Alboin Must Know

Tough times in 6th century Northern Italy. The Langobards (Ger., Eng.) conquer the country since 568, and are in the process of establishing a state of their own. Other than the Goths, who were formally invited, these barbarians come clearly as enemies. On the countryside they are welcome, their rule can not be worse than what the detested Greek exactores, taxmen, did. But the cities do not like the idea of a new ruling class. The Langobards under their king Alboin (Ger., Eng.) do not care and capture one after another, Milano in 569. Next on the list is Pavia (Ger., Eng.), but the city resists, for three years. Meanwhile the Langobards reach out Southwards, take the dukedoms of Spoleto and Benevent, strengthen their rule.
Alboin really gets angry with that little Pavia town, and swears to kill them all, each and single one, tah.
Finally he is ready to to ride his horse through the gate of St.John into the future capital of the Langobardic kingdom , when his horse brakes down. And refuses to get up – only until Alboin brakes his vows (to kill each and single Pavese), and promises to kill only those who will not capitulate, then the old nag proudly carries the king into the city.
Alboin nevertheless insists on delivery of the twelve virgins for personal entertainment he required.
Eleven virgins moan and wail, while the twelfth orders flour, honey, and crystallised fruit. She bakes a cake – the first panettone (Ger., Eng.), in the form of a colomba pasquale. Of course Alboin suspects a poison attack, and has the girl eat a piece of the cake first. Since she does not drop dead, he tries it himself, is satisfied, and sets the cake baker free.
And you see children, cake is good for you. Learn something useful, so in case the barbarians invade, you can offer a cake of peace.

Sunday Music, Monday Edition

Is it ennui or disgust I feel ? I can not decide. Yes, I cut back on my news intake. But old habits die hard, and last week Thursday or Frayday or the night in between, I travelled several news channels. And I saw wretched things.
I read an article in the NZZ by Leon deWINTER (Ger., Eng.) about a book that claims to answer the question who betrayed Anne FRANK and her family. To make a long story short : The answer this “team of cold case specialists” and “historians” gives, is worth absolutely nothing. They built a wild “theory” based on one (!) anonymous message from 1946 that is already known to historiography, and evaluated as useless because leading nowhere. I do not know what this book is, I am inclined to follow deWINTER who calls it a crime. And I also follow him when he insinuates that the USAmerican publishing house that financed this lousy “research” wanted to see results, understandable after three years. And so they produced their final solution, and presented the world a Jewish man as the wretch of the century, a man who conveniently is dead since 1950, and who was a member of the “Judenrat”.
(Excurs : If you want to learn about the holocaust, especially the shoa, read Raul HILBERG (1926-2007) (Ger., Eng.) : The Destruction of the European Jews, first 1961. Also look at Georg MOSSE (1918-1999) (Ger., Eng.) : Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism, 1978. I am sure that HILBERG somewhere explains the role of the “Judenräte”.)
In the same news I found that somewhere in Tennesseistan Art SPIEGELMANs (Ger., Eng.) Maus (Ger., Eng.) is pulled from the school libraries, because it contents bad words and – horribile dictu ! – the image of a naked, dead, female body. I can not help, but the only people I can imagine, who have an interest to ban Maus from school classes, are people who are either openly fascist, or plain idiotic. Banning books seems to be something quite normal in parts of the untied states.
Speaking about plain idiots : Finally I saw the guv’ner of West Virginistan show the world the arsehole of his dog – he really held the dog up and showed its anus around – and told Bette MIDDLER to kiss it. Because she insulted the “state”, in a tweet, some weeks ago. Yo, all hail da big chieftain.
After that I turned to European news. They are dominated by the Eastern non-war. The only man who stays calm as marble, besides Vlad, is the Ukrainian president. He lounges in an armchair and tells the people to stay cool. He is either absolutely pointless – what I can not believe : You do not become president of a fine-tuned mafia state when you are absolutely simple, simplicissimus so to say. – or he knows something we do not know. I assume the latter.
Anyway, if they want to shoot, they should start soon, because now the ground is still frozen. After winter rasputiza (Ger., Eng.), the Wehrmacht did know something about this, and even the most advanced Russian tank still can not fly over groundless bog.
Ennui or disgust. Was it ever different ?
Est secretum. By Oreste RAVANELLO (1871-1938) (Ger., Eng.), sadly I did not find the names of the performers. I hope you enjoy the music. May we have a peaceful, and productive, week.

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Sunday Music

It’s all a bit … Corona rages through Germany, thirty per cent are absolutely unwilling to vaccinate. I accidentally met my co-driver some days ago while I went grocery shopping. She is in constant pain, had meanwhile been sent to a pain therapy. In this shape she can not return to the job, I feel sorry for her.
We chatted and I asked whether she finally got vaccinated, and yes, she had two jabs. And started a lamento about this : It is only the politicians who forced her, it starts to feel like in communist Poland again – at this point I asked what the parallels were, but got no satisfying answer. “It feels”, and “you have not been there”, what is right.
My argument that it was an illness, not “politicians” that made her get a vaccination was ignored. In the end it was her greed that made her jump over her shadow : She had visited her mother in Poland in summer, and when the family wanted to return to Germany they had to show valid tests demonstrating their status as non-infected. It did cost money – and because of this she accepted the poisonous attack on her life. She actually calls it a “poisoning”.
What was under the radar for the last weeks, because of corona & new German gouvernement, is the dangerous situation on the Eastern front border of the EU. The idea that the Polish chauvinists protect the European Union, its laws and values they do not share, against a murderous & extortive dictator like the White-Russian despot, has a certain irony to it. Maybe we’ll see a winter offensive in Ukraine, who knows what Vlad will do ?
We were promised “winter”, and I am waiting for the first flakes – but there is nothing except cold wind and grey light.
Let’s listen, as an antidote to all the uglyness, to Idylle from Emmanuel CHABRIERs (1841-1894) (Ger., Eng.) Suite Pastorale (1888), J.E.GARDINER conducts the Wiener Philharmoniker. The video shows works of Édouard MANET (1832- 1883) (Ger., Eng.), a friend of the composer. I hope you enjoy the music. May we all come healthy through a hopefully peaceful week.

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Sunday Music

For diversion a Sunday Music on a Sunday. I spent the last working days instructing my successor. I only hope that he’s not too fast, and I mean not only the driving style. My co-driver and me carved out a certain amount of time for this particular “job”, so it wouldn’t be nice if he does it all needing an hour or so less a day. But I think the colleague is seasoned enough to understand this without further discussion.
A lot of discussions took place in Germany over the last week regarding the epidemic situation. I can not understand it, there is nothing to discuss : Get your vaccination as soon as you can.
Violent protests against necessary, heavy-handed actions like partial “look downs” etc. erupted, notably in The Netherlands, but in other places throughout Europe.
The development in Germany is frightening (here is an actual overview in a newspaper). What I find remarkable is not the high number of infections, or the proven connection between voting for the new fascists and vaccination refusal (a simple look on a political map shows that areas with high infection rates are most likely areas with high outcome for neonazi parties – yes there is not only one) – what I find most interesting is the fact that the number of daily vaccinations is pretty high, but the percentage of newly vaccinated people does not go up accordingly (a friend who is good with numbers brought this to my attention). Of the daily vaccinated people roughly two thirds are people who get their third jab (booster), while only one third gets the first (!) or second injection.
According to a survey more than 60% of the still not vaccinated are “absolutely unwilling” to accept a vaccination, 20% are “unsure” (!). If my memory does not fail me, we have now short to 70% of the population vaccinated – what leaves us with nearly 30 % of idiots. I think the number of idiots is even much higher, they want their Karneval and Weihnachtsmarkt, they expect to go on vacancy like usual, they do not wear masks, scramble in the streets and stand close by close – while we (not so) slowly but steadily run out of ICU beds, and people who work in hospitals & care still have no mandatory vaccination.
The really sad thing is that all this was avoidable. The agency in charge, the Robert-Koch-Institut, warned in July and explained what to do. Countries that had been hard hit by the virus, like Spain and Portugal e.g., showed the way out : People vaccinated, and – oh Wunder ! – it works. The head of said institute gave a passionate speech last week where he expressed his anger and frustration, and gave a grave warning. The death toll will rise, no doubt. We see a disaster of political cluelessness, aimlessness, and plain fear of “unpopular” decisions. In the end a loud & reckless minority yells and hollers nonsense, and spineless politicos do not scrap the courage together to follow the advice of experts.
Even the sun is forced to make a statement : The coronahole (image) spews out particles over Earth.
Let’s turn away from the deadly nonsense.
Let’s listen to Mr KESSELs (1923-2004 ) (Ger., Eng.) song titled Lison from his 1969 lp Kessel’s Kit. I do not know whether the title refers to the French river (Ger.), or an Italian white (Ger.). I hope you like the music. May the coming week be relaxed & easy for all of us.

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