I'm neither a psychologist or a statistician, but perhaps some nations are sluttier than others.
And I'd like to know which. Or whether this is, academically or instinctually, just another steaming - yet amusing - pile of the vilest-smelling bull poo.
posted on Nov-6-08 at 11:27 AM
Free Lecture On The Wonders Of Social Democracy And The Evils Of Alcohol With Every Bottle Of Booze:
Outside sunny Islam, are there are worse places to get a drink than Sweden
posted on Jul-12-06 at 5:50 AM
Sorry, But Only One Of These Countries Can Win The World Cup.
But which one will it be? And what are the odds
? The Guardian's Fiver
can be as funny about it as it likes, but this is no laughing matter, not anymore, as we will soon be surrounded by 31 unmistakable, irredeemable, inconsolable losers. Anyway, whatever happens, I'm sure everyone here at MetaFilter will join me in wishing it's one
of the countries
that speak Portuguese
posted on Jun-8-06 at 7:02 AM
Something Wicked This Way Comes:
Here's my nomination
for the worst-sounding
music that ever happened in the history of torture
. I challenge anyone to come up with worse
. Can any music known to human anguish be more repulsive than the best Italo Disco
, specially when skillfully presented by an enthusiastic Greek web tycoon
? I think not! And what's more, be on your guard, for there are ominous
signs it's about to flare up
posted on May-25-06 at 11:46 AM
As God Is My Cleaning Lady: Crypto-Fado For Bohemian Pagan Popsters.
They can't play their classical Fado guitars very well; they have a punky drummer and the Fado singer not only smiles pouts and shakes her hips, but actually seems to enjoy herself
! What's become of this country? Are they mad? Reckless, certainly. They call themselves A Naifa
and what they've done is taken a massive, ice-crunching Waring Pro blender to all the sacred potions, fruits and flavours of Portuguese traditional music and poured out a vulgar, shameless, disrespectful and utterly delicious
shambles of a Pop cocktail
. Heresy in old Lisbon? I nearly choked on my 30-year-old aguardente velha
, but then realized I was dancing merrily and had already spilt most of it anyway. [Probably not fun for those unfamiliar with the Fado. QuickTime required.
posted on Sep-13-04 at 11:09 PM
How To Insult Gay Men And Women At The Same Time:
Isn't Arnold Shwarzenegger getting a bit of a free ride? Sixties hero Paul Krassner
(who notoriously described LBJ avidly fornicating JFK's bullet holed cranium on Air Force One) may be mellower
and less forthright but his instincts seem as acute as ever. Btw, what other 60s yippies and figureheads are still relevant?
posted on Jul-27-04 at 10:50 AM
The New European Football Champion Will Be Greece Or Portugal:
Sunday's Euro 2004 match is the first final ever between two national teams who've never made a final before, after dispatching the biggest, richest European powers like England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France. Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova
, a 17-year old Russian from Siberia has won Wimbledon
, defeating the mighty Serena Williams. Perhaps size and money, despite the multi-million contracts, still aren't everything in sport. Or does it depend on the sport? [More inside.
posted on Jul-3-04 at 7:08 PM
The Man Who Best Understood America Was A French Aristocrat:
If there's a book which manages to grow better and more pertinent with every passing year, it's Tocqueville's
fascinating, prescient and utterly apposite Democracy in America
. Of how many other books could you safely say every American and European should read it and know beforehand
they will enjoy it and learn from it? Of none.
posted on Jul-2-04 at 6:26 AM
I Like To Watch:
A photographic record of cats transfixed; self-referential cats; cat Witnesses of Our Time; cat onlookers; cats gazing stupidly at infinity; lightly hypnotized brainpan-fried cats; feline couch potatoes; cats afflicted by the staring disease; briefly and easily amused cats; UN observer cats; guilty bystander cats. All in all, an extremely important investigation into the perennial question of how to hold a cat's attention. [Click on "Cats", funnily enough.
posted on Jun-21-04 at 11:43 PM
Sorry Is The New Screw You:
Whatever happened to "Never explain, never apologize"? Apparently, it went the way of Mrs Thatcher's state banquets
posted on May-22-04 at 8:11 PM
So You Think You're Fundamentally Badass, Do You?
... take the test and think again, dude! ( That is, ass if I knew what badass or kickass or even ass itself meant...
posted on May-21-04 at 2:47 AM
Bitch Hit My Truck:
Is this for real?
posted on May-19-04 at 6:56 PM
The Food Of Love:
Oh, forget about music already. What should you cook
if you want to woo a lover? According to Lisa Hilton, it all depends on what nationality (s)he is and what country you're living in... P.S. Shame on The Observer for choosing the inflammatory but incidental title I've Never Had Good Sex With A Vegetarian!
posted on May-15-04 at 9:11 PM
The Hirschfeld Follies:
A charming and generous gallery of Al Hirschfeld's portraits from The New York Times, spanning from 1928 to 2002 (registration required
), indexed by date
. Are there any outstanding young contemporary caricaturists out there who are doing good work (not necessarily in the theatre) we old-timers should know about? [Be sure to accompany with plep's great post on American cartoon and caricature and PeteyStock's January 2004 obituary post. And while you're at it, if you'll excuse the immodesty, my own David Levine post, with a (superb) still-working link.
posted on May-5-04 at 5:30 PM
Can Compassionate Fascism Be Far Behind?
It's only a short book review but Terry Eagleton
- who could be defined as a playful and disobedient neo-Marxist literary theorist - manages to give us, propelled by Robert Paxton's universally praised The Anatomy of Fascism
, a pithy and workable definition of fascism and its opposition to conservatism, as well as some depressing, very provocative misgivings about the future of capitalism and the increasing appeal of authoritarianism. Just what is, in the 21st century, the danger and chance of revisionist fascism, in the style of a dubious, unctuous political I Can't Believe It's Not Democracy
margarine? [Via .
posted on May-3-04 at 10:50 PM
Grin And Bear It, Woman! Think Of England!
Caesarean births in the U.K. should be severely curtailed, say the medical mandarins. Germaine Greer
says, in a cracking column, that the new guidelines
are misogyny pure and simple. Is it just my impression (think of American Pie
-type teenage movies; advertising; "guy lit") or are hatred of women and beery, bozo celebrations of indifference to the feminine sex on the up and up?
posted on Apr-28-04 at 9:51 PM
A Bigger Splash: What Sunny California Did To Miserable Manchester Man Morrissey.
His new album, "You Are The Quarry"
, is released on May 17th in the U.K. and the next day in the U.S. But the problem is: does anyone still care? I do! [More inside.
posted on Apr-26-04 at 8:12 PM
Not Just Whistling Dixie: Is The South, Like The Past, A Different Country?
An article by Jacob Levenson
in the Columbia Journalism Review
retraces the obligatory, almost stereotypical steps of the innocent, enlightened Yank lost and confused in the South. Is it the usual shtick
or is there something genuinely befuddled and even "foreign" to it?
posted on Apr-25-04 at 7:27 PM
Aimez-vous Godard? That Is, If You've Actually Seen One Of His Films.
Gilberto Perez's view of Godard
is strictly personal, as all opinions of his work must be. It does highlight, however, how neglected the restless author's films have lately been. For people of my generation, he was absolutely essential. The supreme cineaste, both with an accent on the "e" (as a film-maker) and without (as a film enthusiast). Whatever became of the Nouvelle Vague
? It seems to me that the contemporary cinema could well do with another blast.
posted on Apr-22-04 at 3:16 PM
So You Think You Might Be A Writer?
Just because you write? An astute essay by Joseph Epstein
poses the uncomfortable question: are you weird
enough? There's something very unnatural and unhealthy about writing (as opposed to reading, for instance) - but what is it? [Via Arts and Letters Daily.
posted on Apr-19-04 at 7:24 PM
Forget Fiction And Non-Fiction, Bud: Is The Book Liberal Or Conservative?
The National Review's
bestseller list (scroll down and click
) is starkly divided into "Conservative Bestsellers" and "Liberal Bestsellers". Is this a quirky innovation and deliberate provocation or just plain stupid and sad? Does such a dichotomy in fact exist? How would the literature of the world fit into such a classification? (This isn't the end of the world as we know it, is it?
posted on Apr-14-04 at 5:22 PM
Definitely Not Your Mom's Cooking, But Comfort Food Of A Sort:
that is, if you're an avant-garde seen-it-all, eaten-it-all gastronome whose jaded taste-buds crave a jolt of novelty, humour and sheer flamboyance. By far the most exciting, celebrated and downright controversial chef on God's good earth is called Ferran Adria
. His restaurant, El Bulli
has just re-opened, after the yearly six-month period experimentation of challenging new dishes in his taller/laboratory
. [More inside.
posted on Apr-10-04 at 6:23 PM
An interesting article by the ultra-prolific Niall Ferguson obliquely raises the question: wouldn't Europe (and the world) be happier if Islam still had a hold on the West? Al-Qaeda's longings for Andalusia and the Algarve apart, the truth is that Southern Spain (until 1498) and Portugal (until 1297) were very happy under Muslim rule. Isn't it sad that the three great monotheistic religions, plus the great atheist belief, can't live together anymore? [ NYT registration required. Via Arts and Letters Daily.
posted on Apr-8-04 at 3:01 AM
And Here's A Bottle Of Vodka For The Translator:
The English may be hilariously garbled but its flavour is definitely strong and the author, V.V. Pokhlebkin
, is vodka's leading historian
, although he's quite severe and nationalistic: no vodka without (certain) food(s); no cocktails; no foreign muck. If you can't find his book
, this is the next best thing. ( Additional advice for businessmen here.
posted on Mar-31-04 at 7:02 PM
The Song Is You:
and, as if that weren't enough, the melody lingers on! The Songwriters' Hall of Fame
is a magnificent resource (look for the almost-complete song lists
) and a reminder of how one single country (The U.S.A.) produced a hugely
disproportionate quantity of the great popular songwriters. It could arguably be said: almost all of them. How many of the "Rock Era" composers, though, have written standards that will still be as widely sung worldwide, in every conceivable dive or circumstance, in 50 years' time as the songs of Arlen, Porter, Gershwin, Berlin, Kern, Rodgers, Carmichael, Youmans, Warren, Ellington, Loesser, Loewe, Coleman and so many others still are today?
posted on Mar-28-04 at 5:28 PM
Some Of Our Best Poets Are Fascists:
An interesting article by Guy Davenport. My own theory is that an inordinate percentage of great (and minor) Modernist writers were, politically speaking, bonkers. Ezra Pound, Fernando Pessoa and T.S.Eliot were all distastefully authoritarian, anti-semitic and, in general, rancorous old farts. Why is this, if anyone still cares? [Via Arts and Letters Daily.
posted on Mar-26-04 at 6:17 AM
Are You Ready To Be Heart-Broken?
Sounding like the sprightly spawn of Radiohead, Coldplay and (yes) Queen, Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" is, imho, an enchantingly romantic song, lovely and over-ambitious in the tradition of, say, very early Aztec Camera, Ash or Travis. Thing is: their first album, "Fears and Hopes" (so appropriately named for those inured to pre-first-album-jitters
) will be released in May and already I dread the disappointment I just know awaits me. Early promises in Pop music have so often been cruelly broken by follow-ups, "sloppy seconds", maturity, whatever, that I put to you that musical competence, technique and general "production savvy" are inimicable to good, dirty teenage songs such as Keane's. [Be sure to listen to the other three songs on the web site, although only the gist of the wonderful "Somewhere Only We Know" is offered. They're quite good!
posted on Mar-22-04 at 11:06 PM
Go Ask Alice When She's Ten Feet Tall:
Alice Waters's extraordinary influence
on the way we shop, cook and eat
makes her one of the great American heroes
(and European too, check out the Larousse Gastronomique
), mostly to those of us who have never been (and will never be) lucky enought to eat at Chez Panisse. [More inside.
posted on Mar-21-04 at 6:32 PM
Philip Larkin: Great Poet, Shame About The Man?
When is an excess of biography, i.e. high-minded, clumsily-disguised gossip, an impediment to literary appreciation? Nowadays, it seems always
. [More inside.
posted on Mar-19-04 at 9:54 PM
Country Life: Wildlife Reports From Around The World.
Here's a generous helping of trip reports from a group of dedicated naturalists who manage to be thorough and entertaining at the same time. It's part of a travel agency's web site, but not so as you'd notice it. Reading through them, one feels quietly (perhaps dangerously?) optimistic at the astonishing variety of all things bright and beautiful in this grossly over-exploited world of ours. (Well, there may be too many birds in the fauna/flora mix, if you're not a certified ornithologist. Oh - and not enough detail on the local gastronomical delights!)
posted on Mar-18-04 at 2:53 PM
The A-Train For Armchair Travellers
The Man in Seat 61, a train-mad Brit called Mark Smith, provides a wonderful guide, with lots of useful information, to train travel in Europe - though obviously catering mostly to British passengers. Choo Choo!
posted on Mar-16-04 at 2:49 AM
Choosers Can Be Beggars: Can Too Much Choice Be A Bad Thing?
So many options, so little time to choose! So many potential mistakes to be made. Here's a good set of relevant links
, for those who'd like to read more. [More inside.
posted on Mar-14-04 at 11:20 PM
I Have Seen The Future And It's American Straight Whiskey:
How many things do you know that get not only better but more numerous with every passing year? You could call it Bourbon
, of course, it you wished to exclude the superb Tennessee products of Jack Daniel's and George Dickel (just because they charcoal-filter their otherwise equally impeccable straight whiskey), but you should know that this is only the result of a strictly commercial rivalry
between the two main producers: Brown-Forman (who own Jack Daniel's in Tennessee) and Jim Beam (who make only Kentucky straight whiskies, i.e. Bourbons). Call it American straight whiskey
and be proud! [More inside.
posted on Mar-13-04 at 9:19 PM
The National Enquirer (Oceanic Edition):
Redefining seafood for the masses, Underwatertimes.com
catches the news at its raunchiest and most macho
, with lots of nice pictures
to soften the blow. [More inside.
posted on Mar-12-04 at 6:02 AM
Nice Whisk(e)y: Shame About The Size!
Behold a wonderful, almost infinitely explorable repository of miniature bottles of whisk(e)y; a Japanese one-guy Smithsonian that's quite probably the only resort for those looking for labels of ancient and/or abandoned delights. American straight whiskey fanatics (like me) will be specially surprised. Worth exploring, though exploration isn't easy: it's full of unexpected riches, but never easily had. [Previously offered in the course of a classic languagehat post.
posted on Mar-10-04 at 9:32 PM
Europe Is Deeply In Love With John Kerry. How Will America React?
He's liberal but not an outright socialist; he has Polish
origins and an Irish surname; he's better connected to the British Royal Family
than that embarrassing proto-prole Bush; he was educated in Switzerland; he speaks French beautifully and, above all, he's married to a spirited Portuguese woman
who watches his every step... [More inside.
posted on Mar-6-04 at 8:30 PM
"And The 100 Best Ever Football Players Are..."
The great Pele, himself one of Time's 100 List
, has just presented his very own list, not entirely as diplomatic and Kofi Annan-like as FIFA would perhaps have wished, as it includes, imo, some quirky and interesting choices. It was announced today
, so there's time to bitch about unacceptable omissions and incomprehensible inclusions before the print mob get their dirty little hands on it and tell us all what to think.
posted on Mar-4-04 at 10:23 AM
? Unless it's one of the 599 others. Do we have any idea of what the real
standards are; i.e., the truly most-covered
and most-coveted songs? [Via LinkFilter
posted on Mar-2-04 at 7:23 PM
Niche Meets Nietzsche In The Coke Wars:
Andrew Barlow's piece on the new Cokes and Pepsis, like all good satire, sounds like the future. Can the mix-your-own Coke on demand be far behind?
posted on Feb-28-04 at 2:20 PM
Is Salt The New Olive Oil?
The New York Times
] thinks so and Peter Hertzmann
, on his superb a la carte
website, offers an expert analysis of the difficulties of seasoning well. Even the greatest chefs feel insecure with salt, even though most of them would consider it to be, by far, the most important ingredient of all. At least those I've asked. [I always ask them what 3 ingredients they couldn't do without
]. It's cheap; it's essential and there are now so many kinds to choose from. Will this current brouhaha be enough to convince the larger population that much is lost
in using only the industrial, refined stuff? [Of course, for someone from Southern Europe, olive oil and good sea salt aren't exactly new, so take this with a grain of you know what.
posted on Feb-24-04 at 6:48 PM
Is Alex Ross Trying Too Hard To Be Eclectic?
It's a great article but, imho, a few false notes are struck here and there. Can you love classical and popular music at the same time? Classical types always like the same popular stuff (Dylan and Pink Floyd, of course) and popular types always like the same classical stuff (Wagner, Puccini, Mahler) but somehow the suspicion remains that one's heart can't be in two places at once. There's something ingratiating and icky about attempts to pretend "it's all music". It isn't, is it? Also, God forgive me, 20 is way
too late to start listening to Pop.
posted on Feb-20-04 at 2:35 AM
What Basic Foodstuffs Do You Always Keep At Home For Delicious, Impromptu, Quick Emergency Meals?
A well-stocked pantry/larder/fridge is essential for lazy cooks who can't be bothered to go out for fresh foods and yet are able (and like!) to throw together a wonderful repast at a moment's notice. The list in the link is a bit extreme but nonetheless admirable. But what are the real essentials and what can you do with them? [More inside.
posted on Feb-16-04 at 6:58 PM
What Are The Odds Against Hamlet?
This wonderful piece, representative of British academia at its best, most tongue-in-cheek, inclusive and playful, still presents a problem which wasn't (probably can't be) solved. What are the odds that it could be taken seriously? Mathematicians and literary theorists enter at their peril. The rest of us can feel free!
posted on Feb-10-04 at 6:23 AM
The Occidental Tourist:
The West is the pest, according to a cracking, provocative article from wise old Ian Buruma
, and wily occidentals who gingerly try to sidestep the shit and try to make the U.S. take all the blame may be underestimating their involvement. [Via Arts & Letters Daily.
posted on Feb-4-04 at 6:18 AM
Germaine Greer Doesn't Live In Australia Because She Loves It Too Much:
What is it about ex-pats - and particularly Australian
ex-pats, when they're as intelligent, witty and vocal as Greer, Robert Hughes, Clive James et al. - that makes their justifications for exile ring so hollow? [More inside.
posted on Feb-1-04 at 7:16 PM
Sowing One's Wild Oats And Postponing Last Straws:
Some things never change the world over and the gist of this amusing language lesson (be sure to listen to the sountrack too
) seems familiar and even easy to guess. However, different cultures allow for different rates of growing up - and out of
things. Regarding the sowing of wild oats
, is the West really the most lenient and generous, in terms of age-limits? What part does religion play? In other words, what's the maximum you can get away with nowadays? At a pinch, I'd say Southern European Catholic countries will extend a woman's visa till she's 35 and a man's till he's 40 but certain *cough* other cultures seem to be even more favourable towards eternal adolescence.
posted on Jan-31-04 at 5:53 PM
A.J. Liebling; H.L.Mencken; E.B.White: Are The Great American Prose Stylists Long Dead And Gone?
Perhaps it helps to have two initials. In any case, Gore Vidal
apart, I'm afraid sheer opinionated and passionate prose, backed up by knowledge of the world, unorthodox views and uplifting prose that is simultaneously workmanlike and deliciously readable is a thing of the past in American journalism. Sameness; political correctness and sensitivity have all had their deleterious, neutering effect. Are there any exceptions?
posted on Jan-29-04 at 3:20 PM
Old Brands Never Die; They're Just Waiting For Someone To Wake Them Up:
With the Nostalgia and Retro boom playing off the increasing number of niche markets made possible by the Web, it's time to start desperately plugging those favourite, time-honoured brands which "they" unforgivably stopped making, leaving their loyal fans in the lurch. What would you bring back, given half a chance? (I'll weigh in with Sobranie Black Russian cigarettes; the original Volkswagen Beetle; the Oldsmobile or, definitely, the Olympia manual Monica typewriter.
posted on Jan-27-04 at 11:26 PM
Heinz Meanz Beanz:
Is America ready for a sassy, intelligent, outspoken, wilful, foul-mouthed, irreverent, garrulous, domineering, flamboyant, freethinking and utterly charming First Lady?* Portugal certainly is - as Teresa Heinz Kerry, born Teresa Simoes Ferreira, is Portuguese and it would be nice to have
a secret agent
such a close ally in the White House. But there's also a lot of hate about
. Do most American voters really take candidates' wives, husbands or partners into account?
*Heh. The "utterly charming" was added at the last minute when I realized that all these adjectives could apply to Hilary Clinton.
posted on Jan-26-04 at 1:56 PM
Will New Hampshire Be A Gigantic Yawn? Or a YEAAARGH?
Dave Barry is sleeping now. Mark Steyn
, despite his annoying hubris, is clearly worried. They both live in New Hampshire, but... just how
important was Howard Dean's exuberance? (Fwiw, for a Latin living overseas, it looks like a load of hype. What was so outrageous? Isn't America the home of rah-rah-rah?
posted on Jan-24-04 at 11:07 PM