Friday, December 31, 2004


I have made my NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION. Go and read Scott A. McConnell's article, What Is The Meaning of New Year's? Here is an excerpt.

Making New Year's resolutions (and doing so even after failing last year's) stresses that people want to be happy. On New Year's Day many people accept, often more implicitly than explicitly, that happiness comes from the achievement of values. That is why you resolve to be healthier, more ambitious, more confident. You want to enjoy that sense of purpose, accomplishment and pleasure that one feels when achieving values. It is happiness that is the motor and purpose of one's life. It is New Year's, more than any other day, that makes the attainment of happiness more real and possible. This is the meaning of New Year's Day and why it is so psychologically important and significant to people throughout the world. (, 12/30/04.)

I want to thank my readers by quoting Cox & Forkum's post, New Year 2005.

Thanks to our readers for another wonderful year. We appreciate all the links, compliments and even a few of the criticisms. (Cox & Forkum, 12/30/04.)

I want to thank my fellow bloggers, traders, supporters, sponsors and blog partners for a great year!

I also want to thank the individuals who have purchased products from the EGO store and my wish list at Amazon.

UPDATE 01/01/05:
This post is included in this week's edition of Blogger Idol.

Thursday, December 30, 2004


As a true consumer & producer advocate, I have added a watch by Smith & Wesson to my wish list at Froogle. I am interested to learn more about the Memorandum Opinion for the Attorney General, Whether the Second Amendment Secures an Individual Right.

The U.S. Department of Justice has declared that the Second Amendment explicitly recognizes the right of individual Americans to own and carry firearms. Gun rights advocates call the statement a "good first step" but cautioned that it is not the end of the gun control debate. (, 12/21/04.)

Talking about gifts and presents, read Gerard Van der Leun's post, Free to American Digest Readers: The Quotable Sherlock Holmes. You could read about my X-mas gifts on my other blogs. For more information on one of the authors (P. G. Wodehouse), please read my post, AMERICAN DINING ETIQUETTE.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


You will find plenty of parties during this time of the year. It is no exception in the blogosphere. Check out the last Carnival of the Capitalist of 2004, at the Business Opportunities Weblog. Don't miss the Reason Roundup at the Charlotte Capitalist. If you are interested in starting a discussion on the true concept of egoism, have a look at the Radical Centrist's comment on my entry to the Carnival of the Vanities.

I noticed as I read through the submissions that bloggers, who have a reputation for being contrary and argumentative, are getting soft it seems. There is a definite trend towards the "easy sell" in this week's Carnival, of taking positions that everyone agrees with. Perhaps its the holiday spirit at work, we all want to be so nice this time of year. Pete resolves to gain weight, LaShawn wishes for fewer idiot commenters, Dee wants us to have more sex, Joe wants us to give ourselves more presents...these are not daring, radical positions! I guess, like Martin of the Ego blog, we all like to be liked. ...

Martin Lindeskog, an "American in Spirit" from Gothenburg, Sweden, likes to get his ego stroked. He likes it so much that he named his blog "Ego" and has chosen to end the year by reiterating the thanks he offered his ego gratifying readers last Thanksgiving. Some would say that being an unrepentant egoist definitely makes Martin an "American in Spirit", but I disagree. We Americans are much more likely to be egoists in denial. He's not really a true egoist, however. Martin blows his cover by admitting that he has been disturbed by some negative comments on his blog. A truly egotistic blogger is gratified with any attention at all, no matter how negative. They mix well with the egotistic commenters. (The Radical Centrist, Carnival of the Vanities #119, 12/29/04.)


I have added Blogexplosion to the Resources category. [Editor's comment: Do you think that my traffic will "explode" in 2005?!;)]

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


In the news:

China said yesterday its armed forces had a "sacred responsibility" to crush moves towards independence by Taiwan, whatever the cost, and described relations with the island as "grim". (The Financial Times, 12/28/04.)

My guess is that the dictators in Communist China are starting to get worried about the "wind of freedom," sweeping the world and the pro-independence movement.

From Digger Realm's post, China Continues Threats Against Taiwan, Will "Crush" Them.

It seems to me that this is all about ego. There really is no need economically or militarily for China to hang on to Taiwan. China has an ample supply of land and manpower. I am fairly ignorant of the relations and past animosities between the two nations and any other underlying issues other than the obvious political and egocentric reasons for China making this such an issue. Maybe someone could enlighten me a little more.

I hope that Condoleeza Rice has a different view on Taiwan than Colin Powell.

Powell, according to a State Department transcript, told Hong Kong's Phoenix Television, Taiwan "does not enjoy sovereignty as nation" and "that remains our policy, our firm policy." (The China Post, 12/28/04.)

I recommend you to read my post, REFERENDUM IN TAIWAN ON 03/20/04, and check out "Common Misconceptions about Taiwan" at (New Taiwan - Ilha Formosa).

Monday, December 27, 2004


I haven't written a post on Iran for some time, so it is time to underscore the continuous threats from the Mullahs in Iran. I say as Michael Ledeen: "Faster, please."

Martine Gozlan thinks that "the liberation won't come from America, but from women." I am not sure about this statement, after reading that the Iranian parliament is very quiet regarding the issue of the arrested journalists and bloggers. I think that Rob Sama's post, Smart mob war for Iran, is an interesting suggestion on how to conduct warfare.

Captive Audience

Here is a list of reading material:

The New York Sun editorial, Choices on Iran, gives George W. Bush suggestions on how to deal with the Mullahs. [Via DoctorZin's blog - Regime Change Iran.]

Strategically, Mr. Bush could go to the Congress and ask for an emergency appropriation to step up funding for radio, television, and Internet operations against the Iranian regime. He could fund training for Iranian democracy activists similar to the American-funded training given to Ukrainian democracy activists that has paid off so splendidly at Kiev. Yet Mr. Bush temporized, saying, "It's much different between the situation in Iraq and Iran because of this. Diplomacy had failed for 13 years in Iraq." This seemed intended as some kind of explanation of why the Iranian situation had not yet risen to the gravity of the pre-war situation in Iraq. (The New York Sun, 12/23/04.)

UPDATE 12/28/04:
Parthisan, a Persian student in the UK, has translated a post by Iran's Presidential adviser, Mohammad Ali Abtahi. [Link found on Sisu, via InstaPundit.]

Following a call from the President, the constitutional supervision committee -- of which I'm a member -- invited a number of imprisoned bloggers for a meeting to investigate about the way they were treated in prison. Mr Hanif Mazruee, Ghoreishi, Ms Fereshte Ghaazi, Naderpoor and Ms Mahboobeh Mollagholi attended the meeting. They told very important points about the unjustifiable treatment they had received, including: (, 12/28/04.)

Please read my post, BLOGAGANDA BY THE MULLAH, before you conclude that Abtahi is a friend of justice and a true supporter of the Iranian bloggers.

For more information on the political situation, read Bill Samii's analysis, Iran's Reformers Lack Viable Candidate.


In the news: Yushchenko wins Ukraine election.

Dick Morris has served as a consultant to Viktor Yushchenko. Read his article, Inside Ukraine's Freedom Fight. [Via Rob Tracinski's post, Inside the Orange Revolution.] Will the election outcome have a positive "domino effect" on other states? Pete du Pont, Chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, says:

That a genuine democratic revolution is underway is clear from Mr. Yushchenko's approximate 16 point margin in Sunday's re-election, an enormous victory for freedom that may encourage Belarus, Moldova and other Russian subsidiary states to end their totalitarianism too. (OpinionJournal, 12/27/04.)

From Putin's Big Blunder by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann:

We are picking up the seismic shock from the streets of Kiev in the little nation of Moldova, where we are helping the pro-democracy forces.

This tiny nation, formerly the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova, was once a province of Romania but was given to Moscow in the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939. Nominally independent since the Soviet Union broke up in '91, Moldova has actually been headed by a communist government that would like to go back under Russian hegemony. (, 12/22/04.)

I have to celebrate the orange revolution in Ukraine with a chestnut crêpe (gesztenye palacsinta) when I am back in Hungary in January.

UPDATE 12/28/04:
Read John Fund's article, From America With Love. Ukraine's new first lady knows what freedom really means.

Here is Robert Tracinski's comment (The American Roots of the Orange Revolution):
Meanwhile, free elections have won the day in Ukraine, where the "Orange Revolution" has won a decisive victory in one of the last battles of the Cold War. I have written before about how America's example is an important root of the Orange Revolution, but this report makes the link much more concrete, profiling the American-born, University-of-Chicago-educated wife of Ukrainian president-elect Viktor Yuschenko. (TIA Daily, 12/28/04.)


I have a classmate who is from Sri Lanka. She had planned to visit the country in January, but she doesn't know if she will go now. She told me that her relatives and friends are safe because they don't live close to the coastline.

Here are some sources on Tsunami:

UPDATE 12/28/04:
I have been "waiting" for the environmentalists to use this natural disaster for their own anti-man agenda. Here is an excerpt from an article (A Great Natural Disaster. Prosperity is the best defense against a tsunami.) in the OpinionJournal. [Via Cox & Forkum's post, Tsunami.]

One might think that a disaster of this scale would transcend normal national or political considerations. But in the world of environmental zealotry, even an event such as this is seen as an opportunity to press the agenda. Thus, the source of the South Asian tsunami is being located in global warming.

In an interview with the Independent newspaper in Britain, Stephen Tindale, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: "No one can ignore the relentless increase in extreme weather events and so-called natural disasters, which in reality are no more natural than a plastic Christmas tree." Speaking to the same newspaper, Friends of the Earth Director Tony Juniper pressed the argument home: "Here again are yet more events in the real world that are consistent with climate change predictions." It is perhaps appropriate that the strongest, recent refutation to such feverish assertions may be found in Michael Crichton's new thriller--also about environmental extremists, a tsunami and the myths of global warming. (OpinionJournal, 12/28/04.)


Have you read Michael Crichton's novel, State of Fear? Did you see John Stossel's interview (Michael Crichton Takes on Global Warming in Latest Work) with the author?

In "State of Fear," environmental groups set off terrorist acts to focus attention on global warming.

Crichton agrees the Earth is getting warmer. But he says there is little to worry about because the climate is always changing and there is no evidence to determine if the changes are manmade or natural. In fact he says, climate scientists admit they can't predict what temperatures will be in 100 years. (ABC News, 12/11/04.)

Thomas Bray (The Detroit Press) thinks that the "automotive execs should read State of Fear." Here is an excerpt from George F. Will's article, Book shows global warming is just so much hot air.

"State of Fear," with a first printing of 1.5 million copies, resembles Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" as a political broadside woven into an entertaining story. But whereas Rand had only an idea, a good one (capitalism is splendid), but only one -- Crichton has information. (The Oregonian, 12/26/04.)

Related: My post, HOT AIR III.

UPDATE 12/28/04:
Someone called Mark S. Lerner got a letter to the editor (Global Warming: Whose 'Hot Air' Is It?) published in The Washington Post.

George F. Will mischaracterizes Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged," saying Ms. Rand "had only an idea -- a good one (capitalism is splendid) -- but only one." He must not have finished the book (which is more than 1,000 pages). (The Washington Post, 12/28/04.)

Sunday, December 26, 2004


Could you tell me how big this made up holiday is? Here is quote by George W. Bush.

During Kwanzaa, millions of African Americans and people of African descent gather to celebrate their heritage and ancestry. Kwanzaa celebrations provide an opportunity to focus on the importance of family, community, and history, and to reflect on the Nguzo Saba or seven principles of African culture. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer / AP, 12/23/04.)

Here is an excerpt from William J. Bennetta's article, The Kwanzaa Hoax.

Karenga -- known chiefly as the inventor of Kwanzaa, a fake "African" holiday that he contrived in 1966 -- has enjoyed a truly colorful career. He was a prominent black nationalist during the 1960s, when his organization was involved in various violent operations. He was sent to prison in 1971, after he and some of his pals tortured two women with a soldering iron and a vise, among other things. ...

Karenga has concocted some bits of lore, lingo, and mumbo-jumbo that are intended to make Kwanzaa look like something out of Africa instead of something from Los Angeles County, but his efforts have been feeble. If you scan The Official Kwanzaa Web Site, you'll read that the origins of Kwanzaa lie in "the first harvest celebrations of Africa," which allegedly "are recorded in African history as far back as ancient Egypt and Nubia" -- but there is no explanation of why any ancient Egyptians or Nubians might have held harvest festivals around the time of the winter solstice, and there is no identification of the crops that they harvested. Karenga's formula for celebrating Kwanzaa requires the use of two ears of maize -- but maize is a New World plant, and it wasn't known at all in ancient Africa. (The Textbook Letter, September-October 2000.)

Saturday, December 25, 2004


Have a glass of wine and listen to Equinoxe by Jean Michel Jarre. It is time to celebrate that we are going toward brighter times! Read about the winter solstice and the "rebirth" of the sun.

Friday, December 24, 2004


Are you in the right XMAS SPIRIT? Scott Holleran made the following comment on the article, Christians protest actions that play down Christmas' religious nature.

There's nothing wrong with a Christmas tree in the local post office and the Crier agrees that Merry Christmas is better than the politically correct Happy Holidays (WHAT holidays?), but reclaiming Christmas as a religious holiday is a distortion of what Christmas really means: goodwill and cheer. Its origins have nothing whatever to do with Jesus Christ. (The Concord Crier, 12/22/04.)

Here is an excerpt from Leonard Peikoff's article, Why Christmas Should Be More Commercial.

All the best customs of Christmas, from carols to trees to spectacular decorations, have their root in pagan ideas and practices. These customs were greatly amplified by American culture, as the product of reason, science, business, worldliness, and egoism, i.e., the pursuit of happiness. (, 12/16/04.)

Take some time and visit the following bloggers and read their thoughts on Christmas:

For more gift ideas, check out The Body in Mind Christmas List by Leanne Bell and Quent Cordair Fine Art gift shop.

Okay, now I am feeling a bit hungry. I wonder if a "Virgin Mary grilled cheese sandwich" should be included as one of the dishes of the smorgasbord... [Via Greedy Girl.]

UPDATE 12/25/04:
Rob Tracinski has commented on James Q. Wilson's article, Christmas and Christianity. Why religion remains a mainstay of American culture. [Editor's note: Check out The Intellectual Activist blog.]

The deeper theme of the complaints about the "de-Christianizing of Christmas" is an attempt to argue that America is a Christian culture--that Christianity is at the root of the values we cherish. Wilson, for example, urges us to embrace "a secular government operating in a religious culture." ...

For years, the perennial Christmastime complaint was that Christmas was "too commercial" (which came largely from the anti-capitalism of the left). Now it looks like the perennial Christmas battle will be over whether American culture is, or should be, based on the moral code espoused by Jesus Christ. It's too bad we don't have a holiday to remember the achievements of the man whose influence on American culture is far more important than that of Christ--and to celebrate the values that he was the first to name and defend. (Is America a Christian Culture?, TIA Daily, 12/24/04.)

[Editor's comment: I look forward to my readers' suggestions on how to celebrate Aristotle.]

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Have you ever tasted Zwack Unicum? First time I had a sip of this liqueur, I thought it tasted like cough syrup. Here is an excerpt from Martin F. Downs's article, Das Ist ein Unikum!

The first sip you ever take sets your palette screaming, "No! This is not for you!" But if you press ahead and finish the glass, you will be glad you did. A warm sensation fills your body; and whereas the palette protests, the gut takes a liking to it immediately. It snuffs heartburn and mollifies a grumpy colon better than any pharmaceutical I've tried. (The Alicubi Journal, 12/20/01.)

It will probably take me some time to acquire a taste for this product, but I must say that I like the success story of the Zwack company. Győri Likőrgyár had to stop selling a product by the name, Hungaricum.

Here is an excerpt from Zwack's web site:

The first signs of political and economic changes brought Peter Zwack back to Hungary to become the first leading capitalist to purchase back a business which had been unlawfully expropriated by the Communist government. In 1990 Peter Zwack resumed production in Hungary of the famous Unicum digestive liqueur according to the original secret family formula. (

Originally uploaded by Lyceum.


UPDATE 12/26/04:
A couple of sips later and I am getting used to the unique taste of Unicum. The Unicum brand is very strong and the bottle is designed in a way that stands out in the crowd of other spirits. Tamás Tárczy has written a story on Hungarian design.

The well-known Unicum, the herbal digestive liquor from Zwack, comes in a green spherical bottle that makes the drink easy to recognize everywhere. But very few know that this design is unchanged from 1915. In effect, Unicum became unique by staying the same. (The Budapest Sun, Designer details, 12/09/04.)


If you are interested to know what they write about in the "European non-English-language press," check out EuroSavant. I will follow the Hungarian category on a regular basis, when I am back in Sopron in January.

But "EuroSavant"? I'm not even European, but an American by citizenship (although born outside of America, to parents on diplomatic assignment for the U.S. Department of State. And so the Constitution decrees that I'm ineligible ever to become President - not a "natural born citizen," you see.). But I've lived in Europe for fourteen years running now, in five different European countries, ever since I was stationed to Germany in late 1989 as a US Army armor lieutenant. (Why EuroSavant?)

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


You could find out who is linking to EGO, by scrolling down to the About category and clicking on "Who Links Here." [Hat tip to Jay Solo.]


BlogPulse's "key phrases" RSS feed hasn't been working on my blog for some time, so I have changed it to the "top links" feed instead. Here is a highlight of the year in review: Cox & Forkum has been cited 3159 times and was ranked as number 56 of the top blogs.


I will celebrate X-mas in Sweden. My project place in Hungary is closed for two weeks, so I decided to go back to Sweden. I will have some time for blogging during the holidays, but I am still working on my school project during this period, doing research locally.

I have to catch up on what is going on in the socialist "paradise," so I could write some posts in Swedish.

On my other blog, I will write some personal reflections on this year's achievements, plans for the future, and control gates and milestones for 2005.


I got very interested in Jean Moroney's course, Tackling Hard Thinking, after reading Dr. Ellen Kenner's post on HBL. Go to Thinking Directions and sign up for Jean Moroney's newsletter. In the latest issue, she wrote about Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. [Note to self: Put Ellen Kenner's course, Bringing Out the Heroic in Yourself, on the "someday / maybe" list. See page 168.]


Yesterday I got my first issue of The Economist. [Editor's note: O.Q.: Thanks for the gift subscription!] Do you think that the religious right has got a stronger position in the GOP, 50 days after the election? Please read the article, A hot line to heaven, for a discussion on George W. Bush's religious belief.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


I have signed up for CrispAds. I read about this service on Dan Sherman's blog, via Dave Stone's blog. Here is an excerpt from Adam L. Penenberg's article, RSS: Show Me the Money.

As soon as mainstream publishers incorporated RSS feeds into their web businesses, you knew that ideas on how to make money from them would inevitably follow. This almost always means advertising, the bane of readers' existence, but it's the reason most content on the net remains free for the asking. So while some may protest the idea of monetizing RSS, it's inevitable. The trick will be to make it as unobtrusive as possible. (Wired News, 12/09/04.)


Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Here is a quote from Gundel's Hungarian Cookbook:

The modern trend in music is the creation of cacophony, random mixture and the dissolving of sounds, the emphasis of rhythm over melody ... the search for exotic effects. Gastronomy as a form of art is searching for harmony in both the preparation of dishes and the selection of menus ... and in this coincides with musical trends only in that is searches for novelty. (Károly Gundel, 1934, page 88, ISBN 963 13 5286 2.)

If you are hungry for American food, check out my post, PAPA JOE'S.


Go to Pestiside for a satirical take on the recent elections in Hungary and Romania.


Stop by Rob Sama's place and wish him a happy birthday. [Editor's question to Rob: Did you have a happy meal at McDonald's?] Supermodels are welcoming you at the entrance of the Carnival of the Capitalists... Don't forget the Reason Roundup at the Charlotte Capitalist.

Monday, December 13, 2004


Here is an excerpt from an article by Luke Johnson, chairman of Signature Restaurants and Channel 4.

Ayn Rand, the author of The Fountainhead and inventor of objectivism, was perhaps the foremost exponent of the unfettered philosophy of laissez-faire capitalism. She originated "the concept of man as a heroic being" with "productive achievement as his noblest activity". Her books and beliefs remain popular today. Eddie Lampert, the Wunderkind behind the recent merger of retailers Sears and Kmart, is apparently an advocate. (Why we want to make money,, 12/12/04.)


Time to watch Bill O'Reilly's show again. From Betsy Speicher's CyberNet:

DR. YARON BROOK, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, is scheduled to be interviewed on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor" on Monday, December 13, 2004. The topic will be Iraq. This program airs at 8PM and 11PM ET (5PM and 8PM PT). Check your local listings for exact times in your area. (CyberNet, 12/12/04.)

UPDATE 12/17/04:
The interview is re-scheduled for this evening (Friday, at 20:00 and 23:00 EST). [Hat tip to Betsy Speicher's CyberNet.]


I will try to add new photos at my travelblog on a regular basis. You could now see a photo of the Roman wall in Sopron. If you want to see more pictures from the Austrian-Hungarian border, please send me an email and I will send you an invitation to my photo album at Flickr.


I recently had an EGO müsli bar by I.D.C. [Editor's comment: I wonder if I have "corned" the (corn) market for the keyword EGO now?! ;)]

Friday, December 10, 2004


Here is an interesting historical tidbit on the importance of an objective standard when it comes to money and trade. [Editor's note: Please note that SJC goldsmith business has a new site under construction: In the meantime, you could send inquiries to my friend's new email address (christers AT gmail DOT com), or send an email to me and I will forward it to Christer Sjöback.]

In the early 18th century the army of Napoleon took the town, and one of the leading grape varieties, Blue Frankish, comes from the blue colour of the French currency. (Sopron Wine Region,

My local school contact here in Sopron told me why the wine makers started to call a grape for Kékfrankos (Blau Fränkisch). The story goes as follows. Napoleon's troops liked to drink wine. The wine sellers demanded to get paid in the original currency - blue franc - instead of the war money with a different color (white, I think), due to the uncertainty of a solid backing of the new currency. Here is a quote from a book with the title, Sopron at the Millennium:

The 19th century also brought wars to Sopron, but again, wine saved the town, as the invading troops of Napoleon left without making any havoc in exchange for 200,000 liters of wine... (Page 26.)

I went to to a wine manufacturer called Lővér Pince / Sop-Vin Kft and purchased a bottle of Kékfrankos 2002 for HUF 780. The wine label is painting of two soldiers drinking wine and one of them is holding a blue franc note. I got an old box free of charge as a reminder of the bad times. Állami gazdaság means state owned estate / farm in Hungarian. The designation Kft stands for a private company.

On a related note, check out Free The Grapes! [Via Small Business Trends.]

UPDATE 12/12/04: For more on victories for Soproni wine, read my post, SOPRONI CABERNET SAUVIGNON.


István Széchenyi seemed to be a fascinating character. He wanted to connect Buda and Pest, so he took the initiative to build a chain bridge.


I went to the Hungarian-Austrian border in Sopron and took a photo of the Iron Curtain. Do you see the watch tower? Read about the Pan-European picnic on August 19, 1989, and how "the pulling down of the Berlin Wall began in Sopron..."

Thursday, December 9, 2004


I have a bunch of posts in the pipeline. It is an interesting range of topics from a guided tour in Sopron and its surroundings. You will read about an important "picnic" close to the Austrian border, a bridge builder, and the relation between wine business and the right color of money. I hope I will have time to publish them tomorrow or sometime during this weekend.

I have now followed the suggestion by Miklos of Blogads in Budapest, and added the script to my other two blogs as a bonus for my advertisers. Talking about blog advertising, read the article, The Business of Blogging, in the Business Week. [Via Henry Copeland.]


Have you read They Made America: Two Centuries of Innovators from the Steam Engine to the Search Engine by Harold Evans? I got very interested in this book after reading F.J.'s post on HBL (December 8) regarding a story in the USA Today. If you are interested in inventions, read Anita Campbell's PowerBlog Review: Patent Pending. Talking about innovators, don't miss this week's edition of the Carnival of the Capitalists at The Entrepreneurial Mind with Dr. Jeffrey R. Cornwall and the Reason Roundup at The Charlotte Capitalist.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004


John Cox & Allen Forkum's new book, Black & White World II, will be the Book of this Month. I will add the Amazon banner later on.

UPDATE 12/02/04:
I have now added the Amazon banner, but I don't know about the availability from Amazon at the moment. See Allen's post, New Book and -- UPDATED, for more information.

Capitalist Holiday Spirit! (12/02/03)

Related: My post, BLACK & WHITE WORLD.

UPDATE 12/06/04:
You could now order the book from Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. If you want to support this blog, order the book by clicking on the Book of the Month banner or Cox & Forkum's Blogad. Please, read Jackson Crawford's post, Black and White World II.


Ok, so it is official: Blog is the word of the year 2004 according to Merriam-Webster. Read why 2004 was the year of the blog at BBC News.


I recently purchased some groceries at a Tesco store. It had a great selection of goods at low prices, open 24 hours a day. It would be nice with this kind of store in Sweden. I got use to this service back in Ohio with e.g., Kroger and Meijer. Tesco has 60 stores in Hungary. It is the leading online grocery store and it is now expanding its business with a TV channel and a "retail- based education institution." The stock analysts are giving Tesco a good grade. In the October issue of the logistics magazine, Tranzit, it was an article (10 éves a Tesco-Global Áruházak Rt.) on Tesco and its 10 years in Hungary. I will see if I can get a short translation and summary of it by a colleague.

UPDATE: It looks like a competitor is entering the Hungarian market. German discount supermarket, Lidl, has opened its doors in Hungary, but the company is experiencing start up problems according to a colleague at my work. Lidl has also been accused by Tesco for "destroying" the market by selling the products below cost price and that is "illegal" for some reason. I have to look into this situation a bit more...

UPDATE 12/02/04:
I don't have any more information regarding Tesco's complaints against Lidl, but here is a news story on Lidl in Scandinavia and what's happening with the local chain, ICA.

Monday, November 29, 2004


Lots of elections (Ukraine, Romania, Hungary) taking place in the eastern part of the world. As I said before, I am trying to find information (in English) about the recent election here in Sopron. In the meantime, have a glass of wine...

Sunday, November 28, 2004


I went to the local library (könyvtár) the other day. It was great to see two of Ayn Rand's books (We the Living and Anthem) on the shelf. I borrowed the following books:

Embers by Sándor Márai.
The Gladiators by Arthur Koestler.
Szép Lehetsz and Papycsban by George Mikes. I have to find someone who could translate these books for me! ;)


This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


On this Thanksgiving day I want to thank my fellow bloggers and readers who have giving me support regarding my post, COMMENTS AND FEEDBACK. I appreciate your comments very much and I value our exchange of ideas and thoughts. The anonymous commenter thought that "laissez-faire is a little passe," but I don't get that message when I read about the latest merger between Kmart and Sears. Have you read James Politi's article, The dynamic recluse? [Hat tip to my friend Jerry Nilson who wrote about this article on HBL, 11/22/04.]

Related: My post, JAMESTOWN.


Yesterday I went to Budapest. I will publish some photos on my travelblog later on. I had the pleasure to meet the good folks from the Hungarian division of Blogads. Dóra used my camera and took this picture.

Ego, Bàlint, Miklós, Tamás

In the news:
Go Ahead and Blog It (Deutsche Welle).
Marqui Product Placement in Blogs (


Saturday, November 20, 2004


I appreciate that my readers take time to comment on my posts and give me valuable feedback, but I have a bit problem with this kind of "constructive" criticism:

Not up for a long comment, but stop echoing all the neocon clueless nutcases. If you're suggesting 9/11 can be traced to Iran, you have no clue what you're talking about. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. Think for yourself. Stop echoing these idiots.

And while I'm at it, you know laissez-faire is a little passe. You want true laissez-faire? I hope you like great depressions.

Maybe I should take a break from blogging...

Sunday, November 14, 2004


It is fascinating to see how the globalization of the financial markets is evolving. Now when I am staying in Hungary for some time, I wanted to learn more about the Hungarian stock exchange. The exchange closed down after Hungary "entered" the Eastern Block region and the country became a satellite state of the Soviet Union. It opened its doors again in 1990, after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Back in the day, it was the third biggest exchange in Europe. Dragos Novac is following what is going on in Romania. He reported on May 25 [Editor's note: My birthday!] that the Vienna Stock Exchange bought a piece of the exchange in Budapest, and the Nordic OMX exchange acquired a big stake in the Lithuanian stock exchange.

Friday, November 12, 2004


This is a quick post with a "desserts" of links. I have to get an American calendar so I could be on top of things what's happening "over there." If you know a good site with American holidays, please send me an email or post a comment. You are welcome to add links to new interesting posts. I am trying to catch up... ;) Talking about holidays, on Wednesday it was my "name day." I have a potential business idea regarding the celebration of "name days." Yesterday it was St. Martin's Day. Luckily they got rid of "Martin Luther" in the Swedish almanac, but I could assure you that his ideas are still ingrained in the Swedish society...

I am glad that I am not in Sweden at the moment... Look what "our" Prime Minister is doing:

Persson led Sweden’s tributes to the Palestinian leader, who died in a Paris hospital on Thursday. Persson said that he felt “sadness” for the passing of a “great political leader”, reported Dagens Nyheter. He was less equivocal in his praise of Arafat than many of his counterparts in other countries, and credited Arafat with creating a national identity for the Palestinian people. ...
While most other Western countries will be represented at the funeral by their foreign ministers, Persson has opted to attend the ceremony in person. This reflects Sweden’s longstanding close relationship with the Palestinian leadership. (James Savage, The Local, 11/11/04.)

This weekend I will report on an election going on in Sopron, if I get hold of a newspaper written in English.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


I have created a travel journal at I will catch up with new posts later on this week. Egészségére!


I am bit late with this book of the month, but here it is: Hungary by Zsuzsanna Ardó.

Sunday, November 7, 2004


I am soon going to Sopron, Hungary, so I thought it could be interesting to do a quick check on the Hungarian business climate. Tamás S. Kiss of The Budapest Sun reports:

The National Entrepreneurs' and Employers' Association (VOSZ) and the Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Trade (MKIK) have announced their dissatisfaction with the government's current economic policy, and unfavorable tax burdens, at a joint conference. (Budapest Sun, 11/04/04.)

I am glad to hear that the public health authority has lifted the ban on several paprika products. I don't think that the nonprofit advocacy group, Truth About Trade and Technology, would agree with the following statement by John Horvath:

The paprika scare is just another example of the pitfalls of industrialised agriculture and, more importantly, the dangers of globalisation. There is little control or oversight when it comes to the production process. In this case, not only was the paprika tainted, but a type of chemical was used (probably as a pesticide) which had long been banned in the EU. If there is a silver lining to be found in this dark cloud, it's that the true meaning of globalisation may finally hit home to many Hungarians. (Paprika Panic, Heise Zeitschriften Verlag, 11/02/04.)

In the news: Hungary Gives Bush Unpleasant Reelection Present.


The Islamic terror started in Iran, 25 years ago. It is important to understand where the headquarters of terrorism is located when you are conducting the war on terror... Here is an excerpt from Amir Taheri's article, It All Started in Tehran. [Via Blog-Iran.]

In a sense the Nov. 4, 1979 attack on the US Embassy in Tehran could be regarded as the opening scene of a long drama that reached its catharsis on Sept. 11, 2001. ...

The surprising show of weakness from Washington also encouraged the mullas and the hostage-holders to come up with a fresh demand each day. (Arab News, 10/30/04.)

Go and read Dr. Rusty Shackleford's (The Jawa Report) post, Islamists Declared War on the US 25 Years Ago Today. [Via The Politburo Diktat.]

September 11th may have awakened us to the fact that we were at war, but that war had been declared long ago. It was declared 25 years ago today by the extremists in Iran. Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is seeking nuclear technology--technology that could lead to the development of nuclear weapons--and the Europeans have taken the Carter route in dealing with the mullahs. For each concession given to them by the Europeans, the jihadis in Iran see Western weakness. They saw this weakness in the US as we gave them cash in exchange for the hostages. They saw this weakness as Reagan retreated from Lebanon. We can bear to show them weakness no more. (, 11/04/04.)

Scott Holleran has plenty of links in his newsletter (November 4 issue) The Concord Crier. Here is a selection:

Here is an excerpt from Scott Holleran's article, U.S. Policy Towards Iran: 25 Years Of Denial.

The terms of appeasement were set in 1979, when the war was first declared and America refused to respond with military action. President Carter, who had nixed a plan to assassinate the Ayatollah Khomeini, instead negotiated with the Islamist state, releasing blocked funds. Only then did Iran return America's prisoners of war in what was widely (and wrongly) heralded as a victory for America's new president, Ronald Reagan. (Capitalism Magazine, 11/05/04.)

It's time to stop this appeasement policy, otherwise you will see more of these attacks coming in the future:

Reporters Without Borders voiced dismay today at the murder yesterday in Amsterdam of Theo Van Gogh, a controversial filmmaker, writer and columnist known for mordant and provocative views who had received death threats after a film he had made about Islam was recently shown on television. (, 11/03/04.)

Go to Zacht Ei for more on the situation in Holland after the murder of Theo Van Gogh. [Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.]

Look what's happening in the blogosphere! From Hossein Derakhshan's (a.k.a Hoder) post, Worrying death threat.

U.S. election aside, hot topic of the last couple of weeks in Persian blogosphere has been a blog called "Islamic Army" in which its anonymous author has threaten a big list of Iranian blogger for their "insults" to Allah, Prophet Mohammad and other Shia Imams. (, 11/05/04.)

Lighting The Way

Jihâd fi sabîl Allâh is a deadly threat against the rational pursuit of happiness!

Do Not Read This

Wednesday, November 3, 2004


I must admit that I am glad that the Presidential race is over for this time. I want to quote Robert Tracinski and Mark Wickens in order to give my readers an inkling on how I feel about George W. Bush's victory over John F. Kerry.

I start out with describing my first reaction to the election results, by an excerpt from Robert Tracinski's article, The War Verdict. America Did Not Let Us Down.

I am enormously relieved by the results of yesterday's voting. I am relieved only partly because I believe President Bush's war policy, for all of its faults, will be significantly better than John Kerry's. At a deeper level, I am relieved because this election was more than a judgment about the relative merits of George Bush and John Kerry: it was a report on the state of the American spirit. ...

Yesterday, the American people did not let us down. They defied bin Laden and his Western allies and apologists. They voted to reassert America's fighting spirit. (TIA Daily, 11/03/04.)

I have to add a "but" and "question mark" to the forthcoming period of four more years with Bush, by giving you an excerpt from Mark's post, My mixed feelings on the election.

Now is when all the people who voted for Bush on foreign policy issues need to do an instant 180 and oppose him forcefully on every attempt to insert the Bible into US law. (, 11/03/04.)

I know that many people in Europe have a problem with understanding the American system of the Electoral College, so here are some resources for my international readers:

So, what's happening now? Read Warren Meyer's post, Something Unusual Will Happen in 2008. [Via InstaPundit.] You will find my take on the issue of Republican candidates in 2008, by reading my post, THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE IS NOT AN ALTERNATIVE.

The Swedish Prime Minister, Göran Persson's comment on the re-election of Bush, sums up the Anti-Americanism in Europe:

Sweden and Europe will continue to criticize Bush the same way as earlier. But I do not believe that he will be more willing to listen to it. (ABC News / AP, 11/03/04.)

It looks like several of the players of the leftist mainstream media have a hard time to cope with the situation:

Roger L. Simon is asking the media several questions, in his post, "Blogging Machine" here.

For more comments, check out:

Monday, November 1, 2004


Carnival of the Capitalists is hosted this week by Will Pate. Here is his welcome message:

Thanks and welcome to my first hosting of the Carnival of the Capitalists - relatively politics free. I've made a deliberate effort to avoid posts that were mostly based on politics. It may be November 1st on an election year, but as a Canadian I want us to remember that the US isn't the center of the universe. Besides, we're better when we stick to the business at hand: business! So if your post with a political bent got left out, don't take it personally - they were all great submissions. :) (, 11/01/04.)

Personally, I think that the U.S. is the clear "center of the universe," and Canada is close to it due the fact it is a neighbor to America. Sweden is almost off the map, up far too north... My entry on currencies didn't make the cut. I probably sent the post too late. Andy Clarkson of Charlotte Capitalist has managed to write a post on business and trade together with politics, by including a trading graph by TradeSports and his analysis on the predicted Presidential election results. Don't miss his post of yesterday: Reason Roundup.

Sunday, October 31, 2004


I attended a purchasing / logistics meeting on October 10. It was the "annual state of the market barometer" discussion. The speaker was an analyst at an investment / merchant unit of a big bank. He predicted that for one dollar you will receive 7.09 SEK (Swedish currency) in September 2005. Today is already under this level at SEK 7.02. If you look at the USD to SEK over one year period you will get an average of around 7.47 with a high of 7.94 and a low of 7.04. Here is an excerpt from John Mauldin's article, Premise #3: A Falling Dollar:

Speaking of ebb and flow, the dollar is not on some permanent downward path. It will find a bottom, probably ridiculously low, the trade deficit thing will get sorted out and then the dollar will start to rise. As an example, I think Europe has more long term structural problems than the US (I am speaking in terms of decades, not years) and would not be surprised to see the dollar and the euro at parity in 10-15-20 years. (, 10/29/04.)

More thoughts on other currencies. What will the ban on paprika do to the Hungarian economy? Will I get more Forints when I go to the Forex exchange next week?

Fidel Castro must be groggy after falling down the stairs... Here is an excerpt from Mary Murray's article, Cubans leery over dollar dumping:

Starting Nov. 8, Cuban stores and restaurants will no longer accept the American currency as legal tender. Instead, the local convertible peso becomes king, ruling over all international hard currencies, even though it carries no purchasing power off the island. (NBC News, 10/28/04.)


Here is a note to the religious people: Go and read Halloween is on a Sunday this year... by Dana Jones of Note-It Posts. Andrew Dalton says the following in his post, Anti-Halloween idiocy:

Every Christian child needs to know that Sunday is for Jesus, while the other days of the week are for celebrating the devil. (Venting Steam, 10/15/04.)

Go to The Landover Baptist for information on "how to crash Satan's birthday party and ruin Halloween."

Do you have any good recipe with pumpkin as an ingredient? I have to go to Sarah Kiser's blog, Mountaineer Musings, and check out this week's edition of Carnival of the Recipes. Talking about pumpkins, click on the ad by Body in Mind and discover a gallery of "a beautiful harvest." I am sure that model Marina will sell plenty of pumpkins. Here is an excerpt from Selling Pumpkins - Part 1 by Dwayne Bell:

In a week when the government of Spain and the women of Canada are attacking the use of female beauty to sell us values as diverse and wide-ranging as women's film-making and professional tennis, we at Body in Mind are proud to offer the world a colourful garden of female beauty in full bloom - our tribute to female beauty's power to sell - Marina selling pumpkins by Valery Anzilov. (Body in Mind, 10/17/04.)

Saturday, October 30, 2004


Our lecturer on the Middle East, Sune Persson, said that a big problem with the "Palestinian Authority" is the lack of defined rules on how to pick a successor after Yasser Arafat. Here is an excerpt from Ewa Björling's article, Aiding Palestinian Propaganda:

In September 1997, Sune Persson, an associate professor of research at Goteborg University, presented a report commissioned by Sida on the PA. This report, which was based on field studies, interviews and primarily Palestinian background material, concluded that Swedish direct aid to the PA should cease and that the assistance should be given to the Palestinian civil society instead. (The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies / Wall Street Journal, 03/15/04.)



My blog hasn't been bombarded with spam yet, but I want to address one issue. Someone with the nickname, "dagny," has been promoting "her" shop @ CaféPress in several comments. I sent an e-mail about it, but I haven't received any answer yet.

Here is my e-mail (10/26/04):

You have promoted your business (without asking first) in my comment feature on my blog. Why have you added the same comment on plenty of my posts? Don't you understand that individuals who read my blog could get the impression that this is a form of spam?

By the way: Have you asked for permission from Ayn Rand's heir before you used the name of Ayn Rand's character in Atlas Shrugged?

Best Premises,

Martin Lindeskog

Do you think that I have over reacted? I am fully aware that this post will give additional exposure to "dagny"'s "W.I.J.G?" business, but what the heck... I had to vent a bit! I will give "dagny" a couple of days to send me an explanation before I delete the comments.

Friday, October 29, 2004


In the news: Al-Jazeera broadcasts bin Laden tape.

What a "surprise." Osama bin Laden has now mentioned Sweden as a "freedom loving country" and an ally in his terrorist activities...

Let him tell us why we did not strike Sweden, for example. It is known that those who hate freedom do not have proud souls, like the souls of the 19 people [killed while perpetrating the 11 September 2001 attacks], may God have mercy on them. (BBC, 10/29/04.)

Here is a slightly different version:

He should tell us why we didn't hit Sweden for instance. It is known that those who hate freedom don't have dignified souls like the 19 who were blessed. (The Command Post, 10/29/04.)

Go to Diggers Realm for further O.B.L. updates.

Osama bin Laden talks about the "towers in Lebanon." I suggest that you go to and learn "why Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982."



Check out Scott Holleran's electronic newsletter, The Concord Crier. Here are excerpts from two of Scott Holleran's recent pieces:

The first article is on the upcoming Presidential election.

Three years after America's worst attack, the President has failed to strike the enemy's core. Every major state sponsor of Islamic terrorism, especially Iran, is firmly entrenched, if not emboldened. Al Qaeda is still active, beheading and bombing Americans across the globe. Both U.S.-led incursions, neither of which were proper declarations of war, accomplished nothing meaningful for America's defense; by most accounts, Afghanistan's Taliban rulers dispersed and, seen with the most rose-colored glasses, the Iraq invasion has been transformed into an act of altruism with America's soldiers as Christian missionaries. (, John Kerry For President, 10/28/04.)

The second article is a review of the movie, Shall We Dance? [Editor's note: Read my post, LET'S DANCE.]

Though no one will mistake Miramax's Shall We Dance for a classic Fred Astaire musical, director Peter Chelsom's romantic dance comedy makes you want to grab a dish and dance 'til dawn. The jovial remake, based on director Masayuki Suo's Japanese movie of the same name and written by Audrey Wells (Under the Tuscan Sun), captures the original picture's thematic undercurrent that happiness is the point of life. (, Invitation to the Dance, 10/15/04.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Anita Campbell (Small Business Trends) did comment on my post, 4 MORE YEARS WITH BUSH? Could you tell me if you should take into account the future members of the Supreme Court when it is time to cast your vote in the Presidential election? Here is an excerpt from Charles Hurt's article, Rehnquist's illness raises stakes in election [link via TIA Daily]:

If Reagan appointee Robert Bork — whose Supreme Court nomination was rejected by the Democrat-controlled Senate in 1987 — had been confirmed, "Roe v. Wade would already have been overturned," said Mr. Neas, referring to the decision that guarantees the right to abortion.
Mr. Rushton said the prospect of Chief Justice Rehnquist's retirement frightens conservatives even more.
"People don't want a court that is going to set a whole lot of social policy or completely scrub religion from the public square," he said. "Average folks don't want the court mandating gay marriage." (The Washington Times, 10/26/04.)

Related: My post, ANTONIN SCALIA.

UPDATE 10/29/04:
Here is an excerpt from Adrian Apollo's site

There's an ill wind blowing in the halls of the beloved institution we call the Supreme Court. Within its hallowed halls, a secular sacrilege is billowing--seeping under the doors and threatening to overtake us if we do not wake up immediately and take emergency action. What's the source of the danger? Short answer: SCALIA.

Monday, October 25, 2004


This week's Carnival of the Capitalists is hosted by The Big Picture. Plenty of interesting posts, covering a wide range of topics, e.g, the Internet, Alan Greenspan & the Federal Reserve, taxes and government, economics, markets, entrepreneurs and small business. Don't forget to get a dose of reason over at The Charlotte Capitalist.


After watching an episode (The Dogs of War) of The West Wing [Editor's note: It is titled "The White House" here in Sweden and it is the 5th season.] I thought it could be a good idea to write another post on the Mullahs and how they are a threat to the Western world. Could you point me to articles and statements by Bush and Kerry, dealing with a strong foreign policy when it comes to Iran? I think the activists over at Blog-Iran have a good Weekend Homework Assignment:

For our take-home assignment this weekend, why doesn't everyone read or re-read Michael Ledeen's latest article "Iran, When?" and follow it up with a 1 - 2 paragraph response as to why you think President Bush and Senator Kerry have spoken so little about freedom and human rights in Iran, especially since the regime of Ayatollahs is by far the biggest sponsor of terrorism throughout the world and in Iraq, and by any objective standards, a far greater threat than Saddam Hussein ever was. (, 10/23/04.)

The time is running out... I have said it before, but I repeat: the solution is not to have a "dialogue" with the Mullahs. Dan Darling of Winds of Change says:

It is also my belief that the people, likely in the State Department, who leaked details of the early 2002 negotiations with Iran to the Post are not reporting the full details of what was going on. The article makes some valid criticisms of the administration’s approach to the war on terrorism, and I’d still recommend reading it. But there are some egregious errors that the Washington Post makes in this story, either out of ignorance or by design, and as such I thought I’d feel free to point them out. (The Command Post, Iran, al-Qaeda and the High Value Targets List, 10/25/04.)

If you want to keep updated on the situation in Iran, subscribe to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty analytical reports. Here is an excerpt from latest issue, compiled by A. William Samii:

About 150 people gathered at the Society of Professional Journalists' office in Tehran on 21 October to protest the continuing arrests of Iranian journalists and Internet activists, the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) and dpa reported. Those at the gathering decided to send a letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asking that the judiciary cease its actions against journalists and the media. (, Online journalists caught in 'spiderweb', 10/25/04.)

More on this:
[Editor's note: I wonder if Tereza has more information about what's going on in the news media...]