The Last Day Of 2012

To start with – The World Did Not End. But it was a pretty rough ride and that is just based on the average experience. If you live in Syria, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan or some war-torn godforsaken African country, I don’t think “rough ride” is the correct choice of words. Of course, I you live in most European countries or North America, you are likely complaining at a pretty high level. Although, I think even there the social spread continues to increase. More “Haves” with way more than they can ever imagine, a thinning middle class and more people with just enough to make it. Then of course you have politicians – In Germany Social Democrats – bitching moaning and complaining that the job they don’t even have, yet, is paying too little. Dude, you can not call for a revolution with a Champagne glass in your hand while being driven in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, it is not credible. In Italy, Berlusconi has made true on his threat to run for president again – haven’t you made this country suffer enough already?

But onwards, as I said earlier, the world did not come to an end – the Mayans were wrong. Good!

I guess, what I want to convey, what is really in my heart as this year has a mere 2 hours 43 minutes of life left, is that for 2013 we all try to be a little better. Reconsider our standards and adjust them upwards and reach for them…every day.

Rather than writing a bunch of examples (which I did and deleted them…too preachy) just look in your heart, too and be considerate.

Happy New Year

Have A Most Excellent Start Into It

May You Have A Prosperous, Healthy And Satisfying 2013

Yours Markus \m/


P.S.: I know this sounds like Apple Pie and Mother’s Love, but once a year I think it is appropriate.


If you have been traveling by airplane since the late Summer of 2001, you know that you need to arrive with plenty of time ahead of your scheduled flight departing. Depending on the season and the duration of your stay you might as well just meet with who ever you want to meet, right at the baggage claim. Because you need to be so early at the airport in order to catch your flight. Of course after you have navigated through check-in, security check, body patting, luggage CT scanning your plane might just be late. And if it is, it starts: the wait. You walk through the duty free area, where vendors want to convince you that if you pay 50% more than what you’d pay in any regular store for shit you wouldn’t look at under normal circumstances, that you save money and that you got a hell of a deal and that your are a cosmopolitain smartenheimer.
Then your attention is drawn to the newspaper stands and kiosks, where you browse magazines and newspapers only to walk away because they are overpriced, too. But you will be back in another hour and buy a magazine for entertainment purposes. You continue to your gate and sit down. Of course, I did most of that stuff but not all because I felt compelled to write an entry about this waiting time and I needed pictures.
There are always children abandoned at an equally abandoned departure gate. The kids aren’t aware of it, yet and neither are the parents who have lost them. When either become aware, the waiting is instantly dispersed with and a really entertaining time driven by panic, rage and “Home Alone” flashbacks starts.
Then there are people sitting at a snack bar eating Bratwurst and Kartoffelsalat that have had plenty if grill and reheat time with overpriced beer or other even more overpriced drinks.
There are also the few that walk around the airport terminal taking pictures of the granite floor while walking because of the interesting effect.
And then finally, after you’ve exhausted all these options and the magazine you bought because of the entertainment relief it would bring, you sit down and wait….
…and maybe you write a blog entry about your waiting experience.

Stay sharp.
Markus \m/

Winter In Germany

It really pains me, but Winter in Germany exists primarily on postcards from the 1950s. Possibly, Winter also exists in travel brochures and websites that use these postcards, but possibly only.
Why do I tell you this? – because not only is there no sun in Germany right now, but instead of snow, it’s raining – hence now white Christmas. And that is a real bummer.
But it’s not all French Art Movie gray. There are real highlights. And the best of them all I will share now. All credit goes to my little Aunty G, the real queen of the kitchen, the culinary sorceress with the magic spoon. Besides making the Undisputed World’s Best Lasagna, she also introduced us to Espresso with whipped cream.
And let me tell you:”It does not get much better than that. Try it yourself.”

So now stay sharp and enjoy your espresso with whipped cream on top.

Markus \m/

The Day After…Christmas

After the feasting gave us a brief reprieve, we went for a walk in my hometown. Stores were closed but the windows still had the Christmas decorations in. One if the stores used the Muppets – the Stones aren’t the only ones with a major anniversary.
Fossy bear and Kermit applauding Ms Piggy for another stellar performance.
Ma Piggy still performing a bathing in the applause.
The classic end of the classic opening sequence – last thing is Gonzo’s trumpet.
Kermit applauding Ms Piggy at the end of the show. And this closes also this segment. On to more about my hometown on Christmas day.

There is a building opposite the Reis Museum, that has a face for its night lighting.
I also saw a blocking pin, that prevents unauthorized access to certain areas.
The top of these pins shows the logo of my hometown. What is the name of my hometown?
Send a correct answer via the comments section and I will send you a full size image (TIFF file) o you choice from my blog.
Finally, an image of a memorial to the Jews that were killed in my hometown during the third Reich.

I hope you have had a Merry Christmas, stay sharp.

Yours Markus \m/

The Tying Up Of Loose Christmas Ends

So here we are – less than 16h anywhere in the world until Christmas Eve. For children, however in America and Britain, it means to wait just a little longer – until tomorrow morning, Dec. 25. That is because even Santa Clause must obey the laws if physics and they define the impossibility of being at two locations s(t=0) at the same time. Ergo, most European children get presents on Christmas Eve while Britain and North America is served on Christmas morning. It is all logistics, children. Of course in this day and age one could expect that Santa Inc. would just outsource the shipping operations to Fedex, UPS or DHL. Maybe sign a global strategic alliance or at least multiple regional ones. But that is bit going to happen, because the delivery man union would have a hissy-fit when the MOU (memorandum of understanding) would stipulate specifics for delivery man dress and facial hair growth. Anyway, we are bit going to solve the staggered delivery problem in the wee hours before said delivery is to take place.
Thus let me tie up a few loose ends.
For example two more nice angles to symbolize the season.
Friendly faces with an expression of anticipation.
And having said that, I wish all of you in the world a very Merry Christmas, time to find rest and solace. Even if you are not celebrating Christmas, the core of Christmas is about humanity and love. If you can find that you HAVE a Merry Christmas.

Markus \m/

Executive Perks

I was recently privileged enough to enjoy the perk of Executive Bathroom usage.
To be upfront. For years I had visions and imaginations, yes even dreams and fantasies – if you will -what following natures call would be like behind the hallowed gates of the executive bathroom.
And then completely unexpected I was handed the proverbial keys.
There is a Simpsons episode, where Homer is promoted to executive at the Springfield Nuclear Powerstation and as a perk gets the golden key to executive bathrooms. Upon first use he is greeted with the splendor of marble, gold and angel choirs singing. Not quite my experience, but close.
Look at this view. In those lonely moments of serenity, the eyes are treated to the blank canvas of white faux marble tiles. Visual accents are provided by two bands of significantly smaller tiles that are further enhanced with richly detailed ornamentations that soothe the mind and strengthen the bold and wise resolve of the Titans Of Industry seeking relieve here. The silent sentry of a stall separation wall lulled me instantly into a relaxed sense of privacy and confidentiality as one would expect in an executive bathroom.
Upon successful bladder evacuation, one proceeds to the sink for hand cleansing. The soothing that started at the procellain liquid receptacle, continued when my visual and olfactory senses feasted on the beauty of a freshly cut flower bouquet.
As I prepared to re-enter the rough seas of global economic competition by trying to dry my freshly shampooed and rised hands, I was ushered into the final stage of restroom relaxation. Instead of a towel – which would have been helpful – I was treated to more art (hand painted still life) and a contraption playing testament to the executive bathroom designers ability of planning ahead, anticipating the executive’s every hidden desire – a towel rack, which could in a pinch also double as a shirt or pants rack. Unfortunately it was missing said towel, nor had I have to clean and subsequently dry a shirt or pants. Still having wet hands I wiped them on my pants, which then put me in a position where I needed a rack to get my wet pants dried. This is smart thinking , since there was a rack at my disposal….kick me in the nuts and call me silly, but was I lucky or what?
And this ends my awestruck report from the upper echelons of the Executive Bathroom. So please stay sharp.

Exhilaratedly and luxuriously relieved
Markus \m/

Christmas Extreme

More on Christmas and the occasional oddities it produces.
I can start to see how wars cab be fought over religion. Religions and spiritual philosophies come with their own icons and imagery to imagine what the gods or the single god may look like. Aggression takes the stage when believers of one religion feel offended by perceived disrespect of others. Whether it is worth starting a war over or whether a civilized dialog about the importance and the magnitude of the transgression is more advisable is not the topic today – choose dialog.
But, on the final stretch to consumption Christmas, I observed that there is no taste left anymore – a Buddha in classic meditation pose as a Christmas tree ornament in an just as classic Santa Clause coat.
Next frogs also in the classic meditating Buddha pose.
And then – although it is not related to Christmas – the Made in China By Cheapest Labor Mass Manufactured Buddhas.
Personally, I find it sad, when religious or philosophical icons are sold of the lower shelves at a Pre-Christmas sale.

Pensively and asking you to stay sharp.

Markus \m/

More Christmasification – Mehr Verweihnachtung – Plus Noëlisation – Più Natalizzazione

O.K., it’s time for an update on Christmasification around the orb we call earth.
More trees went up at work. And most impressively, one girl must have been ultra-good. Because she unashamedly placed loot underneath her tree.
The above example is of a poor engineer. The message is: “I am in the Christmas spirit. I am in the mood for the festive season.” But maybe and just maybe, it might simply say:”I am ready to shop, bitches.”
20121216-175740.jpg Then there is the “Loot tree”.
Dadadaaaaa. This signals:”I am in control. Santa, you better deliver the goods, because else we may have to put you on a PIP (performance improvement plan), which means no bonus eligibility. And no private use of the company sled and reindeers.”
Then there are all sorts of manifestations Santa Claus characters, as these two guys illustrate.

Festively asking you to stay in the Christmas spirit and sharp, of course.

Markus \m/

What Germans Do Best

Engineering, that’s what we do best. I drove recently from Hong Kong into mainland China. In the bus, sat a Chinese man next to me. In fact, I was the only foreigner on the bus. We chatted a little about the Jeremy Clarkson book I was reading and about cars – Clarkson write about cars and very funny at that. My seat neighbor exclaimed full of reverence, that “mechanical engineering is what German are known for and that Germans are simply the best at it.” Now, Germans do engineering, but we do a lot of other things, too, even well and even humor. We do German humor, British humor is a bit, well, it’s insufficiently German.
And regarding German engineering prowess, I have to say, there are plenty of top shelf engineers anywhere in the world to be found. But as I was browsing in my father-in-law’s attic I found a real gem, a living, breathing testament to German mechanical engineering….exhale, it’s not a 1971 Porsche Carrera S or a 917.
No it’s a camera. A Rollei 35S. All metal, precision engineering a with a light-scale, a super-tight package, all manual controls and a collapsible 40/2.8 lens.20121216-172514.jpg
You see the lens is retracted. The next image shows the lens pulled out.
It’s a work of beautiful craftmanship and ingenuity. The camera only works when the lens has been pulled out an locked with a small left twist of the lens barrel.
The exposure controls are located on the front side. Aperture on the left and exposure on the right. There is even a selenium based exposure meter on the topside.
So why all the fuss and excitement about a camera that does not have auto-focus, GPS, ABS or at the very least digital. Because the camera was introduced 48 years ago and is the second smallest 35mm film camera in the world. It requires a knowledgable photographer and rewards its user with excellent images thanks to its superb mechanics an optics. A camera from today that could be comparable is possibly the Fuji X-100, although it is a bigger package and offers no proper manual focus. Something that can stand the test of time for so long is great engineering and maybe that’s what traditional German engineering is.

Enthusiastically and imploringly requesting you to say sharp.

Yours Markus \m/