Bayern Munich has doped it way to the top!

From the Sports Arena

4-0 for Bayern Munich! If you add the blow-out against Barcelona during last night’s first game of the Champions League semi-finals in European Soccer to the blow-out games of four or more goals in the entire season so far in the golden anniversary season of German Soccer known as the Bundesliga, in 10 games, the Bavarian Texans from the south blew away eight teams by a score of 55-6! Two of the teams were right in FC’s Visier twice, including Hanover 96, which in two games were destroyed by a total of 11-1, including a 6-1 pasting last Saturday! Hamburg was the unfortunate victim of a 9-2 demolition a few weeks ago. Even Nuremberg was not safe.  One would think that after out-competing the teams enroute to their 24th season title with six-games left in the season that it would be enough, right?

Wrong!  Add a key player, like Mario Götze who decided to leave Dortmund for Munich after this season and a scandal involving Uli Honess, the team’s president for tax evasion and smuggling money in Switzerland, and we could see something unfolding in a fashion which makes Lance Armstrong’s confession to his doping escapade look like a dwarf!  And Armstrong was a professional cyclist before being defamed for his actions, setting up the stage for many cyclists to fall after him, like a domino effect.

In the era of pursuing people evading taxes and creating tax oasis, the news involving Honess is huge, for he had been touted as the man with morals, being straight and honest. Many players made a career at FC Bayern Munich, riding their way to many international cups and German Bundesliga championships, adding them to their resumès. Götze is looking at that particular opportunity that Dortmund had had last season when the team won the season title in Germany and is the other team competing with Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.  But the tax scandal has raised many questions of whether FC Bayern Munich has other skeletons in the closet. After all, a team that has almost always sat on top of the throne did not do it the hard way. Something is a bit fatty there.

Perhaps one should have someone like Charlotte Lindholm, the police commissioner from Hanover who is also a Hanover 96 fan check it out. After all, like the other teams in the Bundesliga and those being promoted in the elite league, like Hertha BSC Berlin in the upcoming soccer season, Hanover 96 is trying to find ways to figure out whether FC Bayern’s successes were real or flawed. If the latter is the case, then even though it will not create defame in a degree similar to Penn State University’s college football program because of the child molestation scandal that was revealed in 2011, Lindholm’s first and foremost character will be Honess. Even if he was to resign to save FC Bayern’s face, both he and the team are not safe from the potential backlash that could come out of this scandal, one of possibly many that may come from the deep south of Germany.

Flensburg Files Fast Facts:

1. Commissioner Lindholm is from the German TV Krimi Series Tatort, which provides viewers on Sunday night with a new case from one of over 20 different cities, each of which has two detectives on the case. Lindholm is played by Maria Fürtwangler, who ironically originates from Munich.

2. FC Bayern Munich set the season record for winning the German soccer regular season title in the earliest fashion possible- with six games left in the season- two weeks ago. The team is on course to win the Triple Crown, which includes the Champions League Title and the German Cup (DFB Pokal). The Files will keep you posted on whether they will achieve this- also a record in itself.

3. Yet Uli Honess is feeling the pressure of stepping down as President. Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as the majority of the German population (63% in one poll) would like to see him resign and face tax evasion charges. Whether this will happen remains open at this time. However, speculation may exist that the soccer team may have some other flaws that have been stuffed away for some time but will eventually be made open to the public. More on the tex scandal here.

4. For those who did not know: Penn State Nittany Lions football was sanctioned after reports of a sex abuse scandal forced Joe Paterno to step down in November 2011. He died the following January. Jerry Sandusky, Paterno’s assistant football coach pleaded guilty to sexual abuse and was sentenced to life in prison in October 2012. Three other men involved are awaiting trial for covering up the scandal. The football team was forced to vacate all its wins between 1998 and 2011, plus its football titles and recruitment scholars and is facing a four-year ban from post-season competition, known as the Bowl Games. This was the worst scandal in sports history as of present…..

Flensburg Files Haliburton Guessing Quiz:

In connection with an upcoming article on Munich, how many towns in the United States carry the name Munich? And where are they located? I know one for sure and it will be the focus of an article on German-named villages in the US. Stay tuned! 🙂

Blogging behind the scenes….

From the Classroom:

When you receive this article, I will be soaking in another session of a seminar called “Mind the App,” a class being offered for students and those interested in knowing how to use apps in the classroom, a topic that will be discussed in a later article. Before digging into this topic: how many of you have your own blog or know what a blog is in comparison to the internet? And in your opinion, what is the role of the news media in response to the blogs that are growing in numbers?

I have to admit, I didn’t know about blogs until a friend of mine (who runs a blog herself at Forum Communications) introduced me to it in the Fall of 2010, in response to a series of photos I had posted on facebook that were in connection with my trip to the US and my involvement at the 2nd annual Historic Bridge weekend in Pittsburgh. And it fitted me perfectly, for another friend of mine (a pontist and Pittsburghian) had previously hinted that I should consider starting a website of my own.  But if you want to know in the simplest terms what a blog is, here it is:

A blog is like a column. Think of the columns that had existed, like Dear Abby or Julie and Julie, a blog that dealt with the cooking of Julie Childs by Julie Powell, or the present ones like SidCast, a sportsblog hosted by Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune, Kaitlin O’shea-Healy’s “Preservation in Pink” or “Oh! A Shiny Thing!” written by Kari Lucin of the Jamestown Sun (part of the Forum family). They are all written by one author, who is also the sole administrator, photographer and (if you allow guest columnists/bloggers) editor, and whose content has but one purpose: to inform people of the themes that one normally cannot find in regular streamline news media. And if you construct your blog to your liking, you’ll most likely have some followers that will read your posts.

There are many advantages to blogging:  It is easy and cheap to open a blog. In addition, you can design your own template without having a web provider do it for you. Speaking from experience of other websites, opening a website may be expensive, even if you have someone build it for you, which may be to your disliking. In addition to that, you can add some apps by yourself for little or no costs incurred on you. For this online column, together with sister column The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles, they have the most commonly-used apps you can add on for free, but the others that are available can be added for a small fee.  But most importantly, after finding the template to your liking and adding the headers on your dashboard and widgets on the sidebars for people to easily access, you can go ahead and start blogging, keeping in mind that you are not only the sole writer, but also the sole editor. That means if a mistake is noticed by you or the reader, you have the right to correct it without having to publish a correction for the next edition of a newspaper or magazine.  And if you have the right touch, the right agenda, and the right audience, you may end up having thousands of followers in no time.

If I was to look at the two online columns I’ve had for almost three years, the Flensburg Files has focused on topics that deal with German culture and German-American issues, which includes topics like German-named villages in the USA, the Christmas markets, and places to visit, which have been well-received by the readers. This includes articles extending from a Christmas market in Halle (Saale) to the future of Round Lake in Minnesota after Sather’s Candy Company left town.  As for the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles, many topics on historic bridges and ways to preserve them have spawned conversations and comments, most of which have supported alternatives to wasteful demolition for modernized structures and scrap metal, as seen in the last Chronicles’ article on Bellaire Bridge in Ohio. But we also have seen some interest in tours of the bridges in the regions, whether it was in Magdeburg (Germany) or Booneville, New York.  If you find a theme that is of your interest and can attract people, then you can create it.

The downside to online column can be divided up into two segments: the internal aspects and the external aspects. Internally, you need to be aware of the amount of space available for you to post your comments, graphics and photos. That means you cannot post a 3MB pic onto your article or your space will be full before you know it. Without having to shrink your photo size to a point where it’s unreadable, between 200gB and 400gB is sufficient enough for you to post a pic that is readable.  An alternative to this is to try photo websites, like flickr, panaramio or even Pininterest and link your photos there to your article you post on your blog.  I have done this since last year for both online columns for that sole reason and has worked out well.  The other problem is you need to keep up with your blog for two reasons: 1. It will increase your chances to being popular and open doors to opportunities you never dreamed of before if you post on a regular basis and with high quality articles and 2. At least a thousand blogs spring up every day and there are over 160 million blogs in use today, which means your blog is like your “Hour of Fame” flower– it is only popular for a short period of time and if not maintained on a regular basis, it becomes a thing of the past in a short time, to a point where no one really reads it.  The other problem with blogging is what critic Andrew Keen calls the Amateur Effect and is in connection with a theory conducted by T.H. Huxley with a group of monkeys. There, the monkeys were presented with a typewriter and one in seven used it to create their own form of artwork. Keen considers the use of social networks and other mechanisms, like the blog as one that is operated by millions of monkeys as they can present something that can either blur the credibility of mainstream media or create dangers to themselves and others because of the lack of experience they have with them. Many people have lost their jobs or were forced to destroy their blogs by their employers for their content was considered inappropriate to them, even though the writers have considered them innocent. This has lead to many people to create a code of conduct for people with online blogs to abide by. This includes not having online debates but to talk directly with the people involved, restraining themselves with regard to language, reporting people who abuse their blogs or try to insult your blog in any way, and lastly take responsibility for your articles you post- change somethings that are deemed inappropriate or leave them out altogether, and always TELL THE TRUTH. This is something that mainstream news media has to do everyday and it is also expected from a blogger.

In the almost three years I’ve been a columnist for both Flensburg and Bridgehunter, I’ve never had to put up with that, but have put up with numerous SPAM (a topic to be discussed leter) and a couple comments deemed inappropriate. Yet as I have full control over the two, I also have the power to delete them before even considering adding them in the comment section. But for the most part, both columns have picked up a substantial amount of readers resulting in the addition of groups on facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and most recently, Pininterest, with additional apps to come thanks to some that came to my attention most recently and I’m playing around with even as I write this. Already, Bridgehunter was one of the first blogs that was launched in connection with historic bridges and has been taking the lead in news and discussions involving this topic. Flensburg serves as a tool for people wanting to know more about German-American topics in the English language, encouraging more and more people to embrace the respective cultures with more topics to come.

This leads to the last question: If anyone asked me for advice about blogging, I would ask them the following questions: 1. What theme would you use your blog for?  2. Who is your target audience? and 3. How would you design it to make it attractive and what apps would you use to capture the readers’ attention?  These were the questions I had when I started Bridgehunter and Flensburg, but if you can answer these questions and structure it to make it reader friendly, then you are all set. Just keep the blog clean to keep yourself and others out of trouble, maintain it regularly, and market it to attract your followers and in the end, you will have a successful blog, or online-column, as I call mine. Who knows? You may open the doors to new opportunities you never dreamed of….

Author’s Note: Both the Files and the Chronicles may receive some guest columnists in the coming weeks who have never tried blogging before but would like to give it a try. Stay tuned in that department.

 

Flensburg and Bridgehunter going separate ways

As musician SEAL would sing it: “The Change is gonna come!”  It’s time to unweave the weave, as many engineers in Minnesota were saying when they indeed untangled the interchange I-35W and Hwy. 62 Crosstown in Minneapolis a couple years ago, and many German engineers are thinking the same idea with the A115-A100 interchange in Berlin-Charlottenburg. Both the Flensburg Files and the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles are going separate ways and receiving a new makeover to make it more attractive for people to follow.

It starts off with the separate Twitter accounts, for both columns were running together on one account for a year. While the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles will keep its old account under the new name BH Chronicles, the Flensburg Files has received a new account, where everything dealing with German-American culture and issues (including articles in German) and guest posting will go there in addition to the posts written by the columnist himself.  The Chronicles will keep receiving posts from the columnist on historic bridges as well as those from preservationists and pontists. All current followers are asked to please take this change to account. You can access Twitter through their respective apps.

Both Flensburg and Bridgehunter will also receive new logos which will slowly but surely appear in the column in the near future. The logos are below:

 

And lastly, both columns will be receiving new apps in the future, many of which are primarily used for education purposes but are worth using for the columns. Already each one has a new Pininterest account which can be accessed by clicking here.  Flensburg will receive most of its pics through that app, whereas the Bridgehunter will maintain both its Pininterest and flickr accounts. As the column received many app toys to play with, you will be informed of the new apps that will be available through the respective columns.

And while the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles will continue its series on best historic bridge practice, mystery bridges, and the historic bridge preservation glossary (among other things), the Flensburg Files, after a long hiatus due to many commitments, will have a set of series to work with. Apart from continuing to write on tourism-related topics, such as places to visit in Germany and German-named towns in the US, we will revisit the topic on soccer and its problems while at the same time, open up the political season as the Germans will elect a new chancellor in 2013 and the Files will focus on the political parties involved in the elections, the issues that Germany has and the attitudes of the public towards politics and other topics.  In addition with that, the Files will open a new series called “From the Classroom” where the columnist, with many years of teaching experience, will go behind the scenes and focus on English and life in academia. An introduction to the series will start the series off.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the upcoming article that will be coming, through the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles and the Flensburg Files. 🙂

Please note: both Bridgehunter and Flensburg will still be maintaining their facebook sites, so there is no need to panic. You can still like and follow on facebook. 🙂