And Now: Something completely stupid

The daily culture program 3Sat Kulturzeit did a nice orbituary for the Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami.

At the end the programs speaker Cécile Schortmann (picture below) tried to make an intelligent jump to the next report (about cinema in Lebanon) my saying “… and now jumping to another arab country ….”.  If Abbas Kiarostami would have heared this …..

Boolean algebra of love

Elie Wiesel, the philosopher, writer, holocaust survivor, died yesterday at the age of 87. But he should also be remembered as as contributor to the boolean algebra of love. He discovered that

“The opposite of love is not hate, but ignorance”.










Judgement Day 2.0

All monotheistic religions have in their mythology the concept of a final judgement. Christians call it “Judgement Day”, Jews call it “יום הדין”,  Arabs call it  “یوم القیامۃ”, Persians call it “روز حساب”, and the ancient Archemenids in Iran also had a name for it but I don’t have the cuniform characters installed here.

The question for an atheist like me is always: shall I care about these fairy-tales of a life after death, in which my future postal address (a gated community in paradise or a bizarre existence in sin city) will be decided by a reviewing committee chaired by St. Peter ? I would say no. If I believe in a life after physical death, than it will be rather by cloning myself from my own iPS cells (which I have already stored in some tubes in my institutes liquid nitrogen tank) plus a complete 1:1 copy of my brain connectivity (to bring back all my memories, skills and personal characters).  So I can say with some optimism: We are working on this issue. Therefore, there is no need to wait for a Final Judgement Day, and I would not like to stand in a queue with millions of religious hypocrites, from which ever faith, who are arguing with the frustrated judge and trying to prove that their lifelong martyrdom, self punishment or fight against other faiths should entitle them to a first class appartment in heaven.  This idea either amuses or frightens me.


“Judgement Day” by Michelangelo Buonarroti, Sistine Chapel, Rom

There is one idea of the Judgement Day, however, that reads really appealing and logical to me, and I am all to happy to believe in it. It is part of the Jewish mythology, where an important parameter of the judgement is to what degree a person exploited all the possibility in life to enjoy the world. This is really important, as compared to the stupid way of judging ones compliances with the religious dogmas. Finding a challenging job, having good sex, raising children, playing music, reading great books, entertaining other folks: little of this might count important for what the religious clerks always tell people is the Final Judgement. But in reality, it is the most relevant for a non-mythological life after death.

Rain drops on lips

In New York it is still The 24th of May, and hence still on time to commemorate Bob Dylans birthday. I had to think about his song “A Hard Rain’s gonna fall” today, when somebody at our institute told me about the soon beginning of the muslim Ramadan. This year it will be right in the middle of summertime, and I can not imagine how one can live and work more than 12 hours in the summer heat with no drinking.
But maybe a relief could come from heaven itself. If during Ramadan a summer rain starts, and one believes in a higher deity, than he/she can assume that this rain is send by God, right ? So is it o.k. than to lick the rain drops from ones lips ? I mean from ones owns lips !!  Maybe I should ask somebody of the large Arab carawanes, for whom Munich serves as a summer camp, with medical treatments and endless shoping facilities. Could it be that they like to come here during Ramadan, for the high chance to get some rain in June or July, and liking the raindrops from their lips ?

Summer Nuisance

A reply to “High on Words: London Spring

Seems there is little chance to escape the nuisance of spring. and don’t excpect any relief when summer comes. I remember a day in August, hoping to find some tranquility in Richmond Park. But soon I felt annoyed by a strang clapping sound, as if millions of elves were beating the dust off their tiny bedside rugs. The real cause, however, was much more secular: It appeared that thousands of butterflies (perhaps from Spain or Italy, who cares) made this noise with their blue wings.

I think there should be an ammendement written to the Rules for Richmond Park Visitors: “Butterflies are kindly ask to avoid any intense clapping sound with their wings between 1 and 6 p.m.”

Lars, my swedish friend …

I know that there is nobody on Lars Gustafssons blog any more to edit the comments.  I am extremely sad that one of the greatest literature spirits of our modern world had passed away. It is just a week ago that I had such a nice time when I found your latest novel “Dr. Waters recepie” in the book shop.  We will desperately miss your wonderful words, your phantasy that explained to us the mysteries of the world a little bit better.


Portrait of the Artist




Dead white Rose

It was always clear that Axl Rose was nothing but a poser (in his youth). With his skinny, bony, sweaty body barely covered in filthy XXXL underwear, he might have managed to frighten some audience, so they just overheared his creepy voice. Now with all the signs of an aged, worn out body, he is simply making a fool of himself by trying to practice the same old habits on stage like he did 20 years ago. Soon he will join the Zombie faction of dead white males.

Sunday morning anti-religious service

It is Sunday morning, and as every time I just passed along the church (while doing the walk with our dog), that only during these 2 hours is open and visited by the people from the village around. They use to “fulfill” their christian duty, by gathering there for the catholic service, listen to a speach by the priest (who, as much as I understand, is from India) and sing songs that always sound like on a funeral.

At least they never tried to baptize me, when I say “Hello” to them after they leave the church and still hang around for a while to discuss privat issues.  I think they know quite well that I have a fundamentaly different view on religion. If they keep it for their own privat wellbeing, it is perhaps better than drinking booze or taking crystal. But if anybody tries to get religion out of the church, into politics and spoils the public media and undermines democracy, I might really get angry a lot. We can see what is the result of this in Poland, Pakistan or recently in Gambia.

Sounds as if there are only two thinks in your life: professional career (in a field that remains unclear to the reader) and family obligations (that seem to be more a burden than a pleasure). Is it religion that tries to make people believe that the reward for all this comes only after death ? This is the reason why societies where religion (islam, hindi, christianity) dominates politics and social life are all suffering from cultural and economic stagnation. And the people, deep inside, stay unhappy, since religion is (as Marx said very wisely) nothing more than Opium for the people. Some preachers can offer transcental relief from the daily life challenges. But after a while (like after a narcotic rush) people wake up again, and have this “cold turkey” because nothing in reality has changed their life.
In particular, the religious leaders and their books like to keep the people in complete unfreedom, because that way they can dominate their lifes. The imams and the priests should better let the people live their own lifes, and don’t tell them what to do and what to leave. If they want to serve mankind, they should go in hospitals fore the poor and in refugee camps, there they can work preparing meal or distributing closes.



Nothing makes one so sexy as success – JOY, the movie

I have to admitt, there is no doubt: Nigeria or India might produce more movies than any other nation, and maybe in France or Italy the national cinematography is more recognised as part of their cultural identity, and in Germany movie production perhaps receives higher state sponsoreship than anywhere else. But when it comes to creativity and quality, nothing can compete with movies from the US. And I don’t mean the blockbusters like Star Wars or the like. I am talking about the movies that have a great personal story to tell (like all the Woody Allen ones), or movies that by the experimental style will stay in our mind for years (like the David Lynch or Robert Altmann or Jim Jarmush ones).

Yesterday we went to watch “Joy” by David O. Russell.  Although it plays in US lower middleclass, its characters so much reminded me of the figures that some decades ago were frequently portrait in east-german movies who portrait young woman and their struggle against a society pre-determine fate.

On paper, “Joy,” looks perfectly straightforward, even square. It’s a bootstrap-capitalist fable, a tale of adversity overcome and rags exchanged for riches, a case study in success suitable for a self-improvement seminar. But Mr. Russell likes to tell conventional stories in unconventional ways.  Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence) finds herself thwarted and undermined by her own family. In the film’s opening scenes, her various relations nearly erase her altogether, blocking Ms. Lawrence’s quiet incandescence with ugliness and noise. The divorced mother of two young children, Joy left college when her parents split up and now contends daily with a small army of needy narcissists. Her mother, Terry (Virginia Madsen), lies in bed all day watching a soap opera (a fake one that Mr. Russell has cast with real-life soap opera stars). Rudy (Robert De Niro), Terry’s ex-husband, acts like a helpless child when he’s single and like an entitled patriarch when there’s a woman in his life. Joy also has a passive-aggressive sister (Elisabeth Rohm) and an ex-husband of her own, who is living in her basement until his singing career takes off.

Just when you begin to wonder where the movie is going — Toward domestic comedy? Second-chance romance? Lurid dysfunction? — Joy has an idea. Sketching with her children’s crayons, she invents a new kind of mop, the kind that can be wrung out without touching the head. (This household convenience really exists, and the character is very loosely based on its inventor and her career.) Flush with entrepreneurial zeal, Joy borrows money from her father’s new companion (a supremely haughty Isabella Rossellini), works out the patent and supply-chain issues, and prepares to revolutionize American floor cleaning.

What struck me during the film:  There was obviously (and acustic unmistakably) a large crowd of female activists in the cinema. During the first 30 minutes of the movie they used to giggle a lot, because there were plenty of scenes showing the silly men around Joy (her dad and her ex-husband). I had the feeling the feminist faction came to the movie mainly for this reason. Later, however, when Joy started to fight her way through the odds and step by step had some success, the woman in the audience get more and more speachless.  I guess they also did not like the idea of the movie that Joy during her fight through the capitalist system did not lose her physical beauty. I read through a couple of viewers comments today at IMDB, and it very much confirmes my observation: the comments by female critics are devastating (“movie is boring”, “not realistic” etc etc),  wheras the mans gave it high credits and recommended it).

The movie also demonstrated the old paraphrase that nothing is so sexy as success.

And I have to mention the great sound-track:

CREAM (“I Feel Free”), SERGEJ PROKOVJEFF (“Cinderella”), RANDY NEWMANN (“Mama Told Me Not To Come”), CARSON PARKS (“Something Stupid”), NEIL YOUNG (“Expecting To Fly”) and many other, including classical guitar and chamber mus8ic pieces.

No fun any more

I don’t know if I ever understoud what FUN is.

I can go swimming in a crisp river, or clime a mountain, of ride through the golden fields.

I can enjoy this really deep inside.

I would not call this fun.

I enjoy reading great novels, and I feel a deep intellectual pleasure.

Is this fun ?

I can get most excited with good music, or play some tunes myself.

But also this I would not call fun.

What I would call funny:

If a truck drives through cow dung, and spills it all over a passing luxury convertible car.