CS&W’s Graceless and Rude National Character Survey

Time to raise some ire. Based on strictly personal experience, here are some stereotypes that are sure to offend. All in good, clean fun. I think I’ll add more as they occur to me. Feel free to irritate your own chosen ethnicity in the comments.

NATIONAL CHARACTER

Finland: Stubborn. Not malevolent.

Germany: No excuse for the disappointment that is their food.

India: Does luxury well. Wealth disparity allows this. High end more affordable for tourists than elsewhere.

New Zealand: Permanent slightly perplexed look. Sunburnt. Buggy eyes.

Pacific Islands: Collective motto: “Don’t hurt me please.” The ukelele and all its music is the cause of this.

Paraguay: Important only to Paraguayans. Who are sweet and all, sure. Still.

Scotland: Paternal. Strong men will take care of you. Like it or not. Ireland has some of this.

Thailand: The world’s consistently strangest names. Like Kejmanee Pichaironnarongsongkram. Except possibly

Turkmenistan, whose leader is Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.

Turkey: Tirelessly gracious but with a useless language shared by no one but Central Asians. In Turkish, as often as not the “G” goes away. “Erdogan” is pronounced “erdo-an.” A “C” with a cedille, “ç,” is pronounced “dj” like George. Çiragon is “Jiron.”

USA: Groupthink. If you want, you can really think things through and work out what you think. But you have to do more than ‘like’ things on Facebook. Why bother? Your tribe’s news channel can think everything through and tell you.

Vietnam: Wiry. Persistent. Shake hands with tight grip. Prim. Barefoot.

Time to Lighten Up a Little

It’s important to talk about wars and rumors of wars, but CS&W was originally about travel, travel writing and photography. So today, back to that.

Wherever we go we collect photos of fun, strange, unusual, bewildering, sometimes incomprehensible signs. Here are a few for your amusement, and there are over 450 in the Signs Gallery at EarthPhotos.com. Go ahead, have some fun.

Click ’em to make them bigger.

sign1

 The venerable Miss Puke, Siam Square, Bangkok. She’s been there for years. Last confirmed last Christmas.

 

sign2

 Of course not. Seen in Hanoi.

 

sign3

 Whatever it says, it means it. Illimanaq, Greenland.

 

sign4

 Ad man at work, downtown Rangoon, Burma.

 

sign5

 Something lost in translation. At a shopping center on Hainan Island, China.

 

sign6

Making a living in Fort Portal, Uganda.

 

sign7

 Might want to click through on this one to make it bigger so you can read it. This restaurant in Lima, Peru offers real, fresh aborigines!

 

Click on through for a dozen more.

Continue reading

Friday Bits

– This week’s EU hand wringing surrounds David Cameron’s decision to oppose Jean-Claude Juncker for the EC Presidency, and whether with decisions like that Cameron can be trusted not to inadvertently see the UK out of the EU with his proposed referendum in 2017.

Not to worry. If Scotland opts out of the UK on 18 September, 2014 David Cameron will have to resign by 19 September, 2014. Crisis over.

– This summer’s historic demise of the Sykes Picot adventure in map-making frames the inalienable fact that the Saudi kingdom will collapse, some say sooner than we think. How, as a nanogenarian potentate, how do you delay it?

– On the opaque-for-most and largely-avoided-by-the-American-press Thai military coup, Sean Thomas may be right when he observes, “bluntly speaking, democracy looks unappealing if you think poor people are going to vote themselves welfare that the state cannot afford — a big fear of the Thai Yellows.”

Don’t know your Yellow Shirts from your Reds? Here’s a primer.

– Literacy in pre-WWI Serbia ranged from 27% to as low as 12% in the southeast, and the rabble was roused beginning with the Rubicon moment 100 years ago tomorrow. I have high hopes for this site, which advertises that it will share a pertinent historical document every day, starting tomorrow. Let’s see how that goes.

– Three observations from The Consolations of the Forest by Sylvain Tesson:

The art of civilization: Combining the most delicate pleasures with the constant presence of danger.

The essential thing is to live one’s life with a brave hand on the tiller.

And this:

[M]y water holes have frozen over. I attack the lake with the ice ax, spending an hour and a half chopping out a handsome basin a yard wide and four feet deep. Water gushes up suddenly and I dip into it with pleasure. This feeling of having earned one’s water. My arm muscles ache. Once upon a time, in the fields and forests, living kept us in shape.

Tesson spent half a year in a cabin in Siberia. If hermitdom helps you write like he does, put me down for that.

– And finally, from : “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. In many cases this will mean showing up to the interview in a pirate suit.”

Happy Friday.