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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

This is Gottfried, the Sugarbaker!

This is Gottfried, our neighbour !
Sugarbaker and Candlemaker.
Last week he invited a group of us to see him produce
some of his delicacies.

I gather, one needs strong hands for this job

 as well as the patience of Job
for all the detail work.
With St. Nikolaus-day  having arrived 
and the Christmas Season being in full swing,
Gottfried is busier than a one-armed paperhanger.
His wonderful sweets are popular around the countryside.

Very popular around this time is
one of Gottfried's specialties: "Ginger bread"
which he fashiones not only into hearts, 
but also into the image of Santa Claus,
or at least the  Austrian equivalent ,
Sankt Nikolaus.

I wish you a Happy Holiday.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It was a hot day in the Masai Mara

It was a hot day in the Masai Mara
and the vultures and Maribu Storks,
which had come to the crossing of the Mara River 
by thousands of Wildebeests,
spread their wings to catch what little breeze there was.

Monday, December 5, 2016

In Kariba

On one of the Seven Hills of Kariba
Gladys can't decide which, so she bought one of each.
accompanied by Christopher Weare.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A cowardly attack.

Pearl Harbor

It was the morning of the 7th day of December 1941, when the Japanese, emboldened by their conquest of large parts of South East Asia, and in preparation of their intended capture of overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States, launched the infamous attack against the U.S. Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor.
At dawn of that day, six aircraft carriers positioned themselves and over 350 fighter planes, bombers and torpedo planes attacked and sank or severely damaged almost the entire Pacific fleet of the American naval forces.

The Japanese celebrated this successful sneak attack as a great victory over the Americans.

In hindsight even the most fanatical Japanese admirers of Emperor Hirohito and his Generals must admit that sinking American ships, killing 2400 Americans, wounding another 1200 was a gigantic mistake:
It caused the Americans to declare war on Japan, a war which started on the 8th day of December 1941 and ended after two atomic bombs were used by the Americans, in September of 1945.

There are, even today, so I am told, Japanese visitors to Pearl Harbor, having their photographs taken, smiling broadly and showing with spread fingers, the V for victory sign.
It matters not where you go, you will find people who deny historical facts.

The Pacific Theater of War cost a total of 36 Million lives, about half of the total number of victims of World War 2.
May all of them rest in peace.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sigi, one of the Best

The wonderful world of
Sigi Kulterer.

An artist even I like.
His colours are strong, partially aggressive,
warning of a damaged world.

Even though he could not be called a "realist",
you can read the message in his work. 

sometimes there is something threatening.
A warning:
Smarten up, or else!

I see a blood red sky, the remains of a burnt forest,
and ice covering what used to be a meadow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

De mortuis nil nisi bonum

To follow the above suggestion is not always easy.

On November 25, 2016 Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz died in Santiago de Cuba, at the ripe age of 90.
Fidel Castro, as he was known to the world, ruled his country with an iron communist fist for 47 years from 1959 to 2006.
He and his rag-tag group of revolutionaries, after a long struggle, defeated Cuba's dictator,
Fulgenico Batista in 1959.
Here was Fidel's chance to change the fortune of his country for the better.
Unfortunately, for his people, he blew it, setting up another, this time a communist dictatorship.

His supporters, including current Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, will tell you what a great man he was, bringing health services and education to his country.
What they will not tell you is that, in order to achieve this the country and his people paid a heavy price.
In his earliest days as the head of Cuba he called himself a Marxist and a Leninist and set himself squarely against his close neighbor, the United States of America.
Within Cuba he established a repressive system of Government, depriving its citizens of basic human rights, incarcerating tens of thousands and executing thousands.
This is his real legacy: over 7000 dissenters killed, 9 billion dollars worth of property confiscated, and causing over 1.5 million Cubans fleeing to Florida, and sending his troops far afield to assist fomenting revolutions.

So what is it with Mr Trudeau, when he calls Fidel Castro a great leader and friend of the Cuban people? He brought the misery of Communism to a country which deserved to be freed from a brutal and corrupt dictator Batista, but then should have been led to the prosperity of a democracy.
President Obama showed his diplomacy when he said:  ... history will judge him.

always a bit hasty
makes his judgement today.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Immaculate Conception

In Catholic Austria, and I am certain also in many other countries, this happening is celebrated on the 8th day of December.
What exactly is it, the believers are celebrating ?
A surprising number of people will tell you that it is the day when the Holy Ghost impregnated the Virgin Mary, causing this “Immaculate Conception”, resulting in the birth of Jesus Christ.
Even the mathematically handicapped should be able to count almost on their fingers that this would have given Mary a pregnancy period of 17 days.
So, this one is out. It cannot be it and, of course, it is not the cause of this celebration.

This day is celebrated because, allegedly, Mary's parents, Joachim and Anna, were told that they could expect the birth of a baby. (There is no reference made to Joachim and/or Anna in the Bible so somebody must have dreamed up these names.)
Since, 9 month later, on the 8th September, Mary was borne without Original Sin, her mother, so it is claimed by some, also must have been borne without this infliction.... and her mother... and her mother... until back to Eve ?
Throughout the Middle Ages, the arguments raged back and forth about this issue:
Was Mary, conceived in the normal physical way by her parents and was she freed from O.S. by God's intervention even prior to her birth, or was it this or was it that... or was it an altogether other thing ?
In any event, it was not until 1854 that Pope Pius IX issued the Papal Proclamation (Bull) declaring the Immaculate Conception of Mary a fact revealed by God and therefore beyond doubt or question.
It became Dogma.

It is really wonderful, how the Catholic Church can decide upon something 1854 years after the fact, something about which there is no mention in their “book of books” and claim that all of it has been revealed by God himself and therefore must be the absolute truth.

Very convenient, isn't it?

just shakes his head.