I WANT AN iPHONE....!
30 July 2008
I WANT AN iPHONE....!
29 July 2008
A New Funky Generation Feat. Marika - Lubumba '98 from Café Del Mar Vol. 5
The Grimethorpe Colliery Band - There's more important things in life from Brassed Off
Amazing Rhythm Aces - What kind of love is this from How The Hell Do You Spell Ryhthm?
Greg Johnson - Save Yourself from Here Comes The Caviar
Daniel Lanois - Beatrice from For The Beauty Of Wynona
Ivor Cutler - The Curse from Velvet Donkey
Little Name - How To Swim And Live from How To Swim And Live
Calexico - Black Heart from Feast Of Wire
frYars - The Ides from The Demos So Far
Mack Manuel, Jesse Legé & The Lake Charles Ramblers - Special Du Club Soixante-Treize (Club 73 Special) from The Rough Guide To Cajun Dance
Lou Reed - Sick Of You from New York
The Byrds - Old John Robertson from The Notorious Byrd Brothers [Remastered]
JJB Sports Leyland Band - Langford / Famous British Marches from American Salute
Ramblin' Jack Elliot - Salt Pork, West Virginia from Rolling Thunder Review - 8/12/75 - NYC
The Long Blondes - Weekend Without Make Up from Weekend Without Make Up - Single
Shona Laing - (Glad I'm) Not A Kennedy from Nature's Best 1
27 July 2008
It's still grown quite widely around these parts - the German name is Dinkel - and it's a good substitute for wheat if you have a gluten intolerance.
More importantly, they make beer out of it, substituting it for barley.
This one's from the Benedictine monastery in Plankstetten and very nice it is too.
And here's a true story.
Walking through the countryside with an English speaking friend when he asked what type of cereal crop we were walking past.
"Dinkel" I said. "Spelt"
"D - I - N - K- E - L, I suppose" he said.......
26 July 2008
This is just too good to miss - a 1980's Estonian advert for a Chicken McNuggets slurry that you stuff with something and then coat with chunks of something and then devour with pleasure.
But doesn't that chook look nervous....
25 July 2008
We had a lot of cricket books in our house.
A few novels - C.S. Forester (of whom Ernest Hemingway is quoted as saying, "I recommend Forester to everyone literate I know.") and Nevil Shute - but mostly cricket books.
Most of them were biographical/autobiographical of players of the the immediate pre- and postwar periods and they were good enough reading.
But one always fascinated me.
It was the account of the epic England tour of Australia in 1954/55.
It's a ball-by-ball, handwritten scorecard of the five test matches, with a rather jingoist text by Crawford White; understandable in the context of the era and the fact that England - having been comprehensively thrashed in the first match - came back to win the next 3 tests and clinch the series.
But Dad died, Mum remarried and sold the house and the books all disappeared.
So imagine my delight finding the book in a second hand bookshop a while back.
The moment I flipped the page open at the 3rd test, I was transported back to my childhood....
"From the happy position of being 75 for 2 at the start of the day, Australia were all out for 111 in exactly 79 minutes of unremitting violence."
Here's the man who applied that "unremitting violence" - Frank Tyson, a 25 year old university student.
His diary of the tour - "Eye of the Typhoon" - is an exceptionally erudite document that goes deep into the social and economic fabric of 1950s society of Australia and England.
Career didn't last long - just look at the stress he's putting on that right leg after his delivery - but at the time (and for years afterwards), he was the fastest bowler in the world.
100 mph or so.
Unremitting violence, indeed
24 July 2008
Reduced in price AND extra functions.
Couldn't work out where to fit the batteries, though, and I pressed all manner of buttons without getting a sound out of them, so I asked the shop assistant.
Turns out it's the name of the fashion brand.
23 July 2008
Don't bet on it.
Granny's birthday today and Grandad's boss popped in for a cup of coffee.
Everyone's chatting away, kids are behaving tolerably and then there's one of those momentary hushes during which Luzie pipes up with:
"He's got a big stomach"
Which is true. Looks as if he's swallowed a cannonball.
Gran goes "Gulp", Mum goes the colour of Luzie's tongue, Grandad looks as if a barrowload of bricks has landed on his head and someone rapidly goes into retrieval mode with:
"Grandad's got a big stomach, too"
"Yes, but his is BIGGER...."
Had one of those birthdays a while back and - while I'm nowhere nearly in the same league as Methuselah Whatley ("I am a man of great age"...) - you do start become aware of your own mortality.
Especially when 2 of the guys you used to work with fall off the perch within days of each other last week.
At this rate, our old boss - 91 - is going to outlive us all....
But there was a nice touch on Trollo's death notice.
Goes back decades.
Trollo was the nicest bloke, but he was just SO bloody lazy.
He'd wait until someone - mostly his wife, but he'd try it on in the office (a cattle prod on the testicles from Hannibal cured him of that trick...) - got up and he'd say "While you're up, could you...."
But once he did endeavour to pull his weight at home.
Big tray of glasses needed carrying into the kitchen and he got cajoled into helping out
"Do you think you can make it?" his wife asks.
"We'll see" he says, followed by a horrendously loud sound of breaking glass.
Head pops around the door.
"Ah, I didn't make it, dear"
22 July 2008
Booked ahead the other week to take The Mob out to quite a nice restaurant.
Being The Mob, we all enjoyed ourselves immensely which occasionally involves an ever-so-slight increase in the db level.
Waitress turns up after a bit and promptly replaces the "Reserved" sign with one saying "Rowdy"
The Wallflowers - One Headlight from Bringing Down The Horse
Eluvium - Requiem On Frankfort Ave from Copia
Troubled Minds - Under My Thumb from Top Of The Dial
The Temptations - I Can't Get Next to You from Billboard Top 100 Hits Of 1969
Sam Prekop - Between Outside from Who's Your New Professor?
Buena Vista Social Club - El Cuarto de Tula from Buena Vista Social Club
Bap - Ens em Vertraue from Für usszeschnigge
Pam Tillis - After A Kiss from Happy Texas - Music From The Miramax Motion Picture
Chad & Jeremy - A Summer Song from Billboard Top 100 Hits Of 1964
PJ Harvey - Wang Dang Doodle from The Peel Sessions 1991-2004
Chk Chk Chk - Must Be The Moon from Myth Taker
Four Preps - Got A Girl from Billboard Top 100 of 1960
Amerie - Gotta Work from Because I Love It
Hesperus - Dame, Se Vous M'Estes from Neo-Medieval
Cast - Compared to you from Magic Hour
Muddy Waters - Herbert Harper's Free Press News from Electric Mud
Robbie Williams - It It's Hurting You from Greatest Hits 2002
Sheryl Crow - God Bless This Mess from Detours
Laura Veirs - Secret Someones
Pink Floyd - Outside the Wall from The Wall
18 July 2008
It continues to tell you what they'll do to you, your car and your wallet if you DON'T meet the conditions.
...No Parking At Any Time
17 July 2008
Especially the UK, world leaders in plumbing (none of this complex/prone to failure combined mixed faucets - hot and cold taps are cutting edge...) and credit card fraud.
In a futile attempt to counter the latter, they've converted to "Chip and PIN" in the past couple of years.
Pretty standard sort of stuff - card data are encoded on the chip, you enter the PIN via a keypad.
We're not that far over here.
My Visa card's got a chip but I'm buggered if I know what for.
So we're in John Lewis' cafe and I wave my card at the lad at the cashiers
"It's not 'Chip and PIN'" I said.
"Yes it is" he says
"Look" I said "I KNOW it's not"
"It's ALL Chip and PIN"
"This isn't - I have to SIGN"
"Oh" he says "we don't do THAT"
"Oh yes you do"
"Oh no you don't"
Just like a Christmas Pantomime...
Stupid bloody Poms
(They did, by the way......)
15 July 2008
11 July 2008
09 July 2008
I've been quite impressed with myself lately.
Getting around on Christoph's bike and walking 5km every couple of days.
Doing the Bionic Leg wonders and keeping the weight in check.
And using public transport.
Quite a pleasant experience mostly, but they don't always make it easy.
Wanted to take the train into the airport the other day.
Something holding up the power cables had given way and the next train through ripped down a couple of hundred metres worth of wire.
16 hours later, they still hadn't fixed it, but buses were on offer....
Last Sunday, some "tired of life" joker decided to stage his grand finale on the bridge over the tracks next to the main station.
Buses were on offer....
Today was the best, though.
Train to Koblenz from the airport stops just before it crosses the Rhine into Mainz and we're informed that we're not actually going to stop in Mainz, because the line's blocked.
"What we'll do" says The Voice "is drop you off in Mombach and from there you can make your way back to Mainz"
Duly in Mombach (which is about the shittiest little suburb in Mainz, with a station that wouldn't be out of place in Siberia), A Voice says:
"Chwang wang wang Platform 2 chwang wang wang Mainz chwang wang wang"
The Voice also says:
"Chwang wang wang Platform 1 chwang wang wang Saarbrücken chwang wang wang"
Unfortunately, the train on Platform 1 arrives first and there might - just might - have been a couple of people on the train to Koblenz who wanted to change trains in Mainz for Saarbrücken.
But not twenty people, who flocked lemming-like in the direction of Platform 1 and disappear into the cavernous interior of the Regional Express, non-stop to Saarbrücken.
Who then - dismayed - peer out of the window as the train for Mainz arrives on Platform 2, onto which a sniggering horde, pointing to the train on Platform 1, clambers.
And no sooner have they sat down will they hear the familiar:
"Tickets please. Ah, you only have a ticket as far as Mainz. That'll be a penalty fare of €80, thank you"
"But, but, but..."
"I'm very sorry, but you know the rules..."
08 July 2008
Nelly Furtado - Saturdays from Folklore
Pink Floyd - If from Atom Heart Mother
Mamou - Ugly Day Stomp from Ugly Day
Carpenters - Ticket To Ride from Singles 1969-1981
Clapton, Miller, Gadd, Sample, & Sanborn - Snakes from Montreaux Jazz Festival 1997
Lowell George - Easy Money from Thanks I'll Eat It Here
Bob Dylan - Dink's Song [Home-Recording] from No Direction Home: The Soundtrack (The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7)
Leo Sayer - Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance) from Billboard Top 100 of 1975
Architecture In Helsinki - One Heavy February from Fingers Crossed
The Misunderstood - I Can Take You To The Sun from John Peel's Record Box
Sugarloaf - Green-Eyed Lady from Billboard Top 100 Hits Of 1970
Bill Oddie - Harry Krishna from John Peel's Record Box
Everly Brothers - Cathy's Clown from Billboard Top 100 of 1960
Bruce Springsteen - Secret Garden from Greatest Hits
Run-D.M.C. - Walk This Way (Demo) from Raising Hell
Evermore - Unbreakable Live from Real Live Newcastle
Elton John - Country Comfort from Tumbleweed Connection
Rory Gallagher - The Devil Made Me Do It from Jinx
Joe Walsh - Giant Bohemoth from Barnstorm
Robert Earl Keen - Not a drop of rain from Diggin' Deep - The essential alternative country collection
Nelly Furtado, Pink Floyd, Mamou, Carpenters, Clapton, Miller, Gadd, Sample, & Sanborn, Lowell George, Bob Dylan, Leo Sayer, Architecture In Helsinki, The Misunderstood, Sugarloaf, Bill Oddie, Everly Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, Run-DMC, Evermore, Elton John, Rory Gallagher, Joe Walsh, Robert Earl Keen,
When I was in my last year at school (and getting bugger all pocket money, btw), I'd spend most Friday evenings in the Big Smoke.
Friday Night Shopping was as good as it got in Auckland in the mid 60's.
Shops actually stayed open until 8 p.m.
So I'd be on the bus at 4 o'clock and cruising the book shops and record stores by 5.
Having young teachers wasn't a given in those days - most of them would be your parents' age and have war stories to relate (Ted Malone, my English teacher, reckoned that he should actually have been awarded the Iron Cross for the number of aircraft that he'd pranged on take-off or landing...) - but Russell Aitken was an exception.
He was cool. And he was only about 10 years older that we were, but we didn't know it at the time.
I mean he was a teacher.
And teachers were old.
He used to take groups of us the the New Vision Gallery in Auckland in the evening and get interesting people to talk to us about Modrian and Miro and McCahon and we'd drink real coffee and stay out so late that he'd have enraged parents on the phone the next day with "You're corrupting our boys.."
Everyone was smoking or slygrogging.
Bill Thomas and the Takapuna Crew even had girlfriends and were - you know - DOING it.
So all these famous painters' and architects' names were in the back of your mind and I'd regularly splurge 2s 6d on Methuen's "The Little Library of Art".
Modrian, Miro and a painter no-one had talked to us about, but whose stark graphics, over-emphasised verticals and strong perspectives jumped out at me.
Imagine my pleasure to visit the Museum für Moderne Kunst (Museum of Modern Art) in Frankfurt the other day for a major exhibition of his work.
What a treat.
And thanks again for that, Russell.
Er, I mean Mr Aitken....
russell aitken, westlake boys high school, ted malone, New Vision Gallery, Mondrian, Miro, McCahon, Bernard Buffet, The Little Library of Art, Methuen, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt
07 July 2008
There's the table, for a start.
Half of it's inside the building.
The other half's outside the building, 3 stories above the pavement.
And there's a bloody gale blowing through the gap.
And lots of of Beuys, some of which I like - the audio installation, where he endlessly whispers "Ja, ja, ja, ja ....Nee, nee, nee, nee" with varying intonations from a range of speakers - and some of which are beyond belief.
"Stag struck by lightning" which looks to my skilled artistic eye like scrap metal suspended over a collection of human beer turds.
But - then again - what do I know?
This one is a classic "Untitled" from their permanent collection and I always go and talk to them.
"Hey Adolf, how is it down there in Mexico? Still limping then, Josef? Heard you sold the Mercedes dealership in Asuncîon, Martin. Are they keeping the "Automobilos Bormann" name or are they rebranding?"
I swear they waved back the other day.....
Being an old bastard, I'm in the process of applying for my pension.
Which is a bit complicated, given that I've worked in 3 countries, all of which have to get their act together in order for the Pension People here in Germany to work out what pittance they'll begrudgingly pay me, starting at the beginning of next month.
Which is also a prerequisite for my company pension.
Also a pittance.
So I started the process rolling about 6 months ago, got all the stuff from the UK that they wanted (didn't bother to tell them about New Zealand, to be honest - wasn't that long and I only earned bugger all, anyway) and sent it of to the Whateveritis Ministry in Berlin.
Hadn't heard for a bit, so I had a chat with them just now. "Oh, yes, we've initiated the procedure for England, but I don't know how long THAT's going to take. Two to three months, for sure"
After a slightly more forceful chat which went something along the lines of......
"I'm not too keen on the idea of your intention of depriving me of ANY INCOME for the next 4 months. Given that I only worked in the UK for 5 years in the late 60s'/early 70's (and earned sod-all and threepence) and that I've worked in Germany for the past 35 years, wouldn't it be a GOOD IDEA to calculate my pension based on my German employment history, issue a provisional pension calculation (so that I can apply for my company pension) and then adjust later as necessary?"...
.....they all of a sudden ALSO thought that it would be a GOOD IDEA and there was the sound of much scurrying and the scratching of quills on parchment and they're going to contact me by semaphore this very afternoon.
This could be fun......
06 July 2008
Kurt Beck is Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate and Chairman of the SPD, the socialist partner in the grand coalition at national level.
In the latter position, he has first right of refusal when it comes to the SPD's candidate for chancellor in the 2009 elections.
The SPD's currently at 22%, down from 35% at the last election.
Not looking good, Kurt, especially when your own party gives you 16% approval.
And especially when 46% of your own party wants Angela Merkel as their next chancellor.
Maybe it's that people are tired of your "homespun ways and rustic accent", as the Economist kindly puts it.
Maybe it's the way you betrayed the party faithful and tacitly accepted a opportunistic dirty deal with the ("so-called", as he puts it) Linke party at state level and promptly fell on your face.
Maybe it's your constant brain farts.
Or maybe it's your recent announcement that you and Hans-Walter Steinmeier, the Foreign Minister and Deputy Chairman of the SPD would "come to an amicable agreement on the chancellorship candidacy question" and that you "wouldn't hang around where you're not wanted".
Now why on EARTH would we think that you were having second thoughts about your candidacy?
How could we come to that conclusion?
No, we've all got the wrong end of the stick and we're misinterpreting you as usual.
Kurt, you really are such a prick....
Kurt Beck, SPD, Angela Merkel, brain fart, Steinmeier, Linke Partei, German elections
05 July 2008
"If Helen can do it" I though, "then so can I"
"I mean, she's only a GIRL"
Some bastard nicked my bike last year and I haven't bothered getting a new one, what with this and that.
("This" being winter and "that" being getting Leg 2.0 a while back. 10 weeks, actually.)
But I wanted to build up the muscles that have wasted away through inactivity, so Christoph - good lad that he is - has lent me his bike for 3 weeks.
Gonso to the homestead is 9.8 km - most of it up hill - so 45 minutes isn't too foul.
AND I only dismounted once.
I seriously though the Bionic Leg was about to launch itself into orbit.....
04 July 2008
You don't want to know about the Keystone Cops episode that lead up to it.
Being a potter, he's lifting heavy stuff all day - clay to the wheel, pots onto racks to dry, racks of pots over to the kiln, packing the kiln, unpacking the kiln...
On Saturday - they were just about to set off on vacation - he keeled over in excruciating pain, called the paramedics on Sunday, the doctor took one look at him and said "Hospital and MRI scan.
Get to A&E and the flossy in charge said "Don't need an MRI, it's sciatica, here's an aspirin, go home and rest, you'll be OK to go on vacation tomorrow"
They eventually get a clinic to accept him, find out what's wrong and treat it like the emergency it is.
Thank Christ for that.
So he asked me to fix him up with some music to counter the boredom.
At the moment, he's got my 30 year old short wave radio, Bose® cans and aniPod® with enough music for a week.
A bit weighty for someone with a crook back, so I zipped out and bought him a nifty little Sony® Walkman®.
Only weighs 64 grams including earbuds.
The bloody packaging weighs 200g........
He's better not try lifting that until he's better
03 July 2008
It works thus:
You're American and resident in, say, Germany and work there.
The German tax authorities tax you on the income you earn there, which is fair enough.
Then the American authorities pop up over the ramparts and want their share, too, generously letting you offset taxes on income up to €50k.
Of course, if you're working overseas, there's a significant chance you'll be pulling in quite a bit more than that, but it gets better.
If - at some stage - you think "Sod this for a game of soldiers, I'm going to take up German citizenship", the US Senate was a bit quicker.
Back in 1998, they decreed that you STILL have to pay double taxes for 10 years after you've relinquished your US citizenship.
And it gets even better.
As from 1 July ((I think), if you relinquish your citizenship, the IRS holds a virtual sale of your worldly assets and whacks you with Capital Gains tax for the whole shebang, even though you've not actually achieved any Capital Gains.
Although you'll probably have to.
By selling your house to pay the bloody taxes.
Oh, and if you have a Green Card and they arbitrarily decide that they don't want you to have one anymore...yep, it's as if you've relinquished your citizenship.
What a ratbag bloody place
IRS, taxation, double taxation, USA, United States, North Korea, Capital Gains Tax, Green Card
02 July 2008
It's journalistically exquisite.
Read the sports section.
You'll find writing skills that you'll rarely find in other newspapers' editorials.
Lesser papers would have asked: " Why do you like climbing? "
Not the SDZ: "
If you put a piece of paper on the table and push the edges towards the centre, you create a mini mountain landscape, because you've compressed the area of the paper. Basically, it's the way mountains were formed millions of years ago. From a geological and mathematical perspective, mountains are actually large areas confined to a smaller space. They lay claim to the third dimension. Is it perhaps this dimension that underpins our fascination with mountains?"
One of Geissler's answers - just for the record and heavily excerpted:
"Track and field sports are just hard work, tennis is a craft, mountaineering is an art form"
More of the same, please. Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich, Germany, broadsheet, Frings, Christiano Ronaldo, Schweinsteiger, Mertesacker, Heiner Geißler
01 July 2008
Dion - Who Do You Love from Bronx In Blue
Talking Heads - Found A Job from Live 9/16/78
Frank Zappa - Valley Girl from Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch
Robert Wyatt - Fragment from Comicopera
Mogwai - Christmas Song
Keri Noble - If No One Will Listen from Fearless
The Boy Least Likely To - Be Gentle With Me from SXSW 2006 Showcasing Artist
Yo La Tengo - Stockholm Syndrome from Prisoners Of Love
Youssou N'Dour - Love One Another (Beuguente) from Guide (Wommat)
Chris Macro - Dub Revival from Homegrown Dub - Katchafire Remixed
Ezio - Brave Man from Black Boots On Latin Feet
The Verve - A New Decade from A Northern Soul
James Taylor - Shower The People from Shea's Buffalo Theatre, Buffalo NY - May 2, 2006
Arrah & The Ferns - Tokyo from WEEM/SIRIUS in-studio 2-21-07
The Foundations - Build Me Up Buttercup from Billboard Top 100 Hits Of 1969
Para One - Severed God Limbs (feat. Busdriver)
The Romanian Empire - Now Becomes Now
Jimmy Buffett - Biloxi from Beaches
Chet Baker - My Funny Valentine from Let's Get Lost
Guy Clark - Fool On The Roof from Craftsman