Csíkszereda Musings

My life in and around Csíkszereda, also known as Miercurea Ciuc.

Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Unwelcome Germans

Posted by Andy Hockley on 19 January, 2007

Hurricane Kyrill has swept across us this morning after leaving Bavaria. Driving rain and high winds and a stunning rainbow have so far been the effects. Bits of trees falling off and that kind of thing. Still, nothing compared to what Ireland, Britain, France, Holland and Germany got, if the pictures on the news this morning are anything to go by. [What kind of name is Kyrill anyway? Is it Russian? I’ve never heard it before] Apparently we’re on “yellow alert”, whatever the hell that means. No-one seems to have a clue. But it sounds impressively “we’re on top of the situation, people, no need to worry.”

Our second unwelcome teutonic visitor is German measles (rubella), which Paula was diagnosed with yesterday. Still, it’s the easiest of all the childhood ailments, so now her fever has gone it’s just a question of keeping her at home and seeing what pictures you can make by joining up the spots on her chest. [I ought to point out that the name german measles has absolutely nothing to do with Germany, and is apparently derived from the Latin word “germanus” meaning “similar” since rubella is similar to measles. So now you know.]

In other Romanian news, the government is falling apart, having held themselves together long enough to get into the EU. It seems like everyone in the governing coalition hates everyone else, and we’ll have some form of election sooner rather than later. Also some bones were found in the rest of the country, which according to all the media sources I’ve read, including things like the BBC, say “prove” that European humans continued to evolve after migrating from Africa. Which, as far as I am aware, is like saying that a fossil of a fallen apple “proves” that gravity existed 10,000 years ago. Who writes all this stuff?

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Posted in news | 2 Comments »

Unwelcome Germans

Posted by Andy Hockley on 19 January, 2007

Hurricane Kyrill has swept across us this morning after leaving Bavaria. Driving rain and high winds and a stunning rainbow have so far been the effects. Bits of trees falling off and that kind of thing. Still, nothing compared to what Ireland, Britain, France, Holland and Germany got, if the pictures on the news this morning are anything to go by. [What kind of name is Kyrill anyway? Is it Russian? I’ve never heard it before] Apparently we’re on “yellow alert”, whatever the hell that means. No-one seems to have a clue. But it sounds impressively “we’re on top of the situation, people, no need to worry.”

Our second unwelcome teutonic visitor is German measles (rubella), which Paula was diagnosed with yesterday. Still, it’s the easiest of all the childhood ailments, so now her fever has gone it’s just a question of keeping her at home and seeing what pictures you can make by joining up the spots on her chest. [I ought to point out that the name german measles has absolutely nothing to do with Germany, and is apparently derived from the Latin word “germanus” meaning “similar” since rubella is similar to measles. So now you know.]

In other Romanian news, the government is falling apart, having held themselves together long enough to get into the EU. It seems like everyone in the governing coalition hates everyone else, and we’ll have some form of election sooner rather than later. Also some bones were found in the rest of the country, which according to all the media sources I’ve read, including things like the BBC, say “prove” that European humans continued to evolve after migrating from Africa. Which, as far as I am aware, is like saying that a fossil of a fallen apple “proves” that gravity existed 10,000 years ago. Who writes all this stuff?

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The unkindest cut

Posted by Andy Hockley on 17 January, 2007

A Romanian surgeon was having a bad day, and decided to (and you may wish to cross your legs now) chop off some poor bloke’s john thomas. And the damages awarded are somehow likely to mean that “in future doctors may have to think very carefully about what work they undertake.” I certainly hope that they give pause to any doctor tempted to vent his stress and anger on the nearest innocent member.

It’s a brutal way to deal with stress, whichever way you slice it (as it were)

Posted in news | 2 Comments »

The unkindest cut

Posted by Andy Hockley on 16 January, 2007

A Romanian surgeon was having a bad day, and decided to (and you may wish to cross your legs now) chop off some poor bloke’s john thomas. And the damages awarded are somehow likely to mean that “in future doctors may have to think very carefully about what work they undertake.” I certainly hope that they give pause to any doctor tempted to vent his stress and anger on the nearest innocent member.

It’s a brutal way to deal with stress, whichever way you slice it (as it were)

Posted in news | 2 Comments »

La Dolce Vita

Posted by Andy Hockley on 19 December, 2006

Harrowing article from today’s Guardian about the plight of migrant workers (Romanians among them) in Southern Italy. Driving through small towns in Southern Romania you see loads of these hastily printed flyers on lampposts advertising work in Spain and Italy. I often wondered what kind of conditions the people who signed up for these deals ended up in.

Posted in EU, links, news, romania | 3 Comments »

La Dolce Vita

Posted by Andy Hockley on 19 December, 2006

Harrowing article from today’s Guardian about the plight of migrant workers (Romanians among them) in Southern Italy. Driving through small towns in Southern Romania you see loads of these hastily printed flyers on lampposts advertising work in Spain and Italy. I often wondered what kind of conditions the people who signed up for these deals ended up in.

Posted in EU, links, news, romania | 3 Comments »

"What is one more life thrown away in this sad and useless national tragedy?"

Posted by Andy Hockley on 7 December, 2006

Yesterday I was made aware of the sad story of Malachi Ritscher. The news came through a friend who had met him and himself only learned of the story himself the day before yesterday.

Malachi Ritshcer killed himself by setting himself on fire next to a freeway leading into Chicago during rush hour a few days before the recent US Elections in protest at the Iraq war. It barely made the news anywhere. I am posting this story and the links to read it in greater detail because maybe if just one other person reads this and passes it on it will not make up for the lack of coverage, but it will at least mean his act of misguided desperation is not forgotten

I can’t say this any better than it was told to me, so with thanks to David Stubbs who agreed to me reproducing his (as ever, finely written) words

One memorable morning, he took us way out of Chicago city centre, out along the riverside, a drive which took in ever-varying facet’s of the city’s sprawl which we’d never have seen otherwise. We drove for about an hour – he wanted to treat us to breakfast at his favourite pancake house, where I encountered one of the most impressive omelettes I have ever seen in my life, an omelette which could have housed a family of seven, let alone fed them. After that, it was a trip to his favourite vinyl/bootleg store, where I managed to pick up a copy of Stevie Wonder’s long-unavailable crossover album, 1971’s Where I’m Coming From.

Along the way, Malachi regaled us with tales of his life, of his incarceration following an anti-war demo in 2003 and his subsequent suit against the city, of the bizarre homemade sauce of which he was making vast quantities, and, with the Kerry-Bush election coming up, politics. He was a political guy, was Malachi but sanely, proportionately and eloquently so. He made me think a) that the USA is divided roughly 51-49 between assholes/nice guys, with the former in the marginal ascendancy (or so it felt in 2004); also that, you could travel in the US, if only for a few days, and have a wonderfully skewed experience of the place, meeting only guys like Malachi and his like – generous, politically impassioned, in the know about where to get the best breakfast.

On November 3 of this year, a few days before the midterm elections, Malachi Ritscher set himself up by the side of a Chicago expressway with a small video camera and a sign reading “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, doused himself in petrol and, in the tradition of Buddhist priests in the 60s, set himself alight and burnt himself to death.

Insofar as the event was covered, it was dismissed as the actions of a fringe, raging eccentric. Malachi may have been eccentric by the noxiously centric standards of these times but he was not a madman. Whatever, this shocking story, which you would imagined would have at least been good for some sort of coverage, particularly in these news-hungry, 24 hour newsak days, managed to go effectively uncovered. I’ve been somewhat distracted be events recently and, to my shame, only found out about this story this evening when meeting ex-colleagues at The Wire.

I don’t think I can really hope to supplement anyone’s imagination, or the limits of our imagination, as to the despair, loneliness, fury, courage, misguidedness, determination that would lead a man to take their own life in such an excruciating way. But fuck it, to think that such an act could manage to go virtually unacknowledged… well, anyway, I’m raising a glass right now to Malachi. I hope he’s somewhere.


The Guardian
reported it last week, and there was a longer piece in Pitchfork. But to really get the full sense of what drove this man to this act, it is worth reading what amounts to his own suicide note, from which the title to this post is taken, and his own obituary – as he says:

“He had many acquaintances, but few friends; and wrote his own obituary, because no one else really knew him.”

I read this story again today, as I read it yesterday, with an incredible mixture of emotions – sadness, anger, pity, and a need to pass it on. I hope someone who reads this feels the same.

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"What is one more life thrown away in this sad and useless national tragedy?"

Posted by Andy Hockley on 7 December, 2006

Yesterday I was made aware of the sad story of Malachi Ritscher. The news came through a friend who had met him and himself only learned of the story himself the day before yesterday.

Malachi Ritshcer killed himself by setting himself on fire next to a freeway leading into Chicago during rush hour a few days before the recent US Elections in protest at the Iraq war. It barely made the news anywhere. I am posting this story and the links to read it in greater detail because maybe if just one other person reads this and passes it on it will not make up for the lack of coverage, but it will at least mean his act of misguided desperation is not forgotten

I can’t say this any better than it was told to me, so with thanks to David Stubbs who agreed to me reproducing his (as ever, finely written) words

One memorable morning, he took us way out of Chicago city centre, out along the riverside, a drive which took in ever-varying facet’s of the city’s sprawl which we’d never have seen otherwise. We drove for about an hour – he wanted to treat us to breakfast at his favourite pancake house, where I encountered one of the most impressive omelettes I have ever seen in my life, an omelette which could have housed a family of seven, let alone fed them. After that, it was a trip to his favourite vinyl/bootleg store, where I managed to pick up a copy of Stevie Wonder’s long-unavailable crossover album, 1971’s Where I’m Coming From.

Along the way, Malachi regaled us with tales of his life, of his incarceration following an anti-war demo in 2003 and his subsequent suit against the city, of the bizarre homemade sauce of which he was making vast quantities, and, with the Kerry-Bush election coming up, politics. He was a political guy, was Malachi but sanely, proportionately and eloquently so. He made me think a) that the USA is divided roughly 51-49 between assholes/nice guys, with the former in the marginal ascendancy (or so it felt in 2004); also that, you could travel in the US, if only for a few days, and have a wonderfully skewed experience of the place, meeting only guys like Malachi and his like – generous, politically impassioned, in the know about where to get the best breakfast.

On November 3 of this year, a few days before the midterm elections, Malachi Ritscher set himself up by the side of a Chicago expressway with a small video camera and a sign reading “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, doused himself in petrol and, in the tradition of Buddhist priests in the 60s, set himself alight and burnt himself to death.

Insofar as the event was covered, it was dismissed as the actions of a fringe, raging eccentric. Malachi may have been eccentric by the noxiously centric standards of these times but he was not a madman. Whatever, this shocking story, which you would imagined would have at least been good for some sort of coverage, particularly in these news-hungry, 24 hour newsak days, managed to go effectively uncovered. I’ve been somewhat distracted be events recently and, to my shame, only found out about this story this evening when meeting ex-colleagues at The Wire.

I don’t think I can really hope to supplement anyone’s imagination, or the limits of our imagination, as to the despair, loneliness, fury, courage, misguidedness, determination that would lead a man to take their own life in such an excruciating way. But fuck it, to think that such an act could manage to go virtually unacknowledged… well, anyway, I’m raising a glass right now to Malachi. I hope he’s somewhere.


The Guardian
reported it last week, and there was a longer piece in Pitchfork. But to really get the full sense of what drove this man to this act, it is worth reading what amounts to his own suicide note, from which the title to this post is taken, and his own obituary – as he says:

“He had many acquaintances, but few friends; and wrote his own obituary, because no one else really knew him.”

I read this story again today, as I read it yesterday, with an incredible mixture of emotions – sadness, anger, pity, and a need to pass it on. I hope someone who reads this feels the same.

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Most famous Hungarian dies

Posted by Andy Hockley on 17 November, 2006

RIP Puskás Ferenc. To most non-Hungarians I know, Puskás was almost synonymous with the nation, and for most outsiders (from footballing nations – ie most of them) he would be the first person they would mention if asked to name a famous Hungarian.

Nothing much more to add. Here’s his Wiki-entry

Posted in football, news | 1 Comment »

Most famous Hungarian dies

Posted by Andy Hockley on 17 November, 2006

RIP Puskás Ferenc. To most non-Hungarians I know, Puskás was almost synonymous with the nation, and for most outsiders (from footballing nations – ie most of them) he would be the first person they would mention if asked to name a famous Hungarian.

Nothing much more to add. Here’s his Wiki-entry

Posted in football, news | 1 Comment »