Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I love Rothenberg. It's a walled, medieval city in Germany. It's like Disney World only it's real old stuff, not new stuff made to look old. I love everything about it. I go there every chance I get. When people come to visit it's the first place I take them. It's only about three hours away, but it's so much better when you spend the night.

Even though I've been dozens of times, I still take lots of pictures. There is one spot where we have created a tradition of photographing our guests. It's a covered foot bridge at the Spitaltor. Last week we completed our family collection of photographs at the bridge with the visit of Rob and Tracee to Germany for Christmas. Come with us to Rothenberg and we'll add you to the gallery. I thought I'd share them.

Jenny and Bob, November 2007

Chris and Lindsay, November 2007

Paul and Wendy Clinton, and Kelsey, July 2007

Bob and I, May 2004

Kevin and Kelly Culver, and Jenny, March 2006
Jenny, November 2007

Rob and Tracee, December 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Commercial Free Radio

Since we live in Germany, and we don't speak English, when it comes to news and entertainment we are slaves to AFN. On the Armed Forces Network, we can hear all the news we need - that they or NPR deem we need to hear - and, between the FM and AM stations, hear a variety of music and TONS of clever but annoying public service announcements, or as they are called affectionately, commercials. But they aren't really commercials but because that is the one element missing from the broadcasts and fill the space where a commercial might play, listeners refer to them as "commercials."

Don't get me wrong. The German stations are pretty good. For the most part they play American music - in English. But when it comes to a traffic report or weather or news, we surf back to the AFN station where we get very broad weather reports ("In Germany today you can expect a high of 41 degrees and cloudy skies....." Germany covers everything from Bavaria where there is tons of snow and often treacherous road conditions to our local area where we have 12 months of rain.), NPR news, and generic local reports on school assemblies, units and post office hours.
We also get sports talk shows. About five hours a day. It is these sports talk shows that prompt this writing.
I wake up early. I'm out of bed at 5:15 AM and
out the door by 6:20 AM. In that hour it's nice to listen to something. For several years it was "news and information" during that hour, but then it switched to a sports talk show. Are you kidding me? I tried listening to it, but it has become just plain noise.
I switched to the FM station and it's OK, but it's
all music, and since they boast playing a wide variety of music, occasionally you have to endure a style that is not to your liking.

On weekends the AM staion plays oldies music, but only overnight. They can brag that they play all kinds of music, but not that you have to stretch your day way out to enjoy it.

Last week I flipped the switch from AM to FM and happened upon some oldies music. So I left the dial right there. It went on and on - no breaks for an "Army Now" or "Air Force Today" or "Roads in the KMC are condition Amber." It was nice! Turns out that the Canadians living in Germany have their version of AFN, CFN. There are some wonderful radio shows broadcast. I have listened to some wonderful stories writen and submitted for broadcast on the show called Vinyl Cafe, and a replay of the American Top 40 Countdown with Casey Kasem from a selected date in 1967. And there truly are no commercials - PSA or otherwise.
"Oh Canada," thank you so very much.