Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Store opening times: the value for your money

In its infinite wisdom, and after nine months of being pregnant, the ministry of trade and industry finally gave birth to a new suggestion for the store opening times.

I remember when stores were allowed to be open on weekdays till 20 and on Saturdays till 18. Then they decided to allow them to be open on weekdays until 21. Then they allowed them to be open on Sundays in December. Then also on summer. Then they allowed all the small (under 400 square meters) stores to be open on any Sunday.

I have always suspected that after that they will start making a separate law for each particular Sunday, just to show the people that the ministry and the parliament are doing a lot of work for our tax money. Well, not quite but almost.

The new idea that the ministry came up with is to allow stores to be open on Sundays also in September and October, but make them close at 20 rather than at 21 instead.

I wonder, are they all stupid, or do any of them own any of those stores in Kamppi and asematunneli that are allowed to be open till 22? Or do they think they have invented perpetual motion by moving the evening opening hours from 20 to 21 and back every few years.

For fuck's sake, free the opening times already and be done with it. I know that there are countries in Europe with dumber opening times laws than Finland, but are there any that have this continuous opening times struggle? What's the fucking point in having stores closed on Sundays from January to April? What's the fucking point in trying to move opening hours from 21 to 20?

Maybe we should restrict the opening hours of the ministry of trade and industry to the nights when there is full moon? It makes no sense, of course, but neither does anything else.

The weekend

The weekend was good: watched Brokeback Mountain and drank hot chocolate with rum with Tiina on Friday, watched Kingdom of Heaven and ate steak with Ville on Saturday and drank to Finnish hockey team's silver medal with Anu on Sunday.

Thought 1: If we replaced Karpela with Tiina, it would be a great improvement. At least Tiina knows a lot about culture and tends to think about what she is doing.

Thought 2: Would it be unfair to write unflattering things about my parents in my blog? I don't think anyone who knows them back home reads this, but it would be very easy for any of theis friends to find this.

Thought 3: My parents, and especially my father, are fairly hostile to any irrationality in other people, especially me. Since there is a fair number of irrational habits and desires in any human being, what this amounts to is an explicit or implied belief that being different from him is a sign of insanity. I know I have internalized quite a bit of this, and it would be nice to know if I do the same thing often to other people. Do I?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Can't ever please anyone, now can I?

(For those who don't know: Oska is my father; Y. is a crazy friend of my parents; I have described my last encouter with him here.)

Oska: Yeah, and we saw Y. at the party yesterday. He told us he is really afraid of you.
Me: Of me? Why?
Oska: You listened to what he had to say, and then told him to go fuck himself.
Me: So? Doesn't everybody?
Oska: No, all the normal people tell him to go fuck himself as soon as he opens his mouth.
Me: Wasn't it nicer to listen to him first?
Oska: Not really. At least with other people he has an illusion that they tell him to go fuck himself because they haven't listened or understood. You listened to him, made sure he knows you understood him, and then told him to go fuck himself.
Me: Ok. My bad.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Small absurd pieces of news from the last week

Osama Bin Laden says that he'd die before allowing himself to be captured. I am glad that for once he is offering a solution that would satisfy all parties.

Saddam is boycotting his trial. Inquiring minds want to know whether he is also planning to boycott the execution.

Bush is trying to put a UAE company in charge of port security. What is he, upset that he lost the world's dumbest president competition to Ahmadinejad and trying to catch up? What next? Tomorrow we are probably going to see a headline "Bush puts Cheney in charge of firearm safety".

Yeah, cheap shots, I know.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Irving and Holocaust

The revisionist historian David Irving has been convicted to three years in prison in Austria for Holocaust denial.

Not that I feel sorry for the fucker. I mean, he lived in UK and he was barred from Austria for Holocaust denial in 1989. He knew that they had a warrant for his arrest and he went to Austria pretty much to tease the authorities there. If he wanted free speech, he could've enjoyed it back in UK like he usually did.

But still: are the laws against Holocaust denial necessary anymore? There were always Holocaust deniers and there will be, but now that 60 years has passed, can't we put them in the ridicule bin together with people who got anal-probed by aliens and the rest of the tinfoil hat brigade?

Life: sleepy but in a good mood

Been sleepy lately but still mostly unable to sleep properly. Either I fall asleep at 3-4 in the morning, and wake up about 9, or I somehow manage to fall asleep around 1 but then wake up at 7. Usually 6 hours of sleep is quite OK for me as long as I get 8 or 9 hours, say, one night out of four, but that hasn't happened for a long, long time.

Two of my roleplaying campaigns are waking up, which is nice. We have a scary outside snow shoe day at work next week, which is suspicious to say the least (I don't like nature and snow and bunnies). The weather is tolerable but it's very slippery outside.

Triply-buggered Instrumentarium sent me the wrong contact lenses and I can't see a shit in them. They better exchange them soon.

I want some green tea ice cream, and for that I need powdered green tea. Gonna try the Japanese store, but if any of you know any other place that has it, do tell.

Went to a small but nice party on Saturday. The party featured, among other things, a place so close to the Computer Science department that it was scary, an ice cream cake that looked like a kinuski cake, and VPK's new girlfriend (very nice). Jaakko made fun of me for drinking out of a cup that turned out to be some kind of a milk or cream vessel.

Rewatching Buffy is going very well. Rereading Max Frisch's plays, OTOH, is going quite badly, not because I don't like them anymore but because I remember them pretty much by heart. I have just read them too many times in my life, and this is too bad. They are good plays, I recommend them. Especially Biedermann and the Firebugs (Biedermann und die Brandstifter) is a good thing to read right now.

One of those amazing little coincidences

I read the post where Ilkka makes well-deserved fun of conservative bioethics, and one of the conservative bioethicist arguments that he is making fun of is:

When people feel an immediate repugnance and strong emotional opposition against something such as nuclear power or genetic engineering, that repugnance itself proves that something to be objectively bad... except when this immediate repugnance is felt against, say, gay people or people of other races.

My immediate reaction to this was: hey, I feel an immediate repugnance and strong emotional opposition against Leon Kass, does this mean that Leon Kass is objectively bad?

Five minutes later I find that this argument actually has a name, Wisdom of repungance, and has an entry in the Wikipedia, and this entry says that this argument was in fact invented by Leon Kass.

Why a person as profoundly disgusting as Kass wants to make the argument that everything disgusting is bad, I do not know.

For those who do not know, Kass is the chairman of the US President's Council on Bioethics, and is pretty much the kind of guy that Catholic Church used to employ in the Middle Ages for its own scientific councils.

Monday, February 20, 2006

N-TV in need of clarity

Via Jihad watch:

www.n-tv.de has a picture of two women holding a sign saying "God bless Hitler". The caption under the picture says "Women demonstrate on Wednesday in Pakistan's capital Islamabad against the Mohammed cartoons. What exactly they want to say with the poster, remains unclear."

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Intelligent life on Jupiter - good thing that at least somewhere...

In a world where news headlines get more and more surreal every day, the headline Jupiter couple sue McDonald's, claiming fries made daughter ill did not feel like too much of a surrealism leap anymore. I was, however, a bit relieved to discover that Jupiter is apparently a town in Florida.

Q: What do you call 11 dead Libyan rioters?

A: A good start.

Sorry. Had to say it. There were about 1000 rioters, police shot and killed 11. About 90 more times, and the problem is solved. The actual number may vary, because the some new people wishing to enter paradise would join the riots, whereas the more sensible of the current ones would leave on their own. In any case, the evolution would win.

The reason? Italian Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli put on a t-shirt with the Muhammed cartoons.

Bugger all. If tomorrow some fuckers in Libya or Pakistan or any other similar stronghold of peace and tolerance tell me that they will start killing each other, for example, if I wear my green blouse because it's the color of Islam, all I can tell them is "go for it". Hell, if they promise to kill 11 of each other (as opposed to, say, some poor bugger who just happened to be there selling falafel) we can organize a whole demonstration of people in green shirts.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, along with a number of other politicians, asked Calderoli to resign, which he did in the end.

The whole thing is starting to get embarassing in addition to being surreal. Western "voices of moderation" keep saying "let's not provoke them" in a tone that strongly reminds me of lectures on proper handling of pit bulls. And it's not that I am in any way against Realpolitik - I just don't really trust any Realpolitik that comes from the kind of people who only two or three weeks ago were telling us with a straight face that Islam is a religion of peace. "Of course I am all for the freedom of speech but one definitely should not publish things like that, because we respect all the religions and so do all our citizens, and by the way we should not provoke them because they will burn our consulates and kill each other." Please.

Anybody who has ever fought with bullies on a school playground has developed at least some sense of when one should try to fight and when one should try to appease. Those who haven't became politicians.

There are moments when you just cannot give in. If you give in to the kind of people who riot over your cartoons and your t-shirts while being halfway across the globe, what do you think they are going to do? Are they going to say "wow, now the West respects us! Let's respect then too!" or are they going to say "now let's demand that the West gives the Muslim communities some self-determination and freedom to install Sharia laws"? Take a wild fucking guess.

From the events of the last ten years or so I came to the conclusion that any positive gestures from the West towards the Islamic world are absolutely worthless as far as the relations between the West and the Islamic world in general are concerned. Some of them should still be done for humanitarian reasons, but don't expect the Islamic world to be grateful. They never are. Sure, the actual recipients of Western help - like the victims of tsunami in Aceh and of the earthquakes in Pakistan - are grateful for the help, and should be helped, but just don't expect the general public opinion of us in the Muslim countries to rise much. When you help some Muslims, the rest of them disregard it (as they probably should, no reason in principle for people to get all excited just because you are helping someone of the same religion), but when you insult some Muslims (in this case a bunch of Danish mullahs) there are suddenly riots all over the Islamic world, and rioters scream "death to whatever-country" even if this particular country has nothing to do with this particular insult, and anything good this or any other country has done has been long forgotten. And when you apologize they say that an apology is not enough, because they want you to make laws that would make sure that this won't happen again.

When you give in to bullies and thugs rather than fight them, all you get is a worse fight later on. At this point, those thugs can still be fought verbally (or at least be left to themselves to fight physically among each other). Let's keep it this way.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Absurdity year, Texas: woman arrested for asking another woman to stop talking on the phone in the movies

An Australian tourist has been charged with assault after telling a Texas woman to stop talking on her mobile phone at the movies. (Via Lovelacen testi)

Luckily even the police realize the absurdity of the situation.

Makes one think though: if you are going to be arrested for touching a person's shoulder and telling them to stop talking anyway, maybe you can just as well go all the way and show the offender what the words "cell phone penetration" really mean. No, I don't really recommend doing so, but hey, a girl can dream...

A speech by Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the cartoon affair


Via Ellilä and Kolikon kääntöpuoli.

Kolikon kääntöpuoli also published the cartoons in his blog. I won't, because I am afraid to (in this particluar case more of the authorities than of Muslims, although I think the risk is pretty small either way). But damn if I will ever pretend to be respectful and sensitive when I am just scared.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The year of the absurd, continuing

Western media already got tired of cartoon issue for the most part, but Pakistanis are still protesting. Three people got killed, and the protesters in Lahore burned down the provincial government assembly building due to severe shortage of Danish embassies. They also burned down Pizza Hut (although after the last time I ate there I somewhat share the feeling, if not the methods), Kentucky Fried Chicken and a South Korean bus terminal. Why the South Korean bus terminal? Beats me. Probably just burned it down as a symbol of Western imperialism. Anyway, it's the thought that counts.

Yesterday, on the 17th anniversary of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, Iran declared that the fatwa still stands and will stand forever. I guess people like to talk about eternal things on Valentine's day.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has visited OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. Ihsanoglu asked for international legal measures against blasphemy.

“Unfortunately, people in the Muslim world feel that this is a new 9/11 against themselves. In Europe unfortunately Muslims have taken the place of Jews during World War II. There is a need for a UN legislation and clarification of existing conventions,” he said.

Damn! Jews were perfectly OK in Europe during World War II! Didn't the guy get a memo from Ahmadinejad? The Muslim world will never get anywhere if they all keep pulling in different directions: one guy saying that Hitler did not do anything at all, another guy saying that Hitler was perfectly right in organizing the Holocaust, and the third guy complaining about Jews and Europeans treating Muslims like Hitler treated Jews.

Cartoons a 9/11 against Muslims? Possibly, but since Jyllands-Posten spectacularly failed to set fire to any buildings, now they have to do it themselves. They are not doing a bad job of it, either, but they will have to riot quite a bit in order to kill 3000 of each other. Well, I have faith in them, eventually they might get there. Sorry, sometimes I am mean and callous. I just hope that the violent demonstrators really shoot each other and not the innocent bystanders.

A sociobiological question (I guess)

What, if any, is the sociobiological reason for people who have more common preferences in sex partners to try to ensure that other members of the same sex follow the same preferences? Aren't they just creating more competition for themselves that way? Or is the whole thing just cultural?

Those of you whose preferences follow the usual trends have probably never noticed this phenomenon, but I found it very common both in Russia and in the US (it usually happens to young girls a lot more than to adult women, so I don't have sufficient experience with it in Finland, but I have seen it here too). A girl expresses a preference that is somehow sociobiologically unusual (say, prefers short men to tall ones) and immediately a chorus of older female relatives and peers tell her why she shouldn't. I've seen this applied to boys by their male relatives and peers, too, but don't know enough about it to discuss.

In my experience the kind of pressure is quite common, quite strong and totally futile. It is usually expressed a lot more strongly than other kinds of disapproval on one's taste (with one exception that will be mentioned below). For example, in the US (and probably elsewhere) white women relatively rarely have sex with Asian men, at least partially for sociobiological reasons (Asian men are shorter, etc.) I happen to like East Asian men well enough, and ran into an amazing number of white women who highly disapprove of the fact. For a comparison: I have also had sex with black men, and met women who disapproved of that, but they say things that imply that black men are trouble. The women who disapprove of my interest tend to say that either a) I am perverted or b) Asian men have small dicks and are bad in bed, although of course these women have no personal experience of their dicks or sexual skills. I've heard the same kind of "perversion" talks directed at me for my acceptance of short men (I prefer them average-sized but neither short nor tall bothers me much); I even got a few "you can't possibly want anyone that short" talks concerning a man who was in fact 178 or 179cm tall. Dating a younger man also elicits that kind of response in a lot of people. Ditto for dating a man who would not make the first move.

The only other exception, where strong attempts to correct one's taste is not necessarily directed from people with the "majority taste" towards the people with "minority taste", is when there is a choice between a "more masculine" and "less masculine" option, with the "more masculine" side expressing their preference in a much more "we are normal, you are the perverts" way. This hold even when the "more masculine" side is not in the majority, and it is most evident in the conversations about preferences for men with or without body hair, especially on web forums - in live conversation among adults politeness usually softens this phenomenon. It is quite common for women who prefer hairy men to say "I want a real man, and not a boy/homosexual/metrosexual". It is, OTOH, quite rare for women who prefer a hairless man to say "I want a real man, and not a gorilla", etc.

ObDisclaimer: I am not saying that most women who prefer tall/masculine/non-Asian/hairy men do this. I am just saying that enough people do this to make the phenomenon noticeable to the people whom it targets.

Anyway, the above was just a description, and the question is: what's in it for them, if anything, sociobiologically speaking? Does a woman who prefers tall men gain anything in the evolutionary sense by persuading a woman who does not care to pursue tall men as well?

Eat your heart out, Ahmadinejad

Via Little Green Footballs.

An Israeli group has announced an antisemitic cartoon contest. Submissions from all over the world are welcome, the deadline is 5.3, and they think they will get better cartoons than that Iranian paper.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

There should be a dictionary...

...that would answer the questions like "is there any language where...".

And since I don't have such a dictionary and have to ask my readers instead: every language that I know has the same word for child (in the sense of a person under a certain age) and child (in the sense of one's son or daughter). Are there any languages where these are two different words?

For that matter, are there languages that do not have a word for child (in the sense of one's son or daughter) at all, and only have words "son and "daughter"? (There are languages, for example Russian, that do not have a word for "sibling", only the words "brother" and "sister".) Are there languages that don't have a word for "parent" but only "father" and "mother"? Or the opposite: languages that have words "parent" and/or "child", but no separate words for "father", "mother", "son" and "daughter"? I think the latter is quite unlikely but you never know.

Why does the word "with" also mean "against" in so many languages? As in "fighting with X" meaning "fighting against X" and not "fighting against somebody else with X being on your side". I remember it being a sort of difficult concept when I was a kid.

"With" always meant "against" in English. The "together with", "alongside" and "by means of" meanings came later. I wonder why, and what happened to the preposition "mid" that used to carry all those meanings before that?

There should be some reverse etymological dictionary that would not show where the current words in a language come from, but where the extinct words have disappeared to.

Tinfoil turbans for everyone!

A Syrian newspaper hints that bird flu was invented by Israel in order to harm Arab genes.

The Most Unstable One once again reiterated that the cartoons were a plot of Zionists who hold Europe and the US hostage. You guys are all my hostages, do you hear? We can negotiate the price of your release in beer.

And now I am thinking again: if we manage to convince them that tinfoil turbans protect one from harmful Jew-rays, how many could we sell?

Munich (spolers)

Saw Munich on Sunday. It was not a bad movie, just too long at times and awfully pretentious in the Beach kind of way. Sort of "look at me, I have profound thoughts!" kind of a movie.

The most obvious profound thought is that the profession of an assassin, not matter how good the cause is, is somewhat unhealthy for its practicioners, making them susceptible to paranoia and guilt, not to mention the attacks of other assassins and loss of medical and dental insurance. This is undoubtedly true, and I will remember it if I ever consider a career change.

For the most part the movie describes Israel's revenge on Black September, the terrorist group that organized the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympic games in Munich. The events (Israel sending a group of secret assassins to kill the terrorists) were real, but, secret assassins being, well, secret, the details and most of the characters are fictional.

The plot leaves a number of questions: if the idea was to show the terrorists "don't fuck with the Jews", why is the whole thing so secret? If they are supposed to avoid civilian casualties at all costs, why are they using bombs, and why couldn't they have found a bombmaker who is less of a shlemazl?

Every once in a while you also see an idea that you can't get rid of a terrorist organization by killing them all, because the new and more evil members just rise in the ranks. This is a very strange point to make in this particular case, because they did get in fact get rid of Black September, partially through killing them and partially because BS ran out of funding. The Germans also got rid of Baader-Meinhof, by, ahem, encouraging the top brass of the group to shoot themselves in the back of the heads in their maximum-security prison. Violence does in fact work and achieve goals, otherwise there wouldn't be so many people still doing it. The unfortunate downside is that it might work for the other party too. That's why there is such a fierce competition on who has bigger and better means of violence.

Other things that rubbed me the wrong way are just Jewish things. Spielberg seems to represent what I think is the typical American left-wing Jewish viewpoint, and I don't. The movie is full of some romantic view of Israel as a tribal homeland, and simultaneously says a bit of "tsk-tsk" to what Israel does. I, on the other hand, support most anti-terrorist actions of Israel (and other Western countries, for that matter) and I think it's nice that there is such thing as a Jewish country, but I don't have any particularly strong feelings about it as a tribal homeland. Not that I am against anyone cosidering anything their homeland or whatever, but every reference to Jews living outside of Israel as homeless or unhappy made me feel like raising my middle finger at the makers of the movie.

A really fun moment in the movie: young Ehud Barak in drag.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A very modest proposal

Immigration is a complicated topic, and probably deserves several different posts. I am not against immigration, or taking refugees. Some of my best - well, self - have been a refugee, and quite a lot of my family and friends.

In any case: taking refugees is by its nature an act of charity. Also, it's an act of charity that many people need but only few of them get, because, let's face it, the number of refugees that the uncivilized world produces is a lot bigger than the number of refugees that the civilized world can accept.

And now to the point: while millions of people are persecuted in the third world for no good reason, some people are in fact persecuted for very good reasons. Considering that we don't have enough space for the innocent people who are being persecuted, could we maybe leave the guilty ones out? Please?

Helping people out is nice. The fact that a certain percentage of these people turn out to cause trouble is unfortunate, and needs to be discussed and corrected to the extent to which it is possible. Taking in people who are obviously trouble to begin with is stupid and self-destructive, and should not be done. Not even if they are otherwise highly likely to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia or some other bastion of tolerance.

In short: if a person is being persecuted in Egypt, Yemen, Syria or Saudi Arabia for being a radical Islamist, chances are that he or she really is a fucking radical Islamist. These people will never fit in in any civilized country, and will just keep causing trouble. There is no reason to take them in, and a lot of reasons not to. And if the West's refusal to take them in will result in their public beheading in Saudi Arabia, good riddance.

(This post was inspired by Ahmad Abu Laban, who was declared unwanted in UAE and Egypt, moved to Denmark in 1984 and whose undying gratitude Denmark is enjoying right now, and Omar Bakri Muhammad, who got his ass kicked out of Syria and Saudi Arabia and later spent 20 years preaching hate in London on taxpayer money.)

Friday, February 10, 2006

And now from the world events to a more pleasant topic

I have always wondered why a lot of men spend such a long time in the toilet when they go to take a shit. Most men and all the women whose toilet habits I have observed just go there, do it and are out in a minute, but a significant minority of men go there for half an hour. Some of them also emit terrifying sounds while there.

What I want to know is: what exactly are they doing there, and why are they all men? Or are any of them on fact women - I haven't seen any, but I can't be everywhere?

They sometimes sound like they are trying to squeeze it out. How and why? The way it works for me is that either I feel a need to shit, in which case it comes out pretty fast by itself, or I don't, in which case I don't see any point in trying, and indeed wouldn't even know how to go about trying if I wanted to. Does it work differently for some people? And why are they all men?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The year of the absurd goes on

In a rare moment of sanity (rare for the world at the moment, not necessarily for the court in question) a British court sentenced Abu Hamza Al-Masri for incitement to murder and other lovely things. Now everyone is asking why they haven't done it a while ago, especially since police has asked the prosecutors twice to bring charges. After he does his time, he might be extradited to the US to stand trial for conspiracy in Yemeni kidnappings. If convicted and put in Colorado Supermax prison, he will surely be glad to find parts of his former congregation there.

Taliban have offered a reward of 100 kilograms of gold to anyone who kills the Danish cartoonists. Yeah, right. Like they have the gold. OTOH, they claim to have enlisted 100 suicide bombers for the mission, so I suppose they figure that they won't have to pay up afterwards.

Iran is a lot more realistic with money: they offer an about 117 euro award to the 12 best Holocaust cartoonists. No way I am signing up for so little money. Too bad. I could probably think up some very offensive cartoons on the topic of "the Holocaust story: read before pissing Europeans off". Probably would make me a hunted woman in all the civilized and uncivilized world.

Putin has invited Hamas leaders to Russia. Inquiring minds want to know how exactly this fits in with his earlier promise to kill terrorists in a shithouse. Cynical minds have a pretty good idea already.

Every time I feel bad about my work or customer, I think about that poor bugger out there who is the Hamas image consultant. How is that for a nightmare job? OTOH, he got 100000 pounds for the job, does not have to fix broken XMLs or run benchmarks at some ungodly hour, and all he said to Hamas is that they should talk less about killing people and change the beard color if it is red, because people are laughing (this is addressed to Mohammed Abu Tir's beard). Anu could probably have told them the same for half the money. I would have probably missed the beard point, of account of more urgent PR problems, such as being on everyone's list of terrorist groups (Hamas being on the list, obviously, and not me).

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A poll on Muslim attitudes in UK

Here are details on the latest Populus poll on the Muslim attitudes in UK. (Via Times Online and Jihad Watch. The poll interviwed 500 British Muslims between December 9 and December 19, 2005.

Some highlights:

17% agree with Omar Bakri Mohammed and 13% with Abu Hamza Al-Masri. Among the 18-24-year-olds, the numbers are accordingly 28% and 27%. (This should not be interpreted as that more than half of young Muslims agree with these losers. More likely these are the same 27-28%. Still, 28% is a lot.) Strangely enough, women like Omar Bakri Mohammed a lot more than men: 21% vs. 12%.

37% think that the Jewish community in Britain is a legitimate target as part of the ongoing struggle for justice in the Middle East. Ugh.

52% think that Israel has a right to exist, 30% don't.

7%, and 12% of 18-24-year-olds, believe that suicide bombings in UK could be justified.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Breaking news! Evil Jews invented the time machine! Tremble before us, you infidels!

The West's publication of the Prophet Mohammed cartoons was an Israeli conspiracy motivated by anger over Hamas' win in the Palestinian elections, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said today.

OK, I give up: you really can't parody them. Or rather you can, but the next day they pull a better one on you and then you are fresh out of parody.

The Israeli sure are mighty: they saw on January 25 that Hamas has won in Palestinian elections, fired up their time machine, went back to September 30 and printed the cartoons in the world-renowned Zionist newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

They should've brought me tomorrow's lottery numbers while they were at it. Bugger.

My friend mjr in irc: "katso, sedällä on folioturbaani".

News of the insane

Our old friend Omar Bakri Mohammed called for the cartoonists to be executed. Apparently he has learned something from having his ass kicked out of UK, because he underlined that individual Muslims should not kill the cartoonists - they should be put on real trial according to Sharia law and then killed, and that a country that would refuse to do so would face the consequences. In short, he demanded that Denmark instutute Sharia law. Don't hold your breath, dude. On the second thought, do hold your breath - if you hold it long enough there will be one moron less in the world.

Chechnya banned Danish aid organizations. I am sure all of Denmark is crying.

In Tehran a crowd of people stoned firebombed the Austrian embassy. Why Austrian? Beats me. I guess it's the thought that counts. Afterwards they attacked the Danish embassy too.

Iran's president has cut trade ties with Denmark, and is threatening to cut ties with any country that republished the cartoons. Hey, man, don't forget all the countries whose citizens have republished the cartoons or spoke in defense of cartoonists on the net! Cutting trade ties with everyone is so much more fun than having a trade embargo imposed on you.

Iran's biggest-selling newspaper is holding a Holocaust cartoon contest. When I heard about that I was deeply offended and immediately ran to set fire to Iran's embassy, but then figured that it was too damn cold, and the subway was not running anymore, and decided to stay home and watch Buffy instead. Besides, I don't own any matches or a lighter or any other firemaking device, and wouldn't know where to get one in the middle of the night.

Still, inquiring minds want to know: will the title of the competition be "Holocaust: too good to be true", and will Jewish cartoonists be allowed to participate? I think the poetic justice would be served if Jewish cartoonists won the competition, bought booze with all the reward money, and shared that booze with Danish cartoonists. After that all the Iranian embassies would probably set fire to themselves out of sheer frustration.

The weekend: a party

Had a party on Saturday. Thanks to everyone who came! The party was good and the food was good too, even if i say so myself.

After the party an empty backpack has materialized in my place. If anyone knows whose it is, tell me.

It's freezing outside. Brrr. I want summer!

Monday, February 06, 2006

The voices of reason

Here is a webpage that a group of Muslim young people has set up.

Two newspapers in Jordan, Al-Shihan and Al-Mehwar, have published some of the cartoons and called for people to be reasonable. Their respective editors-in-chief, Jihad Momani and Hisham Khaledi, have been arrested and charged with insulting religion.

Lebanon has apologized to Denmark for the burnt embassy.

The descendants of Al-Muhajiroun

There was a demonstration on London on Friday. Several hundred people, lots of slogans. The texts of slogans that I've seen on the pictures were "Freedom go to HELL", "Annihilate those who insult Islam!!!", "Exterminate those who slander Islam", "Slay those who insult Islam", "Behead those who insult Islam", "Butcher those who insult Islam", "Butcher those who mock Islam", "Massacre those who insult Islam", "Kill those who insult Islam" (a bit repetitive, I know), "Europe is the cancer, Islam is the answer", "Europe, you will pay, demolition is on its way", "Europe, you will pay, your extermination is on its way", "Europe, you will pay, 9/11 is on its way", "Be prepared for the real holocaust", "As Muslims we unite, we are prepared to fight", "You dug your grave, lie in it!", "Europe you will pay Bin Laden is way" (no, don't ask me. Maybe they meant gay?), and "Europe, take some lessons from 9/11".

The latter is not such a bad advice, really. Europe probably should take some lessons from 9/11 as to how not to organize airport security and military response. Also, as to whom not to let into the country.

I am sure that in worse parts of rural Pakistan such demonstrations are quite de rigeur. Problem is, this was London. And inciting people to commit murder is rarely covered under freedom of speech. I guess some people just can't grasp the concept.

There are some other things they cannot grasp. The people who organized this were Al-Ghurabaa, a British Muslim organization so fanatical that they denounce Hamas as atheist infidels. They are a reincarnation of Al-Muhajiroun, who declared a war on UK, and are trying to declare a war on Europe, too.

Hmm, what was it that von Clausewitz said about declaring war on an enemy of vastly superior numbers while actually being in the enemy camp? "Bad idea", to put it shortly. But I am afraid that they are getting all their advice on tactics and strategy from their Holy Book too, with the obvious results.

Muhammed did have some advice on strategy. Some of it was fairly sound, too, like "when you are trying to conquer the whole world all your truces have to be temporary". What he failed to mention is that any strategy based on the assumption that your adversary is a lot nicer than you are has to be temporary too, and might come to an end in unexpected ways. If their former leader Omar Bakri were with them, he could have told them that in a voice of bitter experience, but he isn't, and he hasn't.

The slogan about the cancer and the answer was familiar. I saw it in summer 1998 in London, in the hands of the same guys, except that then it was "Western culture is the cancer, Islam is the answer" or something like that. ("Islam - the future for Britain" was another popular one.) It was both on the slogans and on the flyers that bearded men were giving out to passerbys along Edgware Road. Don't know what offended them about the Western culture back then. Crusades, probably. Or something, who cares. I wondered briefly why so many of them wish to move to such a cancerous place, but the self-preservation instinct prevented me from asking them.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

"Do you respect me? Do you fucking respect me?"

Russians have this stereotype of drunk losers asking each other "do you respect me?" and starting to fight if the other party does not show satisfactory respect. I don't know how true or untrue this stereotype is, I usually drink in better company than that, but it's strange to see it on a global scale from people most of whom are probably sober.

You can't demand respect. Or rather, you can demand it, but you can't get it by demanding. The best you can get is some pretense of respect, the worst is somebody's boot in your ass. Neither is a sign of any genuine respect. People might give you some slack, but this just means that they don't think you can be responsible for your actions like real people.

You say that we don't respect you, and you are right - we don't. I am not, of course, speaking for anybody but myself, but it is my empirical observation that pretty much nobody really respects you. They might respect some Muslims, but they don't respect YOU, you there who are rioting and demanding respect. Face it - nobody respects you, because you are not respectable.

Don't take the appeasement of the fearful, the sermons of the politically correct, the silence of the polite, the benefit of doubt that the very kind and the very ignorant among us still give you or the staggering condescension of those who say "why don't we apologize to them, who cares?" for respect. It isn't. It's contempt.

You have never achieved anything worthwhile, and you never will. You sit in front of your American computers, spread you call to jihad using Indian or Finnish or German software, and, if you can afford it, drive to your riot in a German or Korean car. And don't point fingers to Avicenna or Averroes - their achievements are not in any way yours, because you are precisely the kind of people who would be burning Averroes's books if you were there. Our respect for them does not include you. Our respect for the articulate and intelligent Muslim bloggers does not include you either - we are not forgetting even for a second that you are the reason why most of them have to blog either anonymously of from abroad.

Try to get it: if you need to demand respect with foam coming out of your mouth and while threatening to kill those who do not respect you and performing acts that would earn you an unvoluntary stay in a mental hospital in most civilized countries, you fighting for a lost cause. Might as well go home.

Friday, February 03, 2006

More of the same

A good article by Jussi Halla-aho.

From the chronicles of the insane

The cartoon madness continues. Al-Ghurabaa, a British Muslim extremist organisation, has an article on its web page inciting to kill those who insult Muhammed, "since the Prophet said 'Whoever insults a Prophet kill him'". Palestinian gunmen searched hotels for Danes, Norwegians and French, and kidnapped a German when they didn't find any of those, just in case. They released him later. In Indonesia 300 thugs went on a rampage in the lobby of the Danish building. Churches were bombed in Iraq. Al-Aqsa Martyrs' brigades demanded that Europeans leave Gaza, and so did Islmaic Jihad. Hamas, however, behaved itself pretty well, having encountered objective reality in the form of money, or rather severe lack thereof.

(Palestinian political life is rather amusing at the moment: "Get out of Gaza, evil infidels! You insulted our prophet! And give us money while you are at it! What, you want us to say that we have to renounce our holy goal of the destruction of Israel first? Gaah, blackmail! We won't let you blackmail us into giving up on our holy goals! But maybe you will still give us some money? Just a little?")

Some people try to explain this behavior by saying that people who grew up in countries where the government controls the media cannot comprehend that in some countries government cannot control the media. Funny, I don't remember this concept causing any difficulty to myself.

I wonder: if a group of Christians or Jews here in Finland assaulted a cultural center or an embassy of some country where something insulting to their religion or other sensibilities was printed, would the participants wind up in prison or in a psychiatric institution?

Various newspapers in various European countries have printed the cartoons now. France Soir printed them in France, and the editor got fired. The cartoons were printed also in Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium Hungary, Iceland, Switzerland, you name it. Even the Jordanian weekly Al-Shihan printed three of the cartoons and pointed out that a suicide bombing at a wedding in Amman probably hurts Islam's image more than these cartoons. Now here is a guy who has balls. Or death wish. He has been suspended pending an investigation.

Muslims all over the world are boycotting Danish ham and Carlsberg beer. So far I have not seen any demands for boycotts of European money, but I am sure these are coming Real Soon Now.

Note to self: you you ever start drawing and want to become really famous, draw Muhammed. But hire good bodyguards first.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

In other news

The collective hysteria of the Perpetually Offended has been the biggest news for most of this week (as measured by its position on the Google News page), but I think the real big news was Bush's State of the Union Address, where he expressed desire to reduce the country's dependence on oil by promoting alternative energy sources. Of course he is a politician, and we don't know whether he really means it, but I think it's a very good sign that he even talked about it, because, well, oil will eventually run out and something needs to be done about it.

We are not likely to replace oil comletely in the near future, but hey, one can dream. Besides, it would be amusing to see some of the countries that currently have an oil-based economy falling back on their more traditional economy sectors of subsistence agriculture and armed robbery.

So far I haven't seen any strong reaction from the environmentalists to Bush's speech, but then I wasn't particularly looking for it.

Iran is about to be dragged to the UN Security Council, and is threatening that this will mean the end of diplomacy and that anyone who will try to prevent it from obtaining its entirely peaceful nuclear energy will get his ass kicked. Meanwhile, IAEA has found that Iran holds a document on building nuclear weapons.

I wonder why the environmental aspect of the whole thing is almost never discussed. I mean, Iran's only nuclear reactor is in Bushehr, and was built with help from Russians. A nuclear power plant in one of the most seismically unstable places in Iran, built by the same folks who brought you Chernobyl - wow, isn't that a winning combination? One good earthquake and Iran's peaceful nuclear energy will enter every home around the Persian Gulf.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Support Denmark. And France, and Germany too.

(Links via the Pensieve)

While I was only dreaming of supporting Denmark with cheese, France Soir and Die Welt provided much more direct support by reprinting some or all of the cartoons. I guess all Muslims have already seen them in Jyllands-Posten, the most popular newspaper in the Islamic world, but the Western world still needs to see them.

I hope Helsingin Sanomat will follow suit, and at least one paper from each Western country as well. It would be good for people to see what exactly all the fuss was about.

All the talk about how irresponsible that was and how freedom of speech should not extend to printing stuff that would hurt people's feelings makes me think that the freedom of speech is not in such a good shape in the West, either. Really, people, I understand that there are limits, like screaming "fire" in a crowded theater or divulging state secrets to the enemy, but offence? Get this: the concept of the freedom of speech was not invented to protect people's right to say "the weather is lovely today", but precisely to protect the kind of speech other people find offensive.

I guess the Danish cheese will have to be washed down with French sparkling wine. Might have a German salmon pie while I am at it.

"Tremble before us, enemies! If we do that to our own soldiers, imagine what we'll do to you!"

Russian soldiers have tortured a man to the point when his legs and genitals had to be amputated.

No, they did not catch Shamil Basayev and torture the details of his latest terrorist act out of him. They did it to one of their own conscripts, as a part of traditional hazing. Here is an article in English.

"Andrei Sychev spent 2 days in hospital. He was not operated because doctors were on vacation till January 10." Wow. This sounds so, well, Russian. Or ex-USSR, whatever.

He was serving in the batallion of educational process maintenance in Chelyabinsk Tank Institute. I really, really don't wanna know how these guys maintain the educational process.

"Eek! They are saying we are violent! Let's kick their ass!"

Helsingin Sanomat asked the opinion of Finland's Muslims on the Danish cartoons. The two Finland's Muslims mentioned in the article are the imam of the Islamic Society of Finland Khodr Chehab and the vice-chairman of the same society Abdi-Hakim Yasin Ararse.

As an aside: I remember the times when pretty much every article about Islam in Finland mentioned Finland's Tatars. Now they usually don't. Is that because their community is so small nowadays in comparison with immigrant Muslim communities, or because they don't usually say anything stupid and therefore newsworthy?

Anyways, Khodr Chehab, who said that the angry reactions against Denmark were justified, also said that the cartoons were purposefully offensive and trying to claim that Islam is a violent religion. No shit, Sherlock? And to think that without those cartoons nobody would have ever imagined that Islam might possibly be a violent religion...

Hey, I used to punch people in the nose for saying I was not a real lady. I was seven or eight then. I grew up.

One thing I am wondering about: when Jyllands-Posten prints 12 cartoons, 4 or 5 of which hint that Islam is a violent religion, there is a massive outcry among the world's Muslims, demands that Danish government do something, etc. When Abu Hamza says lovely things like "there is no drop of liquid as loved by Allah more than the liquid of blood" and "fight and kill the infidels wherever you find them. Wherever you find them, the unbeliever is killed, take them and seize them. Any person who hinders Allah, this man must be eliminated because he is a menace. He should be killed," we do not see a worldwide Muslim outcry demanding that the UK government do something about the guy who claims that Islam is violent. Why is that?

The Religion of the Perpetually Insulted also seem to reserve its rage only for the cartoons that insult themselves, of course. Their own newspapers print cartoons too, without much outrage from their populations (or from any other populations, for that matter). The antisemitism watchdog organizations note and archive these but usually do not organize any protests, let alone beat up employees of dairy companies.

Oh well... for a while now I wondered how to support Denmark for standing up for free speech with supporting Danish industry for being such weenies. Bugger that. Gonna buy some Castello cheese tonight (made by Danish Tholstrup Cheese, and the white and black varieties are very good).