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getting the band together again

in sunnier times

Jarrod’s not playing, so it might be weird to keep calling it Old Braunfels. Who knows, though. It’s a good name for a band in Munich, whose members predominantly come from Texas.

Playing the guitar surrounding by sixties design wallpaper in Lisel’s front room

However, we’ve got something else going on and Vancouver Michael will most likely have a considerable impact. Nina Kuhlig, who you might remember from the Blue February show two years ago will sing some originals, as well as one or two classics.

Have you ever noticed that the best songs tend to be sad and full of human suffering? We’ve noticed it, as well. We LURVE those songs.

The evening will be chock full of melancholic love songs. We’d love to have a place for lonely Valentine’s to congregate and revel in their plight.

We might even be able to entice Carlos Köhler, who was with us a few years back, to bring his bass up on stage and play with us. He’s one of the best local bass players I know, so it’d be a treat. We’ll see.

You want to see it, leave a comment below with your email and we’ll put you on the mailing list. Check it out!

we’re getting the band together again

‘I got a hamster’ brought to you by Diamond Cookieoftruth

violet-in-violet

Hello Violet,’ he said. ‘It’s Uncle BK

Really? All the way from Germany?

All the way from Germany, yes. I saw you got a hamster. A hamster named Alexander, right? Let me tell you about the history of the domesticated hamster,‘ I started to mansplain to my second oldest niece.

Got it covered, Uncle BK. Check out one of my recent YouTube videos,‘ she chirped.

With no further ado, here is Violet in I got a hamster.

Go to Diamond Cookieoftruth.

Subscribe. Really, do it. These girls are hilarious.

Quick and Dirty German Lesson: the German word for hilarious is urkomisch.

Have I not convinced you to go check it out? For further enticement, here’s the blurb on their YouTube channel:

we are the diamond lords we know wichcraft and potions and wiserdrie i know how to stop headches and sore mucles i hope you enjoy the wiserdrie of my channel

Who doesn’t need a bit of ‘wisardrie‘ these days?

They’re my nieces, by the way. Be nice in the comments, y’all.

never as right as right now

waiting not so patiently

Here I am at some ungodly hour up in the night waiting for a sporting event to just get started already. 

And I’m trying to imagine a thing I’d be more excited about…just can’t do it. 

What about a World Cup Final? If Germany made it all the way to the title game? Been there, done that. When I was new here, we lost to Brazil in the 2002 final. Then a couple of years ago we eeked out a World Cup Final victory against a uncommonly flat Argentina, and…

…Wir sind immer noch Weltmeistah!
Oder?

What about the Rockets in the NBA Finals? Yep, I was there. Good for them. Both of Akeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon’s titles were a joy to behold. Still not the same as right now. 

The Chicago Cubs have won the National League Pennant for the first time since 1945. This is big. Really big. 

My heart’s been racing since we beat the Dodgers in Game 6, and I cannot stop smiling. In more than one instance the next day I was asked, ‘You’re not going to cry, are you?

I just might. Before this is all over, I just might. 

See, my Nana is most definitely looking down on us, sitting in the bleachers with the baseball gods. 

She’s been cursing the Dodgers since they left Brooklyn, she never accepted the designated hitter nonsense over in the American League and most importantly…

…every year she’s been saying, ‘This is going to be the Cubs’ year. I can feel it. They could really go all the way this year.

My Nana was right about so many things, but never as right as right now. 

We are all God’s children. Don’t forget that shit.

photo by Johnny Nguyen/Special to The Oregonian
photo by Johnny Nguyen/Special to The Oregonian

Wasn’t going to blog about this topic, but this photo swayed me. Not going to get into what happened this week in Ferguson, Missouri and the maelstrom of Internet drama that followed. Enough has been said, and although I’m certain there’s much more that needs to be said, I’m not sure I’m the one to say it. Even if I were, I think I need more time to digest my thoughts. Although I can be rather transparent with my thoughts here, I’m careful with certain topics. This is definitely one of those.

However, there’s only goodness in the photo I’ve included above. Want to know the whole backstory story about the image? Well follow this link: Police officer and young demonstrator share hug during Ferguson rally in Portland. I’m careful about including sources, so check out the original. The photographer is Johnny Nguyen, and he’s @chambervisuals on instagram.

There’s not much more I need to add. The photo says most of what I’d like to express. We’ve got more in common than we sometimes remember. Hug your people a bit more tightly, will you?

Carolyn Wonderland said somewhere recently, ‘We are all God’s children. Don’t forget that shit.

That.

Sea and sky twenty years later

I feel like a castaway but I’m not afraid
You and me and a couple of dusty volumes
I wanna be your Messiah but there’s no way
I feel the tide roll in around us

You be the sea and I’ll be the sky
I want you with me now don’t wonder why
You be the sea and I’ll be the sky
Endeavor with me now don’t wonder why

This love’s like a labyrinth but I’m not afraid
You and me and a strong sense of forever
Like the old Swiss Family Robinson let’s drift away
If we go down at least we’ll drown together
(I can’t forget you)

You be the sea and I’ll be the sky
I want you with me now don’t wonder why
You be the sea and I’ll be the sky
Endeavor with me now don’t wonder why

It’s a little like this
It’s a little like being afraid
It’s a little like yesterday
Though I don’t mean to invade

Clouds rolled in front of your face
Your tears became the rain
I heard wonderful thunder
As you murmured
As you murmured my name
(Take me far away,
Teach my soul to feel that way
You take me far away
It’s wonderful, wonderful)

Roll away
Roll away with me
You be the sea and I’ll be the sky

It was only a few decades ago, but sometimes it seems like yesterday. When their music comes up on shuffle, I’m twenty something years old with big dreams and little experience. The band I went to hear on Friday nights at Sudsy Malone’s in Cincinnati were first acquaintances and then friends. Well, friends of friends at least.

Over the Rhine still exist as Karin Bergquist (vocals, guitar and other instruments, I think) and Linford Detweiler (bass and piano and pretty much any instrument he set his mind to playing) and various musicians complementing them for tours and recording and whatnot.

Back in the proverbial day, the band was a quartet with Karin, Linford, as well as Ric Hordinski (guitars) and Brian Kelley (drums). I enjoyed quite a few local bands when I lived near the banks of the Ohio River, but Over the Rhine I liked the most.

This song perfectly describes the male-female dichotomy. Mother Earth…Father Sky.

Something about these beautiful autumn days made me think about their music. ‘It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play‘. Taught them to play, indeed.

when you’re not supposed to be a football fan

Grigoris Makos making good use of his time while injured

Was in a conversation recently with a few American friends, and as I’m also one (an American) I found myself getting hot and bothered about some ridiculous assumption these two friends of mine were making about being a Yankee abroad.

Their contention was that being a football fan while living in Europe is an affect. A transparent attempt to fit in with the locals, but one that makes me look like I’m pretending. This of course disregards the 70s and the renaissance of soccer at both the professional level and among kids in the Land of the Brave/Home of the Free. But for the sake of argument, let’s say I have no business following football.

I didn’t grow up in a rough and tumble inner-city neighbourhood of Manchester or Marseilles. My father and his father haven’t  supported a club since time immemorial. I’ve written about it on this miscellaneous blog before, but my family were into baseball. That’s what I was raised watching.

Cincinnati Red Stockings

When I was in music school in Cincinnati, I knew a South African who became a passionate Cincinnati Reds fan. He was obsessed. Although he hadn’t grown up watching it, he had learned the terminology and understood some of the incomprehensible rules that baffle most outsiders.

And unlike his fellow exchange students, who went to school in a faraway land and clinged to the others of their tribe who were similarly so displaced, this guy really got to know the natives. He was welcomed into the fold in a way that few outsiders ever would be.

Did I consider this guy and his experiences when I moved to Germany? Not consciously. Not in a way that I would’ve verbalised. However, I did want to get to know the culture from within.

 

I do want to distinguish myself from the typical ex-pat. Who wouldn’t? Many people live in a foreign country as if they’re doing time in prison. They have satellite television, so they can live in a little bubble that reminds them of home. They have contact with the locals, but on their terms when they feel like it.

It’s a beautiful thing.

So I thought I’d share with you, my loyal readers, my match report and assessment of my team’s season up until now. Is it inappropriate for me to become increasingly more and more obsessed with this football team? Probably.

We lived in Munich when I was a small child, and the neighbourhood where we went to church was down south of the city on a hill above the Tierpark. When I moved to Bavaria in 2001, it was strangely like I was finally coming home.

When you ride the Trambahn down to Church of the Ascension in Munich-Harlaching, you go right by the 1860 Munich training grounds. As they say amongst the fans of my club, ‘Einmal Löwe immer Löwe‘ (once a Lion, always a Lion). The mascot of both the city and the traditional football team is the lion, and you see lions all over the paraphernalia of the club.

Ok, enough build up. Here’s my piece at The Munich Eye:

1860 Munich victorious in Upper Bavarian Derby.

German baseballers go for glory

Here’s Douglas Sutton‘s article in The Munich Eye about baseball in Germany:

German baseballers go for glory.

Thanks Douglas. Great article.

You didn’t even know we had baseball over here, did you? I’ve written about the game before, because I associate it with both my dad and my Nana. It’s one of the only things I miss about living in the US.

Play ball!

Texas is for Lovers

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Texas is for Lovers

In Notting Hill in London, there’s a shop, that’s been written about here before called the The Idler Academy of Philosophy Husbandry and Merriment, and I made the voyage to its doors. Upon arrival, I sat amongst the tomes and looked across the room to see the above.

A man wearing a shirt that said ‘Texas is for Lovers‘. A bit innocuous, you say? Well, that’s not quite how I see it.

There certainly are plenty of lovers in Texas, if you want to include all the baby daddies and ne’er-do-well deadbeat fathers that the place is littered with. I can already hear the protests from both Texans and friends of Texans saying things like, ‘But lahikmajoe, what’re you talking about? There are good fathers there in the Land of Lovers, as well.

Well, I suppose I’ll give you that.

However, this marketing campaign that the authorities in Texas have devised to make themselves appear more amorous than they really are is not only false advertising, but it’s rather unbecoming. What if a poor, unsuspecting soul were to read the message on that t-shirt and actually make his way to Texas in search of All the Lovers.

Those Texas Lovers of the infamy decreed on the Shirt in Notting Hill.

What about that?

You hadn’t thought of that, had you?

 

 

 

a bluer moon

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Super Moon on the Costa del Sol back in May

When I was a kid, I loved the moon. Not sure why I was always so drawn to it. I remember being very small and waiting at the bus stop in winter and looking up at the moon with wonder and awe.

One of my favourite summers when I was a younger man was the summer of 1996. I spent the summer playing at the Aspen Music Festival, studying with musicians Bil Jackson and Dennis Smylie, and working part-time at the Stew Pot in Snowmass Village, which is less than half an hour up the road from Aspen.

Why did I love that summer so much? Although I can give many halfway decent answers, I’m going to have to blame it on the Blue Moon. When you have two full moons in one month, the second is a Blue Moon.

There were many good things that happened then, as well as many frustrating and overwhelming ones. One memory comes to me again and again. It was the end of August. We’d had a fantastic Summer Season, in which we played some masterpieces of the symphonic literature. It was all winding down, and most of the musicians had said their goodbyes.

It was bittersweet. A part of me knew that we’d shared something magical that summer. I was driving down a deserted mountain road outside of Aspen, and Neil Young’s song ‘Harvest Moon’ came on my radio. In that moment that the song’s opening guitar sounded, the Blue Moon
appeared from behind one of the mountains.

For a split second, everything was just alright with me and the world. I can count on one hand the number of times that’s happened in my life.

We have another Blue Moon this month. Tonight’s the first one. Then later in August, the Bluest of Moons is on its way. I can’t guarantee anything, but I get a good feeling about the whole thing. That the Blue Moon here in 2012 might be the best one yet.

‘Come a little bit closer/hear what I have to say.
Just like children sleeping/We could dream this night away…’

Bagpipes with a side of Salsa

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While I was travelling, I had times when I was regularly posting things here (lots of family and galavanting) and on the teablog (tea shops in southern Spain) and on tumblr (when I really didn’t have time to write much), but there were also times when there was just ‘too much living goin’ on around.’ I had to see what I could see. That’s a direct reference to a Lyle Lovett song, so I’ll incude that here:

And there were so many things going on….I’d regularly stumble over to twitter, make oblique references to noteworthy adventures, and then promptly move on to something else. That means I’m planning to periodically return to stories about the trip. If there are photos, I’ll be sure to include them.

For example, the photo at the top of this post demands some sort of explanation. I wish I had one. Those are bagpipes. Real bagpipes. No photoshopping here. And that man is not a Scotsman. He could be Hispanic. Or an American Indian. Or I suppose he could be a Pacific Islander or a number of other possibilities, but I’m going to stop before I dig myself a hole.

He’s not Scottish. That’s my point. He also looks as if he’s been working all day in a blue-collar job still in his work shirt. After a long day in the factory, what else are you going to do but go play your bagpipes on the streets of downtown?

My mother had had a wonderful evening on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, and we went up to street level to make our way back to the hotel. As we turned a corner, there was this guy playing his bagpipes. Like we were at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

But we weren’t. We were in Texas. Now, I should say that I saw bagpipes when I was a kid. It’s not like they don’t let any bagpipes out of Scotland. There are Canadian pipers. And Aussie pipers, as well as Kiwi pipers. There are very serious pipers all over the world.

However, I still think of them as having some sort of connection to Scotland. Your parents are from Aberdeen, or something. This guy’s parents were most likely not from Aberdeen.

Incidentally, bagpipes are called a Dudelsack in German. I know some of you who will almost certainly appreciate that little tidbit.