Tag: Kram

Tired

Thank GOd, the working week came to an end. It became a bit rough at the edges lately, so a two weeks’ brake is very welcome.
Usually I do not write (much) about my day time job, what should I say ? I leave early, pick up kids, bring them safely to a place, and all in return in the late afternoon. My actual co-driver is not a spotless diamond, but I am neither, we get along well. The only “thing” that is bothering me, and sometimes the boys, is that she has the tendency to create a mess by “speeding up” things. Frankly, she sometimes makes a bloody mess with her over-agitated engagement, she definitely lacks, and could use, deep relaxation.
It would be unbearable if she was in a way “wrong” or “dishonest”, she is not. She actually takes good care of the boys, even too much, like a clucking hen, but sometimes she’s simply too pushy. And then she usually uses the phrase “Ich habe einen Termin !” (I have an appointment !) to make things go faster, what usually has the oldest boy and me sighing and taking extra care, because then something may fail.
This last drive started with a little confusion on the yard, it took me a bit longer than usual to reach the point where my vehicle has to stand. The boys boarded reasonably well, we left a little later than usual.
At the first stop my co-driver jumped out with little boy J and marched to the door of the social housing block, just there was no response : Usually dad or mum wait at the front door of the public entrance, but nobody was seen, no answer to the door bell – and my co-driver came back to the car talking a lot I could not understand. She was completely thrown, and simply did not stop blabbing on and on. We had already waited for ten minutes, and it was clear that something had gone wrong there, so I told her to get inside the vehicle with the boy. I phoned the number I was given to reach the parents, but it was useless ; so I tried the additional number, but the man I reached did not get what I wanted. So I said that I’d take boy J with me and be back in roughly an hour or so. I was really running late now.
Driving on these small roads is usually a nice experience, but sadly a lot of people use them as detours and short-cuts between two or three motorway intersections that are found around this lovely Franconian capital. And on this Frayday afternoon before Christmas, when the travelling weekend was officially declared open, it was a bit challenging, simply because all these blokes from all parts of Germany are not used to our narrow roads – and my lack of “respect” against BMWs did not help. I follow more the “move over basted, I drive in the name of the Lord”-attitude.
The usual commute took a bit longer, where I could usually go through with 90 km per hour on the open road, driving in a nicely formed queue with 60 or less had to be enough today.
When I reached the last stop the phone rung and the man I had talked to earlier called back. So I could explain what it was all about, and he said he’d look for mum & dad. It all works, just needs a bit of time.
My co-driver had been very quiet since she had entered the vehicle again, and when we were driving back with boy J alone, she finally complained that we’d be back an hour later as usual on a Frayday. It came out that this time ! she really had an appointment – she did not tell me what it was, just “We women have so much more work to do in these festive times, much more than men ! TA !” – and she had put that date so close to our usual returning time that even a small deviation would be fatal, running late more than an hour of course …
Is the cosmic force trying to tell her something ? Perhaps, but I doubt she’s listening. Am I just mean ? I do not think so – I do not laugh about her, I do not feel “smug”, like “I told yah!” – this is all nonsense. Perhaps I just wrote this text because I do not want to get pushed myself. In fact, every time I witnessed it,  people got angry and did their tasks slower. Not necessarily better, but surely slower.
So when she’ll push the kids the next time with her “Ich habe einen Termin !” I can turn around and say – “Humbug ! Think about what happened the last time when you really had one !” Perhaps with this thinning-the-herd-attitude of the old God … but I’ll fool nobody, I’m soft as baby poo.
And here is some music, just so.

Advertisements

Aufräum’

Zeit zum Aufräum’. So the smallish pile of books needs to be attacked – smallish, tiny, ach … In no special order follow titles of books I read since the last list was published sometime in September.

Aperture Masters of Photography : Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Cologne 1997
Nicely done reproductions of ALVAREZ BRAVOs (Ger., Eng., Getty)  b/w photographs. A small tome with an essay by A.D. COLEMAN (Eng.). No special reason, I just wanted to look at good photography.
The same goes for another volume of the mentioned series :

Aperture Masters of Photography : Paul Strand. Cologne 1997
With an essay by Mark HAWORTH-BOOTH (Eng., website). I always admired Paul STRAND (Ger., Eng., Heilbrunn), somewhere around here is his New England book. Just look and enjoy.

DEUERLEIN, Ernst G. ; PAULUS, Herbert ; WILHELM, Hermann : Beiträge zur Kunstpflege in Erlangen. 50 Jahre Kunstverein Erlangen 1904-1954. Erlangen 1954
Erlangen (Ger., Eng.) is a city in Middle Franconia. There are no special things to know about Erlangen. Of course interested citizens founded an art society, and after ups & downs they presented themselves and the rest of the world with a festschrift for the fifty year jumbilee. Here it is.

SPROTTE, Bernhard : Geleit im Tauberland. Als Nünberger Kaufleute zur Frankfurter Messe zogen. Wertheim 1973 (Veröffentlichungen d. Historischen Vereins Wertheim, 1)
Merchants need to go to the market. Large markets were held through the Middle Ages right into Early Modern Times in free cities, like Frankfurt am Main, Nürnberg, Augsburg, and others. To travel safe merchants formed convoys and bought an escort from local rulers. For these domini terrae it was a good business ; fares, taxes and of course the segments where who had the right to escort, were fixed, but nevertheless disputed from time to time.
The valley of the Tauber is a natural East-West connection for travelling merchants. Also there were turnings towards Würzburg, in generally Northern direction, and to the South, generally in direction of the very rich Augsburg. SPROTTE, about whom I could find nothing more, depicts these aspects of the local history (of traffic, of commerce, of public safety) in a clear and even entertaining way. Of course it is only interesting for a local historian, and / or for someone who knows the area and places.

GOMBRICH, Ernst H.: Die Krise der Kulturgeschichte. Gedanken zum Wertproblem in den Geisteswissenschaften. München, September 1991
(zuerst : Ideals and Idols, Oxford 1979)
Damn, I wish I had read this twenty or more years ago. I always thought of GOMBRICH (Ger., Eng., archive) as an art historian – yes he is this too, but he is a cultural historian. I will not repeat here what Sir Ernst has thought, written & discussed in his unique way. This book, or better these articles published in one tome, are still today definitely worth a read, and thought or two.

WEIGAND, Waldemar : Das Königliche Spiel. Eine kulturgeschichtliche Studie. Berlin 1959
It is a small history of chess, with the emphasis of the origins. Simply nice. Could find nothing more on Mr WEIGAND.

GLENDINNING, Victoria : Edith Sitwell. 1. Auflage dt., Frankfurt (am Main) 1995
(zuerst : Edith Sitwell. A Unicorn Among Lions. 1981. Übersetzt von Karl A. KLEWER)
Edith (Ger., Eng.) and her brothers, reviled and revered. I think Ms GLENDINNING (Ger., Eng.) did an outstanding good biography of Ms SITWELL. She never ridicules her, never puts her on a piedestal, no worship, no bashing, but a clear view on this unique lady. Even if you are not especially interested in English poetry, or the intrigues etc. – just follow this strange person through her life, I find it terribly interesting.

That’s it. Maybe you found something interesting, and hence will start reading ?

Rattle. No Roll

Yet. I am still a bit rattled.
If you follow my waffle here – for what I am thankful – you may remember that I took up a job as driver some moons ago. It is a job to pay the rent, really. That’s how it started, nowadays I would miss the boys if I’d get the chance to work in my profession again, but I’d do this without any question and hesitation. BTW I had a job interview two weeks ago, well, I’m still driving. But it was very nice to see that I am at least still eligible.
I do not write about the day job here, simply because it is just what it is, and because I do not want to be whining.
A driver drives, I do more than three thousand kilometers a month in the vehicle, a pretty large, white, diesel-powered passenger transporter fitted out for the special demands my passengers have. I drive on Bundesstraßen, A-roads, Landstraßen, B-roads, and narrow country lanes. I avoid autobahn, especially when my passengers are aboard. It is simply a risk I do not want to take.
On average it is all three months that a dangerous situation occurs – dangerous as in : A heavy impact is narrowly avoided – and every time this happened on slip roads or on motorway-style enlarged A-roads. On the country lanes everybody, with the notable exception of the dumb boy racer in his old testosterone-fulled BMW or Golf GTI, is careful, the professionals know what they can do with their vehicles. And if it takes ten minutes more, so what ?
The guy who tried to wipe out my codriver and me this evening on the other hand needs a special award.
I was on a motorway-style A-road in the fast lane (that is the left one on the continent). From the right a motorway exit slip feeds in, while to the left is a motorway access regulated by traffic signals. I was not particular fast, noticed a red car on the far right well ahead, my codriver was telling a story. Next I know is that the red car was basically vertically coming from the right, crossing over all lanes to reach the slip road to my left, I was in the process of t-boning him. Thankfully nothing was to my right while I pulled the vehicle over, heavy on the brakes, sliding on the mean trickle we had for the whole day.
While I was still rolling ahead & sorting my gears to stabilise my swaying bus the little piece of crap came back. It was seemingly not the gateway he liked, or the red lights did not match his seats, or maybe he just wanted to avoid ramming the car that was waiting at this damn traffic light, I do not know. All I know is that we had the same affaire again, this time from the left. He pulled in front of me less than a meter away while I was accelerating to control my vehicle and all of a sudden I thought that it would be a good idea to ram the basted to nirvana.
He drove a kind of cabriolet in red, I think it was Mercedes, and now he put the pedal to the metal and outpaced me easily. I realised that he lifted the foot when I came closer. Some hundred meters ahead to the right is a parking slot, and all of a sudden he pulled sharply to the right over the slow lane and the exit into said parking area, of course without indicator or any shown regard he rammed the car in there, still sliding with locking wheels when I thundered by. Following in would have meant a serious disaster with an unavoidable collision. I only hope he ran his car into the mud and ripped the suspension out.
All this took less time to happen than it takes you to read this, I am pretty sure it was less than ten seconds : No time to think & reflect, just action.
My vehicle took it easy, afterwards she was revving freely doing hundred km/h without any effort at 1600 rpm. Smart thing – I want to thank FORD for building a reliable and stable vehicle that one can throw around over three lanes like a wet towel without any damage done to suspension, brakes, or wheels : After more than hundred thousand kilometers, or sixty thousand miles, of heavy duty – well done !
Oh yes, thanks to the unknown driver in red, adrenalin is good, keeps the veins free from stuff. See you in three months again, bloody moron.

Books. Again

If there is nothing else to do but cough & wheeze, I can at least put that heap of books back into the shelves.
Here is the list of books I read since the last list from end of July. If you should be interested, the earlier posts are tagged “books”, of course.

RAGON, Michel : Ästhetik der zeitgenössischen Architektur. Neuchâtel (Ch) 1968 (Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts. Edited by Marcel JORAY)
RAGON (Ger.) (born 1924) is a French intellectual whose œvre contains fiction and non-fiction, from modern architecture (exhibition) via historical social movements to a dictionary of anarchy.
The message of this book is simple and can be condensed into one sentence : Concrete is great !
He writes a hymn about LeCORBUSIER and other modernists who built white cubes : MIES van der ROHE, NEUTRA, WRIGHT, SAARINEN, NIEMEYER, CANDELA, TANGE. Some of the architecture is undeniably great, while other pieces may have stood the test of time not so well. Anyway, the b/w photographs in this book are generally very good, always a pleasure to look at.
Marcel JORAY (1910-1996) founded the publishing house Editions du Griffon in 1950 and was the editor of a series about modern art – he organised the first Swiss exhibition of abstract painting in 1957. In 1977 he edited a book about concrete in contemporary art.

Sizilien. Reisebilder aus drei Jahrhunderten. Edited by Ernst OSTERKAMP. München 1986
For the armchair traveller. From RIEDESEL’s (It.) trip (1767), a friend and scholar of WINCKELMANN, to the top of the Aetna, to Ernst JÜNGER and the Swiss author Gerold SPAETH in the 1970s – impressions of Sicily collected by Ernst OSTERKAMP. With additional material about the authors. Nicely done.

Reisen in Nippon. Berichte deutscher Forscher des 17. und 19. Jahrunderts aus Japan. Collected & introduced by Herbert SCURLA. 6. Auflage, Berlin 1990
This tome collects reports about travels in Japan by Engelbert KAEMPFFER, Georg Heinrich von LANGSDORFF and Philip Franz von SIEBOLD.
SCURLA (Ger., Eng.) lived through two German dictatorships & showed a certain ability to adapt.

Caroline de la Motte FOUQUÉ. Geschichte der Moden 1785-1829. Als Beitrag zur Geschichte der Zeit. After the original from 1829-1830 edited by Dorothea BÖCK. Berlin 1988
Caroline was the wife of the oh-so-romantic poet & writer Friedrich de la MOTTE FOUQUÉ – for both of them it was their second marriage. She was not untalented, but in a certain sense never emancipated herself as a writer from models, “prototypes”, notably her second husband, who had been a successful writer, but fell out of favour and could not re-connect to earlier success. She had to write for money and did so in the Journal des Luxus und der Moden (Ger.), a very unique source. Her history of fashion is possibly the text where she is the most at herself.
About the editor, Frau Dr. BÖCK, I could not find out more.

GERARDI, Gertrud : Bilder aus Franken. Eine Auswahl von Bildern aus der Fränkischen Sontagspost der Nürnberger Nachrichten. Nürnberg 1960
Just black/white pictures of a Franconia long gone. GERARDI (Ger.) was an important German press photographer in the 1950s and 1960s. She documented the rebuilding of Nuremberg.

GRIESINGER, Peter : Biberach an der Riss. Ein Gang durch Vergangenheit und Gegenwart einer alten Reichsstadt. Fotos von Hans Klose. Biberach/Riss 1967 (?)
Just another of those books of only local interest. Nicely done, text well researched, good photography. Found nothing about author & photographer.

SCHÄFER, Hans-Peter : Die Anfänge der fränkischen Eisenbahn. Würzburg 1985
Very well done history not only of the origins of the Franconian railway, but gives an introduction into the Bavarian travel & transport planning of the 19th century. I could not find more about SCHÄFER. He seemingly was the head of the ill-fated “Unterfränkische Verkehrmuseum” that existed between circa 1988 and 1999 in Gemünden / Main.

Klassischer Journalismus. Die Meisterwerke der Zeitung. Collected & edited by Egon Erwin KISCH. 1. Auflage, Berlin 1982
A classic by E.E. KISCH (Eng.). Here as part of the complete edition of KISCH’s works by the old Aufbau-Verlag. This is the new one.

Perhaps some of these titles are inspiring your own reading.