Archive for the ‘7 Gifts’ Category

Graz’s Seventh Gift to the World: Blob, Porn and Oil

Final gift. And I couldn’t decide what to write about.



Well, there is the Kunsthaus Graz, called the “Friendly Alien”. It was built in 2003 and has since become an architectural landmark of the city. Its unusual form differs radically from conventional exhibition contexts. The team of architects used an innovative stylistic idiom, known as “blob architecture”. It’s a great building. But everyone is talking, writing and commenting about it.

So I thought again.


There is also Renee Pornero. Yes… Ms. Pornero is Austria’s porn actress export #1. She won the Eroticline Award, worked in the US San Fernando Valley (“porn valley”). And Wikipedia reports: “Known for her extreme scenes, having brutal sex simultaneously with 3 (or more) extemely well-hung men.”
Well-hung men? Not a safe gift for work.

So I thought again.



And why not writing about Kernöl (Pumpkin seed oil)? A culinary specialty of the region, made by pressing the roasted seeds of pumpkins. The viscous oil is dark green to dark brown in color. Today more than 2000 tons of pumpkinseed oil are pressed only in Styria each year. Pumpkin seed oil is very healthy because it contains potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, manganese, selenium, zinc and many important vitamins (E, B1,B2, B6, C, A and D). A special ingredient is linoleic acid. It is vitally necessary and has a positive effect on cholesterol levels. It also reacts with amino acids that contain sulfur, important for the cell respiration. And after all: it really tastes great.


Now… choose for yourself, fellow internet user!

Graz’s Sixth Gift to the World: Masochism


He wasn’t born in Graz, he didn’t die in Graz. But he lived, went to University and worked in Graz: The writer and eponym of masochism: Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Born in 1836 Leopold is best known for his novel, “Venus in Furs,” about the masochistic relationship between Serverin von Kusiemski dreamer and dillatante, and Wanda von Dunajew, a beautiful, free-spirited widow, to whom he becomes a slave. The novel is based on real events from the Sacher-Masoch’s life.

As a child, Sacher-Masoch was greatly attracted by representations of cruelty. He loved to gaze at pictures of executions, the legends of martyrs were his favorite reading, and with the onset of puberty he regularly dreamed that he was fettered and in the power of a cruel woman who tortured him.

If you visit the drugstore on corner Jahngasse/Wickenburggasse, remember its most famous fomer occupant.
At the age of 10 Leopold von Sacher-Masoch noticed a scene in which Countess Xenobia, a relative of his own on the paternal side, played the chief part. The child adored her, impressed alike by her beauty and the costly furs she wore. She accepted Sacher-Masoch’s devotion and little services and with sometimes allow him to assist her in dressing; on one occasion, as he was kneeling before her to put on her ermine slippers, he kissed her feet. She smiled and gave him a kick which filled him with pleasure.

Someday Sacher-Masoch was playing with his sisters at hide-and-seek and had carefully hidden himself behind the dresses on a clothes-rail in the Countess’s bedroom. At this moment the Countess suddenly entered the house and ascended the stairs, followed by a lover. A few moments later the husband, accompanied by two friends, dashed into the room. Before, however, he could decide which of the lovers to turn against the Countess had risen and struck him so powerful a blow in the face with her fist that he fell back streaming with blood. She then seized a whip, drove all three men out of the room and in the confusion the lover slipped away. At this moment the clothes-rail fell and the child was revealed to the Countess, who now fell on him in anger, threw him to the ground, pressed her knee on his shoulder, and struck him unmercifully. The pain was great, and yet Sacher-Masoch was conscious of a strange pleasure. While this castigation was proceeding the Count returned, no longer in a rage, but meek and humble as a slave, and kneeled down before her to beg forgiveness. As the boy escaped he saw her kick her husband. The child could not resist the temptation to return to the spot; the door was closed and he could see nothing, but he heard the sound of the whip and the groans of the Count beneath his wife’s blows.
It’s not surprising, that the term masochism was coined by the 19th century psychiatrist Krafft-Ebing with Sacher-Masoch and his writings in mind, although Sacher-Masoch was not pleased with this development.

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch died in March 1895. His hometown ignored him for over hundred years. It was not until the year 2003, when Graz was called “Cultural Capital of Europe”. The best idea of recognition: The invention of the Sacher-Masoch cake.

Trivia: Sacher-Masoch is related to Marianne Faithfull on her mother’s side, the Viennese Baroness Eva Erisso.

Graz’s Fourth Gift to the World: The Rocket Mail


Rocket mail is the delivery of mail by rocket or missile. (Something like a superfast snail mail.) The rocket would land by deploying an internal parachute upon arrival. It has been attempted by various organisations in many different countries, with varying levels of success. It has never been seen as being a viable option for delivering mail, due to the cost of the schemes and numerous failures.
The first Rocket Mail was launched in February 1931 by Friedrich Schmiedl (born in 1902), an engineer from Graz. He started a rocket with 100 letters aboard from Schoeckel hill to Sankt Radegund, a distance of two kilometres. But a few years later the property of explosive was avenged with death penalty. Schmiedl, an avowed pacifist, was afraid of using his documents for military research and burned them on the verge of the “occupation” by the Nazis.
After the war some research positions in the USA were offered, but Schmiedl cancelled (remember, he was pacifist) and became an official in the city council of Graz. He died in 1994.

(BTW: the English Wikipedia about rocket mail doesn’t even mention Schmiedl’s name. But I’m too lazy to update it.)

Graz’s Third Gift to the World: Sound of Aether


The world’s first wireless transmission of speech and music was performed by Ing. Otto Nußbaumer at the Graz University of Technology on June 15, 1904. He was using a wavelength of about 18 meters. As a test, he sang the traditional “Hoch vom Dachstein an” (*) and thus proved that it is possible to transfer music by means of electromagnetic transmission, undisturbed and without much bias. Of course, the distance was only 20 meters.
His colleagues didn’t believe in his work, didn’t really support it. Otto Nußbaumer was disappointed and never patented it. Too sad, ’cause Reginald Fessenden from Canada got most of the credit and is still being considered the pioneer of wireless transmission.

Today, wireless technology has developed into a wide variety of communication services, ranging from radio broadcasts to mobile telephony, the mobile internet, smart wireless chips and their applications. In 2004, the Graz University of Technology created a visiting professorship program in the memory of Otto Nußbaumer.

(*) Originally composed for no grander occasion than the 25th anniversary of the Styrian Agricultural Society. But the song soon became Styria’s official anthem.

Graz’s Second Gift to the World: The Sacred Mystery of the Cosmos


Johannes Kepler lived in Graz between 1594 and 1600. In Graz, Kepler began developing an original theory of cosmology based on the Copernican system, which was published in 1596 as Mysterium Cosmographicum — The Sacred Mystery of the Cosmos. Kepler proposed that the distance relationships between the six planets known at that time could be understood in terms of the five Platonic solids, enclosed within a sphere that represented the orbit of Saturn. This book explains Kepler’s cosmological theory, based on the Copernican system, in which the 5 Pythagorean regular polyhedra dictate the structure of the universe and reflect God’s plan through geometry. But — hey — the idea was false.
Later Kepler did some more mathematical thinking and he defined the Laws of Planetary Motion, one of the biggest break-throughs in science history. But that wasn’t in Graz. Sorry.

Graz’s First gift to the World: Slow Motion

For the next seven days, the Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling seven gifts their cities can share with the world – one gift a day for seven days (to see what the rest of the world is contributing, click here.


How fast and boring the world would be without it…
Imagine sport tv broadcastings, scientific documentary films, love tragedies and action movies without the superbe experience multiplier technique… slow motion.
The slow motion technology was invented in Graz by the Styrian pastor and physicist August Musger. He was a passionate cineast and invented a motion technique using a mirrored drum as a synchronizing mechanism. The technique was patented in 1904 and was presented in Graz on July 7, 1907 for the first time.
Graz and Styria is well know for its coziness – so it is a logic consequence that this technique was invented here…

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