Lost in Locali[s|z]ation

You just touched down at the Australian National Airport. You’re champing at the bit to experience the fully sick country you’ve heard so much about. But before you disembark, or just plain deplane, here’s a couple of warnings.

First off, we Aussies speak English with a conspicuous lack of any accent. Such phonetic purity can be disorienting at first to visitors, like you, who’ve spent their lives immersed in a national or regional dialect. After your awe wears off, however, another culture shock awaits: the brands you trust are nowhere to be seen! (If it makes you feel any better, newly-paroled Aussies suffer exactly the same disappointment on arrival in non-Australian territory, mutatis mutandis.)

But The Berg has good news for a change. Yes, you read that right, reader: it’s not as bad as you thought.

The truth is, all the big names are still around—they’ve just been renamed. Here are the corporate Australianisms that trip most people up on their maiden voyage Down Here.

International English Australian English
Burger King His Majesty The Royal Burger Consort
Latin Fever Convulsions: The Nightclub
Chunder’s™ Indian Restaurant Chandarsubramania with Chef Chandarsubramaniam
Cheap Dragon BYOB Eat-In N Takeout Niggardly Dragon BYO Dine In & Takeaway*
Fuddruckers® Fevinkuckers®
Schindler’s Elevators SchinLiftCorp LLC
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Harry Potter and the Philosophy Midterm
Asian in a Storage Container Thai in a Box
Hooters, Inc., Family Restaurants Ample Tips or Bust!
La Giardia Italian Eat’N’Dash La Giardia Gastro Pubs
The Drug Lord The Chemist King

For better or worse (and we can safely rule out the former), there’s nothing much any of us can do about this megacorporate habit. According to a 2015 survey in Business Weekly, the top 5 excuses cited for rebranding were:

• political correctness gone perfectly sensible
• to avoid any risk of  hilarity in a world that’s more deeply divided along dialectical fault-lines than ever
• to respect local ethnic, religious and cultural groups, especially the violent ones
• because leading US brands “look funny” if seen from the left side of the road
• forget everything you thought you knew about chicken that was fried in Kentucky ■

*This pioneer and icon of Sino-Yiddish fusion cuisine traded as The Jewish Dragon until 1972, when the owners finally bowed to community outkvetch and switched to the name we’re all familiar with today.


World’s scientists slam denier website for misrepresenting conclusions of blog post

A scientific dream team led by Climate Nuremberg dot com’s own John Cook is contemplating an online complaint about the denier blog Climate Scepticism dot com, in the wake of a “flawed and potentially misleading” interview (don’t click) regarding the latest post at Skeptical Science dot com.

In a scathing article today the climate scientist Joseph Romm, who teaches at DeSmogBlog dot com, gives the CliScep piece a D- for scientific credibility, citing “serial unseriousness, blatant dog-whistling and the decontextualization of literally every paragraph, from beginning to end, of the original [SkepSci] post.”

Writing at The Conversation dot com dot au, Professor Clive Hamilton says the scandal people are calling SkepticismGate illustrates the worthlessness of the blogosphere as a source of information. He reminds readers that—unlike deniers—legitimate scholars never express themselves on the Internet, viewing it as “an attempt to bypass the checks and balances of the peer-reviewed literature. Those are the two words you need to remember, folks—peer and review.”

Cook and his mother, Professor Naomi Oreskes, say they only agreed to CliScep’s interview request because the name and contents of the now-discredited website tricked them into mistaking it for a reputable, anti-skeptic blog, like Skeptical Science.

Naomi Oreskes interview hilites A Series 064

“History will judge whether the post [at Skeptical Science] that’s got deniers hot and bothered struck the right balance between honesty and effectiveness,” says Prof. Naomi Oreskes [above, juggling the twin values of science].

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, a Bristol-based cognitive scientist, lent his credibility to the SkepSci post as a co-author. He believes it’s no accident that the shadowy coalition of Australo-, Americo-, Anglo- and Euro-deniers behind CliScep chose a blog name so easily confused with Dr Cook’s. His regretful conclusion is that, “at this point, the only way to keep words like ‘sceptical’ and ‘skeptical’ safe from misappropriation by skeptics is to trademark them.”

In a special post at ShapingTomorrowsWorld dot org today, Lewandowsky reluctantly appeals for donations to a legal fund.

“The tragedy is that the good guys here are vastly out-funded by the skeptic blogs,” he writes. “As the underdogs in this cock-fight, we have no choice but to beg for your help, dear public. I’ve personally pledged to give whatever I can afford, but—with life becoming an endless series of airline tickets—I doubt that’ll cover the initial consult[-ation with an intellectual property lawyer].”

Doctors Cook and Oreskes have been on a three-continent tour to dispel public unawareness of their blog entry. But in light of the seriousness of the skeptic distortions of its message yesterday, they ditched their itinerary to meet us in Sydney, where they gave us the authentic, scientific version of events.

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Her Name was Trinity and She Turned Me Into a Man

Three meninges bathe and sheathe my financially-valuable brain: the dura mater, arachnoid meninx and pia mater, in ascending order of intimacy.

Perhaps I’ll tell you about them sometime. Today I want to talk about something even more intimate: my alma mater, the place where I spent my formative 13th thru 18th winters.

I hate to love Trinity School for Boys, whereas what I really love is to hate her.

Last week I had occasion to return to Trinity’s picturesque Apple Chapel on sentimental business: a friend was getting married, or something. Like good little Trinitarians, my circle of mates has never really outgrown her. I suppose there’s no shame in having your wedding at your own high school—but please shoot me if I ever have my funeral there.

It was like stepping back in space to the 1990s.

As I entered the Chapel (a satellite of the much larger cathedral where morning assembly is held), you can probably imagine the various stigmata of Mariolatry that surrounded me.

Let me stop you right there. The sight that hit me in the apse was nothing like that, I assure you.

For, despite her name, Trinity is no den of Catholicism. Her founders and First Boys were High Anglicans, a type of Protestant best known for only protesting a little bit, reluctant as they were to rock the boat like their Lower brethren. (Readers confused by Christendom’s sectarian denomenclature may find succor in CN’s Mannsplainer® section below, which is prepared to answer any and all good-faith questions.)

In short, the Trinity I knew had nothing to do with the Father, the Warrior and the Stranger. No, the equilateral sigil of our school stood for one thing and one thing only: cricket, footy and assemblies—the three pillars of a private Anglican education (or to put it in Anglo-English, a public Anglican education).

As a young sportsman, assemblies were my forte.

To this day I still don’t understand all the fuss about footy. Apparently there was a ball involved somewhere—hence the sport’s full name, rugbyball—but I never did get my hands on this McGuffin. A fellow intellectual once got close enough to describe it as “an inflatable piece of cow.” How bathetic.

Cricket was more bearable, I suppose, because for the most part you could just mind your own business in the outfield. It was certainly easier to get your homework done when you didn’t have to keep one eye open for bearded behemoths bearing down on you like pituitary Panzers, bent on using your spinal column as a tackling pad. My Saturday mornings became even closer to tolerable once I’d attained the position I was born to play: twelfth man for the Last Elevens.

Of course it wasn’t all sport. The ideal Trinitarian divided his “life” at school equally between honing his leg spin in the nets, Growing In Stature And In Service To God And Man, and hitting the academics.

Which wasn’t much fun for an academic like me. Still, to quote Nietzsche word for word, what almost kills me almost makes me admire the Klebolds and Harrises of the world. At least they had the balls, ramrods and powder to turn the tables on the jockocracy.

Like most boys I wanted nothing more than to be an onward Christian soldier, so I was devastated when they exempted me from Cadets, forcing me to join the debating society. And it was all thanks to my fraidy-cat mother, who’d snitched about a condition I suffered from at the time (“haemophilia,” for the medical geeks).

Then as now, debating was the fallback activity for noncombatant Nigels. We asthmatic, bespectacled, Warfarin-blooded perorators could only listen in skeptical awe to the tales of what went on “on bivouac”—like the story of a certain Latin master who once in the safety of Belanglo National Forest no longer insisted on swearing in Classical tongues. “Fucking Abos!” replaced “indigenes in crucem, eos in crucem,” et yadda.

To my regret I never did find out what the recoil of an Enfield feels like, or if bivouac is an actual thing. (I have my doubts.)

Meanwhile at the local state school, Fairfield Boys High, they didn’t even have their own river for rowing practice. It must’ve been out of socioeconomic envy that they tried to beat us up on the bus every afternoon. Successfully, as a rule. Thank the Three Gods their parents couldn’t afford rifles and bayonets, or they’d have utterly routed us.

But there were good times as well [subs—need a bullshit example here]

They say it’s February 2018 now. Australian society has moved on a bit since the time of Hammer. The average employer is no longer quite so impressed by an applicant who can speak New Testament Greek or cover himself in glory as a front-row hooker in the four-man cox.

Meanwhile life at Trinity, or what passes for it, has proven to be reassuringly immutable. They tell me Latin is still the lingua franca of daily worship, sports practice and the English classroom. (Not the French classroom, obviously.) The great leafy Quadrangle is still one side short, as it has been since the 1960s—courtesy of a handful of rioting borders inflamed with school spirit or similar inflammation.

And me? I turned out all right. Anti-Catholic guilt eventually lost its hold on me. Like my idols Mao Zedong and Christopher Flannery, I realized idolatry was poison. It was the cursing of a drunken Irishman—”Mary mother of m*therfucking God!”—that tipped me off, of all things, to the fatuity of faith. How could anyone worship, with a straight face, a demigod born of a one-night stand between God and His own mother, I asked myself? You may as well be a Scientologist or a Presbyterian, for God Delusion’s sake.

But it was those six years, the Trinitarian years, that made me the man I am today, says my therapist.

CN Mannsplanation™ Zone!

What does ‘High’ Anglicanism involve?

The first High Anglicans earned their vertical denomination not only for their fondness for psychedelic stained-glass polyptychs but their insistence that all around them was continually turning into plasma, serum and bodily tissue. These hallucinations are thought to have been a side-effect of their signature vice: the recreational use of liturgical censers.

(Pass the thurible, said the bishop to the vicar, as they sat in a circle getting incensed.)

Ah, but I fear I’ve already lost my Muslim readers, haven’t I? Let’s rewind a tad—to the Middle Ages, which occurred in Medieval times.

It is the Middle Ages. The Catholic Church holds undisputed temporal and spiritual sway over the peoples of Europe. (‘Catholic’ literally means all-inclusive, indiscriminate, ecumenical; think holistic, Holocaust or holodomor.)

But one peoples, who call itself Anglicans, are none too happy living under the thumb of a fat man in a dress in Avignon. The final straw comes when the Pope refuses to relax the canonization criteria for their favorite candidate, the popular mystic Jesus. He simply doesn’t have the necessary number of magic powers, explains His Holiness with faux regret. (You can’t beat pancreatic cancer by praying to Jesus, for instance.)

So the Anglicans secede from the Mother Church, with understandable sequelae: centuries of internecine pogroms.

My grandparents in Germany still remember the Catho militias who traveled door to door cleansing the community of “Prods” (to use the hate-word they applied to devotees of St Jesus). But because all religions are about the same thing—being a better person and loving your neighbor—it was no easy task to tell members of one sect from another. Save for a certain lascivious avariciousness of the lips, the average Papist doesn’t look palpably different from the average Christolator. So the roaming Romists needed some kind of shibboleth to sift the wheat from the chaff of Christendom.

Their solution was as simple as it was fiendishly elaborate.

When you answered the door they’d either hit you on the thumb with a hammer or pretend to break some bad news, like “someone scratched your car,” or “you left your headlights on.”

Any homeowner who blurted out “Jesus!” was killed on the spot. Only if you blasphemed properly (“Mary mother of thr*ce-beshitten God,” or “Begorrah” for short) would they let you off with a savage beating in front of your family for sullying the name of the patron saint of teen pregnancy.

Naturally, this great Old World tradition was exported Down Under in an attenuated, half-assed form. I was too young to understand why, but I vividly recall Dad nailing a sign to the door of our house—a sign that was to save our lives more than once: No Salesmen, Charities, Death Squads Or Take-Away Menus Please. It worked wonders, thanks to the unique laziness of the Australo-ustashe.

The age of sectarian genocide was over by the time I started seventh grade, thank God. In the Vatican, a few years prior to the events of today’s post, a fiat of Pope Lawrence had shuttered once and for all The Office for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, better known as the Holy Inquisition. (The site now houses a state-of-the-art burns ward.)

But the mistrust lingered. Even in an extremely moderate family like mine we weren’t allowed to have Catholic girlfriends. Since it’s not entirely clear what the point of dating a non-Catholic schoolgirl is, this was tantamount to saying your genitals are grounded for the next six years, young man. ■

In religion a fiat is a kind of executive ruling, coming from the word fatwa.

We trust this CN Mannsplanatory Zone! has eliminated all your outstanding questions about world religions (not to mention your mediocre ones). If questions persist, please see your religion provider.


Learning English from History


nothing really happened in Dresden, the cultural and choreographic capital of wartime Germany.

Little girls hopped Scotch in the German streets. Their brothers kicked feetball around or biked-ride at local ducks- and fish-pond. Häusenfrau whistled to themself as they sprang-clean (having sprung-clean not six months earlier—such is the hell of war). While the women threw out moldy newspaper and used teethbrush, their manfolks and brother-in-laws sipped gins and tonic and dystonically brokedance at the gentlemens’ club that lined the streets of the old city of an evening.

What might have become of Germany’s Hip Hop Prenaissance, we can only speculate.

As the clock towers struck precisely six o’three p.m., so did the Allies. There, in the amber Götterdämmerung, one ‘bird’ dove bomb Dresden after another. Down they swept in one fallen swoop after another, raining truckloadsful of heck upon the City of Gothic Love.

Unlike physics or chemistry, history is unforgivable—or so we were taught in high school. But isn’t war just a trade-off between ethics and effectiveness, like science itself? One takes no pleasure in bombing entire cities back to the Jazz Age, of course. But if, in the semi-dark of twinight, the Greatest Generation hadn’t shatstorm the living daylight out of Dresden, who knows what we’d be speaking right now?

Not grammatically-correct English, that’s for sure.

This kind of imponderable is why I never liked blogging about the restlessly restive, spastic and easily retarded progress of human civilization. Forget history. Let’s stick to what we know for certain here at Nuremberg, shall we: the future state of the planet’s atmosphere.

Don’t get me wrong. Overlapping magisteria not only is incredibly useful, but are incredibly useful.

And I’m one of the biggest, longest fans of the Naomi Oreskeses’s—of those rare intellects that can bore a fistula between Science and History. But such great bores are rare, and I’m just not that kind of tool, I’m afraid. The work Naomi does every day is far too diabolical for me.

What makes the history books so cryptic, contradictory and confusing is that they’re written by winners.

You won’t find that problem in science, Gott sei Dank. ◼︎


BREAKING: Fidel Incredibly Old

UPDATE: Fidel Castro has died, aged considerably, in Havana.

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, the 17th President of Cuba, has lost his battle with thermodynamics.

In a divided world, Fidel ruled for all Cubans—whoever they voted for.

They say the President was more like a father to his people: fondly doling out a few dollars’ pocket money every year, telling them who they could and couldn’t date, being older than them, grounding them if they got lippy, coming home with his drink on and beating Che Guevara (who was like their mother) for over-microwaving his dinner.


The ruling Party’s Party Planning Committee will release fireworks every night for the next 40 nights to remind Cubans to continue mourning.

At a time when all too many Cubans had lost actual parents to the terrors of the People’s Revolution, a strong paternal figure was just what the doctor ordered to heal a hurting nation.

But like any carer of the wounded, el Comandante bore a cross he could never share with the very population closest to his heart. Castro was haunted by workaholism most of his adult life. So all-consuming was his devotion to public service that he agreed to serve as President for decades (a sacrifice that must have seemed superhuman to his many one- and two-term American counterparts). Only in 2008 did Castro finally ask his ‘children’s’ permission to retire, knowing that if he waited for them to vote him out, he could be waiting forever.

Fidel was said to be as surprised as anyone when the next-best man for the Presidency on the entire island turned out to be his own kid brother, Raúl.

Having barely turned 72 when this greatness was thrust upon him, Raúl Castro symbolized the thinking, the energy and the aspirations of a new generation of Cubans. Happily, ‘Castro 18’ soon demonstrated a political genius far beyond his years, silencing the pessimists who’d written him off as a callow young playboy, along with their families.

The nation’s favorite son has died doing what Cubans loved most: regaling them with an anecdote about his youthful adventures. Fidel’s last words not only held a baseball stadium of ordinary Cubans captive for three hours straight this morning, but seemed to be on the verge of making a point.

About what, historians of rhetoric will still be debating a century from now. But if you put a gun to their head, say witnesses, Fidel was probably building up to the announcement of a new, socialist ornithology. An ornithology of the people.

In a divided world, Fidel ruled for all Cubans—no matter who they voted for.

Ironically, the former President’s penchant for dramatic, mid-word silences (with which he was known to keep audiences in suspense for 120 minutes or more) may have led to critical delays in diagnosing his death.

“At first we assumed, like everyone else: el Comandante is fine, he’s just pausing for effect,” explained Dr. René Vallejo, one of twelve personal physicians on duty at Fidel’s standing-room-only lecture in the Havana Goodtime Dome.

The interlude was beginning to trouble Vallejo, he says, when he had to leave on a compulsory meal break. When the doctor got back to the stadium a few hours later, breathless from sprinting, the 18,000-strong crowd was still waiting “in an atmosphere of pin-drop quiet” for Castro’s next syllable.

To interrupt the motionless, slumped-over Demosthenes at that point—just when his silence was nearing peak pregnancy—would have been unthinkable, felt Dr Vallejo.

“Then at last we saw the signs, in the amber gloaming: the signs of rigor mortis setting in,” he told reporters this evening. He has no recollection of the seconds that followed. Adrenalin and muscle memory kicked in, and suddenly he was up on stage, flanked by a phalanx of paramedics, nurses and specialists at the President Emeritus’ side.

But there was nothing they could do. The rigor mortis had gone too far.

The last living guerrilla was dead.

An epidemic of whooping and dancing—classic responses to bereavement in many cultures—spread outwards from Havana at the speed of sadness this afternoon. For the men, women and children of this island paradise, suicide will be the only escape from the lugubrious alarum of the vuvuzuela tonight as a million cheeks execute Latin America’s one-note answer to Danny Boy. But for every grief-stricken reveler on the street, another ten Cubans will spend a noisy night at home, drowning their sorrows in champagne. So great has been the national outpouring (so to speak) that it’s no longer possible to buy a bottle of the Batista-era sparkling wine anywhere in the country.

Party-owned television is announcing that the next 32 to 35 days of spontaneous popular solemnity will be overseen by a special Party Planning Committee.

Meanwhile, just an intercontinental ballistic stone’s throw away, the people of Miami, Florida are determined to party ’til dawn in sympathy with their cousins across the Gulf.

Cuba’s superpower neighbor, which is barely 90 miles away on a clear day, owes the ethnic vibrancy of such metropolises as Miami, Tampa and Union City to one man—Fidel Castro—more than anyone else combined.

Barack Obama—the mestizo politician being trotted out to speak for the US regime’s interests this week—eulogized the bearded, iconoclastic icon as “a man without whom the great Diaspora of Cuba’s best and brightest people would never have been possible. Or necessary.”

Even Donald Trump, an apex capitalist who holds the real power in Washington, agreed that Castro’s pre-dawn cremation would be “a moment for Cuban-Americans and American non-Cubans to come together—not to mourn his death, but to celebrate his death.”

Nothing we say can possibly make ordinary Cubans feel any better right now.

But as a token of our tiny respect and sympathy, Climate Nuremberg will use a black font this week.


Note: Whenever Fidel gives a public speech, audience casualty figures are reported on the back page of Granma, Cuba’s newspaper of record; this evening’s edition is no exception.

Proceedings at the Havana Goodtime megadrome today were officially fatality-free. The death of two males (F. Castro, 90, and J. Sepúlveda, 43) to suspected heat stress was cancelled out when an unnamed woman went into labor during the legendary orator’s opening remarks, quietly giving birth to twins at 6:12 and 6:20 pm.

BREAKING: Deniers Admit Pause in Warming Pause

Well, well, well, it seems the first rat has accepted reality and scurried off the good ship HMS Avoidance.

Last time I checked out the hottest, most rapidly-heating-up new site in the deniosphere (which I try not to do—long story), climate “skeptics” were insisting the Pause had never stopped. It’s still happening, they cried—it’s just been “masked” by “short-term noise”! We haven’t had “long enough” (whatever that means) to pronounce death yet, quacked these often self-conferred MDs. It’s Not Statistically Significant!

So I suppose congratulations are in order for high-profile denioblogger Jaime Jessop, who evidently has the rat-cunning most of her conspecifics lack.

The title of Dr Jessop’s new post says it all. In fact, the first 3 words alone are rope enough (and can therefore be quoted out of all context, without the slightest ethical or intellectual qualms on our part):

The Pause Returns […]

It’s hard to exaggerate the significance of this three-word admission, because I’m a science communicator, so every fibre of my being is viscerally opposed to hyperbole—which is literally worse than lying.

So I’ll just have to understate it:

This changes everything. The tectonic plates have shifted. The continents have realigned, and the constellations themselves are sure to follow.

What Dr Jessop has just conceded—gracelessly, backhandedly and teeth-clenchingly—is that there really was a pause in the Pause. To be sure, it’s over now—the pause in the pause has stopped, at least temporarily, and the pause is back, for the time being at least—but what matters is that the pause did stop, at some point. Just like we’ve been trying to get through their lead-lined calvaria this whole time.

I hate to say “I told you so,” but being a hero sometimes means doing things you hate. So here goes:

You were told so. By me.

I said so. To you. Do I really have to spell it out?

I—the editor-in-chief of Climate Nuremberg—told you—the science-denying community—so.

Breaking ranks is never easy, and Dr Jessop can expect to be called aside for a quiet word tonight. Bank on it. The pausist cause was just rewound by years, if not decades. There are going to be a lot of raised fingers and pointed voices in the denialist flatearthosphere in coming days, you can take that to your stockbroker.

What was she thinking?!, voices will demand to know. This won’t help the Cause of the Pause! Won’t somebody think of the Pause Cause?

Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

Or a rat under the floorboards. Both good options.

Historic Initiative Brings Africans Across Seas “To Do The Jobs Americans Won’t”

by Erasto Mpemba
CN Africa Correspondent

Johannesburg, S.A.—With world attention fixed on the looming US election, outgoing President Obama has announced the launch of his foreign-policy brainchild, the so-called Africa Works Initiative.

The first consignment of eager Africans has already embarked for US shores and is expected at Baltimore sometime this afternoon. Officials in Washington say the trans-Atlantic migration and employment scheme, the first of its kind ever, will operate on a voluntary basis to begin with.

It’s traditional for the US President to devote his ‘lame duck’ years to projects that engage his personal passion but are unlikely to arouse opposition in Congress. Barack Obama has embraced this custom with gusto: Africa Works is said to have been at the heart of his vision for the new American workplace for years.

“Because Africa’s Greatest Natural Resource… Is Its People,” explained the President at a Washington, DC media conference earlier this month.

if it succeeds, ‘AfWorks’ would not only define Obama’s second term in office, but transform just about every aspect of US life—from the rural economy to the industrial landscape, even the makeup of the American people itself—forever.

But it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing. In an embarrassing open-mic incident on September 20, Rwandan President Paul Kagame groaned audibly as Obama took the lectern to promote the scheme.

“Great,” Mr Kagame was heard whispering to a colleague, “just what we need… another white man telling us how to run our country.”

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