Category Archives: Smalltalk

Pecunia non olet (money does not smell)

You might now think: Has he finally lost his marbles? What’s going on here? Well, I have decided to regularly mention famous citations here and give a bit of an explanation about their background. And this first posting should of course be a bit of an eye-catcher. So here you go:

This is a {en:Latin} citation that is attributed to the {en:Roman} emperor {en:Vespasian} (9-79). Part of his efforts to consolidate the public budget was the introduction of a special tax for “restrooms”, or more specifically the newly built {en:Cloaca Maxima} (sic!). When challenged by his son {en:Titus} about it he responded with the above statement. Here are some examples how this saying still lives in today’s world

  • It is widely used to justify money coming from questionable sources.
  • In Paris public restrooms are called “Vespasiennes”.
  • And in Italy they are “Vespasiani”.

My Favourite Game on the C-64

Many questions in life are not so easy to answer. However, when it comes to what my favourite game was on the C-64, it is different. There is only one answer possible and those who know me long enough know it:

The Great Giana Sisters

You can probably find the game these days on the various archives for emulators (there was also a version for the Commodore Amiga by the way). And some really crazy guys developed a Flash version. The controls are a bit sluggish, but the idea is really cool nevertheless!!!

“The Rough Guide to Scottish Music”

Scottish music is more than just bagpipes. Probably the most well-known band is Runrig, although I sometimes get the impression that they had their greatest success in the 1990s. But the CD I want to recommend today is not from them (although I have some of their stuff and certainly like it).

Rather it is a compilation called “The Rough Guide to Scotland”. It’s a nice collection that I first heard while visiting a friend in Cambridge. Unfortunately it sometimes seems to be difficult to buy outside of the UK. Also, be aware that there exist two CDs of that very same name. I refer to the one from 1996, while the other one is from 2003 (no idea how this one is, does anybody know?).

Oh, one more thing to mention: Those who are not from the UK will possibly not realize the pun in the CD’s name. There is a well-known series of travel guides called “The Rough Guide to ….”.

The History of Commodore

If you spent your teen years in the middle to late 1980s chances are you owned a {en:Commodore 64} home computer (or a C-128 as I did). For those of us that want to re-live these years there is now a chance.

On the Edge: the Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore by Brian Bagnall

This book gives a comprehensive description from the early days (when Commodore was mainly in the business of electronic calculators) to the very end. It contains a huge amount of details and you must probably be a bit crazy to read it. Nevertheless I rather enjoyed it and even bought myself a used C-64 while reading it.