A note for people looking for my other blog

I’ve moved it to pedantry.fistfulofeuros.net. I’m putting this note here because, unfortunately, you can’t get to that URL because DNS to it has been cut off for a few hours. This is the third time our ISP has done this in a week – propagate DNS for a subdomain and then cancel it – and it is completely their fault. As a result, nothing will be posted to it until I’m able to get someone at Verve to fix it. However, due to the holidays, that will probably not be terribly soon.

In the mean time, have a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a cool Kwanzaa and a solemn winter solistice.

Update: Well, Verve’s tech support was prompt and at the phones on Christams Eve. This is truely impressive in an ISP. They claim everything is fine now and that the domain name ought to repropagate over the next couple hours. If so, then there will be a posting today.

Silly German Regulations, Part 438

Did you know that in Bavaria, it is illegal to run a service station’s car wash on Sunday?

Apparently, this falls under the category of disturbing the peace. Equally apparently, the coin-operated industrial-strength vacuum cleaners do not disturb the peace.

I learned this where the six-lane A9 autobahn deposits its traffic onto the eight-lane Mittlerer Ring, about a hundred meters from the crossing with the six-lane Leopoldstrasse. A very peaceful spot indeed.

These Don’t Have Much to do with Europe

…but I think you’d enjoy reading them anyway. While we get all exercised about one small corner of Eurasia, they’re eyeballing exciting things from around the whole world.

The inimitable Bruce Sterling:

Beyond the Beyond

The slightly wacked Cory Doctorow and the definitely out there Mark Frauenfelder:

A Directory of Wonderful Things

Getting more or less serious about building a better future:

Another World Is Here

The Irish Presidency

Over on Crooked Timber, Maria Farrell has some thoughts on the coming Irish EU Presidency and why the presidencies of small countries seem to get more achieved than those of the large countries. (She’s following on from this FT article)

The whole post is well-worth reading and I heartily recommend it, but she ends with an interesting point that I think is worth repeating here:

And let?s not forget, that as of 1st May next year, small countries will be in the majority of EU member states. We?re loud, we?re proud, and we?re here to stay?

What soldiers have in common with lawyers

Hi folks. I’ve been off-line a bit fighting with my landlord and trying to get my new apartment straightened out. I’ve moved as of the first of December. My new Internet connection is up and running, but my workstation hasn’t been able to talk to my monitor since the move. I have to bring it in to work to get it fixed, and until then, I have limited ‘Net access. There’s a post coming one of these days on the joys of IKEA when you’re an expat.

A lot’s been going on while I’ve been offline. Chirac and Raffarin have started acting like idiots over how kids dress at school. The EU constitution looks like a casualty of rapid expansion. Jean Chrétien calls it quits – the last of the Pearson-era Liberals still in the Liberal party – and turns the reins of power over to borderline conservative Liberal Paul Martin. And, Saddam Hussein is now in American hands, which will make excuses for failing to find WMD or links to Al Qaeda just that much thinner. Go ahead and browse around here to get in contact with the lawyers you need.

Speaking of Iraq, I wanted to draw your attention to yesterday’s New York Review of Books. Especially to a piece entitled Delusions in Baghdad. If Marshall McLuhan were alive today, he could stand fully vindicated before his critics.

Very young men in tan camouflage fatigues, armed, red-faced, flustered; facing them, the men and women of the world press, Baghdad division, assembled in their hundreds in less than a quarter of an hour […] as Lieutenant Colonel George Krivo put it bitterly, to “make the story. Here, media is the total message: I now have an understanding of McLuhan you wouldn’t believe. Kill twenty people here? In front of that lens it’s killing twenty thousand.”

When the US Army starts appreciating someone like McLuhan, you know the world has changed.
Continue reading


Writing in The Guardian under the headline ‘Why I am no longer a European’ Max Hastings explains why, though he remains committed to the idea of Europe, he can no longer support the Constituion. His feelings, I think, represent a growing tendency of people throughout current and future members of the EU to support the ideal of European unity and integration but not necessarily the way in which it is currently being carried out.

It’s a grouping in which I would tentatively include myself and, I suspect, several of my colleagues here on AFOE. The problem comes, I think, from the fact that while there is a growing sense of a common European cultural identity, it’s in danger of being swamped by an overly techno-bureaucratic notion of integration being imposed from above. I’m planning a separate post on European cultural and national identities (hopefully it’ll be done before Christmas) so for now I’ll just look at the main points of Hastings’ article.
Continue reading