Batty for Haloween

I wish I could get a turnip and make a proper Halloween lantern. The traditional Celtic festival has been Americanised with pumpkin culture reverse-exported back to Europe and turnips falling by the wayside. Turnip lanterns are smaller but much cooler and more sinister than pumpkins. I don’t think Germs are very familiar with them; maybe they were never traditionally eaten here or don’t suit the climate? As far as I know, there is no similarly aincent end of harvest festival here -there is Oktoberfest of course but that’s a bit different. I believe that early christians co-opted halloween (Samhain) from the pagans and stuck a holy day on it instead.

Halloween Bonfires: When I was a kid we used to “borrow” our dad’s little carpentry saws and campfire hatchets and scour the neighbourhood woods, searching for likely trees, i.e. big enough to impress but small enough for a gang of kids put a rope around and drag to the pyre. We would cut down the best trees for miles around and build a huge bonfire in a local field. If our parents had only known, we were lucky we never killed ourselves. One afternoon, after three days work,  we finally finished cutting all the way through a large beech tree but it would not fall, it’s branches were caught. So we decided to try to push it over. It fell allright -vertically; the trunk slipped off it’s stump and pile-drived deep into the earth -missing my foot by about 2″.  We ended up having to cut the tree into segments to drag it back. Not a bad days work for a bunch of 11 year olds.

Anyway, on the night itself, after going door to door begging for apples and nuts (trick or treat had yet to arrive on these shores) we would light the bonfire and set off rockets and bangers.  All the adults would invariably show up and act as if it was their fire and try to boss us about.  Nowdays however, it’s all official, neatly stacked shipping pallets and supervised by the fire brigade. Somehow a lot of the fun has been organised out of it -a bit like Carnival perhaps?

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyX83jnxVQk&feature=player_detailpage[/tube]

A proper Irish Haloween bonfire. 

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12TI10Gh7Ng[/tube]

In honour of the season, a bat video.

Here are some good pumpkin carving sites with tutorials:

http://www.fantasypumpkins.com/links-and-tutorials.htm

http://www.zombiepumpkins.com/

 

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German Phrases -part 1: Alles Klar

Alles Klar – one of the first German phrases I understood. Alles Klar = Everything Clear i.e. I understand or do you understand, that’s simple enough right?

Nein, Alles nicht Klar, dumm auslander (no, you don’t understand, stupid foreigner). This phrase has a confusing number of meanings; here are three – but I’m sure there are more I don’t know about.

On their way to a BBQ, two friends greet each other: Angela: How’s it going? Helmut: Can’t complain!

On their way to a BBQ, two friends greet each other:

One person puts too much food on his plate at the BBQ, the other person explains he is being a pig and and asks if he understands.: Angela: Do you understand? David: Yes!

 One person puts too much food on his plate at the BBQ, the other person explains he is being a pig and and asks if he understands.: Angela: Do you understand? David: Yes!

After the BBQ, one person lets off some gas and the other person enquires of their health: Angela: Are you feeling ok? Helmut: Yes, but I think the currywurst was off.e BBQ, one person lets off some gas and the other person enquires of their health: Angela: Are you feeling ok? Helmut: Yes, but I think the currywurst was off.f.

 

 

Saudi Arabia WTF #2

It seems I was overly optimistic about  progress in this place.  The religious fuckwits, sorry fundamentalists, are still at it.

Here is a solution in that lovely shade of turquoise we all know so well.

The authorities in Saudi Arabia have stepped up warnings to women not to defy a ban on female drivers by taking part in a mass driving protest.

The interior ministry has reiterated that anyone flouting the ban is likely to face unspecified punishment.

More complaining: Stupid fishing stuff.

You would think  there might be a bit of difference in aspects of fish diet between an Island country and a mainly landlocked country such as Germany. And you would be right. Bivalves are generally called mussels (muscheln)  here -nevermind if it is not a mussel but actually a clam or an oyster -its still a muscheln in Germany. And just about the only sea fish you can find is something called sea-lachs. Lachs is salmon and trout is a salmonoid. So, I figured, see-lachs must be sea trout, right? Wrong again, -stupid auslander. See-lachs is coley -one of the shittest tasting fish in the sea. It’s not white, but a sort of pollution grey colour. It has nothing to do with lachs, it was a bullshit name dreamt up by some dickhead marketing guru. But it worked since Germs now buy 25% of the worldwide catch. Coley is actually one of the two species of pollack; sadly it’s the other one which actually tastes nice. l  suppose it tastes nicer than carp at least… Oh yes, just because it’s traditional to eat carp doesn’t mean it actually tastes nice. It’s termed a coarse fish for a very good reason and island nations don’t eat it  -I could go into further detail but it’s basically because it’s a bottom feeder that eats shit -and it tastes like it.

fish

Since I’m ranting about fish today, I see no reason to stop there; as someone who has fished since childhood, I feel obliged to say that Germany has implemented recreational angling in the most inane way possible. So you wanna take your kids fishing auslander? Well, then you have to  graduate from an angling school and join an angling club, then you can fish on the property where that club is allowed. Oh, is that all? well no actually.

In other countries anyone can just go to the sea and start fishing,  you don’t need a license. In other countries kids don’t need an angling license for coarse fish. In other countries, you are encouraged to throw fish back. Well, this isn’t other countries bucko!

Here, if you catch a fish you have to kill it. Why? I’ll tell you why: how else would you practice the mandatory fish execution skills which you were trained and certified for at fishing school? catch and release is considered inhumane so you have to put a spike in it…  If I were a fish, I’m pretty sure I would disagree.

If they were to apply this policy across the board using the logical thinking Germany is famed for, no commercially caught fish would be allowed in supermarkets since they all die slowly in air. It’s total bollocks and complete hyprocicy but it’s another rule to bash you with and that’s what matters right? In Germany, if there is a choice between logic and a rules, the rules win -even if they are fucking stupid.

I feel sorry for the poor kids, the powers that be are doing their best to legislate all the fun out of childhood, it’s not a wonder so many adults seem miserable. Me? I was born that way but stupid rules help me remember to stay that way.

heaven knows i m miserable now

It strikes me that it is actually quite fun to bitch and moan about things sometimes but the problems start when people take it up as a lifestyle choice. Then it becomes ingrained to your personality and you don’t know when to stop or you can’t stop. When this happens it makes you and everyone around you miserable.

Whether a family or a nation, when a rigid fixation on adherence to minor rules or standards of behaviour or even just implied standards of behaviour is the norm, and where not falling strictly into line and obeying without question, results in being bitched at by friends and strangers alike,  it seems quite obvious to me that the people living under these conditions will be more stressed and less happy than they could, or need to be. 

Saudi Arabia, wtf?

Finally someone talking sense, but from an unforseen direction; Saudi Arabia, that hotbed of tolerance and magnamity.

Abdulnasser Gharem is an artist/warmonger -his hobby and his job. Nevertheless, he has espoused the only sensible cause I have heard from a representative of that particular country: “I have worked out what is wrong with the world: people don’t think.  Horray, someone else worked it out too. He is 100% correct. If people would get off their lazy behinds and formulate their own opinions instead of  parroting those of their friends, relatives and TV personalities, the world would be a far more sensible and pleasant place for all.

[tube] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bWXC4BpXb8 [/tube]

Do I get a badge?

I did expect at least a little sympathy after sanding myself with the belt sander. All I was trying to do was unclog it by banging the belt. Yes, I probably should have turned it off first and avoided a sore hand – a German would certainly have turned it off.  So do I get sympathy? No; my helpful frau informs me that I am a candidate in waiting for a Darwin award. Does that mean I can have a badge?

darw

Holy Shit!

School break: we  left the kids with opa and took a trip to Strasbourg.

It was about 10pm in the old town.  A middle aged drunk with a bimbo on each arm stumbled around the corrner.  He glanced up:  “holy fucking shit!” he shouted.

There are so many tall buildings and the street it’s on is so short, you don’t know it is there until you turn the corner and BOOM! right in your face; amazing.

We had been inside earlier in the day. To the right, barred to the crowds, lies a smaller church. Through the bars you can see a very old, painted wooden statue. The sculpture is unremarkable – except for the expression on the face -it totally blew me away.

mary2                mary2

Recovery from this near religious experience entailed drinking lots of neu wein since luckily, opa lives on the wein straße and it’s harvest time. 4.5 abv, cloudy but fizzy. -goes down a treat with the French equivalent of stilton.