Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My favourite fair: Erlanger Bergkirchweih

The Bergkirchweih is an annual fair taking place in Erlangen, Germany. Locals nickname it Berch, which is the franconian pronunciation of the German word Berg, meaning mountain.

The Bergkirchweih starts every Thursday before pentecost at 5 p.m. The opening ceremony called "Bierprobe", which is carried out by the city's mayor, takes place in a different beer cellar every year, with thousands gathering to watch the opening spectacle with a huge fight for beer.

Twelve days later the last beer barrel is burried in the cellar where the next Bierprobe will take place. The Bergkirchweih area is located in the northern extremity of downtown Erlangen and roughly a kilometer long (0.6 ms.). With its beer cellars, booths and rides and its huge ferris wheel, which is the Berch's traditional landmark, it is a festival for the whole family, no matter how young or old.

With its "ale-benches" under limes, chestnuts and oaks it is the biggest open-air-beergarden of Europe with more than 11,000 seats.

The Bergkirchweih has taken place since 1755. Nowadays the time when the fair takes place is called the "fifth season" in Erlangen.
Due to the fact that Erlangen has one of the best universities in Germany and houses the large company Siemens, many families and people move in and out.
The Bergkirchweih is often the only chance for old friends, fellows or colleagues to meet again, resulting in the visit of roughly a million people - ten times the town's population - for the event. The Bergkirchweih is the third biggest fair in Bavaria after the Oktoberfest in Munich and the Gäubodenvolksfest in Straubing.

Most people that have been to the Bergkirchweih once in their life-time say that it is much better than the Oktoberfest and don't want to miss it ever again.
I was born on the first day of the Bergkirchweih (Bierprobe) and this must have affected me. I come back every year.
You can find me at the famous Entla's Keller, the so called Kessel (hollow), where the mood of people is boiling because of beer and live music of the Bergband Overdrive. Some of the songs that are in the standard repertoire:

  • Leaving on a jetplane
  • Hey Jude
  • Country roads
  • Hotel California
  • Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht
  • Lilli Marleen
  • Verdamp lang her

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Lies of life - Gesundheit / Health

When I think about health, a lot of things come to my mind:

Health is a good we mainly ignore, as long as we trust in the function of our body.
Health is not everything, but without health everything is in vain.
Health is partly inherited, and partly the product of our actions.
Health cannot be overestimated, especially in times of illnesses.
Health cannot be bought, maybe a way to recover it.

Isn't that a mysterious thing to talk about?

What is health?

The absence of illness?
Our regular state?
A gift of nature?
Good luck?

The most widely accepted definition of health is that of the World Health Organization (WHO). It states that "health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" (WHO, 1946). In more recent years, this statement has been modified to include the ability to lead a "socially and economically productive life."

I don't know, but I never have been healthy in that way. Something must have gone wrong, at least since leaving the sheltered childhood.
Maybe we struggle hard and health can be a wish to pursuit.

Sometimes it will occur on the horizon and then it turns into a Fata Morgana when we we reach towards it.
Maybe we try to stay sane as one of our main goals in life.
Maybe we try to avoid physical illness as another important aim.

But altogether health is something unattainable. Like a nirvana. But it keeps us going and we hope for it, our greatest "Deus ex machina". If we do not think about it, it will be there.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

In today's feuilletons: Berlin's new central train station

Berlin's new Hauptbahnhof station was inaugurated yesterday.

The architect, Meinhard von Gerkan, is suing the Deutsche Bahn rail company for shortening the roof and adulterating the ceiling on the lower level (see the feature "Bodily harm to a train station").

The Südeutsche Zeitung SZ prints the speech he was not allowed to deliver: "All of my efforts to mobilise high-level politicians to stop this monstrosity in its tracks failed. Ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder said: 'Come on Gerkan, the sausage is long enough, I see it every day.' Two years later at his farewell party he admitted: 'the sausage's been bitten off – at both ends'."

In a second article Gerhard Matzig celebrates the station despite all the controversy as a "serendipitous memory of train stations' once great iron architecture," wishing von Gerkan success in his lawsuit.

Stranger come to Berlin and form your opinion. Berlin is worth a visit, because it is changing every day. I realize it, when I go there from time to time. On my next stay I will go see the Hauptbahnhof and the Jewish Museum of architekt Daniel Libeskind as well.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

King of Texas - or how that monkey left their back

Dirk Nowitzki put his head down and went hard to the basket, driving the Dallas Mavericks past the resilient San Antonio Spurs and into the Western Conference Finals. Nowitzki's season-saving three-point play forced overtime, where the Mavericks finally found a solution for Tim Duncan and surged to a 119-111 victory over the Spurs in a fitting Game 7 of a fantastic Conference Semifinal series.
After losing two times in the playoffs against their bogy team and triple NBA champion San Antonio, the Mavericks outlasted and dethroned the Spurs.
Team owner Mark Cuban was relieved. "That monkey, that's been on our back for so long, it's gone", he said. Now the door is wide open for the Mavericks. They host the Phoenix Suns in the first two games of the conference finals. Steve Nash (MVP of the regular season) the former teammate of the Mavericks is returning. The Mavericks have a score to settle with him and the Suns. Last year they lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Both teams survived grueling seven-game Conference Semifinals series to reach the Western Conference Finals. The Suns played in them last year, only to lose to the Spurs. The last time the Mavs were here, they lost to the Spurs in 2003. Can Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks reach the franchise's first-even NBA Finals or will former teammate and two-time MVP Steve Nash and the Suns go to their franchise's third Finals (1976 and 1993)? The Western Conference Finals tip off on Wednesday, May 24.
German hero Dirk Nowitzki seems to be in the shape of his life. He is there when crunch time is starting, leading his team from shadow into light. I will cross fingers for him, the king of Texas.

Monday, May 22, 2006

My day: May 22, 1969

It's my 37th birthday today. Nothing special but still a day to celebrate and a day to pause and look back.

May 22 is the 142nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (143rd in leap years). There are 223 days remaining.

What happened in history on May 22:

First an most important in 1969 (my year of birth):
Apollo 10's (the fourth manned mission in the Apollo program) lunar module flies within 8.4 nautical miles (16 km) of the moon's surface and get a bird's eye view of the moon.
Something weird in 1970:
The South-Africa cricket tour is called off. The Cricket Council reverses a decision to allow South African cricketers to tour England, a move welcomed by anti-apartheid activist Peter Hain.
Still deep within the cold war in 1972:
America's President Richard Nixon is given a modest welcome as he arrives in Moscow for talks with Soviet leaders.
Something scary in 1981:
Peter Sutcliffe, known as the Yorkshire Ripper, is sentenced to life imprisonment after the judge describes him as "an unusually dangerous man".

Holidays and observances:
World Biodiversity Day

Canada - Victoria Day (Monday prior to May 25th)
Republic of Yemen - National Day
National Heroes Day in Sri Lanka
National Maritime Day in the United States

Births and deaths:
Birthday of:
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, English author of Sherlock Holmes (1859)
Charles Aznavour, French singer, actor, and composer (1924)
Bernie Taupin, English songwriter (Elton John!) (1950)
Morrissey, English singer (1959)
Naomi Campbell, English model and actress (1970)
Gone but not forgotten:
Victor Hugo, French author (1885)
Margaret Rutherford, English actress (1972)
Rocky Graziano, American boxer (1990) Rocky!!!!!!

German longplay charts today:
1. Stadium Arcadium: Red Hot Chilli Peppers
2. Laut gedacht: Silbermond
3. Wise Guys: Radio
4. Straight: Tobias Regner (The German vote for "Superstar")
5. Piece by piece: Katie Melua
6. Das große Leben: Rosenstolz
7. 10000 days: Tool
8. Splitternackt: Andrea Berg
9. All the roadrunning: Mark Knopfler feat. Emmylou Harris
10. Schrei: Tokio Hotel (Anorexic German teenie hype)

My first present today:
A polo shirt of my darling Tina. My parents will be there for coffee this afternoon. Tina and I, we are at work at the moment and Emma is at her day mother.

Have a drink on me!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Modern physiologies - children

Children are the talk of the town. Mainly because there are too little of them. The average number of children per woman in Germany is about 1.3 - 1.4. At this niveau the number of children born in Germany per generation will reduce one third. That is far to little to ensure the number of people in our country. Therefore the fertility would have to be about 2.1.
We have one baby, so we are below average. Still. I think two will be possible. That would be 0.1 too little. I think that's arguable.
It will not be our fault.

But what went wrong? I think people think a lot before deciding about becoming parents. If you think too much there will always be reasons to say no:

  • Less money available for hobbies, vacations, clothes etc.
  • Less time for friends, family and partnership
  • Less sleep, oh yes that's true
  • A lot of responsibility and sorrows
  • Problems with care of the children when both parents want or have to work (too litte day care places, problems to find a reliable day mother, unwilling employers concerning flexibility for mothers and fathers)
  • Little appreciation of the society, often children are looked at as noisy troublemakers

If you limit thoughts, children can be a lot of pleasure as well:

  • You will laugh and smile like you have never laughed and smiled before
  • You will be loved unconditionally and from the heart of your baby
  • You will be missed and asked for if you are not there
  • You will have the fabulous task to educate a person that is willing to learn and grow in many respects
  • You will become a great organizer
  • You will never be alone
  • You will never be bored again
I think that is what many couples forget when they want to decide. Not to decide and let nature have it's way can be a good approach.

Stop thinking too much at least as long as you have not to suffer from poverty. This will never happen in other respects than money. You will be a millionare in other issues mentioned above.

And Germany will introduce a new benefit that the parent that stays at home will get 67% of his last income for one year. Why worry? You will not regret.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Famous Germans - Franz Beckenbauer

Coming close now is the soccer World Championship 2006 in Germany, starting June 9th. If we talk about this issue, we have to talk about the most famous German soccer player in history, the "Kaiser" ("emperor") Franz Beckenbauer.

Nowadays he is factotum, sports official, advertising medium, businessman and influential journalist.

He has won a soccer World Championship three times:

As player and captain in 1974 (see picture above)
As coach in 1990
As organizer for Germany in 2006.

A record that will probably never be reached again. Besides all his other titles.

He can make gold out of crap.
He can probably walk on water.
He must have eaten good luck with spoons in his childhood, too.
He can tear the players of Bayern München into peaces, especially when writing and gossiping for the horrible tabloid Bild Zeitung, although he is the president of the club.
He has to say a lot of things about a lot of things, journalists hang on his lips. Although he is spreading commonplaces and cants with his mediocre intellect. "Äh................." should be the word he uses most oftenly.
He can afford to have advertisement contracts with companies contrary to the partners of Bayern München.
He looks like everlasting holiday - sunburned from skiing and playing golf in his adopted country Kitzbühel in Austria.
He seems to have no problems in seducing women because he has several legitimate and illegitimate children ("God loves all the children" he said).
He seems to be everywhere all at once. For example in the countries participating at the soccer World Championship, which he visited quite oftenly.
He is the actor in a leading role in "Lothar and Franz", a comedy series on the radio station Bayern 3.

Isn't that a life to live?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Caballito del diablo - Year One

It is the first anniversary of my blog today. I can't believe it, but my very first post appeared here on Caballito del diablo one year ago, May 9th 2005. Here's how it all started. Two comments, that's not bad for the first post. But Maja never appeared again.

I never had the idea of having a blog before. My sister-in-law Catrin visited us and infected me. I started without an idea but with the hope of finding a way through my thoughts. I was 35, now I'm 36. I'm still working at the same company, I'm in year 10 now there. My daughter has grown rapidly and is having chickenpox at the moment. We have bought a house and are looking forward to move in.
I thought I'd guide you through some of my favorite moments and highlights from the first year of CDD because I'm complacent and high-handed like that.

My favourite categories: Faded Myths , Lies of Life and Modern Physiologies

These categories came into my mind because of my newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. They have these categories in the feuilleton as well and you can cover a lot of topics with them. I have used them with joy:

Faded Myths: 6 times (my favourite: hats)
Lies of Life: 4 times (my favourite: happiness)
Modern Physiologies: 5 times (my favourite: bonvivant)

Other categories

Famous Germans (and Austrians)
I have written about Gerd Müller for example. As a sports fan, sports was often a topic in my blog. I always read the sports part first in my newspaper and I think I would be the perfect telephone joker for "Who wants to be a millionaire". I have written about a dream concerning this show as well.

Things I like about Germany
Three parts up to now, but I think I have neglected the list in the last few months. So many things more on my mind. But maybe "Things I hate about Germany" should get a chance as well.

German politics
Always on my mind, although I read this part of the newspaper only in third place. But I do not accept the accuse that a single person cannot change anything . Policy is not made of an elite, that cannot be influenced. First of all politicians are elected by the people. And policy is the sum of many small actions and decisions. Everybody is free in voting and taking part in political processes. This could start by joining a party and could lead to active work.

News from poetry
I love poems and I have posted some in my blog. Some from unknown poets but some of my Grandpa or even of myself. My marriage proposal was a poem, but that is another story to be told.

In today's feuilletons
Many of these ideas came from one of my favourite sites in the internet "sign and sight". A perfect feuilleton coverage and I like to read feuilleton after sports. The rest is given to Emma for destruction. Just kidding.


I haven't done nearly as many posts about music as I had initially imagined I would. I find it kind of hard to write about music on a regular basis. The are lists of what to hear everywhere and I am no professional journalist for this topic. Unfortunately the number of visited concerts has decreased massively since Emma was born.
love to sing and play my guitar and listen to the radio and my records. For the rest I trust my favourite magazine: Musikexpress.
I wouldn't be a bad telephone joker for music though. I know, self-praise stinks.


138 posts
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Where the hell is China?

It's my life

I don't know if my life is interesting for anybody out there. Maybe it sounds amusing from afar, but up close, well it's everyday life, you know? Blog posts that deal with my personal life aren't my favourite, that's what I can say. Isn't it banal for readers, except the one's that know me personally?

Nevertheless I have written about it anyway. I have written about my family of course, the most important issue of my life.
Tina was given the rank of a civil servant for life yesterday. We had a little celebration in private. Other confessions and stories of my private life still remain but never caused a riot. But never underestimate a dangerous mind.
youth and some famous memories came up to me and occured in my blog from time to time, too. They will always be a part of me.

Canada was on my mind. Well
Catrin (see above) lives there and some other fellow bloggers I have met: Steve, Janet (who disappeared?), Erika and Samantha. Other bloggers came from all over the world: Lonnie, Hippy Monkey, Tuna Girl, Joe, Cindy-Lou and Sara-Beth from the U.S. But also Jo from Singapoore, Pillepalle from Hungary, Patroclus from the U.K., Jayred of Switzerland and Kathy from Germany (!). Thanks to all of you who have tipped me off to good stories and ideas for posts, commented hilariously and often and just generally supported me this past year in my effort to gain an audience for this here writing o' mine.


It's been a good year. Many credits and only few debits. You can find a good summary here. Work was hard but my private life was a compensation for sure.
I would like to thank all my "non-virtual" friends as well, who read the blog enthusiastically and often and then mess me up by knowing all kinds of weird, intimate stuff about my life.

What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Faded myths - Freeway

When you grow up, you are longing for mobility. I remember learning to ride my bicycle. This meant the first broadening of possibilities. My brother and I, we were huge soccer fans, when we were young. He supported the Hamburger SV, I supported Bayern München. Times are changing, now we like our 1.FC Nürnberg. We collected decals of our stars, mainly when international tournaments took place. I think I spent most of my pocket money for these things. We were riding to the next city to buy them.
Later I rode my Mofa and had a good time. But then the driving license occured on the wish list. I had to wait until the age of 19, because I had to pass my school leaving examination, before my father was willing to pay. A family tradition, I did not support.........
After failing once, I finally succeeded and the freeway lay wide open. Oh how I loved to drive my car, a white (this color hardly exists anymore for cars) Volkswagen Golf. I loved it so much, my second car was a white Volkswagen Golf again. The streets were not empty, but my way home to my parents at the weekends was on the freeway in direction Berlin. Germany was separated and this freeway really was "empty". Things have changed after reunification of Germany. This freeway turned into a nightmare, because everybody travelled to and fro Berlin like hell. Suddenly the frontier region where my parents live became the heart of Germany.................
We have millions of cars in Germany and still politicians think they can solve the problem of traffic increase by building new streets. That is so stupid. Who sows streets will harvest traffic. Buts cars are the golden calves of cermany that will not be slaughtered. Every sixth or seventh job in Germany is in the car industry. You can probably imagine the power of the car industry lobby. Nowadays I'm glad when I can avoid driving by car. I love holidays without going by car (well at least for large distances).
Things have changed a lot, at least in my head. "Easy Rider" would not work anymore as a movie. The freeway has turned into a crowdway. That's not my opinion of freedom and protection of mother nature.....................

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Dirk Nowitzki - the true MVP of the NBA

Dirk Nowitzki is German and therefore really has to work hard in the U.S. to get his reputation. It is not very likely (although this is not fair) that he will be named MVP of the regular season in the NBA. It is gossipped that Steve Nash will win again (Why? He hasn't changed much, but Dirk has still improved on a top level). I have to take up the cudgels for Dirk Nowitzki.

Some facts:

Ranked seventh in the league in scoring (26.6), 16th in rebounds (9.0), fifth in free throw percentage (.901) and eighth in double-doubles (35) ... Recorded career-highs in scoring, field goal percentage (.480), three-point percentage (.406) and free throw percentage ... Became the third player in league history to average 26-plus points while shooting 90 percent or better from the line (Rick Barry and Larry Bird).

My take:

The Mavericks had the third best record in the NBA this season. Without Dirk Nowitzki, would they have even made the playoffs? Nowitzki's importance to Dallas is obvious, and given that the Mavericks far surpassed preseason expectations, Dirk must therefore have been far more capable of carrying a team than we imagined he could be. He's got the numbers of the MVP. You could make a case that Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and LeBron James mean as much to their club as Nowitzki does, but those guys don't play for a 60-win club. Only San Antonio and Detroit qualify in that category, and they did so more a result of playing as a unit than riding any one player.
Dirk and the Mavericks suffered from losing Steve Nash to Phoenix and Michael Finley to San Antonio. But they came back stronger than ever.
They have swept the first round of the playoffs against Memphis 4:0 as the only team to do this. Because of Dirk and his will to lead his team to new horizons. A true MVP!

For Dirk Fans like me