Genre of the Week: Das Haus am See by Peter Fox

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There have been many books, films and other genres that carry the name Lake House, which is the English translation of the title of this week’s Genre special. One of the well-known ones was The Lake House, a film starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reaves that was released in 2006 and focuses on a love affair between two people, two years apart, using the mailbox as the primary means of communication. But even as the film focuses on the love affair and the house that was to be passed down like a torch, another genre bearing the same name has a different meaning.

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Das Haus am See is a song produced by German pop and reggae singer Peter Fox in 2008, two years after the release of the film. The song has no relation to the film nor does it have a similar meaning. It primarily focuses on life in the city and how the lead singer longs for life in the countryside, with a house on a lake, a family and an environment where no one knows his name and he has a sense of peace and serenity. The main idea behind this is a quiet life surrounded by green and water, where life can be more diverse and adventuresome than in a city where everyone knows you and you know the neighborhood you are living in.

The setting of the song, also seen in the youtube clip is Berlin, the same place where Mr. Fox was born and raised and still lives in the suburb of Kreuzberg to this day. The song features a diverse set of strings, brass and background choral music, mixing the two music types together that Mr. Fox has gotten accustomed to in his 20+ year career in the music business. And while the music presents a subdued environment which doesn’t require heavy metal or dance pop (the latter, together with techno, is one of Germany’s key signatures), it does take a person back to the house on the lake, enjoying the great times with friends and loved ones. This was one of the key items that this song takes me back to- my time growing up at a house on a lake in Minnesota, with a golf course across the street from there.

Many of you have these memories of your times growing up there, while others long for that life. In either case, this song is for you and should give you an incentive to find that peace you are longing for. Enjoy!

Video:

 

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By the way, the lyrics are below, all in German but one can make a good translation exercise out of it.  🙂

Hier bin ich gebor’n und laufe durch die Straßen
Kenn’ die Gesichter, jedes Haus und jeden Laden.
Ich muss mal weg, kenn jede Taube hier beim Namen.
Daumen raus, ich warte auf ‘ne schicke Frau mit schnellem Wagen.
Die Sonne blendet, alles fliegt vorbei.
Und die Welt hinter mir wird langsam klein.
Doch die Welt vor mir ist für mich gemacht!
Ich weiß, sie wartet und ich hol sie ab!
Ich hab den Tag auf meiner Seite, ich hab Rückenwind!
Ein Frauenchor am Straßenrand, der für mich singt!
Ich lehne mich zurück und guck ins tiefe Blau
schließ’ die Augen und lauf einfach geradeaus.
Und am Ende der Straße steht ein Haus am See.
Orangenbaumblätter liegen auf dem Weg.
Ich hab 20 Kinder, meine Frau ist schön.
Alle komm’n vorbei, ich brauch nie rauszugehen.
Ich suche neues Land mit unbekannten Straßen
Fremde Gesichter und keiner kennt mein’n Namen!
Alles gewinnen beim Spiel mit gezinkten Karten.
Alles verlieren, Gott hat einen harten linken Haken.

Ich grabe Schätze aus im Schnee und Sand
Und Frauen rauben mir jeden Verstand!
Doch irgendwann werd ich vom Glück verfolgt
Und komm zurück mit beiden Taschen voll Gold.
Ich lad’ die alten Vögel und Verwandten ein.
Und alle fang’n vor Freude an zu wein’n.
Wir grillen, die Mamas kochen und wir saufen Schnaps.
Und feiern eine Woche jede Nacht.
Und der Mond scheint hell auf mein Haus am See.
Orangenbaumblätter liegen auf dem Weg.
Ich hab 20 Kinder, meine Frau ist schön.
Alle komm’n vorbei, ich brauch nie rauszugehen.
Und am Ende der Straße steht ein Haus am See.
Orangen-braune Blätter liegen auf dem Weg.
Ich hab 20 Kinder, meine Frau ist schön.
Alle komm’n vorbei, ich brauch nie rauszugehen.
Hier bin ich gebor’n, hier werd ich begraben.
Hab taube Ohr’n, ‘nen weißen Bart und sitz im Garten.
Meine 100 Enkel spielen Cricket auf’m Rasen.
Wenn ich so daran denke, kann ich’s eigentlich kaum erwarten.

 

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Genre of the Week: ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’ by Matt Haig

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This excerpt alone should be the incentive to read the book on how to survive the World without going insane. There have been many issues facing us in the past decade. In the last two years alone, the number of problems affecting us has increased exponentially. Yet before considering radical measures that could potentially backfire, one should take a look around us from an objective point of view, even from others, like this author did. Once that is done, we can take the measures needed to change the things we need to change in our world. Every little thing we do will have a huge impact on how we live, both long and short term.

A little food for thought while you order this book via Amazon or even pick it up at the library. 🙂

 

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Berlin Writes History in Soccer

The Stadium Altere Försterei, where FC Union Berlin plays at home. Photo taken by Christian Liebscher via wiki-Commons 

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FC Union Berlin advances to the German Bundesliga for the first time ever after ousting VFB Stuttgart in the Relegation Round.

BERLIN- In the end, only the strongest survived. The strongest in terms of nerves but also in coherency. The strongest is the one that makes history. This was done last night with FC Union Berlin. After a 2-2 draw against VFB Stuttgart, who had been sitting in 16th place during almost the entire 2018/19 Bundesliga season, all the iron men could have done is put the iron curtain in place- literally in front of goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz  and let Stuttgart fire their shots- to the left, to the right and right into the goalie’s hands. And while the offense was on autopilot, a 0-0 tie was enough for Berlin to make history.

For the first time ever FC Union will play in the premier league this upcoming season, competing with the likes of Bayern Munich- fresh off its seventh consecutive title but poised to lose its top two players in Frank Ribery and Ariel Robben- the Robbery Duo- similar to the Killer Bs of the Pittsburgh Steelers in American football before Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown left the team after the 2018/19 season and its lone B- the quarterback, Ben Rothlisberger. It will be facing other teams with multiple years of experience and armed with deep pockets for 1st class players, such as Frankfurt, Dortmund, Hoffenheim and Bremen. And while Freiburg, Cologne and Augsburg may be push-overs, like it was with Hamburg SV during its time in the second tier (winning 2-0 and tying 2-2), Union Berlin will have two rivalries to contend with:

  1. Inner-City Rivalry: FC Union Berlin will have to contend with Hertha BSC Berlin, which has been in the premier league for all but two seasons since 1997. While FC Union Berlin has had many soccer rivalries in the German capital, even during the Cold War era, this one will be the battle of the iron fists that will attract tens of thousands, and whose victories will be very close. While FC Union lost a close one 2-1 on 3rd September, 2012, the two teams finished tied at 2-2 on 11 February, 2013, the last time the two played. When the rivalry continues this upcoming season, it will be the first inner-city derby in the Bundesliga since the 2010/11 season with Hamburg vs St. Pauli.
  2. East German Rivalry: Apart from its western city rival, FC Union will have to contend with Leipzig. But not the Leipzig that many soccer historians are accustomed to. While Union and VfB Leipzig’s rivalry attracted thousands of fans during the 1980s and 90s, the Leipzig they will be facing is one that will have a new (and fiery) head coach and a talented group that is regrouping after losing the 2019 German Cup to Munich and finished third in the regular season- meaning RB Leipzig. Even they have played three games, FC Union has yet to beat Leipzig, having lost two and tied one- but all in 2015 and 2016.

FC Union Berlin will be the sixth East German team to be in the top league in almost three decades- the others were Dynamo Dresden, Hansa Rostock, VfB Leipzig (now FC Lok), Energie Cottbus and Hertha. It is the 56th team in history to reach the top tier. And after years of toil and disappointment, the team has entered chartered waters bound to make history. The team has the largest fan club in German soccer and its culture is implanted in Berlin soccer, with a stadium that has hosted soccer games, Christmas events and concerts and crowds that come to enjoy the game and not rampage it, like in some cities. This was noticeable with last night’s relegation game with Stuttgart- it ended in celebration and with no incidences! One could blame Stuttgart for its shortcomings, which will land them in the second league for the first time in three seasons, but the timing of FC Union Berlin’s rise to the top could not have come at a better time. All it needed was unity and the team got it.

And should this unity continue in the upcoming Bundesliga season, then FC Union Berlin will be making even more history as it climbs in the rankings at the expense of those who have been there for years. Seven years ago, one wondered whether professional soccer will return to the east. With first Leipzig and now Berlin, that question has been answered.

 

Congratulations to FC Union Berlin on making it to the big leagues! 🙂

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FC Union Berlin won the relegation based on the “Goal Away from Home” rule. This means the team that has scored more goals “away from home” wins, if the total goals scored by each team are otherwise equal. This is sometimes expressed by saying that away goals “count double” in the event of a tie. In this case, Berlin won against Stuttgart based on that rule by a score of 2-0 because of the 2-2 draw in Stuttgart. 

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From the Attic: The Telephone

Source: Kornelia und Hartmut Häfele [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D
This Film from the Attic ties in an oldie and Doris Day. It’s the use of the telephone. The mean of communication, especially if it’s long distance. It’s one we cannot live without unless you are a long-distance sprinter like Achilles. It’s one that has become so advanced in the 170 years of existence, that we’re having problems keeping up with the newest technologies. Yet some of our children and grandchildren are wondering: “How did telephones work during your childhood?”

Ask not further. 🙂

A couple days ago, I stumbled across this very ancient TV film on the introduction of the modern phone in the early 1950s. Produced by Bell Telephone in 1954, the homemaker in this film takes us through the days where the modern phone was supplanting phone service where operators were standing by to connect you to another person. Gone were those days, the modern phone took over where all you had to do is dial the number and it would take you to your destination. For those wondering how it works, play this film and you will see. 🙂

The first thought that came to mind was a household figure during the 1950s and 60s: Namely, Doris Day. Ms. Day’s career spanned over a half century as an actress and musician, plus an additional 40+ years as an environmental activist when she retired from the business. One of the best examples of how she articulated herself as an actress playing the housewife, always using the phone during her days, like in the excerpt Pillow Talk, produced in 1959 and co-starring Rock Hudson.

As Doris Day lived on and ripened with age and wisdom, the telephone advanced in ways where we sometimes wonder: “How could we train our older generation how to use today’s phones- namely the Handys (mobile phones (UK); cell phones (USA))?” Many of them have lost track or resorted to the classic phone. But it would be cool to train them to use it, just once, and imagining life with the phone and its many uses in comparison to Doris Day’s time, wouldn’t it? 😉 After all, communication has advanced so much and we should all profit from what we have to offer today.

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Translation: The Longest German Words found in Duden

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If there is something that is typical of German culture and language, it is the fact that the German language has some of the longest words in the world. Longest because they literally are equivalent to words that fill up the entire Latin alphabet and more. Longest because they mostly can be found in the Duden dictionary . Longest because they are difficult to translate. In other words, we don’t have English equivalents similar to them and therefore, we are forced to paraphrase  in English.

Or perhaps not? Perhaps one can find a one-word equivalent despite the fact that finding them are almost impossible.

Take a look at the list of the longest words in German, based in the number of letters. All of them are longer than the Latin alphabet. The question is: what are the equivalents in English, let alone your own native language? Challenge yourselves and provide your answers in the comment section below. Good luck! 😀

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Easter Genre: The Beggar’s Greatest Wish

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Before saying farewell to Easter, we have a genre piece that is worth a read and something to consider. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the booklet written by Alyce Bergey entitled The Beggar’s Greatest Wish. The book was written with one theme in mind: The greatest wish of one person.

Before going to the plot, ask yourselves this question:

If there was one wish that you had that you wanted badly, what would that be?

 

Everyone has one greatest wish, no matter the circumstances.  Some who are crippled wish to walk again. Others suffering from poverty and other forms of adversity want to be rich. Those who fail constantly want to succeed just one. Yet most of us want peace after suffering from years of conflict, both home and away.

For the main character, Barthimaeus, an old man living in a one-room hut outside Jericho, he wanted to see, for he was blind and was a beggar wanting to find a place in the world, but was rejected by many. Day in and day out, he begged on the street and got next to nothing from the public. Every day he was ignored, spat upon, degraded and taken pity. Yet later in the story, his luck started to change beginning with him receiving a single coin and then culminating to his encounter with Jesus Christ, as He and his followers were walking down the streets of Jericho. He found the beggar and after learning what his wish was, his life changed for the very best.

Based on the story of Luke 18:37-45, the theme of the story was believing in miracles and how they can come true through faith and fate. Faith has to do in the belief that if one works hard and prays for the most important thing in life, it will come true. Fate has to do with encountering the unknown and having that wish granted. It can be through the encounter with the Lord or another person. It also has to do with certain events that puts the events in order of sequence that eventually culminates into one’s wish being granted.  Expected or unexpected, each of us have a special wish based on our trials and tribulations which eventually come true through our own actions and belief. If we didn’t have them, we would allow our world to unfold in front of our eyes that would not be to our best advantage.

When Jesus died for our sins, He left us the belief that miracles can happen if we have the faith and courage to make it happen- if we pray and also do our service. It goes beyond the fishermen story when Jesus came from Heaven to give them fish to feed themselves and their families. It goes beyond Job’s struggles when he lost everything to famine and drought and he got that back. It even goes beyond our own personal wishes in real life- mine has to do with putting an end to global warming and polluting the oceans.  While this book was written for children but has an explanation for parents, the theme is the same. It’s more of a question of what we have for our wish and what we can do to make it come true.

To close off this genre special, here are a pair of videos that was based on this story. I hope you enjoy and have a chance to read the story to your children:

 

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Typical for the region: Easter fountain.

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Taken last year, one will see many of these in German communities- the Osterbrunnen (Easter Fountain). More on its history can be found here.

 

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Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter! ❤ 🙂

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