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| 2019 | one thought at a time |

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10 | October

20 | Although I found out at the end of the week that my foot (see my entry for the 14th of this month) has only partially healed and I'm still facing months of treatment, this weekend was great. I managed to reestablish contact with someone I really like and have always sincerely admired, I think I might have managed to perhaps help someone else move another step forward and, to top it all off, I managed to get some spectacular new music in through the door (as if I didn't have enough already). Life's good and this is a great day. Now to some bloody good music, four of the greatest soul albums ever recorded.

19 | A few years ago, for fun, I asked students, in our last lesson together before they went out into the world, to - whichever way they liked - anonymously write about or illustrate what they had learned about me in the many years we spent together (after I had spent many of those grading their work and forming an opinion about them). Today, when I was cleaning up, I found those 24 comments. Each one was great. The following one I'd love to "see" as an epitaph on my gravestone, exactly the way it was written:

"He doesn't have a TV, a driver's license or too many modern gadgets. He loves music, music, music, books, the Internet, travelling, strange languages, people and his students. He doesn't like idiots and people who blather (that is a word I learned from him) and dumb comments. He hates Wikipedia. He respects opinions if they make sense and if they are backed up by facts and thinking. He smokes and he likes cocktails (not good for you!). He owns white shirts (1 blue one), gray sweaters and lightblue pairs of Joker jeans. At least each one 20x. Like James Bond. He's the James Bond of teachers. But he doesn't have a gun. I like him."

18 | I always thought Roman Opałka (1931-2011) was a fascinating artist. He spent half his life painting from 1 to infinity. He started in 1961, with the number 1 on a large black canvas, and painted approximately 400 numbers per day. Along the way, he decided to make each canvas one degree whiter than the previous one and at the end, after 222 canvasses and reaching 5,607,249, he had spent three years painting white numbers on white canvasses.

17 | I like well-illustrated and annotated books in which experts keep things sweet and simple, but don't dumb them down too much. "The Classical Music Book" from DK's "Big Ideas" series is such a book. I'm really enjoying it at the moment.

16 | And I always thought that whole Internet thing was evil incarnate, but ... "Vatican launches $110 'click to pray' eRosary".

15 | Today I received Decca's 55-CD box set dedicated to one of their most faithful artists, Riccardo Chailly. Chailly has not only recorded a fabulolus Mahler cycle, but also a Bruckner one, both of which are central to this set. I'm really looking forward to exploring the many gems included here.

14 | Off to get an MRT done. When I broke my foot in March of this year, I hoped that 3 months would be enough to get "up and running" again, but that wasn't the case. Today we want to find out if anything improved at all. I have my doubts.

13 | On this last spectacular summer day, I was fortunate to have lunch (in good company) in one of Karlsruhe's best restaurants, "Anders auf dem Turmberg." Have a look. On nice days, you have a spectacular view. Highly recommended

12 | I have listend to a million classical piano pieces in my lifetime. That was and is due to my mother, who infused my early childhood with these pieces, all of which have stuck with me. As I got older, I had the chance to listen to - and acquire - a truckload full of different interpretations, something I didn't have to do when I was young: I had my mother. But, and this comes after 40+ years of doing so, András Schiff has turned out to be the one living pianist who plays almost all of these pieces the way I enjoy them. An absolute fabulous pianist. I have put a live concert with him on my bucket list.

11 | Of course they did: "How Your Photos and Photos of Your Kids Are Powering Surveillance Technology" (NYT).

10 | Yesterday, we were devestated here by an antisemetic mass shooting attempt that also shook me deeply. Antisemitic crimes or any other hate crimes whatsoever have always been absolutely beyond me and I simply do not understand the mindset that furthers them. I am happy that I was brought up the way I was, but - and that's where my pessimism kicks in - it was a culmination of a development that has been consistently ignored by mainstream media, politicians, and, yes, the general populace, no matter what people say. And not only in my country, certainly not. On top of that, to my eyes and ears, it also again showed the general degradation of (online) discourse that was, in total, so absolutely embarrassing that I feel my decision to partake as little as possible is, again, absolutely justified.

09 | I am a) not the person to buy a new smartphone every year and b) have always used Samsung devices. That's why it baffles me that Google doesn't mandate regular security updates for a significant time period. Today, Samsung tends to drop its flagships after a mere three years and most devices only get quarterly security updates, if at all. And, as usual, nobody really cares. There seems to be enough cash around in every household to dish out anywhere between $800 and $1000+ nearly every year for new models.

08 | Fascinating stuff: "An Animated 3D Video Tour of Paris Through History from 52 BCE to 1889" (Kottke.org).

07 | What happens if you let yourself be locked into an ecosystem: Adobe has decided to pull all user access in Venezuela due to US sanctions. To most users there this happened out of the blue, but if you know Adobe, you might think the sudden announcement happened two seconds after they found out that they can keep all the cash without having to reimburse anyone for anything. Not a single cent. You just have to love Adobe.

06 | I read around a lot and come across the oddest things. "Le Creuset" has released its Star Wars themed cookware collection and, to be quite honest, if I did cook as well as other people I know, I would buy myself the "Han Solo™ Carbonite Signature Roaster" for the lofty sum of $450 from this limited set, just because.

05 | Yesterday, I couldn't write because, for the second time in a few days, I had to rewire my stereo system after some changes. I HATE cables. We're talking real and consistent, unwavering hate. For decades now, I've had to rewire my stereo (and PC) setups every single time I moved or changed minor details, which was, perhaps, one time too many. We have flown to the moon, sent "Rovers" to Mars and "Voyagers" off into interstellar space, but not a single damn soul has been able to eliminate unwieldy, stiff, irritating and totally obnoxious cables. Most people I know who belong to the cleanly lot have spent entire lifetimes trying to beat spaghetti-like cable salad into submission. Of course, you can build a house around your setup, but in most cases that's not an option. That's why a whole cottage industry has sprung up around the problem, with cable boxes, cable straps, cable binders, cable bridges, cable ... you get the picture. I'm on suicide watch for the next few days.

04 | In the news: "Apple bans Hong Kong protest location app", apparently in an attempt "to suck up to China", Samsung, much like German car manufacturers, cheated in benchmarks for its older S4 smartphone model, which means it now owes $10 to 10 million people, and Zuckerberg's Facebook, the old money whore, quietly updated its ad policy to let politicians post misleading ads. Maybe it is time to start regulating big business.

03 | "German Unity Day", which is today, always reminds me of the day the wall came down (November 9, 1989). The following day, I had my final oral exams at the University of Saarbrücken, in the political science department - and that after I had stayed up very late the night before to watch things unfold. I was nervous because the professors were notoriously strict, but when I entered the room, they were celebrating and offered me a glass of champagne. The rest was a total breeze and I walked out with the best possible grade, also because one of my special topics had been inter-German relations, and we just reminisced instead of them throwing questions at me. What an experience all of that was.

02 | I know many people also consider it to be something for the eye, but I decided to say goodbye to "cable voodoo" with my new stereo setup. Out with the stiff cables and in with much cheaper ones that are flexible and don't need an extra half meter behind the stereo. I've participated in lots of blindfold tests over the years and not once could anyone demonstrate that cables which cost more than 10 Euro per meter had any significant advantage, besides maybe having been assembled a bit better.

01 | After hunting around for about 8 months, I was able to secure a vintage, mid-century sideboard for my stereo that I still needed. Luckily, I have a fantastic used furniture shop not far from here, run by some really capable people who travel all over the place to find items, professionally restore them and then offer them at relatively competitive prices. The items aren't exactly cheap, but they are excellent pieces of furniture crafted by people who still cared about longevity. The people at "Velvet Point" are also really nice people. Have look at their website: Velvet Point: Vintage & New Interior Design.

09 | September

30 | We had a medium "storm" here last night, one that didn't even merit the term. Then, as usual, two things happened. (01) "Deutsche Bahn" (that's what we call our railway system here) ran into a million problems - as usual - and produced nothing but trouble for thousands of travelers, much like whenever the first innocent snowflakes appear and winter, apparently for the first time in a million years, hits their unprepared shores. (02) The second event was the inevitable Twitter parade that always follows, led by those brain-dead people who lament the time when "storms were storms", rare as they supposedly were before climate change - and nothing but climate change - produced wind.

29 | I watched "In the Shadow of the Moon" on Netflix yesterday and actually quite enjoyed it. It is a flawed film and people like me - who enjoy these kinds of films - had figured it out the latest after about thirty minutes. What made me laugh though was that when I quickly went online to check how other people had reviewed the film, if they had seen the same flaws I had, it didn't take more than two minutes to come across a ton of bad reviews (frequently from the political right) denouncing the film for its perceived liberal agenda. "Ideas don't kill people, people kill people". You know, that kind of stuff. I guess dystopian (science) fiction is not really for most people anymore nowadays. My, how society has changed.

28 | I have been a teacher for 28 years. It saddens me to no end that the children and teenagers I have taught and am teaching, young people who have valid opinions, are eloquent and have fears about the future, are virtually ignored (or even put down). In an aging western society, they are in the absolute minority and, as they have let me know consistently, are given the feeling that all of the important issues are decided by their parents or grandparents, an elderly group that has developed fears about its own future and existence, unfounded or not. In my eyes, it's one of the most fundamental mistakes people in my age group are apt to make ... ignoring the next generation almost completely. This has absolutely nothing to do with the so-called "millennials" (a derisive term invented by their parents). It has to do with an egoistic stratum of society that simply will not allow anyone else to participate in any political discourse. A sad state of affairs.

27 | Watching - or in this case listening to - artists and bands trying to circumvent real or perceived censorship has always been lots of fun for me. Aerosmith made it to undisputed first place in 1975 when they recorded "Big Ten Inch Record" (actually an old R&B song written by Fred Weismantel). The trick this song uses is to place the offending line at the end of a verse and innocently completing it with the beginning of the first word of the chorus, changing its meaning to something else. What you then get is "When I get out my big ten inch ... Record", "Now whip out your big ten inch ... Record" and so on. Oh, and there's a highlight for which Steven Tyler has often tried to set the record straight: "The big rumor is that I say, 'Suck on my big ten inch' on the record. I don't. I'm saying 'cept' - as in except - not 'suck'. But no one in the whole world believes me." Yes, Steven, but that's not what people wanted to hear. Just have a listen. It's the fifth track on Aerosmith's breakthrough album, Toys in the Attic, released by Columbia in March of 1975.

26 | If you are dependent on public transportation, as I am, here you will constantly be confronted by an esoteric assortment of Germans ... complaining. Today, the temperatures were apparently too damn low for this time of year (last week they were apparently far too high for September), public transportation just doesn't work (the tram we were on was on time), politics are simply unbearable ("but I couldn't decide who to vote for, so I didn't"), most Germans cannot cook anymore (I guess the complainer's limp, quasi-dead cheeseburger was her feeble attempt at passive resistance), newspapers lie constantly (trumpeted by the person who had just informed the entire carriage that Germany is simply being flooded by foreigners), people don't know how to dress properly anymore (said the Birkenstock guy) ... it just didn't end. Hell, I felt right at home.

25 | Affinity products by Serif - Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer and, especially, Affinity Publisher - have saved my life. Everyone who knows me understands that I absolutely hate Adobe with its subscription model that puts customers into a virtual headlock and favors professionals with its prohibitively expensive prices. Affinity gave all of us a way out of that ecosystem and I heartily recommend their products. Siding with them will also help you avoid insanely aggravating and bullying mails from Adobe in the future. Good f*cking riddance!

24 | Recently, a SpaceX and an ESA satellite almost crashed into each other. Because of the mass of earth-orbiting space junk, the likelihood that a crash will happen is now 1 to 10.000, odds I'd love to have in a lottery. Currently, 8100 payloads are floating around our globe and within the next ten years, 20.000 additional satellites are supposed to be transported into orbit. It's not going to take many years until we won't even be able to squeeze a single person through all that rubble.

23 | That Thomas Cook went belly up over here in Europe wasn't all that much of a surprise, although I did wonder why they weren't bailed out, but it is sad to see so many people lose their jobs. Thomas Cook - and its subsidiaries - used to take me to Lanzarote, my favorite island. Let's see how prices will develop these next months because I was planning to go there again next summer.

22 | As I've often mentioned, I live right next to one of Germany's best and most spectacular wine regions. Yesterday, this year's - probably last - wine tour had several pit stops: Weingut Hörner (in Hochstadt), my favorite vineyard of the past many years, and Weingut Borell-Diehl (in Hainfeld) both made me spend far too much money (again) on mostly white and sparkling wines as well as interesting spirits. To top things off, lunch at "Winzergaststätte Grafen von der Leyen" in Burrweiler was excellent and the "Lounge im Weinkontor" (in Edenkoben) provided two hours of enjoying the last warm rays of this year's spectacular summer ... accompanied by two glasses of their fine "Eden Secco". If you have someone along who appreciates this kind of experience as much as I do, life is pretty much perfect.

21 | If there is one thing I hate, it's websites with pop-out videos and intrusive sign-up forms. I'd love to ignore all of them but, recently, everyone and everything seems to be slapping them onto their online presences. Click whores, the lot of them.

20 | North America has lost nearly 3 billion birds representing hundreds of species over the past five decades. And Europe has lost just about half of its bird population since 1980. A frightening development, mostly due to an unsustainable food and farming system.

19 | "The Four Notes of Death," a.k.a. "dies irae".

18 | A bit longer today, and for S.K., just because.

I grew up with a mother who, when I was a child, played piano regularly at home and made me fall in love with many (Beethoven, Chopin, Grieg and, especially, Mussorgsky) of the classical pieces she played.

But, my favorite one, amongst a personal collection that today spans half of my living room, has always been one single composition, Robert Schumann's "Von fremden Menschen und Ländern," a deceptively simple tune that packs an incredible lyrical punch. Little did I know that one day it would actually characterize a part of my life.

Today, I have an endless number of recordings of exactly that one piece, but absolutely nobody - no matter what critics and whoever might say - has ever recorded a better version than Maria-João Pires, whose rendition mirrors - down to the proverbial "t" - what I remember from my childhood. To my ears, it's the only absolutely perfect interpretation that I have ever had the great fortune of listening to.

Unless you count my mother's, of course.

Classical music does not have to be complicated to move your soul.

P.S.: There's no immediate version online, but Amazon has a brief snippet. If you happen to have Spotify, here you go ... exactly the version I adore.

17 | One thing that has been bothering me for many years now has finally reached the headlines. I'm just surprised that many of the issues haven't had a more prominent spot in the media for much longer. People are finally beginning to notice that they are being massively manipulated. Amazon has always manipulated search results, but a new algorithm suddenly makes the headlines? Really? Search results everywhere have been and will be manipulated because that has a noticeable effect on citizens/consumers. And, today, Bill Gates "criticises political calls for breakup of Big Tech". Why am I not surprised?

16 | Ric Ocasek passed away and whenever I hear his name (and whenever I spin "The Cars'" debut album), I'm immediately taken back to my time in Copenhagen, Denmark, when "Good Times Roll" and "My Best Friend's Girl" were hits and when I spent quite some time at Chris D's (and Dina R's) place. Great memories.

15 | [written on the 16th] I cannot remember a summer that lasted that long, from early May until middle of September. So, yesterday, I stayed away from computers and gadgets and spent an entire day moving around and soaking in the Indian summer sun. If this is climate change, let me have more of it. ;-)

14 | Good old Ludwig van would have turned 250 this year, so various labels are releasing Beethoven monster box sets around November. The two main contenders: DG is releasing its 180-hour "Beethoven 2020 - The New Complete Edition" (which is the one I have set my sights on) and Warner Classics is releasing its 80-CD "Beethoven – The Complete Works". Comparing the two, the main difference is that Warner favors entire cycles by the same artist, ensemble or team of performers, whereas DG seems to be shooting for the "best individual recording" route. There's also a substantial price difference with the smaller Warner set coming in as the clear winner.

13 | I spent a terrific evening with two former students and a colleague of mine at a wonderful restaurant in Speyer, one of Germany's oldest cities. Speyer is dominated by the Speyer Cathedral and our restaurant, Avant|Garthe was practically just a stone's throw (or two) away. Excellent food and extensive and very good wine menu, plus great service. Highly recommended.

12 | The other day (German only) I read a spot on and verbally very aggressive and even abusive post that, unfortunately, I can agree with 100%.

For those not in the German know, the author - vehemently - complains about the changes in online discourse, about activists that will jump on anything, everything and anyone (at a moment's notice) to advance their presumed agendas, to just feel alienated or to just complain for complaining's sake. It's a change that has kept me away from online discourse for years now.

11 | I'm looking forward to Stephen King's new novel, "The Institute", which has gotten some pretty good advance reviews. Even the New York Times liked it.

10 | I love to read. I had thousands of books before I decided to downsize; today I still have a couple of hundred left over. I also always enjoyed indulging in post-apocalyptic fiction here and there and it is absolutely crazy how that genre has exploded globally these past few years, especially post-apocalyptic fiction published by "indie" (self-published) authors. I guess Donald Trump, climate change, the rise of right-wing and nationalist movements as well as diffuse fears have elevated the genre to bestseller status. Authors most of you have probably never heard of, like A.G. Riddle, Jack Hunt, Kevin Partner, Bobby Adair, T.L. Payne, T.W. Piperbrook, W. J. Lundy, Matthew Mather and Nicolas Sainsbury Smith, have sold millions of books. The world is apparently going to hell in a hand basket. Good riddance.

09 | Today marks my third full year without a TV. I don't miss a thing.

08 | Vivaldi's (much) better Opera browser is now available for Android in a pretty stable beta version. Check it out!

07 | Now that I'm not on WordPress anymore, the new "Twenty-Twenty" theme that Anders Norén is putting together for the new November release is the first one I really like. Typical! You can already play around with it by downloading it from GitHub, but remember that it's work in progress.

06 | "It's like if people come into your house and television really attaches you to people in a way that is extremely powerful ... and, it's humbling. Thank you!"

05 | Where I live, we've had the most spectacular "summer" this year (which seems to finally be coming to a close this weekend). Since sometime in May, we've only had very few single days that could be described as "half-decent", the rest were "brilliant": sunshine, warmth and heat, all day long, every day. Wonderful, especially since I moved to a new place with two fabulous balconies just in time. But nature suffered, tremendously. Most of the farmers I know around these parts took a serious hit with large sums of money lost and I haven't really seen a larger patch of green grass for months.

04 | One of the silliest trends on YouTube is the one of people filming themselves or others watching and reacting to other people's videos (I would call that "meta-watching"). While googling around for possible reasons why people would "enjoy" doing or watching that, I came across an interesting article on ArsTechnica: "The science behind the insane popularity of “react” videos on YouTube."

03 | If you move around social networks frequently, so-called influencers are usually a serious pain in the ass.

I do follow one single "influencer" from Germany, McWinkel (Mathias Winks). Why? He's the genuine thing. At a time, at which people were trying to leave a footprint on the Web, he worked his way up the hard way, worked his ass off for years, remained sincere, has a ton of humor and has something to say to his everyday followers, no matter how mundane those things might be. I love watching him trying to etch a new/secondary career out where he lives (southern Spain) and I wish him the best of luck. MC has become my only daily indulgence, ... because.

02 | Start.me is one of the most useful services in my everyday online life. Although bookmark managers are often called antiquated, they are not. With start.me, I have - browser-independently (and across all of my devices) - access to everything I visit on a regular basis and it allows me to keep a well-organized link "vault" because adding new links to existing groups and pages is a breeze. Do check it out if you'd like to stay independent of browser developers who just love to screw things up fundamentally or, because they don't care, often accidentally mess up or even delete your carefully curated bookmark lists. Links: start.me | about | blog | pricing

01 | Ever so often, a must-have archival music release pops up on my radar (and kills my wallet). If you are at all interested in early pre-Capitol recordings of Nat King Cole, Resonance Records is set to release a nearly-200-song anthology of music, which will be the first complete collection of Cole’s pre-Capitol recordings. Word on the street is that it's probably going to be the 7-CD/10-LP collection to get. Arriving on November 1st.

08 | August

31 | I have become a lazy sod. Because all the various sound systems at my place support streaming and/or USB, I have taken to downloading one-, two- or even three-hour mixes from YouTube, which I can then just throw on and not move for said amount of time. One day, I'll end up like those obese humans in WALL-E. Currently, I'm enjoying, for example, the two-hour melodic progressive house mix of "Shingo Nakamura".

30 | I hate designers. One of the worst things about the mobile version of Microsoft Outlook is that it doesn't collapse convoluted folder structures but lists each folder and subfolder separately ... and then has the nerve to add important system folders at the end of said list. Happy scrolling.

29 | A bookshop in Fowey, Cornwall, put up a sign in the shop window which couldn't be more appropriate: "Please note: The post-apocalyptical fiction section has been moved to Current Affairs." (link)

28 | I'm old-school. I like Bill Maher, a sharp-witted man with an agenda I can often agree with, but trampling on an enemy's grave is just extremely awful taste. Talking about David Koch, a man whom I sincerely disliked and whom I tried to ignore as much as possible, Maher said: "He and his brother have done more than anybody to fund climate science deniers for decades, so f@ck him. The Amazon is burning up. I'm glad he's dead and I hope the end was painful." That is the kind of (political) discourse that will take / is already taking us back into the Dark Ages.

27 | On the day I was born, the United States launched the Mariner 2 space probe, which flew past Venus the following December. I've been a space buff ever since.

26 | I've always been more of a Star Trek guy (with the new "Star Trek: Picard" series in the pipeline), but those two new Star Wars trailers for the film and the series look pretty darn cool: "Star Wars 9: The Rise of Skywalker" (official trailer) | "The Mandalorian" (official trailer for the upcoming Disney+ series)

25 | I'm a 100% sure that 99.9% of the people didn't notice, don't care and couldn't be bothered, but Facebook canned the "Epoch Times'" massive attempt to support Trump via 1.5 million dollars worth of Facebook ads. Not surprisingly, "Epoch Times" is, amongst others, a front for the Chinese Fallun Gong "movement" (which moved those ads to other pages, like "Honest Paper", "Patriots of America", "Pure American Journalism" and "Best News" [note the, uhm, interesting names]).

24 | Having been on holidays in Spain many times in my life, I support "The Kellys", who went on strike for a full day yesterday, protesting the exploitative working conditions at hotels in their country.

23 | If you happen to have any of these CDs at home, you might be able to secure some serious cash.

22 | Bill Burr, my favorite comedian, talking about groups allowed to pre-board at airports nowadays: "I saw this guy get on a plane. He wasn't in uniform, he didn't have kids, he had all his limbs, he wasn't limping, he didn't have a cough ... he just walked on the plane and I said 'Who the f*ck is THAT guy?'". (YouTube: Bill Burr’s Issues With The Airline Boarding Process).

21 | Underwater looks like a mix between "Aliens" and "The Abyss". Might just be my kind of film. Coming to a theater near you on January 10, 2020.

20 | I already flew to Mars with the last mission (I've been a Martian since August 30, 2015, and have collected 614,810,630 frequent flyer miles so far) and decided to fly along with the 2020 mission as well. Here's your chance to do the same: "Send your name to Mars" (until Sept. 30, 2019, 11:59 p.m. ET).

19 | Cool video: "Light Year & Milky Way - NASA Video".

18 | I have - after a recent culling -11TB of (legal) music. Is that too much?

17 | On Instagram, I've met a ton of people who are as crazy as I am, probably have relationship issues, don't know where to put their music ... and are in danger of having to choose. I love them all. :-)

16 | Today, I met a student whom I hadn't seen for at least 10 to 15 years or more. It was like yesterday. Life is like that.

15 | Samsung has decided to get rid of the headphone jack on those Note 10 gadgets. They used to make fun of Apple doing that ... and then deleted all of the references to those videos. For a HiFi- and video freak, a dongle just doesn't cut it. Neither does a notch. There are simply too many hipsters around today who wouldn't even object if you removed the screen from their treasured mobile phones.

14 | One of my favorite YouTube channels is the one that Martin Miller keeps. Martin Miller is an exceptional guitarist and musician who records a seemingly endless stream of excellent videos (in his library-like studio), featuring a whole slew of studio cracks that are way above your average suspects. You really should check them out! And one of Europe's best drummers, Felix Lehrmann, is a fixture in those recordings. It doesn't get much better than this!

13 | Today I managed to accidentally tip over a full glass of red wine which, of course, spilled into the (brand new) backpack that was standing immediately below the scene of the crime. And that was just the beginning of a bad stretch.

12 | Hollywood rarely does it for me these days. Today, 99.9% of the films I watch are "off the grid". But "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" was one of the best films I have watched these past many months (there are more, quite a few, but I'll keep those for future posts).

11 | Ages ago, I decided to leave most social networks behind (I'm still around Instagram). Reason? I got seriously tired of elderly angry white men (and very few women) dominating every single exchange. It is amazing how many of the people I followed - who used to have something to say - turned into misanthropic individuals. Life's too short.

10 | I've been following Kinga Glyk - a 22 year-old, I think, bass player from Poland - for quite a while now. She has that special tone and talent for groove that already raises her above most of the other players I often come across. On YouTube, check out, for example, these three fun cover snippets, "Earth Wind & Fire - September", "Charlie Puth - LA Girls" and "Bruno Mars - Finesse". She's also well-versed in other genres. Have a look at a snippet from the 2017 album production "Difficult Choices" or her trio's cover of "Donna Lee". Definitely someone to watch.

09 | The next extreme heatwave is crawling in again and before it hits us full force, a colleague and I enjoyed a long lunch at our favorite restaurant. There was a guy sitting behind us with a T-shirt that I thought was quite funny: "Pink Freud - The Dark Side of Your Mom" (on the T-shirt, a portrait of Freud basically replaces the Pink Floyd prism on the DotM cover). I really had to laugh and thought it was quite original, but a quick Internet search uncovered approximately three trillion variations (of course). Still, funny. I often wonder though (as an old friend of mine used to say:) "Who the hell comes up with this sh*t?" Is there job description available? :-D

08 | Amazon is cornering the online book market with a 72% (and more) share. As a result, author's earnings are dropping, sometimes dramatically, and Amazon is pretty much free to demand, for example, horrendous "stocking fees" from self-publishing authors and to force global publishers to reduce production costs. Amazon also owns "Goodreads" and "Audible", something I didn't know. Not a good development.

07 | German "Spiegel Online" doesn't want people to withdraw from public debates because it hurts the democratic process. I don't care. I withdrew years ago because the culture of debate has changed so fundamentally that I'd rather stick a fork into my eye.

06 | The "Loudness War" is far from over. Santana's most recent "Africa Speaks" has zero dynamics, Toto's "XIV" had equally horrible mastering, and so did Van Halen's "A Different Kind of Truth". No wonder. All the musicians involved are too old to have even average hearing capabilities.

05 | Ever since Facebook bought Instagram, it has turned into sh*t show of equal proportions. Every fourth post is an ad and more are on the way or already implemented, drafts work or they don't, the algorithm(s) suck. The usual failure that immediately comes to mind when I think "Mark Zuckerberg".

04 | When Ken Burns' "Jazz" arrived on the scene, both TV series and book, jazz fans were up in arms, and rightly so. Some even went so far as to describe how "Ken Burns Murdered Jazz". Years later, "The Greatest Tootle" is still the funniest and pointedly accurate summary of the gobbledegook people like Wynton Marsalis, master of revisionist history, and Stanley Crouch, disliked across most jazz boards, vomited onto screens across the globe.

03 | Dust is this wonderful science fiction short-film channel (also on Youtube) that produces consistently good films and series that with a short running time still manage to top 90% of what Hollywood produces. Have a look at a random selection: Zero | FTL | The Black Hole | The Ocean Maker (animated).

02 | Privacy and data protection are important, but the EU has created the usual data protection monster ("General Data Protection Regulation") that hardly anyone understands, nobody in his right mind would want to research in detail and most courts have not even tested yet. My privacy page is longer than anything I have ever written and, to be quite honest, I know it will not stand up in court because it was meant to harness global players, not your average bloggers with 7 readers.

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