Sunday 25 February 2007

How to upset libertarians

Having had my share of discussions (or, rather, "discussions") with libertarians I found this article quite funny and pretty spot on. Some of the comments are also extremely funny and/or spot on. I had to add my two cents worth to them:

As has been proved above, one good way of shutting up a libertarians mouth is to ask them to explain what makes property a "right". It is just a social contract, very much like taxes are. Just as well there are people who do not believe in property (communists), what makes them more wrong than anyone who thinks property is more than just a contract? Both are (silly) belief systems.

The most common argument given is the one about land ownership: if you cultivate and improve a piece of land it gives you the right to that land. This might have worked back in the days when the West was conquered (although Indians might have a say on that) but today a lot of land and property is just owned, not cultivated. What gives people the ownership to them? A social contract, nothing more. We have agreed that someone who buys a lot owns it regardless of what he does with it (within limits, of course).

There was a case of a factory in Argentina, where the owners just basically disappeared and left the factory and workers because the factory wasn't making any money. The workers took over the factory and eventually it started to make money again. Then the owners came back and stated the factory is theirs. Is it? They clearly abandoned it, although not in the same sense as you abandon an empty bottle by throwing it into a bin.

But if that give priviledge to property it leads to rather interesting questions. If someone owns several apartments and keeps some of them empty can anyone move in and claim it theirs? If someone owns several vehicles but never uses some of them, can someone just take them? If not, why not? Again, we have just made a pact that it can't be done, nothing more, nothing less. Just as we have made a pact that part of the money you get goes to this common pool used to provide different kinds of benefits and services to all of us.

Tuesday 20 February 2007

Favourite music

There is a bit of challenge going on at RYM and I decided to take it up. Here's what I came up with. It was quite a task!

Wednesday 14 February 2007

The Who concert

The Who is having a concert in Finland in July for the first time since the 60's and - remembering that both Townshend and Daltrey have quite a few miles in the clock - possibly the last so naturally I was at Lippupalvelu's website at 9:00am this morning.

I had the a ticket for the best places (in front of the stage) all but paid up when - bam - the bank system refused connection and I couldn't pay. So I had to start over the process and guess what? All the best places were taken. Now I have crappy seat I paid almost 80 euros for thanks to the bleeding bank.

Note to self: never trust a bank again. Pay with VISA.

Just to show how bad the seat is, here's an image of the arena:

My seat is in section 108 (stage is where it says "Lava"). My seat is in row 19, seat 11, see section 108 seating map (this image is too big to fit to this page). Almost top row and as far to the left as possible which means the angle is as small as possible.

I was so angry in the morning I nearly smashed my LCD screen.

EDIT: It turned out the place wasn't so bad after all. The view was pretty good, certainly better than most people on floor level.

Saturday 10 February 2007

Something Else by The Kinks

I just finished writing a short review of the fantastic Kinks album Something Else for RYM which contains one of the greatest pop songs ever.

Something Else might fool people to think this is some of in-between or conceptual album by The Kinks, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Something Else is in fact one of the groups best albums. B-side in particular is superb. Only "End of the Season" might sound out of place until you realise it's Ray Davies's way of giving the finger to the whole summer of love thing. He has never been one to follow suit. The album is of course capped of by one of the greatest pop songs ever written, "Waterloo Sunset" but "Afternoon Tea", "Love Me Till The Sun Shines", "Two Sisters" and "Situation Vacant" are great pop songs as well. The only song I would swap out from this album is "No Return".

This album was released almost simultaneously with Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band so it's interesting to compare the two. Sgt Pepper's is an excellent album as well but I think Something Else shades it. Overall quality is better and this sounds more like an album rather than a collection of songs. And this album has a more universal sound to it. If someone made an album that sounded like Sgt Pepper's it would just sound old or odd. An album sounding like Something Else wouldn't sound out of place. This isn't a dig at Beatles, White Album and Revolver are superb albums, Sgt Pepper's just is a bit over-rated and shades some other contemporary albums for no reason.