Sunday, November 21, 2010


While I was holiday I finished reading "Civilization" by Kenneth Clark. This was the book for an old TV documentary that followed art and the growth of civilization.

One think I decided to note was that he didn't know where chivalry came from. In particular why the women had to be chase and worshiped.

When I was ordering some stuff ftrom, I needed to make up an order upto 20 Euro to get free shipping. I purchaded a copy of "A Xenophobe's guide to the Germans".

I am not going to discuss in detail evrey point, partly just in case there are any German readers and I don't want to upset anyone, but mostly because I have the feeling that I have read it before.

One interesting point was that the book claimed that many German toilets are designed for ease of studying a person's crap - for health reasons. And indead you can see that the toilet in my flat allows a careful examination of my shit. This will be important tomorrow after the two chillis I added to my stirfry. My stomach is burning, but I feel like a food hero,

Two Way split

I moved some books from a box in my office to my home. On top of a pile of books, I saw "Two Way split" by Allan Guthrie. This was a book I got from Waterstones for a pound.

The book is a thriller based on robbing an Edinburgh postoffice. There was a bit of mental illness thrown in. I enjoyed reading the book, but it was ultimately pointless. Still that is what I wanted.

The Morality of Murder

Umm, I have just had a pretty non-productive weekend. At least on Saturday, I had the excuse of having a minor hang over. Today I did some computer work, but it was mostly setting jobs off, and that is time consuming and not so interesting.

This evening I had meant to work on a project, but while reading the BBC technology papers I found a web site with videos of lectures from Universities. This is like the Utunes from the Itunes store, but I can watch them under linux.

I made the mistake of watching "The Morality of Murder" from a Harvard Professor. I only watched the first 10 minutes of the lecture. I thought the lecturer's techniques was fantastic. Now that the fees for the UK Universities are going up, we sometimes discuss what a person gets for the 25,000 dollars tution fee for a top US University. Now I know! I hope the lectures doens't degenerate into some justification for torture, such as waterboarding.

Watch it on Academic Earth

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday night shopping

There is not much night life in Wuppertal, so I have to find my own entertainment. Last night I was shopping at my local supermarket. To amuse myself I look at the other people's shopping at the checkout and try to guess their life. The tall woman in front of me was buying a 10 inch pizza, a bottle of some sugary wine, some sweets, and some other stuff of little interest..

My guess was that she was single with an age close to 30. What did she think of me life? I was buying 3 cans of beer, a small bottle of vodka, and some fruit, but no pizza. Perhaps I should have smiled at her.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Malt Salt

One of my German colleagues was complaining about the completely normal British habit of putting vinegar on chips. My mouth started to water, as I thought how much more tasty the French fries, I was eating, would be with some vinegar on them.

I have poured something from a small jug onto my fries in Wuppertal. This turned out to be milk, so I was not best pleased. I could fill my hip flask with vinegar, but that would strike people as weird, and the flask would hold a year's supply of vinegar.

There is an article in today's Guardian about Malt Salt. Vinegar flavoured salt. Now that Amazon supply groceries, I did try to see if I could order sme from them, but no (not yet anyway).

Local Wuppertal beer

Like most towns in Germany, Wuppertal has a local brewey. When I was in the supermarket on Friday, I saw a bottle of Wupperhell bier.

Although I am not a beer expert. I don't have too high standards for beer. For example I have drunk Tennents and Carling when other beer was not available. I didn't really enjoy the Wupperhell beer as much as I wanted to.


Quite often Europeans say to me "English food is shit". I am usually stunned to hear this, and I try to list all the great traditional English foods. However, my list starts and unfortunately ends with Roast Beef. In the UK I would mostly eat Indian, Chinese, or Greek food.

I spend a lof of time trying to find that strong chilli hit in Germany. A number of times I have ordered a Vindaloo curry in a restaurant in Germany. I know the correct German word "scharf", but still I always end up with a mild curry. When I order a Vindaloo in the UK, there are gasps of horror and worry. After two mouthfulls I can't feel my mouth, and I can't taste anything for a couple of days.

I keep hunting extra hot sauces in German supermarkets.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The origins of the second world war

I have been secretly reading "The origins of the second world war" by A J. P Taylor. This was a controversial books when it was published just after the second world war. Taylor discusses the origin of the second world war in terms of state craft. He doesn't just say the second world war happened because Hitler was evil.

This is not a revisionist history, because the fate of the Jews is discussed, but this had very little influence on the war. I would like to point out that I didn't read the book, because of the "German question", but because the people on the left who advocate ethical miltary intervention in conflicts, use the example of the second world war as a justification.

I now have a better idea of appeasement, and the issues with Austria, Checkoslovakia, and Poland.