Appropriate for the date, but I think I’ve seen a better one of these in Barcelona.

Meanwhile, the Rathaus is lit up for Christmas. I wonder about the very bright window surround – did they run out of the new dim EU bulbs, or did they forget?

Green machine/Grün kehrt wieder in die Füzo ein

I was excited to see this green public transport ticket machine. The last one was carefully painted bronze by restorers. One hopes the city council haven’t got enough money to desecrate this one. For the restoring, see this earlier photo. The peculiar oval rubbish bins have been rebronzed.

This is a new machine, of course. They now accept credit cards, where previously they were trying to get people to have a particular kind of paycard called Geldkarte.

I am intrigued by the possibility of using headphones when using it. But it’s probably for the people using braille.

My excitement waned slightly when I read a brochure explaining the new ticket fare system. I put it aside to read another time. I am dreading its being translated into English. The VGN website has not updated the English page (which gives the impression that you have to be unmarried to use a TagesTicket Solo:

Getting around on your own

Singles will find the “TagesTicket Solo” indispensable. For only 4,20 € you can enjoy whole-day travel in Nürnberg-Fürth-Stein.

Purchase of a ticket on Saturday qualifies you for free Sunday-travel as well. This means that you enjoy additional free travel on Sunday without paying one cent extra.

Liet International/Eurovision für Minderheitensprachen

Sorry to be so late on this – the competition was held on November 19 and was won by a Dutch Frisian:

Young Frisian singer-songwriter Janna Eijer from the village of Jobbegea has won the eight edition of songcontest Liet International. Janna Eijer impressed the jury in the packed Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine with the song ‘Ien klap’. The Coffeeshock Company, a Croatian band from Burgenland in Austria won the public award. It is the very first time that a Frisian contestant wins Liet International.

Liet International is the big international song contest for contemporary songs in European minority languages. Alongside Frisian, the other contestants in Udine came from Ireland, Austria (Burgenland Croats), Val Badia (Ladinians), Scotland, Karelia in Russia, Udmurt in Russia, Friulian in Italy, Switzerland, Norwegian Sápmi, and the Basque Country and Asturias in Spain. Janna Eijer was sent to Udine as the winner of the Frisian song contest Liet earlier this year. She was the only soloist of the twelve contestants. At Liet International songs were in Irish, Croatian, Gaelic, Sápmi, Ladinian, Vepsian (Karelia), Ladinian (South Tyrol), Udmurtian (a Finno-Ugric language in Russia), Friulian, Rumantsch (Switzerland), Basque and Asturian.

Is the Romansh singer really called Rezia Ladina, or is that a pseudonym?

In this competition, songs must be in one of the minority languages, not (unlike in the Eurovision Song Contest) in English. Still, the site has English translations of the lyrics. you can hear at least some of the songs on YouTube.

You! Basque-speaker!
become a megaphone
explodes the basque language with shouts
thousand borders, thousand tones!

Why have I never heard of this competition? It would surely be just as much fun on TV as the Eurovision one.

Found in this article on Romansh (containing the curious and apparently US term a singing tilt).

Advent/Advent, Advent, eine LED brennt

This is one of those times of year when Germans say everything should be besinnlich (thoughtful, contemplative, peaceful). It goes right up to December 24. Some excitement is allowed on December 25 and 26, then comes the time zwischen den Jahren (between the years) when it all goes besinnlich again. On December 31, however, you can buy fireworks and terrify the neighbourhood – rockets shot horizontally from first-floor balconies are the worst. It occurs to me that the violence of Silvester may directly result from too much Besinnlichkeit beforehand.

I don’t usually experience the four Advent Sundays, where first one candle, then two, three and finally four are lit on the Advent wreath, but now I can. Yesterday I was queueing for a long time (is there any other) in the post office, to return a Philips radio alarm clock which doesn’t work with your iPod Touch if it’s in its case, when I was able to snaffle these four LED teawarmer lights, with a flickering effect. Price only 2.99 euros. I admit that my copy of Romain needs a bit of repair.

Pope prosecuted/Papst angezeigt

I am eventually mentioning this incident because it’s being reported erroneously as Pope Sued (BoingBoing, quoting Lowering the Bar. The latter says:

Sundermann’s client surely does not have standing to sue to enforce the seatbelt law, and even if he did the Papst would have diplomatic immunity as a head of state.

Well, yes, he probably does have diplomatic immunity, but this related to criminal offences and anzeigen is what we call in England laying an information or reporting someone to the police. And why would anyone not have standing (the US term, which I prefer to the English locus standi) to make a criminal complaint?

Lowering the Bar links to a German report in Der Westen and to an English report in the Irish Times, and even the latter has the facts right – it refers to a misdemeanour, a term also familiar in American criminal law.

Lawyer Johannes Christian Sundermann has filed papers in Dortmund on behalf of his unnamed client, charging the Pope with “repeated breaches” of Germany’s seat belt law.
“Herr Joseph Ratzinger, born 16 April 1927 in Marktl/Altötting” travelled on September 24th and 25th “for the duration of more than an hour” without a seat belt, the lawyer states in documents.
Mr Sundermann and his client say they can prove the repeated misdemeanour during his visit to Freiburg – using videos from YouTube.

I don’t think much of the Irish Times’ closing line:

In Germany, rules are rules.

One does love one’s national prejudices. But I think it is quite conceivable for something like this to happen in the UK, assuming (improbably) that a British cleric with highly conservative views became Pope and kept his British passport.