Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympics, schmalympics

Quite a few of the "sports" (and I use the term sports lightly) at the olympics are similar to the late night sports shown on cable and satellite channels at all hours from 10 pm onwards when you've put the kids to bed or come in from the pub and you simply have a craving to see some sport and when anything will do as long as it is sport. "Sports" for example like darts, snooker, golf, endless poker programmes, American fake wrestling, ultimate fighting, air races in souped up small planes, 2-a-side beach volleyball and a whole range of various uninteresting and uninspiring motorbike and saloon car races in Germany, Italy, Holland and so on....

I make this comparison because every day at work since the olympics started I'm watching grown men (mostly) and some women watching the most obscure sports on TV during working hours and listening to them discussing them. Often the most worrying part is how they discuss them, as if they are suddenly experts in some new sport they've suddenly developed an extremely profound interest in, for example, women's softball...well I know why the men are
interested in that sport. Any sport that has women in tight tops and waving their arms about frantically is going to garner massive interest from the male population.


This craving for all sorts of sport regardless of quality and type is another clear indication that markets have totally gone from being governed by demand to being governed by supply from TV channels and various sporting organisations.

In exactly the same way that the mobile phone branch has taken complete control of and has dominated and created demand for its products, especially over the last 10 years, regardless of what individuals actually need.

The motto in today's society, from the powers that be both behind the olympics and the mobile phone branch is clearly:
You don't know what you need or want until we've told you, then shown you, then convinced you, then converted you, then sold you the product, be it floor gymnastics with ribbons, hoola hoops and balls to the latest all-singing, all-dancing mobile phone.

Welcome to the 21st century......now I must rush home to see some women's softball...apparently the US team are very good ;O) Or at least they wear the tightest tops...apparently, according to a work colleague :O)

The Swedish version

Here it is in Swedish, the similarity of some words and some deliberately incorrect Swedish grammar make it work, therefore it doesn't work in English.

De var en gång en svart räka
Som trodde sig vara en råka
Men en vän sa "Kanske är du en Kråka"
Och en till vän sa "Nej, inte fågel alls,
Men kanske är du en kräft-a för att du är så stor-a"
Men räkan sa bara "krax, krax"
Och sen hördes en flax, flax, och då var han borta.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nonsense animal poem with a linguistic twist

While cycling home on Tuesday I found myself getting sillier and sillier as I composed a little Edward Lear like nonsense poem about animals in my head, which I would now like to share with you.

However, with a little linguistic twist, the poem I composed in my head was in Swedish so I am going to write it in Swedish but using the Irish alphabet and its pronunciation of letters.
Some help along the way though, the Irish alphabet,which predates the English by almost a thousand years, and which is almost the same as the Latin, does not contain the following letters:

J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y, Z and of course none of the later various European accented, cedillaed or umlauted letters either.

So the English hard J sound as in James does not exist in Irish, in the same way that it doesn't exist in French either.

Instead, also like the French, S followed by an accented vowel does the job, for example Séamas is pronouned like a French person saying James i.e Shay-mass, and that "Latin/romance" pronunciation is exactly why James in Irish is Séamas.

C is always pronunced in Irish as K
Q is the same as K anyway so C is used there too.
V is sounded in Irish by the consonant pair BH
W is sounded in Irish by the consonant pair MH
X (as in max or rex) is sounded in Irish, as it is in the Norwegian KS, by the logical consonant pair CS. And sometimes by CH, which sometimes also sounds like a throaty gurgled K, as in Bach and loch.
Y is covered by several combinations.
The English Z sound is not used in Irish
RH is a soft R. some other combinations also soften the consonants. And in some only the first letter of the combination is pronounced. For exmaple the Irish word for table is exavtly the same as in Swedish bord. However, "the table" is "an mbord" which is pronounced "uh mord"

So here it is (Irish spelling and pronunciation conventions only NOT vocab or word order, which remain Swedish. Title in Swedish to get you started)

Det var en gång en svart räka

De bhar en gángh en sbhart rhaica
Som trodde sé bhara en rháca
Men en bhain sa "Chansé air du en chráca"
Och en till bhain sa "Né, inte fágel alls, men chansé air du en chraiftha fer at du air sá stora"
Men rhaican sa bara "chracs, chracs" och sen hurdes en fhlacs, fhlacs och dá bhar han bortha.

If you're up for the challenge you can post your correct translation to standard Swedish here as a comment to this post.


Slan go foill (See you later)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Touristy things we didn't do in London

We didn't go to the tower of London or Madame Tussauds and we didn't eat fish & chips(I wanted to but A, just didn't find time to cram it in and B, simply forgot) . We didn't go on a sightseeing bus or sightseeing tour of any kind. We didn't go on the London eye.

What we did do though was show our sons where we used to live and the parks and museums and places we used to visit as Londoners.

And of course we took them to the seven floors of toys that is Hamley's Toy Shop. And took them on loads of double decker buses and tubes, which they loved and to several adventure playgrounds which they also loved!

Oh and before I forget

Penguins, which swim linearly under water like seals and dolphins, which can't fly, and which seem to have fur rather than feathers are to me not birds, they are some kind of hybrid dinosaur-mammal as far as I'm concerned.

And the duck billed platypus with its...well, duck's bill, webbed feet and egg laying is not a mammal in my book, it is some kind of bird-mammal hybrid. So what, if it's got four legs!

Anyway these two creatures simply support my long-held opinion that the biologists of the late 19th and early to mid 20th centuries must have just got bored at creating all those families, classes, genuses and species, resulting in these two and some other unusual species, (like the species of shark, supposedly a fish, that gives birth to live young rather than eggs) slipping through the net and ending up incorrectly classified as birds and mammals. So by the end anything with four legs and a fur coat had to be a mammal and anything without fully developed upper limbs had to be a bird.

Penguins are not birds, I don't care what you say. And the cheetah with its dog like head and body and non-retractable dog-like claws and with no relatives in the cat family is not a cat! It is a canine!

Post-holiday explosion post

Now back at work after my holiday. And so many things happened during it, just before it and after it that I just have to unload here in an explosive manner in one post, then service will be resumed as usual.

My family and I spent the last week of July in London:

  • It has become extremely expensive in London

The only thing that was cheaper in London than in Sweden was the clothes sales. Bought some lovely sports shirts and a coat at extremely reduced prices, often 80% off!

  • The air fare with Ryanaior was extremely cheap 2,800 SEK return for 4 of us
  • It doesn't feel safe to walk about at nightitme in London anymore
  • The humidity was up in the 80s, that added to an overcrowded tourist packed city just made the weather unbearable
  • The vast majority of shop staff, bus, tube and train staff have problems understanding basic English - very irritating
  • Foodstuffs are full of much more additives, nitrates and sulphates than in Sweden -not at all healthy
  • Glad to leave after a week

I never cease to be amazed at what some Swedes think is suitable attire for various semi-formal and formal occasions and what is and what isn't suitable behaviour at such occasions. Turning up in Crocs and getting completely pissed by 9 pm and behaving like an idiot seems to be totally acceptable to some.

Why do roadworks and the laying of heating pipes and so on take sooooo bloody long in Sweden? Probably partly because roadworkers and pipe layers in Sweden, unlike those in the UK, all seem to have long lunch breaks, finish work at about 3pm, have every Friday and weekend off, and have summer holidays in the middle of projects. It just wouldn't...well it simply isn't tolerated in the UK! Projectys are worked on in shifts often around the clock and at weekends until the job is done. That way the disruption to traffic and residents is as short a period as possible.

USA, UK and EU and Nato once again all criticise Russia in typical russophobia knee-jerk reaction mode and take the side of Georgia without finding out the full facts.

When Grenada was "invaded" by Cuban troops, the US sent troops to Grenada to protect the US citizens and kick the Cubans out. ...hhhmmmm...sounds fmailiar...yea the US then did exactly what Russia is doing now...protecting its citizens in another country.

Under the Soviet Union the South Ossetians had autonomy. But when the USSR dissolved in 91, Georgia tried to claim South Ossetia, who simply said "No" and "Why? we were autonomous under the USSR why should Georgia claim us now"

The only reason Georgia, the US, UK, Nato and EU are making such a stance here is because of the oil.

The South Ossetian freedom fighters (supported by Russia) have my support!

A few weeks ago I found out that in English HBT is GLBT. Then today I found out that in South Africa they say GLBTI. The I apparently stands for intersexual. As my favourite singer Morrissey said "There is no such thing as normal" good!

Today if my father was alive he would have been celebrating his 72nd birthday. However, sadly he died aged 53 in 1989 - after a 14 year illness.