I spotted the following headline in the Daily Mail:
Are YOU a 'grammar Nazi’?
Language pedants are more likely to be introverted and disagreeable
The answer is yes, guilty as charged.
I received an email from the manager of a hotel at which we recently stayed in Dubai. This is one of the best hotels, if not the best, at which we have stayed. He asked me to vote for his hotel in a travel survey by the London Telegraph.
I looked at the newspaper site and considered the questionnaire, which asked for my opinion on the best airline and hotel in each of the major regions of the world. I could not answer the question, despite having stayed at many of the world’s “best” hotels.
There is no best. There are degrees of greatness, but the best would be combination of different aspects from different hotels. Many hotels achieve what some might consider to be perfection in some aspects, but do not measure up in all aspects. For example, the Burj al Arab, which calls itself the only 7-star hotel in the world offers a very mediocre breakfast: some cheaper hotels have a far superior offer. I would not consider this the best hotel in the world, despite its luxury and great service.
I decided not the answer the questionaire, even though it offered attractive prizes in a draw. The problem with winning a trip is that it always cost money, requires you to travel at an unattractive time, and usually offers a hotel would not choose.
And, tonight we are flying to Dubai. Sadly for the above-mentioned manager, we are staying at another hotel. Although his would be our first choice, we are with the family in a hotel that is better for small children. One does have to make compromises and sacrifices…
I am not a sociologist, but I do have eyes, and I do use them, and I do think about what I see. Sometimes
Recently, nail, hair, cosmetic salons have sprung up in Germany, while bakeries and breweries have decreased. For me, these are startling and negative trends. I much prefer a bakery to a nail salon. But, this says something about societal evolution. Bakeries and breweries produce foodstuffs (beer is listed as food in Germany); beauty salons are more like opium for the masses.
The change came about after laws in Germany changed. Previously, a person needed a Meisterbrief or certificate of qualification, which took a long time, much study, and passing a government examination. The hurdle was too high for most people. Now, anyone can open a salon and hang out a sign. Of course, there has been no such easing of tax laws.
On the food side, ease of imports mandated by the European Union has made bread and beer cheaper. Not enough people demand quality of the local baker or brewery, whose labor costs far exceed those of other countries.
I continue to partonize the local bakery and, although infrequently, drink only premium German beer produced following a law from the 1400s. I have yet to set foot in a nail salon, despite the fact that there is one on just about every corner.
Unlocked iPhone Worthless After F.B.I. Spills Glass of Water on It
BY ANDY BOROWITZ
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Moments after successfully unlocking the San Bernardino iPhone, the F.B.I. rendered the phone permanently useless by spilling a glass of water on it, an F.B.I. spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.
Calling the accident “one of the biggest embarrassments in F.B.I. history,” bureau spokesman Harland Dorrinson told reporters, “There’s no way to express how bad we feel about what happened to that phone.”
Walking reporters through the mishap, Dorrinson said that shortly after the iPhone was unlocked, “There were a lot of high-fives, which led to the unfortunate spilling of the water.”
After repeatedly attempting to reboot the phone with no success, the F.B.I. consulted several Apple support forums for tips on fixing a waterlogged iPhone. “I wish I could report that any of them worked,” the spokesman said.
In a possible thawing of relations between Apple and the F.B.I., Apple C.E.O. Tim Cook offered to replace the damaged iPhone for seven hundred and forty-nine dollars, or two hundred and ninety-nine dollars with a two-year contract.
When I think about it, I believe that I know more history than the average person. Of course, that is a very low bar. Then, I read a book or an article or see a film or television program and discover how much I do not know (or have forgotten).
Today, I learned/was reminded that Portugal suffered under the dictatorship of a man named Salazar. I learned this, or was reminded of this, in a movie named Last Train to Lisbon. This is not a film for everyone, but I enjoyed it, perhaps because I learned something and it was well-made.
I know about Spain under Franco, because I have read his biography. Perhaps, because Portugal is less significant, I ignore the history. I recall joking, when visiting the country, that the last significant person from that country was Henry the Navigator. Salazar was significant…for the people that suffered under his rule.
Often, the worst aspects of life on this planet are unavoidable. For example, I cannot pass a day without a glimpse of the distorted, smirking, unattractive face—topped by ridiculous fake hair—of a lying, ridiculous, and arrogant con man from New York.
Media Unimpressed as Sanders Barely Gets Seventy Per Cent of Vote
BY ANDY BOROWITZ
NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—Bernie Sanders failed to impress major media outlets over the weekend as he barely managed to win seventy per cent of the vote in three western primaries.
The major cable networks briefly mentioned Sanders’s vote tallies in Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii but noted that he ran out of steam well shy of eighty per cent.
“There’s no point in sugarcoating it,” one analyst put it. “Rough night for Sanders.”
According to one cable executive, Sanders needs to “put up some big numbers fast” if he expects the networks to continue giving his campaign airtime.
“It’s going to be harder and harder to justify covering him while he’s stuck down in the seventy-per-cent range,” the executive said.
While Sanders campaign officials remain optimistic about the upcoming primary in Wisconsin, media outlets are calling it a “do or die” state after his sputtering finishes over the weekend.
“I think if he limps across the finish line with, say, seventy-five or seventy-nine per cent, it’s going to be time for him to reassess things,” one cable representative said. “That would have to be a wake-up call.”
A spokesperson for CNN could not be reached for comment, as the network was busy preparing a ninety-minute special on the birth of Donald Trump’s new grandchild.
Recommendation: if you like a novel, do not see the movie. Case in Point: Night Manger by John le Carre. An excellent book has become a so-so film, which should not be compared.
I share the author's anger at how badly governments treat their own people, as well as enemies, and break their own laws with impunity. This is the underlying theme of both, but comes across more clearly in the book. Beyond the characters’s names, there is little similarity between the book and the made-for-television movie.
First of all, I don’t like the casting. The actors do not fit how I imagined them and few are credible/likeable. Worst of all, one of the main male characters was changed to a woman. But, not just a woman: a pregnant woman. I can't figure out the reason. And, of course, the American character is a black man in the film, but not the book.
Secondly, I don’t like how they changed the story/location; both are less credible; I don’t know if I would understand what was going on, if I hadn’t read the book, With some of the changes and limitations of film, I’m still not sure I understand.
I guess that they changed to Mallorca/Middle East in the film from Caribbean/Panama in the book to save on production costs. Film producers have budget restrictions; authors have their imaginations. A writer can use private jets and expensive yachts. An author can travel to the most exotic and expensive locations; film producers must weigh the cost.
Scriptwriters must ensure that viewers understand who the key individuals are, what are their roles, and what they were/are thinking. Backstory must be presented as concisely are possible, because time is of the essence. An author can explain as much as he wants and get inside heads.
Conclusion: book excellent; movie mediocre. Le Carre books are intricate and complicated, even for some readers.
Second conclusion: if you liked a book, you probably won’t like the movie. The only exception, which I have found, is Out Of Sight. The film adaption, starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, closely follows the book and has a cast that fits how one (ie. me) imagines the characters. As a corollary: if you see the film and like it, don't spoil the enjoyment by reading the book. The BBC production has many fans, most of whom have not read the book. I am happy for the producers.
Third conclusion: in this case, both communicate the venality of politicians, which is too easily covered up and rarely exposed and/or prosecuted.
In general, either see the movie or read the book; don’t do both.
Belgium was and always has been a dumb country. It is the butt of jokes in neighboring nations. It is even more schizophrenic than Canada, having two halves with two languages (for victims of the US education system: Flemish, which is related to French, and Walloon, which is related to Dutch). There is little agreement in government, which explains why so little information was shared that might have prevented terrorist attacks.
For years, I have been saying that, if Belgium floated off into the Atlantic Ocean, no one would miss it. That was before the European Union put down deep routes into the soil with its huge bureaucracy. Whereas Belgium does not work, the EU works too well in the area of bureaucracy. We are stuck with Belgium…
North Carolina Governor Swears in Historic First Class of Bathroom-Enforcement Cadets
BY ANDY BOROWITZ
RALEIGH (The Borowitz Report)—In a historic ceremony at the state capitol, on Friday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory swore in a thousand officers charged with enforcing the state’s new public-bathroom regulations.
Speaking to the newly graduated bathroom-enforcement cadets, McCrory impressed upon them the gravity of their responsibility. “You are the thin blue line charged with protecting the gender sanctity of North Carolina’s bathrooms,” he said. “Be careful out there.”
McCrory told reporters that the thousand officers are only “the first wave” of a bathroom-patrol force that will eventually swell to over fifty thousand. “This is job creation at its finest,” he said.
In addition to “making North Carolina proud of its bathrooms again,” McCrory said, the state’s new law should boost tourism, as visitors from around the world clamor to watch North Carolina’s unique bathroom-enforcement program in action.
“Ever since we passed this law, my phone has been ringing off the hook,” the governor said. “People can’t believe what we’re doing in North Carolina.”
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.