Monday, 31 December 2007
Sunday, 30 December 2007
Make a donation to the worthy cause that they support and they'll publish a photo of your newly born babe.
The penultimate issue of 2007 (and I think I'm allowed to write about, because it gets dropped on our doorstep at stupid o'clock with clockwork-like regularity, despite its not strictly being a Mainz paper) had a whole section of kiddies, ranging from delightful to only-a-mother-could-love-it.
This little flossy caught my eye and she going to be a bit like Johnny Cash's "A boy named Sue", I fear.
There's a cult band from the region called the Rodgau Monotones with a cult hit based on the dreaded situation when you bump into someone on the street with whom you have absolutely NOTHING in common and have to make polite conversation, while at the same time trying to get away as quickly as you can.
Du ich muss jetzt gehen,
es war schön dich zu sehn,
Hi, how are you? Where are you off to?
Look, I've got to get going,
Good to see you
I'll give you a call.
This little flossy's name is Anna Luisa Guder.
And what are the kids going to torment her with?
Saturday, 29 December 2007
One of my favourites.
Friday, 28 December 2007
But very tasteful just the same....
Thursday, 27 December 2007
Wednesday, 26 December 2007
Somewhat chilly around these parts?
Daytime temperatures below freezing for pretty much all of last week - down to -6ºC at night - and a classy hoar frost as from Friday.
Laugh at me if you will, but I've noticed a distinct increase in arctic conditions since the Wall came down in 1989.
Something to do with unhindered airflows from Siberia, I'm told.....
Tuesday, 25 December 2007
Monday, 24 December 2007
We gave the cheap mulled wine stands, festive candle purveyors and sausage-on-a-stick sellers a wide berth and joined the crush in the cathedral.
More folk than you could shake a stick at, but the crowds rapidly thinned out as the varicose vein mob, the ADS crew and the navigationally-challenger mulled wine gang drifted off and we ended up with pretty good possies - back centre.
The Christmas Oratoria isn't actually a single work like Bach's other oratorios, but rather 6 oratorios that are traditionally performed on separate occasions between Christmas Eve and Epiphany. More here.
We got all 6 tonight - 3 hours with an interval.
Just like a Springsteen concert, really....
Sunday, 23 December 2007
And if I'd been REALLY clued up, I would have followed Johann Wichern's example and got Frank the Potter to make a 23-candle version. Just think - a whole month (almost) of not having to wrack one's brains for new ideas for the blog.
Well, there's always next year....
Saturday, 22 December 2007
And yes, I refuse to use ANY sort of dried herbs.
If I wanted to eat flavoured hay, I'd have arranged to be born as a rabbit.
So at the moment, any ideas of flash-frying a good handful of fresh sage leaves in decent olive oil and pouring them over good pasta is pretty much a dream.
And if you see me sitting in the corner drooling copiously, it's not the early onset of Alzheimers.
I'm just thinking about lunch in early May 2008....
Friday, 21 December 2007
Johann Wichern founded a home for underprivileged children in Hamburg in the 19th century.
During the Advent season, the children would ask daily if Christmas had arrived. In 1839, he built a wooden ring (made out of a cartwheel) with 19 small red and 4 big white candles. A small candle was lit successively every day of Advent. On Sundays, a large white candle was lit. This eventually led to the modern Advent wreath with its four candles.
Big tradition developed over here and spread pretty much all over.
Ours is a bit different this year.
Uwe Rumeney from Ars Ligni is a carpenter mate of Frank the Potter and specialises in rescuing and/or recycling half-timbered houses that are scheduled for demolition or are just crumbling away from lack of TLC. (He's pretty famous, actually)
Frank the Potter buys odds and sods from him and uses them to frame tile compositions and he came up with the idea of making
You take an flat offcut from a beam, sand-blast it, drill 4 shallow equidistant holes, make flat candle holders with a nub that fits the hole in the board, pop in some quality candles and there you do just go.
Not quite the traditional sort, but cool as all get-out.
4th candle gets lit on Sunday.
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
Could be a Dresden Daily Photo. If there was one, that is. (That's where Ute Grossmann's from.)
Could be a Darmstadt DP. There is one. (Gloria Hasse's gallery is in Arheilgen, which is the link here.)
But I'll claim the territory for Mainz - this piece lives here now.
Ute Grossmann's a phenomenally talented and internationally recognised ceramic artist.
She's got engineering qualifications, brought up three kids and - a few years ago - decided to do some raku stuff.
Jury Prize at the First Taiwan Ceramic Biennale, solo exhibition in the State Art Collection in Dresden, public's choice at the Oldenburg Ceramic market, title story in Germany's leading ceramics magazine, huge demand for her work.
Jane Hamlyn, one of the true greats of post-war English studio ceramics, was visiting and spied the first piece I bought form a distance and said " Hmm, wonder if it's as good close up and it looks from here".
Walks over, inspects.
"It is..!", she said
So I've been doing what I can to help her get some traction around here and it's not been entirely unsuccessful.
Gloria Hasse did a second exhibition the other day and asked me to do the introduction, which was a true pleasure.
Got lunch, too.
Not because I bought this piece, though, I'm sure.
And this is a true story.
Most galls are caused by fungi (particularly rusts and smuts) or invertebrates. Prominent among the latter are aphids, mites, psyllids, gall-midges (Cecidomyiidae), gall-flies (Tephritidae), gall-wasps (Cynipidae) and sawflies, but a wide range of other invertebrates are included. Galls can also be caused by viruses, bacteria and phytoplasmas.
Where can I find galls?
Almost anywhere that plants grow. Galls can occur on the stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds and roots of plants, and a wide variety of plants are affected, including many very common species. Oaks and willows are particularly rich in galls.That's all very interesting, but are they actually GOOD for something...?
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
The world is full of shits and Lorenz Schuster has to die.
Blogged Hildegard, his wife, way back in March and - although I believe she was mildly flattered - she claimed to be UTTERLY unphotogenic and "don't you DARE ever take my picture again..."
Which became somewhat of a running gag. (Hiding the camera behind my back and pretending to take pictures on the sly. That sort of stuff)
Lorenz used to laugh like a drain at that.
Didn't feel well one day last week, asked one of his sons to run him up to the doctor and on the way, he said "Crikey, my arms feel heavy" and just died.
Blood clot in a heart valve.
54 years old.
Like I said - I just don't get it.
Miss you, mate.
Monday, 17 December 2007
The Lampenfabrik was always there, the Ibis hotel down at the corner of the Rheinstrasse came later, then the CineStar multiplex and now they're building long and high where the old station building used to be.
Saturday, 15 December 2007
Winter tires are de rigeur, anyway.
(Have a prang in the snow and you'll soon find out that it's YOUR FAULT. No matter what happened)
But we're stuck with the twin linked wheels as Main'z iconic logo, even if the legend persists that it was Bishop Williis's idea.
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
You download a minute chunk of software onto your mobile, take a photo of the Semacode matrix on the information boards scattered around Mainz and watch an audio-visual presentation on your phone, featuring Gundula Gause, national news reader and local girl.
Finished at one location?
A digital map shows you how to get to the next location.
I just don't know why they're keeping so quiet about it.
(Well actually, I do. Read more over at YMBFA)
Tuesday, 11 December 2007
Germany has a number of banks governed by public law, privately-owned banks and cooperative banks, owned in effect by their customers.
Total of around 1,250 with 16 million members (= owners), 12,500 branches and around 16% of financial business in Germany.
The MVB's pretty good - excellent on-line banking and and good personal service if you need it. A bit "folksy" at times and I've had a run in (or two) with them on occasion when they get stuck in 19th C mode.
But on the whole - pretty good.
And they've got the coolest logo, with a reflection of the Johanneskirche in the background
Monday, 10 December 2007
Thursday, 6 December 2007
Wednesday, 5 December 2007
(And the Hannukah season. And the Kwanzaa season. Not wanting to marginalise anyone...)
There are oases of taste, though.
The Craftsmens Guild opened their annual Christmas market in the Lampenfabrik on Friday evening, and most enjoyable it was, too.
Eke Wolf, the goldsmith, was there, too, which was a pleasant surprise.
Even remembered my name
Which isn't a big surprise, given that Ms JB's recent purchase probably paid off her mortgage......
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
Candied citrus peel
A glugglugglug of rum
A mere tad of butter...
Thrash around in the KitchenAid for a bit, scrape into a baking form, press marzipan into the centre and bake.
That's German Christstollen for you.
Monday, 3 December 2007
Sunday, 2 December 2007
The big energy conglomerates have got the market nicely stitched up.
Split the market geographically into 3 regions and don't compete with the local squire, own the infrastructure and run a commodity exchange to give the whole scam an aura of respectability.
(The Monopolies Commission AND the European Union are finally onto them for price fixing, though. Not before time)
And then they have the gall to set up a new valued-based (i.e. marginally cheaper) subsidiary, while at the same time whacking up their retail prices and saying " Well, you DO have a choice" and flaunting it on the Saturday market in Mainz with dancing girls, one trick ponies and what-have-you.
If I was taller, I would have popped the bloody balloons...
Saturday, 1 December 2007
Went to see local blues guitar hero Timo Gross the other night and we got chatting and I took some photographs - some grainy b&w mood stuff plus the set list with chord progressions and structures.
And the bridge.
Here's some trivia:
Eric and George were co-writing a song, George sets up the structure, does some notations and starts writing the lyrics, Eric looks over his shoulder and says "Badge! That's a funny name for a song, George".
"No, Eric. Bridge.It's the bridge...."
Then in walks Ringo, three sheets in the wind from an extended session at the pub, listens to how far they've got, comes up with the lines about "the swans living in the park" and "before they bring the curtain down" and proceeds to fall asleep on the sofa and snore loudly.
And then there are perhaps the greatest lines in a pop song:
My breath smells of a thousand fags
And when I'm drunk I dance like me Dad
I've started to dress a bit like him
Early morning when I wake up
I look like Kiss but without the make-up
And that's a good line to take it to the bridge
The rest of the gang's on board, too.
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