Friday, December 25, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

The missing sparrows



I love animals, especially birds. My entire backyard is filled with bird-feeders and nesting boxes. It’s wonderful to have my breakfast in the morning watching the birds having theirs. At any given moment during the day, I can see a few dozen birds, a family of rats, and some squirrels. The bird life is amazing, and so far I have spotted 30 over species coming to the feeders. The one I am missing is  the house sparrow.

Last time we lived in London, about a dozen years ago, sparrows were the most common birds in our backyard. They were pests that scared away the other birds. But this time I saw none, not until this morning, when a single sparrow approached the feeders.

I never thought I could get that excited about a sparrow.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

It's not clever to be smart


A recent business discussion reminded me of the following story

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine they lay down for the night, and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend awake. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."

Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars."

"What does that tell you?" Holmes questioned.

Watson pondered for a minute. "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?"

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke. "Watson, you idiot. Someone has stolen our tent."

The value of labor


Mission Impossible


In the underground I saw a note saying: “If you see a train being vandalised call the transport police on this number.”  I picked up my mobile and dialed. There was no cell reception -- there hardly ever is in the underground.

They might as well put mail boxes on the trains to snail mail our spotting. The best vandalism letter will win a free ride.

Meeting people on the train

At the train station, a cheerful, attractive, girl handed me a brochure. It said: “Meet the people behind your railway.”

It seems that the train operator feels that when we realize that trains are operated by people, we’ll feel less frustrated by the poor service.

To keep the record straight, I don’t take the train to meet people. I am there to meet trains. The truth is that I’d be much happier if I didn’t meet anyone on the train. So please don’t introduce me to more people. For this I have my blog. Just make sure I get to it on time.



Friday, December 11, 2015

Spanish Wine


Having spent a weekend in Spain, I spent a great deal of time eating and drinking, enjoying the difference between the two cultures, especially as far as alcohol is concerned.

In Spain, the house wine is the signature of a restaurant:  it’s cheap, it’s very good. It is the way a restaurant attracts customers and advertises itself. In the UK, on the other hand, the house wine is the cheapest the house could find -- quite often the mixed leftovers from the night before.

Another interesting difference is that while in Spain beer is served in small glasses, in England its in buckets.

Don't you like  travelling? 

The Value of Life


In case you ever wondered about the value of life :

The nurse who comes to visit our sick neighbor, in charge of her well-being, receives 9.50 an hour for her visit.
The man who came to fix her heater charges 35 an hour
he electrician sent from washing machine company charges 99 for a visit, plus the cost of the repair.

I wonder what the conclusion might be.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

We are not the same!

a small booklet published by the police was distributed to kids through their schools. It’s called KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

When we were kids we got a similar booklet. It was called RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES.

I don't feel like it's the same species any more.

Health and Safety Regulation


Monday, December 7, 2015

An English Mystery


Why do English homes have carpets in bathrooms and toilets?

Cats vs. kids: 1-0


A teenager who micro-waved a six-weeks-old kitten was banned from keeping animals for seven years. On the other hand, people who kill their kids cannot be banned from having new ones;  every call for introducing such measures ends up with strong objection from human right activists.

Protecting cats good, protecting kids bad. Strange place this is.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Koan


What is the purpose of the bidet in the men toilet in the BA lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5?

Backballs and the common sense factor


Look inside the highlighted part of the ad above. If a company is truly  afraid that someone will use this product internally and sue them, something is fucked up with our legal system. To quote the honest guru: it's unfair that 95% of all lawyers gives all lawyers bad reputation. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Bigamy


It's no long ago since premarital sex was punished by death, bastards were forced to live outside the community, and homosexuals were burnt alive at the village square.

But in the modern UK teenage sex and pregnancy is part of school curriculum, same sex relationships are encouraged, and adultery is natural part of life.

So with traditional marriage being only one of many life-choices, why is bigamy still a crime?

Isn’t it time that the law will stop picking and choosing based on individual judge's preferences, and will let us live our personal lives the way we choose to. Doesn't it have more important things to deal with?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Murmuration


One of my most memorable scenes of my childhood. Winter evening after evening, I would be braving the cold, watching mesmerized.



And if you have problems watching the video above, due to your zone. Here is a similar one:

My New Word: Party


It might be my non-English background, but I often find myself missing the subtleties of the language. For example, the world Party was a word I misinterpreted; I needed to come to London to learn what it meant.

Originally, I thought that Party was a social event or a celebration. But now  I realize that Party -- whether a birthday party, a Christmas party, and definitely New Year Party -- means drinking until London appears like a fun place to be in.

I like this interpretation. Yet I still wonder, is it really the only way to have fun? I still have many Christmas parties lined up to figure this out.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Put the Students Behind Bars

An article in yesterday’s paper describes the government's intention to force high-school student that refuse to stay in school to 18 to attend weekend detention.

What will happen to those who do not appear to the detention? Will we employ the police force – too busy to finish their current paperwork – to chase students? And when they catch them? Will we burden the legal system, or shall we simply extend the anti-terrorist law and allow for detention without a trial? Shall we build special jails for them, or shall we just release before time some more dangerous rapist and murderers to free jail space?

There was another interesting fact in yesterday’s paper: on an international scale, in the past five years, British students have plunged down from 4th to 14th place in science, and from 3rd to 19th in Reading Literacy.

So why do we want to force people to go to school? After all, they don’t seem to learn anything there. Aren't they better off getting a job and learn something useful?

Instead of detention centers, the government may want to think of alternative education, make educational TV attractive and exciting. Or perhaps create a free game arcades with exciting educational games.

I’m sure it can’t be that difficult to create some exciting and educational games. For example: a person approaches you in the dark and asks for help (oral comprehension), as soon as you recognize he made a grammatical mistake you can blow his head off, but if you were wrong, he chops you with a machete (grammar education). However, when you are out of bullet you can pick up a bottle of acid (chemistry) and throw at his face and see how his body deforms (biology).

I am sure that the creative minds can come with better games, if not we might want to consider the drop out student as their replacement -- a change that may feel just like the holiday that UK needs.

Friday, November 27, 2015

What have we got in common?



In some places U-turns are allowed, unless otherwise indicated
in other places  it is not, unless explicitly permitted.
Therese are two species with little in common.
Which one are you?

60 Seconds of Relevant History: Iran

In 1953 Mosaddeq, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, was a threat to British hegemony over Iranian oil. As a result, the British government of the time manipulated the Americans to believe that Mosaddeq was a communist supporter. Together with the Americans, they organized a coup that outset Mosaddeq from power, destroyed the newly established democracy, and planted the seeds for the Muslim revolution that turned Iran into a fundamentalist state.

Just in case you thought the Americans were the root of all evil ...

Muslims and Israel


 Despite the last few years of intensifying Muslim kill Muslim wars, despite the increase terrorism around the world, despite Isis and Boko el Haram, Israel is still viewed in the Muslim world -- and, unfortunately, by many in the west --   as the cause for all their troubles.  If only facts made a difference ...



The Paved Way to European Terror

Was anything surprising about the Paris terror attack? About the fact that Brussels has become a hub of terror? Why do we take an insurance only after the fire consumed our house?

This was a post I blogged over 5 years ago.




Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happiness



Happiness is
never asking what happiness is,
and never feeling the need to answer it


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Devolution

I fear, therefor I am –
A tool of the political trade
sadly, so effective.