German quizzes and concert promoters

Would you pass the German citizen quiz? I probably wouldn’t.

The 100-question test, drawn up by the state of Hesse but being considered for nationwide use, has received a lot of comment, in part because of the widespread belief that many German university students would have trouble passing it, so how fair would it be to impose it on immigrants relatively unschooled in German culture?

On Monday evening M and I went to hear Fritz Rau speak at the Bergström Hotel here in Lüneburg. He is on tour promoting his new book, “50 Jahre Backstage-Erinnerungen eines Konzertveranstalters.” He was one of the biggest concert promoters in Germany since the mid 50’s. He is sort of like the Bill Graham of Germany. In fact, when Mick Jagger told Rau he wanted to do a huge open air concert in Germany, Rau went to America to hang out with Graham in order to learn about all the logistics involved with such an undertaking.

He told some great stories about hanging out with John Coltrane, Marlene Dietrich, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen and many more. It was very interesting.

Wo bist du, mein Sonnenlicht?

Me being a musician, I don’t like to tell other musicians that they suck or should hang it up. Well, not to their face anyway. Everyone has to start out somewhere. That’s why I will just let this video by Turkish-German rappers Tekkan speak for itself. This is becoming a very popular meme in the German blogosphere. But for all the wrong reasons. If you don’t understand German, consider yourself lucky. I guess the lyrics aren’t too bad. Maybe it’s just the delivery.

I ‘ve had moments like these…

I hope this sign isn’t important, because I can’t read it.
Before I had a working grasp of the German language, I had some moments like that when faced with evil looking signs. The sign at the other end of the link would make me really nervous though.

This is from a guy named Seth Golub’s site who, with a bunch of other people, decided it would be a good idea to unicycle through Laos. The pictures and video along with the travelogue are very impressive. (via)

Turn your head and cough

It hasn’t been a good year so far. Now I have a really bad cold/cough/laryngitis and I was up until 3am last night coughing a lung up. Today I feel a bit better now that I have gotten some rest and cough syrup.

An interesting observation about Germany: Meals of the day are traditionally set up so that there is usually some bread topped with jelly/butter/cheese/coldcuts/ and maybe muesli for breakfast, something warm- meat and potatoes usually- for lunch and Abendbrot in the evening. Abendbrot means “evening bread”. For some Germans it is a low key affair. This usually consists of a couple slabs of bread or breadrolls with often the same toppings that were had on the bread at breakfast and not much more. This is not by any means the same for every family or person in Germany but it is quite common. Maybe it is different in the part of Germany you live in or have visited. It is definitely the way mealtimes are set up in the 3 German hospitals I have been in. So what I am trying to get at is that the same thing will often be eaten at breakfast and at dinner. The main difference is that at breakfast the bread will almost always be eaten with the hands and at dinner the bread will be eaten with a fork and knife. Even though it is the same thing. Does anybody else think that it weird? Oh well.

When I had my heart catheter done on New Year’s, I asked the doctor to burn copies of the heart x-rays on a CD for me. How geeky is that? Unfortunately, the image files are a proprietary format from Siemens for an interface called ACOM.PC. I found this small program for the PC that may help me view the files.

There is one thing unsettling about this ACOM.PC stuff though. According to the readme file on the CD, it only runs on Windows95. What? If I have a long skinny hose jammed up into and poking around inside my heart, I don’t want the words “Windows95” to be anywhere in the equation. Maybe it is just the software used to store the images and burn the CD, but it’s just a deeply-rooted psychological thing that anybody who has done tech-support will understand. On the other hand, I’m grateful they had the technology there at their disposal.