Friday, February 26, 2016

Betty MacDonald and the unique house in Seattle


Betty MacDonald in the living room at Vashon on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.

Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

i’m reading Betty MacDonald’s or Wolfgang Hampel’s books or like now I’m listening to Betty MacDonald’s sister Alison Bard Burnett. 

Alison Bard Burnett shares very funny and witty stories with us that I have to laugh all the time.

She is terribly witty. 

You can feel that Alison Bard Burnett and Wolfgang Hampel had lots of fun.

I can imagine sitting in Sydney’s house in the University District drinking lots of coffee and listening to these wonderful storytellers.

Betty MacDonald fan club honor members will be included in Wolfgang Hampel's new project Vita Magica.

Wolfgang Hampel's Vita Magica guest reader today was a famous politician. 

Many visitors enjoyed it very much.  

We hope to hear from  Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli  very soon. 

Don't miss new breakfast with Brad and Nick, please.

Mount Rainier National Park is a magical place.

This entry could be next  ESC 2016 winner.

Many ESC fans from all over the world are very glad that Jamie-Lee won the preselection.

Outstanding singer and song!



Vita Magica

Betty MacDonald fan club

Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund 

Ein lyrisches Portrait von Hilde Domin

Betty MacDonald fan Club honor member, artist and writer Letizia Mancino shares her delightful story THE SECOND PARADISE. 

Enjoy the brilliant translation by Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mary Holmes, please.

Thanks a million dearest Mary Holmes!

I'm one of Letizia's and Mary's many devoted fans.

Letizia Mancino sent this connecting piece to " The Second Paradise".


Copyright 2011/2015 by Letizia Mancino

translated by Mary Holmes 

All rights reserved

That was how my friend Hilde Domin was, dear Betty! You would have liked her so much. She had also been in America. At that time you were a famous author but she was still unknown.

-Did she love cats like you do?

-Yes Betty, she sure did!! Otherwise how do you think she could have been a friend of mine?

-Oh Letizia, don’t boast! Hilde was famous!

-It’s all the same to me, Betty, whether a person is famous or not but that person must love animals

-Why was she as defiant as a cock?

-Well Betty, she was simply so!

-Like a pregnant woman in my “Egg and I”?

-No not so! Betty, Hilde was a whole farm!

- A farm, how was that?

- No Betty, Hilde was more! Almost a zoo! Even more. She was all the animals in the world!

-You loved her very much.

-As I love all animals. 

You Betty, if I had known you, I would have loved you exactly so because you loved animals.

-But as defiant as a cock from my Bob-farm!

-Yes and no! (Hilde really loved this double form of answer). Listen Betty , I’ll tell you a story about how Hilde was. You would certainly have loved her.
I’ll call my story “The Second Paradise”.


Copyright 2011/2015 by Letizia Mancino

translated by Mary Holmes

All rights reserved

The Lord God, one day, met Adam in Paradise and saw him lying under a palm.

And God spoke to him: Adam, my son, are you happy, are you content with Paradise ?

Adam answered: Oh Lord, it is wonderful!

And God said: But I will create a second Paradise and give you a wife.

Adam answered: Oh Lord, that is wonderful!

And God said: I will create the wife according to your wishes.

And Adam stood under the palm and thought hard.

And God said: Adam, are you ready?

Adam answered: My wife should be as lively as a bird but she should not fly. She should swim like a goldfish but not be a fish….. She should be as playful as a cat but not catch mice….. She should be as busy as an ant but not so small.

And God said: So shall she be: Like a bird, a goldfish, a cat, an ant…

Adam answered: Oh Lord, that is wonderful, but she should be as faithful as a dog.

And God asked: Adam, have you finished?

Oh Lord, cried Adam. She should also be as delightful and gentle as a lamb and as defiant as a cock!

….She should be as curious as a monkey and as pampered as a lapdog.

And God said: So shall she be.

And Adam said: My wife should be as courageous as a lion and as headstrong as a goat…

And God said: So, like a bird, a goldfish, a cat, an ant, a dog, a lamb, a cock, a monkey, a lapdog, a lion, a goat… and slowly and surely he wished to begin creating…

But Adam stretched himself under the palm and called:

Lord, Lord, she should be as adaptable as a chameleon but not creep on four feet.

She should have sparkling eyes like, like… real diamonds. She should be as fiery as a volcano

But … she should have crystal-clear thoughts like a mountain spring.

God, the Almighty, was speechless…

And Adam spoke: Also she should be as quick as lightening…

And God said: Man, have you finished????

No, said Adam! She should be as strong as a horse, as long living as an elephant but as light as a butterfly!

God found Adam’s thoughts were good and said: So, bird, goldfish, cat, ant, dog, lamb, cock, monkey, lapdog, lion, goat, chameleon, genuine diamonds, volcano, mountain spring, lightening, horse, elephant…. butterfly…

God wished at last to begin creating her…

Lord, called Adam… she should be as stable as steel, but as sweet as three graceful women in one…

And God asked: Should she also be a poet?

Yes, called Adam from under the palm…

And God said: Adam have you finished?

Lord, I wish that, in the second Paradise I shall be one and doubled:

So God according to Adams last words created:



Very best wishes

Letizia Mancino 

How Germany fell out of love with Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel has survived many crises since 2005 - but as one million migrants enter the country, is she still the right leader for Germany?






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Six months ago Angela Merkel was being hailed as the saviour of Europe, living up to the continent’s founding ideals of openness and tolerance by throwing open the gates of Germany to millions of refugees fleeing the horrors of Syria’s civil war.
“We can do it!” she cried, welcoming the first trainloads of refugees into Munich as they were applauded onto the platforms by crowds, who wanted to show that Germany was different from Hungary and other eastern European states that had spurned this human tide.
That was September – but how quickly the mood seems to have soured, as Germany comes to terms with the realities involved in absorbing more than a million migrants who were promised a better life.
Mrs Merkel has borne the brunt of the fallout. Her personal approval ratings hit a four-year-low this month, with Germany’s leading mass-market newspaper, Bild, posing a front-page question that seemed unthinkable only a year ago: “Is Merkel still the right one?” 
Here we try to answer that question. Is Europe’s Iron Lady really finished? What can she do to arrest her precipitous slide – 12 points last month alone – in the polls?
Is the most powerful politician in Europe about to be swept away by events in Syria, Turkey and North Africa that are increasingly beyond her control?

The first thing to remember: Merkel has been here before …

No doubt things look bad for Mrs Merkel right now, but before she gets written off completely, it’s worth recalling that she has been here before – back in September 2011 – when her popularity dipped below 50 per cent.
Back then, the German public were angry about the government’s handling of the Eurozone crisis - and the prospect of bailing out Greece. They also rejected her decision to cling on to Germany’s nuclear power stations despite the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
Ever the pragmatist, Mrs Merkel moved to fix the problem, out-flanking opposition in the party, declaring that Germany would shut all its nuclear power stations by 2022 and stepping in to put the Eurozone crisis to bed – at least in the short term.
Two years after the pundits predicted she was finished, Mrs Merkel stormed to victory in the general election on the back of a campaign that focused around her personal popularity and steady management of the Eurozone issue. She almost won an outright majority and enjoyed a stratospheric 77 per cent approval rating from 2012 to 2014.

'Only a fool would take on Merkel'

Maybe. But maybe not. Those who would predict Mrs Merkel’s imminent political demise should note that despite all the negatives surrounding the migrant crisis – the unregistered millions, the Cologne sex attacks – she still retains approval ratings most European leaders would kill for.
So Germany hasn't quite fallen out of love with her. Better to say the romance is on the rocks. One German political commentator said last year that only a fool would take on Mrs Merkel because she had “Panzer divisions of popularity”. Anyone who attempts a party coup would “just destroy himself”, Prof Karl-Rudolf Korte said.
Angela Merkel's personal approval ratings hit a four-year-low this month 
Angela Merkel's personal approval ratings hit a four-year-low this month
It is worth noting that if there was an election tomorrow her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party would still be the biggest in Germany, and its current coalition would still command a majority.

A number of reasons. Perhaps chief among these is that Mrs Merkel doesn’t have a serious rival at the moment, either among the parties or political personalities.
Germany’s next biggest party, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) is already in coalition with Mrs Merkel’s CDU and is tainted by the same policies. That leaves the Greens and the Left Party - who themselves took a liberal approach to the refugees, giving them limited credibility to attack Mrs Merkel on the issue.
Then there is “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) party which has nearly tripled its following from 4.7 per cent to 12.5 per cent since the refugee crisis began. But given the fear of resurgence of the far-Right that is baked into German society, it is unlikely they will ever be more than a fringe player.
As for a personal rival, after 11 years bestriding the political stage, there is no-one in sight. Horst Seehofer, her biggest critic, heads the Christian Social Union (CSU), a party that only exists in Bavaria and therefore can't mount a challenge on a national level.
That leaves only Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s hawkish finance minister. He has the profile and he'd love the job, but so far he hasn't dared take on Mrs Merkel. He's also in his seventies and would be a divisive figure at a European level after his handling of the Greek debt crisis.

So nothing to worry about? She’ll come back strong again?

If only it were that simple. In 2011 events were very much within Mrs Merkel’s control, but this time things are very different.
Back then, she committed to shutting the nuclear power stations, agreed to a Greek bailout, negotiated through the arguments over tax cuts, and went on to win re-election.
But this time German fiscal firepower cannot end wars in the Middle East, nor can it force Turkey to stop more refugees from leaving the Turkish camps for the shores of Greece and Italy. Germany diplomacy has also failed to get other EU states to “do their bit”.
Thousands of life jackets discarded by refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos 
Thousands of life jackets discarded by refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos  Photo: Tasos Markou/The Telegraph

Could fears of Grexit return amid refugee chaos?

There are no quick fixes. Mrs Merkel has already done what she can at home. She’s tightened asylum rules to stop economic migrants abusing the system, adding much of the Balkans and North Africa to a list of “safe countries” whose citizens are automatically rejected. The German government has also made it harder for asylum-seekers to bring their families to join them in Germany.
In the wake of the Cologne attacks, she has made it easier to deport asylum-seekers who commit crimes.
But beyond that things get tricky. Mrs Merkel cannot shut Germany’s borders to refugees like Sweden, Denmark or Austria have done, because then everyone else would follow suit. That would mean the collapse of the Schengen free-movement zone, which Europe cannot afford.
She can go on repeated diplomatic missions to Turkey to beg Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, to act to stop the flow of asylum-seekers to Europe. The trouble is that the Turks keep asking for more money in return for their help, in addition to the €3 billion (£2.3 billion) the EU has already promised. And there are growing doubts over how much Mr Erdogan is really willing — or able — to do.
A migrant rests at the Berlin Office of Health and Social Affairs last month
If Mrs Merkel can’t get Turkey to solve the problem for her, the only alternative is to bottle it up in Greece, the entry point for most asylum-seekers. The EU can pour money in to help the Greeks cope with the numbers, build more refugee camps, and secure the border.
But that could cause chaos in a country that is only just recovering from the latest in a long series of economic crises. If Greece finds itself facing the refugee problem alone, there could be a new wave of protests, snap elections and unrest.
The possibility of Grexit could rear its head again, just as Mrs Merkel and the EU thought they had put it to bed.

So what happens next?

The crucial test for Mrs Merkel will be elections in three German states next month. It was defeat in a state election that triggered the downfall of her predecessor Gerhard Schröder in 2005.
Mrs Merkel’s CDU does not have to win the state votes on March 13, but if it does not make a respectable showing the party could panic and look to appoint a new leader in time for next year’s national elections.
She is also facing a legal challenge from the indefatigable Mr Seehofer, who has vowed to challenge her refugee policy in the courts as unconstitutional.
CSU head Horst Seehofer

Merkel triumphant: the best-case scenario

If she manages to pull off victory in the state elections, Mrs Merkel will be able to answer her critics with the one argument that matters: she can still deliver the votes. The muttering in the party will fall silent, potential challengers will pledge their loyalty, and Mrs Merkel will have a little more breathing space. But with two more state elections in September, she will have to keep delivering.
If the far-Right challenge from the AfD fails to materialise it will be a bonus for Mrs Merkel, who will be able to argue the votes in Germany remain in the centre.
If Mr Seehofer’s legal challenge fails in the courts or turns out to be an empty threat, the threat from his CSU party will fade.

Merkel clings on: the middle scenario

If the CDU does badly in the state elections Mrs Merkel will have to act fast to keep control. She may face a challenge from within the party but be able to hold it off, citing her formidable record and promising a change of policy.
She will have to find some way to change course, as she did after a bad showing in 2011 state elections.
Calls for Mrs Merkel to be replaced could gather momentum
Her options are limited. She could return to the idea of holding asylum-seekers at transit camps on the border, which she previously rejected. Or she could agree to impose a limit on the number of asylum-seekers Germany will accept. But it is hard to see how a limit could be enforced without closing the border.
If Mr Seehofer’s legal challenge to the country’s asylum policy is upheld in the courts, it could plunge Germany into a constitutional crisis and leave Mrs Merkel facing calls to resign. But she could use it as cover for a U-turn, claiming she had no choice but to follow the court’s ruling.

Merkel falls: the doomsday scenario

If the state election results are disastrous for the CDU, calls for Mrs Merkel to be replaced could gather momentum. If the AfD performs better than expected, it will be seen as proof German public opinion has shifted significantly to the right, and Mrs Merkel is out of touch.
If her famous pragmatic instincts desert her and she tries to dig her heels in over her refugee policy, opposition could quickly coalesce around a challenger from within the party.
There is no obvious candidate now — but Mrs Merkel was far from an obvious candidate when she came out of nowhere to seize the party crown from Helmut Kohl, the man who had presided over the reunification of Germany.
If Mrs Merkel falls, the repercussions will be felt far beyond Germany’s borders. In recent years she has been the dominant political force within the EU, and there is no guarantee a new German chancellor could fill that role by default.
It was largely Mrs Merkel who steered the EU though the Eurozone crisis. If she falls with the continent divided over refugees, new leadership will have to emerge somewhere. David Cameron has his hands full keeping Britain in the EU. Could Francois Hollande step up to the plate? Could a new German chancellor?
Additional reporting by Tom Pilgrim