Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Comparative religion with mom

"Do you know what Epiphany is all about?"
"No idea. Not sure if all the Christians know it either."
"They must know, it's their holiday."
"Well - do you know what Tisha B'Av is all about?"
"Huh? Tissue what?"

In other religious news, my relatives visited Nazareth on Christmas, and their photos show what appears to be Santa Clauses on motorcycles camouflaged as sheep. Either it's a local tradition, or the locals' attempt at reindeer costumes for motorcycles went horribly wrong.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Can anyone explain? Please? (The suicide bombing in Pakistan)

I understand when crazy Islamic terrorists bomb a shopping street in Stockholm. "Understand" here certainly doesn't mean "approve", but hey, that's why we call them crazy Islamic terrorists, and Swedes are mostly infidels anyway. I understand when Sunnis bomb Shia mosques, and Shia bomb Sunni mosques, they are sort of almost like infidels for each other. I understand why they bomb police in Iraq, because police tends to cramp terrorists' style. I understand why the followers of Absolutely Crazy Mujahideen Movement burn the mosque of the Totally Insane Mujahideen Movement, because they are competitors. I understand why the Taliban burn girls' schools, because hey, girls' schools!

What I don't understand is why that bitch, or anyone else, would blow up a line of people trying to get some food. There isn't some crazy sect somewhere that is against food, is there?

Tried to google for it, but did not find a satisfactory explanation.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Unchristmacy thoughts

Yesterday two bombs exploded in Rome's Swiss and Chilean embassies, injuring two people. One of them is in danger of losing a hand or both.

The people who claim to have done it were FAI, Federazione Anarchica Informale, an anarchist organization (not to be confused with FAI, Federazione Anarchica Italiana, or with Judean People's Front or People's Front of Judea). They say that they did it to make their voice heard.

Yes, and? They have made their voice heard but they are not actually saying anything. At least the Islamic terrorists usually have some message, along the lines of "you are killing our wives and children in Afghanistan and Iraq and occupying our land in Palestine and now I am gonna kill your wives and children! OK, so I am a British-Jamaican convert to Islam and my wife and children are actually alive and well and live in Yorkshire, but let's not get into details. Please give generously to my poor widow and the children I didn't bother to raise". The anarchist terrorists' message seems to be "I am a moron, hear me roar!".

Wouldn't it be easier and safer to just boost your homepage's ratings on Google? I went to look for a FAI homepage, and couldn't find it even when searching for it.

Seriously, these people are trying to make their voice heard, have maimed real living people to do it, and didn't even bother creating a homepage? They can't have absolutely nothing to say, can they? They have a fucking facebook group (F.A.I. (Federazione Anarchica Informale)), with a whole 31 members, with open content, and they haven't said anything since May. Not even "down with the old order!" or "we are sociopathic morons in need of excitement".

Dear terrorists, if you really need to be terrorists, at least do it in the right order:

1. Make a web page with your message.
2. Try to make your voice heard by taking a volunteer among yourselves, raping him/her to death with a morningstar and filming it. Put the video on all the video sites you can find. Instant worldwide fame guaranteed.
3. Set your testicles on fire (if you don't have testicles use some other part of your person),
4. Spend the rest of your life in a cell with Ramzi Yousef.

The Great Infidel Holiday is upon us again

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sex with sleeping people

The Assange scandal has generated a lot of talk about explicit and implied consent, and sex with sleeping people. I understand that these issues are complicated, but am I really the only one to whom the idea of trying to have sex with a sleeping person is extremely strange even when one does have standing consent?

I was raised with the idea that sleeping people want to sleep, unless they have explicitly asked to wake them up at a specific hour. Also, that we do not wake up sleeping people unless they have asked for it or unless there really is an emergency. Being horny does not constitute an emergency.

Seriously - it had never occurred to me that trying to have sex with a sleeping person - even one who has told me that that he would like to have sex with me in the morning - could result in anything else besides being lectured on bad manners and expelled out of the bed.

The weekend

It's cold again, and snowing. 65 cm of snow on the ground in Helsinki. Trains, buses, trams, drivers and pedestrians are all still collectively surprised.

Yesterday a meter of snow suddenly plopped in front of my window. I figured the end of world was coming, but then realized that some elves were cleaning snow from our roof and decided that the lower roof in front of my window was a proper place to deposit a mountain of it. I said goodbye to daylight until the spring and went to a party.

When I came back the snow was gone. They threw it from my roof to the ground. They also managed not to break my windows in the process. Yay for ripping a new asshole to the building caretaking company last year.

This morning the snow was there again, with more coming. The elves came again. The entrance to my building is closed with string barriers, the sidewalk is one big snow mountain (ok, actually two) but I got out and back somehow, and am fully intending to try to get to work tomorrow.

The UN is having an emergency meeting on Koreas, where they are deciding whether to express deep concern or grave concern.

Lukashenka won again in Belarus, since everybody knows that the most important qualification to become a president of Belarus is the experience in that job. (The constitution that was in effect when Lukashenka took office allowed two presidential terms, for a total of 10 years. He has been in office now for 16 years, changed the constitution and is starting his fourth term now.) There is a bit of a riot there now, and there is a little chance that Lukashenka with suffer the fate of Ceausescu. I wonder if they can do Kim Jong Il while they are at it, and whether it is illegal for me to say so.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The cassette (CD, DVD, etc.) tax

Since the people who want to collect the media tax on everything rely on polls to decide what people are using their disk space for, why don't they also rely on polls to decide who they should give the money to? Just let the people say whose music/books/movies/shows they have on their CDs, DVDs or USB drives and how much disk space it takes and distribute the money among the authors accordingly? Regardless of whether the author is a writer, a singer, Finnish, foreign or a member of any of the copyright organization. I don't think people have a lot of incentive to lie.

Is your underwear the right color today?

The UBS Bank of Switzerland has issued a 43-page dress code to its employees (here in French), complete with instructions on the color of underwear, using makeup on one's neck, the requirement to wear a black belt (not a karate one, I think), the description of the glasses one is allowed to wear, how one's roots should be impeccable (hair roots, not genealogical), the demand that the pantyhose should be always worn with a skirt, that it should be transparent (the pantyhose, not the skirt) and that wearers of pantyhose always have another pair with them, in case it runs, the advice on trimming one's toenails, on taking off one's glasses when you talk to a customer (so you can't see them?) and some other goodies. Some of it is advice, some of it is requirements, and they require, above all, that your look should make you comfortable and bring forward your personality.

Oh dear. The only way my personality would come forward in all that attire, I am afraid, would be by catching the authors, giving them a good kicking with the regulation heels, strangling them almost to death with a regulation scarf, and then reviving and strangling them again with the other regulation scarf (yes, they have two).

Seriously: my first reaction on reading the news, even before reading the actual document, was "if my bank issued a regulation like that, by the evening I'd open an account in another bank".

Besides, considering their recent history, shouldn't they rather be issuing instructions on the topic of facilitation of tax evasion without getting caught?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A few random Wikileaks thoughts

1. Are any condom manufacturers using this case for advertisement?

2. How difficult would it be for Assange or anyone else involved to add something to the cables? There are 251,287 cables; how easy it would be for anyone to find out if, for example, 251 272 are real and 15 are fake? Is this in fact a good opportunity for someone to manufacture something?

3. Aren't the people involved in the Assange witchhunt embarrassed? It does look really embarrassing.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The news of the weekend: islamophobia in Sweden

The first news item on HS's front page says "Huoli islaminvastaisuudesta kasvaa Ruotsissa" ("Concern over islamophobia is rising in Sweden").

Oh, really? I thought Sweden's biggest news of the weekend was the suicide bombing in Stockholm. Silly me.

When the, ahem, unfortunate incident happened I tried to be a good and unprejudiced citizen and for a moment imagine that it was the Aggressive Amish, the Militant Methodists, the Evil Jews or the Bad, Bad Buddhists. Or maybe a lone Person of Different Sanity (they do indeed happen ever one in a while, though nowadays they tend to convert to one particular religion first).

My poor little prejudiced mind didn't turn out to be all that imaginative, and pretty soon reverted to connecting the unfortunate incident with Islam. I am not sure what gave me that idea: whether it was my evil nature, reading too much Hommaforum, or the letter that the perpetrator sent to Sweden's Security Police and a news agency, blaming the troops in Afghanistan and the Muhammed cartoons and calling on Europe's Mujahedin to rise. One of those things, I am sure.

Not that HS is wrong: the bombing will increase islamophobia in Sweden and probably here as well. People do tend to be a bit phobic about whatever and whoever tries to kill them, I suppose it's just human nature or something.

I do understand many Swedish Muslims' concern about being associated with that fucker, I do appreciate them having a demonstration against terrorism (a very small demonstration but in this weather you can't really blame them), and I don't think that imams speaking out against terrorism is a pointless gesture (they are not going to convince the radicals, but they might convince some of their less-radical support base), I just think that having it as the top news item is a bit weird.

About the suspect himself: he studied in UK, and I suppose it's a matter of time when some connection with Omar Bakri, Abu Hamza, Abu Izzadeen, Anjem Choudary or somebody else from that gang will come up.


The hell froze over. It's so cold that even Al Gore admitted that subsidies for making ethanol from corn were not a very bright idea. So much snow that the Russian expression "up to your dick" (meaning "an awful lot") had an accurate literal meaning for a while, and now lost it again, because, as one Russian friend put it while sadly observing a five-meter heap of snow, "nobody's dick rises that high".

Good thing we have global warming, imagine how cold it would be without it.

(And yes, in case someone asks, I do remember how hot it was in summer.)

Monday, December 06, 2010

A modest proposal

This has been inspired by the WikiLeaks scandal and the politician comments on it:

It has never seemed unfair to me that the prospective new citizens in some countries - for example the US - have to take tests in order to get the citizenship, whereas a lot of native-born citizens could not pass the same test. For the native-born the citizenship is a birthright, whereas the people who want to acquire the rights of citizenship can be asked to prove that they know at least something about the new country. Fair enough.

But could we please, please start administering the same test to our elected representatives? In the House, the Senate and the White House? Being a House Representative, a Senator or a President is not a birthright in the same way as citizenship is; there are residency requirements, age requirements, etc. So couldn't we demand that every motherfucker who is sworn into office and solemnly swears to defend the Constitution of the United States proves that he or she has actually read the damn thing? Is that too fucking much to ask?

Well, of course it is. It would require a new amendment to the Constitution. No way two thirds of both houses and three fourths of state legislatures are gonna ratify any amendment that would require our elected officials to be able to read.

Bäckmanin uusin

Tämän päivän hesarijuttu Bäckmanista sai mut ajattelemaan että suurin osa suomalaisista ei tunne Bäckmanin tuotantoa, mikä on väärin, koska kansan pitäisi tuntea sankareitaan.

Viimeisin juttu joka levisi Venäjän lehdistossa oli juttu velkovenäläisestä naisesta jonka lapsen ilkeät suomalaiset sosiaaliviranomaiset vei. Tässä se on venäjäksi.

Lyhyt yhteenveto asianomaisen versiosta:

- Svetlana-äiti ja Tanja-tytär tulivat pakolaisina Valkovenäjältä (joten en edes tajua miten Venäjä liittyy asiaan) ja saivat kämpän Vaasasta. Tytär (nyt 8-vuotias) meni kouluun ja äiti töihin.
- Huhtikuussa tyttärellä alkoi esiintyä mielialavaihteluita ja paikalliset alan ammattilaiset suosittelivat että se kävisi Venäjällä venäläisellä psykologilla,
- Maahanmuuttovirasto ei päästänyt tyttöä ulos kun täälläkin on psykologeja, ja suositteli että lapsi jätettäisin sosiaaliviranomaisille kahdeksi viikoksi kun äiti käy Venäjällä,
- Pietarissa käydessään äiti menetti asunnon Vaasassa, ja joutui olemaan siellä puoli vuotta lisää kunnes sai säästettyä rahaa vuokrakämppään Helsingissä,
- Kun Svetlana palasi Helsinkiin osoittautui että lapsi otettiin huostaan sillä perusteella että äiti oli kadoksissa. Ja vieläpä Vaasassa eikä Helsingissä minne äiti muutti!
- Äiti nyt asuu Helsingissä kaksiossa jossa on sauna ja parveke, ja naapurissa venäjänkielisiä lapsia.
- Tytär sen sijaan asuu Vaasassa orpokodissa jossa samassa huoneessa on kaksi afrikkalasita tyttöä, eikä ole koulua,
- Äiti saa soittaa tyttärelle ja käydä kylässä, mutta vain tulkin läsnäolleessa, eikä saa puhua mistään surullisesta,
- Bäckmanin mielestä kyse on siitä että venäläisistä lapsista yritetään tehdä suomalaisia.

Onneksi tällä kerralla jutun kirjoittajat taisivat aliarvoida venäläisiä lukijoita: kommenttien yleisin sävy oli että sosiaaliviranomaiset olivat oikeassa kun kerran äiti katosi ulkomaille puoleksi vuodeksi.

Happy Independence Day, Finland!

Good thing we got out of Russia when we did. Russia sucks.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Nokia C3

Wow, Nokia has finally produced a phone that is exactly what I would buy if I were buying a new phone at full price with my own money. Too bad I don't need one right now.

What I've always wanted from a phone was GSM connectivity both in Europe and the US, WLAN, and a qwerty keyboard (either physical or touch-screen). C3 has it all. I would have liked 3G, too but I can live without it.

When somebody else is paying (my employer, for example), sure, I also like a nice browser and a high-quality touch screen (am getting one real soon now, too). GPS, too. Camera and music player? Not so much, I already have those and I can't see why I'd need them in the same device.

Are any of the cell phone cameras really any good? The fanciest one I have is 3 megapixels (Nokia E71) and it's considerably worse than my first 1M digital camera.

I've always wondered how come those stupid phone cameras are advertised everywhere, and WLAN has been a premium feature until now.