Two weeks offline and the world goes crazy ..

Exactly at the day the commercial-mega-event called Olympia started, I decided to not endure that kind of non-sense and to make a trip to the British Main-Island. Getting out of Europe for a while is relaxing.

In Edinburgh I learned that you can get a nice little tomb for just 100 pound. (David Hume stated that he wanted to be buried on the Calton Hill, but as he was a true scottsman, he ordered that the cost of his tomb shall not exceed 100 pound. Nowadays, the fine for dropping dead in a non-designated area for dropping dead is probably much higher than 100 pound.) With two or three festivals going on at the same time, I’m not entirely sure that I’ve actually seen natives anywhere. I guess most of this shy population moved into shelters on the highlands to wait until the tourist invasion (including me) is gone.

There’s not much to say about our next stop: Southampton. If you have ever been to communist-area east-germany, then the picture is familiar. Most shops on the main-street were owned by a chain called “To Let”, although they did not seem to offer much to sell there. The people in the streets were depressed and just to imagine living there sent me cold shivers down the spine. The constant rain did not help to lighten up our mood there.

And finally, London, was – as usual – a better place. Roaming the northern and western parts of Greater London, we were truely amazed how many green spots and lovely neightbourhoods you can find there. Although we avoided the southern and eastern areas (as this was not meant to become a adventure trip), London turns out to be a sweet spot to live. And speaking about expensive living: If you have the patience and don’t trust the High-Street lettings agencies, then it is quite possible to find affordable homes. They key is simply: Dont trust the glossy internet and paper ads of the large agencies, speak to the smaller local agencies instead.

But comming home and opening my news crawler, the world does no longer look so bright. Georgia attacked Ossetia (which is protected by Russian Peace Forces under a UN-mandate), and naturally got heavily slapped. As Georgia plays a important role as transit country for oil and gas from Asia to Europe, the country automatically is counted as democracy. Therefore the NATO, the US and some countries of the EU stepped up to defend that garden of freedom. (Give us a couple of years with our own governments, and all NATO members will have the same high standard of freedom of speach as Georgia.)

For now, it seems as if the NATO and Russia are heading towards a new cold-war (that’s the positive alternative) or a real war, if we insist of supporting that war-monger. But then again, attacking without cause is common nowadays, and if the US can invade countries for no real reason, Georgia can surely do the same. It really does not help the cause that Poland is a base for the US missle shield. And we Europeans would probably be in a better position, if the majority of our gas would not come from Russia. In times like these, you learn to apprechiate the global warming, as it helps to reduce our dependency for gas.

On the economic side of life, Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac seem to struggle whether to bite the dust sooner or later. If they wait any longer, and their shares fall further they probably won’t have enough money to buy the rope to hang themselfes. But letting them drown may or may not be a viable option, as China seems to be a bit upset if they would loose money in that process.

Is it time to worry? Traders of physical gold and silver report an very high demand from people who want to buy. But nonetheless, the gold price goes down. Yes, both switzerland (1000 tons) and the European Central Bank (500 tons) sell their gold deposits like crazy, yet still that does not explain the falling prices, as many fonds seem to play games with the market right now. But once the crisis hits as hard as 1929, then being in the possession of gold may be a act of treason (as it was in the US until 1974). So *if* you intend to buy gold, do it in a country with free markets, like Switzerland.

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About Thomas

After working as all-hands guy and lead developer on Pentaho Reporting for over an decade, I have learned a thing or two about report generation, layouting and general BI practices. I have witnessed the remarkable growth of Pentaho Reporting from a small niche product to a enterprise class Business Intelligence product. This blog documents my own perspective on Pentaho Reporting's development process and our our steps towards upcoming releases.