A few thoughts

1. The author and his/her children

So, I did post a comment to the last of GRRM's entires about fanfiction, and that's what I wrote:

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2. Movie recommendations: Karin Albou: Le chant des mariées (The Wedding Song)

We have an Arabian movie week, and yesterday, I went to watch the mentioned movie. I tried to find out something more about Karin Albou, but I couldn't find out more than that she lives in Paris, some parts of her family are "pieds noirs" (of North African origin) and has made only a few movies: two of them  "Le chant des  Mariées" and "La petite Jérusalem" thematise questions of Jewish identity. "Le chant de mariées" is set in 1942/43 in Tunis during the few months of German occupation and narrates the story of two young women, Nour (a Muslim) and Myriam (a Jewish girl), who are neighbours and best friends. While the story also includes their relations with the men in their life, their friendship is the center of the movie. The movie is on one side very intimate and sensual, on the other side very unsettling due to the political situation and due to some of the cultural implications. It was in many ways eye-opening, because I didn't know about that chapter of WWII before, nor was I aware of the tensions between Muslims and Jews in the Maghreb. The German propaganda did anything to fuel those tensions, and the Jewish population of Tunis was foced to pay fines for the allied bombardements. This fine was an important plot point, because the financial situation of Myriam and her widowed mother leads to Myriam's engagement and later marriage with a wealthy doctor.

All this considered, the movie makes the attempt to paint a multi-facetted picture of the period, the characters have more than one dimension. One example is Nour's father who is an obstacle to her freedom and reigns over a pretty stiffling house, but when he finds out that she knows to read the Quran, he indicates her a sura that contains a positive portrayal  of other religions. Another example is Raoul, Myriam's fiancé, who appears in a very unsympathetic light at first, but turns out a very decent man, thought still way too old for her. ;)  The ending was pretty much open, ending with the two girls meeting and comforting each other in one of the bomb shelters while the whole situation was still hanging. 

A Lovesong of Crows

Before I spend another day composing an entry in my head without actually writing and posting it, I would like to talk about the lovesong of a crow I had the pleasure to hear those last two mornings. It should be mentioned that my living area is the habitat for several corvidae: magpies, carrion crows, hybrids between carrion and hooded crows, jackdaws and rooks. (the links are mostly for pictures, the German entries have even more pictures). In the past, there even was a little war between the magpies and the crows over a nest in one of the trees before the house. Unfortunately, the nest they were fighting for has been thrown off the tree by a storm, I guess, and nobody has built a new one. The numbers of jackdaws have decreased in my area of the town because of the other rivals, though.

Most of the rooks only stay for the winter, though, as it can be seen in the exhibits A - C. 

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Back to the topic of avian lovesongs: this morning, a pair of (probably) crows was sitting on the highest branches of the big tillia tree, since I was not fast enough with the camera (and zooming functon), I couldn't find out which kind of corvidae they were (either carrion crow,  or rooks). The (probably) male made bowing moves with his head and spread his wings halfway. And he sang ... I didn't know that crows do produce such a great variety of sounds, and that they imitate other sounds, just like ravens, parrots or budgerigars (the budgerigars I owed once copied sparrows). At one point, I was almost sure that the crow used elements of the blackbird songs. It sounded very funny and nice. And since crows only pair once in their lifetime, it is not something that can be seen very often. And since they flew away together, I think the love ritual is over. So, I'm even happier that I had the chance to have this experience. 
Reisen, Morgen

Travelling in the Middle Ages: By Sea

It’s been a while, since I posted something about a class I taught, but this interesting source (from my last class of the semester) adds nicely to the other travelogues I posted before (which can be found by the tag: travelogues). Unlike the individual rapports of the different travellers, this is rather a sparse list of places on the way from Danmark to Akkon, i. e. the Middle East, with the distances and directions. It’s a margin to manuscripts of the History of the Bishops of Hamburg by Adam of Bremen, from the “Description of the Northern Islands”. This margin can be dated between after 1090 (after the first and the second version of the work) and the beginning of the 13th century. The final destination Akkon indicates the creation in the time of the Crusades. The first existing manuscript, containing this margin, is dated between 1200 and 1225, and has probably been created in Germany

 The source is the earliest existing description of sea routes, the next written source of this kind, a so-called “Seebuch”, dates from the 15th century, and from the late 14th century, you can also find the first Portulan Maps with the coastlines of England, Holland, Western France, Spain etc..  But for a very long time, this litte text is really the only notice.

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asoiaf, red sun

Voilá l'été ...

today was the first day of summer that actually felt like summer, and since I didn't post a video for a very long time, I decided for silly nostalgia today. "Voilá l'été" was one of the big summer hits of 1993, the summer, I spend in France (in the South), and I can never prevent a smirk when they are making fun for those who spend their summer "dans le midi". Even though, it's years back, I still have a soft spot for "Les Negresses Vertes". In the last years, there appeared a couple of bands playing the kind of music that mixes French chanson, roma music, rai, ska and other "ethnic" music, but in the 90s, they were pretty unique. 

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no gravity


What happens in Iran right now, breaks my heart. Especially 20 years after 1989. The people in my previous country were so fortunate in that year, when I read about the Iranian's dreams and thopes getting trampled by thugs who think of them as dumb sheep, it brings tears to my eyes.

ETA: My hope is that the Army keeps staying out of this.

Useful links: (Huffington Post, follows today's protest) (The Green Brief, a very good analysis of today's situation, before the beginning of the new rally.)

Reisen, Morgen

Meeting people from the Internet ^_^

So this was my second time I went on the road (or rather in the air) to meet a group of people from the internet, which is still a thought I have to get used to. I didn't write anything in anticipation, but I was very, very nervous because I only knew three of the present persons, my oral English skills are much, much worse than my written English skills, I probably drink a 1/3 of what the average BWB member is used to (^_^ ) and my shyness increases proportionally to the numbers of persons. However, I undertook  the adventure, and I don't regret it. ^_^

My post comes without pictures, because I used my normal camera, but luzisrighthand  and zoeiona  have posted wonderful pictures.

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So, I had much fun, even though, I was overwhelmed at times. I would have liked to stay a bit longer to see more of York, but it was a good first impression of England.



Thank you for all the replies.

In the news, they said that the firemen are still looking for the missing people, a couple and two men, if I have heard correctly , but the debris is not very stable, so they have to make many breaks. :(

Eulology for an archive

Yesterday, the municipal archive of Cologne collapsed. And I'm even more crushed by the news now than last evening, because it really had time to sink in. The municipal archive of Cologne was the biggest municipal archive north of the Alps. It contained 65.000 medieval diploms, starting with the year 922. Part of its collection were the archive of the university of Cologne and the archive of hanseatic contor in Antwerpes (and therefore also the older one in Bruges). Since I discovered during my researches how much new insights the original sources for hanseatic history still have to offer, I'm immensely saddened by this loss, because it means that the old editions for hanseatic history from the late 19th and early 20th century will be the only base of research for this matter and for the next generation of historians. The fact that I missed out on seeing one document that I still hoped to see is only a small factor face to the larger consequences for hanseatic history.  

ETA: Maybe, I should add to not sound too callous, that, luckily, the people working in the building escaped safely, and that I hope that it's possible to find the missing persons from the neighbour buildings. Saving people has priority over anything else.

Reisen, Morgen

Belated Music - eh Monday

Since the summer has arrived in May, I still feel in the mood for African music and for more somewhat embarassing revelations about my taste in music: I love Reggae. ^_^ I had a long down in my love for it, because it was and still is always a reminder of my failings in love life, but I'm glad that I can listen to the music again without feeling bad.


Alpha Blondy may not be so well-known as Bob Marley and other Jamaican singers, but he is always worth listening to. Like this song, he has done quite a few songs with strong religious undertones that touch Jewish History, which is very interesting coming from an African singer.  ETA: He is from Côte-d'Ivoire.

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