It’s a funny old world in which the celebration of states’ primary ethnic identity passes without comment while people are falling over themselves to ban poor old Chief Illiniwek.

Alternative etymology of “blah”

Here’s one: blah (n.) “idle, meaningless talk,” 1918, probably echoic; the adj. meaning “bland, dull” is from 1919, perhaps infl. by Fr. blasé “bored, indifferent.” The blahs “depression” is first attested 1969. And here’s another: Blah as an actual word originated in the U.S. as an imitation of the sound of meaningless talk.  In 1918…