The Cali Word Games, plus a Civil War gag from Alfonso Guerra

Lenox, who has been discussing the role (roll-on, roll-off?) of Google Translate in quality public service provision, has passed along this little gem from the wider reaches of linguistic dilettantism – Colombia, where 1,221 medals were cast for the World Games without wasting precious time on letter-checking:

Lost Letters Departments have of course swept the world since the sucking of Rome by Onan the Barbarian (see the chronicles of Graham Rawle) spun the gods of chaos, lunacy, and bad taste to Fortuna’s apex. As Ignatius points out, “firm rule must be imposed upon our nation before it destroys itself,” but I doubt whether we are up to the task.

The other night I read the pre-1982 memoirs of the Sevillan (socialist) schemer, Alfonso Guerra, Cuando el tiempo nos alcanza, in which he recounts a splendid Civil War legend starring Francisco López Real, grace of a thousand quips. It goes something like this:

Curro and some fellow-prisoners are told they have ten days to live. “Don’t worry,” he says, “a lot can happen in ten days: why, I happen to have on me a book called “Learn English in Ten Days.”

Gord is famously gorn, even the grammar police are in retreat, so why would we bother?

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