Monday, May 31, 2010

The Others Should Resign

Nach heftiger Kritik: Bundespräsident Köhler tritt zurück - Hintergründe - Politik - FAZ.NET

Now it's more than overdue that the other incompetents with real governing power resign! Köhler was one of the few with even a milligram of sense in his head, though his tongue could never quite wrap itself around a coherent thought. But the Tigerentenregierung headed by Chancellorette Merkel and Outdoors Minister Westernwave wouldn't recognize a coherent thought if it stood up in front of them and barked, which is probably the real reason for the resignation of the Federal President. He knows that those clowns haven't a clue what he's talking about, even when he does, and that the country would be better off with a completely new team at the helm! After all, there are a few issues that really need attending to...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Can't help it, I like it.

Congratulations to Lena for her win for Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest yesterday evening (with the friendly advice to ditch the strange accent she sings with). All in all, this edition of the contest was of much better quality than the previous several, and now there's a reason to watch again.
So, here's the official video of her doing her number:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Good News from Malawi!

Malawi frees jailed gay couple World news
A gay couple sentenced to serve 14 years in jail in Malawi have been pardoned and released after their country's president met the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon.
Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were tried and found guilty of sodomy and indecency earlier this month in a move that sparked international condemnation.
But after talking with Ban today, Malawi's president, Bingu wa Mutharika, announced the pair would be freed. "These boys committed a crime against our culture, our religion and our laws," he said after the meeting, at the southern African country's State House. "However, as the head of state, I hereby pardon them and therefore ask for their immediate release with no conditions.
"I have done this on humanitarian grounds, but this does not mean that I support this."
Ban, who is due to address Malawi's national assembly later, is expected to ask legislators to change the nation's laws on homosexuality.
Monjeza and Chimbalanga were arrested two days after they made a public commitment to marriage in a symbolic ceremony at the hotel where Chimbalanga worked as a janitor in late December. They were the first same-sex couple in Malawi to seek marriage.
Passing sentence on them on 20 May, the magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa said: "I will give you a ... sentence so that the public [will] be protected from people like you, so that we are not tempted to emulate this horrendous example."
The pair were then separated. Sent to prisons more than 40 miles apart, they had little hope of maintaining contact.
High-profile figures who spoke out in support of them include the singer Elton John, the British campaigner Peter Tatchell, of the gay and lesbian human rights group OutRage, and the pop star Madonna, who adopted a child from Malawi. Amnesty International also called the sentences an "outrage".
In South Africa, the new human rights organisation Section27 called on the president, Jacob Zuma, to apply pressure on Malawi through the Southern African Development Community.
This is an instance of the United Nations and its General Secretary doing their job correctly for the promotion of human rights worldwide! Thank you, Mr. Ban Ki-moon!

Keep Moving and Gain More Support

Defense secretary addresses concerns over repeal of ban on gays in military

Step by step, the US is moving into today and looking at tomorrow!

The New York Times
As ‘Don’t Ask’ Fades, Military Faces Thorny Practical Issues
Will openly gay service members be placed in separate housing, as the commandant of the Marine Corps has advocated? What benefits, if any, will partners or spouses of homosexual service members be accorded? Will all military units be required to treat homosexuals the same? And what training will heterosexual officers and enlisted troops receive to prepare them to serve with openly gay soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines?
Many service members interviewed this week said they knew homosexuals in the military and did not mind serving alongside them.
“If you trust a soldier with your life, that’s what is most important, not being gay,” said Specialist Kevin Garcia of the Army, who has done two tours in Iraq and is now stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
Get real and get ready to respect people as people. When it's about soldiering, gay or straight, what's important is who's pointing a gun at whom and why!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Slovenly sophisticated ...

On an island of beauty such as this, where the sun shines all morning after tempting us between several downpours yesterday, sophistication is knowing how many layers to put on to go out when it's still cool in the morning and not worry if you already wore those things yesterday, or the day before.

Those bothered with such concerns may consider us verging on the slovenly, but they will never return to this island, and we have been here at least once a year every year for 14 and have no intention of stopping, or of shaving more often than necessary.

Now we have to ride our bikes north to the entrance to the Altbessin and hike down to the Vogelhäuschen, the bird watching hut-tower at the southern most point of that peninsula allowed to humans.

And we'll see if the wind pushes or pulls us.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Island Reality

This island is so much more than a possibility, with fog and sun and sand and cliffs and friends and smiles and skies so blue and hazes so dense you can't see the lighthouse yesterday that you climb up and oversee the whole island from today. Pictures will help, and the video of the whit-fire on Saturday.

The slide show will be expanded daily as we upload more photos from the days on the island.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Visiting Rosemary's Castle

Well, with Rudi & Renate, we did three local castles and a cloister yesterday, all within easy driving distance of Berlin, and were rewarded with the first day of brilliant sunshine in more than a week.
One of the castles has a fantastic restaurant in the courtyard, and there, in Burg Rabenstein, we enjoyed a superb lunch (and could play a natural wood xylophone on the way back down).
So you may all know what sort of place this was, here, in a quickly rendered translation of the text on the back of the postcard-sized admission ticket to climb to the top of the castle tower, is the legend of the castle.

The Legend of Rosemary
A knightly couple that once dwelled in the Castle "Rabenstein" had a daughter named Rosemary. One evening, on Saint John the Baptist's Day, she was sitting at her window looking towards the village of Raben and noticed how much fun the village youth were having playing games and dancing. The desire to take part in this joyful activity grew ever stronger in her breast. Rosemary put on simple clothes and sneaked off to the village and mixed in with the common people. She didn't notice how time passed. Suddenly, the clock struck midnight and the horns sounded from the tower of the castle. That meant that Rabenstein's gates were being closed. The maiden was shaken by fright and rushed back to the castle. But she came too late. Only after much pounding on the door was she let in by the tower guard, who of course reported the incident to the Knight. Rosemary's parents ordered her to appear in the chapel before them and all her ancestors. There, she was accused of serious misconduct and her punishment was pronounced. Rosemary was banned to the tower, invisible for everyone, and had to make twelve shirts from the linen given to her. Upon completion of the shirts, her misconduct would be atoned and she would be free again. However, she was only allowed to sew one stitch every fifty years, unless a bold young man managed to climb up the outside wall of the thirty-meter high tower without any aids whatsoever and unite with her.
Rosemary has now been sitting in the tower for hundreds of years, as young and beautiful as ever, though invisible, and wanders through the castle at midnight.
Once a year, in the night of St. John the Baptist's Day, Rosemary's ancestors arise and gather with her in the chapel to reproach her again and again for her misconduct.

We neither saw her nor tried to free her, but the steak béarnaise in her restaurant was delicious, the xylophone was fun, and the pictures below will show you how much fun you can have on a sunny May day visiting castles just west of Berlin.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Satire Perfect

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with ...
... a rabble rouser of incredible venom, slight intelligence, extreme foxiness, obtuse references, and extreme danger,
then watch this to free yourself from the beckon of beck:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Visionaries in Berlin

Three dimensionality recycled.
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Saturday, May 8, 2010

8 May 1945 : 65 Years of Liberation

Nicolas Sarkozy a célébré les 65 ans de la victoire des alliés sur l'Allemagne nazie à Colmar, l'une des dernières villes françaises libérées, où il a rendu hommage aux "malgré nous", samedi 8 mai. Dans un discours d'une quinzaine de minutes, le chef de l'Etat est surtout revenu sur le sort des Alsaciens et Mosellans incorporés de force dans l'armée allemande. "Ceux qui n'ont rien fait pour empêcher cette ignominie perpétrée contre des citoyens français ont trahi les valeurs de la France, l'ont déshonorée. Vichy a trahi la France et l'a déshonorée."

Angela Merkel im Gespräch - Süddeutsche Zeitung
''Wir müssen sprachfähig sein über unsere Geschichte''
SZ: Frau Bundeskanzlerin, was bedeutet der 8. Mai 1945 für Sie?
Angela Merkel: Das Ende eines schrecklichen Krieges. Das Ende von millionenfachem Mord, des Holocaust. Damit ist der 8. Mai der Tag der Befreiung Deutschlands und Europas vom Nationalsozialismus.

Rosselini Continues to Seduce

And this link appears to be accessible in Europe, too! (With thanks to DarthR!)

And along with Isabella, a little salute to the subversive surrealists of nearly 100 years ago. (Consider how modern you are today!)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Topography of Terror - Finally Opened!

Topographie des Terrors

As long as I have been here in Berlin, I have been visiting the grounds of the Prinz-Albrecht-Palais, where the Gestapo and SS had their "headquarters" for the organization of persecution and terror in Nazi Germany. The basement cells where people were held and tortured for the most absurd reasons were visible along the perimeter on my first visit there. Throughout the years there were various efforts to preserve what had come to light and construct some sort of exhibition space to document what happened here and to provide a roof to prevent the slow decay of those subsurface torture chambers.
Finally, yesterday, the new structure was inaugurated and the grounds once more made accessible to the public. Standing at one of the few remaining sections of the Berlin Wall and across the street from Göhring's Luftwaffenministerium, now the German Finance Ministry, it is a must for anyone interested in history, so as not to forget the extremes of cruelty to man man is capable of.
In our age of rather generalized amnesia, this site of memory, recollection, commemoration, and thought is a welcome signal!
Take the time to visit when you are in Berlin.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Five Years Remembering

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin celebrated the fifth anniversary of its opening yesterday, and I would like to pay this small tribute to this effort to stamp into the heart of this city a suitably sustantial call on us all never to forget the horror of calculating humans rather than encouraging humans to think and live and love.

"Die Fabrikation von Leichen in Gaskammern und Vernichtungslagern" [MH GA 79, S.27] was not only murder, genocide, but indeed also the horrid robbery of the victims' very death, depriving them of their own "Tod ... das Gebirg des Seyns im Gedicht der Welt" [ibid., S.56] .

May this memorial massively restore at least to their memory a mount in the poem of the world.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Fantastic Day !

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Now with some photos of the day.