5 November 2013 (Tuesday) - Gunpowder, Treason and Plop
When we first took on "Furry Face TM" it was on the understanding that he slept downstairs in his own bed. More often than not I wake to find he has sneaked up the stairs in the night and is asleep at the bottom of my pit. Last night I was woken twice by the thump of him falling off of the bed.
That little dog was a little bit late in stirring himself out of his (my) pit this morning; had he been about two minutes earlier he could have shared my toast. He was too late.
In the words of the old adage "you snooze, you lose".
This morning I went to work through some of the heaviest rain I think I have ever seen outside of one of our camping trips. As I drove I listened to the radio (as I do). There is consternation in Germany as apparently a hoard of stolen art treasures has come to light. During the Nazi regime apparently a lot of valuable works of art were stolen from the Jewish community and many were "lost".
From what I could determine from the news article a load of paintings have been found in a flat somewhere in Germany where the supposed owner of said flat only appears once a year or so. This chap is eighty-odd years old, has no apparent means of financial support, and is the son of one of many Nazis suspected of having stolen valuable art work during the Nazi era. The implication was that this fellow was making his living by periodically selling off paintings which he had acquired from his (now dead) father who presumably had stolen them either from the original owners or through his involvement with the Nazis.
Those gripped with righteous indignation felt that this art hoard should be returned to its rightful owners. I suppose that might at first sight seem to be the right thing to do.
However German law has a Statute of Limitations concerning incidents from the Nazi times. From what I could determine, basically once such a crime is thirty years old there is no longer any legal recompense. Personally I think that is a good thing in general.Whilst what happened in history was terrible, there comes a time when we need to move on.
However in this specific instance is it right that someone is making a living on stolen goods?
I can't help but wonder how at this remove in time would anyone ever find the rightful owners of this art? I can remember my Aunt Joan had a painting which was supposed to be worth a bob or two. It had a lady showing off a nork. But I can't remember much more about it than that; and that was from the mid 1970s. I certainly couldn't tell it from any other painting of a wanton woman. How could anyone alive today realistically remember what they or their family once owned in the 1930s and 1940s? I doubt much in the way of certifying documentation was stolen together with these art works.
My piss also boiled at the news that India is sending off a mission to Mars. Most of my loyal readers might think that as an astronomical sort of fellow I would be pleased about this. Well, I suppose I am. But I've been reading an old favourite book of mine. Jem - the Making of a Utopia. In this book inter-stellar exploration and colonisation isn't done by humanity at large, but by nation states. And all that humanity does is take internecine squabbling and atomic warfare to a higher level.
If we don't make space exploration a common shared venture for all nations of the world it will just become something else for us to argue about.
And so to work. I pootled about until it was time to come home. It was nice to be able to see the fireworks at the Kent county cricket ground later in the evening. As I drove home I scoffed a curlywurly I had bought at the Cheapo bargains shop last week. I really should stop stocking the car with curlywurlies from the Cheapo Bargains shop.
And so to Queen Street where the clans gathered and having listened to the radio we watched "Merlin". My personal opinion is that Merlin could easily have Harry Potter in a fight...