Monday, December 21, 2009
I wish the band Math the Band would have come up with something less electronic and more fun/clever with such a good title...
Saturday, December 19, 2009
At the airport I was among the first to check in, which was not much help as my plane was an hour late, meaning that I was going to miss my connection in Frankfurt. Finally, we landed just as my second plane was supposed to take off, and I was taken by the airport bus to a gate about a kilometer away from the gate I was supposed to be at half an hour earlier
Fortunately, the second plane was delayed as well so I could make it (after covering the 1km distance between my arrival and departure points in record time, they moved my gate much closer). In the end we took off twenty minutes after we were supposed to land already and had a smooth ride.
After the pilot missed the bridge connecting to the terminal by about a metre and had to order the anxious passengers back to their seats, I was finaly at home again:
Thursday, December 10, 2009
These stories have the markings of typical Vonnegut works, with black humour, science fiction and absurd situation. I liked the stories, some of them more than the others, and I must admit, there was one or two that I did not get. Either way, I recommend the book to everyone who likes Vonnegut's style and earlier books.
Now that I have finished reading, I can start boxing up my books and sending them home...
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The book written as an appendix in the Guide to the entry on the Hitchiker's Guide is a welcome addition to the trilogy (of five) even if it cannot be the same if the same author would have finished the series.
Eoin Colfer in my opinion has understood well the dynamics of the story and has come up with a plausible continuation and introducing some interesting new themes.
And Another Thing has a similar kind of language to the H2G2, yet without such memorable phrases as "mindbogglingly", "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea", and "The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't."
There are, however, many excerpts from the Guide to provide background on some of the developments of the earlier books (which are quite unnecessary for the real Hitchiker's fans) and for comic relief. These replicate the style of Douglas Adams but are a little too numerous and a tad bit weak in some cases.
Still, I would recommend this book as a fun and light read and a nice way to honour the work of a great author.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
In October I had made a short trip to Russia visiting St. Petersburg, Moscow and Pskov. The trip was quite fun, but also very tiring -- by the evening I already thought about the morning as something that had happened the previous day.
The Moscow part was probably the most exciting part of the trip as we detached ourselves from an organised bus tour to St. Petersburg and took the night train to the capital. On arrival we were immediatily confronted by the fact that the room we have booked in the hostel has not existed for the last two years...
Anyhow, after a couple of coffees we did a pretty good job of exploring central Moscow. Unfortunately we had limited time, and our attempts to get out of the centre were thwarthed by the powers that be (e.g. a World Heritage member monastery was closed and we were kicked out of Moscow University).
All in all, it was an interesting and feature packed trip with all its excitement and I think I should like to visit Russia again; though, first I have to go to London as the Moscow metro system filled me with nostalgia for all the time I spent in London...
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
If any person, of whatever degree soever, high or low, shall deny or gainsay our Sovereign Lord George, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, son and next heir unto our Sovereign Lord the last King deceased, to be the right heir to the imperial Crown of this realm of Great Britain and Ireland, or that he ought not to enjoy the same; here is his Champion, who saith that he lieth, and is a false traitor, being ready in person to combat with him, and in this quarrel will adventure his life against him on what day soever he shall be appointed.
Among the more interesting videos I found is the motion for a humble address in the Lords (at just before the 2-minute mark) and the state opening of Parliament by the queen.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
I am a big admirer of long-kept traditions and I am always happy to see one survive or flourish. Thus, I was happy to discover a British Parliamentary tradition that has been kept for over three hundred years and has been exported to other Commonwealth countries as well.
When a new session of Parliament is opened the Queen (or her representative) makes a speech from the throne in the upper house of Parliament. (According to tradition she is not given entry to the House of Commons.) After the speech is read both chambers of Parliament demonstrate that the Queen is in no position to set the agenda of debate so in defiance they introduce a bill for a first reading (which means they first read the title of the bill and then decide whether to discuss it further in committees). For the last three hundred or so years this bill has been the same in the United Kingdom: in the Houses of Commons it is “A Bill for the more effectual preventing clandestine Outlawries” and in the House of Lords “A bill for the better regulating of Select Vestries”).
The Outlawries Bill basically sets up measures to prevent people from declaring their fellows “outlaws” in secret and also has some extra penalties for sheriffs doing this.
The Select Vestries Bill deals with the rights of “select vestries” to administer poor law.
In Canada the bills are titled “An Act respecting the Administration of Oaths of Office” and “An Act relating to Railways”. It is worthwhile to read the actual texts of these two bills that have been printed maybe for the first time ever in 2009. It is a good indication of the serious thought behind these pro forma bills is that the text stops after a short and one clause reading:
This bill asserts the right of the Senate to give precedence to matters not addressed in the Speech from the Throne.
After this pro forma bill, as far as I can see from the Hansard records I’ve seen online, the Speaker informs the members that he has obtained the Queen’s speech “for greater accuracy” and then a member moves to present an humble address to the Queen along the lines of:
Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, beg leave to thank Your Majesty for the most gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament
After some long speeches by the mover and the seconder of this address, the actual work of Parliament begins.
Now, I have cheaper and free access to contemporary information, studies and books, what remains is to find a service that ships DVD's with low or without shipping costs to Hungary...