How do I love Romania, let me count the ways.

First, it's got a kick-ass book about the amazing life of Atilla Ambrus, the anti-hero described in Ballad of the Whisky Robber as:

the Robin Hood of Eastern Europe. He's the onetime pelt smugger, goaltender (possibly the worst in the history of pro hockey), pen salesman, Zamboni driver, gravedigger, church painter, roulette addict, building superintendent, whiskey drinker, and native of Transylvania who's decided that the best thing to do with his time is to rob as many banks as possible.

 Okay, so he's Hungarian (close enough, right?)

Second, it's got Roma (Gypsies), and Gypsie curses.

Double, double toil and trouble: witches in Romania are planning to cast a spell on the country's rulers because of laws that will force them to pay tax for the first time.

Cat excrement and dead dogs, rather than eye of newt and toe of frog, will go into their cauldron – but they are hoping to put a Macbeth-style hex on the country's president, Traian Basescu, and his government after the imposition of a tax regime aimed at tackling the recession.

Intriguing. Tell me more...

A dozen witches will hurl the poisonous mandrake plant into the river "so evil will befall them", a witch named Alisia said. The threatened curse is not being taken lightly in a country with a long tradition of superstition. Basescu and his aides have been known to wear purple on certain days in an attempt to ward off evil.

The new law is part of the government's drive to collect more revenue and crack down on tax evasion. It will force the likes of witches, astrologers and fortune tellers to register their professions and become liable for 16% tax in line with other self-employed Romanians.

The Queen witch Bratara Buzea said she would lead a chorus in casting a spell using a concoction of cat excrement and a dead dog. "They want to take the country out of this crisis using us? They should get us out of the crisis because they brought us into it," she said.

There's not much more to add to a story that kick-ass, other than to wish more power to the good occult Roma, and good luck in both your necromancy and tax evasion...

Where's Borat to defend me? I sense the evil eye of a Gypsy Witch
(Yes, she really is...went to prison and everything for it).


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