Tag: trullern

Vom Nachttisch Geräumt

Time to collect the books that are balancing in a heap on the bedside stand and to put them back into the shelves. Here is a list of the titles I read over the last few months.

FULD, Werner : Walter Benjamin. Eine Biographie. Reinbek September 1990 (zuerst : München, Wien 1979)
If one studies the intellectual European history of the last century, chances are good that one sooner or later meets Herrn W. BENJAMIN (Ger., Eng.). Or an image of BENJAMIN created by admirers or critics. Undoubtedly BENJAMIN is an important intellectual, but that does not mean that he always was recognised as one. Like other European writers of the first half of the bloody twentieth century he was forgotten after 1945, re-discovered, and of course en-grossed (vereinnahmt) by different people – the fact that his magnum opus (Passagenwerk, Arcades Project (Ger., Eng.)) is a ruin makes such an usurpation a lot easier. Interestingly a lot of interpretations & secondary literature was published about BENJAMINs works, but there was no biography until Werner FULD (Ger.) published the first one in 1979. And what a life it was. BENJAMIN was notoriously late – in all, an expert in missing chances & taking unneccessary detours. En passant FULD points to where BENJAMIN may have taken suggestions from, and who took (not necessarily mentioned) suggestions from BENJAMINs writings (STERNBERGER, who always denied it ; ADORNO, who said nothing). The last years were miserable in the Paris exile, he became severely ill. Finally he tried to flee over the Pyrenees. On the 12th of September 1940 young Golo MANN had pulled his old uncle Heinrich and his wife, accompanied by the married couples WERFEL & FEUCHTWANGER, over the mountains into Spain – BENJAMIN on the 26th was late, he and the group he travelled with learned that the border station was closed. So he sat down and swallowed the morphine tablets he had (25 from originally fifty, he had given the rest to Arthur KOESTLER), it seems not to be clear whether he died on that mountain or later in Port Bou. Someone bought a grave for him, but there was no marker, after five years it was cleared anyway. I find it remarkable that (according to FULD) BENJAMIN gave to one member of the group, a woman called Gurland, a farewell-letter to ADORNO : She read it and then burned it. Say chutzpà.

ANDRASCHKO, Ferdinand : Schloß Schwarzenberg im Wandel der Zeiten.
In : Schwarzenbergische Archive (Hg.) : Schwarzenbergischer Almanach XXXII (1959), Murau 1959 (133-242)
Just what it says in the title, a history of the castle Schwarzenberg (Ger.). I can not say much about Dr. ANDRASCHKO (about), I do not understand Czech. He worked for more than forty years in the archives of the Schwarzenberg family, his article is very well written.

HASENFUß, Josef ; ENGLERT, E.A.; SCHÜLL, G.S.H. ; ROOS, A. ; BILZ, O. : Hafenlohr, Windheim und Marienbrunn. Aus der Vergangenheit in die Gegenwart zur 650 Jahrfeier. Ohne Ort 1974
Just one of these small publications published in celebration of an anniversary, here 650 years Hafenlohr. And because HASENFUß (Ger.) and his contributors are professionals, it is a well researched little history of said village and its surroundings.

BÄCHLER, Hagen ; SCHLECHTE, Monika : Sächsisches Barock. Aus der Zeit von Matthes Daniel Pöppelmann. 3. Auflage, Leipzig 1990 (zuerst Leipzig 1986 ; Die Schatzkammer, Sonderband)
Someone who “likes” “the baroque” must look into the Saxonian works of arts, the “Dresdner Barock” (Ger.) especially. Most of this was built by Matthäus Daniel PÖPPELMANN (Ger., Eng.). BÄCHLER (Ger.) is a German art historian specialised in this field.

GROSCH, Wilhelm : Blaufuss. Ein Dorf der Gold- und Münzstadt Kremnitz. Entstehung, Untergang und Neubeginn. Stuttgart 1996
Kremnica (Ger., Eng.), German Kremnitz, is a mining town in Middle or Central Slovakia. In the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period it was an important gold mining area. I think there still is mining. The town incorporated some villages, one of these was called Blaufuß (“blue foot”), today Krahule (Ger., Eng.). Herr GROSCH was born in this village in 1932 and published the history of his native place.

WIRSING, Karl-Heinz : Geselligkeit im Würzburg des Biedermeier. Mainfränkische Hefte 73 (1980)
A little history of the social life of Würzburg in the first half of the 19th century. “Biedermeier” (Ger., Eng.) is the time between 1815 and 1848, between the new organisation of Europe at the Viennese Congress, it’s “restauration”, and the revolutionary activities of the 1840s. This age of political stagnation in Central Europe produced a style of its own in the arts, home decoration etc. WIRSING (1907-1999 ; Ger.) was a Franconian art historian specialised in the history of his hometown.

KUHN, Rudolf : St.Achatius zu Grünsfeldhausen. Würzburg 1964
The church of St.Achatius (Ger.) in the village Grünsfeldhausen is an octogonal building that dates back into the 12th or 13th century. It is pretty likely built by a noble person, a knight, who took part in the crusades (most likely the third, (Ger., Eng.)) and had seen the Grabeskirche, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Ger., Eng., tour) in Jerusalem. This kind of architecture is not too common, and it is pretty unique that in a small area four of these octogonal churches can be found, with those in Oberwittighausen and Standorf still standing, while the one in Gaurettersheim sadly was demolished.

SCHÄFER, Werner : Straubing im Ersten Weltkrieg. Ein Beitrag zur Vorgeschichte der Revolution von 1918/19 in Bayern. In : Beiheft zum Jahresbericht des Historischen Vereins für Straubing und Umgebung, 80 (1977/78)
Yes, there was a revolution in Germany after the end of WWI, Bavaria became a “Räterepublik”. But what was before ? How did people live, what fuelled the tension that finally erupted into revolutionary action ? Straubing (Ger., Eng.) is a provincial town in Lower Bavaria next to the Danube river. Nothing fancy, really. But one of the first towns in Bavaria where the Novemberrevolution (Ger., Eng.) took part, they must have been really fed up – or precisely not, but hungry and damn angry. And Herr SCHÄFER, about whom I could not find more information, describes how it came together. A microhistory.

GOEZ, Werner : Gestalten des Hochmittelalters. Personengeschichtliche Essays im allgemeinhistorischen Kontext. Darmstadt 1983
The first time I understood why bishop Adalbero of Würzburg was important. History is made by people, humans act. I think it is more important to learn as much as possible about those who acted – how, when and why – than to speak about abstract ideas that may have made someone come to a decision, or not. Of course it depends on the sources, and their critique. And one needs a broader knowledge of time and age, of the whole æra the historical person lived in. The professor for Medieval History Werner GOEZ (Ger.) was such a man with an overview, and he wrote nicely. GOEZ (1929-2003) was first professor in Würzburg and then from 1969 until 1997 in Erlangen.

Perhaps you can find something interesting or motivational for own study ; if not, excuse me for boring you stiff.


Sunny Suebia

I use a friend’s computer in Suebia. I came here on Sunday and my friend greeted me sniffling & coughing. It was a good decision to skip work on Monday and Tuesday. So I went for errands, bought food & cooked healthy things like a vegetable+noodle+egg-soup, and generally spread positive happiness – “No, darling, I don’t think it’s a sign of cancer, it’s just the pickles fighting the yogurth in your stomach, all will be good !”
This morning my friend had to leave for work, there is an important meeting looming that needs some preparation, and next week is already stuffed to the brim with dates for this & that. I think I’ll stay here in my role as good Samaritan & housewife until Sunday, the engine of my vehicle starts Monday morning again.
It is a bit strange in Suebia. Today is Ash Wednesday, and usually people would stagger into the next church, get their ashen cross on the forehead, go home and sleep it off. Especially the Chapel of Our Lady of the Stripey Pants enjoys a large clientele. Or, if they must, people drag themselves into work, fake it and go home as soon as possible. But around here I don’t even know where to get an ashen cross – they don’t do these things in the holy land here, those Protestants & Pietists. You can’t even find an open church on a normal work day, something that astonishes me every time again.
Faschingsdienstag, Fat Tuesday, is a normal working day here ! In Franconia, and other civilised regions, everything shuts down on midday of said Tuesday, and nobody is expected back before Ash Wednesday’s late morning or Thursday, when it’s all back to normal just without smoking – or whatever else you give up for Lent.
Of course I caricature a bit, but on last Sunday people in costumes were on the bus and on the streets in Franconia, even in small towns I passed through with the train. Nothing like this after the border to Suebia. Here they wear grey and the streets are clean.
And now for something completely different : If you partied hard over the last few days, you probably need some brake and a little treatment for well-being and general recovery. Maybe one of the following treatments is the one for you ? Sadly there is no mention of the classic arsenic-butter-stick-treatment by MsScarlet and The Infomaniac House of Beauty.




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.


Through my life I had to deal with different types of administrations in different roles. As someone who worked for them or with them (never in them), and as someone outside who wants something. I hate the word Kunde in this context, what means “customer” : I am not a customer of an official stately administration, I am a citizen. And btw the word “Kunde” itself has some not so nice connotations, but this is not a seminar in German linguistics.
I had to deal with school and university administrations, I worked for an institute at an university ; I had to deal with different public authorities like the employment office, the finance authority, different municipal authorities, the federal state in some forms.
I always had to deal with humans, with people. The employment agency was totally useless, their efforts were not worth one shot of powder (this is the translation of the German expression nicht einen Schuß Pulver wert sein, what means simply it’s worthless as a blank, just bang, smoke & nothing), but the people were friendly, and explained to me what they were trying to do. Even when I could name webpages specialised on jobs for fools like me they never had heard about, the case handlers were interested when I could show them something they did not know. Of course they never had a job for me. With one exception I’d like to forget.
I never had problems with people in the finance authority, no matter in which role I had to deal with them. As you may know now I am hopeless with numbers & maths, I grindingly understood the basics of bookkeeping, but taxes & stuff ?
I always asked, and got useful answers in a friendly way. I wanted to understand the principles of the procedure and the file, and it was explained so that even my numberwise four-year-old-self could follow and fill out the correct forms etc. They even told me how to avoid to pay too much, what I could claim or plead. Frankly I think one does not need a “tax specialist” even for a small fortune, the people in the finance administrations know exactly what to do : Just ask them in a friendly way.
At the university and in municipal administrations I learned what is possible “if they want” – wenn sie wollen, dann können sie auch, if they want it, they get it : It is always a miracle to see what a seal works. You hit this thing under a piece of paper, and all of a sudden this is not just a simple contract or a declaration of something, it is a tool, and – depending on the seal – it may be a powerful tool.
The only administration I never had a successful relation with is the social services department. Frankly, they should all be shot. I never have met such a bunch of unqualified & mean idiots before, and I hope I will never have to deal with them again.
I once was “invited” to a talk to the head of one of their departments after I had complained about their decisions. One would expect a dialogue, an exchange of arguments, but I was given forty minutes of crap. This guy warbled on and on serving one stupid platitude after another while I sat with big eyes. After ten minutes I tried to intervene, but was brushed off briskly ; after another ten minutes I gave in, it was absurd theatre at its finest. To the end he looked down into a file in front of him and ganz nach Gutsherrenart barked “Ah, yer academic …” and for the first and last time in my life I was ashamed of my degree. I walked down to the entrance and when I reached the street I was ready to strangle Bambi with my bare hands.
Anyway – this is long years ago, what is it now ? I have to get money from them. There is no effing discussion about this, it is all clear, not even the meanest inch-pincer of them all can deny it.
And I spent the whole day, since I returned from my morning drive until I had to leave for my late afternoon work, with futile attempts to reach someone in this rotten administration who can do what has to be done. It is basically simple, just a bank money order – it is like trying to nail a pudding to the wall : No one is responsible, no one is reachable, some react as if I’d have touched them inappropriately – and yes, I think one should grab them by the balls and squeeze the Jeezas out.
Wish me luck, tomorrow is another go. It’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll