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Wohlgefällig … Миша Wolf … Shining me on 19th of April, 2006 ANTE·MERIDIEM 12:01

Ich bekam während des Wochenendes eine Email von einer Freundin, die ich nicht seit einem Jahr gesehen habe, und der Empfang dieser Mail hat es noch einmal erklärt, das ich meinen aktuellen Lebensstil verändern muss. Die ist wohlgefällig, charmant, und wir passen gut zusammen; ich rede mit ihr gerne, und sie mit mir, aber falls ich ledig bin, verbringe ich die zwei Wochen nach so einer Konversation ganz deprimiert, da sie kein Interesse für mich hat. Wenn ich mit einer Frau zusammen bin, kann ich mich mit ihr beschäftigen, und diese Depression vermeiden, und das ist gut so.

Diese Freundin hat mir eingeladen einen Besuch bei ihr zu machen, aber da ich jede Nacht zu Hause bleibe, mit vielen Büchern, und dem Internet, und deshalb wenig Gelegenheiten habe, neue (lokalen) Frauen zu treffen, werde ich ledig bleiben, und wird die Nachfolgen eines solchen Besuches nicht leicht zu tolerieren. (Also, es gab und gibt finanziellen und anderen Gründe dafür, dass ich mein Leben so führe; ich sage nur dass es mir nun klar ist, dass ich Gründe (ja, es gibt andere, finanzielle, zum Beispiel) habe dieses Verhältnis zu beenden.)

Markus „Mischa“ Wolf was the highly-effective head of the foreign intelligence part of the Stasi from the fifties to the mid eighties. Joel of Far Outliers mentions him in this post; but his wider story is fascinating, in the way that those of realistically evil people often are. Of Jewish background, left Germany with his Communist father and the rest of his family in 1934, took Soviet citizenship, went back to Germany in May 1945, gave up Soviet citizenship in the early fifties, pursued his foreign intelligence strategy with good judgement and success for decades. John le Carré’s “Karla” was based on him, apparently; I would love to read his autobiography, but would prefer not to help him in his comfortable retirement by buying it. Must join a library.

Phrase of the day; in North American English, “shining you on” means “conning you,” “pulling the wool over your eyes.” One Usenet post dates it to ~1971 and calls it Jazz slang, but since it’s not clear on the meaning—and it does mean what I write, look at the Google results—I’m not over-inclined to believe she’s right. It’s not in the OED, maybe I should send it in to them.


I google for your title word. Ah! History of psychology tells us you need to show off your golden section.

In what might have been the first survey ever undertaken in history concerning people’s psychological preferences, Fechner (1876, Vol. 1, pp. 190-202) tested 228 men and 119 women in a controlled study designed to determine which one of several rectangles was found most likeable [wohlgefallig] by most people. Benjafield’s graph of the resulting data (Figure 5.3, p. 97) shows that the golden section rectangle was the most favoured, and that there was a bell-like distribution of choices about that mode.

Someone once told me to read Fechner’s The Soul Life of Plants upon seeing how depressed I was (early college). He said that Fechner wrote it out of coming from a deep depression and realized that everything was alive. but I never found it.


(I try to ring your bell. "hello? hello? It’s only me. Open the golden door.")

Well, I translated it with “winsome” which is okay in context, I think. I must get put up a golden-ratio door for this sort of thing.

Und wenn diese Freundin diese Eintrag liest? Rock on, cut your own path, change can only come from within, don’t listen to anyone else (except me) and all that stuff. Tell me, do you have an Irish local there in Berlin, or have you avoided them?

Und wenn? Sie (die den Besuch vorgeschlagen hat) weißt es zum großen Teil schon. Oder meinst du die möglicherweise andere Frau? („diesen Eintrag“!)

Jein, I have an Irish local, but I’ve been staying in, so I’ve been there once in the last six months. And I need to continue staying in until I get a better-paid job. Which better-paid job should be my immediate priority.


"Jein" is such a fantastic word.

Indeed. I also love „doch“; English really needs a single word for “oh yes <positive restatement of a negatively posed question>”. „Doch“ is so much more succinct than “oh yes you did.” (Spanish could do with it too, but “Sí, hiciste” isn’t so bad, I suppose.)

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