Admin

Through my life I had to deal with different types of administrations in different roles. As someone who worked for them or with them (never in them), and as someone outside who wants something. I hate the word Kunde in this context, what means “customer” : I am not a customer of an official stately administration, I am a citizen. And btw the word “Kunde” itself has some not so nice connotations, but this is not a seminar in German linguistics.
I had to deal with school and university administrations, I worked for an institute at an university ; I had to deal with different public authorities like the employment office, the finance authority, different municipal authorities, the federal state in some forms.
I always had to deal with humans, with people. The employment agency was totally useless, their efforts were not worth one shot of powder (this is the translation of the German expression nicht einen Schuß Pulver wert sein, what means simply it’s worthless as a blank, just bang, smoke & nothing), but the people were friendly, and explained to me what they were trying to do. Even when I could name webpages specialised on jobs for fools like me they never had heard about, the case handlers were interested when I could show them something they did not know. Of course they never had a job for me. With one exception I’d like to forget.
I never had problems with people in the finance authority, no matter in which role I had to deal with them. As you may know now I am hopeless with numbers & maths, I grindingly understood the basics of bookkeeping, but taxes & stuff ?
I always asked, and got useful answers in a friendly way. I wanted to understand the principles of the procedure and the file, and it was explained so that even my numberwise four-year-old-self could follow and fill out the correct forms etc. They even told me how to avoid to pay too much, what I could claim or plead. Frankly I think one does not need a “tax specialist” even for a small fortune, the people in the finance administrations know exactly what to do : Just ask them in a friendly way.
At the university and in municipal administrations I learned what is possible “if they want” – wenn sie wollen, dann können sie auch, if they want it, they get it : It is always a miracle to see what a seal works. You hit this thing under a piece of paper, and all of a sudden this is not just a simple contract or a declaration of something, it is a tool, and – depending on the seal – it may be a powerful tool.
The only administration I never had a successful relation with is the social services department. Frankly, they should all be shot. I never have met such a bunch of unqualified & mean idiots before, and I hope I will never have to deal with them again.
I once was “invited” to a talk to the head of one of their departments after I had complained about their decisions. One would expect a dialogue, an exchange of arguments, but I was given forty minutes of crap. This guy warbled on and on serving one stupid platitude after another while I sat with big eyes. After ten minutes I tried to intervene, but was brushed off briskly ; after another ten minutes I gave in, it was absurd theatre at its finest. To the end he looked down into a file in front of him and ganz nach Gutsherrenart barked “Ah, yer academic …” and for the first and last time in my life I was ashamed of my degree. I walked down to the entrance and when I reached the street I was ready to strangle Bambi with my bare hands.
Anyway – this is long years ago, what is it now ? I have to get money from them. There is no effing discussion about this, it is all clear, not even the meanest inch-pincer of them all can deny it.
And I spent the whole day, since I returned from my morning drive until I had to leave for my late afternoon work, with futile attempts to reach someone in this rotten administration who can do what has to be done. It is basically simple, just a bank money order – it is like trying to nail a pudding to the wall : No one is responsible, no one is reachable, some react as if I’d have touched them inappropriately – and yes, I think one should grab them by the balls and squeeze the Jeezas out.
Wish me luck, tomorrow is another go. It’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll

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Sunday Music

Back home from a trip into the Suebian nature. Yesterday it was a picture-perfect sunny day in the early afternoon with clear blue sky and blinking snowy fields. And wind knifing through one’s jacket like the proverbial hot knife through warm butter. You could stand and watch snow drifts building, watch the surface of the snow change while the fierce breath was running over it. Wonderful clear air.
Awwwhhh …
Time to jump back into the car, and leave the ridges of the Suebian Alb behind.
And while driving down to gentler & warmer fields the sky changed into a pretty angry grey and it started to snow. And kept on the good work until this afternoon, when all of a sudden the snow turned to graupel or sleet, and then to rain.
When I had to leave in the afternoon it was raining. When the railway wagon stood at stations it was rattled by the wind, I could hear it howl & feel the car sway. So when I stepped out at my destination, I braced for the onslaught of heavy cold gushes – and found it to be warm : The temperature of the air is actually rising, tomorrow morning 6°C are to be expected, with gushes up to 9 on the Beaufort scale (Ger., Eng.).
The winter-wonder-land is melting away in front of my eyes.
I like fog, and rain, it may be gentle or not. And hence we hear as this Sunday Music The Gentle Rain in the version of Art FARMER (Ger., Eng.) from his 1972 lp Gentle Eyes (Eng.).
I hope you enjoy the music, and may the coming week be gentle to all of us.

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Sunday Music

It snows, continuously & gently. Small flakes. The clouds are so very low that one can touch them. But it is much lighter than yesterday, when the fog barely lifted and the whole day was spent in a dark grey, while today it is a white grey, without even the slightest idea of “sun”. The forecast says that it will become warmer within coming night, and tomorrow we’ll have temperatures well over the freezing point, abundant rain, and wind becoming stronger & stronger. And so for the coming days. But it is only a small disruption, afterwards winter will come with might.
This Sunday Music is a piece called East Side Drive composed by Mundell LOWE (Ger., Eng.), a very interesting jazz guitarist. (Here a link to his 1955 version of Cheek to Cheek.) He also composed film music, and today’s piece is part of the soundtrack for Satan in High Heels (Eng.), I am sure it was the cinematographic highlight of 1962.
I find it always astounding what one can pack into three minutes.
I hope you enjoy the music. May the coming week be a peaceful one.

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On German Politics

Schweinerisch is a word coined by fellow blogger Foam in her comment on the last post. It is a very nice word I think, and describes my feelings not only about some German politicos, but the whole political situation very well.
The German Federal Election (Ger., Eng., site) lies back several weeks, and the result was not as clear as one wished. Forming a new gouvernement is difficult, because of the initial refuse of the Social Democrats to form another coalition with the Conservatives, or to take part in a coalition at all. The head of the party, Mr Schulz, simply refused to play a role. So talks started between the Conservatives, the Green Party, and the oh so liberal FDP.
Just a note : The German word “liberal” or “liberale Partei” has nothing to do with the American fighting word liberal. I think what in Northern America is called liberal is mainstream here ; what we call “links”, left, is in the US seemingly understood as bordering to anarcho-communism, at least when I look at conservative media.
These talks were long and exhausting, and ended with a bang, when in a well-planned & oh-so-spontaneous action the head of the “liberal” party stormed out. And while he was still fighting to get into his jacket and walked the twenty meters or so to the waiting journalists, he miraculously put together a well-worded declaration. Accidentally those journos too drunk or too tired could have the hand-out too.
The only thing those liberal idiots proved is that they do not care about the state, the parliament or anything else : All they care about is themselves.
May they rot in hell.
Now there are talks between the Conservatives and the Social Democrats to revive the coalition that has ruled for the last four years. They sooner or later will find a compromise, the question is only how long this coalition will hold together.
The underlying problem is that in this parliament – with more than 700 members the largest crowd ever elected in German history – that in this parliament sit more than 90 fascists.
None of the bourgeoise parties will work with them, it is not thinkable to have these people in a gouvernement. I only hope this stays so. But one has to acknowledge the fact that they are there, grinning, following their stated aim to teach the “Altparteien” or “Systemparteien” (both nazi-words they reuse) a lesson & to form the state as they want it to be. One has to understand that this party is the strongest political power in Saxony (the tenth largest state, the sixth most populous, of sixteen), and strong enough to sit in many parliaments of the single federal states. As opposition, but nevertheless in the parliaments. With the notable exception of Hassia and Bavaria.
Looking at a “liberal” egotrip / einen liberalen Egotrip, social democratic refusal of political civility / sozialdemokratische Politikverweigerung, a crumbling chancellor / eine bröckelnde Kanzlerin, and on top of all this, the greasy smirk of those fascist creatures / das miese Grinsen der Faschenlarven, schweinerisch is absolutely correct, in any aspect.