Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The unbearable lightness of being

Milan Kundera is one of my favourite authors. I think I have read almost anything he has ever written.
Set in 1968 Prague, the novel deals heavily with philosophical concepts. The novel depicts life for artists and intellectuals in Czechoslovakia after the USSR invaded the country following the Prague Spring. The story's main character is Tomáš, a famous surgeon, who criticizes the Czech Communists and as a result loses his position. Other important characters are his wife, Teresa (a photographer), his lover Sabina (a painter), and Sabina's lover Franz (a university professor).
"Being" is full of "unbearable lightness" because each of us have only one life to live: "Einmal ist keinmal" ("once is never", i.e., "what happened once might as well have never happened at all"). Therefore, each life is ultimately insignificant; every decision ultimately does not matter. Since decisions do not matter, they are "light": they do not tie us down. But at the same time, insignificance of our decisions - our lives, or being - is unbearable. Hence, "the unbearable lightness of being."

I'm dreaming of winning the lottery sometimes. And who doesn't? Isn't it thrilling to spend (or save) the money in your mind? Bearable lightness of being? Money has two main advantages for me:

1.) It allows you to say no
2.) You can trade it with time (at least on a certain scale)

ad 1.) I could say no to my boss. Leave the company and change to parental leave or early retirement, work part time, honorary or whatsoever
ad 2.) You can outsorce all activities you don't like, e.g. ironing shirts, cleaning the apartment, buying food etc.

Altogether a charming imagination. I don't know if this happiness would last long but I'm not the kind of person who gets bored easily. There a many things I like to do, laziness included.
Cuando la loteria va a tocar a me? Dios?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Faded myths - Brausepulver / sherbet (effervescent) powder

Do you remember the feeling when you put sherbet powder in your hand and then lick it? The prickle in your mouth, when it fizzled and dissolved on your tongue, the overpowering aroma, the giggle that it caused? There were all colors and flavors. Green, red, yellow, orange, whatsoever............strawberry, raspberry, orange, lemon. An everlasting sense stimulus. A cheap and sought after sweet. A reminiscence of childhood. Perfect fun!
The powder was invented by the German merchant Theodor Beltle in 1925. He was looking for a cheap alternative to lemonade. He experimented with natron and tartaric acid, put liquid among and suddenly the fizzling started. A success story all around the world started.
It is said to be still popular among kids and grown ups but for me it's a myth.

There is a place in cultural life as well.
I will never forget the scene of "The Tin Drum" (die Blechtrommel) of Günter Grass where Oskar Matzerath uses sherbet powder to seduce his nanny Maria. He dissolves it in her navel and drinks it out of it. When she (pretends to?) falls asleep his chance has come. Afterwards he claims to be the father of Maria's son.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Things I like about Germany- part III

Weißwurst ("the white dick")

A famous white sausage, mainly eaten south of the so called Weißwurst-Äquator (white sausage equator), which is marked by the river Main. Weißwurst is made from very finely minced veal and fresh pork bacon. It is usually flavoured with parsley, lemon, mace, onions, ginger and cardamom though there are some variations. It is eaten with sweet mustard, another Bavarian specialty (for example Händelmaier's mustard is famous) and pretzels.
Some american friends named the sausage white dick after they had sawn it for the first time. Honi soit qui mal y pense. But get your own picture of it.


I have to admit that I love mustard. I eat it purely, with bread, sausages (see above), salad.............
I get nervous when there is no mustard in the fridge. Many of my friends know that passion of mine. I confess to be a mustard-head.
There are tons of different kinds of mustard. I especially like the sweet ones. But on the other hand the whole range is welcome.
Mustard is very healthy, a pleasant side effect. Besides Händelmaier's I prefer the mustards of the historic Senfmühle Monschau. They have the following types of mustard:
Tarragon, garlic, chili, green pepper, horse radish, English curry, caraway, lemon, orange, tomato, currant, honey with poppy seed (delicious!), riesling, wild herbs with bear's garlic, ginger/pineapple and fig. You can order the mustard directly and you will not regret it.


This seems to be all culinary today. But I'm hungry and almost heading for my lunch break. Pretzels perfectly fit together with white sausage and mustard. You can eat them plain there also sorts with:
Butter (tasty!), cheese, camembert, cream cheese, sausage etc.
A good breakfast or brunch without pretzels is not imaginable in our family. Emma already likes them as well. She soaks them and likes to make a mess out of them. Sometimes she decides to eat them, too.

The piture above describes my post perfectly. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gone but not forgotten - Erich Kuby

Erich Kuby was born in Baden-Baden on June 28, 1910 and died in Venice, Italy on September 10, 2005.

The journalist and writer died this year at the age of 95. Many people considered him to be the last great figure of German journalism after the Second World War.
Kuby's journalistic career had begun in 1947 when he was assigned to editor in chief of the magazine "Der Ruf" of the American occupation authority. From "Der Ruf" he changed jobs to "Süddeutsche Zeitung" and "Welt" and finally came to the great news magazines "Spiegel" and "Stern". He had great success with book and screenplay about the case of the murdered prostitute Rosemarie Nitribitt at the end of the fifties. In his sharp and strict criticism of social developments he didn't recoil from quarrels with his editors, which led to his dismissal at "Spiegel" and "Stern".
In doubt he evaluated his personal indenpendece higher than a career in his job. His social criticism earned him the name Nestbeschmutzer (someone who fouls his own nest) high in rank by Heinrich Böll. The journalist Friedrich Sieburg named him a federal non-conformist.

In the years before his death he lived in Venice with his wife Susanna and his son Daniel. He accompanied the political development until the end.
Posthumously he was awarded the noted Tucholsky award.

Monday, November 21, 2005

My hometown - Neuhaus/Eger

I was at my parents friday through saturday. I visited a concert of the brilliant Polish band Dikanda. World folk music at its best. The group was founded in 1997 in Szczecin, Poland. Passion for the traditional music and hard work let them create their own style and original sound.
Their acoustic songs have been inspired wholly by Oriental culture, Balkan folklore – Macedonian and Romanian. Typical Dikanda’s style is creation of new words and meanings in composed songs. A nice evening.

On Saturday morning I had the chance to go running for an hour. This led to the headline of this post. I was living in Neuhaus/Eger (it's a part of Hohenberg) where my parents live for 12 years. Of course I know a lot about this little village. I know the countryside, the forests, the lakes, the dirtroads, the streets, the buildings, the scent. The nickname is Siberia of Bavaria, because it's really cold during winter. So I had to dress warm for my little run. I feel alive and receptive when I go for sports. My thoughts wander around.

I still feel that I lived there and that a part of me will always be here. It was a big part of my youth and I have to say that I had a good time. A good and sheltered parents' house, many friends, no problems at school and enough spare time acivities (even though not easy to reach, but I had my mofa). I'm glad that I can look back without anger but with gratefulness and joy. It was a good fundament for coming of age.
I gave and received freely: Love, power and a sense of life.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

News from Down Under - Australia qualifies for soccer world championship

Breaking news: The Australian soccer team has qualified for the world championship in Germany next year. This is the first qualification since 1974 (in Germany as well!).
They have defeated the favourite team of Uruguay 4:2 in penalty shootout. Probably the Uruguay team will be afraid to go home again.
The Australian team will be a light tint for the championship. Another yellow and green besides Brazil.
Congratulations and welcome to Germany next year! Why not a game Australia vs. Germany? This would be a little revenge for the game we had this year during the Confederation Cup. Germany has won 4:3.

And hello to Tania of Australia, who is in Vietnam at the moment. And to Rachel in Australia as well. They are both friends of Tina and have teached for one year in America with her. We drink to you (and we know that you can drink!).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Songs to remember - Jan Delay: Liebeslied (love song)

Das ist Liebe auf den ersten Blick
Nicht mal Drum 'n Bass hält jetzt mit deinem Herzen Schritt
Du hast deinen Schatz gefunden, ohne lang zu buddeln
Bock ihn in den Arm zu nehmen und stundenlang zu knuddeln
Voll erwischt, du Fisch zappelst am Haken
Heute Nacht wirst du im Zelt vor'm Plattenladen warten
Dabei ein Radio, falls es noch mal wiederkommt
Spontanes Desinteresse an all' den anderen Liedern prompt
Die alle gleich aussehen und zu viel Schminke nehmen
Aus 50 Wörtern wählen, um das Gleiche zu erzählen
Mit Schönheitoperationen an digitalen Konsolen
Stylemässig immer gut beraten von Polen
Für dich gibt's nur noch eins und sonst keins
und hält jemand nicht deins für Nummer eins
siehst du rot, wie Heinz und sperrst ihn ein
Quälst ihn mit Simple Minds, bis er weint
Gefährliche Liebschaften
Doch du hast keine Schuld, dafür muß das Lied haften
Deine Ohren fühlen sich wie neugeboren, jeden Tag
Und du fragst dich, kann man auch Tracks heiraten in Dänemark
Unser Beat hat Boom gemacht*Unser Beat hat Boom gemacht*
und es hat Zoom gemacht

Ihr wollt ein Liebeslied, ihr kriegt ein liebes Lied
Ein Lied, daß ihr liebt
Also hört zu
werdet verliebt


That is love on first sight
not even drum'n bass can keep pace with your heart
you have found your treasure, without digging for a long time
lust to take it in your arm and cuddle it for hours
you're caught, you're a fish on a hook
tonight you'll wait in front of the musicstore
a radio with you, if the song will return,
spontaneous disinterest in all the other songs promptly
which all look the same and take too much paint
choose from 50 words, to tell the same story
with plastic surgery of digital consoles
concerning style look to Poland for advice
for you there is only one, that's all
and if anybody disagrees it's number one
you see red like Heinz and lock him up
torture him with Simple Minds till he cries
liaison dangereuse
but it's not your fault, the song is liable for this
your ears feel newborn every day
and you ask yourself, is it allowed to marry tracks in Denmark
our beat made boom
and afterwards zoom.


You want a love song? You'll get a beloved song
A song you will love
So listen
fall in love

Monday, November 14, 2005

Tour d'espresso - Deuerlein

I'm an Espresso aficionado. When I come around in Nuremberg I often try out new coffee bars. Of course I have found some favourites in the course of time.
One of the top spots is the Deuerlein store. They sell coffee, books and wine (espressothek, librothek and vinothek). What a perfect combination.
I often walk in on fridays after word and enjoy the atmosphere while having the best Espresso in town.
You can look at antique books, try sweets and chocolate, look at the wine and let time pass you by.
The perfect beginning of the weekend. If you ever come to Nuremberg, you have to go there. It's close to the centre in the Lorenzer street.

Friday, November 11, 2005

On my mind

What's on my mind today?

  • Big changes to come in my life hopefully. In a positive way. I hope I can write more about it soon.
  • The political situation in Germany has gone from bad to worse. The plans of the big coalition are antisocial and without real concept. The welfare state will go on to decline without purpose. We are not at all leading anymore concerning welfare in a European ranking. Misuse of the social system is low, but coverage in the press about it is outrageous. And grist for the mill of social cut-throat politicians. Experts (die fünf Weisen) are not heard anymore. Promises before the elections are gone and forgotten. But concerning people: Silence of the lambs?
  • Germany vs. France soccer game tomorrow. Last chance for Germany to end the year in an optimistic way concerning the forthcoming world championship next year.
  • The Nuremberg soccer team (my team) 1. FC Nürnberg has a new coach. Hans Meyer, an experienced 63 years old man. He will be the right one. So go on, Hans im Club.

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Bielefeld plot

This one goes to my dear friend Kerstin, she's from Bielefeld.
With 333,000 inhabitants and a size of 258 square kilometres it ranks among the 20 biggest cities in Germany.
It was mentioned in the song "Pro Familia" of one of the leading intellectual bands in Germany Blumfeld (I'm a fan!):

Back to Brake, Bielefeld, Haus der Geschichte
in den Garten der Erinnerung
zu den Bäumen und den Früchten
meinen Ängsten, meinen Träumen

But obviously it can cause nightmares for little boys, too.

Translation of the picture for the English people:

Mum: Listen Tobias! Mum and dad are in a witness protection program. Therefore we have to move to a place of which nobody knows that it exists.

Tobias: To Bielefeld??

So, Kerstin, can you explain?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

In today's feuilletons - Islamic losers?

Hans Magnus Enzensberger (more here and here) analyses in the "Spiegel"-magazine (original text here) the "radical losers" manifested in the National Socialists of yesteryear and the Islamists of today.
The force of the Islamists today feeds on the full-scale, century-long decline of Islamic culture. "In the last four hundred years, the Arabs have not come up with a single discovery worthy of mention. ... Everything on which daily life in Maghreb and in the Middle East depends, every fridge, every telephone, every plug socket, every screwdriver, not to mention the products of high technology, is a silent insult to any Arab with half a brain." Enzensberger goes on to explain the psychological impact of permanent and self-inflicted inferiority, citing the Germans as an example: "It is not far-fetched to suppose that Hitler and his cronies were less interested in victory than in the radicalisation and immortalisation of their own loser status. Although the suppressed anger was offloaded in an unprecedented war of annihilation against everybody else ... it was certainly not their intention to spare the Germans. Their real aim was not victory but extermination, destruction, collective suicide and the horrifying end."

This is a radical approach for sure, nobody can hope that this scenario will come true. But on the other hand, the so called "wars on terror" (I have written about it) haven't improved the situation at all. The inferiority against the one and only super power USA became more obvious than ever. "If we lose, then we will perish with bag and baggage". That could be the sad thought, that has crystallized in the heads of the Islamic people.
What could change the situation?
Dialogue, communication, negotiation, compromise should be worth a try; the western world countries must stop behaving like a senior master and world changer. Otherwise we will go on to pay the bill for unreflective, prepotent actions.
Will America and its vassals awake?

Friday, November 04, 2005


I am heading for the weekend now. I'm leaving on a jetplane towards Frankfurt on monday. Hope I'll have better luck than the guy on the picture. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Famous Germans - Gerd Müller

I'm a big soccer fan and when I play myself I love to be a forward.
The most famous forward in German soccer history celebrates his 60th birthday today: Mr. "Bomber" Gerd Müller.
There is a very interesting interview in the Süddeutsche Zeitung with him today.

To list all records could be a special edition for the book of records.
Here is only a small selection of the traces the World Cup champion of 1974, European Championship winner of 1972, three times European Champions' Cup winner (1974, 1975, 1976), Intercontinental Cup winner (1976), four times German League (Bundesliga) champion (1969, 1972, 1973, 1974) and four times German Cup winner (1966, 1967, 1969, 1971) has left in the statistics:

  • 68 goals in 62 international appearances (next are Jürgen Klinsmann and Rudi Völler with 47 goals)
  • 66 goals in several European cups, not achieved until today (next are Eusebio with 57 goals and Raul (still competing) with 51 goals)
  • World Cup top scorer 1970 with ten goals; with altogether 14 goals still top scorer of all times at World Cups
  • 78 goals in 62 German Cups - not obtained until today as well; next are Klaus Fischer and Dieter Müller with 46 goals
  • 365 goals in 427 games of the German soccer league Bundesliga - a record for eternity; next are Klaus Fischer with 268 goals and Jupp Heynckes with 220 goals, both far behind
  • Seven times top scorer of the German league, nobody has more than three titles besides him; a record as well: 40 goals in one season (1971/72) a threshold no other player has reached since, next with 38 and 36 goals Gerd Müller, whoever else?
  • He scored at least 20 goals in the German league twelve times, next is Klaus Fischer with six times
  • 87 times multiple goals in one game, nobody else will ever reach this probably. 55 double, 18 triple, 10 quadruple and 4 quintuple goals were scored by him; only one record is not in his hand: Dieter Müller has scored six times in one game in 1972
  • 18 times multiple goals in international matches
  • One negative record: He failed to score penalties in the German league 12 times, but he scored 51 penalties on the other hand (Manfred Kaltz has 53).
What an outstanding career! I always admired him and he was my star before Karl-Heinz Rummenigge rised to be on top, not before Gerd Müller retired.
Happy birthday, Bomber! Good, that you are still around.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Modern physiologies - parent

I know I'm lazy concerning blogging at the moment. But time management isn't easy at all when you are a father and husband and have to "function" at work as well.
I sometimes wonder what would happen if you or your body fail to function in the demanded and necessary way.
Nobody is perfect, you learn that very quickly when you change from single/studying to married with children/working. You have to admit that you are the imperfect parent of a imperfect child. When you have realized this, you have gone the longest part of the way to - at least - contentment.
At work you have to stay cool if ever possible. Don't let the pressure get too high. When I'm stressed I look at the colleagues and think that I'm far better than most of them. So what the hell should I bother?
I'm the man who knows to do a lot of things (not only at work) in a comparatively good way. Ich bin der Mann, der alles kann. At least you can talk yourself into this. That's enough for the peace of your soul.

Education of a child is wonderful in many ways, and I think at the end there are not many things on earth worth more than helping a baby to grow up. With all the difficulties and problems, but also with evergrowing love and energy. To respect that every person on earth is unique. On the other hand your child is at least a good part of you and sometimes it is like you look in a mirror. You recognize yourself in the eyes of your little one.
Thank you Emma for giving me this chance. All my love to you.

For Dirk Fans like me