Yearly post?

Haven’t posted in a really long time. Shame on me.  🙂   I’ll try to post a little more. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I’ll fire up my brew kettle and regale you with my attempts at brewing drinkable Weizen and Belgian-style beers.

In the meantime, check out  Books I Have Read page, which I have been updating on a regular basis.


A too short interlude – München

For me, a visit to Bayern isn’t complete without a trip to the city of my birth and where I had my first law job after law school. This time it would be a bit tricky, since the Deutsche Bahn was going on strike every other day, or so it seemed. Luckily, my cousin’s wife was heading into Munich* one of the days I wanted to visit, so she dropped me off at the Donnersbergerbrücke before heading off to the Kunsthalle. The S-/U-Bahn was running that day, so I took it to the Hauptbahnhof.

Fußgänger Zone
Fußgänger Zone

I then walked to the Hugendubel off of Marienplatz.

I love spending time and money here
I love spending time and money here

As usual, I got a little overwhelmed by the selection, so I emailed a [virtual] friend, Katy Derbyshire for some recommendations. To my happy surprise, she replied almost immediately, and I picked up Im Kopf von Bruno Schulz and Johnny und Jean, as well as a book I’d been looking for for awhile, Sendlinger G’schichten by Sigi Sommer. Purchases safely in my backpack, I made my way over to the Jewish Museum for two exhibits recommended by the Sueddeutsche:

The Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum

1. War! Jews between the fronts, 1914-1918  and

2. Culture on the brink: Jewish life on the Tegernsee, 1900-1933

I was actually a little surprised I got to see the second one, since it wasn’t supposed to start until that evening. Both exhibits were pretty intense. Inside the museum, I saw someone who looked an aweful like Munich’s former mayor, Christian Ude.

An hour and a half later, it was time to meetup with Ken McBeth Knowles at the Ladencafé Marais.  I was a little apprehensive, since I had never met him in person before, only through twitter and google+. I needn’t have worried, as he and his friend Elaine were warm, interesting, and entertaining companions. I had a blast and learned a lot. After a leasurely cake and coffee,  I hurried over to the Lenbachhaus, my absolute favorite museum, in order to reacquaint myself with my favorite artist, August Macke. There is also a fun portrait of one of my favorite authors, Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf that I wanted to see in person.

The Lenbachhause, which has a new entrance after an multiyear rennovation
The Lenbachhause, which has a new entrance after a multiyear rennovation
This used to be the entrance, back when I lived in Munich
This used to be the entrance, back when I lived in Munich

A couple of hours later, it was time for dinner. I headed off to the Weisses Brauhaus in Tal, although I did stop off first at the TSV 1860 fan shop to pick up a winter hat, especially since we are supposed to have a very cold winter here in Baltimore this year.

Where I go whenever I'm in Munich
Where I go whenever I’m in Munich

It was still relatively warm in Munich, so I sat outside. I couldn’t decide what kind of meat to eat, so I ordered a 3-fer: 2 cuts of pork and a cut of beef. It went well with the Aventinus and the Sendlinger Stories of Sigi Sommer.

Etwas vom Schwein, a Semmelknöd'l and an Aventinus
Etwas vom Schwein, a Semmelknöd’l and an Aventinus

After dinner, I caught the 20:35  train from Munich. According to my fitbit, I walked 13 miles that day.

* She was helping to set up the Munich Rococo from Asam to Günther exhibit.

More February books

I finished two more books last week. The first was, Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, by Paul Hendrickson. I picked this up last May at the Ivy Bookshop and took it with me when my wife and I went on a short staycation to Annapolis and Frederick. I’m not sure why it took me nearly nine whole months to finish it. It’s well written and is chock full of interesting stories of Hemingway and the people whose lives he touched – not only his wifes and sons (especially Gigi), but others whom you may never have heard of, like Walter Houk. It’s a fascinating book, full of stuff I didn’t already know. If you are in any way interested in Hemingway, I recommend that you grab yourself a copy.

The other book I finished  was, Deceived, a mystery by Randy Wayne White.  White’s been in somewhat of a slump the past couple of books (since Deep Shadow), so much so that I’d never gotten more than 50 pages into them before putting them aside. This one held my interest from page one and I didn’t put it aside until reading the last page, finishing it in a day. Having a foot of snow outside and temperatures well below freezing was good for something, I guess.

Recently read

I don’t know what is up with my attention span, but I haven’t been able to finish many books lately. In fact, I’ve only read 3 books since New Years:
1. Spenser and Travis McGee: The Trafalgar Square Bomber by Bill Rayburn. This is a self-published fanfic tale starring two of my favorite private eyes. It’s an okay effort, as far as these thing go. The writing and plot is better than the official holiday novel, Silent Night: A Spenser Holiday Novel that came out last fall. But it is nowhere near as good as any of the original Spenser novels nor the ones done by Ace Atkins, Lullaby and Wonderland. Mr. Atkins has done a masterful job at capturing the tone and the style of the Spenser universe.

2. Brown Dog, by Jim Harrison. This is a collection of novellas featuring Harrison’s beloved character, Brown Dog. All but the last story have appeared in other novella collections.  I’m a big Jim Harrison fan, so I got the book even though I have read the other novellas.

3. Great Plains, by Ian Frazier. What a marvelous book. If Nelse, a character in Jim Harrison’s, The Road Home, had written a book about his travels, this is the book he would have written. Reading it, I wanted to pack up my car and drive out to see the places Frazier was describing. Add an interesting mix of plains Indian history and you have yourself a potent book.

Paul Zimmer’s poem, Zimmer Imagines Heaven

I sit with Joseph Conrad in Monet’s garden,
We are listening to Yeats chant his poems,
A breeze stirs through Thomas Hardy’s moustache,
John Skelton has gone to the house for beer,
Wanda Landowska lightly fingers a clavichord,
Along the spruce tree walk Roberto Clemente and
Thurman Munson whistle a baseball back and forth.
Mozart chats with Ellington in the roses.
Monet smokes and dabs his canvas in the sun,
Brueghel and Turner set easels behind the wisteria.
the band is warming up in the Big Studio:
Bean, Brute, Bird and Serge on saxes,
Kai, Bill Harris, Lawrence Brown, trombones,
Klook plays drums, Mingus bass, Bud the piano.
Later Madam Schumann-Heink will sing Schubert,
The monks of bendictine Abbey will chant.
There will be more poems from Emily Dickinson,
James Wright, John Clare, Walt Whitman.
Shakespeare rehearses players for King Lear.
At dusk Alice Toklas brings out platters
Of Sweetbreads à la Napolitaine, Salad Livonière,
And a tureen of Gaspacho of Malaga.
After the meal Brahms passes fine cigars.
God comes then, radiant with a bottle of cognac,
She pours generously into the snifters,
I tell Her I have begun to learn what
Heaven is about. She wants to hear.
It is, I say, being thankful for eternity.
Her smile is the best part of the day.