Chokolate makes happy, I insist; it is empirically prooven and the effect is caused in both sexes. My taste has changed over the last years. In former times dark chocolate would drive my away screaming, but nowadays I like it. Sometimes it is called “Herrenschokolade” (The sir’s chocolate), Ritter has one with nuts. Ritter chocolate is something I see with mixed feelings: The Nougat is very pleasing, but the Marzipan just an awful drag! There are some swiss specialties only available in retail trade – and not affordable to me at the present state of things. What I do not touch anymore are the very cheap chocolates from Aldi or Lidl, 100 g for 35 cent – it is just a lot of fat with some cacao-crumbs, no these calories are not worth to be taken on my hips!

What I really like is Marzipan. The industrial is quite good and reaches a high standard. You can buy “raw”-mixture, just add Puderzucker and it will be pretty good. The most dangerous time is when marzipan-eggs of different sorts are in the shelves, with ananas, rum-grapes, plum, nougat … I always try to put some in stock, doesn’t work. In this city a lady set up her own shop with selfmade marzipan – I asked her whether she would marry me, but she denied. Some say her Marzipan-hearts would be too thick, not fine enough, but I do not care. She also builds things from the material.
Important is, that she makes her own marzipan, what in fact is a simple thing: Sugar in powder form (Puderzucker), almonts, “water of roses” (Rosenwasser, a by-product from destilling roses), that’s it. You can add other things as you like it. Form small balls or other forms, coat them with different kinds of chocolate, put half of a nut on top and enjoy. It is important to knead the dough on a plate made of stone, best a slap of marble (Marmor) – as always in the not-bread-bakery. In earlier times the metal was prone to give something of its taste to different ingredients – that’s why one should not allow a spoon or other metal instrument to stay stuck into a salat or something, especiall with mayonnaise. Of course new materials and better quality changed that. But if you use old cutlery or silver it’s worth a thought.

Yesterday due to a temporary lack of fundings some Snickers had to do, and they did.


Thunder and rainstorm

It’s cold. Clouds race over the sky, which shows anything from light grey to deep blue-black with silver lightning – it is a great look. Throw in some strong rain and moments of bluesky with sommer-sun and you have an idea of this day.
This noon I went to the funeral of a man I knew for some years. He died on Sunday all of a sudden. I saw him the last time two months ago and we had a happy, friendly chat over a glass of wine. He was a magician and ventriloquist, pretty good, booked in whole Germany. Not much older than me.
As I stood on the old cemetary with the other hundred or so, wet coldness creeping up from my drenched shoes, cold rain falling on my head and into my neck, I deceided that I had enough. They would burry him without me.
The only funeral I will still attend in my life will be my own.

I went home and took a hot shower. And to get out of he blue funk, as Joyce put it, I bought me some chocolate. Chocolate makes happy.

Tag autch …

… not the brightest pun, I know.

Amanda tagged me. Eight facts or habits about me.

The rules are:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Do I know 8 people that can be tagged? Successfully?

I. People who know me personally say that I can be very stubborn, hard-headed (if this phrase exists, dickschädelig). That may have something true in it.
II. I am very touchy about the tone of voice with that someone adresses me. A collegue once snared at me in the mensa like a drill sergeant on the barrack square. I had to go away, actually went to the toilet and kicked through a door; took some years before I spoke to the bastard again, because I was forced to.
III. I like to shoot guns. I am glad that I do not possess one and that their possession here is strictly limited.
IV. Sometimes I regret that I did not learn a craft. If I would have grown up where I was born, I guess I would have become a smith working with iron, blacksmith, maybe making steel, blades.
V. I was drinking too much for a long time. The worst time was at the end of the eighties when I was down to more than one bottle of Ballantine’s a day. It was no happy drinking. It was shit actually. Today I do not touch hard drinks, from time to time I have a bottle of wine.
VI. I managed to get my degree before my mother died and could show it to her. She died with the impression that my future would be safe and she wouldn’t need to worry. I can understand what Doug at his blog documents. He is in a similar situation as my father was when he took care for my mother. My father could not bring himself to realize that there is no cure for cancer (breast, lung, brain). Anything that takes away pain in the last phases is good.
VII. I burried my father at my 38th birthday and was unable to say something.
VIII. I am unable to “sell” myself. I am part of a business and we face bankerott because we insist to do what we learned and studied: Read, think, write and speak. Maybe I am just a stupid prout pathetic idiot. But I am an independent idiot.

That’s it. I do not tag 8 more, who sees this and wants to make her or his own list shall do it. Maybe some curiosities a little satisfied. 🙂

Many -isms

Following the good advice of some remarkable ladies I put my act together and did my seminar yesterday. This time it was a little differnt from the “usual” sessions, because the topic led me into some personal reflections. I simply do not cope with the concept of structuralism – if I understood it the right way.

Basically all “structuralists” agree that it dates back to Saussure. Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) was a swiss linguist, came to early fame in the 1880ties. After his death students of him edited scripts of his lectures from 1907-1911 as Cours de linguistique générale – they did not attend themselves. In the inter-war-time the french ethnologist Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908-2004) and his friend Jakobson formed, based on Saussure’s ideas the modern structuralism. Characteristic for the 20th century is to think in groups: Levi-Strauss seemed not to be too happy with the idea of a “structuralist group” – after all it is a later construction, hence the quotation marks on “structuralists”. The thing real took off after WWII when in Paris a new generation started to study with people like Foucault, Derrida and a lot of others. Those two are just exampels – they stand for a generation of philosophers, sociologists, cultural scientists that formed the science, the university, the cultural environment in postwar France and to some extent the whole West up to this date. And in the end of the 60ties, when they mostley were in their end-thirties the books started to appear. They reached positions, became alimented and thought – structuralism, poststructuralism, later what others called postmodernism followed.
For this latest twist into the nonsensical see my post about Sokal’s hoax.

The idea of structuralism is to reveal, to find the structure of cultural phenomena. Derrida and others took the linguistic method and used in on other subjects as society, history and what-not following the example of Levi-Strauss, who tried to find and explain the structure of myth (Mythos): not of one single myth people in the Mato Grosso region of Brazil were telling each other (in this area he did field studies) but of THE myth in general, no matter whether it is the saied brazilian or the ancient greek or an other myth somewhere in the world.

I found a nice example in a lecture by Prof. Behrens of Ruhr Universität Bochum he used to explain the different ways of looking to phenomena. If you imagine a carpet hanging at the wall showing some picture, like one of these things one finds in castles or like the famous from Bayeux, the hermeneutic would look at the picture, try to identify the figures, look in the literature and with new insight look again at the carpet, following the hermeneutic circle, until he reached a point when he can say that he “explained” or understood the image on this carpet.
The structuralist would analyse forms and colours, put them in a kind of matrix or categorize them, use his saied “exact” methods and finally try to see a structure.
The poststructuralist would look for even smaller pieces of information, shake them through and through – in the end he would come to something like a structure assuming that it basically could be something totally different.
The de-constructivist would look on the backside of the carpet and try to understand how it is woven, how it is made so that just this image can appear and try to find out whether there is another possible message, whose existence he assumes.

I am basically an historian. And I can not leave this hermeneutic position I “grew up with” in the science. So the question in the seminar session was what we want to recognize or distinguish, what the sense and justification, the reason for our scientific doing is. I talked a lot, avoiding the worst rabbit trails, and hopefully made them think about themselves.