Print Story Advent, Advent, ein Lichtlein brennt
By Bartleby (Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 11:55:53 AM EST) (all tags)
erst eins, dann zwei, dann drei, dann vier -
und wenn das fünfte Lichtlein brennt,
dann hast du Weihnachten verpennt.

Christmas season again, eh? Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

Ravintola "Työ"

So what's new? Got myself a minor academic degree in the time since my last diary, back in the ordovician, but no new job (yet, I hope). Anybody have employment for someone who has no marketable skills at all, but can say "Do you want fries with that" in seven different languages? *sigh*

My professor wrote me a glowing recommendation for a job I apply for in Finland. It's almost a bit embarassing. I mean, I'm the most incompetent waste of space around, after all. Wish me luck.

I need to actually do something again. Right now, I have too much unoccupied time, and my insomnia is getting really bad. As they say around here, I'm walking on my gums. More time to diarize, less stuff to write about. C'est la vie.



There's a webcam overlooking the Christmas market in my town. I'll have to go there eventually to find some last minute presents, but not today. It's stormy and the rain just won't stop. The place does look more appealing, though, than in recent years. Less noise, no techno beat-enhanced "White Christmas" last time I passed by. Buffta buffta buffta.


Knee deep in sheep shit

If you need some temporary storage for furniture and stuff, a shed on a meadow in the middle of a swamp on an island that barely rises above sea level might not be the ideal place. Though, to be fair, J didn't have much of a choice. Today we went and hauled it all into her new flat. Her possessions were actually in better shape than I'd have expected. It had rained a lot recently and the van got stuck in the mud several times. On a meadow that is being used for raising sheep and cattle - hence this paragraph's headline. Fun.


Wort des Jahres

The German Language Society (Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache) announced the Word Of The Year 2007 today: 'Klimakatastrophe'. Well.


My word of the day is rokotus, which is Finnish for 'vaccination'. No deeper meaning, I just like the sound of it. ROCK-at-us. ROCKatusROCKatusROCKatus. The vowels are a bit off; just to give you an impression.



The happy kind, not the Pearl Harbor kind.

Yesterday (Dec 6th) was Finnish independence day, or Itsenäisyyspäivä; the 90th. Here in Germany St. Nicholas is the day for putting chocolate into footwear. In our family the day used to be a Christmas preview of sorts, what with it almost being my brother's birthday as well. One year, my brother persuaded me to try and find the place where our parents hid the presents, and find it we did. And then had to fake surprise. I learned there's some merit in not wanting to know everything.

Today is Tom Waits' birthday. I first heard of him back in the age of audio cassettes via a band from Cologne called "The piano has been drinking" that played Waits songs translated into Cologne dialect. And then I discovered the real stuff. Congratulations.

It's also the birthday of late Erika Fuchs. If you want to get rich and famous, translating is not the right career for you. One of the few German translators that gained some prominence with people outside the profession is Erika Fuchs. She translated Donald Duck, specifically the stories created by Carl Barks. Interestingly, what helped her in a way was that nobody at the time, including herself, took comics terribly seriously (except for the people who villified them). So she allowed herself considerable liberties and created what in the trade is known as "belles infidèles" rather than clinging religiously to the holy original. And it worked. (Thread in a German fan forum collecting "Highlights of the art of translation")

Wherever you look, nothing but surroundings.

She's also the only person I can think of that has a grammatical category named after her, the Erikativ (see the aforementioned wikipedia article). A killjoy linguist came up with a properly scholarly name, Inflektiv. Boooh.


Pan-Homo Habitat

I've been watching or listening to a lot of lectures via the internet recently, and then I accidentally came across this one and it was the most interesting and enjoyable one of them all. Seriously, go watch it. I can't claim I could properly evaluate the research there, but it's fascinating regardless. By the way, what makes some people feel our being related to other ape species somehow denigrates human dignity? That's an idea that just never parsed for me.

The walking skeletons are cool.


Asia on loppuun käsitelty.

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Advent, Advent, ein Lichtlein brennt | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden)
Goddammit! by BadDoggie (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 01:36:08 PM EST
I had a €20 bet that the Word of the Year was going to Britneyspearsartigelebensuntergang.


OMG WE'RE FUCKED! -- duxup ?

Britneywhat? by Bartleby (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 09:57:35 PM EST
Myself, I would have put my money on the word that came in second, 'Herdprämie'. Those who like the word hate the law it attacks for its reactionary backwardness, those who agree with the legislation hate the word for its arrogant commie cynicism. Everybody has something to get worked up about, everybody wins.

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St. Nicholas visited us last night by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 03:15:47 PM EST
though we call him Bellsnickel. The kids were good, they got toys, not chained up to a tree in the bitter cold.

Lucky kids. by Bartleby (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 10:43:30 PM EST
Somebody tell the UN about Bellsnickel!

Our St. Nicholas has an assistant, or companion, or whatever the word is, whose job is the punishing. 'Knecht Ruprecht'. Good cop, bad cop.

[ Parent ]
Ruprecht must have got lost on the trip across by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #5 Sat Dec 08, 2007 at 05:48:41 AM EST
the Atlantic, Belsnickel has to do double duty, gift giver and punisher.

[ Parent ]
So Belsnickel Inc... by Bartleby (2.00 / 0) #6 Sat Dec 08, 2007 at 08:45:03 AM EST
...didn't only get offshored, but downsized, too. Who'll be the next victim, the Easter Bunny? I mean, chocolate factories already use the same templates (forms? moulds?) for bunnies and Clauses, this cannot bode well!

Though, more seriously, my entirely unsubstantiated wild guess would be that both Ruprecht and Belsnickel might be remnants of a pre-Christian tradition and the saint was grafted on later and got the nice part of the job; just like with all the gods who were demoted to demon status when that monomaniacal upstart took over.

[ Parent ]
Advent, Advent, ein Lichtlein brennt | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden)