You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘honorable people’ category.

When I arrived by car last night here in Cambridge, I got lost on my way to Churchill College and eventually had to ask somebody for directions.

Kind of embarrassing given that I spent four years in this town. To my excuse I can only say that (i) it was dark, (ii) I never looked at Cambridge through the eyes of a driver, (iii) I entered Cambridge from “the other end” (the West), more or less opposite of my “academic cradle”, so that I was never really familiar in that area, (iv) I was tired and (v) I was focusing on staying on the left side of the road.

Somewhat more embarrassing: today I got lost again – on foot. I went for a slow 25km run, criss-crossing all roads in this lovely town. Once I got “off the beaten track” in order to explore and broaden my horizon, I eventually ended up at the “Beehive Centre“. Never heard of it? Neither had I. So I asked a young lady to point me in the rough direction of the city centre, which she did.

Overall, pretty amazing how little places and streets stick in my mind. I had pretty much forgotten the name of every single college in town, and I’m not sure if I could have retraced the path I used to take for three years to lectures every morning. (In my last year most lectures had already been moved to the new CMS building.)

But, despite all, I immediately recognized Shirley.

Shirley is not young, not exactly pretty, but she always brightened up my day with her somewhat motherly voice and the way she addresses everyone with “my dear”. Shirley still works as a checkout clerk at Sainsbury’s in Sidney Street.

I always enjoy exceptions to the rules of common wisdom or traditional thinking.

Last weekend I attended a wedding party. So far nothing unusual (though for me this was only the second wedding within the last 16 years). I only knew the bride and nobody else. So far still nothing too unusual. The thing which did not agree with common wisdom and traditions at all was that I had only met the bride once (!) in my life for about four hours two years ago.

I feel extremely honored that I was still invited, even though this was not an enormously huge celebration (< 60 people). I’m also extremely happy that things like this can happen in life, that some people you simply find inspiring and stay in touch.

Wow, a song with all its lyrics taken from a political speech by Barack Obama makes it to the “internet charts” with more than 2.5 million views on youtube (and more than 3.5 million if you include the views of the copies).

You can see the video here (which really is quite powerful), read about the story behind it here, and see an interview with the brains behind it here.

Why doesn’t one hear constantly about virtual impostors? What I mean is this:

Suppose somebody without a strong “web presence” and without his/her own homepage really pisses me off. [I usually don’t get mad, but let’s suppose nevertheless.] Then it would be extremely easy for me (and for any other computer geek) to create a fake homepage for this person and to make sure that this homepage is found on Google when searching for that person’s name. Now on this homepage one could put some, for example, links to gay porn sites under the header “My favorite sites”. [For some reason most people would feel insulted, if you consider them to be homosexual, which I personally find extremely silly.]

If this is well done, it might not be immediately obvious that this homepage is not “endorsed” by this person. [Just as neither this nor this page is endorsed by the White House.] Such a page could cause a serious damage to the reputation of this person.

Why does this not happen all the time? Or does this happen constantly on a large scale (… I don’t mean a dozen of cases per year …) and I’m just not aware of it?

Only once or twice per year I hear about cases where somebody (usually somebody’s ex-boyfriend) posts somebody’s (usually somebody’s ex-girlfriend’s) private telephone number, email address and address in a rather “dubious” forum/chat room, along with the offer of various free services. But this kind of evil “revenge” would be even harder to track, if you just go to some random internet cafe or use some software to anonymize your IP address while pulling this “prank“.

So either computer geeks are simply too nice and/or grown-up, or people are actually not as vengeful as one might think … or maybe just not creative enough.

PS: This post is a great test for the comment spam filter, as undoubtedly there will be lots of automated spam comments, given some words used in the text.

So far, there were only two people on my “Ingmar’s official heroes” list.

Tensin Gyatso and Peter Ustinov.

Now I have a new hero: Galsan Tschinag.

He appeared on a talk show two days ago. I don’t remember which one, as I wasn’t even watching initially.  The other guests included Til Schweiger, a German female boxer, some cook and, ironically, a son of Peter Ustinov. None of them really fascinated me. But this Mongolian chief, who writes books in German, has an amazing charisma!

It’s rare that anyone radiates such a warmth, such a humor, such an intellect and such a wisdom at the same time.

The next day I tried to get one of his books in a local bookstore but they didn’t have any. Funny thing: I was not the first person who had asked for this author on that day in that store.   🙂

Then I was wondering, why in modern times bookstores could not run some simple program to scan all the TV programs for appearances of writers. The store could have sold at least two books more, if they would have had such a program, which told them: “Oh, you should probably order a handful of books by this and that author as he’ll appear on TV next week.”

… you can leave an advent calendar (filled with chocolate) outside somebody’s door in a multifamily residence, and it is still there when the person gets back four days later.

Angela Merkel recently met with the Dalai Lama, and I’m very glad she did. But this meeting also upset a large number of people.

Firstly, the Chinese authorities which are always quick to shout “stop mingling with our internal affairs” when anybody dares to question the morality of certain actions.

But, secondly, also business leaders in Germany who are afraid that tensions in the German-Chinese relations could have a negative impact on business. They openly try to lobby to avoid any further criticism of the human rights situation in China, as this could be bad for business.

This sickens me.

In German there’s a saying: “Money rules the world.” And the question, if politicians or multinational companies have more power on our daily life, does indeed seem less and less clear to me.

[I know, I know. I’m still naive enough to think that politicians might actually have any power at all.]

Just throw yourself into an overall, find a crowded parking garage, put up a sign “leave the key in the lock switch” and tell the arriving people where to put their car, possibly blocking other cars (which is ok, as you are there to “move the car” if need may be). Nobody will suspect anything.

I guess these arrangements for squeezing out every drop of capacity of a parking garage are fairly common, but I was still surprised that I left my car in the hands of someone without asking for any kind of proof/id. It was just so convincing. A small doubt only came into my mind when I had long left the garage. Of course, in this case it was not a scam and nothing happened. Still funny how in some circumstances one is super alert (… holding on to your wallet while walking down La Rambla …) but then one doesn’t even think twice before giving away one’s car.

Needless to say that if you put on a police uniform you could do much crazier stuff …

If you’re in Saarbrücken on November 16th, I hope to see you in the evening at THE social event of the year!

You can find the invitation (which you’ve probably also received by email) here.

As some people for some reason find our invitations funny/witty, I also post the ones to the Heaven and Hell (2006) and to the Pyjamas Party (2005).


Blog Stats

  • 60,111 hits