a time trip to the 1950s

even though the place we live at here in switzerland has a rather rural character — there are several livestock markets throughout the year down at the station square, very few regions regularly vote more conservative than ours — einsiedeln has a surprising cultural live. one of the driving forces is the chaernehus, which several times a year hosts cabaret, an exhibition, and stages a play.

this year’s play is kino etzel — which @jmdhh and i went to see tonight. kino etzel is played in the old cinema, kino etzel and is a tribute to the old swiss rural cinema of the 1950s. until the of 2010 einsiedeln’s kino etzel was still operating and it had been lovingly kept in the style of the 1950s — i loved it. unfortunately, the end of 2010 was also the last curtain for kino etzel — until this year when the chaernehus theater group decided to make it the subject of their 2012 production.

we had made seat reservations and when we arrived at 20:00 were greeted by cloakroom attendants in 1950s outfit — the price to leave our coats was 1950s as well: CHF 0.20 (tickets were 2012-ish price-wise though 😉 we had not only reserved seats in the show but also in the pre-show restaurant: the gallery had been turned into a typical 1950s swiss restaurant complete with a 1950s swiss menu, lovingly decorated with furnishings from that era. due to running a bit late but still had time to have an einsiedler beer and something to eat before the show started.

the play itself is a mixture of cinematic, theatrical, and musical elements — sometimes intermixed (the initial showing of a piece from the 1950s schweizer wochenschau about the bad wolf in wallis1 was aborted by two 1950s policemen storming the cinema and reading out the regulations of the canton of schwyz regarding cabaret shows. all elements of the play work together to re-create the 1950s — and for most of the show it works quite well (the football piece was a bit drawn out and trying to imitate loriot but not quite achieving that really).

all in all: a very entertaining and interesting show, well worth a visit!

“kino etzel” is on until 11 february 2011

  1. nothing really new then. 

smells & memory

the other day @jmdhh and i were out shopping. while i was waiting at one of the shops i was “hit” by a smell of coffee — and immediately taken back to the apartment of my grandmother in the late 60s, early 70s. she lived in bremerhaven, one of the german sea ports, and had a penchant for coffee.

her apartment always smelled of coffee in a certain way — the smell of coffee emanating from that shop at which i was waiting for @jmdhh must have hit my olfactory memory at just the right spot and triggered that flashback to my childhood. all of a sudden i could remember how her apartment looked liked, the milk bar she sometimes would take me to for late lunches (milk rice with fruits and cinnamon!), the trips to look at — from my child’s perspective certainly — gigantic vessels moored at the columbuskaje, one of the oversea’s ports of bremerhaven. the visits to wremen where i played as a little kid on the beach and even remember taking a dip in the river weser — probably unheard of today. or, the visits to one of her friends who lived in a high rise close to one of the ship yards in bremerhaven, whose apartment had panoramic windows looking out across the north of bremerhaven and in particular over the ship yard. i also remember that there was a huge toy store in the bürgermeister-smidt-straße (huge, from my perspective as a little boy, that is) — which was a great place to be, certainly in the time before christmas 🙂

it’s interesting, how smells can cause an immediate memory flashback. i’ve googled for “smell memory” to find out more about it. jonah lehrer quotes in his post smell and memory the french author marcel proust

But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection. — [marcel proust: swann’s way, translated by c. k. scott moncrief]

— and goes on to explain that

[…] the olfactory cortex has a direct neural link to the hippocampus. in contrast, all of our other senses (sight, touch and hearing) are first processed somewhere else – they go to the thalamus – and only then make their way to our memory center.

so smell (and taste, really, since it’s connected to our smell sensors as you’ll find out once you have a severe cold) enjoys a direct link into our hippocampus which seems to play a, if not the, major role in what we consider to be our memory. the only other sensory input i can think of which seems to have some kind of unfiltered access to our brain and emotions is music.

interesting stuff.

recipe: slow-roasted pork butt (blade)


  • 1kg pork butt (blade)


  • 1 glove garlic
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons italian herb mixture
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (aceto balsamico)

pre-heat the oven to 80–90°C

wash the pork and dry it with kitchen tissue. incise the pork butt all around in a diagonally criss-crossing pattern.

strip the garlic glove, place it together with the teaspoon of salt in a mortar and crush it with the pestle until you end up with a smooth paste. add the herbs, paprika, olive oil, pepper and vinegar and give it all a good mix.

next, rub the mixture on to the pork, making sure to cover all sides. place a casserole large enough to contain the pork on a high heat and once it’s hot, place the meat in the casserole and sear it on all sides for about 1min 30s on each side. once it’s brown on all sides, place the casserole into the pre-heated oven.

leave in the oven for 2h30m. serve with mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes and vegetable.

the joys of creative commons licenses

i’m in the process of re-working both this blog and my photo site. for the photo site i’ve switched from zenphoto to jalbum — zenphoto didn’t really offer any decent support for displaying geo-tagged pictures, had at the point in time of switching too many security issues for my taste, and didn’t have such a slick looking theme as jalbum’s turtle skin.

for a couple of sub-albums i wanted to make use of the background music feature offered by the turtle skin. naturally, just shoving in one of the thousands of MP3 that we have on our music players wouldn’t do as the license for those tracks didn’t allow that. a couple of google searches for “free music” later, i ended up on the fantastic freemusicarchive.org page which has an interesting range of music licensed under one or the other creative commons licenses.

browsing through their stuff, i quickly found two albums that i wanted to use: “the four seasons (vivaldi)” album by john harrison with the wichita state university chamber players and “the cup of tea” by sláinte. adding both to jalbum was easy — download and drag-and-drop to the folders —, adding the license information was a bit more involving. adding a caption to the MP3s caused the turtle skin music playback to ignore the MP3s. i ended up adding conditional footer code via turtle’s header and footer tab:

<ja:if exists=”musicLicense”>
<p>music © ${musicYear} <a href=”${musicArtistURL}”>${musicArtist}</a>,
album <a href=”${musicAlbumURL}”>${musicAlbum}</a> licensed under a
<a href=”${musicLicenseURL}”>${musicLicense}</a></p>

what this does is that if the user variable musicLicense is set, it then will include a music attribution in the footer of the sub-album page. you add user variable for a sub-album/folder in jalbum via the edit button for that and then selecting the user variable tab on the right hand side.

here are the variable that i’m using:

name of the music license; for example, CreativeCommons-ByAttribution-ShareAlike
URL for the license
name of the artist(s)
URL for the artist page
name of the album
URL for the album page
copyright year

the resulting footer then looks like this: