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, Places

Gruorn

Last weekend saw me visiting Suebia & walking around the Schwäbische Alb (Ger., Eng.) It is an interesting landscape – if I would have to characterise it, words like “reluctant”, herb – what my dictionnaire translates as “austere” – “bitter-sweet” come to mind. Die Alb ist ein karges Land. And beautiful.
Basically it is a brick that stretches roughly from West towards East in the Southern part of Baden-Württemberg. Different to other regions, like e.g. the Hohenlohe (Ger.), the Alb has clear borders : There is a region before the Alb, there is the Alb itself, and there is a region after the Alb. When you look at a north-oriented map the Northern border is marked by the valley of the river Rems, the Southern border by the river Donau. Yes, this mighty European river starts as humble creek somewhere South of the Alb.
And, because it is a brick, there is a clear difference between what is down & what is up : You have to climb up to the Alb, what today means that you have to drive an Albaufstieg, a steep, winding, and sometimes a bit challenging ascent to reach the plateau. On top it is windy, obviously cooler than down below, and all the vegetation is three weeks behind :  While the apple trees have blossomed in the valleys, they stand in full bloom up there.
The winters also are a bit different, they use these markers (Ger.) besides the roads not for nothing, these sticks (snow poles) simply show where the road is under the snow drift.
The people there are proud of their Alb, and love it to bits. Others can’t be dragged by horses to live & work there, mostly verweichlichte city dwellers. (I can not translate “verweichlicht” correctly, namby-pamby perhaps ? Because it must have an ironic touch.)
Nevertheless, all those softy city dwellers, notably from the Suebian capital Stuttgart, invade the Alb on weekends, sit happily through traffic congestions eager to reach one of the many Wanderparkplätze (parking places from where a nice little ramble or hike can be started, usually in a circle of two hours or so) or scenic outposts. There they gaze in awe towards Stuttgart (Fernsehturm !) or in Southern direction towards the Alps.
(I personally do not believe in the possibility to see the Alps from there, I think it is clever marketing trick : When I looked South it was either foggy or hazy on the horizon, or the land lay in a wonderful Sonnenglast that prohibited to see further than 30 kilometers. This happened every time when I was brought to observation points looking South. Nevertheless, some happy individuals may, possibly, have seen something in the far distance that could be interpreted as a Swiss mountain, with a little good will from all involved.)
We went to Gruorn (Ger. only).
If you ever had to deal with the German military you know that they like abbreviations. So on the road sign you will find it as “Ehem. Trup.-Üb.-Pltz.”, ehemaliger Truppenübungsplatz, former military training area.
Back in the late 19th century a military training ground was created near the small town Münsingen (Ger., Eng.), there is still a place called “Altes Lager”, old barracks or camp. In the 1930s the area was significantly enlarged and the old village Gruorn was “entsiedelt”, what means that the inhabitants were re-located and the whole local district was incorporated into the training facility. After the war the French took over and used it as intended, among other things, for training of house-to-house-fighting. I am not sure when the French handed it back, but since 2006 the area is de-militarised and open for walkers and cyclists, you should better stay on the established paths.
The church of the village Gruorn is still standing and renovated, the old school house is used as a small pub, and up on the first floor you find a little exhibition about the place’s history.
This may sound pretty bleak when you read it. But it is not at all. No modern roads, no traffic, no electric poles, no fields. In the end you see a country side as it was in the 1930s or earlier. It is remarkably quiet there. Open spaces with green meadows, woods, sky.
Silence.
Apart from the sound of those mountain bikes’ tires on the paved roads, only natural sounds.
And because this year is an extra-ordinary pollen year, you see clouds ascending from the woods, where the wind shakes them trees and pollen dust disperses like smoke.
I want to go back there, and wander around.

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Gruorn2

How it looks there

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Gruorn3

View over the graveyard towards the school house

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Gruorn1

Some blossoms

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The Alb is a good place. I want to be there. Actually I already miss it.
The rest of the week was quiet, back to work, the usual. I looked into the web, read news, and tried to read your blogs, but I beg for your pardon and hope you accept my excuses, venerated readers – I did not feel up to do this. When I finally came home in the evenings I just wanted to go to bed. Another kind of silence. And asked myself what I am still doing here.  Thoughts are floating, ruminat in cerebro, “es schafft” as the Suebian says.
Sunday Music will be resumed, everything will continue, but sooner or later I hope to change some things.

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