Füchse: Handball Champions

Boah, what a game that was! I only watched it on TV afterwards, as I had promised months ago to preach yesterday. So I gave my ticket to the handball Champions League game away. I mean, it was hopeless! The Füchse had lost in Leon with 11 goals, there was no way they were going to win.

But in the full house in Berlin they started playing tricky - taking out the goalie so they had 7 guys throwing goals. This so irritated the Spaniards, that they lost their footing. And the Füchse gained ground goal by goal. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7 goals ahead. The crowd was whipping them to a frenzy, Silvio Heinevetter seemed to know exactly where each ball was coming and had a foot or a hand or a rather sensitive part of his anatomy in the way. 8. 9. 10. The crowd was boiling! 11 goals ahead - the hall exploded, and the Spanish coach took his time out. The Füchse made one more goal, and then slipped back to 9 goals ahead. But the crowd wouldn't let up. Two minutes before the end they were leading by 11 goals and Torsten Laen got thrown out for a 2 minute penalty. One goal in 2 minutes with one man more on the playing field and a championship waiting - that is normally a simple exercise. But luck was with the Füchse, Heinevetter managed to deflect the ball, and the Füchse just played down the last 10 seconds.

WiseMan came home unable to speak and exhausted. Seems he screamed a lot ;)

So this means the Füchse, who have only been in the premier league for 5 years, are heading to the Final Four, the international championships. What a great team! So even if they don't win, they are champions for making it to the final round.

Better get my season tickets sorted out for next year. They are certainly in line for German championships. And much better than the Berlin soccer team, who is looking at playing in the second league again....


Greenland Eyes

The Greenland Eyes film festival is running in Berlin at the moment. I think this is the first festival in Germany with only films that are somehow related to Greenland. We have Henrik Fleischer and his wife staying with us, he grew up on Greenland although he currently lives in Denmark. They had an eventful trip down here.

Hendrik normally works as an editor, but was roped in to do the subtitles on the first film we saw this evening. The translator quit after three weeks, he managed to find a stewardess who did a translation in-flight for him, he spent the last three days non-stop fitting the subtitles in and rendering. The film itself is an adventure, as the young filmmaker who made this first Greenland feature film had deleted it from his hard drive in order to make room for his next project. Luckily, someone had ripped the film at some point, so there was a digital copy to work on. But the film wouldn't render properly and wasn't done when it was time to go, so Hendrik just picked up his iMac (the computer in a big screen), stuffed it in a bag and got on a train. There was an accident along the way, so they just showed up in time for a cup of coffee before heading out to see if they could get the film rendered and projected. They made it.

"Tikeq, qiterleq, mikileraq eqeqqqq" (Forefinger, Middle finger, Ring Finger, Little Finger) by Ujarneq Fleischer (2008) is a story about four teenage boys who want to be the coolest kids around. They are goofy and aggressive and full of testosterone when they suddenly meet a stranger who starts them on a hunt for the ultimate coolness, being a Master of Power. This involves looking for breadboxes in the mountains, swimming in the icy cold Atlantic, and speaking to a girl.

The sweetest line in this no-budget production: Love is harder than mathematics! When all the challanges have been met, they discover the reality ob being an adult - you don't have to be cool any more. Life as an adult is about love, faith, and respect for other people.

The second film of the evening was a German silent production from 1918, Das Eskimobaby, (The Eskimo Baby,  Heinz Schall) with the divine Asta Nielsen playing Ivigtut, a Greenlandic woman brought home by Knud Prätorius, a  Danish Greenland researcher. This is a story about stereotypes - and crossing boundaries. Ivigtut, the uncivilized woman who wears pants, is brought home to Berlin (filmed in Templehofin 1916). She doesn't know how to shake hands, how to eat properly, how to sleep in a bed - and since she can't speak anything but Greenlandic, she can only communicate with Knud in words. And they kiss by rubbing noses, something that Western culture has interpreted into a non-erotic Inuit greeting.

She is presented at the university, looked at, prodded - and prods back, grabbing the esteemed honored professors by the beard or ruffling their balding hair just as they are touching her beads and strange hairdo (I found one picture on Flickr, but it is all rights reserved). Her adventures into a department store and attempts to dress as a lady are pure slapstick.

The evening was so special because after an introduction by Prof. Dr. Stephan M. Schröder of the University of Cologne, Eunice Martins accompanied the entire film with marvelous music on a grand piano. She had no score, but just played, facing the screen, and it fit perfectly.

Nanoq Beer of Greenland passed out free beer at the festival, Mammut pale ale, clocking in at 7.6% alcohol. I didn't know they had breweries on Greenland, I thought everything came from Denmark, but this beer appears to be brewed with "pristine clear Greenland water" since 2011. Of course, there were never any mammoths in Greenland, but they go nicely with the cut out of the polar bear on the label. I liked it, but then, I'm not really a beer drinker because I also like Swedish lättöl...


A Digital Death

A digital friend died yesterday. Someone I've known for quite some time (in Internet years) and with whom I spent many hours discussing philosophy and religion and power politics and writing and a thousand other topics signed off yesterday at 18:04 on 18.04 - that is surely intentional on his part. He had announced his impending suicide since at least December of last year, and as I came to realize that this was not just a typical cynical joke on his part, I spent more and more time trying to persuade him to get help. Or maybe it was indeed all an elaborate joke on me, who knows.

Because for someone that I only know digitally, I can't tell the difference between a digital death and a physical one. Someone who only uses a "nick" online and is very careful - as my friend was - to not disclose identifying details, essentially dies online when the nick is no longer used.

I have made many digital friends over the years - my first contact with the Usenet was in 1991. Some people I never met. Some people I did meet. For many, the contact drifted off as we wrote each other more and more seldom. One friend calls occasionally, out of the blue, and we speak for a while. He sometimes writes comments on this blog (Hi Tex!). We even met once IRL, "in real life", as it is called. Some people I have not only met IRL but we are good friends to this day.

So what's the difference with yesterday? We could have just had a blistering fight and my friend stormed out of the chat room, never to return. He's done that before, and returned. Well, I tried contacting his email account this morning - and got an immediate delivery failure. Okay, stuff like that happens. But the seriousness of his discussions these past weeks, and his descriptions of what exactly he was planning, worked out to the last detail give me cause to worry.

I have a strange sense that this is not a joke, but indeed a death both digital and physical. Rest in peace, my friend. I miss you.


Easter Moon

WiseYoungMan willingly drove us to the airport in order to have the car to himself this weekend. Lots of luck with those gas prices, they hit 1,70 € a liter this week, that's $ 8.40 / gallon for the Statesiders. We took the El Cheapo Express to Copenhagen and hired a car.

We booked the smallest one, but ended up getting a brand new Citroën C4 for the weekend. Oh my, what a nice car! There are so many buttons and displays and places to stow stuff and a really great steering wheel.

So here I am, driving up from the tunnel between Denmark and Sweden, onto the bridge. The radio is playing Abba as we cross the boarder, and the full moon, with a colorful halo, is lighting a large patch of very calm sea. It is so peaceful!

The Easter Moon loses its halo in Sweden, and there are stars galore out tonight. Need to enjoy them, there's a snow front coming.....