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My Corona Diary December 2020 - 2021


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Preliminary remark:
German syntax is much more complicated and varied than English.
I apologise for violations of the rules of English syntax as well as for linguistic inaccuracies.
I have only school English to offer.

It is 21. / 22. December 2020; the sun has reached the Tropic of Capricorn, the point of the winter solstice; in the northern hemisphere we now have the shortest day and the longest night (the Scandinavians, British and Canadians know what I am talking about). We are in the season of winter. In our German low mountain ranges and in the Alps we have the first snow, in the Southern Alps in Austria and Italy - Tyrol - the first "snow disaster" happened with up to 3 metres of snow; in some regions even more than 4 metres.

The few hours of daylight here in Hamburg are mostly foggy, cloudy and gloomy. There is some rainfall, sometimes snow showers or dangerous freezing rain. Temperatures are between 0 degrees and 8 degrees; depending on the distribution of the high and low pressure areas. So everything is quite normal.

In my mind, I beam myself to Jomtiem in Soi Welcome, to the "Happy Bou" hotel. I burst into the middle of an exuberant party, loud rock and pop music, a terrific atmosphere among the party guests, drinking and laughing, everything is just the way it should be at a great party.
I sit in the middle of the celebrating guests, sip my Chang beer and begin to review a few adventures and events of the last 2 years in my mind.

How was it with Khun Fah, that wonderful girl?

She was suddenly there. Just like that. She was present and still is. That is an event of being that I am very happy to put up with. She's 38, has a daughter like me. Her guy ran away from her about 5 years ago. She doesn't speak a word of English. Our communication is via software applications with translation aids on her smartphone and my notebook. Works pretty well.

Bachelor manners?
Khun Fah got me out of those habits within 1 ½ days; super fast. Peeing on the toilet seat? Is no more, finished. She goes into the bathroom, but comes out again after a second with a face full of anger. I thought, is there an evil spirit in the bathroom now, or some fat cockroach, or just a harmless gecko? She grabs me by the arm and with a loud torrent of words she drags me into the bathroom and points with a gesture of indignation at three yellowish drops of pee. I scratch my head in embarrassment and mumble some excuse in German. She takes toilet paper, moistens it a little with water and then wipes and away. Guys, I have learned that lesson.

to be continued

The board doesn't allow me to post pictures! What's going on? Where is the moderator?

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Something else comes back to me. We want to go out in the evening, the three of us. Yes, wonderful. I take my hairbrush and go through my hair, put on my shoes and am ready. Khun Fah stands in the room and says two or three sentences aloud, making hand movements that are supposed to mean that both, Ott and I, should leave the room. Ott translates for me that she wants to get ready for the evening and that we can both go downstairs to Khun Boh's bar and have our first beer.

„What did she say, 'we were allowed to do'?“ I ask my friend.

„Yes“, says Ott, „I translated exactly, we have her permission, we are allowed.“

I remember an old song from the 60s, Alma Cogan sings the Lovers Concerto by the Toys in German (actually a minuet by Johann Sebastian Bach)
with the German title: „So fängt es immer an“. That's how it always starts.

„So fängt es immer an. That's how it always starts“, I say to my Thai friend.
„A few days ago I could do what I wanted without asking her. Now she allows what I can do, and in a few days she says to me in a clear unmistakable
commanding tone: 'Tonight my favourite TV show is on. We'll watch it together. Don't you dare leave the room.'
That's a nice outlook.“

Ott looks at me with a broad grin and pats me encouragingly on the shoulder:
„As an old husband with a lot of experince, that sounds familiar to me too.
Do you think our Thai women are different from your German ones in this respect?“

You live and learn, leaped to my mind ...

A few seconds later we were at the bar enjoying the first beer.
no pictures, sorry.

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Here is the german version of the Bach melody by Alma Cogan:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VyRnZL6qVM

Here are the Toys:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmJ1AqtTuyo

The difference is in the lyrics that is sung.

That falls softly on the meadow
Birds high above in the trees
Serenade the flowers with their melodies oh oh oh
See there beyond the hill
The bright colors of the rainbow
Some magic from above
Made this day for us

 

Alma Cogan sings:

That's how it always starts:
A boy doesn't want to be alone anymore.
He looks at you questioningly and holds your hand...
Just like in the novel.
Oh, that's how it always starts:
He only talks about great love.
At first you don't believe in it, then later on
red roses arrive.

My first choice is Alma Cogan's. She has this somewhat smoky voice in the mezzo-soprano - alto range.
She has that certain enamel, melodiousness in her voice.

Corona - oh I love you....

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  • 2 weeks later...

The moderator fixed it. I can post pictures again.
That's why there are now a few supplements. Delayed for some days. This is not "live".

So let me go on with my Corona diary:

In times of Corona lockdown - everything is closed, bars, pubs, discos, music clubs, museums, music halls, theatres, cinemas etc., large gatherings of people are forbidden. The Bundesliga plays in empty stadiums - it's crazy. Even family parties with several people are not allowed. Even the most churches are closed over Christmas. No Christmas services with crowded churches.
I posted about the painting "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" by Vermeer in my Düsseldorf thread.

And yes, I bought an art print of this painting.

High-quality reproduction in fine art giclée process worked directly on artist canvas and traditionally mounted on a wooden stretcher frame.

Vermeer-1.jpg.21a6b2b8c6e62243cba6f62639f3344c.jpg

Look! There on my wall the picture hangs now and the girl looks at me, I am quite familiar with her; sometimes I hold a dialogue with her and she answers me;
especially when I have a few glasses of red wine in my head.

Because in the meantime, the picture radiates silence, security and inner peace for me. The two of us maintain a familiar communication.
The picture has changed. My initial surprise and curiosity, the tension that the portrait of the girl exerted on me, has given way to a reassuring familiarity, intimateness and friendship.
Perhaps it is the subtle colour harmonies and refined shadow sections that achieve these effects. I don't know; it remains a mystery of the great skill of the painter Johannes Vermeer.

And yes, I opened a new bottle of red wine: Le Filou Rouge - 1 litre

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From the description of a German wine importer; I quote and translate:

Le Filou Rouge is a French red wine - completely in the tradition of the classic Vin de Pays. The blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah grapes gives Le Filou Rouge a uniquely harmonious structure: soft in character, with an unmistakable velvety richness. Le Filou Rouge is grown in the southern French departments of Aude, Herault and Gard. The Mediterranean climate there, in combination with the clay and limestone soils, creates optimal growing conditions for this special red wine.“

Vermeer's girl laughs mischievously at me and whispers:
Charly, you've earned that wine; Corona is a disaster, so please, have another quarter glass. Enjoy.

And I do.

Late! too late! 2:20 am central european time CET

 

 

 

 

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not live  -  written 2 days ago.

Outside it is cold and grey - 3 degrees. A powerful low pressure system coming from England slowly moves over Germany with rain and snow showers - snow at altitudes and regions above 400 metres. Of course, what else can come from Britain but only bad, unpleasant things. My heating is turned up full and a bottle of red wine - Le Filou Rouge - is waiting to be drunk.

Slowly, it is time to say goodbye to an exceptionally entertaining politician.

Donald Trump is finding it hard to get used to the fact that a slim majority of his countrymen have denied him a White House lease extension.
Donald, you got the notice from the American voter. You are fired.
Instead of accepting this fact, he is fighting windmill wings like Don Quixote once did.
He is desperately fighting the sack and the withdrawal of love from the American electorate.
DT, the trained businessman, has presented himself as a man who prefers to tweet succinctly rather than formulate long speeches.

Trump, the linguistically shallow man, knew exactly what he wanted as president and has consistently pointed his country and his party in the right direction.
Trump has shaken up the wider world politically. He has called off a sham peace with Iran, helped Arabs and Israelis come to a rapprochement and brought soldiers home from perpetual war zones. He has severely restricted - albeit without a wall - the flow of refugees from the south.
Until summer, the American economy was doing very well, the labour market was humming and millions of Americans had good jobs.
But then came Corona .....

The boorish American with strong German roots, prone to rumblings, will leave the international arena and concentrate on his home games;
the real estate market, and there he has enough to do.
Goodbye Mr Trump, we will miss you as a blustering, snotty, sometimes lying entertainer.
The world political stage is losing an American president who was one of the most interesting and unusual politicians of his country.

 

On the allegations of fraud, vote rigging, inaccuracies in the election.
Trump could have shown style, could have shown poise, could have shown greatness for once in his presidency and said in a great speech.
(I am using thoughts and assessments of a German journalist here).
"This is my legacy:
You have seen how vulnerable our electoral system is to error, falsification and fraud. I have shown you how urgent it is that a stable, fast and transparent system of voting and counting be installed in every state. Not to eliminate errors, because there can always be errors. But to restore the lost confidence in our electoral system by developing a process that is traceable, verifiable, secure and secretive."


Why can't I be Donald Trump's idea man and speech writer?
This is an opportunity Trump has squandered, and it would be the biggest surprise if Biden seized it.

To be continued

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here I give a few reasons why I am interested in American presidents and American politics:

The American president is (still) the most powerful man in the world. He is the leader of the most important Western power; his decisions also directly or indirectly affect the other Western states, above all Germany. Since Kennedy's assassination - when I was about 13 years old - I have been interested in American politics and in the respective president.

A historical example:
If Kennedy had not said the sentence "Ich bin ein Berliner" at that time, with which he declared his support for the Western alliance and the defence of Western Europe, a large part of Western Europe would have become communist. The Soviet pressure was very great and the situation around Berlin was extremely dangerous.

The Americans and the British brought democracy to us West Germans in 1945. I say thank you for that. And we were very good and willing students.
A few examples:
Our political system is very stable. In our country, electoral fraud, electoral forgery is hardly possible, at least not on a large scale.
Look at America: something like that is obviously possible there.

In our country, voter turnout in federal elections is around 80%.
In the US in 2020 it was a catastrophic 64%. That was the highest in 40 years!!! The average voter turnout is 50 plus %.
This low figure is depressing for the West's oldest and most important democracy.

The low voter turnout also has systemic reasons, among others. There are electoral organisational obstacles that are directed against minorities and underprivileged social groups. Organisational hurdles are being erected that prevent these groups from voting in the first place.

Just one concrete example:
Almost all German voters need only a few minutes to get to the polling station. The voting process takes no longer than 2 to 8 minutes.
In the USA, long queues form in front of the few polling stations and people wait for hours.
There are deficits in American democracy.

* Catastrophic voter turnout
* systemic obstruction of certain groups from voting.
* the given possibilities of electoral fraud

Here, the oldest democracy can learn from its former pupil to do better.

As an American, I would have voted for Trump to prevent Biden and, above all, Kamala Harris.

 

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Finally, I repeat what I have written in other threads about the 2020 election. That concludes the topic of Election 2020, Trump and Biden.

In the last two days I read again many texts, essays, articles about Trump and his presidency, which I saved on my computer in the last weeks.
After reading them I come to the following conclusion.
A review of his presidency. Trump can say: "Mission accomplished".

* Obamacare corrected
* the illegal influx from the south has been curbed
* the Syrian war is cut back to its regional core interests
* defused the ongoing conflict with Russia
* the unfavorable trade agreements were improved or overturned
* he opened the confrontation with an expansive China, postponed by Obama
* launched the first successful peace initiative in the Middle East
* Beyond that, Trump has not instigated any new wars.
Until the outbreak of Corona, the American economy grew and the labor market boomed. All Americans - including blacks - benefited from this.
But then Corona came and destroyed the chances of his re-election.

Everyone who thinks about Trump's person and his character with honesty, sincerity and common sense, has to come to the same conclusion as I did (see my previous postings). He is an unsuitable person for the office of president. If he had "normal", average qualities, he would have won by a clear margin. He has catapulted himself out of the Oval Office. Many voters voted for Biden not out of conviction, but because they wanted Trump out of the Oval Office.
Trump failed because of his deficient personality.
He is a victim of his own deficient personality, his inadequate character.
If he had a normal average personality with a reliable character; if he had been recognizable as an "average American" in his appearance and actions, he would have won hands down.

Right from the start: Trump will not come back. He will not make it again in four years.
* Let's assume that Biden remains in office for four years.
Will he run a second time then?
I don't think so. Then he will be 82 years old and his dementia will have increased. A further term of office will then be impossible.
** Let's assume Biden is replaced by Kamala Harris in two years.
Then the USA will get an extremist left-green apocalyptic rider.
What will she do? What will her politics look like?

a little short brainstorming:
* she will tear up the borders - "no man is illegal".
* it will make a policy that favors the urban "new middle classes“
It will neglect the entire area between the Apalachian Mountains in the east and the Rocky Mountains in the west.
Only the urban centers and the metropolitan areas will benefit from her policy.
* It will commit all American industry to ecological and climate-friendly production.
This will cost millions more jobs.
And not to forget: Behind Harris lurks Bernie Sanders; and behind Sanders there are many younger Americans - most of them with
a degree in the humanities, social sciences, or cultural studies - who are unemployed or threatened with unemployment or who are in precarious circumstances.
All of them politically far left, socialistic.
The USA is heading for troubled times. And I see in the moment no "bridge over troubled waters".

The real choice of fate will come in 4 years.

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Now live again:

 

Now for something completely different.   A memory from my – our - youth.

This text was written on the sad New Year's Eve of the year 2020; Corona lockdown, everything, but really everything, is closed.
I sit alone at home and listen to - yes I indulge, I celebrate - a world-famous piece of music full of melancholy, full of sadness and despair.
It is booming from the loudspeakers; I am alone in the whole house, I cannot disturb anyone.
Yesterday, 23.12.2021, I watched the film "Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod" for perhaps the 12th time in my life; broadcast on the TV channel 3Sat.
3sat is an advertising-free German-language public television programme. It is a joint facility of German, Austrian and Swiss television.
German movie title is: "Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod" = Play Me the Song of Death  =  ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST

I saw this film for the first time in 1970. It had already been showing in German dubbed versions in Düsseldorf cinemas for more than two years and was the topic of discussion for all film enthusiasts.

Filmesemble-60.jpg.23da98b2ec190abbd807529fa19e1424.jpg

Monumental images, unforgettable actors, beguiling music by Ennio Morricone.

Harmonica.jpg.256063da15189cfda446d20a4da7355b.jpg

The harmonica howls, it sends shivers of unease through my body and my mind.


It's the prelude to a western that will last for cinematic eternity.

Gunmen-Harmonica.jpg.b67faf72a154220bfdf06d03873c7fdc.jpg

I see three sinister-looking gunmen - figures with long dust coats - occupying a remote railway station. The conductor is unceremoniously locked in a closet - and with that the last spoken word is silenced for the next 10 minutes. From now on, only sights and sounds determine the scenario: the footsteps that make the dilapidated floorboards gasp, the insistent creaking and squeaking of the windmill at the water tower, the drops of water that fall into the felt hat and accumulate inside it to form a drinkable puddle, the excited buzzing and humming of a fly that becomes captive in the barrel of a Colt.
It is the exposition of "Play Me the Song of Death", Once upon a Time in the West.

In 1968, Italian director Sergio Leone made his masterpiece with Hollywood stars Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson, who was still quite unknown at the time, one of the best westerns of all time, which grandiosely settles the score with the myth of the "Golden West". The perfect epic, at the same time a highlight of the Italo-Western, lives from its grandiose CinemaScope images, of which, unfortunately, little remains on the boob tube. You have to watch this film in a cinema with a big screen.

The magnificent film music by Ennio Morricone also remains unforgotten. One of the best westerns of all time!

546842039_Raststtte.thumb.jpg.dac73a0c0d87716046dc3922d25f3e95.jpg

The Monument Valley rest stop somewhere in Utha, Arizona.

This movie is a Western staged as a tragic opera and swan song to the genre, multi-faceted, wistful and exciting.

A wistful Western that tells of the end of an era, showing how the progress of supposed civilisation and technology rolls mercilessly over the presence, burying the heroes and outlaws beneath it, whether they want it or not. It is a last gasp, both from Sergio Leone, who made his final western with it, and from the characters in the film. For with the railway comes civilisation, bourgeois society with law and order, with sheriff and judge. The end of savagery and lawlessness, the end of the right of the strongest or the one who shoots first and faster.

Jill - Claudia Cardinale - changes from the high-class prostitute from New Orleans (harlot with a heart of gold) to the mythical mother.
In the final scene she goes out to the railway workers with a water jug and brings them the life-giving water, she embodies the new beginning (after the disaster), departure and new life. She is stylised in this scene as the "original mother" of America.

All three male protagonists are relics from a time that is saying goodbye, almost mythical figures because they are larger than life, who no longer have a place in this new, modern world. But the real focus of the film is Jill, she is the emotional centre around which the hustle and bustle of the story revolves, and at the same time the only character with the ability to adapt to all circumstances, no matter how adverse, instead of trying to resist the inevitable with violence.

While the harmonica fades away wistfully, I drink another glass of red wine - completely lost in old youthful times.
I'm looking at the clock right now: the new year 2021 has just begun.

 

 

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Play Me the Song of Death - Once upon a Time in the West - Location Comparisons Then & Now

Worth seeing 10 minutes.

The different filming locations are compared - once in 1968 and now in 2016.
Accompanying this is the overwhelming music of this film's soundtrack: the whimpering, wistful wailing harmonica accompanied
by the strings carrying the melody, the basses playing the counterpoints.
Later, Jill's motif, sung by a female soprano.

From about the 10th minute we see the final scene with Jill bringing water to the men. A scene with mythical significance.
 

*  The exterior shots were made in the Tabernas desert in the Spanish province of Almería and near Guadix at the train station of La Calahorra, province of Granada,

*  Cinecittà Studios Rome
The interior shots in the Cinecittà studios in Rome. Cinecittà (Italian for "film city") is a film studio complex in the southeast of Rome on Via Tuscolana.
These film studios are music to the ears of film lovers. Scenes of legendary flicks such as "Ben Hur", "Quo Vadis", "A Heart and a Crown", "Play Me the Song of Death" or "For a Fistful of Dollars" were shot here. Federico Fellini once had the Via Veneto recreated here for "La Dolce Vita".

*  And, of course, filming also took place in Monument Valley in Arizona and in Utah, where director John Ford had once directed many important US westerns. In the end credits, the film thanks the Navajo representatives for their support on their Indian reservation there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g35CZzWXBTE

 

A candy on top, for good measure.
Jill's arrival at the station somewhere in the middle of nowhere in the West; the station clock has stopped. The camera work is inventive and completely new for the time. Jill enters the conductor's room to ask the stationmaster for information; the camera shows the scene from outside through the open window. Then Jill leaves the room through the front door and the camera, lifted by a crane, travels over the roof of the house to reveal a panoramic view of the emerging western town of Flagstone.The cameraman deserves an Oscar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp0d330bbxs

Have fun, enjoy!
 

 

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Singer and musician Gerry Marsden is dead

Gerry and the pacemakers. Another childhood memory.

The Football Anthem: From the Imperial and Royal Monarchy to Broadway and the Stadium
On the genesis history and impact history of the song "You'll Never Walk Alone".

On the origin story:
"You'll Never Walk Alone" is the stadium anthem in many football arenas around the world. This song softens the heart of even the most hardened football fans. The song describes almost all possible moods at a football match and yet actually has nothing to do with the ball game.
It was first sung at Liverpool's Anfield Road stadium, whether on the occasion of a glorious victory or after a bitter defeat. The crowd sang it and the stands joined in: "You'll Never Walk Alone", majestic, exuberant, melancholy-droppy, depending on the result, but always from the heart.

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of a storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams
Be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone

To be continued

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