Friday, July 29, 2005

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Cartoon Talk

Insightful article about the rise of right wing political cartoons. (Well they said right wing, but I think 'anti-liberal' is more accurate.)

On a diferent note, it seems to me that it is more that a little amusing that the creators of blogging are probably acutely annoyed that the right has taken this fertile ground and done more than the left could.


Dangerous Driving

While I was driving home yesterday at 5:45 pm I noticed 4 minor traffic accidents.

I also noticed many beautiful, scantily clad, women.

Could they be related? My brother had a friend that had three accidents and the guy admitted all were caused by him looking at women.

In fact, I had two near-misses; I almost rear-ended two cars.

Summer is a very dangerous time for foreign men in Prague.


Batman Begins

Saw this last night and I found it totally engaging and very dark. Not too schticky at all. Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman were very good. I was worried that Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman would be marginalized by appearing in the old, sweet men roles; but they, too, came across well. And Christian Bale was , well, pretty good. And it had Rutger Hauer!


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sweeeet Dumplings!

Found this photo that I tucked away on flickr. Me dancing with the mother-in-law at my wedding. Tone and Rich in attendance on either side of my head.


She is a bit odd sometimes but tries to please. A small nasty streak. Probably from all the blonde hair dye. (her daughter, my wife, is naturally blonde and her mother liked the color so much she started coloring her hair a long time ago).

The other night she made a Czech favorite dish called "Sweet Dumplings". It is served as a main meal sometimes although seems more like a desert.

No matter, I could also eat it for breakfast.

Basically bready dough that has some fruit inside (peaches, plums, even strawberries) that are boiled (yes, boiled), and then dumped on a plate and covered (smothered) in Tvaroh (like ricatta cheese crossed with cream cheese) and melted butter, and powdered sugar.

As Napolean Dynamite would say: Sweet!


Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Soldiers Offer Scale

This quickie transcript was just sent to me by someone who described it as "a direct, devastating bitch-slap to the nonsense that the U.S., Britain and Australia brought this on themselves from any other leader":

PRIME MIN. HOWARD: Could I start by saying the prime minister and I were having a discussion when we heard about it. My first reaction was to get some more information. And I really don't want to add to what the prime minister has said. It's a matter for the police and a matter for the British authorities to talk in detail about what has happened here.

Can I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.

Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.

And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq.

Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people by implication suggesting we shouldn't have done that?

When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan?

When Sergio de Mello was murdered in Iraq -- a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, a person immensely respected for his work in the United Nations -- when al Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that de Mello had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor.

Now I don't know the mind of the terrorists. By definition, you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber. I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I've cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq. And indeed, all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggests to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of principles of the great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation. And I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder.

PRIME MIN. BLAIR: And I agree 100 percent with that. (Laughter.)

found here


Tuesday, July 19, 2005


In the dealing room we have the TV tuned to the Tour de France.

Personally I could care less about bike races but it is something to look at now and again.

But the carnival atmosphere is interesting to watch (as I try to speak with clients at the trading desk). For starters, the course is probably a hundred km, winding up and down and all around picturesque french mountainside roads.

Well, picturesque if you could remove the many camera-motorcycles, the pursuit cars and vans, the odd helicoptor and the teeming idiots on the side of the road.

The side of the road is not completely full of idiots since sometimes you will see the Dad-and-aspiring-cyclist-son both decked out in florescent shirts and tight bicycle shorts (don't they have mirrors?). Or the fans simply - and classically - clapping from a higher hillside.

But what gets me is the fans that feel that they must run along with the riders to urge them on. Or the fans that run along with the riders wearing the kooky outfits, presumably to be noticed on TV by their mates. Just now I saw a guy running with a bizzare paper-like outfit, wearing a fake beard and crown, and carrying a trident. I think he ran 50 meters at the pace of the cyclists, waving the trident (who is he, king neptune?).

From the riders point of view they must feel like some sort of animal being harried by fly-like parasites. They all run out in the path of the oncoming cyclists and wave the thumbs up, scream, or, my personal favorite, flash the camera point blank in the eyes. This certainly is the most chaotic fan oriented sport.



Monday, July 18, 2005

Shrill Cake

I mucked about with the order that Power Line presented these quotes (and am too lazy to fix it).

'Wow, what a scandal! White House aides had heard the same rumors about Valerie Plame that reporters had heard; in Rove's case, it's been reported that he heard the rumors from reporters in the first place.'

"Matthew Cooper: What I Told The Grand Jury", says: 'On background, Cooper had asked Libby if he had heard anything about Wilson’s wife sending him to Niger. Libby answered with words to the effect of “Yeah, I’ve heard that too.”'

I find it interesting when they call Wilson "shrill" and a grandstanding type.

Power Line again : 'So, to sum up: the Senate Intelligence Committee's report shows that: 1) Wilson lied in the New York Times about what he told the CIA after he returned from Niger. In fact, far from debunking the concern that Iraq may have tried to buy uranium from Niger, Wilson reported that Niger's former Prime Minister told him that Iraq had made just such an overture in 1999. 2) Wilson lied when he leaked a report to the Washington Post about documents he had not even seen. 3) Wilson lied when he said that his wife Valerie "had nothing to do with" his being chosen to go to Niger.

'In the face of this evidence, which is evident to anyone who takes the trouble to read the Committee's report, Rosenkrantz and Roberts blithely assert that Wilson's assertions about Africa and uranium "have held up in the face of attacks," and that "the Senate panel conclusions didn't discredit Wilson." Having read the Senate Intelligence Committee's report with care, I can think of only two possible explanations: either Rosenkrantz and Roberts have not read the report, or they are trying to mislead their readers. In either case, this is a grotesque instance of journalistic malpractice. Sadly, however, it is not untypical of the quality of the liberal media's reporting on the Wilson/Plame affair.'

My take on this : sure the Rove and Libby comments were not safe for them to make (ie, agreeing that they heard [coments on Plame] also). And they might have truly meant them harmfully; and realized their mistake when they were duped into using them when, boy oh boy, it blew up.

So before I get attacked by defending the evil Rove company, just note : I think that all parties have their 'evil doers'. This is not a defense of Rove or all of these nasties. It is is prosecution (opposite of defense?) of the accusation of evil against a guy that most surely could have been caught out elsewhere.

I think the critics wasted their powder, and since it didn't kill him, it will make him stronger. (Such is the way of the dark side of the force)

Still, shrill takes the cake.

Yellow cake, anyone?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Saw Kinsey last night. I enjoyed it and found it thought provoking - but not for the reasons you might think.

Liam Neeson is one of those underated actors. I marvel at his ability in a variety of roles. In this role as Dr. Kinsey you don't especially notice Neeson's skill, because you simply believe the character he is portraying.

Something else that impressed me was the effort put into costumes, hair styles and the choices of extras (there were many small cameos of individuals giving sex interviews).

But the story was typical: interesting individual's upbringing (as it affected his later life); meets wife; major interest (in sex study) evolves and he becomes famous; problems emerge, health declines; wraps up with how his work made many lives better. I think that portraying the life in such a short medium is always prone to errors and yet, since movies are so much easier to mass market than the book biographies, this will be how the average joe on the street will think Kinsey was really like.

But was it accurate? I didn't read any biography but it seems to me there could have been a bit too much license taken with the portrayal of the inter-mingled sex lives of the assistants.

One actor that did stand out (no not Chris O'Donnell, not Timothy Hutton, not even Tim Curry), was William Sadler who played the creepy sex predator that recorded all his many bizzarre and really "out-there" encounters - many illegal couplings with young children. But it was eerily realistic.

Now I just looked at IMDB.COM and realize that the movie got a 7.6 rating; not bad.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A New Game, Courtesy of Daily Kos

Kos has given me a great idea for a new game. Take the last line of his worldly opinion and expand on it, explain it, finish it or lampoon it.

My entries begin with //

Foreign Policy

Al Qaida/Taliban: World domination - do it our way or we attack
American Taliban: World domination - do it our way or we attack
Liberals: Peace and international cooperation
// Hello, Earth to Liberal, come in. Whatever you're smoking, please share with the rest of us. It would be better to be in your state of mind while our rights to property, way of life, employment.. are all jeopardized.

Executing Minors

Al Qaida/Taliban: Executing Minors OK
American Taliban: Executing Minors OK
Liberals: Find this to be a barbaric and embarrassing practice
// Until a minor kills one of their children.

Pop Culture

Al Qaida/Taliban: Hate it... kill it
American Taliban: Hate it... ban it
Liberals: Laugh at it... boycott it
// ... and cause detriment to all for ill-researched reasons.


Al Qaida/Taliban: Belief in their own infallibility
American Taliban: Belief in their own infallibility
Liberals: Willingness to consider other viewpoints
// ...And talk all day, waste time, hire more goverment employees, so long as the rich pay us since we cannot hold a job.


Al Qaida/Taliban: God is on our side and will help us kill our enemies
American Taliban: God is on our side and will help us kill our enemies
Liberals: God may or may not exist and will not help us kill anyone
// Oh, so you are saying he 'may' exist and you still wish to piss him off?

Stem Cell Research

Al Qaida/Taliban: No Stem cell research
American Taliban: No Stem cell research
Liberals: Stem cell research
// Hell, lets take them from living Republicans!


Al Qaida/Taliban: God choose Osama Bin Laden to defeat the Great Satan
American Taliban: God choose George W. Bush to lead us
Liberals: God didn't choose anyone
// Wait a minute, is there a God or isn't there a God? Please tell me how you can say there is a God that didn't chose anyone, but he is not the same guy responsible for claiming he created the earth. So you're God (or is is god?) is capable of choosing, at least?

Use of Force

Al Qaida/Taliban: As a means of propagating a world view
American Taliban: As a means of propagating a world view
Liberals: As a last resort
// Wait, now you want a gun but only if you're house is robbed and the big, bad robber smacks your wife?

Bush's War in Iraq

Al Qaida/Taliban: Love it!
American Taliban: Love it!
Liberals: It's a disaster
// Lets make it worse


Al Qaida/Taliban: Control of the Press
American Taliban: Manipulation of the Press
Liberals: Freedom of the Press
// So long as it is Liberally tainted.

Free Speech

Al Qaida/Taliban: Anyone who disagrees with us is an infidel and must be silenced
American Taliban: Anyone who disagrees with us is a traitor and must be silenced
Liberals: Anyone who disagrees with us is in for a spirited discussion
// Please, someone, pass the spirit!


Al Qaida/Taliban: Conform or else
American Taliban: Conform or else
Liberals: Embrace diversity
// I will embrace them, so long as they are not a Republican!


Al Qaida/Taliban: You're either with us or against us
American Taliban: You're either with us or against us
Liberals: We're all in this together
// but I am out as soon as I make some money and have something to conserve like a family, a house, a country...


Al Qaida/Taliban: Death to the infidels
American Taliban: Kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity
Liberals: Live and let live
// So long as they allow women to vote; so long as they distribute condoms; so long as they provide people the right to worship how they want... [oh sorry, that last one isn't applicable to American, please strike that].


Al Qaida/Taliban: Obedience to authority
American Taliban: Obedience to authority
Liberals: Critical reflection
// Uh, shouldnt that be "Criticism by reflex?"


Al Qaida/Taliban: Universe and man created 6,000 years ago by God
American Taliban: Universe and man created 6,000 years ago by God
Liberals: The Universe began as we know it at least 14 billion years ago, maybe more
// I agree with the Liberals here, but liberals also believe in fantasy and we must allow them their view.


Al Qaida/Taliban: Subservient to will of its leaders
American Taliban: Subservient to will of its leaders
Liberals: Will served by Representative government
// But many liberals won't practice what they preach.


Al Qaida/Taliban: Life is scary and uncertain, seek refuge in moral absolutes and scorn those that threaten those absolutes
American Taliban: Life is scary and uncertain, seek refuge in moral absolutes and scorn those that threaten those absolutes
Liberals: Life is scary and uncertain, seek refuge in accepting that respect for our fellow man and the individual choices he/she makes is eminently moral
// should finish with "and be squashed like an ant while under the anesthetic of that karma regarding respect".


Al Qaida/Taliban: A woman's place is in the home
American Taliban: A woman's place is in the home
Liberals: A woman's place is wherever she wants it to be
// Like holding a gun in the US Marines. I can agree to this.


Al Qaida/Taliban: Marriage is only between a man and a woman
American Taliban: Marriage is only between a man and a woman
Liberals: Marriage is between any two people who love each other
// "We are working on inter-planetary rights, next."

Dantravels : Pass the game on to your neighbor.

Seven Bombs in London Underground and Buses

I don't think you will hear any questions today about the treatment of Guantanamo prisoners.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Dream Competition

I don't remember dreams too well. Its always been a problem and I am envious of people who can describe the progression of a dream. Again, I envy my wife.

The problem for me is that I have short flashes that come to me later. But what happened before is always a mystery.

My wife on the other hand will tell me about her dreams in wonderful detail. Like the dream right before her first trip to the USA to meet my parents.

Moje Manzelka (my wife) was going to get her hair cut (this is the dream, now) and she was told to sit in a cabin (like a small room). The machine lowered on to her and her hair was cut quickly and she emerges with Pink hair all straigh up, "like Marge Simpson has". An argument ensued.

Her mother, who accompanied her in the dream, told Moje Manzeka that she cannot understand what they are saying since it was suddenly an English speaking hairdresser (Moje Manzelka's mom doesn't speak any English). So Moje Manzelka asked for subtitles and the dream suddenly had subtitles that mother-in-law could read! End of Dream.

Me? I usually wake up and recall being in a cool car. That's it.

But the other day I woke up and ten minutes later told Moje Manzelka how I was driving in a car with one of our dogs, Ginger, and Ginger jumped out so I had to follow and was running in traffic. It was sol realistic, I told her (somewhat trying to impress her).

And Moje Manzelka says that she, too, had an interesting dream, and it was shockingly bad.

She dreamed she was Hitler's lover.

Gazzumped again!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Ah, Those Heady Communist Days

This photo says, "We will not let any American agents pass though our village".