Saturday 30 March 2024

leipziger neuseenland (11. 458)

Not to be confused with the German name for New Zealand, H and I found a nice camping spot, the first of the season, on the peninsula of Magdeborn, an artificial wetland formed in the early 2000s when the open cast mining operations outside of the city were flooded and fed by the past two decades by tributaries to create a nature reserve and recreation area. 

A score of villages and some eight thousand of residents formerly resettled in the from the 1930s through the 1950s for brown coal extraction (see also), the floating installation called Vineta bobbed back and forth in the bay of the Stรถrmthaler See on the horizon, the the steeple looking particularly phantasmagorical with the waxing sun of early spring and the lengthening days (the time change in Europe is the last Sunday in March)—also owing to a dust storm blowing in from the Sahara that gave the sky a singular quality—and aptly as the anchored structure, venue for art exhibits and a bistro accessible by ferry, is a monument to Magdeborn and those deserted settlements since underwater, Stauseen. 

The mining operations at Epsenhain ran from 1937 to 1996 and yielded half a billion tonnes of coal—phased out over the decades since, the last active field, which lends its name to the reservoir, will cease operations next year.  There are quite a lot of trails around the lakes to hike and bike and enjoyed being outside and marveling at the reclaimed landscape. 

Leipzig is visible in the distance and also the Bergbau Industrial Park that we pass on the Autobahn now a relict carved out of a massive Windpark.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus Trump arrested and arraigned

two years ago: Iceland protests against NATO ascension (1949) plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: your daily demon: Vassago, the sixtyforgan, the Louvre announces a new public portal for its collections, an attempted assassination plus yacht rock

four years ago: an expensive telegram plus the Sgt Pepper’s album cover

five years ago: an unassuming shrub

Wednesday 1 November 2023

drei haselnรผsse fรผr aschenbrรถdel (11. 087)

The Czechoslovakian-East German co-production of the Bohemian variation of the fairy tale (Tล™i oล™รญลกky pro Popelku, Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella) opened in theatres on this day in 1973. Enduring and shown around Christmas time and making the circuit through the channels much like It’s A Wonderful Life the primary filming location was Schloss Moritzburg between Meissen and Dresden. The village is in a frenzy as the royal entourage will be stopping en route to their nearby castle, with rumours that the eligible Prince (portrayed by Rolf Hoppe) will choose a bride during the local fรชte. Cinderella’s step mother keeps her busy with menial and seemingly impossible chores in order to keep the competition to a minimum and showcase her less attractive and wicked step-sister. Doves, however, come to Cinderella’s assistance and finishes the tasks, affording her the free time to wander in the woods and encounter the prince and his hunting party, who are impressed with her equestrian skills. Later gifted three wish-granting filberts, Cinderella is able to regale herself with various disguises to become the King-of-the-Hunt as well as the belle of the ball.


 one year ago: another penny black, assorted links to revisit plus the Word of the Year

two years ago: another Word of the Year plus a starting point to restore our burning world

three years ago: The Mask (1961), the Sistine Chapel opened to the public plus indigenous characters in comics

four years ago: a space odyssey, World Vegan Day, more mushrooming plus Blade Runner

five years ago: Trump activates the army to guard the border, movie ratings, an Ansel Adams’ photograph plus a bio brick

Tuesday 14 February 2023

luftangriffe auf dresden (10. 548)

Beginning late the night before with the RAF and continuing through the next two days with an additional five hundred twenty seven United States Air Force heavy bombers, the joint aerial attack on Dresden (see previously, see also) on this day in 1945 destroyed ninety percent of the city and killed an estimated twenty-five thousand with many thousands more made homeless in a place host to refugees fleeing the advancing Red Army. Regarded as punitive and with little strategic value at this point in the war, over four thousand tonnes of explosives and incendiary devices caused a fire storm that enveloped the city centre. The landmark Baroque Frauenkirche had seemed to miraculously survive the raids but imploded a few days later from heat stress—though long enough to protect the three hundred who sheltered there and was reconstructed and reconsecrated in 2005 using 3D technology and analysing historic photographs and collected rubble.

Thursday 20 October 2022

gerรผste der republik (10. 239)

Via Present /&/ Correct, we directed towards a project curating all the varied playground climbing frame configurations from the former East Germany, der GDR—see also. The website not only maps the location of each structure, it also features pictures and schematics of each taxonomically and gives their fantastic names—Rubiks Wรผrfel, Alcatraz and Dromedar plus a litany of rocketship and space-themed jungle gyms and playground equipment. Much more to explore at the links above.

Wednesday 21 September 2022

septembertestament (10. 153)

Composed during his stay at the Wartburg, Martin Luther’s translation of the Greek bible into Early High German, published without attribution under the title Newe Testament Deลฏtzsch in a first printing of three thousand folio copies by a print-shop in Wittenberg, when on sale to the public on this day in 1522. Taking extensive liberties with the prose and heavily relying on Latin glosses as his Greek was not that strong, the original manuscript (later proofed and edited by scholars) is lost but ready for typesetting by July and illustrated, illuminated with woodcuts by Lucas Cranach out in time to for the Leipziger Herbstmesse (the Leipzig Autumn Fair) to achieve maximum exposure. Despite its relatively high cost—a half a guilder the weekly wage of a journeyman—and being banned in the Duchy of Saxony, it quickly sold out and a second edition (with corrections) came out in December. To counter the book’s popularity, Duke Georg commissioned a more orthodox translation rushed to publication, but it was soon apparent that it was highly plagiarised, repeating Luther’s errors and tone.

Monday 1 August 2022

tree of life (10. 030)

Via Maps Mania, we quite enjoyed this taxonomical exploration of the known species of biological life on Earth in LifeGate2022 presented by Martin Freiberg, curator of the botanical gardens at the University of Leipzig—visually and zoomable and arranged phylogenetically.

Sunday 22 May 2022

hail to the bus driver

Our gratitude to Super Punch for not just informing us of the annual European Tramdriver Championships held in host city Leipzig (see previously, which we just missed this time around but there’s always next year) but also is a very serious competition with teams and fans of mass-transit from all over the continent coming together. Check out the links above for more on this extreme motor-sport for everyone, whose trials include best breaking-speed and accuracy, obstacle courses and various other traffic, shared-lane gauntlets.

Thursday 17 March 2022

leipziger straรŸe

Via friend of the blog Nag on the Lake, we quite enjoyed this stroll down familiar albeit empty streets of Leipzig (see also) after-hours guided by this collaboration from Nรธvae and Dom Waits of Brotfabrik with a House/Haus setlist of a dozen electronic melodies anticipating a time to come when these scenes might be livelier.

Wednesday 22 December 2021


Born this day in 1867 (†1927) in the village Burkhardtsdorf in the western edge of Upper Lusatia, Osmar Heinrich Volkmar Schindler, demonstrating skill as an artist early on was with the support of his uncle enrolled at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts where after his education in portraiture and travels in France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium developed a signature style that mixed elements of Impressionism and Art Nouveau. In 1900, Schindler was invited back to the academy and given a professorship. Better known for his murals and interior decor for both secular and religious buildings of the fin de siรจcle throughout Saxony, works on display include David and Goliath, landscapes of the Sรคchsischen Schweiz and Lake Garda, as well as this muscle-flexing study that has the undivided attention of the art class.

Friday 26 November 2021


limerent limerick: help in recognising unhealthy obsessions and how to work one’s way out of intrusive thinking—hopefully through bawdy rhymes 

there and back again: Gene Deitch’s animated short The Hobbit—the first such adaptation  

roll for perception: a collection of resources, a florilegium from a Society for Creative Anachronism member for the LARP community—via Mx van Hoorn’s cabinet of hypertext curiosities  

avenue of the sphinxes: a restored promenade between Luxor and Karnak opened with fanfare  

opiate for the masses: drug use in Antiquity 

mlhavรฝ: Martin Rak’s fog-draped forests in Saxon-Bohemia—see previously 

here’s mud in your eye: a select glossary of beer and imbibing terminology—via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump


Sunday 31 October 2021

meine propositiones

According to most sources, Augustinian monk Martin Luther (see previously here, here and here—not a fave, just problematic), upset with leadership in the Catholic Church—chiefly over the indulgences racket—posted his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Palace Church of All Saints on this day in 1517, setting off the Reformation Movement in Germany.

Saturday 9 October 2021

dor nischl

The colossal stylised bust of philosopher and historian Karl Marx (previously) sculpted by Soviet realist Lev Efimovich Kerbel for the city formerly and presently known as Chemnitz (redesignated as Karl-Marx-Stadt for the year of the revolutionary in 1953) was dedicated on this day in 1971 before an assembly of a quarter of a million attendees. The wall directly behind the visage and plinth is inscribed with the famous phrase from the Communist Manifesto “Workers of the World, unite!” in German, Russian, French and English by graphic artist Helmut Humann.  Locally referred to as the above Mitteldeutsch colloquialism for head or skull and used as a backdrop for much propaganda and pageantry under the East German government, the symbol was not without controversy, but was preserved while many other monuments to Soviet heroes and ideals were dismantled. After reunification, the city of Kรถln even offered to buy the head in order that it be saved from destruction, while residents were wrestling with the recent past and deciding to restore their city’s former name. Ultimately, it was decided to keep this and select vestiges of times past, which can still be a focus of the here and now.

Sunday 4 April 2021

they are not long—the days of wine and roses

Though separated by a considerable distance in the north and the southern part of modern Germany, it’s interesting to note, via the always engrossing Futility Closet, the kindred relationship between the oldest known rosebush and the oldest known uncorked bottle of wine. The Millennium Rose (der Tausendjรคhriger Rosenstock) grows in the apse of the Hildesheimer Dom—dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, and is a non-domesticated variety known as the wild dog, Rosa cainina. Hardier by degrees that cultivated garden varieties that usually only thrive for decades, this especially long-lived specimen is legendary, with Louis the Pious (Ludwig der Fromme), heir to the Holy Roman Empire after the death of his father Charlemagne, happened upon this rosebush after becoming separated from his hunting party. Sacred to the Saxon goddess Hulda, the lost emperor sought shelter there but offering a prayer to the Virgin Mary through a reliquary he carried with him. Ludwig rested and upon waking, he found his icon irretrievably stuck among the branches—taking this as a sign from the pagan goddess that she was to be replaced in veneration. The emperor’s entourage found him and Ludwig pledged that his city should be founded in this spot and constructed the cathedral around the rosebush. In March of 1945, Hildesheim was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid which razed the cathedral as well. The rose’s extensive root system was intact and began to flourish again the next season as the city was rebuilt. The Speyer wine bottle (Rรถmerwein) was recovered from a Roman tomb outside of the city (see also) in the mid 1800s and since dated to the fourth century of the common era. This grave good is contained in a glass vessel and is one-and-a-half litres in volume, two modern standard bottles and is shaped like an amphora with dolphins ornamenting the handles. There is no intention of opening it.

Wednesday 31 March 2021


berggeschrei: Saxon princes collected, modelled miniature mountains and enjoyed miner cos-play 

#oddlysatisfying: the hypnotic and self-soothing qualities of visual ASMR  

it’s not a cult thing: an interview with the real estate agent selling this ‘sexy funeral Goth house’ in Baltimore—via Super Punch  

erard square action: a tool that measures a piano key’s up- and down-weight  

slamilton: a basketball musical of Space Jam meshed with Hamilton—see previously—that works better than it should, via Waxy  

den hรผgel hinauf: Amanda Gorman’s inspirational US presidential inaugural poem (see also) will be published in German

Saturday 20 March 2021


Confirmed by decree issued by Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV before the Frankfurt Reichstag, Leipzig’s celebrated and well-known boys choir was founded on this day in 1212. In past times adjacent to the school and campus, the choir performs in the storied Thomaskircheamong the oldest continuous cultural institutions in Europe, its members and directors have produced many musical luminaries, including Johann Sebastian Bach, who served as cantor from 1723 to 1750.

Sunday 14 March 2021

helige mathilde von sachen

Patroness of, among other things, disappointing children, Saint Matilda of Ringelheim (see previously) is venerated on this day on the occasion of her death in Quedlinburg in 968 (*892), acclaimed for her charitable acts and strong sense of justice. Despite her status as a king-maker and raising ostensibly, widow of Henry the Fowler, Duke of Saxony, regnant and politically savvy in her own right, her eldest son Otto I who restored the Holy Roman Empire, Bruno, Archbishop of Kรถln, Gerberga Queen of France through marriage to Louis IV, Hedwig, mother of Hugh Capet and perhaps tellingly Henry, Jr. made Duke of Bavaria and called the quarrelsome, matters soon descended into petty squabbles over land, inheritance and alliances. Accused of mismanagement and sent into exile with Emperor Otto staking claim to his mother’s possessions, Matilda (from Old High German, incidentally, for the Mightiest in Battle) and it remains a point of contention the exact nature of these feuds and whether the family was ever reconciled. Despite or rather because of this administrative embargo, Matilda focused her efforts on establishing more monastic communities for women on her estates, sought and granted ecclesiastical immediacy and papal privileges for all convents in East Francia.

Wednesday 6 January 2021


We really enjoyed pursuing the extensive portfolio of images captured of East Germany in the photography of Ute Mahler, who embarked in 1974 for a decade’s long mission to preserve and convey his fellow friends, neighbours and strangers as they were authentically cool and collected—both candid and posed—and unmediated by geopolitics. Much more curated by the Guardian at the link above and at the on-line gallery exhibition hosted by La Maison De L’Image Documentaire.

Thursday 22 October 2020

the mind-body problem

Pioneering experimental psychologist, physicist and philosopher who taught at the University of Leipzig and is considered the founder of the branch of study known as psychophysics—a hybrid discipline that researchers stimulation and perception—Gustav Theodor Fechner (*1801 – †1887) has been honoured on this day since 1985 by the academic community on this anniversary of Fechner awaking from a dream with an epiphany, an insight into the relationship between material and mental sensations that changed the course of scientific thinking.  

In 1834, Fechner was appointed adjunct professor of physics and focused on his early fascination with colour theory—the effect named for him—and the optical illusion of colours in the spinning black and white patterns (see also) of the Benham top, but within five years had severely damaged his eyes, forcing him to change disciplines, leading to crucial and influential breakthroughs in our outlook on the way we experience the world and interpret our perceptions. Later in 1871 Fechner conducted the first study of phenomenon we’ve come to recognise as synaesthesia (previously) and studied the corpus callosum and bilateral symmetry of the brain, correctly assessing the outcome of thought-experiments not conducted until a century later.

Saturday 3 October 2020


Visiting a small harvest festival nearby held on Germany Unity Day, H and I looked for some autumn accents for the house and found several stalls selling traditional onion braids (Zwiebelzรถpfe). 

Sometimes also incorporating garlic bulbs, the braids adorned craftily with dried wild flowers were not customarily only for decorative and storage, preservative purposes but moreover for the notion that the power of the talisman would stave off illness and harm from hearth and home. Right now we can all use all the help we can muster. Singly, onions were worn as amulets in medieval times to ward off the plague, and a New Year’s Eve custom (divination from onions is called cromniomancysee also) in various regions, especially in the Erzgebirge, called for the dicing of an onion into twelve sections and sprinkling each bowl with salt to forecast the precipitation for each month of the year to come as the moisture drawn out of each section by the next morning would predict that month’s rainfall.

Monday 3 February 2020

gregg ruled

Via Everlasting Blรถrt, we are directed to this wonderful and growing archive of near-contemporary, vintage and antique children’s school notebooks from around the world.
Reviewing the scholarship, penmanship, inner-thoughts (fights, field-trips, crushes, detentions, cataclysmic embarrassments that are all relatable) and doodles of pupils from all sorts of backgrounds is fascinating, and the sponsoring organization invites the public to contribute, donating their own or volunteering to translate and transcribe.