Wednesday, 27 March 2013


I met up with some friends in Zurich over the weekend. In some spare time before the others arrived I went to see the Grossmünster, where Zwingli got his Protestant on only a few years after Luther. It reminded me of a regret I have that in my time at Corpus Christi, which has an annual sermon to commemorate an otherwise forgotten John Mere, I never once managed to get off this joke (pause for effect): "Mere Commemoration? Sounds positively Zwinglian!" (pause for laughter)*

Zurich is remarkably expensive. There are no Starbucks in Rome and my friend who lives in Rome holds that this is a bad thing, so we went into one of the many Starbucks in Zurich to get her a chai latte. I got a small Americano, e.g. just a shot of espresso with some hot water, and it cost nearly four British pounds. Also a small bottle of water at the airport cost £3.75, but that was after security, when all bets are off.

Zurich feels rather small for such a well-known city. It is well provided with waterfowl, and also with large placards to help you identify said waterfowl. The shops all close on Sundays, which is a blow if you were planning to pop into a Coop before you leave and spend all your spare francs on ChocoFresh. I was addicted to ChocoFresh when I lived in Italy.

Luckily my friend from Rome brought me some proper Italian biscuits, which I have been sharing around at work. In a bit of a blow to my career as a Java programmer I found out today that the official rules for doing Java documentation include "Avoid Latin". Admittedly they seem to think that "a.k.a." is Latin, but they specifically say you can't use "viz.". It reminded me of a friend who was trying to force his email to auto-generate Subject lines for replies which started "anent:" instead of "re:". Anent is a good English word while re is not only Latin but from the fifth declension, the worst of all the declensions. He never managed it, and frankly it wasn't likely that he would, since he is a musicologist with little interest in computing. Now I am more connected to computing things maybe I should try to bring his dream to life.

* It's a joke about trans-substantation, and you should admire it like you would admire a dog walking on its hind legs -- "it is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all".


  1. I do, I couldn't fail to admire any joke about transubstantiation.

  2. I imagine you'd need real presence of mind to spring that one on your host...

  3. Fantastic, and "props" for getting host in there too!