De' fliengde Vuogtlänn'r

Observations, rants, etc. from a guy who really gets around.


How Stupid Is Too Stupid?

How stupid can people get?

I've put up a job-wanted ad on Craigslist with the following words at the beginning and end, and twice in the middle:
Write with *DETAILS* or don't write at all.
So far, I've gotten around 50 replies. Only two of them gave me any info about a SPECIFIC JOB that they're offering. All the rest have been scams and spam, with a few vague come-ons and inquiries about whether or not I'm still looking for work. (If I'd found a job, why would I keep the ad up? Do you really think I'm as stupid as you are?)

Whatever happened to



"when all else fails, FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS"?

Do these half-wits really think I'd want to work for someone who's too stupid to follow the simplest of instructions?



Not Just Another Holiday

Every child needs a father.

With the exception of commercial interests, today must be The Most Overlooked "Holiday" of all. How it can be a "holiday" when no one gets any paid time off, is beyond me. But that's neither here nor there.

Fortunately, I can remember making a big deal out of it when I was a kid. Mostly because I actually loved my old man. And maybe that's what's wrong with today's society. Few people appreciate fathers anymore.

Someone once said that there are things that you never get over, you just get used to them. Less than a week before Christmas, when I was not quite 16, my Dad dropped dead of a heart attack at work. Christmas has never been quite the same for me since. Still in all, there are three times a year that I do think of him slightly more than at other times. (Not that I don't think of him a lot anyway.) One is his birthday, the second is Fathers Day, and the last -- quite naturally -- is Christmastime. Admittedly, much of my thinking revolves around the void in my life left by his passing. Every child needs a father.

Even though my parents divorced when I was only 6, my Dad remained a major influence in my life. I've told people on a number of occasions that if I could bring in five men -- one of them being my Dad -- and let the five speak for two minutes each, at the end of 10 minutes there'd be no doubt as to which one was my old man.

Despite the fact that I only got to see him on weekends, it was not the duration of the visits but their nature that affected me. I have a lot of fond memories of those times. Every child needs a father. I can remember many hours spent in the park or at the beach or even in a restaurant. He was a man of many talents who gave us a peek at a much larger world than the one we lived in day to day. His influence was not just emotional, but intellectual. To paraphrase Strickland Gilliland, "Richer than I you can never be; I had a father who talked with me." He not only told us stories about his own childhood (and yeah, I've been there and seen where he had to walk to school through hip-deep snow), but also about his travels and his various jobs.

Toward the end of his life, my Dad worked as a machinist. It required a good head for math, the importance of which he stressed on numerous occasions. For several years until he died, we had a raging debate over which was more accurate, fractions or decimals. (I took the fractions side; he argued for decimals.) To this day, I still think he played Devil's Advocate just to sharpen my wits. Every child needs a father.

I've only found two maps that show the little town of Brunndöbra, where he was born. It lies in what's called "the musical corner of the Vogtland", up on the northern edge of the Erzgebirge, just over the line from Böhmen in what is now the Czech Republic. That particular area is known for two things: embroidery and musical instruments. So it's no surprise that he was not only a classically trained musician, but also worked in an embroidery factory (Gebrüder Männel). I didn't find out until several years after he died that he played more than just steel guitar. He also played clarinet and violin. But I remember many occasions when he would haul out that steel guitar and play and sing. (Unfortunately, those genes seem to have skipped a generation. But I do know all the words to "Tief d'rin im Böhmerwald", which he sang often.) And he did teach me to read music, which gave me a leg up when I joined the band in high school. I miss those times, especially since he only got to come to one of our concerts.

One of the other jobs he had was running his own music studion in New Bern, NC, where he met his first wife. Somewhere in all my "stuff", I still have a letter of appreciation from a local radio station for the performance his group did. I also have at least one picture of them. Which leads me to something I mentioned last year at this time:
"The leader of the band is tired
and his eyes are growing old.
But his blood runs thru my instrument
and his song is in my soul.
My life has been a poor attempt
to imitate the man.
I'm just a living legacy
to the leader of the band.

I thank you for the music
and your stories of the road.
I thank you for the freedom
when it came (your) time to go.
I thank you for the kindness
and the times when you got tough.
And, papa, I don't think I said
'I love you' near enough."
One of the few comforts that I have in this life is that I can spend time with him in the next. Every child needs a father.

Happy Fathers Day, Dad.

(NB: Yes, I sometimes refer to my Dad as "my old man". Some have used that appellation as a pejorative, but I've never meant it except with the utmost affection and respect.)


50 Years Of Math Classes

(Hat tip to nobody. for this one.)

Last week, I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The counter girl took my $2 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried. Why do I tell you this?

Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s:

1. Teaching Math In 1950s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit ?

2. Teaching Math In 1960s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Math In 1970s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

4. Teaching Math In 1980s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Math In 1990s

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it's ok. )

6. Teaching Math In 2009

Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. ¿Cuanto dinero ha hecho?



iTunes Alphabet

(UPDATE: Just for fun, I thought I'd amend some of the titles to show what I could have listed, were I not concerned with diversity.)

I spotted this somewhere on the Intarwebz and thought I'd take a crack at it. I use iTunes to keep my music (all 967 songs) organized, although I have to use Monkey Media to synch to my MP3 player. I tried to pick either my favorites or rather obscure stuff. Or maybe my obscure favorites. Or my favorite obscure stuff. Or whatever.

A: Acapulco 1922; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
B: Bye-Bye Blues; Bert Kaempfert and The Orchestra
B1: Blue Sunday; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
C: Creatures Of The Night; Laura Branigan
C1: Crea Mi Amor; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
D: Downtown; Petula Clark
D1: Desafinado; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
E: Elvira Madigan theme; 101 Strings
E1: El Lobo; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
F: Fields of Gold; Mary Black
F1: Felicia; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
G: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly; Hugo Montenegro
G1: Garbanzo; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
H: Have You Never Been Mellow?; Olivia Newton-John
H1: Happy Hour; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
I: I Am, I Said; Neil Diamond
I1: Happy Hour; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
J: Jungle Love; Steve Miller Band
J1: Jerusalem; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
K: Knock Three Times; Tony Orlando And Dawn
L: Love Is Blue; Paul Mauriat
L1: Ladyfingers; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
M: Mah-Na-Mah-Na; Mahna Mackay
M1: Memories Of Madrid; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
N: New World In The Mornin'; Roger Whitaker
N1: Numero Cinco; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
O: One-Eyed, One-Horned Flyin' Purple People-Eater; Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs
O1: Our Day Will Come; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
P: Portugese Washerwoman; Baja Marimba Band
P1: Plucky; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
Q: Quiet Village; Martin Denny
Q1: A Quiet Tear; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
R: Ramblin' Rose; Nat "King" Cole
R1: Rise; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
S: Stranger On The Shore; Mr. Acker Bilk
S1: Spanish Flea; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
T: Third Man Theme; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
U: Under The Boardwalk; The Drifters
U1: Up Cherry Street; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
V: Vincent; Don McLean
W: Wanderin' Star; Lee Marvin*
W1: Wade In The Water; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
X: Xanadu; Olivia Newton-John
Y: You Make Me Wanna Shout; Little Richard
Z: Zorba The Greek; Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass

Wow. I can't believe I actually do have one for every letter of the alphabet. Yay me. :-)

*Yeah, that Lee Marvin!

Health Alert! Health Alert!

If you get an e-mail claiming to be from the Department of Health, telling you not to eat tinned ham because of Swine Flu, ignore it. It's just spam.



It's Your Funeral (Cake)

Years ago, when I was in Nürnberg, my companion and I stopped into a little "mom and pop" store to grab something to drink. Being a bit hungry at the time, I glanced over all the fresh-baked goodies in the display cake. My gaze came to rest on some crumb cake, and so I asked for a piece.

"Aber das is doch Beerdigungskuchen", said the woman. ("But that's 'funeral cake'.")

Uh-huh. Don't give me a vocabulary lesson, just gimme the bloody cake.

I repeated my requested, which was met with a slightly more emphasized repeat of her answer.

Uh-huh. Just gimme.

Finally, with a look that one reserves for someone asking for something weird, she gave me a piece of the cake.

Best snack I'd had in a long time.

Recently, I did a quick on-line search (hat tip to Mamma for her help) and found a recipe for crumb cake. In about another half-hour....

(No, I'm not saving you any. But I'll pass along the recipe. As soon as I can figure out how to make Blogger stop taking out my spaces. Or, by e-mail if requested.)

(UPDATE: Here's the recipe. Never try to out-stubborn a German.)

Amount Measure Ingredient
-------- ------------ ------------
2 cups Sifted flour
1½ cups Brown sugar
1/2 cup Margarine
1 Egg, well beaten
1/2 cup Additional flour
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 cup Milk

Mix sifted flour, sugar and softened margarine until crumbly.

Set aside 1/2 cup flour. To the remaining crumb mixture, add remaining ingredients as given above. Beat well with mixer on low speed. Spread evenly in a greased 8" square pan. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top and bake at 350~ for 35 to 40 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Dust warm cake with powdered sugar before cutting.


Nutty Nursery Rhymes

Mary had a little lamb
its fleece was white as snow
and everywhere that Mary went

she stepped verrrrrry carefully.

Little Tom tinker
sat on a clinker

Dumb ass

Rock-a-bye baby
in the tree top

How the frell did the baby get in the tree top?

Jack and Jill went up the hill
to fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown

and Jill didn't have enough sense not to follow.

Peter Peter Pumpkin eater
had a wife and couldn't keep her

and she took him for everything in the divorce.

Little Miss Muffet
sat on her tuffet
eating her curves away

Jack and Jill went up the hill
each with a buck and a quarter.
Jill came down with two and a half.
Still think they went up for water?

There was an old woman
who lived in a shoe.

Her Visiting Teachers hardly ever came over.

Baa baa, black sheep
have you any wool?

You're kidding, right? I mean, when's the last time you saw a naked sheep?

Hickory, dickory dock
three mice ran up the clock.
The clock struck one

and the other two got away with minor injuries.

Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner,
Eating a mincemeat pie.
He stuck in his thumb
And pulled out a plum,
And said,

"How the heck did this get in here?"

Little Miss Muffet
sat on her tuffet
eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider
and sat down besider her

and said "Whatcha got in the bowl, wench?"