Godot on hold (Part 1)

The perception of waiting time

The range of different clever pronouncements on the subject of “waiting” demonstrate  the ambivalence of perception. While some emphasise its benefits (Leo Tolstoy: “Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait.”) others prefer to emphasise the impatience aspect (Damaris Wieser: “Waiting for something only robs us of the time we won’t have later when we need it.”)

Waiting is the “experience of time” and therefore this ambivalence is hardly surprising. Anyone who has children knows about the “Are we nearly there?” after about three minutes of driving, which is often used interchangeably with “I need the loo!” but that doesn’t matter. The critical reader may argue that this example is about boredom, i.e. forced idleness coupled with lack of stimulus, which is also a form of waiting, only in an intensified form. In the same vehicle, however, the parents are happy about the holidays that have begun (anticipation).

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In Praise of Respite (Part 3)

Birdwatching Makes You Happy

“Everything is always there in her. Past and future she knows not. The present is her eternity.” (Georg Christoph Tobler on nature)

Do you own a garden? I see it as a place of diversity and also of evolutionary anarchy. Or can you get out into “nature”, woods, fields, vineyards without much effort? If you can’t, you can also hear them in the city. Because if you listen carefully, you will notice that the air is once again filled with a multi-faceted cacophony! The birds are getting into the act and making as much noise as leaf blowers usually do, only nicer. In his book of that name published in 2015, Bernd Brunner writes of “Birdmania” to which, I confess, I too have been addicted for very many years.  But, I am fine. Thank you for asking.

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Time for new goals!

The first weeks of 2021 are already over and a familiar ritual is repeating itself. Well, around this time gym registrations usually skyrocket….

But didn’t we also have the more or less usual resolutions at the beginning of 2020? It wasn’t meant to be – and you can, I think, clearly pinpoint one culprit in 2020. @Harlekin Rüdiger: did you have viruses in your series on the art of blaming?

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In the beginning was the word…

in the end the cliché (Stanislav Jerzy Lec)

Note from the translator: The more astute reader will swiftly recognize the absurdity of the translation into English of a lament about the use of the German language. Such abuses exist in a modern world where presentation is more important than content. The Top Ten English  words for 2020 include, apart from the inevitable phrases relating to Covid-19 and video-conferencing, such memorable terms as “BLM” (Black Lives Matter), “Karen” (a prejudiced, privileged middle-aged person criticizing condescendingly), Megxit (referring to ex?-Prince Harry and Meghan). A clear indication of the applicability of VUCA everywhere. My apologies too if the text is hard to decipher due to terms beyond the vocabulary of even an American president. Nevertheless, I ask you to give Harlekin RGE a chance in English, since his appeal for a more critical examination of the words we use is hardly restricted to the German-speaking world.

If I claimed just a short while ago that ‘resilience’ had become the new jack-of-all-trades and thus joined the Olympian vocabulary of every project management expert, I must correct myself.

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Runners, tankers, balance beam and much, much more

On metaphors in politics

On a metaphorical level, television viewers in the Netherlands have had a lot to digest in recent months, especially during the regular press conferences on Corona. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and “Corona Minister” Hugo de Jonge go to great lengths to convince the citizens of their country of the urgency of the situation. In doing so, the end is laudable, but the means are somewhat confusing.

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A bit cracked… (Part 2)

Nutmeg then developed into the gold rush of East India in the 16th century, the first significant case of drug procurement-related crime. The Portuguese, British, Spanish and Dutch waged war over nutmeg and killed not only each other but also tens of thousands of locals on the side. Anyone who has so far thought drug cartels were exclusively in Latin America may now consider themselves first-degree know-it-alls. For they now know that Pablo Escobar, cocaine trafficking and the Medellin cartel are just cheap imitations of a 500 year-old “business model”.

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A bit cracked … (Part 1)

After my contribution on Corona, hoarding toilet paper and a resulting anal-ysis of symptom-associated know-it-alls, I was asked several times to expand on this topic. I confess, it was more fun than work. Enjoy the new squad of know-it-alls and smart alecks.

Candlelight, mulled wine and cracking nuts: all these remind me of childhood, are an integral part of winter and yes, it’s Christmas time. To ensure that feel-good factor, White Christmas is a permanent feature in the department stores and on the radio Chris Rea sings his way back into the hearts of truck drivers (and their wives, of course) every year with Coming Home for Christmas.

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International Relations – from a private perspective

(Episode 2, part 2)

You could say my wife, whom I met while working in Germany and abducted to Dutch Friesland, and I have been surrounded by cultural differences for so long they have become second nature. In our relationship we rarely think about the fact that she grew up in one country and I did in another. We think – maybe others don’t – that we do not fit the stereotypes.

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International Relations – from a private perspective

(Episode 2, part 1)

After Harlekin Beate’s article on “International Relations” was published she asked those other Harlekins who are married to “foreigners” to write on their personal international relations. But then, I thought, I’ve never been married to someone from my original home, so how can I compare? I’ve spent much more of my life outside my “home” than in it, living in 4 countries other than Britain, so much that I wonder how British I really am now. The “home” I left is not the same now nearly 50 years later.

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