mago

Not Tonight, Darling

It’s a beautiful evening, clear blue sky with high thin clouds, ein Wolkengespinst, not too hot, not too chilly.
And I feel old. Tired to the bone. It was the last drive of the week, even for this month, two weeks off for Pentecost, the wonderful feast of the Holy Ghost. Would be nice if he could drop by … wonder if she/he/it can manage this time, but I doubt. I guess we’ll have to soldier on. Sorry if this sounds a little hopeless, I do not want to drag you down, venerated reader, it’s just me, who feels a little worn.
I just want to sleep, undisturbed, and long enough. I want to wake up and feel relaxed and strengthened, not knackered and as exhausted as six hours before.
It is not the work, what is surely not overwhelming. I felt some anger over the last few days, on several occasions things I can not change happened to me, none of it a major disaster, each and single one something to forget, but it adds up a bit, and makes me feel irritated. And the little wheel in the head keeps on spinning, what leads to a disturbed sleep, and more irritability.
On the other hand the boys had some good time when I drove them, we were happily chatting, joking and even singing, a big difference from older times, when there was mostly silence while we drove with my first co-driver (the matriarch) on this route. Co-drivers came and went for some time, until the actual one came along. She’s accepted now, but overly protective, and comes over as a bit harsh sometimes ; but she relaxes, slowly.
I should take care of my kitchen sink, the water flows down only veryvery slowly, so there is some blockage in the tubes. But I really do not want to spent this evening crawling on all four under the sink handling some greenish fatty glob. As exciting as this may be for a non-handy-man like me with all that instant satisfying success, not tonight, darling. Also I should screw my bicycle back together after I repaired the tube of the front wheel – again, as rewarding this may be, not tonight : I just want to have a glass of wine or two, and relax & unwind.
Finally a project I can manage, after all.

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books

Books ! Away With Them !

Perhaps I should create a new category “books”, it would be easier for me to find the last reading list.
Here is what I read over the last few months, time to sort them back in.

SIEBER, Helmut : Oberlausitz. Frankfurt/Main 1968
Where (or what) is the Oberlausitz (Ger., Eng.), you may ask – and I would have asked the same question before I read this little book. It is the Eastern part of Saxony, main towns there are Görlitz and Bautzen. The latter is known (at least for people of a certain age) for the jail, Bautzen II (Ger.). Notable inmates were the writers Walter KEMPOWSKI (Ger., Eng.) and Erich LOEST (Ger., Eng.). Can’t say much about LOEST, all I remember is “realism” and painful honesty. KEMPOWSKI wrote a fictive family history in two (or three) volumes. His last project was called Das Echolot (Ger.). He collages from a wide range of sources and concentrates on various dates, June-December 1941, January/February 1943, January/February 1945 and the end of the war in Germany. Both authors worked their fingers to the bone on this oh-so-German history.
SIEBERs little tome gives a good historical description of the region and brings some nice b/w photographs.

BRANDT, Rüdiger : Konrad von Würzburg. Darmstadt 1987 (Erträge der Forschung, 249)
Konrad (Ger., Eng.) is born in Würzburg between 1220 and 1230. He is one of the twelve masters of minnesang, his œvre includes nearly all literary genres of his age. He lived and died in Basel.
BRANDT gives a concise overview about the history of scholarship dealing with Konrad – of course this book is now thirty years old, but what BRANDT had to say about his predecessors is still valuable and noteworthy.

WUNDERLI, Peter (Ed.) : Reisen in reale and mythische Ferne. Reiseliteratur in Mittelalter und Renaissance. Düsseldorf 1993 (Studia Humaniora, 22)
The university of Düsseldorf had a lecture series (“Ringvorlesung”) in winter semester 1990/91. The chosen topic was “travelling”, travel literature of Medieval and Renaissance times. Very informative. Subjects are maps, the Sinai as entrance to the other world, Brendan’s (Ger., Eng.) navigatio, Marco Polo, Afanasij Nikitin (Ger., Eng.), Herberstein, Kolumbus. Good lectures intended for a mixed audience, well readable and informative.
WUNDERLI (Ger.) is a Swiss romanist.

WIECZOREK, Ulrich : Bayern im Blick früher Flieger und Ballonfahrer. Dachau 1994
As the title says, subject of the small volume is the early ærial image of Bavaria. Major cities, landscape, and natural environments still intact are shown. Additionally the technical development of  ærial photography is explained.
WIECZOREK (died 2010) was professor for didactics of geography at the Augsburg university.

DEROLEZ, R.L.M. : Götter und Mythen der Germanen. Wiesbaden 1976 (originaly : De Godsdienst der Germanen, Roermond 1959)
René Lodewijk Maurits DEROLEZ (1921-2005) (Ger.) was a Belgian Germanic medievalist and runologist. Both his major works, his 1954 habilitation about runes, and this text about Germanic Gods and Myths, are still worth to be read, usable and citable. Good translation by Julie von WATTENWYL.

VANDENBERG, Philipp : Das Geheimnis der Orakel. München 1979
Yes, when a title starts with “The Secrets of …” a little preoccupation may set in, the concoction may be a little sensational. Despite its subtitle on the front page (“Archaeologists decipher the best-kept secret of the ancient world”) this is a well-done piece of travel journalism. VANDENBERG actually visited places like Dodona, Didyma, Klaros, Delphi, Oropos, Epidauros, Lebadeia, interviewed archeologists, used historical sources, and modern literature. I think this is what could be called popular science, the tome even has a register.
VADENBERG (born Klaus Dieter HARTEL, Ger.) writes non-fiction, historical novels and crime.

KOLLER, Liselotte : Wohnkultur mit Serienmöbeln. München 1969
Of course there must be a book about ameublement. This picture book shows how the rooms in an appartement were tastefully furnished at the end of the Sixties. From living room and dining table, via sleeping room to balcony and garden, it is all there. Even children’s room, garderobe and “Our Unterhaltungsgeräte as furnishing problem” are treated. The Unterhaltungsgeräte in question are tv-sets (with blinds !) radios and lp-players, together with the fitting relaxing chairs, floor-standing ashtrays included. Oh dear, some images look all too familiar.
Ms KOLLER, about whom I could find no more information, seemingly specialised in the topic of interior design in the Sixties, I saw at least two other titles by her from the late Sixties.

HILDEBRANDT, Dieter : Lessing. Eine Biographie. Reinbek 1990 (first : Lessing. Biographie einer Emanzipation. München Wien 1979)
This is what I am actually reading, after some tries. HILDEBRANDT (Ger.) is a promoted literary scholar who made his living by writing critiques and essays, in short with journalistic work. His biography of LESSING is refreshing, still after nearly forty years, because of his view on the man, his live work & thinking, without the philological, scientific point of view. He shows the oh so great LESSING (I say this in true admiration without any irony !) as human being, shoving him from the piedestal where too learned veneration installed him over time. It is a witty, learned, insightful text that comes close to the person LESSING – who, btw, was born in Kamenz (Ger., Eng.), a town in (you guessed it !) the Oberlausitz : The circle is completed.

Perhaps some of these texts can be a little prod for your own further reading.

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mago, Persons

Dumbness at Work

Political blah ahead, just skip it if you like.

In his predictable ignorance the little fuehrer announced to “pull out of the deal”.
At first I was angry, but only for a short time ; in the end it was all too expectable. This idiot is seriously working on making the world a dangerous place.
I said it before, I just mention it again : This is no effing “deal” ! A “deal” is what you do down at the corner with Nick the Greek. We are talking about a multi-national treaty. Signed by “Europe” (France, UK, Germany), Russia and China.
What this move of the little fuehrer shows & illustrates is exactly what the German Chancellor remarked some months ago : The US are no reliable partner anymore. It makes no difference, if an American president signs or spits on a contract, it is always just “as is” and “for the time being”. A basic line, an axiom of law, is “pacta sunt servanda”, what means nothing else but you fulfill a treaty. Of course, if the basics of the treaty change, the presuppositions, things can (and should) be changed – but this is not the case here : For absolutely frivolous & indecent reasons this lousy prick kills anything that is still left of international American reliability & credibility : “Die USA sind kein verläßlicher Partner mehr.”
This puts the Iranian leadership under much more internal strain as already available, it is a gift to the falcons. It helps the warmongering of Israel’s PM, who is all too ready to send out some bombers. The risk of another war in the region called the “Middle East” is significantly increased. Only that this time it may be a big one to come that possibly may not be contained. And it is en passant an absolutely avoidable affront against all those involved, the EU, Russia, and China. Makes Amerga great again, really.
I can not get this picture out of my head from some months ago, I think it was taken in Istanbul. It showed the Iranian, of course the Turkish leader, and Mr Putin, shaking hands and enjoying each other’s company. I think they announced some economical treaty or something. There you have the regional powers, under the smiling benevolent guidance of Moscow. The US are out, and rightly so. The next we’ll see is the announcement of a Saudi-Arabian “good bomb”.
De-escalation, a policy of peace, or something similar silly humanist, looks different to me. And what caps it all : Of course the little fuehrer has nothing to offer, what would “make” a “better” “deal” : Does this brain dead worm really think someone will sit down now and negotiate a new treaty ?
Is btw anyone with two brain cells to rub against each other left in charge of USAmerican foreign politics right now ?
I doubt.
Anyway, I find consolation in the fact that finally people are investigating the little fuehrer‘s business actions from ten years ago, when he bought stuff by cash, tons of cash. It all comes down to what Bannon (does anyone remember Bannon ?!) said : “It is all about money laundering.” The little fuehrer took all that cash from the big laundering machine called Bank of Cyprus (run then and today by Deutsche Bank, headed now by this cool guy Ackermann), a relais station between those criminal (and Putin connected) families in the East where Manafort was involved and different addresses in the West : On one side you pour in worthless rubles, on the other side you have squeaky clean dollares, and the engineer makes his cut, preferably in cash, siphoning – Meyer Lansky would be proud.
Btw, it just pops up in my head : Who actually pays the little fuehrer’s lawyers ? I mean, oh so brilliant heads like the former major of NewYork do cost a little bit. Are Rudy and friends’ pockets stuffed with tax dollares ? It surely is insignificant & unimportant, it makes absolutely no difference who pays these guys. Because under the little fuehrer the state is nothing else but a self-service-outlet, and who does not cash in, is understood to be dumb : Sod on values, valuables is right ; morals is for the weak.
It is nothing else but apres nous le déluge, just without style.

Okay, this was it. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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mago

Trullering Along / Vermischtes

You know how this is, all of a sudden a word “pops up” in your head and you wonder what it means. You may sometime earlier have looked it up, but forgot – as it seemingly happens a lot more than usual to me. This disturbing forgetting is not yet in a state where I am seriously fearing for my brain – this was the case years earlier, when I went to my family doctor, who sent me to a specialist. I remember that they put my head into a swirling thing, and looked for things blocking veins and whatnot. In the end they found nothing and I was declared legally sane. I think I still am.
The word was “gnomon” (Ger., Eng.).
I know that it has something to do with “to know”. We all heard the Greek motto “gnoti se auton” – “know yerself” ; there is the Latin word “ignoramus”, literally “we do not know”, today often used in the sense “we do not want to know”. Gnomon means a Schattenzeiger, the vertical thing / pole in a sundial. I vaguely remember that there was a motorcycle, or a motorcycle engine (?), called “Gnomon”, but I can not verify it.
While I looked at the gnomon-article I saw this image of Santa Maria del Fiore – and wondered what church this is ? It turns out that Saint Mary of the Flower (Ger., Eng.) is the Cathedral of Florence. Obviously there is some kind of sundial built into the church, and beams of light are directed onto the floor. I remember that I had visited Florence (Ger., Eng. website), I think I even was inside this particular church, but I can not recall any image of it. I only remember the doors of the baptisterium (Ger., Eng.).
And while I looked through the article about St.Maria I saw the list of “other burials” and between all those Popes and Italian names one stood out, a certain Hawkwood – a Brit  (Ger., Eng.) ? Turns out he was a notable Florentine condottiere, a soldier of fortune of the 14th century. This sent me down the road of Routiers (Ger., Eng.), Free Companies (Eng.), and some colourful biographies of condottieri (Ger., Eng.), like the one of Werner von Urslingen (Ger., Eng.), a Suebian.
All roads lead to Suebia.
All this leads nowhere, of course. It is not intended to lead to somewhere, it’s just trullering through Wikipedia.
And now you know what a gnomon is, thank GOd.
Thank you for your patience.

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