Sky as a Kite

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Macroeconomic Influencers

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I had a discussion the other day with a friend, whether I am GenX or a Millennial. He was aghast that I would prefer GenX, even though he is fully aware I am still writing a blog, which these days is mainly about REM, so what does he expect?

Anyway, today I saw this on Facebook: Wearing masks may generate immunity against Covid-19 virus, according to leading macroeconomic influencers. Allow me please to have a "grumpy old man moment":

The article refers to an article in the Telegraph, which also does not refer to the original article in the New England Journal of Medicine. When I finally found the original article here, I immediately noticed that this is not a study, just an opinion piece. "may" is doing some heavy lifting there.

"Macroeconomic influencers" are just some random people on twitter with lots of followers, who retweet articles they like AND THIS IS HOW WE FORM OPINIONS ON PUBLIC HEALTH POLICY IN A PANDEMIC NOW. *sigh* Millennials....

Excuse me, I'm going to shout at some kids to get off my lawn now.


Picture of the week - Double exposed pagoda 1

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I took a lot of pictures in JianShui in the south of China, they all looked quite nice (composition, light, depth of field), but were a bit boring to me, just standard tourist pictures, so I played around with double exposure and the outcome was great!


A song for my sister - a journey

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Me and some other crazy anarchists are trying to introduce the concept of workers' cooperatives to Iceland in the form of a vegan café called FRAKTAL. My sister gave enough money to the crowdfunding campaign for it to qualify for a song especially written for her. Naturally I took on the task. Let me take you with me on my creative journey from first idea to completed song in the form of the videos I made during the process!

In which I introduce the first demo version of the song and come up with an intro:

In which I think of lyrics for the first verse (spoiler alert, they are really bad) and get excited about a bridge:

In which I get inspired by Stand from R.E.M. to achieve maximum cheesiness and get overly ambitious with fingerpicking and background vocals:


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Real life fictional Cornell University

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When I was in university in Amsterdam my brother gave me "Fool on the Hill" from Matt Ruff as a birthday present. I loved the world building and characters (Blackjack the cat!) in this book even though the plot kind of falls apart in the end.
Ever since then I wanted to visit Ithaca / Cornell University. This summer, needing to travel from Sandusky, Ohio to Baltimore, Maryland I decided to plan my route over the Niagra Falls and Ithaca.


The bell tower from which the sprites fly (by bird or glider) all over campus


Arts Quat, where ST George (really) flies his kite and fights a dragon (with a kite, which is even better in German as kite and dragon are both "Drache")


Good to know that eventhough the Bohemian knights never existes, political protest is still alive and well


Ragnaroks bike
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Büttenrede

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This year my birthday was on Karneval again. So obviously I insisted on a German style Karnevalsparty. I even sowed my own mouse costume (by hand!). One of my friends (who shall not be named) is creatively verbose (insert joke about Americans here) and I asked him to hold a Büttenrede* for me. Which he did, rhymes and all:

Here we are together,
Hiding inside from this awful weather.
We're here to celebrate the start of Carnival,
Drinking, eating, dancing, and all.
But we have also gathered for a second purpose, one which our host holds most dear:
We are celebrating the day that my nemesis has lived yet another year!

Even though she is hiding behind a mask,
I can tell which one she is; I need not ask.
She is that little mouse,
The one you've seen scurrying about the house.
Drink in hand, she's been having a great time,
And hopefully I'll make it even better with this little rhyme.

Today is her 35th birthday, a milestone in anyone's life.
Usually this is the time for a crisis, so please make sure we don't let her have a knife.
But even if she doesn't go psychotic with a kitchen utensil,
After today, she still might be a bit mental.

Some people learn an instrument, or switch religions, or buy a new car,
Personally I think our favorite German won't go that far.
She seems happy baking bread day in and day out.
With this extremely repetitive and simple life,
I truly wonder if she has more cognition than a trout.

After all, why would you ask someone like me to write a speech about you?
Clearly, we have seen that idea is absolutely cuckoo.
She might have thought, "nothing can go wrong!" and "he will be such a nice friend."
I thought "I totally have to abuse this, all the way to the end."

I have some interesting facts about Christina,
Ones you might not have heard before.
She tries to guard them, like secret lore,
But fear not, for now to you all I lay them before:

She comes from the state of North Rhine-Westfallen,
A place where you probably wouldn't go unless you got lost in.
First, some information about this bundesland:
This place is the smelliest in all der Länder,
That's why we gave them Köln, in all its splendor.
Of course, in English, this city is known as Cologne,
All the stink is masked by this one place alone.

But Christina is not from Köln.
She comes from a town in the very west,
A place which likes to claim they are the very best!
They say they're famed for emperors and springs,
But smart Germans of course know they're actually famous
For other things:

Our favorite German comes from a family most grand,
A family, that in 1799, wanted to become famous throughout the land.
Though a long line of chicken farmers and beer drinkers,
The Milchers also fancied themselves great thinkers.
They decided that they would rename their town,
Such an action would obviously bring them great renown.

While farmers and beer drinkers do have a good idea now and then,
What kind of name would you REALLY expect from such a group of men?
For many days and nights they debated names: over and over, again and again.
Finally, one night, after seeing a lone chicken in its pen,
A drunken Milcher suggested, "Why don't we just call the place Aachen?"

Now, I don't have much left to say, except that without Christina,
My life would certainly be much more dull.
She is a good person, and whenever I am with her, there is a never a lull.
Of course, she is my nemesis, so I can't give too much of a good word,
So I will end this poem now before it gets even more absurd.



* Die Büttenrede is a traditional Carnival speech, which is held standing in a tub (die Bütte). It is usually used to poke fun at people in power (though these days it is used for self-promotion of prominent guests of the more established Carnival clubs). It rhymes, is full of puns and often held in local dialect. It originated from the tradition that one could get away with saying things during Carnival that in other times would have gotten one into trouble.
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