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When George and I were in Salzburg, we thought up a great idea for a game show.  We noted that Jeopardy had the genius game show category sewn up, and Wheel of Fortune is great for mid range.  However, for the truly moronic, there’s still a wide open field.  The game we developed is extremely short, which means it can fit into less and less time as commercials eat away at programming.  It is based loosely on Win Ben Stein’s Money (in that we talked about that as well).  It’s called “Are you in Salzburg?!”

The basic premise of the game is that the host introduces the show, talks about the prizes, and then asks “Are you in Salzburg?”  The first contestant to buzz in with the correct answer gets the prize.  The others get the home edition of the game.  For sweeps week, the game show could go on tour to Malibu, New York, Berlin, where ever.  Even Salzburg, though that would probably call for new cue cards.  You could have college week.  There’s a high potentiality for spin-offs.  It’s a no-lose proposition.  Remember, you read it here first.

The plumber came to my apartment today.  The plumber is Dora’s dad.  Dora is the office manager at Pressflex.  It’s very useful to have an office manager with a plumber for a dad.

Dora’s dad put in a cold water shower tap.  This is not so I can take cold showers.  This is because before, the shower only had a hot water tap that fed directly into the shower head.  Therefore, I had to keep the water in the hot water heater at a temperature cool enough to shower with.  Which meant I couldn’t run hot enough water in the kitchen without readjusting the hot water heater.  Not cool, or rather, too cool.

So, I had them run cold water to a new shower tap unit.  The shower tap comes with a detachable piece of plastic that allows me to coordinate it with any color scheme in the bathroom, should I ever need to change it on short notice.

The taps came with some rather funny translations.  Here are some:

“In case of possible defects, please include this complaints slip at time of complaint.”

(What about impossible defects?  “My goodness, this tap bends backwards into the fifth dimension!”)


(It took me a while to realize they meant, to clean it.  They weren’t giving instructions on how to use the tap.)


(The instructions are installation instructions, so I guess once the tap is installed, the instructions are soon thereafter non-observed.)

Why do people put starch in shirts?  Why doesn’t anyone put starch in shirts when they wash them at home?  At what point does the starch go in?  Where do you buy it? How much do you add?  Is it powder, spray or stick?  These things make me wonder.

The big thing in Hungarian bars is a plate of Saran-wrapped beer nuts.  If you unwrap the plate, you have to pay for it.  But it’s super hard to resist, because it’s such a nice thing to have nuts to go with a beer.  Plus, after a beer or two, you tend to forget you why you didn’t unwrap the nuts in the first place.

I saw the movie called The Big Lebowski.  It’s a very funny movie, with several absolutely pricelessly funny scenes.  My favorite is when the star is driving and being tailed, and he drops a lit cigarette in his lap, and starts to freak out.  Luckily, he had a beer in his other hand, and he pours it all over his lap to put out the cigarette, but still ends up veering into some trash cans.  Truly funny.  Also interesting is the way that absolutely none of the story lines come to a conclusion.

Several folks from Pressflex U.S. and Spain are in town.  It’s a chance for us all to work as a team, and to get to know each other.  There’s Os Tyler, programmer from Spain and the guy who runs the host server, James Dornan of L.A. who’s a longtime UNIX guru, and Charlie Hornberger, who seems to know how to ask databases questions and get the right answers.  He was showing me JOINs and SELFJOINs and stuff like that, and the logic involved is so messy that it makes regular programming look like easy programming.  That’s a bad metaphor, I know, but I am pretty tired from cleaning up after the plumber.

Ah ha!  You were wondering when I’d tell you the rest about the plumber.  Well, he also installed a new kitchen sink and cabinet, which looks somewhat flimsy, but after all, it was quite cheap (I mean inexpensive, not cheap flimsy, which we’ve already established).  And it has one tap instead of two, so that’s great.  They had to knock down a very small bit of wall to get at the drain and pipes, but they put some new tiles in place and it’s all in good shape again.  Total cost: 90,000 forints, or about $400.  That included a total of up to 6 people at my place, between 1 and 6 p.m.

What a feeling, hiring a work crew to come and tear down a wall.  Nothing says “Master of the Castle” more than ordering a construction project.  I’m serious, it’s a real feeling of “This Land is My Land, It Isn’t Your Land.”—Do you remember that song?

Now the task remains: how do I get my landlord to pay for all the improvements without requiring a bill, which would force the plumber to charge me 25% VAT?  Of course, if Mr. Plumber did charge me another 25%, I doubt I’d get the landlord to pay for it, which means I wouldn’t need a receipt, which means it would be VAT-free.  Hmmm.

I had lunch today at a sushi bar.  I was the only person in the entire place.  The service was OK.  The food was quite good, with some of the tastiest ginger I’ve had.  They also included a few odd pickled mushrooms with each meal, and some shredded lettuce in the bowl of chirashi salmon.  It’s funny that you get more salad with sushi than you do with most other meals in this town.

I also got some keys duplicated in preparation for my Dad arriving.

And on that boring note, I head to bed.  ‘Night!


“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?




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