Saturday, 27 May 2017

Black Bear, Burning Bush and Mystery Flower

A small nature reserve to the south of Vienna was the setting for today's adventure. Intended to be a recovery jog after last week's half-marathon (see Bard on the Run) it turned into a walk of discovery. Fortunately I had my camera with me. 

Please can someone identify the mystery (to me) orangey-brown flower immediately above the stone cat? I saw perhaps half a dozen of these flowers. Nobody I spoke to could say what they were.*

*Mystery solved. It's a Yellow Broomrape. And a lovely one too! 

Arctia Villica (Cream-Spot Tiger Moth (Eng) or Black Bear (Ger)

Dictamnus Albus - Diptam or Burning Bush (Ger)

Orbanche lutea - Yellow Broomrape (Eng) Gelbe Sommerwurz (Ger)

Friday, 26 May 2017

Meditations: Book 10, Meditation 37

from Meditations:

At every action, no matter by whom performed, make it a practice to ask yourself, "What is his object in doing this?"  But begin with yourself, put this question to yourself first of all. 

Marcus Auerlius 

(121 - 180)

The beginning of Ramadan is marked by the killing of 23 Coptic Christians in Cairo. It is another Friday. Another day of prayers for Muslims. The latest atrocity follows on the heels of the carnage
in Manchester. In an effort to understand what's behind all this I'm rereading Pulitzer  Prize Winner The Looming Tower. I think there's no better book on the subject.

For those who ask 'Why?'   

" . . . describes the contorted intellectual journey that has taken place among some Muslims . . . which allows a holy book . . . to be used to justify catastrophic terrorism." - Financial Times

" . . . untangles the anxieties, resentments, aspirations and ideals that have driven and defined radical Islam." - Los Angeles Times 

" . . . extensively researched, gripping tale of the growth of Islamic radicalism." - The Indianapolis Star

" . . . Wright's book is my new touchstone. None of the previous books led me to say 'Aha, now I think I understand' as frequently." - The Boston Globe

"Should be required reading for every American . . . yes, it is that good." - The Christian Science Monitor 

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Weeping Angel of Dresden and the Memorial Chapel

Robert H. Lee (1915-2007)
The Weeping Angel
Presented to the Frauenkirche in 1998

British Artist, Craftsman and Prisoner of War in Freital,
whose love of Dresden never dimmed. Carved in lime
wood, painted and distressed, the Angel aims to represent
the sorrow and suffering of the survivors. It is the artist's
personal tribute to the beauty of Dresden and his expression
of respect for the people of Saxony, whose pain he shared.

Another place of worship in Dresden is the Cathedral of the Bishopric Dresden-Meissen built by the Italian architect Gaetano Chiaveri in late baroque style and completed in 1754. This building was also destroyed by bombs on the 13th February 1945.

Reconstruction began immediately following the war's end.

The Pieta in the daylight-flooded Memorial Chapel was created from Meissen porcelain by Friederich Press in 1976.

Dear Lord,
we have lost the means. 
We waiver from one side 
to another
and find no foothold.

Give us your hand, O Lord,
and lead us out of the darkness -
you know the way. 

Dear Lord, I thank you,
that I may come to you -
with my joy
and my sorrow,
with my faith
and my doubt,
with my plans
and my lack of direction.

I can tell you everything.
I can ask you for anything.
You listen to my prayers sometimes
differently than I would like -
but always,
that it may serve me the best. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Henderson Island: 'X' no longer marks the spot.

Palm fringed


tropical paradise.

Friday eat your heart out.

A place to die for.

Henderson Island.

A treasured spot on our blue planet.

And thriving on the golden beaches

               37 million ". . . pieces of rubbish . . . "  

to quote an official mouthpiece.

I smell a rat.

in this unsightly vomit of progress -

this voluminous regurgitation

of countless tons

of seaborne garbage.

Here is the new normal.

'X' no longer

marks the spot.

*Island in Pitcairn group.
9km. long. 27 km coastline.
Total area 36 sq km.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Summer on the way . . .

the dawn 

 her early light alights

so soft inside my window

Sun flowers

the rosebush set,

the daffodils deadheaded . . . 

 how quick they grow - these lions' teeth 

Löwenzähne - The teeth of lions

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Heavenly Superstars!

 The star nursery in the Buttercup Cloud 

 The constellation of Ranunculus in the Little Frog Galaxy 

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

TV Repair Men

My favourite PG Tips advert. 

View this and others on YouTube and give them your 'thumbs up'!

Nothing beats a nice cup of tea.

Monday, 1 May 2017

I can believe

given the vastness
of the cosmos

and its immense age

that there are super-
intelligent entities

out there

in the darkness (or somewhere) -


or twenty
or one hundred

or two hundred


a billion

or more. Observers
of everything 

everywhere. Keepers 

of records.  Our
wars and our


the poverty of our days
of mistrust

perhaps worth a footnote -

but scarcely of interest
to most. 

Friday, 28 April 2017

Frank Fearless Free

Britain's newspapers -  have they had their chips?  

Courage and integrity are history.  Britain's main stream media is today a mere shadow of its former self. 

The Guardian was silenced. It's computers smashed. That was the end. 

Once proud and exemplary when it came to news reporting the UK finds itself in free-fall and in a humbling 40th place, one place below the French in the Press Freedom Index. 

Norway heads the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom List with Sweden and Finland in second and third places.

The following are taken from the 2017 Press Freedom list:

1 - Norway
2 - Sweden
3 - Finland
4 - Denmark
5 - Holland

11 - Austria
14 - Ireland
16 - Germany
19 - Australia

22 - Canada
23 - Czech Republic

39 - France

40 - United Kingdom
43 - United States of America

52 - Italy
54 - Poland

71 - Hungary

88 - Greece

91 - Israel
97 - Tunisia
99 - Lebanon

155 - Turkey*

180 - North Korea

*EU candidate country

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Monday, 24 April 2017

Time for coffee and a quote

In the end you will lay your freedom at our feet and say - 'Make us your slaves, but feed us' 

- Fyodor Michailowitsch Dostojewski 

Monday, 17 April 2017

What is Free Speech?

"If freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to the slaughter."

- George Washington 


Saturday, 15 April 2017

They're back!

Back from Africa to same the same nesting site in Wales! 

With not a little drama and a couple of worrying adventures Mr Aran and Mrs G produced and reared two offspring in this nest last year. 

The children were ringed and are now in Africa. Hopefully they will return in a year or two when they are mature. 

The above photo is a screen shot I made earlier today. It's from the live video which is to be viewed on the Glaslyn Osprey website. 

As you can see they have carpeted their home with a layer of moss and grass. They look very pleased with themselves. 

Update: 19th April: An egg is born! 

Update: Nothing official on Glaslyn website but I just detected on their live stream Mrs G now has two eggs. 22:20 hrs 22nd April European Central Time. 

Update: 26th April: Now there are 3 eggs in the nest!  

Thursday, 13 April 2017

An Easter Egg from JS Bach

Main Scream Media's gone suddenly silent. I wonder why.

Official News from the Front

Syrian Military Command stated that aircraft of the US-led Coalition in Syria attacked and destroyed an ISIS Chemical Weapons Depot near Hatla, resulting in hundreds of deaths. It is claimed that a large number of foreign mercenaries were amongst those killed. Many people died of suffocation. 

This incident, whatever it was or was not, is barely mentioned in the main stream media. 

Presumably it never happened?

The moving finger writes and having having writ moves on . . . 

All's fair in love and war . . . 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Fake News or Propaganda? Call it what you like.

Ein Deutsches Leben

A German Life

Brunhilde Pomsel was 103 years old when she was interviewed for this Blackbox film.

She was Propagandaminister Joseph Goebbels' secretary.

In German controlled areas propaganda was the news and the news was the propaganda. 
The two became one. Indistinguishable. 

Fake news. 

The message I take from the film having watched it yesterday is that the banality of terror should serve as a warning to future and present generations.

Poking the Bear with a Sharp Stick 

I feel a sense of relief that Britain is to exit the neo- European Superstate whose  business, supported by NATO, includes serious provocation of Russia.

It's a tactic that Marine Le Pen refers to as the "Berlin Wall on Wheels".

And yet, still not satisfied, our neo- European Superstate is seeking to form an EU Army controlled by . . . well, I'll not say it . . . you must work that one out for yourselves.

To say that we live in dangerous and uncertain times, is putting it mildly.

We have been warned.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Cheesy Photo

on the use and purpose of knives

pick up a knife 

and cut into your cheese 

now no one is hurt 

In France fighting between Afghans and Kurds armed with knives resulted in many people being wounded. The fighting took place in a refugee camp for 1500 people last night. The camp was set on fire by some of the occupants and completely destroyed. Only a pile of ash remains, according to a BBC report. That people supposedly fleeing from war zones and claiming to seek safety should engage in such bad behaviour in the country giving them shelter is clearly beyond the pale. 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

To see the things

in the present moment 

is to see all that is now,

all that has been since time began, 

and all that shall be unto the world's end;

for all things are of 

one kind and one form

The author of the above words the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius was killed by a mosquito. 

To gain enlightenment

you must want it 

as much as a man whose head 

is held under water 

wants air 


Sunday, 26 March 2017

Adonis and Pulsatilla

Today's creation, to celebrate the clocks going forward, is a poem of three words: 






Summer Time. I enjoy the lie-in. This morning I was up at seven instead of six. 

Here are more photos taken on the training run by the Neusiedlersee on the last day of winter time. I selected this particular area in order to see the flowers and the birds and to stock-up on my pesticide-free red wine!  

Friday, 24 March 2017

22nd March

Heinrich Maier died on the 22nd March 1945.

Heinrich Maier (1908 -1945)

The 22nd March.

Terrorist attacks.




Heinrich Maier was a priest.

He was a man of peace.

He lived in Austria.

He was a Doctor of Philosophy.

A Doctor of Theology.

And a teacher.

He was a patriot.

He joined the resistance in 1940.

He was betrayed in 1944.

He was arrested by the Gestapo.

He was tried and convicted.

He was guillotined.

But not silenced.  

His last words are written below.


He ascended into Heaven

on 22nd day

of March


"Long live Christ the King. Long live Austria"

Ancient Chinese Wisdom

There exists in the world a permanent state of war.

This is business as usual.

Tried and tested war tactics can be detected when one knows what one is looking for. Some of these are thousands of years old. And many of them are still in use today. Here are some from China.

Killing with a borrowed sword.

Creating something out of nothing.

Sacrificing plum trees to preserve peach trees.

Raising a corpse from the dead.

Removing firewood from under the pot.

Disturbing water to catch fish.

Playing dumb while remaining smart.

The beauty trap.

Exchanging the role of guest for host.

Sowing discord.

Running away.

Attacking Wei to rescue Zhao.

Resting while the enemy exhausts himself.

The empty fort strategy.

Clamouring in the East, then attacking in the West.

Observing the fires on the opposite shore.

Pretending to follow one path and taking another.

Hiding a dagger behind a smile.

Leading the sheep away.

Stomping on the grass to scare snakes.

Luring tigers out of mountains.

Replacing strong beams with rotten timbers.

Pointing at mulberry trees while cursing locusts.

Removing the enemy's ladders.

Decking the trees with false blossoms.

Inflicting self-injury.

Using chain-stratagems.

The above list is by no means complete and continues to evolve.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

"Will it never end?"

The short answer to Heute's question is: It will end when the "Mother of all Parliaments" decides it is time to cross the Rubicon. It may be that with this piece of cowardly terror at the heart of Britain that that time has finally come.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

We've come a long way.

Yesterday morning I was watching one of my Italian TV channels. There are 3 to choose from.

I'm trying to teach myself Italian and when I have time I watch 30 minutes of Italian news before or during breakfast.

After the news the screen immediately went blank. When this happens, as it does now and then, a notice appears to tell me that the next programme, usually a sporting event, is not available outside of Italy.

But this time there was no such notice and I wondered if there was something wrong with my television.

After two or three minutes of staring at a blank screen, I checked some other channels. They were all transmitting normally.

And then I saw it. On the information bar which I could access on the functioning channels: the missing programme was about anti-semitism.

Something clicked.

And the euro-cent dropped.

Anti-semitism is a sensitive subject in some countries. Too sensitive to be broadcast, especially if it's a live transmission with a studio audience. I mean somebody could stand up and say the P word.

In Italy the programme was deemed to be suitable for viewing. And that's OK. After all, it's a topical subject, in these times of mass migration.

Here presumably it was deemed not suitable for viewing. Which is not OK.

The censor's cut?


We're beyond that.

Well beyond it.

We've come a long way.

Of course I may be wrong.

There's always that possibility.

Isn't there?

Monday, 20 March 2017

The Big Red Spot (and the Little Red Spot)

The Big Red Spot 

The massive storm on Jupiter

And the Little Red Spot
On the outstretched wing of the telescope,

Earth's heavenly watchman   Hubble, 
(close observer of the Big Red Spot)

Struck by a micro-

No larger than a grain of sand 

A singular impact crater

Two red spots in space. 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Thinking of Andy Warhol

Here's a piece of wood I recently used as a palette for mixing paint and afterwards for cleaning the brushes.

I habitually block-in with surplus  paint. It''s  a fun thing to do.

By the way, I've seen pictures, so-called masterpieces that look a bit like this being seriously offered for sale in art galleries here in Vienna for thousands of euros.

As Andy Warhol famously said: Art is what you can get away with. 

I'm convinced he was right.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Memorable Sunset

 A weather report in the weekend paper informed me that many millions of tons of sand were on the way north from the Sahara. Winds were blowing the sand into the air and it was being carried along at a height of between 5 kms and 7kms above the ground.

It was likely that Sunday's sunset would be memorable.

Five minutes after I'd taken the above photo the sky was a fiery orange. I was in a car and was unable to take a second photo.

With a computer tool I've coloured the photo and created an image that reminds me of how dramatic it was.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Silence is golden?

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil . . . 

Not to speak is to speak 

Not to act is to act" 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer  (1906 Poland - 1945 Germany)

It appears to be the case that Tony Blair wants to go to Syria as some kind of peacemaker and that he has gone to Washington to get his official pass stamped. 

It won't be easy for Blair to undo the multiple Gordian knots. Perhaps impossible. They may have to be cut. But it's a try. 

Here's one end of the string:  Who was behind the Syrian 2011 protest movement? 

Friday, 3 March 2017

A Present from Nepal

My friend was recently in Nepal. He returned with a present.

It's a cheap and cheerful calendar with printed pages to tear off as time passes.

I enjoy the colours, the bold lines, and the light and shade contrasts. I think it's something I will keep and treasure.