Saturday, December 31, 2005


Wish You All a Happy New Year !

Let’s hope that 2006 will be better than 2006 and worst than 2007 !

Some of my “good intentions” for the New Year :

Improving my blog, attracting more readership !

Touring Burgundy, the most traditional wine region in France !

Reading John Grisham’s “Skipping Christmas” ( No! Ho! Ho! ), before celebrating Christmas time in 2006 !

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the 18th-century Austrian composer and womanizer had become a legend in his own lifetime. He could have become rich as well, but unfortunately money went through his hands like water. Admittedly his famous operas did not really pay off, for example he got no more than (what today would be in Austrian money…) 11.000 euros, that is less than 10.000 $, for his opera masterpiece „Le nozze di Figaro“, composed in 1786. But Mozart managed to take advantage of his reputation in Vienna’s high society. Being a “Kammerkompositeur” (Imperial Chamber Composer), he earned an extra annual salary of 20,000 €, doing nothing more than writing dance music for court balls. In those days Viennese families were paying him over 20.000 € a year for piano-lessons!

In 2006 the Austrians will celebrate the so-called “Mozart anniversary year”, turning their Wunderkind into hot cash. Today the Mirabell Food Company sells over 60 million pieces of creamy “Mozart Chocolates” annually, smokers collect Mozart-ash-trays, little children love dice games inspired by “ Die Zauferflőte”, Mozart’s last musical effort. Anything else? Well, for all “bon vivants” I would suggest the “Mozart-bra”, just touch it and you will hear “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”, Mozart’s sensual serenade for string instruments…

All in all, the Vienna tourism industry counts on additional 250.000 overnight stays in the “Mozart-year” 2006 and expects an extra turnover of over 3 million €, that is more than 2 million $.
Not bad for a 9-million-people-country, right ?

(Source: “Rondo”, German magazine for classical music, Nr. 6/2005)

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Gerhard Schrőder soll in Rente gehen ? Kommt nicht in Frage, der „Genosse der Bosse“ hat noch einiges vor ! Wie die „Franfurter Allgemeine Zeitung“ neulich berichtete, wird der Medienkanzler Berater und Artikelschreiber beim renommierten Schweitzer Verlag Ringier. Űber Geld wird in Zürich nicht gerne gesprochen, doch Schweitzer Journalisten fänden eine hohe sechsstellige Jahrespension durchaus angemessen. Gar nicht so schlecht für einen part-time-job, nämlich vorerst zwei Tage in der Woche. Es fragt sich nun, ob und wie das Geld überhaupt besteuert wird. Gegen die Luxussteuer war Schröder bereits zu Kanzlerzeiten, nun steht ihm sogar die „Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung“ mit weisem Rat zur Seite. Der Kanzler wäre doch gut beraten, eine „Schröder-GmbH“ zu gründen, über die er seine Auslandshonorare laufen lassen könnte, so der Schweizexperte der Zeitung. Kostet nur 20.000 Franken und 14 Tage Anlaufzeit, spart viel Geld ! Da wird wohl der Lafontain mit seinen
weisen Büchern kaum mithalten können...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


World première in January 2006 for the first TV soap-opera broadcasted exclusively on your mobile phone - probably on Vodafone 3G handsets, but we don’t know yet for sure... British production company Farringdon Road Films is about to produce this innovative television program adapted to the small mobile phone format, with short actions and extreme close-ups.
Remember that recently satellite broadcaster BSkyB and Vodafone signed a deal, giving BSkyB access to 250.000 “third-generation-handset” subscribers in exchange for allowing Vodafone to launch a TV service on mobile phones. Rival firm O2 has already launched trial TV services, so now it’s easy to enjoy CNN, ITN or Cartoon Network on the move, but just imagine TV content produced exclusively for mobile phones. I guess this idea has huge potential, right ?

Monday, December 05, 2005


It's dead easy and it saves money ! Start "scanbuying" in four steps :

1. Walk into the store, find your favourite item !

2. Take a photo of its bar code with your mobile phone's camera !

3. Check comparable bar-code prices from an online database !

4. After price check buy the item cheaper wherever you want !

Too good to be true ? The Scnabuy technology already exists in Japan. Now it is about to hit the U.S., after all today's "Swiss army knife" phones can do everything. But watch out, storekeepers may get upset about your bargain hunting ! Olivier Attia, founder of "Scanby", a small U.S. company offering consumer bar-code technology, tells the "Fortune Magazine" he'll know he's arrived, when the sign outside the store reads "no pets, no food, no bar-code scanning" !

Thursday, December 01, 2005


W.Churchill said that “the action of Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. Here you can learn the seven secrets of Russian soul and mentality:

1. Beauty, Красота = Inner but inaccessible beauty, spiritual strength based on the history of ideas, not on the outward appearance.

2. Community, Община = A real union of individuals having resigned from their individuality - and from their little individualities…

3. Compassion, Сострадание = Sympathy for people suffering, allegedly the opposite of Western self-absorbed behaviour.

4. Freedom, Свобода = Internal freedom, self-respect, different from the Western idea of self-control and “lack of authority”.

5. Goodness, Доброта = Goodness in this context means “living by following your heart”, not by obeying orders.

6. Spritiual–Soulful, Духовньій–Душевньій = Warmth, sacrifice of personal interest, allegedly the opposite of Western rationalism.

7. Virtue, Целомудрие = Spiritual harmony, unity with nature, power of personality and even sexual purity.

[ Source : Andrzej Lazari (Ed.) The Russian Mentality Dictionary, published by the Interdisciplinary Team of Soviet Studies at the University of Łodz, Poland. My comment : Comprehensive book, explains complicated behaviour patterns in clear words. Some of the authors seem to have a bias against Russia, but nevertheless their powers of observation are striking. I discovered this book in a Warsaw bookshop and would recommend it to all of you ! ]