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27 Jun, 2007 | 13:03

After due consideration, I've decided it's time for a change.

That's my way of saying that this blog has moved, and will henceforth be found at:


Hope to see you all there.

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Politiques Potentielles

15 Jun, 2007 | 23:35
location: Copenhagen
mood: calm 

Via Blogmeridian (et al) comes a real underdog story. Paul Potts, mobile phone salesman, is competing in Simon Cowell's latest cringe-fest, "Britain's Got Talent", and has won over pretty much everybody (including me, insofar as I feel I need to support anybody in this particular race... better him than arch rival Bessie).

Everybody that is, except for one mean-spirited commentator (and overall pretentious arsehole, by the sound of it) — who's soon set right in the comments section, from tvanrys (who by the name I suspect might actually be Welsh and thus biased) downwards (not that I've read all the comments, mind you) — and the ever-vigilant Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten (so called because that's how long it takes to read — no joke).

20 Minuten (and only the German language edition, oddly enough), claim to have uncovered a "TV-Beschiss" (from German 'bescheißen' meaning, literally, to 'beshit' someone, i.e. to pull s.o.'s leg (a word previously featured on this blog with reference to my last trip to Switzerland, as it happens)). I'm sure the readers of 20 Minuten have gone to work feeling satisfied that yet another instance of media manipulation has been uncovered in a country other than their own, but the fact of the matter is, of course, that there in fact is no story here.

Even a cursory glance at Mr. Potts's Wikipedia page reveals that he has indeed appeared on television before, and that he has in fact participated in a masterclass of Pavarotti's (which I suppose technically might make him a student of his, but there is a subtle difference there somewhere, I'm fairly sure), and even sung in an opera or two at the renowned Bath Opera company, which just so happens to be an amateur company — which would seem to go some way towards vitiating the 20 Minuten's description of him as an "ausgebildeter Opern-Profi", it seems to me.

I mean, give the guy a break. So what if he's not quite up to professional standard — despite having, yes I know it's hard to believe, sung before, in front of people even? He still works at Carphone Warehouse and met his wife on the internet. Who cares if he's picked the only two operatic pieces your average British punter is likely to reward with a standing ovation; "Nessun dorma" from Italia '90 and "Con te partirò (feat. Sarah Brightman)" from every Mother's Day compilation of the last decade? It's a talent show, and a low-brow one at that. He's hardly going to do anything obscure, now is he?

Admittedly, I'm somewhat dubious of his decision to sing "Nessun dorma" again for the final on Sunday. Surely there's a third [p]opera hit he could attempt? "Ridi Pagliaccio", perhaps?

Hmmm. Maybe not. Still, if there are any Queen fans in the audience they might get it, but otherwise it might be ill-advised as a grand finale.

We shall see.

Edit: hey if Michael bloody Bolton(!) can do it... (!!!)


Otherwise, I suppose there's always "Ave Maria" or "O Sole Mio" (both of which Pavarotti appears to have sung with the unlikeliest of candidates, if you check the related videos).

OK, that's quite enough for one evening. G'night.

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Protestens ABC

05 Jun, 2007 | 12:32
location: Copenhagen

From the front page of the culture section of today's Politiken, a hilarious image taken at the Rostock protests in the run-up to the G8 meeting.

No comment

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Pantheon of the Improbably Named, part II

03 Jun, 2007 | 13:31


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Shepherd's Delight

03 Jun, 2007 | 12:02
location: Copenhagen

More where that came from...Collapse )

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The transcendental apperceptive unity of the I

26 Apr, 2007 | 22:01

Via 3quarksdaily comes a review of Douglas Hofstadter's latest book I Am a Strange Loop, upon which I felt compelled to comment (which is somewhat unusual for me, I must confess). Perhaps because I'm new to this commenting game, and perhaps feel slightly nervous posting comments on the TLS website, it comes across as far more pretentious and snooty than I had intended. Nevertheless, I stand by it. This is indeed a very old story; far from being "science’s last frontier", it seems to me more like one of its first, at least if you admit philosophy as a science, and Hofstadter's book strikes me as more philosophical than scientific.

Leaving Prof. Kriegel's lion example aside for the time being (including his apparent confusion as to the meaning of 'hallucination'), my question is: what's so disconcerting about this idea? What on Earth is the self if not a self-referential loop? Is this not the essence of "Cogito ergo sum"? The self thinks itself into being and through thinking maintains its existence, which also means it cannot un-think itself, until it stops thinking altogether.

Well... I suppose that is the disconcerting part, then, isn't it? That the self should be tied to the body is inherent even in the Christian doctrine of the reunion of soul and body after the Last Judgement, but that presupposes an immortal soul, which this system would appear not to allow for — although, actually, I don't really see why it couldn't...

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Quote of the Day:

16 Apr, 2007 | 09:14
music: BBC World Service

"Statuettes of the Virgin Mary sit side by side with wolf-whistling toy mountain marmots. An uneasy alliance if ever there was one."

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East Jesus, KS

10 Apr, 2007 | 22:58

Having only just discovered Veoh, via www.alluc.org, I present to you: Jesus Camp.

'Tis downloading as we speak, which is good, as I must press on with my Eichendorff presentation, but I'm told this is really good.

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Quote of the Day:

03 Apr, 2007 | 21:16
music: Andrew Bird — Armchair Apocrypha

“In Detroit and around the world, WrestleMania, a smorgasbord of hairspray, cleavage and monster body slams, remains as popular as ever.”
(Synopsis of this article)

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"Absolutely guilty"

02 Apr, 2007 | 21:25
music: Thom Yorke — The Eraser

I have always been inclined to agree with Sean Penn's last words in Dead Man Walking that "I think killin's wrong, whether it's me, or y'all, or your government", and so I was pleased to read a cogent, concise, expansion upon that sentiment by Justin E. H. Smith, who occasionally posts over at 3qd, and thought you might be too: here it is.

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