Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas in Munich

Back in Munich...
Christmas is an extension of life to many here. Christkindelmarkt Marien Platz.

To others, it's life itself.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Heaven and Hell

A friend of mine sent this story about heaven and hell.

While walking down the street one day a Corrupt  Senator was tragically hit by a car and died.

His soul arrives  in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to  heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a  problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so  we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me  in," says the Senator..

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders  from the higher ups. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell  and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend  eternity."

"Really?, I've made up my mind. I want to be in  heaven," says the Senator.

"I'm sorry, but we have our  rules."

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator  and he goes down, down, down to hell.

The doors open and he  finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is  a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other  politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and  in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce  about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the  people.

They  played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and  the finest champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is  a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling  jokes.

They are all having such a good time that before the  Senator realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a  hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises...

The  elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St.  Peter is waiting for him, "Now it's time to visit heaven.."

So,  24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group of contented souls  moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing.
They have  a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone
by and St.  Peter returns.

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and  another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."

The Senator  reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said  it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be  better off in hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator  and he goes down, down, down to hell..

Now the doors of the  elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with  waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking  up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from  above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his  shoulders.

"I don't understand," stammers the Senator.  Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we  ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great  time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look  miserable. What happened?"

The devil smiles at him and  says,

"Yesterday  we were campaigning ...

 Today,  you voted.."

 Vote wisely

on November 2, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Erwin @ Joshua Tree National Park

As a kid, my Dad always brought home Winnebago catalogues for the day we could settle down and actually own one. We poured over every picture of families eating and camping against a sunset landscape next to their Winnebago and a camp fire. Or the ubiquitous father sitting up front at the wheel, while mother cooks at the kitchenette and the perfect children playing a board game at the dinette.

Well, we never experienced that as children. Until now.

Introducing Erwin! 2007 Forest River Forester 26.5

Our maiden voyage: Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Comment: One of the most unbelievably nerve wrecking and exhilarating experiences. It makes camping in nature a total necessity in life.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

White Bear Lake Resort, Saskatchewan, CA

O and I went up to Saskatchewan, Canada for a few meetings and a lot of R & R. The prairies can be so beautiful.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

I can't take seeing yet another heart wrenching and stomach turning image anymore. What world are we living in, with what people do we live with in this world when so much harm is done to animals, amphibians and fish who have nothing to do with our values? I won't even mention the human loss.

Sadness quickly gave way to anger when I considered how weak our President has been as a leader in such a crisis. So I wrote President Obama via the White House website:

Dear Mr. President:
I write with a deeply saddened and heavy heart after seeing photos how wild animals like birds and amphibians are suffering and dying from being drowned in oil sludge. It was like seeing humans torturing and killing the animals with their own hands. The
It's now 1-1/2 months since the start of the oil spill and it appears that you have stood by and done very little too late. Your constant trust of so called experts has put more in harms way than to save what precious living resource we have.
I understand that you are not an oil spill expert. I understand that we are all at the mercy of the very people who created the disaster. However, I do not understand why you are not leading. You are the guardian of our nation. You have the power and the leadership to demand immediate action.
We should not have waited a month before the first form of action was taken to quell the leak. Watching your inaction and trust in BP and their experts was like watching the 7 minutes of George W Bush's silence and inaction when he heard the 911 news.
I refuse to let things appear to be doomed. So please Mr. President, please take the lead and make powerful and consequential decisions to help save the suffering nature of the gulf. Please demand with conviction, BP's responsibility.
Please make immediate and decisive decisions. Please don't drag your feet just because maybe, just maybe someone might have a better idea. You can wait forever.
Please take the lead as our President and I will give you all of my support. Thank you. Sincerely, Elizabeth

Monday, May 31, 2010

Largest Flash Mob Dance @ Eurovision

O and I watched the Eurovision Song Contest Saturday night. Hooray for Germany/Lena's win!

But what caught my spirit was the largest flash mob dance the broadcasters did live in many countries simultaneously. It was touching to hear the lyrics about love and getting the world connected by Madcon (Norwiegian Group) while people of all nations shared a moment of happiness and dance together.

I hope they do this again next year. This time it's Europe but wouldn't it be great if it included all races, color and religion?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Buergerspital Vineyard

A couple weeks ago, O and I visited his daughter, H, at the Buergerspital Vinyard in Wuerzburg, where she is interning for the summer. What a treat! Not only did we get to see her, but she was in her element.

The Burgerspital vineyard is one of the most established vineyards in the Franken region. It dominates a large hill overlooking the town of Wuerzburg on the Main river (same river Frankfurt is on about one hour north west). It has the charge of not only making wines but to rehabilitate older citizens through their nursing facility. So it's social program is quite impressive.

Our timing was perfect. When we arrived, we landed right in the middle of a wine tasting. It was fun to learn  the etiquette of wine tasting. Funny enough after a while, if you don't succumb to the call of the wine gods and swallow every slurp, you start to taste the different flavors.

In between tests, H took us on a personal guided tour. It was cool to see all what it takes to produce wine. Some of the places are truly beautiful like their collection of fine vintages which have to be rotated. There they have statues as center pieces.

While some production areas deep in the basement give you the heebie geevies.

The vineyard also boasts owning one of the older bottles of wine in existence. The oldest bottle they have is dated around 1540 A.D.

Later on, we had a great time walking through the vineyards.

The best was when we walked it at night without any light. There was something so earthy and deeply satisfying when our eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness and we hiked around the hillside, through the grapevines.

Buergerspital, Wuerzberg, Germany (near Frankfurt)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rainy Day in Munich

Rain can be so romantic when you're visiting Munich.

Although, anyone who lives here can kill you for thinking that. No amount of beautiful sunny days can make up for the endless gray and rain they had all winter and spring.

But I like to think it's romantic since I've had a couple weeks of great weather here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tantris Food Temple

O and I were with J, W and C at Tantris, the temple of food in Munich. BTW, the place is under historic preservation due to it's extremely unique style of the 70's. This modern space is completely colored in orange, with orange carpeted walls and ceilings. The shag carpets are out but imagine it was there on opening day. Photos of glamorous models stepping out of cars adorn the walls.

The 'Variations of Goose Liver' was the best everyone has ever had. And our friends were fine food connoisseurs. But the other dishes were just okay. Of course we are complaining at a high level. However, considering that it is a temple of food with 2 Michelin stars and they charge like it too, then it's kind of disappointing.

Luckily, we had some extremely fine, fine, fine, fine...did I say fine? to compensate. Here's a magnum bottle of Castelo Di Ama 1998. It was so amazing I took the empty bottle home.

We'll off to more wine tasting 'sans' spitting.

Tantris Restaurant
Johann-Fichte-Straße 7
80805 München
Tel: +49 89 361959-0

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Death's Art for sale

In Munich, anything goes.

Down the street from us is an art exhibit titled "THE LAST THING". The art pieces consist of coffins and urns, all for sale. Not just as art but as the final purchase of your life. If you never bought a piece of artwork, then here's your chance to kill two stones with one.

I love the coffins.

Munich Comic Bookstore

Naturally I had to visit one of Munich's best comic book stores: COMIC COMPANY on Frauenhofer Strasse just a few blocks from our apartment.

I went crazy over the many Jacques Tardi  crime series and nearly cleaned the store out.

In pouring over the many comic books and graphic novels, I noticed that historical material seems really popular. Of course they have the usual American superhero stuff with Marvel, DC, etc.. having a dedicated section. But there is an abundance of "drama" type books mostly written and drawn by the likes of Marc-Antoine Mathieu, Jason Lutes, Isabel Kreitz, Andreas Dierssen, Matz Mainka, Reihard Kleist and Tobias Meissner. and that's just a sampling!

Also prominent are Mangas by Hideshi Hino, Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi, to name a few.

The selection here is great. What they try to do is to provide the complete series rather than "left over" volumes. And like good comic store people, they know their stuff.

Can't wait to read what I got and hope to get more before I leave.

Comic Company

Fraunhoferstr. 21
80469 München
Telefon: +49-89-2014385
Telefax: +49-89-20236763

Aaah Munich!

Back home in Munich. People, architecture, place... the essentials to feeling like you belong.
We've been lucky with the weather. Hope this keeps up while we're here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti Rescue Charity Guide

The tragedy in Haiti is heart wrenching to say the least. At the same time, it is drawing some of the best impassioned help from all over the world.

There's a website, "Charity Navigator",  that helps you navigate through the various charities, providing descriptions of their objectives. Also, these charities are all tried and true versus the overnight charities that seem to be springing up, who may not be vetted for their authenticity. The website also gives advice as to what you should or shoudl not do based on the ability of getting your help directly to the people in an orderly way. Watch out for bogus email and Twitter donation programs. Hope this helps you all on your search for ways to help the people of Haiti.

Check out:


Paradoxymoron, originally uploaded by mariachi2006.

This is one of those cool Escher-esque paintings that keeps pleasing the eye.

Someone suggested an entire building painted to have such an effect. Wouldn't it be cool if there were no doors to a building as seen from a distance. The only way the doors/entrances are revealed to you is when you walk up close to the building: As you move around towards it, the door opens up for you and you step in.

How cool is that?

Thanks to 'Mariachi' for bringing this painting by Patrick Hughes to our attention.

To be or not to be a clone

To be or not to be a clone, originally uploaded by Stéfan.

This guy Stefan is a true story telling genius. He's created a whole year's stormtroopers series. If you want a little dose of humor every day, check him out at