Friday, September 30, 2005

Famous Germans - Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein died in 1955. That's 50 years ago. Germany celebrates the Einstein year.

Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955) was a German-born Jewish theoretical physicist of German, Swiss and American citizenship, who is widely regarded as the greatest scientist of the 20th century or even of all time.
He proposed the theory of relativity and also made major contributions to the development of quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and cosmology. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect in 1905 (his "miracle year") and "for his services to Theoretical Physics".
After his general theory of relativity was formulated in November 1915, Einstein became world famous, an unusual achievement for a scientist. In his later years, his fame exceeded that of any other scientist in history. In popular culture, his name has become synonymous with great intelligence and even genius.
Einstein himself was deeply concerned with the social impact of scientific discovery. His reverence for all creation, his belief in the grandeur, beauty, and sublimity of the universe (the primary source of inspiration in science), his awe for the scheme that is manifested in the material universe—all of these show through in his work and philosophy.


It still sounds astounding in my ears. How could anyone describe the universe like him?

What else do we know? He was a scientist but a star as well. He played with this role and sometimes took the liberty to behave like a child (remember his famous photos, you find some of them here).
He treated women bady obviously, his contract of marriage with one of his wifes is famous. But she wanted to marry him anyway.
He was a lateral thinker and a cosmopolitan. Many people want to participate in his fame and brilliance.

The ZDF, one of the big German TV broadcasting companys honors Albert Einstein with a great Internet page. Einsteins Welt (Einstein's world) with a profound coverage of his life, work, dreams and legacy.
It was awarded with the renowned Grimme online award this year. A perfect chance to dive into the thrilling and gorgeous world of Albert Einstein.

"Wenn die Menschen nur über das sprächen, was sie begreifen, dann würde es sehr still auf der Welt sein" (Albert Einstein)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

German politics - The chancellor generator

We still have an adjourned game concerning the formation of a goverment and the K-(Kanzler=chancellor) question.

At the moment the big coalition is the most likely possibility. But still Angela Schröder and Gerhard Merkel (did I mix something up?) insist on their leading role and claim to become chancellor.

Maybe we should change the game. Why shouldn't there be a mélange of the leading politicians of the different parties?

As there are:

Gerhard Schröder (social democrats)
Angela Merkel (conservatives)
Guido Westerwelle (liberals)
Joschka Fischer (greens)
Gregor Gysi (socialist)
Oskar Lafontaine (socialist)

Some possibilities:

Gerkar Wischkel
Gregela Festertaine
Joschkar Fffonsi
Osgor Mrökel
Ando Lafonwelle
Osdo Frösi
Guigor Schyder
Anka Wischsi (I like that one)

If you want to find out more. Go to the Kanzlergenerator (chancellor generator). And you will have a lot of fun. Let love rule!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Websites I like - Ersin and Börek Show

"Du Ersin ich hab Disch was mitgebracht".

That's the beginning of the "Dem Ersin und Börek Show". With the sound contributions of the two leading actors Ersin and Börek there is not a dry eye in the house and sometimes the eye gets black as well.
The two word acrobats are supported in their weekly show by the dog "Dober-Pauli" and by a captain of a prawn cutter.
Nobody is safe from them, neither Star Trek nor Britney Spears.

The website captivates by its light-handed and elegant programming, its big entertainment value and the affectionately developed characters.
The two German-Turks (a comedian genre in Germany) Ersin and Börek share more than the initial letters of their names with Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street.

They entertain players and the audience with weekly new, surprising and characteristic contributions e.g. for the use of the letters of the alphabet and to other "vital" topics.

A comic strip league of it's own. Wildly entertaining. Check it out!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Modern physiologies - Lebenskünstler / Bonvivant

I dream of working (at the most) part time when I turn 40. That would be in 2009.

That would mean either my family and me we reduce our standard of living or my wife works more than now. She has already started working again (she's a teacher) for two days a week after taking care for Emma full time for almost nine month.
I would love to have more time for reading, playing music, educating my daughter and working honorary. I would like to get involved in Greenpeace or Bund Naturschutz more than now. Maybe I could get more into politics. I could acquire the licence for coaching youth soccer teams. We could travel more, we could waste time.
I have a lot of ideas in my mind to become a Lebenskünstler. I don't know if there is a English word for this. I only know the french word Bonvivant. If somebody can enlighten me, go ahead!

How could we define Lebenskünstler?

Lebenskünstler - one who recognizes opportunities in life and takes advantage or makes use of those opportunities to make the most out of one's own life; one who lives life deliberately and to the fullest capacity (concept from Henry David Thoreau of “living deep and sucking out all the marrow of life”); one who gambles with the outcome of his/her own life by seizing opportunity; one who makes living an art (I like this best).

The best from Google:
  • Lebenskünstler - artist of life
  • Lebenskünstler - an architect of his own achievements
  • An actor, therefore, must be very resourceful if he wants to make a living; usually, actors have several sources of income in order to make ends meet between jobs. There’s a German phrase, Lebenskünstler. Literally translated, it means “an artist of life,” and certainly every actor I know is a brilliant Lebenskunstler. They have to be able to survive, and they’re usually happy and proud of their chosen profession. They have a joy in living that exudes from every pore; it is this quality that sets them apart from the pack and makes them attractive to watch.
  • The Germans have an interesting concept: "Lebenskünstler" (life-artist). This means that some people make of their own lives a work of art, by chosen experience and behavior. Not only are they creative, but their art is something which they can best appreciate, at the very moment of its creation! I think that is a very wise and useful idea, for it reveals that we do have the power to direct our own lives, within the context of our environment, whether our lives are long or short.
  • Lebenskünstler. It means something like "someone for whom life is an art form".

There are also several homepages: (very questionable contents) (dito) (not better)

Maybe some people are Lebenskünstler because they are forced to do so. But I think mainly the concept is voluntariness. You want to be a Bonvivant. Normally you don't have to be.

The fight against unemployment has led to some funny form of employment in Germany. We have the famous Hartz IV law and the new jobs:

  • Ich-AG (me AG)
  • Ein-Euro-Jobs (one-Euro-jobs)
  • Mini-Jobs

A new form of Brot und Spiele, panem et circenses? Or the state-aided form of being Lebenskünstler?

Let's become Lebenskünstler!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Dreams of life - Phoenix, Arizona

I don't know exactly why it came to my mind, but probably because I had a wonderful time there.

I was studying in Phoenix/Arizona at Arizona State University (ASU) in 1992. I took the summer courses in international marketing and personal selling. Professor John Schlacter is still there, hi John!
This was rewarded for good grades while studying business administration in Munich. And man, I wanted it so much.

It was my first flight, my first time at the States, it sounded like pure adventure.

And it turned out to be fabulous. I had no big problems with the courses. So we had the time to relax and went out each and every night.
We were located in Tempe on Scottsdale Rd. I remember the notorious Studebakers club. It still exists, how I would love to go there again.

We enjoyed the recreation center. I took trips to the Grand Canyon, L.A., route 66. We were on the hunt for girls, and said: Hey, we are German officers, you have to obey. Sometimes they did.

We tried out every fast food that existed. I liked Taco Bell (that does not exist in Germany) and Whataburger, Jack in the box was alright, too.
We rented huge cars and cruised the streets.

We took the heat, which was sometimes unbearable. But they say it's a dry heat. I still have a t-shirt with this on it. I also had a t-shirt with a slogan: ASU, where 40.000 students pay to play. That's what we did!

After all I love to remember these times. I have to go there again, if it's possible.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

All nothing or?

Finally the election in Germany took place on September 18. The result was a big surprise.
The social democrats (SPD) came back like phoenix from the ashes and nearly passed the conservatives (CDU/CSU). But only nearly:

When the elections were proclaimed at the end of May, the social democrats, who form the government with the green party right now, started the opinion polls with about 25%. I have written about it on July 26.
The conservatives were constantly above 40% and dreamt of 45 to 48%. They had the plan of forming the government with the liberals (FDP). Now they have lost enormously, what they haven't dreamt in their worst nightmares. Now the big ones have to talk with the small ones. What are the possibilities?

1. Traffic light coalition

The liberals are the winner of the election, together with the left-wing Linkspartei (Linke).
But this is a pyrrhic victory. They have decided on working together only with the conservatives. What isn't possible, they have no majority. They refuse to think about a so called traffic light coalition (green-yellow (I know, this is a German traffic light thing)-red; these are the colours of social democrats, liberals and greens). A big mistake in my opinion. Their former chief Hans-Dietrich Genscher (his nickname was Genschman by the way) would never have limited the possibilities of the party like this. The liberals always tried to be in the government if possible in their history. In the opposition it wouldn't matter if they have 5 or 10%.

2. Jamaica coalition

The greens probably will refuse to take part in a so called Jamaika coalition (Black-yellow-green). This is the plan of Angela Merkel, the chief of the conservatives right now. She has the right to act at the moment, because she has (a very bare) majority of votes. The greens would have to invent themselves new for such plans. Thinking about ecology, foreign policy, labour rights etc.

3. Big coalition

The somehow most probable possibility. Social democrats and conservatives put their power together. But Gerhard Schröder refuses to cooperate with Angela Merkel, a loser in his eyes. He proclaims himself as winner and wants to continue as chancellor with chutzpa and as machiavellist. But his only possibilities are traffic light coalition or a minority goverment, which is hard to obtain. Even with the conservatives he wants to remain chancellor. Maybe they could switch at half time after two years. I have read about this today.
The other possibility would be that Schröder and Merkel resign and a third person gets in charge, probably a conservative. I think some politicians already have got their knifes out.

4. Last exit

Nobody wants to talk with the left wing party Linke. They are looked at as not being able to take part in a goverment. But maybe they could tolerate a red-green government. But these are dreams of the future.
Merkel could give in and Schröder would find a way. Schröder could give in and (maybe, if not "slaughtered" before) Merkel would find a way. The latter is not very likely though.
New elections could be proclaimed, I hope not. What would this be good for?

5. Summary

The winners are somehow the losers. The liberals have limited their chances and cut the votes of the now weakened partner conservatives. The left wings have cut the votes of the social democrats who would have been the clear winner without them. The revenge of Oskar Lafontaine was successful but senseless. I hope it tastes bitter for the parlor Bolshevik. And Angela, be consequent in this one issue. You have lost.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Worth living list

I had to rearrange the list, because I was not satisfied before

1. My wife
2. My smiling baby
3. Playing the Martin guitar
4. Potatoes with curd cheese
5. German beer
6. Espresso or cortado
7. Good novels
8. Writing poems
9. Running (to stand still?)
10. Soccer: Playing, watching, everything
11. Get rid of (pounds, rubbish, naging thoughts....)
12 . The new Seat Leon (see picture)
13. Try to have fun at work
14. Sleep tight and long (hello Emma!)
15. Süddeutsche Zeitung, my newspaper
16. Musikexpress, the best music magazine
17. Pretend, you've never been to school, if somebody asks what you are doing
18. Laugh loud and groundless
19. Bayern 2, my radio station
20. Discover new music
21. Sun in September
22. Travelling, especially througout countries not visited before, I'm a collector in this way
23. Nick Drake
24. Nuremberg, it's my home town
25. Blogging [sic!]

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Gone but not forgotten - "jetzt" magazine

For several years, the biggest German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) had a magazine included for young people, the jetzt (means "now" in German) magazine.

I'm not really young anymore, but anyway it think was also for people who are wild at heart.
It was published every monday, a perfect start in the week. It could make you smile or think or dream.
There were some famous categories you could get addictive to. I was looking forward to them every week. Like for example:

  • Lebenswert (worth living) list
  • Nur für Jungs / Nur für Mädchen (only for boys / only for girls)
  • Verlieben-Lieben-Entlieben (Fall in love-be in love-get rid of love)
  • Star sein (being a star - that remembers me of being John Malkowich)
That was three years ago. On a fatal day in July 2002 the publishers of the SZ decided to shut jetzt down because of finacial problems. They stopped the magazine for the young. Isn't that unbelievable. They did it on the debit of the young people, who could have been their readers later. Well could have been.......

There were a lot of protests, even a demonstration. I wrote a letter to the SZ and also wrote a poem. I will attach it tomorrow, it is on my PC at work. Right now I'm at home.
We didn't succeed. The decision wasn't cancelled. The magazin ceased to exist. It was like having lost a friend. But it refused to leave my heart.

What is left is the homepage of jetzt on the Internet. So at least some of the categories have survived. Have a look, it is still interesting.
On mondays (still) there is one page in the SZ left for jetzt, but this is only the sad reminder of what could still be there in it's spledid beauty. Shame on you, SZ!

That's my poem:

jetzt soll leben

Wart ihr einmal gehetzt?
Was hat euch wieder aufgebaut: jetzt.
Hat euch jemand versetzt?
Was hat euch getröstet: jetzt.
Wart ihr einmal verletzt?
Was hat die Wunden geheilt: jetzt?
Hat euch jemand verpetzt?
Was hat zu euch gestanden: jetzt
Habt ihr euch mal gefetzt?
Was hat die Risse gekittet: jetzt.
Hat jemand Messer gewetzt?
Was hat sie stumpf gemacht: jetzt.
Wart Ihr mit Tränen benetzt?
Was hat sie getrocknet: jetzt.
Zu guter Letzt:
Was muß weiterleben: jetzt.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

News from poetry part IV


And the sun is everywhere
And the air is filled with pollen
And all the bees weighed down with light
Are golden where the leaves have fallen.
The sidewalk soft with petals.
The air is wet with blossom;
It was frankly hard to comprehend
How all your youth and grace, so lissome,
So supple, could gather in the one body.
The light comes through your hair
As if your hair were light and nothing but:
You shake it to set fire to the air.

by Luke Davies

Monday, September 12, 2005

On a tuesday in September 2001.......

September 11 sucks in many respects.

It is said, that everybody will remeber forever what he has been doing, when he got the news of the twin towers going down.
I remember I was at work and the internet nearly broke down, CNN was out of reach.
I remember the sarcastic remark of a colleague, that this could be the response for the American world politics. I think he didn't know how damn right he was.
I remember driving home. It was strangely and terrifying calm everywhere. The news where read like a obituary notice. Today the Dow Jones was buried, he lost x percent and then the trade was stopped and nobody knows when it will come back to life again.....
I remember the infinite loop of the pictures of the tower crashing planes and who wouldn't?
I remember the helplessness of George W. Bush, when he got the news (I have seen it later in the movie of Michael Moore). This could have been human but the results were fatal in many ways. He annouced the war against terror, a thought like an unborn scare or the emperor's new clothes. It does not exist.

You can't be at war with terrorism. Terrorism has no state, no borders, no government, no body. It changes like a hydra. If you cut off one head, another one will appear. It will be even worse, concerning terrorism. But America didn't realize that. Terror isn't Afghanistan or Iraq. Terror is an answer to a question nobody knows. It can't be wiped out, if not by the terrorists itself, because of realizing the senselessness or failure. We had the RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion) in Germany who declared their cancellation in 1998 after their importance and attention faded.

The so called wars against terror were a huge mistake, Colin Powell now regrets his speech at the UN, concerning the proof of weapons of mass destruction (I hate this word). An argumentation that proved to be unsustainable, these weapons were never found.

Then many civil laws were changed in the States and in many other countries (including Germany). The seed of fear, spying, cutbacks of almost every right was sowed. It fell on a fertile ground in the US, a anyhow fear-occupied, weapon loaded country. People awoke to late (not before the last election, where George W. was given another try) and it will take a long time (if ever possible) to regain the situation before September 11.

I would have wished, that America had reacted more like the British people after the terror attacs in the city of London. Hats off! They didn't show their fear to the world (and the terrorists). Their heads remained high. The mayor of London went to work with the subway. No war was announced. What a loss for the terrorists. They look like abhorrent, disgusting criminals and idiots now (for everybody in the world), who killed innocent people. Not like martyrs or protagonists of something worth fighting for.

I hope we have learned this lesson well.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Faded myths - hats

I had this in my mind for a long time.

I like the pictures of the twenties or thirties where all of the people in the streets seemed to wear hats.
Look at the picture, something is missing. Who finds it out?

Nowadays hats are only worn by

  • elderly gentlemen
  • women at horse races (Ascot!)
  • show-offs
  • geeks
  • some people doing their job (but these are mainly caps I think; but maybe butlers or hotel employees welcoming the guests)
Maybe there are hidden countries where it is still common to wear hats. That would be interesting.

What would have been the purpose of hats?

  • weather protection
  • fashionable accessoire
  • something to take off to be polite
  • a toy when you are nervous
  • just a part of the clothes and nobody thinks about

What kind of proverbs are there?

  • whereever I lay my hat, that's my home
  • take off one's hat
  • I'll take my hat off to you!
  • I'll eat my hat if....
  • talk through one's hat
In German there are also the following (Hut = hat):
  • Alles unter einen Hut bringen: Literal "Get everything under a hat";means "reconcile things"
  • Damit habe ich nichts am Hut: Literal "I have nothing on the hat with this issue"; means "I can't be bothered with that"
  • Ihm ging der Hut hoch: Literal "His hat went up"; means "he blew his top"
  • Den Hut nehmen müssen: Literal "to have to take one's hat"; means "have to go (or to resign)"
  • Das kannst Du Dir an den Hut stecken: Literal "You can put that on your hat"; means "you can keep it".
At least in our language the hat is still alive and kicking! I take off my hat now and say goodbye till the next post.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Have been

I have been

  • living in Erlangen, Nürnberg, München, Amberg, Hof, Leutenberg and Neuhaus/Eger
  • travelling through Canada, USA, Mexico, Hungaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Egypt, Denmark, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Sweden, Netherlands, Yugoslawia, Spain and England; at least that's all I remember
  • driving two Volkswagen (Golf), a Volvo and right now I'm driving a Seat
  • young, that's what everybody thinks about often I presume; I still do not feel old luckily
  • an officer in the federal armed forces of Germany
  • dumb a lot of times in my life; but how could you learn anything if you are not?
  • divorced several times, no, just kidding; I'm married for the first time and Emma is my first child
  • afraid of failure; that's what keeps you going, I think
  • drunk, dazed and confused
  • in love and I still am
  • happy all over from head to toes
  • dreaming, even during the day (I do it a lot)
  • smiling and laughing, hopefully enough
  • a friend if I could
  • frustrated but not depressed
  • doing sports which is absolutely vital for me
  • running a marathon in Munich 1993
  • running an inline skate marathon in Berlin 2001
  • dancing and singing for not a small part of my life

I'm wondering if the best is yet to come.........

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

German politics - The candidates' debate

Last sunday we had the big showdown between Angela Merkel (rival candidate) and Gerhard Schröder (chancellor).
It was broadcasted on 4 German T.V. stations at the same time (ARD, ZDF, SAT 1 and RTL).
There was a big ballyhoo before this debate:

  • It is the only one before the election on September 18.
  • Schröder is the media man and can't slap a woman (does she look like?) directly in the face
  • Schröder will win, Merkel has no chance (so Merkel can only win?)
  • Trivialities will be discussed, nothing new will occur
  • There will be too many details, that nobody will understand
I have watched the debate but it ended somehow unsatisfactory. Schröder has won in the eyes of nearly anybody. But Merkel didn't do a bad job either and so she looks like the hidden champion. She has nothing to lose.
There is no anticipation possible, what will be the effect on the election. Right now the possible conservative / liberal coalition has a lead of about 8-9 percent.

I was disappointed of the journalists. There were the anchor men / women of the channels investigating. They did it professional but in a boring way.

Nobody asked:

Gerhard, do you still have the desire to rule four more years? What will you do, what you haven't done in the last seven years of your government?

Angela, can you do this job without Gerhard? Won't you need him when you go to meeting with statesmen abroad and need someone to charm them all over when it comes to critical issues?

So Angela and Gerhard if you read this. I would be interested in your answer.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Number 1000

The number of visitors (since I have counted them) has exceeded a thousand. 1 0 0 0. Wow, that's cool.

1000 is the natural number following 999 and precending 1001.
In scientific notation, one thousand is written as 10 high 3. The SI prefix for a thousand is "kilo-".

Cardinal: One thousand
Ordinal: 1000 th
Factorization: 2 high 3 x 5 high 3
Roman numeral: M (mille)
Prefixes: chilia- (from greek) and milli- (from latin)
Binary: 1111101000
Hexadecimal: 3E8

The actual visitor number is 1079 - every positive integer is the sum of at most 1079 tenth powers.

Thank you very much for visiting me. I hope you will carry on.

For Dirk Fans like me