Diary of a Greenhorn, Ch. 2

Here's another installment of nephew T.'s Playmobil western. It gets better from chapter to chapter! It's weird to recognise most of the voiceovers ...


Scientology & me

Well, not me personally, as I do not have any business with the devious & dangerous cult of Scientology myself, other than having lost a member of my extended family to its following. But you'll have to see the BBC's excellent eponymous documentary which tracks the unpleasant experience of the Beeb's John Sweeney when approaching Scientology critically. Up until now, I thought that, surely, urban lore about the cult's nature is overdone, but now I think it's even worse! Have a look at the list of celebrities associated with Scientology - I'll avoid their work going forward.

You can also watch the documentary in three installments on Youtube.


Quidquid agis

Quidquid agis, prudenter agas et respice finem.

This pearl of ancient wisdom was contained in the inconspicuous shell of an article about taxation. Thank you, Mr Frenkel!


Lest I forget ...

how I spent my birthday this year! On the way back from Moscow, I realised that I hadn't even blogged about it - shame! My blogging becomes too patchy these days!

Anyways, I was in New York for some business on the day itself. The evening was spent in pleasant company at the Jazzgallery, a tiny downtown Manhatten place which I picked for the programme (a local trumpet player with band whose name escapes me now). It turned out that their style was a bit too - shall we say - experimental for my liking, but then again, this is East Coast stuff, I really should have known. Nevertheless, the atmosphere of the place fully made up for the lack of swing, or at least for my inability to recognise it. The gallery is located in a benignly neglected, quiet neighbourhood on the first floor above a bar. It seats maybe 60 people, most of whom appeared to be from the local conservatory, and there seems to be an occupied flat in a cubicle just inside the gallery - very homely.

My birthday did not go uncelebrated, though. It was made up for with a few good friends on the Friday following my return from NY. There's only a rare selection of pictures available of the occasion on my flickr account.



Looking for Committology, I found this great collection of pretty serious committee work related laws - or not. Just don't ask why I was looking for committology ...


The Naming of the Dead

[no spoilers] I just finished Ian Rankin's latest Inspector Rebus story. I think this is probably Rankin's best Rebus, yet: Set during the 2005 G8 summit in Edinburgh, it feels entirely authentic and credible. We get to meet plenty of old acquaintances who have advanced in their respective lives in interesting and sometimes surprising ways. Even DI Rebus is not far from retirement, but he still has what it takes - to keep us captured. Exceptionally, and aptly keeping in tone with the title, this story has a certain depth to it without ever lacking in humour. There is even a literary side to it, what with the central rĂ´le that my dearly beloved Ozymandias plays in the whole setup, incidentally without ever being fully quoted:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Perhaps you can imagine what Rebus' paraphrasing looks like - better still, read it up yourself. I am not sure Rebus did: he thought Ozymandias hailed from Australia.