Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mars bar paranoid

I was watching German TV. There was an advert that showed some Germans watching or listening to their national team play in the football world cup final, through the years. The advert claimed that there was always one tradition that Germans held to when they watched the world cup final. Apparently they all liked eating a Marsbar. This seemed a bit unlikely to me. Perhaps this is a subtle dig against the English national football team. The only reason they could be enjoying a mars bar, because that think that England football team will never reach a cup final.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Long German train journey

I was at a meeting in Regensburg yesterday I took a train from Regensburg to Wuppertal today. The journey took about 7 hours. On the plus side there is more room on a German train. However there was a delay of 40 minutes. It seemed just like a journey on an English train, because we stopped for about an hour, because of some problem with the track.

On the train there was a group of attractive young women in matching t-shirts who had a box of things to sell. Although I could have confused the situation, because of my bad German. At some stage a packet of Durex's landed on me, and the women made some kind of funny speech to her friends. Terribly exciting. I am now much more motivated to learn German, so I can understand, and respond better to situations like this.

On the train I finally read "The museum of doubt" by James Meek. This book has been in my pile of unread books for many years. It was a surrealist set of stories. It suited my mood, because I was feeling weary because of only getting 4 hours of sleep.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Cameron Delusion

On the long train journey from Wuppertal to Regensburg I read "The Cameron Delusion" by Peter Hitchens. Peter is the brother of Christopher Hitchens who is currently trying to get the Pope arrested.

I enjoyed the book, but I don't agree with many of the things that Peter believes. He is very keen on the Monarchy and the house of Lords and fan of this nasty christainity business. He wants to leave the EU and keep nuclear weapons. Perhaps typically he gave up Marxism, and then transferred his affections to the church.

However, I did agree with much of what he says.

Peter really hates the conservatives and Cameron.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Below is an another exciting picture of the view from my window. When I first moved in all the trees had leaves and I felt at one with mother nature. I used to like to watch the wind play with the trees. As winter came, the trees lost all their leaves and I was left with a view of a road and maybe some allotments.

But the cycle of life continues, the picture shows the first sprouting of buds that will give me back my ocean of green leaves. I will be able to dance naked on my balcony again.

a short walk

unday is pretty boring in Germany. Nothing is open. During the long winter I stopped going out of my flat for the entire weekend. Now that spring is here, I thought I might go for a short walk.

There is long road that leads into the building where I live. There is a turn off, that I only see on the rare times I get a Taxi home. Today I thought I would investigate the road. I just found that 50 yards after the turn off the road ended at a large sinister house

I did learn that the painter Hans Von Marées lived close to where I live because there was a sign. If I had know who he was I might have been able to guess that because his second name is close to the street name.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A history of modern Britain

The few people who read this blog must think I am terribly homesick because I keep reading about English history, while I live in Germany. The way things are going however, I will be back in the UK in August to sign on the dole.

I have just finished reading "A history of modern Britain" by Andrew Marr. The book was about the history of the UK from 1945 to about 2007. Great stuff. I did wonder what I was doing when some of the events happened -- probably writing code. Marr doesn't like shopping for some reason. Also I was surprised to see a reference to the Velvet Underground band in the book -- perhaps Marr was trying to be cool.

I actually got the book because I had WH Smiths vouchers, and there wasn't that much bigger choice of books in the Burnley store.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

German politics today

I am slowly reading A History of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr. I feel slightly guilty about learning about Britain when I a living in Germany.

However, I have read the book German politics today by Geoffrey Roberts. This books gives a good overview of all aspects of politics in Germany. So now I know a little bit about "the basic law".

I also learnt a new German word: politikverdrossenheit That means alienation from politics. That's me, vote evil Tory or failed new labour.

Bad Science

I was given some WH Smiths tokens for Christmas. One of the books I purchased with the token was "Bad Science" by Ben Goldacre. Goldacre writes a column in the Guardian that debunks the poor and misleading use of scientific arguments. All the examples are in medicine or nutrition, not surprising because Goldacre is a doctor.

The book made me very angry. In particular what happened in South Africa, where people were told to take vitamins rather than anti-AIDS drugs. There is a also a chapter on the MMR hoax, where the Blairs as usual show they are too stupid to understand evidence, but clever enough to exploit their children in an autobiography.

On a similar theme I was happy to see that Simon Singh had won a libel case brought against him by the British Chiropractic Association.

On Suicide

I pulled a bunch of unread books from a crate in my office and took them home. On top of a pile of books was a book by the philosopher David Hume called "On Suicide". The front cover had the quote: "I believe that no man ever threw away life while it was worth keeping". Thanks Penguin, I was unhappy and depressed, so having this book stare at me didn't really cheer me up.

However, when I read this short book, I found that only one short chapter was about suicide. The other chapters were on ethics and aesthetics. The chapter on sucide was all about whether God minds whether a person kills themselves. Frankly not something I would worry about.

Easter in Germany is boring. Most of the shops close and everything is pretty dead. Given that they close the shops on Sunday it is a long weekend.

I usually work for 2 hours on Sunday morning. I then eat and watch the A-team (in German) on the TV. Today, there was no A-team, just some film about some dude called "Moses". This was some kind of sword and sandals film. Of course there are other channels. I could have switched over to watch Black beauty. Grrr. Anyway the A-team came on later, so all was well.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Indestructable Euro notes

This past six months I have washed my hands more than any peroid in my life. This was partly because of all the concerns about bird flu, but also I felt a bit dirty, because I have to handle Euros all day.

There has been a lot of talk recently about the fate of the Euro. This is based on the problems of Greece's debt. However, I am pleased to report I have some evidence that the Euro is stronger than many people think.

I pulled a clean pair of jeans from the wardrobe. I found a 10 Euro note in the pocket. The note had survived being washed. The occasions I have left British money in the pockets of trousers that have been washed, I stare at a crumbled up piece of paper and think of what type of lager I could have got with this money.

Given the strength of Euro I feel much more European. Perhaps I will start wearing a beret. Also perhaps I should start to learn how to usa a bidet. I have been too embarrassed to ask anyone how to use one, but thanks to youtube, I can get all the facts.