damnum absque injuria

April 26, 2009

Trouble in the White House?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 5:25 pm

It can’t be a good sign when the President and his teleprompter aren’t friends.

April 24, 2009

This Just In

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:03 pm

A 20% chance of rain means there is only a 20% chance that it will rain.

April 23, 2009

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:22 am

When I worked for Countrywide, that name was as respected as … well … Enron, if you go back far enough in time. Today’s conversation with a co-worker:

Co-worker: (Some bungled syntax).

Me: Oh hey! That reminds me of a really funny conversation I had a couple weeks back while I was vacationing in California. The boys and I met an old friend from Countrywide, and…

Co-worker (incredulous): You. Have. Friends. At. COUNTRYWIDE??????!!!!!!!

Me: Uh, yes. I worked there for four years.

Co-worker (obviously disappointed): Oh.

April 19, 2009

Thank God for the Media, For Saving the Day, Putting it all into Perspective in a Responsible Way

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 11:23 am

I don’t know much. I don’t know too much, but I know this: stuff is messed up.

April 15, 2009

Tea

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 2:04 pm

Just got back from the party in Winston-Salem. Attendance looks like about 600-700. Plenty of American flags, one thirteen-star flag, 8 Don’t Tread On Me flags, 0 Confederate flags. No evidence of ACORN agitators or other undesirables. More to follow.

UPDATE: Per the WS Journal, attendance was over 1,000. I don’t doubt that. My original estimate was based on the first speaker telling us there were 600 people there, plus my own observation that the 600 figure was almost certainly too low.

April 7, 2009

Wobei ich kurz meinen Präsidenten verteidigt habe

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 11:05 pm

Na, wirklich. Eigentlich zweimal. Während andere Blogger von rechts meinen Präsidenten dafür verarscht haben, er glaube, daß die Österreicher “österreichisch” statt deutsch reden, habe ich am Anfang angenommen, da war bestimmt etwas bei der Übersetzung verlorengegangen. Obgleich man Obama so zitiert hat:

There’s a lot of — I don’t know what the term is in Austrian — wheeling and dealing, and people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics.

hat er bestimmt dies tatsächlich gesagt:

There’s a lot of — I don’t know what the term is in Austria — wheeling and dealing, and people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics.

Während der österreichische Journalist, dem er gerade beantwortet hatte, einen zufälligen Schlußkonsonant angehört hat, der einfach nicht da war. Dieses Mißverständnis habe Sinn, dachte ich, da es im deutschen üblich ist, die Namen von Dialekten statt Sprachen zu nennen. Während der zwei Jahren, die ich im deutschsprachigen Raum verbracht habe, wurde ich öfters gefragt, wie man X auf “amerikanisch” sage. Nicht von Klugscheißern, die mich als Amerikaner wegen der Unterschieden zwischen dem amerikanischen und dem britischen Dialekt verarschen wollten, von Idioten ganz zu schweigen, die nicht einmal wissen, daß man in Amerika Englisch spricht. Statt dessen kamen die Fragen von nachdenklichen, gut ausgebildeten Deutschen und Österreichern, denen es wohl bekannt ist, was wir hier in Amerika für Englisch sprechen, die allerdings gerne wissen möchten, wie man X in unserem Dialekt ausdrückt, auch wenn es die Königin von England es etwas anders ausdrücken würde.

In diesem Zusammenhang hätte es eigentlich Sinn, daß ein österreichischer Journalist eventuell einen Schlußkonsonant “n” mithören würde, und den Satz so verstehen, als ob Mr. Obama gesagt hätte, “Selbstverständich weiß ich, was das auf Hochdeutsch heißt, ich weiß aber auch, daß Sie nicht gerade aus Niedersachsen kommen, sondern aus Österreich, und tja, leider reicht mein Österreichisch nicht aus, um das richtig auszudrücken. Aber was über alles geht, Sie müssen wissen, daß ich im Gegensatz zu 99 Prozent meiner Landsleute nicht blöd genug bin, Österreich mit Deutschland (von Australien ganz zu schweigen) zu verwechseln.

Leider hat das Audio bewiesen, daß ich die Sache viel zu milde betrachtet hatte. Davon hört man “Austrian” klar und deutlich. Nicht “Austria,” und nicht einmal “in Austrian dialect” oder “in Austrian German,” wie man es normalerweise auf Englisch ausdrücken würde. Nein, er hat gerade das gesagt, was seine Gegner meinten. Wenn ich zum Nächstenmal Lust habe zu Denken, unserer Präsident habe etwas extrem doof gesagt, dann verspreche ich Euch, ihm nichts wieder zu seinen Gunsten auszulegen. Statt dessen werde ich annehmen, er habe doch etwas Idiotisches gesagt. Anders darf ich nicht wetten.

In Which I Briefly Defended My President

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:35 pm

No, seriously. Twice, actually. While the rest of the dextrosphere was busy mocking my President for thinking Austrians speak “Austrian” rather than German, my first instinct was to assume there had been an error in translation. Maybe Obama had been quoted as saying this:

There’s a lot of — I don’t know what the term is in Austrian — wheeling and dealing, and people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics.

but surely that actually meant he had said this:

There’s a lot of — I don’t know what the term is in Austria — wheeling and dealing, and people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics.

only to have the Austrian reporter he was addressing mistakenly hear a final n that wasn’t really there. That would have made sense, I thought, given that it is common in the German language to use the names of nationalities and regions as a proxy for actual languages when discussing local dialects. While residing a year apiece in both Germany and Austria, I got asked all the time how one might say X “auf amerikanisch,” not from wise-asses who were trying to make some ironic point about the differences between British and American English, and certainly not from dumbasses who honestly did not know that the language we speak in America is, in fact, English, but from thoughtful and learned Germans and Austrians who were curious to know how our dialect differs from the one the Queen of England uses when she’s actually talking rather than handing our Presidents gifts that are even lamer than what they gave her. Given that linguistic subtlety, it stands to reason that any Austrian reporter who is one-tenth as Obasm-prone as his American counterpart would, upon hearing “I don’t know what the term is in Austria,” falsely hear that final n that would convert the entire quote to “Sure I know how to say it in High German, but I know you’re not from Hannover, so rather than demeaning you by addressing you in the wrong dialect, I’ll punt on the local term and wow you with the fact that unlike 99% of the rubes who elected me, I know that Austria isn’t part of Germany, let alone Australia!”

Alas, the audio proves my charity was unwarranted. He really did say “Austrian,” all right. Not in German, not in reference to a local dialect, and not in an ironic tone. He had actually made the very statement his detractors accused him of. Next time I’m remotely tempted to think President Articulate has said something insanely stupid, I promise not to give him the benefit of the doubt, but instead to conclude that he has, in fact, said something insanely stupid. Anything else is a losing bet.

A Prediction

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 8:10 pm

Nevada will enact gay divorce before it enacts gay marriage.

Quote of the Day

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 5:47 pm

Actually a few days old, but linkworthy nonetheless:

Gay marriage is kind of dorky.

April 3, 2009

Memo to the Churchill Jury

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:07 pm

See my comment to the Iowa Supreme Court. Iowa’s famous for lagging behind the rest of the country, but et tu, Colorado?

 

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