Philosophy, Twitter and a happy 2016

First and foremost, those who are expecting a recipe (makes me laugh just writing it). Sorry, the kitchen was taken over by Milady during the end of year celebrations. And I won’t publish a recipe that I haven’t cooked myself. For those who are waiting a bit of patience please I will take back my kitchen duties in 2016.

Yesterday morning I had a short conversation with one of my Followers on Twitter. Something about him being born a Muslim. I was replying he was born a human being and later on became a Muslim. After some friendly exchanges. We stopped our philosophical conversation with something about the egg and the bird. And who was first. The last one was by me claiming that in the Middle Ages we would both have been burned on the stakes. For different reasons but burned both of us.

As he‘s a published author I had the idea to connect with him on Goodreads too. As I’ve never befriended someone before on Goodreads it was quite an adventure. Starting with: No idea how to, no idea if he’s even on Goodreads. Typed his name in the search box. Wrong at first. After the necessary correction, I finally found him and only had to figure out how to send a friend request. During that research, I read some of the ratings for one of his books. Wasn’t only by pure curiosity I have to write ‘Critics’ for my 50 classics. So, we could file that under research. One of the ratings caught my eye. Someone gave a relatively low rating for the book (2 out of 5 stars). The interesting thing was the reason why. She gave only 2 stars because the book didn’t give her the answer she was looking for. It didn’t give her the answer to her question:

‘What is the difference between different streams of Buddhism ?’

The book’s title is ‘The complete Idiot’s Guide to World Religions’. For me, the problem of this lady is quite a simple one. She was just researching in the wrong book. If you are rating a book rate the book that the author has written and not the book that you wanted him to have written.

From a research point of view, this was quite a futile endeavor for me. But at least, I’m now friends with @LiteraryStriver on Goodreads. Yes, he’s got a real name too. Yusuf Toropov.

Which brings me to my final point for today.

My year on Twitter. Don’t worry, No statistics. What I can say is: I’ve found (or was found by) some very nice people. Looks like all of them are either author, blogger (or both) people who love to write and/or read. Animal lovers, too

No need to make a list of these people. I hope they know who I’m talking about. You make Twitter a pleasure and talking to you makes being unproductive fun. Thank you very much for that.

See you next year.


Cheers and a happy 2016

Ausone’s Notebook, instalment, #amwriting #mondayblogs #cats

Hi, my dear humans. Monday and here I am. You’ve missed me ?

Once again, my human wrote on Twitter something about me being back on Monday. Which is OK. But he added: “his old ranting self” Which is complete bullshit. First of all, you are only as old as you feel and secondly I’m usually not ranting. I’m kind of friendly, not trying to do any harm and seeing the positive side. This isn’t that easy with you humans. Thus, I rant from time to time. Do I like or prefer that ? By no means. I prefer peace and calm.

In my last instalment, I’ve forgotten something quite important.

11. WE ARE NO PRESENTS. No, in no way. There is no acceptable way. Simply NO. If you happen to know someone who wants a cat give him a voucher as a present. He takes the decision when he’s ready to do so. Go with this person to your local shelter and then follow the steps mentioned under point 2 last week.

Don’t get me wrong. Every animal is a present for a human being. But on a spiritual, emotional level. Not on the physical gift giving level. Got me ? If not just ask I’ll be happy to explain it further.

We’re still in your so-called festive season. And there’s another of your festivities approaching. Another day that animals do not really like. The 31st of December you’re celebrating the end of 2015 and welcoming 2016.

Nice; don’t see the point but if you want to. You’re celebrating this event with fireworks at midnight. Which equals noise, a lot of noise. Too much noise. Cats and dogs have a superior sense of hearing; So, your noise at midnight is hurting us. I’m only talking about cats and dogs at the moment. Think for a second about all the animals in the wild. Birds for example. Your noise is certainly not a pleasure for them. It’s happening in the middle of the night. A time animals are usually sleeping. And suddenly that noise. OK, so we are again of inferior importance than your pleasure.

Not that I would get why you are celebrating this day ?

Why aren’t you celebrating a day that’s, at least, a bit in line with nature; Just take the winter solstice. From this day on the nights are getting shorter again. A day to celebrate the start of nature’s rebirth. Nope, you humans are celebrating again a person. This time, it’s the death of a Pope. A pope who died 335AD. I’m pretty sure the majority of humans don’t have the slightest idea what they are exactly celebrating on the 31st of December. That your calendar is in no way in line with nature; is just the same as your lives are not in line with nature.

You like to celebrate on this particular day. Do so. Celebrate. That you are burning a lot of money, that there are as usual a lot of harmed drunken humans on this day.

Fine for me, I don’t care. But just a bit less noise would please a lot of animals. That you could do a lot of good things with the money you are burning on this day. I’m sure you know.

Enjoy your festivities. Don’t exaggerate. Don’t forget you’re not alone on this planet.

Happy new year to all of you, from Rashid too


See you next year, maybe



50 Classics Challenge

Some further information about my reading list.

In general, I try to read the books in the original language. If I’m capable. English; French and German I’m conversationally fluent, neither Spanish nor Russian I speak good enough to read in. Tolstoy and Cervantes, I have to read thus in English.  One of the Dan Brown books, the first Harry Potter and Ulysses are in German and already in my library. Won’t buy them in English.

Some of the books are on my Kindle app. So I can read them either on my Smartphone or on my laptop. The majority will be read on the laptop.

Phone only in exceptional circumstances.

The list is in alphabetical order. Which does by no means state the order I will read them? Two of the Jane Austen books won’t be read in 2016. I’ve read them just recently.

Buch mit Brille

Some of the books are frightening; in the sense of: they might be a lot of work to read. Ulysses, War and Peace, Meditations.

Some of (nearly all of) the German classics I had to read in school. The memories for the majority of them aren’t that good. Vivisection of books I just don’t like and that’s what we did with them in school.

Do I look forward to the challenge? You bet. Reading Werther without being forced to do so can’t be bad.

Will I like all of them ? We will see.

Will my published criticism of the books meet my sense of perfection ? I hope but doubt. My Goodreads comments I’m not yet proud of. Looks like I have to do a bit of research about acceptable criticism for a book. The hint(s) on the classics club site are (is): Three paragraphs and that’s it. We will see what I will be capable of.

I will certainly not use a five-star rating system. If I would it might be necessary to give half points. Don’t like that, guess I will just try a 1 to 10 rating. With 1 complete waste of time to 10 pure perfection. ‘Der Name der Rose’ will be the example for a 10. Know it already it will be the fifth time I’m reading it. (You just can’t get away from what you want to write about, you can’t)

I still have absolutely no idea with which one I will start the journey. First I have to finish the two I’m reading at the moment.

Might start with something short in German. Lessing, ‘Nathan der Weise’ ? Dürrenmatt ‘Romulus der Grosse’ would be more fun.

On the app it will be  ‘The life and opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman’

And now, Ladies and Gentleman start your engines

Things of Winter Beauty and Wonder: Christmas Eve (day twenty four)

Viv’s poetry is awesome

Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking

Day Twenty Four

Christmas Eve

There is a feeling that sometimes arrives on this day, usually after the sun has set and the shops are all shut, and all that can be done has been done. It’s hard to describe and I am unsure of its origin, but it arrives like a benison from heaven and is like a sweet balm on sore skin, easing away pain and anxiety and suffering.

The best I have ever been able to do is to put some of my responses into poetry.


Deep bliss, a feeling of velvet inside

An inarticulate rightness of being,

brightness of being right

And I cannot tell why or how

This feeling comes:

A simple certainty that all shall be well,

Now and always.

I cannot capture this feeling, pin down

And dissect it, tear its secrets apart

To reveal the truth I already know.

An image…

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Procrastination Station: Seven Rando Factoids


Carrots in My Carryon

So I have some stuff I need to get out of my head and write about, but I’m procrastinating, because it’s kind of painful and therefore feels like work.  Which I have no interest in starting, contemplating, or completing today.  BECAUSE WEEKEND. Plus, I’m really, really good at procrastination. It’s the zippy convertible I use to drive through life – tight corners on two wheels, slamming into the last available parking space thirty seconds before the show begins.  WHAT. A. RUSH.

(And yes, I recognize that life would PROBABLY be a lot less stressful if I actually planned out things and allowed ample time to complete them, and this last-minute-Charlie thing I’m sporting feeds my anxiety like fertilizer on corn in July.  But dat’s how I roll, yo.  It’s as much a part of me as curly hair and birthmarks, and I’m not sure I could change it if I…

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Things of Winter Beauty and Wonder: Advent Day Twenty Three

Christmas music…

Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking

Day Twenty Three

Traditional music

I’d be the first to admit I have a poor singing voice and don’t enjoy singing very much but at this time of the year, neither fact matters. Winter songs, carols and other music are so much a part of this season that even those who usually sing out of tune find, almost miraculously, find themselves able to carry a tune. The tunes of our most popular carols are probably quite ancient, and the words embedded (to some extent) in the brains of a lot of people. Most of us who grew up in this country went to schools where assemblies included a small (often quite nominal) religious content, but during the run up to Christmas, the nativity play is ubiquitous along with about ten carols that almost everyone knows.

I have about ten or fifteen CDs that I can play only at this time…

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