Monthly Archives: February 2024

  • Commemorative Carcassonne culinary cock-up

    Aerial view of medieval CarcassonneThe French city of Carcassonne in the département of Aude is best known – and rightly so – for its medieval citadel, which actually has a history dating back to the Gallo-Roman period and is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

    However, in recent days Carcassonne has become equally well known – in the Francophone world at least – for the poor quality of the local council’s spelling and its subsequent mockery on social media and in the mainstream print and broadcast media, as Midi Libre reports.

    Like any French town or city, some of Carcassonne’s street names commemorate prominent local and/or national figures.

    Pierre Curie. Image courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsOne of those luminaries so honoured in Carcassonne is the physicist Pierre Curie (1859-1906) In 1903, Pierre was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics along with his wife, Marie Skłodowska–Curie and another French scientist, Henri Becquerel, the man who discovered radioactity, all of them being jointly honoured in that year for their contributions to science and knowledge.

    As stated by Midi Libre, the cause for the outbreak of mainstream media and social media mockery, not to mention the presence of red faces at the local mairie, can be summarised in one single sentence.

    Cette semaine, deux panneaux ont été installés sur l’avenue Pierre Curie, dans la cité audoise, sauf que le célèbre physicien a été rebaptisé… “Pierre Curry” et a donc été orthographié comme la célèbre épice indienne.

    Which is rendered in English as the following:

    This week, two road signs were installed on Avenue Pierre Curie, in the city in Aude, except that the famous physicist was renamed… “Pierre Curry” and was thus spelled like the famous Indian spice.

    Street sign for Avenue Pierre Curry

    The erroneous signs were quickly removed yesterday (Saturday). The council has stated that signs with the correct spelling will be installed from this coming Monday.

    The mockery on social media took two forms: firstly, the culinary (it is not known whether Pierre and Marie invented the radioactive tandoori. Ed.), whilst Jo Zefka provides a typical post mocking the council’s poor orthographical skills.

    Screenshot of tweet by Joe Zefka

    Zefka asks:

    “Avenue Pierre Curry, physicien”.
    Demain, la “rue Arthur Rambo, poète” ?

    English version:

    “Avenue Pierre Curie, physicist”.
    Tomorrow, “rue Arthur Rambo, poet”?

    Your ‘umble scribe is pleased to note the speed with which Carcassonne town hall will be replacing the error-laden road signs. Here in the fair city and county of Bristol, the council – which is not known for its alacrity (except when pursuing council tax arrears .Ed.) – took all of four years to replace an erroneous road sign reading Morton Road (instead of Morton Street) in Lawrence Hill, perhaps because it lacked to comic cock-up quality of its Carcassonnais counterpart.

  • Situations vacant: woodland builders

    Reach plc local titles are an excellent source of exclusives, mainly due to the poor quality English of some of their employees.

    Today’s Bristol Live/Post has one such exclusive, which also doubles up a secret classified for for very specialist workers in the construction trade, namely woodland builders, as per the screenshot below.

    Biggest woodland in a generation to be built near Bristol

    Your ‘umble scribe is glad to see that the generation of greenery has been modernised. Building woodland sounds much more contemporary and organised than just letting the shrubbery sprout naturally. It will also ensure more employment for those in the construction trade, which is always the first to suffer and the last to recover in any economic downturn. 😀

  • If you can’t contribute, donate!

    Yesterday the blog of The Document Foundation (TDF), the German non-profit organisation behind LibreOffice, published a post detailing how donations received during 2023 were used to continue development of the software and running the TDF and events

    The post included a handy graphic displaying the disbursement of funds visually, which is shown below.

    Graphic showing how donations were used in 2023
    Graphic courtesy of The Document Foundation
    Your ‘umble scribe would urge anyone who can to contribute their expertise, whether that’s writing or documentation, or helping to test pre-release versions; and if you can’t manage that, then donate! 😀
  • MO Republican embraces her inner Nazi

    Q: what links an anonymous-looking plot of land somewhere in Missouri with Bebelplatz (also known as Opernplatz) in the city of Berlin?

    A: The burning of books.

    On 10th May 1933 , Nazi supporters from the German Student Association gathered in Bebelplatz to burn books. They burned around 20,000 books, including works by Heinrich Mann, Erich Maria Remarque, Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, Erich Kästner and many other authors.

    Nazis burn books in Bebelplatz on 10th May 1933
    Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

    On 6th February 2024, Valentina Gomez, a Republican Party candidate for Missouri’s Secretary of State (the state’s public officer whose duties include the oversight of elections, running the state library and the preservation of state archives. Ed.), posted a video of herself on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter showing herself using a flame-thrower to destroy 2 LGBTQ-inclusive books, as reported by NBC.

    Post reads When I’m Secretary of State, I will BURN all books that are grooming, indoctrinating, and sexualizing our children. MAGA. America First

    Gomez’s text accompanying the post tells one all that’s needed to know about her extreme right-wing views of the “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” variety. The books she destroyed were also taken from public libraries in the state, so she is also guilty of vandalism or destroying public property, but as the value of the books is under $750, she’ll probably escape censure under state law.

    To return to Bebelplatz, it now contains an artwork by the sculptor Micha Ullman entitled The Empty Library, which was unveiled in May 1995. The memorial is set into the square’s cobblestones and contains a collection of empty subterranean bookcases. A few metres away is a commemorative bronze plaque containing a quotation by the author Heinrich Heine, whose books were amongst those burned.

    The quotation reads:

    Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort
    wo man Bücher verbrennt,
    verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen.
    In English the quotation is equally chilling:
    That was but a prelude;
    where they burn books,
    they will ultimately burn people as well

    As to the Nazi link, LGBTQ Nation remarks:

    Whether or not Gomez understands the political and moral implications of book burning is unclear. The video could be a savvy and unsubtle reference, like Donald Trump’s use of terms including “vermin” and “poisoning the blood”, to Nazi ideology in an appeal to the most extreme of the MAGA base.

    America, history is trying to teach you a lesson. Don’t fall asleep in class or gaze out of the window.