DAILY BRIEFINGNu Taler Mary Dansk
Jul. 1 - I'm feeling better about myself.
A broadside posted outside the neighborhood bakery caught my eye this afternoon. NU TALER MARY DANSK, its headline proclaimed. It was simple enough that even I could translate it: "Now Mary Speaks Danish."
I was so excited by the news that I popped in to the bakery and bought a copy of the advertised paper—Ekstra Bladet. I rushed home eagerly, opened the paper, and immediately turned to page 9.
After admiring the lovely naked form of 18-year-old Samira of Odense, I turned back to page 4 to read about the celebrated Danophonic Mary.
Unfortunately the article, like so many articles in Ekstra Bladet, was in Danish, so I couldn't make much sense of it. On the other hand, and just as characteristically, there were lots of big photographs accompanying the story. I still don't know who Mary is, but you don't need to know very much about someone who's young, beautiful, and hanging out at the horse track with the Crown Prince.
But on reflection, it doesn't really matter. What matters is, I've been getting all worked up about the difficulty of learning Danish, as if it were no more or less difficult than any other language, and now I finally realize I'm not alone. Think how difficult a language must be if it generates headlines when someone finally learns how to speak it.
Nu Taler Greg Dansk, they'll say some day.
Probably around 2005.
Germany's Prime Minister Schröder announced that he's going to reduce German income taxes by about ten percent to promote economic growth. Apparently he hasn't been following the American press, which has been shrilly insisting that tax-cuts can't promote growth.
President Bush's announced intention to cut taxes to stimulate growth, as I remember, invited a lot of "there he goes again"-type rhetoric from the mainstream press. Stimulate the economy by reducing a source of its revenue? Absurd. Unworthy even of debate.
According to Monday's Times, however, "Mr. Schröder's move is nevertheless being applauded by economists and business leaders, who view the need to revive the economy as more pressing in the short run than keeping its books balanced."
I'm still not done with my DVD Economics course, but I don't think I need Economics to understand the problem here. And the problem with Economics seems to be that I'm not the only one who doesn't understand it.
Either the mainstream American press doesn't get it, or Messrs. Schröder and Bush don't get it, but clearly if everyone understood Economics half as well as they understand how to make microwave popcorn, these episodic political free-for-alls could become a thing of the past.
(Maybe the makers of microwave popcorn could perform a public service by providing Economics tutorials on their packaging.)
Anyway, as soon as I finish my DVD Economics course, or finish reading The Wealth of Nations, I'll know who to trust.
Probably sometime in 2005.
Three days after mailing out wedding invitations that informed our guests we were getting married on August 9, time and location to be determined, I got a phone call from the Frederiksberg Bureau of Meddling Persons. Our papers had been processed, and our marriage had been approved.
What language would we like to get married in?
"Well," I said, "it's a Danish wedding and there won't be many American guests, so I suppose we'll have it in Danish and let someone translate for the Americans."
"But you do not speak Danish so well?"
"Nej, jeg taler Dansk ikke godt." (Which, with my pronunciation, was tantamount to saying, "No, I'm a blithering idiot.")
"Then you must be married in English."
"But a lot of our guests might not understand it."
"It is not important that your guests understand it. It is important that you understand it."
"Sure, but I mean... it's a wedding, right? Can't we—"
"Perhaps I could speak to the bride..."
Canada celebrates Canada Day (Canadian for "Fourth of July") today. Canada is the second-largest nation in the world. It is not part of the United States.
In the 135 years of their nationhood, Canadians have given the world paint rollers, snowmobiles, electric organs, green ink, toboggans, snow blowers, plexiglass, and the push-up bra.
Canada has about the same population as California, but fewer Scientologists and much more flannel.
A 7-Eleven in Winnipeg sells more slurpees per capita than any other store in the world.
Today is the 22nd anniversary of Canada's stirring national anthem, Like America But Colder.
Canada's leading export to the United States is Canadians. Dan Aykroyd, who happens to have been born exactly fifty-one years ago today, is one. Pamela Anderson is another, and was also born today, although she's younger (most of her is 36, but some parts are significantly younger). Other Canadian exports: Bryan Adams, Paul Anka, Alexandel Graham Bell, Raymond Burr, John Candy, Jim Carrey, Celine Dion, Michael J. Fox, John Kenneth Galbraith, Peter Jennings, kd lang, Marshall McLuhan, Joni Mitchell, Alice Munro, Oscar Peterson, William Shatner, Alex Trebek, Shania Twain, and Neil Young.
Canada's national bird is the beaver.
Today is also the Fourth of July in Burundi, Rwanda, and Somalia, to say nothing of Republic Day in Ghana and Freedom Day in Suriname. We continue to await the arrival of the Surinamese Dan Akroyd or the Ghanan Pamela Anderson.
July is Accordion Awareness Month.
Sharing their birthdays with Mr. Akroyd and Ms. Anderson are Princess Diana (1961), Deborah Harry (1945), Karen Black (1942), Twyla Tharp (1941), Jean Marsh (1934), Leslie Caron (1931), and Olivia DeHavilland (1916).
© 2003, The Moron's Almanac