Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Slip Slidin' Away

Y'know the nearer the destination, the more you're slip slidin' away.

The Berlin winter hit fast and furious this year with snow and ice and -15C. Today was a mild minus five, but the deadly ice was in place under the Christmas crunch last minute shoppers' feet. I saw two people fall down on the sidewalk today at different times and places.  When it happened--once to a guy and once to a girl--they each winced, shook their heads and got up.  Then they proceeded with their previous walk at full tilt boogie speed.  Damn!  They must be locals.

Each winter, whenever I fall down on the icy sidewalks of Central Europe (Czech, Germany, same frozen winter wasteland, different languages), I twist a knee or an ankle.  Then I sit there for a while cursing and waving my arms around.  Then I slowly get up and proceed to limp for the next 3 weeks.  This is because A) I am not a local; B) I have California legs (I am bloody Barishnikov on beach sand--I don't fall down or NOTHIN'); and C) The bigger you are, the harder you fall.  I am 6 foot 5 inches of donuts and beer.

So today I slid along, shuffling my feet, shifting my weight, staring at the ground.  Every year when I do this, I have to wonder why they put the tiny pea gravel 'anti slip' rocks UNDER the ice.  I can see them there under the thin layer of sidewalk ice, suspended like little black bugs in amber, useless and dead.  Some business owners throw dirt over the ice on the walkway into their shop. This is because having dirty icy mush tromped in all over the shop floor is de rigueur in Berlin's trendiest shops. But every inch of the 50 feet of sidewalk between the shop entrances is an iceberg waiting to sink my personal Titanic. So every winter I slip and slide around Prague or Berlin, flail my arms, hold onto walls and miss the days when I used to drive a car.  In a sunny place.

But at least I finally know the meaning of a White Christmas.

Happy holidays, however you celebrate them.


Monday, December 21, 2009


I’ve always hated charts. Especially pie charts. So much promise in the name, no pie anywhere to be seen. As a donut muncher, the best chart I have ever seen in my life is this one. It's a nice little pigeonhole for the Right and the Left.  Although I'll have to say that the colors are weird.  Left is red, blue is the right.  I thought we were looking at charts of the Blue States (Democrat) and the Red States (redneck Republicans).  Maybe in this chart Left means 'Commie Reds' and blue means 'Bluebloods.'  Click to make it bigger, read thoroughtly and talk amongst yourselves.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Obama With a Hitler Mustache and Some Pretty Confused German Kids

What?!? WTF? MY president?  A FASCIST?  Say it isn't so.  Well, y'know, the German yoots are AWFULLY tired of having to bear the burden of their ancestors' sins.  They're just a little bit bored of hearing about Hitler every time they raise their hands to hail a taxi (hint: German kids, don't all raise your hands at once to hail a taxi, this looks suspicous; just one previously-elected-in-a-ridiculously-bureaucratic-ritual group representative is enough).

They didn't whip out the Obama Hitler photo right away.  They simply had a slightly dumpy, bespectacled young chick step in front of me while I was walking the dog the other day.  She seemed harmless.  I thought she wanted me to join Greenpeace or Oxfam or something or other. She ranted about eco fascists, genocide, the New World Order, and so on.  Then I told her that I didn't speak German.  So she had to repeat the whole tirade in English (I'm wicked).  I may be evil, but DAMN, the fact that she could rant in 2 languages was fairly impressive.  So I continued to listen.  She started condeming groups like Greenpeace, etc. as the eco fascists.  I was being entertained (the only thing missing was popcorn), so I went along with it.

"You mean, the big bunch of green kids is wrong to try to save the Earth?"  said I.
"Are you kidding?" said she, "They are the WORST fascists of all the ultra liberal groups!
(at this point I wanted to stop her and suggest that the term 'fascist' ONLY applies to the right wing, but why not let the poor sons and daughters of stormtroopers writhe in irony?)

"BARK!!! BARK!!! Woof!" the dog chimed in.
"Oh, your dog has an opinion, too!" she went on.
"No, we've just been walking for a half hour in minus 5 and he's telling me to get my white ass inside."
"He said that? What's his name?"
(quizzical look from the Hitler Jugend) "Well, you should read our literature.  Have you heard of the LaRouche movement?"
"No, but I don't watch German TV."
"They're not German," a tired looking guy in the group added, "but you should know about them, being American."
"I'm the typical ignorant American you've read about," I explained.
The girl put a magazine in my hand, and since it didn't have pictures of Jesus and beams of light on it, I actually held it for a minute or two.  Then I flipped it over and saw the O-BOMB-A:

"Now you seriously don't think that there is ANY connection between Obama and HITLER, do you?"

"Yes!" They blasphemed, "With his healthcare and his genocide and his fascism and his..."

"Sorry, hon, you are out of your TREE."


"Never mind.  But seriously, comparing Obama to Hitler is like comparing Jesus Christ to Hitler (at this point I was yearning for the Jesus in beams o' light pamphlet instead). They are not even CLOSE.  GET IT??"

"Would you let me finish?" she begged.
"Rant on, sister."
"Blah blah BLAH.  And some BLAH. And to BLAH BLAH that, there was BLAH!!!!!"
"TRILLIONS!" the haggard faced male said.
"And do you believe that Obama is HELPING the sick?" a new voice joined.  A black voice.  An African yoot joined the chorus of Hitler Jugend Gegen Obama, Inc.

I think he saw my jaw drop.  No, really?  I thought.  You. Can't. Be. Serious.  How much are these SS progeny paying you?  Please, brother.  Give anotha brotha a chance.  Stop associating with these SS ass clowns and get a real job.  I just can't take it.

He must have heard my thoughts or saw the flabbergasted look of shock and horror on my face.  Or maybe his English wasn't up to snuff.  He left the conversation.

"Ach!!! Bad dog!!!  Look!  Your bad dog has PISSED on our booth!" she chastised.

It was really hard to hide a grin.  I wagged my finger in the dog's face and said 'bad.'  No exclamation point.  I found it funny.

"Well, maybe you find it funny to talk with us, but you really don't want to accept the Truth," she proclaimed.
"No, I didn't find it funny.  I think 'fun' was the word you were looking for, and it wasn't fun either.  Entertaining, yes."
"Meeting me was the best thing that happened to you today.  And you want to leave before you can hear the Truth," she pontificated.

Damn, the Moonies got NOTHIN' on these cats.

"The day is young," I said, "it could always get better."
"You are the man who is going up the escalator and passes all the pretty girls and hopes to get a prettier one," the tired man chimed in (what was he? Her PIMP?).

I didn't want to insult the young lady, so I apologized for the piss on the booth, tipped my hat while leaving and said


Sunday, December 6, 2009


Or just some random art attack on the streets of Berlin.

Who would know the difference?

Very few words this time.


My local Schoenhauser Allee U-bahn station was graced by a visit from a pile of bloody rags.  The aftermath of a Zombie Walk?  Or just another Berlin artist desperate for attention?  Either way, gore works for me.
And props to my home slices in Sactown:  Trash Film Orgy (according to wikipedia), the ORIGINATORS of the Zombie Walk.  Keep on shufflin', C & D.