Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Hunger for life

Sometimes ...
there is no need for words ...

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Beers & Books CCXXI – Heinrich Mann

Der Untertan

"My father, after all, was a nationalist."
The youth of King Henri Quatre
The completion of  King Henri Quatre

"The Bourbon King (i.e. Henry Quatre)
was first ambassador of reason and human happiness."

Heinrich Mann (27 March 1871 – 11 March 1950)

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Beers & Books CCXX – Gabriele Wohmann

"There's also a satisfaction
that takes place in the mind: thinking."

Gabriele Wohmann (21 May 1932 – 22 June 2015)

Friday, May 20, 2022

Monday, May 16, 2022

Beers & Books CCXVIII – Studs Terkel

We are living in the United States of Alzheimer's.
A whole country has lost its memory.
When it can't remember yesterday,
a country forgets what it once wanted to be.

Louis "Studs" Terkel
(May 16, 1912 – October 31, 2008)

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Laughing Lhursday* – Salvatore Dalí

Salvador Dalí (11 May 1904 – 23 January 1989)

* [For first time visitors]: Typo in the title? Nah. It's just that
I would not let a tiny T spoil an avantgardistic alliteration.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Just be clear!

with thanks to my dear friend Erkan.

Monday, May 02, 2022

250th anniversary ...

... of him who stubbed virgin soil  and planted a blue flower.  

Born May 2nd, 1772 as Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg in Oberwiederstedt Manor / Harz mountains, when choosing his pseudonym he probably bethought himself of the name his ancestors in Großenrode had kept until the sons of Bernhard de Novalis decided to take Hardenberg as their family name. And 'stubbing virgin soil' (which is the meaning of Novalis) he intended to do, this Novalis who when in May 1789 meeting Gottfried August Bürger, felt taken with this ardent advocate of a folksy poetry, but distanced himself, after he had met the Bürger-critical Friedrich von Schiller. 'Everything must be poetic', henceforth is his maxim. Less romantic contemporaries shrug off his work as fustian, others (glorifying him) explain his desire for death (Hymns to the Night) with his not getting over the death of his great love (Sophie von Kühn); but Novalis arguably did more than inventing the symbol of romanticism – the Blue Flower dreamt up by the protagonist in his fragmental novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen: Studies of law and mining, arts, science, love: the 'dreamer' , who in view of an accelerating celerity commended his contemporaries to exercise slowness, was eager for knowledge, was concerned about many things. Often disputed. Self-critical, too. And he is not given as much time as Goethe. Death comes quickly. March 25th, 1801 Novalis dies, not even 29 years old. Probably he got infected, while tending his from phtisis suffering friend Friedrich. What remains from Novalis? Much more than Pollen (Blüthenstaub)

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Beers & Books CCXVI – Giovannino Guareschi

Minutes and seconds are strictly city preoccupations.
In the city people hurry, hurry
so as not to waste a single minute,
and fail to realize
that they are throwing a lifetime away.

Giovannino Guareschi (1 May 1908 – 22 July 1968)

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Rather be it Shakespeare

On Shakespeare's 458th birthday and
the 406th anniversary of either his death
and the death of Cervantes
just to wish a very special literary evening.

It's also World Book Day?

Well, yes. But isn't every day a day of the book?

Comparing the results of my recent attempts to write some sonnets myself with what I am rereading these days, I came to the conclusion, in order not to put anyone off the realm of poetry, to post rather one from the Master of Avondale.

Alack what poverty my muse brings forth,
That having such a scope to show her pride,
The argument all bare is of more worth
Than when it hath my added praise beside.
O blame me not if I no more can write!
Look in your glass and there appears a face,
That over-goes my blunt invention quite,
Dulling my lines, and doing me disgrace.
Were it not sinful then striving to mend,
To mar the subject that before was well?
For to no other my verses tend,
Than of your graces and your gifts to tell.
       And more, much more than in my verse can sit,
       Your own glass shows you, when you look in it

Beers & Books CCXV – Gila Lustiger


Gila Lustiger *23 April 1963

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Beers & Books CCXIII – Tausendundeine Nacht*

One Thousand and One Nights*

* Well, Two Hundred and Eighty-Two Nights, but who would mind? After all, there are but 719 nights missing.

*Nun, Zweihundertzweiundachtzig Nächte, aber wen stört das schon? Es fehlen ja nur 719 Nächte.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Who are the lower-class individuals then?

Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study 3), take valued goods from others (study 4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study 6), and endorse unethical behaviour at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favourable attitudes toward greed.
Abstract taken from here.
Supporting information here

Sunday, April 03, 2022

Friday, April 01, 2022

To those born later

To those born later

Indeed I live in dark ages!
A guileless word is an absurdity. A smooth forehead betokens
A hard heart. He who laughs
Has not yet heard
The terrible tidings.

Ah, what an age it is
When to speak of trees is almost a crime
For it is a kind of silence about injustice!
And he who walks calmly across the street,
Is he not out of reach of his friends
In trouble?

It is true: I earn my living
But, believe me, it is only an accident.
Nothing that I do entitles me to eat my fill.
By chance I was spared. (If my luck leaves me
I am lost.)

They tell me: eat and drink. Be glad you have it!
But how can I eat and drink
When my food is snatched from the hungry
And my glass of water belongs to the thirsty?
And yet I eat and drink.

I would gladly be wise.
The old books tell us what wisdom is:
Avoid the strife of the world
Live out your little time
Fearing no one
Using no violence
Returning good for evil --
Not fulfillment of desire but forgetfulness
Passes for wisdom.
I can do none of this:
Indeed I live in dark ages!


I came to the cities in a time of disorder
When hunger ruled.
I came among men in a time of uprising
And I revolted with them.
So the time passed away
Which on earth was given me.

I ate my food between massacres.
The shadow of murder lay upon my sleep.
And when I loved, I loved with indifference.
I looked upon nature with impatience.
So the time passed away
Which on earth was given me.

In my time streets led to the quicksand.
Speech betrayed me to the slaughterer.
There was little I could do. But without me
The rulers would have been more secure. This was my hope.
So the time passed away
Which on earth was given me.


You, who shall emerge from the flood
In which we are sinking,
Think --
When you speak of our weaknesses,
Also of the dark time
That brought them forth.

For we went,changing our country more often than our shoes.
In the class war, despairing
When there was only injustice and no resistance.

For we knew only too well:
Even the hatred of squalor
Makes the brow grow stern.
Even anger against injustice
Makes the voice grow harsh. Alas, we
Who wished to lay the foundations of kindness
Could not ourselves be kind.

But you, when at last it comes to pass
That man does help his fellow man,
Do not judge us
Too harshly.

An die Nachgeborenen


Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!

Das arglose Wort ist töricht. Eine glatte Stirn
Deutet auf Unempfindlichkeit hin. Der Lachende
Hat die furchtbare Nachricht
Nur noch nicht empfangen.

Was sind das für Zeiten, wo
Ein Gespräch über Bäume fast ein Verbrechen ist
Weil es ein Schweigen über so viele Untaten einschließt!
Der dort ruhig über die Straße geht
Ist wohl nicht mehr erreichbar für seine Freunde
Die in Not sind?

Es ist wahr: ich verdiene noch meinen Unterhalt
Aber glaubt mir: das ist nur ein Zufall. Nichts
Von dem, was ich tue, berechtigt mich dazu, mich satt zu essen.
Zufällig bin ich verschont. (Wenn mein Glück aussetzt
Bin ich verloren.)

Man sagt mir: iß und trink du! Sei froh, daß du hast!
Aber wie kann ich essen und trinken, wenn
Ich es dem Hungernden entreiße, was ich esse, und
Mein Glas Wasser einem Verdurstenden fehlt?
Und doch esse und trinke ich.

Ich wäre gerne auch weise
In den alten Büchern steht, was weise ist:
Sich aus dem Streit der Welt halten und die kurze Zeit
Ohne Furcht verbringen
Auch ohne Gewalt auskommen
Böses mit Gutem vergelten
Seine Wünsche nicht erfüllen, sondern vergessen
Gilt für weise.
Alles das kann ich nicht:
Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!


In die Städte kam ich zu der Zeit der Unordnung
Als da Hunger herrschte.
Unter die Menschen kam ich zu der Zeit des Aufruhrs
Und ich empörte mich mit ihnen.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.

Mein Essen aß ich zwischen den Schlachten
Schlafen legt ich mich unter die Mörder
Der Liebe pflegte ich achtlos
Und die Natur sah ich ohne Geduld.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.

Die Straßen führten in den Sumpf zu meiner Zeit
Die Sprache verriet mich dem Schlächter
Ich vermochte nur wenig. Aber die Herrschenden
Saßen ohne mich sicherer, das hoffte ich.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.

Die Kräfte waren gering. Das Ziel
Lag in großer Ferne
Es war deutlich sichtbar, wenn auch für mich
Kaum zu erreichen.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.


Ihr, die ihr auftauchen werdet aus der Flut
In der wir untergegangen sind
Wenn ihr von unseren Schwächen sprecht
Auch der finsteren Zeit
Der ihr entronnen seid.

Gingen wir doch, öfter als die Schuhe die Länder wechselnd
Durch die Kriege der Klassen, verzweifelt
Wenn da nur Unrecht war und keine Empörung.

Dabei wissen wir ja:
Auch der Haß gegen die Niedrigkeit
Verzerrt die Züge.
Auch der Zorn über das Unrecht
Macht die Stimme heiser. Ach, wir
Die wir den Boden bereiten wollten für Freundlichkeit
Konnten selber nicht freundlich sein.

Ihr aber, wenn es soweit sein wird
Daß der Mensch dem Menschen ein Helfer ist
Gedenkt unsrer
Mit Nachsicht.

Bertold Brecht (10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956)

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Beers & Books CCVIII – Joseph Roth

"Die ukrainische Volkskunst ist eine ganz eigene,
mit stark ausgeprägten Kennzeichen,
und hat weder mit der russischen
noch mit der polnischen
oder tatarischen etwas gemeinsam."

Neue Berliner Zeitung – 12 Uhr Blatt, 13. Dezember 1920
"Украинское народное искусство является собственным,
с очень четкими характеристиками,
и не имеет ничего общего с русским,
польским или татарским народным искусством."

Neue Berliner Zeitung - 12-часовой лист, 13 декабря 1920 года
"Ukrainian folk art is entirely its own,
with strongly marked characteristics,
and has nothing in common
with either Russian, Polish or Tartar."

Neue Berliner Zeitung - 12 o'clock paper, 13 December 1920

Joseph Roth (2 September 1894 – 27 May 1939)

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Saturday Night Music – The Great Gate of Kiev

The Bogatyr Gates or The Great Gate of Kiev
from Pictures at an Expedition

Modest Mussorgsky (21 March 1839 – 28 March 1881)

Viktor Hartmann
(5 May 1834 – 4 August 1873

Saturday, March 05, 2022

Saturday Night Music – Fazil Say

Fazil Say *14 January 1970

March 5th: Fine date for a tyrannicide

5 March. Ten days to the Ides, when, according to Shakespeare, 2066 years ago Caesar asked incredulously: 'Et tu, Brutus?'
"What do you think about Putin?" I ask my friend who, as almost always, is busy proofreading his 1669 pages short opus magnum 'Pre-Assyrian Philately in a Nutshell'.

Tetrapilotomos, without looking up:
- I would have expected Vladimir Putler to march into Kiev sitting on the pipe of the lead tank. Then the little prick could at least have shown the world once that he has a giant pipe.
- Putler?
- Well, or Hitin, if you prefer. Riding in bare-chested on a Sibirian tiger would of course be even cooler. But the pants poisoner is too cowardly to do both. By the way, today is the 69th anniversary of Stalin's death.
- Ach, indeed? Why do you mention this?
- A fine date for a tyrannicide, wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

The Moonlight is speechless ...

... and so am I, almost, on the first anniversary of Claude's death, which is why I let her speak.
She sent me this poem in December 2018.

She worked hard at being able
to think THINK instead of PENSER
to write a flawless letter to England as well as to France
to add Shelley to Lamartine
to exude Gallic charm mixed with British romanticism
she studied books and dictionaries
she travelled far and she lived everywhere
she met dignitaries and the people next door
she reached French and English fluency
in her dreams, tears and laughter
and when she wore this two-colour dress with elegance
she discovered
that the heart has no language, no culture of its own
The moonlight is speechless...
stars in one's eyes mean more than "Je t'aime, beloved"
and two clasped hands across a table
across a warm sea of silence
can tear down
better than a thousand well-chosen words
the tower of babel
one erects every day in one's soul.
CPG     (1970)

Thank you for everyting, Claude. De tout coeur.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Beers & Books CCV – John Montague

An Occasion of Sin
(short stories)

John Montague
(28 February 1929 − 10 December 2016)

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Put in Highest Alert!!

 Omnium puts its vocabulary on highest alert.

Beers & Books CCIV – Irwin Shaw

. . .

Irwin Shaw (27 February 1913 – 26 May 1984)

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Beers & Books CCIII – Michel Houellebecq


Michel Houellebecq *26 February 1956

Beers & Books CCII – Victor Hugo

Between the government which does evil
and the people who accept it
- there is a certain shameful solidarity.
The great acts of love are done by those
who are habitually performing small acts of kindness.

Victor Hugo (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885)

Friday, February 25, 2022

Monday, February 21, 2022

Beers & Books CCI – Anaïs Nin

It takes courage to push yourself
to places you have never been before...
to test your limits... to break through barriers.

Anaïs Nin (February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977)

Monochrome Monday

. . .


Friday, February 18, 2022

Friday is Skyday

 Sunset while storm begins.

Moving the focus but a tiny bit northwards.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Beers & Books CXCVIX – J.M.Coetzee

We must cultivate, all of us,
a certain ignorance, a certain blindness,
or society will not be tolerable.
I am not the we of anyone.

J.M. Coetzee * 9 Februar 1940

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Beers & Books CXCVIII – Sebastião Salgado

my camera allowed nature to speak to me.
And it was my privilege to listen.

Sebastião Salgado *8 February 1944

Beers & Books CXCVII – Kate Chopin

The artist must possess a courageous soul
that dares and defies.

Kate Chopin (8 February 1850 – 22 August 1904)

Sunday, February 06, 2022

Majority of US-Republicans obviously fascistoid, to put it politely

I do have to learn a vast majority of US Republicans have officially reprimanded two internal "T-critics"- (the very idiots complete name has not and will never be mentioned here) and at the same time appropriated the very idiot's reinterpretation of the events at the so-called Storming of the Capitol.

"Justification": Being the only Republicans on the investigative committee on the so-called storming of the Capitol Cheney and Kinzinger (the very idiot's internal critics) are part of a "Democrat-led persecution [sic] of ordinary citizens [sic] who have engaged in legitimate political discourse [sic]", the resolution says.

In other words: Anyone killing someone in "God's own country" is but engaging in legitimate social discourse.

Conclusion: The majority of those "US-lawmakers" calling themselves republicans are fascists or at least fascistoid, to put it politely.

PS: US-Democrats just happen to look a tiny bit less evil.

PPS: As Hamlet might put it nowadays: "There is something rotten in the US of A."

Saturday, February 05, 2022

Thursday, February 03, 2022

Beers & Books CXCVI – Paul Auster

The New York Trilogy
The world is so unpredictable.
Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly.
We want to feel we are in control of our own existence.
In some ways we are, in some ways we're not.
We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence.

Paul Auster * 3 February 1947