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Today's quote:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Labor's new coalition

The first of many more doing the rounds:

Gillard takes Oakeshott, Windsor and Wilkie for a celebration dinner at a big fancy restaurant in Canberra.

The waitress approached and asked, "What would you like to order, Ms. Gillard"?

She replied, "I'll have a nice fillet steak please, medium to well. Nothing else, just the steak thanks."

"The waitress said, "But Ms. Gillard, what about your vegetables"?

She replied, "They can order whatever they like."


Finally!



Germany will finally pay off the last of its debts from World War I this Sunday, on the 20th anniversary of German reunification.

Germany's federal office for central services and unresolved property issues (BADV) said a bond issued to pay remaining debts stemming from the conflict would mature on October 3, two decades after West and East Germany united.

The final $US94 million instalment will close a 92-year chapter that saw Germany plunge into totalitarian dictatorship and trigger World War II.

The Treaty of Versailles, a peace settlement signed by Germany and the Allies in 1919, made Germany solely responsible for World War I, requiring it to pay reparations for the damage done to the Allied countries and peoples between 1914 and 1918.

The sum was eventually fixed in 1921 at 6.6 billion pounds, a vast sum for the time, which many historians argue was beyond Germany's ability to pay.

Efforts were made to reduce the strain, notably with the Dawes Plan in 1924 and the Young Plan in 1929, during which Berlin was granted loans to meet its reparation payments.

But the heavy burden nevertheless unleashed massive resentment in Germany and helped fuel the rise of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party.

Germany stopped paying the reparations under the Nazis, and the Western Allies - the United States, France and Britain - reached a new deal on Germany's foreign debts in 1953.

The London agreement stipulated some debts were not to be paid off until Germany reunified, the BADV said.

[More]

Saturday, September 25, 2010

English spelling


The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Under construction



I've decided to do something about this 1960-ish house and called in a builder! Here's my wish-list:

Complete modern-look kitchen make-over with gas stove and inbuilts;

Complete modern-look bathroom make-over with whole enlarged floor a wet area, including a spa;

New front door into breezeway, all glass, with fixed glass panels on either side, and glass door in middle;

Completely rebuild upstairs balcony and extend it to full length of house; possibly circular stairway up from verandah;

Rip up all wall-to-wall carpeting upstairs and polish the wooden floorboards, fit vertical blinds;

Take out woodheater in downstairs lounge's fireplace and replace with gas-fired heater, repolish wooden floor, fit vertical blinds.

And the collection of design ideas continues ...

In the meantime, while I am waiting for the quote and for BHP to go up so I can pay for it all, I have installed energy-saving lightbulbs throughout the whole house.




Monday, September 20, 2010

True tolerance



I am appalled that so many of my friends are against the mosque near
Ground Zero. We should allow it in order to promote tolerance.

I also propose that two gay nightclubs be opened next door to the
mosque to promote tolerance in the mosque. We could call them "The Turban Cowboy" and "You Mecca Me Hot".

Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork and have
an open barbeque with pork ribs and across the street a very daring
lingerie store called "My Bare Lady". And next door in flashing lights an Adult Toy Shop.

Vive la tolérance!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yes, I am in Bali but I am keeping a jaundiced eye on what's happening in Australia

Oh thank goodness for political stability now that Indecision 2010 has been resolved:

"Swan firm on mining tax... Independents, Greens want change" - Australian Financial Review

"The first cracks have appeared in the Gillard government's alliance with the crossbench MP's, with the Greens signalling they may side with the Coalition on some issues..." - The Age

I feel like I want to agree with former Labor Party leader Mark Latham. Excerpts from Latham's column in today's Australian Financial Review include:

"[E]lection results in Australia are determined by voters who are blasé about politics: those who visit a polling booth only because of the coercion of the state, the threat of fines and court action under Australia's compulsory voting laws...

"This means introducing voluntary voting and dismantling the intrusiveness of the nanny state. In a free society, people should not have to vote against their will..."

"Up to half the bureaucracies, rules and regulations of the state could be abolished without any noticeable impact on the life of the nation."

Blimey! That's almost something I could vote for. Although I think Latham is being a bit too kind on the Canberra bureaucrats, "Up to half", I'd argue you could get rid of 99% of them and it wouldn't have any negative impact on the life of the nation.

However, as for democracy, I tend to agree with Doug Casey's view:

"Democracy is no solution - it's just 51% bossing the other 49% around. For God's sake, Hitler was democratically elected. Democracy is just mob rule dressed up in a coat and tie."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I'm back in Bali!



Let's drink to that! Selamat Minum!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I'm off to Bali with Nick the Greek




The Traveller's Prayer

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rains fall soft upon your tracks
And until, until we meet again
May God hold you safely in the palm of His hand

May the hills come down to greet you
May the rocks give shelter in the storm
May the dust be soft beneath your feet
And the dark give rest before the dawn
And until, until we meet again
May God hold you safely in the palm of His

In the palm of His hand
In the palm of his hand
in the palm of his hand
Safely in the palm of his hand

May your life have many memories
May your death be sweet and full of peace
May your hope last an eternity
And may your joy carry on and never cease
And until, until we meet again
May God hold you safely in the palm of His

And until, until we meet again
May God hold you safely in the palm of His
In the palm of His hand
In the palm of his hand
in the palm of his hand
Safely in the palm of his hand
In the palm of His hand
In the palm of his hand
in the palm of his hand
Safely in the palm of his hand




Friday, September 3, 2010

One more day to go ...

... and Nick and I will be on the Road to Bali.

You may follow us on this blog. Photos will be added later.

A book for our times?



Thilo Sarrazin is a member of the board of the Bundesbank in Germany. For several years his outspoken opinions about immigrants have caused controversy — he has declared that Turks and Arabs are making Germany "dumber” because they have lower IQs and are more fecund than native Germans.

The hot water he found himself in as a result of all this has neared the boiling point in the last couple of weeks with the publication of his new book, Deutschland schafft sich ab — Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen ("Abolishing Germany — How we’re putting our country in jeopardy”).

Sarrazin wrote, "In no other religion is the transition to violence and terrorism so fluid.” For this he was likened to (who else?) anti-Semites and Nazis. With depressing predictability, a virulent case of the Screaming Nazi Heeber-Jeebers rapidly infected the German media, with every major outlet falling into line to decry his "racism”. An opinion piece in Der Spiegel concluded that "Germany is becoming Islamophobic”, with Sarrazin heading the list of notorious Islamophobes.

Meanwhile, Germany’s culture-enricher interest groups went into high dudgeon, especially the Turks. The "Turkish community” made demands of the German government:

The chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany (TGD) has called on Chancellor Angela Merkel to send a clear signal condemning anti-Muslim comments by Bundesbank official Thilo Sarrazin, according to a Saturday report.

Ms. Merkel did a reasonable job of complying, saying that Mr. Sarrazin’s statements were "defamatory” and "completely unhelpful”. But the author has not backed down, and yesterday continued his criticism of Muslim immigrants, even as the SPD moved to expel him:

Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin reiterated his criticism of Muslim immigrants on Monday, saying the vast majority were not fit to integrate into German society. Meanwhile the Social Democrats prepared to kick him out of the party.

However, there are also saner voices such as René Stadtkewitz, a member of the Berlin house of representatives, who writes:

"Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Distribution of Dr. Thilo Sarrazin’s book "Germany Abrogates Itself” has hardly begun and already his statements are being ripped, condemned and labelled as racist, and of course, once more, his expulsion from his party is called for. I find this development noteworthy. Hardly anyone could have read the book through. Although I had ordered it long ahead of time, I only received it yesterday. Had Sarrazin’s defamers made the effort just to page through the book, at least give it a quick read-through, they would have realized that Dr. Sarrazin differentiates demographic development as well as migration — which includes both immigration and emigration — and backs up his observations with facts. Beyond that, he offers the reader a number of suggestions which both can and must be discussed.

I do not intend to go into the individual nonsensical misrepresentations and demands by politicians of all parties, who have made their rote comments on Dr. Sarrazin’s statements. I will just confirm once more how politics ties itself in knots and, now as ever, is not prepared to debate problems of integration, especially of immigrants from Islamic countries. The politicians responsible today have no doubt been aware for decades that the collision of two completely different social models caused by immigration from Islamic territory had to lead to substantial conflicts. It is that much more difficult to understand their reaction to this objective description of the situation. Although the debate is desperately necessary, so that it may even be possible to think about various attempts at a solution, it is refused as always, and the initiator of the debate declared to be a non-person. Independently of the damage the defamers are causing to the political climate in Germany, they presumably do not comprehend that it is they who are contributing to the fact that not only is their own country’s future being stolen, but countless women in Germany are being executed in the name of honor or deprived daily of their constitutionally protected rights. It is especially reprehensible that the chancellor is a part of it.

We must talk about this problem. If politics continues to refuse to act for the good of society, there will soon have to be a change in the political landscape in Germany.
"  (Underlining added by me for emphasis)



I have placed an order for the book. As soon as an English translation is available, I shall buy a copy for my local member.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Forex

A friend who now lives in the Caribbean is deep into 'Forex'.

I was deep into 'Forex' myself from a very early age. In fact, when I lived and worked in Brisbane in 1980, I occasionally took the train from Toowong into the City and watched it from my window-seat as I passed through Milton Station.

My friend has since put a slightly different slant onto his 'forex' involvement by directing me to this link for which I am ever so grateful.