Saturday, March 27, 2010
I'm chatting with one of our supervisors at what seems to be a dinner party. I explain that I have made it a habit to post a short blog notice on every movie I have watched, I try to include a poster and maybe one or two images from the movie, a one-sentence synopsis and a comment in not more than two sentences, just like in Halliwell's Filmgoer's Guide.
Nevertheless, although there is vast information on the internet, it does happen that I get stuck finding a singular image for some cases, but I very much enjoy the search. The supervisor says he's glad I'm such a film buff and asks me to help him search for a certain German silent movie titled 'Dr. Hauff', a title he has been looking for information about for a long time.
I get up from the table, go to my bookshelf and pick out my copy of Halliwell. The movie isn't mentioned there, which was to be expected, I explain, so I search my library for the book about German stars of the silent age, which covers a lot of movie titles from that era. I can't find the book, but am surprised to notice that I have meanwhile set the books in my shelves in double rows so that behind every row of books visible there's another hidden row.
Of course, the movie 'Dr. Hauff' does not exist (I looked it up).
2 days later Ursula and I got a visit from Tanja and Simon, and we also talked about movies. At one point I had to look up something, so I got my copy of Halliwell's out from the shelves. Tanja remarked to Simon: "See, there are still people who look up things in books and don't use the internet for everything."
Friday, March 26, 2010
Georg Britting was a local writer here in Regensburg whose work is little known, but should have its place in German literary history. I managed to get a 4-volume edition of his works.
Here's a short bio:
(Roger Arvid Anderson)
In 1982 I moved into a stone farmhouse five miles outside Lawrence. The house had been modernized with bath and propane heat and air conditioning. Modern and convenient. It was a long, cold winter. As spring came I glimpsed occasionally a gray cat shadow and put out food, which disappeared, but I could never get close to the gray cat.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
British understatement is proverbial, and I always get a kick out of experiencing the real thing. In the movie An Education there's a scene in which the 16-year old girl is in bed with the intention to lose her virginity to a much older man. The man makes a silly and quite inappropriate suggestion, so she get's out of the bed and calls it all off: "I might have lost the feeling."
At work I had to speak to a customer in the UK personally, so I called up his number and asked the person taking the call: "Am I speaking to Mr. (the customer's name)?". The Englishman on the phone replied: "I'm sorry, I'm afraid so."
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Love and Friendship
Love is like the wild rose-briar,
Friendship like the holly-tree
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most constantly?
The wild-rose briar is sweet in the spring,
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again
And who will call the wild-briar fair?
Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
And deck thee with the holly's sheen,
That when December blights thy brow
He may still leave thy garland green.
Monday, March 22, 2010
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream and not make dreams your master;
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
Recently I watched the 3-hour-long documentary Die große Stille (Into Great Silence) that tries to emulate the everyday life of the silent order of Carthusian monks.
Therefore there's hardly a word spoken during the whole movie, although the monks do make a lot of noise without chatting. Since they are allowed to speak at a certain allotted amount of time, I think once a week for a short session, I was very much looking forward to hear what such men would be talking about after so much silence.
Since the movie is in itself a bit of a meditative experience my attention drifted off for a moment till I realized it had arrived at the monks' colloquy. They were obviously talking about cleanliness, and I heard one monk saying. "It's not that I forget to wash my hands, but that I forget to make them dirty."
A down-on-his luck father, whose insurance won't cover his son's heart transplant, takes the hospital's emergency room hostage until the doctors agree to perform the operation.
Very well performed, but in its criticism of the American health system the movie emphasizes polemics, and the plot is quite far-fetched and unrealistic.