The Beautiful Town Idstein – Part 4 – Schloss

German, as well as Czech, has two words for a castle. One is “das Schloss” which means a luxurious aristocratic residence. The other one is “die Burg” and means a fortified luxurious aristocratic residence.

Castle in Idstein

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

From what I have been able to decipher on German Wikipedia the castle in Idstein used to be both of those. Originally it started with a lookout tower (the previously mentioned Hexenturm) around which a fortified residence was built. Sometime around the Renaissance period the castle was rebuilt from fortress into purely representative luxurious dwelling.

First picture shows the castle as seen from the town. The castle itself is located uphill and can only be accessed via the gate near Rathaus.


Castle in Idstein

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

At the foot of the Hexenturm is this beautiful building connecting the base of the tower with the gatehouse (named “Alte Kanzlei”). This building, at least its lower parts, is what remains of the original fortress. There were some significant damages to be seen, right behind the gatehouse the original stone wall was bulging out and it had markers on it probably to keep an eye on the bulge. Unfortunately in our somewhat chaotic and unguided stroll through the town I did not make more pictures  of the remnants of the original fortifications, because I did not know where to look and for what.

However I did make a picture of the main castle building. With “chemtrails” behind it. Today it serves as a high school, a much better purpose than a demonstration of wealth and power.

Castle in Idstein

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Tennessee Republicans: War on Women.

Rep. Bill Dunn (AP/Getty/Photo Montage by Salon).

Rep. Bill Dunn (AP/Getty/Photo Montage by Salon).

Tennessee rethugs have come up with a new way to shame and oppress women, forcibly reminding all women that their only function in life is to be a silent vessel for babies.

Last week, the Republican-controlled Tennessee state Senate passed a bill to erect the “Tennessee Monument to Unborn Children, In Memory of the Victims of Abortion: Babies, Women, and Men” on the capitol grounds, near memorials to victims of slavery and the Holocaust. A similar bill has passed the state house, and it’s likely that the state’s Republican governor, Bill Haslam, will sign this legislation into law.


“Both of these monuments that are already here recognize that atrocities occurred because human beings were treated as less than human,” state Rep. Bill Dunn (R) said in March. “In both cases, the vulnerable and defenseless were subjected to the will of the powerful.”

“The taking of the life of a baby in the womb is related to this brand of inhumanity,” Dunn added.


It’s critical to understand that the intended “memorial” does not memorialize any actual people. Babies are not harmed by abortion, because babies only exist after a pregnancy is completed. Men are not victimized by abortion, because men do not have any rights over women’s bodies that can be violated. And women are not victims of abortion either, since it’s a process they choose for themselves and one that research suggests is generally the right decision for those who make it.

Tennessee Republicans are doing more than insulting women. They’re minimizing the seriousness of slavery and the Holocaust by suggesting that the millions of real victims of these atrocities are no more important than the imaginary victims of abortion.

The timing of this memorial to fake victims is noteworthy. This is all happening during an ongoing war over memorials to the Confederacy and the Ku Klux Klan, which Tennessee progressives have been trying to take down and Tennessee Republicans are trying to preserve.

There isn’t the least bit of subtlety in this latest move to stomp women back into their “proper place”. It’s disgusting and beyond wrong, and this is what conservatives, especially christian conservatives have come to, a complete caricature of lunatics running the asylum. In the year 2018, women are still viewed and treated as property, public and private, as well as mental simpletons who couldn’t possibly make decisions for themselves. This is the viewpoint of the regressive lunkheads in Tennessee, who will use any means to make sure women know they are property, and that it’s best left to men to decide what’s best for any given woman.

Amanda Marcotte at Salon has the full story.

Word Wednesday.

Silly / Thralldom / Sally



1 archaic: Helpless, Weak.

2a: Rustic, Plain b obsolete: Lowly in station; humble.

3a: Weak in intellect: Foolish b: exhibiting or indicative of a lack of common sense or sound judgment.

4: Being stunned or dazed.

[Origin: Middle English sely, silly happy, innocent, pitiable, feeble, from Old English sælig, from sǣl happiness; akin to Old High German sālig happy.]

(14th Century).

“Don’t be sil—” began Jim; then he remembered just in time that the word “silly” had a very different meaning in the middle ages. It meant “innocent” or “blessed” — which was not what he meant at the moment.” – The Dragon at War, Gordon R. Dickson.



1a: a servant slave: bondman, serf. b: a person in moral or mental servitude.

2a: a state of servitude or submission. b: a state of complete absorption.

–thrall, adjective.

–thralldom, noun.

[Origin: Middle English thral, from Old English thræl, from Old Norse thræll.]

(Before 12th century).

“Unhand, dog!” he snapped, in his best baronial manner. “Do you think I fear thralldom by any witch-device?” – The Dragon at War, Gordon R. Dickson.



1: an action of rushing or bursting forth; especially: a sortie of troops from a defensive position to attack the enemy.

2a: a brief outbreak: outburst. b: a witty or imaginative saying: quip.

3: a venture or excursion usually off the beaten track: jaunt.

[Origin: Middle French saillie, from Old French, from saillir to rush forward, from Latin salire to leap; akin to Greek hallesthai to leap.]


“Ah, well, just a thought,” said Brian. “I’d been thinking – a quick sally to slash a few throats, then back through the gates and close them behind us.” – The Dragon at War, Gordon R. Dickson.

Jack’s Walk

It’s a perfect day here. The sun is shining in a cloudless blue sky and it’s 21° with a light little breeze. Jack and I decided to go see if there were any flowers up yet at the park and we found daffodils. Lots of daffodils, all just newly opened and at their best. The tulips are up too, but they’re still a few days away from blooming. It was also nice to see the willows already fuzzy with new leaves. Now, I’m going to go find every excuse I can to be outside.

©voyager, all rights reserved

Cheddar Gorgeous: Let’s Get Visible!

Trump in Drag, credit: Cheddar Gorgeous / Facebook.

Trump in Drag, credit: Cheddar Gorgeous / Facebook.

Oh, I would give so much to be a part of this, it sounds absolutely fabulous and it has the added bonus that it will make the Tiny Tyrant squirm all over.

Queen Elizabeth won’t the only queen greeting Donald Trump when he visits the U.K. in July.

A thousand people have signed onto a Facebook invitation for a drag-queen protest to greet the president in London on July 13. Another nearly 7,000 people are interested in attending.

Manchester drag performer Cheddar Gorgeous and four other performers have issued the call to all drag kings, queens, queers and our allies.

“Due to the appalling way the Trump administration has regarded the rights and welfare of the LGBTQI communities in the U.S., the idea of a Trump visit to the U.K. is unacceptable,” the invitation says.

“Let’s get visible, stand with our sisters, brothers and others in America.”

You can read much more at LGBTQ Nation, and The Guardian. Cheddar Gorgeous on Twitter.  I wish all the attendees the very best, and I hope there are going to a ton of photos.

Hans Holbein’s Dance of Death.

The Knight.

The Knight.

The Dance of Death by the German artist Hans Holbein (1497–1543) is a great, grim triumph of Renaissance woodblock printing. In a series of action-packed scenes Death intrudes on the everyday lives of thirty-four people from various levels of society — from pope to physician to ploughman. Death gives each a special treatment: skewering a knight through the midriff with a lance; dragging a duchess by the feet out of her opulent bed; snapping a sailor’s mast in two. Death, the great leveller, lets no one escape. In fact it tends to treat the rich and powerful with extra force. As such the series is a forerunner to the satirical paintings and political cartoons of the eighteenth century and beyond. For example, Death sneaks up behind the judge, who is ignoring a poor man to help a rich one, and snaps his staff, the symbol of his power, in two. A chain around Death’s neck suggests he is taking revenge on corrupt judges on behalf of those they have wrongfully imprisoned. In contrast, Death seems to come to the aid of the poor ploughman, by driving his horses for him and releasing him from a life of toil; the glowing church in the background implies this old man is on his way to heaven.

Holbein drew the woodcuts between 1523 and 1525, while in his twenties and based in the Swiss town of Basel.

The Miser.

The Miser.

The Monk.

The Monk.

These woodcuts are beautiful and highly detailed. In Holbein’s hands, Death makes its feelings known; Death is quite gentle in the cases of the old woman and old man, poor folk, and those of the peasant class. On the other side, Death is more than a little rude, as in the violin playing as Death drags the Duchess out of her bed. Death is not kind when it comes to the abbot, the abbess, or the monk.

One notable thing makes these beautiful woodcuts all the more astonishing, the size of them:

Holbein’s achievement is the greater because of the miniature scale he was drawing in. Reproductions obscure just how tiny the wooden blocks were — no bigger than four postage stamps arranged in a rectangle. The blocks were cut by Hans Lützelburger, a frequent and highly skilled collaborator of Holbein’s. Lützelburger had cut forty-one blocks and had ten remaining when Death surprised him too. The blocks were then sold to creditors, and eventually printed and published for the first time in Lyons in 1538 as Les simulachres and historiees faces de la mort.

You can read and see much more at The Public Domain.

The Book of Exposition: The Secrets of Oriental Sexuology.

15th Century erotica! Oh my. This looks to be very interesting, and I do plan on reading it. Unfortunately I can’t do that right away, the day before chemo is always a busy one.

A decade or so after the famed Orientalist Richard Burton translated Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Nafzawi’s The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight (1886), an anonymous translator became the first to critically assess and introduce for Anglophone audiences another of the Middle East’s more controversial and enigmatic texts — Kitab al-Izah Fi’ilm al-Nikah b-it-Tamam w-al-Kamal, or The Book of Exposition — a collection of fifteenth-century erotica. Despite there being much dispute over the authorship of the work, from both Western and Middle Eastern scholars over the centuries, The Book of Exposition is nowadays credited to a fifteenth-century Egyptian polymath called Jalal ad’Din al-Suyuti (1445-1505). Although perhaps best known for his co-authorship of Tafsir al-Jalalayn (Tafsir of the Two Jalals), a classical Sunni exegesis of the Quran, al-Suyuti was also a prolific erotologist, writing at least twenty-three treatises on various aspects of the sexual arts.

The two dozen stories he presents in The Book of Exposition are an exploration of promiscuity and sexual taboos under the societal constraints of the Arab-Islamic world. In “The Strange Transformation that Befell a Certain Believer’s Prickle” a man is granted a “Night of Power” in which he is given three wishes to be fulfilled by Allah.


In his opening essay and commentary, An English Bohemian sets out to dispel Victorian attitudes to sexuality through the idolisation of the Oriental — setting up “Oriental Sexuology” as a mystical alternative for aspiring libertines/hedonists. He doesn’t just limit himself to the Orient in his examination of sexuality. He offers an insight into the sexual customs of other lands he claims to have travelled and researched extensively as a former practitioner of medicine: from Loango to the Aztecs, Paraguay to Samoa, Europe to Arabia. Despite his intentions, we perhaps end up learning more about Western attitudes to sex than the those of the non-European cultures he examines. His assertions, in their elevation of Orient over the Occident, appear to be motivated more by a desire to rebel against the prevailing establishment of his own culture than offering a nuanced picture of a foreign culture’s attitudes to sex.

You can read more at The Public Domain Review (the book is also available there), or go straight to the book here.

F Is For Fantail Warbler and Fuinha-dos-Juncos.

Fantail Warbler. Fuinha-dos-Juncos.

Common English and Portuguese names for the bird Cisticola juncidis, here perched on a maize tassel. It’s a small insectivorous bird with a characteristic “zit…zit…zit…zit” call and a zigzagging flight, easy to spot in flight but not always easy to figure out where it landed, as it rarely chooses such a conspicuous perch as in this photo. A funny thing is the Portuguese common name, which means marten-of-the-reeds. Yes, marten as in the mustelid. I don’t know why.

Click for full size!

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