Saddam & America

December 31, 2006 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Saddam Hussein’s hanging has apparently launched a hunt for the first footage of the execution. It’s not a surprise that the hunterers and gatherers of the digital age didn’t take too long to find what they desired. Via the wordpress post-login page (i.e. involuntarily), I stumbled upon several links to “uncensored versions” of the execution. Uncensored means that they contain the moment of death. The Arab broadcasters were decent enough to grant Saddam – a human being, after all – that last bit of dignity to not show this moment.

The same apparently does not hold true for quite a few of the U.S. American blog community. I was able to imagine that quite a few Americans were craving to see this footage, but reading in black on white how they were longing for it was another thing. Shame on all you voyeurs out there. I did not watch the footage, reading your comments alone made me sick enough.

I am not going to include any links to such blogs. If you are keen on seeing someone die on film or if you want to share a bit of wrath with someone else, go find them yourself. Just make sure not to hang around me (or here) anymore.

Global TV Formats

December 31, 2006 at 3:01 pm | Posted in Bollywood, Entertainment, Globalization | 1 Comment

Of course I knew that Who wants to be a millionaire is a format that is aired globally. But little had I expected that the Indian show is presented by the majestic Amitabh Bachchan! Look at this:

Amitabh Bachchan

Seems like Big B is planning to resign from Kaun banega crorepati* – SRK is the proposed replacement! I don’t think he would stand a chance, he’s simply not old enough yet (age-wise, yes, looks-wise, no!). Read more on Neha Kumar’s blog.

*) Kaun means who (“Kaun hai?” is a frequently asked question in Bollywood films whenever the heartthrob passes a group of people of the opposite gender), and crorepati, according to my research means wealthy; banega must then be some equivalent of ‘wants to be’.

I’m back (and sick)

December 31, 2006 at 1:49 pm | Posted in Friends, Sick | 1 Comment
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This is going to be an odd new year’s eve. I had wanted to spent it with my boyfriend and his hometown pals in Gmunden… but now I’m sick and confined to my own four walls. It’s not the first Silvester (as it is called in German) I am going to spent by myself.

The other time was roughly ten years ago when I had gone home to the country side for new year’s eve only to find that everyone I knew had gone elsewhere. Even my mom and brother had decided to celebrate somewhere else, and I at the time was to shy to gate-crash a party to which I hadn’t officially been invited. Before going frantic about the prospect of being all my myself, however, I accepted my fate. I was lucky to have the cat though which was still alive back then.

In hindsight, it probably was the most peaceful new year’s eve ever. I roasted chestnuts on the stove in my room (yes, my room still had one at the time) and sipped a bit of port until I feel asleep around 11pm, with the cat dozing on my chest. At mind-night, when the (rather humble) fireworks started, the cat made a few louder purring noises which woke me up in turn, only to go back to sleep a little later. I wish I had a cat for this one, too.

Anyhow, what I have is Frank Schätzing’s novel THE SWARM, which has received not so complimentary reviews by the more science-literate crowd, but is actually quite thrilling to me. It has a whopping 987 pages of which I have only mastered 350 so far, in spite of having been an avid reader for the past three days. Some of the scientists and most of the equipment used exist in real life, too – for instance the Deep Rover, a submersible consisting mainly of a transparent globe on skis with two picker arms. Of course this is no warranty for scientific accuracy or literary excellence – but makes the read rather entertaining when most of the instruments are googleable.

Maybe it would have been wiser to go to Gmunden anyway, even if only being able to participate in a wee part of the celebration. Good thing is though that I rarely regret decisions I have taken (except those which were not really based on judgment, but the arbitrary result of not knowing what to do and not knowing any better – for instance, getting a degree in humanities 😉 So thankfully I’m not having a major grudge against fate today 🙂

I’m on Vacation!

December 15, 2006 at 8:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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No posts until 2007.

Bombay TV: Subtitle your own movie

December 14, 2006 at 12:27 pm | Posted in Bollywood, Funny Stuff | 2 Comments

An agency in Paris has created Bombay TV, a flash application that allows you to subtitle a few seconds from a Bollywood movie. I picked one with Amitabh Bachchan, my favourite actor.

Bombay TV

Too bad WordPress supresses the embed object function, otherwise you could have previewed my movie here. Click on the link to see my movie. You can create your own on the same site, too.

Eerie: Shiloh & Brangelina in Wax

December 14, 2006 at 10:03 am | Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Madame Tussaud’s has got Brangelina AND Shiloh made in wax, the daughter of the couple being the first infant ever to be given a wax figure. Urgh! Wax figures are spooky anyway, wax figures of infants even more so. Makes me think of the dead baby in Trainspotting or ofChucky, the murderous doll.

This is a growing blog

December 14, 2006 at 8:26 am | Posted in Blogging | 1 Comment

Well, look at this: This blog has made it into the Top 100 Charts of Blogs of the Day, Category: Growing Blogs, #82 on December 13, 2006. What’s the criterion? Not growing in content, but growing in traffic.

Irony in Bollywood Films

December 13, 2006 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Bollywood | Leave a comment

Just a brief update on the Bollywood in Europe discussion: Lallopallo was wondering whether Bollywood films’ popularity wasn’t just a fad or temporary hype. I made an attempt at a reponse:

I can imagine that, from a US perspective, it might seem as if Western European cinematic sensibilities are indeed more arthouse. From that perspective, it might seem unlikely that Bollywood films would ever be genuinely popular (and not just “trash-hyped”) in Europe. Let me attempt to explain to their popularity in spite of these odds.

More in comments.

Regional wines: Blaufränkisch

December 13, 2006 at 5:47 pm | Posted in Austria | Leave a comment
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Having moved to Austria two years ago, I was meanwhile able to learn about some fine red wines that were completely unknown to me before. It’s a shame to admit, but I had never heard of Zweigelt before – any visitor of Austria should know this light, low tannin wine.

It took me even longer to learn about Blaufränkisch which in my view is the finest red wine there is in Europe, also low in tannin, but by no means sweet, very elegant in taste, more elegant than Zweigelt, more powerful, but by no means overwhelming . I am not a huge fan of those throat-wrenching Spanish wines with a smokebox aftertaste which where in fashion ten years ago. Blaufränkisch might be mistaken for smoky by those who taste it the first time. It often needs a little time and decantation before its full flavour is unleashed – shame on those who don’t take the time for that.

Blaufränkisch grape

Blaufränkisch’s typically grown in the east of Austria and the West of Hungary – at a wine tasting that I attended recently I learned that Austrian wine-growers have only begun to establish their reputation in growing red wines over the past 20 years. There is a lot that I still need to learn about wines and wine tasting, so maybe that is why I was so deeply impressed by the event and the wine grower Franz Weninger who was there with this son to explain how they foster their wines.

They have completely switched to organic cultvation, and they’ve also adopted a terroir policy:

The Terroir-France website asserts that “a ‘terroir’ is a group of vineyards (or even vines) from the same region, belonging to a specific appellation, and sharing the same type of soil, weather conditions, grapes and wine making savoir-faire, which contribute to give its specific personality to the wine.” Some writers include history, tradition, vineyard ownership and other factors. (Source)

In other words: All the wine in one bottle (or cask, rather) comes from the same vinyard. As a result, the geological qualities of the soil have a distinctive effect on the wine. I bought twelve bottles of Blaufränkisch Hochäcker recently, and also the bottles themselves came in slightly different qualities I have found out – some can be drunk right away, others need some grooming. I actually like that – you get to know the wine.

This is the link to the Weninger Winery – not intended as advertisement, but it cannot do any harm to link to regional producers either.

Vacation ahead!

December 12, 2006 at 6:03 pm | Posted in Teaching English | 2 Comments
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Today I “wrapped up” the third semester course – the film reviews which students have to write are still due, but no more teaching will take place. The third semester started earlier and many courses were blocked to give students an opportunity to begin their exchange semester earlier. In Austria, the winter semester normally commences in October and ends in the final days of January; summer semester begins in March and ends in June. In most non-German-speaking countries, however, semesters or trimesters start in January.

The blocked courses were occasionally a bit tedious (180 minute classes can hardly be anything else, both for students and me), but at least I also get the benefit of not having to teach this semester in January 😀

Tomorrow are the final three seminars for me before my holidays begin on Friday. Can’t wait! On Saturday evening we’ll be in Vienna (Wien is German name) the capital of Austria and only city that has reasonable metropolitan dimensions in Austria. Although I have never been there, I have secretly already fallen in love with Vienna (and am secretly cherishing the idea of moving to Vienna one day – it’s 2.2 million people vs. 40,000 in the Dornbirn area!).

Who’d have been surprised at the results of this Googlefight?

Googlefight

Truth is, I really would have expected Dornbirn (“Thorny Pear”) to do worse.

Designed Spam, Pattern 3: Pink

December 12, 2006 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Spam | 1 Comment

There is no end to these confetti spams yet. They even picked my favourite colour today: Pink!

Subject: But then again I guess I’m just Psycho!

Spam

Nicked from Deviant Art

December 11, 2006 at 9:02 pm | Posted in Art | Leave a comment
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Final post before I finally return to my article: I like this! I’m too tired today to explain why (i.e. the article has drained off all my willingness and ability to argue coherently), but it’s got something to do with the implicit contradiction of monsters, cuteness and the desire to fly even in spite of all the circumstances.

Learning to Fly by ~Murklins on deviantART

Would have liked to comment on the picture, but deviant art didn’t let me and I wasn’t keen on registering.

Bollywood in Europe

December 10, 2006 at 10:20 pm | Posted in Bollywood, Entertainment, Globalization | 15 Comments

This post is dedicated to Neha Kumar who introduced me to Nach Baliye (see older posts). Earlier today she wrote on her blog:

Indian dances famous abroad!

Its good news for all us Indians !!

Looks like, our dances not only enthrall us, but also people from other countries… I happened to meet one such admirer (thanks to wordpress ) Want to thank you Jana, for taking so much interest in our culture and dance..

Oh they are famous indeed 🙂 To prove this, I grabbed my camera to take a picture of my shower cabin. Of course the shower itself is anything but interesting, but have a look at the pictures that I put up when I moved into this flat two years ago:

My bathroom

These are cards issued by Rapid Eye Movies, the main German/Austrian distributor for films from India – as you can tell immediately from their website: They have just launched a (German-language) magazine called “Bollywood”. They used to specialize in Far East Asian films until a while ago, until they brought Khabi khushi khabi gham (forgive me for not getting the Hs and Es right) to Germany and met with major success with it. The cards are from the official release in their tiny first run movie theatre in Cologne.

The representation of Bollywood films in Germany/Austria is lopsided though. The majority of people who watch movies regularly (on TV or in the theatre) will know Shah Rukh Khan. Did you know they even dub his films into German to be able to air them on TV? :-))) Wanted to find a bit with German synchronisation on Youtube but wasn’t successful, hence here a screenshot from a description on RTL Television:

TV program

And while Shah Rukh is pretty famous already with viewers from all walks of life (i.e. not just the Indian community in Germany, not just teenagers), only few are enlightened about anything Bollywood beyond Shah Rukh. Hmm, with the exception of Austria/Switzerland probably, as the Austrian and Swiss landscapes keep appearing in Bollywood movies 🙂

But the interest in India is ever increasing, although the stereotypical knowledge probably includes the following notions:
– More Bollywood than Hollywood films have been produced in film history.
– India has a population of more than one billion.
– India is the leading software developing nation.
– Many Indians are very well educated.
– They don’t eat beef.
– They have the A-bomb (don’t really know whether this is true, but this is what many people belive).

I even once took a course in Hindi which was offered at Cologne university: 8 of 60.000 students took the course at the time (1998). Unfortunately, we were all so eager to learn that we had finished the lecturer’s course book in nearly half the usual time – actually already reaching the point where we couldn’t take in anything new, anymore because we hadn’t really grasped the old yet. When the exams in all the other subjects came around, half of us (including me) discontinued the course. So the words I understand when watching anything Indian are the following:
– zindagi hai (that’s life)
– sirf (only?)
– ek (one)
– pyar (love)
– main bhi (me too?)
– accha (good)
– diwana hai (he’s mad)
– lekin (but)
– bahut (much/many)
– sukriya/dhanyavad (thank you)

Not enough to follow the plot, I fear;-)

Ok, that was my little excursion into what I think to know about the awareness of Bollywood and India in Europe…
Good night, you people.

Mumps! Diseased spam!

December 10, 2006 at 3:30 pm | Posted in Spam | Leave a comment

To support my recently acquired artsy spam habit, the gods of spam took pity on me and send me another version of the “We think this stock is hot” spam, yet with a new color scheme this time. Wow, they have their own CI and variations of it!

The subject line – mumps – is more dada than ever (and I was 100% convinced that mumps was a German word, because of the consonant cluster at the end: Mumps, Plumps, Kanzler…. it’s proper English!

Spam

Previous Glorious Spam

Indian version of Pop Idols

December 10, 2006 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Bollywood, Entertainment, Globalization | 2 Comments

Sort of. I stumbled upon Neha Kumar’s blog on which she had just covered the dismissal of two contestants from an Indian dancing/casting show: Nach Baliye 2!

I am absolutely crazed about Bollywood movies – I do actually not watch them so often, but they make me instantly feel good. Indian pop music makes me happy, too. And the two clips from Nach Baliye Neha shared with me are just as gorgeous. I like the first one in particular, as it is more traditional and I already knew the song, it’s part of the musical score of Dil Se (1998). The other ones are better dancers (or so I would think, but who am I to judge).

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