Friday, December 28, 2007


Time off from work has allowed me to start catching up on reading. A friend who subscribes to a wide range of magazines passes his cast offs to me. I've got several months New York Review of Books, Tribunes, Chartists, Le Monde Diplo to get through. Any sane person would take the easy route and either pass for recycling or pass them on to someone else.

I have also to get through the books and journals we bought over the summer.

In issue 32 of the Harvard Review there's a piece by Daniel Maier-Katkin and Birgit Maier-Katkin called Love and Reconciliation: The Case of Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger. It is June 1933, Heidegger has just become Rektor of Freiburg University, and goes to visit Karl Jaspers.
To Jaspers' question "How can a man as coarse as Hitler govern Germany?" Heidegger replied: "Culture is of no importance. Just look at his marvelous hands."
Who was that man's manicurist? Didn't you know a good manicure can excuse anything? Well, now you do.

Seasons Greetings

As Rullsenberg notes, this Xmas card is des pudel's kern.

So in a feeling of seasonal generosity take it as a gift from me to you and yours.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Travel Restrictions are a Bad Thing

One of the markers of a free society is the extent its citizens can travel freely. One day you decide to visit country X because you've heard they do an excellent cheese toastie. Fine. Go and taste the fine cheese toastie, the like of which has never been tasted on these shores.

Some countries, often those labelled as dictatorships or tyrannies, put restrictions on where their citizens can travel. For example Saudi Arabia prevents its citizens visiting Israel. Now, Israel is investigating three journalists, Lisa Goldman, Ron Ben Yishai and Tzur Sheizaf, on suspicion "of unauthorized travel to enemy states Syria and Lebanon to report for some of the country's main media outlets."

Sure Syrian and Lebanon are not exactly friendly towards Israel, and you may call them "enemy states", but in a free society citizens should be allowed freedom of movement inside and outside the country.

Every restriction on free movement of people makes a society less open and less free.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Touristy Pics

Last weekend I went with Rullsenberg to London. Being provincial types we like to take pictures. Here's a couple I like.

This one manages to get a London bus, a taxi, and St Paul's Cathedral in the same shot.

This one is a steamy shot from our bedroom.

Ok, it also has the tower of St Pancras train station. What did you expect?