Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Two Popes Are None Too Many

Before Francis and Benedict exchanged the brotherly kiss the latter
 had taken off his white zucchetto (skullcap) as a sign of deference (©afp).
Zwei Päpste sind keiner zu viel was the title of an article in the Badische Zeitung on February 24, referring to the first public appearance of former Pope Benedict. He who had said following his resignation that he would like to live hidden from the world assisted in the consecration ceremony for 19 new cardinals on Saturday, February 22. Among them was our new man in the Vatican Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, somewhat long for Roman Inquisitor. Insiders rumored that 86 year old Benedict, who had been the supreme guardian of the faith during 24 years before being elected pope, wanted to meet his successor.

Pope Francis puts the cardinal's hat on Gerhard Ludwig Müller's head (©dpa)
Following his elevation, Müller invited to a Volksfest in Rot-Weiß-Blau as Freiburg's Sunday paper Der Sonntag reported. No, the color sequence cited does neither refer to the French tricolor (bleu-blanc-rouge) nor to the flag of the Russian Federation (белый-синий-красный) but is an allusion to the scarlet red of the cardinals and the colors of Bavaria: weiß-blau. In fact, Müller, a born Rhinelander, had invited to a Bavarian Brotzeit (second breakfast) with Bratwurst, Leberkäse (meatloaf), potato salad, and beer brewed according to the original Bavarian Purity Law. Knowing that Benedict adores Bavarian Schmankerln (goodies), the new cardinal tried to lure his predecessor to the party. The latter, however, preferred to return to his books to read and to write.

Among the new cardinal's distinguished guests there were people well known in Germany as Gloria, the Princess of Thurn and Taxis, Ernst von Freyberg, the CIO of the Banco di Vaticano, Hermann Gröhe, Christian Democrat and German Federal Minister of Health, and unexpectedly Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the still Bishop of Limburg.

Remember my blog about the ugliest word (Unwort) of the year 2013? The word was GroKo for Grand Coalition, but the word Protz-Bischof came in second, and the ostentatious bishop is nobody else than Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.

The story goes like this: In 2004, Limburg's cathedral chapter proposed to re-build the episcopal see. Following some protests about the costs, the cathedral chapter decided at the end of 2007 to cap the expenses at 1.65 million euros. This ceiling was raised to 2 million in February 2008 and had eventually increased to 5.5 million in 2012. When the diocesan center opened in June 2013, the total building costs were given as 9,85 million euros. Germany's Catholics were appalled.

The Protzbau of Bishop Tebartz-van Elst seen from Limburg's cathedral on the right.
Note the atrium in the middle of the building complex (©epa/dpa)
To make a long story short. Pope Francis suspended the luxurious bishop, and a board of inquiry was installed. Tabartz-van Elst now spends his time oscillating between a Bavarian monastery and the Vatican while the public is still waiting for the final report of the investigation.

Meanwhile, the total costs are estimated to be even higher than 31 million euros, and it appears that money collected for the poor had been (ab)used on the project.

Germany is one of the very few countries in the world where people compulsory pay an up to 10% addition to their regular tax as a church tax (either to the Catholic or the Lutheran Church). Catholics thinking about their tax money being spent on the bishop's luxury presently leave their Church by the thousands just to avoid paying the church tax.

The bishop proudly presents his atrium with fountain (©alliance/dpa)
Today February 26, 2014, the German public is still waiting for the report of the board of inquiry. Is this a good or a bad sign?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Hops & Barley

When riding the train in Germany I like to browse through a monthly magazine issued by the Deutsche Bahn. The topics usually deal with traveling and places to visit. Issue 3/2014 featured an article about craft brewing in Germany. My loyal readers surely remember my lamentations about the dullness of German beer: Reinheitsgebot (purity law) means Einheitsplörre (unified muck). Many, in particular young beer drinkers, in Germany are bored or even disgusted so that the per capita consumption of our national beverage has decreased from 140 liters in the 90ies to 100 liters nowadays.

This sad situation brought micro brewery start-ups on to the scene. It was astonishing to read that the persons now brewing craft beer in Germany not only acquire their knowledge in Belgium - with its long and diversified brewing tradition - but rather travel to the States. These beer pilgrims modified the old socialist slogan: Von der UdSSR lernen, heißt siegen lernen (Learning from the USSR means learning how to win) to Von Amerika lernen, heißt brauen lernen (Learning from the States means learning how to brew beer). No wonder that some of the start-ups in Germany chose English names like: Hops & Barley, BrewBaker, Ale-Project. The usually young craft brewers even import aromatic hops from California as German hops tastes as unified as beer of our globally playing big breweries. Since the bitterness of German Pilsner was castrated to please ladies' palates the big seller among craft beers became IPA (Indian Pale Ale) containing more than four times the amount of hops than Pils. These beers taste like Hopalicious, a Madison ale, that once saturated my taste buds. The center of craft beers in Germany is Berlin but even in Erding, in our "beerland" Bavaria, you will find a start-up: the Ale-Project.

For the time being these micro breweries contribute less than one percent to the German beer market. However, craft brewers are looking forward and proudly announce: Hopfen, Malz und Muskelschmalz (Hops, malt and muscular strength) modifying and somewhat defying the traditional Bavarian saying: Hopfen und Malz, Gott erhalt's.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Goslar and Bielefeld

Two small German towns lately made it into feature articles of the Badische Zeitung: Goslar and Bielefeld. When during a party the host asked one of his guests where he came from and the guest answered "Bielefeld" the host's reaction was: Bielefeld, das gibt's doch nicht. With this remark the host expressed his astonishment meaning: what a surprise, I don't believe it, it knocks me off my heels that you are from Bielefeld.

However, Bielefeld, das gibt's doch nicht literarily means the town of Bielefeld is a fake, it does not exist. Since 1994 this so-called Bielefeld Conspiracy is a running joke on the Internet and on German television. I was reminded last week when a feature article in the Badische Zeitung came back to it.

Red Baron never was in Bielefeld but I read the name for the first time on July 21, 1944, standing on a platform of the Paderborn station waiting for the train to ... Bielefeld. Why do I remember that particular date? While my family was waiting on the platform my father went to the entrance hall, bought a newspaper, came back, and told us: Yesterday an assassination attempt on Hitler failed. The train drawn by a steam locomotive eventually arrived and dropped us off at Hövelhof, a village with the only feature that a single track to the town of Gütersloh branches off from the double tracks to Bielefeld.

I am astonished looking at the picture of the Bahnhof in Hövelhof on ©Wikipedia.
It has not changed over the last seventy years.
Hövelhof was the place where I lived for two years and here is the place to write about my first encounter with the English language. Once the US Army had rolled over Westphalia in general and Hövelhof in particular around Easter 1945 we children curiously walked through the occupied village. I suddenly noticed a page on the ground with a drawing and among the many words I read and could not understand I spelled the word Look. Look? I only knew the word Lok short for Lokomotive in German.

Red Baron's Pacific Lok of 1940
Coming back to Bielefeld. This year Bielefeld celebrates its foundation in 1214. The slogan for the event is: 800 Jahre Bielefeld, das gibt's doch nicht! Don't say Germans have no sense of humor.

The other small town in Germany that made it into the Badische Zeitung is Goslar located at the foot of the Harz mountains. Red Baron was there twice so it definitely exists. Goslar is the site of a Kaiserpfalz (Medieval Imperial Palace) and its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Wilhelm der Große aka Wilhelm I, first Kaiser of the Second Reich,
in front of the Kaiserpfalz in Goslar.
The glassed windows are from the 20th century.
Goslar also served as a historical set for a recent George Clooney movie The Monuments Men. Last week when the movie was presented at the Berlinade, the Berlin Film Festival, the people from Goslar were deeply disappointed. Most of the nice pictures taken showing their beautiful town had been cut.

Bill Murray, Burkhard Rösner, and George Clooney at Steinberg-Alm (©ARD)
Goslar exists but you may ask: George Clooney had he really been there? He apparently took some shots at the Steinberg-Alm, where George had a Schnitzel for lunch and his team Almgröstl mit Spiegelei (Roasted potatoes mixed with meat and crowned with a fried egg) and Kaiserschmarrn (a shredded pancake). Since then owner and chef Burkhard Rösner venerates some photos and serves a Steak Clooney as a proof that handsome George was there.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Already Mark Twain noted: The German language is awful, but many English speakers envy us for the possibility of combining old words making new ones.
Here I am neither referring to the well known but artificial: Donau/dampf/schiff/fahrts/gesellschafts/kapitäns/mütze nor to the 127 letter word for the financial debt of the Federal Republic of Germany amounting to zweibillioneneinhundertfünfundzwanzigmilliardeneinhundertfünfundzwanzigmillioneneinhundertachttausendzweihundertzweiunddreißig
(2,125,125,108,232) euro and rising.

Each year German linguists at the University of Frankfurt choose the Unwort des Jahres, the ugliest or monstrous word of the year. In 2012 I was wrong with my guess Altersarmut (old-age poverty). The elected word instead was Opfer-Abo: Frauen haben vor Gericht und in der öffentlichen Meinung ein Opfer-Abo (women have a subscription to being victims in court and in public opinion).

In 2013 the chosen Unwort was Sozialtourismus (social tourism) meaning that poor people with many children from Southern Europe will travel north to profit from the financial benefits of Germany's social security system.

I just read that there exists even a Peta-Unwort. With Peta being the suffix for 1015 I initially assumed that it stood for an enhancement like, Mega, Giga, and Tera but then I learned that PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. With this knowledge I understand the German Peta-Unwort for 2013: Pelzernte meaning the mass-killing of mostly young animals to harvest their furs.

©Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache
Well, not all new words are ugly. The Society for the German Language elects a word of the year describing a complex situation by a newly formed word or expression. As my loyal readers already know, the short word in 2013 was GroKo. The word I liked or rather dislike mostly only came in fourth place: Zinsschmelze meaning that with inflation and the present interest rates, you see your money in the bank melting down like snow in the sun.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

St. Valentine's Decade

Red Baron still remembers those years when we had neither Halloween nor Valentine's Day in Germany. Last Friday thanks to globalization and commerce - any day is good for selling - department stores and flower shops made an good deal here in Freiburg.

That, however, is nothing to what happened in Strasbourg last week. The French on the other side of the Rhine not only had adopted the American feast day earlier than the Germans but in the meantime have developed St. Valentine's Day even further true to their slogan: En France, nous n’avons pas de pétrole, mais nous avons des idées ! (In France we have no oil but ideas!). Voilà, here comes the St. Valentine's Decade (No, not ten years but ten days).

And what do my American friends who invented Slow Food think about the pleasures of a slow party?

Both photos ©

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Second Thirty Years' War

This expression came up in a recent series of articles in DER SPIEGEL about the First World War. It is not clear who coined the unwieldy term first.

As early as 1941 De Gaulle talked in a radio broadcast from his exile in London about la nouvelle Guerre de Trente Ans. In 1947 the French Jesuit Albert Muller published a study: La seconde guerre de trente ans, 1914–1945. The first mention of the term in English is attributed to Winston Churchill. In his book The Second World War, published from 1948, he wrote that the war was simply the completion of a second Thirty Years' War.

The First Thirty Years' War, mostly fought by foreign troupes on German territory, started with the Second Defenestration of Prague on May 23, 1618, and ended with the Peace of Westphalia signed on October 24, 1848. It lasted thirty years and five months.

Europe's Second Thirty Years' War comprised the First World War that started with the Austrian declaration of war on Serbia on July 28, 1914, and ended with the German surrender in the Second World War on May 8, 1945. The Second Thirty Years' War lasted thirty years and nine month.

For me the notion of a Second Thirty Years' War was difficult to understand until I saw a photo taken in 1941 with Hitler contemplating a memory plate for Gavrilo Princip in Sarajewo. In this place on August 28, 1914, the student had started it all in assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife. In 1941 the Austrian and naturalized German citizen had finally taken revenge. His Wehrmacht had occupied Serbia.

Sarajewo 1941 (©dpa)
Many intelligent books have been written about the First World War and here is not the place to enlarge the topic further although I shall surely come back to some special aspects of the event that shaped the history of the 20th century. Gavrilo Princip's bullets just were the trigger of a global conflict. Fact is that since 1871 Germany feared encirclement by France and Russia and later even more so by the Triple Alliance the two powers had concluded with Britain.

Following Germany's and Austria's* defeat in 1919 President Wilson had understood that future conflicts in Europe must be avoided. As DER SPIEGEL writes: With his Fourteen Points Wilson drafted a new world order, in which all nations were granted a right to self-determination. But when it came to stepping into America's new role as a hegemon, Congress withdrew its support by forcing the president to agree to a strict policy of nonintervention. The Europeans were on their own once again with French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau pressing for, what was later termed, the Diktat-Frieden of Versailles.
*The multiethnic state being reduced to its German-speaking population excluding the Sudeten.

DER SPIEGEL continues: The resulting peace was one with conditions that were insufficiently draconian to permanently weaken the German Reich, and yet too severe not to give rise to a desire among the losers to reverse the peace when the next opportunity arose.

From Germany's perspective, the victors' demands were not only immoderate, but also served as a constant reminder of defeat. Germany's total war reparations, enforced with massive threats, amounted to 132 billion gold marks, payable in 66 annual installments, together with 26 percent of the value of its exports. Present-day Germany was still suffering the consequences until 2010, when Berlin made its last interest payment on foreign bonds it had issued after World War I to satisfy the Allies' demands for reparations. The most agonizing aspect of the war repayment was its duration.

While President Wilson in 1919 had been a man of good will President Roosevelt was fed up with those Germans in 1945: We have got to be tough with Germany. You either have to castrate the German people or you have got to treat them so they can't just go on reproducing people who want to continue as in the past. Henry Morgenthau cast Roosevelt's ideas in his well known plan throwing Germans back into the Middle Ages, i.e., transforming Germany into a country principally agricultural and pastoral in character. It was Winston Churchill who eventually came to the defense of the Germans when in Quebec in September 1944, he snapped at Morgenthau that he would not allow himself to be chained to a dead Germany.

Germans were eventually spared of Morgenthau's ideas thanks to a US public outcry over his plan and fear of the Russians. Instead West Germany profited from the Marshall Plan and the US taught us democracy and love for peace. However, before Franz Josef Strauß stated in 1949:  Wer noch einmal das Gewehr in die Hand nehmen will, dem soll die Hand abfallen (He who again wants to take a rifle in his hands should loose his hands) Churchill was already convinced in 1943: We mustn't weaken Germany too much -- we may need her against Russia, and I do not want to be left alone in Europe with the bear. According to the maxim: Was schert mich mein Geschwätz von gestern (I don't care what I said yesterday), Strauß became West Germany's minister of defense in October 1956.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The NSA and No End

Two nights ago the Carl-Schurz-Haus invited to a panel discussion on War on Terror und die NSA Debatte. The panel was composed of top-class people: Oliver Schröm (Well-known free German journalist), Dr. Andrew B. Denison (Director of Transatlantic Networks), and Prof. Dr. Josef Foschepoth (Professor of Modern History at Freiburg's university). Friederike Schulte, Director of Freiburg's Carl-Schurz-Haus led the debate in her competent and charming way. The hot topic drew quite an audience although the lecture hall 1098 of the university was not completely filled.

To say it right in the beginning: There was no public outcry from the audience. They knew already that spying is the second oldest trade in the world, that telephone conversations are never secret, and sending an e-mail is like sending a postcard. Fact is that American forces are stationed in Germany and the US government must protect them against all sorts of attacks. America is still the world power number one and would like to remain so. Power is supported by three pillars: economics (money), military, and policy. An effective national policy requires lots of information and a good knowledge of what is going on in the world around. While in Germany we count three intelligence services BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst), BfV (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz), and MAD (Militärischer Abschirmdienst) the US has many more. Ordered alphabetically there are the CIA, DIA, FBI, INR, NGA, NRO, NSA, OIA, OOI, and the Pentagon with five separate intelligence services for Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. Since long intelligence services have shifted from individual to strategic observations. Modern technical means allow them to separate the wheat from the chaff and to find the needle in the haystack.

When Germany following reunification in 1990 regained its sovereignty the American forces remaining in Germany had to be protected. The 4+2 Peace Treaty ersatz gave the Americans the power to do this "intelligence-wise". Before 1989 the two German states had been the hub of east-west spying. So it is naive to assume that intelligence activities stopped with the fall of the wall. Edward Snowden's disclosures came as a surprise not because the NSA was at all spying but because of the magnitude and the extend of the services the NSA is operating. Snowden triggered an avalanche and nothing is worse for an intelligence service than public attention.

During the Cold War American and German intelligence services worked closely together according to the principle: God bless America and America bless (West) Germany. As one panel member assumed: the BND spied and spies on all countries except the US. Indeed, following Snowden's revelations one political reaction in Germany asked for German counter-intelligence: Those who spy on us must be aware that they will become a target. LOL!

Other German reactions to the NSA affair are simply helpless frequently repeating the statement: Spying on friends? That does not work. Well, as we lately learned, it already worked for Chancellor Schröder in 2003 who had decided that Germany will not follow the US-led Operation Iraqi Freedom. In contrast, at that time Angela Merkel with her Christian Democrats in opposition to the then Red-Green government pleaded that Germany must help the USA. It turned out that her pro-American position did not help her. The NSA tapped her telephone too. Now as chancellor, Angela does not like to affront our American friends, e.g., in using four-letter-words like the US ambassador to the EU about the EU yesterday.

Some German officials propose that the States and Germany should conclude an anti-spy treaty. That is a blue-eyed position knowing that no government has its secret services under control. In the discussion I even went a step further saying: It is not in the interest of governments to control the activities of their secret services for only then they may expect to receive salient information.

Dr. Deninson said that Germany should be in favor of a strong America and the US would like to see Germany leading in Europe. As long as Germany does not play its role it cannot expect to enter in a dialog with the US on eye level. It was interesting to observe the different discussion cultures. Here the outspoken American, there the German professor who explained in length and carping details the results of his research, and in between the investigative journalist arguing prudently somewhat refined through negative experience. Their arguing supported by their sitting order on the panel reminded me of an aphorisme: Prophete rechts, Prophete links, das Weltkind in der Mitten.*
*Prophets right, and Prophets left, the world-child in the middle is drawn from Goethe's epigrammatic poem Dinner at Coblenz written in the summer of 1774 where he sat between Lavater and Basedow: Weltkind, literally "world-child," a term which Goethe applies to himself satirizing at the same time Lavater and his followers.

Should Germany lead in Europe as the American in Berlin Eric T. Hansen wrote in Die Zeit? Wenn nicht mehr nur Obama, Bush, Nixon und Co. in diversen US-Medien mit Hitler verglichen werden, sondern Merkel ebenso, dann wissen Sie, dass Deutschland auch vom Rest der Welt da draußen endlich als gleichberechtigter Partner anerkannt wurde (When not only Obama, Bush, Nixon, and company are compared to Hitler in various US-Media but Merkel as well then you know that eventually Germany is recognized as an equal partner by the rest of the world). Saying it clearer in an alteration to Emanuel Geibel's definition of Germany's vocation: Soll Europa am deutschen Wesen genesen? (Should Europe recover by going the German way?). I think the Greek reaction was sufficient Mr. Hansen!

4th Reich?
At the end the audience left somewhat unsatisfied. It possibly needs a whole series of lectures and discussions to come to grips with the NSA debate.

P.S.: It is comforting to know that Dr. Denison categorically excluded the NSA spying on German industry for such a practice would be against US law. According to him industrial espionage still works the classical way. Dirty men with slouch heads steal blueprints from e.g. German car-makers and fly them in their wallets over the Atlantic. I think this will not work for over here all is metric whereas in the States they need those blueprints dimensioned in inches.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


When Steve Jobs in a stroke of genius presented his iPhone in 2007 I was fascinated. My mobile phone contract with Deutsche Telekom was coming to an end and so I grasped the opportunity. Steve introduced the iPad in 2010 and although my computer activities up to then were centered around Windows PCs I went for it .

I operate a desktop PC but never owned a netbook. The reason is that my out-of-house activities are limited to entering texts that I extract in libraries and archives using small and ultra portable machines in the past. Editing, formatting, or integrating the typed-in information into my blogs and web pages I do on my desktop PC. This practice has not changed over the past years except that I replaced the sometimes cumbersome small machines with an iPad mini. The lightweight eight inch tablet I not only use for texting but for reading ebooks and for communication when traveling. In addition to the WiFi-connection the mini carries a SIM-card connecting to the UMTS-net of T-Mobile in case of need. During transport the display is protected by a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard transforming when detached the tablet into a mini netbook. You can leave the keyboard permanently on for the Bluetooth connection falls asleep when not used hence does not drain its built-in battery. The connection awakes when you hit a key.

At home I use a ten inch WiFi-only iPad mainly for checking e-mail, surfing, and texting. As mentioned before, I switch on my PC only for editing web pages, blogging, and photo shopping. Loyal readers of my blogs know all this but they have possibly been waiting for an update on my use of iDevices.

Both my iPads show the same home screen. From left to right:

For managing my appointments, tasks and contacts I adore more and more the now fully matured Pocket Informant. In using iOS calendars only all my devices (Desktop PC, iPad air, iPad mini and iPhone 5) perfectly synchronize the data in iCloud. There are no longer any "lost" appointments, forgotten tasks or double entries for people.

ContactsXL allows the user to group contacts according to countries, cities, position, firms etc. This feature I find particularly useful when looking for misspellings in my data.

Apples built-in mail client lacks functionality and elegance. Until a few days ago I used Molto on my iPads instead but then CloudMagic released their iPhone mail client for the iPad and I jumped on it. Molto on the other hand is more elegant on the iPhone, so I keep the mail client there. Reading of mails on various devices causes problems when using pop mail server accounts. Eventually the Deutsche Telekom offered a protected imap server replacing their outdated pop mail service. In using imap mails are not only deleted on one iDevice but they are deleted on the server too. So you will not see them again when downloading mail on another iDevice. Group mails are still a problem on iOS, so I send those from my desktop.

Wikipedia is an icon produced with iHomeIcon, an app that allows the user to program specific actions. In this case touching the icon will directly open my Wikipedia watchlist.

Facebook has become interesting for me when I adhered to a couple of German-American Internet portals. In addition the Academic Year in Freiburg (AYF) program communicates information on cultural events to its students via Facebook.

The next row starts with three browsers. Built-in Safari is a must with most apps addressing the browser by default. A few apps, however, allow me to switch to my favorite Chrome. Coast is a strange construct. On its splash screen it offers programmable tiles so that I placed frequently used web pages for direct access onto them.

Next come my two news readers Flipboard and NewsFlash that I programmed with my most important news sources.

The third row starts with my favorite data base application PhatNotes. Although it is still an iPhone app I adhere to it as being a comprehensive platform on the PC and the iDevices.

Meteogram and WeatherProHD were conceived for the iPad. Meteogram is still my favorite but WeatherProHD dares a prevision of the weather for a fortnight (two weeks).

Quickoffice now has become a Google app. It allows me edit the source files of my Internet pages on my iPads. The MS Word formatting is maintained although I learned it the hard way that the copying of links does not work.

Nothing to add for Nebulous, my one and only just text-typing application displaying one row of programmable touch keys at the bottom of the screen including fast cut, copy, and past.

I tried a couple of alarm clock apps but eventually came back to the built-in Uhr (clock).

Utilities groups speed testers (with Deutsche Telekom I now clock frequently 30 MB/s although I pay for up to 50), unit converters, and other useful stuff.

Sport1 allows me to even follow the US baseball season.

PCalc is still my favorite and frequently used RPN-calculator.

Google gives me direct access to queries on the Internet.

The permanent last row of icons starts with Fotos. I now carry around picture galleries on all my iDevices of the most memorable events from 2000 (the advent of digital photography) to 2013.

Evernote contains all my collected snippets of odd and sometimes useful information. I am still struggling getting some order into the stuff.

Status Board is a programmable app displaying your recent e-mails, upcoming events from your personal calendar, local weather, time, date, and information of selected news channels. This is an ideal app for a quick look of what is up.

No comments for App Store and Einstellungen (Settings).

Launch is a most recent addition. Conceived for the iPhone with its limited number of icons on the home screen Launch recently became available for the iPad. When the icon is touched a whole new home screen opens. In edit mode you not only can place apps and their icons in the well known grid structure but you may program often used actions as well, e.g., send frequently e-mails to a person and create an icon with his/her photo. I am still learning the multiple possibilities of Launch.