Proles warm to 'groupthink'
Letters Morgan Stanley was recently awarded the domain mymorganstanleyplatinum.com - wrested without pity from it previous owner Baroness Penelope Cat of Nash DCB. Here' some more background from the horse's mouth, Mike Woods, who acted for said feline:
Hi I liked your article but cats never slink off, the reason Penny lost was probably my fault not leaving enough time to do the response. In their previous attempt to take a domain name from me they were well beaten. One of the major points I make in my seminars is lack of control of costs, what on earth for are Morgan Stanley paying out large fees to their intellectual property lawyers to try to recover domain names they don't want and are doing them no harm. Much better they spend their money on pursuing domain names that are promoting their competitors products. Regards Mike Woods
And here's the reaction from the cat's mouth:
Dear Dr. Hill Thank you very much for your eloquent decision in this matter I was beginning to think that a sense of humor had died out in the USA, I might add I was not alone in this perception. I do however have to disagree with you on a number of points. I do exist and I speak a number of languages one of which is Catuman which evolved in my species to satisfy a desire to motivate human beings. I certainly do not come from a distant galaxy I was born at Boraston Court on 1st November 1987 I now dwell in the hamlet of Ashbed where there is a clowder of cats, as you are probably aware social groups of Felix Domestics have a matriarchal structure and I am the senior member of this clowder. No one has previously had the audacity to refer to me as common, my pedigree is considered to be superior and subsequently I have been head of my clowder for some twelve years.
I must apologize for the standard of Mr. Woods's response, as normal he left it till the last minute and due to circumstances beyond his control found himself at 5:30 a.m. BST with an incomplete and unrevised document that he had to send. If you could take the trouble to look at his responses in the previous complaint you would get an idea of what it should have been like [...] My first instinct was to appeal against your decision, but having read it and discovered that you have a good sense of humor I feel it would be discourteous to do so and subsequently will refrain. I wish you and your family a happy future and encourage you too urge your fellow citizens, hard as it is to put 9/11 behind them and revert to being the really nice and courteous people they once were.
Kind regards Penny Baroness Penelope Cat of Nash DCB
Hopefully, we'll be able to get a dolphin's perspective on the matter by Friday, and maybe a statement from a couple of iguanas. Watch this space.
Moving north of the border, we find that Canadian kids are safe from intellectual property outrages thanks to the wonderful Captain Copyright. Take it away, astounded readers:
Sadly , Captain Copyright is actually in breach of assorted copyright laws and regulations himself, and also including GNU(illegal reference to Wikipedia without appropriate links!), what a big Oopsie! indeed!, looks like the famous Canadian Cold Winters, have had an adverse effect on their brain cells!
Boing Boing blog has the dirt on these wankers illegal activities, so as to speak!
Oh well better luck next time, for at least we now know that, the antipiracy mob are fighting a dirty war indeed, and lacking in many ethics to say the least!
Check out the the intellectual property notice on the website.
It seems like Captain Copyright hasn't been reading his own terms and conditions of use. It seems to forbid the colouring in of the images they have in the colouring book (you aren't allowed to 'modify' the materials). It also seems not to give you permission to view the website unless you register online with access copyright, something which I err neglected to do. I do hope the Captain isn't going to come after me for unlicensed viewing of his website.
This is some kind of entrapment scam isn't it? The Kids colouring book page (URL deleted from this mail due to copyright restrictions) invites young persons to print out images of Captain Copyright and colour them in. (I won't quote the page verbatim in case the copyright police break down my door in the early hours of tomorrow morning) Just below, if you care to click on the "Intellectual Property notice and Disclaimer" link, you can be informed that you may use the materials on the site for your personal use *so long as the copyright notice specified on this page is attached*. So I opened one of the colouring-in pages and print-previewed it. Did it have a copyright notice? No. Would I be a copyright criminal if I clicked on "Print"? Apparently yes. Please don't publish my name as I have quoted the words "Intellectual Property notice and Disclaimer" twice now and so risk TWO lawsuits.
CEASE AND DESIST NOTICE
Captain Copyright is hereby requested to stop wearing Batman's costume, to stop speaking like Batman, to reduce the size of his lower jaw so as not to resemble Batman, and to stop fighting crime, which is already Batman's job.
SIGNED Hello, Takemoney and Seeya, Legal representatives of Batman, Gotham City.
I've never been so embarrassed to be a Canadian. From now on, if anyone asks, I'm going to tell people I'm Icelandic.
Eric the Icelander, formerly known as Eric the Canadian
Is that the French or English-speaking bit of Iceland?
Brace yourselves now for a veritable proto-thesis on a "suggestion made by one of your German readers, Martin Grotegut, Essen, Germany" in last Friday's letters, viz: "For certain cities like München and Köln different names were introduced by the British because of their inability to speak that out correctly." The following is quite an epic by Vulture Central mailbag standards, but we thought it merited reproduction in full:
Well, it's an idea. Not a very good one, mind. English speakers can say 'Deutschland' well enough, but we call Germany, 'Germany' for some reason. And Germans mess up 'Turin' exactly the same way English speakers do, issues of accent aside. Italians call the place 'Torino' - which from the German and English point of view is basically just 'Turin' with added Italian flair, and since we're not Italians, we'll say it 'sensibly' (so thinks the stereotypical Englishman) or whatever, sort of thing.
While trying to find out about 'Munich/München', I came across this <http://german.about.com/library/blgazeteer01.htm>:
'English-speakers say Venice, Germans say Venedig, while Italians say Venezia.'
(got there from <http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa051099.htm> - also interesting)
Might it be that cultures develop their own names for their neighbours? And when cities have been around for a very long time - the sort of time span which sees languages and names change - you've got to ask questions like 'When exactly did language A get hold of the name of the city we now call X?'. The point is that if it was a long time ago, the city called 'X' was probably called something at least slightly different to any modern name. London started life as 'Londinium', for example. The English city 'Chester' (from Latin 'castra', [military] camp) was called Deva by the Romans who founded it. It turns out that Colchester (England) and Köln (Germany) both started out as Roman colonia, for example (see below).
Sometimes, you have a huge gulf between the local name for a place and the foreign culture/language needing to name it and 'something has to be done' to deal with this. Here's a Chinese view (he knows his stuff; I don't): <http://www.zhongwen.com/x/faq23.htm>.
Apparently, the Chinese name for 'Germany' is 'Moral Country', and England is 'Hero Country'.
But back to Cologne. What can we find out about that city's name? Hmm. WebsearchWebsearch. Interesting - it seems that back in the late 18th (or early 19th) century (probably), at least one English visitor had a fair bash at speaking the name the way the locals did:
In Kohln, a town of monks and bones, And pavements fang'd with murderous stones And rags, and hags, and hideous wenches; I counted two and seventy stenches, All well defined, and several stinks! Ye Nymphs that reign o'er sewers and sinks, The river Rhine, it is well known, Doth wash your city of Cologne; But tell me, Nymphs, what power divine Shall henceforth wash the river Rhine?
-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge'
(to be fair: last time I visited the place, it was just as clean as you'd expect a German city to be - things have been tidied up a bit since that dope fiend was on his travels. But for some reason, the ancient cathedral had some ugly brick patching instead of a proper repair to its fine gothic stonework. Coventry? Nothing to do with Cologne at all. Why mention Coventry?)
It turns out that one could argue that the Germans are as wrong (or maybe even wronger) than anyone else about the 'real' name of the city called Cologne in English and French, aside from the point that the city's in Germany and they can therefore call it what the hell they like, But having done that, Germans shouldn't then complain that people using an older name have got it wrong, especially when they're speaking a foreign language - *we* can call the place what the hell we like too, when speaking our language, surely?
The name Cologne apparently is derived from the old Roman colonia on the site:
<http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=cologne> says this:
'cologne 1814, Cologne water, loan-transl. of Fr. eau de Cologne, lit. "water from Cologne," from the city in Germany (Ger. Köln, from L. Colonia Agrippina) where it was made, first by It. chemist Johann Maria Farina, who had settled there in 1709.'
Another way of looking at it would be to say that the Germans came up with Köln because they couldn't say 'Colonia' properly, while the English just copied the French (1066 and all that if you want *that* point explained), who got it less badly wrong than the Germans by saying 'Cologne' - which is just the first two syllables of the Latin word 'Colonia':
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonia> 'A colonia was a Roman outpost, usually established by veterans of a Roman Legion, who received land as a part of their retirement from the Legions. In time the term evolved to denote the highest status of a Roman city.'
And just so you don't think I'm trying to argue in favour of English superiority over Germans when it comes to getting the name 'right', Wikipaedia goes on to give these examples of coloniae (is that right?):
'* Lincoln, originally Lindum Colonia. * Colchester, originally Colonia Claudia Victricensis. * Jerusalem (Colonia Aelia Capitolina, after the Jewish War). * Köln originally Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensis.'
Now, the derivation of the name of the city 'Munich' seems interesting. I found this - which, aside from claiming that 'Munich' is called 'Munchen' in German, seems to know what it's talking about <http://www.sacklunch.net/placenames/M/Munich.html>:
'Meaning of Place Name: Munich. Munich: The English name of the capital of Bavaria, which is called Munchen in German. Both forms have been independently obtained from the old name Munichen, found in 1058, which is from Old High German munich, "a monk," the town having been built on lands belonging to the monks of the convent of Schaftlarn.'
So it seems that the English are correct to call the place 'Munich', it's historically perfectly sensible, and it's got nothing whatever to do with an inability to get the sound of 'ü' right.
One could argue once again that the problem lies with Germans messing up the original name much more than the English have. I shan't, since I happen to know the English started out with (for example) a place called 'Verulanium' which is now called 'Saint Albans'; and we got 'York' as the modern name for what the Romans called 'Eboracum' - the Vikings called the place Jorvik when they ran it. Names are a mess, and it gets worse when you have language changes.
Rowland. (entertained at another German being faintly embarrassed about the 'island ape' business. Come off it! What do you hear Brits call Germans? Right - and I doubt you've met the worst of it. We're very rude about lots of people. It's not just Germans we insult, y'know. You should have heard the stick meted out to what seemed like any poor 'bleedin' Yank' who dared venture onto these shores at various times during the 1980s, never mind the whole English/Scots/Welsh business, and as for the French! Well, there's a reason they're rude back, and it's not just because we buy our wine from Australia and Chile these days. So be rude if you want to be. Everyone's at that sort of thing, and there are worse things than suggesting we're primitive and isolated. Maybe if we have this stuff out in the open a bit more, well, we might at least get better humoured ridiculous nationalist insults?)
 This suggestion is in fact a joke, but it does take more change to get from 'colonia' to 'Köln' than to 'Cologne'.
Phew. Time for a quick breather before proceeeding to the shock announcement that...