31 March 2008


is incomprehensible. Really bizarre. Completely bonkers.

Just sayin'...


This is the first film I remember seeing. It was 1965. My mom was on a date at the drive-in theater and I was meant to be asleep in the back of her Rambler station wagon. I wasn't, which became clear to my mom and her date, when peeking from beneath my blanket I saw the dead naked lady painted in gold. Ah, childhood memories...

In any case, Goldfinger remains a very special favorite...and so does Shirley Bassey.

29 March 2008

Dutch Filmmaking

I'm a bit suspicious of films made by politicians; right-wing politicians even more so. Fitna, by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, seems designed purely to provoke. I haven't seen it and have no plans to see it, so perhaps I'm being unfair. Whatever.

In fact, I feel quite lucky that last night I saw another film, which I am pleased to offer as a more fitting example of Dutch filmmaking. Released in 2006 and directed by Kate Brown, Absolutely Positive tells the story of Dennis, who is 16 years old and HIV-positive. As the film begins, Dennis has just moved in with his aunt following his mother's death (AIDS-related suicide). He is an outsider in his new high school and anyone who has ever been in high school, HIV-positive or not, can relate.

Dennis (Hunter Bussemaker)

Dennis finds, however, that his new life isn't all bad. There is a girl named Sara, who is as intrigued by Dennis as he is by her.

Sara, right (Lore Dijkman)

A relationship slowly develops between Dennis and Sara, and when her parents leave town for the weekend, she invites him to spend the night. Without giving away too much of the story, suffice it to say that trying to tell someone you love and are sexually attracted to, that you are HIV-positive, is not particularly easy; in this case it is very nearly heartbreaking.

Absolutely Positive doesn't flinch from the difficulties of being an HIV-positive teenager. There is an especially moving scene where Dennis, in utter despair, burns his wrists with a cigarette.

At the same time, however, the film offers hope, and it is the hope based on the madness commonly known as love. And I'll take that over hate and intolerance any day.

I saw Absolutely Positive on the television station Arte, which is a co-production of Germany and France and perhaps the real reason I moved back to Berlin.

Note: The pics are all my shots of the television screen.

20 March 2008

Update: Toilet Seat Lady

The Guardian reports that the toilet seat lady's boyfriend has been charged with "mistreatment of a dependent adult."


I wonder what he would have been charged with had he refused to take food to her in the bathroom and she died from starvation. Classic fucked-if you-do-fucked-if you-don't situation, if you ask me.

Spring is in the Air

Thanks goodness I had the presence of mind to load up on my allergy medicine before I left DC...

19 March 2008

Just Saying...

I miss the Cold War.

What I Miss About New York...

It's been almost two years since I had this pastrami sandwich and I still can't forget it.

17 March 2008

Funk is Dead. Long Live Funk!

You see, this is why I love YouTube.

I was sitting here at my desk (or at Silke's desk to be precise) working on a copy editing assignment, when it occurred to me that what I should really be doing is updating the music videos on my iLike application on Facebook. Since I feature funk and classical on my Facebook profile, updating meant that it was time to search for some funk classics since my current classical video selection will be there for a while.

In any case, I allowed myself to wander back to 1978, the absolute height of Funkiness, and eventually settled on this:

I wish I had a Euro for every time I danced to this song back in the day. Written by that English genius of funk and R&B, Rod Temperton, Grooveline is a blast from a funk-da-fied past I am very happy to have experienced.

I'm not sure what happened to music like this, but I intend to find out. Stay tuned...

14 March 2008

The Flat Earth Society

One of my favorite smart-ass comments when someone says something that strikes me as old-fashioned is:

Yeah, yeah, yeah...and there was also a time when people thought the earth was flat...

Imagine my shock to discover that that time is NOW.

Okay, to begin at the beginning. I was watching a science program called Gallileo* and they were investigating conspiracy theories related to the Apollo Moon missions. Well, one thing led to another (as they do when one goes to Wikipedia to check a name, in this case Bill Kaysing), and before I knew it I was chest deep in Apollo Hoax theories. Fascinating. Not really my type, when it comes to conspiracy theories, but fascinating, nevertheless.

In any case, I soon found myself confronted with a group called The Flat Earth Society and after reading their Wikipedia entry and visiting their website, I felt my brain starting to melt. From a critical essay by Robert Schadewald, here's a sample of what they believe:

...the known world is as circular and as flat as a phonograph record. The North Pole is at the center. At the outer edge lies the southern ice, reputed to be a wall 150 feet high; no one has ever crossed it, and therefore what lies beyond is unknown.

The sun and moon, in the Johnson version, are only about 32 miles in diameter. They circle above the earth in the vicinity of the equator, and their apparent rising and setting are tricks of perspective, like railroad tracks that appear to meet in the distance. The moon shines by its own light and is not eclipsed by the earth. Rather, lunar eclipses are caused by an unseen dark body occasionally passing in front of the moon.
(Source: The Flat-out Truth)

"Johnson" in the above quote, refers to Charles K. Johnson. He was resident of the society until his death in 2001.**

Apparently, the United Nations also knows that the world is flat. Why else does their flag look like that? Oh and the whole thing, the society I mean, is based on a literal reading of the Bible.


*Yes...I am that girl...
**Hmmmm.... Johnson died on March 19, 2001. Exactly 177 days before September 11. Add the numbers 1+7+7 and you get 15. Then add 1+5 and you get 6. That has to mean something, right?

Karl Marx...

died on this day 125 years ago. From the volumes he wrote, I think I like this quote best:

History calls those men the greatest who have ennobled themselves by working for the common good; experience acclaims as happiest the man who has made the greatest number of people happy.

The quote was taken from a letter to his father, which was written in 1837, and published sixty years later.

A Bit of Irish

My eyes are definitely watery after reading this story about the Irish Dancing activities of a bunch of elementary school kids and their teacher in the Bronx.

Photograph: Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

I'm happy for these kids and others, who are fortunate enough to have teachers like Caroline Duggan. I'm sad for the millions of kids who are not.

A Bronx Tale indeed.

13 March 2008

No, seriously... I Saw this on Nip/Tuck...

...except the woman was stuck to the couch in the living room, not the toilet seat.

As it turns out, however, the Nip/Tuck episode was based on a true story. The clip below is the scene in which the Nip/Tuck pretty boys are trying to separate the woman from the couch. It seems that after a few years, her skin had fused with the couch fabric. Not for the fainthearted:

According to news reports, the toilet seat was removed successfully from the Kansas woman's posterior and she is recovering, though she may have lost the use of her legs.

There is obviously a lot about human nature I don't understand.

Room for Rent

There is an article on the BBC website this morning about landlords in Paris who are exploiting the very serious housing crisis there by offering apartments for rent in exchange for sex. Anything Paris can do, however, Berlin can do better.

As far as I can tell from the BBC article, these are landlords with apartments to rent. This means that they don't actually live with these women, rather they will stop by with varying frequency to "collect" the rent. In Berlin, which doesn't have a housing crisis that I'm aware of, the situation is a bit different. The horny guys placing these ads are looking for roommates. So conceivably, paying the rent could be a full-time effort.

I stumbled across these ads while searching for a roommate, and they're pretty straightforward:

M55, will nicht mehr allein wohnen
Region: Berlin Berlin Tempelhof
Erstellungsdatum: 04.03.08

suche nette Partnerin,die bei mir wohnen und mit mir leben und lieben will.Haus mit Garten,nicht zu gross,vorhanden.Kind oder /und Tier kein problem.Bis bald,hoffe ich.L G

Rough translation: Male 55, doesn't want to live alone anymore. Seeking a nice (female) partner who will live with and love him. House with garden, not too big, available. Child and/or pet is no problem. See you soon (I hope), warm regards.

The next one even offers a trial period of a few nights to test the chemistry, so to speak:

Meine letzte WG-Erfahrung hatte ich (M/40) im Studium, aber
Berlin Berlin
Erstellungsdatum: 02.03.08

ich habe ein separates Zimmer in meiner schönen Wohnung am Kurfürstendamm frei und könnte mir vorstellen, dass dort eine junge Frau übernachtet, mit der ich auch mal den Abend verbringe, wenn ich in Berlin bin und in der Wohnung übernachte. Zunächst ...quasi zur Probe (ob wir uns verstehen), könntest Du am Montag zu mir kommen und ...wenn Du willst ... KOSTENLOS Mo/Di bei mir übernachten. Klar gesagt: Auch wenn ich "M" bin und dieses Angebot bewußt nur an "W" richte, dränge ich mich garantiert nicht auf !! Ich bin also kein "verklemmter Typ". Das ich unkompliziert und unkonventionell bin, zeigt wohl schon meine Anzeige. Das bedeutet also auch, das bei beiderseitigem Interesse "Vieles" möglich ist ...ganz natürlich, selbstverständlich und ungestreßt.

Okay, this guy had his last roommate experience when he was in college, but he has an empty room in his lovely apartment in Kufürstendamm and could imagine having a young lady living there, who would also occasionally spend the evening with him when he's in Berlin and sleeps in the apartment. Therefore, he suggests a test run...Interested parties could come to him on Monday and spend the night FOR FREE. But to be clear: although he's a man looking for a woman, he won't force himself!! At the same time, he's not repressed. That he is uncomplicated and unconventional is obvious from the ad. This means that with mutual interest "a lot" is possible...but naturally and without stress.

There are quite a few people who work in Berlin during the week and go home on the weekends. This includes many civil servants who didn't want to move to Berlin when the capital moved here from Bonn. This second ad just screams civil servant/businessman with an adoring wife and three kids somewhere in another city.

In both of these ads, the rent is "free."

Ah well...

There is so much I could say about these ads, but if I think too much about them I get annoyed. I guess it's enough just to make it clear that when it comes to sleazy...well there's Paris-style, and there's definitely Berlin-style.

And yes, I have found a new roommate. I did not, however, find him at the site where I found these ads. But more about my new digs and my new roommate later.

12 March 2008

And the others?

Now that Eliot Spitzer has resigned for getting caught, I think this would actually be a really good time for all other public officials, who are involved in conduct unbecoming, to do the same. A sort of en masse, "I'm sorry, I fucked up," abandonment of duties.

You know you're out there, and you also know it's just a matter of time. Quit now and no one will even notice...unless of course, your indiscretions involve farm animals. Honestly, I think we've seen just about everything else.

But they won't take my advice, of course. The arrogance associated with power makes them careless, and quicker than you can say "I have a wide stance" they're all over the blogosphere.

Ah well, I tried.

05 March 2008

Der Himmel über Berlin & My Exit from DC

The day I took this photo I was moving from Hartmut's place to Silke's place. I shot it behind Hartmut's building when I went to take out the trash.

Der Himmel über Berlin

I've been in Berlin a month now, and before too much time passes, it's important to say Thanks to some lovely people in DC, without whom the only move I would have made would have been to a padded room while dressed in a very long-sleeved jacket.

First, Sarah Jane gave up two weekend days to help me pack. This involved not only packing, which seems obvious, but convincing me to throw out things I really did not need to ship across the pond. I won't go into details here, if you know her, she probably told you about my little "treasures" already anyway... SJ I really appreciate your help and your patience. Thanks again.

Then there was Josh, who responded to my panicked request (read: demand) that he get his ass over to my apartment the night before I moved out, in order to take a bunch of stuff I was going to simply throw away. You know who your friends are by that look they give you when you're totally freaking out and they know it, and you know they know it, but you both act like it isn't happening... Josh, I hope you're using the salad spinner... I miss your face.

Moving on...

It was a simple idea: get a valid driver's license before moving to Europe. Well, what did Steinbeck teach us about the best-laid plans of mice and men? Without going into the details (which beggar belief), let's just say that Mercury was in retrograde and as a result, what began as a brief little excursion to the DMV, ended up in John having to take a day off from work to make sure I actually made my flight. Further evidence of the madness of this day, is that my last meal in DC was at Burger King... Okay, it wasn't so bad, this was also the day that John rode a metro bus for the first time. God, that was hilarious. Dude, I owe you BIG time.

Special thanks also to Sue and to Terry for their beautiful (and oh so practical) going-away sentiments. Sue, my mom tried to steal those gloves, but since I was expecting this, I was ready for her.

Gosh, had I known how much some people in DC cared, I might have stayed... Just kidding, but you get the point.

Thanks my dears!