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Eunoia, who is a grumpy, overeducated, facetious, multilingual ex-pat Scot, blatantly opinionated, old (1944-vintage), amateur cryptologist, computer consultant, atheist, flying instructor, bulldog-lover, Beetle-driver, textbook-writer, long-distance biker, geocacher and blogger living in the foothills south of the northern German plains. Not too shy to reveal his true name or even whereabouts, he blogs his opinions, and humour and rants irregularly. Stubbornly he clings to his beliefs, e.g. that Faith does not give answers, it only prevents you doing any goddamn questioning. You are as atheist as he is. When you understand why you don't believe in all the other gods, you will know why he does not believe in yours :-) Oh, and he also has a neat English Bulldog called 'Kosmo'.

Some of my bikes

My Crypto Pages

My Maths Pages

Monday, November 27, 2017

The wind cries Mary, etc.

Had he but lived, guitarist extraordinary Jimi Hendrix would have turned 75 this morning. Sadly missed.

I had the privilege of hearing him play several times. Foxy Lady, Hey Joe and The Wind cries Mary were best.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Russian Sculptors fail again ;-)

We get to laugh at Russian artists' ignorance again. Schadenfreude ;-)

Earlier this year in Moscow, a larger-than-life statue of Mikhael Kalaschnikow was unveiled. Kalaschnikow, of course, was famous for designing the world's most popular and most robust assault rifle, the AK47. The sculptor had lovingly carved (in exquisite detail) an assault rifle on the statue of Kalaschnikow. But he carved a German Sturmgewehr SG44 instead of the Kalaschnikow AK 47 ;-)



Now, on november 18th, Putin went down to Yalta (on the annexed Krim) to unveil a statue of Czar Alexander III, Czar during the Restauration era of advances in Russian culture. Or so we are to think. But the relief wall in the background shows author Fjodor Dostojewski who died before Alexander III ascended to the throne ;-) And the relief wall also depicts chemist Dmitri Mendelew (who invented the periodic table) whose work was done even earlier. Furthermore, the relief wall also depicts the Siberian Railway, designed just before Alexander III died, but not completed until well afterwards. So none of the achievements depicted can be really associated with Alexander III. Schadenfreude ;-)

New statue of Czar Alexander III in Yalta being unveiled by Putin.

I do enjoy a good belly-laugh at the lack of attention to historical detail in both cases ;-)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Dances with Wolves

On the last day of our bucket-list tour of northern Germany we ticked one off from SWMBO's bucket list. Dancing with wolves (ever since she saw the Kevin Costner movie). So we visited the Dörverden Wolf Center near Bremen so that SWMBO could go into the enclosure with semi-tame wolves, accompanied by a ranger who reads wolf body language well.

Rather she than I, I have a healthy respect for "wild" animals. Basically, she has to accept that the wolf is the boss and do what it wants, don't try to resist or dominate, because that is dangerous. I'd be scared to have a wolf go for my throat, even if it "only" wanted to lick it playfully!

The white wolves shown above are Hudson Bay (polar) wolves. But they get on well with the European Gray Wolves next door, even howling tunefully back and forth together :-)

Interesting that they tuck in their tails when howling. We were there at lunch time, when we saw a headless deer carcass from a traffic accident being delivered to the wolf center for the wolves' lunch.

This was very much to their taste and there was enough venison for all of them so there was no fighting to get a (better) portion. But they really tore into it; I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of a wolfpack attack!!!

The number of wild wolves is on the increase in Germany; they come west from Poland afaik. Local shepherds are now keeping mules or donkeys in their flocks of sheep. These discourage the wolves from attacking somehow. But still, the shepherd from a neighbouring village to ours has lost four ewes this year already :-( Understandably, he wants the wolf taken off the endangered species list so they can be hunted here again. Something will have to be done soon, even a limited culling.

Comments (3)
The BfN (=Ministry for Nature) informs us that the number of wild wolfpacks in Germany has increased by 13 from last year to 60. That's 150-160 fully grown adult wolves. Immature wolves and wolves just transiting are not included in this count.
Ed (USA) notes that "Wolf related tourism brings $35.5 million annually to Wyoming." And how much does werewolf related tourism bring to Hollywood theme parks? ;-)
Barbara (GB) notes "There are no wolves in GB, but the foxes steal so many turkeys that a local turkey farmer has taken to keeping alpakas in the same field, because they hate foxes and will attack them, just like your donkeys in the sheep flocks." Yes, that was also reported here.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

"Says our TV !"

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have a bad personality trait defect, inasmuch as I tend to say things ex cathedra which subsequently turn out to be wrong. Embarrassing.

Flashback almost 50 years : my gf of the time and I had a small black&white portable TV. All we could afford. Whenever the TV uttered something which she didn't believe - what we would now call fake news - my gf would say with her sweet sarcasm "Says our TV !". Later I noticed that whenever I made one of MY ex cathedra pronouncements, she would also say "Says our TV !" sarcastically.

Flash forward to yesterday, when , after almost 50 years, the penny dropped. I only just realised that "Says our TV !" is an anagram of my own name, Stu Savory!

That was very clever of her, but it's taken me almost 5 decades to get it. Retrospectively congratulations lass, should you read this :-) Had I realised it at the time, I would have responded "Your TV ass !" ;-)

Comments (2)
Petra (A) asks "Can you remember an example where she said "Says our TV !" ?" Only one. The TV was showing a Hollywood movie about cannibals on a polynesian island cooking the hero & heroine couple in a big pot. She said "Says our TV !" and I asked why. She explained "That's a shiny pot, so it's metal. Where did those cannibals mine the metal? What metal? And how? And cast that huge pot? They don't appear to have any metal tools, even the spears are stone-tipped wood!" I had to agree, she was right, it was faked.
Cop Car wrote " For most of the 60 years during which we have known one another, Hunky Husband has asked me, "Did you just make that up?" or "Incredible!" When Boeing sent him to "charm school", he learned to say incredible as a euphemism for bullshit. Unfortunately, during my years in engineering, no one sent me to charm school and still am I apt to roar, "Bullshit!" This went over ever-so-well in a couple of management meetings, producing stunned silence. (I did LOOK like a lady.)" I wish I'd been there to see it ;-)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Coach and Horses

On our way home from our week's vacation in Eckenförde we stopped off in the national park Lüneberg Heath. Many trails there are not accessible to motorised vehicles, but horse-drawn vehicles ARE permitted. So we hired one (with a coachman) for a couple or hours and went to see the interior of the national park. Here are some of my mobile's photos.

All aboard!

Mare on the left and stallion on the right

Shepherd with his flock of German Gray Heath sheep

SWMBO (right) flirting with the mare (left) ;-)

Of course, the best time of year to have driven through the heath is between 8/8 and 9/9 when the heath is in full bloom, a glorious purple from horizon to horizon. But we missed this :-( At least our postillion was not struck by lightning (we didn't have one) :-)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Visa-free travel

Dear blogfriend Cop Car recently posted an article about the (non-) need for passports by her US countryfolks. The gist is that there are so many great places to visit in the US, that americans don't need to leave the US and so don't have passports; but her diatribe is better, so go read it.

This got me wondering about the "power" of passports measured by the number of countries you can visit without a visa on your passport. I currently have dual nationalities, British and German, and so two passports. So I consulted the German office of foreign affairs, asking which countries I could visit on my German passport without a visa, because my information was way outdated. This is what the map for a German passport currently looks like.

Green means a German does not need a visa. Red means a visa is needed in advance. Yellow means you can get a visa upon entry and/or you need to communicate your intent to travel there to get a "pre-clearance" as is current US practice.

Americans can visit 160 countries visa-free putting them 5th. But Germans 177 (co-first with Singapore afaik) and UK 173 (fourth). The US count has fallen since Trump became president; the UK count will fall upon Brexit, it is expected. Of these 177 I have only visited about 40 if my memories serve me right, not everyone stamped my passport, in fact the last country to stamp my passport (entry and exit) was the Ukraine in 2015.

Ambrose Pierce (or was it Mark Twain?) said "War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography". Maybe, but numerous YouTube videos of Americans being asked to point to various countries on a world map reveal a poor geographic education. Mind you, I don't think I could place more than 30-35 of America's 46 states correctly on a blank map of the US. Yes, I wrote 46, not 50 ! USA only has 46 states! The other four are commonwealths :-)

Geography question of the day (no googling allowed) : if the local time in Berlin is 12 noon, what is the time at the south pole (where all meridians meet) ?

Comments (10)
Cop Car wrote " Thanks for the updated information on passports, Stu. Nice map. I like the quote about teaching geography to Americans. Although WWII ended while I was in 2nd grade, that exposure was not enough to make me good at geography. It was my worst subject in school. (I did, at least, know the names of countries even though I could not place them on a map. Now, I keep world maps by my reading chair to provide "easy" referencing. (May I use the excuse that the maps have changed too often in my lifetime for me to keep track? I didn't think so.) As to the South Pole, I have two guesses: 1) the pole being a point, time is meaningless there or 2) Antarctica is cold enough to make time stand still." Re guess #1 : almost right, time ZONES are meaningless, so one was chosen by convention. Re guess #2 : Time only stands still for photons.
David (IL) wrote "The time zone convention at either pole is that GMT is used." Correct.
Cop Car wrote in a 2nd mail about the 4 US commonwealths " Don't let anyone tell you that a commonwealth in the USA is "just like" a state. In doing volunteer disaster response work with The American Red Cross, Hunky Husband and I have found working with the two types of government very different." I can believe that. I also believe that Trump not helping Puerto Ricans (who are Americans) is not just because of his narcissistic inhumanity, but also he heard that they have no US voting rights :-(
Cop Car edifies me on these 2 beliefs of mine " Be that as it may, Puerto Rico was just plain unlucky: 1) Response elements were already stretched thin by responding to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 2) Accessibility's being limited to ocean and sky is problematic. Clarification on voting rights for Puerto Ricans: "The only way citizens of the U.S. territories can participate in the presidential elections is if they have official residency in the United States and vote by absentee ballot or travel to their state [or commonwealth] to vote." per" This is because the Electoral College, used by the US rather than direct balloting. Puerto Ricans may, however, participate in primary elections since there is no involvement of the Electoral College. Absent the Electoral College, Puerto Ricans could vote in Federal elections. But, then, absent the Electoral College, there would be no President Trump." Thanks for the clarification.
Ed (USA) asks "Do you have a map like that for US passports?" I don't myself, but there is one online here, but which forgets Hawaii :-(
Barbara (UK) asks "Whose is the LEAST powerful passport (i.e. needing the most visas)?" Afaik, Afghanistan.
Carrie (USA) notes that "As of this month, the USA stamps the passports of registered US child molesters with this fact." Good, this means you get to keep them :-)
Barbara (UK) also asks "Which of your 40 visited did you like best/least?" Best? The Bahamas, Least? Andorra.
Derek (UK) asks "Have you been all around the planet?" Yes: Frankfurt - Moscow - Tokio - Hawaii - San Diego - Boston - Amsterdam - Frankfurt, in the late 1980s.
Ed (USA) asks "That's new to me. Which 4 states are commonwealths then?" Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania und Virginia.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Globetrotter Glamping

Driving through the countryside around Eckernförde, we saw in the distance what appeared to be a large gibbet on a (the only) hill. Since gibbets are rare these days we drove towards it to get a better look. It turned out to be an observation tower next to the Globetrotter Lodge. There was an elevator in the tower with only two buttons, G and 6. So we rode up to the 6th storey to the lookout platform (aka the gibbet arm) which turned out to have a transparent floor, so SWMBO and the dog shuffled around fearfully ;-) When we went back down, the dog headed for the nearest piece of grass and defecated heftily; thank the gods he waited until out of the elevator!

Next we went into the Globetrotter Lodge for a drink while SWMBO settled her stomach. Asking about rooms (which were not in evidence) we were told they had a glamping site (glamping = glamourous camping with all mod cons and meal services from the lodge). They also had some subterranean rooms let into the hillside; think Hobbit houses with a great view across the landscape.

A brisk walk around the hilltop to get some fresh air in our lungs (and make sure the dog was empty) took us to this huge statue of Otto von Bismarck which used to be on the border to Denmark but was relocated here when the border was redefined after WW2.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Burning Boat

This happened as we came back from the fishing trip I blogged about in the previous post. Returning into harbour, we heard an almighty bang and saw a huge pillar of dense black smoke coming from one of the boats.

One of the sports boats in the harbour had caught fire! Flames reached 25+ feet into the air. Across the water, I could get a couple of good tele-photos. As we watched, the land-based fire-brigade arrived and started pumping foam into the burning boat. Afterwards, I saw that only the hull was still there (afloat), all the superstructure had been burnt off. But thankfully, noone was hurt :-) Hope he/she was insured.

Witnesses on the land side would have only seen the smoke column, so my photos were better. And so I quickly googled the mail address of the local Eckenförde newspaper, mailing them to offer them my photos here. Next day, my second photo shown here was spread across the local paper's front page, with a proper accredition. So now I can add "Press photographer" to my C.V. ;-)

Comments (1)
Cop Car wrote " Just what we need: your head getting enlarged. Somehow, I doubt that the entry on your CV will get you into a football match or diplomatic meeting; but, good show. That is a great photo!" Thankyou; chance deserves the real credit.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Gone Fishing

The next item on our bucket list was to work a shift on a commercial fishing boat, to sea (sea what I did there?) what it's like. So we chose a calm dry day and got taken out near-shore in a small fishing boat about this size.

We motored out about a mile off-shore, well outside the shipping lane, to a buoy which marked one end of the fisherman's net. He had a net about 2kms (1¼ miles) long and a fathom deep which he had laid out on the sea bottom early that morning at ebb tide to catch the bottom-feeders (sole, turbot etc etc).

So we came out at high tide to haul the net in using a motorised winch. As the net came in, we tourists were employed to get the fish out of the net which was difficult for amateurs. The fisherman himself wore rubber gloves because there were a lot of stinging jellyfish which he pulled out before the net got to us.

Most of the catch was sole. We threw the crabs, starfish and the small fish back overboard to be caught again next year when they were bigger. Sometimes we caught a large turbot, weighing maybe 4 kgs (8 lbs), like this one.

After about 3 hours, the 2km net had been hauled in and we had a plastic container about 6ft by 4 ft by 3 ft deep full of the catch. The fishermen went through it, finding any he deemed below minimum weight , putting them back in the Baltic. This was the catch we were left with, quite a fair one, he said.

The catch was sold fresh to restaurant chefs and housewives who were waiting on the quay as we returned to harbour. Best fish netted was this turbot.

So it was an interesting experience, but I wouldn't go out deep sea fishing in stormy weather, with the deck being wet and slithery and bucking in the waves!

Comments (2)
Cop Car wrote " What a great time you must have had. Good catch (pun intended). The turbots are pretty awful looking - to me. Are they good eating? (I have never tasted a seafood that I haven't liked - well, perhaps canned tuna are not always great.)" Both turbot and sole taste good :-) Flat fish like turbot are a clean white on the underside btw.
Pierre (F) asks "What's the biggest fish you've ever caught?" Using rod and line? A big pike in the UK when my friend Carl took me fishing and a small marlin off Barbados as a day tourist. Can't remember what they weighed.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Hermann Hinrichs, candy maker

We stayed a few days in Eckernförde where there is Hermann Hinrichs manufactory in a cul-de-sac, a candymaker where you can see the candy being freshly made and have the process explained to you.

I've enjoyed eating candies & sweets all my life, but usually store bought, you never knew how old they were. So this was an opportunity to see fresh candies being made and then sample the really fresh stuff :-) Here is a candymaker stirring the pot for boiled drops.

Once made, the soft candies are then fed into a machine like this which forms them into various shapes. Noisy but efficient parallel processing .

Finally a team of candymakers add final decoration to the better candies. Across the square there is a shop which sells the fresh sweets, slab and broken chocolate, boxed or loose, even to mix yourselves. We bought all five flavours of marzipan on sale. Lasted almost until that same evening ;-)

Comments (2)
Cop Car wrote " It is always interesting to watch candy in the making. In high school, candy-making was traditionally a part of chemistry class (which, unfortunately, I had no time to take!) Each Christmas season, the class would make peanut brittle. My mother baked cakes and dad baked pies. They collaborated in making various candies each December. No one could match their divinity. It went as quickly as your marzipan! I, myself, conjure up several kinds of fudge each December and, on occasion, toffee; but, I've not made divinity in about 40 years. Perhaps, this year?" What is divinity? (this is an Atheist asking ;-)
Cop Car replied with a recipe " In case you are not kidding in asking about divinity, Stu, it is (basically) sweetened, flavored, egg whites. The website I'm sending you to tells one to drop the divinity from a spoon to form individual pieces; but, my family always poured it into a pan (much as one might do for fudge) and cut it into pieces after it had set up. Divinity is supposed to be "smooth"; but, Mom's & Dad's was frequently just a tiny bit grainy - which, of course, I grew to prefer. Thus, commercial divinity is yucky, to me." Sounds rather good, I must say, thankyou :-).

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sex on the beach ;-)

Having crossed the Trave river on the ferry at Travemunde we headed north up the coast road. Passing through Scharbeutz we saw a beautiful thatched beach bar called Hamptons. Deja vu.

Flashback to the late 1970s when I was working in Boston, Massachusetts. At the weekend I would borrow a Piper Aerostar (PA60), load it up with friends, and fly them down to Martha's Vineyard or more often to Long Island and to the upper class beaches in East Hampton. Pleasant memories.

Flash forward to the present. So, seeing the Hamptons beach bar & restaurant, I parked and we lunched there. My first oysters this year :-)

Hampton in Scharbeutz is a very well decorated beach bar, with sometimes scurrilous decorations such as the plastic penguins on the beach outside, presumably for 10 pin-guin beach bowling ;-)

Dogs are welcome and get served their bowl of water first, a good sign. Other scurrilous features are the four-poster beds on the beach, with waitress service. You and your partner can hire these (the beds), order champagne or a Sex-on-the-beach and perhaps draw the opaque canvas curtains of the four-poster bed for a bit of - er, quiet privacy - ;-)

Recipe for a Sex on the beach cocktail : 1 ½ oz vodka, ½ oz peach schnapps, 2 oz cranberry juice, 2 oz orange juice. Ice. Enjoy your Sex on the beach :-)

Recent Writings
The wind cries Mary
Russian Sculptors fail
Dances with wolves
Says our TV !
Coach and Horses
Visa-free travel
Globetrotter Glamping
Burning Boat
Gone Fishing
The candy maker
Sex on the beach
World's biggest butterfly
Dine at a King's table
Another good man gone
Time-Travel sculpture
Write a Halloween Joke
Sputnik turns 60
Autumn arrives
TBBT viewing tip
Reforestation numbers
Patchwork Quilt Expo
Thankyou, Cassini
Sweden changed sides.
Bat-shit crazy signs :-)
3 Neat Eclipse Photos :-)
Great American Darkness
Rare SG41 found!

Ain Bulldog Blog
Balloon Juice
Cop Car
Earth-Bound Misfit
Fail Blog
Finding life hard?
Hattie (Hawaii)
Mostly Cajun
Not Always Right
Observing Hermann
Rants from t'Rookery
Yellowdog Grannie

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Blog Dewey Decimal Classification : 153
FWIW, 153 is a triangular number, meaning that you can arrange 153 items into an equilateral triangle (with 17 items on a side). It is also one of the six known truncated triangular numbers, because 1 and 15 are triangular numbers as well. It is a hexagonal number, meaning that you can distribute 153 points evenly at the corners and along the sides of a hexagon. It is the smallest 3-narcissistic number. This means it’s the sum of the cubes of its digits. It is the sum of the first five positive factorials. Yup, this is a 153-type blog. QED ;-)
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