Thursday, 6 December 2007

Commercial therapy

'That's why you write songs, to get your feelings out and hope they make money.'
Dolly Parton
interview in Metro 6/12-7

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Sådan, Brandt!

»Anmelderne arbejder ud fra et nyhedskriterium, mens vi er på en livsvarig mission for at skrive sange, vi kan stå inde for.«
Steffen Brandt, forsanger i tv·2
i interview med Ekstra Bladet


Und mehr aus dem Land Baden-Württemberg, das schon das perfekte Slogan hat… Schwaben Bräu legt aber noch einen drauf!


fra Schwarzwalder Panoramastrasse

Saturday, 3 November 2007

The Great Floppo

The script for a sketch performed in April in Sandweiler as the opening act of the preliminary workshop show to Dream 2007 (do see other blogposts about this project!). It's about a magician and what real magic can actually do.

© Bjørn Clasen 2007 ― Use with the author's explicit permission only

(loud, exaggerating every syllable) Ladies and gentlemen! I have the big pleasure to present to you the fantastic... the amazing... the magnificent... GREAT... FLOPPOOOOO!

Floppo: (enters the stage triumphantly, does an easy trick or two... Then announces, silently and with confidence...) And now, ladies and gentlemen... The trick you have all been waiting for. The trick that made me... The Great Floppo! The animal magic...

(Mobile phone rings; Floppo looks surprised, then slightly embarrassed, produces a phone and answers it...)

Floppo: Yes?... Oh, hi darling!... Listen, I’m in the middle of... What?... But... b... but honey... honey, listen... honey... It was nothing... Hey, listen, I’m standing here... I swear, it was nothing... A kiss on the cheek... But I’m here on stage! I cannot talk! I have to talk to you later! Darl... darling?... Honey? (angry, annoyed, puts the phone back in his pocket...) Dammit!! (looks slightly embarrassed around the crowd, then collects his wits...) So... Er... So, ladies and gentlemen, as I was saying, this is my big, my incredible (more silently) my superb... ANIMAL MAGIC! So, I would need a volunteer... Who wants to be turned into a horse? Now, now, don’t be shy... How about you, young lady? (picks a woman from the audience...) Do you want to become like a horse?

Volunteer #1: (shy) I guess so...

Floppo: You like horses, don’t you?

Volunteer #1: Yes, they’re nice...

Floppo: OK, let’s get gallopping then. Now, when I say the magic combination of letters E.V.O.L., you will become just like a horse. Are you ready?

Volunteer #1: Er, yes...

Floppo: (doing some stupid and typical magician gestures) E – V – O – L!

(Nothing happens, the volunteer looks bedazzled, Floppo looks confused and tries to smile while leading her back to her seat)

(This sequence repeats itself with two more volunteers, each acting increasingly unimpressed when coming on stage, Floppo acting more and more desperate and nervous, not succeeding in turning volunteer #2 into a pig, and #3 into a dog; making up excuses for why it doesn’t work. He also changes the order of the magic letters: V.O.L.E and O.V.E.L., respectively. A few from the audience start getting up to leave the show...)

Volunteer #1: (from the audience) Oh, he’s rubbish!

Volunteer #2: (from the audience) We want our money back!

Volunteer #3: (from the audience) Booooo!

Floppo: No! Wait! Let me try once more! (desperately drags out a fourth ‘volunteer’, grasps for air as he says the magic words...) You will now... turn into... a... a cat! Er... L – E – V – O...!!

(As nothing happens this time either, volunteer #4 just walks away shaking her head, The volunteers and a few other from the audience stand up and leave... Floppo tries to make them stay, in vain, when his mobile phone goes off again...)

Floppo: Yes?... What?... Oh, honey?!... Yes... Yes! No, it doesn’t go well at all, I... I think I get the magic word wrong... What?... Really?... You do??... Oh, darling... Me too, I do, I do... I do..... (his expression now turned into dreaminess and being-in-love, he raises his hands into the air...) L – O – V – E!

(The four volunteers suddenly come running back on stage from different corners, now distinctly behaving as each of the animals they were supposed to turn into, and start ‘animaling’ around Floppo in a circle, or bothering the real audience...)

Floppo: Love! The magic word is... love!!

(If you really wanna make it show-like here — also in order to create a link to the next parts of the show — and if you have the time to rehearse it properly, you could have a choir, or part of the audience singing the Looove, looove, looove... Looove, looove, looove... from The Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’)


For snart nogle år siden deltog jeg i et kursus i hukommelsesteknik. Om det decideret har ændret noget, skal jeg lade være usagt hér, men en af teknikkerne var at lave ord eller sætninger ikke med selve det, du skal huske, men med noget, der får dig til at tænke på det, du skal huske.

Jeg bruger ofte teknikken til at huske fx små gøremål, og ind imellem skriver jeg ikke kun det, jeg skal huske, ned bagefter, men også netop huskeordene og -sætningerne. Dette digt er komponeret af sådanne sætninger. Open for interpretations.

Munke spiser sundt
af Bjørn Clasen

The Queen's war theatre
Like a wi-fi competition in a supermarket
Glass dungeon of luck
Vildt, en 13'er! Vildt!

Sjette danske himmel
Fair pet kick
Bad breath in a 307

Billeder af ungarsk mad
Magda i Tirana
TUI — toi-toi-toi

Beschwerde an Autohaus Werner in Saarburg

Sehr geehrter Kundenservice

Am 30/10 war ich bei Ihnen, um vier Räder mit Winterreifen montieren zu lassen.

Bei der Anfrage hat man mir mitgeteilt, dass der Preis 16 € betragen würde. Die Rechnung betrug aber am Ende ganze 38 €; Mehrwertsteuer, Auswuchtung zwei der Räder sowie eine Glühlampe waren dazu gekommen.

Über die Mehrwertsteuer hätten Sie informieren können ― immerhin beträgt sie 19% Aufpreis, und bei Detailhandel und -Service darf der Kunde erwarten, dass der angegebene Preis "alles inbegriffen" ist.

Die Auswuchtung ― naja ― aber jedenfalls was die Glühlampe angeht hätten Sie auch fragen können, ob ich die nun wirklich ersetzt haben wollte, da ich nicht darum gebeten habe. Wobei ich Ihnen dankbar bin, dass Sie entdeckt haben, dass sie nicht mehr funktionierte, hätte ich jedoch gern selber darüber entschieden, ob ich sie auch bei Ihnen hätte ersetzen wollen. Es könnte ja z.B. sein, dass ich das selber mache.

Ausserdem habe ich nahezu zwei Stunden statt die angegebenen 45 Minuten auf mein Fahrzeug gewartet. Also wieder eine Frage der ungenügenden oder ungenauen Information. Mich stört es ja nicht, dass es zwei Stunden dauert, nur wäre ich gerne darüber informiert gewesen, da ich auch besseres zu tun habe, als bei Ihnen zu warten. Da ich am Ende schon verspätet war, habe ich dann auch darauf verzichtet, bei Ihnen ein Staubsauger für 59 € zu kaufen. Den kauf' ich dann eben anderswo.

Was aber am schlimmsten ist, ist dass es sich herausstellte, dass Sie nach der Montage die Winterreifen DEREN LUFTDRUCK NICHT ÜBERPRÜFT HABEN!! Die Reifen, so habe ich später festgestellt, hatten einen Druck von 1,40 bzw. 1,50 vorne, wobei 2,20 bei meinem Wagen vorgeschrieben sind, und 0,40 (!!!) bzw. 1,20 hinten, hier sind 2,00 vorgeschrieben.

Wie Sie ja wissen, gefährdet ein falscher Reifendruck die Verkehrssicherheit bedeutend. Ich weiss, es ist meine Verantwortung, dass mein Fahrzeug den Sicherheitsvorschriften entspricht ― aber wenn ich Fachleute bitte, eine einfache Aufgabe für mich auszuführen, darf ich auch erwarten, dass dies professionell und komplett ausgeführt wird.

Da Ihre Leistungen meine normalen Erwartungen nicht erfüllt haben, schlage ich vor, dass Sie 20 € rückerstatten ― mein Kontonummer ist unten angegeben ― für ein nicht-kompletter Service und für ungenügender Kundeninformation. Ich behalte mir dazu das Recht vor, diesen Brief sowie Ihre Antwort auf meinem Weblog zu veröffentlichen. Es ist also Ihre Wahl, ob Sie gute oder schlechte (aber kostenlose!) Werbung für Ihr Autohaus machen wollen.

Im Voraus besten Dank!
Mit freundlichen Grüssen
Bjørn Clasen

Sunday, 28 October 2007

One of Murphy's less-known laws

A fine is a tax for doing wrong.
A tax is a fine for doing well.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Dream 2007— 'the most remarkable
Luxembourg 2007 event so far'!

'Amid a host of cultural events, perhaps the most remarkable so far has been a performance of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in four languages at once.'

from the below article in France News:

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Theologians defend polygamy
Teologer forsvarer flerkoneri

Dansk originaltekst lige under den engelske oversættelse

Demanding of an Iraqi interpreter to choose between his two wives would be in conflict with classic Christian principles, theologians say.

While politicians are pondering on what to do with an Iraqi interpreter seeking recognition as a refugee together with his two wives, theologians already have the answer: Let him keep both.

'We cannot just impose our Christian ethics on everybody, and this man is not applying for becoming a Christian, but for protection. He has lived lawfully with two wives in Iraq, and I think it would be right if he brings them both', says Viborg's bishop Karsten Nissen.

He is backed up by a number of theologians who all find Christian justifications for the interpreter's right to have two wives.

The man was part of a group of Iraqi interprets that came to Denmark recently as they were considered to be in danger after helping Danish soldiers in Iraq.

Right-wing party: One must leave
He brought along two wives, with whom he has three children in total. But this is not OK according to both the Danish People's Party and a number of feminists. Pointing out that polygamy is illegal in Denmark, they demand that the interpreter either leaves the country or divorces one of his wives.

But it actually says nowhere in the Bible that polygamy is a sin. And the Danish People's Party's demand is in conflict with a classic Christian principle expressed already by Paul, according to Hans Raun Iversen, lecturer in systematic theology.

'Paul said that you shall not rip people out of the state in which you meet them. In other words: Given that the man is already lawfully married to both wives in Iraq, Denmark can not just demand that he divorces one of them.'

Polygamy is not un-Christian
Professor Svend Andersen, doctor theologiae, finds no justification either, to claim that polygamy is un-Christian. He refers to philosopher and theologian K.E. Løgstrup who said that marriage is not one and the same thing within all cultures.

But the Danish People's Party politician and theologian Jesper Langballe rejects his colleagues. In his opinion, this case is neither about charity, nor about Christianity.

'I do not get them at all. It is very un-Lutheran to make laws based on charity. In Denmark, bigamy is not allowed. The law is the law, and it must be respected. That's all there actually is to it.', he says.

Anne M. Sørensen in Politiken 31/7-7
Translated by Bjørn Clasen

At kræve, at en irakisk tolk skal vælge mellem sine to hustruer, vil være i strid med klassiske kristne principper, siger teologer.

Mens politikerne grubler over, hvad de skal stille op med en irakisk tolk, der søger flygtningestatus sammen med sine to koner, har teologerne allerede svaret: lad ham beholde dem begge to.

»Vi kan ikke bare lægge vores kristne etik ned over nogen, og denne mand søger jo ikke om at blive kristen, men om at blive beskyttet. Han har levet lovformeligt med to kvinder i Irak, og jeg synes, det er rigtigt, at han fik dem begge med«, siger Viborgs biskop, Karsten Nissen.

Han bakkes op af en række teologer, der alle kan finde kristne argumenter for tolkens ret til to koner.

Den irakiske tolk var en del af den gruppe, som for nylig kom til Danmark, fordi de skønnedes at være i fare efter at have hjulpet de danske soldater i Irak.

DF: Ud med den ene
Med sig havde han to koner, med hvem han i alt har tre børn, men den går ikke, mener både Dansk Folkeparti (DF) og en række feminister. I Danmark er flerkoneri ulovligt, påpeger de og kræver, at tolken enten rejser ud af landet eller lader sig skille fra den ene hustru.

Men det står faktisk ikke nogen steder i Bibelen, at flerkoneri er en synd. Og DF’s krav strider imod et klassisk kristent princip, som allerede Paulus formulerede, mener lektor i systematisk teologi, Hans Raun Iversen.

»Paulus sagde, at man ikke må rykke folk ud af den stand, de bliver antruffet i. Det betyder, at når manden allerede er lovligt gift med begge koner i Irak, så kan Danmark ikke bare forlange, at han lader sig skille fra den ene«, siger han til Politiken.

Flerkoneri er ikke ukristent
For professor, dr. theol. Svend Andersen er der heller ikke belæg for at sige, at polygami (flerkoneri) er ukristent. Han henviser til filosoffen og teologen K.E. Løgstrup, der mente, at ægteskab ikke er én bestemt ting i alle kulturer.

Men DF-politikeren og teologen Jesper Langballe afviser sine kolleger. Efter hans mening handler denne sag hverken om næstekærlighed eller kristendom.

»Jeg fatter dem slet ikke. Det er ganske uluthersk at lovgive efter næstekærlighed. I Danmark er bigami ikke tilladt. Lov er lov, og lov skal holdes. Længere er den faktisk ikke«, siger han.

Anne M. Sørensen i Politiken 31/7-7

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Éteignez le moteur au lieu de gâcher l'image de votre employeur

Courriel envoyé à Monsieur Paul Hoffmann, chef du service «Circulation» de la ville de Luxembourg:

Bonjour Monsieur Hoffmann

J'aimerais attirer votre attention sur un problème que je rencontre souvent en ville: De nombreux chauffeurs laissent leurs moteurs allumés pendant que leurs voitures sont garées p.ex. pour attendre des collègues (camion(ette)s d'ouvriers, même portant l'emblême de la Ville de Luxembourg) ou des clients (taxis ― p.ex. chaque jour à côté de la cabine téléphonique à la place de l'Étoile), ou même pendant qu'ils déchargent des livraisons pour des magasins (grand pécheur: Michel Greco!).

Les recherches montrent que déjà après 10 secondes à point mort, cela coûte moins d'essence ― donc moins de pollution ET moins cher pour le chauffeur ou son firme!! ― d'éteindre le moteur et le rallumer quand on doit repartir.

Je sais que la Police n'est pas de votre ressort ― mais pouvez-vous faire quelque chose afin de motiver les chauffeurs ignorants de penser un peu à l'environnement, à leurs poches au celles de leurs chefs, et à leur entourage (bruit et mauvais image du firme)?

Je vous remercie d'avance pour votre attention à ce problème.

Bjørn Clasen

Friday, 7 September 2007


»Hele verden vil have USA ud af Irak« — således skriver Ritzau, og således viderebringer velanskrevne danske medier som fx Politiken i denne artikel ukritisk Ritzaus ord.

Umiddelbart efter fortsætter påstanden med sætningen »Et flertal af verdens befolkning ønsker de amerikanskledede tropper ud af Irak, viser en måling foretaget af BBC.« — en sætning, der vel skal forstås som en begrundelse for påstanden i rubrikken (overskriften), men som i stedet uddyber, at det så sandelig kun er… en påstand. For BBC har vel ikke spurgt alle folk i Verden?

Ritzau — og Politiken… og de andre ukritiske medier — graver deres hul endnu større ved derefter at skrive: »mener to tredjedele af de adspurgte verden over«. Aha, nu er der pludselig kun tale om »nogle adspurgte« og dét »verden over«, hvilket viser sig at dække over nogle få mennesker i bogle få lande hist og pist… »I alt er 23.000 mennesker i 22 lande blevet spurgt«. Sic!

Jeg er ikke alene træt af Ritzaus amatøragtige måde at drive journalistik på, men også af de danske mediers lige så slemme sløseri ved blot at bruge Ritzaus ord og indhold. Men ikke mindst er det skandaløst, som medierne manipulerer med læserne ved at påstå at 23.000 personer gør det ud for hele verden. Da det oven i købet kun er to tredjedele, der har den i rubrikken som »hele verdens« påståede holdning, bliver tallet nærmere 15.000.

15.000 — det er 1/450.000 (ja, én firehundredehalvtredstusindedel) af Verdens befolkning. Det svarer til, at 12 (ja, tolv!) danskere gør det ud for hele Danmarks befolknings holdninger. Nedværdigende.

Bjørn Clasen

P.S.: Dette indlæg er ment som en kritik af metoden. »Undersøgelsen«s emne — hvorvidt USA bør trække sig ud af Irak — tager jeg ikke stilling til her.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Doire ― That's one way to handle that

'The official BBC regulations for news broadcasts is that the city should be referred to as Londonderry during the initial reference, and Derry subsequently.'

from the Wikipedia article on the Derry-Londonderry name dispute

Tuesday, 4 September 2007


»PMS-indekset var i går præget af udslag i flere forskellige retninger og virkede som sædvanlig uforudsigeligt.«
fra Politikens ATS 23/8-7

Why did they show up then?

Football provides us with the most amazing stories:

'Bon Accord were a football team from Aberdeen, Scotland who suffered the worst defeat in any British senior football match, losing 36-0 to Arbroath on September 12, 1885 in a first round match of the Scottish Cup. […] Bon Accord were in reality a cricket team, Orion Cricket Club, who were mistakenly invited to enter the Scottish Cup instead of Orion FC, an Aberdeen football club. […] On September 3, 1887, Arbroath were again drawn in the same competition against Orion — this time the football club rather than the cricket club were correctly invited. The result on this occasion was 20-0 in favour of Arbroath.'

from a Wikipedia article,
which contains quite a few other funny details…

Incidentally, I think I found a new favourite (name among) Scottish football club(s) — Clachnacuddin sounds even nicer than Dunfermline (though I just found out that the classic rock band Nazareth actually comes from there).
Well, I'm off to Inverness on Saturday!

Et land af socialdemokratier

»Det er endnu et socialdemokrati plus 10 procent, der er født. […] Danskerne vil slet ikke have andet! Hvilket ikke mindst vor personlighedsforandrede statsminister og hans stadig mere velfærdshungrende Venstre er dokumentation for.«

Kilde: Leder i Ekstra Bladet 31/8-7

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

The language of love
— Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream

The language of love — Dream 2007 at Schungfabrik
by Duncan Roberts

Believe it or not, Mickey Rooney is probably responsible for my love of Shakespeare. At the age of nine, a television screening of his performance as Puck in William Dieterle’s 1935 production of A Midsummer Nights Dream was my first conscious contact with the Bard’s work. I clearly remember talking about the film to schoolmates the following day, and sniggering because there was a fellow called Bottom in the film (famously played by James Cagney).

Rooney’s performance has been savaged by critics down the years as excessive and over-the-top. Mercifully, there was little of that on evidence last week in Tony Kingston’s production of Dream 2007, an ambitious project that took the separate worlds so clearly delineated in Shakespeare’s play to another level by distinguishing them through language. Kingston, who has worked in Berlin, chose German, Luxembourgish and English as his three languages — though perhaps it would have been more reflective of Luxembourg’s demographics to have French rather than German.

The German, you see, posed the biggest problem with this production. Used by the lovers Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius and Helena, as well as others at the court of Theseus, it was often incomprehensible as a few of the actors —the non-native speakers— struggled with their diction and swallowed consonants under hurried lines. Not all were guilty — and much of the acting from the lovers was of a very good standard — but it did cause a stirring unease in this writer as the play opened. Then again, the director himself has said that audiences come to watch a Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Mechanicals and the Fairies, and so it was with a thump of relief that the former burst on stage.

They made their entrance singing popular local drinking song “Kättchen, Kättchen...”, and that set their stall — loud and proud, Henner (Bottom), Quill (Quince), Schnauz (Snout) and the others are the comic relief the play so badly requires. Jean Schmit and Christiane Feinen-Thibold, as Bottom and Quince, commanded the stage with their booming sing-song Luxembourgish, and were ably supported by their companions. Schmit was actually responsible for the translation of the text into Luxembourgish, and did a bang-up job — he had much fun later when Bottom gets to play with the fairies and takes great delight in rolling names such as Moschtardkaer (mustard seed) off his tongue. He turned out to be pretty much the star of the show and towards the climax, when the mechanicals perform their production of Pyramus and Thisbe for the wedding guests, he lead the Mechanicals in one of the funniest scenes witnessed on the Luxembourg stage in recent years.

Schmit was matched by Matej Skorjak as Puck, a fantastically physical performer whose Slovenian accent proved just perfect for the mischievous fairy. Skorjak had the audience transfixed whenever he addressed them, and although his acrobatics were limited by the size of the venue, they lent a fresh dynamic to the production. He was joined by the wonderfully expressive Donatienne Spiteri, whose face lit up the stage as Cobweb, and the elegant pairing of Bjørn Clasen and Jessica Whitely as Oberon and Titania —the latter providing the sort of clear diction so lacking among the lovers.

Live music and dance provided more sideshow entertainment and was performed with grace and style — although perhaps a touch more pep would have livened up the last dance, especially during the Shakira sequence. The simplicity of the set allowed the perfect costumes to shine.

So, did the experiment in language work? Well, yes and no. Separating the different worlds by language fulfils Kingston’s vision of Luxembourg providing the link between different nationalities, a reflection of the country’s international character. How many in the audience would have understood all three languages is questionable — all around were whispers of translation, while others followed the handy synopsis to follow the plot during a “foreign” language scene.

But the rapturous applause that greeted the final curtain was well deserved — this was a brave and unique production and it was just reward for the hard work put in by all over the last six months or so.

from 352

Sunday, 5 August 2007


Ein Mensch mit keinem Grund zur Klage
Als dem der allgemeinen Lage,
Klagt trotzdem und auf jeden Fall,
Klagt herzlich, laut und überall,
Daß jedermann sich überzeugt,
Wie tief ihn Not und Sorgen beugt.
Wenn er sich nämlich unterfinge
Zu sagen, daß es gut ihm ginge,
So ginge es ihm nicht mehr gut:
Der Neid, der rasche Arbeit tut,
Hätt ihn vielleicht schon über Nacht
Um all sein Gutergehn gebracht.
Drum hat der Mensch im Grunde recht,
Der gleich erklärt, ihm ging' es schlecht.

Gedicht von Eugen Roth
das ich ursprünglich in Stuttgarts Strassenbahn bemerkt habe...

Die Wahrheit

"Was kann die Wahrheit noch sein, wenn man sie nicht mehr aussprechen darf."
Harald "Toni" Schumacher
auf Wikiquote

Siehe auch sein Interview im stern.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Robbie In The Pet Shop

My mix of a song I didn't know
by an artist I do know, kinda:

Friday, 20 July 2007

Mandela shows the way

It's funny, just yesterday I had a discussion on politics and ideals, and I mentioned that every person seems to lose her or his ideals when s/he gains power, as apparently temptation and greed come with power, be it on microlevel as an (even middle) manager, or on macrolevel as a state leader.

That's not the funny part. The funny ― and nicely surprising ― part is that I mentioned Nelson Mandela as one of the extremely few exceptions. I mean, he sat in a disgusting prison cell for 28 years, yet without losing his mind and his ideals, and once he came out and actually gained power, he had the greatness to actually cooperate with his rivals, making them vice presidents, instead of taking some violent revenge.

That's still not the funny part, but here it comes: Today, I then read that Nelson Mandela has co-founded a group of old leaders to address The World's most important challenges. The fantastic people who have chosen to still make a difference rather than retire and rest are The Elders.

'I know The Elders will support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict and inspire hope where there is despair.'
Nelson Mandela

You'd be better off taking the walk

'The elusive route to contentment […] lies not in material possessions but in experiences […].'

Read this interesting article on 'The experience economy', written by James Harkin.

Another great logo

The idea of simplifying a country's rough shape into such geometrically simple a shape that is a triangle, is brilliant.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's flag uses exactly this concept. And Wines Of Argentina even adds to it by not only using an easily-recognisable triangle as the country's shape, but even elegantly placing parts of a circle around it, thereby placing the country significantly on the globe.

A logo does not get much better than this. ¡Salud!

Saturday, 30 June 2007

Cairdeas ― Freundschaft ― Friendship

'Is maith an scáthán súil charad.'

'Der beste Spiegel ist das Auge eines Freundes.'

Gälisches Sprichwort

'The best mirror is a friend's eye.'
Gaelic proverb

Jiddu Krishnamurti
Fear and love ― La peur et l'amour

Les traductions en français, reprises après les citations en anglais, ont été faites par Colette Joyeux dans «De l'amour et de la solitude», publié par les éditions du Livre de Poche.

'[F]ear comes into being when our comprehension of relationship is not complete. Relationship is not only between people, but between ourselves and nature, between ourselves and property, between ourselves and ideas; and as long as that relationship is not fully understood, there must be fear. Life is relationship. To be, is to be related, and without relationship there is no life. Nothing can exist in isolation, and as long as the mind is seeking isolation, there must be fear. So, fear is not an abstraction; it exists only in relation to something.'
New York, extract from the 3rd public talk, 18 June 1950

'It is only when the mind is really quiet, when it is no longer expecting, asking, demanding, seeking, possessing, being jealous, fearful, anxious ― when the mind is really silent, only then is there a possibility of love. When the mind is no longer projecting itself, pursuing its particular sensations, demands, urges, hidden fears, seeking self-fulfilment, held in bondage to belief ― only then is there a possibility of love. But most of us think love can go with jealously, with ambition, with the pursuit of personal desires and ambitions. Surely, when these things exist, love is not.'
Ojai (California), extract from the 14th public talk, 28 August 1949

«[L]a peur naît lorsque la compréhension que nous avons d'une relation est incomplète. La relation est non seulement le lien existant entre les personnes, mais aussi entre nous-mêmes et la nature, entre nous-mêmes et la propriété, entre nous-mêmes et nos idées. Et tant que cette relation n'est pas pleinement comprise, la peur est inévitablement présente. La vie est relation. Être, c'est être relié, et sans relation il n'est point de vie. Rien ne peut exister isolément, et tant que l'esprit recherche l'isolement, la peur ne peut être évitée. La peur n'est donc pas une abstraction ; elle n'existe que par rapport à quelque chose.»
New York, extrait de la 3e causerie publique, le 18 juin 1950.

«C'est seulement lorsque l'esprit est tout à fait calme, immobile, silencieux, lorsqu'il n'attend plus, ne demande plus, n'exige plus rien, lorsqu'il cesse d'être possesif, jaloux, peureux, anxieux, ce n'est qu'alors que l'amour devient possible. Quand l'esprit cesse de se proteger, de courir après la satisfaction des sensations, des demandes, des besoins, des peurs secrètes qui lui sont propres, qu'il n'est plus en quête d'accomplissement personnel, ni esclave d'une croyance ― c'est alors, et alors seulement que l'amour devient possible. Mais la plupart d'entre nous croyons que l'amour peut aller de pair avec la jalousie, l'ambition, la recherche de visées et de plaisirs personnels. Or il va de soi que l'existence de tels penchants exclut l'amour.»
Ojai (Californie), extrait de la 14e causerie publique, le 28 août 1949.

Eventyrligt ― Fair enough

my translation:
Caption: 'After being in
Snow White, the mirror found a new career.'
Mirror: 'Heidi Olsen is the fairest of them all…'

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Das perfekte Slogan
― einfach, lustig und zeitlos

Das Slogan des Bundeslandes Baden-Württemberg lautet "Wir könnnen alles. Außer Hochdeutsch." Besser geht's nimmer. Einfach genial. Wer sagt, das Deutsche kein Humor haben!?!

Werbe- und Sympathiekampagne des Landes Baden-Württemberg

Und mehr dazu auf der Seite der deutschen EU-Präsidentschaft 2007

Sunday, 24 June 2007

One more great photo artist: Luc Kohnen

I have added a new link in the list to the left: Luc Kohnen Photowork.

Among the galleries are wonderful photos from Chile, from Oman, and Luxembourg by Night. See for yourself ― the photos are really beautiful.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

How a Pole looks at the World

'When asked to describe the Polish national character, [Barbara] Labuda [Poland's ambassador to Luxembourg] returns to the spiritual model. She gives a powerful example that, for her, represents the sentiments of many of her countrymen. Attending a spiritual retreat in Germany with a thousand people of diverse nationalities, she and all the participants were tasked with an oath of silence for four days. "It was amazing ― all these people together in absolute silence. At the end of the four days, the leader of the conference said that in understanding the power of silence, we can understand the power of the spoken word. Then she asked us to say the one word that lay in our hearts, which had special meaning after so long a silence. Slowly the words came from the nationalities represented there… some said 'gratitude', some said 'love', some said 'beauty'. A member of our Polish group stood up and said the word that reasoned within all of us, after which we all raised our thumbs in unison. The word he said was freedom."'
Rendez-Vous City Magazine Luxembourg 5/2007

Oh, so no cricket then…

Saw this one in a pub called The Swan in South Kensington, London:

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Dream 2007 ― Invitation

New World Theatre Club
A Multi-Lingual Performance of Shakespeare’s
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

July 11th – 14th 2007 at the Schungfabrik, Tetange

A visual spectacle and a thought-provoking piece of theatre!

Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been performed in many different ways and in many different languages; but never before has it been used to celebrate the distinct cultural and linguistic makeup of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. This, however, is exactly what Dream 2007 has set out to do. Produced by the New World Theatre Club with the assistance of the City of Culture asbl, the project is using a programme of performance workshops to create a production of Shakespeare’s masterpiece in three different spoken languages (English, Luxembourgish & German) and with songs in French.

The first stage of the project began in January 2007 when the New World Theatre Club offered anyone in the Grande Région the chance to take part in a 10-week workshop programme. Over 50 participants from more than 15 different countries took part in workshops led by Luxembourgers Julia Pruy and Bob Braun and English colleagues Caroline Cooper and Tony Kingston. These activities culminated in a Workshop Presentation Show in April 2007. The workshops developed for the participants the skills required to move on to the main project ― a full multilingual production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to be performed July 11th – 14th 2007 at the Schungfabrik, Tetange. All performances will begin at 20:00.

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream various groups of humans find themselves lost and confused in a forest at night ― a forest inhabited by supernatural creatures (fairies) who are both afraid of and amused by their visitors. At the same time tensions between the male and female fairies are having a devastating effect on the human world. Through their contacts with each other, both humans and fairies resolve their personal conflicts to reach a new state of harmony and understanding.

With “immigration” and “integration” as central themes for the European Capital of Culture 2007, Shakespeare’s classic play provides a startling metaphor for, and celebration of, Luxembourg in the 21st Century. The different groups of characters, each speaking a different language, come to terms with the linguistic and cultural variety of each other’s worlds just as the inhabitants of Luxembourg must in their real world. With original music by Kerry Turner and incorporating dance, song and gymnastics, A Midsummer Night’s Dream promises to be a visual spectacle as well as a thought-provoking piece of theatre!

Tickets are available online from,
by writing to or by calling 47 08 95 1.
― Make sure you don't book for the show in Bourglinster on 25 June,
which is another company's performance! ―
Adults: €15, Students, Passholders 2007 or NWTC members: €10.

For more information and complimentary press tickets
write to anderson.lux[a] or call 621 24 04 21.

New World Theatre Club
Shakespeares Sommernachtstraum

11.–14. Juli 2007
Schuhfabrik in Tetingen

Shakespeares Sommernachtstraum wurde bereits sehr oft in den verschiedensten Sprachen aufgeführt, aber seltener wurde dieses Stück dazu genutzt, die einzigartige kulturelle und sprachliche Realität des Grossherzogtums widerzuspiegeln. Genau dieses Ziel hat sich das Projekt Dream 2007 gesetzt. Träger dieses ambitionierten Projektes ist der New World Theatre Club, unterstützt von „Luxemburg und die Grossregion, Europäische Kulturhauptstadt 2007“. Ziel ist es, aufbauend auf mehreren vorangegangen Theaterworkshops, dieses Meisterwerk von Shakespeare in drei Sprachen aufzuführen: Deutsch, Englisch, Luxemburgisch, untermahlt mit französischen Gesangseinlagen.

Das Projekt Dream 2007 startete diesen Januar mit einer Reihe von Workshops, die der New World Theatre Club für alle interessierten Personen aus der Grossregion organisierte. Während der 10 Wochen, die diese Phase des Projektes dauerte, nahmen über 50 Teilnehmer aus 15 verschiedenen Ländern an den Workshops teil, die von Julia Pruy, Bob Braun, Caroline Cooper und Tony Kingston geleitet wurden. Ihr erlerntes Können führten die Teilnehmer ein erstes Mal im April 2007 in Sandweiler auf, Zwischenstation auf dem Weg zu dem eigentlichen Höhepunkt von Dream 2007: der mehrsprachigen Aufführung von Shakespeares Sommernachtstraum in der Schuhfabrik in Tetingen vom 11. bis zum 14. Juli 2007. Alle Aufführungen beginnen um 20 Uhr.

Im Sommernachtstraum finden sich eine Reihe von Personen nachts im Wald wieder, verloren, verwirrt und ängstlich. Dieser Wald wird von übernatürlichen Kreaturen bewohnt, Feen, Kobolde und Zwerge. Diese fürchten sich einerseits vor den fremden Eindringlingen, andererseit sind sie fasziniert von ihnen und suchen ihre Nähe. Die Irrungen, Wirrungen und Liebesränke, die die Feen und Kobolde in dieser Nacht durchleben, haben ihre Auswirkungen auf die Menschen, die ihrerseits versuchen, eigene Probleme zu lösen. Konflikte brechen auf, doch letztlich endet diese erfrischende Komödie Shakespeares in einem traumhaften Happy-end. „Immigration“ und „Integration“, die Hauptthemen des diesjährigen europäischen Kulturjahres, könnten in diesem Stück nicht besser illustriert werden. Die Protagonisten im Sommernachtstraum haben alle ihren eigenen kulturellen und sprachlichen Hintergrund, schaffen es aber, diesen auf einzigartige Art und Weise mit den Bedürfnissen, Wünschen und Zwängen ihrer Mitspieler zu vereinen, ein Meisterstück was den Einwohnern Luxemburgs tagtäglich aufs neue gelingt.

Musikalische Untermahlung von Kerry Turner; mit Gesangs-, Tanz- und Akrobatikeinlagen.

Ticketreservierung auf,
per Mail an oder telefonisch unter 47 08 95 1.
― Bitte vergewissern Sie sich, dass Sie nicht für die Aufführung in Burglinster am 25. Juni buchen,
da diese von einer anderen Gruppe aufgeführt wird! ―
Erwachsene €15, Studenten €10.

Für weitere Information oder kostenlose Presseeintrittskarten
wenden Sie sich bitte an anderson.lux[a], Tel. 621 24 04 21.

New World Theatre Club
un spectacle visuel insolite…
Le Songe d’une Nuit d’Eté
de William Shakespeare

les 11, 12, 13 et 14 juillet 2007 à 20.00h
à la Schungfabrik, Tétange (Kayl), G-D de Luxembourg

Un projet multilingue qui sort de l’ordinaire

La pièce Le Songe d’une Nuit d’Été a déjà été produite dans de multiples langues et sous de multiples formes. Mais cette fois-ci, le New World Theatre Club s’en est inspirée dans le cadre de son projet Dream 2007 pour célébrer la diversité culturelle et linguistique propre au Luxembourg.

Depuis janvier 2007, Dream 2007 anime un programme d'ateliers multilingues et pluridisciplinaires de techniques théâtrales, comédie, improvisation, danse, chant et gymnastique. Ces ateliers, véritables plateformes de créativité, se sont focalisés depuis leurs débuts sur la conception d’une production multilingue du Songe d’une Nuit d’Été de W Shakespeare. Cette pièce sera produite en trois langues (Allemand, Luxembourgeois, Anglais), les accents linguistiques refllètant la réalité multiculturelle de la société luxembourgeoise et de la Grande Région. Les chants seont livrés en langue francaise. Les talents développés au courant des différents ateliers coloreront la production et feront de la pièce un spectacle visuel hors de l’ordinaire. Le visuel complémentera les paroles. La pièce Le Songe d’une Nuit d’Été sera produite les 11, 12, 13 et 14 juillet 2007 à la “Schungfabrik“ à Tétange. Elle s’adresse au grand public.

Le projet global Dream 2007 est réalisé dans le cadre de Luxembourg et Grande Région, Capitale Européenne de la Culture 2007, sous le Haut Patronage de leurs Altesses Royales le Grand Duc Henri et la Grande Duchesse Maria Teresa. Depuis son lancement, le projet a connu un grand succès. Il rassemble une centaine d’ambitieux de quinze nationalités différentes résidant à Luxembourg ou en Grande Région, témoin de la multiculturalité de notre pays et de la Grande Région, et du rôle de l’art comme vecteur de rapprochement entre les personnes d’expressions linguistiques différentes. Le projet se déclinera en fin de parcours en une animation en écoles.

Dans Le Songe d’une Nuit d’Été, plusieurs groupes d’humains se perdent une nuit d’été en pleine forêt – une forêt abritant des créatures surnaturelles (les elfes) qui sont tant effrayées que diverties par leurs visiteurs humains. Les tensions entre les créatures féériques se transposent sur les humains. Ce n’est que grace aux aprivoisements des uns et des autres, que humains et elfes finissent par résoudre leurs conflits personnels et par retrouver harmonie et compréhension. Les sujets centraux de cette pièce sont l'amour, le combat des sexes, la magie, la métamorphose, la réconciliation.

Le projet Dream 2007 s’inscrit dans la thématique de l’immigration ; ses thèmes sont les rêves et les réalités, la richesse dans la diversité, la Grande Région comme creuset transfrontalier, la communication dans un environnement multilingue, l’ancrage de la communauté anglophone à Luxembourg, et l'anglais comme langue véhiculaire à l’usage d'autres communautés linguistiques de Luxembourg. Dream 2007 est géré par Tony Kingston, directeur artistique professionnel anglais résidant à Luxembourg, assisté par quatre professionnels résidents, de différentes disciplines connexes : Julia Pruy pour le chant, Caroline Cooper pour la danse, Bob Braun pour la gymnastique, et Christine Probst pour l’atelier d’improvisation théâtrale pour jeunes. Un encadrement musical original a été assuré par le compositeur Kerry Turner, résident luxembourgeois lui-aussi.

Laissez-vous emporter par la créativité de cette production.

Les billets sont désormais en vente via,
ou ou par tél. 47 08 95 1.
― Assurez-vous de ne pas réserver pour la pièce à Bourglinster du 25 juin
qui, elle, est d'un autre groupe de théâtre! ―
Prix: adultes €15, étudiants, Passholders 2007 ou membres NWTC: €10.

La presse est invitée à entrer en contact via anderson.lux[a] ou le tél. 621 24 04 21.

Ce projet est réalisé dans le cadre de Luxembourg et Grande Région, Capitale européenne de la Culture 2007,
sous le Haut Patronage de leurs Altesses Royales le Grand Duc et la Grande Duchesse.


Pour une fois, ils ont pensé à quelque chose d'original et assez marrant pour un campagne sur un sujet sérieux...


'k vind deze heel leuk...

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Bureaukrati er åbenbart ens overalt i verden

»En offentlig embedsmand må fra sin første dag på kontoret forstå, at ethvert tilløb til initiativ bliver enden på hans karriere, for han er der ikke for at gøre sig fortjent til noget, men for værdigt at nå sit eget niveau af inkompetence. Formålet med at flytte papirer med mærker og stempler fra et sted til et andet er ikke at løse problemer, men at blokere for løsninger. Hvis problemerne blev løst, ville bureaukratiet miste sin magt og mange ærlige mennesker stå uden job; hvis de tværtimod bliver værre, øger staten budgettet, ansætter flere folk og formindsker således arbejdsløsheden, og så er alle glade.«
Isabel Allende
i sine erindringer

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Réaction en chaîne

On m'a donné le défi suivant:
«Les défié(e)s doivent écrire sur leur blog 7 choses à leur propos, ainsi que ce règlement. Vous devenez ensuite défieur, et vous devez défier 7 autres personnes en les énumérant sur votre blog. Vous laissez alors un message sur les blogs de ceux et celles que vous souhaitez défier, en leur indiquant qu'ils ont été défiés et que vous les invitez à lire votre blog.»

Comme je connais qu'une autre personne qui a un blog ― celle qui m'a défié ― je ne peux de toute façon pas continuer la chaîne. C'est pourquoi j'ai remplacé le défi par sept petits maillons formant une chaîne qui tourne en rond. Comme ça, la chaîne ne se termine pas…

Le premier groupe de rock que j'ai libellé «mon préféré» était Asia.
Asia est aussi le nom par lequel les polonais appellent celles qui portent le nom Joanna.
Joanna est une chanson du chanteur danois Kim Larsen.
Kim Larsen était chanteur du groupe Gasolin'.
Ne pas confondre gasoline et gasoil, nom sous lequel le diésel est parfois vendu au Luxembourg.
Diesel est aussi une marque de jeans.
La plupart des jeans sont produits en Asie.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Four things to do before you die

1 ― Mix the world's weirdest cocktail
Now you stir it, now you can't

It has to be one of the most mind-bending experiences you can legally enjoy in your kitchen: manufacture your own dilatant liquid ― one whose viscosity increases as soon as you try to stir it, or do pretty much anything else with it.

The easiest way to make it is a simple mix of about 300 grams of cornflour (cornstarch) and 250 millilitres of water. The mixture ripples like water, but instantly solidifies if you dip your finger or a spoon into it. Go slowly and you can put your finger in, but just try pulling it out in a hurry. You can roll the stuff into a ball in your hands, but stop rolling and it just runs through your fingers. Hit it with a hammer and it can even shatter.

Coolest of all, broken-off pieces liquefy and pool together, just like the shape-shifting T-1000 robot in the film Terminator 2. Well, almost. But then the T-1000 couldn't thicken sauces for you.

2 ― Visit Tuvalu
Enjoy it before it sinks

As sea levels rise, this clutch of South Pacific islands is poised to become the first nation to disappear beneath the waves ― possibly as early as 2050. Currently located halfway between Brisbane and Honolulu, soon Tuvalu may exist only in cyberspace as the prized internet domain ".tv".

Tuvalu's smallest islands are disappearing fast. Already you've missed the chance to visit the coconut groves of Te Pukasavilivili. Tuvalu's paradise world of coral lagoons, swaying palms and international sex phone lines is doomed because not one speck of land is more than 4 metres above sea level and spring tides regularly take 3 metres of that. Almost every tropical cyclone could bring down the curtain.

So why not board the weekly flight from Fiji to the capital Funafuti while you can? As you travel from one of Tuvalu's four guest houses in its single taxi to its lone bar, speculate on who will own the rights to the .tv domain and the tuna-fishing rights in its vast territorial waters, after the last of its 11,000 Polynesian inhabitants has left. Go now, before it dies.

3 ― Win a fortune the mathematical way
Who wants to be a millionaire?

If you're time-rich and cash-poor, then have a go at winning one of the many maths prizes up for grabs. If you're a hotshot mathematician, set your sights on one of seven $1 million prizes offered by the Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

To win, you have to prove one of seven conjectures that have given mathematicians sleepless nights for decades. They include the Yang-Mills mass-gap hypothesis, which asserts that if a particle has mass, there is a lower limit to what the mass actually is.

Or you could try hunting for giant prime numbers. Prime numbers, such as 11 or 13, are divisible only by themselves and 1. If you find the first prime with 10 million, 100 million or a billion digits, a US campaign group called the Electronic Frontier Foundation will award you a prize of between $100,000 and $250,000. Your home computer could do all the work. Aproject at offers free software that sifts sets of numbers for primes, although if you hit the jackpot, you'd have to share the bounty with the organisers. Failing that, there are maths prizes starting from $10 at

Or maybe you should just get out more.

4 ― Find happiness
What does it look like?

Why do some people manage to skip through life shrugging off disappointments and setbacks like discarded clothing, while others struggle to survive the daily grind?

The secret partly lies in our genes. These account for around half of the variation in happiness between different people. What's more, good-looking people tend to be more contented, if not downright happy. Granted, there's not a lot you can do about your genes. But don't despair, there's plenty else you can do.

Being sociable, helping other people and having lots of friends all help. And getting married boosts happiness for a couple of years at least.

Then there's money. It certainly won't do any harm, but beware: wealth is a short-term fillip. We quickly adapt our expectations to new-found riches and end up always wanting that little bit more. Envy on the other hand is a sure-fire route to misery.

One last tip: consider moving to Denmark. It's the only industrialised nation where people are happier than they were 30 years ago. Why? The Danes are keeping the answer very close to their chest.

Selected extracts from '100 Things to Do Before You Die (plus a few to do afterwards)', from NewScientist and Profile Books.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Tadeja's strong poems

English translation below each of the two poems. The original language is Slovene. 'Krik' was recited by Urška at the preliminary 'Dream 2007' show in Sandweiler (Luxembourg) on 20 and 21 April. I will let them stand in their own right.

Pridi. Pridi in spusti se
z mano v neskončne
Na dno oceana.
Tam bova kapljici.
Solzi trpljenja
in žalosti, nesreče
veselja in smeha
solzi življenja.
Z roko v roki
ko val naju odnese
stran od obale
stran od ljudi.
Pridi, da se izgubiva v valovih,
v toplih globinah,
da se potopiva skupaj
s sončnim zahodom.
Morje šumi.

Come. Come and descend
With me into the endless
To the bottom of the ocean.
There, we will be mere drops.
Tears of pain and suffering
And sadness, unhappiness,
Of joy and laughter,
Tears of life.
Hand in hand
Dragged by the billows
Away from the coast
Away from the world.
Come, let’s get lost in the waves,
Into the warm depths,
Let’s dive together
With the sunset.
The sound of the ocean.

Šla bi ven in zavpila.
Zavpila bi tvoje ime
tako močno, da bi se
ob kriku spremenila
v sončni prah.
Le Bog in jaz bi ga slišala
in ti, daleč stran, bi vedel.
Ne moreš ubežati kriku
mojega hrepenenja
in nemir iz moje duše
bi se preselil vate.
Ti si kriv.
Tebi bodo sodili
zaradi mojega krika,
sonce, ljudje, drevesa, reke....
In nikoli, nikoli več
ne boš mogel ubežati
mojemu kriku.
Preganjal te bo
v najintimnejših trenutkih,
vedno bo tam.
In jaz s teboj
kot večni sodnik z razsodbo:

I want to scream out.
I want to scream out your name
So loud, that the scream
Would turn me into
Only God and me would hear it
And you, far away, you’d know.
You can’t escape the scream
Of my desperation
And my restless anxiety
Would capture your soul.
You’re to blame.
You will be judged
For my scream,
By the sun, the people, the trees, the rivers….
And never, ever will you
Be able to escape from
My scream.
It will hunt you down
Into the inmost recesses of your soul,
It will always be there.
And I will be there
Like an eternal judge with the verdict:

Norwegian Helpdesk

Usually I wouldn't give a penny for Norwegian humour but this little film is indeed a classic! Watch how text was stored in the Middle Ages, and how helpful helpdesks were at that time.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Kunst fra hjertet

»Alt, hvad der bliver sagt om teksterne og musikken, er for så vidt efterrationaliseringer, for når det bliver skabt, er det med hjertet og ikke med hjernen.«
Mikkel Max Hansen, tekstforfatter, guitarist og sanger i epo-555
i et interview til Politiken 28/4-6

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Cojan sus ovejas y váyanse ― Take your sheep and go ― Prenez vos moutons et allez-y

«[¡A]caba de decirnos que nos vayamos al infierno, pero lo ha dicho de una manera tal que estamos deseando irnos!»
El presidente del Sheep Council en Australia, a el encargado de negocios de la delegación de la Comisión Europea en Australia, después del discurso de esto, en 1981
Fuente: «Acercando Europa al mundo ― 50 años de Servicio Exterior de la Comisión Europea» ― que puede pedir GRATUITAMENTE

'[Y]ou just told us that we should go to hell, but you said it in such a way that we are all looking forward to getting there!'
The President of Australia's Sheep Council, to the chargé d'affaires of the European Commission's delegation in Australia, after the latter's speech, in 1981
Source: 'Taking Europe to the world ― 50 years of the European Commission's External Service', which you can order FREE OF CHARGE

«[V]ous venez de nous dire que nous pouvions aller au diable, mais vous nous l'avez dit d'une telle manière que nous nous réjouissons tous d'y aller!»
Le Président du Sheep Council d'Australie, au chargé d'affaires de la délégation de la Commission européenne en Australie, après un discours de celui-ci, en 1981
Source: «Ouvrir l`Europe sur le monde ― 50 ans du service extérieur de la Commission européenne» ― que vous pouvez commander GRATUITEMENT
(La version française de la citation a été modifiée par moi-même, comme elle n'était pas correctement traduite.)

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Design made by humans ― for humans?

On his website Bad Human Factors Designs, Mike Darnell collects examples of all kinds of design ― from taps over mobile phones to road signs ― in which the designer, if there was such, seems to have forgotten to take the number one aspect into account: That people have to use it!

What's really great though, is that for every example he lists, Mike gives a simple and creative suggestion on how the design could be improved.

I have also added a link in the link list to the right.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Proof that oranges are good for you

(What wouldn't it be if you cut out a kiwifruit like that then…)

Sunday, 8 April 2007

A colourful way to funding

'You cannot pretend you are a real witch
if you cannot help a businessman get the EU funding he wants.'

Florica, a witch from Piteşti, Romania
according to Commission en direct, quoting Guardian

Saturday, 7 April 2007


»Lene Espersen er et godt bud på en ny borgerlig regeringschef.

Hun er ikke udpræget grim, og hun snakker godt for sin sag.«

fra leder i Ekstra Bladet 7/4-7

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Three more signs

The first one is from the Slovenian town of Piran. What's funny about it is that a Frenchspeaker would easily tend to pronounce 'Kud Sac' similarly as 'cul-de-sac', which means 'dead end street' (actually, the term 'cul-de-sac' is also used in English). Fancy sign to indicate a dead-end-street…

The text on the plaque means 'Cultural-artistic society' in Slovene ('Kulturno-umetniško društvo'), then in Italian (SAC), followed by the name (Karol Pahor) and the town in both languages.

The next is also from Slovenia. One you see quite a lot near schools, in many countries ― I just thought it's pretty original to let the kids actually break the frame and thus create a meta feel about a simple road sign!

The text translates as 'We are here again! ― School ― Drive carefully!'.

The third is not really a sign actually. The pic was taken in Cusco, Peru, at the San Pedro market. Odd phenomenon that they sell perfumes, which so explicitly, in pictures and words, advertise that they are supposed to attract women.

Notice especially the one called '7 Machos' ― wonder if such brand name would sell in Europe…

Thank you to Luka for the translations from Slovene!

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Pink Water 4

Repeatedly, I am listening to Indochine's wonderful song 'Pink Water 3', as well as the 'June' disk's hidden track, which is the same song but with exclusively English lyrics …and I was wondering whether I could find the English lyrics somewhere. Turns out there's a whole discussion about it. Maybe a justification for these hidden tracks, aka ghost tracks?

Sky, I'm gonna leave tonight
You know, I've got a life to live
And it's getting late
So, I'm gonna leave tonight

I can't decide if I'm the one you need
Or what you want out of life
I always thought you'd be the one to leave
The one to change your mind

I'm on a rocket to a dying star
You have to stay behind
Can't take you with me 'cause it's very far
And you don't have the time

(Get out me out this place
Get out me out this place
Get out me out this… place)

Sky, I'm gonna leave tonight
You know, I've got a life to live
And it's getting late

I can't decide if I'm the one you need
Or what you want out of life
I always thought you'd be the one to leave
The one to change your mind

I'm on a rocket to a dying star
You have to stay behind
Before I met you I was crashing cars
And I was doing fine

Get me out of this place
Get me out of this town
Before I drown in your deep pink water
I won't remember your face
I can't remember your frown
Because I'll drown in your deep pink water

(Ten, nine, eight, seven…)

Sky, I'm gonna leave tonight
You know, I've got a life to live
And it's getting late

I'm on a rocket to a dying star
You have to stay behind
Can't take you with me 'cause it's very far
And you don't have the time

I'm on a rocket to a dying star
You have to stay behind
Before I met you I was crashing cars
And I was doing fine

Get me out of this place
Get me out of this town
Before I drown in your deep pink water
I won't remember your face
I can't remember your frown
Because I'll drown in your deep pink water

Get me out of this place
Get me out of this town
Before I drown in your deep pink water
I won't remember your face
I can't remember your frown
Because I'll drown in your deep pink water

based on the lyrics discussed at the abovementioned forum, with my own modifications

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

I feel sprightlyyy, oh so sprightlyyyyy...

A friend of mine used this adjective (without the singing though), which I had never heard before. But I liked it, the sound of it, the meaning, it is one of these words where you can feel its meaning without ever having heard it before.

Main Entry: spright·ly
Pronunciation: -lE
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): spright·li·er; -est
Etymology: obsolete spright (sprite), alteration of sprite
1 : marked by a gay lightness and vivacity : SPIRITED (a sprightly musical)
2 : having a distinctively piquant taste : ZESTY (a sprightly salsa)
synonym see LIVELY
spright·li·ness noun
sprightly adverb

definition from Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary
where you can even listen to the word being said

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Men and intelligence

'If men can run the world, why can't they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a little noose around your neck?'
Linda Ellerbee
Source: De røde støvler

See also this blogpost.

Malt og malt imellem

Sjovt som ting kan hænge sammen:

Biobrændsel lavet på fx raps er på vej frem, og den øgede efterspørgsel gør det attraktivt for bønderne at dyrke raps.

På bekostning af malt. Derfor bliver der et mindre udbud af malt, hvorfor prisen på malt også stiger.

Og dermed på øl.

Det søger bryggerierne nu udlignet ved… at tilskynde til at udvikle biobrændsel baseret på malt, så alle dyrker malt og vi kan få vores øl billigere og køre bil (naturligvis ikke samtidig) uden at forurene.

baseret på artikel på 26/2-7

Var det Kung Volmers djuparöv som gick upp och ner?

»[B]yer med […] spektakulære navne […] findes [der] en del [af] i Sverige […,] blandt andre: Onansbygd, Rumpsjön, Lem, Bögholmen, Muslickberget, Ballekkåtan, Kukasjärvi, Brittas Hål, Snålkuk, Valefittan, Djuparöven.«
artikel i Ekstra Bladet 26/2-7

Saturday, 24 February 2007

At work: Win rather than whine

'It’s about […] working close together. We don’t need a strong daily leadership. We […] use the innovation force. We don’t need direct instructions on everything because we know that it’s our workplace, that we are part of the company, that the company is nothing without us. That’s a winning attitude.'
Hans Skov Christensen, director general of the Federation of Danish Industry
interview for EurActiv

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Hvor bliver glæden/smilet af?

I 30 år har jeg arbejdet som selvstændig indenfor servicefaget. Hotel/Resaturation og butik. Nu er jeg desværre ikke i arbejde mere grundet sygdom, og savner meget den pulserende travlhed.

Som gammel i gårde indenfor branchen, kan jeg ikke lade være med at "studere" både kunder og ansattenår jeg er ude.

Efter min mening bliver ingen ansat bedre end konceptet/chefen vil uanset hvilken brance der tales om. Den bedste service gives, stadig en subjektiv betragtning fra min side, af de store koncerner. Der er det bogstaveligt talt "banket" ind i hovedet på de ansatte, at det forventes de giver kunderne den service.

Ofte har jeg set de ansatte blive overfuset af utilfredse kunder, og de har dog stadig formået at smile venligt til kunden. Det er mig en gåde, hvorfor mange ikke evner at kommunikere på et ordentligt niveau.

Det er mig en glæde, når jeg har fået en god behandling og service, at gøre den ansatte opmærksom på det. De bliver glade, og jeg bilder naivt mig selv ind, at det er en god bagage for dem resten af dagen.

De værste kunder, har jeg observeret i discauntbutikkerne. Mange gange har jeg hørt kunder beklage sig højtråbende over manglende kassebetjening. Ja men hallo, du kan jo ikke forvente samme service i en skrabet lavprisbutik som i Føtex eller Quickly.

En gang om ugen har jeg hjemmehjælp. Der bliver da ikke gjort rent som jeg selv ville ha' gjort det, men det ødelægger nu ikke min dag. Når der så kommer en som virkelig kan sit kram, ja så skal hun sørme da også have at vide, hun er god til sit arbejde.

Nogen vil nok sige: det jo det de får deres løn for. Ja, men et tak for veludført arbejde hører de ikke arbejdsgiveren sige, så i det tilfælde må jeg/vi som brugere huske det.

I min utrættelige iver efter at observere god kontra dårlig service, er jeg nået frem til, at taxa, og nu omtaler jeg kun observationer fra min egen by, er de dårligste for ikke at sige de har slet ingen. Måske er jeg gammeldags, men jeg giver ikke en krone i drikkepenge til en chauffør som ikke gider åbne døren, ensige næsten ikke orker at sige goddag. Jeg har haft brug for taxa til handicapkørsel, og skulle have taxa til døren. En chauffør ringede på min dør, og blev meget fortørnet og sur da jeg forklarede ham jeg ikke kunne gå hen til bilen. Han var sur fordi de ikke havde givet ham den besked på centralen. Sådan en chauffør burde spørge sig selv, om det nu er det rigtige job han har taget. Han gør mig som bruger harm over opførslen, han overfuser garanteret senere en travl dame på centralen, og han har bragt sig selv i dårligt humør. Et smil, og et venligt: øjeblik dame, den henter jeg i løbet af ingen tid, og måske en venlig påmindelse til centraldamen om forglemmelsen ville ha' gjort hans dag mere behagelig. I hvertfald for hans omgivelser.

Lad os få lidt mere smil og glæde ind i hverdagen.

af Lundgren, blogpost 14/2

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Not that kind of theme park

In my series of surprising signs, the idea is to have a good laugh. In some cases, however, there is a serious story behind. This is the case of the...

...which exhibits the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.

Read the story, and visit the Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego if you go to Warsaw. It's not a museum that rises into the air as the English translation of its name might suggest. But a visit there should widen your awareness.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

My first online mixes ― All of Archive's 'Sane'

Don't forget to rate them, so I can win some cool stuff!

Stripped Into Space
Less vox, more spacy, kinda sectionised and wobbly.

A, Er, Chive Insane
Groovy, playful, synths and guitar, with that evident drum machine to hold the pieces together.

Airy, synthy, discreet yet funky, dancy, plain ― complete!

A complete, keyboard-dominated mix, with only just the necessary scent of rhythm section, bringing the vocals in a well-balanced forefront. (Now THAT sounded academic, dinnit?)

All Or Nothing
Just synths and vox. Simple yet melodic. This one'll stick in your head.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Himba beauty

'It is a trait of the Himba to consider the body a face. The body is essentially 'neutral' or like the sheet of paper on which their culture is written. This is not nudity, just as it would be absurd to think of the face as nude. Such neutrality expresses a lifestyle in which the body is at one with the surrounding landscape and animals. The beauty of the Himba is amazing and surprising because it conforms to criteria that are very different from ours.'
Photographer Colin Prior
in KE Adventure Travel's image gallery

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Happiness in black & white

I don't remember where I stumbled over this photo but I think it's really beautiful. It has a 'DDR 70s' look to it but most of all I believe it radiates savoir-vivre, harmony and love.

Monday, 29 January 2007

En hyldestode komponeret spontant
en mandag formiddag

Min Mor hun er en heks
Men staver det med 'x'
Der' lissom mere sex
I å' hedde Hex med x

Ham nissen er Min Far
Han ser jo ganske rar…
…ud med sit skæg og vom
Men lader kun som om

Thi faktisk er han slem
Og ganske fingernem
Når Moders ting han gemmer
Og han bli'r stadig slemmer'

Jeg har en Far og Mor
De' cirka lige stor'
De drikker meget vin
Og spiser som to
Yderst civiliserede og velopdragne mennesker

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Kundendienstbrief #2:
Sonderzüge zum RheinEnergieStadion in Köln

Nach ein sehr enttäuschendes Erlebnis beim öffentlichen Lokalverkehr in Köln am 20/8-6 habe ich diese Anregung an die Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe geschickt (gekürzt, da die Anzahl der Zeichen auf dem Kontaktformular begrenzt ist), mit Kopie am 1.FC Köln sowie an der Kölner Tageszeitung EXPRESS.

Bis heute habe ich, trotz einer Mahnung, nichts von KVB gehört. Nur der 1.FC Köln hat reagiert, die Sache aber anscheinend nicht weiter verfolgt.

An der KVB

Ich habe Ihnen vor 1½ Monaten folgendes durch den Formular auf Ihrer Webseite geschickt, habe seitdem aber überhaupt nichts von Ihnen gehört:

Sonntag sind wir 2 Personen von Luxemburg nach Köln gekommen um das Heimpremierenspiel der FC gegen Burghausen mitzuerleben.

Nach einige Stunden im Zentrum wollten wir gegen 13.20 Uhr vom Neumarkt zum Stadion fahren. Da Spielbeginn 14 Uhr war und wir unsere Karten schon im Voraus gekauft hatten, habe ich ― auch aus früheren Erfahrungen ― eingeschätzt, dass das genügen würde.

Zunächst wollten wir der Linie 1 nach Weiden West nehmen, wurden dann aber auf den Sonderzügen aufmerksam. Diese wurden auf Anzeigetafeln sowie alle 5 Min. durch den Lautsprechern am Neumarkt empfohlen.

Da standen wir dann mit ungefär 10 anderen FC-gekleideten Fans, sich darauf freuend, der FC bei der Heimpremierenfete anfeuern zu können. Nur… es kam kein Sonderzug. Kein einziges.

Wie gesagt waren wir gegen 13.20 auf dem Neumarkt, und die Sonderzüge wurden stehst annonciert. Gegen 13.40 bin ich dann runtergegangen um zu fragen, ob irgendwelche Probleme aufgetreten waren, da kein Zug kam. Die Schalter waren geschlossen und ich habe mich daher an ein Paar KVB-uniformierte Herren gewendet, die gesagt haben, dass die Sonderzüge "so spät" nicht mehr fahren.

Wir sind mit der Linie 1 zwei Minuten vor Ende der 1.Halbzeit angekommen. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt stand es 3:0 ― nur hatten wir nicht an dieser Fete teilnehmen können.

Daher bitte ich Ihnen, die 46 €, die wir für unsere Eintrittskarten bezahlt haben, rückzuerstatten, da wir nicht für eine Halbzeit 200 km fahren. Restliche Kosten verlange ich Ihnen nicht ab.

Ich werde diese Beschwerde in naher Zukunft auf meinem Blog veröffentlichen.

Auch auf der Seite sind die obenerwähnten Infos nicht besser erklärt.

MfG Bjørn Clasen, treuer aber enttäuschter FC-Fan aus Luxemburg

Antwort vom 1.FC Köln

Sehr geehrter Herr Clasen,

vielen Dank für die Zusendung einer Kopie Ihrer an die Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe gerichtete E-Mail. Wir bedauern die Ihnen widerfahrenen Unannehmlichkeiten im Vorfeld unseres Heimspiels gegen den SV Wacker Burghausen sehr.

Am Fortgang des Vorgangs sind wir, auch im Interesse aller mit öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln anreisenden FC-Fans, sehr interessiert und würden uns daher freuen, wenn Sie uns eine Antwort der KVB ebenfalls in Kopie zukommen lassen würden.

Wir hoffen, dass es bei zukünftigen Besuchen des RheinEnergieStadions zu keinerlei Unstimmigkeiten kommt. Vielen Dank für Ihre Unterstützung sowie für Ihre Treue zum 1. FC Köln!

Mit freundlichen Grüßen
1. FC Köln GmbH & Co. KGaA

i.A. Rainer Mendel i.A. Tobias Schmidt
Leiter Mitglieder & Fanservice Fanservice

película — pellicule

Have you never asked yourself the question why the Spanish word for 'film' (película), is so close to the French word for, well, 'dandruff' (pellicule)?

No matter whether you have or not, here's a short explanation.

According to this Universitat de València page (notice the Catalan name, and check out the homepage if you wanna read some Catalan; it's not that difficult if you know some French and/or Spanish) , película means 'little skin'.

Now that already starts making sense.

It turns out 'pellicule' in French can actually also refer to film. Wikipédia (notice the accent…) has an article on that meaning but not on the dermatological one. However, when referring to the latter, usually plural 'pellicules' is used, as it's probably rare to have just one dandruff.

Basic Japanese

寿司 Su-shi means thing that makes happy.

What is often referred to as 腹切り hara-kiri (belly-cutting),
is more formally called 切腹 seppuku (cutting the belly).

Sources: GEO Special Nr. 6/2006 and Wikipedia

Care for a slice of Trabi?

'The car's body was made from a specifically designed fibre-reinforced plastic called Duroplast, a mixture of cotton and ground wood pulp soaked in artificial resin […]. Duroplast is notoriously hard to recycle, but strangely enough, is edible, and stories of Trabants being devoured by farmyard animals are quite common. Emir Kusturica's 1998 film Black Cat, White Cat contains a scene showing a Trabant being slowly eaten by pigs.'
from the article 'Around The Bloc' by Matt Robinson, in easyJet's in-flight magazine, December 2006 issue