Two Cows

I’m sure quite a few of you will already have seen this and apologize for the repetition, but it’s too good not to include on this blog (and anyway, I’m bereft of inspiration). So here’s “Milking It.”

You have two cows. You give one to your neighbour.

You have two cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have two cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have two cows. The State takes both and shoots you.

You have two cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.

You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows. You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and market it worldwide.

You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

You have 5,000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows. You worship them.

You have two cows. Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the crap out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.

You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

You have two cows. The one on the left looks very attractive.


Building a Buddha in Thimpu

Jamyang Chödrön just returned to Berlin from Thimpu where she was visiting her family and sent me these gorgeous shots of a Buddha that’s being built opposite her sister’s house. It’s huge! And really rather beautiful.

I wish they’d build Buddhas in Berlin instead of all the hideous malls that are springing up.  We have one at the end of our road now. Ridiculous, actually. There’s a Deer Park at one end (I kid you not) and a hideous white block of concrete covered in logos at the other end, by the harbour, full of cheap clothes shops. Yuk!

This is a slideshow of four pictures, by the way. It seems some browsers might not set it sliding automatically, so please hover over the bottom part and wait for the controls to materialize.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Additions to my Blogroll

Grim word, ‘blogroll’, but what to do? We live in an insensitive world and most consumers have cloth ears. But enough of that. Today I added a couple of wonderful blogs to my list.
Brushsong is by Minette, a wonderfully fresh, young artist. I adore her work for its sensitivity and sense of joy and wonder. She is currently in Sri Lanka taking gorgeous photos and so hers is an unmissable blog for those interested in that part of the world.
The other is Cory’s Pixtress. It was Cory who inspired me to make a bit more of an effort to learn how to use a camera (not that I’ve got very far…).  I love the way she looks at the world and the warmth of her appreciation of it. Looking at her work suddenly showed me the point of  ‘photography as opposed to ‘tourist snaps’.
Both blogs come highly recommended.

A Hunter’s Moon

This post was Andreas’ idea. The thing is, I was brought up during the golden age of Patrick Moore’s The Sky At Night. He was England’s Moon expert. A gentleman amateur, he looked, in John Le Carré’s words, like a large, unmade bed, wore a monacle, gazed intently at whoever he was talking to as though they were the only person in the universe, never brushed his hair which I swear he cut it himself, shot questions at people with the rapidity of a machine-gun, and spent his entire life studying the moon.

So, when I took this photo of a hunter’s moon, I did it with Patrick Moore on my shoulder (next to Rinpoche, of course, but they got on like a house on fire). Apparently, a hunter’s moon (which appears after the harvest moon) is a full moon (or almost full) that appears in the sky before the sun goes down, and is still there when it rises again he next day, giving hunters more time to murder innocent animals.

I should probably add this detail isn’t something Patrick Moore told me, he was more interested in the sea of tranquility and all that stuff. But I mention him because whenever I gaze at the moon I think of him.

More recently, the moon has also inspired thoughts of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche in my otherwise vacuous (and rusty) mind, as Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche often writes of them as “the sun and moon-like Jamgon Lamas.” A rather lovely image, don’t you think? 


I often wonder about karma, and for example, the causes that make animals famous. We had Knut the polar bear in Berlin a few years ago, then there was Paul the octopus and now there’s Molla the owl in Italy. And although I usually spurn the latest global or internet sensation, in Molla’s case, I’m completely smitten.


A Frenchman, a German and a Jew are walking through a desert. It is very hot and they have no water.

After a few miles the Frenchman falls to his knees in the sand and declares, “I’m hot, I’m thirsty, I’m tired. Je demande some really good French wine.”

A little later the German pulls up smartly, stands to attention and says, “I’m hot, I’m thirsty und ich bin tired. I must have some really good German beer.”

Later still the Jew stops dead in his tracks and says, “I’m tired, I’m hot and I’m thirsty. I must have diabetes.”

Also: why are Jewish men circumcized? Because no self-respecting Jewish woman will accept anything that doesn’t have 20% off.

Weeping Guitar

OK, so it’s better not to spend too much time looking at the clothes they’re wearing, because, after all, this concert took place in the 80s… But noone makes a guitar weep like Eric. Except perhaps Peter Green.

This weeping guitar video made it into the blog after I watched the new Scorsese documentary about George Harrison this week. It’s worth investing three and half hours in watching. The music and the story are very familiar, but the snippets of spiritual stuff that Scorses manages to slip in seamlessly are really very inspiring. And it oiled a great many rusty bits of memory, some of which make me blush as I type.

Ravi Shankar makes an appearance and talks about the power of music, which to him and most Hindus is a manifestation of god. Some music, he says, like Indian classical music, European Baroque, Gregorian chant, help elevate the spirit and encourage spiritual reflection. Other music is a manifestation of demons, because it agitates the spirit and encourages behaviour that is rather less than spiritual (my precis). It’s true, I think. Certainly in my experience.

These days, if I listen to music at all it’s Andreas singing Irish songs in the shower, or old man Bach. When I hear the music of my youth (see below) out of nowhere I start longing for a stiff drink (no ice) and a fag. Or whatever. And even though I don’t seek it out any more, I still love the blues and adore a seriously muscular wailing guitar (see below).

I don’t know what Khyentse Rinpooche makes of the blues. I wonder if he’s even been exposed to it. The last time we discussed music in any form was after a concert of Brahms and Strauss at the beautiful Konzerthaus in Berlin. I’d been completely blown away but the lusciousness of the Strauss (Ein Heldenleben) but for Rinpoche it was “too much noise”. He preferred the Brahms (the double concerto), which has far more obvious tunes in it. Different strokes, I guess.