Saturday, January 10, 2015

Abu Hamza (a repost)

Abu Hamza just got a life sentence. In honor of this I decided to repost my own poem from 7 years ago. Turned out to be kind of prophetic.

I am Abu Hamza, a Muslim cleric
I used to preach in Finsbury Park mosque,
My sermons were a little bit barbaric
But I delivered them with mighty force.

I'm all for the equality of sexes
And polyandry I don't mind a bit.
I married one of my bigamic exes
So I could get a residence permit.

When I was young I used to be a bouncer,
But they decided that I was too dumb,
And it's more fun to be a doom announcer
So I became a radical imam.

Osama is my most-admired hero,
I tried to give a hand to Taleban,
I lost both hands and eye, but kept my beard,
And all the body parts that make a man.

In Britain I became a famous preacher,
My name is always mentioned in the news,
In my sermons the most important feature
Is killing of the kuffar and the Jews.

A Jew-free world would be a great improvement,
Behind all evil there is some Jew.
They also guide the planetary movement
And nowadays my bowel movements, too.

Please kill the unbelievers when you see them,
With bombs, or guns, or poison or a word,
For any reason or without a reason,
The unbelievers should be put to sword.

But then came the police, and then they told me
That murder is a thing I shouldn't preach.
How dare those kuffar to try to scold me?
I want respect for my freedom of speech.

The court convicted me of the incitement
As poor man, I never stood a chance,
I could not fight this horrible indictment
Though state gave million pounds for my defense.

And now the state has noticed I'm not poor
And is demanding back the million quid,
They froze my jail allowance to be sure,
And found some of the money that I hid.

My life is full of misery and anguish,
I'm serving seven years in Belmarsh,
In British prison I don't want to languish,
The kuffar justice is unduly harsh.

Americans want Brits to extradite me,
They'll put me in the Supermax for life.
One thought that really does not delight me:
I might become the Unabomber's wife.

I used to think that I was very clever
And lead my students to the life of crime,
But now I'll have to stay with them forever
And hear their bullshit all the time.

Americans! I really hope you will
Show mercy to a person whom you hate:
It sure is unusual and cruel
To put one in a cell with Richard Reid.

But in the meanwhile in the British prison
I realized that my nurse is a poof.
They surely had some ungodly reason
To let a guy like that under this roof.

He probably gets totally excited
Each time he wipes my handsome manly ass,
And as a Muslim I should be entitled
To have him fired or at least harassed.

Gay people are a vile abomination
But even though I spit and scream and curse
In this atrocious godless kuffar nation
They won't assign to me another nurse.

At least I can refuse the nursing service
And try to wipe my anus on my own.
Oh shit, my hooks are stuck, I'm getting nervous!
Oh God! Wrong move! Right hook stuck in the bone!

It is too late, but better late then never -
Oh dear Lord, my ass is ripped to shred -
Allah, please do me an enormous favor:
Insert some common sense into my head.


We, Joe III, don't feel like getting emails from our subjects

Decided to contact my House Representative, Joe Kennedy. Haven't even written the actual email yet, but decided to find the contact info anyway.

Found it. The first thing it says:

"Regrettably, I am unable to reply to any email from constituents outside of the district. Please enter your zip code to verify residency and go to the next step:"

Several questions:

1. Does the guy mean that he only accepts email from his own constituents (I thought the word "constituent" already implied that), that he only accepts email from his constituents who really reside in his district, or only from his constituents who happen to be in his district physically at the moment?

2. Considering that nobody has ever demanded a 9-digit zip code from me before, why do I have to supply it just in order to be given my representative's email address?

3. Has the guy ever heard of an ancient technique called lying?

Maybe I am overreacting, but somehow I get a feeling that addressing this guy with an expat issue will be like talking to a wall.


Friday, January 09, 2015

People, including expats, should know their heroes.

Charles Rangel, D-NY, one of the two cosponsors of the FATCA bill.

That's the man most concerned about Americans living and/or banking abroad and not paying taxes. Well, I am glad that for once a politician is legislating on something he is an expert on.

A few years ago the man got caught renting 4 adjacent rent-stabilized apartments in Manhattan. Those are meant to be primary residences, preferably for people of limited means. I don't know how he ever explained his burning need for having 4 primary residences.

At the same time he filed a homestead tax break on his house in DC. AFAIK these are also meant for primary residences.

In 2008 Rangel totally forgot to mention his rental income from an overseas villa to IRS. Oops. Got caught.

Another thing he forgot was to disclose half of his assets and a bit of his income to Congress.

Property taxes on a couple of his New Jersey properties also got forgotten. Shit happens, you know.

A bit later he happened to violate the House gift rules by accepting trips to the Caribbean.

The ethics trial of the House ethics committee found him guilty in 11 out of the 13 original charges.

And yes, all of the above happened just after, just before, and right during the time when he was cosponsoring the bill that would interfere with the banking of several million Americans so severely that many of them would be abandoned by their banks, just to make sure that they are not hiding something.

A question to New Yorkers: why is this ape still in Congress? Seriously, even among the candidates there must be somebody with more sense and fewer ethics violation.




Important information for Jews

"The offering, sale and/or distribution of many of the products or services described on this website are not intended to any Jews. If you intend to obtain any product or service from OurBank that is described on this web site, you must first inform OurBank whether you are a Jew.

This website and its respective contents do not constitute an offer or invitation to purchase or subscribe for any securities or a solicitation of any offer to sell any securities to Jews. Any brokerage and investment advisory services described herein are not intended for Jews. Furthermore, any solicitation on this web site of banking services (including accepting and/or soliciting deposits), insurance services, mortgage and/or consumer lending services or credit card services is not intended for Jews..."

That's what I just got from my bank. No, the word is not "Jews", but it describes a population group to which I belong. The only reason I withheld the name of the bank is that many banks are displaying the same text, and they have not written it themselves. The word is "US persons", and the guilty parties in this case are the Senate and the House, with the special honorary mentions for  Max Baucus (D–Montana) and Charles Rangel (D–NY), the authors of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009.

(US persons is defined as all US citizens and permanent residents resident in the US, some US citizens resident abroad - they are not saying who, and whether this actually applies to me, and any entity organized or incorporated under the laws of the United States).

This particular law has raised the US citizenship renunciations by a factor of six, which should say something to our Congress, or would have if it weren't, as an old joke says, the opposite of progress.

I am certainly not planning to renounce mine. Seriously, I'd rather vote for Mr. Rangel with a very big cactus, applied anally. But the first thing that comes to mind is banning the population register from identifying me as a US person to anyone, and lying to all the Finnish (and other non-American) financial institutions that I ever deal with that I am not in fact a US person. Funny thing - so far I have always been in compliance with all the US tax laws. Will there be a day when I choose not to report an account just because doing so would "out" me as an American to the bank that holds the account, and cause them to close that account? If that day comes, I will totally do that without feeling guilty in the least.


Saturday, December 06, 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rurouni Kenshin, movies 2 and 3 (spoilers)

Lots of spoilers. OTOH: I wouldn't recommend these movies to the people who haven't read the manga anyway. The whole trilogy relies very heavily on knowing more than the movies tell you. The movies are great if you have read the manga; not sure how they compare to the anime.

Saw Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends. For some reason I'd assumed that the first of these is the Kyoto arc of the manga, and the second is the revenge arc. This is not the case: they are both the Kyoto arc, and are meant to be watched together. Kyoto Inferno ends in a cliffhanger - one that's not in the manga. Kyoto Inferno is paced quite slowly; The Legend Ends is full of action.

Hmm, does that mean they are gonna do the revenge arc sometime later? I certainly hope so.

The good things: the casting. Everyone is very much in the spirit of the manga, and everyone looks just right. Except, maybe, that Aoshi is way older than he should be. The guy (Yusuke Iseya) is still very much in the spirit of the manga, though, and does his best with whatever the screenwriters have done with his character. The acting is good all over. The whole thing is visually beautiful. And the fighting, wow!

I can't remember any other movie where you have 4 heroes (well, "heroes" is a bit stretching it) fighting the villain and not the other way around. Unlike the movie villains our heroes figure out fairly quickly that it's not a good idea to take turns, and they attack the villain all at once. And they still have a fairly hard time.

The bad things: pretty much everything they did to the plot.

First of all, Aoshi. In the movie Aoshi a) has no logical reason to hate Kenshin at all, b) has been fucked in the head since the beginning of Meiji rule, which is like 10 years, and c) appears to have been insane to begin with. It is quite unclear why he just started to look for Kenshin now, and why Misao likes him (he's been insane since Misao was what, five?).

Second, the government. In order to save its face it does a number of things none of which is likely to result in any face-saving.

Third, "the ball of stupid". In the end, everyone appears to have caught some brain disease causing them to make tactically unsound decisions. It does work out for the good guys, because the bad guys are similarly afflicted.

Still, had a good time and gonna buy the DVD. So there.


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Orthodox larps for secular Jews

Last summer I was visiting a synagogue in Italy, in a city with a very small Jewish community. The synagogue was lovely, and so was the lady who was guiding the tour. The synagogue was also very obviously Orthodox - you can tell that from having separate sections for men and for women. The lady appeared to be considerably less Orthodox, although with the modern Orthodox you can't always tell.

The description of the local Jewish life was something I've heard before: a small community, the people are very secular, the synagogue is "of course" Orthodox, the young generation doesn't give a fuck, the leaders of the community are concerned.

"For fuck's sake," I thought. "Doesn't she see how those things are related, and why can't the so-called community leaders buy a fucking clue?" I did not say that out loud: first of all, she was a very nice lady whom I didn't want to upset, and second, the community leaders wouldn't recognize a fucking clue if it bit them right on the ass.

I've been on vacation in Italy 5 times. I haven't seen a single obviously Orthodox Jew over there. I've lived in Helsinki for 18 years now. I've seen an obviously Orthodox Jew once. I think he was the guy who runs the local Chabad house. This probably means that there is another one (Chabad houses are usually run by couples). The rabbi of the local synagogue makes three, if he is really Orthodox. I wonder if those guys even have enough for a minyan (you need 10; if you are Orthodox, you need 10 men).

Seriously: why? In the USA, they have different synagogues for the beard and wig brigade, for the ham and cheese brigade, and everyone in between. Nobody in their right mind would think of establishing an Orthodox synagogue and expecting the local young secular Jews to show up there and larp the Orthodox. I think everyone involved would be rather surprised if anyone did. So why is Europe so full of Orthodox synagogues run for (and, I suspect, often by) the secular folk, up to the point of asking said secular folk to show their dicks, if any? And, more importantly, why is anyone surprised when the young (OK, let's face it, "young" in the sense of secularization of Jews in Europe starts with my grandparents' generation and possibly even earlier) people fail to come to this badly written larp and go to some crayfish party instead?

The only explanation that I can think of is that somebody out there is really not in his or her right mind.


Putin-setä asuu Venäjällä

Putin-setä asuu Venäjällä.
Sieltä on niin lyhyt matka helvettiin,
Kohta Putin-setä
on samassa paikassa kuin setä Lenin
ja setä Ho Chi Minh.
Putunilla on niin suuri otsa,
siihen mahtuu Krim, Ukraina,
tiikerit ja kurjetkin.
Putin-setä ei hymyile,
kun on jo käyttänyt liikaa
rahaa botoksiin.
Putin-setä asuu Venäjällä,
ja sitä ei kutsuta kylään
edes Vietnamiin.
Hän rakastaa kaikkia,
ja häntä rakastaa
vain setä Chavez
ja setä Ho Shi Mihn.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

RxJava on Android

Having never put a single devil into hell before, the girl found the first experience a little painful.

I am still not sure it was worth the trouble, but it appears to work fine.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dear Lord,

If you have any sense of justice at all, please make a 10-meter saguaro cactus grow out of Putin's chair, and right up his ass, right as he speaks to the Russian parliament. This will be a most impressive display of your might, much better than burning bushes. Besides, a burning bush is not very well visible through the pants.


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Dear Russian leaders

I am not your citizen. I have never even seen your country since its establishment in 1991, and I would like to keep it that way. However, I do speak the same language, and intend to continue doing so, and I am starting to feel your undying love for me. Again.

I was born in the USSR, lived there for 16 years, and, like all the citizens, was very much loved by the authorities. This love was expressed in not allowing people to leave, or allowing it only with great difficulty. I think that if you express such a love for your partner in a civilized country, it is called unlawful restraint and punished by several years of imprisonment; the Soviet authorities, however, wrote their own laws and had nobody who could put them in prison where they so obviously belonged.

Eventually we did manage to leave, and the Soviet authorities had better things to do that loving us at a distance - after all, they had all of Eastern Europe to love.

In 1989 the Eastern block started disintegrating, and in 1991 the Soviet Union fell apart, and all the citizens held in the country by authorities' love finally had the opportunity to leave. For a while Russia had other things to do than to express forcible unrequited love to people beyond its borders. Now, however, you are at it again.

Your president just said that you consider it your right to protect the Russian-speaking people beyond your borders. Yes, that means me. Now face it: every single Russian speaker who left Russia and lives as a member of a minority beyond your borders is there because he or she, for one reason or another, chose not to live as member of the majority within your borders. And every single Russian speaker who was born outside of Russia in the other parts of the former Soviet Union and would actually prefer to live as a part of a Russian majority, is still outside Russia because you did not make him or her welcome. It's your country, of course, and you don't have to make them welcome unless you want to, but you appear to have a disturbing tendency to only welcome them when they come with their own land - or somebody else's.

You, of course, are not the only ones to have wanted to love and protect me when I had absolutely no desire to be loved or protected. Several times in my life I have encountered men who wanted to love and protect me in the same way. They had to be convinced otherwise, usually with the help of heavy or sharp objects. When a guy comes up to me in a street at night, saying things like "nice tits" or "wanna fuck" or "I have a huge dick", I am not particularly concerned, because they usually just annoy me for a while and go away. When a strange man comes up to me and says that he would like to walk me home and protect me, I immediately start looking for something heavy, because these situations have always ended in violence.

There are two key differences here. First of all, those men were strangers, and you are publicly known. Unfortunately whatever is known about you does not work in your favor at all. Second, those men's expressed desire to protect me makes me look for an empty bottle or suchlike. When you say you want to protect me, I feel like looking for a good-sized nuclear arsenal.

Anyway - on some level I wish I could really share my feelings, but for that I would need the aforementioned nuclear arsenal, which I don't currently have, and besides it would hurt a lot of innocent civilians who haven't even voted for you. So, could you just please bugger off together with your love, and leave us in peace? Preferably before somebody's feelings get expressed by weapons.


Friday, December 06, 2013

Monday, November 04, 2013

A new use for an old exit visa

A little while ago I checked out the web page of the Russian consulate in NYC, and found the following text:

"Applicants who used to be citizens of the USSR or of the Russian Federation and then emigrated from the USSR or from Russia must submit one of the documents which confirms that they are no longer citizens of the Russian Federation (so called "Visa to Israel" or stamp in their passport saying that they left for "permanent residence abroad" before the 6th of February, 1992 or official document certifying that their Russian citizenship was renounced), otherwise the applications will not be accepted. A naturalization certificate is to be submitted also."

The reason I checked that page out in the first place was that an acquaintance was denied a tourist visa because her current last name happened to be different from her last name when she left the USSR in 1970-something. They figured she must be a spy or something.

The bottom line: in order to visit Russia as a tourist, I would have to show them the exit visa that the Soviet Union issued me 25 years ago, a piece of paper looking approximately like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Soviet_Exit_Visa_Forever.jpg. The text I quoted above appears on so many consulate pages in so many countries that I assume the requirement is universal. One of the consulates explains that in the absence of such a document a person would have to apply to have their citizenship or lack thereof confirmed, which costs money and takes from one to six months.

I probably even have that exit visa. Or my parents have it, somewhere. OTOH, London would be a perfectly nice place for my next vacation, and British officials, for all their tendency to ask weird questions, have never asked me to prove that I am not their citizen before letting me into the country.

Yeah, I know that "bugger them, I am not going there" sounds somewhat ridiculous from a person who wasn't going there in the first place.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Allies who listen to each other

In a 2008 speech in Berlin Obama told Germans that allies should listen to each other. Well, I am glad that at least some of our politicians keep at least some of their campaign promises. Although, judging from the Germans' reaction, I don't suppose they'd realized that he meant it that literally.

 Now the media is speculating whether or not Obama knew about the surveillance, and the White House is not admitting anything either way. I can sort of understand them. "I didn't inhale" sounds kind of stupid, and "I did inhale" is somewhat embarrassing.

 What are the implications of Obama not knowing about the surveillance (which, IMO, is about as likely as Clinton not knowing about what Monica Lewinski was doing with his dick)? Either the man is (possibly intentionally) stupid and doesn't know where his surveillance data comes from, or he just doesn't care, or the NSA is doing whatever it wants and doesn't inform the president at all, or share the surveillance data with him. None of that sounds particularly good.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Back from the US

Back from Florida and Boston and NYC. Should really visit there more often. Yes, even Florida.

For the first time ever didn't go anywhere at all in Boston, just spent my time seeing people, and still didn't see everybody I wanted to see.

This was my first time in Florida, and it was quite lovely, much better than expected. They have sandy beaches, and warm sea, and little lizards, and iguanas, and weird-looking turtles, and weird-looking birds, and flying fish.

Like almost any American I occasionally have some grievances against the federal government, but I could never imagine that I'd add "they hid all the crocodiles and alligators in Florida" to the list. But they did. We didn't get to visit Everglades or see any crocodiles at all.

Realized I actually like beaches quite a lot as long as there is no hot yellow thing in the sky.

Wish I could have taken some pictures of the flying fish, but they absolutely refused to pose in midair.


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Some random thoughts on the Snowden scandal

1. Yeah, governments spy on each other, including their own allies. Everyone knows that. When you get caught doing that, the thing to do is to look sheepish and apologize, not to make a huge scandal and create one diplomatic incident after another chasing the whistleblower around the world.

2. We have this thing called the Constitution. Also the Fourth Amendment. The current administration should read it sometime, and so should the Congress. It does not say "the Federal Government should read everyone's mail and eavesdrop on everything that moves".

3. Yep, terrorists. I am all for catching terrorists. Other evildoers, too. That's what we have warrants for, and probable cause. "Uses Gmail" does not constitute a probable cause. While you are at it, you might consider more efficient methods of catching terrorists - for example listening when a foreign government or their own parents warn you about them.

4. I understand there are minimization procedures in place, where NSA only collects the data, and only uses it under very strict rules, so for the most part the data just sits there safe and unused. Hmm... Safe... Didn't NSA just have its own secrets leaked all over the Internet? How safe do you think are yours?

5. It's damn hard to keep secrets nowadays when any fucker with a USB drive and a security clearance can publish them on the Internet.

6. The above concerns both the NSA et.al., and the people's data they collect.

7. That's a lot of data, BTW. How many people do they give the security clearance to in order to deal with it? How well do they check them? How many wannabe terrorists are actually on the NSA payroll?

8. It appears that what Snowden has done was illegal, and what the NSA has done is only of questionable legality. Nevertheless chasing the whistleblower all over the world in embarrassing ways only works to convince the observers that the whistle needed to be blown. And yes, it did.

9. One thing that I've been wondering about since the original Wikileaks scandal: how easy is it to add fake data to any such revelation? Especially if you add it to a mountain of real data?


Change we can sure as hell believe in

"Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process."

From Obama's pre-inaguration ethics agenda.

I think the ethics have changed just a bit.