Friday, September 22, 2006

Hungarian Rhapsody

Warning entirely non-poker content to follow.

Just a little international current events commentary on a country that probably doesn’t mean much to most of the readers of this blog. It does however, interest me a great deal as I lived in that little land for three years of my life, among other things, meeting SoxWife (who is not from there) and making some pretty deep friendships that persist today.

Some of you may have noticed mention of a little Budapestian brouhaha running through those bottom international headlines. It seems that the current Hungarian Prime Minister, leader of the left-center Hungarian Socialist Party (roughly comparable to the Labour party in the UK, but with a direct legacy linked to the pre-transition regime, which was comparatively quite progressive at least in the eighties), while trying to goad his caucus to more dramatic economic reforms, used an unfortunate turn of phrase in suggesting that in avoiding tough decisions in the past, their party had “lied morning, evening and night.”

As might be expected, this stupefyingly honest quote was leaked pretty much entirely out of context, at which point a fascist mob showed up on Sunday in Freedom Square in the center of Pest.

I say fascist mob because I know those morons. Back in 1997, I used to commute through that same square on rollerblades and from time to time they would hold rallies, though then always with much smaller ranks typically heavily outnumbered by police. I freaked myself out one time skating cluelessly into their midst to see what was going on. They were all wearing brown uniforms with red armbands showing a black cogwheel on a white circle—a not so subtle allusion to the illegal symbols of the Nazis and their old Hungarian nephews, the Arrow Cross. I literally spun around. They looked ridiculous but still vaguely frightening, and of all things were protesting Hungary’s accession to NATO.

I resisted a brief urge to test my bastard Hungarian and skating speed by yelling “Csókje a zsidó fenékem bunkók!” (my undoubtedly stilted attempt at “Kiss my Jewish ass you tools!”) [edit: correctly stated: "Bunkók, csókoljátok meg a zsidó fenekemet!", thanks Zsolt].

Anyway, back to last week. Freedom Square is abutted by the main Hungarian national television building and the American Embassy. Predictably, the hooligans elected to sack the TV station canteen rather than rush the US Embassy, which is defended by M-16 toting Marines.

Also in Freedom Square directly outside the embassy is a giant freaking obelisk that the Soviets built as a monument to their own sacrifices “liberating” Hungary at the end of the Second World War—location purely coincidental I am sure.

So the mob also took a shot at defacing the monument, though they did not come close to destroying it. If there is one thing the Soviets knew how to do really well it was to build hard to destroy monuments.

Oh, what was the mob demanding? They had a two part manefesto:

1. Disbanding of the Hungarian parliament and return of power to the Hungarian people.

2. Reversing relegation of the local Hungarian side, Ferencváros, which had been banished in July from the Hungarian National Premier League for various financial “issues”.

Crazy Hungarian politics is farce for those outside of it.

Most unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury as our crazy politics actually impacts every one else outside. It’s easy to laugh at the elephant taking a dump at the circus, but not so funny when you’re standing behind him.


Anyway, see you all at the Bash tomorrow.


At Sun Sep 24, 11:34:00 PM 2006, Blogger slb159 said...

Nice getting to meet ya' in person at the Bash finally...sorry I couldn't donate back the 47$ I took off ya' in the cash game earlier this week. :) Thanks for the help with the chinese poker hands.

At Mon Sep 25, 04:26:00 PM 2006, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Sorry, Sox, but all I got from this was that your wife married you for a greencard.

At Mon Sep 25, 08:56:00 PM 2006, Blogger SoxLover said...

Oh you're going to be sorry you said that...

And not because of me.

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At Sun Oct 08, 11:21:00 AM 2006, Blogger jprfrog said...

Check out NYT Review of the Week today (Oct. 8), page 1 below the fold.


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