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I was ‘talking’ to someone who has lived here in Germany, but visits his homeland regularly, recently about leaving home, settling elsewhere, setting up roots and a new life. He told me that he is actively considering moving back to England, even though he is unsure whether he’ll be able to find work there and, to add to his indecision, his German wife is against the move. He said that he is homesick, and the few visits he makes across the channel aren’t enough to get rid of the feelings.
Photo Credit: Chris JL – Creative Commons
For some reason, though, he was unable to tell me exactly what it is that he misses. It’s something he can’t quite put his finger on, but it is there, cutting a little substance from his soul each day. And it got me thinking, after only a few years away from the States, is there anything I really miss, living over here in Germany and away from everything I’ve known for much of my life?
Another small change which has come with time, and with a change in my interests: the deletion of the articles sub-domain. Up until now I had a separate section for articles which I had published elsewhere, copying them here so that they were easy to find and so that the more prudish didn’t have to come and face up to real life here, on my proper blog.
The sub-domain was created because one site refused to accept my articles, even threatened to remove all the articles I had previously published, if a link to this blog remained within my bio. I thought the threat rather stupid at the time – and still do – but complied simply because I was still writing for other sites at the time.
Now that my interests have concentrated themselves almost exclusively on this blog and my publishing business, there is no real need for an extra site. Many of the articles are published here anyway, so it was merely another duplication. I don’t write for the prudish US-based site any more, for many reasons, and have no need to hide behind a sub-domain. Not that I had any reason to hide before, but such was the way of things back then.
Photo Credit: Skley – Creative Commons
Of course, it means that quite a few people trying to find articles which were on the sub-domain – and is well indexed by Google, Bing, Yahoo and so on – are now coming to a 404, but many more are being redirected straight to my home page here, and can find what they’re looking for easily enough. I think the whole thing balances itself out, one way or the other. And I’m not sure it is such a good thing to spread yourself too thinly on the Internet, much the same as in real life. Better to concentrate on a set sphere instead of neglecting one or another area through a lack of time.
So, if you arrived here looking for a specific article and landed on the 404 page: sorry, use the search box in the right hand menu. And if you arrived here looking for safe, clean, prudish and conservative articles and writing, well, there is some of that too, in a manner of speaking, but there is also reality here, and reality involves nasty things like sex. Live with it.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
So, what do you do in your spare time? Any special hobbies that are unusual, astounding, exceptional? Most of the things that I come across, especially at this time of year, are connected with Christmas in some way: people suddenly come out of the woodwork with wonderful festive creations they have spent the entire year working on and gain, especially in regional news, a few minutes of fame, alongside admiring or similar comments from newscasters or editors. Miniature dolls houses, ceramic reindeer, cats by the thousand, lace work, the selection literally knows no bounds. And many hope that what they are creating will not only bring joy to those who come see, but also add a few dollars to their purse in one way or another.
But can we all turn our hobby into a business, even on one or two days of the year? It seems to me that many of the old traditions, the handcrafts which our grandparents might have considered normal, have disappeared from public view. They are only seen at special conferences, certain times of the year, when someone decides to film a weird occupation. Some of them, let’s be honest, are less a hobby or a business and more of a fanatical obsession, often shared by few but enjoyed by many.
If anyone is thinking of turning their hobby into a business, and walking that stoney path towards fame and fortune, they really need to do a bit of research first. Is the plan that they have really viable, or are they going to need to keep that day job for the rest of their lives? Is anyone else out there doing exactly the same but as a mass product for a larger market, and at a considerably cheaper price? Is what you’re doing something that the world needs, or is it just a thirty-second news-filler on some local channel which is going to die and death and only harvest amused comments from the presenters?
I cannot, for example, imagine anyone really succeeding, as our film shows, as a professional pencil sharpener. Is that even a professional trade? Of course, I suspect that this short film is really more tongue-in-cheek than anything else, but, well, you never know!
Love & Kisses, Viki.
It can’t have escaped many people’s attention, but making comments about slightly larger than the normal size women is not politically correct. It is discriminatory, insulting, unfair. Over the last few years we have been told that this is not something we should do: these women are beautiful too; they have much to offer society; they are victims; it isn’t their fault that they are obese, fat, massive, big-boned or look like a tub of lard in tight clothing. And that is a good thing: beauty is not about size, it is about the person themselves, what is inside them, how they react, how they are. It has nothing to do with a few extra pounds about the waist, even if their expanded waist hides their own view of their feet, even if their breasts hang down to their knees. They are people too, and that is the way we should see them.
Photo Credit: prashant_zi – Creative Commons
Having achieved this advance in acceptability from society – regardless of how the medical profession reacts to considerably overweight – it is now time to gain revenge for all those nasty things people have said about fat, obese, overweight, bloated women in the past. And some of them, probably with a weight of short memory as the excuse, are trying to gain revenge with a vengeance. How dare a woman who has trained all her adult life and has three children, the youngest only a few months old, allow herself to be photographed with prominent abs, well-toned skin and a distinct lack of post-pregnancy fat!
Plato’s work Parmenides has been rated by some as a spoof, a less-than-serious work, a work filled with contradictions and errors. This it may well be, but it is also a fascinating account, an experiment in the art of the philosopher and discussion to prove a point.
In essence it attempts to prove the existence of a higher authority, One, which is over and above all else. At the same time it attempts to prove that the One does not exist, that it can neither be inside nor outside of anything else and that the non-existent exists simply because we have thought of it.
Photo Credit: crlsblnc – Creative Commons
According to Marilio Ficino, who wrote many commentaries on Plato in the fifteenth century, the discussion is designed also as a teaching method for Socrates who, through the twists and turns of logic, should learn how to discuss, how to put his ideas across, how to advance in the philosophical arts. For the average reader, however, it is a complicated example of why philosophers can take any subject and twist it, according to their desires, in one direction or another to gain an answer to some problem which could make sense or, with more careful thought, makes no sense at all.
Parmenides manages to prove both the existence of the One, and its non-existence. He shows that what is inside something, what touches something else, is not inside anything and touches nothing else. What is outside and has no connection is closely connected whilst not being outside. In short, it is a play on logic which makes little sense, which throws the thinking mind in all directions, which has contradictory answers to absurd ideas. Which explains, perhaps, why Ficino and others used exactly these arguments, the recounting of the conversation through Plato, to justify the existence of God.
The layout in this edition, whilst following that of the original Greek, forces the reader to work through the arguments quickly. The two protagonists’ comments and answers are contained within paragraphs without modern breaks, without any form of attribution to one speaker or the other. The speed of reading, unless one is capable of forcing a slower pace, makes the flawed logic of the whole hard to find, hard to consider. Regardless of this problematic, Parmenides is a discussion worth taking the time to work through, worth deep and considered thought, if only to see how complicated philosophy can be, and how easy it is to get lost in contradictions, falsehood and the entrapment of words.
Published by Loeb Classical Library (Harvard). ISBN 978 0 674 99185 9
- Viktoria Michaelis.
Today is definitely one of those days when I want to stay in bed and just cuddle up beneath the covers, especially when I look out of the window and see what the weather is like and hear on the news what has been happening on the north coast.
Photo Credit: donsutherland1 – Creative Commons
And so that is exactly what I am going to do!
Love & Kisses, Viki.
Just to put a bit of a scale to my earlier post about waste. In the regional municipality of Nienburg there was no school today, as I mentioned, but all of the school buses ran their complete tours. The area has several different bus companies which work together to get several thousand school children where they need to be on time, and then to bring them back home again.
Let us take one single company which runs ten school bus tours. Each tour is approximately two hundred kilometers long – to school, back home. An average kilometer-to-distance ratio for fuel would be about twenty-five liters to one hundred kilometers. One single bus company would, therefore, have used approximately five hundred liters of fuel today. Multiply that by the number of bus companies in the area, and you start to see how big the wastage is.
Add to that the damage to the environment through expended carbon dioxide, the number of man-hours paid.
Then another little thought: if it is too dangerous for the children to travel in the bus, the risk that there could be an accident caused by the extreme weather, why is it not too dangerous for a bus driver to drive the same route with an empty bus?
- Viktoria Michaelis.
No, this post is not about trash, it is about financial problems which seem to be an almost normal occurrence in our area in Germany and, perhaps, throughout the entire country. After my recent comments on financial spending within certain communities in Germany, where cash is quickly allocated to new projects at the end of a financial year to ensure new finances for the following year, I got to hear about some other, equally wonderful, examples of financial wastage or, perhaps better, shortsighted thinking.
Photo Credit: frank-hl – Creative Commons
Today, because of a potential storm due to hit the north coast of Germany, all the schools in the regional municipalities Nienburg and Diepholz were closed. The thinking appears to be that it could be a problem, if the storm strikes so far inland, getting school children back home again. So, the children are allowed to stay home for the day but, for some reasons, the teachers all have to come in to work. Not only that, in a wonderful and carefully thought out example of strategic planning, all the school buses drive their normal routes, without any passengers, rather than staying in their garages.
Then I got to hear about some building projects which are underway or in the process of being planned.
Paul Walker probably lived a life many people envy: Hollywood dream; fast cars; women; money; fame. He probably also died a death many people consider to be suited to his apparent lifestyle, whether they say it openly or not: a fast car on the open road. Except that it was not an open road, he still had a lot to live for and he left a family behind him who will regret that one moment when he decided to climb into a fast car for the last time.
Photo Credit: foto4lizzie – Creative Commons
The tragedy is not so much that Paul Walker died, although it is a tragedy for his young family, more that his death is being highlighted so much when tens of thousands die each year on the roads because they underestimate their skills, or climb into a car with someone else who has underestimated their abilities, or have had too much to drink, are too tired, too stressed out.
A NASCAR vehicle is not the same to drive as a normal – Porsche or otherwise – road vehicle, nor are the roads in built-up areas designed for such a road spin. What we see in films is not reality, it is a fake made up of countless shots pieced together to make a whole. Speed, especially when so close to other people who could so easily have been hit, injured or killed in the incident, is not a macho sign of power. The whole is nothing more than a foolish, deadly game of chance.
I am sorry that Paul Walker died as he did, equally sorry that Roger Rodas died with him, but they are only two amongst so many, and their deaths will not change anything.
- Viktoria Michaelis.
Data. Little pieces of information placed together to gain an insight into a specific something. It might be movements, finances, lives, spying, terrorism, sales, whatever you care to think of. Our lives are controlled by a mass of data which we – and others – gather constantly, whether we wish them, or us, to or not. For us, in our daily lives, data is a mass of information our brains process to gain experience, to make decisions, to live our lives. For them – whoever ‘them’ is – it is a source of wealth, of information on what other people do, on what sells and what doesn’t, on who is calling or meeting up with whom.
Photo Credit: bionicteaching – Creative Commons
Setting aside the wonders of modern spying, what does data, the gathering of information have to do with your everyday Joe or Juliette who has a small blog, a little corner of the Internet, to their name? It is a matter of prestige.