Bloody hell!

What is THIS? I just noticed some strange, repeating incoming traffic and investigated. Apparently, there's a virtual market in blogs which you can trade in!

Quite incredible what people are up to - but never mind! Buy me! ;-)


Writing lyrics will shorten your life

I just thought I'd share this with you: There's convincing evidence that being a poet will shorten your life! Suicide rate among lyricists stands at 20%, compared to 4% in other professions (that's other poets of course!), and they also have a six years shorter life expectancy! Here's the actual scientific article to back this up, if you're so inclined. I guess there is much more to the Dead Poets' Society than meets the eye ...

The World's Biggest Ass

Don't fret, I am not talking about anyone in particular, even though quite a few runners up to that honourable title would spring to mind immediately. No. But let me just quote a nice line from an article about Google in the latest issue of Esquire:

"Current ally AOL reportedly believes that Google has grown too powerful to trust, while Microsoft wants to make it a semi-comatose period piece, as it did to Netscape in the late Nineties. 'Google kicked our butts,' conceded Bill Gates recently, but how much damage, ultimately, can even an upstart as successful as this do to the world's biggest ass?"

Now, this is funny, isn't it?! Alright, alright, I admit, I am an enemy of the Evil Empire that is Microsoft, and Apple Rules, if not supreme, then at least sublime ... ;-)



I always considered those mindmaps a bit nerdy, but this is great! You can have an instant mindmap of a literary field (Amazon), en encyclopedic overview of a range of terms, or the interconnections between websites (based on Google). Obviously the quality is subject to review (as with everything Internet), but the creative potential is huge! Hopefully my poor little website won't be as solitary for long as it is now ... please link to it!


This is it!

What? Well, my birthday, technically speaking. But since everybody of consequence does not celebrate his (or her - viz QE II) B'day on its very anniversary, I shall join that merry crowd. Hopefully the actual party this Saturday will be quite merry in fact, after all we'll be about 30 people - and that's still well short of the years! ;-)

That sad note aside, I am still working on having an interesting month of June. On the 11th, there is going to be an challenging HSG Alumni event in St. Gallen. The week after that, I'll likely spend a day or two in London on AIMR mission. And the week after that, it's London again (I do like the place)! Edinburgh University's General Council is holding an enticing program, including a reception and dinner at a place no less tempting that this!

But now, on to the customary wee dram of 1966 Springbank single malt which has been raised for a once yearly libation only - yet another good reason for not holding one's birthday on the actual anniversary. But that's Top Secret, of course! Slaandjivaa!

Oh yes, and many happy returns to you, too, Mr. Hussein ...


Eternal life, reincarnation and other minor matters...

Recently I have had one of those rather ideological (aka philosophical or religious) debates on the subject matter. It's amazing what consequences the current Egyptomania has, but that's an aside. You should know that I am quite the agnostic, and I tend to defend my stance rather valiantly. Yet, I don't take pride in disturbing other people's solace they draw from adhering to "the other view", especially on the matter of what's happening after one's death. After all, if I did, I would have to negate the better part of human culture, and would I want to do that?

But that's a rather long and overly egocentric explanation of how I came to rediscover the essays of William Hazlitt, 19th century Englishman who held views I can rather well relate to. Here is one on the subject. Thanks to Blupete for making some of them available online!

Grass roots

Gosh, you wouldn't believe what I have just done. I've spent hours with a bit of accounting, trying to find my ways around how the software works and getting all those T-Crosses right. Blessed be all Ye Accountants who save me from that tedious stuff!


Travelling plans

I've finally finalised my travelling plans for the week after next!

I'll be flying into NY JFK on Wednesday May 5, staying here for a meeting on Thursday evening and flying out to Denver on Friday 7th for a series of AIMR meetings over the weekend. I am going to check out Denver on the Monday and fly to Chicago on Tuesday, staying here. The stop in Chicago is strictly for tourist purposes. I've never been there before, so if you have any suggestions on what to see and do, please come to the fore. From there, I am heading back east on the Thursday. So that looks like quite a bit of a plan!

Did you know that the upgrade seats from Business to First available on the Swiss route ORD-ZRH are quite a scarce commodity? There's a meagre 3 (three!) seats available for the whole of the months of May and June, and one of those is mine now!

If you're wondering why I am staying at such funny places, then that's because those places are reciprocal Clubs to the Royal Overseas League of which I am a member, and they are usually nice enough places at reasonable prices.


Language, the second ...

Interesting. In my earlier blog I have just gone on a bit about the connection between the mind and language. And now there's this article (German!) in the latest edition of Weltwoche! Food for thought indeed. But it's too nice outside for thinking just now. Just check out this collection of current Dos and Don'ts - quite amusing, really!

Not half as amusing though is the fact that I lost my Palm (that's the PDA, I still have both hands intact!), aka brain prosthesis, yesterday! I want it back, NOW! BUT: I have it backed up, and there's plenty of interesting new models around ...

UPDATE: Wow! I've just got a message from SBB Fundservice announcing that they've found the Palm! Great! Maybe there's something still to the notorious Swiss efficiency ...


Language, Sprache, Langue ...

Some of you may be wondering why this blog is in English, given that I am a native German (sort of) speaker. Well, there's a couple of reasons, in order of relevance (least first, somewhat circular):
1. my website's language is English,
2. there's more people out there reading English (I know, I'd have to use �志, 你好!)
But thirdly, and most strangely, I feel much more comfortable writing in English. I really don't know why that is, but writing in German always has a certain gravitas to it (maybe that's because it's not my real native tongue either - that'd be Swiss German which is only a spoken language). And it's not that I cannot do polysyllabic English texts either, as some of my fellow Scottish students may witness, having to proof read some of it ... language is a curious representation of the inner workings of the mind.

Never mind.

The other half

Just so you know: blogging is fun, it's kind of like a diary, only that it's public. And since keeping a diary secret is said to be half the fun (I wouldn't know, I never kept one), you guys will have to make up for the other half since this one's public! You can do this by using the Great New Commenting Feature added recently.

But if you think you can stop me by not commenting, then you seriously underestimate my stamina! I dare you! And if you have no idea what I am talking about, then just click on that "no comments" line and change it ... thanks!


Time warp

Do you know the TV series 24?

Fox may be a totally unsavoury station with its redneck political attitudes, but they've got a great programme here! It's a political thriller about terrorism (what else) with an abundance of suspense, and all that in real time, i.e. there's no fast forwards or anything. Makes you wonder why it hasn't been done before (to my knowledge) - maybe the scripts authors just haven't been imaginative enough to cram so many parallel strings of action together? Real time just may be interesting, after all ... ;-)

Watch it, it is on quite a few European stations these days. I recommend this because it is uncut and original.



I am being told that Schadenfreude is a very bad thing that only people with a deficient character enjoy. Hmm. Well.

The supposedly top rated local football (soccer?) club just got beaten badly by a third class team. AND in another league game, its closest competitor that was supposed to loose actually won. Bad luck, ey?

But let me change the subject before anyone jumps to completely untenable conclusions! Talkin' Jazz is such a great program to be heard on Swiss radio DRS 2 on Sunday nights between 2300h and midnight CET.

Have a go, and don't worry, the throaty sounding language is normal.

Health warning

Did you know that a bit of fun in the water can seriously endanger your cardiac health? No? It does, though:

Let's go to the root of the problem and not sue the Mickey D.'s of the world, but rather the pool and fitness studio operators!



Holy cow - that's exactly what I meant earlier. No egyptian rabbits yet, though!

Sorry about the poor quality, the picture has been taken with the 'phone.


Travelling north

Wouldn't that make for a nice stay up North again? Especially with this kind of view? Mind you, the last thing discernible just now is this:

But No - the next holiday trip to the British Isles will be to Ireland - after all, it's good for you!


A slight delay ...

Oh, and are they really going to fill my Amazon order of March 7 (it was way smaller, then!) as listed?? Seeing is believing ... maybe the delivery will just make it for my actual birthday!

1 Exemplar(e) von: The Da Vinci Code [Broschiert]
   Von: Dan Brown

1 Exemplar(e) von: The Roots of Romanticism, w. Audio-CD [Gebundene Ausgabe]
   Von: Isaiah Berlin

1 Exemplar(e) von: Scottish Fantasy / Concerto No.1 / Kol [CD]
   Von: Heifetz (Künstler), u. a.

1 Exemplar(e) von: Harold und Maude [DVD]
   Von: Bud Cort (Darsteller), u. a.

1 Exemplar(e) von: Seven Days of Falling [CD]
   Von: E.S.T.


Just one of those days?

Do you ever get them? Those days where you are busy all the time, and still don't get anything of consequence done? Well, I just did today! But that's something you wouldn't really care about now, would you.

Anyway, happy birthday, Christoph H.!!

Talking of birthdays, I've just sent out invitations to my b'day party on May 1st, going with the tune of all those May day demonstrations (you know me ;) If you haven't got one, you either live too far away, or I don't know you that well. Either way, you can still apply!

What else? Discussed insurance, evaluated a Swiss Army Knife (for BUSINESS purposes!!) and did too little writing (again!). But at least, I got some swimming under the belt, after days of a closed pool because of Easter holidays.


US Government Fraud

Nobody who knows me will accuse me of being an enemy of the US, but what I am reading today in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (very respectable business paper, comparable to the WSJ) is rather shocking. Incidentally, a search of the WSJ online results in no articles found on that issue.

We've heard of the collective law suit Cobell vs. Norton with which over 300'000 American Indians sue the Government for due contractual payments over the decades which apparently have been willfully mismanaged and run up to the tens of billions of USD now. What's so shocking though is that a continuation of governments claiming the moral highground would try to sneak out of setting an old cause right when it comes down to paying up. Already two Home Secretaries have been found in contempt of a Federal Court.

Especially we in Switzerland will feel very uneasy about this issue, seeing that Swiss banks have paid billions in Holocaust settlements under direct pressure from the very same Government. Ought we to take lessons from the US Government on how to stand tough, or ...?


Hop like an Egyptian?

Here is a fine little German text about an exhibition in Basel which is building expectations to be rather monumental. Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity of confirming that yet. The subject matter of the exhibition is Tutanchamun's and other egyptian period rulers' tomb treasures, which undoubtedly are quite spectacular.

Whether it warrants the hype building in this town remains to be seen, though. I am surprised that there haven't been any egyptian style Easter bunnies hopping around in shops ...


Now that the technical problems appear to be out of the way, we can start in all earnest with the blogging! I expect that this bit of my website should be the most interesting for the returning user, since it ought to contain the most variable parts. If you have been on my website before, you will have noticed that I haven't gotten much beyond changing the layout of the first page, and that's just because it is such a hassle to deal with GoLive and all the intricacies of website building. Using blogger.com appears to be a bit easier, though. We'll see whether that has a consequence on the frequency of input - it sure has on me rambling on, so I'll just

Well, this is my first test of blogger - let's see what's coming from it.