James Bond: Pierce Brosnan vs Daniel Craig

The argument about who is the best James Bond is rather moot because no actor could work forever. Also, times have changed since 1962 (when Dr No was released) and it’s unfair to blame Roger Moore now for his clothing style. Your (and my) parents wore the same silly pants and jackets in the 1970s.

My personal favorite is Pierce Brosnan, though, which might just confirm my theory that most people like the actor who was playing James Bond during the time they grew up.

Fellow fans of Pierce Brosnan will like this video:

Fans of Daniel Craig, don’t take it too serious, please. I do like the seamless editing between the scenes from different movies though.

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Posted in Films, James Bond | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Law School in Bolivia

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Everything is explained in my article on Bolivia and the sea.

Posted in Bolivia, Education, Law | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How to tell if a lawyer is experienced

As I mentioned in the 10 Rules on Finding a Good Lawyer, I think that experience is overrated. Nonetheless, it seems an important criterion for some clients.

So, here is a simple test to determine a lawyer’s experience: you have to approach a lawyer in a non-professional setting (a barbecue, a walk in the park, a birthday party or a first date) and ask a legal question.

You will find that they/we broadly fall into three categories.

The first lawyer will readily analyze your case, offer his/her/its/their [in the interest of readability, please allow me to abbreviate this to “his” or, depending on grammatical context, “he” or “him” without meaning to imply that lawyers that would by definition of nature, gender, personality, coincidence or preference wish to be referred to by other pronouns should be excluded, dismissed, disregarded or relegated] advice, offer to do more research and send you an e-mail at 2 o’clock of the same night with a three-page brief outlining the legal situation and recommending a course of action, usually involving filing a lawsuit.

=> This lawyer is a rookie, probably still in or fresh out of law school. He is still highly motivated and thinks that lawyers change the world and that your case is important enough to go to the Supreme Court and for him to spend his whole night on.

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The second lawyer will tell you: “I’ll be happy to help. Please send me an e-mail and I’ll set up an appointment at my office.”

=> This lawyer already has some years of experience and has advanced in his career. He has realized that he won’t go far by dispensing free advice. He’ll gladly help you, but not for free. This is nothing personal, but he is becoming a bit weary of people who think that a lawyer should work for free while clients pay their barber, bartender and bus driver.

The third lawyer will either quote an outrageous fee, (mis)inform you that he is already booked out until July 2019 or tell you that he has more important things to do than looking over your lease contract or settling your eBay dispute.

=> Congratulations! You have found a lawyer with a ton of both professional and life experience. How you can benefit from this depends more on you than on the lawyer.

Hadrian's Wall 169

Thinking about international public law.

Posted in Law, Life | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Ayahuasca – no thanks!

“I am a very logical person. You could say I am left-brained.” When I heard that remark, I already knew I wouldn’t need to take the guy behind me in the queue at Lima airport seriously. And indeed, he went on to talk about cosmic purpose and why I have to try ayahuasca, a tea prepared from banisteriopsis caapi vines and the leaves of the chacruna bush found in the Brazilian and Peruvian jungle which allegedly has hallucinogenic effects. It most definitely has strong side effects, in particular vomiting.

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Citing that, I explained that I would prefer to refrain from drinking something which makes most people vomit, and that this generally didn’t seem like a good idea to me. The “very logical” North-American traveler, who had come to Peru for the sole purpose to drink this foul brew, explained: “Whoever created you and me also created that plant. So it is for us to consume it.” It was 3:30 in the morning and I hadn’t slept all night, so instead of pointing out the several erroneous assumptions and fallacies in his statement, I simply replied: “Like stones and plutonium?” “You know what I mean,” he replied, but I didn’t.

I only knew that I wasn’t going to hear anything new. Even before I came to South America, people were recommending this tea to me, citing its potency, its cleaning effect for body and soul, and always forgetting to mention the very real side effects. They also forgot to mention that the tea contains dimethyltryptamin which is a banned substance, although the US Supreme Court exempted a church in New Mexico, the Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal (“Beneficient Spiritist Center of the Union of the Plant”), from the ban after its members had argued that they can only understand their god while or after drinking said tea. Vomiting as the new form of flagellation. So much for “very logical”.

Even without imagining a night in the mosquito-infested jungle between puking tourists, I never felt any desire to undergo this procedure. I have never been susceptible to consciousness-altering drugs. I really like my clear and quick mind, and I can keep it quite busy and challenged without chemical substances. So far, I have yet to meet a single druggie whose mind impresses me. Most of them, particularly regular users, are dull, slow, sad conformists and don’t say anything that would want me to exchange my mind with theirs.

As for the cleaning of the body, I admit that vomiting can achieve that, but I have another orifice which I prefer to use for that purpose.

These ayahuasca-gringos are some of the most annoying people in South America. If you have mental issues that you think a plant will help you, go ahead. Eat it, smoke it, drink it. But don’t assume that I have the same mental issues and please don’t recommend vomit-inducing herbal tea. Of all the plants that “our creator” put into the Peruvian jungle, I still prefer tobacco. Cigars don’t make me talk like Paulo Coelho at least, because you should be warned that if you hang around someone sipping that tea you will hear a lot of context-free “kind of”, “you know?”, “I can feel it”, “there is something divine in every person”, “we are all one”, “it’s healing on a vibrational level” bogus, bullshit, bla bla bla.

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But to be fair, that one American botanist whose name I forgot to take before we parted ways, him going to Cuzco and me to Piura, was a likable guy. I hope he will survive. In 2015, during a ceremony at an ayahuasca center in Iquitos, Peru, a young British man started brandishing a knife and yelling; a Canadian man who was also on ayahuasca wrestled it from him and stabbed him to death. There have been other reports of violence, and several women have been molested. Most of the people who told me that they want to drink ayahuasca struck me as weird already, so the violence may be influenced by a certain predisposition to craziness. Anyway, these are not the kind of people whom I want to hang out with, let alone watch them puke all over the Amazon. Also, some people have died simply from drinking ayahuasca without a fellow tripper ramming a spear into their recently cleaned heart.

To make it clear: I don’t mind people drinking that tea. Drink as much as you want. But stop running around and telling everyone they should do so, too. I like Coca Cola, but I don’t try to shove it down your throat every day. And yes, all the ingredients of Coca Cola have been made by the same “creator”.

Posted in Brazil, Death, Food, Health, Life, Peru, Travel | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Why it’s not easy to talk to bloggers

blog school

I admit that one of the reasons for setting up this blog was that I had gotten tired of answering the same question more than once, even if asked by different people.

The other danger of talking to bloggers is that you might find yourself as a character in one of my next stories.

Posted in Life, Technology | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Birthday Trip 2017: Caucasus

After staying at my father’s house in Germany for two weeks, he reminded me of the tradition to go on a road trip for my birthday, coming up on 6 July. When my plans were too petty – some hiking here, some hiking there – he said: “Think of the place where you always wanted to go, the country that is always in your dreams but that you have never seen. I’ll pay you the flight.”

It was obvious that he wanted to get me out of the house.

I didn’t have to hesitate a second, for I have long had a fascination with the Caucasus, that region where Europe and Asia meet quietly and out of the limelight while all eyes are turned on Istanbul. But Istanbul is only there because one needed a plughole to drain the Black Sea, while the real Eurasian borderlands are in Georgia,

Kloster Georgien

Armenia

Armenia

and Azerbaijan.

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From 30 June to 18 July, I shall find out if my fascination has been justified. And, as I have no idea yet where to move next, I am open to coming into a hitherto unknown town – unknown only to me, that is – where I will be enchanted enough to want to live there. If only the languages weren’t scaring me off.

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And because many readers will still be wondering “where???”, here is a map:

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If you want a postcard from this trip, I will gladly send you one for a small donation.

(Diesen Beitrag auf Deutsch lesen.)

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Maps, Travel | Tagged | 19 Comments

No selfies from Easter Island

When people fly five hours to an island 3,700 km away from the mainland, they want photographic proof of having been there. Lots of photos. Tourists were walking up and down in silly poses before each stone statue on Easter Island, photographing themselves with cameras mounted on ski poles.

I don’t do that. After all, I have a brain to record memories.

Only after walking around the crater of Rano Kau, I was apparently too exhausted to pull my legs out of the photo in time.

Rano Kau feet

And in Tongariki, I was so lost in thought that I walked into my own picture.

Andreas Moser Tongariki mit Hut.JPG

And these are all the photos of myself from one week on Easter Island. I was probably the only visitor who left without a photo of himself grimacing in front of a statue. But I did get to explore more of the island itself; a full report will be published on this blog soon.

(Zur deutschen Fassung.)

Posted in Chile, Easter Island, Photography, Travel | 5 Comments