Friday, July 29, 2011

German Millionaires Volunteer to Pay "Rich Tax"

CNBC Europe
Published: Thursday, 10 Jun 2010 By Silvia Wadhwa, CNBC Reporter

"A group of 51 German millionaires and billionaires founded a Club of the Wealthy and wrote to Chancellor Angela Merkel proposing to give up 10 percent of their income in the form of a "Rich Tax" for 10 years to consolidate the budget. With an estimated 800,000 millionaires (in dollars) — about 1 percent of the total population — Germany is eye-to-eye with the USA and has long overtaken the UK as Europe's number one "millionaire-land", both in terms of absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population.

But traditionally, the Germans don't dare to feel good about their riches. A German would — by and large — never display his wealth too publicly. Being rich, one might think, is not necessarily viewed as a sign of success, but more as a flaw, something to be hidden rather than displayed.

Post-war Germany created its very own brand of capitalism — the “Soziale Marktwirtschaft”, which literally translated means “social market economy”, but in essence it understands itself as capitalism with a strong social conscience; an economic blueprint that is built on a consensus society, rather than one of social conflict.

Wages are negotiated once a year by big blocks or industrial trade unions for whole sectors or industry, rather than in individual companies. That has brought Germany decades of labor peace, but also a certain degree of inflexibility in the labor market. The economy is shaped to achieve a steady pace, rather than high peaks. The social safety net is knit much tighter than in many other countries.

That has its costs and its pitfalls. The costs? — More than 100 billion euros (or a quarter of the German federal budget each year) spent on social security, unemployment benefits and the like.

Feeling Guilty?

The benefits? — Virtually no jobs lost in the recent financial and economic meltdown — not least of all too subsidized short-shift arrangements that encouraged companies not to fire people they might later on want to rehire. An unemployment rate that hovers around 7.6 percent (compared to close to 10 percent in the US).

The present political debate in Germany about the upcoming 80 billion euro austerity package adds more fuel to the fire.

Angela Merkel has drawn scathing criticism even from within her own centre-right coalition for planning to take too much money out of the pockets of the lower income ranks while not levying extra taxes from the top earners.

Maybe that's why at least some of Germany's "Have-a-lots" now feel they want to live up to their responsibility that they reckon comes with wealth.

But let's not forget we are talking about 51 of an estimated 800,000 plus German millionaires and billionaires.

And so far, the richest of the rich in Germany — like the heirs of the Porsche clan, the Quandt family (BMW) or the founders of multi-billion euro discount empire Aldi — are not to be found on the list of those who propose to relinquish a sizable chunk of their wealth. And then, even the 50 odd rich and super rich that have said they would be prepared to hand over 10 percent of their annual income — very commendable offer indeed — haven't actually done anything yet, have they?

The Roman poet Ovid put it so candidly more than 2,000 years ago: “Everyone is a millionaire where promises are concerned”.


--> Let's remember than there are representatives of the lowliest workers on these boards, who help keep salaries of top managers in check. Earning more than ten times the lowest salary in most industries is considered excessive. I think that we could learn a lot from this example.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

SCORPIONS on Farewell Tour

Rock You Like a Hurricane

By the looks, wherever this band goes: Russia; Bangkok; Montreal; Straßbourg; there's a wild party. The fans seem to know all the lyrics.

Whereas the text of most of the music in this blog is in German, and the Scorpions sing in English, I still include them here so that we can help one of the very original German rock bands celebrate their (very long; extended) farewell tour.

Merkel "ya" Obama ?

("ya" means "and" -- in audio-Japanese)

-->Take a guess at the message being conveyed by this political cartoonist.

-->For enlightenment, check out the accompanying Economist article from July 30, 2011.


Debt and Politics in America and Europe -- Turning Japanese
The absence of leadership in the West is frightening —- and also rather familiar

Monday, July 25, 2011

Map of Wasted Tax Money Projects -- Germany


--> Did you find the overly pricey office furniture in a political capital of Nordrhein-Westfalen (in Düsseldorf)?

--> How about the Euro 2 Million overruns of the renovations at Waterpark Life-Ness in Radevormwald?

--> In Duisburg, a camera track built for the world rowing championship in 2007 has never functioned. Cost? Euro 1.7 million.

--> A worse disaster happened in Oberhausen, where a renovation on the Bert-Brecht-Haus took place on top of unstable construction and must now be sanitized and redone to the tune of over EURO 10 million.

Those are some of the closest cost overruns and wasted tax expenses in our partner state.

--> Which is the largest waste figure you found?

--> Which is the most ridiculous?

Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956)

ART IN REVIEW, by Grace Glück; The New York Times, July 22, 2011

A Small Retrospective of Works on Paper
Achim Moeller Fine Art -- 167 East 73rd Street, Manhattan -- Through Sept. 16

Born in New York in 1871 to German parents, Lyonel Feininger was off to Hamburg at the age of 16 to study music. But his interest in art took over, and he pursued it in Europe for the next 30 years. He progressed...from a cartoonist and illustrator (among other gigs, he drew comic strips for The Chicago Tribune) to a Modernist painter. Fired up by the architectural forms of spired churches, sailboats and soaring skyscrapers, he eventually developed a distinctive style combining radiant planes with lines and geometric forms.

This crowded show of some 70 small sketches, drawings and watercolors, with a few woodcuts and an oil or two, covers Feininger's career from 1892, before his artistic direction was clear, to 1953, three years before his death. Most of the material comes from the sketchbook he constantly carried, in which he recorded his ''notes on nature,'' spontaneous drawings made as the spirit moved him, like the 1909-10 group shown in the exhibit of Baltic villages. Their peaceful rusticity is paradoxically evoked in quick, restless strokes.

One of the show's highlights ...(from) the early 1900's, when he found a new sense of aesthetic possibilities as he sketched not only architectural details but also the bustle of city life. A lively example is ''People in a Hurry'' (1914), a beautifully finished drawing that depicts the comically elongated forms of scurrying pedestrians, their bodies made of close crosshatching played off against a ground of fine horizontal lines.

Although his nature notes and drawings form the main body of work here, Feininger mastered other techniques, notably printmaking. A fresh, vibrant example of the woodcuts he began doing in 1918 is his ''Fishing Boats'' of that year, black silhouetted half-abstractions of a cluster of small boats with men standing on the shore that used the rigidity of the woodcut process to best advantage.

By the mid-1920's Feininger had begun to establish his mature easel style, seen in the small oil ''Windmill Near Usedom'' (1927).
The work is a close-up, semiabstract look at the roofs of farm buildings and a busy windmill; its background a radiant whitish plane is inflected by bands of semitranslucent color. Already in place here is the spiritual feel of his later paintings, engendered partly by his use of these broad, shimmering expanses.

Feininger returned to the United States in 1937 from Germany. There the Nazis had labeled him a degenerate artist; in his own country, he was honored.

Synonyms; Antonyms; Choose Your Word!


,,Tschüß" delivered NOTHING for me, but ,,doch" contained more helpful information than I suspected it would. ,,Gern" filled the screen.

I hope you have fun here, too! Now I'm curious:

--> Which results did you find most interesting?
--> How long did you find this engaging?

Ancient Tunnels in Bavarian Baffle Experts

From the Magazine Der Spiegel 7/22/11

Hideouts or Sacred Spaces?
Experts Baffled by Mysterious Underground Chambers
By Matthias Schulz

Beate Greithanner, a dairy farmer, is barefoot as she walks up the lush meadows of the Doblberg, a mountain in Bavaria set against a backdrop of snow-capped Alpine peaks. She stops and points to a hole in the ground. "This is where the cow was grazing," she says. "Suddenly she fell in, up to her hips."

A crater had opened up beneath the unfortunate cow.

On the day after the bovine mishap, Greithanner's husband Rudi examined the hole. He was curious, so he poked his head inside and craned his neck to peer into the darkness. Could it be a hiding place for some sort of treasure, he wondered? As he climbed into the hole to investigate, it turned out to be a narrow, damp tunnel that led diagonally into the earth, like the bowels of some giant dinosaur.

Suddenly the farmer could no longer hear anything from above. He panicked when he realized that it was getting difficult to breathe the stifling air -- and quickly ended his brief exploration.

The Greithanners, from the town of Glonn near Munich, are the owners of a strange subterranean landmark. A labyrinth of vaults known as an "Erdstall" runs underneath their property. It is at least 25 meters (82 feet) long and likely stems from the Middle Ages. Some believe that it was built as a dwelling for helpful goblins.

The geologists and land surveyors who appeared on Greithanner's property at the end of June were determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. Three members of a group called the "Working Group for Erdstall Research," wearing red protective suits and helmets, dragged the heavy concrete plate away from the entrance and disappeared into the depths.

Their leader, Dieter Ahlborn, began by crawling through a passageway only about 70 centimeters (2 foot 3 inches) high. His colleague Andreas Mittermüller had to return to the surface when the lack of oxygen in the tunnel gave him a headache. Ahlborn continued crawling into the space until his lamp revealed a decayed piece of wood.

He picked it up as if it were a precious stone, knowing that it could offer an important clue about the age of the manmade cave.

Meanwhile, in the meadow above, a group from the State Office of Historic Preservation in Munich had marked off the site with colored tape. Then they rolled a three-wheeled cart equipped with ground-penetrating radar across the grass. "The gallery has collapsed at the back," one member of the group explains. "We're figuring out its actual size."

The exploration of the site is a pioneering activity, marking the first time an archeological agency in Germany is showing an interest in an extremely unusual ancient phenomenon. Similar small underground labyrinths have been found across Europe, from Hungary to Spain, but no one knows why they were built.

At least 700 of these chambers have been found in Bavaria alone, along with about 500 in Austria. In the local vernacular, they have fanciful names such as "Schrazelloch" ("goblin hole") or "Alraunenhöhle" ("mandrake cave"). They were supposedly built by elves, and legend has it that gnomes lived inside. According to some sagas, they were parts of long escape tunnels from castles.

In reality, the tunnels are often only 20 to 50 meters long. The larger passageways are big enough so that people can walk through them in a hunched position, but some tunnels are so small that explorers have to get down on all fours. The tiniest passageways, known as "Schlupfe" ("slips"), are barely 40 centimeters (16 inches) in diameter.

The ground beneath the southern German state of Bavaria is literally perforated with these underground mazes -- and no one knows why.

Many galleries are connected to the sites of former settlements. The tunnel entrances are sometimes located in the kitchens of old farmhouses, near churches and cemeteries or in the middle of a forest. The atmosphere inside is dark and oppressive, much as it would be inside an animal den.

'Completely Hushed Up'

For those curious to see what it's like inside the tunnels, innkeeper Vinzenz Wösner offers tours, or "guided crawls," in Münzkirchen, a town in northern Austria.

The tour begins in the taproom and proceeds down a stone stairway into the cider cellar, where there is a trap door that opens into a gaping hole. "We don't let people with heart conditions do the tour," Wösner says in his thick Austrian accent. He keeps a large sling on hand for emergencies, so that if anyone faints he can pull them out of the narrow tunnel.

The vaults could not have served a practical purpose, as dwellings or to store food, for example, if only because the tunnels are so inconveniently narrow in places. Besides, some fill up with water in the winter. Also, the lack of evidence of feces indicates that they were not used to house livestock.

There is not a single written record of the construction of an Erdstall dating from the medieval period. "The tunnels were completely hushed up," says Ahlborn.

Archeologists have also been surprised to find that the tunnels are almost completely empty and appear to be swept clean, as if they were abodes for the spirits. One gallery contained an iron plowshare, while heavy millstones were found in three others. Virtually nothing else has turned up in the vaults.

Until recently, the secret caves were explored only by amateur archeologists. The pioneer of Erdstall exploration, Lambert Karner (1841 to 1909), was a priest. According to his records, he crawled through 400 vaults, lit only by flickering candlelight, with "strange winding passages" through which "one can often only force oneself like a worm."

The tunnels later became the realm of local historians armed with vivid imaginations. They speculated that the caves were used as "winter quarters by the Teutonic tribes" or as dungeons for the disabled. Some of today's more esoteric souls interpret them as "spaces of nonbeing."

Now Ahlborn wants to finally apply the more precise tools of science to the vaults. Under his leadership, the Erdstall working group has developed into a serious and effective group of experts. It includes cave researchers, geography teachers and engineers like Nikolaus Arndt, who has built subways in India and pipelines for fossil groundwater through the Libyan deserts for Gadhafi.

At their annual meeting, the amateur explorers combine shoptalk with bold subterranean expeditions. To avoid suffocating, says one member of the group, they recently blew air into a tunnel with a "reversible vacuum cleaner."

An exhibition in the Bavarian city of Passau now makes the subject of these mysterious galleries more accessible to a broader public. One of the hands-on exhibits is a tunnel made of plywood. Posters refer to the actual tunnels as "Central Europe's last great mystery."

The show is generating urgently needed attention. Road and construction crews often stumble upon subterranean galleries, and not knowing what they are, promptly fill them up with dirt.

The owner of the biggest complex in Germany, which is 125 meters long, built a swimming pool above it. Arndt calls it "a disgrace." However, some 90 percent of the catacombs are still believed to be intact and undiscovered.

The story of Josef Wasmeier from Beutelsbach in Lower Bavaria shows how difficult it is to track them down. There was once a castle not far from his farmstead. It was torn down in the 18th century, and now there is a grove of locust trees on the site.

"According to the legend, there were escape tunnels emanating from the castle hill," says Wasmeier. He and a few friends decided to search for the tunnels. They dug and drilled, day in and day out. "In the end, the only one still digging was Rudi Eichschmied -- every evening, sometimes in the moonlight," says Wasmeier.

The man finally came across an underground cavity.

It led to a unique gallery with walls made of sand. Initially the tunnel went down vertically for 4 meters, and then it continued in a zigzag pattern. There was a narrow "Schlupf" section at the end of the labyrinth. It reminds the researchers of a replica for childbirth. Wasmeier once took a group of female healers down into his cave. The women slid headlong through the tunnel, in complete darkness, as if passing through a birth canal.

The farmer sometimes feels a sense of reverence when he goes into his tunnel. "You feel like a Hopi Indian inside," he says. "They too used to sit in caves in the hope of finding answers."

Part 2: 'Gateways to the Underworld'

But how old is the vault? The members of the task force were so eager to find an answer that they paid for pollen analyses out of their own pockets.

A few radiocarbon dating analyses have also been performed, and they indicate that the galleries date back to the 10th to the 13th century. Bits of charcoal recovered from the Erdstall tunnels in Höcherlmühle date back to the period between 950 and 1050 A.D.

Heinrich Kusch, a prehistorian from the Austrian city of Graz, believes that these results are incorrect. He suspects that some of the subterranean systems were built about 5,000 years ago, in the Neolithic period. For several years now, he has been probing Austria's Steiermark region with giant drills for "gateways to the underworld."

But Kusch's theory has lost some of its appeal. All of the radiocarbon dating analyses completed to date indicate that the tunnels were built in the Middle Ages, challenging the validity of the prevailing school of thought. It holds that the tunnels were built during the Migration Period (known as the "Völkerwanderung" in German) in the 5th and 6th centuries, when entire tribes left their homes and abandoned the cemeteries of their ancestors. The assumption was that the tunnels and galleries were created so that the dead could still be venerated.

It is clear, at any rate, that they were built by professionals. They dug the tunnels in a kneeling position, using wedge-shaped tools held with both hands. Every few meters, they chiseled cavities into the walls for their oil lamps. They dug the longer passageways in serpentine form to reduce the pressure from the surrounding earth. Supporting planks were not used.

Around the year 1200, the underground labyrinths were filled in and the entrances blocked with rubble. The rubble contained ceramics clearly attributable to the Gothic period.

The confusion over the tunnels is hardly surprising. Some believe that they were used as dungeons for criminals, while others see them as places of healing, where the sick could cast off their afflictions. Still others speculate that they were used by druids.

As a result of the international cooperation of the Erdstall working group, new clues have come to light. The galleries are also concentrated in parts of Ireland and Scotland, and there are also clusters in central France.

This distribution bears intriguing parallels to the routes of the Irish-Scottish traveling monks who, coming from the Celtic north in the 6th century, traveled across the continent as missionaries. The tattooed monks made the passage to the continent from the islands, carrying long staffs and wearing coarse habits.

The legendary Kilian, born in Ireland around 640 A.D., preached in the southern German city of Würzburg. According to a hagiography, angry natives killed him and buried him in a stable. St. Gall (died 640 A.D.) made it as far as Lake Constance.

Ahlborn speculates that these early Christian missionaries also brought along heathen ideas, the remnants of Druid scholarship or special Celtic concepts of the afterlife, which led to the construction of the subterranean galleries.

Perhaps the tunnels were also prisons for demons, evil dwarves and the undead. Some galleries contain traces of building stones and remnants of doors or locks. A sandstone relief was found in an Erdstall at Bösenreutin near the town of Lindau on Lake Constance. It depicts a goblin with a tail attached to its rump.

Were the galleries temples for the superstitious?

Hiding from Bandits

Not everyone finds these spiritual interpretations convincing. Josef Weichenberger can only shake his head when he hears them. He is talking himself into a rage as he speeds from the Bavarian city of Passau toward the Waldviertel region in Lower Austria. "The cult theories are completely erroneous."

Then he offers his interpretation: "The Erdstall galleries were simply hiding places."

Weichenberger's opinion carries some weight. An archivist by profession, he has been crawling through the labyrinths for the last 34 years. He also runs an alarm center from his office. When construction workers report the discovery of an Erdstall, he rushes to the site to document it with a compass and a measuring tape.

For this mole of a man, no tunnel is too narrow and no passageway too moist or dirty.

According to Weichenberger, the galleries in his native Austria were built during the "medieval clearing period" in the 11th century. At the time, settlers from Bavaria traveled down the Danube to cultivate land in the east.

Armed with hatchets, they cut swaths into the wilderness. It was not an entirely safe undertaking. Magyars flooded into the area around 1042. Around 1700, the Hungarian rebels known as Kurucs, with the backing of the Ottoman Turks, ransacked the countryside.

Robbers also posed a threat in the region. They raided remote villages and used crowbars to get into the houses. Weichenberger believes that the farmers quickly fled underground "from this vermin," taking their valuables with them.

In Weichenberger's version of the mystery of the subterranean galleries, the terrified villagers would sit in their hiding places underground, their hearts pounding, while the intruders raged above ground, searching in vain for valuables.

He also offers written evidence. "An old account of a death tells the story of a woman who was so afraid of being discovered that she suffocated her screaming baby in an Erdstall."

With his talk of "murder," "bandits" and people "shaking in terror as they hid underground," Weichenberger makes ancient Austria sound like a lawless region not unlike the Wild West. "That's just the way it was," he says, as he continues to drive eastward. It's the same route the settlers once followed as they cleared the forests in the east.

After four hours on the road, we approach the Kleinzwettl fortified church. The ruins once included a drawbridge and a circular rampart. As churches go, it must have been a veritable fortress.

There is also a system of passageways directly beneath the church. When he surveyed it last November, Weichenberger determined that it was 62 meters long. The entrance is under the granite cobblestones in the sanctuary.

A special permit is needed to enter the dim vault, because of the danger of collapse. At first, we make our way through a muddy, serpentine passageway.

The tunnel gradually becomes narrower. A water leak has transformed the rear section into a mud pit. Water drips from the ceiling. The thought of the heavy church columns resting on the ground above is terrifying.

"It's certainly a little uncomfortable here," Weichenberger admits, "but the people were desperate to stay alive."

To substantiate his theory, Weichenberger even hazarded a survival experiment. He and two colleagues were locked into an Erdstall for 48 hours. The oxygen monitors were soon beeping and the candles they had brought along started flickering oddly. The men dozed away, and whenever breathing became too difficult they crawled into other tunnels. The test was a success.

But what does it prove?

"Some galleries were indeed used as hiding places, but only much later," says Ahlborn, promptly dismissing his rival's theory. "They were also uses as toilets and refuse pits."

Austrian spelunker Edith Bednarik is also certain that the convoluted grottoes could not have been used as hiding places. She offers several arguments to support her case. For one, there are hardly any larger chambers where people could have stayed. The galleries have no "emergency exits," and if there were a fire they would have become "deadly traps." Besides, the smallest tunnels were too narrow for pregnant women.

Besides, if the terrified villagers were tightly packed into the subterranean vaults during attacks, why did nothing fall out of anyone's pockets? There are no food remains or traces of torches.

For these reasons, most experts attribute a sacred and ritual function to the underground landmarks. Many find the idea of a "chamber of souls" particularly attractive.

According to this theory, the galleries were essentially waiting rooms in which the souls of the dead were to spend the period until the Second Coming of Christ -- the Day of Judgment, when Jesus Christ would judge "the living and the dead."

It wasn't until the 12th century that the theology of purgatory became established, which made it possible for souls to become purified. This meant that good people could ascend to heaven right away. The caves would have been useless at that time, which corresponds to the period when they were filled in.

But even this view doesn't explain why the sacred vaults were kept such a secret. And why are there no Erdstalls in Switzerland or in the Black Forest?

For now, the mystery must remain unsolved. "We could use the help of physicists with radiocarbon dating expertise, theologists and specialists in prehistoric mining," says Ahlborn. Not a single doctoral thesis has been written on the subject to date. The dark tunnels are still virtually unknown among academics.

This doesn't trouble farmer Josef Wasmeier. He loves his Erdstall, particularly because of its mysterious aura. Sometimes he crawls into his sandy private cave for half an hour in the evening and meditates. It's "completely quiet" inside, he says, dark and distant like a womb.

"And when I climb back up again, the stars seem so bright you feel you could almost touch them."

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

Wer hilft? Animation

Education and Creativity

Losing a Language--Almost

Starting at home: A revival of Cree culture
Starting at home: A revival of Cree culture

--> Does understanding the effort it takes to keep a language from disappearing help us to commit to learning other languages:

--> Comments?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Swiss Gold - The Economist 7/21/00

The paper currency that everyone seems to like

PAPER currencies have not been very popular of late—witness gold’s surge to a record high against the dollar, sterling, the euro and the yen on July 18th. Near-zero interest rates and debt crises on both sides of the Atlantic make investors both risk-averse and nervous that governments might try to inflate their way out of the debt problem.

But there is one exception to the rule: the Swiss franc. As the chart shows, the franc is even stronger in trade-weighted terms than it was in the 1970s, a period when Switzerland imposed negative interest rates in an attempt to discourage foreigners from opening bank accounts.

Mansoor Mohi-uddin, a strategist at UBS, reckons that the franc, along with the Australian and Canadian dollars, has become part of a group of “shadow currencies” that are used by traders and investors to hedge their views on the global economy. Investors who are worried about the impact of America’s fiscal and monetary problems on the dollar but want to bet on its economy, which is closely linked to Canada’s, buy the loonie instead. Australia’s commodity-rich economy makes its dollar attractive to those who would like to bet on China’s economy without taking the political and corporate-governance risks of investing directly in the People’s Republic.

The Swiss franc represents, in UBS’s view, the modern equivalent of Germany's old D-mark. Switzerland has many attractions for the risk-averse investor. It has an inflation rate of less than 1% and a current-account surplus that has reached 15% of GDP. Despite the strength of the franc, exports have performed well and the economy is forecast to grow by more than 2% in both 2011 and 2012. The IMF expects the government to run a small budget surplus this year, and gross government debt is 53% of GDP, well below that of most of its European neighbors.

...Switzerland’s close ties to the German economic powerhouse are boosting growth...

Are investors being rational? On the OECD’s calculations of purchasing-power parity (a measure that adjusts for relative prices), the franc is 42% overvalued against the euro and 44% against the dollar. If the markets were suddenly to become more optimistic about the outlook for the global economy, or if Europe’s politicians solved their debt crisis, the Swiss franc would be vulnerable to a fall.

On the other hand, it seems sensible for investors to have an alternative bolthole to gold, an asset that delivers no yield at all, is very difficult to value, has risen sixfold from its 2001 low and which attracts the kind of public enthusiasm that has marked bubbles in other assets. The Swiss may not like the strong franc, but they could be stuck with it for a while.

Friday, July 22, 2011

FKK = Frei Körper Kultur

By Erik Kirschbaum Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:25am EDT

BERLIN, July 20 (Reuters Life!) - The naked sunbathers who once crowded Germany's Baltic beaches and city parks are becoming an endangered species due to shifting demographics, the fall of the Berlin Wall, growing prosperity and widening girths.

Much to the chagrin of Free Body Culture (FKK) enthusiasts who have been stripping off their clothing on beaches and parks since the early 1900s, a cold wind has been blowing across Germany for nudists and their numbers are steadily dwindling.

"German society is changing and it's not easy to be a naturist anymore," said Kurt Fischer, president of the German FKK association (DFK). There are some 500,000 registered nudists and a total of seven million Germans sunbathe naked regularly.

"But the numbers are unfortunately falling by about two percent each year," Fischer told a group of reporters in the Foreign Press Association (VAP) while sitting, fully clothed, at a beach bar in Berlin's government quarter. "Times are tough."

Fischer added they were using "special trial offers", direct recruitment and other gimmicks to attract young people.

Nude sunbathing has a long tradition in Germany. The Free Body Culture (FKK) movement was founded in the early 20th century and succeeded in taking much of the smut and embarrassment out of nudity.

Even Germany's top model Heidi Klum was quoted in the German media recently extolling the virtues of topless sunbathing and describing difficulties she has pursuing it in places such as the United States and Italy where it's frowned upon or illegal.

"I love to get a sun tan and I don't like white stripes," said Klum. "I don't worry about what other people think." Her parents often ran around in the nude and still do, she said.

In Germany, public nudity on beaches and lakes is by and large tolerated and practitioners face no legal consequences, although some courts have fined nudists caught hiking nude on public trails or riding bikes or horses.

For decades nudity was a popular way for those living in Communist East Germany to express themselves -- and was a small piece of freedom for those behind the Iron Curtain. East German beaches on the Baltic were always filled with nude bathers.

But that began to gradually fall out of fashion in many areas in the east after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and then tensions sometimes flared when some western German tourists unaccustomed to the widespread nudity complained.

"When we moved from western Germany to a town in the east, we noticed there was less of a taboo about nudity," said one American surprised by the ubiquitous nudity in the east. "It really struck me at a nearby lake when people were just naked in the water or getting a tan in the sun and nobody was bothered."

That, however, has also begun to change.


Increasing wealth and fashion-consciousness in Germany and especially the east has hurt the movement as well.

"We're all equal in the nude," said Fischer, a westerner who admitted it felt like "torture" for him to sit in his clothes on a bright sunny summer afternoon while talking to journalists.

"When people are naked you can't tell the difference between the man with the doctorate and the man who collects trash. There used to be more of an egalitarian attitude. People now want to distinguish themselves and one way to show off is with fancy swimsuits. It's not easy for the nudist in a society like this."

There are other reasons contributing to decline of the unique German cultural tradition. As a 70-year-old eastern woman named Brigitte pointed out, growing prosperity has led to growing waist sizes.

"In East Germany, there were a lot more people with attractive physiques," said Brigitte, a retired dental assistant and avid naturist who asked that her full name not be used.

"But with the rise in prosperity a lot of people have come apart at the seams and they can't show their bodies in public anymore. We've become a lot chubbier with all this prosperity. It's not really very aesthetic anymore."

Brigitte said she misses the East German era when entire beaches and camping areas were packed with nudists even though parts of West Germany, such as Munich's English Garten Park and West Berlin's Tiergarten, have proud FKK traditions.

"I miss those places more and more," she said, admitting that she often feels inhibited about being nude and now wraps a towel around herself until she gets to the water. "You definitely see fewer people in then nude. But I don't think the movement will die out. It's too much fun."

(Additional reporting by Kalina Oroschakoff and Scot Stevenson; editing by Paul Casciato;...und auch mit besten Dank an Frau Susi aus NJ, die den Artikel fand! rsb)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Schokolade Museum in Köln

Man kann sehr viel hier lernen.

Stimulating Creativity: Live Abroad!

William Maddox speaks about his findings.

Adapting while abroad is important, and going abroad while young has many benefits.

--> What are some historic examples of young people who were on the go, and for whom we know their experiences benefited them?

"A man who does not know a foreign language is ignorant of his own" Goethe

"When you know another language, you suddenly realize there is a multitude of worlds. You can become a member of EVERY club." Frank Smith

"El que habla dos lenguas vale por dos." ( The person who speaks two languages is worth two). Spanish proverb

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.” ST. AUGUSTINE

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”


How to Raise a Global Kid -- Newsweek: 7/25/11

Taking Tiger Mom tactics to radical new heights, these parents are packing up the family for a total Far East Immersion.

American Kids Immersed in Chinese, Asian Education - Newsweek

Some of the quotes in this article are amazing. Here are some zingers. Did you find others?

--> I’m doing what parents have done for many years,” Jim Rogers says. “I’m trying to prepare my children for the future, for the 21st century. I’m trying to prepare them as best I can for the world as I see it.” Rogers believes the future is Asia—he was recently on cable television flogging Chinese commodities. “The money is in the East, and the debtors are in the West. I’d rather be with the creditors than the debtors,” he adds.

--> It has become a convention of public discourse to regard rapid globalization—of economies and business; of politics and conflict; of fashion, technology, and music—as the great future threat to American prosperity. The burden of meeting that challenge rests explicitly on our kids. If they don’t learn—now—to achieve a comfort level with foreign people, foreign languages, and foreign lands, this argument goes, America’s competitive position in the world will continue to erode, and their future livelihood and that of subsequent generations will be in jeopardy.

--> “In this global economy, the line between domestic and international issues is increasingly blurred, with the world’s economies, societies, and people interconnected as never before. I am worried that in this interconnected world, our country risks being disconnected from the contributions of other countries and cultures.” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan

--> America is so far utterly failing to produce a generation of global citizens.
• Only 37 percent of Americans hold a passport.
• Fewer than 2 percent of America’s 18 million college students go abroad during their undergraduate years—and when they do go, it’s mostly for short stints in England, Spain, or Italy that are more like vacations.
• Only a quarter of public primary schools offer any language instruction at all.
• Fewer high schools offer French, German, Latin, Japanese, or Russian than they did in 1997.

--> “Not training our kids to be able to work and live in an international environment is like leaving them illiterate.” David Boren (former U.S. senator and current pres. of the U. of OK).

--> The gap between our ambition and reality yawns wide.

--> Most colleges and universities say they want to increase participation in study-abroad programs, but only 40 percent are actually making concerted efforts to do so.

--> “We think we’re the world leader, but we’re not. I don’t like saying that. I’m an American. I vote. I pay taxes. But the level of knowledge is not very high, and that’s going to hurt us." Jim Rogers

--> Having a "global perspective"... pushes you out of your comfort zone. It builds a very compassionate child. While, yes, grades and academics are ... need resilience to understand, and have sympathy for, other people.”

--> “For children to be competitive and successful in a global economy,” she says, “it’s important for them to be bilingual.” Maribeth Henderson

-- Immersion schools have exploded over the past 40 years, growing from none in 1970 to 440 today.


Hier ist was ich durch NEWS 4 Kids gelernt habe:

In Zwickau und Dresden (Sachsen) werden diese neue Ampelformen getestet. Warum?

Das Mädchen mit Rock und Zöpfen bietet eine größere Leuchtfläche als den Mann mit Hut.

Ja, die Lichtdurchlässigkeit dieser Symbole ist größer.

(They are testing these new symbols in their traffic lights. The idea is, there is more surface illumination with the skirt and braided hair, than there is with the guy in the hat.)

--> Welches Symbol wäre dir am besten?

Let the Internet Connect You to German Learning

Many of these are on RSS feed and/or iTunes, and many have scripts and questions that make them easy to use in a relevant manner.

1. Listen to (and read along with) culture blogs (German-Related topics of interest) with Annik at HIER



(you have access to the text and can pause the videos when you choose for reading and videos, all intended for children)

5. logo nachrichten:

6. Check out: http: - HIER
It's where you look for:
--- Nachrichten (News)
--- Langsam gesprochene Nachtrichten, (News spoken slowly)
--- Video on Demand,
--- Top-Thema mit Vokabeln,
--- the JoJo Telenovela: JoJo sucht das Glück) HIER



9. Schau im Internet Deutsche Fernsehsendungen an, zum Beispeil Nachrichten, und die Kinderserie, ,,Wissen macht AH!"

--> Watch German TV Programs including News broadcasts and even the Kids' series ,,Knowledge Delivers AH!"

10. Has books and stories that are read aloud HIER

11. Connects you to most radio stations across Germany: HIER

12. Several podcasts such as die Wahrheit über Deutschland HIER

13. Laut Frau Zins-Adams, auch gut: HIER

14. Lern Deutsch mit Biographienraetsel (biographical riddles can be found in the listening section). Read in Imperf=
ekt too. HIER (Dort AUCH, als "Schreibübung", Satzpuzzles Statistik.)

--> Was hast Du gelernt?

New Braunfels, TX, wants to be MORE GERMAN

-- and capitalize on its German roots.

Defining America coverage on CNN By Emamuella Grinberg, July 19, 2011

Nägelin's Bakery in New Braunfels, Texas is "the oldest continuously operating baker" in the area,and serves fresh-baked German pastries daily.

• Residents say that New Braunfels, Texas (sister city to Braunfels in Germany) isn't "German" enough
• As the town grows, it wants visitors to know what New Braunfels is all about.
• New Braunfels boasts several organizations dedicated to preserving its German heritage
• The NEW WEBSITE for the Schlitterbahn (waterpark) looks great

New Braunfels, Texas (CNN) -- Judy Young stoops down to point out her favorite feature of the sidewalk: a thick, bronze ring attached to the curb, about the size of a bracelet, weathered and rusted.

The sidewalks of downtown New Braunfels, Texas, are lined with them at inconsistent intervals. They are remnants of the days when European immigrants farmed the lush countryside known as the Texas Hill Country, she says.

Farmers of predominantly German heritage rode into town and tied their horses to the rings while they conducted business in stores like Henne Hardware, which still stands, and claims to be "Texas' oldest hardware store in continuous operation" since 1857.

Why there's no messing with Texas

The rough, weathered rings are the real deal, products of German ingenuity, says Young, a native of New Braunfels who exudes the requisite boosterism you'd expect from the Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau director, but with a genuine sense of pride.

"When the Germans built stuff, they built it to last," Young said, laughing.

Many residents of this waypoint between San Antonio and Austin grew up speaking German in their homes and remember when the hometown paper, the Herald-Zeitung, was written entirely in German. Some are fifth generation who can trace their roots back to 1845, when the first settlers arrived after Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, Germany, founded the town on the Comal River under a German charter.

KXAN: Comal River overflowing -- with people

Germans were originally lured to the Republic of Texas when it offered public land to Americans and Europeans to pay off war debt and weaken political ties with Mexico. This offer, combined with political strife in their home country, enticed a group of German noblemen to form an immigration company, and German immigrants began arriving in 1844.

But times have changed, and now some residents say New Braunfels, sister city to Braunfels, Germany, isn't "German" enough. Sure, it has a German-American society, a shooting club, polka dances and Naegelin's Bakery, Texas' "oldest continuously operating bakery" since 1868, which serves fresh pfeffernüsse and streussel. The town also has Wurstfest, an annual festival that features German food and music.

But as the town grows, 56.4% from 2000 to 2010, it wants more visible evidence to let those from outside the area know what New Braunfels is about: a sign that says "Wilkommen," street signs in German, building facades adorned with fachwerk, or timberframe.

What's behind the rise of Texas?

"We would like to see the town look a little more German. This town wouldn't be here if it weren't started by the Germans. It's a historical fact," said Diane Moltz, who grew up on a farm 15 minutes outside New Braunfels in a German-speaking home.

She cited tasteful examples such as Leavenworth, Washington, and Frankenmuth, Michigan, known as Michigan's "little Bavaria," and less tasteful examples, like Helen, Georgia ("Helen's a little over the top," she said).

"San Antonio is predominantly Hispanic, it's their heritage, and you can see it in the streets, the buildings. It's celebrated there. We feel like we could play on our heritage."

Guenter Dirks, the owner of the biggest German restaurant in town, Freisenhaus, has been asking the chamber for several years about playing up the town's German roots.

"People come here looking for a German town and they're disappointed. People come in here and ask where can I buy lederhosen and I don't know what to tell them. There's nowhere," said Dirks, a tall, imposing businessman who moved to Texas with his wife, Cornelia, and two sons in 2004 from Freisen, Germany.

He opened Freisenhaus in 2005. The restaurant serves traditional dishes as well as others like Texas schnitzel, made with spicy jalapeño.

Americanizing an ancient faith in Texas

Young said the chamber is responding to feedback such as Dirks' and is working on a larger promotional campaign to play up New Braunfels' German heritage. She acknowledges the impetus comes from a desire to draw businesses and tourists, but it's also just a part of growing and sustaining the community, she said.

"We've always had a brochure and used our German heritage as marketing tools, but we've discovered our German heritage is not in your face like people expect it to be," she said. "Our heritage is the combination of 1,500 years of German society and our frontier-immigrant roots married together. Where is it? We're walking it and living it. But we need to show it off more."

Case in point: Schlitterbahn, the flagship water park that has sprouted three satellite locations since it opened in 1966. Occupying more than 65 acres on the eastern banks of the Comal River -- and growing -- the business is second-generation family owned and operated.

With ride names such as Blastenhoff, Surfenburg and Tubenbach, and a replica of the guard tower in Braunfels looming over the park, visible from blocks away, park spokesman Jeffrey Siebert says kitsch is part of Schlitterbahn's charm, but says it's also part of paying homage to New Braunfels' German roots.

Otherwise, authentic evidence of New Braunfels' German roots is subtly tucked into curbs, stamped into building facades and embedded in its civic fabric. The hometown newspaper lists community events in the "Stammtisch" section, which loosely translates to "table reserved for regulars."

The best BBQ in Texas

New Braunfels also boasts several organizations dedicated to preserving its German heritage, including the New Braunfels Schuetzen Verein, a shooting club that traces its roots back to 1849, and the German-American Society of New Braunfels, which says it has more than 700 members. The group, a co-sponsor of the Edelweiss Kinder Chor, or children's choir, organizes annual events like Maskenball (costume ball) and Weihnachtsfest (Christmas Party) as well as less formal events like games of Ninepin Bowling and Skat, a German card game.

Helgard Suhr-Hollis, a co-founder of the society who moved to New Braunfels from Germany in 1962, said it grew out of a desire to bring together the disparate singing societies and social clubs under the banner of German pride.

"Germans are a very proud people. They're known to be hard-working, self-reliant, don't take handouts and they believe strongly in education," she said.

Since helping start the society in 1978, Suhr-Hollis' has continued to contribute to German social life in New Braunfels. She is a member of the walking club and a docent at several museums and sites dedicated to the town's German heritage. One of them, the Lindheimer Home, is one of the oldest structures in town and the place where "father of Texas botany" Ferdinand Lindheimer lived and died in 1879.

The Lindheimer Home is within walking distance of the Comal River, which feeds into the larger Guadalupe River, providing sources of leisure in the summertime. Families walk down the streets lugging inner tubes to the nearest drop-in point, with Landa Park among the most popular.

During the day, families park on the banks of the river under shady oak trees while children wade in the water or ride a train that meanders through the park, or visit the Comal Spring.

As Young walked through the park barefoot, picking up trash and spouting off facts about its origins, she waved at the conductor of the train, an elderly man named Harvey Soechting, who she said was following in his father's footsteps.

Young said she was grateful for what the Germans had done here. "You don't really start thinking about it until you have children. But it's like my second-grade teacher Mrs. Naegelin (of Naegelin's Bakery) told us: It's our responsibility to preserve and enhance our community so future generations won't have to leave. We have to tell our own story and build up our own community, or people from the outside with lots of money will come in and do it for us."

--> Any thoughts as to why this town hasn't successfully marketed itself before now?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wie baut man eine Burg?

Teil 1/2: Folge dem Schwert! (Follow the sword. . .)

(Leider gibt es keinen Text; siehe Unten.)

Teil 2/2:

--> Findest Du, der Schwert läuft zu schnell?
--> Oder zu langsam?

Was ist eine Burg? Was ist ein Schloß?

Die Burg = Fortress/Castle und das Schloß = Castle/Palace. Inzwischen kommen ein Herrenhaus (manor house) und eine Villa (mansion; villa).

Man muss aber eine gute LAGE (location) haben, um eine sichere (secure) Burg zu bauen.
der Gipfel = the pinnacle)

--> Ist diese Burg (castle) auf einem Berg (mountain)? Dann heißt die Burg eine Gipfelburg.
(Beispiel: Gutenfels)

--> Ist diese Burg neben dem Wasser? Dann heißt die Burg eine Wasserburg (oder Wasserschloß).

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(Beispiel: Schloß Brennhausen)

--> Hängt die Burg an einem Berg? Dann heißt die Burg eine Hangberg.


--> Warum baut man eine Burg?
1. Um sicher und geschützt zu sein.
2. Um das Land zu bewachen.
3. Um gut zu wohnen.

Wer arbeitet auf dem Burgbau?

Der Maurermeister (arbeitet mit Stein);
Der Schmeid (arbeitet mit Eisen);
Der Zimmerer (arbeiten mit Holz).

Alle diese Arbeiter hatten vielen Gesellen = assistants; journeymen, und Lehrlinge = apprentices dabei.

Das Endergebis ist eine feste, sichere Burg (oder ein festes, sicheres Schloß).
Danke an Robert Harrell!

Monday, July 18, 2011

USA Coach Pia Sundhagen

Alle 21 Spieler für die USA sind in Frankfurt wichtig:

"Ein teuflisch gutes Spiel" Int'l Herald Tribune (USA)

"Die Vereinigten Staaten haben gegen ein beflügeltes Team verloren, gegen eine Nation, die drei gewaltige Schläge ertragen hat: ein Erdbeben, den Tsunami und die nukleare Katastrophe. Die USA waren ein wunderbares Team, das einfach nicht gewonnen hat."

"The USA lost against an inspired (winged?) team; against a nation which has endured three enormous blows: an earthquake, the Tsunami, and the nuclear catastrophe. The USA team was an awesome team, which simply did not win."

New York Times (USA): "Ein unverwüstliches Team lindert den Schmerz einer Nation. Japan hat seinen ersten Frauen-Weltmeistertitel gewonnen, aufgebaut auf Hoffnung, Erneuerung, Geduld, Gelassenheit und einem kleinen Quäntchen Glück, und ein ganzes Land dadurch beflügelt. Irgendwie hat Japan ein Match gewonnen, dass die Vereinigten Staaten zwar die meiste Zeit dominiert, aber nie unter Kontrolle hatten. Als das Spiel nur noch vom Elfmeterschießen abhing, blieb Japan standfest, während die Amerikanerinnen die Fassung verloren."

"An indestructible team soothes the pain of a nation. Japan won its first Women's World Championship Title, built on Hope; Rebirth; Patience; Composure; and a Quantum of LUCK; and thus inspires an entire country. Somehow Japan won a match which was dominated by the USA, but which the USA never had control of. Once the game depended on 11-Meter kicks, Japan stayed true, while the Americans lost their composure."

Sports Illustrated (USA):"Es war ein weiterer Wendepunkt im Sport, ein weiteres Must-See-Event. Es war ein durch und durch fesselndes, sehenswertes Sportereignis, auch wenn nicht immer das stärkere Team gewinnt."

"It was another turning point in Sports; another MUST-SEE Event. It was, through and through, an enthralling, gripping sporting event, even if not one in which always the stronger team wins."

L'Equipe (Frankreich): "Es war ein teuflisch gutes Spiel. Dennoch ist es ein kleines Wunder, dass die Asiatinnen diesen Titel erringen konnten, wirkten sie in der ersten Stunde des Spiels doch überaltert und technisch unterlegen."

"It was a devilishly good game. Still, it is a bit miraculous that the Asians could wring out this title, after having appeared antique and technically overplayed in the first hour of the game."

--> Mir scheint es (it seems to me), dass USA 120 Minuten fast perfekt spielten! WAU!

--> Das dieses tolle Spielen nicht einen SIEG (victory) gebracht hat, scheint mir fast unheimlich zu sein.



Bibi Steinhaus: Schiedsrichterin der WM

--> Welche Schiedsrichter "spielt freundlicherweise mit" besser als Bibi?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wie groß ist diese Athletin?

-->Wie heisst diese Spielerin?
-->Wie groß ist sie?
-->Welche Hauptstadt in Deustchland hat jetzt die beste Volleyball Mannschaft im Land?
->Which capital city in Germany has now the best volleyball team in the country?

Otto von Hapsburg Ends The Era

Who? What? When?

Formality, Pomp and Circumstance: Enough? Too much?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lok (Locomotive) auf zwei Beinen v. Peter Fox

Hier etwas vom Songtext:

Ich renn' bergauf, rolle bergab, --> bergauf = uphill; bergab = downhill
durch die Pampa, durch die Stadt,
gradeaus, zerkratz mein Lack - ZACK!
mit dem Kopf durch die Wand, bis es knackt,
Bleib wo du bist, ich hol dich ab --> abholen = to collect; pick up
ich mach' nicht schlapp auch wenn ich Gicht hab'.
Bin am hotten bis ich blutende Hacken hab',
kauf wie 'ne Frau neue Botten im minutentakt

Die Pumpe pumpt, ich hab wunde Lungen.
Wie 'n junger Hund - werd' nie satt.
Zweifel gibts nicht, ich lauf' drum rum
Ich jag' 'n Phantom bis ich's hab,
im zick-zack ihm nach, ich schlaf kaum fress Dreck
seh' es an der Ecke, bin ich da, ist es wieder weg.
Die fette Henne vor der Nase, bin angezeckt,
will sie haben und wedel mit dem ganzen Heck --> das Heck = stem; rear end

Irgendwas hält mich auf Trab.
Und manchmal hab' ich es satt.
Es tritt mich Tag und Nacht.--> satt haben = to be completely full
Der Teufel im Nacken, der nach mir schnappt...
Die Welt muss sich drehen,
nichts kann so bleiben
ich renn' durch mein Leben,
wie 'ne Lok auf zwei Beinen
Ein Hund kann nicht krähen,
ein Fisch kann nicht schreien,
und ich kann nicht stehen bleiben,
bin ein rollender Stein

Hightech-Boots von der NASA
auf meinen Waden riesige Adern,
auf meiner Brille Fliegenkadaver
als ich zu Fuß aus Paris nach Dakar kam

bin dreckig - latsch durch'n See
hab' Hunger und esse im Gehen
trink aus 'ner Pulle ISO-Getränke
strulle in die Ente - ganz souverän!
bin auf der Flucht, bin auf der Jagd
ein gehetzter Fuchs, ständig auf Draht
es ist wie 'ne Sucht, ich brauch es jeden Tag
bin ein Bus, meine Bremse versagt. --> die Bremse = brakes

Latsch' durch Mauern, nix darf dauern
kau' an den nägeln, hab Hummeln im arsch --> Hummeln im Hintern haben=to have ants in one's pants
muss wieder weg, will nicht versauern
frauen trauern, tragen Fimmel in Schwarz--> der Fimmel = fad


Die Mucke pumpt laut, ich riech' es von weitem
rum, rauchen, Frauen und Seife
drei Tür-Checker fleigen zur Seite
weil ich in den Schuppen wie auf Schienen einreite. -->der Schuppen = shed; ein Pferd einreiten = to break a horse
ich renne 10 Runden durch den Club
ich dänze, den Dancefloor geht kaputt
Bräute in schicken Pumps stehn im Schutt--> die Braut = bride; der Schutt = rubble
ich trag' sie zur Bar und wir nehmen 'n Schluck!

Ich hab' sie huckepack, tanz auf 'm Tisch --> huckepack = piggy-back
verschütte alle Drinks, bin nass wie ein Fisch
renn' hinten raus einmal rund ums Haus.
und vorne wieder ein - bin fast wieder frisch

Das Rad muss sich drehen, also dreh' ich am Rad
ich muss gehen, und alle gehen ab!

TYPO-Animation: Kopf Verloren --Peter Fox

Der Tag bricht an, es klopft an deine Tür.
Du machst auf, da stehe ich ohne Kopf vor dir. o - o - o -
Halt mich fest, weil ich mich sonst verlier!
Nur mit dir finde ich den Weg zurück zu mir.

--> Kühl, was?
--> Aber die schöne Fiedlerin kann ihre Geige wirklich nicht spielen.

Sekundenschlaf von Marteria

CHOR? Erkennst Du diese Stimme?  [Peter Fox]
Tick Tack, Tick Tack, Zeit is' knapp
Du bist gehetzt weil die Uhr dir Beine macht
Halt' nich' fest, sieh nich' hin,
wenn dir Sand durch die Finger rinnt

Tick Tack, Tick Tack, Zeit is' knapp
Du fühlst dich jung, doch das Leben hat dich alt gemacht
Du merkst es jedes Jahr zu Silvester
Tut mir leid, du bist ein Teil der Jugend von gestern
Du siehst vor lauter Kerzen den Kuchen nich' mehr
Willst raus in die Natur und endlich Ruhe vor dem Lärm
Jetzt wohnst du im Reihenhaus, denn du bist willenlos
Die wilde Zeit vorbei, die Augen klein, die Brille groß
Es dauert schon bis es vorbei is'
doch man is nicht so alt wie man sich fühlt, sondern so alt wie man alt is'
Wenn du jung bist, denkst du, dass du alles vor dir hast
Auf 20 folgt 30, auf 30 das was dir Sorgen macht
Einmal durchatmen und du vergisst die Zeit
Einmal nicht aufgepasst da draußen und es ist vorbei
Denn jetzt vergeht das Leben im Sekundenschlaf
Du zählst die Tage bis zur nächsten runden Zahl
Du machst Diäten und gehst pumpen
doch die Zeit heilt keine Wunden, weil die Zeit sich vor die Hunde warf.

[Peter Fox - Hook]
Tick Tack Tick Tack Zeit is' knapp
Du bist gehetzt weil die Uhr dir Beine macht
Halt' nicht fest sieh nich' hin
wenn dir Sand durch die Finger rinnt
Denn jeder Fluss fließt ins Meer
lass los, kein Grund dich zu wehr'n
Alles glitzert im hellen Licht
Nimm' die Welle mit, bis die Welle bricht

--> Wer ist Marteria? Ein Fußballer? Ein Model? Ein Schauspieler? -- Ja, das ist er / war er auch.
Er heißt Martin Laciny, und kommt aus Rostock.

Rap - STYL: Langsam mit Peter Fox

Ich Steine, Du Steine

betäubt = numb; dazed

--> Ist das Lied realistisch oder unrealistisch?

--> Ich höre, dass das leben so perfekt nicht ist. Aber vor allem, kann ich es nicht, ohne Dich.

--> Was hörst du?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Die Verwandlung v. Franz Kafka


Many FREE BOOKS are available in various languages, with hundreds of German titles, thanks to Project Gutenberg.

Here's one of my favorites, by Franz Kafka

B Ü C H E R E I »D E R J Ü N G S T E T A G« B A N D 2 2 / 2 3

I Kapitel.
Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte, fand er sich in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheuren Ungeziefer verwandelt.
(As Gregor Samsa one morning awoke from a disturbing dream, he discovered from his bed that he had been transformed into monstrous insect.)

Er lag auf seinem panzerartig harten Rücken und sah, wenn er den Kopf ein wenig hob, seinen gewölbten, braunen, von bogenförmigen Versteifungen geteilten Bauch, auf dessen Höhe sich die Bettdecke, zum gänzlichen Niedergleiten bereit, kaum noch erhalten konnte. Seine vielen, im Vergleich zu seinem sonstigen Umfang kläglich dünnen Beine flimmerten ihm hilflos vor den Augen.

»Was ist mit mir geschehen?« dachte er.
(What has happened to me?, he thought.)

Es war kein Traum.
(It was no dream.)

Sein Zimmer, ein richtiges, nur etwas zu kleines Menschenzimmer, lag ruhig zwischen den vier wohlbekannten Wänden.

Über dem Tisch, auf dem eine auseinandergepackte Musterkollektion von Tuchwaren ausgebreitet war -- Samsa war Reisender --, hing das Bild, das er vor kurzem aus einer illustrierten Zeitschrift ausgeschnitten und in einem hübschen, vergoldeten Rahmen untergebracht hatte. Es stellte eine Dame dar, die, mit einem Pelzhut und einer Pelzboa versehen, aufrecht dasaß und einen schweren Pelzmuff, in dem ihr ganzer Unterarm verschwunden war, dem Beschauer entgegenhob.

---Continues for 67 pages; a crazy novela, indeed.

USA survives quarterfinals VS Brazil in Dresden

Down 1 man for last half hour of regulation time and the full half hour of overtime, and 2 minutes into 3 given minutes of extended time:

What a game in Dresden!

Megan Rapinoe to Abby Wambach . . . A desperately needed and also very well deserved GOAL, with but seconds to spare! That's what champions are made of.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Heather O'Reilly: Deutschland WM


Welchen allgemeinen Eindruck haben Sie von diesem Turnier?

Es ist absolut erstaunlich.
Ich habe hier die Zeit meines Lebens.
Als Fussballerin ist die Unterstützung, die man hier erfährt, sehr inspirierend.
Zuhause trainiert man jeden Tag,
-->und ein Event wie dieses zeigt einem, dass es die Mühen wert war.
Es ist ein unglaubliches Turnier.

--> Glaubst Du, Heather findet es schön in Deutschland zu spielen?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tacitus's GERMANIA: A Most Dangerous Book

Google Images
July 6 2011: The Washington Post

‘A Most Dangerous Book’? Depends who’s reading it.

By Michael Dirda

No woman, according to New York Mayor Jimmy Walker, was ever ruined by a book. But Christopher B. Krebs, a classics professor at Harvard, makes a strong case that an early ethnological monograph, written in the first century in Latin by the Roman historian Tacitus, may have warped the cultural identity of an entire nation.

In my old Penguin translation, “Germania” — “On Germany” — runs fewer than 40 pages, but, like other comparably short documents, such as the Declaration of Independence and “The Communist Manifesto,” its influence has been earthshaking. As the Penguin translator, H. Mattingly, frankly writes in his 1947 introduction, the book is “a detailed account of a great people that had already begun to be a European problem in the first century of our era.”

“Germania” is an early work by Tacitus (circa 56-120), whose greatest achievement, the “Annals,” provides our best account of Roman history under such “bad” emperors as Tiberius and Nero. As a stylist, Tacitus is famous for his terseness, mordant wit and a prose that can be both poetically dense and grandly magnificent. Krebs, in “A Most Dangerous Book,” neatly characterizes it as “sparkling and serrated.”

“Germania” (published in 97-98) concisely describes the customs and character of dozens of loosely affiliated northern tribes but also functions as an implicit moral tract: While Romans have sunk into softness and debauchery, the tough, blond barbarians living around the Rhine are unwaveringly loyal to their leaders, fierce in battle, without interest in gold and other baubles, obedient to their gods, chaste when young and faithful to their spouses when married.

Why are these Teutons such admirable physical specimens and moral beings? In the most unwittingly pernicious sentence of his superbly readable book, Tacitus writes at the opening of Chapter 4: “For myself I accept the view that the people of Germany have never been tainted by intermarriage with other peoples, and stand out as a nation peculiar, pure and unique of its kind.”

The Germans are, in short, racially homogenous. This accounts, Tacitus adds, for their common body type: blue eyes, flaxen hair, huge frames. Moreover, since battle is viewed as the sole worthwhile activity, young warriors are intensely devoted to their band (comitatus) and will fight to the death for their leader. Drinking to excess is almost the only vice among these noble savages, though they do sometimes sacrifice human beings in their religious ceremonies.

As Krebs reminds us, Tacitus was largely unread and half-forgotten during the Middle Ages and rediscovered only by Renaissance humanists. “Germania” survived in just one manuscript. At first, Italian commentators, such as Enea Silvio Piccolomini — later Pope Pius II — viewed it as a chronicle of uncouth beastliness. These pagan tribes had no literature and no art; they dressed in bearskins and slept on the ground. But Northern scholars saw the book differently: What the ancient Teutons “lacked in cultural refinement they more than made up for by moral rectitude.

New editions and translations of “Germania” gradually appeared, and soon this “golden booklet” had established itself as the foundation work of German cultural identity.

-->Ah! Can you feel the power of history here?

Der? Die? Das? Genders! Müssen wir sie lernen?

Do we have to learn Genders?


You'd better listen to Jackie!

WM Lieder

1. 2011 Wir holen den Pokal, denn unsre Mädels sind die Allerbesten!
--- Wir stehen hinter Euch -- Ihr seid die Größten!
2011 im Heimatland!

von Isartaler Hexen

2. von Antje: "Deutschland, ein Traum wird wahr!"

Kleine und Große, Anfänger und Kenner
Alte und Junge, und Frauen und Männer;
Vereint als Nation stehen wir hinter Deutschland.
Der Fußball ist weiblich, mit Herz und Verstand.
Multitasking geschickt rafinette
Erfolg in die ganz Kompetenz und Loblette
Die Damen der Deutschen Elf sind ja ganz warm (?)
Wir feuern Euch an und stoßen ins Form (?)!
Hupfen 'raus, und jetzt die Glocken!
Die Tribünen sind voll!
Den Jübel ist groß!
Ihr Frauen sind toll!
Die Party geht los!

-->Versteht Ihr das kleine Rap inzwischen?
(Do you-all understand the little Rap in the middle?)

3. "Wir wieder wieder Weltmeisterin" von den Sommermädchen - unter Anderen

4. Sommermädchen fürs Sommermärchen
-- Doch am Ende siegen wir!, von Marry
So wie wir sehen Siegerinnen aus!

5. ,,Wir laden die Welt ein" -- Treasure Isle Band-- from Jamaica
(We invite the World)

6. Women's WC Song

Techno: "Your weakness is a perfect match...."

7. ,,Nichts ist zu spät" von LUXUSLÄRM

8. "This is your chance"

"In a man's world, you'll have to be strong,
Just take a chance and you will never go wrong.
Life begins tonight...
Strike with the iron is hot, or you won't get another shot."

--> Welches Lied rockt für DICH??
--> Ja, es gibt andere WM Lieder! Findest Du ein besseres Lied?

Wie spielen die Frauen?

Mein Gastgeber in Aachen ist endlich auch begeistert!

Hope Solo spricht über Österreich u.s.w.

Studio 90

Hope Solo in Dresden (über Kaffee und Espresso)

Amy Rodriguez (A-Rod), from the Boston Breakers, in Dresden:

Motivation from Abby Wambach:

SCHREIBEN WIR! Fünfzeiler (Cinquain) machen Spaß!

Submit your Fünfzeiler (5-Liner) and we'll publish the best. Where? Why in ,,Das Zimmer der Poesie" (German Poetry Room) -

Anweisungen: (Directions)
1. Zeile: Nomen
2. Zeile: zwei Adjektive, die sich auf das Nomen 
-->(2 adjectives describing the noun)
3. Zeile: drei Verben, die sich auf das Nomen beziehen
-->(3 verbs related to the noun)
4. Zeile: ein Satz, der das Wesentliche des Nomens 
-->(a sentence declaring the sense of the noun)
5. Zeile: ein Substantiv, das sich auf das erste Nomen bezieht
-->(a synonym for noun in Line 1)

Ein Beispiel: (Example)

Mächtig, schön,
Fließend, erfrischend, begleitend
Alle besuchen ihn gern


Powerful; beautiful;
Flowing; refreshing; accompanying
All are drawn to it

Thursday, July 7, 2011

FIFA's USA Mannschaft -- mit Deutsch

Amy LePeilbet, Becky Sauerbrunn and Ali Krieger

--> Which player has been competing in Germany?
--> For which team?
--> How long?
--> Can you understand what she says to her teammates in German?

MEHR Ali Krieger!

Almanya Film über eine Türkishe Gastarbeiter Familie


Justin Bieber: Trailer 3/2011 Never Say Never

Liebst auch Du Aachen?

(Do you too love Aachen?)

Was könnte besser sein?

Hier, auf ENGLISCH:

-->Which seasons beckon us to Aachen?
-->Which activities might you like to enjoy there?
-->Which look familiar?!

Aachen Dom Klingelt

Buddy Bears (after 10 years) are BACK IN BERLIN

Press 07.07.2011 /
United Buddy Bears, the messenger of international peace.

"Buddy Bears are a series of painted, life-size fibre-glass bear sculptures that are with concept and ideas has been developed in Berlin, Germany. The first Buddy bear was made by the German business Klaus and Eva Herlitz, in collaboration with the sculptor Roman Strobl in the year 2001."

After traveling around the world in various exhibitions spreading their message of peace, international understanding and tolerance among nations, cultures and religions of the world, they're now back in Berlin -- on the Kurfürstendamm (Ku-Damm).

Upclose in Buenos Aires: