Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Forbes billionaires. Microcosm of global duping. Measure wealth over poverty for tax purposes.

Global Issues
Stratospheric Finances Roosting in Most Every Nation
Standard for Fair Taxation: Weigh Wealth against Poverty Levels
Whether you are a traveler who sees the footprints of the hyper-wealthy in every country abroad; or just curious about which countries spawn the Forbes Magazine annual billionaire's list. Join this categorical romp through the top 50 or so of the  http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/list/.   

Bankers
Safra Brazil Banker
Fridman Russia Oiler- also Telecommunications- also Banker

Fossileers; Industry
Ambani India Fossils:  Petrochemical, oil, gas
Usmanov Russia Steel/ also Investor
Mittal India Steel
Repeat: Fridman Russia Oiler- also Telecommer- also Banker

Dangote Nigeria Cement, Flour (who doesn't need that?) Obesitor (sugar)
Akhmetov Ukraine Steel/ Coal (what chance of renewable energy sources there?)

Computing, Telecommunications, Internet, Feeders Off the Cloud
Gates United States - Computing (Microsoft) now probably diversified
Helu Mexico Telecommunications
Ellison United States Happy Marriage Hardware-Software (Oracle)
Thomson Canada Media -- tentacles in all you use to communicate, be communicated to
Repeat: Fridman Russia Oiler- also Telecommunicator- also Banker. Nice to have your own bank, like the NRA
 
Fashion, La Beaute – Trompe l’oeil, j’espere, j’espere. Non? Meh.
Ortega Spain Fast-Fashioniste (Zara)- retail therapy
Arnault France Brander (LVMH – Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy)
Persson Sweden H & M,  Hennes & Mauritz fast-fashionisti -- off the rack but good stuff
Betancourt France Beautification Facquerie (L’Oreal)  -- everyone can be a beauty.  Believe.
 
Multinational Conglomerates; “Diversified” Gurus (The Gang of Coy)
Buffett United States Multinational Conglomerateur (Berkshire Hathaway)
Koch I United States Coy  (“diversified”) Also undisclosed influence-peddler. Left view of right: Pro-corporate agenda of Koch, viewed from Left. Tweedle-dee.
Koch II United States Coy  (“diversified”) Also undisclosed influence-peddler. Tweedle-dum.
Li Ka-Shing Hong Kong Coy (“diversified”) read – ka-ching; various areas, including humanitarian, http://topics.bloomberg.com/li-ka--shing/
Blavatnik United States Coy (Diversifier), born in Russia, http://www.moneyedup.com/2010/11/billionaire-profile-len-blavatnik/
Cheng Yu-Tung China also Coy (Diversifier) http://www.therichest.org/nation/richest-persons-in-hong-kong/
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Hoi Polloi Targets (let us help you, little people)
Walton I United States (Walmart) Welcome to Walmart. Hey, is that smoke?
Walton II United States again Welcome to Walmart (our wages? Whatever we want)
Walton III United States who welcomes Walmart any more?
Walton IV  United States Good night, small folks, good night, Waltons. Good night, hopes.
Albrecht Germany Grocer (Aldi: Albrecht Discount) Beats Walmart.
Albrecht II Germany Grocer  (Aldi, Albrecht Discount) (see Schwarz and Lidl)
Schwarz Germany Retailer (Lidl, competor of Aldi, fight on, behemoths). More than grocer?
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Information
Bloomberg United States Global business and financial informationeer; now ads for his (people’s) causes
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Feeders of Addictions, Le gambleur, le sweets (some, like dark choc and good beer, good)
Adelson United States casino multiplicateur, also activity in Singapore, interested in Spain, see http://www.nbcnews.com/travel/casino-tycoon-sheldon-adelson-plans-35-billion-mini-las-vegas-706522.Dislikes investigations
Ferrero Italy Obesitor, but the dark choc is good
Lemann Beer Brazil (urp) (not an addiction but a necessity when real beer)
Mars I United States Obesitor.  Also Uncle Ben, pet stuff. http://biz.yahoo.com/ic/40/40297.html
Mars II United States Obesitrix
Mars III United States Obesitor
 .
Online marketing
Bezos United States Online Retail (Amazon)
Page United States Internet search and advertising technologies (Google)
Brin United States ditto Page (Google)
 .
Investors/ Leveraged Buy-outers
Icahn United States Buyout-leveragor (when management itself buys controlling shares in the company)
Soros United States Hedger – funds with limited partners using high-risk means
Alwal Bin Talal Alsaud Saudi Arabia investor
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Real estate
Kwok Hong Kong real estaters
 .
Miners – Dreadful sorry, Clementine
Gonzalez Mexico Miner
Fontbona Chile Miner
Rinehart Australia Miner
Velasco Mexico Miner
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To be added:  A work in progress
Mikhelson
Del Vecchio
Dell

Then:  What can little folk do to shift money to the common good, when there is so much money made from producing non-essentials, in all the fluff (but fun) that makes money -- fashion, beauty.  

Homework:  Pick a billionaire.  Look for balance. Search online for any humanitarian work it also touts for itself, and put how much is invested as compared to gross income from all sources derived. 

Then see what issues are important to you for a sustainable life, balanced in interest vs. exploitation. Ethical treatment of people and animals, labor, health:


  • Use of telecommunications for the common good:  Is there a chance that the telecommunications people would use their resources to disseminate facts, educate, take fact-based stands. Even Louis Vuitton mentions on its site its humanitarian investments.  Hype or real? 

Next step:  A Value-Subtracted-Tax, for each non-sustenance-related product sold, with proceeds to go for global sustenance, health care, education for all. Is it time to wake up?



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Travel without rules. Like religion without a Benedict. Sant Pere Pescador. Did we all lose with Benedict

Where does Travel, Unscripted, Lead?  
To areas of thought not earlier examined.
Do we dare.  
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 A Theology Match.

From travel and exposure to all those wars of religion in Europe, 
ask which is more "Christian."
History says: Benedict and his Rules, because Rome's version won.
What do Offbeat-Travelers say?

Meet a Catalan alternative.
Sant Pere Pescador, in Catalan, Saint Peter the Fisherman.
Not Peter as buried under icing at the Vatican.

This has come slowly, as a surprising and unintended personal conclusion to one who is not a Sunday Regular, an issue not considered at the outset. It is the issue of Rules in Religion, when it seeks institutional power rather than faithfulness to a Founder, and the role of Rules in shaping Western ferocity in putting down religious dissent. This echoes in politics, with parties wielding exclusionary Rules, in hopes of centralizing power and influence.  Must religion do the same.  It has. What on earth are we doing with all our rules. Who so ordained? On what authority? Is the origin of Western Violence rooted in early Mithraism, Roman, ideas of vengeance, hierarchy.
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Is this so, after seeing years of travel where issues related to religious determinism have ruled by power, not merit in closeness to meanings of texts. Would we have been better off as Western Civilization, if Benedict, embodying Rome's Regimentation and need for Rules, and hierarchy, had not taken root in the evolving "Christianity." What if is a useful inquiry, in focusing on alternatives that might still be available.

  • What if the concepts of Pere Pescador, Peter the Fisherman, not Peter as hailed in glory at the Vatican (what??)  had prevailed, instead of Paul the Romanist, against all the political and military odds of the Time.  Would we all be more at Peace? Including with Islam? Are we so dyed in the wool that we cannot see how we got here.
  •  What if Paul, originally from Tarsus, a seat of Mithraism, that in itself influenced Rome, rejected Mithraic practices and stayed with those of Jesus. See Sociology of Masculinity in the Middle East, by Dr. Hossein Adiby, 2006 paper, at 4ff, Mithraic influences on major religions. "Mithra, a male god, was worshiped only by men at Mithraic shrines." Social structure of patriarchy, man owning his family, etc. Search for "Mithra" and "Mithraism."

Travel is like, would you believe, life.  The approach a person taken to either, I think, reveals how far that person will value autonomy, independent thought.  Or is authority absorbed as gospel. Follow the guide with the bouncing flag.

With all the opposition to autonomy through the centuries, is autonomy worth it. Institutions oppose autonomy. They all fight it like Crusades, whether corporate or evangelical or union or whoever.

And they win in direct confrontation, of course.  Here, the Papal complex at Avignon, where armies in the name of God were raised against dissenters, Cathars.

In response to that opposition, for those of us who cannot survive well without autonomy, must we nonetheless support someone's "institution." Even travel institutions. The opposition to our kind of travel is fear.  Must we fear other people, other cultures, others in control including religious, so that we have to travel in little gangs with flags leading the way to what we may, or may not, see..

WWF Theology Match.

After fourteen years of unscripted travel in Europe, the Car-Dan Tour Company, we raise our own flag again for human individual contact in cultures, no tours, rent a car and go. What will you find.

We began as an enrichment course for a Down Syndrome son, Dan Widing, who had met the age limits for education through the system.

We are an ersatz family event consisting of a supportive Dad, not a tour company at all, and the Dad stays home because he does prefer an agenda.  So Dan and Mom head out, an aging but spunky lady with an amazing Down Syndrome adult son with enormous human and intellectual capabilities that we barely scratch, Mom who likes not knowing and heading out. Dan has caught the bug.  Our theme song:  I wonder where the Car-Dan is sleeping tonight?  And much laughter. Which way next?  Cross arms and point in opposite directions, more laughs, and pick one, and go.

Ask, as to the option of road trips instead of tours.  Can a reasonably  intelligent person engage in travel without rules imposed by some outside "guide." Is it safe, what is gained, or lost. What is the on-balance result. Can there be religion without a Benedict's rules.  Yes.  Can there be travel without a company's rules. Sure.

Then, can a reasonably intelligent person engage in life without rules imposed by some outside "guide" even when someone else's interest is not at stake.

 Is it safe.  What in this kind of randomness is gained, or lost. What is the on-balance result. When to trust a "guide."  Who tells you something is as important, as more important to an individual, than what is said and whether it is believed.

San Pere Pescador.  I am of a Christian Protestant tradition, and find the idea of a simple fisherman embodying the essence of Western Christianity on point.  Not the riches and accumulations and force through Crusades, that Peter in Rome, at St. Peter's, the fake tribute to one whose ideas were fast abandoned in favor of Avignon's riches, embody.

Sant Pere Pescador.  That "resonates" in the terms of the introspector-groupies.  Pere Pescador.  Find us. We need you.

I am an unscripted, but heritage, Christian, so leave now if you like.  The theme here is a religious one:  spurred on because it is impossible to travel freely in Europe without finding at nearly every turn, the effects of forced rigidity in Western religion.  Largely, this took the form of Rome and Paul's spin against all other interpretations, forcing conversions, dogma. Hundred years' war. Thirty years' war. Rome and the regulatory monastic houses against meeker Irish theology This is now a firmer interest after 14 years of unscripted travel:  and at the root, after the Roman Empire, find the influence of Benedict,  Sixth Century, Roman Empire fallen, Europe decentralized, peoples migrating all over, lawlessness for lack of processes.  There was also faithfulness: the Celtic, individualized Christianity, the contemplative, the seekers, Christian forms in the Middle East.  Not for long, says the Rules Man -- who does bring protection of walls and more productive agricultural systems to the monastic territories.  He also fosters a malignancy and intolerance of others, that taints us yet.

Vestiges of lost alternatives do remain:  Compare to truths of The Losers --  as the figure of Sant Pere Pescador, Saint Peter the Fisherman in Catalan. Heart, seeker, contemporary.  He was there. 



Friday, March 16, 2012

Travel Haiku. Europe Road Ways Review

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Travelers'  Haiku:
Road trips look-back, when costs fit.
Travel still enchants.
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Europe Road Ways Review

Our newest:  Russia

Spotless tourist streets,
Sanitize the past as well.
Enjoy the people.
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Austria
Empires' crossroads.  Wien,
Mauthausen. Complicity's
Shades. Play on, Mozart.
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.
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Belgium
Old pride riven: Wars,
Culture divides. Still, stalwart.
Plus art. Great waffles.
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Bosnia
Muslim. Orthodox.
Christian. Mostar's bridge rises.
Who the heretic?


Croatia
Spirit, Bishop, Nin.
Mass, Croatian. For that, banned.
Seek!  Autonomy!


.
Czech Republic
Pilsner, property
Confiscated. Ethnic-cleanse.
Now rising, claims Self.


Denmark
Was fierce! Vast in lands.
Ancient vitality firm,
Then sapped. Return. Sass.
.
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England
Jolly old. Self-full.
Exploited colonial
Subjects roost roots here.

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France 
Devastate. Repeat.
Marching armies, Popes, Kings.
Courage! dit Piaf.
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Germany
Lockstep. Reconstruct.
Marshall Plan! Wealth back. Affront!
Bailed out, now must bail?
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Hebrides
Standing stones, Vikings,
One-lane roads with lay-bys
Wind. Knights' churches. Breathe!


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Hungary
Roma, Jews,  traces
Of the purged. Oft invaded,
Turns against its own?

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Ireland
Spirit of early
Monks rubbed out by Rules, and faked
Invasion permits.
.

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Italy
Vatican kingdom
Grows power, riches. Edicts.
We like Juliet.


Liechtenstein
No unemployment!
Banks at ev'ry turn.  Name names!
Nope. Won't.  Can't tax this.
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Luxembourg
Mighty caverns, trade
Routes, military legends,
Patton. Hamm. Salute.

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Montenegro
Mountains, guerrillas,
Invaders, fjords, Cetinje.
Ostrog survives all.


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The Netherlands
Tallness, tulips, cheese,
War-crimes court, social coping.
Heritage. At brink?


Norway
Hairpin turns, tunnels
Vast under fjords, Viking stones.
Christians forced converts.

Orkney
Scots now. Whither Picts?
All Norse place names.  Old wipe-out.
Wind-tunnel town streets.
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Romania
Harsh needs, harsh crossroads.
Rome, Roma, cacophony.
Vlad, Lenin, try all.

.Roma, scavenging, Romania
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Scotland
England's muscle-flex.
Uproot crofter! Kill the brave!
Old lives live, despite.
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Sicily
Ancients, temples, sea.
Wars. Untamed Aetna. Smokin'!
Cultures, cliff towns. Eat!
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Slovakia
Defenses, old, new.
Heaviness of history.
Offset: festivals.
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Slovenia
Caught. Powers straddled.
Old, proud Carantania
Conveniently wiped.

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Sweden
Rus-roots, Caucasus,
Sigge Fridulson. Culture
Highjacked? Uppsala.


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Poland
Easy invade. Flat.
Divided. Abused. Admire!
Retained humor, arts.

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Wales
Edward's great castles.
Stop on the way and listen.
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
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Switzerland
Bet both ends v. mid.
Gnome secrets. Alp views distract.
Uncommitted thrive.
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..........................................................

I. Child not for college?
Parents: Offer direct sense
In some way. Go there.

II. Where? You pick distance.
A family root. Crofter?
Mongol? The Black Plague.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Anthropomorphic Standing Stones. Religio-Centric Interpretations

 Anthropomorphism in Standing Stones;
and Religio-Centrism
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This standing stone at familiar Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England, is a favorite because it is approachable, outside the main perimeter; and expressive. Great look.
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Standing stones:  Western Religion and those looking for its roots too often ignore the standing stones in the rest of Europe, unrelated to Judaea.  See, for example, Biblical Archeology Review, March-April 2006, Mysterious Standing Stones, by Doron Ben-Ami, at 38ff.  In the Near East, standing stones appeared by 10,000 BCE; they came later in the colder climates. The Hebrew word for a standing stone was "Massebah" -  see it many times in the Bible. A standing stone has positive and negative connotations.
The article focuses on a collection of them at the site of an ancient Canaanite city, Hazor. Age:  Middle Bronze, 1800-1550 BCE. Size: some 25 acres.  Huge for the day. Ritual use?  unknown.

But in all the article's words are none mentioning the fact that standing stones are common in Europe as well. Memorial, as to individual stones?
These were common in Scandinavia, see Glavendrup, Denmark at http://www.denmarkroadways.blogspot.com/#!http://denmarkroadways.blogspot.com/2011/07/glavendrup-tryggevaelde-rune-stones.html; and Anundshog in Sweden, at http://swedenroadways.blogspot.com/2011/02/anundshog-viking-burial-mound-at.html#!/2011/02/anundshog-viking-burial-mound-at.html.

Witness to treaty or vow? Commemorate special event? Cultic object?  See them also at the Hebrides, Orkney, Ireland. Europe Road Ways


It is also a favorite, because it is honest.
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It shows its reaction to the site wrecked by over-mowing, chain-link fencing, roadways. These measures may well be needed because Stonhenge is right on the motorway from London and people can get there in a blink. There is a pedestrian tunnel beneath the road for all the tourists. So there are lots of people. And among people, enough will be irresponsible, so the site suffers.
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This is a stone in a zoo, its spirit gone.
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Then see the standing stones, not an old construct, but built in the 1930's by Nazis who wanted to show support for a tradition of the local population:  honoring 4500 Saxon prisoners who were executed one by one, whack, whack went the swords down the lines, until all were dead in one day, or was it a night?

See http://germanyroadways.blogspot.com/2011/02/sachsenhain-saxons-grove-charlemagnes.html.  Some even appear, in settling, to be huddling together.  We like anthropomorphism and think the idea should be given more respect.  Inanimate in structure is not inanimate in aura, is that so?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Global Fast Food. Doner Kebab, Danish Pork Sandwich, French Hot Dog

Doner Kebab, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Doner Kebab.  Here, our latest:  Russian doner kebab.  Doner kebab is a global fast food phenomenon, a vertical roasting conglomerate of stacked, compressed slices of meat, shaved down as you order, and plated with some veggies, a pita, whatever.

Doner kebab, Roskilde, Denmark

We have no corner on the market as to fast foods, street food.  Find earlier Kebab finds at Turin, Italy: Doner Kebab
;



For the famous Danish pork sandwich, see http://denmarkroadways.blogspot.com/2010/09/roskilde-best-fast-food.html

And the infamous hot dog, condiments in the cylinder, see Sweden's version at http://swedenroadways.blogspot.com/2011/05/uppsala-korven-med-brod-french-hot-dog_19.html

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Oppression - Restricted Experiences. Then Usual Gender activities

Oppression


Slovakia.
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We found fine, warm people, but
  • Photo inside a supermarket.  We were not allowed even to take a picture inside the supermarket to show back home how alike theirs are to ours.  No! Arms waving. Stop.  And 
  • Sex Trafficking, Farm. out in the country, across the border about half an hour from Hungary, Sign, in English, Sex Farm. A paved road, but a farmland-unsettled area, flat in all directions, some hedgerows, little woods, and a dirt road going off to the left. Nowhere to run. Arrow pointing the way off-road. And the road just went on and on until it disappeared. No getting away from there.  And guess the nationality of the clientele. We did not stop. 
  • Otherwise great stay. But there are watchers.
Usual gender activities:

On the more predictable, moneymaking side:

 Passed this little red house need the border from Switzerland to Liechtenstein. Sign for the activities inside in general.

  • Overnight at a "zimmer" (rooms above a pub, main road) for a room, between Vienna and Bratislava. Had supper, went upstairs, then saw that the room had no curtains, bathroom no door. Just turn off the lights and sleep. Slow night. Good food, friendly people but the function rooms are clearly that. No curtains, and the parking lot below? 

Woman Sass. Equal Opportunity, Gender Equality, Gender Parity, Sass

Traffic control

Traffic opportunities, issues.
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Napoleon crossed the Alps here and also had problems. Here, the motorcycle won. The Grand San Bernardino Pass.



Just put out some square planters in the road, add pretty flowers, and make the cars go around; or stop for each other. This is Arnold Schwarzenegger's home town. The idea actually works. Economical, effective, pulchritudinous.
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Here is Poland, telling you to slow down:

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Here is Switzerland, telling you to slow down.
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Switzerland. Budget-friendly speed non-trap.

That fake one aimed at the bikers, at an Altdorf repair shop.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Headwear: The Men's Driving Cap

The men's driving cap.  Perhaps the golf cap, in later years.

So practical.  So understated. So ...so ... bewitching. Mysterious, even.  The driving cap.  There are differences between the economy models, and the Heir Apparent. 

An Heir Apparent will be sure that his cap is stitched to the visor, all the way across, and not snapped.  Fit from the base of the skull, back at the hairline, angled a little to the front at that hairline (remember to comb your hair or smooth it down when you take the thing off, or it looks like you have bed hair).  Not too wide on top, and certainly not the eight panels that the old newsboys' caps used in the 1930's.  The proper driving cap has three panels. Three.  No more, no less.


 For techniques of sizing and measurement, see that Romania site at Romania Road Ways II, Vlad Tepes Sites.

This fetching model, on the spousal tourist-gent on Aran Island, Ireland, was lost somewhere thereafter, as I recall.


This next Irish model, at Blarney Castle, Ireland, seen from the top down, looks like one piece of fabric at the entire top, like a U going to the visor,  not a lot of segments radiating out. Then other pieces angled toward the visor from the back, wide in back, narrow and pointy where they meet the visor area.


The one being held is Himself, Daniel.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Wood-Burning Stove. The End of the Dark Ages? The Renaissance Stove.

Renaissance stoves.  Tiled. Ceramic.

Did the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Reformation, depend upon the development of this efficient, handsome wood-burning stove. See descriptions at ://www.castle.ckrumlov.cz/docs/en/zamek_oinf_renkac.xml/  These wood-burning stoves are an aesthetic far cry from those of today.  See collections of separate tiles, see ://www.wawel.krakow.pl/en/index.php?op=18; then feast upon the great complete ones.

Now, sidle up. Here is a collection of some fine old stoves we have found, some tiled, some enamel, some ceramic, some ceramic tile, some humble, some gloriously excessive.













Renaissance stove, Wittenberg, Germany, in home of Martin Luther

See Martin Luther's Stove for issues arising from too much warmth. Gravity and whimsy around the heater.

Perhaps the rebirth of great thought did depend on availability of reliable, sustained, even heat. The old fireplaces sent that heat right up the chimney. Consider the effect of sustained, relatively even warmth on talk. Imagine the further difference that ductwork made in cold Europe and its colony appendages, bringing warmth elsewhere in the house. Can you really explore issues when you are shivering. Is warmth the reason civilization bloomed in warm places first.  Of course.

Read Gary Novak's suppositions at this site, that addresses morality issues - but that is not our focus here.  See FN 1 for a fair use quotation. In summary, the snowy parts of Europe specialized in outdoor activities like horses and wars, because they couldn't heat their houses - goes the idea.  Enter the wood stove, and intellectual activity grew, away from the chill, in the nice warm insides. Is that so?  An interesting thought. FN 1.  Finger on chin, tilt head, hmmm.


Missing:  stoves from Goethe's house, Weimar, Germany. We weren't interested at that time, and took no photo. -

In contrast to the fancy ones is this plain one - very plain and we recall elaborate ones, but here is a fair use thumbnail -and consider the gaps between rich and poor, whose lifestyles get touted, and whose do not.
See full size image

See it at  ://images.google.com/url?source=imgres&ct=ref&q=http://flickr.com/photos/your_teacher/147683919/
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FN 1  Read Gary Novak's site, Why Thomas Aquinas Was Wrong (the site focuses on different issues not endorsed here, just this interesting notion that does apply to our love of wood-burning stoves). 

Rough summary:  Mr. Novak lays out that people in more northern Europe could not heat their houses in the dark ages, as could those in warmer climates such as Italy in the south. 

Then the northern Visigoths beat the Romans - and took up residence in the south - and ideas spread to the north.  

What difference did that make? This: If you are cold, you tend to stay inside to try to get warm -- and that may well foster "intellectual" pursuits, but on your own. Stay at one place, think, huddle, write, etc.  Outside is cold, stay inside, and that is cold, too.

If you can get warm inside after being outside, however, you may well do more outside -- with the security of a stove within.  Is that?  Head for soldiering, hunting and pestering your neighbor, horses and wars. Go ahead. Think up reasons to hunt other people. Is that so? 


Why didn't fireplaces do the job.  Fireplaces are inefficient because they require vent holes, and that lets in cold air. Open the window to get the smoke out, if the smokehole fails. And heat vacates with the smoke. 


So, it took enclosed stoves to make the difference. No air gets in except what is needed to keep the combustion going. Smoke stays in. Heat radiates out. 


Enter, the Renaissance! Dependent on the stove in the north. Is that so? That led to a joint scholasticism, not just the isolated intellect shivering over there. Share the warmth, share the ideas.  Next, the Reformation. Martin Luther's Stove made a difference.  See Martin Luther's Stove.