Less work than Andrew Sullivan in August

While it’s true we’ve yet to receive emails from abandoned Sadly, No! readers asking what has become of us, we know there is much sadness in the world over our recent drop in output. Fear not dear friends, we are busy plotting an entire year’s worth of the insightful, news breaking analysis asinine, Amber-filled commentary you expect for 2004. And what a year it promises to be! According to our sources, there’s even going to be an election or something this year. Color us ready to serve (and ineligible to vote.)

Yet as we look back over the 2003 year that was, we notice two things. First, aren’t you supposed to post these retrospective things at the end of the year, rather than four days into the new one? Yes. At least, we think so. But Daniel Drezner was unavailable to fill in for us, so we had to devote time to other things. So much for introducing ourselves to him in Philadelphia last September! 😡

Second, we’ve made fun of a few people last year. Called them names. Hacks. Talentless. Fucktards. Tools. But not every post was about Thomas “Kidneys ‘R Us” Sowell. Sometimes, we talked about other men whose philosophical output has influenced us. Great minds like Amber Pawlik. [Like a 20-ton truck without brakes, this joke could not even surprise the deaf and blind objectivists in the crowd.] And yet, there were times when we (yes, we!) did things so stupid and embarrassing they were worthy of being mentioned in a blog. Not in 2003 mind you — in 2003 we were always on, always witty, and forever charming. But in 2002 — oh my! And so, in the interest of equal time we bring you this story from our personal archives.

[cue flashback music]

It all took place in January 2002, as we were attending a random conference in Berlin. Being the friendly type, we’d chatted with one of the organizers, a lovely German woman. Being rather mysteriously confident of our foreign language skills, we’d gone so far as to speak to her in German. And so it was on the second day that we took a break from a plenary session, where there had been much anger and accusations among participants, and ventured into the hotel lobby. And who did we run into there? Why, the friendly German woman of course. And so it was that the following exchange took place (we’ve translated from the original German:)

German woman: How is it going in there?
Sadly, No!: Not good, they’re painting (streichen) each other.
German woman: Oh.

Ha ha! Boy, was that funny. What we’d meant to say, selbstverstaendlich, was fight (streiten, not streichen.) The only thing that saved us from spontaneous self-combustion was the knowledge that it could have been worse. Wanting to say streiten (fight) but instead coming out with streichen (paint,) we were but one letter away from streicheln (caress.) Now that would be one funky conference session, and not one we’d be likely to leave.


Comments: 5


Not eligible to vote?!? Please tell me this isn’t some commie-Frenchie blog I’ve become addicted to or I’m getting the H-E-double hockey sticks out of here! 😉


Bailey, I believe that Seb is merely a convicted felon, and so you’re perfectly safe getting your political views from him.


Dear Sadly, No! Hosts (are you really plural, or is that the royal “we”?)

Your story of trying to speak German reminds me (us) that once when I was trying to impress an Egyptian friend by saying I was married with children, (she was saying I looked awfully young or something like that), I ended up saying “I am married and mentally retarded” as the difference between “with children” and “mentally retarded” in Arabic is very, very slight (mukhalafa as opposed to mutakhalafa). At the time, these things are, of course, really mortifying, but afterwards they make great stories.


gut gemacht, mein herr!

(4 years of highschool german, down the drain…)


It’s easy to see how simple it is to make these mistakes when speaking a foreign language. An example that is perhaps even more forgiveable than the above is when some Japanese I knew got the idea that because there are many peanuts in a jar, the stuff is called “Peanuts Butter”. This would perhaps have been barely noticeable except for the unfortunate homophone (if that term is applicable to phrases).


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