It seems text-message shorthand sorely vexes the French. Well, some of them, anyway:
"Look at what text-messaging is doing to the French language," lamented President Nicolas Sarkozy in February. "If we let things go, in a few years we will have trouble understanding each other." Most secondary-school pupils have their own mobile telephones, and they use an abbreviated phonetic language to communicate. A2M1, for instance, means à demain, or "see you tomorrow." JTM is je t'aime (I love you). Or try: Ta HT 1 KDO? (T'as acheté un cadeau?, or have you bought a present?).
Princeton economist Paul Krugman on how "old Europe" shows the U.S. how it can deal with high gas prices:
If Europe’s example is any guide, here are the two secrets of coping with expensive oil: own fuel-efficient cars, and don’t drive them too much. Notice that I said that cars should be fuel-efficient — not that people should do without cars altogether. In Germany, as in the United States, the vast majority of families own cars (although German households are less likely than their U.S. counterparts to be multiple-car owners).
Krugman, perhaps not having spent time owning a car in Lincoln Park or the Upper West Side, neglects another way to keep people from driving: make the cost of moving one's car prohibitive. I drive about once a week, for the simple reason that if I don't time it right (i.e., getting back home between 5:30 and 7pm, as the parking regulations are changing), I get a really good walk from whatever part of the city I wind up parking in.
Quick update: The Chicago Tribune reports this morning that Chicago has the highest gas prices in the U.S. No kidding: how does $4.07 a gallon sound to you? That's for regular; my little GTI takes premium.
For the last few years, I've found so few things Chris Matthews says that I agree with. Knowing what "appeasement" means, however, we agree on. Via Talking Points Memo, a right-wing ninny gets smacked down.
I'm glad the guy I was going to vote for (he dropped out hours before I voted) has decided to endorse the guy I did:
Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards will endorse Barack Obama tonight at a campaign event in Grand Rapids. The endorsement comes more than three months after Edwards dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination, asking the two remaining candidates to make poverty a central issue of the general election.
And then, in about 250 days and 18 hours, Obama will become the 45th President of the United States.
In other good news, the Chicago Transit Authority has accelerated a major construction project that affects the El stations nearest where I live:
Service on two southbound tracks will resume in late December at the Fullerton and Belmont stations serving the Red, Brown and Purple/Evanston Express lines. ... Work was originally set to wrap up by June 30, 2009, but the CTA decided to spend $1.6 million to expedite the construction schedule, CTA President Ron Huberman said.
On this day in 1960, the FDA approved Enovid-10, the first commercially-produced oral contraceptive, for general use. The pill, produced by Searle, was yet another earth-shakingly-cool thing to come out of Chicago in the last 50 years.
Apparently I haven't come very far in 20 years: I just bought John Lennon's Double Fantasy, which is about as classical as you can get without Neville Marriner.
Minor, little anniversary: twenty years ago today, I bought my first CD, a copy of Mozart's Mass in C-Major K317 performed by the Bavarian Radio Chorus under Eugen Jochum.
Kind of a silly thing to remember, I guess.
For those keeping score at home, here were the subsequent nine:
- Mozart, Requiem K626: Academy of Ancient Music, Hogwood
- Mozart, Mass in c-minor K427: Berlin Philharmonic, Karajan
- Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique: Chicago Symphony, Solti
- Fauré, Requiem: Atlanta Symphony, Shaw
- Händel, Messiah: Chicago Symphony, Solti
- The Beatles: Beatles for Sale
- The Beatles: Abbey Road
- Les Miserables, London cast
- Mozart, Symphonies #40 and #41: Vienna Philharmonic, Karajan
So, yes, 20 years ago I was a classical nerd. I still am, but I've expanded my tastes. A little. The last ten CDs I've bought were:
- Joan Osborne, Pretty Little Stranger
- Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova, Once
- Glen Hansard, The Swell Season
- The Frames, The Cost
- Kate Rusby, Underneath the Stars
- Gemma Hayes, Night On My Side
- Badly Drawn Boy, The Hour of Bewilderbeast
- Joan Osborne, Breakfast in Bed
- Robert Plant/Alison Krause, Raising Sand
- The Corrs, Talk On Corners
OK, so my tastes are still a little unusual, and I tend to scoop up entire ouvres when I find someone I like.
Also, just when you thought I couldn't possibly provide more useless information about myself, I plan to put my CD catalog online at some point, as part of a larger project that would actually be a commercial R&D effort. The CD catalog will be an example, not the app itself. So, stay tuned.
So far today, there have been eight earthquakes of 5 or stronger magnitude off the coast of Japan, one of magnitude 6.8. Something going on over there?
I'm not kidding: the Evanston (pop. 75,000) City Council has decided against war with Iran (pop. 66 million):
Aldermen on Evanston's Human Services Committee voted 4-1 Monday without discussion to back a resolution urging that the United States not take military action against Iran. The resolution was proposed by a coalition of local groups opposed to the war in Iraq.