My Book Now Exists

My first book, Ending the Death Penalty: The European Experience in Global Perspective, has assumed physical form, and can now be bought on, as you can see by the widget to the right. If you're interested and have an extra couple dozen Euro lying around, please go buy it!

German Word of the Week: Tränenfilm-Bausteine

The window of your local German pharmacy is always good for a surprise, usually in the form of some shiny-packaged folk remedy for frenulum rot based on the extract of an Estonian wildflower. The ad display might well be accompanied by an adorable marketing mascot. In this case, perhaps a no-longer inflamed frenulum gamboling about in the Tuhu Bog.

But what have we here? (h/t MG):

authentic german eyewash! 

The comically literal translation is: "Seepower and protection plus Tearfilm-Buildstones." 

A more mainstream translation would be "Better vision and protection plus tearfilm components". When I hear the phrase tearfilm component, I think: shirtless hunk widower with cancer-stricken adopted Malawian daughter.

Perhaps that's not what's meant here — but note that the name of the firm making this product is "DoubleHeart", and its logo consists of (sniffle) two joined red and black hearts… 

Quote of the Day: The Multiorgasmic Side of Arnold Schoenberg

modernist composer arnold schoenberg, (probably) not ejaculating


This post will induce a mental image in you, the unsuspecting reader, which you will never, ever be able to unremember, no matter how hard you try.

And believe me, you will try.

If you consent to be thus traumatized, follow the jump. Don't say you weren't warned, etc.

No visit to Vienna would be complete without a stop by the Arnold Schoenberg Center (g), a modest museum containing exhibits about the cantankerous father of the twelve-tone compositional technique. It contains a replica of his Los Angeles study, a collection of original sound recordings by him, and a wealth of books and scores. 

I bought a back-issue of the June 1984 Journal of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute for a few euros, on the strength of an interesting article about Schopenhauer's influence on Schoenberg. The journal also contains the transcription of a March 2, 1974 conference on Schoenberg held at Oberlin College. One of the participants is the composer Richard Hoffmann (g).

In the middle of a rather odd discussion of which composers among Stravinsky, Webern, and Schoenberg would be the North Pole, South Pole, and equator of modern music, Hoffman delivers himself of the following, er, ejaculation:

R.H.: The North and South Pole are somewhat cold-blooded, objective, reptilian while Schoenberg, the equator, was the giant, whose semen literally spurted when he composed. (p. 68)

Chillin’ with Walter Ulbricht

Greetings from Vienna, where I've been enjoying my readers' spot-on recommendations. I'll post about Kakania when I have a chance. Meanwhile, a ready-made post consisting of pictures sent in by loyal reader Ed Philp.

Some friends of mine were recently prescribed one of those delightful German "rest cures" to help their baby recover after an operation. The place in question is the Kurklinik Wandlitz (g), a green and leafy sanatorium near Berlin. Wandlitz served the same function for leaders of East Germany who were exhausted after a full day of running the farmers and workers' state. The adult recreation room at Wandlitz is the former private office of Walter Ulbricht, General Secretary of the Socialist Unity arty from 1950 to 1971. My friend has sent me photos from deep inside the fetid lair of this egg-shaped revolutionary. First, the overview:

Ulbricht's Office General View

Some of his books:

Ulbricht's Books

 And finally, some board games for the parents, including (in the center of the photo), one called "Train to the West". My friend comments: "I doubt this board game is an original!"

Zug nach Westen