Michael Krams Vignettes & Theorems

Michael Krams
On Gauss, Pizza and brilliant writing

on Gauss and how to hold your slice of pizza

Churchill’s dream

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” Churchill’s dream

Sean Spence – Homelessness

If Homelessness Were Genetic by Sean Spence If homelessness were genetic, Institutes would be constructed With tall white walls, And ‘driven’ people (with thick glasses) Would congregate In libraries And mumble. If homelessness were genetic Bright young things Would draft manifestos ‘To crack the problem’ Girls with braces on their teeth Would stoop to kiss […]


…Draußen vor dem Fenster saß eine Krähe auf einem Ast, sonst war nichts als die weiße, riesige, Fläche. Törleß fühlte, daß der Augenblick gekommen sei, wo er klar, deutlich, siegesbewußt von dem sprechen werde, das erst undeutlich und quälend, dann leblos und ohne Kraft in ihm gewesen war. Nicht als ob ein neuer Gedanke ihm […]

Nikita – “Space oddity”

“so call me, ok? i’ll be at home” “butterflies are god’s proof that we can have a second life” (albeit a short one, before we end up in god’s collection of q.e.d.s) “People make mistakes, they make bad choices, and then to make up for them, they make even worse ones. But if you give […]

L'idée vient en parlant – Heinrich von Kleist

[…it is so very challenging to play the instrument of the human mind …] for German text, go to bottom of page On the gradual formation of thoughts in the process of speech If there is something you wish to know and by meditation you cannot find it, my advice to you, my dear ingenious friend, […]

L'affaire FAREWELL

La mort du Loup Par Alfred de Vigny Les nuages couraient sur la lune enflammée Comme sur l’incendie on voit fuir la fumée, Et les bois étaient noirs jusques à l’horizon. Nous marchions sans parler, dans l’humide gazon, Dans la bruyère épaisse et dans les hautes brandes, Lorsque, sous des sapins pareils à ceux des […]

On the theatre of marionettes – Heinrich von Kleist

[…the bear’s seriousness discomposed me…] German text at the bottom of this page One evening in the winter of 1801 I met an old friend in a public park. He had recently been appointed principal dancer at the local theatre and was enjoying immense popularity with the public. I told him I had been surprised […]

Le bon jugement de la tres sainte et gracieuse Vierge Marie

…There is, for instance, one such poem, The Wanderings of Our Lady through Hell, with descriptions as bold as Dante’s. Our Lady visits hell, and the Archangel Michael leads her through the torments… There she sees one noteworthy set of sinners in a burning lake; some of these ‘God forgets’ sink to the bottom of […]

L'enfant terrible

Rosalinde Haas learned to play the organ at the age of seven, sitting next to her father, playing the pedal parts when her father would perform at church services. After studies at Stuttgart’s Academy of Music, she went on to work with Maestro Fernando Germani at the Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome, and also […]

Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff

Wünschelrute  Schläft ein Lied in allen Dingen, Die da träumen fort und fort, Und die Welt hebt an zu singen, Triffst du nur das Zauberwort.

Giuseppe Ungharetti

Tra un fiore colto e l’altro donato – l’inesprimibile nulla.

Deep sea fishing

Your fishing rod is exquisitely strong, flexible. You have plenty of line, and with fighting fish it can withstand 100 kiloponds of pressure, but not more: jerks exerting that threshold will make the line break. So the way you set the action controlling your line is crucial to winning the fight: too loose, your adversary […]

The old priest

His biretta made him look ridiculous, like Don Camillo, when I first met him, at the age of 12: I was his new organist, a tiny boy at the time, not to be taken seriously. The old priest by contrast, dressed all in black, looked impressive and powerful, his age didn’t show, he commanded respect. […]

Lisbon – The Day After
Lisbon - The Day After

In 1997 I had to give a talk in Lisbon. I arrived in the twilight of sunset and was impressed – amongst other things – by the large number of statues and monuments all across town, many carved out of white stone. The fin de siecle architecture of the surrounding buildings was accentuated by cast […]

Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff

Mondnacht Es war, als hätt der Himmel Die Erde still geküßt, Daß sie im Blütenschimmer Von ihm nun träumen müßt. Die Luft ging durch die Felder, Die Ähren wogten sacht, Es rauschten leis die Wälder, So sternklar war die Nacht. Und meine Seele spannte Weit ihre Flügel aus, Flog durch die stillen Lande, Als flöge […]

Mis en bouteille au chateau

In the southwest of France, there is a haunted castle that is said to house in its cellar 391 bottles, mis en bouteille au chateau. The label on each is code for an idea, describing a desire dissolved in red wine, waiting to be reborn. Imagine you are the cellar master, tasked with exchanging the […]

Mozart himself

As a young boy I used to stand in front of my father’s loudspeakers and conduct the orchestra that was playing for me, just for me, through the broadcast of the local radio station. In my imagination the musicians were exquisitely reactive to any of my desires. On one of these occasions, however, it suddenly […]

The seventh bullet – or the legal framework of heavenly redemption

Incompetence stinks – but of what: Heaven or Hell? In romantic opera, incompetent marksmen forfeit their soul to the devil and then go off to cast magic bullets, to never miss their target again. In Der Freischütz (Carl Maria von Weber, premiered in Berlin 1821) Max gets seven shots. The price of firing the seventh […]