Archive | March, 2015

The eclipse

20 Mar

OK, it may not look like much (I took the photo using selfie mode to protect my eyes), but I’m still surprised that only about 10% of the people I saw on my way to the dentist’s this morning were showing any interest at all in the eclipse today.



Here I go again

14 Mar

I know I’ve written a couple of times about the priority given to vocational training in Austria, especially compared to my native land, the U.S.A. And here I go again. There’s a brief article in the Kurier today about the results of the nationwide competition for apprentices in the tourism industry (obviously very interesting for Austria). The results, accompanied by a photo of the three young winners attractively and appropriately dressed in uniform / Dirndl, are listed by federal state only (no personal names). Salzburg won for service, Styria won for hospitality business administration, and Upper Austria won for gastronomy.  The young people’s victories have secured them spots at the two major international competitions, World Skills 2015 and EuroSkills 2016. Isn’t it refreshing that young people are getting medals for doing their jobs fantastically well.

P.S. I was a bit disappointed that Vienna didn’t win anything, but, as it was a competition for apprentices, I suppose there was no category for highly qualified but grumpy middle-aged men. 😉


10 Mar

It seems only fair to update my readers on the fate of the fence I mentioned in my earlier post, from June 2013. They restored it to its original beauty! (And, with it, some of my faith in humanity.)


Vienna Tops 2015 List Of The Most Livable Cities On Earth – Forbes

9 Mar

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that this comes as no surprise to me:

In Vienna even the elevator pitches have more time

7 Mar

The article is from last Saturday’s Kurier already, but I couldn’t bear to throw it away without posting about it. In Vienna, there are ever fewer Paternoster, that is, early elevators that go around in a continuous cycle with open compartments. One of the ones that is left, though, is at the headquarters of the Federation of Austrian Industrialists on Schwarzenbergplatz.

Recently, this was used to give young entrepreneurs the chance to present their ventures to the CEOs of companies like Siemens and Philips. The CEO and the entrepreneur got into the cabin of the Paternoster together, and the entrepreneur had the full round-trip to pitch his or her business. Since the trip takes almost five minutes to complete, that is between five and 10 times as long as the usual elevator pitch. There was the disadvantage that it was dark between floors, as these contraptions have no lighting, but it still seems like a great opportunity for young businesspeople. And you see–in Vienna even the elevator pitches are given more time.

(Kurier, 28 February 2015, “Fahren wir eine Runde gemeinsam” by Magdalena Vachova)

The University is turning 650 (con’t)

7 Mar

On sidewalks in and around the University a symbol is springing up: #wien1365. I’ll be curious to see what comes up.

Help save the collection of historical instruments in the Hofburg

2 Mar

This is not quite what I was planning to do with my Monday morning, but it goes in Stephen Covey’s Important and Urgent quadrant for me and therefore takes priority over some of the other things on my to-do list today.

According to this petition, organized by one of the directors at the Technical Museum in Vienna, the Ministery of Culture wishes to remove a number of items from the Collection of Ancient Instruments ( based in the Hofburg, or former Imperial Palace, to make room for a Museum of History. Apparently, there are other spaces in the Hofburg that are currently empty and could be for that purpose instead. Removing the instruments to storage, where they would be unavailable for viewing for an undetermined length of time, would be extremely costly, put the instruments at risk and practically gut the exhibition. The petition is in German, but there is a comment attached in English that explains well the importance of the collection.

If you feel moved, please sign at:

Thank you! And have a good week!