The personal and the political

Colin Davies suggests that people shouldn’t be allowed to discuss political independence until they have achieved domestic independence by moving out of their parents’ home. Since most street terrorist live off and with their mums (as do most people under 30), this seems quite sensible to me, although I’m not sure how easy it would…

Back-to-front and upside-down

It’s not just texts in furrin languages that I sing without hearing the meaning. For some reason, from when we learnt it as kids as a function of some education director’s dawning multicultural flushblush to now, I’ve always sung “My heart is down,/my head is turning around,/I had to leave a little girl in Kingston…

Pan-European tax system already with us?

I’ve always billed using my national fiscal number, but now I’ve got some loon telling me that I can’t do that anymore cross-border and that I need a European fiscal number. It would be nice if someone had told us. It doesn’t sound like the kind of thing we’ll get to vote on anyway.

Ranters initiation song

Completely off-topic but delightful, this is from The Joviall Crew, or the Devill turn’d Ranter: being a character of the roaring Ranters of these Times, represented in a Comedie. Containing a true discovery of the cursed conversations, prodigious pranks, monstrous meetings, private performances, rude revellings, garrulous greetings, impious and incorrigible deportements of a sect (lately…

Victorian style guide

Walton Burgess’ Five Hundred Mistake [sic] of Daily Occurrence in Speaking Pronouncing and Writing the English Language (1873) sounds interesting ;-)

Experiment = experience?

Experiment and experience both come from the Latin experiri. In Spanish experiencia can be used as a synonym for experimento–I think this is particularly true of the pre-C20th language–and something tells me I’ve read nineteenth century English in which the same applies. Experiential evidence is, however, in short supply. Regrettably, this is often the case…

Fatwa nut bar

Cat in Rabat has a hilarious post re continuing attempts by beards in Morocco and elsewhere to make us dress up silly and prevent us from inspecting each others’ fatwans and stuff.

El País macht Arbeit

In reporting the Pope’s visit to Auschwitz, Lola Galán puts in overtime to come up with a curious translation of the German School Association’s most famous pick-me-up slogan, “Arbeit macht frei”: “El trabajo nos hace libres”, “Work makes us free”, which carries a rather different load to the more literal and linguistically perfectly acceptable “El…

Monday vomit

El Figaro “in private” with someone called Zhang Ziyi: “At what moment were you most happy? I cherish every day that passes. Each day offers something new, something different. I’m very happy at the moment.” It gets worse before it gets over.