COMMUNICATION The Selfie Pest – Amusing …!

Look at the small but great invention of Michael Käfer of Munich ...

Bierdeckel

The window closed from inside ...

Bierdeckel

… the window from outside ...

Bierdeckel

… and me in a „Window Selfie“!

NO, NOT A BAD WORD ABOUT SELFIES! I confess, I hate them but being tolerant enough, I just ignore this cosmopolitan desease. And then I came across the „Selfie Beer Mat“, an ingenious idea of the Oktoberfest host and owner of many celebrated restaurants in Munich and other German locations, Michael Käfer. Have a close look: The usual carton disc with a diameter of 10,5 cm or 4 inches, showing a typical Bavarian farmhouse window from outside, then turn it, and you see an equally typical Bavarian sleeping room with the same window from inside – and a ladder! When seeing this, insiders immediately understand the hint to one of the oldest, nicest and most dangerous Bavarian traditions: „Fensterln“. Which means: Inside is the sweetheart in her parents home, outside her lover, ascending on the ladder and bidden inside through the open window. And now look again closely: The window on the beer mat opens! Wide enough to show one’s face. Now you stare through the window – and you get a most wonderful (and very acceptable) Selfie! I won’t burden you with the wording around the brim, it’s very Bavarian, hard to translate. And where do you get these very special communication tools? Try the website of Michael Käfer, just spell him Kaefer: kontakt@feinkost-kaefer.de

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DIET The Recipe Of A Great Clown

Grock

A poster of the great clown ...

Grock

… und so geht's!

HE WAS THE GREATEST, the most famous and richest clown of the 20th century: GROCK (1880-1959). A Swiss artists, who – being an almost uncontrollable gourmet, and when not performing his not only hilarious but very arduous gymnastic acts – gained tremendous weight. „It could be 16 kilos in ten weeks, he complained, from 68 to 84 kilos.“ A European kilo being the equivalent of 1000 grams, or more than two American pounds. But it took Grock 14 days only to slim down to his original lightness. How? Read what he wrote in his autobiography: „I have to love when I read and hear, what people do to slim down. I know a way who is as simple as cheap. With the advantage that you don’t have to diet – rope skipping!“ His advice: Do it the first day until your breath gets short. Clock the time and do it the next day one minute longer. The next day another minute – and so on and on. Until the added weight is lost. Grock: „Everybody can jump rope, like bicycle rising. The weight loss it achieves, is radical. But after a couple of days you will even begin to enjoy it.“ 16 kilos in two weeks is a dream result – and why should Grock have lied? I’ll follow his advice now ...

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ANIMALS The Elephant Tragedy, Part 5

A succession of very sad posts, written in tears ...

Patitz

Beautiful Tatjana Patitz ...

Elephants

… and beautiful young elephants ...

Elephants

… and the trust's seal

YES, PEOPLE TRY TO SAVE ELEPHANTS, DESPERATELY! But it’s in vain, I fear, the poachers and the greedy merchants of death are faster. I just met the former super-model Tatjana Patitz, who with her son joined the „David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust“ in Nairobi. It’s a fine society who cares for orphaned elephants in a sanctuary near the Kenyan capital. It’s a kind of „Baby Warden“, and when the animals are grown up, strong and fit enough and in a reproduction age, they are released into the Tsavo National Park, to bring fresh blood to the vanishing herd of elephants there. A nobel project, possibly important for the future of elephants and financed by well known and anonymous people from all over the world. Tatjana Patitz and her son are in the moment (December 2016) the „Godparents“ of eight orphans, lovely creatures as the photo shows. Well meant, my dear, but aren’t you afraid that by releasing the young Laxodonts into the wild you are just sending fesh victims to doom, right before the barrels of the poachers guns? Just read what scientists of the Columbia University in New York discovered while researching 230 tusks, seized in the USA alone between 2002 and 2014: 90 % came from illegal trade! Which means – from poachers! The claim of the dealers (and unfortunately some African governments), that 99 % of the tusks on the market nowadays are sold at official and sanctioned State auctions, is pure rubbish. David Sheldrick had an idealistic idea and Tatjana Patitz supports him angelically, but I fear their rescue action is just a cup of water saved from an ocean of tears and very welcomed by the killers …

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THE OCEANS ARE FULL …

Do you know how many shipwrecks lie in the Seven Seas?

wracks

The world map of sunken ships in the last 2500 years

Titanic

„Titanic“, the finest underwater trophy

IT’S ONLY A MILD ESTIMATE, but the Unesco reckons, that there are 3 millions of them! Counted only those of which a certain amount of remains can be found – the world map, I show here, gives you an impression where they are to be found. From the times, when the Phoenecians roamed the oceans in their merchant fleet to the battleships of wars of the 2oth and 21st century – the finest trophy being the „Titanic“ in the northern Atlantic (see picture). Only roughly one tenth of the wrecks are discovered or located, and circa half of them are worth exploring, because there is enough left to be brought to surface or to be inspected down there. The bottom of the seas is a vast landscape to be explored (well, the only one left!) and as one professional expedition diver resumes: „The fascinating thing is that each wreck, even the most unimportant one, has to tell an enthralling story!“ I had no idea that there are so many wrecks, and it explains why there are hundreds, or thousands of divers underway – simple treasure seekers and oceanic historians, adventurers to make a name of themselves and bloody amateurs with too much money and nothing also to do. I would love to join them …

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ANIMALS Rest In Peace, Giant Earwig!

A requiem for an animal, nobody liked, I think ...

Ohrwurm

Look at the menacing pliers on its behind ...

Ohrwurm

… and the honor of a stamp!

I CAN’T IMAGINE MORE THAN THREE PERSONS who rejoiced when they saw one. The St. Helena Giant Earwig (Labidura herculanea in Latin) was a monster, at least 3 1/s inches long, with gripping pliers of incredible 1 1/2 inches – on their behind! Thanks god, he lived on the remote Atlantic island of St. Helena only, and when I was there, I didn’t see one. Napoleon, the exiled French Emperor, must have seen a couple of the giants, but they disappeared in 1967 and were officially declared extinct in 2014. Then a certain mourning broke out in scientific circles, St. Helena even issued a stamp in 1982 for their „National Insect“, and the museums and collectors around the world scanned their depots for species of the rare earwig. Mostly in vain, only 42 examplaries are known to exist. I don’t mourn particularly emotional, I always hated earwigs, I didn’t see any reason for their existence, and especially one as large as a palm. Sorry …

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ANIMALS The Elephant Tragedy, Part 4

A succession of very sad posts, written in tears ...

Elefanten

Southern Sudan, deadly for elephants ...

 

IT’S A DRAMA, HAPPENING RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES, I will follow it closely and tell you from time to time all of the actual stages of the doom of these wonderful animals. Fourth chapter: The rough figures – and the sad reality! More than 30 000 elephants are slaughtered annually in Africa, one every 15 minutes. The total population was, the world believed, about 500 000, the real figure is 352 271 – a tragedy! Take the new country Southern Sudan, ruined by a cruel civil war and an African Holocaust: In 2001, before independence, the elephant population was recorded at 125 000, in 2016 there were less than 5000! This spring, in the tiny airport of the

Elefanten

… and the Selous in Tanzania

capital Juba nearly 1 1/2 tons of illegal ivory were discovered. – In the Selous Game Reserve of Tanzania alone elephant numbers have dropped from 110 000 to 13 000! The reason? When John Hemingway produced the films „Battle For The Elephants“ (2013) and „Warlords of Ivory“ (2015), he made some disturbing observations: „Across China’s vast middle class some 66 % owned ivory and nearly 80 % intended to buy more.“ There are 1,3 billion Chinese, the middle class consists of roughly one billion, 80 % of those are 800 million – what chance have the peaceful creatures, roaming Africa’s savannas? None! As Hemingway told the following story: „We heard a wealthy Chinese ivory collector say: ‘Elephants are smiling when they die, since they know their tusks are going to the Buddha!“ I’m speechless. Find out what I have to say from now on in my Blog, giving you the inside informations on the war between a strong but helpless creature and the weak but ruthless human killers …

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ART Dive Into The World Of The Blaschkas

Unbelievable what these Bohemian glassmakers created ...

Blaschka

Father & Son Blaschka ...

Blaschka

… and some of their ...

Blaschka

… fragile creatures ...

Blaschka

… from the deep sea ...

Blaschka

… und ein Wesen aus der Tiefe

IT’S A MAN-MADE WONDER, what father & son Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, Bohemien Czechs and glass artists, between 1822 and 1939 produced. I had no idea that they even existed, and that there are about 5000 of their unbelievable figurines are still „alive“ all over the globe and especially in Europe and the United States. And then the remarkable book „A Sea of Glass“ by Drew Harvell reached me, a comparison between the living sub-maritime animals and the dead Blaschka animals, manufactured in glass. Just have a look: Father & son managed to produce the most fragile details, artistry in blown glass which was never achieved before and after. The Blaschkas were especially interested in deep sea creatures and flowers, especially orchids. The animals, because if brought to the surface loose their exceptional beauty, their colors, their shapes, their sizes immediately, and the Blaschkas wanted to conserve it all. They made visible what otherwise only divers and aquarium visitors see – if they are lucky! How did they do it? It was difficult, they had to draw their subjects, study the colors, record a bunch of notes for their work of art, spend hours in aquariums, leave through the the rare literature , consult marine biologists – and they had to develop completely new methods of glass blowing, otherwise they couldn’t have realized the tiny barbs, capillaries and flowing filaments. Compared with their art, Murano glass looks primitive. The Bohemians were clever, they made agreements beforehand with universities, scientific collections and museums, and the Harvard University alone ordered more than 1000 pieces. The good luck for the Blaschkas, or the bad luck for their customers, was that the glass wonders were so brittle, that they often fell to pieces after a slight push, and the makers had to substitute them. Or not, because the animals and flowers were so expensive. In this way hundreds, if not thousands, disappeared, and the survivors can be seen for instance in Boston (USA, the Harvard Museum of Natural History has 4300 flowers), Tübingen, Berlin, Rostock and Leipzig (all in Germany), Vienna (Austria), London (Great Britain), Geneva (Switzerland, there are 94 models in the Museum of Natural History) and Dublin (Ireland). This rare glass art got extinct when Rudolf Blaschka, the son, died in 1939. Even experts have never seen a piece in any auction, there are books and postcards, and recently I found a handwritten letter of the son from 1938, offered for 2499 US-Dollar. The easiest access to very, very unusual glass animals? Travel to Pisa in Italy, ask for the monastery Certosa de Pisa in Calci, where a branch of the Museo di Storia Naturale e del Territorio is housed. There you will see 52 amazing beauties …

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ANIMALS The Elephant Tragedy, Part 3

A succession of very sad posts, written in tears ...

Elefanten

Me and some elephants in Botswana ...

Elefanten

… and the useless burning of tusks in Kenya

IT’S A DRAMA, HAPPENING RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES, I will follow it closely and tell you from time to time all of the actual stages of the doom of these wonderful animals. Third chapter: When governments in Africa sell seized ivory, the sale of illegal tusks increases! On she surface it doesn’t make any sense, but ecologist of the Princeton University discovered, that the crooks use the opportunity to throw tons of poached ivory on the market, claiming it belongs to the legally sold tusks. For example: China bought 108 metric tons of ivory in 2008 for their 36 carving factories, all owned by the communist government – and purchased 66 % more illegal ivory than the year before on the Black Market – the equivalent of 6000 murdered elephants! The optimists expected to ruin the illegal sales or at least to reduce the ivory price, but it was in vain. On the other hand: Since 1989, 21 nations have destroyed (burned) 263 tons of ivory. What for? Just to eyewash the world, to demonstrate what a fabulous government they have. The deeper meaning: To cover the trade of the crooked and corrupt politicians. Take Tanzania for example: This East African country has horded nearly 1000 tons of tusks in warehouses. They applied for the permit to sell it now, arguing that this will drive the price of ivory into the ground and enable the cash-strapped goverment to stop the poaching and protect the elephants. Really? Well, in another post I will give the true figures from the elephant „killing fields“ in Tanzania! Find out what I have to say from now on in my Blog, giving you the inside informations on the war between a strong but helpless creature and the weak but ruthless human killers …

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CURIOSITY The Liberty With A Wristwatch?

Don't laugh! Some years ago it was planned ...

Liberty

Manhattan and the statue ...

Liberty

… and the arm for the watch

THE WORLD FORGOT THIS CRAZY IDEA, not even in New York more than a dozen people remember it: That the Statue of Liberty, out there in the harbor, would get an illuminated wristwatch! It was planned in 1926 when the worst politician the USA ever had (corrupt, criminal, lazy, chased out of office in 1932, disappeared to Europe), Jimmy Walker, was elected Mayor of New York. He assembled even a committee to finance and organize the watch – but it turned out to be too expensive, to difficult technically. Basically the idea was not too bad: A huge clock, visible out of Manhattan from sunset to sunrise, fastened to the torch arm of the monument, with a dial’s diameter of at least six feet, but who would wind it up? And repair it, just in case? I must say, I would have liked it, it would have brought a touch of the 20th century to the Statue of the 19th century. And by the way: 1926 was the year when wristwatches became popular, killing the pocket watches.

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ISLANDS How The Hell Sounds „Jerriais“?

I just listened to the strange language on the island of Jersey ...

Jersey

It's closer to France, but belongs to Great Britain!

I HAD NO IDEA, THIS IDIOM EVEN EXISTED. But when I landed in Jersey’s capital St. Helier and looked for a trough, I overheard two elderly chaps at the counter – and thought they spoke Esperanto or a conversation tool they had invented in their childhood. I asked them and reluctantly they told me, that it was „Jerriais“, the arch-language of the biggest of the Channel Islands. I say „reluctantly“ because they identified me as German, and during the occupation of Jersey between 1940 and 1945, the Jerseyans had used it as secret communication. They told me, that it’s a „dying language“ since only 1000 of the 100 000 inhabitants speak it, and many of them are older than 65. Unesco regards „Jerriais“ as „extremely endangered“ and there are just three teachers left. „We have some very good pop groups who perform in ‘Jerriais‘“, the chaps told me. „You should buy some of their CDs, it sounds great!“ Like a mixture of Latin, French, English and Viking-ish. They put down on a napkin three useful phrases and suggested, I should surprise the Jerseyeans by using them: Welcome „seyiz les beinv’nu“, Good Luck –  „Bouonne cache“, Excuse me „Extchuthez-me“. „And our island’s name is not Jersey“, reminded me one of them, „it’s Jeri! I didn’t succeed in what they wanted, because when I said  „Extchuthez-me“ to a lady in a grocery shop, she remarked to another lady: „Does he speak Jerriais, or what does he mean?“

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