33 Comments

  1. I’m with Claire — not that “chaos adventure” is my approach to life or vacations, but I think what she’s saying makes perfect sense.

  2. I think it works OK as is. Her quote translates to “What you call ‘chaos,’ I call ‘adventure with a good attitude.’ In other words, have a good attitude towards an unplanned trip, and it will be a fun adventure.”

  3. Well, I started out thinking it was six of one, half dozen of the other, but the more I thought about it, the more I came around to Bill’s opinion. Adventure already has a good attitude, it’s chaos that’s Backpfeifengesicht. Did I use that correctly?

  4. I think what she was trying to go for was “With a good attitude, ‘chaos’ is ‘adventure’.” Because English is a stupid language, and you can grammatically rearrange clauses in ways that simultaneously have exactly the same and exactly opposite meanings.

    And, for what it’s worth, I feel that you can do both — you make an itinerary, then, on the day, you decide whether you feel like following the itinerary or not. That way, you have the freedom of just doing whatever you want spur-of-the-moment, if there IS something you want at that moment, but you ALSO are covered if something awesome DOESN’T just show up out of the blue — you still have the awesome thing that you pre-placed.

  5. Paul seems to think that winning or losing an argument depends on deploying genuine quotes from other people rather than developing your own argument using your own language, and indeed Claire almost seems to agree. What does he think the original people who say stuff that gets quoted years and centuries later were doing in the first place? They must have been making up their own sentences.

    And what is a “fake” quote anyway in this context? If it is not a real quote then it is simply a sentence she said. He can’t look in the bubble and see it is surrounded by quotation marks, and she didn’t preface the term with “Plato once said:”, which indeed would have made it a fake quote.

    I went Interrailing a couple of times (in 1983 and 1991). I imagine Eurail is the same, ie you have a blank booklet and you can, if you want, get up in the morning and write your destination – shall I go to Rome today, or Warsaw? (though I think increasingly you had to then get reservations to go on some trains). I had a general notion where I was heading, but I can’t remember if I had a plan of which order and how long to go there for. Definitely I did not book anywhere to stay until I got to the railway station and enquired at the accommodation bureau.

    First trip was: 3 days walking with my father in the Alps, then Rome, Florence, Pisa and Venice; a couple of days staying with my brother in Munich, then Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen and Amsterdam, then back to London, in 18 days. A couple of times I slept on the train, in Rome and Florence in big multi-bed hostel dorms, and in Venice I slept on the ground in front of the railway station (with about 100 other backpackers, monitored by the police until 6am when they blew a whistle and we had to move on as the first train of the day was coming in)(I don’t think they allow that any more).

    Second trip was: A couple of days in Monte Carlo (my brother had moved there by then), then Verona, Venice, Budapest, Prague, Warsaw and Berlin, I think in less than 2 weeks. I was older and richer by then, and I always stayed somewhere (university hall of residence in Warsaw, a guy’s house in Budapest – early version of airbnb – and a whole apartment in Prague, but again all found in the railway station accommodation bureau when I got there).

  6. I’m not sure if I have this quite right,but, “I frequently quote myself. It adds spice to the conversation.” – Andy Capp per Reg Smythe

  7. Come on, larK, you could at least give guero credit for trying, and offer a correction. (The German word is a noun, not an adjective, so change “that’s” to “that has a“, and it would be passable.)

  8. I first agreed with Bill, but now I agree, it’s 9 of 1, 3/4 of a dozen of the other.

  9. Well, why would you expect a cartoon character to speak with consistent logic? People in real life seldom do. And a character being a illogical twit who can barely speak doesn’t make a strip not understandable.

    And actually she could have meant the “with a good attitude” modifies the misplaced human subject, and not chaos/adventure. That’s unnatural and bad grammar though and Bill and I are correct and Claire is utterly wrong….

  10. What ianosmond said: it’s not ungrammatical, it’s just ambiguous.
    (a) “chaos is just (adventure with a bad attitude)”
    (b) “(chaos is just adventure) with a good attitude”
    Both of these are reasonable statements. The author presumably meant (b); we’re mostly reading it like (a). A comma before the “with” would have made it clear…

  11. “When Have Any Of Our Plans Ever Actually Worked? We Plan, We Get There, All Hell Breaks Loose.” Harry Potter, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”

  12. The IMDB quotations page for “The Sheltering Sky”
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100594/quotes
    seems to have lost my favorite (and which I probably submitted), where the proprietor of a rooming house reluctantly opens a window after the protagonists have pounded, and says “We’re closed for the duration!”. Malkovich replies “Duration … of WHAT?” And the hosteler: “The Plague!”. Sorry, inexact because I couldn’t find it.

    But it does still have some relevant ones, such as this colloquy about “tourists” and “travellers”. :

    [first lines]

    Port Moresby: Well, terra firma.

    Tunner: We’re probably the first tourists they’ve had since the war.

    Kit Moresby: Tunner, we’re not tourists. We’re travelers.

    Tunner: Oh. What’s the difference?

    Port Moresby: A tourist is someone who thinks about going home the moment they arrive, Tunner.

    Kit Moresby: Whereas a traveler might not come back at all.

    Tunner: You mean *I’m* a tourist.

    Kit Moresby: Yes, Tunner. And I’m half and half.

  13. @Dave in Boston:

    The reason we’re reading it like (a) is because that’s the idiomatic way these things are phrased. As in “A smile is just a frown turned upside down”.

  14. Both (a) and (b) are fine when spoken. There’s a pause in (b) that should be transcribed with a comma.

    (Of course (b) could be worded better, e.g. with “if you have a good attitude”.)

  15. “we’re not tourists. We’re travelers.

    Reminds me of the tactic “Sovereign Citizens” use when asked for a driver’s license. They claim, “I’m not driving, I’m traveling. That is a protected right that you can’t infringe.”

    There are a number of videos from traffic stops along those lines.

  16. What’s that phenomenon called? I had no idea of who or what “Sovereign Citizens” are,until last week when they showed up in the new series of “Bosch”. And now here they are in CIDU.

  17. I agree with Mitch. It should read: “Adventure is just chaos and a good attitude.”
    I think the “and” replacing the “with” makes it better.

    As a traveller, I like to have my accommodation and important travel booked in advance. When I was travelling to Edinburgh from London by train, I booked my ticket about six weeks in advance. When it was close to the date, the price of the same ticket was more than double what I’d paid. Best of all, I had my reserved seat all ready to go. And if you’re not paying attention, you can easily wander into town during the middle of something big. Happened to me one year when taking a visit from Seattle to Vancouver to visit a friend. Turns out a big auto race was in town, making accommodation nearly impossible to find. Once I’m there and have a place to sleep, I’m pretty loose about what I do, though.

    And I definitely think there is a difference between “tourist” and “traveller”. Not in some crazy way, but in attitude. A tourist is consuming things. Ticking off the sights, going to the highly rated restaurants in the guidebook, staying in a hotel that they hope isolates them from any discomfort. A traveller is moving with the desire to have a genuine interaction with a place and its people. They’re okay with some chaos. Now, there is a type of tourist, as characterized by some whiteboy dreadlocks, sandals, and a huge backpack that is just a different kind of tourist. They look down on tourists, but they’re just ticking off the cool, edgy sights and events from Instagram posts they’ve seen or, in the old day, the Lonely Planet guidebook. I saw some of those on my travels too. At the end of it, both types of tourists see a place as a product to be consumed for their diversion and amusement, rather than somebody’s home that they are being allowed to visit.

    I used to joke that I was a terrible tourist because I would go places and wind up living there for years.

  18. larK and Kilby – funny, I thought I was using it as a noun (I did capitalize it, after all.) Probably shouldn’t have dropped the article, though. Does German not do metaphors? Actually, I was questioning my usage in the interpretation of “slap”. I had in mind something along the lines of a “bitch slap” as in “you need to adjust your attitude!”, but it occurred to me that it might be limited to the more prosaic interpretation of being insulting or rude.

  19. “Does German not do metaphors?”
    Well, that throws me for a loop; I’m sure it does, but I’d actually have to think about it to come up with a nice irrefutable example from Goethe or something. The thing is, for the word in question (Backpfeifengesicht), it is totally and completely literal, there is no poetic whimsy or anything, it is just how you literally describe something in German — you make one word, whereas is English, you would make a phrase. So in this case, in English it would be a prosaic “he has the kind of face that makes you want to just slap him”. That’s all it means, it has very limited usage possibilities — you see someone who just instinctively really rubs you the wrong way such that you just want to smack him, you have a word in German, and a phrase in English. But that’s really the extent of it.

  20. In case I’m not being clear, what I’m trying got say is that there are few if any usages of the word beyond, “Er hat ein Backpfeifengesicht.” (He has a face that I just want to slap.), and they are all going to be just as literal.

    (My father used to amend the sentiment by adding, “and if he asks why, slap him a second time”.)

  21. German is fun. You have a word for shoe, der Schuh. You need a word for glove, so you observe that a glove is like a shoe for your hand, therefore der Handschuh. Now there is a kind of sock with individual things for your toes, like a glove for your foot: a foot-glove. Der Fußhandschuh. The foot-handshoe.The shoe for your hand for your foot.

  22. Historically, many great chemists were German and wrote in German and invented compounds and gave them names. That is why chemical compounds have long single-word names like ribulosebisphosphatecarboxylaseoxygenase.

  23. Even more fun in German chemistry is they don’t use fancy Latin or Greek to obfuscate the names of the basic compounds, so you are dealing with Water-stuff and Sour-stuff and Coal and Suffocating-stuff along with Eggwhite and Sour-y and their Burning-worth.

  24. There was an SF alt-history story that presumed that English developed solely from its Germanic roots. The title was “Uncleftish Beholding” by Poul Anderson.

  25. We used to take the same trip every year, until we had bedbugs and stopped traveling for a year. (Still breaking in the new annual trip in our RV and last few years barely went anywhere due to a variety of stupidities.)

    When we take a trip before we go we know where will be going every day – not just the city, but the exact places in that city we will be going. We know where we will be staying. We know where we will each eat meal. In the days before the bed bugs we would be in the same places on the same day of the trip/day of the week that we had been in the past. He likes it that way.

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