Friday, March 25, 2005

Working for Bono? 

Full disclosure: as a contract worker for Io Interactive, I've signed dozens of pages of non-disclosures that prevent me from saying virtually anything at all about the company. But there's no reason I can't get excited about the fact that an investment company on whose board sits U2's Bono is in a bidding war to buy Eidos (the UK game company that bought Io last spring). Danish news accounts cite a recent visit to Io's Danish headquarters by Bono himself.

Recently on the Almanac, reflecting on my fortieth birthday, I wondered what my seventeen-year-old self would have thought about living in a foreign capital with a couple of beautiful foreign blondes and writing dialog for a world-renowned video game. Now I may get to add the appositive "partly owned by Bono" to the part about the video game. I'm guessing 17-year-old-Greg would have been pretty stoked.

Although, come to think of it, I'm not sure I was all that into U2 in 1982. I'd need to check my journals from the period, and they're all in storage somewhere in Wisconsin. In 1982 I might have assumed "Bono" referred to Cher's husband, which would have been... well... less than exciting.

The Danish Naming Law Reconsidered 

On Tuesday, Berlingske Tidende ran an article about some proposed changes to the Danish naming law that appear to be on the brink of parliamentary approval. The new law would make it possible for unmarried couples to take one another's names, would allow "opposite gender" middle names, and permit any last name at all as long as there were 1000 instances of it already in use worldwide (opening a whole new employment niche in Denmark: name counters).

As a veteran of the struggle against the ludicrous Danish naming laws, I'm glad to read of these sensible adjustments, but I think one line from the article—technically from an inset of the article—says it all. Seven key changes are iterated, the last of which is:

Der lovgives ikke længere om, at navne ikke må udsætte børn for drillerier. Det bliver nu op til forældrene at afgøre.

The prevention of teasing is no longer grounds for denying a name. That will be up to parents from now on.

(It's a very awkward Danish sentence to translate, reading literally something like this: "It is no longer legislated that names may not be set on children for teasing. That is now up to the parents to do.")

Can you smell the reluctance? Not just from the law, but the article itself? "Well, we hate to do it, but we're gonna leave this awesome responsibility of coming up with unsilly names to parents, of all goddam people...!"

Of course, the Danes haven't thrown all their sense out the window. As conservative member of parliament Per Ørum Jørgensen points out in the last paragraph, "Nye navne skal jo godkendes, så det er jo ikke sådan at jeg kan hedde Anders And i morgen." ("New names will certainly have to be recognizable, so it's not like I can be called Donald Duck tomorrow.")

Good thing!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Controversial Walrus Skull! 

I'm going to get this site back into action without any fanfare. I'd like to begin with an article that kicks off with one of the greatest opening lines of all time:

Inserting the tusks correctly into a walrus scull [sic] is an extremely difficult task.

Here's the full text, which unintentionally explains more about Danish politics than I ever could.

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