DAILY BRIEFING
Found in Translation

Sept. 16 - I finally got my hands on the Turkish translation of my book, The 5-Minute Iliad. It's entitled sallama klasikler. I can't read Turkish, but I'm in awe of my translator. Look what he (or she) has done, for example, to my particular perversion of the opening verse of Dante's Inferno:

Yaz tatilimin tam ortasindayken
cok da acemiydim aslinda
   koparken siddetli bir firtina
   kayboldum ormunda
ve "lanet olsun!" dedim kendi kendime.

I have no idea what it means, but that's beside the point. It means something! More than that: it means something that I myself came up with—and I have no idea what. It's a hell of a thrill to get a copy of something you've written but cannot read. I have so many questions for the Turkish translator—how did he (or she) handle the allusions to The Simpsons, for example, or Mary Tyler Moore, or the ubiquitous man from Nantucket? How did he (or she) handle the wordplay, the American English double-entendres that don't even make sense in British English?

These questions will probably go unanswered, but if by any chance the translator happens to stumble across this website, please write me! I'd love to learn how you do that voodoo that you do!

(I was sad to see that Tony Millionaire's fantastic illustrations didn't make it into the Turkish edition. I'm sure Tony Millionaire still thinks of illustrating my book as the worst mistake of his career, but I bet he would have enjoyed seeing his pictures translated into Turkish.)

* * *

I hate to admit it, but I think it's unrealistic to try to sustain any kind of content over on Moron Abroad for the next few weeks. Until things calm down a little—less work, less school, less visitors—I'm going to reduce my Moron Abroad postings to simple announcements of new almanacs being posted. That way folks can still comment on specific Almanacs if they want to, which is a nice feature.

* * *

It's a lot of fun having my parents here. I get to see my life through their eyes—at least, in those rare moments when their eyes stray from their officially nameless eleven-pound granddaughter. Visitors always help you notice things you'd been taking for granted. It's giving me plenty to think about, and will probably translate into plenty to write about—but Molli has a cold and I have a full day of work, school, and meetings ahead of me, so this just isn't the time.

Wait, Wait, There is One Thing...

There was a little article in one of the Danish dailies yesterday about Lauren Bacall—who turns 80 today, which is what reminded me of having seen the article. She was apparently being interviewed about a film she'd recently made with Nicole Kidman when the interviewer referred to Ms. Kidman as a "legend." This was more than Ms. Bacall, an obvious legend herself, could bear. "You can't call someone that young a legend," she snipped. That was the whole story.

I thought it was interesting that a Danish newspaper would commit any ink at all to cover one actress's prickly remarks about another. (There was no indication Bacall and Kidman didn't get along, just that Bacall didn't think Kidman was a legend yet.) Maybe if at least one of them had been Danish, or Scandinavian, or had recently been in Denmark... maybe then I could understand it. But really, "Bacall Says Kidman Not a Legend"—is that news in any sense of the word?

This isn't a purely Danish phenomenon. Maybe it was a wire story that got picked up all over the world by entertainment editors having slow days. Even so, someone had to have submitted it to a wire service. And the wire service had to have said, "Great! Let's run with it!"

Catty remarks by actresses are about as newsworthy as catty behavior by cats. I guess we can all look forward to the eventual emergence of headlines like "Local Cat Hates Dogs" and "Area Cats Like to Lie Around, Do Nothing."

Anarchists of the World, Whatever!

Funny I should have written about a Danish anarchist yesterday. Because it was actually on this date in 1920 that a horse-drawn carriage loaded with dynamite exploded in front of the J.P. Morgan & Company headquarters at 23 Wall Street in New York's financial district. Thirty Americans were killed in the blast. More than 400 were injured.

(So I obviously meant weird funny, not ha-ha funny.)

Although the crime was never solved, it was believed to have been the work of the Anarchists, angry internationalists who believed the only good institutions were smoldering ruins. Anarchist Leon Czolgosz had assassinated President McKinley two decades earlier, on September 6, 1901, in Buffalo—an assassination that caused Teddy Roosevelt and the bully pulpit.

(Despite similarities in spelling, Anarchists should not be confused with Antichrists, Arachnids, or Pimentos.)

It was perhaps no accident that the Morgan bombing took place on the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's departure from England. The Mayflower carried its cargo of Puritan Bastards ("Pilgrims") to Massachusetts, where they became the first tourists in history to visit Plymouth Rock.

Anarchists hate tourists.

Today is the birthday of Madeline Zima (1985), Jennifer Tilly (1961), David Copperfield (1956), Mickey Rourke (1956), Robin Yount (1955), Ed Begley, Jr. (1949), Peter Falk (1927), B.B. King (1925), Lauren Bacall (1924), and Allen Funt (1914).

It's Independence Day in both Mexico and Papua New Guinea.

Happy Thursday!

2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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