Sunday, 30 December 2007


In the first pages of the Bible - the Genesis - the creation of everything is being explained as if it all happened in six days.

Each day ends with the words "God saw that it was good". And at the end of the sixth day - marking the end of the creation - He he even said: "God saw all that he had made and behold, it was very good".

Well, I do not agree with that and try to explain why.

Looking around and looking up at the sky, night or day, one must admit: everything works smoothly. But it is far from being optimized. I mean we all live in a kind of crocodile creation. Mister Big feeds on Mister Small. That goes for ants and for cats and especially for us, you and me.

If you can, you devour those who cannot help it without having much qualms about it. Eaten or being eaten: that is the motor of all that is living, crawling and growing on Mother Earth.

And if you look up at the sky, at those stars sparkling so peacefully above, the same script prevails. There are those black holes gobbling up everything in the vicinity. And even our sun will not warm us dutifully for ever. In some billion years she will explode and roast the whole system. No mercy here either.

That's what I call the crocodile creation. It works, true, but only at the price of immense suffering at absolutely all levels.

Saturday, 22 December 2007


Merry Christmas to all of us. Let it happen, everywhere.

And for the next year AD 2008?
Best wishes? Lots of everything?
Let's be open for surprises!

Monday, 17 December 2007


Sunday afternoon, blazing sunshine, we are walking through the forest on one of those GR hiking food paths, crisscrossing France from east to west and from north to south. We are not alone in this oak forest. A guy all clad in dark green but with a shining red cap stops us: "be careful", he tells us, "pay attention! This is hunting period and they are shooting with real bullets".

I loath hunters, I dislike them, I hate them. But hypocritically I keep those sentiments to myself.

I only say, politely as hell: "well, as far as I know, it's up to the hunters to be careful. We are just walking on this hiking path". Let's not forget my golden sens of humour and I add to make him smile: "I hope all your shortsighted colleagues are wearing specs and have a look before shooting".

He does not smile, he just stares at me as we walk on.

Being a hunter these days means, you are killing for pleasure and in total safety for yourself. Hunting is a kind of sport, it seems.

Hunting season. You get up in the morning, too early for telly. So what to do? Let's do some killing, great fun, no danger involved. The boars, the rabbits, the stags, the pigeons are not armed.

Imagine all those little and big animals outfitted with rifles, even little submachine guns. I bet all those hardy sportsmen would prefer to stay at home or gather around the billiard table, boozing in safety.

Or what about sending all those game killers to places where shooting is important if our hunter wants to stay alive? I imagine a hunter asking for a hunting permit "You want to hunt?"
"No problem", he is being told, "in order to get this permit you must engage for one year in active warfare. For the moment, this means you would be on service in Iraq or Afghanistan".

I imagine our happy weekend killers would think twice before going for places were hunting means always being hunted, too.

That's my dream.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007


We have two cats living with us in the house. There is Mitsi the female stalker hunter and big heavyweight Katzi. Is he hunting, too? I am not sure about that. During daytime, when he is not sleeping, he follows my wife and gives her those tragic looks of total love.

Mice are aplenty here. Must be. They are basic fare for barn-owls, called white lady in French, for the buzzards, other owls of all kind and naturally for the dozens of village cats that are generally kept but not fed by the local farmers.

If God has created mice he must have done so just to supply food to scores of other more fortunate animals. Thanks therefore for not having been created on that precise part of the food chain. Thank you.

Well, that's not the subject but it might be useful to give it some thought.

So, with our two predators over here, mice don't have a chance. Nearly every morning I find some dead and/or mutilated corpses on the premises.

Unfortunately, the situation changes when it rains at night. Cats don't like water . Without being sure, I think rain does not keep them from hunting but they prefer to have dinner in dry places, meaning here in this house. And as everybody knows, cats like to play, fooling around with the dinner prior to eating it.

Next morning of a rainy day, I find Katzi and Mitsi sitting in front of a bookshelf or another piece of furniture. Miaw, miaow miaow or mie, mie, mie, meaning mousy has escaped from the playground and is now in hiding.

At this precise moment, my wife swings into action. She is a great hunter, too. Mousy has no chance. As a indoor hunter, she does not carry a gun but but a dish towel plus sometimes a coat hanger or a broom stick. Boum, the towel zeros in on the little beast and some seconds later it is wrapped in and carried out of the house. Second chance for the mouse to go on living a mousy life. Or get caught again by our two home predators.

Katzi and Mitsi are mere onlookers at that stage. For them, towel hunting is far too fast. The mouse is already back to nature for a considerable time and our cats are still prowling in front of the book shelf looking for the vanished mouse.

As to me, I am just onlooker. Like any male lion (I am born in August) I don't hunt but get a share of the food.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Heating the house

We had a rotten summer over here in Cantal, a splendid September/October and now, instead of going through a peaceful automn, nature kickstarted winter time.

Low peaks were -9°C and my wife clamours for winter tyres on her car (Its my job to fix them). Global warming is bypassing us and has been replaced by something I would call global chaos weather.

The entire house is heated by wood, the electric wall heaters are only for emergency use or in the bathroom, in the morning.

The main idea of this text is to pay homage to the kind of heating generated by oak logs. The place is warm but it is NOT the warmth you get from a central heating system.

This warmth is like a winter kiss, gentle and firm. Wood heat radiates right through you and those everchanging flames behind the glass wall makes you feel splendid. In fact, the feeling is difficult to explain, like colour to a blind.

Here is a photo of our insert and I hope everybody appreciates those drying babushkas on top. They are the cherry on the cake.

Late in the evening, I let the fire die out. In order to achieve this I shift all the burning stuff in the middle and that gives rise to a kind of small size fireworks.

I am so glad we have this instead of the central heating system I knew all my life in Berlin, Brussels and Paris.

Thursday, 15 November 2007


The first strikes happened in Europe - as far as I know - around 1850 and the main reason was the same as the one that occurred in ancient Egypt, more than 3000 years ago "we are hungry".

Right now, here in France, all the public transport has come to a standstill, trains, subways, buses.

The reason for this is quite clear: these transport people have a special pension scheme. They retire at 50 or 55 and get a pension equivalent to 100 percent of their last salary. The money for this comes from taxes meaning from all those other working people who retire at 60/65 and get 50 to 70 percent of their last salary.

During the electoral campaign, The newly elected French president promised to end this situation and now he is trying to implement this. Thus the strike.

In Germany we have a strike of the train conductors, freight trains and passenger trains. Those conductors created first a trade union for themselves and now ask for a 30 percent rise of salary. The German Railway refused, thus the strike.

Has this anything to do with "we are hungry"? I don't think so. This is pure blackmail carried out by a group of people who happen to own something like a "joker".

On the French and the German telly, I see the faces of these trade union bosses. I see glee and triumph there, kind of "fuck you, we shall overcome". "We'll get you, shell out the money or kick the bucket."

That is what I see on their faces. If the country comes to its knees, they don't care. They want the money and pronto, a soft life for their members, featherbedding paid by others who work harder and longer.

Saturday, 3 November 2007


This goes on for months and months. Nearly every day we are being told by our faithful media how big efforts are being deployed to prevent the Mullah regime in Iran to develop the Atom Bomb. This big mushroom explosive that could terminate human species.

The Americans talk to the British who talk to the Chinese who consult the Russians who speak to the French and they are all of the same opinion: the Iranians should not be allowed to develop the Atom Bomb. No Sir. Far too dangerous, they could use it. Or better, it is even sure they would use the Atom Bomb. Because those Iranians they are not such good and honorable people as we are, they are not feeling so responsible as we do!

It's such a pleasure to hear from all these responsible nations and people how hard they are working to prevent humanity to destroy itself via the Iranians.

However, all these months I am waiting to hear from one of those humanitarians this: in order to give an example, we are destroying our own Atom Bombs stockpiled at home.

Thursday, 11 October 2007


Some days ago I saw an article at Frieda's blog INSPIRE, MOVE & TOUCH that made me think ever since. She mentioned a book "Health at 100" where it is said that people with positive outlook live longer than negative oriented.

Reading this the normal question is to which category I belong. According to my wife I am p. but as to me and myself, I feel I am both, it just depends on the situation and what is going on.

Being negative means you think no good comes out of this or that. Next, it gives you the impression to understand fully what is going on without dreaming about a happy fairy tale ending.

Here is a poem from Bertold Brecht that illustrates the idea (my translation - I do hope it still has some meaning)

I have to admit: I don't have any hope.
The blind talk about a way out.
I see

When all errors have been used up
The last companion sitting in front of you
Is nothingness.

That's not black, it's bleak and in fact he made it only till 58. So be warned.

A positive attitude towards life could certainly be illustrated by the famous words said by Martin Luther nearly 500 years ago:

Who loves not woman, wine and song,
Remains a fool his whole life long.

This guy loved life, don't you think? Here is another one from Martin Luther (the one who lived 500 years ago, not the one who was killed in the sixties):

If I would know doomsday coming tomorrow, I would still plant an apple tree today.

Last not least, let me tell a little joke. A patient came to his doctor and said:

"Doctor, I wish to live till 100 and in perfect health". And the doctor : "well, do you smoke?"
"No "
"Do you drink?"
"Well", said the doctor, "you might live that long but just tell me WHY"

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Monarchical republics

In school we were told that in a kingdom you have king (sometimes a queen) who gets the job by birth and in a republic the president and/or the prime minister is chosen by the voters.

At those happy times nothing was ever said about those strange hybrids we can see nowadays, in many countries.

First, you have the species called "President for life". You get the top job and you keep it. Sure, there are elections, but................... A good example is Egypt.

Second, like in a good old kingdom the little one succeeds papa. As far as I know, there are two countries Syria in the Middle East and North Korea, just above South Korea.

Those two, however, play in different leagues. When papa died in Syria, the son was an eye doctor in London and I imagine it was not that easy to adopt. But he made it and it appears he has learned his trade and is doing quite well. In North Korea the succession to the "throne" was further hampered by the fact that the country is a communist one . Till now, the commies always killed their last king - when they could get him - or sent him and his family into exile.
Thus I think North Korea merits amply our admiration, they established the first communist monarchy.

Once you have a royal family in a country you get the aristocracy into the bargain. Or the other way round. The nobles choose the king among them. But there is a big republic - the United States of America - where the top jobs seem to be family business. In this country the family president is not called George I and George II but modestly - it's a republic - N° 41 and N° 43.
And in this family pool is another fish swimming who might be one day.......... For the moment, he is just governing a subtropical southern state of the Union.

All this can be called happy diversity of human behavior. It enriches us and them.

I should have added a photo, as I do most of the time. Any suggestions what to show??

Wednesday, 12 September 2007


I should have started this entry by talking about those photos. All show constructions I like very much. The first two are houses for sale at the French Atlantic coast, between Bordeaux and Biarritz. For the other ones, just read the text (that has become a bit too long).

Before coming here in 1998, I lived for 15 years in Neuilly, a suburb of Paris. I suppose that most people would agree with the statement that Paris is a beautiful city. And that's true.

However, if you look closely at that beauty you might realize that what is considered beautiful is at least hundred years old or more.

Have a look at all those constructions realized in the sixties, seventies etc. - in Paris and elsewhere - and you see lots of glass, steel and concrete put together at right angle as cheap as possible. Kind of boxes of different sizes.

Over the years I came to the conclusion that our modern ugliness is materialized by the right angle. Everything and anything looks aggressively square and I have the impression these are the modern barbarians. Lame brain barbarians utterly devoid of creativity and fantasy.

Talking about architecture I think we have at least a big chance. All this square concrete stuff is of very poor quality. Years ago I showed a friend the modern opera house in Paris (Opéra Bastille) about a year after its completion. There was already rust seeping out between the marble plates fixed on the outer wall to hide the concrete.

In 2002 I went to Berlin, my home town, and was shown around there. The infamous Berlin Wall had vanished without any trace and the town was once again the country's capital. So I had a look at the government buildings, situated right at the river Spree. Madre de Dios. Concentrated cheap ugliness everywhere. You look at it and depression crawls up and engulfs you.

One might think that modern buildings and houses must be ugly. But that is not so. Have a look at those two buildings. The first is a newly erected museum in Paris (Musée Quai Branly) and the other one is a building that has been erected with the help of the Austrian painter Hundertwasser (Hundertwasser-Haus in Vienna). And there are some quite good looking big buildings in the so called "third world" countries, like in Dubai or Kuala-Lumpur.

The first photo (the last added) shows a typical house in the Périgord region. In the background you see the quite recent Museum of Prehistory. To me, the latter looks a bit like an air raid bunker, though in sandstone and not in concrete.

Friday, 31 August 2007


Here I am back again from holidays, at the eastern portion of the French Pyrenees, about 50 km from the Mediterranean. We had really awful weather at home, July and August were partly similar to March and October.

No global warming for us, I had the impression to approach the starting blocks of a new ice age.
The only part of France featuring a real summer seemed to be the Mediterranean coast line.

This area is famous for its "castles of vertigo", all in ruins for centuries but still breathtaking. As far as I know there was fierce slaughtering over there during the Albigois crusade. The people there adhered to a Christian sect called Cathars, their aim was to lead a perfect life.

Thus a crusade was organized, the Cathars were killed wholesale and there possessions were the object of a huge real estate transfer. Mission accomplished as someone said these days.

The castle is still there and the cherry on the cake is that right below is a paragliding launching pad. And in the late afternoon, on warm sunny days, you get the phenomenon the locals call "restitution", a kind of valley wind. Warm air from the forest and the fields below is going up the castle slopes and allows for really peaceful flying.

The violent thermals around noon are gone and are being replaced by this restitution. You fly in an air like honey plus the special fragrance of the Mediterranean country side, rosemary, wild thyme, savory, olive trees, occasionally lavender. Splendidly smelly.

This gentle wind carries my along the slopes of the castle and then, hurray, I have made it! I am looking right into it from above. The visitors of Peyrepertuse look at me and I am looking at them. "Comment ça va" I yell joyfully to a group not far away from me and they make a photo.

Splendor of flying nearly like a bird. It could have been invented 2000 years ago, you just need some lightweight cloth. That was always available. But during all that time the inventors came to a dead end by trying to imitate a bird, spreading and moving wings up and down. And for that we just are not strong enough!

The photo shows the Peyrepertuse castle, built around 800 years ago. Nowadays, they start to rebuilt it by using exclusively the technical procedures of the Middle Ages. We will probably all be dead before it is finished.

Thursday, 16 August 2007


There seems to be a Russian proverb that runs like this:

"Ignore the past and you will loose an eye. Dwell on the past and you will loose both of them".

Well, I like that one. I have been fascinated by history all my life, even as a little boy. In school, we had a history book for each year and I have been reading it all through in the very first months.

Regarding history, there is another proverb I highly appreciate: "The nations and its people who ignore their own history are condemned to repeat it again and again".

As to the present, those gruesome and stupid wars going on in Iraq and Afghanistan might have been avoided by simply looking at precedents, similar cases that happened in the past and its outcome. This has not been done and now we have opened Pandora's box and it will take dozens of years to get it closed again.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Doctors dabble in mass murder

Painting from Mathias Grünewald: Hell

Up to now, I always had one firm belief: those people who kill civilians wholesale at random by explosions of all kind are lame-brain cut-throat fanatics. It seemed to me that personal fate had deprived them of a good education leaving thus room for religious narrow-mindedness. As the scientist Thomas Aquinas said about 800 years ago “timeo hominem unius libri - I fear the man who knows only one book”.

The botched attempt at mass murder by those mid-eastern doctors changed all that and I am quite convinced not to be the only one.

For the time being I am searching the internet in order to find a description of the mindset of such people, because, honestly, I don’t understand.

For once, every physician has to give the oath of Hippocrates at the end of his studies and before embarking on his profession. He has to swear never to do anything detrimental to life. Could it be that this is not required when studying in the Middle East?

But the main point is elsewhere: how can a doctor who saves lives during day-time prepare mass murder after his work hours? Explosives, gasoline, nails, everything, to increase the number of dead and maimed people who happen to pass by.

Maybe time has come to say good-bye to the idea that education is a wall against religious fanaticism.

Last not least, I wonder what will happen to these people. They botched it, nobody outside their gang was hurt. They will be condemned to years of prison giving them a possibility to embark on a new career of living martyrs at the expense of the British tax payer. If I had a say in all this I would send them back to their home lands, and good riddance. Down there, exploding people has become a national pastime and skilled doctors to stitch the survivors together are not aplenty. They could even do both in the same day thus becoming respectable members of their Frankenstein community. Happy end.

Monday, 25 June 2007


These last years the efforts to preach and spread democracy worldwide has remarkably increased. I cannot help thinking this to be as futile as my vain attempts to make our cat stand up and walk on two legs.

Nowadays, elections are being held in Iraq, in Afghanistan as well as in some other cutthroat countries in Africa, sponsored by the US and the European Union. Wherever these elections are being carried out we are being told here by our faithful media that a great step has been made towards peace and prosperity for everybody.

Ten deaths or less during procedures are considered splendid, kind of collateral damage, not to be fussed about. Same for some little vote rigging here or there or some trouble with the counting.

However, afterwards, business as usual: real changes are being made with the help of the knife, explosives, kidnapping. Anything is possible, but certainly not the idea that by presenting the last voting bulletin you can convince the present head of state or little warlord plus his family, clan or tribe to resign from his lucrative job.

Here in the West, we have had democracy in its primitive form for hundreds of years. The English Magna Carta goes back to the 13th Century and in Germany and the Netherlands the bigger towns - kind of citizen states - had an elected town council who governed.

And furthermore, in all these cities and regions as well as even in many absolute monarchies in Europe there was something like the rule of law. Not perfect, far from it, but there was a written law and it evolved slowly according to the needs.

Maybe not everybody knows this famous story of Frederic II from Prussia - an absolute monarch - who wanted to extend his castle ground by purchasing a nearby mill. Well, he never succeeded, the miller stubbornly didn't want to sell. Finally, after years of judiciary actions Frederic gave in.

All this means that countries like Afghanistan, Iraq or The Congo have no use for western democracy, they simply don't have the background. This non-violent way of government must come by the people there and certainly not from outside. Thus it may well need centuries or might never happen, God knows.

Meanwhile, let's better leave those countries alone to their own devices. At best, those who have the power outside, should sponsor a benevolent homegrown dictator who busies himself with building schools and roads and an efficient health system. That's the very best we all can hope for.


Saturday, 9 June 2007


The painting is from Francisco Goya: Saturn devours his children

His name was Ali, he was living somewhere in Baghdad. One day, not so long ago, he was found dead, throat slit, hands bound with wire behind his back. He had the bad idea to live as a Shia Muslim in a Sunni Muslim Area.

I do not know if "Love your neighbor" is especially requested and required in Islam. But the contrary is certainly not.

But such gruesome killings happen elsewhere, too. In Northern Ireland, the Catholics and the Protestants have killed each other for centuries.

When the 30 Years' War - Protestants against Catholics on the menu - ended in 1648 in Germany, two thirds of the entire population were dead.

The list of mass killings, wars, violence based on religion is endless. One might even say that religious differences are one of its the main reasons .

On the other hand, when you talk person to person to active Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs over here, they all seem to be decent, tolerant people. Full of understanding, no violence, no fanaticism, no Sir.

So what?

If I look at all those appalling events: killings and violence of all kind that go on and on, now and in the past, carried out in the name of religion, I cannot help thinking that this has two main reasons: pretension to exclusivity and lust for power.

With exclusivity I mean the fact that today's big religions have only one God who asks for exclusivity. "I am a jealous God" says Jehovah, the God of the Jews and the Christians in the Bible. And Allah, as the same God is called by the Muslims, does not compel the faithful to be tolerant, either. And thus, all other Gods of other people are considered wrong and should thus disappear, weeded out, and pronto!

Now add to this idea of exclusivity a big army and a good array of weapons and the next calamity is being programmed. You just need some enterprising politician (or a little warlord, or a king or any head of state) who sees the huge potential to do his bidding in the name of God.

Has anyone on the World Wide Web an idea how to get out of this situation? To make our little blue planet a little bit more comfortable and less risky.

Thursday, 31 May 2007


Among those scientists dabbling in the global warming field, at least one was interested in the heating effect of those vapor trails made by airplanes high up. The big problem was that those trails were there every day, thus it was impossible to make a comparison between a sky with them and a sky without them.

Then happened September 11, 2001. During three days all commercial air traffic was shut down as the consequence of Al Qaida's attack on the Twin Towers in New York.

Three days without those contrails in the sky and our scientist went busy checking the daily temperature all over the USA and comparing them with normal days.

The result was truly appalling. No vapor trails for three days and the average diurnal temp went up 1°C. For a meteorologist that is a huge difference.

As always in science and elsewhere: you find something new and all those other ones who "know" told him that he had a bee in his bonnet. But the finding was made and confirmed by observations measuring the sun light hitting the earth's surface. Yes, there was a clear drop between the sixties and now.

A new word was coined: global dimming.

The meaning of all this is only too clear. Global warming due to pollution would be much higher down here if we hadn't had the good idea to increase at the same time, by other pollutants, the clouds sailing overhead. In other words: clear skies, less global dimming, and whamm, our temp down here goes up.

If we don't do something radical, and do it fast, to decrease global warming, our good old planet might be doomed. Not for the insects and for the deep sea fish, but most certainly for us. We have to decrease first the warming effect and then, a little later, the global dimming. Otherwise, it appears, we might reach temperatures here on earth we did not have for some billion years.

Let's hope our dear leaders do something about it NOW and not only when the first refugees from the flooded coastal areas stream inland to find a dry spot.

Interesting times ahead.

Monday, 14 May 2007


Yesterday, heavy sunshine and a moderate north-easterly wind. The ideal conditions to go for a little flight in Monceaux, just above the river Dordogne.

Those of you who never had a flight in a paraglider do ignore one of the greatest pleasures live can give you. And so I was gliding at moderate speed just three or four meters above the treetops. Seen from above, those treetops look sometimes like broccoli. Then comes a sudden gust of wind and up you go. It's like stepping into a high speed lift but stout hearts hearts are needed here. Because you step into that lift without any forewarning. So up you go, the launching pad you left just five minutes ago becomes small and smaller, same for the broccoli trees under your feet.

To my left, I see a hanglider, that is Bernard, an experienced pilot. He knows what he is doing, anytime. But a little bit under him I see another paraglider circling around to go up in the warm air. I have to keep an eye on him, all the time. Because the idea is to hid the same thermal without being too near.

Meanwhile, we are five pilots in the air. Going up and down, circling up, gliding down. A kind of air ballet dance, in complete silence, only the slight whine of the kevlar ropes linking the canopy to the glider seat.

However, all good things have an end. Here it is the wind dying out and a big cloud masking the sun thus stopping the hot air going up. So I go down, prepare for landing on the other side of the Dordogne. Circling over the river, I see two canoes. I yell at them and they answer joyfully by giving a sign with their hands.

Near the landing pad is a big oak tree and there I see leaving that damned buzzard, my personal enemy. He is already gaining height yelling or screeching while approaching from above. Now he is above my canopy, I still hear him but cannot see the bird anymore. I imagine him diving on the paraglider, yelling, claws ready. Or is it his beak? What can I do? I yell, too, as loud as I can, making little moves with the glider.

Stupid buzzard leaves me and I imagine he returns to his nest in the oak tree. There he tells his wife and birdies how he is protecting them against those predating colored plastic birds.

Back on the ground I inspect the works of Mr. Buzzard. Three holes this time. Knowing him, I have some patches ready. Last time he made fives holes. And my previous glider had fifteen at all. Mister B suffers certainly from slight attacks of paranoia, especially at spring time. A visit to Doctor Freud should do him a world of good.

Friday, 4 May 2007


Have a look at this photo. It shows the winged goddess of victory, Nike of Samothrace. The original stands in the Louvre museum in Paris. This splendid stature of 2 1/2 meter high was created to celebrate a naval victory in the Mediterranean, about 2200 years ago.

There is however something amiss. Today, nobody knows for sure who was fighting whom and for what reason.

Imagine a time when the Waterloo battle of 1815 that ended Napoleon's rule in Europe is more or less forgotten. Or the battle of Stalingrad 1942/43 that marked the turning point of the Second World War. Could this be? Could this happen?

Those old civilizations two thousand years ago had the good idea to carve some messages on stone. But we, what do we do? Our contemporary paper and print is of so low quality that it disappears in about hundred years. The first movies, turned about a century ago, are chemically so instable that they rot away, or just burn. Let's not talk about the magnetic tapes: even today, we cannot read them if they are older than 15 years. And those DVD's, CD-ROM's, their life is estimated at 50 years but in reality, nobody knows for sure how long they are able to keep the data.

Quite possible that in 2000 years from now, our big, loud civilization is utterly forgotten. Maybe, the archaeologists will go through our junk heaps - armed with a tooth brush of old - and unearth some broken coca-cola-bottle or a frying pen made of stainless steel. I wonder what that will tell them about us. Certainly nothing about Waterloo or the Abba-Group of Sweden.

Interesting times ahead.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Look who has come to live with us

Yesterday we came back from a short paragliding holiday at the Atlantic coast (Dune du Pyla) and today, what do I see? A turteldove right in front of our terrace, sitting on a branch of the Japanese Sherry tree in full bloom. And then I see Ms. Turteldove busy working on a nest. And all that not three meters from where I am standing!

Behind the house is a giant Atlantic cedar and I always thought our couple of turtledoves would dwell there, high up somewhere at a top branch. Could be, however, that this couple is a new one. I know those birds for years though they come and go without clear pattern. They disappear in Summer for some weeks, I think.

For those who are interested in photography: I simply took my binoculars, put them on a chair and held the numerical camera - zoom out - against it. In order to obtain some sharpness, I turned the middle wheel of the binoculars.

Our two cats are prowling around, on the ground. But they are lazy, don't climb trees, both have have specialized on mice. Let's hope the birds know what they are doing. Once my wife saw our lady cat jump more than one meter in the air in order to catch a bat whizzing by.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

The village - our village

This is our village, right in the center of France. Small place, nowadays, about 200 people live there and some more during the summer months. Last year, I read in a tourist guide printed
150 years ago that the village had 1200 people living in it!

Old people told me that after the war and up to the sixties (last century) Rouffiac had about 600 inhabitants and could boast one grocer, two butchers, two bakers and one wine merchant who sold coal at the same time.

Now, these businesses are all gone and even the post office has closed. However, we still have
a café/restaurant that sells some foodstuffs and takes your mail. Especially the café is of the highest importance. Sure you can have an espresso there, but they sell all kinds of alcoholics, too. We have some steadfast swillers over here. As the saying goes "to be drunk every day, means also to lead a regular life".

Rouffiac is a real farmers' village. They run the place and they work hard. I do not know if they are rich but they are certainly affluent, judging by the huge tractors they drive. The Auvergne people are the Scots of France, tight fisted, "un sou est un sou", one cent is one cent and the coin is being turned around several times before it is spent.

More next time.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

The fall of an Empire - WHY?

Some years ago, I have been in Egypt, as a tourist, looking at the sights and leading the good life on a Nile steamer. But there was one question, never asked: why and how did this important civilization wither away. The people living now in this country have absolutely nothing to do with this great civilization.

To find out a bit more of this, I am reading now "The Fall of the Roman Empire" by Peter Heather. This mighty empire, stretching from Scotland to the Arabian Deserts vanished in some years.

And not twenty years ago, the Soviet Union disappeared in some months, like a drop of water on a hot plate. Why did this happen? I do not know really and nobody seems to care, anyway.

And what about us? Here in Europe, we are not living in an empire, the European Union is far from that. But we have certainly a special way of living that now seems to be threatened. Already in 1917, nearly hundred years ago, the German Oswald Spengler published "The Decline of the West", a great and important book and what he wrote 90 years ago still makes sens.

However, though all this looks a bit pessimistic, it is clear that I never led a better life. And lots of people around me are in the same position. So what?

What about a little trip into the near future, let's say into 2084? Could be, people of that time
don't pay taxes anymore, the cars run without petrol, you are living 110 years in excellent health, and it rains only at night, when you are sleeping. Could be however that there are only some wretched survivors of some stupid war struggling through ruins, like in Mad Max.

Interesting times ahead.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Winter is receding

The new barbarians ante portas

These days, the videos of those captured British soldiers can be seen on the tellies, worldwide.
They are eating and puffing cigarettes, the woman changed her battledress against this strange black Muslim cloak, looking like a Sicilian char woman.

Some of those soldiers offer excuses for having crossed the maritime border into Iran and urge Tony Blair to order his troops back.

Everybody knows that a soldier is not a politician. He has to go where his government tells him to go. He is no hero and no martyr, just doing his duty. When captured, he has to give his name and the number of his company and that's it. This is common practice for over hundred years now and has been laid down in the Geneva Convention.

I hate to see what I see on the telly, because those who ordered this kind of display stray away from civilized practice that took centuries to establish. Unfortunately, the Iranian government is by no means alone in throwing away civilized procedures. A government that orders to invade a country like entering a supermarket, just to make a quick buck, is certainly not better.

Here we see the new barbarians squatting on top of the nations who do not know what to do, how to get rid of them. In the West, at least, we can vote them out of office at next elections and I hope the people of the countries concerned will do so. That is our strength right in the middle of this misery.

Friday, 30 March 2007

Millions of people without work in Europe

Hallo Chackavak and everybody who wants to read this - regarding joblessness, people having no work

Unfortunately, no government will be able to change this situation. We are living in the midst of a technical revolution due to the introduction of the computer.

You see it everywhere: 15 years ago, 15 people were needed for job that can be done now by two or three! No new or old government is able to change this! However they are able to talk about it and telling us "sleep tight, we'll arrange this for you, just vote for us".

Unfortunately, this technical revolution is accompanied by a social one: there are people elsewhere ready to do our job for about a tenth of the salary! So, in a nutshell, we Europeans have bad cards, for the moment. Maybe in 20 years the Chinese earn as much as we do, but in the meantime: massive loss of jobs.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Politics seen from high up

Here in France, we have a Presidential election next month. At this occasion, all candidates tell us how they will be able to wash us in depth without making us wet. A real pleasure. One thing is sure, starting from next month, we all will be more affluent, richer, especially the poor and the jobless.

Some years ago, elected politicians told us that everybody will be richer by working less. And it was done, we worked less, no more than 35 hours and as a result some of us became richer in free time. Meaning they lost their job.

Presently, the same people explain us that those who still work too long hours should stop this nonsens and get relaxed. Work 35 hours per week and be happy like all those civil servants who do this already (coffee break, included) .

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

This evening I had my first coment on this blog. It came from an Iranian blog called Bereftd, never seen before. Thank you, unknown fighter for more rights in this country.

Whenever I look at an Iranian blog, I don't know what to think. A minority is fighting for human rights, democracy and thus for the rule of law. But I feel the vast majority of the people there are deeply immersed in their religion, hundreds of years away from us here in the West.

And naturally, the politicians there - same as here - are thrifty enough to take advantage of this situation. What to say about a politician who is endlessly talking about God? I suppose it's nothing but an opportunistic attitude - maybe they are atheists at heart, who knows. Our politicians talk always about our jobless people and the poor and the measures they would take in case they are voted into office............

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Why this blog

These last days, I discovered a great number of interesting blog I was unable to comment without being a blogger. So I created one.

However, for the moment at least, I do not intend to go to great lengths and make big efforts in composing texts. There are so many good blogs and I feel the world will continue happily to turn around without this one.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Why this title

These days, everybody wishes this or that. Though it is never said, we all want to let is happen at no price. For exemple: global warming, yes, let's fight against this danger! But cycling instead of driving? A little car instead of a SUV. Forget it.