From an NPR interview with a writer who worked on a game show in which contestants tried to guess how Americans answered various questions:
SMITH: So when you say you're a writer for a game show, what does that mean?
WILK: Great question. Nobody knows. I have no idea.
ROMER: David gets to work cooking up questions to give the polling company. The polling company does its job.
WILK: And it was the only question that we ever wrote where we ever got a response from them saying, is this actually what you want us to be polling? And we said, yes. And the question was - we were going to ask people, have you ever been decapitated?
SMITH: (Laughter). But...
WILK: They were sure we had made a mistake, and we had not.
SMITH: As far as David remembers, by the way, 4 percent of Americans answered that they had been decapitated.
While we're on the subject of Iceland, a Facebook pal writes: "a friend of mine traveled extensively through the country and came across this fresco of a tanned male supermodel Jesus in a woolen turtleneck sweater. In comparison to this vision of The Utter Beyond, Michelangelo's Last Judgment or Bernini's St. Theresa just evaporate into insignificance. I name it Comfy Jesus:"
On 22nd May 2008 the Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) in Sydney sent a letter to Koala Net stating that they had received a complaint from an organisation calling itself British People Against Racial Discrimination (BPARD). BPARD felt that the entries on the Australian slang page referring to Poms were derogatory and offensive.
Koala Net disagrees and will not delete the entries unless forced to by an Australian court.
You can read full details of the complaint and Koala Net's reply:
Letter dated 22nd May 2008 from the HREOC to Koala Net.
Email dated 24th December 2007 from David Thomason of BPARD to the HREOC.
Email from BPARD addressed to Koala Net but not sent. The HREOC sent it to Koala Net.
Letter dated 26th May 2008 from Koala Net to the HREOC.
This blog has been your go-to source for cutting-edge reports on Germany's emerging culture of public masturbation, one of the most stimulating cultural enrichments the 2015 migrant wave brought us.
Italy has adopted a brand-new policy model to address this crisis-tunity: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Or maybe if you can beat 'em, join 'em. Alright, no more crude puns, cut to the news:
Masturbating in public, if it's out of the sight of minors, is not an illegal act, the Supreme Court of Italy has ruled in a case concerning a 69-year-old man who was caught masturbating on a bench in front of a group of college students.
A lower court had convicted the man, identified only as Pietro L, for performing the act in front of students on the University of Catania campus in southern Italy, sentencing him to three months in prison and ordering him to pay a fine of $3,600, according to documents filed with Supreme Court, CNN reports.
The highest court, La Corte di Cassazione, said in its ruling last week, that public masturbation out of the presence of minors is no longer a criminal act as the law had been amended last year.
According to the amended law, masturbation done in the presence of a minor is punishable with imprisonment of up to four-and-a-half years. However, the act might incurr an administrative fine even if not witnessed by a minor. The apex court has therefore sent Pietro's case back to local courts in Catania, and he will still be fined between $4,000 and $6,000.
Pietro told the court that he masturbated in the open only "occasionally," arguing that he was caught doing the act in "reduced visibility" around dusk in May 2015 and therefore it would have been hard for people to see him, according to Albuquerque Express.
The Supreme Court's decision, which was delivered in June but disclosed only last week, was criticized by opposition politicians in that country.
"The Renzi government has never given equal opportunities much notice, but to save from the prison cells people who commit obscene acts in front of women is really unjustifiable," Elvira Savino, a lawmaker from the Forza Italia Party, was quoted as saying. "The government's law is an invitation to every maniac to molest women."
In 2013, a court in Sweden also ruled that a man who masturbated publicly on a beach in Stockholm did not commit a criminal offense because he was not "pleasuring himself towards a specific person."
"For this to be a criminal offence it's required that the sexual molestation was directed towards one or more people. I think the court's judgement is reasonable," public prosecutor Olof Vrethammar responded at the time, according to The Independent. "The district court has made a judgment on this case. With that we can conclude that it is okay to masturbate on the beach."
If Donald Trump is elected President of the United States, I am going to become a millionaire. Why? Because I will immediately order copies of the statement below in all of the world's languages, and sell them to all of the 8 million American expatriates in the world:
Readers of this blog know that I harbor a strong suspicion that a large number of the 70% male, 70% under-35 migrants coming to Europe in 2015 are not quite right in the head. Dozens of stories of sexual assaults, public masturbation, clumsy rape attempts, and extremely bizarre violent crimes pour in every day.
This last story, however, is some sort of milestone. Let me quote a report (g) in a newspaper from Salzburg, Austria. It concerns a man who was stopped by police in the Salzburg train station and refused to identify himself:
Investigators were able to determine only that the man was an Algerian, and they brought him to the train station's police station. They then took his fingerprints and found that the Algerian had already filed claims for asylum in Switzerland and Germany.
The man is a 40-year-old Algerian. After the Federal Ministry for Foreigners and Asylum issued a detention warrant, the Algerian claimed political asylum before the Austrian police. During his stay in the police station, the Algerian touched himself and masturbated onto the table. Officials in the police station are now evaluating his request for international protection, the police said Friday.
The German original uses the accusative form "masturbated onto the table", not the dative form, which would mean "masturbated on (top of) the table".
I think we all know what that means.
I only hope he missed his asylum application. It would be a shame if something gummed up the works.
As a teacher on the Sopranos said about the mobster's feckless, dull-witted son AJ: "Well, like my dad used to say, 'The world needs ditch diggers too.'"
And when Dutch ditchdiggers dolefully depart, the number-one song they choose to accompany their incineration is this:
Of course, they choose the anglicized version of it: 'Time to Say Goodbye', sung as a duet with Sarah Brightman. But that's another ball of wax entirely. English translation of the lyrics here.
This song is also used several times during TheSopranos, both diegetically and non-diegetically, as a sort of psychological cue that one of the grubby, classless Italian mobsters is having a Moment of Profound Emotion. David Chase, one of the world's great misanthropes, used the melling swellody, er I mean swelling melody to spit contempt at the characters he so memorably etched: "Look at these cheap, empty people. This is their idea of a 'bee-yoo-tee-ful' song. Yet they can't even speak the language it's written in anymore, because they're deracinated, lazy, and corrupt. It's just an empty token of their once-proud heritage."
But Chase is wrong! Well, not about the mobsters, but about the song. If you ask me, 'Con te Partiro' is fucking awesome. It's a creamy, silken masterpiece of heart-on-your-sleeve, pop-those-cuffs, if-this-don't-turn-you-on-you-ain't-got-no-switches pop melody-making. I mean come on, once you hear that melody, you'll never forget it. And the sudden key shifts keep the drama intense until the last bar fades.
No wonder this music accompanies the synchronized fountains outside Steve Wynn's Bellagio casino resort in Las Vegas ("The Fountains of Bellagio"!). Once, while watching those fountains in Vegas with a group of friends, 'Con te Partiro' came on. Most of us sneered the sneer of the international urban haute bourgeoisie at this ejaculation of cheese. Yet one of our company, a fluent speaker and lover of Italian culture, visibly choked up. "You assholes don't know quality when you hear it. This is a beautiful old Italian ballad, just amped up with a big orchestra."
I told him that as far as I knew, it had been written in the 1990s for Andrea Bocelli. He said, "Maybe, maybe not," (this was before smartphones), "but even if it was, it's in the grand tradition of Italian song-making. The yearning, the passion, the genuineness of the Neapolitan ballad, it's all there. Laugh all you want, but this is great music. What would you rather have people listening to? Vanilla Ice?"
Needless to say, I've come around to his way of thinking. But judge for yourself:
Glück is like Geist -- a German word so context-dependent, it has perhaps 5 or 6 different meanings. The two main meanings of Glück are happiness and good luck. You can look happy (glücklich) because you just found a shirt at a flea market that fits you perfectly -- a lucky (glücklich) coincidence.
Which brings us to the German phrase Glück im Unglück. Unglück is basically the opposite of Glück. So Glück im Unglück is happiness in unhappiness, or good fortune in misfortune. This phrase is apparently based on the German translation (g) of the title of a Taoist parable. One online dictionary translates GiG as "blessing in disguise", but I'm not sure that really captures it. That suggests an experience that, overall, had a positive outcome. Say you're diagnosed with cancer, but your make a full recovery and your life is more meaningful because you now realize Every Day is Precious™.
Glück im Unglück, in my view, points to a situation in which the overall balance at the end of the day is still bad, but not quite as bad as it could have been. Something intervened to ameliorate what seemed like a hopeless situation, or to show an unexpected positive side. But when all is said and done, you still wish the whole thing hadn't happened.
This GIF captures it perfectly (especially since Unglück also means accident in German):