Gumposophy 7-00-7

10/17/2008

I did have my doubts as to the accuracy of the thermometer serving the Pharmacy next to Brittania pub in Clausen this morning. By the time I’d jogged down there, I had to look and see whether the fingers clenching the house keys were still where they should be. Perhaps not a good call to hold metal in your hands while it’s not very warm outside. The sign at the Pharmacy read 07:00, 7°C. How sweet. Off we go, back up the road to Neudorf, through the cloud of inviting smell of freshly-baked goodies at the bakery and passing the grocery shop that opens at… well, 7, not forgetting to wave good morning to the owner. (Note: with the owner Iranian, they import some interesting items that an unsuspecting passer-by would never have expected to find inside.)

Anyhow, when I finally let my trusted little car take me to work, she shared with me that it was really no more than 3°C outside. But a beautiful, sunny early afternoon. Easy to forget yesterday’s showers. Luxembourg weather changes about as often as one can bother to check it.


Luxembourg City, Clausen (photo: dr. filomena)

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve come to resent the poor-me attitude some people around here seem to adopt. The country, the town and its people are growing on me quite successfully. The climate may not provide hot and sunny days all the time, but neither do tornados, earthquakes or I don’t know, volcano eruptions make surprise appearances. Contrary to what people moan about, there are always events to attend, cool people to see, nearby breathtaking places to visit. Above is just one of the sights you might enjoy on a rainy evening stroll.

Bored is as bored does.

Cockadelic Night in the Grand Duchy

10/16/2008

Who ever said there was no night life in Luxembourg? Ever since I arrived here, possibilities to spend an evening at an interesting place and/or event in good company have been plentiful. One of such occasions was undoubtedly last Saturday’s “Museum Night”. Which, incidentally, partly clashed with another all-important event, the Luxembourg vs. Israel football match. Since some of my new friends had a vested interest in the event, they set out to the museums a bit later on. I especially missed my new pal Tom!


photo by M & R :-)

The eight annual event organised by the association of “d’stater muséeën” drew a crowd of 16,000 night owls or 30% more than the previous year into the six participating museums, which opened their doors widely from 6 pm until 1 am for a one-in-all ticket of €12 or €6 and supplemented their regular exhibitions with additional programmes such as live music, dance performances, films, small-scale theatre productions and made sure nobody went hungry. Or thirsty for that matter. One of the museums offered wine tasting as a side activity.

To be quite honest, I expected an event such as this to be free of charge just as my beloved Ljubljana’s Museum Night is, but at least the workshops for kids did not require ticket purchase.

Each of the museums has its own “that little extra” to offer, but personally, I was most taken by the work of Philippe Jacq in the Luxembourg Casino (yes, the casino in question does double as an art gallery on a full-time basis). Jacq’s installation was part of the “Best of Robert Schuman”exhibition representing the nominees for the most prestigious award of the “Grande Région” that has been given by the cities of Luxembourg, Trier, Metz and Saarbrücken since 1991.

The feelings inspired by the mixture of grossness of stuffed chickens straight (or not) from Psycho, a fine sense of humour and an evident knack for making connections between pop culture and political affairs cannot really be translated into words very easily. But I can offer a few random shots to begin with.

Here’s to many happy returns for the Museum Night in Luxembourg! This town oozes awareness of the importance of art and culture. Even after passing the title of the European Capital of Culture on to Liverpool, Stavanger and Sandnes. Incidentally, something tells me I’ll be visiting Vilnius in 2009! Right, Monika and Indre? :)

Blog Action Day: Poverty Comes in Different Shapes and Sizes

10/15/2008


just one of the jewellery shops in the old part of Skopje (photo: dr. filomena)

Just like in 2007 when the topic was the Environment (see post here), this blog will today play a tiny role, no more than a cameo appearance in a world-wide blogging event, the Blog Action Day. This time around, the topic is Poverty. 

In view of the current economic situation around the world, I am sure that fellow bloggers and bloggerettes will have much to write about and inspiration can be found on every step of the way to work. If one is lucky enough to have a paying job, of course.

With that in mind, I leave it to them to shed light on the various hot topics, among them perhaps the pressing issues driving an increasing number of previously middle-class people across the poverty threshold in the West, and to argue which US Presidential candidate would do a better job at pushing his country’s economy back in gear.

In Slovenia, the newly elected National Assembly convened its first session today. May the MPs new and not-so-new not forget too soon the platform they ran on, those who put them where they are this morning and who they ultimately answer to. Many of their constituents are living on the verge of poverty.

What I would like to mention here is that there are various types of poverty and one of them has to be the poverty of the mind. Poverty of the mind, the heart and culture that allows people to communicate and act without giving much thought to the impact their words and actions will have on those at the receiving end. 

Away with poverty! Of all sorts… 

Wish you all a wonderful day.

Veiner Nëssmoort (Vianden Nut Festival)

10/14/2008

A rather international group (what else, this *is* Luxembourg! represented: England, France, Finland, Lithuania, Malta and Slovenia) of new friends decided to join in on the local fun in Veianen (Luxembourgish for the town otherwise known as Vianden), which incidentally celebrates its 700 years of existance in 2008. Coming from Slovenia (no, not Slovakia) myself, allow me to appreciate the beauty of a language spoken by no more than some 300,000 people.


above: Eldoradio’s nutcracking contest

My first thought upon arrival was that these things are the same anywhere you go. Adriaan, this is the Lux version of Bohinj’s cow ball minus the cows and plus the nuts. And nuts there were! I did expect to see walnut liquer (nothing beats the walnut brandy made by the Amazons and good old Franc, though!) and saw countless supplies of “Nëssdrëpp” and the sweeter “Nësslikör”, even the apparently recent yet popular addition of the white “Nëss-Crème-Likör”. Just as expected were walnut cookies and cakes (Nësskouch), but I would not have thought of “Nësspâté”, “Nëssbrutt”, “Nësstoort”, “Nësseeken” or  “Nëss-Raclette”. Feel free to guess what these are. Should be easy enough. Of and the walnut wine tasted and smelled deliciously interesting even if not very wine-like.

Apparently, the stronger liquer  of 30% alcohol content is perfect for use with sparkling wine. A  nëss royal, so to speak? A bottle is waiting in the cupboard to put the recommendation to a test.

Vianden is a picturesque village where every other house seems to be either a guesthouse or a restaurant. With the possible exception of the castle, which dominates the area. Once upon a time, one of these houses hosted Victor Hugo as well.

The castle, which was completely restored in 1977 is well worth a visit.

What is it that all these OctoberFest type festivals around Europe have in common? Fun-loving Europeans!

And their friends from other parts of Europe.

And possibly cappuccinos? Nah… more fun-loving people!

Lo and behold,  Nëssdrëpp, Nësslikör, Nësskouch and Nëss-Crème-Likör.

And more of the above.

Crepes are always a crowd-pleaser. And do somehow seem local.

Which was more difficult to imagine in the above case of what was advertised as “home-made paella”.

Now waffles, on the other hand, were a different matter altogether.

Nothing beats a strong orator voice in attracting customers, eh?

Gosh, the chesnut stand made me think of and miss the best town in the world.

The local band. Gotta love the outfits. Not so much the music, possibly.

As the day progressed, people were getting exceedingly… cheerful? This lady was chucking walnuts at us just out of the goodness of her heart, as inspired by the walnut wine. Thanks!

Kiddo, I so know what you’re thinking…

No, that’s not the way adults should be behaving. But cut them some slack, it’s the nut festival afterall.

Pretty of what?

I think we decided to leave just in time.

Cheers!

Postcards from Dubrovnik

10/13/2008

Just a few shots taken in Dubrovnik in August 2008.

Slaughterhouse-Five, the movie

10/12/2008


voziček iz “tunela spasa“, s katerim se je med drugim iz sarajevskega obroča prebil tudi Alija Izetbegović (foto: dr. filomena)

Z novimi prijatelji, malteškim antropologom/filozofom, sicer v Genovi pretepenim levičarskim aktivistom, angleškim nogometnim fanatikom, s katerim sva bila očitno nevede poslovno povezana že leta in malteškim šestkratnim prvakom v kickboxingu, sem se odpravila v luksemburško kinemateko gledat film Slaughterhouse Five. V nasprotju s pričakovanji me je film pritegnil in mi dal misliti. Glavni junak preskakuje med raznimi točkami svojega življenja in nad tem nima nikakršnega nadzora. Preprosto se enkrat zaveda svojega otroštva, se nenadoma znajde v obdobju svoje politične kampanje,  potem ga na fronti v drugi svetovni vojni obkolijo nemški vojaki in ga sčasoma odpeljejo v varno zavetje klavnice številka pet.

Romarjevo (Pilgrim) življenje je takšno, kakršno je, od začetka do konca začrtana premica, na katero nima vpliva. Enkrat celo poskusi spremeniti preteklost/prihodnost in preprečiti letalsko nesrečo, ampak usoda je neizbežna.

Os dogajanja v filmu je ideja svobodne volje, ki so jo ob obisku tridesetih planetov in dodatni študiji še stotih Trafalmadorci zaznali samo na Zemlji. Billy ne potuje v času. Nikoli ne obstajata dva Billija in ne more opazovati samega sebe, tudi ne more nikamor, kjer v resnici ni bil oziroma ne bo. Spet mi pride na misel ideja ves čas soobstoječih trenutkov vseh življenj in njihovih variant, ki jih med seboj povezuje diaprojektor znamke čas. Romarjev diaprojektor preskakuje. Zanimivo, prav danes je na tvju Stephen Hawking govoril o tem, da živimo v najverjetnejšem od možnih svetov.

Na prvi pogled se mi je Billy uprl prav zaradi tega, ker se ni uprl. Živi svoje življenje, kakršno ve, da je in bo ne glede na njegova prizadevanja, ampak to seveda ne drži, saj je njegovo življenje takšno, kakršno je, tudi zaradi njegovih lastnosti, razmišljanj in predvsem dejanj. Trenutno ga občudujem, ker kljub temu, kar ve in kar je doživel, ne izgubi volje. Je pa res, da mu pri tem lahko izdatno pomaga misel na porno starleto, ki mu jo vesoljci namenijo za družico v kristalni kletki svojega človeškega vrta, obdanega s cianidnim ozračjem.

Verjetno se mi je film prikupil zaradi svoje izrazite protivojne naravnanosti. Ljudje smo ovce (pa ne že spet!) in Billy je videl, kako je vojska sinu uredila možgančke in ga iz vandalskega najstnika preoblikovala v družbeno nadvse sprejemljivega gorečega bojevnika, ki bo zahodni svet branil pred komunizmom. Približno tako kot Američan, ki je med vojnimi ujetniki v Dresdnu sonarodnjake novačil v Hitlerjevo vojsko, da bi svet skupaj ubranili pred rdečim vragom.

Klavnica številka pet je romarjev rosebud. Čas nedolžnosti je minil.

PS: zdaj moram pa nujno prebrati knjigo Kurta Vonneguta, po kateri je bil posnet film. Če je že v njem toliko sporočilnosti, kako bogata mora biti šele knjiga!

Išče se sit, nezaljubljen, premožen pastir brez izrazite želje po vodenju črede

10/10/2008

luksemburška ovca pod kirchbergom
luksemburška ovca (foto: dr. filomena)

Moja obsesija z ovcami bodisi izvira iz nezavednega ali pa se je tja pred kratkim preselila. Tale ovnica namreč po novem sanja o čredah ovčic človeške sorte in o njihovih bolj ali manj uspešnih pastirjih.

V nasprotju z mnogimi znanci sem prepričana, da se velika večina ljudi v politiko poda z najboljšimi nameni ne glede na to ali to storijo kot mladi junci ali kot izkušeni mački s kakšnega drugega področja. Res je tudi, da verjamem, da s(m)o ljudje načeloma dobri in da je pokvarjenih sociopatov, ki jim ni prav nič mar za soljudi, bore malo. Prvi skok v vode dejavnega političnega življenja je torej po moji predpostavki poln dobrih namenov.

Ustvarjal/a (v nadaljnjem besedilu uporabljam moški spol, velja pa tudi za v politiki manj zastopanega) bom novo politiko. Drugačno kot pokvarjenci, ki so jo krojili do zdaj. Ne bom prodal svojih načel. Ne bom sklepal gnilih kompromisov. V zgodovino naroda se bom zapisal kot svež veter, ki je v birokratske strukture pognal svež veter, počistil z nesnago in nepotizmom. Pomagal bom mladini do ustrezne izobrazbe, starejšim zagotovil človeka vredne pokojnine, vsem omogočil dostop do primerne zdravstvene oskrbe. Itd.

Z varne razdalje se zdi, da je prevzem oblasti precej stresna reč. Tudi, če vzpon na vrh uspe najtrdnejšemu in najbolj izkušenemu, ki je hkrati dovolj zrel, da se zaveda, da zmaga ne pripada njemu ampak skupini ljudi, ki si je zanjo prizadevala s skupnimi močmi, celotna posadka pa ne izgubi stika z dejstvom, da na svojem položaju zgolj začasno opravlja naloge, ki ji ga je zaupalo volilno telo, so skušnjave hude.

Boj se prijateljev.

Izstavijo se računi, z vseh strani letijo s sladko lepljivo bunkico ali pa strupenim kavljem opremljene puščice želja in zahtev. Zdaj bomo videli, kdo je resnično trden in ob zavedanju, da so kompromisi nujno zlo zrelega odnosa v katerem koli delu človeške družbe, začenši z vsakim posameznim parom, bomo lahko ocenjevali, koliko bo kdo pripravljen popustiti pri katerem izmed svojih načel in kje bo postavil mejo.

Vrh je osamljen in zelo izpostavljen kraj. Spremlja vas nekaj milijonov oči. Srečno!

Še vedno optimistična,
dr. Filomena… težko vodljiva ovnica

hram svetega save v beogradu
hram svetega Save v Beogradu (foto: dr. filomena)

njegošev spomenik v cetinju
Njegošev spomenik v Cetinju (foto: dr. filomena)

Postcard from Lëtzebuerg

10/09/2008

Just about city centre, on the way from Grund to Kirchberg.

I think I may have a thing about sheep :)

Hi-5, K-9 Hi-5

10/08/2008

No, not the Nick Hornby book, though I’m becoming a bit of a fan thanks to A. This is a pic taken on the streets of Belgrade where a dog rescue group set up cages filled with creatures of feline and canine persuasion looking for a new family to share their lives with.

This particular guy was so cool he did the high-five in his sleep!

Kudos!

I couldn’t take one of these guys with me, but at least we bought the club’s T-shirts. Every little bit helps.

The Meaning of Life

10/07/2008

After a lengthy discussion on the subject of the meaning of life I was left as clueless as when we’d started it, naturally. I may not have had an epiphany as such and I get the feeling that the point of it all shall elude me for as long as I hang on to my earthly shell, but after a good night’s sleep, at least I know one thing…

…I’ll have “piu” of that any time.

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