Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Simply Beautiful

a world of wondrous beauty

JUSTICE is Patriotic, the PATRIOT ACT is Not !

JUSTICE: The remedy for government surveillance

"Over the last eight years, numerous expansions of executive authority have worked in tandem to infringe upon Americans’ rights.

As the ACLU has testified last week, we’re pushing Congress to undertake a comprehensive reform of the Patriot Act and urging both chambers to revisit other surveillance laws now while they consider the three expiring provisions. There are currently two bills pending in the Senate to address the expiring Patriot Act provisions: the JUSTICE Act, introduced by Senators Feingold (D-Wisc.) and Durbin (D-Ill.) and the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act, introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy (D-Vt.).

The Senate Judiciary Committee is due to mark up Senator Leahy’s bill on Thursday. That bill is certainly a step in the right direction, but we believe that the JUSTICE Act, with its comprehensive approach to surveillance, is the bill Congress should pass."

It is time to have the government, not only the US government, but also all European governments, return to their proper duty of PROTECTING the rights of citizens against threats and maintaining their personal welfare (this includes protection against disease, crime, and attacks) without curtailing human and civil rights.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Beaches You Don't Need

We ventured around to the Ballermann beach yesterday, which we would only dream of doing on a cloudy afternoon when the German beach drinkers wouldn't be there. Today we went to another such site, Port d'Alcúdia, more popular among English sots, and then into the actually beautiful old town of Alcúdcia, still with ancient fortification walls, but it was market day (north african trinket sellers everywhere selling the same stuff you can buy at markets in Berlin: fake these and those) and FULL of all the beach tourists from the port a kilometer away because it was cloudy to rainy.
Tomorrow we're doing another driving tour with Renate.
And here, the slide show of beaches you don't really need and beautiful towns you can only see if you look up above the crowds of people buying scarves and handbags...

Monday, September 28, 2009

We Are NOT Responsible !

No, we bear no responsibility for the election of a CDU-FDP government in Germany yesterday. Low turn-out and mindlessness evidently led to the election of the FDP neoliberals in favor of practically everything that led to the financial and economic crisis the world is still suffering through.
Oh well, as the unemployment numbers rise and the cuts in social services mount, the moaning will grow and the CDU will have to hold the line against the free-marketeers only interested in their own profits. It will be interesting to see how long this absurd relationship can last.

Train and Boat Trip on Mallorca

By vintage old train, then old tram from Palma to Sóller and Port de Sóller, then by boat out on the Mediterranean around the coast line to Sa Calobra was our outing yesterday. Absolutely enchanting.
First a short video of how it looks out of the train window riding through the olive and almond tree groves just north of Palma, and then a photo slide show of much more interesting pictures of the rest!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Road Tour : Western Mallorca

Just a sampe of those in full in the slide show

Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 25, 2009


Now, as it should be, here in Palma we have sun and blue skies, blue water, and are relaxing by the pool, swimming even in the Sea of the Middle of the World, and heading out tomorrow with a friend (Pedro's "mother") who plans to drive us around to some secret sites on the island. She and her husband have had a house on the east coast for years, so this should prove quite the treat. Reports will be given.

Here, some photos from today, but again, don't forget to check the slideshow from the first Mallorcan posting, as it is automatically updated with all photos I upload from this trip!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dressing for the Dinner Buffet

The pasty-faced lanky-haired English girls (30-50 years old) who squawked and generally oxforded utter nonsense all afternoon at poolside ...
  • "Oh do say, my word, but my hair takes at least fifteen minutes to dry on a hot dry day in summer."
  • "My Frederick taught me an undercut method that lets your hair look longer than it is so you can dry it faster all year round."
  • "I think she said that he said her sister had wanted me to tell her, but I didn't."
  • "Whatever for?"
  • "There's a special attachment for that."
  • "I think it's fine he's getting his own place for his own space as I after all need my own space as well."
  • "Whose children are they then?"
  • "Those boats are surely quite dreary."

... came dressed for dinner in gowns designed for vaudeville shows only, carrying silly useless purses, like the QE2 herself, always dangling in the way and tangling in the tongs of the buffet from which you fetch your meal yourself here. They had mistaken this for the captain's table on the decommissioned QE2 one supposes.

Equally as over perfumed as dressed, they appeared a bit uncomfortable as the mockery, inevitable if subtle, of the at least 4 gay couples seated in the dining room at the same time performed their stilted tableware posturing better than they could, with unsubtly raised pinky fingers. But then, we all could savor the succulent dishes, while they certainly found everything rather tasted like the airport-duty-free-shop scents with which they had doused themselves.

Yet all their hair was dry and incredibly flat, more Englishly straight than ever, and at the desert buffet, they popped one pastry directly from the trays into their accented mouths for each piece of pie they piled on their plates.

  • "What's that?"
  • "I'd stick to the ice cream and pastries if I were you."
  • "Could it be flan?"
  • "Isn't that a gasket for automobiles?"
  • "Moose?"
  • "Someone told me Miriam said the Europeans call it thusly."
  • "With her and I not looking, Saundra would open her purse."

They amply confirmed today what the delightful pair of Scottish ladies said about people with Oxford accents yesterday afternoon on the terrace. "You can never be sure if it's not simply affectation, because it very often is." The Scots dressed sensibly for dinner and had no purses about to strangle them and passers-by, enjoyed a red wine on the terrace afterwards.

I recall an episode of "Absolutely Fabulous" in which Patsy's sister visiting from France said, "I thought all Englishmen are gay." After seeing these manifestations of English femininity at poolside and buffet bashing today, I finally understand why she could think so.

Then again, someone has to provide models for drag queens to imitate in travesty shows around the globe, and since these dithering twittering English women are surely one of the reasons for the loss of British Empire, they can at least serve to spread British taste among transvestites.

Just the observations of a day of vacation in Mallorca, poolside in the sun and overfed for dinner. Burp!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Slide Show Extended

This brief vacationer's note is merely to let you know that more photos have been added to the slide show from Palma in the previous posting. More text will follow in the coming days as new post-worthy posts, but now I'm going to read and write some analogically

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Arrival Day

3:00 am, the alarm would have rung to wake us up in time to do morning preps for the trip and eat breakfast if we hadn't've already gotten up a quarter hour before.
4:00 am, the taxi arrived promptly to fetch us off to Schönefeld airport, where we arrive a few minutes ahead of the required two-hour pre-take-off check-in time for our flight, and we were the first ones checked in and through security.
This of course meant waiting longer to board the flight, which wonderfully enough however pulled back from the gate a full ten minutes ahead of its scheduled 6:45 am starting time.
We arrived through lightning and thunderclouds at the airport of Palma de Mallorca 25 minutes early, at 9am and were sitting in our transfer bus to the hotel by 9:30.
Then more waiting began, because the room wasn't ready until a little past 11:30 and we had reached the hotel only a little past 10. But we could look down at the harbor from the terrace, which the rain kept us from venturing out onto.
Nonetheless, after a short nap, we noticed the sun coming out and headed out ourselves for a first exploration through Palma and snapped a few random photos to testify to this place's beauty even beneath an overcast to drizzly to thunderstormed sky.
While Detlef is bathing off the arrival day's grit, I'm posting this first Mallorca entry and uploading the photos, which you can see below, before heading for the shower myself.
Then we get to go to the dinner buffet! Because we have half-board, i.e. breakfast and dinner all you can eat every day. And we both are indeed hungry.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Birthday Party Happened

Blurry or not, the photos can speak for themselves...

...and don't forget, this is where Koko will be residing while we're on vacation!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gewesene Freiheit

Liberty that has become, is !

Party - Parrot - Palma

In that order, the to-do list of the next few days is set.
Tomorrow, if Lea is well (today reportedly feverish and hoarse), will see us out in the idyllic noisiness of Berlin's suburbia to celebrate with her and her little brother their birthdays after-the-fact with the family. (The children's party with friends already took place on the proper day with bowling and resultant semi-to-real illness of Lea.)
We have already told Edith, that if everything she has prepared for the garden party ends up unneeded, we will go to visit her and help her eat it there.
Monday, Heiko plays taxi driver for Koko to be transported out to the same suburbia for Lea to provide with tender loving foster care while we are off on vacation.
Tuesday morning will see us flying off to Palma before the sun rises, airport check-in at shortly before 5am. But then we have two solid weeks in a nice hotel with nothing to do but relax and play tourist.
Books have been selected and are ready for the trip, writing materials, and of course the laptop for wifi connection from the island to post up pictures as currently as possible.
(Yesterday evening was the final internationales literaturfestival berlin event for me this year, with Diderot on the relegation of religions.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Touched ...

... by the concluding line of George Szertes' sonnet "Song" at his ilb event
... by the entirety of Claude Lanzmann's memoirs Le Lièvre de Patagonie
... by the cuddling of our own parrot
... by the joy in Lea's voice when we sang to her this morning for her birthday
... by weather that is autumnally primaveral
... by the partial reading of Voltaire's Mahomet at the ilb
... by the face of the man I love looking at the travel documents for our upcoming vacation

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Not Communist, Not Even Ideological, Just Humane !

That's what health care for all as proposed by Obama really is, humane!
It's not communist or socialist!
By the way, some here in Germany claim the same of the minimum wage, which exists in America and not here, hoping to fend of its institution here. Did you know the US is socialist because it has a minimum wage and therefore no hope for a good economic system?
Of course NOT. And that of course NOT applies to all those claims and fears raised against health care plans for all in the US. You should ask yourself why ANYONE could be against helping people find treatment and cure for ailments. Either they hate people or are only concerned with amassing wealth at the cost of others, or of protecting their own privilege, thinking they can only be healthy when others cannot. Cynical people should not decide who can go the doctor.

“It will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance.
It will provide insurance to those who don’t. And it will lower the cost of health carefor our families, our businesses, and our government." – PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

If You Have Health Insurance,the President's Plan:

  • Ends discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Limits premium discrimination based on gender and age.
  • Prevents insurance companies from dropping coverage when people are sick and need it most.
  • Caps out-of-pocket expenses so people don’t go broke when they get sick.
  • Eliminates extra charges for preventive care like mammograms, flu shots and diabetes tests to improve health and save money.
  • Protects Medicare for seniors.
  • Eliminates the “donut-hole” gap in coverage for prescription drugs.

If You Don’t Have Insurance,the President's Plan:

  • Creates a new insurance marketplace — the Exchange — that allows people without insurance and small businesses to compare plans and buy insurance at competitive prices.
  • Provides new tax credits to help people buy insurance.
  • Provides small businesses tax credits and affordable options for covering employees.
  • Offers a public health insurance option to provide the uninsured and those who can’t find affordable coverage with a real choice.
  • Immediately offers new, low-cost coverage through a national “high risk” pool to protect people with preexisting conditions from financial ruin until the new Exchange is created.

For All Americans,the President's Plan:

  • Won’t add a dime to the deficit and is paid for upfront.
  • Requires additional cuts if savings are not realized.
  • Implements a number of delivery system reforms that begin to rein in health care costs and align incentives for hospitals, physicians, and others to improve quality.
  • Creates an independent commission of doctors and medical experts to identify waste, fraud and abuse in the health care system.
  • Orders immediate medical malpractice reform projects that could help doctors focus on putting their patients first, not on practicing defensive medicine.
  • Requires large employers to cover their employees and individuals who can afford it to buy insurance so everyone shares in the responsibility of reform.

Partners and Spouses

Husbands and wives of those serving in the military of the United States should enjoy all the privileges of information, common residency, insurance, retirement coverage, and benefits possible to make any necessary separation for military purposes less dramatic for them and to calm the concerns of their military husband/wife about their welfare back home, thus enabling the soldier better to carry out his duties.

This is not only true for heterosexual married couples, but for all forms of homosexual union, civil or marriage.

I am glad my nephew can offer all these privileges to his new wife and serve honorably in the Marine Corps at the same time.

All gay couples should enjoy the same. Watch this video:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Can Not and Will Not Forget ...

September 11, 2001

May we while never forgetting redouble our efforts to rid the world of fanaticism and violence and fill it with compassion and thoughtfulness!
I still feel that gaping hole in lower Manhattan. When I'm there, it makes me nervous when I can see the sky at the end of streets where the towers had always blocked it. It makes me afraid when the sun shines where there was perpetual shadow. Yes, that was all part of being a New Yorker.
Part of being a Berliner was watching live television images of the destruction eight years ago of those "landmarks" I shopped, ate, played, toured, flirted, laughed, strolled in and then a couple of days later attending a mammoth demonstration of solidarity with the United States and the victims from all around the world at the Brandenburg Gate. No one had any question that such violence is to be condemned, all hoped the response would be reasonable and de-escalatory.
Part of being a human was to witness many politicians take bombs to fight suicide bombers who were dead, but is also to consider that those who radically seek to be thought and moral police, who wage war against those who think differently, who get mad when others have fun, may have destroyed those buildings,
they can never make them never have been!
They cannot destroy their existence. I am the World Trade Center, too, as long as I live and think.
Let us commemorate - remember together - what will never be able not to have been and ensure with consideration, upholding our rights and ideals peacefully, that no more must die for religious, ideological, political fundamentalism or fanaticism.

Healthcare is a Right !

Once more I am appealing to all those in the land of my birth to wake up and support institution of health insurance for ALL inhabitants of the United States.
Today you may be privileged, but helping others have the chance to get well will not make you any sicker.
You may fear higher costs, but the US already has the most expensive insurance and medical costs in the world. Those countries, as the one in which I live, Germany, which have mandatory health insurance for ALL have by far cheaper medical care and premiums AND everyone gets medical care whenever they need it!
Call your congressmen and senators and tell them to vote YES for Obama's health insurance plan! NOW!
Don't wait until it's too late - maybe even for you!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Speak out for those few politicians and activists in the world who care about ordinary people, those not well-off enough to look down on others, instead of merely protecting big business and the rich!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

No Words for the Chaos

As if any more warning were needed for those who think privatizing public transportation is a good idea, the S-Bahn in Berlin yesterday evening admitted neglect in maintenance has led to faulty brakes and 75% of the cars must be taken out of service for brake cylinder replacement, which will take 10-12 weeks. This comes on the heels of the improper servicing of the wheels, which had also led to major redutions and repair work which had meanwhile returned sevice to about 66% of normal until this.

Now Berlin again has mass transit chaos, with only 25% service at most, more disruptions promised, and no dependable schedule.

Stop taking money out of the S-Bahn for the profit of a D-Bahn that hopes for stock issue. The rail must remain a public enterprise and profits are not admissible!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Financial Crisis IS Systemic

As speechwriter and thinker for Sarkozy in France dared to propound at his president's party seminar today, we can be sure that the financial crisis evidences a system without moral foundation that is no longer possible or tolerable. Traders produce nothing and enrich themselves from others' intelligence, form some kind of racket, an indecency public opinion should and will no longer tolerate. He sums up that this crisis is not a mere anecdote, but a serious matter revealing the faults in the financial capitalism system itself which must be remedied.


A Seignosse, Henri Guaino fait le procès du capitalisme financier
Sa présence n'est jamais fortuite. Henri Guaino, plume et boîte à idées de Nicolas Sarkozy était, samedi 5 septembre, l'invité du campus de l'UMP qui se tient à Seignosse dans les Landes. Pendant près d'une heure, à l'occasion d'un 'chat' sur le thème 'capitalisme une crise pour rien ?' M. Guaino a fait le procès du capitalisme financier, du dogme absolu du marché, du libre échangisme, du libéralisme et de 'la loi de la jungle, où ceux qui doivent crever, crèvent'. 'C'est un système qui n'a plus d'ancrage moral. Ce n'est plus possible, ni tolérable' s'est insurgé le conseiller du président de la République.
Il a réservé ses flèches aux traders "qui ne produisent pas grand chose et qui s'enrichissent sur l'intelligence des autres, c'est-à dire des entrepreneurs". "Il y a là une forme de racket" a-t-il dénoncé. Pour le conseiller de l'Elysée, la gravité de la crise bancaire et financière a "ouvert des failles dans l'opinion publique qui ne se refermeront pas". "L'indécence, a-t-il assuré, ne sera plus supportée car elle n'est plus supportable". Mais il a aussi stigmatisé les libéraux qui refusent de voir dans la crise une crise du capitalisme. "Il faut en finir avec la langue de bois, s'est emporté M. Guaino. Il ne s'agit pas d'un débat entre libéraux et anti-libéraux. Nous n'avons pas assisté à une crise des subprimes, c'est l'ensemble du système qui s'est déréglé. Il faut arrêter d'avoir une vision anecdotique de la crise financière".
Henri Guaino a paru douter de l'efficacité des mesures envisagées pour contrôler le bonus des traders. "Ce n'est jamais le type qui fait l'erreur qui paye. Même en instaurant un bonus-malus, celui qui fait la faute gardera l'argent qu'il a gagné avant." Pour M. Guaino, la crise que vient de traverser le monde est la conséquence d'une "perversion du capitalisme qui résulte de choix politiques et idéologiques parfaitement assumés à la fin des années 70". Face au capitalisme financier, M. Guaino défend le capitalisme des entrepreneurs. "Que Bill Gates ai gagné une fortune n'est pas un problème, car il n'a cessé de créer des valeurs pour tout le monde. Alors que les sommes gagnées par les traders ne sont justifiées par rien". La solution ? M. Guaino a esquissé, sans le nommer, le principe d'une taxe carbone à la frontière. "L'Europe ne défend pas assez ses entreprises", a-t-il conclu.
Sophie Landrin

And on the Big Screen

After Meryl Streep's Julia Child portrayal this afternoon in pre-celebration of Detlef's birthday tomorrow, we still have two more films on our must-see list:

Pipilotti Rist's Austrian fairy-tale:

and Lars von Trier's daunting images:

Worth Reading ...

... is Claude Lanzmann's memoirs, Le Lièvre de Patagonie, Gallimard 2009, for an insight into the possibility of living humanly, worthily, concernedly, with errors, with honor, with intellect, and spreading enlightenment.

He quotes, also worth reading, Vladimir Jankélévitch ( + 6-6-1985 ) : “Celui qui a été ne peut plus désormais ne pas avoir été. Désormais ce fait mystérieux et profondément obscur d’avoir vécu est son viatique pour l’éternité.”

This is the text on the memorial plaque for him at l, quai aux Fleurs, in Paris, where he lived since 1939, except for the period of the Occupation when he was forced to subsist in the underground.
Roughly translated into English, it reads:
"Anyone who has been can henceforth never more not have been. Henceforth, this mysterious and profoundly obscure fact of having been is his sustenance for eternity."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Maurice et Patapon

Dynamically irreverent dog and cat conversations courtesy of Charlie Hebdo are to become a delightfully politically incorrect TV series. The Simpsons may get a run for their money!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Anniversary of Horror

This date marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of World War II, when Germany attacked Poland in the pre-dawn hours. What only a few miles away from where I am now sitting should be a constant and everlasting warning against nationalism and military agression. And the link between such nationalism and the curtailment of human and civil rights is obvious. Remember today to do all to support justice and liberty and democracy everywhere at all times.