Friday, December 31, 2010

Frohes Neues Jahr!!

A Gänsemarkt New Years Eve is underway!  Dinner at Rene’s at Seven, then Silwester at Giovanni’s….

Frohes Neues Jahr und ein Guten Rutsch to all of you!

The Mad Monk of Steinstrasse

Friday, December 24, 2010

Na szczęście, na zdrowie, na tę świętą Wigilię!

A traditional Polish greeting for a traditional German Christmas Eve.  Here it’s called ‘Heilige Abend’ or ‘Holy Evening’ in Poland, it’s ‘Wigilia’.  But the same feelings are inherent in all of the languages;

Na szczęście, na zdrowie, na tę świętą Wigilię!

To happiness (luck, good fortune), health, and a holy Christmas Eve!

Here on Stone Street, we’ll be meeting at Giovanni’s Mona Lisa after the individual families have had their meals and ‘Bescherung’ or the opening of the gifts. We may even sing ‘O Tannenbaum’

Christmas Day, or Ersten Feiertag (first Christmas celebration, the second being the 26th, Boxing Day, or as Wencelslaus would say, the Feast of St. Stephen) I’ll be visiting the Schalt family in Eickum to eat waffles.  Sabine and I worked together at Wedeco and she is now dedicated to the joys of raising three children.  Her husband shares the same name as my grandson-Gideon!  All and all, a Frohes Fest!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Künstlertreff: Christmas Edition

LiveArt was held in the restaurant Nil last night and it was one great session!! Pan Flute, operetta, a belter, smooth guitar, a voice that alternated between Armstrong and Mathis, and a very funny stand-up comic, along with ambience, great people and a friend I haven’t seen in awhile all came together.  Thanks and congratulations to Juergen and company for putting together a great show!

Any of you friends and family interested in showcasing your talents, come across the pond, you’ll be in great company…

Monday, December 13, 2010

LiveArt and Künstlertreff

Tomorrow night’s a promise of fun and interesting conversation.  Künstlertreff will be in the Restaurant Nil, a much larger venue than the Café Schiller for a special Christmas presentation.  Many of the Stone Street denizens will be in attendance.  You can get an idea of the way things work from THIS LINK.

Local talent is good.  Very good, in fact, and the audience is lively.  I’ll get back to you later in the week with my thoughts.  In the mean time, I’m filling my head with string theory, alternate universes, dimensions, and cookies.  The cookies help me think.  The rest of it makes me think that it all breaks down to daydreams and the time and place we think we think them in…..

LiveArt and Künstlertreff

Tomorrow night’s a promise of fun and interesting conversation.  Künstlertreff will be in the Restaurant Nil, a much larger venue than the Café Schiller for a special Christmas presentation.  Many of the Stone Street denizens will be in attendance.  You can get an idea of the way things work from THIS LINK.

Local talent is good.  Very good, in fact, and the audience is lively.  I’ll get back to you later in the week with my thoughts.  In the mean time, I’m filling my head with string theory, alternate universes, dimensions, and cookies.  The cookies help me think.  The rest of it makes me think that it all breaks down to daydreams and the time and place we think we think them in…..

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Advent is in full swing...

I posted some pictures of the Herforder Weihnachts markt at Facebook.

Mostly for my grandson Gideon, they show the spirit of the season even on a grey day!!  I'll be doing a few other cities in the near future, to give you an idea of the diversity of goods and the great spirit of the Advent Season in Germany.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Return of the Lazy Blogger

aside from a slight, and better off forgotten bruhaha between a few of the neighbors, the street has been quiet, with the exception of the Weihnachtsmarkt revellers.  Here in the Gänsemarkt, things are geared primarily for children.  There's a little railroad that rides them around to the tunes of Bing Crosby, Elvis, and other traditional German singers.  There are several small wooden huts inside of which live animated fairy-tale and christmas characters who tell their stories upon request, a little beer and gluhwein, and of course, bratwurst and french fries.

The Altermarkt is packed with food, everything from Elsasser Flamkuchen to pork chops, hot dogs, and fried mushrooms, not to mention the baked potatoes (did I mention the baked potatoes?)  The Neumarkt is similar, and the Rathausplatz is lined with huts selling tradional christmas articles of wood and glass and yes, it even exists in Europe, plastic.

There's been a little snow, but I'm going to hold off on the photos until there's been a little more (it's promised this week) and then I'll post my impressions.

Life on Steinstrasse: 30 November, 2010.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

LiveArt, TextArt, and Jazz

The Herforder Künstlertreff has changed not only its venue,but its format for this season.  gone is the quaint grunge of the Elfenbein replaced by a comfortable, accessible, and more suitable Café Schiller.  Aside from the appropriateness of the street named after the great man, separating the genres makes it easier for those with special interests to decide when to come!!
You might think that homegrown art could never meet the expectations of such sophisticated aardvarks as ourselves, but with a few exceptions, the TextArt readings were excellent, even to the ears of a foreign body such as myself…
Herford, as a music place, is always happening. Back in the sixties, Hendrix, the Stones, and half the rock in the world were here. With MARTa (Museum of Art and Architecture) theres more art coming in, and with the efforts of people like Jürgen Knauf, Tuesday nights are a great way to meet art and artist.  Check out the web site for times and performers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


A few weeks back, we had Kirmis in Herford.  Sounds religious, doesn’t it??  It’s actually something like a county fair, with rides, cotton candy, shooting galleries, arts and crafts…

One photo I like is this:

Offeneinkauf Sonntag and Kirmis 2010 249

The building in the background is the old postoffice (now a restaurant) and the fellow standing on the roof is Wittekind (or Widukind) who frequently destroyed Charlemagne’s troops until his miraculous conversion to Christianity….

As he stands high above the Rathausplatz,we can wonder if he really is a Jumper.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

And a little more about vacation…

It’s not every day that someone from Steinstrasse goes on vacation.  It’s more like every other day.  One of the guys just got back from Gran Canaria and is off again to Turkey.  Another just returned from Greece, where he had his wallet lifted in Athens and returned to Herford to find it in his mailbox (without the money, but with all of his papers intact, a savings of weeks of bureaucracy). 

Not being a beach bum, I find my solace in train rides to places of historical interest.  I limit myself to one or two days and if I need more, I take it, or them, as in photos and notes.  If I were thirty years younger, you might say I’m trying to find myself, but since I always know where I am, that can’t be it.

It’s more fun to travel with a companion, so the ad is up again:

WANTED: travelling companion, female, between the ages of 35 and 50.  Must be beautiful, intelligent, and witty.  Apllicants apply to ME.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley…

Robert Burns

better not to plan today.  I’ve made three today, and missed two trains and a bus because I found something interesting to think about in between.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Golden October

It’s a cold, rainy morning on Steinstrasse. Golden October was here for a bit, I got in a few very nice photowanderings and enjoyed sitting outside drinking coffee. This weather is a preview of the long Nordrhein-Westfalen winter.  Winter here is a lot harder on the soul than it is on the body.  Shovelling snow is a snap (no, I don’t have to do it myself) and most of it is gone by the time the sun gets to the twelve o’clock position.  With the right angle and the right light, rain can be interesting.  Cold is a matter for good shoes and clothing.  Golden October is a matter for the imagination……

Tonight is TextArt night at the Schiller Café.  Readings from poets and other writers of their works.  My German ear is being tuned by listening to the radio and reading Thomas Mann’s “Der Zauberberg” (The Magic Mountain).  It is a great book in any language, but reading it in the original is a joy of discovery.  There are nuances and descriptive phrases that don’t always translate. If you haven’t read it,do so, there are several good English translations.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Promises, promises....

I've been telling you about it for awhile, so on the day that I've received papers to appear in a courtroom in Pennsylvania, USA, on the 14th of this month, I give you more of The Yellow House....


Tuesdays, Mona Lisa is closed, but the Künstlertreff (artists meeting for you who are deprived of the joy of German) is on.  There was a special session last night at Cafe Schiller with Ida Long, a Swedish singer and perfomance artist of much talent.  Local talent preceded and followed, and, as usual, was good.  Herford is a good place to be...other happenings to be found on the city's site.

Künstlertreff is normally held on the second Tuesday of the month in Cafe Schiller, Herford.  HotClub Jazz in the same place on the 4th Tuesday, and TextArt (writers reading) on the 1st Tuesday.  Tuesdays are better in Herford.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

not according to plan: September Song

I wrote in September, made fotos in September, fell in love a thousand times-with trees and rocks, with women, with words, with ideas, with dogs on the street and birds on the balcony.  I missed something. Perhaps it was the rain, perhaps it was my heart, but a hesitancy hung over me the entire month.  I did not go to Wewelsburg or Usedom.

October is here, a pivotal month in my thinking, in my heart.  I will discover, I will learn, I will share.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Here’s That Rainy Day, Week, Month…

Surprise, surprise.  It’s raining.  I’m tempted to put the Nikon in the water-proof sack, don my Gore-Tex and Quick Dry and just keep walking until I’ve a hundred grey, wet photos.  I haven’t done a rainy day walk for a while now. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday round the town

I met a really intelligent, interesting young woman from Bielefeld twice.  She's got a great Nikon and makes good photos.  I had a memory lapse about my love affair with the Nikon and the process and she got me out of it.  I really do see more when I look.....

I made two photo missions this week, one to the Churches of Herford, capturing morning light in the ones around the old town and going up the hill to the Marienkirche for the late afternoon light.  Today, I trundled around railroad yards, industrial sites, car lots, and residential areas.  I'll be culling the catch and putting the keepers on in the next few days.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Urlaub, Urlaub, Urlaub, and the Retreat from Russia

Stone Street’s going to be quiet for awhile.  Giovanni and Nora are leaving for Majorca in the morning and Mona Lisa will be dark until the 28th.  Eckard’s got another week in Gran Canaria and the rest of the boys will be scattered around town, playing cards or rolling dice in their secondary environments.  I’ll be in either Almundo or Lamäng telling stories to my notebooks or the little writing machine.  The only good thing about Mona Lisa being closed is that I can get more work done.

With the exception of a black gnat invasion (I walked through two or three clouds of them on my way downtown) it was a quiet day.  Nursing a cold and a spider bite, I was pretty much out of gas for the day, although I did have a pretty interesting encounter on Saturday…

there’s an older man, late nineties (doesn’t look it) who ambles through the Gänse Markt using a walker.  He stops people randomly to let them know how good they should feel about being able to get around unassisted.  He stops me (because of the back pack and the hiking shoes) frequently.  This time, he went a little further and showed me the scars of an entry wound behind his left ear and the exit wound in his forehead, received in the retreat from Russia in 1944.  It was -55° C(that’s 67 below, kiddies) and the snow was very deep, and the Russians not very far behind.  AND he lived to tell about it.  Truth is indeed, at the least, more interesting than fiction.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday in the Square

I took the obligatory Sunday afternoon walk.  Being under the influence of an annoying cold, I didn't go very far, but ended up in the Alter Markt in front of Almundo for my coffee.  There was a young group of clean, well-dressed (albeit, Nurdy) Christians singing church music in the square.  They were technically perfect, but somewhere along the way, something got their soul.  Maybe they were doing penance for having laughed or smiled.  I don't know.  I just found it sad that so many beautiful voices were being used without a connection to the heart.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Long time no words

I've been quiet lately due to weather.  It's been a cold, rainy couple of weeks.  I've had a couple of good, damp, hikes, but haven't been on the bicycle at all.  There promise to be nicer days before winter sets in, including the Golden October I really like to wander in, so stay tuned for more info, including some previews of the book.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Does the Past Exist Yet?

My friend Alex, who I haven't seen since the turn of the century (I always wanted to be able to say that!) sent me this article.  Think about it............

 Sunday, August 22, 2010
ROBERT LANZA, MD - The Huffington Post
This is a pretty good overview of what those of us who are studying the nature of consciousness -- what your faithful editor does when not doing SR -- are exploring. This is all part of an important emerging trend, which is pushing the old reductionist materialist paradigm into crisis.
Recent discoveries require us to rethink our understanding of history. "The histories of the universe," said renowned physicist Stephen Hawking "depend on what is being measured, contrary to the usual idea that the universe has an objective observer-independent history."

Is it possible we live and die in a world of illusions? Physics tells us that objects exist in a suspended state until observed, when they collapse in to just one outcome. Paradoxically, whether events happened in the past may not be determined until sometime in your future -- and may even depend on actions that you haven't taken yet.

In 2002, scientists carried out an amazing experiment, which showed that particles of light "photons" knew -- in advance −- what their distant twins would do in the future. They tested the communication between pairs of photons -- whether to be either a wave or a particle. Researchers stretched the distance one of the photons had to take to reach its detector, so that the other photon would hit its own detector first. The photons taking this path already finished their journeys -− they either collapse into a particle or don't before their twin encounters a scrambling device. Somehow, the particles acted on this information before it happened, and across distances instantaneously as if there was no space or time between them. They decided not to become particles before their twin ever encountered the scrambler. It doesn't matter how we set up the experiment. Our mind and its knowledge is the only thing that determines how they behave. Experiments consisten! tly confirm these observer-dependent effects.

More recently (Science 315, 966, 2007), scientists in France shot photons into an apparatus, and showed that what they did could retroactively change something that had already happened. As the photons passed a fork in the apparatus, they had to decide whether to behave like particles or waves when they hit a beam splitter. Later on - well after the photons passed the fork - the experimenter could randomly switch a second beam splitter on and off. It turns out that what the observer decided at that point, determined what the particle actually did at the fork in the past. At that moment, the experimenter chose his history.

Of course, we live in the same world. Particles have a range of possible states, and it's not until observed that they take on properties. So until the present is determined, how can there be a past? According to visionary physicist John Wheeler (who coined the word "black hole"), "The quantum principle shows that there is a sense in which what an observer will do in the future defines what happens in the past." Part of the past is locked in when you observe things and the "probability waves collapse." But there's still uncertainty, for instance, as to what's underneath your feet. If you dig a hole, there's a probability you'll find a boulder. Say you hit a boulder, the glacial movements of the past that account for the rock being in exactly that spot will change as described in the Science experiment.

But what about dinosaur fossils? Fossils are really no different than anything else in nature. For instance, the carbon atoms in your body are "fossils" created in the heart of exploding supernova stars. Bottom line: reality begins and ends with the observer. "We are participators," Wheeler said "in bringing about something of the universe in the distant past." Before his death, he stated that when observing light from a quasar, we set up a quantum observation on an enormously large scale. It means, he said, the measurements made on the light now, determines the path it took billions of years ago.

Like the light from Wheeler's quasar, historical events such as who killed JFK, might also depend on events that haven't occurred yet. There's enough uncertainty that it could be one person in one set of circumstances, or another person in another. Although JFK was assassinated, you only possess fragments of information about the event. But as you investigate, you collapse more and more reality. According to biocentrism, space and time are relative to the individual observer - we each carry them around like turtles with shells.

History is a biological phenomenon − it's the logic of what you, the animal observer experiences. You have multiple possible futures, each with a different history like in the Science experiment. Consider the JFK example: say two gunmen shot at JFK, and there was an equal chance one or the other killed him. This would be a situation much like the famous Schrödinger's cat experiment, in which the cat is both alive and dead − both possibilities exist until you open the box and investigate.

"We must re-think all that we have ever learned about the past, human evolution and the nature of reality, if we are ever to find our true place in the cosmos," says Constance Hilliard, a historian of science at UNT. Choices you haven't made yet might determine which of your childhood friends are still alive, or whether your dog got hit by a car yesterday. In fact, you might even collapse realities that determine whether Noah's Ark sank. "The universe," said John Haldane, "is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Birthday, Mirthday, Earthday, Worthday....

I get kind of silly on my birthday, and today is no exception.  I've been trying to stay away from writing today because the muse has been driving me further and further into a mildly amusing, but sometimes bewildering form of multiple personalities, which means I'm never sure who's writing whom anymore.....

Willie Nelson's 'Stardust' album's on the stereo and I'm thinking about all the girls I've loved before.....

I'm also reading Pynchon's latest mind-bender 'Inherent Vice'  which is a hell of a lot more interesting than his 'Mason and Dixon', which was probably a better book. Hey, I managed a BA, and MA, and most of a PhD being this way, not to mention thirty years serving the american military-industrial complex as an overpaid lackey and toady and process improvement specialist extraordiaire (it's always been easy for me to find something wrong with other people's stuff, as easy as it is to be blind to my own stupidity) so bear with me here.  I get to say goofy things.  I'm sixty-four.

So, on to goofy things.  It's grey, and cool, and damp here today, kind of like a giant brain you get to play inside of if you've got goretex stuff or an umbrella, otherwise, you'll catch your death of cold, or something equally as boring.  Anyway, Happy Birthday to me.  I'm off to eat some rice, and maybe a fish.

Friday, August 13, 2010

on the bicycle

Not bad.  Twice as far and as long as the last.  Managed oncoming bikes with little or no panic and went up and down ramps through the tunnels without losing it.  Ten more years…… nah, I’m getting it.


Shall i ride the bicycle……

big thoughts this morning.  should i ride my bike or take a train.  the odd hours and days of KG (PT) have screwed up my internal clock to the point where i’m not getting about as joyfully as is my wont.  one more week and i’m a leave in the wind or a rock rolling downhill again. something there is that does not love a schedule……

Sunday, August 8, 2010

all quiet.....

I haven't been extraordinarily active in the past week.  Kranken Gymnastic twice a week and practicing my balance and bicycle writing have taken the forefront.  Writing goes well.  There are a few photos taken at the Sparrennburg Fest in Bielefeld HERE.  Does anyone know the difference between a medieval fest and a renaissance fest?  Technology and costume don't seem too different.

On the street, Volker, Rudiger and Petra spent the week in Berlin.  We should be getting a full report later today.  Mario, the Melancholy, a young waiter at Almundo, finally succumbed to homesickness and returned to Slovakia where, as he always told me, he has everything.....

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rain: a Blessing…

It’s rained most of the day.  For the most part a lovely gentle rain, with short bouts of torrent.  Sitting alone under the umbrellas of Almundo, I was given short, but delicious treats by the gods.  I was the sole judge of a wet tee shirt contest in which the participants were unaware of their participation. No one won but me.

It distracted me from my writing, but there’s always late tonight or early tomorrow morning.  It rarely rains Perfectly, I enjoyed it while it lasted.

Associated thought from Shakespeare:

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

Mercy, forgiveness, the absence of malice or hatred or revenge, a quality we should all cultivate.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sancta Herfordia

A new twist is coming to the website.  I bought a copy of "Sancta Herfordia: Geshicte Herfords von den anfängen bis zur gegenwart" or the history of Herford from the beginning up to the present.  It begins with descriptions of articfacts found at the confluence of the Aa and Werre rivers from 3,000 years BC and works its way to 1979, when the book was written.  My copy is relatively clean, I chose the € 27 copy over the € 18 or 30 copies because I did.....

What's coming of it is this: I have discovered that I am much better at the language than I thought I was.  As a result, I've begun writing a bit in German.  We'll see how that works.  If I'm satisfied, I'll post the stories along with English translations.  I don't think anything that's on at present, lends itself to German, but if they could translate Hesse to English, with enough work, maybe I can translate the friendly neighborhood polak as well.  Mal gucken.....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Physical Therapy and a Bicycle

I started my second round of Kranken Gymnasic, or physical therapy today.  This time it's for the neck and back which are the reasons my leg is cranky.  There's 20 mins or getting the muscles warm, 20 of massage, and then half an hour workout with machines and normal calesthenics as well as a giant ball i have to roll around on.  All and all, I think it's a better approach than anyone's taken before.  We'll see at the end of August.

At the suggestion of three, now, count 'em, three doctors,  I've finally bitten the bullet and ordered a bike.  It'll be here in a week or two.  The guy at the bike shop is a Kazak, so we discussed the bike in Russian.  It's black, with 7 gears and two wheels and a regular guy frame.  I passed on the old man style thingy because it did not sit well with my ego.  A couple of times around the Herford wall round way and I'll know if I'm crazy or stupid.....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

More Books, More Plans…

The hardest part about being a map nut is actually getting to the places on the maps.  My disassociation with the space-time continuum has a tendency to turn plans and map-reading sessions into memories.  Cogito ergo I did that……

One of the luxuries about retirement is not having to do the frenetic summer dance, that is, fitting it all into two weeks in July or August.  Time frame for serious wandering is September and October.  Stayed tuned for the maps-

On the writing side, it’s all the Yellow House.  A few short stories, but they’re not ready for the world yet. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

no travel, just work

when you're really writing, when the words are flowing, diving from the mind cliff onto the page, when you miss some of the best scenery of the day because you don't want to look up from the words to break your concentration, when you're writing so good that you can't wait to write the next sentence even though you don't have the slightest idea what it will be about, when you're writing like that, you've got a lot of work ahead of you.

tomorrow comes the punctuation, the painful choices of what stays and what goes, the thesaurus and the attempt to sound brilliant without arrogance or, at the least not to sound like an idiot....

these are the fruits of the weather that says, sure you can go for a walk and sweat and work on your photography, but look at that umbrella, look at the shade, look at the cold glass of apple juice that woman is drinking, look at that woman......

and so, the brothers learn each other and the plot is thicker than a namyak from west mayfield.....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Situation Normal-All Fucked UP....

not really, but it gets your attention.....

new cell phone came this morning and it appears to require a three year battery charge before it will work. The old one was okay in most respects, but a couple of buttons and the speaker for the ear quit working, undoubtly due to a swim or two as well as the inability of such little machines to take much physical abuse. They don't like sidewalks. My number stays the same, so in the event anybody ever wants to call me (I've had one incoming call since April and mayber 3 sms, shame I've got 18 months left on the contract, or i'd switch to pay as you go).
Oh, yeah, the incoming call was debitel asking me if i would like to extend my contract.....

It's liveable on Steinstrasse, outside temparature is going up above 90 again, but it stays in the 80s inside. Some good acoustic music by a couple of acquaintances at the Hoeker fest yesterday evening, then ten rounds of Schwimmen, or 31, a card game, at Giovanni's without a loss. Playing cards is better than television, at least I get to steer the conversations when i've a whim......

it is a pain not going for long walks, but the weather and i don't agree, so I sit under an umbrella or a tree.  not a bad way to spend a day, reading Ulysses and Sartre's 'Nausea' in alternate gulps.



Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hoeker Fest, a clarification

Hoeker-Fest 2010in case you don't know, the Hoeker Fest is basically a lot of food and drink and bands in the three major marketplaces (maybe squares, the two on the ends have fountains, the main one doesn't) as well as Linnenbauer platz, where the statue of the Hoeker resides.  As you can see, he smokes a pipe.  Hoeker means huckster, or pedlar, and Linnenbauer (or Leineweber) is a linen weaver.  This guy was the last of the hand weavers who peddled his own goods around the county.  The fest starts on a Wednesday and goes on until Sunday night.  The Steinstrasse neighborhood gets pretty crowded, but if you're into eating flesh and drinking fine wine, our Gänsemarkt is the wine locale of the fest.  The Alter Markt and Neuer Markt ain't half bad either...

Gänsemarkt=Goose market
Altermarkt=Old market
Neuermarkt=New market

None of them are really marketplaces anymore, the hucksters all park around the Rathaus (city hall) on market day and you can buy fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, and various and sundry items with which to whet the imagination of your palate,

Hoeker fest: view from Almundo

2 liters of apple juice, four BIG coffees, an espresso, and almost a full chapter of the Yellow House under my belt, I now occupy myself with staring at women. Life is good.

World Cup Blues: Spain 1: Germany 0

It wasn't my fault. I was only one of two who remained optimistic until the final whistle. The professional soccer players (big dreamers) were criticizing everyone from the coach to the bundes president. I personally think Germany played damned good ball. As we all know, one second can end destroy the previous 89 minutes. That's the way the game is.

On the head front, I've been working on putting an experimental edge on some wood chisels I picked up cheap, which were poorly ground. I'm putting a longer bevel on then, cutting the traditional 15 degrees back to around 12. They make good shavers that way and will supplement the really good tools. Fine motor control is starting to return a bit to the right hand, but it's not good enough for microsurgery yet. I'm working on some architeutral pieces just to stay in shape. Here's a photo of one of them:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Slow days, better weather, idle mind....

Therapy yesterday. Boris is on vacation for the next two weeks and I'm in the hands of a beautiful young woman whose massage capabilites made for a very wierd walk to the city. My body was totally relaxed and my mind went along with the trip. I sat at my table at the café and not even the Albanians could break my mindset. Unfortunately, neither could I. I had major plans for firming up the Yellow House space/time line and ended up watching people and smiling a lot. I need to make something of today, the Hoekker Fest starts tomorrow, which means the outdoor cafès will be overrun with the crowds and the noise will no be conducive to thinking.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Surprise Sunday

I thought it would be a productive day at Almundo until I ran into the Schutzen Fest, with two fife and drum bands, a brass band, and a couple of marching units, all on their way guessed it, the Alter Markt, where my table became a front row seat for tweedle tweedlle deedle a rapapampum as wel as oompahoompah little schutz,,,,,
I ended up reading Sartre's 'Nausea' half-heartedly, identifying with the protagonist.

Sunday, Again

(and that’s a good thing)

Soccer: Germany and Spain are off to the Half-finals along with Uruguay and the Netherlands.  Germany destroyed Argentina 4-0 and the Hollanders surprised Brazil.  My vote says the endgame will pit Germany against the Netherlands.

Sunday means cafés and walking paths will be full.  They mean families will be together and about 30% of the German population (I’ll check the statistic again, but it sounds right) will be in church.  It’s the last day of the week on the German calendar, as opposed to the first in the US. Nothing wrong with either view, it’s just a convention. 

The point of my writing today is the weather.  For the first time this week, it’ll be under 90° F.  90 is my breaking point.  I don’t take long walks, don’t do anything strenuous.  I become even more of a vegetable than I normally am.  Even though it’s walking weather, I’m passing on the obligatory Sunday walk and opting for working on my book notes.  I found a few things I’d forgotten about and they’ve brought me back to a unified way of thinking about the plot.  I’ve been having problems with the disjunctive temporal aspects of it and the notes are about space and time.  No more hints today…..

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Plot Thickens

I was working on a draft of a new story when I found these three in the folder.  I did a little tuning, and published them.  
The story I was working on is about a woman in a mental institution.  It's not based on anyone we know, but there are bits and pieces of people who lived in NEPA when I was a kid woven into the woman and the other character, who may or may not be imaginary.  As I was writing this second character, I realized there were connections between the action in the story and a subplot in The Yellow House.  It's still all the onesuchness.....

Therapy, Therapy, Therapy

It looks like I'm going to have to put off my research on the Baltic island of Usedom until September, which is ok, because by then, most of the tourists will be back to work.  The hand is doing great, doctor Von Glinski was surprised by both the strength and dexterity.  It still has a long way to go, but I'm a tough old bird.  The CT scan (CAT scan in American) showed a coupled of banged up discs in the lower back, which is not unusual for somebody who's banged canoes off of rocks, shoulders off of trees, and skied through strip mines for most of his adult life.  No injections, operations, or anything else intrusive. Just 10 more sessions of back training and massage.  The guy I've been working with is good, so I'm cool with it.

Glinski, however, has advised me to buy a bicycle, as did Dr. Eckhorst, and my friend Klaus, who's a retired MD.  Glinski's been to Usedom and says it's a great place for biking.  I like the idea, I'll be able to cover a lot more ground in my explorations.  It's 28 km from Usedom (the town) to the Polish border, along the Via Baltica, which is one of the Northern routes of the St. James Way (Jakobsweg), which fits another dimension of my research and gives the Yellow House a subplot of interesting and mystical proportions! 

Being, Nothingness, and the Clinic Across from the Arbeitsamt

I'm reading Sartre's "Being and Nothingness" for the fourth or fifth time, or, I should say, trying to read it.  It has always given me a headache.  It's a definitive work on twentieth century existentialism, but it doesn't really appeal to the zenman in me.  The intellectual persona, however, insists.

Ive got hand therapy this afternoon, followed by computer thermography on the leg to find out what I pulled, pushed, or otherwise knocked out of alignment a few years back.  The neurologist and the neurosurgeon are both of the opinion it can be fixed with therapy without an operation.  We'll soon know.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

About the Old Ladies

The demography of Steinstrasse 1A is such:
20-30 year olds, 3 to 5 apartments
30-60 year old professionals about half of the rest
Old women, retired or divorced longer than most of my readers have been alive are the bulk of the remainder.
It's a big building.  I only know a few handfuls of people well enough to actually have a conversation.  The rest are either nodders, or good day types.

I wonder about the old women.  I know of only one who spends the majority of her day in the city.  She's in her 80s, rides a bicycle, gets all dolled up every day, and sits inside or outside of cafes, often alone, or with other women her age.  The rest are cleaning their kitchens with cigarettes dangling from their lips, or maybe reading the bible or looking at photo albums.  The only one with frequent visitors is the one with the confidence and energy to ride a bicycle and visit cafes.  Our front door is not very busy.

Old people smoke, because in their day, it was considered attractive, sophisticated, and only a rumored health hazard.  When you've survived some of your children, and most of your friends, there's not much reason to quit smoking.  I'm still not old enough not to give a damn, so I quit often.....

Even People on Steinstrasse Can Die

One of the guys at the cafe was operated on for cancer of the wind pipe about a year ago, and was feeling pretty good after the operation until they found some of it in his brain, then some more, then in the kidneys.....He decided to just make it another day, and made his rounds of visitation and conversation until he got too weak to carry on.  This poem, from the Sufi mystic and ultimate definer of love, life, and light Rumi, mirrors my thoughts.

The day I've died, my pall is moving on -
But do not think my heart is still on earth!
Don't weep and pity me: "Oh woe, how awful!"
You fall in devil's snare - woe, that is awful!
Don't cry "Woe, parted!" at my burial -
For me this is the time of joyful meeting!
Don't say "Farewell!" when I'm put in the grave -
A curtain is it for eternal bliss.
You saw "descending" - now look at the rising!
Is setting dangerous for sun and moon?
To you it looks like setting, but it's rising;
The coffin seems a jail, yet it means freedom.
Which seed fell in the earth that did not grow there?
Why do you doubt the fate of human seed?
What bucket came not filled from out the cistern?
Why should the Yusaf "Soul" then fear this well?
Close here your mouth and open it on that side.
So that your hymns may sound in Where- no-place!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Deutschland 4 England 1

Mona Lisa's family watched the game in a kind of rapture, punctuated by howls of glee, with an occasional moan of despair, before the Deutsch took off in the second half.  It was a WOW.

New Stories

The World Cup, So Far

The USA team lost in overtime last night, they are out of the running.  Ghana goes forward.  As the last African team in the first World Cup in Africa, I think they make have had the edge.  Deutschland goes up against England today.  That's never an easy match-up, probably because most of the English royalty descend from German stock :-)

It's a 16:00 game, so I'm going to do my walking early today.  Giovanni's going to be open, so the usual suspects will be lined up and I will be among them.  Don't pray for Germany, cheer instead, it's more effective.....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Kranken Gymanstic

literal: to suffer from something gymnastics.  Physical therapy in the American language.  It's a guy rubbing my hand, squeezing muscles up and down my arm and neck and causing discomfort to the point of grunting.  It's helping the hand get mobile.  I feel a little more in the fingers, have more strength, etc.  Today's session is at 18:30, it's a good walk and I'll be back in time to see Chile vs Spain.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Numinosity and the Four Seasons

  adjective having a strong religious or spiritual quality.
numinosity noun

If you know me at all, you know I am no fan of organized religion, the reasons being all to obvious to me, and probably (but not certainly) to you too.  I don't have a place in my life for that sort of thing.  Instead, I experience the seasons and the weather and the rocks and trees and fields that I meet in my travels.  They're all part of the same thing, which is everything.  Everything includes that which we can and cannot experience with the senses and which the imagination can only feebly bring to consciousness. 

I am going to preach today, and here is the text of my sermon:
Be aware.

Im Herford nichts neues..

Book titles, like all language, don’t always translate literally.  Erich Maria Remarque’s classic “All Quiet on the Western Front” is titled “Im Westen nichts neues” or “nothing new in the west”.  This post means, not much happening here today.

I watched the US match at home yesterday, then the German match at Giovanni’s.

Picked up a couple of blisters on my right foot climbing the hill in Desenberg day before yesterday, so the travels will take a break for a couple of days.  I’ve been studying the maps and looking for a good train ride. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Took the train down to Warburg this morning.  This one’s a must see and worthy of an encore.  The Old City is absolutely beautiful, uphill and down, with plenty of fachwerk (half-timbered, German lesson for free) houses.  Churches, watch towers, and plenty of outdoor cafes.  From the Old City, I walked about 4 km. to the Desenberg Burg Ruines.  It was Sunny, hot, and there were no trees to keep the Sun off of the old head, but it was a pleasant, easy walk until I got to the foot of the hill.  I met a young man from Heford, about Abby’s age.  He came down on his motorcycle, and we climbed the backside of the hill together.  image It was steep, narrow, and not the best footing, but he was a nice guy who pretended to need to take a break when he heard me breathing heavy…… We got to the top without incident, took photos, then relaxed, enjoyed the views and shot the breeze.  He was born in Khazakstan, so I got to talk Russian again, but his German was great, and his English pretty good.  While were relaxing, a class trip of just a little more than ankle biting age showed up and provided a little amusement.  On the way down the other side (which was an easy gravel path) he asked where he could see my photos, so I gave him my card. We parted with the comment that if we didn’t run into each other in Herford, we’d probably meet on top of another hill with a Burg on it!
I took a bus back to the train station and got back to Herford about 7:30.  Drank a couple of liters of cold green tea, and hat a bite.  Pictures are here.

Thinking about…

I’m thinking about taking the train down to Warburg today.  I cleaned the apartment yesterday, so it would be best for me to avoid living here all day in order to preserve order for at least tweny-fout hours……

Why the hell do I use ellipsis so often?

Maybe because this is how I see myself-


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers Day USA 2010

Waiting for the obligatory phones calls.  Communicating more with the kids over social networks than Skype these days because of their work schedules and the fact that half the time, they live in my past and live in their future.  Odd concept, time zones.  They’re practical, but they’re odd on the metaphysical level.  Which brings me to Paolo Coelho. He knows a lot about spirituality and comparative religion.  He uses the term Zahir, with the article ‘the’ in front of it as the title of a book and defines a Zahir as
ZAHIR, in Arabic, means visible, present, incapable of going unnoticed. It is someone or something which, once we have come into contact with them or it, gradually occupies our every thought, until we can think of nothing else. This can be considered either a state of holiness or of madness.
Source(s):Paulo Coelho, The Zahir (2005);
In Islam, there are two aspects to the Koran.  One is Zahir, which is the obvious interpretation, the ‘normal’ meaning or words.  The other is Batin, or the underlying, the esoteric.
I think this is a good place to start a story.  Thank you Mr. Coelho, and you Prophet Muhammad.  And thank me for having such a big ego as to try to understand these things and tell them to you.

Kids can be Zahirs.  Once we come into contact with them, they occupy our every thought.  Then they grow up.  That's the hard part.  I'm nine hours away from the US by plane and Abby and John are ten hours away from each other by car, but we stay in touch, probably more and in more depth, than if we were in closer proximity.  Life is like that.....

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Herforder Vision: the Photos

I'm uploading the photos as I write.  The Vision procession starts with a prayer, hymn, and a play, then all of the players, priests, and other participants (including half the British Army) march from the Church on the hill where the vision occurred (10th or early 11th century) the the Stiftkirche, the BIG one in the old town.  I did a little hob-nobbing with Lutheran and Catholic priests, then followed the procession down the hill to the end point, where it ended with prayers, hymns, and announced the start of the two day mini-fest.  Photos can be reached through my main page here or you can go directly to Picassa.


Mona Lisa had special hours yesterday in honor of the German and American World Cup games.  Giovanni, as usual, in fine form.  The usual crowd was there and we shared disappointment in the outcomes of both matches.  I, of course, was particularly upset by the disallowed goal in the American game.

Herforder Vision

Today is the celebration of the Herforder Vision, a Virgin Mary vistation to a shepherd or beggar, depending on the teller of the tale.  This happened sometime between 926 and 1011.  The visionary reported his vision and the message given to him to the Abbess of the Cloister and was immediately put into chains.  They freed him (after the fire and water ordeal) once the facts were verified.  The message was simply to concentrate on spiritual and intellectual development rather than the restoration of the splendor of the cloister.  The whole thing will be reenacted today followed by a procession to the old town.  This is a photo mission.  I may even be converted.

Check back later today for the results.....

Friday, June 18, 2010

Last week , Monday (8.June.2010) Burg Vlotho, a couple of stops up the railroad line. The stones in the foreground are projectiles the friendly people of Vlotho used to keep strange armies out of their idyll.....
Photos at Burg Vlotho. Learn a little more at
Google translation should be good enough (although it's quirky)  The only bad part of my walk:  the restaurant was closed.....
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Early Morning Train

I took a ride south this morning, to Altenbeken, the other side of Detmold. It's a small town and there's not much there, but if you've got the energy to climb the hill and find the overlook platform, you can get some nice shots.  In the town itself, I photographed some churches and their ancillary art and architecture, a big old steam locomotive at the one locomotive museum.

On the way back, I met a Russian woman on the train who sings with the philharmonic, who was on her way from Detmold to Bielefeld. We shared close to twenty words before I disembarked, but it was more conversation than I had all of last week!

Photos should be posted later on this afternoon. Next junket, Warburg, with castle and stuff.  Stayed tuned.
Did I forget to mention the 29km trail around the city, interlaced with smaller rundwegs (loops)?

Oh, did I forget to mention the trout??

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

the story, so far

last week was quiet on the street.  Giovanni and Nora went to Bari, Italy to visit Giovanni's family.  nobody called me Jack until today, when I met the other Jack (Giovanni), Nora, and Niko (Jack's son ((the other Jack))

today i had my third session of Kranken Gymnastic (sounds like a sick guy doing the parallel bars, doesn't it?) which is actually physical therapy.  the guy does this gentle stuff on my hand and arm, until he finds the knots in my bicep and shoulder.  i think i may have said 'oof'

short road trip coming up tomorrow, Altenbek.  i'll post some notes and photos after the train brings me home.