Mind-blowing paternoster in the Stuttgart Rathaus

A paternoster is a continuously running elevator in which you nimbly deftly step into the cabin as it scrolls by. Or you die trying. As of the year 2002, paternosters killed on average one person per year in Germany – even though there was an installed base of around 200 of them. The number of gruesome injuries was not recorded.

Most of them have been decommissioned due to safety reasons, but a few are still in use, such as this one in the Stuttgart Rathaus:

FAKE – Metz church in the sun

Take a look at this incredible snap:

Well, the original snap looked like this:

Just for the record: the photos I post are never in any way retouched or enhanced or changed – except for cropping. OK, and maybe a very simple color correction a la Google.

But in this series of blog posts entitled FAKE I publish some rather interesting images I have enhanced in some way.

I’ve recently bought a Mac – and for my photo hobby I am trying an application called Lumina AI – it offers not just the usual photo editing and correction features, but powerful “faking” features like adding skies and suns that are not really there.


Tobacco shed in France?

While walking around the northeastern Lorraine city of Metz I stumbled across a street called Rue de la Manufacture, with a small sign that tobacco was produced here many years ago. Although there were no signs, I wondered if this building was used as a shed for storing the leaves? It was very similar to sheds that I’ve seen in the southern US, where the leaves are hung and allowed to ferment or dry out of whatever it is they want to happen to the leaves:

It sounded like an interesting historical topic (producing tobacco in France!), so I did a little research on Wikipedia and found out this might be the case. You can see the Rue de la Manufacture below, and just to the right and up you’ll see Imp. Belle-Isle, where the northeastern most building (with the grey roof) is the arial view of the snap I took:

I think it’s just wonderful how you can dovetail a photography hobby with an easy bit of historical research, to find out things like this!

[Note added on 06.09.2021] After discussing tobacco barns in Cleveland with my father it became apparent that most of the barns were painted black, since the extra heat would help in the curing process. Interestingly, the building above has a black/gray roof, whereas all the other buildings have red tile roofs – more circumstantial evidence that this may very well have been a barn for storing tobacco!


The Covid Deviation

There are mask signs sprayed all over the streets in the northeaster Lorraine city of Metz, but it struck me as interesting how this one was juxtaposed with a deviation sign. It made me think, I hope these times are just is “Covid deviation.”

Google googled me!

The cool thing about the business social networking site LinkedIn is that you can see who has tried to look you up – well, at least you can see their company name. I recently stopped at a nuclear reactor in France – one day later someone from the Gendarmerie Nationale looked me up – coincidence?

(And by the way, if they did, think of the technology involved: scanning my vehicle, optical character recognition of the license plate, database lookup to find the owner, running the owner through searches like this – I hope they are using RPA, since it seems a very good candidate for robotic process automation. And if they are not – S’il vous plaît appelez-moi, et je suis heureux de prendre rendez-vous pour un conseil en technologie! )

Anyway, after “googling” many people myself I felt quite honoured and privileged to be the subject of their scrutiny,

Believe it or not – it’s been a bit over a decade – but if memory serves me right I once spoke with the present head of Google (Sundar Pichai) on the phone, naturally back before he was so famous. I wrote down his name in my notebook – but sadly I can’t find the notebook anymore to confirm.

When memories trigger the senses

My Aunt recently posted a very old advertisement of an American variety store called Woolworth’s. Apparently, she thought they were all out of business – and in America, they are. But not in Germany, as this snap shows:

The key point here is a different one. The advertisement for Woolworth’s – as indeed this real store – immediately triggers a flood of memories involving sights and smells. And not just for me: when I shared this photo with my family, they also mentioned this effect.

There is something about the old “Woolworths” that is hard to put into words. You would walk into one of these stores and be hit by the smells of their inside cafeteria — “back in the day” it was common for any large store to have a cafeteria – but also the sights and sounds.