By the face

Jordi Pujol Ferrusola has apparently been paying Liberty Seguros an average of €45 per annum per car to insure a Mercedes Benz 230 SL Pagoda, a Porsche 911 S 2.7 turbo coupé, a Lotus Elan and a Ferrari F40. Crónica Global:

Un informe de la UDEF revela que a Jordi Pujol Ferrusola las pólizas de seguro de cuatro de los coches de lujo de su propiedad le salían by the face, o casi.

I don't know that expression in English, and the Urban Dictionary entry is neither impressive nor useful in this instance. I think they've just translated the Spanish "por la cara", meaning "as a result of his family connections", into English to impress what they perhaps privately consider to be a rather un-global readership. Any other readings?


Comparatives: Spain vs Yugoslavia

Montenegro's population is only a tenth of that of Catalonia's, but Critilo's conclusion over at ¿Hay derecho? - that the political sovereignty of (new) state(let)s is posited on monetary and economic sovereignty - still deserves a wider audience than the translation suggests.

(On the other hand, Candide, who brings considerable knowledge of the Balkans to bear on Iberian problems, appears to be thoroughly fluent in the English, German, Spanish and Catalan which he uses at this end of the continent, but his voice has not been heard.)


As Pontes' clitoris festival

La Voz de Galicia, the oldest Google source for the story, says that the council of Puentes de García Rodríguez posted the work of Google Translate on its website, but I can't find a screengrab.

As if all those mistranslated greens weren't bad enough, the town's illiterate English Wikipedia entry tells us that:

The town principal sector is the coal power plant and the coalpit run by Endesa. The power plant is the largest in Spain, and its chimney, with 356 meters of height, is the higher construction in the country and the second largest tower in Europe. Besides the municipality has numerous wind farms. The town has three industrial parks.

Only a towering clitoris festival, or claims thereof, can save such a dreadful place.


Brantridge Brantrindge Barntrindge Barntridge: Herbert (Rainford) Towning and the Pujol clan

Four mentions, four spellings in Crónica Global's piece about a British tub in the Pujol clan's money laundry. This dyslexia appears sourced from Antonio Fernández's new book, Pujol & Puig, which mixes the forms "Brantridge" and "Brandtridge".

CG follows the Spanish practice of assuming that foreigners also have two surnames, and refers to "Herbert Arthur Rainford Towning" as "Rainford." In fact I think this individual is probably generally known as Herbert Towning or Herbert Rainford-Towning, and the judicial investigation will be simpler if this is known and digested.

Re an internet marketing scam, the Daily Mail/This Is Money wrote in 2002:

Here, one of the people behind Fast2Net is Herbert Towning. He told me: 'We have about 11,000 website owners in England. When you buy the website, you are linked to a series of merchants who supply various services, depending on which sites you buy.'

So doesn't this mean that if you sign up with Fast2Net, you are immediately in competition with 11,000 people who are already in the same business? The simple answer is yes, but according to Towning this is not as bad as it seems, since there are almost 60 million people in Britain.

Finding Herbert Towning listed as a director of Fast2Net was a real blast from the past for me. More than 20 years ago he was declared bankrupt with debts of millions of pounds after he ran a fringe bank, David Samuel Trust, which collapsed. Another of his companies, casino group Scotia Investments, was the target for a Department of Trade investigation.

More recently, he was active in the US, investing in and speaking in support of a company called International Heritage. More than 150,000 people joined before it collapsed into bankruptcy.

The watchdog Securities & Exchange Commission says International Heritage was nothing more than a huge pyramid scheme, perhaps the biggest America has ever seen.

Our Herbert, a true son of that most glorious and extraordinary of enterprises, British India, seems to have spent most of his life exploiting jurisdictional uncertainty (and perhaps cross-cultural confusion) for financial gain - see e.g. this 1998 EFTA Court case regarding Liechtenstein. It is curious and embarrassing that CG provincialises and belittles as English such a universal man. How about a claim for reputational damage in the Spanish courts?


How to piss off America

Via the poke:

WTF is Steam? Can we finally stop identifying states with languages?


Juncker: Catalonia leaving the EU in Spanish, but not in English

...leaving Rajoy looking like a pillock. Those translators certainly earn their 10K tax-free/month. Q: Why would anyone want to stay in, particularly with Juncker in charge?


Dutch words that sound obscene in English

  1. Cock/Kok: family name. Also kok: cook, coccus. Re David Cameron's #piggate laddishness, British Labour MP Emily Thornberry has posted a pack of pickled smoked cut beef (not pork) marketed under a brand of Darwin Award-worthy stupidity, Cock's Fresh. De Cock is the family name and the products are preserved, not fresh. If you tell a glowering Antwerpian that filet d'Anvers / Antwerpse filet / Antwerp fillet is indistinguishable from any other carcinogenic cow you will not understand his response.
  2. Dik: fat. A Dutch GF -mainly good at hitting balls and running fast- went through an entire summer singing "Short dick man" in the belief that she was prejudiced against obese dwarves:
  3. Kont: bum.
  4. And so voort.

The Spanish take a perverse pride in the belief that their politicians are the least gifted linguists beyond the barnyard, but few Dutch politicians are anything but adequate in the language of the money-laundering capital of the world - surely a sign of their honesty. This leads to Dunglish (more). For example, fokken is to breed (animals). An old joke which all educated foreigners in Holland are told at least once a week relates a conversation between Prime Minister Joseph Luns and John F. Kennedy:
JFK: So what do you do for a hobby?
JL: I fok horses.
JFK: Pardon?
JL: Yes, paarden (horses).

Which brings us neatly back to the new joke about the leaders of both the UK's major parties having been accused in the past week of having fucked a pig.

What was this blog about?


A friend who has had the pleasure (not Jess Phillips, leader of the Labour Party in 2016 and election-winner in 2025) tells me that Diane Abbott is a Weeble: knock her down and she gets up looking smug:

Appropriately there is a mistranslation right at the beginning of the Dunglish article: steenkool is coal; houtskool is charcoal.



Julian the Apostate (331-363) addresses himself to Galileo (1564-1642)

Arturo Pérez-Reverte, The Dumas Club, tr. Sonia Soto (London: Vintage Books, 2003):

"I know what you mean. It's Julian the Apostate crying, 'You have defeated me, Galileo.'"