Thursday, September 27, 2007

Swastika here, swastika there, swastikas everywhere!

I generally appreciate Anti-Defamation League's good work in documenting anti-semitic incidents.

That said, who the fuck has introduced those morons to Google Earth? Now instead of documenting actual incidents of anti-semitic vandalism and harassment they spend all their workdays playing with Google Earth and looking for swastikas.

The latest swastika discovered was the shape of Navy barracks near San Diego.

This might come as a shock to the ADL, but people have been using the swastika symbol for a long, long time before Hitler, and some are using it still. I seriously hope the ADL is not planning any group trips to Japan. All those tourist maps with Buddhist temples marked by swastikas would make them piss boiling water and have heart attacks.

Hmm, that's an idea: if the antisemites of the world want to reduce the ADL numbers, they should buy them all trips to Japan, with a tour of many temples. The more impressionable ones would croak for sure. (Antisemites of the world: if you decide to do that, tell me in advance so I can join ADL and tag along. I am not promising to get a heart attack upon seeing a swastika, but hey, you never know.)

Seriously, though: swastikas are very objectionable when vandals paint them on synagogues and cemeteries, but when you see them in the shapes of the buildings on Google Earth, it's usually because the good view from the air is not exactly the first or even the fifteenth priority of the architects. Try to live with it, as opposed to, say, having the Navy spend $600000 of taxpayer money to make up for the fact that the people who built the place in 1967 failed to predict the popularity of Google Earth.

Navy: please try to grow some balls and don't cave in to ADL, but if you definitely feel like you need to show that no offense was meant, can't you just buy a bucket of paint in a hardware store and send a sailor on the roof to write on it in big friendly letters "no offense meant"? Sheesh...

The modern antisemites tend to use a crescent moon symbol more often than a swastika symbol. Good thing that the ADL hasn't quite caught on to that trend - I'd hate to think what we'd have to cover if they had.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The USA and dual citizenship

The USA allows dual citizenship, but disapproves of dual citizens assuming policy-level positions in foreign governments. ("Disapproves" here means that the person may, but not necessarily will, lose the US citizenship.)

I understand apprehension about dual citizens serving as government ministers and suchlike, but shouldn't we be concerned about them serving in our government, rather than in a foreign one? I'd be worried about having, for example, a Secretary of Defense who is a dual US-Saudi citizen, but why should I worry about Saudis having a Secretary of Defense who is a dual US-Saudi citizen? That's their problem.

For the record: I have nothing against dual citizens and am planning to become a dual citizen someday. I also don't think that dual citizens should be automatically prevented from holding high government positions. The voters, however, should have the right to know about politicans' dual citizenship, and to question their loyalties.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Residence permits with B-status

If you google for "B-lupa", you'll find tons of articles about how the B-status residence permits are evil, how they all started with the bad, bad Immigration law of 2004, and how the people who get them don't have any possibility of having a normal life in Finland, and how the whole thing is an affront to human dignity: one cannot work, cannot study, cannot get money from Sossu, etc.

Funny. I've had a B-status residence permit in 1994, and for a number of years after that. They have existed long before the law of 2004. I think I've had them for 8 years or so. I would have liked A-status much better, of course, but all in all my human dignity survived without much damage. I've also studied during that time, and worked full-time, legally.

B-permit just means that the stay in Finland is temporary. They are given to temporary workers, sometimes to permanent workers for a while, to students, to asylum seekers who don't get asylum but cannot be returned, etc.

In my time B-permits were often given to the foreign workers with permanent jobs for the first two years, after which they could switch to an A-permit. The new law was supposed to fix this (and give A-permits to everyone who has a permanent job in Finland), but I don't know whether or not it did.

What you can do with a B-permit depends on the reason for the permit, on the time when you got the first one, and on the city where you live. The people who got a work-related B-permit obviously can work. The permit is usually limited to a particular field, and before 2001 was limited to a particular employer, which was quite a drag. The study-related B-permit gives one the right to hold part-time jobs, and if one wants to have a full-time job one has to apply for a separate work permit.

The extent of social safety net one gets with a B-permit depends on the time and the city. I was told by the Kela people that the only social security I could get were the health services and the apartment subsidy (never understood why the apartment subsidy), but I've heard of people getting the same services as citizen and permanent residence, and of people who were denied even the health services.

The "not-really-refugees-but-can't-deport-them" B-permit does not include a right to work for the first year. I've heard several times that these people can apply for a separate work permit. I don't know how often they get it.

They don't have an official city of residence, so I suppose studying in secondary schools can be a problem. Studying in universities AFAIK does not require any permit except being admitted there, or any city of residence.

In a way, I agree with the people who protest against giving B-permits to the asylum seekers: there is not much sense in having temporary refugees, so one can as well either give those people a permanent permit or find some way to kick them out. There are enough people living on taxpayers' money who don't want to work - why should we also have to support people who are not allowed to work?

Nevertheless I find it disturbing that the anti-B-permit crowd seems to be completely unaware of what the law says, of the existence of all the other (not asylum-related) B-permits, of the existence of B-permits under the previous law, etc.

Friday, September 21, 2007

People should know their politicians

Just for fun decided to google the founders of the new islamic party. One of them, Sauli Ingman, has posted quite a lot on Usenet.

Here is what I found: this and this.

The text on the first one:


What is the address of the homepage of Dagestani rebelling muslims
(shura)?? I want to support them by all means, because I am a muslim.

Please inform me. How to help them to gain indepedence from indefidel Russia?

CAN I JOIN THEM IN THE WAR against indifidel
orthodox-communist-capitalist Russia?

Who does pay costs of my campaign?

ME or local muslims or an islamic organization?

How to send a money to rebelling moslems in Dagestan and Chechnya?

Where can I get a proper military equipment and an islamic training?

With Regards

Sauli Ingman
Email direct to me.

And the second one, quite similar:


Hello Dear Moslem,

I am Finnish muslim Sauli Ingman. I prayed even today five prayers to Allah!

I want to help Chechnya and Dagestani rebelling Shura. What are their homepages?

How to help them? How to join a war against Russia in Chechnya? Where to get a proper military equipment and who pays cost of my campaign?

How to send a money to Chechnya?

Why islamic countries do not help officially Chechnya, which is now in a desperate situation? Something militarily has to happen and soon!

Let´s drive Russians out of Chechnya and Dagestan!!!!!!!

How many islamic voluntaries are fighting in Caucasia???

Please inform me about homepages and helping facilities and possibilities to drive indifidels out of Caucasia.

Yours sincerely

Sauli Ingman
The Finnish muslim (indeed!!)

Having failed to find a sponsor for his inner-struggle trips to Dagestan and Chechnya he was reduced to running in the Helsinki municipal elections from Vasemmistoliitto instead.

Now, maybe there is an innocent explanation for all of this. A lot of people post stuff they are not proud of when drunk, or maybe the guy just left a session open on one of the university's computers in a public place, or maybe some evildoers forged the message. But I think it might be at least worth asking about.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Iran runs out of people to put in prison, starts jailing dogs

Iran's police has created a "dog prison" and started arresting dogs for "walking in public".

And no, owning a dog is not really even illegal there.

In other, totally unrelated news, Malaysia is cracking down on Muslims who eat, drink or smoke during the daytime during Ramadan. By some amazing coincidence, this is only happening in the state of Kelantan, the only state governed by a fundamentalist Islamic party.

In the news of the really weird, it is alleged that in the UK a dentist named Omer Butt made a woman wear Islamic headscarf as the price of accepting her as an NHS patient.. If the charges turn out to be true I suggest that Mr. Butt be renamed into Mr. Ass. Ok, ok, cheap shot, I know.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The moron of the week

Yesterday I saw a guy with a bicycle in the subway station in Sörnäinen. He had the bike with him on the escalator, going down. Once he almost lost control of the bike, but caught it before it could fall.

In Rautatientori the guy tried to take the bike up on the escalator among the onlookers' screams "hey, the elevator has been invented". This time he did lose control of it, and another guy caught it falling down. Several "smurfs" showed up and lectured the bicycle man about elevators and about the dangers of taking a bike on an escalator.

When the escalator reached the higher level, the man looked around to see if the smurfs are watching, and took his bike up the next escalator.


I generally have some tolerance for people pissing in the street. Public toilets are few and far between, the people who don't live in Helsinki don't necessarily know where they are, restaurants and bars don't always let people in just to piss and often have lines, etc.

That said, people should at least have the decency to find a pissing place which is at least a little bit out of the way of other people. More specifically, I don't understand why so many people insist on pissing on apartment buildings' gates, which are right in the way of people going into and out of the building. Especially when there are perfectly good trees and fences around.

The other day, however, some asshole outdid him/herself by shitting right in front of our gate. A huge turd, too, and right in front of the door that people use to get into the building. If it were much smaller I'd probably blame it on some careless dog owner, but if that thing came out of a dog then we must be dealing with the Hound of the Baskervilles.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Yesterday I ran into webpage where people post pictures of others and occasionally themselves, and other people rate and criticize them.

It is no news to me that different people like different things, and that some people like to spend a lot of time criticizing others' choices in clothing, hair and makeup, but what was surprising is the number of people criticizing other's looks on the basis that they are out of fashion, in the sense of "this was OK 2/4/20 years ago when everyone wore this, but not now".

Weird. The last time I heard this argument was in the 8th grade. (After that everyone probably just gave up on me.)

Seriously, what makes people think this way?

What is fashion anyway? How does it develop and change? Does somebody think of something new, put it on, and other people see it and like it and start wearing similar clother too? Do people start wearing new fashions because they appear in the stores, or do they appear in the stores because people want to wear them? What about fashion magazines and suchlike: do they say "this fall's trend will be..." because they look at people and are good at predicting the things they will be wearing, or because they are trying to decide what the people should wear?

What makes so many people follow trends, anyway? One thing of course is the limited choice of clothes in the stores, but this does not explain makeup and hair. For that matter, what makes some people purposefully avoid trends?

I have always sort of assumed that most people have some kind of taste of their own, which does not change much with time or trends. Is this not the case, at least for some people?

I am sure trends affect everyone's taste at least a little. I know they affect mine by introducing me to new things: a year ago it would never have occurred to me to wear Crocs, simply because I had never heard of them. But what makes people stop liking some clothing style they used to like last year?

Rapists, again

Wanted to write a bit about the recent increase in stranger rapes, but Jussi Halla-aho wrote it much better than I ever could.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More EU freedom in action?

EU Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said that Internet searches for bomb-making instructions should be blocked across the European Union.

I guess Mr. Frattini has never heard about libraries, bookstores, or chemistry lessons in schools and even universities. Maybe we should tell him... On the second thought, better not.

But wait, this gets better:

"I do intend to carry out a clear exploring exercise with the private sector ... on how it is possible to use technology to prevent people from using or searching dangerous words like bomb, kill, genocide or terrorism," Frattini told Reuters.

Well, this would at least certainly solve the problem that some schools in the highly peaceful areas have now: mentioning the Holocaust offends the students and conflicts with the information that they receive from religious leaders of their communities. Just ban mentioning the word or searching on it, and here you have the final solution, so to say, of the Holocaust problem. Also of the Armenian genocide problem, and many others.

Does the current young generation of genocidal maniacs really google for instructions? Damn, the young people nowadays... How did Hitler and Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot manage without Google? I bet even the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide have somehow managed without the benefit of too many internet searches. "Take a big knife, slash your neighbor's neck, repeat until you run out of neighbors." If you are too dumb to come up with these instructions on your own, you are probably too dumb to figure out how to plug the computer into the wall as opposed to into your own ass anyway.

And what about citizens like myself, who like to be informed on terrorism and know what kind of peace strategy Al-Qaeda is up to and what, if anything, our governments are doing to protect us? I guess we shouldn't worry about it, Frattini will tell us everything we need to know. Without using the word "terrorism", of course, of "bomb" or "kill". "Yesterday four militants have detonated improvised explosive devices in Dumbfuckistan. Three police officers and fifteen civilians perished in the attack." Hmm, this sounds pretty much like the actual news articles they have nowadays.

As to bomb instructions on the Net: when my grandfather was in the army during WWII, they were not allowed to use any words meaning ammunition in their radio communications, and were told to talk about vegetables instead. Their conversations went along the lines of "We need 50 cucumbers, quick!" - "OK, what caliber?" This complicated code might not have fooled any Russian-speaking Germans listening in on the radio communications, but it sure would fool Frattini et al.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Shana Tova!

That's "Happy New Year". The 5768th.

Tonight is the Jewish New Year, when good Jews blow a shofar and eat apples, honey and kugel. Bad Jews just sigh and hope that somebody makes them some kugel, or grill a sausage instead.

I am gonna have some wine. Kugel is under serious consideration. Blowing a shofar would probably be cruel to neighbors.

Freedom of assembly, Belgian style

Yesterday there was an illegal demonstration against the islamisation of Europe in Brussels.

It was supposed to be a fairly big demonstration, but Freddy Thielemans, the mayor of Brussels, banned it on the basis that it would piss Muslims off and therefore disturb the public order.

While it is, of course, funny that the mayor of Brussels decided to make the demonstrators' point for them, the whole thing is alarming, for two reasons:

1) If Muslims become violent when a group of citizens expresses their opinion, or if there is a credible reason to believe that they might, then the islamization of Europe, or at least of Brussels, has alreagy progressed pretty damn far.

2) If demonstrations are banned because somebody who doesn't like them might become violent, it means that anyone can get anyone else's demonstration banned by producing a sufficiently credible threat. Do you wanna guess whether this will reduce or raise the number of threats?

Anyway, the ban kept most of the prospective demonstrators away, but 200 people or so did show up. They did not do anything violent (at least until being dragged to the police car) or incite to violence. There was a number of politicians among them, including two of the leaders of the Flemish nationalist party Vlaams Belang, and an Italian MEP.

Police almost outnumbered (and, by some reports, really outnumbered) the demonstrators, and arrested 154 of them. Wow. 154 out of 200 is almost like in the old Soviet Union.

Seriously, has anyone ever heard of a peaceful demonstration in a Western country where over 75% of the participants got arrested?

For the record: Muslims did not attack the demonstration or do anything else violent.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fake rapists and real morons

With all the recent conversation about gang rape committed by representatives of various less woman-friendly cultures I started wondering about the following thing:

In Russia when I was young men sometimes staged mock attacks on women "just for fun". It wasn't an everyday occurrence, but it wasn't extremely rare, either. A group of men (usually rather young and stupid ones, of course) would just start screaming, threatening and chasing some random woman, without any real intent to rape or injure her, just to see her scream and run for her life.

No, don't ask me what's the fun, because I don't know either. Especially since this activity seemed to have a rather high injury rate for people engaging in it, since its targets naturally tended to interpret it as a real attack and apply deadly force as needed. I've known four people who have engaged in said activity at one point or another; I've asked them "why" and the answers ranged between "I was drunk" and "I was stupid".

And the question is: is this done anywhere outside of Russia? Or, for this matter, is this done in Russia anymore? The only time I've ever seen or heard it done anywhere outside of Russia was once in Boston, by three very recent Russian immigrants, who got rather close to earning Darwin awards in the process.


This weekend the Times has said that 600 out of Britain's 1350 mosques are under the control of the Deobandi. They also control 17 out of Britain's 26 Islamic seminaries, and produce 80% of Britain's home-trained Muslim clerics.


I've never really learned the difference between the Wahhabi and the Deobandi, except that the former are Sunni fundamentalist revivalist nuts from Saudi Arabia, and the latter are Sunni fundamentalist revivalist nuts from India and Pakistan. I am sure that there are some other truly religious differences, like that the ones celebrate the prophet's birthday and the others don't or something just as deep, but if I have to describe the Deobandi with one word to the people who are not interested in details, the word would be "Taleban".

Anyway, 600 out of 1350 is 44%, and 17 out of 26 is 65%. That's pretty wild, considering that even in Pakistan the Deobandi only run about 25% of the madrassas.

The world's bravest nazis (don't do this at home, kids)

As I have mentioned several times in my blog, Carl von Clausewitz has written that declaring war on the enemy while being in the enemy camp and surrounded by overwhelming numbers of the same enemy is not a very bright idea.

Most people don't even need to read von Clausewitz to figure that out, because historically the kind of people who did not have an intuitive feeling that this was not a bright idea tended to die before leaving descendants, and in some cases also before leaving primary school.

Some of the extra-shallow side of the gene pool still exists though, and this time it surfaced in Israel.

Being a Nazi as such is not a crime in Israel, AFAIK (although Nazi propaganda on the Internet is). You can decorate yourself with swastikas and walk around the streets with your friends screaming "heil Hitler", although such approach is not likely to win you a lot of new friends or sex partners.

That, however, was not enough for these Darwin award candidates. They decided to attack the Jews, the Asian immigrants, the gays, the drug addicts and the homeless. Being differently intelligent, they also filmed their attacks.

Well, in the city of Petah Tikva the Jews et al. outnumbered our brave homeopathic warriors approximately 20000 to 1, with predictable results. The police arrested them and found the videos and the explosives that one of the gang members kept.

Now Israel is discussing whether it is possible to revoke the gang member's citizenships and send them back to whatever parts of ex-USSR they came from. I heard there are places in Siberia without a single Jew within 100-km radius.

Friday, September 07, 2007

...and our biggest security challenge for today will be... Lichtenstein!

Finland's defense minister Jyri Häkämies said yesterday that Finland's three most important security challenges are Russia, Russia and Russia.

Normally, I'd say that the man has a gift for stating the obvious. Gee, we have a huge country right next to us who has attacked us, taken parts of our territtory, attacked or occupied most of its European neigbors during the last century, failed to develop any kind of respect for any of its neighbors' sovereignity and is now imagining that they are a great power again and becoming more and more militaristic. One would think that spotting a security threat here is about as difficult as spotting an elephant with a severe case of diarrhea in the middle of your living room.

Unless, I guess, you are the former foreign minister of Finland. Erkki Tuomioja said that Häkämies's speech shows a real lack of judgement. He did not however say what was the biggest security challenge in his opinion.

I don't know what kind of stuff Tuomioja has been smoking, but it is bad, bad stuff. Don't smoke it, people.

The Party of Peace

An Islamic party has been founded in Finland.

In order to get into the party register they will need 5000 signatures. let's see if they get them.

They are planning to run in next year's municipal election.

Their leader, Abdullah Tammi, says that their goal is to spread healthy living and Islamic lifestyle. They would like to ban alcohol from stores and kiosks, and make sure that Muslim children in schools don't have to participate in music or swimming lessons. They would also like to make halal slauthering and boys' circumcision legal (currently the circumcision's status is somewhat unclear - it has been tolerated for more than a hundred years but not exactly technically legal - and halal and kosher slaughtering is legal only in slaughterhouses and only when the animal is stunned simultaneously with slashing its throat).

To the question of whether the party would like to install the Sharia law in Finland in the long run, Tammi answered that it would be great. He said that the idea of the Sharia law is to prevent crime. Like, for example, homosexuality or apostasy?

HS did not ask Tammi whether he'd like to ban women from marrying without the consent of their guardians and divorcing without the consent of their husbands; stone adulterers; institute a court system where a woman's word is worth half that of a man, etc. Nor did they need to. Tammi has already answered all that when he said that Sharia law would be great.

Barf (The Bourne Idiocy)

Just saw the Bourne Ultimatum. That's two hours and a movie ticket I am never getting back, and that is the most nauseatingly disgusting piece of camera work I have ever seen.

There ought to be a fucking law against making a whole full-length movie with nauseating jerky camera movements and more often than not blurred picture. Or, failing that, at least a law that would make movie advertisers say "the director was an idiot and the cameraman was very drunk and we really recommend that anyone who might get nauseous avoid watching this movie".

These would be the movies that I would totally boycott, but unfortunately this is the one thing about a movie you never know until you start watching.

The last time I blogged about it people told me that the jerky camera movements are meant to give us a feeling of being there, and of real TV news. Sure thing. That's why the real TV news with jerky movements are a) a few seconds long and b) never watched on a big screen. And what is the blurring supposed to do - give us the feeling of watching one of those stupid ads before the movie?

As it is, the whole thing mostly just gave me the feeling of "give me a plastic bag, now", and I spent half of it with my eyes closed lest I have to use the plastic bag. Didn't go home though, because since I already paid and was there I wanted at least to hear what will happen.

I wish the director of photography had some contact info, so I could write him and tell him that his camera work is most appropriate for the radio.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hellmouth finally found...

...and it's under Manhlenga High School in Manguzi, South Africa.

A group of high school students and adults burned two 60-year-old women as witches.

OK, I am a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it's nice that people in South Africa like that show too, but isn't this a bit too much? People, that was just a damn TV show! There are no witches in real life, and I suspect that if there really were, then trying to burn them would be quite unwise, and unhealthy to the person trying.

"Manhlenga High School pupils accused the women of being witches after they began to suffer strange crying fits," - says the article.

Well, fuck yeah! I'd surely be having random crying fits if I had to go to high schoool with a bunch of fucking nimrods whose favorite passtime was burning senior citizens in the football field. Probably fairly severe rage outbursts, too.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Going, going, gone!

The USSR census of 1979 counted about 1762000 Jews (as ethnicity, not as a religion). The census of 1989 counted 1378000. The combined next censues of ex-USSR countries, mostly taken circa 2000, counted 403000.

The numbers have recently attracted my attention because I realized that if it were any other ethnic group anywhere else, my reaction would have been "whoa, what happened to them?". But since it's just us, it's more like "huh, four hundred thousand of the fuckers are still there?".

If I had children, I would probably be idly wondering now what languages my great-grandchildren would be speaking. Finnish? English? Japanese? German?

I am also wondering where lies the line between ethnic cleansing and letting people the hell out of the damn shithole. If I ever become an evil dictator and want to get rid of some minorities, I will totally close the border and ban then from emigrating. They'll scream and demand to be let out, and UN, US, EU and god knows who else will also demand that I let them out in the name of human rights. Then I will negotiate, and the UN, US and EU will offer me a whole lot of goodies to let those poor trapped people out. I'll get the goodies, let all those unwanted minorities out, maybe get a Nobel Peace Prize as a very reformed dictator and will live happily ever after.

But hey, most of you can't even imagine how glad I am to be out of there.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Drugs bad

Why do drugs taste so bad? I mean the medicinal kind, not the kind that you make magic brownies of. Can't they make them taste like chocolate? Or at least herring? Or at least like nothing at all?

While we are at this topic: why do so many cough medications come as a syrup, as opposed to a pill? Those syrups are totally vile. I really need dextromethorphan right about now and there is not a pill to be had anywhere. Bought the evil syrup. Ugh.

Who is a refugee?

All the debate about Naze Aghai, the Iranian Kurd who applied for asylum in Finland but did not get it, was quite interesting in the way it revealed the Finnish assumptions about refugees.

The assumptions seem to be that a) real refugees usually flee war, b) their life is always in danger, and c) everyone who life is in danger is a real refugee.

What a real refugee should be is a subject for a separate and rather long discussion. What a real refugee actually is, however, is defined by the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees: "A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.."

Note that there is nothing on war, or danger of death. It's about persecution, and the well-founded fear of being persecuted. (War was eventually added as an afterthought, but war is definitely not necessary to make a refugee.) Note also that there is a list of what a refugee can be persecuted for: "race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion". Note that membership in a paramilitary organization is not on the list.

I don't have any particular opinion of my own on whether Naze Aghai should be allowed to remain in the country. I trust UVI to make the decision, and it's fine with me, and if they change their mind it's fine too. They know the case better than me or anyone else who is talking about it. There might be some other reasons to let her stay: for example that she was persecuted as a Kurd, or that Finland signed some EU-document somewhere saying that you should admit everyone who might otherwise get death penalty somewhere.

All I am saying is that the reason that is cited in her story as described in Helsingin Sanomat - her membership in the guerrilla forces known as Peshmerga - is not a proper reason for the refugee status.

The whole idea of the concept of refugees is that they are people who are unjustly persecuted, which means persecuted for things that civilized countries don't usually persecute people for: race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Paramilitary groups, on the other hand, tend to be justly persecuted. I am not saying that the Peshmerga are any worse than the Iranian government, just that being persecuted as a member of some guerrillas cannot be an automatic qualification for the refugee status.

We can of course make it so if we want, but do we really want the full membership of Sendero Luminoso at our doorstep, followed by the Balochistan Liberation Army?

"Nobody would do that without a good reason!"

I hear people say that fairly often. Usually it's said either when somebody is doing something difficult or dangerous to him/herself, or when somebody commits some atrocity on somebody else. Like, for example, tries to swim from Africa to Spain. Or blows himself up in a crowded cafe. Or cuts off her husband's dick.

Because people are always so rational. Like, for example, one acquaintance of mine who went and got himself circumcised as an adult. No, there was no medical reason. Or religious, for that matter. He just noticed that some organization was doing circumcisions for free, and figured: why not, what the heck, maybe it's fun? (In case you are wondering, it wasn't.)

Or, for example, some old classmates of mine who used to beat one girl up every day, just for the hell of it and just because they could. Once I stood up for her, also just for the hell of it. The people who were beating her up did not want to fight with me, so they said "sure thing, no problem, we'll find somebody else to beat up". Probably they had a very good reason, it just wasn't very personal.

But - irrationality aside - what really amazes me is that leap from the doer's good reason to the speaker's good reason. I am sure a lot of people do a lot of things for reasons they consider perfectly good. Pol Pot had what he considered a good reason to kill 20-25% of his citizens, Microsoft had what it considered a good reason to slow down Vista network performance during audio playback, my downstairs neighbors had what they considered a good reason to play music at a rock concert volume. The question is: why should anyone else consider those reasons good - whatever they are?

And the reason this bothers me so much is obvious: if doing exceptionally vicious, dangerous or masochistic things earns people understanding in and of itself (because nobody would do that without a very good reason), it will encourage people to do vicious, dangerous and masochistic things. For a very good reason.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Misery! Misery! Pain!

Why do tissues always run out as soon as you notice you have a flu? Always! And you have to get up from your warm bed and drag your miserable ass to a store. And then you use at least a tissue per second and your nose is red and sore. And huge pile of tissues accumulate in the trashcans and everywhere.

Been sneezing for three days now, with no end in sight.

And all this "drinking warm fluids" thing only makes you unable to sit even through one episode of any show without running to the toilet.