Knut Travels South to Freising, Bavaria

Freising, Bavaria, Germany. A quiet little town dozing on a crisp Sunday morning, an excellent place for a stroll – and a few beers. Why Freising? For a beer lover, it has the obvious advantage of being the home of Weihenstephan, which claims to be the oldest brewery in the world, and that obviously makes it stand out from other Bavarian towns. Combine this with it being just off the runway of Munich international airport, and it really makes sense. So, if you have a few hours in transit, go straight for the arrivals hall and look for the sign pointing you to buses. Bus 635 takes you to the Freising railway station in 20 minutes, and it runs all day.

First a stroll through the largely empty streets. The cathedral dominates the highest hill, with views of the rural landscape surrounding you like those shown above. Click for a bigger version of the view. There is surprisingly little noise from the airport, more some from the church bells. Downhill again, zigzagging through the old town with picturesque homes and shops that look pricey, but, this being Germany, they are all closed on Sunday. I enter the main square, and the sun is warm enough to stop at a café with tables outside and where the sign tell me I can have a glass of Franziskaner Weisse. The waiter promptly bring me this, and I sip my beer enjoying the Sunday quietness. The beer, an unfiltered hefe, is a proper representative of its kind, no doubt about that, and it tastes good. Still, it lacks some bitterness and freshness that I seem to recall from the bottled version. It is one of Roger Protz 300 beers, but I don’t know if it deserves such a rating. There is a church next to the main square, with the sounds of music from the organ and the congregation singing their hymns drifting out to me and a few other customers not attending the service. (I believe there are others inside the café having brunch, too.) A plaque on the church wall commemorates the heroes of Freising from World War I. (Well, Norway was neutral in WWI, so we don’t have much to boast about!) I fish out my book (the new one by PD James, bought on the airport that morning), and order a Spaten Helles, also in the Protz book. I go for a small one, as I feel I should have some lunch soon. This beer is not a beer to die for, a rather flat and boring brew. It may be the victim of the 7 minute law, so I will try the bottled version if the occasion arises.

I ask for the bill (amazingly I’ve managed to get by using my rusty school German), and aim for the Weihestephan brewery, which is well signposted. This is a brisk walk uphill again, past a beer garden closed down for the winter and through parts of Weihestephan Technical College – the brewery is a part of this complex. On a Sunday, the brewery is closed, but I aim for the brewery tap, which is bustling at lunchtime. I find a seat in a vaulted cellar, and order a Hefe Weisse, which is much better than the one I had earlier. Properly served, and nice to sip while I study the old fashioned menu, heavy on roasted dishes. I go for the Brewer’s Plate, which include sauerkraut, roast pork, smoked pork, potato dumplings, liver dumplings and deep fried onion rings. With beer gravy. I finish with a draft pils, which is the best beer of the day. A very aromatic beer, as far removed from Becks and its clones as possible. Lots of taste from both the malt and the hops. Lovely.

I have to get back, but not before buying a souvenir pack of 6 of their beers to take home. I even bought a bottle of beer liquor especially made for the restaurant. Have your tasted it, sir, enquires the barman when I ask for it. I tell him no, and he kindly pours me a shot. It does not taste of beer at all – a very sweet drink which reminds me of a coffee liquor. But now I have to hurry. A 15 minute walk back to the station, hop on the bus – and I am soon back in the crowd of Flughafen Franz-Josef-Strauss again. I doze off as soon as I sit down in my airplane seat.

Next stop: Bratislava

Brent Doesn’t Fear

I was listening to Brent on CBC Radio’s last remaining good show, Go, this morning and he played “Don’t Fear The Reaper”…again. I checked the old notes for his musical choices that I kept when he was on CBC Ottawa and didn’t see that he played the Blue Oyster Cult classic but he did play it on that afternoon show he did right after the lockout, though only a cow bell-less cover.

I am starting to think he obsesses about the song. I also am starting to think that it is the seminal piece of art from the 1970s. There may have been better tunes but there was not a better 70s song. Compare and contrast, class.

Shakespeare Image

Seeing as I am up now, I might as well take a swing at those who say this picture is not Shakespeare – because you know I know plenty about this stuff. You know I do. Auntie Beeb reports:

Dr Tarnya Cooper, 16th Century curator at the National Portrait Gallery, said: “We believe that Shakespeare left Stratford-upon-Avon following the birth of twins in 1585. One possibility is that he joined a travelling theatre troupe and it is very unlikely that in 1588, Shakespeare would have been able to afford a costume of this type.” She said the painting has not been looked at in a systematic way before. “But the painting has fuelled the kind of Shakespeare in Love theories of the 21st Century, of a beautiful young man with a sensitive and passionate face, of a character with an incredible emotional range,” she said.

Because you know actors never use costumes and painters always paint the financial truth about their subjects. Look – I know there are a lot of 16th century textile experts among you so I don’t want to cause a flame war over this. I’m just saying.

One Killer App

Ian says that wikipedia and Google are the new killer apps. I say no way. I say email is the only killer app in that it does what it promises and is useful to anyone who comes into contact with it. The web, conversely, fails in many many ways…but even saying that is not getting it. Is there any other industry and activity which lacks any real critical analysis of its downside? The teflon effect of the Internet is likely its greatest success.

Who Believes This?

And by belief I mean belief…like model railroaders believe what they do is important. This is part of a Boingy announcement for a conference:

The Information Revolution has brought into question the wisdom of intellectual property regimes and their relationship to society, culture, jurisprudence, commerce, and government. Intellectual property law is built upon historical notions of tangible property ownership—with the basic premise of restricting access by others. By contrast, the Information Revolution is grounded in concepts of enhanced access and a more universal sense of ownership. Cultural, social, intellectual, and economic growth must be driven by creativity and innovation, and successful growth increasingly depends upon the dissemination of information and application of knowledge.

I would ask Craig to speak to this as it appears to be something that could be out of a really bad hippie movie circa 1968. Here is what I think when I read stuff like this:

  • Who says so? Who made up the rules of the revolution that isn’t, the era of captial and operational waste?

  • Was there a toaster revolution when pop-down pop-up technology came to be? Did it require a shift in the law of ownership.

  • What all else of my stuff is now considered by others to be partly theirs? Will I get a letter in the mail when I sell it with an invoice for their part of the proceeds? Is Winer going to share out the proceeds of his part of the “universal ownership”? Is Cory out of his guru fees?

When will this dumb idea go away so people can get on with making stuff that is cheap, just does what you want, doesn’t break and doesn’t have a stupid stupid 2.5 inch TV screen on it.

Update: the numbing continues with the toxic e-poisoning of the world with digital residual crap is, by golly, dislocated from the insatiable drive of demand.   If the new order is based on “a more universal sense of ownership” does it mean that someone else has to pay for cleaning up after, too?  It is odd how the new e-worlders are so similar to the 19th century industrialist.

Cheese Law

The hammer has fallen. There is no such thing as Yorkshire feta according to the braintrust at the EU:

A North Yorkshire food producer has revealed her disappointment after an EU ruling stopped her using the name “feta” on her locally-produced cheese. Judy Bell, who runs Shepherds Purse Cheeses near Thirsk, said she was not surprised by the ruling by the European Court of Justice. Mrs Bell’s business has been caught up in a five-year tussle within Europe over the feta name. But on Tuesday, judges ruled Greek feta had “Protected Designation of Origin”.

I want to be an EU “Protected Designation of Origin” cop. Right after I finish my career as a male model. Really, where do you sign up? I know I have been sullied by non-Greek feta my whole life and I know it is wrong. I want to change my ways. I want to slap down the Italian haggis cartel.

100 MPH

Fifteen minutes before game two of the World Series and all I could think about all day when I thought of the opener was 100 miles per hour. Jenks, the closer for the White Sox, threw three or four fastballs in a row all at 100 miles per hour in the ninth last night. Tonight, it’s overcast and 45°F or 7°C in Chicago. I wonder if the lads from Texas who play inside are going to be able to take seeing their breath again.