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Heads... do not just prevent rain from falling into your neck.

Looking at each other, it is usually the head we notice at first. Especially the eyes is what we look into (except for some men looking deeper). You remember Bogey whispering in Casablanca: "Here's looking at you, kid...?" And so also this page is dedicated to heads, and as so often it all started with... a picture. Enjoy!

What did you expect seeing the title of this page, Heads? Well, more boring pictures and long loading time probably. Hope you feel wrong...?

Most people are afraid to make jokes about themselves and possibly look ugly. Nearby dress code compliant animation of ourselves was inspired by a head-growing alien in the Men in Black movies.

This is why the page was called Heads in the first place!

Head 2 Toe

Running into a former colleague again after a loong time, he at first examined me from head to toe. We knew each other from the days of military service and after that had by coincidence worked for the same company for a while, but then lost track of each other. Barely recognizing me at first, he asked immediately, whether they fed me so well... When he brought the same subject up for a second time during our short conversation, I told him that I was already trying to pull my belly in all the time. Straight forward as he is, next he wanted to know whether someone had smacked my cheek... Which is when I explained the origin of my black and blue stain in a recent root canal treatment at the dentist's. Some people are really down to earth, no fancy talk, straight to the point. Kind of hitting the nail right on the head. I like that. Then we just had to go. Funny, whom you meet in a shopping mall, when you search for a restroom...

Mr Potato Head

Turning one's back to hectic civilization before it is too late, is one thing. A macabre joke an uncle of mine made with a friend, who was confined to his bed after an operation, is another. "We will hang a potato up above your head, so that you can already get used to watch the potatoes from below," they teased him, alluding to a burial. On the following weekend my uncle had a heart attack himself and after a stent placement to keep the artery open, the other guy visited him at the sick bed asking: "What's with the potato now?" When he told me the story, sitting on a bench in front of the hospital, he had already found his humour again. I felt reminded of a line from the STS song "Someday I'll just stay there (Irgendwann bleib i dann dort)": "But before the heart attack knocks me with forty into diapers back, I already lie somewhere on a beach, a bottle red wine in the hand and stretch my feet into the white sand..."

Talking so much about heads, here is a picture of our youngest playing with his Mister Potato Head toy.

A Salute To The Head

A salute is performed by raising the right hand to the forehead. It is the most common form of a military greeting, going back to medieval times when knights would raise the visor of their helmets to expose their face. It had been a typical rainy and cold autumn day when and a friend and I went to the military parade on the Austrian National Holiday, taking my kids on our shoulders (before they became too heavy) so that they would have a better view of the event. A display of the much-maligned armed forces, the defense army of a small country that had not been on the winning side in past World Wars and cropped down from the dimensions needed for an empire to the size feasible for a modern, neutral mini-state.

Since protecting borders plays a minor role for a country in the very center of the European Union, there are of course discussions, whether or not the military is obsolete in today's world. At the same time charitable organizations benefit from cheap labour provided by the alternative civil service for those who do not wish to defend their homeland and instead decide to support the community by patient transport, geriatric care, as school crossing guard or otherwise. It remains a loophole though that those discharged as not fit for military service cannot be drafted for administrative activities and do not have to do compulsory social service either.

Austrian military units would regularly participate in international humanitarian supportive deployments by the U.N. peace keeping forces and be there whenever natural disasters - the own country is mostly spared of - require immediate assistance on a big scale. Be it in case of a flood or an avalanche or patrolling green borders, Austrian soldiers guarantee "Schutz & Hilfe - protection & help", where needed. During our own military service we had parodied the popular slogan as "Putz & Hilfe - cleaning & help", as we had to wash up our room and hallway in the barracks every day between wake-up and morning role call. The commands still echo in my ears: "Ha-a-bt acht! Ruht! Abtreten! - A-a-attention! At ease! Dismissed!" Just as W.Ambros used to parody in his song "Tagwache - Rise and Shine", which was back then banned from air play, an early form of preventing "radio"-activity.

Despite unpopularity of compulsory military service and partially over-aged equipment, it is amazing how much interest the annual performance showcase at the Hero's Square in Vienna's city center would attract. Young and (much) older kids are seen all over the place, climbing inside and on top of tanks, helicopters and the much debated investment into interceptor planes. And so also our boy would show interest in sitting on a tank's cannon barrel and wearing a "Top Gun"-style bomber jacket. His sister stayed at home this time, obviously for becoming a big fan of the peace sign, which underwent a transformation from a pacifistic flower-power symbol to a stylish fashion brand logo for clothes, bags and the likes.

Sitting on a friend's broad shoulders and on a gun turrent at the annual military parade.

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