Sunday, December 30, 2007

Long term plan

Mark Steyn points out a
quote from Gibbon, that
the battle of Poitier-tours
and the defeat of the muslims
was a big turningpoint in
western civilization.

[the midpoint between poitiers
& tours is shown by a thumtack,
and it is much further north than
I expected, I guess I thought the
muslims were defeated in the pyrennes
a la the "song of roland"]
From Gibbon:

“Perhaps,” wrote Edward Gibbon in The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, “the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.”

Steyn then points to another quote from the daily mail:

The deeply English, deeply Christian city of Oxford, one of the homes of free thought, is now being asked to accept the Islamic call to prayer wafting from mosque loudspeakers over its spires and domes.

Which is deeply ironic, since Gibbon had assumed that we had won the war
with Islam, the 18th century sultanate was weak, the muslims of north africa
were no more than pirates. The idea that the call to prayer will echo over
his Oxford would probably have him spinning in his grave.

Now the Islamic re-reconquista is steadily capturing more territory than ever
before, but not on spearpoints of mounted knights, but by diffusion. It's interesting
to me as a student of history, and it's ironic, but it's still worrying.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Poor but happy

One of the few websites I make time to read now is Poor
but happy
, they have a great site with lots of interesting
characters. Today they had a thread on something that is
really interesting to people living in colombia...what the heck
to do with TP when the society down here says to not flush it.
(my contribution was: "Our building was built in the 60's and I've been warned repeatedly not to flush TP, but I'm going to flush it down though the heavens fall down around me.

Which I thought was pretty clever until I saw a poem from el modefoque:

'Twas the night before New Years, and there on the can
Sat a drunken, dejected, poopless old man.
The Ex-Lax had been taken hours before bed
In hopes that the turtle would rear his brown head.
Then up from the bowl there arose such a splatter!
I sprang from the seat to see what was the matter!
And what to my wondering eyes should appear
but a brown fecal flounder swimming in recycled beer.

"At last I have shit!" I screamed at the wall.
Then flush away, flush away, flush away all.
I could now settle down to a long winter's nap.
Happy new year to all, and to all a good crappy new year.

there are obviously people down here with talent, because it was only
around 15 minutes between the time when I first saw the thread and the
poem was posted. I was reading the thread and choking with laughter.
The guy in the cubical across from me probably thinks I'm a nut.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas to all

Christmas in colombia has lost none of it's
religiousness, I think if you tried to say
merry xmas you'd be met with a blank stare.

Every day for the nine days before christmas
almost every house and office in the country
celebrates a Novena (ninth), where in the states
lawyers would be parachuting gleefully out of the
sky if every company was holding a religious service
for 9 days. The novena includes some kind of food,
buenelos(fried bread) with chocalate, or Natilla (pudding?),
and today my part of the company bought lunch, so we had
the traditional Lechona (pig stuffed with rice, not bad)

The novena also uses the same prayers
every year, with each verse of the prayer followed by
verses of the song "Ven VenVen", repeated enough until even
the gringos can sing along. It reminds of my catholic youth and
how my 11 year old self wouldn't be able to pick my 40 year old
self out of a linup.

Here's the Nativity scene from the office:

(called a Pesebre in spanish) I loved the two sheep in the
forground standing at the well, with looks that say,
"where's the water, how do we work a crank?"

Oh well, we're off to travel for the 4 day weekend.
Merry christmas to all, and to all a good night!