Archives for the month of: June, 2012


Each morning, as I’m getting ready for work, I listen to a local radio show (Der Supermix 94,3). There’s always a good variety of news, music, chat, and a daily quiz question. Today’s question was easy. Nonetheless, I got it wrong. 


Question: How many lives does a cat have?

Answer: If you thought it was nine, you would be wrong. In Germany and in many Latin American countries, a cat only has seven lives. Life must be tough for cats overseas. Das ist schade! 

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Each morning, as I’m getting ready for work, I listen to a local radio show (Der Supermix 94,3). There’s always a good variety of news, music, chat, and a daily quiz question. Today’s question was easy. Nonetheless, I got it wrong. 


Question: How many lives does a cat have?

Answer: If you thought it was nine, you would be wrong. In Germany and in many Latin American countries, a cat only has seven lives. Life must be tough for cats overseas. Das ist schade! 

A few weeks ago, I saw a fascinating TV documentary, The True Miss Marple-The Curious Case of Margaret Rutherford. (Der wahre Miss Marple-Der kuriose Fall Margaret Rutherford.) Known primarily for her portrayal of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple during the 1960s, Ms. Rutherford’s life was exciting enough to be its own movie.  

Orphaned at an early age after her mother committed suicide and her father died in a mental institution, Ms. Rutherford was raised by her maiden aunt, and later taught music and elocution before attending drama school. In her later life, Rutherford suffered from serious bouts of depression requiring electroshock therapy.

Although the Marple films made Rutherford financially independent, she dismissed the films as eccentric and over-the-top, not worthy of Christie’s Miss Marple.

After her death in 1972 from Alzheimer’s disease, it was disclosed that Rutherford had been a victim of a crime worthy of its own Christie novel. The case involved Rutherford’s live-in companion, the disappearance of her Oscar, and the sale of her personal valuables.

Known for her generosity and compassion, Rutherford employed a down on her luck opera singer, Violet Davis. Rutherford was already suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s and could no longer work professionally or manage her personal affairs. Ms. Davis sold off the actor’s possessions, including Rutherford’s Oscar, Golden Globe, jewels, and silver. Although arrested, Ms. Davis skipped trial and was never seen again. The Rutherford case is still open, and the Oscar still missing.

Here’s an interesting article from today’s Guardian. I’ve always believed that a person has the right to die. If I was Mr. Nicklinson, I would do the same thing: seek a lawful means to end my life. Why be condemned to a life of increasing misery. Whose life is it anyway?

I’m not religious, and I’ve never bought into the sanctity of life crap. My motto continues to be: Live with dignity and die with dignity. If the need ever arises, I’m headed to Dignitas

Here’s an interesting article from today’s Guardian. I’ve always believed that a person has the right to die. If I was Mr. Nicklinson, I would do the same thing: seek a lawful means to end my life. Why be condemned to a life of increasing misery. Whose life is it anyway?

I’m not religious, and I’ve never bought into the sanctity of life crap. My motto continues to be: Live with dignity and die with dignity. If the need ever arises, I’m headed to Dignitas

Superboy and Supergirl?
For the first time ever, three embassies (the Netherlands, the UK, and the USA) participated in this year’s Christopher Street Day (Gay Pride) parade.



I didn’t expect much from the embassy sponsored floats. This is the government after all, and governments pride themselves in selecting the banal and lackluster. They avoid anything controversial or interesting 
Dull but Generous Brit Float
The British float lived up to expectations. Its float consisted of a picture of computer scientist Alan Turing and embassy employees waiving the Union Jack. Humdrum yes, but the British do win the award for most generous. As their float weaved its way along the parade route, embassy employees provided spectators with fruit smoothies. On the other hand, I was unable to find the float from the Netherlands. Perhaps, it was still in Amsterdam. It wins the MIA award.
US Embassy Float

Embassy Employees?
The USA float was small, but what it lacked in size, it made up for in color, eroticism, and enthusiasm. The crowd cheered, whistled, and applauded. (Germans applauding an American float? That’s something!) Surprisingly, this float managed to get approved by the US Ambassador and US Secretary of State Clinton. Rather than comment, I will let you draw your own conclusions. I’ve also included some other pictures.

Cruella Deville (front)








Cruella Deville (back)


Russian Bublishiki
Gay Rugby
Two Very Cute Woman
Superboy and Supergirl?
For the first time ever, three embassies (the Netherlands, the UK, and the USA) participated in this year’s Christopher Street Day (Gay Pride) parade.



I didn’t expect much from the embassy sponsored floats. This is the government after all, and governments pride themselves in selecting the banal and lackluster. They avoid anything controversial or interesting 
Dull but Generous Brit Float
The British float lived up to expectations. Its float consisted of a picture of computer scientist Alan Turing and embassy employees waiving the Union Jack. Humdrum yes, but the British do win the award for most generous. As their float weaved its way along the parade route, embassy employees provided spectators with fruit smoothies. On the other hand, I was unable to find the float from the Netherlands. Perhaps, it was still in Amsterdam. It wins the MIA award.
US Embassy Float

Embassy Employees?
The USA float was small, but what it lacked in size, it made up for in color, eroticism, and enthusiasm. The crowd cheered, whistled, and applauded. (Germans applauding an American float? That’s something!) Surprisingly, this float managed to get approved by the US Ambassador and US Secretary of State Clinton. Rather than comment, I will let you draw your own conclusions. I’ve also included some other pictures.

Cruella Deville (front)








Cruella Deville (back)


Russian Bublishiki
Gay Rugby
Two Very Cute Woman
In the United States if there’s a problem, we fix it. For the most part, we’re an optimistic nation with a “can do” and “fix it” attitude. When faced with a terminal illness, we seek the latest “cure,” no matter the cost, discomfort, or effectiveness. If something can extend our life for just a few months, it’s worth a try. This uniquely American characteristic extends to disease prevention as well.

The story goes that if you exercise regularly, eat “right,” refrain from smoking, and drink moderately, you’ll live a long and vigorous life. We’ve become a nation preoccupied with health. (Unfortunately, our quest for health belies the fact that many of us our overweight and unfit.)

The next time you go shopping, look at the number of products aimed at “health.” There are diet potions, organic foods, anti-aging lotions, dietary supplements, and all sorts of elixirs claiming health benefits. The list goes on and on. We almost believe that we can avoid death by consuming the right things. 

The European attitude toward health and longevity is very different. Life is to be lived, not worried about. Try and find a sugar free, fat free, caffeine free, or reduced sodium product in a German store. Good luck. If you’re lucky, you might find Coke Zero or some decaffeinated coffee. In Europe, food and drink are to be enjoyed, not fretted over. 

I’m reminded of this European joie de vivre lifestyle now that the summer holidays have begun. The high school term has just ended, and for the next six weeks, young people will be flooding my neighborhood to enjoy the plethora of bars, restaurants, clubs, and cafes. 

As I look down from my balcony, I see hundreds of kids laughing, flirting, and enjoying the warm summer evening. The air is filled with cigarette smoke, the streets littered with broken beer bottles, and the night air filled with music. In the morning, people stagger home after a night of wanton excess. During the day, the cafes and restaurants are crowed with patrons eating, drinking, and smoking. Healthy? It doesn’t matter. After living in Berlin for awhile, I realize that this is just another part of the Berlin lifestyle.
In the United States if there’s a problem, we fix it. For the most part, we’re an optimistic nation with a “can do” and “fix it” attitude. When faced with a terminal illness, we seek the latest “cure,” no matter the cost, discomfort, or effectiveness. If something can extend our life for just a few months, it’s worth a try. This uniquely American characteristic extends to disease prevention as well.

The story goes that if you exercise regularly, eat “right,” refrain from smoking, and drink moderately, you’ll live a long and vigorous life. We’ve become a nation preoccupied with health. (Unfortunately, our quest for health belies the fact that many of us our overweight and unfit.)

The next time you go shopping, look at the number of products aimed at “health.” There are diet potions, organic foods, anti-aging lotions, dietary supplements, and all sorts of elixirs claiming health benefits. The list goes on and on. We almost believe that we can avoid death by consuming the right things. 

The European attitude toward health and longevity is very different. Life is to be lived, not worried about. Try and find a sugar free, fat free, caffeine free, or reduced sodium product in a German store. Good luck. If you’re lucky, you might find Coke Zero or some decaffeinated coffee. In Europe, food and drink are to be enjoyed, not fretted over. 

I’m reminded of this European joie de vivre lifestyle now that the summer holidays have begun. The high school term has just ended, and for the next six weeks, young people will be flooding my neighborhood to enjoy the plethora of bars, restaurants, clubs, and cafes. 

As I look down from my balcony, I see hundreds of kids laughing, flirting, and enjoying the warm summer evening. The air is filled with cigarette smoke, the streets littered with broken beer bottles, and the night air filled with music. In the morning, people stagger home after a night of wanton excess. During the day, the cafes and restaurants are crowed with patrons eating, drinking, and smoking. Healthy? It doesn’t matter. After living in Berlin for awhile, I realize that this is just another part of the Berlin lifestyle.

Der Liebling der DDR Kinderfernshen war 50 Jahre alt am letzten Sonntag und bekommt mehr Sendezeit.