Wednesday, 24 December 2008


To all my blogger friends - worldwide - happy and merry Christmas. And to those of other faiths, creeds or ideologies: some peaceful days at home.
Christmas: let silence enter.

And to all of us - regardless of everything - the good news is this: the sun is coming back, the days get longer, Summer is just behind the horizon.

That's the kind of activity I am looking forward to, within the next five months.

Best wishes to all of you, for the days and months that lie ahead of us.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Harsh winter when it's automn still

Living in a tiny village - center of France thus center of world - has multiple advantages. But our electricity grid is certainly not one of those items to be proud of.

For last Sunday we had a meteorological red alert: stay at home good people. It started to snow in the early morning hours and continued right into the next night. That might be nothing worthwhile mentioning for those living in Norway or in Canada but here?

And what about global warming? Where are you, please?

In the evening we had three or four short power cuts and the fifth settled it for good. Light the Christmas candles, let's go to bed early, best thing to do.....

Next morning, Monday, everything was so peaceful. No car running, no street lighting, tepid water coming out of the boiler, house decidedly cold but peaceful, too.

So we stayed at home, admiring the white out. I did not dare to start the wood fire because it is equipped with little fans for more efficiency. They are not supposed to stay idle; ball bearing don't like to be heated up.

Here, have a look at the living room, fire ablaze. That is "normal procedure", electricity being supplied.

No more. Fortunately I bought eight years ago a little stand-by stove for an emergency like that, running without electricity. And the dear little thing made of sheet steel or so did the job. See here:

Suddenly, the place looks impoverished, a place for displaced people who make go with what is available. And so it was.

25 hours later - on a road cleaning job - I heard the church bells chime again: hosiannah, the juice was back. An hour later the phone went dead for another 20 hours. But who cares. And yesterday, the washing machine got a bout of Alzheimer's. The darling is quite willing to turn around but refuses to pump and seems to know only one program these days, anyway.

That's a slice of life at the beginning of the 21st century. Everything is available, but on a temporary basis only.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

On the downward slope - let's get slim

If you are only moderately interested in economics, just listen to the ABBA singing "Money, money". They know all about it.


The economy - everywhere - is heading south, bye bye boom days. Most of us are mere onlookers while the future unfolds, but not everybody is idle.

Opposition or governing parties - right, left or center, green guys or oil hawkers - realize their hour has come. Now is the time to tell us what to do to get the economy humming again. "Don't worry, good people, we'll manage".

What I have not yet heard is that: you might easily loose your job, could be we'll have to fight inflation, quite possible taxes have to be raised. On the contrary, I am listening to a tune I know too well: "we'll do the washing without your getting wet".

Some days ago a worthy politician (no name given, no country specified) told me this:

"Every citizen should get a bonus of 500 € (about 600 $) to be spent immediately with the only condition to add 200 of his own.

Imagine I get the 500 what would I do with this: I would buy a new computer so as to be able to run "Microsoft Flight Simulator X" thus making happy Hewlett-Packard and Bill Gates. And afterwards? Nothing. Same script as before, just read again the first two lines here above. Useless, costly straw fire.

Others are clamoring - a big chorus, worldwide - for a substantial tax break. That's more or less the same as the 500-€-stunt. Most of us don't pay a fortune in taxes anyway thus the break will look like a pittance. And the big income people will like it, certainly, but it will just make a splash in their wallet.

And all that money where does it come from?

a) from the state coffers - but I hear they are empty

b) borrowed somewhere - but the money has to be paid back and
before there are the interests.

c) the good old money printing machine - say hallo to inflation

So I think we have to solve the recession the hard way: cut useless prestige spending, raise the taxes where possible.

Because if we don't want to go under, become a kind of backwater, this has to be done: upgrade our schools and universities, research and development in real science, credit to people who wish to create new businesses. Stop our addiction to oil coming from non palatable countries.

These are the challenges and there the money must go. Our money.

Meanwhile, if someone of my dear and esteemed readers wishes to save souls from hell by doing something for or against the beast exposed, the economic collapse 2008-2009, the number 666, the anti-christ revealed, just listen to this one:

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

RELIGION : Paradise & praise the lord

When Mohammad Atta boarded his plane on 9/11, seven years ago, he was freshly starched and washed, clean inside/outside, ready to embark on his historical suicide-killing spree. And all that because he knew after his death he would go to paradise.

His kind of paradise is truly enticing, at least for a man who happens not to be gay and who is in excellent health. Imagine: 72 beautiful virgins at your service, good wine, good food, soft bed. All this free of charge and no end to it.

Compared to this Five-Star-Paradise the Christian one looks drab. When I was a little boy, I was told up there the good, deserving people would sing in a choir praising the Lord and/or polishing the stars and anyway, I would be an angel able to fly around with the help of my wings.

Both have at least this in common: they are somehow childish. A modern paradise, revealed these days, would probably look different and if someone of my readers has any ideas about it, don't hesitate to explain what happens there.

The three big religions with their monopolistic god have lots in common. They all come out of the desert, those dry, sandy stretches, too hot during the day and too cold at night. And they don't like women.

The male Jews thank god in their prayers not to be made a woman. the Muslims don't allow them to drive a car (Saudi-Arabia) or give them only half the value at law suits (Iran) etc., etc, etc. The Christians (Catholics, Orthodox) don't consider them good enough to be priests or pope.

And here comes something truly astonishing. in all those three religions women play an important role. Not on top, sure, but on the lower echelons they are aplenty. How is this possible?? Not one of these big three One-God-Religions has to complain of a scarcity of women!

If I would be a female I would quit an organization that considers me inferior. But they don't seem to see it in this light.

Next point: in a remote corner of our garden is a little aunt heap. They live there and I leave them alone. I don't ask the aunts to praise me for that and I would be slightly amused if I would learn that they are praising me for letting them going after their business.

But in religion that is not so. On the contrary: Praise the Lord is mandatory, here on earth and it even seems to go on in paradise. I can't help thinking this praising activity is just an oriental, Near East habit. In this part of the world, when you happen to meet your cheikh, sultan, padishah, bey, king or emperor, better tell him this: "you are splendid, wonderful, your face is shining with wisdom, your decisions are always right, I am mostly wrong, thanks for letting this insignificant servant live on nevertheless, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you". .....

And there is another aspect to it: this praising activity is a pious attempt to corrupt your god into giving favors, frequently totally undeserved. What about replacing this praising activity by doing something useful?

Last not least, there is this little poem written by the American Joe Hill, probably nearly hundred years ago:

You will eat (You will eat)
Bye and bye (bye and bye)
In that glorious land above the sky (Way up high)
Work and pray (Work and pray)
Live on hay (Live on hay)
You'll get pie in the sky when you die (Thats a lie)

Monday, 17 November 2008

Flying in total safety - Microsoft Flight Simulator

In one of my last comments regarding religion, I promised Vinod Sharma to write a second chapter on that matter.

But religion is a terrible subject. Awe inspiring, ridiculous, dangerous. So I put the idea in cold store, for the time being.

Right now my main worry is not how to improve humanity through the power of my postings. No, these last weeks I tried - in vain - to pass the Instrument rating test ride at Microsoft's Flight Simulator.

The idea is to fly an airplane - here a Cessna 172 - exclusively with the help of instruments, without any visibility. Flying above clouds, in pea soup fog, heavy rain and above all, being able to land safely under these conditions.

Contrary to a widespread idea, man's brain - and even the brain of a woman - is unable to do two things simultaneously. We do one job after the other and in case we do it fast enough, we can pretend to do them together.

Naturally, I know what to do to pass successfully the check ride. The problem is I have to fly perfectly steady, never deviate from any course, maintain height, maintain speed, respect sink rates and angles of climbing, set the radio and the navigator VOR1 and VOR2 plus ADF. Fly a holding pattern and execute a missed approach. The cherry on the cake, at the end, is to land the plane without seeing anything worthwhile.

And the slightest mistake I make, there is this female voice telling me "sorry, you have to start over again". I hate this voice. Having said this, she continues cheerfully to enumerate the list of my shortcomings.

It's a kind of mission impossible but I have set my teeth to it to get the green light to print my certificate.

This YouTube video is a simulation of this checkride in clear weather and with the help of the Autopilot. Just to show and give an idea. To those who are not yet bored stiff (my compliments to them, they merit a seat in pilot's paradise).

Why I am doing this? Flying under these conditions is a real pleasure but a challenge at the same time, it obliges you to concentrate deeply, this is an intelligent video game.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Religion, power and money

Maybe you know the joke: two Jews stroll around St. Peter in Rome - tourists I suppose - and suddenly they see the Pope arriving in a black Mercedes 600 or so. Said one to the other: "You see that, Shlomo! That's what I call a career. Their Jesus Christ came into Jerusalem on a donkey and now look at his successor: he travels in this big car!

That's only an introduction into the subject.

I know a few people who seem to be deeply religious and what I am saying here does not concern them. They are religious and religion is a means for them to be good to others and at peace with themselves.

No, I am talking of the upper echelons of those various religions that thrive on this unhappy planet. The bosses of these institutions, the movers and shakers, the chiefs and CEO's of all these numerous and different creeds.

They are all talking, endlessly and volubly and what do they say, all of them: "The other religions are very bad, stick to mine, the only true one". Or even better, more convincing: "If you leave this one, you'll be dead in no time".

And they are right, from their point of view. Religion means profitable and continuous business, steady income and thus the power to keep the stuff smoothly flowing in. Who would like to loose his customers to the competition?

It should be said, to be true, here in Western Europe, religion has fallen on harsh times. The number of the faithful is dwindling year by year, nearly all churches stay empty most of the time - they serve now as a tourist attraction and are used for social customs by the "Four-Wheel-Christians", those who drive there for baptism, marriage and burial.

But this is not the end of religion in Europe. The potential for brisk business continues to exist and numerous start-ups are competing for customers. First, there are the immigrants from Africa and Asia - the Muslims - plus all those numerous minority creeds that cater mostly for us Europeans, a huge untapped potential in the spirituality business. The Moonies, the Scientologists, all those overfed Swamis from India who sponsor their Ashrams here and there for a regular fee, the Buddhist and Zen monks in their yellow uniform who don't feed on a daily rice bowl but on a more substantial fare. Let's not forget the Mormons from Utah/USA, always neatly dressed in white shirts and tie who propose their kind of paradise against a tenth of my income. Same for Jehova's Witnesses and last not least all those Evangelicals made in USA who try to re-Bible us. Honestly, I don't know in which way they would cash in later - but my American friends are certainly able to supply some input on that matter.

They all keep a kind of low profile. They are - for the moment - a tiny minority and thus are very tolerant. But on their home turf, where they happen to be important because numerous, you might experience a very different tune. The fight for supremacy is on and no kidding about it. Want some examples:

Buddhism: splendid dictatorship in Burma/Myranmar. The very affluent rulers there give lavishly to the official monks and monasteries. For the rest, the country is poor.In Sri Lanka they wage a bloody civil war against the Hindus in the North. No compromise in sight.

Communism: just say you would get rid of the commies and you are eligible for a prolonged sojurn in a labour camp where the only washing is brain washing.

Islam: in Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi-Arabia you face death in case you decide to quit Muslim religion for another one.

Jewish religion in Israel: land grabbing and evictions of the locals in Palestine go on there for dozens of years.

Hinduism: killing Christians and Muslims in India during well organized riots seems to be on the agenda of a political party there.

Christianity: we are the only good ones, everybody knows that. And besides, this post is already too long (as always). So, if you don't agree, just make a comment to complement the picture.

Monday, 20 October 2008


When I made my military service at the German Air Force we were lodged in rooms of four in kind of barracks. One night at about 12 pm or so, my room mate came back from a drinking expedition.

I heard him singing/talking/laughing to himself, on the other side of the closed door and I tried to stop him from entering. I shoved a broom under the door handle and told him to go to hell or sleep in the sink.

He did not insist and went away but some minutes later the chap entered through the window. While crawling into the room he vomited copiously on my little radio standing on the table right under the window.

That radio was precious to me, it was the very first thing I bought with my own money earned by working during school holidays. He vomited so much on it that the little thing nearly disappeared under it.

From that day on I am regretfully unable to show any tolerance for active drunkards. I mean I shall not help someone drunk who cannot walk upright and is falling down. Must be the vomit,I fear.

On the other hand, I love drinking songs. Please lend your ear to Ivan Rebroff, one of the deepest basso voices I know and nevertheless able to go into high pitch (near the end of this song). It's about someone sitting in a wine cellar and telling how he feels. "Im tiefen Keller", composed in 1802.

Lots of my friends and acquaintances drink too much. They are never drunk - at least I've never witnessed this - and when it is obvious they have had too much at a party, there is always their obliging wife who takes to the steering wheel.

Strange world. If you drink too much and let other see it you become a social outcast in no time. But if you are a tea-totaler - total abstinence from alcohol - then very easily you achieve the same goal.

As to me, I like to drink a glass of red wine in the evening. Just one glass. And I have been drunk once in Paris in a restaurant where we went with friends. My wife was clasping me and I needed it to prevent zigzag-walking towards home.

Now have a look here. This is out of Carmina Burana "In taberna quando sumus" (when we are in the tavern drinking)

Composed in Latin about 800 years ago, music from Carl Orff. To those of you who have enough fortitude, try to follow the music in Latin (right in YouTube). It's great - no need to know Latin, just for fun - especially the second part where he gives the list of all those who drink. Quite exhaustive. One more point: when you play this, make it loud, very, very loud. This is not for the faint hearted.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Georgyporgy's ideas about fashion

Living in a farmer's village, people who dress "à la mode", on top the current fashion don't abound. In fact, you could say we just cover us, we don't dress as long as we stay here in the country side.

Last weekend, our village club made an excursion to Brive-La-Gaillarde, a beautiful city 80 km (50 miles) from here, near the Dordogne valley.

Everybody was dressed up, did his/her best to show that we might be living behind the moon but not on excursion day. And in fact, looking around at the slick city people passing by and comparing them to us I must admit: there is absolutely no difference in the cover-up.

Nearly everybody clad in shades of gray, brown or black. The eternal November under blazing sunshine. Look for yourself, I am not kidding

That was our guide from the local Tourist Office. Good looking gal, very chirpy but dressed like the oldies from here.

Here she is again. Could be my best photo made on this trip. Could not resist showing it to humanity.

And here, look at the lady, half hidden, on the right side of the photo. She and her husbald are quite well off, big car and so. Have a look at those pants she is wearing. Shit brown and full of creases. To me she looked as if she got her outfit at the local outlet "Christians care for the needy", or the Kathrina Refugees Center. You pay 50 cents or even nothing and you get some clothes in case you were obliged to leave home in pajamas or in a nightshirt.

My wife told me this stuff must have have cost a pretty penny, latest fashion, boutique stuff.

This pic has been made in Samoëns, French Alps, during our last holidays. Look at the couple in front. He is having his symphony in grey and she is is trying to communicate with him color wise. And under her white shirt there hangs something slightly grey. And both are having those "high water pants", very good for fording rivers without getting wet.

I know that's today's fashion but I don't like it. Why should I? Colorless and miserably looking, as if everybody gets ready for for World's End.

I can't help thinking that fashion is for people who have no taste of their own.

Sometimes I wonder if there is meaning behind this. Why do we live in this colorless world? Our buildings are cheap, square and devoid of color, our cars are mostly in "elegant light grey", even the girls manage to have strands of grey 30 years before this happens naturally to them.

And that was not always like this. We have evolved, lately. But as I see it, we are on a downward slope.

That is the Changing Of The Guard in London. Two hundred years ago, all over Europe, those who could pay were colorfully dressed.

And that is a numerical reproduction showing how the Parthenon in Athens/Greece may have looked like around 450 BC when it was constructed.

So, in a nutshell, my message to the world at large. Dress at least colorful, throw the grey or shit brown stuff in the dustbin or any other bin available. Stop complaining. End of message.

Thursday, 18 September 2008


Right now, on behalf of the present financial crisis, I am reading that Alan Greenspan said this one to be the worst crisis of the century.

About a fortnight ago, I heard on the telly that the Mayor of New Orleans called the approaching hurricane the worst of the century and thus he invited his fellow citizens to leave town.

Well, being a born Berliner, we would say to this kind of braggadocio "one size smaller would be welcome".

I take the liberty to remind everybody the century barely started, we have still 92 years to go before we are able to make an evaluation. So let's be patient and leave the subject to our children or even better to our grand-children.

Another well-known fact, the stock exchange goes up and down, some get burnt and other get rich and probably next year we'll have other "events of the century" to consider. As to the king-size hurricane over New Orleans, the Mayor mishandled the evaluation of this one as he did on behalf of the previous one thus I suppose he will be reelected triumphantly by his thankful citizens.

Another thing I am quite fed up with is the "War on Terror". Every one of us has a bigger chance to win a Billion Dollar or Euro at the Sweep Stakes or the Lottery and afterwards get struck by lightning rather than being killed in a terrorist action. An efficient police force and a Secret Service that is doing his job on the ground are amply sufficient to neutralize these buggers.

And let's stop talking endlessly about September 11 when its main aim seems to be using it merely as an excuse to embark on actions that shy the light, a kind of smoke screen with an exceeding long shelf life.

Because there are problems and there are dangers facing us. Climate change is one. During the last Ice Age the average temperature fell 2°C. Not very much one might say but now we are in danger to live through increases of 4° to 6°C!! That means lots of more deserts everywhere as well as flooded and definitely disappearing coastline everywhere around the globe.

Another one is overpopulation. If we go on like this the horror movie "Soylent Green" depicting life in 2022 will become a reality well before the end of the century. I have seen recently a documentary about Dhaka the capital of Bangla Desh: that was hell on earth, just to look at it. Those unhappy people have already achieved this kind of concentration..............

Have a look at overpopulation at home. Fortunately, it lasted only one evening and half of the night. We were celebrating our ten years' living here.

All this to let off some steam and to entertain my friends worldwide who want to read something about politics.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008


That's me, taking off for another subject. Rejoice.

These days the little war between Russia and Georgia and its aftermath are very much in the headlines. And as nearly always nowadays I hear all the time the same tune: the Russians are very bad, bloodthirsty and imperial and the Georgians: poor innocent lambs in danger of being slaughtered by Mister Big.

Well, I don't agree.

First, just as a reminder, Georgia's biggest contribution to mankind was Mr. STALIN, the Russian dictator. When he finally died they did not celebrate and still now he is to them what Napoleon is to the French.

There are many different peoples living in the Caucasus area and all of them have one thing in common: they hate each other's guts. Their grievances go back to centuries, unforgiving, ready to jump at each other's throat when there is a possibility to get away with it.

Georgia's independence was such an occasion. There were accounts to settle with the Abkhasians and the Ossetians who lived as a minority within Georgia but don't belong to this people. So Georgia embarked on a nasty little war against everybody else who had the misfortune not to be Georgian.

In a nutshell: if these Abkhasians and Ossetians don't want to be Georgians, let them go. To independence or to Russia, whatever. Just let them have a kind of referendum so that they can decide for themselves democratically where they want to be.

By the way, in the case of Kosovo, once a Serbian province, this independence was granted. So why not here?

I think we should stop meddling into other people's affairs in far away countries. What about minding our own business, improve our own way of doing things, stop talking about democracy and human rights when in reality we only try to lay our hands on oil and gas they have and we don't.

Coming back to Georgia: they make real good wine there, it seems and I would very much like to taste it but can't find it here in France. What a pity.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Back from holidays

So here I am at home again. Back from camping in Samoëns, a little village-town south of the Geneva lake and 2 hours' drive to the Mont Blanc, highest mountain in Europe. A splendid little bourgeois holiday, just as I like it (or nearly so).

N° 1 and 2 = Those are the tourists - called "grockels" in English English - standing in front of the Geneva Lake. On the other side is Switzerland. As you see, not all French are slim and those people are certainly not Dutch.

N° 3 = Here you see the Mont Blanc, from a distance. I made that photo with a zoom at its maximum. Mister Big dwarfs everything around.


Coming to the camp site I was amazed to see for the first time in more than 20 years a sizeable number of tents. Till now, those campers were mostly people driving motorhomes (kind of live-in lorries) of various sizes and a slowly shrinking number of caravans. I suppose motorhomes simply were more fashionable. And lastly, in a corner, there were some tents.

This time big change: about half of the spots were occupied by tent campers. Some of those tents were real holiday cathedrals, never seen such big ones before. Stupidly I did not make any photos, it just did not occur to me.

The reason of this change is certainly the amazing price of gas and Diesel. Maybe in ten years' time I'll arrive on my holiday spot in a high-speed rickshaw, like in Vietnam. That might help us save gas and money.

And who is going to pull those rickshaws. Certainly not me but what about hiring some prisoners? All those murderers, thieves, crooks, dopers, dealers, rapists are idling in their cells. You cannot make them look at the telly for more than ten hours. That would be inhuman. Furthermore, it seems, here in France, the prisons are overflowing, they are now being put inside in layers, like sardines. So some rickshaw exercise would do them a world of good, add color to their pale indoor cheeks and lessen the burden of the unhappy impoverished taxpayer.

Well, so much for some social engineering of my invention.


But we went to the Alps for a little change of surroundings and furthermore, Samoëns is famous for its paragliding flying possibilities. Have a look

N° 4 = That is Plateau de Saix (yes, unpronouncable for nearly everybody). All those people are preparing for take-off. When you are in the air, you have about 800 m (about 2500 feet) of air below you. After soaring a bit above the launching pad Mount Blanc is clearly visible.

A fellow pilot told me that two years ago a guy was able not only to go there by paraglider but even land on its summit of 4800 m (about 14500 feet). And when he stood on our number 1 mountain he was all alone because Mt. Blanc was closed for climbers that day. A heat wave made the snow cap and glaciers unsafe and avalanche prone. So he just stood there for some time, Italy behind him, France in front and then flew away, happy.

Samoëns has not only two splendid launching pads but also a king-size landing spot. It has the size of about two football fields. Touching ground there gives me the feeling to land on Frankfurt International. No danger to hit a church tower, a car park, a lamp post or just a big tree towering in front of you.

N° 5 = The landing area though you see here only a small portion of it.

N° 6 = A better view of the landing area. Pure bliss.

Three days before the end of our holidays I had another start on top of Mr. Saix, see first picture. As there was no wind, I was running at top speed to get the paraglider taking off.

While running I fell into something like a rabbit hole and had my feet torn a bit. In the air I thought "that was a near miss" and when touching ground it hurt a bit. But next morning, I could not move my foot, it hurt like hell. The worst was going up and down the stairs to the lavatory. The night after I was even pissing in a plastic bottle to avoid climbing those stairs.

My wife told me about an old grandmother's remedy fighting inflammation. Just take good olive oil and add some drops of lemon and mix the stuff. It works, ladies and gentlemen. Really, it works! The third day I was already climbing those stairs up and down, bye bye piss bottle. Born again for further action.

Here, some more photos:

N° 7 = Mountain bike girl. T5his activity seems to be more risky than paragliding. Good to know.

N° 7, 8, 9, 10 = Have some more. Could not resist showing them.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Lost in the dark - wake woke woken

Absolutely nothing to do with the subject

Saturday night: could have been around three in the morning; I was suddenly waking up. Ok, let's go to the toilet, the time of the chamber pot is over for more than sixty years.

So I started fishing for my slippers in the dark. They did not seem to be really where they should be - propped against the wall - but soon enough I had them on my feet and stood up.

Turning to the right made me collide with something like a lamp shade. Looking around in my pitch dark surroundings I saw some light filter through the window shutters.

Going to the window seemed the reasonable thing to do. I am an old hand going to the toilet at night without any light and the window has always been an important landmark. Even in a moonless night it is never totally dark outsite.

Touching the window frame I was a bit astonished of its feel. Seemed to be somehow metallic cold instead of wood but anyway, from here on I know where to go. From the window to the right and this I did.

Two steps further on I had another collision with something, don't know what.

So I went back to the window - what else should I do - and took the other direction. On my left I felt the edge of the bed. That was reassuring so I just carried on. Straight ahead, right for the door of this room.

I never managed to make it to that door. Instead I banged into something I could not define. Now I was really in panic. WHERE AM I AND WHAT IS GOING ON HERE??

This is the room where it happened - made the pic five minutes before leaving

My blundering around was far from noiseless and finally my wife woke up and asked "what are you doing?". "I don't know where I am". I imagine she would switch the light on and I "saw" another difficulty coming up. There is no switch on her side of the bed, only on mine. So we'll soon be groping together through this bewitched room.

Hardly had I finished this thought the light came on: I was not at home at all but in my in-law's guest-room! Felt a bit foolish. "From now on I can manage", I told her "you can switch off the light". Well, well. Five stressful minutes are laying behind me.

Back in my bed I could not find sleep. Then I hit on the idea to relate this night stunt in my blog and started composing my text right away. "Suddenly I wake up at night". Then the word wake seemed strange, should it be "woke" instead? Wake, woke, waken, or better wake, woke, waked, or maybe wake, woke woken? These grammatical exercises had an immediate effect. I was fast asleep in no time.

Good night to everybody and don't forget to remember where you are. Could come handy.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008


Nearly half of the blogs I have met so far talk about politics and what's gone wrong. They loath the government and let us know about this and why.

Let's not talk about those happy dictatorships where there is no real voting. People living in those remote-control-countries are free from the burden to take any worthwhile decision about politics and politicians. Generally, they are invited to occupy themselves with other subjects like gardening, making money (get rich and shut up), religion (sure, you are poor and bedridden but in Paradise you'll have fun every day), yelling at football tournaments and other sports events.

No, the voters I have in mind live mainly but not exclusively in the European Union or in USA/Canada where they are invited to exercise their talents and judgement.

Let me give an example: some years ago the European Union organized a referendum in every member state for a Constitution. The main idea was to establish majority votes in the EU Parliament and have a President voted into office for longer than six months.

This constitution was rejected by the voters in France and in the Netherlands. I don't know about the Dutch but here in France the no-votes were motivated frequently by this:

- more job security, no more outsourcing
- life has become more expensive
- more social justice
- They didn't want the Turks into the European Union

All this are worthy subjects but they are not decided by the Union. So this was brainless voting, there is no other word for it. It's like as if I am asking you for directions in a city and you answer me "this morning we'll expect rain".

Or take another example regarding our friends in the USA. The present government has been reelected three years ago. And this in spite of the disastrous war in Iraq, stubborn negation of climate change and probably other topics I don't know about. Now, it seems he and his party are at an all-time low. So the question is why did the majority vote for him a second time?

In Germany, Ms. Angela Merkel, our current Prime Minister, got her job with a very thin majority. During those elections it became more and more clear that all those indispensable reforms would come at a cost. So lots of voters got cold feet and voted for parties that promised to do the washing without getting them wet.

Thus, in a nutshell, we are responsible, too, if things go wrong. It's not those on top who - alone - are stupid, thrifty, tricky, grafty, dishonest. We made them and put them there, they are like us, remember.

As the saying goes "every country has the government it deserves".

Thursday, 12 June 2008


Some weeks ago I hit on a website where it was said that the US Governor of Georgia prayed publicly for rain to end a severe drought in his state.

At first I couldn't believe what I was reading. Sure, I know many people pray when in deep trouble but praying for rain, today, makes me think of our Middle Ages, a world full of demons, devils and sorcerers. To pray to your god for a little help seemed the reasonable thing to do, at that time.

When you pray for rain, plenty of it - much more than what you need to wet the flower pots - it means this: gimme the stuff, right now and LET THE OTHER ONE HAVE THE DROUGHT, because I need it more than everybody else, everywhere!

But praying for rain means something else, too. It means: we have cut off all trees, for years and years, we have watered our fields by draining our rivers, we don't preserve nature and we don't respect it. Everything that is not invoiced is free and we take it. And now we are facing the end of this happy time and don't like it.

So what we do? We don't say we have abused for dozens of years and now we pay the price. We don't replant the trees and make hedgerows around our fields. Oh no, that's too expensive. We don't invite everybody to make amends for our stupidity and take action.

We take the short road and pray: that's not expensive and if granted would enable us to go on living as before. And when we have some money to spare, could be we decide to replant some trees. Could be.

That's it what it means to pray for rain in a Western country, at the beginning of the 21st Century.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Any news from Africa?

Talking about politically correct subjects in a politically correct way?? Not always, it's too hard for a blogger like me.

So this is about Africa. You know this big place down south, on the other side of the Mediterranean.

Not a day passes without news from there. The melody is always the same, CHAOS in all its forms plus a never omitted mention of colonialism. Whatever happens down there in Africa, it is somehow our fault, always.

You want short sleeves or long sleeves? In case you answer short, they cut your arm above the elbow. In case you opt for long sleeves, off comes your hand (Liberia, The Analyst, 10 January 2008).

In South Africa between 500 000 and 1 million women are raped per year, babies included. (World Net Daily, 27 May 2008).

Want to know how to make speed killing without any modern weapons? Please inquire in Ruanda Burundi. There, only with the help of machetes and other big size knifes they killed about eight hundred thousand people in just three months.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is so fertile that you can plant a broom stick into the ground and you have a fair chance to see it turning green. Nevertheless, famine is endemic over there. It should be said that that the Congo is indulging in a civil war that goes on nearly since the Belgians left there in the early sixties. The horrors happening there everyday defies imagination (CBS News, 27 May 2008).

And so on, and so on. The list is endless.

AIDS is spreading over there like a wild fire. Naturally, we are being told that this is due to cultural particularities and culture has to be respected, anywhere. So they need Bill Gates and his billions + plus European Union Aid + President Bush and his aid program + all good people world wide. Nobody seems to tell them and us that they should simply stop screwing around whenever they leave home.

By the way, in South Africa many people think raping a baby girl is a proven remedy against aids (BBC News, 9 April 2002).

Looking for a country with inflation well above 1.000.000 percent? Just go to Zimbabwe (Associated Press).

And then - at the telly - I see those Africans dancing around and I hate to see this. Dancing for just any reason. Got a new remedy against Malaria? Let's have a dance. Someone from far away Switzerland or elsewhere shows them how to make a stove, how to cook, how to purify water, how to plant a tree that is not withering away next week! another dance. Got a new president elected at 99 percent, the old one has been assassinated: let's have a dance.

So I think Africa and our media should give me a break. Stop talking about this endless list of horrors streaming out there as well as their perpetual non-performance.

I know they are poor but they are not the only ones. Why are the Koreans able to build big ships and TV flat screens? 50 years ago this country was nothing but a heap of rubble after a devastating war. And only 25 years ago China was as underdeveloped as Mongolia. And now?

So why not Africa? Why is there not a single manufactured product coming out of this continent?

These are the real questions to be asked and to be acted upon. By the Africans themselves, just for a change.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008


Once or twice a year I am having a little flying holiday. My favorite place to go is the Pyla dune, south of Bordeaux/France. With a maximum height of 110 m (about 350 feet) this dune is the highest in Europe.

The camping is situated right at the foot of the Pyla dune, in the pine forest, five minutes' walk through the quicksand and I am right at the paragliding launching pad.

However, no wind, no flying. The day of our arrival, nearly cloudless sky but no wind. Not the slightest. There were roughly two dozens of paraglider pilots standing in the sand, waiting, waiting, waiting (www. in abbreviation).

Next day, blue sky again but the very strong wind was blowing from the land to the sea. Flying under these conditions would be a suicide mission. So we had another walk on top of Master Pyla, tourists among tourists.

The dune advances inland about 1 meter (three feet) per year, at most places. Thus all those camping sites on the inland side of the dune get smaller and smaller over the years. When walking along the water, you see the remnants of shore defense bunkers, laying half hidden in the ocean. They were built by the German army during the Second World War, now subject to tagging. When they were constructed in 1942/43, they were on top of the dune!!

Pyla is a big tourist attraction and restaurants are aplenty. There I saw a waitress who had a new way of carrying her dish towels. Have a look.

The third day was sunny again but again without any wind. Thus we went to the nearby Hydroplane Museum, featuring this kind of airplanes from about 1905 till now. The museum was closed, exceptionally. No sweat, a real "grockel" (English for tourist)can always fall back on something else. What about a Cappuccino in a good looking Café?

Well, all this is a side line. I came here for some paragliding and now I am reading Patrick O'Brian's "The Ionian Mission". Splendid book, I recommend.

Here, have a look at the camping site, right on the Pyla dune, under big fir trees.

This camp site is one of the best I know. They feature clean toilets and if you feel like it, you can get a kind of paper ring to put on the toilet seat. Hygienic shitting of stand-alone quality. I am always coming back to the place because of this.

Sunday, our last day at Pyla. Again heavy sunshine but no wind. Again those idle paraglider pilots are standing or sitting on the dune, www for some wind. Then suddenly, a paraglider appears in the sky, just one.

Everybody gets excited because there is no wind. We are all running to the other side of the dune to have a slice of this happiness. Alas, when we are there, the lone paraglider is still alone in the sky, slowly gliding down to Mother Earth. He must have had a gust of warm air, for some minutes and was smart enough to act upon it.

Monday morning, we are leaving. Thanks to YouTube, have a look at my beloved activity. I like the video because the pilots are a bit nutty. Youthfully excited as well as the music. This is "Plastic Bertrand" singing a hit of about thirty years ago, very much to the point "ça plane pour moi" (something like 'I am high' - but not in the air but in the head). Naturally, I am not flying like this, coffin lid open, but still flying, peacefully in the sun, over the sand and the water, over the tree tops.

Another post that is a bit too long. Sorry.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Breakfast in the garden

This Saturday morning - 3rd May - is important. It was sufficiently warm and sunny to have our breakfast IN THE GARDEN. First time this year!

Weekend breakfast is always special. We load the table to capacity. That's what we had:

Croissants (four in all - two for each one) - plus baguette with sesame or poppy grains outside

Black Assam tea (for me with milk and a glass of orange or apple juice (I prefer the last)

Forest honey and Moor honey, both from nearby

Unsweetened almond paste and hazelnut paste (those two big jars) and Nutella

3 jams: cherry, cherry plum, quince.

Well, that's the breakfast. Let me stress this however: it's not French, it's not German, it's just ours.

My fellow blogger Bere in her blog A Chronology of Stupidity shows the photo of a very different kind of breakfast, US American style, I suppose. It is her post "time lost, weight gain", you have to scroll down a bit after landing there.

Here in France, most people have a very simple b. Black coffee, baguette, butter and some marmalade or jam. Frequently, the jam is skipped. So many different ways to start happily into a new day.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Being tagged

My fellow-blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon Born-again Redneck
had me tagged and here are the details of what this entails:

The rules:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people
and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves
them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and
asking them to read your blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

The questions are as follows:

1.) What I was doing 10 years ago?
2.) What are five things on my to-do list for to-day? (not in any particular order)
3.) Snacks I enjoy
4.) Things I would do if I were a billionaire
5.) Three of my bad habits
6.) Five places I have lived
7.) Jobs I have had

1.) What I was doing 10 years ago?

In 1998 I was living in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, a Paris suburb and worked for a German company selling gears, gear grinding and gear controlling machines. In July I married after having lived together for about 7 years. In September we left our jobs and moved 600 km down south to live in a village. I am still there, happy.

2.) Five things on my to-do list for to-day

a) Racking my brain to answer the tagging questions.

b) Continue working on the overhaul of the wooden terrace railing (balustrade), using an orbital sander, a power planer, a router, a band saw, a jigsaw plus a pot of paint.

c) If weather permitting, driving down to the Dordogne valley for some paragliding. Spring is the very best period for this. Half an hour of flying right above the treetops would be wonderful.

d) Calling on my friend in Brussels to talk about the last piece of music on my blog. He wrote me that clarinet player is not good enough and he has a better one.

e) Last not least: buying at "Blandings Castle" from PG Wodehouse, Patrick "The Redneck" (see above) recommended to me. Incidentally, I met him by making a Google blog search for this beloved writer and now I have to find out, too, at Wikipedia what "redneck" really means in USA English.

3.) Snacks I enjoy

Black forest cherry cake, Tiramisu, bitter almond chocolate.

4.) Things I would do if I were a billionaire

Make a trip around the world, have a look at Australia, Japan, some US National Parks. Opening a world-wide TV station, kind of personal CNN but very much less boring and no publicity. Buying a car with a huge trunk that runs noiselessly and uses no petrol. Kicking out all those I don't want to see: that's the privilege of the rich.

3.) Three of my bad habits

I like to convince those who are not convinced. - I like reading when others make small talk - should eat less chocolate, pastries and other blow-up stuff.

5.) Five places I have lived

In Berlin-West before the Wall came down - in Aachen/Rhineland where Carolus Magnus had his HQ more than thousand years ago - in Brussels/Belgium where it rains more often than not - in Neuilly-Sur-Seine where the current French President was town mayor - in Rouffiac the farmers' village, far away from cities, noise, industry, business, pollution.

7.) Jobs I have had

In AACHEN as an apprentice for transports, export/import. Having got my diploma, I made the solemn oath never to work again in the transports business.

In BRUSSELS in a company where we were selling turn key plants to Third World countries and to the Soviet Block. We went bust when Saddam launched his war against Iran instead of paying us. Professionally speaking, my best time.

In NEUILLY-SUR-SEINE near Paris selling gears and machine tools made by our German mother company to French industry. Thrilling but stressful job.

THE END of this huge task. Now let's shut down the 'puter and hit the road for the Dordogne valley, see 2-c here above. Bye bye.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


Judging by the number of comments, my last post about the opera singer Lucia Popp was quite (reasonably) popular.

What astonished me most was the fact that people from far away and from very different cultural background appreciate Mozart's music and the singer, too.
Unfortunately, I am sorry to admit that this is only partially true the other way round. So I don't fall for Chinese Opera but like their instrumental music.

This YouTube video features a composition from Carl Maria von Weber. The clarinet is played by Sabine Meyer. Please lend them both your ears for three or four minutes. It's really gorgeous, there are not many pieces of music like this.

When clicking you are being jumped to YouTube and that is ok because it gives you the possibility to read the comments.

Depending on the piece of music, some of these are truly ferocious. The pleasure to destroy, humiliate, downgrade. Music should not be the means to let off steam.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008


Yesterday fellow-villager Valérie told me that the amount of money spent per month for Diesel by herself and her husband has reached 850 Euro (about 1300 Dollar at present exchange rate).

Quite a lot for a family that is not hauling it in with a shovel. Then I asked her how she is driving and she explains she drives sportingly. Meaning, she accelerates than brakes, braking accelerating, braking accelerating.

Well, I don't drive like this. In fact, you might say I am driving like my own grandfather. This is not due to fear of traffic and speed. I am accelerating smoothly, I brake only when I can't help it, preferring the motor brake by shifting into low gear. When reaching a village where the max. speed is 50 km/h (about 30 miles), I leave the gas pedal and frequently go into idle speed for better gliding.

You might consider this a rather boring driving technique. But it isn't because I am doing all this with a passion. I want to become world champion of low consumption. In case the title will ever be given I am ready to compete.

Last October my wife bought a new car - VW Polo Diesel TDI 1,4/80 HP - and this car is equipped with a kind of computer giving the average consumption of the current trip.

When she comes back from work in Aurillac, 40 km (25 Miles) from here, I frequently check her average consumption. Now it happens more and more often that she uses only 3,9 liter on 100 km or goes 60 1/3 Mile per Gallon!

Splendid, really. Good for the budget. Especially now with one liter of Diesel selling at 1,28 Euro (7,51 US Dollar per Gallon). But what amazes me is how she is doing it. With all my gimmicks I cannot do better and she is just an ordinary driver, like many women. She never goes into idle speed when the road is downhill. Just a careful, reasonable driver without any fuzz and addiction to overtaking whatever appears in front of her.

I would like to know and solve the riddle.

The first photo shows my wife where she gets the keys from the Volkswagen dealer. The lower one is our last homage to my Golf. I bought this car 20 years ago and it was still in top shape, passing the Technical Control with flying colours. When I made an ad in the local paper to sell it for 6OO Euro I got more than 30 phone calls.