Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Summer Evening Stroll

With the temps over 30°C, the skies immaculately blue, the humidity rising, summer led us out for a stroll along the river and canal banks yesterday evening, and here you can glimpse a little of what we saw. Berlin is truly a wonderful city!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Surprised Is Not the Right Word

No, I'm not surprised about the deviousness, lies, manipulation, cynicism, obliviousness, and incompetence that Mr. McClellan, a former bushbaby playmate, has also, with the tardiness of a very bad pupil, finally detected in that playpen; I'm not even surprised that the playpen has ordered spin doctors out to US talkshows (which I'm grateful are not aired here); I'm not even shocked anymore that the bushbaby won't change his despicably dangerous and harmful policies. No, I didn't need another birthday for that, even if I've had one this week.
All I needed was to garner and read as much information as I could and then just think. That's all that surprises me, no, surprise is still not the right word. That's all that sickens me: that some people are either unable or too stubornly unwilling to think!
The world is hoping for an end to the playpen, with no replacement rattler-shakers with a cane, of the mac or mc or any other variety. The entire world is in dire need of a United States which returns to the fold of the just and begins again to understand and support human rights and freedoms. It is essential that the Democrats drive the Republicans of the playpen and its environs as far out of DC as possible. And that is also no surprise.

The New York Times
McClellan Responds to White House Criticism
Published: May 30, 2008

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan continued to press his case Thursday that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence to justify the war in Iraq, and responded to a growing chorus of criticism from other former administration officials.
Appearing on NBC’s Today show, Mr. McClellan said that the administration ignored evidence that contradicted its position on Iraq, and he sharply criticized some of Mr. Bush’s closest advisers.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Flowers By Bike

Another sunny, temperate, blue-sky early summer day in Berlin today gave us the chance to visit Edith, who finally got released at 2:30 in the afternoon on Friday and was home at 3pm, and enjoy a simple meal of noodles with tomato sauce with onions, bacon bits, and sausage, play a rousing round of Skat with her, a card game similar to bridge but for three and which I today, exceptionally, won. We also had chocolate pudding.

Difficult to do things for, she at least admitted her house was bare without any flowers as she'd not had a chance to get any, so we picked her up a nice little arrangement on our way by bike from the Spendlersfeld S-Bahn station to her place, and she was pleased.
She's hoping her counts will allow an on-time start for her last session of chemo, scheduled to begin on Monday, June 9, although her first indication will be after blood work on Wednesday.
Laughing and cheerful she was, feeling fine, glad to be home, and very happy about the greeting from two people commenting on this blog, though we didn't delve into questions of Alter or Niedlichkeit, assuming it was better just to pass on, interpretatively, that my sister supports her mother-logic and my niece finds her stamina praiseworthy. (I believe they can both live with my exegetic delivery of their message, when they hear that Edith smiled and said thanks.)

NO to Censorship - EVERYWHERE !

NO to censorship in China. No to censorship in Islamic countries. No to censorship in Europe. No to censorship in the United States. No to censorship of books, art, cartoons, caricatures, music, film. No to censorship of the Internet.

Joe Lieberman has completely disqualified himself as representative of democracy and has abandoned the struggle to maintain and defend and spread freedom and justice in the world.

The New York Times explains:

Joe Lieberman, Would-Be Censor
Published: May 25, 2008
The Internet is simply a means of communication, like the telephone, but that has not prevented attempts to demonize it — the latest being the ludicrous claim that the Internet promotes terrorism.
Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut is trying to pressure YouTube to pull down videos he does not like, and a recent Senate report and a bill pending in Congress also raise the specter of censorship. It is important for online speech to be protected against these assaults.
Not only do these efforts contradict fundamental American values, it is not clear if they would help fight terrorism. Even if YouTube pulled down every video Mr. Lieberman did not like, radical groups could post the same videos on their own Web sites. Trying to restrain the Internet is a game of “whack-a-mole” that cannot be won, says John Morris of the Center for Democracy and Technology. Having the videos on YouTube may even be a good thing, because it makes it easier for law enforcement officials, the media and the public to monitor the groups and their messages.
Terrorism is a real concern. All Americans know that. They also know that if we give up our fundamental rights, the terrorists win. If people use speech to engage in criminal acts, they should be prosecuted. Cutting off free speech is never the right answer.

(Please also take the trouble to re-read the post on the film about the Charlie Hebdo case in Cannes below.)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Old and Adorable, Too

I'm not sure if my sister's and niece's descriptions would be exactly pleasing to the Berlin mom, though their thinking of her is certainly a welcome boost, but perhaps they are thereby revealing the extent of their own age and adorability! (See their comments two posts down.)

Nonetheless, this morning when we called her, Edith was already dressed, had packed her overnight bag, and was waiting for her release papers to go home. She had no nausea this time, and has no idea what her counts are, but "They said I can go home this morning and that's that." We were probably lucky to get her before she cashed in her hospital phone card and became unreachable until she reaches home, as she refuses to learn to operate a mobile, much less to let any of us give her one.

So now, she can wait two weeks and then face her sixth and final round.

A big round of cheers for a fine lady (whom other old and/or adorable ones can label as such)!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's Rough When Fools Love You!

On the premiere at the Cannes Film Festival of Daniel Leconte's documentary on the Mohammed caricatures and Charlie Hebdo. Not only red carpets and paparazzi populate la Croisette!

C'est dur d'être aimé par des cons!

Un journaliste à Cannes
by FRANCE_24

Third Day of Fifth Round

This morning:

"Hold on, I want to put us all three together in a conference call."
"You there, too?"
"Oh, that's what you meant."
"Now you've got us both to talk to."
"I can go home on Friday."
"No transfusion this time?"
"No, otherwise I couldn't have started the chemo on Monday and wouldn't be home until Saturday."
"So that's good."
"Yeah, one day less is good when you're counting them down."
"You deserve it."
"Now I have to take iron tablets."
"We told you you should eat nails."
"Or nutella."
"I don't eat that crap."
"Or you could use a rusty nail as a lollipop."
"That would at least be funny."
"And how are you feeling?"
"Are you tired? nauseous?"
"I'm never tired. And nausea doesn't come till the last day."
"Then enjoy your breakfast."
"I already did. Talk to you later. Bye."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Clap Your Hands ...

... and the last piece of glass just sort of tears through your skin so you can pluck it out. It hardly even bled; but at least I can now dispense with that planned second "surgery" on Wednesday! And this piece is being placed in my private museum of corporal oddities; my permanent memory in physical form of New Year's Eve 2007-08!

Brühnudel !

Yeah, we had our homemade Brühnudel with Edith yesterday for lunch, then played a pleasant round of Skat, which Detti of course won, and went next door to her neighbors for coffee and cake, because they wanted to thank us (!) for keeping them informed when Edith is in for treatments. She feels fine, of course, will return to the clinic tomorrow to begin, though she's still adding, "If they let me stay," her next-to-the-last round of chemo. "I'm not going to buy the telephone card until Tuesday, cause otherwise it will run out before I leave if I have to stay a day longer." That's mother-logic if there's ever been any, just like being able to put your feet with socks on (that you've tramped through the whole apartment in) on the couch but not your bare feet which you just pulled those same socks off of.
And next Wednesday they're cutting another piece of glass out of my hand which has decided to move to the surface and make itself noticeable in the past couple of weeks. It's been there more than four months and hasn't paid any rent! But that's a minor irritation in comparison to what Edith's facing. So three cheers for the Berlin-Mom and all wishes for a complication-free administration of several IV-bottles full of anticarcinogens!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Week's Delay Is a Week Well Won

... At least that's what I tried to convince Edith of when she called, not to give us her phone number in her hospital room as we expected, but to say they'd sent her back home to wait another week due to her counts, still to low to begin her fifth round. She sounded as disappointed as a little kid who's just been told how many more days he has to wait till Christmas, not that she exactly relishes the chemo, but, as she described the new starting date, "I'd've had my fifth round behind me by then." At least she doesn't have to go in every other day for new lab work in the meantime; she can simply wait and show up next week. "And then it takes a week. That means the last one can't be over before mid-June." Because, she's counting down the days to be done with this ordeal. But she could laugh. And getting her to think about kids she's seen on chemo helped her muster up her own courage again, because she unabashedly admires those little tykes.
And she said we can probably have our Brühnudel then on the weekend, something she's been wanting to make us again for a long time. (Run some searches on that one, and you'll find things like: "Brühnudel = Hühnernudelsuppe, natürlich selbstgemacht, und seeehr lecker".)

Additionally, I must give credit to Darth Rachel for putting me onto the link for these wonderful videos/short films by Isabella Rosellini (which by the way have NOTHING to do with Brühnudeln). Shown at the Berlin Film Festival in the spring, they had already gotten my attention, but I had no link to an online chance to see them, until now, and here it is.
GREEN PORNO, by Isabella Rosellini
And one still photo from her studio.
UPDATE NOTE: Tastelessly tacky and not at all green but terribly pornographic is the message the Sundance Channel (where the films are online) is giving to people clicking to see the shorts from European IP addresses as of May 15: "Not available in your territory ... will be released outside the U.S. in July ... check back periodically." Supposedly you can still watch the behind-the-scenes clips, but get the exact same message when you try. What utter disgusting parochialism! The films were first shown RIGHT HERE WHERE I'M TYPING THIS! I suppose you can still call them up within my american birth-place playpen. A big loud BOO for sundance, which has also blocked all the youtube versions! That's anti-establishment for you! Internatioal is the web, except for chinese and playpen organizations or what? FREEDOM for GREEN PORNO ! NOW !

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day in the Real World

Friday morning:
"The number you are calling is no longer in service."
So, let's try the Berlin mom's home phone....
"We're not in right now, but..."
So, let's ask Detti if he's heard from her.
"No, not yet. Why? Has she left the hospital?"
"Well, I suppose, but I can't reach her yet."
So, let's ask her other son: No answer.
So, let's ask his wife at work: Wrong branch of the bank she works in, they try to transfer me, but she's in a meeting with a customer, so they leave our number for a call back.
So, let's try her home phone again.
"Hello! Wait, let me dump these bags."
"Did I make you run for the phone?"
"No, I just got in after walking home from the hospital. I would have called to let you know."
"So, did you fake them out about someone being at home with you? Should we come spend the night just to be on the safe side?"
"No. My counts went back up. They let me out without conditions."
"And when do you have to go back?"
"Not until Tuesday; then they start the next chemo round or do a transfusion first, depending on the counts."
"How are you feeling?"
"Fine. Now I have to hang up and go grocery shopping. Have to get my bike out of the basement."
"Please be careful."
"Don't be silly."
"We like being silly."

Friday evening:
"So how are you doing."
"I'm fine. So you're both coming for Sunday lunch? I already bought everything for gulash."
"Yes, or we could take you out for Mother's Day."
"We're going out afterwards: to Heiko & Steffi for coffee and cake in the afternoon and then grilling in the evening."
"Yes, they asked us to, and we told them we'd leave it up to how you're feeling."
"I'm completely up to it."
"And to both grandkids at once?"
"You two can keep them busy. And besides, I feel fine."

And in fact Sunday was a very nice day for all of us. Edith enjoyed it all, her friend had his camera, Heiko & Steffi had theirs too, but we forgot ours, so we'll have to wait for one of the others to provide us with photo documentation of a perfectly sunny summer day for Mother's Day in Berlin this year.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Liberation through Capitulation

May 8, 1945

Victory Day, 63 years ago. Capitulation of the Wehrmacht to the Soviet Army (Keitel to Zhukov) in Berlin Karlshorst.

Tag der Befreiung, vor 63 Jahren. Das wir nie vergessen!

Nie wieder Faschismus! Nie wieder Krieg!

V-E Day already the day before, May 7, the date of signing of the capitulation to the United Allied Forces in Reims effective on May 8.

Here the commemorative stamp issued by the GDR in 1970 for the 25th anniversary with a drawing of the Soviet Army liberation of the Reichstag and hoisting of the red flag atop it in Berlin on May 2.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Counted Back into the Hospital

Monday afternoon:
"I feel just fine. I don't know what they want."
"Well, you said they said your counts are dangerously low..."
"Probably because I live alone. So they let me go get my toothbrush and so on and made me come right back."
"And what are they doing?"
"So far, nothing. And next Monday is correct for me to come back for my fifth round since they would start with a transfusion and then the first IV dose on Tuesday. That way the Whit Monday holiday doesn't matter."
"Will you be able to go home in between?"
"Well, I'm going to ask the doc tomorrow morning during rounds."

Tuesday afternoon:
"And what have they done today?"
"Nothing, but I was out in the sun for two hours in the hospital garden. Even got some color on my arms. Maybe that will help my counts."
"At least you're laughing about it."
"Nothing else for me to do."

And on this Wednesday morning we're wishing our Berlin mom continued good humor and the chance to get out before the weekend. It would be nice to spend Mother's Day with her at her place or in a restaurant instead of on Station 5, but we'll be there wherever she is!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

We Celebrated in TIPI Zelt am Kanzleramt with Tim Fischer: Zarah sans Dress

We had a wonderful anniversary together at this GREAT event, enjoyed every song, the wine, the mood, and being there together!
Follow the link and you can also click a one-minute sample of one of the songs of this diseur/chanteur!

TIPI Zelt am Kanzleramt - Tim Fischer: Zarah sans Dress:

“It’s high time Zarah made another appearance”, says Tim Fischer. And what an appearance it is: today’s “Zarah sans Dress” not only includes the well-known numbers sung by the darling of the Ufa studios, but also a number of rarities. And for good measure, Fischer adds songs that were never performed by Leander, but fit her like a glove.

Und hier die deutsche Version:

Tim Fischer: Zarah ohne Kleid

„Zarah muss mal wieder aus dem Haus“, findet Tim Fischer, der sein allererstes Erfolgsprogramm „Zarah ohne Kleid“ überarbeitet hat. Nicht nur die bekannten Lieder des Ufa-Stars, vor allem auch Raritäten unter den Leanderliedern hat Tim Fischer ausgegraben. Außerdem legt er ihr augenzwinkernd Lieder in den Mund, die die Leander zwar nie gesungen hat, die ihr aber passen wie ein Maßanzug.

Now we have another great memory together.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Our Twelfth Anniversary

Zwölf Jahre schon

Gedichte meines Lebens widmen Dir
die Lichtung meiner Liebe, die Richtung
meiner Zeit, die Leitung lichter Dichtung,
lassen ahnen nur Deine Bahnen tief in mir.

Geteilte Zeit zusammen, maßlose Breite
erlebter Liebe, befreit mich und erhebt
in mir Gesang des Danks, der bebt
vor Freude und blickt in unsere Weite.

Immer lichter mir,
zwölf Jahre schon,
strahlend und vermählt,
Leben wird erzählt,
mein wahrer Ton,
immer dichter Dir.

-Für DS von RG, 2. Mai 2008

May the poem be in German, for the German whom I love, all the rest of you can all be sure it speaks passion and life and light and fulfillment and LOVE in all languages!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

No Sport, No Art, No Brainer: TORTURE

Support human rights by stopping torture! Torture is a violation of those rights the perpetrators claim to be protecting!

It's May Day - International Labor Day

And that's something political, a day to remember that PEOPLE should be paid for work, the primary justification for the whole thing, NOT corporate profits.
As this poster from the DGB (German Union Federation) serves to remind us. Good work should be a component, and the German expression also denotes that there should be room for good work in companies, i.e. in terms of pay and other conditions

And a few human rights should also be on the day's agenda.

No riots in Berlin's favorite stone-throwing areas as of yet, and let's hope it stays that way as people demonstrate peacefully for a fair share of the pie.

In China, the commando-communist-capitalist Capos should today be reminded that the 100 day count-down to "their" olympics MUST also be a count-down for the institution of freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of acces to information, freedom to peaceably demonstrate, freedom of art... The clock is ticking.

And don't forget there's another guy just itching to take over the bushbaby rattle and ensconce himself in the playpen: