Saturday, December 31

Book Landscapes

While I know that books can lead you to fantastic landscapes, this is just extraordinary. Some of the works that tickled my horrified fancy.

There are more on the link. What a skill but what a horrible thing to do to books Sad smile

Friday, December 30

When in doubt, blame the hungarians

I read this in the FT. I quote:

A Hungarian acquaintance argues that every organisation that Hungary has joined for the last 150 years has collapsed shortly afterwards. The Hapsburgs were one of the Europe’s most successful dynasties. But then in 1867, the Austro-Hungarian empire was formed, and by 1918 it had disappeared. Hungary chose the losing side in both the first and second world wars. After 1945, it became a member of the Warsaw Pact and Comecon. Given this long record of failure, the EU should have been on its guard when it welcomed Hungary as a member in 2004.

Heh, very amusing indeed. But why am I talking about it? I was speaking to one of my colleagues who is Austrian with a very amusing sense of humour.

I was wearing a poppy at that time, paying homage to the soldiers of the UK and Commonwealth who fell in the various wars for their country. Wars, by definition, are an indication that the politics, jaw jaw and diplomacy has failed. And then it falls on the soldiers to do something about it. Anyway, he said that he doesn't want to celebrate it as his grandfather and other relatives fell in WW1 and WW2. We had a long chat about the Astro Hungarian empire and Vienna and and and. Its a fascinating story. Its a fascinating story relating to how one of these structures (a precursor of the EU) worked and how it worked and how it ended. It was pretty big, it contained modern-day Austria, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, large parts of Serbia and Romania and smaller parts of Italy,Montenegro, Poland and Ukraine.

Is that bloody EU listening?

In the meantime, Hungary’s debt has been downgraded to Junk Status.

Thursday, December 29

Mera Bharat Mahan

One of the things that I am currently doing is to finish reading the Dharma Shastras. Its a monumental work, and will take the rest of my life to finish. But here’s a small thing which I found very nice in an electronic copy of the Ramayana. See the screen print.


The book is published by RamNarayan Lal but printed by Ramzan Ali Shah. Now there’s your inter faith work right there. One of the holiest books of Hinduism, printed by a Muslim. This is why, despite the assorted morons in both Muslim and Hindu fundamentalist and idiotic groups, India will succeed. You are welcome. Mera Bharat Mahan.

Wednesday, December 28

Norway a 'pimp' for my prostitute client

First of all, I dont think prostitution should be outlawed. One of the world’s oldest professions, history itself tells us the futility of trying to ban or outlaw prostitution. This does not mean that forcible prostitution is ok, but voluntary one, sure, by all means, knock yourself out. You hump bricks, you hump men, in both cases, its physical exertion in exchange of monetary gain. But then, here’s an interesting dilemma which shows the inherent stupidity in government legislations. .

and heh@take it lying down..

Norway’s tax office risks facing pimping charges if it insists on taxing a 29-year-old Lithuanian prostitute, the woman’s lawyer has said.

The eastern branch of the Norwegian Tax Administration (Skatteetaten) slapped the woman with a 1.2 million kroner tax bill after tracing undeclared income to her bank account, newspaper VG reports.

The woman said she acted in good faith when she didn’t tell the tax office about the money she earned from prostitution from 2006 to 2010.  

Her lawyer, John Christian Elden, said the Norwegian state was not authorized to demand a cut of earnings from prostitution.

“This contravenes the penal code and is punishable as a pimping offence,” Elden told the newspaper.

“The provision [regarding prostitution in Norwegian law] is set up in such a way that it protects people who have to prostitute themselves, while also enabling them to retain their income.”  

Never before has a Norwegian court heard a case involving a valued added tax bill for prostitution, and Elden has said he and his client won’t take it lying down.

“If the tax demand stands, we’ll report the state for pimping,” he told VG.

Elden said the hefty tax bill would essentially force his client to prostitute herself again to pay off the state paymaster.

The head of the regional tax office’s anti-evasion unit, Jan Egil Kristiansen, said he was prohibited from commenting on individual cases.

“But all business activity is liable for tax and VAT. There’s no exception for prostitution,” he told VG.

Tuesday, December 27

Stop poking foreigners. A view from Ron Paul

He says it as he see’s it. I love this idea that American troops should haul their hiney’s back home.

I do think that the UK should withdraw its troops from across the world and stick with trading. Its a waste of time, money and resources.

Where are British Troops stationed?

Ok, leave aside the UN deployments. Why the hell are we in the Balkans? In Germany? Gibraltar, Ascension Island, Diego Garcia, etc. etc? What a bloody waste of time and energy.

In comparison, look at what USA is doing.

Another view

This is unbelievable. And just out of interest, there are NO foreign military bases in the USA. Now there’s a classic case of imperial overstretch. Ron Paul talks about Rome, and that’s a very good point.

Incidentally, here’s a great article on how empires collapse. But we should know, we Brits have seen our empire collapse when we overstretched too much and we simply couldnt afford it.


Sunday, December 25

Merry Christmas everybody

I didn't know that there is actually no proof that Jesus was born on Dec 25th on the year dot (sorry, I always wanted to say this). I quote:

The 12th century Syriac bishop, Jacob bar-Salibi, had this to say: It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day.

Obviously, we don't really know the date of the birth of Jesus Christ.  The gospels do not say and the early church didn't much care about his physical birth.  Until the Church Fathers got around to settling such questions in the 4th century, there was a grab bag of guesses.  According to St Clement of Alexandria (2nd C):There are those who have determined [the day] of our Lord’s birth; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Emperor Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20]... Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21].

Clement dismissed such dates out of hand.  Instead, his own calculations showed that Christ was born on November 17, in the year 3 BC.  A century later, a  God-inspired theologian announced that Christ, the new "sun of Righteousness", was born on March 28 since the Creation began with the spring equinox (= March 25] and the Sun was created on the fourth day.  So that was that (or so he thought).  Before long, however, another learned priest calculated that the birth date was April 2 in the year 8 AD -- 5500 years to the day after the Creation, as he had worked it out himself.  And then, of course, there were many who celebrated 8 January (Epiphany), still Christmas day in many Orthodox churches.
But no one had yet suggested December 25th.
It is only with the famous Calendar of Philocalus (a list of the early bishops of Rome and Roman festivals) written in 354 AD  that we find, given for the year 336, December 25: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae, "Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea".

But worry not, its the date of the birthday of the Sun. Since I am also named after the Sun God, I will celebrate my birthday on Dec 25 with a tree, exchange presents, sing songs, eat like a pig and wear silly hats, and pop crackers.

Merry Christmas everybody, have a wonderful time.