Mariah Carey gives up drinking for lent 8/40

February 28, 2007 at 2:19 am | Posted in Food, Lent, Stars | Leave a comment
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Instead of drinking herself, she hires someone to make her drink from a cup. Ok, she doesn’t do that for Lent, but she has an assistant who makes sure her intake of liquids doesn’t plummet while she’s signing copies of her album. Maybe Mariah should hire a paediatric nurse and not humiliate her PR assistant like that. The assistant does certainly not look happy. Pictures and original story by The Sun (after The Superficial seemingly had to delete the pictures). But of course this is one way of buying friends (or substitutes for friends) for money. Financial capital converted to social capital, with an increase of social distinction. Who else can afford an abigail these days?

Maria Carey can't drink

Maria Carey can't drink

Maria Carey can't drink

EDIT: So, was able to find the pictures at The Sun UK, hope they are going to last there for a while.

LentMy daily Lenten message (Day 8): If you are rich like Mariah, I guess there is no point in trying to distinguish yourself by what you eat (possible, but probably not expensive enough) but by how you eat it. I think Mariah should give up hiring drinking assistants for Lent and give the money to charity instead. On my own Lent front, I am beginning to get less and less hungry, which (to me) substantiates my theory that sugar causes hunger. Those who are familiar with the metabolization of insuline would probably be able to explain that, I am not. So in that sense, I am really beginning to fast now. Easter comes on the 8th of April, and I am already fantasizing about the treat that I will have to celebrate that day. Nevertheless, I think I am going to fast every year now, to sweep out the waste and toxines that accumulate in your body over the year, and to get rid of the weight put on over winter (which I always do). Also, my birthday is in April, so slimming down for your birthday seems like a reasonable thing to do to me (33 this year, oooooh!).

I do IUD

February 27, 2007 at 9:21 am | Posted in Gender, Health, Women | 5 Comments
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Just a brief note: I’ve got a new friend now, Mirena. Who needs enemies if you have friends like these. What a painful encounter. I was as white as a sheet when I walked home, happy to live at a 5 minutes distance from my gynaecologist. Have taken painkillers now, as my uterus, quite understandably, is trying to eject the intruder. Hope that won’t work, because it cost me € 380. The thing itself and the instruments used to insert it probably had the diameter of a pen. Imagine the pain of giving birth in comparison! Or, as a friend of a friend once said: Imagine popping something the size of a water melon through your nostril. Shudder…

A gender politics critique: According to the sources on the web, they give you an anaesthetic to numb the pain beforehand, an injection into the uterus. I didn’t get one, because my doctor said that wouldn’t be necessary. How is he supposed to know being a man? I suppose women are much more pain tolerant. They go through this kind of pain once a month. But does that mean that there is no need to avoid as much of pain as possible? Blimey!

Helge makes Lent music 7/40

February 27, 2007 at 7:36 am | Posted in Comedy, Culture, Entertainment, Film, Food, German, Lent, Posts in German | 8 Comments

LentToday I propose a combined Lent & Life post in which I declare Helge Schneider the perfect composer and performer of Lent music. Those who keep regular contact to the German language sphere will certainly know his hit single “Möhrchen” (Little Carrot) from 2003. In this song, he proposes to abstain from drugs and to have carrots instead, using the following memorable lines:

Mariejohanna is nich gut
Mariejohanna is nichte gutta
Mariejohanna is nich gut
Makt dir auch die Futte kaputt

Tuma lieba die Möhrchen
Tuma lieba die Möhrchen Mama
Mama lieba die Möhrchen
die Möhrchen aus dem Glas.*

I also love the video, for its low budget production and Helge’s acting:

The Lenten lifestyle is further propagated in his latest hit, Käsebrot (cheese sandwich), featuring a German Käsebrot, which has very little to do with a cheese sandwich actually, even though that is probably the best translation. Just like bread from the UK or US has very little to do with German bread. That’s one good thing about being German: We may not have humour, but definitely absolutely the best bread ever. Some lyrics to accompany the video (and no meat, sugar or alcohol in these either):

Käsebrot ist ein gutes Brot
Käsebrot ist ein gutes Brot
Käsebrot, Kä-Kä-Kä-Käsebrot
Sexy Sexy Popäsebrot

Liegen auf dem Tisch
Doch ein Stückchen Käse
Schmeckt auch gut zu Fisch**

I’m not so sure whether Helge Schneider is also the suitable ambassador to propagate German humour, but I cherish the idea that he is something like a weirder Weird Al Yankovich. Anyway, Helge is beyond argueing for me. Earlier this year, he played Hitler in Dani Levy’s Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler which met with great expectations which it apparently didn’t meet (mainly for not being able to decide between a comic and a moralist approach). I did not see it, although my spontaneous reponse was that, if anybody could play Hitler, it would be Helge, the muttering comedian (think of Charlie Chaplin’s gibberish when he played Adenoid Hynkel in The Great Dictator). Helge also has the reputation of a top notch musician, playing the piano, saxophon, vibraphone, accordion, guitar, bass, violin, ukulele, recorder, drums, trumpet, Hammond organ, church organ and cello (and probably more. he keeps adding). I guess that also doesn’t quite come across in the examples of music above.

Helge Hitler


Maryjane isn’t good (3 times),
it ruins your brain too (or your feet, depending on the interpretation).

Rather get the carrots,
get the carrots, Mama,
Mama rather the carrots,
the carrots from the jar.

Cheese sandwich is a good sandwich (2 times)
Cheese sandwich, Che-Che-Che-Cheesesandwich
Sexy Sexy Shmeesesandwich

Lying on the table
But a piece of cheese
Goes also well with fish

Butchery Galore! 6/40

February 26, 2007 at 8:51 am | Posted in Culture, Food, Lent, Religion | 13 Comments

This flickr photoset might meanwhile have become a meme on the web: A sacrifice of 2000 pigs, neatly dressed and decorated, to invoke the complacency of the deity General Chao of Wudeh temple at a temple festival in Jendeh, southern Taiwan, 19 Jan 2007. This is my favourite picture from the set – it makes you wonder whether they do something with the carcasses to make the pigs smile.

Smiling dead pigs

LentA Lenten comment (Day 6): Well, good that I am not eating meat at the moment anyway. This is probably hearsay, but when people begin a conversation about vegetarianism, they tend to discuss the different types of meat at one point. Pork is the one that is dissed most in these conversations (although probably eaten the most in Europe). At that point someone might say: “Biologically, man and pig are very close. They even have the same meat and the same insuline. That’s why diabetics shouldn’t eat pork.” This is ususally greeted with nodding by the rest. It might be utter rubbish, but I believe I have heard this argument at least half a dozen of times.

Germans have no sense of humour and detest playfulness 5/40

February 25, 2007 at 1:12 am | Posted in Culture, German, Internet, Lent | 11 Comments

The last time I wanted to access Xing it was temporarily offline. The notification was posted in English and German – and they did not not even try to translate the joking remark about magic into German. Germans don’t like poking fun at such situations. They want precise information, an apology and a swift eradication of the problem.

Germans are not funny

LentMy daily Lenten note (Day 5): Meanwhile – although I am in the conventional sense always a wee bit hungry now – I begin to notice that I want to eat less. As a late snack, I had a jar of cottage cheese and could barely finish it. Had it been a normal day, I am sure I would have had plenty of hidden sugars yesterday – maybe honey nut flakes as a snack or of course a slab of Nussstrudel. Maybe it’s sugar that makes us even more hungry.

Mirena or Multiload? 4/40

February 24, 2007 at 10:07 am | Posted in Lent, Women | 16 Comments
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Here is one for the girls (the boys may also comment, but I might not take their advice seriously; they are also not allowed to take offence). On Monday, I need to take a decision regarding a new long-term companion: Mirena or Multiload? While the first one sounds like the given name of either a white Afrikaans Southafrican or of someone born in the former German Democratic Republic (where the regulations for chosing a child’s name were much more liberal), the latter makes you think of a shovel excavator or a monster truck. They’re both IUDs, Mirena comes with hormones, Multiload with copper ions, but both look scary in their own peculiar way.
Mirena (left) meet Multiload, Multiload (right) meet Mirena.

I actually don’t want to take hormones, hence the turning to IUDs (or coils, which is more reminiscent of the German “Spirale”), but apparently the dosage is significantly lower than with other types of contraception (“the pill”). The one might reduce the loss of blood to an absolute minimum, the other one is said to make it stronger (up to seven days). And the one goes for € 380, and the other for € 120. How am I supposed to decide? I already see myself deciding against this completely.

If you have any experience or advice, please leave me a message!

EDIT: I made a quick tag check only to discover that all posts tagged with birth control related issues are firmly in the hands of stern catholicists. Pages and pages ranting on about contraception being a sexual sin… puke, puke, puke! Please read this post on what happened to a rape survivor in Tampa, Florida to fuel your rage against those self-declared protectors of life (mostly men) who believe they are morally entitled to override and violate a woman’s souvereignity.

LentAnd my Lent message of the day: I am doing fine, and although I am absolutely not fasting in the sense of eating less, I have the feeling to sense the effects of it already. The development of gas is quite unbelievable! (I might get an award for the most disgusting post of the day today:-P) Of the three things I gave up – sugar, meat and alcohol – sugar is the most difficult one. Not a surprising – there are hidden sugars lurking behind any corner! Sadly, I looked at the preserved figs, the jarred apple sauce, the honey nut cornflakes today and decided that they were not for me. Alcohol might become more difficult during social events, but I have no doubt that I won’t fail or falter. Meat – easy as pie. Oh – only on Monday it will become hard – I’m having a lunch date with my favourite local woman and in the Outlook appointment it read “Schnitzelchen im Steinhäuser”. And they make the best Wiener Schnitzel ever. With cranberry sauce. And we normally have white wine spritzers with it.

A triple no-no!

F***ing February is too short! 3/40

February 23, 2007 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Food, Lent, Teaching English | 3 Comments

I’ve just realized with a mild shock that February is almost over. No wonder with its measly 28 days. Bad news is that my teaching starts again in a week from now, while I assumed it to start in two weeks! There goes my weekend:-( On top of that, I am planning to revise my Creative Writing Course to integrate Problem-Based Learning element (for the input sessions) and to teach a course on Digital Story Telling for the first time. Oh no! Helluva lot of work waiting for me that needs to be done in too little time – and we only just finished the grades for last semester!

LentMy temporary absentmindedness almost caused my Lent plan to break down! I prepared rice with pepper and garlic in my rice cooker. Because it comes out very hot (and to add some taste) I wanted to pour Balsamico bianco (white vinegar) over the dish – and instead grabbed the bottle of concentrated pear-mint juice! I shoved one bite into my mouth before I realized my mistake… and there went my carefully prepared meal:-(

But I swear I didn’t swallow!

Lent: Day 2 of 40

February 22, 2007 at 10:13 pm | Posted in Consumerism, Food, Lent, Lifestyle, Religion | 6 Comments

LentLent is going to be harder on me than I initially expected. I am about to meet a colleague in an hour in a restaurant and I won’t drink alcohol (!). But that’s what I wanted.

Up to this moment, this is what I consumed in the course of this day:

  • a pot of black tea with milk (no sugars)
  • a small bowl of oat meal (no sugar)
  • a serving of cottage cheese
  • four hardboiled eggs (on offer, as Easter is coming)
  • a banana (fruit sugar must be allowed – what’ s funny is that I couldn’t eat bananas as a teenager with an eating disorder; I was too afraid they would give me constipation;-) I actually only started eating them again about a year ago. I had practically forgotten about the existence of bananas)

And I really like the wines that they have in the place we are going to… (Gabriel’s Cucina)… money could buy me things… but I will desist!

EDIT: I survived, but picking from the menu alone is more difficult than it was when I was ‘just’ a vegetarian. Find a meal that has neither sugar nor meat in it! And they had a fresh redcurrant soup for starters today, sigh. The baby turbot with black rice also sounded divine, but I felt that it was unappropriate to indulge in such a treat if one meant to take lent seriously. Instead, I had a salad for starters and very wholesome spaghetti with potatoes, hot sauce and parmegiano, mineral water to drink – and an espresso without sugar to finish:-( All the food was really really nice – I need to think of taking my mother there one day.

40 days is a long time – but the last time that I didn’t drink alcohol for 40 days was probably before I started drinking at all (i.e. around 15 – probably the average age for a German… back in the days, that is). And as you can see in the top right corner, I have even created my own Lent logo now;-) I have to be careful, or the Christian fundamentalists will begin hanging around this page (interesting though how any engagement with Christian practices holds the danger of leading to unwanted affiliations).

Fighting Consumerism with Lent

February 21, 2007 at 10:44 pm | Posted in Consumerism, Food, Lent, Lifestyle, Religion | 2 Comments

noun [U]
in the Christian religion, the 40 days before Easter, a period during which, for religious reasons, some people stop doing particular things that they enjoy:
The children have promised to give up sweets for Lent. [CALD]

I am giving up sugar, alcohol and meat for Lent. I have never given up anything for Lent before, but considering the role that the addiction to consumerism played in a couple of discussions I was involved with or had with myself, it can hardly do harm to learn to give up things. The 40 days before Easter are nothing but a welcome opportunity, and also a reason that one can offer if people ask why one declines their Mousse au Chocolat, and a better reason than saying that one wants to shed some weight.

Carnival Photo Report, Pt. 6

February 20, 2007 at 6:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Carnival in CologneAnd here is the sixth post that should allow me to clear my holiday backlog. Day six was practically spent on the train – all in all, we spent 26 hours in trains in those six days. 15 hours from Dornburn to Cologne and back, 11 from Cologne to my mom’s place and back. But I was surprisingly productive on the train this time – I managed to grade all the papers I still had in that other backlog:-D I had planned to buy a set of Scrabble to make the journey more interesting, but then forgot about it. I’ve never owned one and only played it once before in my life (with an Italian set and English vocabulary in a German café), but I’ve become a bit obsessed about Triominoes recently and thought another puzzly board game might be good to add variety. One of my secret reasons to play Triomonoes is to restore my decrepit capabilities in maths. Calculators haven’t done me good, and when calculating grades I let Excel do all the work (safer for me, I suppose;-)

Carnival in Cologne But neither did we have a set of Triominoes on board, so all that we could play in the end was Hangman. We played until we felt sick about playing, guessing words such as T_A_R_A_ (a killer;-) and _D_R_E_I_B_R_U_E_S_T_I_G_E_ H_U_R_E_ P_O_S_E_I_D_O_N_S_ (three-breasted whore of Poseidon – we’re not really that creative or decadent, this just happened to become a code word for Triominoes.) I’ve always wondered how it is possible that repeated mental actions, once they’ve become boring, can make you sick, but they really do (or make me sick anyway). I cannot remember something similar happening with repetitive physical actions, such as cracking crabs or nuts – but maybe assembly line workers have such moments during their work… cracking nuts must be in the genes of us former hunters and gatherers, but assembling auto parts? I doubt it….

And at good last, this post really has nothing to do with carnival, only that it marks the day that I returned from carnival…

Carnival Photo Report, Pt. 5

February 19, 2007 at 12:40 pm | Posted in Friends | 2 Comments
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Carnival in CologneDay Five offered another opportunity for me and my boyfriend to get into our Bee & Meadow gear.

We went to a private party, a carnival breakfast to which my friend Jessica had been invited. She is a stunning tall woman, and had she been born as a boy, she would be a stunning tall man as the picture on the right shows:-)

It was the day of the great parade, but neither of us was really in the mood for going. Last year, we had collected several kilos of sweets during the parade. This year, I am planning to give up sugar and alcohol for lent, so collecting sweets might not be the best idea:-)

Carnival in CologneIt was a nice gesture by the city of Cologne to launch a beer campaign that featured my boyfriend’s name:-))))

After the party, we went home, slept a little, went for coffee and soup and watched movies for the rest of the evening: World Trade Center (directed by Oliver Stone) which was completely useless, and Good Night and Good Luck, directed by George Clooney, which was excellent.

Carnival Report, pt. 4

February 18, 2007 at 8:06 am | Posted in Friends | Leave a comment
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Day four wasn’t too carnivalesque either. We returned to the city at half past ten, went to Ehrenfeld – the burrough where my most of my friends in Cologne live – and from there to the “L”* bar where the last patron was just about to leave and no carnival music was playing. What a relief after another 5.5 hours train trip in a coach that was bracketed by fighting carnival corpses!

*Old friends of the “L” bar! It has a new owner who tore down that colourful wall and redecorated it to give it a slightly posher, not so punk but still trashy style. They also have good wine now (for € 2.60 a 0.2l glass) and I like it much better the new way. The picture in the link above shows the old “L” though.

Carnival Photo Report, Pt. 3

February 17, 2007 at 11:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Parts 3 and 4 of the report aren’t really reports on carnival, but of the way we spent the carnival holiday in general. We went “home”, i.e. to my home-home, i.e the place where my mother lives which was only 300 km away, but nevertheless we spent 5.5 hours on the train. She lives close to the border to Thuringia, which was formerly the border with the German Democratic Republic, and the infrastructure regrading public transport is still not ideal.

We went there because of the mentioned accommodation problem and because, if we turned around the accommodation problem, it meant it was an excellent opportunity to introduce my boyfriend to my mother, and all went extremely well 🙂 She was absolutely delighted about him, my mother’s boyfriend enjoined the male company (he often seems a bit intimidated by my presence, or even jealous), and I learned so many things about my own home and the surrounding area.

Carnival in CologneThe village where they live (and where I spent the seven unhappiest years of my life after we moved there from a town – which is probably the reason why I know so little about it) is an official reserve in UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Project, for its unique combination of biodiversity and rural civilisation. Here is a link to the Wikipedia page in German which desribes the Biosphärenreservat Rhön.

My mom’s boyfriend is a former forrester/ranger and helped map the area. My mom is a farmer’s daughter and belives in growing her own food, gathering the gifts of mother nature and preparing them in her own tiled oven. We had a very wholesome stay, in terms of nutrition, education and tending family relations 🙂 I am even looking forward to going back which has rarely happened before:-D

The pic shows my mom and her boyfriend.

Carnival Photo Report, Pt. 2

February 16, 2007 at 10:34 pm | Posted in Film, Food, German | Leave a comment
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Friday, February 16. The day after Weiberfastnacht went by calmly. Carnival is a love-hate thing for many people – it’s impossible to engage in it half-heartedly, and one can easily grow tired. I wasn’t in the mood for an encounter with hordes of drunk and mega horny people in costumes on Friday – also we had a bit of an accommodation problem and wanted to leave Cologne the next day at 7:23 in the morning.

So we spent most of the day walking about town, went to a One-Dollar-House twice, i.e. to a second run cinema where you pay very little for a ticket and get next to no service, but what do you need really besides a pop corn making machine in a cinema?

The first film was a nightmare: Klimt (2006) by Raoul Ruiz, which pretended to be a biopic of the live of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt. I was surprised to learn that it was an Austrian-French-German-British coproduction, as it offered itself like a U.S.American fantasy about the sexual life of European artists around the turn of the 19th century. It was the first time in ages that I left the cinema after having watched only half of the film. That was when Klimt’s mother asked what he wanted for lunch on Sunday. “Goulash”, he said, and his sister wondered, “You can’t get enough of your Goulash”, upon which the mother had a fit of hysteria, screamed and threw about pieces of the puzzle she was working on, being joined by the sister who also slapped her (own) face. Nikolai Kinski is also in it, and so desperately trying to channel his father that the first three minutes alone are reason enough to leave the theatre. People don’t have sex in the brothel, but the women wear moustaches.

The next film we saw was Borat. Nothing much to say about it, not half as shocking (nor half as funny) as people claimed it to be. I had one epiphany though: If a man becomes really fat, you can no longer see his genitalia. I had always wondered about that.

We took one photo: of a Red Bull promotion vehicle after having bought Thai Red Bull at a Chinese store. It comes without the fizz, but apart from that tastes exactly the same.

Carnival in Cologne

Carnival Photo Report, Pt. 1

February 15, 2007 at 9:52 pm | Posted in Friends, German, Posts in German | 2 Comments
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Carnival in CologneThursday, February 15, Weiberfastnacht, i.e. the day before Shrove Tuesday in Cologne. People agreed that Saint Peter must be from Cologne as we were blessed with the finest weather in years: Dä Petrus is ne Kölsche! I was a bee, and my boyfriend the cutest meadow ever. Later on, we danced Polonaise* in the backyard of a friend’s house. It did not matter that the sun did not reach us there: we had the sunshine in our heart.**

*) a stately Polish processional dance popular in 19th century Europe, according to Merriam-Webster

Carnival in Cologne**) Dat Hätz vun der Welt, jo dat is Kölle, dat Hätz vun der Welt, dat schläht am Rhing! Es och der Himmel öfters jrau, un dat Sönnche schingk jet mau, doch mir Kölsche han im Hätze Sunneschingk***

***) A translation into both English and German, as not all German speakers are able to comprehend the Colonian tongue.

Das Herz der Welt, ja das ist Köln,
das Herz der Welt, das schlägt am Rhein.
Ist auch der Himmel öfters grau, und die Sonne scheint etwas matt,
doch wir Kölschen haben im Herzen Sonnenschein.

Carnival in CologneThe heart of the world, yes, that is Cologne.
The heart of the world beats on the river Rhine.
May the heaven often be grey and the sun shine a bit dull,
but we Colonians have the sunshine in our heart.

Picture of the Polonaise below.

Carnival in Cologne

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