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30 April 2012

Nice Glockenspiel, Lady!

Creepy Number Station goodness, for all you wierdos out there.

I say it’s art.

24 April 2012

Kein Schwein War Da...

Fans of pointless phrases should certainly enjoy this.
As it turns out, reading Schiller’s plays and singing Goethe’s poems doesn’t actually make you fluent in contemporary German.
Well, now!

23 April 2012

Alas, Memory Lane

Ikea's bottled "Swedish Festive Easter Soft Drink"

It wasn't stunningly foul, but tasted oddly familiar. It tastes like the stuff branded as Pepsi that they sold in East Germany.

It's kind of a mild malt flavor. The reason the DDR-licensed Pepsi tasted this way, was because the eastern licence-users refused to pay Pepsi to import the syrup, and wanted the formula. Naturally, the licencees of products such as this didn't see the past behaviour of the COMECON crowd as terribly honest in these matters, and refused.

Nonetheless, even in the worker's paradise, a corporate logo's appeal was even understood by the Nannies-in-Chief of the people.

22 April 2012

And You Though that it Just Didn't Matter

The $3873 mullet
RICK McLoughlin reckons his new short hairstyle is much lower maintenance than the mullet he has worn for years. Rick, who works as a safety adviser at Gorgon Construction Village on Barrow Island, sacrificed his crowning glory and in the process.

20 April 2012

In Case You’re Wondering...

...what Ost-Berlin Mitte looked like in the 80’s, it looked like Ost-Berlin Mitte in the 50’s. That is, if you just scratched the surface and got away from the Potemkin village near the Fernsehturm.

19 April 2012

The Neo-Bauhaus Modern Architecture of Everyday Life

This photo collection and this book’s website may be the best collection summarizing a sense of a style and time that I’ve seen so far. Discount the weather, the ubiquitous Berlin graffiti, and the effects of time on these buildings, and the futurist’s-optimism inherent in the outlook from which they were built seem to radiate off of the precast concrete and Portland cement plaster that most of them are garbed in.

Despite that, as much of this work is found today, one gets the sense that you find yourself in a modern form of a bleak, abandoned ancient ruin: the dry husk of the near distant ago, and on the set, perhaps of A Clockwork Orange.

18 April 2012

News Digest from the Fake-Crisis Management Center, no. 2012\04A: An Urgent Report

Noting the nuttiness of people's fears, the extent to which they are convinced that the world, as usual, is just about to end, I have been noting the nature of those who seem to love the sort of hysteria surrounding the prospect of an asteroid doing us all in.

It's a metaphor, you dopes. A metaphor for whatever fashionable piffle children are being taught to wet their beds over - by which I mean the idea that man can alter the world's temperature through self-flaggelation and feelings of sever contrition, and that a giant human-caused-weather-related wave is coming to wipe us out. Even the landlocked.

I thought I was beavering away in lonely isolation. Now, even storied philosophical figure and popular writer Pascal Bruckner is starting to get worried about our worries (and distracting preoccupations with something that only matters to a haldful of detached activists).
Around the turn of the twenty-first century, a paradigm shift in our thinking took place: we decided that the era of revolutions was over and that the era of catastrophes had begun. The former had involved expectation, the hope that the human race would proceed toward some goal. But once the end of history was announced, the Communist enemy vanquished, and, more recently, the War on Terror all but won, the idea of progress lay moribund. What replaced the world’s human future was the future of the world as a material entity. The long list of emblematic victims—Jews, blacks, slaves, proletarians, colonized peoples—was likewise replaced, little by little, with the Planet, the new paragon of all misery. No longer were we summoned to participate in a particular community; rather, we were invited to identify ourselves with the spatial vessel that carried us, groaning.
And so forth, undsoweiter: the fear of wrong simply becomes fear, and redemption, well - if you don't beileve in anything, you won't find any of that either.
The Christian apocalypse saw itself as a hopeful revelation of the coming of God’s kingdom. Today’s has nothing to offer. There is no promise of redemption; the only hope is that those human beings who repent of their errors may escape the chaos, as in Cormac McCarthy’s fine novel The Road. How can we be surprised, then, that so many bright minds have become delirious and that so many strange predictions flourish?
As far as I'm concerned, if you're preoccupied by human extinction, and have a "love-hate" relationship with the idea, make a good example of yourself and go first. After all, if the life of all of us is a cheap tool to make yourself heard, then your life is unserious and cheap to begin with.

15 April 2012

The HuffPo Reader's Idea of "Street Cred"

One can only wonder where they think that street is - or rather at least what part of Northeast Philadelphia they think it is.
'Part-Time Hair Piece, Full-Time Lady-Getter'
You go, "Lady-Getter" ( ...? ! ?... )
Clearly, it has worked: After selling out of their stock of 2000, the couple just placed an order for 10000 additional mullets. So let's get to the most important question: Are the mullets synthetic or real human hair?
Important, indeed. Almost as important as parading you're wife's silly ironic name.
My wife Morgan went to high school with a friend that originally had this idea. He had the stuff sent over from China and had a prototype made, but let it go. We were in Cabo in 2010 and a group of tourists walked by with real mullets, and we both agreed that we should talk to our friend about getting the business off the ground.
Their choice in vacation locales says the rest.

Hair on the Sports Page Again

Someone, please find me a hockey fan to whom this could possibly matter:

ESPN: Kane opts for playoff beard over mullet
Bill Smith/NHLI/Getty Images Patrick Kane grew a playoff mullet instead of a beard in 2010. Youthful-looking forward Patrick Kane garnered national attention when he grew a playoff mullet two years ago as the Hawks went on to capture the Stanley Cup.

13 April 2012

Questions no-one is Asking

About the ignoble mullet.
Should Eighties girls stick to referencing the clothes or the music rather than the hair? Do you even like Eighties-inspired hair? Is the Eighties the decade the stylish should just forget? Hi [sic] did see a great mullet/rooster harido the other day.
Heavens, no, child.

11 April 2012

Despite its Name and Signature tune

It was called "Freheitsender 904" or Freedom Station 904, and actually broadcast on 908 AM/MW out of the East German transmission site at Berg, which also happened to be where "Soldatensender" for NVA soldiers was transmitted from, as well as a Station broadcasting to Soviet troops, and the DDR's only longwave radio tower.

It's a peek into a very strange world, thankfully lost to time. I know, I know... it isn't a number station, but it was a very strange form of propaganda, especially given that it would only broadcast for 30 minutes at a time.

"Enjoy." If you can, that is. If you don't recognize the present use of the tune, then check here.

10 April 2012


A 1979 Short Film by Christoph Doering shot in West-Berlin featuring outliers starting in the music scene.

09 April 2012

How is it that Berlin has Stayed Somewhat Unique ?

The accent is disappearing, and the place is getting cleaned up in a way that doesn’t exactly scream “you’re in Berlin”, but it has managed to live in its’ own past to some degree. Natalie Holmes writes:
Just over 20 years since the wall came down and Germany reunified, the city has, predictably, changed and developed unevenly. Some areas, such as the central tourist and business districts, have caught up quickly and are virtually indistinguishable from their more established foreign and domestic counterparts.

Still, there are areas that development’s claws have not devoured, and yet other places refusing to accept that homogeneity is an inevitable consequence. Of course, Germany’s capital has its fair share of multiplex cinemas, but unlike any other city I’ve lived in or visited, I’ve never actually had to step foot inside one.
Hanging on to itself in part is taking the form of keeping alive independent movie houses, particularly in the former West-Berlin which in the post-war days represented the first sign of a a return to both intellectualism and aspirational living. They also hosted domestically made films, especially independent ones, going back decades when even then studio distribution was overwhelmingly powerful.

In the island called walled West-Berlin, it was also the broadest-ranging and least managed or controlled form of entertainment and exposure to new forms of the arts and thinking.

It needs to be understood that to those inhabiting the 2nd half of the 20th century, there had not really been an independent and thoughtful cinema culture in their lifetimes. Preceding it were two things: Hitler’s Ufa studios, and imports which were emotionally distant as they had emerged from other cultures.

While Holmes presents to us the beloved movie palaces that deserve their due, it’s easy to overlook the neighborhood Kinos such as Filmkunst 66 near Savignyplatz that have been in operation since 1971.

This is what the film culture had to emerge from:

It grew to become an affordable means of entertainment, providing an evening of relief in the difficulties of people’s lives, to become a conduit of new ideas and the arts as times grew better. And it all happened a long time ago without an arts council “minding” it, a subsidy, and on the personal initiative of free people who loved it.

That alone deserves as much recognition for unique culture and unique thinking as many other things.

07 April 2012

Between Rubble and Ruins

Presented by the German Historical Institute on their German History in Documents and Images website, is a rare collection of postwar photographs attributed to a known photographer, Friedrich Seidenstücker.

Feeding your Berlinalia:

A Flaneur between Rubble and Ruins – Friedrich Seidenstücker
Photographs of Berlin after 1945

06 April 2012

Origins: Stoking Anti-Globalization

Founded on the theory that those Mexicans didn't need jobs anyway, a typical "editorial" from the golden age of self-delusion.

A Radio Berlin International broadcast from 1972

05 April 2012

Park your Butt in the Land of Cool

The deliciously cool Bauhaus Archiv Berlin has had a few chair displays, as well as some seminal examples, but for the chair-crazed, it can't get any better or more genuine than this.

04 April 2012

Of COURSE they Could...

Teams of laser-wielding satellites could shoot rogue asteroids
Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow are floating the possibility that a flock of small satellites could fly in formation and fire solar-powered lasers at a threatening asteroid, knocking the space rock off its path to Earth.
"Flock"? Thazt almost makes it sound that supernatural threat sound almost "natural".

Of course this is after we have been wizzened to the fact that they can't, or that nukes can take our imaginary decimator out, or that it can't. Etc. Stay afraid of imaginary things, my friends...
The likelihood of a humanity-threatening asteroid strike remains low, but astronomers have not pinned down the best way to deal with ones that pose a risk to our planet.
I'm so glad they're keeping it unreal.

01 April 2012

New and Improved Elektorsmog!

The Litzelstetter "tower-free residential area" club fears a new wave of elektrosmog. "I think it's the calm before the storm," club chairman Irene Mohn said when asked. The planned expansion of the high-speed network LTE (Long Term Evolution), they said will be a new tsunami of the mobile world over the cities and towns. Mohn believes that the electromagnetism is a pollutant, and thus believes it an increase on the burden on residents. This was why the club supports a possible low-emission, and thus human-friendly form of mobile communications.
I’m not sure if its attention seeking or hypochondria that drives these people, but despite the mere milliwatts that are at issue, and the fact that we shield the emissions of motors and other equipment in a way we never have before, they’re still at it.

Nonetheless, that kind of craziness sounds much better in the original Klingon:
Der Litzelstetter Verein „Mastenfreies Wohngebiet“ fürchtet eine neue Elektrosmog-Welle. „Ich denke, es ist die Ruhe vor dem Sturm“, sagte die Vorsitzende Irene Mohn auf Nachfragen. Mit dem geplanten Ausbau des Hochgeschwindigkeitsnetzes LTE (Long Term Evolution) rolle ein neuer Tsunami aus der Mobilfunkwelt auf die Städte und Gemeinden zu. Mohn geht davon aus, dass der Elektrosmog und damit auch die Belastungen für die Anwohner steigen. Dabei setze sich der Verein für die möglichst emissionsarme und damit menschenverträgliche Form des Mobilfunks ein.
Run! Hide! Save yourselves!