Thursday, January 26, 2006

Canadian politics - The election 2006

There is a change of government in Canada.

After more than twelve years of liberal governments the conservative party will be in power in Canada. In the office of the Prime Minister there is also a change of generations.

Prime Minister Paul Martin (67) granted his defeat late Monday night in the parliamentary election and announced his resignation from the presidency of the liberal party. The conservative party under the leadership of 46-year-old economist Stephen Harper became the strongest political force.

The conservative party received 124 of the 308 seats in parliament, that are 26 more seats than so far.
The liberals supply only 103 delegates - 30 less than before. The separatist Bloc Quebecois gained 51, the left-wing oriented New Democratic Party 29 mandates.

According to an estimation of Canadian television stations Harper will form a minority government. It would be dependent on the support of the left opposition. A coalition government was considered as improbable in the capital Ottawa, because the differences between the parties are very large.

In Ottawa it is expected that Governor General Michaelle Jean will inaugurate Harper, the chief of the conservative party in two weeks. Jean represents the head of state of Canada, the British queen Elizabeth II. Harper wants to endeavor to a better relationship to the US government of president Bush.
The past head of the government Paul Martin had distinguished himself as decided critic of the Iraq war and the American climate policy. Harper would have liked to support the US in the Iraq war and is against obligatory approximate values concerning the fight of the greenhouse effect.
In addition he is sympathetic to the offer of the US to integrate Canada into its satellite-based anti-missile defense. He wants to abolish homosexual marriage introduced by Martin, too.

It is said that conservative boss Harper led an election campaign, in which he made hardly any mistakes and approached to the political center ground. In Québec the conservative go down well: They promise more money and more power for the provinces and even want to help Québec to get an own seat in international organizations.
On Monday night, Harper promised to get to work implementing his top campaign priorities. He said his first act in Parliament will be to propose a federal accountability act.
That will be followed by his plan to cut the GST, provide a child-care allowance to families, toughen criminal sentencing and establish a patient wait-time guarantee.

Martin's minority government fell in November 2005 in a vote of no confidence because of embezzlement of millions of public money by prominent members of the liberal party.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

In today's feuilletons - Steven Spielberg - Munich

Out now: The new movie of Steven Spielberg.

Although Spielberg's "Munich" includes documentary footage, Verena Lueken of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung questions whether the film accurately portrays history, especially in dealing with Israeli secret service reprisals in the wake of the kidnapping. "Political thrillers like this don't have to correspond exactly to historical truth. But they should at least be believable. And who can believe that for such an important mission, the Mossad would choose an inexperienced father who – as we later see – trembles and has considerable pangs of conscience when it comes to killing for the first time?" Lueken feels Spielberg's image of Europe also lacks originality: "For Spielberg, travelling across Europe means bicycles in Holland, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the London rain."

The entire first page of the feuilleton section in the Süddeutsche Zeitung deals with "Munich". Tobias Kniebe calls the film "a provocative and enervating contradiction," but he does concede: "The relationship between reality and cinema is and remains precarious. And this must be continually brought to people's attention. Otherwise the power of the images to thrust themselves in front of the truth becomes too great." He goes on: "Regardless of all that can be said against it, 'Munich' is certainly more exciting, more thought-provoking and more worthy of being talked about than most films that will come out of Hollywood this year." Susan Vahabzadeh, for her part, lists the facts that contradict Spielberg's – and his critics' – portrayal of the events during and after the 1972 Olympic Games.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Not a love affair - Music industry and the Internet

The Midemnet Forum in Cannes takes place at the moment. What is the main result?

Things have still not sparked between the music industry and the Internet.
All told, the digital market accounts for just six percent of revenues. That's peanuts – especially as in the course of discussions it became clear that the branch still has no common idea of what it's really after.

And fascination has dwindled in the non-Western growth markets, which until recently were being much eulogised: 96 percent of Chinese listen to Chinese music, 90 percent of Indians prefer Indian culture, while in Brazil 80 percent of the population swears by local productions. There's little room left for pop imports.

Despite the promise of the Internet, the global market seems more than ever to be an illusion.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Famous Austrians - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Today I have to switch from Germans to Austrians. But as Germans often consider Austria to be the 17th state of Germany, there seems to be no big difference. In winter Germans come over the Austrian ski slopes like grasshoppers and maybe there are more Germans in that country than Austrians in this time. As Austria has about 8,2 Mio. inhabitants about 10% of the German population would have to be skiing. Well, why not?

But my thoughts are drifting. I wanted to write about Mr. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. We will celebrate his 250th birthday on January 27th.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (January 27, 1756 – December 5, 1791) is among the most significant and enduringly popular composers of European classical music. His enormous output includes works that are widely acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. Many of his works are part of the standard concert repertory and are widely recognized as masterpieces of the classical style. This is what Wikipedia has to say.

What can I say concerning personal experiences with Mozart?

I started playing clarinet when I was 12 years old and also played in a band for several years. So it was obvious that I discovered Mozart's clarinet concerto after a certain while.
It is number 622 of the famous Köchel catalogue of Mozart's compositions. I have listened to it several times and I absolutely adore it. Mozart composed it only three months before he died in Vienna.

I have visited Salzburg once, the town where he was born, and it breathes Mozart out of every pore. What better place to celebrate Mozart’s birthday then where everything started 250 years ago? In Salzburg, where the atmosphere and environment made Mozart’s development into a child prodigy possible. In Salzburg he composed more than 350 of his most riveting works.
You can try the famous Mozartkugel, Austria’s most renowned chocolate delicacy as well. Only if you like marzipan of course.

Maybe we should just listen to one of his famous operas once in a while and feel his genius that is still alive. After 250 years most of them still sound modern. The Zauberflöte is my favourite. Many of the melodies are highly familiar, and include the Papageno/Papagena duet and the coloratura aria, "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" ("The vengeance of Hell is in my heart"), often referred to as the "Queen of the Night" aria, which reaches a high f6. Whatever this means!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

In today's feuilletons - Arctic Monkeys the next big thing?

In the Süddeutsche Zeitung Oliver Fuchs foresees a huge success for the band "Arctic Monkeys" and their debut album set for release this Friday, even if the songs have been available on the Internet for months. "It's not that they've 'reinvented' rock, as critics love to say. But they do get just about everything out of two guitars, a bass and drums that's there to be had. The utmost in power, density and thumping rhythms. Sheffield is an old steel city, but the Arctic Monkeys sound less like steel than fluid metal. Flexible. Elastic. Their songs bounce gaily like super balls."

I have read a lot about the Arctic Monkeys the last couple of weeks. Maybe it's another hype but I think this could be more. Looks like the hard work of young selfmade men. Definitely no casted so called superstars I hate so much.
It's not easy to go the long and hard way of music business. But if your music is good enough there will be a chance. How can you describe their music?
"Hallelujadingdonghappyhappy" - maybe it can be described like this. Humane "Crash Boom Bang". Go and listen!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Faded myths - industry

I'm working in the industry for several years now. As an insider I have realized that we are in a declining branch. It's not only written in the newspapers it's a fact.
I'm with plastic industry, so in a couple of decades this issue will cease to exist because of biological reasons. Plastic constists of oil and there will be no oil anymore in future times not too far away from us.
I'm 36 and concerning that I will probably have to work until I'm at least 65, this means another 29 years. I started working when I was 19, so I have worked 40% of my demanded life working schedule.
But of course this is theoretical. I think 40 years of work is a period of time that should be accepted as sufficient. This would mean only 23 years from now on. About half time for me, okay in 2 years. Concerning my dreams of working part time when I turn 40, I'm already over the top. Maybe I will win the lottery and the situation gets even better. The more I think further the better it feels. Hey, let's stop tommorow.
But I'm drifting away, I was talking about industry. I think it's a fact that jobs have been reduced and will be reduced in the industry dramatically. And it's wishful thinking, that the service sector can compensate the loss of jobs.

There a only limited possibilities:

We all work part time.
We all work honorary with a part of the remaining time (for ecological, educational, caring for the old etc. projects)
We accept and cede financially the fact of umemployment
We install a society of "bread and games" (panem et circenses), this means entertainment for the not working part of the people to keep them in a mood that will not lead to revolution
We reduce our standard of living and the explotation of our natural resources (see Club of Rome, the limitation of growth)

Not many of these issues are discussed seriously at the moment. Politicians still pray to the golden calf of economical growth. That's stupid and means disregard the truth. I hope we will awake when it's not already too late.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Smells like blog spirit

Here we are now, entertain us. I can hear quietly but growing in volume the demand for words of my much valued readers.

I had a very stressy start of 2006. At work I felt like being in high season, although this is not usual in January concerning the building industry.

But mainly this is a homemade rush hour in my company. A lot of thing to change in my group and not the slightest chance for income benefits this year. Hurrah for the oppressed employees!
As I said before, I hope for light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know if this phrase exists in English. It is a German one.

I'm trying to take part in regular life as good as possible, but it is hard. I still haven't read my magazines of November and it's hard to read the newspaper at least. I started reading a nice book "Mein Urgroßvater und ich"("my great-grandfather and me") of James Krüss this weekend. A recommendation for the young at heart.

I'm looking forward to every second of sports. I love it for the balance of my soul. Exhausting to stop thinking or not exhausting to start thinking.
And for eating and drinking afterwards without bad conscience.
I don't know if driving my car counts but now it's time to go home.

For Dirk Fans like me