Monday, October 31, 2011

The Global Wealth Pyramid

Read Article HERE.

Of the world's ADULT population, 0.5% own 8.5% of the world's wealth while 91.2% of the adult population own 17.8%. Time for a realignment of wealth.  Unregulated capitalism works only for the wealthy and not for the poor. Even Adam Smith realized that and worried many times throughout his famous book that without government keeping a firm grip on things, the results would be what we see today.

If businesses the world over market products or services that fill a need (the purpose of business) and make their owners rich, that is good; PROVIDED the business does not destroy the environment, treats its employees fairly and equitably and puts back into the community.  IF the business/owners use their money and power to monopolize, to beat down their employees, to co-opt governments into passing regulations that favour them and not passing those that would hold them to account, it is called in economic terms "rent-seeking".  (That also includes the activities of the powerful at the tops of planned economies too). Rent-Seeking is the chief cause of the disproportionate distribution of wealth and the seething discontent of the 99%.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Simple Fare for Simple Folk GiST #22

  1. Bread, cheese and tea for supper last night. Tanya knows exactly what to serve.
  2. My new $30 canvas computer bag; not the $300 fine soft black leather one that we looked at in Krivii Rih.
  3. Our little purple Kia Carens, standard transmission, few bells and no whistles but dependable and not too expensive to repair.
  4. Our little village, bad roads and all, but peaceful and with open country just across the road.
  5.  Just general contentment.  Few needs and fewer wants. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fools and Children

Yesterday was one of those 24 hour trips to Kyiv.  I was applying for my Kazakhstan visa and hoping to get the Canadian Embassy to certify some true copies of documents I need to take with me.

Either I am getting old or the berths on that night train are getting harder.  Not much sleep on the trip.  McDonald's at the train station at 7:00 am is packed 12 deep at 12 tills. It took less than 10 minutes to get my breakfast. No complaints there. It is not a good place for s sudden onset of dysentery, though, as the wait for the men's bathroom was 20 minutes.  Single stall.  Obviously McDonald's adheres to local standards (none) as opposed to setting their own intelligent ones. We did let one guy jump queue as he appeared in a bad way.

Wanted to be at the Canadian Embassy at 9:00 but the line up at the can plus finding a bank machine plus rush hour on the Metro meant it was 9:30.  They were able to handle three of my six documents, the others will have to go through the Ukrainian notarizing system.  For some reason Kazakhstan want my diplomas to prove I have gone to university.  At my age what difference does it make?  Further more, I could find a few hundred people who never darkened the hallowed halls who could do a better job than I of describing Canadian beef cattle production in 10 to 15 minutes. So the embassy will do what I told the Kazakhs to do and that is contact the Registrar's Office.  The paper diploma is only for decoration.  But not in the FSU, I guess, where documents with STAMPS are sacred as the original scrolls of the Pentateuch.

It was 10:30 when I finally headed for the Kazakh Embassy to apply for my visa.  I got off the Metro and looked for a place to change 400 Hrivna for $50 USD, the cost of the Visa.  No luck.  ALL the money changing booths in the area were closed up tight.  I found a bank finally and was told that because I was a foreigner they couldn't change money for me.  Some new currency law I didn't know about.  Panic city.  The Kazakhstan Embassy takes Visa applications until 12:00 noon.  It is now 11:00 and I am running out of time.  Call Tanya (who else??).  She said try another bank. Some days I wonder about me.

I headed for the Kazakhstan Embassy and looked for a bank along the way.  None.  I was hoping I could talk Ivan (the guy at the Embassy who speaks English) into letting me pay in Hrivna or waiting to pay until I picked it up next week.  I see a bank a few doors past the entrance to the Embassy.  A very small branch.  One desk, one teller, one security.  In my bad Russian and the desk lady's bad English, I explained the problem well enough she understood and was instantly sympathetic.  She said one magic word "resident" but I didn't have my Ukrainian Residency Card.

I got Tanya on the phone and she and the lady are having a conversation when I remembered THE STAMP.  I had a permanent residency stamp in the back of my passport.  Problem solved.  The lady smiled and lit up like it was Christmas, took a quick copy of my passport and the stamp and the teller lady gave me my $50 along with two documents to sign for it.  It was 11:35 when I got to the Kazakhstan Embassy.

Six people in front of me.  I know the routine too well.  Every one of them takes TIME and the clock is ticking. The lady at the counter finished as I found a chair.  French lady and two of the people in line were her kids.  She had driven from France through Europe to Ukraine and was planning on DRIVING through Russia, Kazakhstan, China (Xinjiang and Tibet) to Nepal where she was opening a restaurant ("the food in Nepal is terrible").  I learned all this while the second person in line was finishing at the counter.  The other two people were still filling out documents so I was next.

Ivan had a good laugh at my currency adventures and promised my visa would be ready Monday even though I was coming Thursday.  Finished at 11:50.  Wringing wet, heart pounding and looking and feeling like the wrath of God.  Found a Coffee House and had three cups of hot black bitter mud and a wild berry cheesecake to celebrate.  This was after I went back and bought a small bouquet of flowers for the folks at that bank.

Winter is coming GiST #21

1. Every day is a day closer to April and spring
2. Getting the dogs winter lean-to house all warm and snuggle BEFORE the weather got cold.  And remembering to shut of the water to the outside hose before the tap froze.
3. Kuchma has decided he is going to become a house cat in his old age.  He sleeps in the house at night but wakes Tanya up every morning at 7:00 to be let outside to do his 'blutions then comes back in for milk and cat food. Tanya has to wake me to take my turn at getting up early as I don't hear him at all.
4. Watching the dogs munching walnuts and spitting out (most of) the shells.  They were helping Tanya rake and burn leaves under the walnut trees and discovered walnuts were edible.  They are not as clever as the ravens at opening them but since they can crunch the nut, they don't have to be.
5. The doves are so pretty; light brown or light grey. This must have been a good season for them as there are many of them roosting n the walnut trees.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Depends on how you look at it.

My thanks to Sandy L for this.

"O would some Power the giftie gie us, tae see ourselves as others see us"  - Robert Burns

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Deadlock in Kazakhstan as oil workers strike

For five months, hundreds of workers from the oil fields of western Kazakhstan have been on strike demanding better pay and working conditions. Now the country's longest-running industrial dispute, it has led to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in oil revenue, reports the BBC's Rayhan Demytrie.

 Kazakhstan is a rich country.  Oil and minerals bring in billions in royalties and profits to the government.  Astana is gleaming with new buildings.  Out in the harsh desert where the oil is being drilled for and pumped out, it is not as obvious.  The oil workers are striking for danger pay they are provided for under law.  the courts (government) has declared the strike illegal.  Thousands have been fired.  Demonstrations have been broken up by police.  Activists have been arrested and jailed and one murdered.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Miscellaneous Gratefulness GiST #20

1. Air ticket to Kazakhstan arrived today.  Must mean I am going, though my gut feeling and Tanya's, too, is not good.  The whole episode has been SNAFU to date but money is money so one takes the risks.

2. Bought three return trip train tickets to Kyiv for under $100.  Two round trips to get my visa and one to catch the plane to Astana.  We'll buy train tickets to Moscow and to catch the plane to Canada in  November.

3. The hounds have been behaving quite well lately.  Either the 6 weeks in lock-up while they healed or the fact that it is late in fall and no females are running loose or both but they re remarkable playful and head into their pen when it is time.  Even Volk.

4. Tanya's cold seems to be getting better.  She still has a lot of congestion and coughs up a lung once in a while but less often than it was.  She says it is because our friend Ryya has it now.

5. Got word today of the sudden death of a colleague from Saskatchewan Agriculture days.  Not grateful for his death but certainly for his life.  He was a good man and made a solid contribution the the industry.  Wild Rice Specialist at La Ronge, Ag Rep at Hudson Bay and Forage Specialist at Prince Albert over the years.

Turkish Pizza

The Turks make a very nice thin crust pizza.  For teh first week we were on vacation, the resort would serve fresh pizza at the outside bar between 10:30 and 12:00 for those of us who were too lazy to go to breakfast or wanted a snack after swimming.

The pizza is baked in a wood fired oven.  The coals are pushed to the back and the surface dusted relatively free of ashes, then the pizzas placed in the oven using a traditional long handled paddle; turned once during baking and retrieved, cut up and served hot.

The second week there were too few people there and the practice was discontinued.  There is a reason for lower rates late in the season. But it was good while it lasted.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Food mostly GiST #19

1. Ryya and Vladik came for supper last night so I have another granddaughter story.  She is 5.  Mother: "Why aren't you learning to read?"  Girl: "I don't have to; my friend Iliya can read". Late at night, her mother can hear her tossing and turning in her bed. "Why aren't you asleep?" "Mama, who first decided the world was round?" And mother had to go to Google and find out before the kid would settle down.

2. Tanya went to the market today and I didn't have to go.

3. When she got home we made three litres of Adzhika sauce.  Tomatoes, bell peppers, red chili peppers, fresh horseradish root and garlic all run through the food grinder.  24 cloves of garlic turned out to be too many and next time we will use just 12. The sauce can be cooked and bottled or just bottled and kept in the fridge which is what we did. Apparently you can eat it with anything though it seems to me it would go best on beef.  it is good on bread and butter too.

4. Tanya made vereniki (perogies to some of you) for supper and put a bunch in the freezer too.  Vereniki is first boiled of course. Potato stuffed vereniki are then fried in butter with onions.  Cottage cheese vereniki are basted with melted butter and eaten with sour cream.

5. Number ONE son and DIL bought a new to them car, a 2008 Ford Escape.  They needed a new car so badly as their Toyota had seen better days. I am glad.

Cat Fight

If you have never heard Rossini's Duet for Cats, this clip is one of the best I could find.  I have seen this performed live in Dnipropetrovs'k by Ukrainian or Russian Mezzo-sopranos and again last night on TV by two other sporanos. I just love it.  As do the performers. They really get into the act.

Friday, October 21, 2011

How to Move to Canada: A Primer for Americans

How to Move to Canada: A Primer for Americans

At Amazon:

Here is your chance. Saskatchewan is crying for construction workers and manufacturing workers.  Two farm machinery companies that I know need 30 and 40 people each.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Looking for my wallet

I resemble that remark

The following was sent to me by a "friend'.  It hits too close to home, I am afraid.

$5.37! That's what the kid behind the counter at Tim Horton's said to me... I dug into my pocket and pulled out some lint and two dimes and something that used to be a Lifesaver. Having already handed the kid a five-spot, I started to head back out to the truck to grab some change when the kid with the Elmo hairdo said the worst thing anyone has ever said to me. He said, "It's OK. I'll just give you the senior citizen discount."

I turned to see who he was talking to and then heard the sound of change hitting the counter in front of me. "Only $4.68" he said cheerfully.

I stood there stupefied. I am 56, not even 60 yet
. A mere child! Senior citizen?

I took my food and walked out to the truck wondering what was wrong with Elmo. Was he blind? As I sat in the truck, my blood began to boil. Old? Me?

I'll show him, I thought. I opened the door and headed back inside. I strode to the counter, and there he was waiting with a smile.

Before I could say a word, he held up something and jingled it in front of me, like I could be that easily distracted! What am I now? A toddler?

"Dude! Can't get too far without your car keys, eh?" I stared with utter disdain at the keys. I began to rationalize in my mind.

"Leaving keys behind hardly makes a man elderly! It could happen to anyone!"

I turned and headed back to the truck. I slipped the key into the ignition, but it wouldn't turn. What now? I checked my keys and tried another. Still nothing.

That's when I noticed the purple beads hanging from my rear view mirror. I had no purple beads hanging from my rear view mirror.

Then, a few other objects came into focus. The car seat in the back seat.. Happy Meal toys spread all over the floorboard. A partially eaten doughnut on the dashboard.

Faster than you can say ginkgo biloba, I flew out of the alien vehicle.

Moments later I was speeding out of the parking lot, relieved to finally be leaving this nightmarish stop in my life. That is when I felt it, deep in the bowels of my stomach: hunger! My stomach growled and churned, and I reached to grab my coffee, only it was nowhere to be found.

I swung the truck around, gathered my courage, and strode back into the restaurant one final time. There Elmo stood, draped in youth and black nail polish. All I could think was, "What is the world coming to?"

All I could say was, "Did I leave my food and drink in here"? At this point I was ready to ask a Boy Scout to help me back to my vehicle, and then go straight home and apply for Social Assistance benefits..

Elmo had no clue. I walked back out to the truck, and suddenly a young lad came up and tugged on my jeans to get my attention. He was holding up a drink and a bag. His mother explained, "I think you left this in my truck by mistake."

I took the food and drink from the little boy and sheepishly apologized.

She offered these kind words: "It's OK. My grandfather does stuff like this all the time."

All of this is to explain how I got a ticket doing 85 in a 40. Yes, I was racing some punk kid in a Prius. And no, I told the officer, I'm not too old to be driving this fast.

As I walked in the front door, my wife met me halfway down the hall. I handed her a bag of cold food and a $300 speeding ticket. I promptly sat in my rocking chair and covered up my legs with a blanket.

The good news was I had successfully found my way home.

Notice the larger type? That's for those
other old fogies who have trouble reading.

P.S. Save the earth....... It's the only planet with seniors discount !!!!

Equality and sustainability at stake in Sask election - from Next Year Country

Next Year Country: Equality and sustainability at stake in Sask election: By Jim Harding No Nukes October 19, 2011 The 2008 global recession was sparked by greedy, largely unregulated U.S. banks. Now the Euro z...

 This post is a reprint from Next Year Country.  It provides some startling statistics of inequality right in Saskatchewan.  The economy is booming but people are still being hurt.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Homeward bound GiST #18

The last few days have not made it easy to look on the thankful side of much, even though ther ehave been things to be thankful for, I have not felt like listing them or even much thinking about them, being weighed down with other things (see previous post).  However it all fell in place today and so here we go.

1. I have a signed contract with Nameless Large Republic and should get my airline ticket from them tomorrow if they ever make up their minds when the seminars are to be held.  At least I know what my topic is and can work on it finally.

2. The delegation from a Ukrainian company that wanted me to take them to Canadian Western Agribition and do a short study tour of farms, ranches and feedlots cancelled out last night.  This was to be my ticket home to see my kids after 18-24 months.  However Large Nameless Republic kept moving the seminar dates later past the date I would have left for Canada so it was fortunate that the delegation cancelled.

3. Tanya said I should go anyhow so this morning I booked my ticket to Saskatchewan and will be in Canada from Nov 29 to Dec 19.  Did I ever mention how much I love my wife?

4. Kuchma slept in the house the other night instead of going outside.  He came upstairs to wake Tanya at 7:30 in the morning.  BUT he wouldn't go out until first he had a bowl of milk and then his tummy rubbed. He is so funny.  His winter fur filled in while we were in Turkey and he looks like a much larger cat now than he did all summer.

5. People's kids make me happy.  Tanya's Aunt Vera has a great grandson Tolik (Anatoly) who is two and talking up a storm.  Tolik is the one who took the nuts off the axles of his great grandmother's wheel chair and dumped her when the wheels came off.  He loves nursery rhymes and can say several of his favourites.  His great grandmother will often mix up the names of her daughter Natasha, Tolik's grandmother,  and her granddaughter Katya, Tolik's mom.  So now the little imp will grin at his grandmother and call her Katya.


7. Masha, the littlest pot head, though it does seem a bit of a strain.

Contract, anyone?

I have been negotiating with a government agency of a country which shall remain nameless but is not Ukraine or Russia, for a small contract to deliver a presentation at a series of seminars in November.  They are, or claim to be, in charge of implementing the government program to expand the beef cattle industry.  I will not go into detail but it took two months of fruitless emails culminating in intervention of the Canadian Embassy and a conference call on Skype to learn what the topic was on which I was to speak.  

I intended to work through a consulting company of which I am an associate, simply to get the company name front and centre with hopes there might be more work.  We did get a contract, which the president of the consulting company duly signed and returned.  Yesterday we learned (as did the government agency apparently) that in order for them to sign ANY contract with ANY legal entity, they required the documents listed below (this is copied directly from their letter).  I don't think so.  

I am not familiar with protocols of signing multi-million dollar tendered projects or anything  like that but for less than $10,000 it does seem like overkill. It won't happen.  So now it is a personal contract between me and them which only requires FIVE documents.

The list of documents a legal entity is to provide:
  • Notarially certified copy of the Charter, which is formed according to the law. Non-residents of _____ should provide notarially certified extract from trade registrar with translation into state language and/or Russian.
  • Notarially certified copy of certificate about state registration (re-registration) of legal entity.  If legal entity acts upon Standard Charter, established according to law, he should provide notarially certified copy of application for state registration.
  • Notarially certified extract from constituent documents (in case, if Charter does not include information about founders or group of founders), which includes information about founders or group of founders, or notarially certified extract from registrar of shareholders, issued no later than a month ago, preceding the date of opening of envelopes. The next documents to prove solvency of legal entity:
  • Original of certificate from the Bank or branch of the Bank, in which potential supplier has a bank account, that certificates an absence of delayed debt for all obligations of potential supplier, which lasts more than three months,  preceding the issue date of certificate, before bank or branch of the Bank in accordance with Standard accounting plan in commercial banks and mortgage companies, established by the decree of Board of National Bank of the Republic of ______, in accordance with Annex 7 to this current tender documentation (if potential supplier is a customer of several banks of commercial bank or branches as well as of foreign bank, given certificate is presented from each bank) with signature of the first manager of Bank (branches of banks) or his deputy with seal of Bank. Certificate should be received no later than a month, preceding the date of opening of envelopes with applications to participate in the tender.
  • Original or notarially certified copy of financial report for the last financial year, signed by the first Manager or person, who replaces the Manager;
  • Original of certificate of established form of corresponding tax agency on absence of tax debt and debt on mandatory pension contributions and social deductions to saving pension funds, no less than for three months (except for the cases, when payment date is delayed in accordance with legislation of Republic of ________), received no later than one month, preceding the date of opening of envelopes with tender statements, signed by the Head or deputy of tax agency; 
  • A copy of the certificate of registration for VAT (value added tax), in the presence;
  • Technical specification in accordance with Annex 2 to this tender documentation;
  • Document, which proves introduction  by potential supplier of application to participate in the tender, established by current tender documentation  or bank guarantee in accordance with Annex 6 of current tender documentation;
  • Commercial offer of potential supplier in accordance with Annex 8 of current tender documentation (excluding the cost on accommodation, meal, travel in ________);
  • Letter of attorney to the person, who presents potential supplier to sign application to participate in the tender and participate in the meetings of tender commission, with exception of the first Manager of potential supplier, who has authority to sign without a letter of attorney,  in accordance with Charter of potential supplier;
  • Information about qualifications to participate in the procurement process in accordance with Annex 5 to current tender documentation;

Friday, October 14, 2011

Back Home Again GiST #17

1. Arriving home safely Wednesday night.  The tour company bus behind us on our way to the airport in Antalya was in collision with an oncoming car in its lane that sent 18 people to hospital.
2. Our neighbour Katya who house-sat for us and fed the critters also cleaned the house from top to bottom. She warned us we needed mouse bait.
3. Kuchma caught two mice in the house last night.  Of course, we had to corner the mouse and show him where it was but at least he didn't break out a deck of cards like Garfield.  Tanya is distributring mouse bait by the bag full.
4. Pork roast.  After two weeks in Turkey.  Tasted awesome
5. Our new hot water furnace is keeping the house nice and cozy even on low.

The Ancient Port City of Phaselis, Turkey

One of the stops on our boat cruise was at the ruins of the once major port city of Phaselis.  It is located a few km south of Kemer on a small peninsula with three harbours.  According to the information at the site and also on Wikipedia and TravelLinkTurkey, it was founded in the 7th century BC by people from Rhodes and finally abandoned in the early 13th century AD.  The Phaselitans were traders not politicians and the city prospered under a variety of rulers - Persian, Greek, Lycian, Roman, Byzantine and finally the Seljuk Turks.  Most of the ruins are of Roman and post Roman origin.

I am posting a few pictures but if you Google Phaselis, Turkey and click on images, you will see some wonderful photos.
With Google Earth, you can look down on the peninsula and see through the pines the main street and some of the ruins

The peninsula is covered with ruined stone buildings.  We had no real time to explore.

Certainly some of the city site has tumbled into the ocean over the centuries
The Romans were great for bath houses

More bath house

Ruins of a market place or Agora

We both saw this brave little flower blooming away in the middle of main street

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Next Year Country: The 1% respond!

Next Year Country: The 1% respond!: Keep Up the Good Work! (Just don’t expect us to pay you for it.) Erika Shaker CCPA October 13th, 2011 We know it’s been a while since ...

Very funny satire.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Storm Sunday night

Good thing we took our boat trip on Saturday because it started raining hard Sunday and stormed all night.  It rained again yesterday and a bit today.  There is still no swimming around our beach except by one or two brave souls as the water is still very rough.  Reports are they have not had a rain storm like this for the past 37 years.  Several houses lost in mud slides and six people reported killed.
 This photo was taken Monday morning.  Sunday night at supper the waves were breaking against the 6' seawall and up and over the shade cloth on the sun deck, eventually breaking it down in the night.  You can see the size of the rocks the waves were hurling up onto the deck.  Lots of fist size and several the size of the big one in this picture.

 This picture was also taken Monday morning.  Sunday night at supper the waves were coming in level with the concrete deck.  The wooden slated "covers" have been torn off by the waves.  The holes in the concrete are to absorb some of the force of the waves and keep them from lifting the entire platform or walkway.  There are twenty-five such openings on the deck. 

 I took this photo this afternoon.  There was a large concrete step at the bottom of these stairs from the sun deck through the sea wall down to the water's edge.  It has been totally ripped off the rebar and demolished
Another picture from today.  There are several cubic yards/meters of gravel and rock that were washed up over the 6' sea wall and onto the sundeck by the force of the waves Sunday night.

The water is still very rough close to shore but for a good swimmer it was nice and smooth, as in rolling waves farther out.  Getting there and back was the problem.  I hope the weather is good tomorrow morning when we fly out of here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada GiST #16

I am thankful today for:
1. My Tanya, моя Танюшка моя Любимая моя Милая
2. My kids (and spouses, two so far).  Those who know them, know how wonderful they are.  Those who do not are missing out.
3. My kids' mother, Ella, who is mostly responsible for how wonderful my kids turned out and that they are not to quote MayB "drug addicts working the streets to pay for their habit". Some fathers do not do well raising kids.
4. Tanya's boys, their spouses and of course Masha who round out my family and Tanya's to three and three.
5.  Relatives and friends the world over
6. My health (I am in pretty good shape for the shape I am in).
7. An ongoing interest in the world around me and enough books and internet to keep me reading and learning forever and ever.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yacht Cruise

Yesterday we went on a yacht cruise down the coast.  Very interesting to see the line of resorts wherever there was room between the mountains and the sea. Long trip for Tanya and I as we didn't swim (Tanya is fighting her cold again) or sun but did enjoy the old city of Phaselis (more on that another day).
The Armada of Cruise Boats sets out at 10:00 am

Resort hotels along the shore

The coast is either rock or resort

Pretty fancy looking place
Thump...thump...thump... Ramming Speed!!! Thumpthumpthumpthump

Beautiful little cove

Quiet harbour

Pirates' Cave.  Most of the Mediterranean swarmed with pirates at one point in history or another

Rainy Sunday GiST #15

1. Today was a lazy day as it rained all day.  Forecast is for more tomorrow.  Looks like winter is upon us a bit early this year.
2. The waves are just pounding the beach tonight, roiling in, all white and foamy and at least 3 or 4 feet high, exploding on and over the rock wall.  Water to my ankles on one wave and got yelled at for standing too close to the wall and getting my shoes wet and when will they dry?
3. A little girl, maybe 16 to 18 months old, here with her mother, independent and friendly to everyone.  She brings smiles to all faces just running around the dining room.
4. Watching (from a far distance) Tanya bargaining with the shop keepers in the strip malls that line the other side of the road.  It is an art form and she is merciless.
5. Two more days and we can go home.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Have you read Marx?*

Taking a book on a holiday is required.  Something to read while sitting in the sun or in the shade as the case may be.  I always take a book or two or three.  This year I was limited to one so I took one that would last the two weeks.  One I have been meaning to read but hadn't yet. A book sale find from several years ago.

The Age of Enlightenment: Basic writings of the eighteenth century philosophers Locke, Voltaire, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, Condillac and others.  Selected with Introduction and Commentaries by Sir Isaiah Berlin.  First published in 1955.

It is part of a series of 6 books:
The Age of Belief - The Medieval Philosophers
The Age of Adventure - the Renaissance Philosophers
The Age of Reason - 17th century Philosophers
The Age of Enlightenment - 18th century Philosophers
The Age of Ideology - 19th century Philosophers
The Age of Analysis - 20th century Philosophers

If I can wade through this one, I may call it quits, though to be honest one can still learn a great deal from some of these thinkers (as long as there is a commentary in modern English to explain what I just read).  John Locke, who is the first philosopher dealt with is some hard slugging to get through and please don't ask me to explain.  Apparently his writings at the end of the 17th century set the stage for the others.

This book is great if you like big words and obtuse thought or are having problems falling asleep

I wonder if there is a Philosophy for Dummies book?  I don't want to know.

* Yes.  I think it is this old Adirondack Chair I am sitting on.

Burton played Hamlet. Hamlet lost.* GiST #14

And these last few days, Murphy has played Hell and Grace lost.  Not that I don't have things to be thankful for; Tanya being at the top of the list.  But it is hard to make a list other than of people I want to kill or things I want to smash.  Holidaying in Turkey and spending most of my days on computer fighting fires or just keeping them burning in other cases.

1. Did get in the water today for half an hour.
2. Tanya has gone shopping with a friend and I didn't have to go.
3. Internet is a God-send this week.
4. The food here at Sumela Gardens is wonderful.
5. Vsyo budet khorosho - All will be well.

*If someone could find me the correct quotation, I would appreciate it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

One Efes thing after another - GiST #13

  1. Cold Efes (Ephesus) beer, the best in Turkey, tastes so good after a long hot stroll through the markets.  After I found it was $5 per bottle (half litre), it didn’t taste quite as good but never-the-less. . . and we are on holidays.
  2. A bank machine ate my debit card.  But the hotel desk helped us contact the bank and make arrangements to collect it, starting tomorrow, for however long it takes.  It didn’t eat Tanya’s card so we were able to pull money at least.  She gave me $20 for my very own spending money.
  3. Grilled fish for supper.  I stood in line with Tanya and then gave her my fish because she loves fish.  I ate chicken in tomato sauce.  Tanya says if we come here for the winter we will have to bring our own pork from Ukraine.  I could just eat lamb.
  4. The wind blew all night and the water is pretty choppy; fun for bobbing up and down in the waves.  To me they look so big when I am at the bottom of a trough looking up at the next wave coming in.
  5. My idiot brother (he of The English Cowpath): “I was trying to remember your blog name one time and came up with Fag Bladder but knew that wasn't quite it”. I would punish him but being my brother is likely punishment enough.