Saturday, May 23, 2015

"A Vacation in the Protectorate"

I can remember when reality shows were being discussed, and then in the early 1980s....."That's Incredible" was a big success.  By 1989, "Cops" had arrived and introduced a new wave of entertainment.....unscripted to some degree and people like this raw situation show.

I noticed in European news this week....over in Czech.....there's a new TV series coming up.

They've take volunteers and there's this family of seven who will go back in time to the spring of 1939. Germany has invaded Czech and this reality show (A Vacation in the Protectorate) will force the family into encountering radical changes in their lifestyle, starvation, Gestapo raids, and criminal prosecution.

It'll start tonight (23 May).  No one says much over how many shows or weeks this will be done.  My guess is that it's likely set in a rural village and they've got a hundred guys in the background to act as Nazi thugs or Czech secret police under the Nazis.

A shocker?  Maybe.  The first fifteen minutes of Tarantino's Inglourious Bastards is a fairly gripping moment and surprises most who watch it.   I think people will feel the same way after watching "A Vacation in the Protectorate".

Adaption for an American product?  Maybe.  In an alternate time thriller.....you might be able to convince people that the Nazis could have taken over the US and changed the dynamics of society.

Short Story over Crime and TV

Germany runs it's own version of "seeking a superstar" (called DSDS).  It's virtually the same as the US show.  Over the years, I've probably watched about half the shows.  It's rigged up to a great extent and I generally come to some conclusion near the end of each season that it's bogus (like WWE wrestling).

This year, we had a fairly non-dramatic season of DSDS.  From my prospective.....the highlights were one gal who fell off a truck, and one guy was doped up on marijuana for each of his performances.  As the last show came up....it was down to two Italian-Germans and one teenage German gal.  One of the Italian-German guys won.

Twenty-four hours after this guy wins.....Bild suddenly comes out and notes that the guy has been under some cop investigation and facing court appearances over robbing several old ladies around the Frankfurt area.

So, as the story goes.....somewhere around three years ago.....this guy and a couple of others.....convinced some old ladies to give up some personal cash.  The other guys in the group have had court appearances and gotten some disciplinary time.  This guy had the luck of a sick judge for a while, and delayed his court episode until after the DSDS episode.

When you read over the accusations.....it's pretty crappy.  He's robbed some old ladies in some immature fashion and got caught.  If they'd put this info out a month ago, the public would have avoided voting for the guy and he would have lost.  So, it appears that everyone from the news media just avoided saying anything until DSDS was wrapped up.  Maybe there was some ethical argument to this.....but he looks like an idiot now being the winner of the contest (pays 500,000 Euro) and a criminal who robbed old ladies.

The news media (mostly Bild) says that the amount of money involved is roughly 19,000 Euro.  If so, I'd hustle up some cash....pay each lady a ten-thousand Euro bonus, and try to have charges dropped.

As for this hurting DSDS?  If you walk around and ask folks to remember who won each season over the past three years.....ninety-five percent of the viewers would have a problem.  Maybe they'll forget this guy in six months and things just continue on.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Hitler Horses

Once upon a time....well....it starts this way.

At some point in the mid-1930s....at the German chancellery occupied by Adolph Hitler.....there was an addition to the front of the building in terms of art.  Two bronze horses were put on display.  These weren't mega-sized or regarded as five-star art.  It was simply an item of interest.

During the war, the two horses suffered some minor damage.  They were eventually hauled off in 1943 for safe-keeping.

As the war ended.....they were removed from the scene.  No one talks much over why, but my guess was that the two horses in bronze represented a connection to the Nazis and Hitler.  For the Soviets and the new communist government which took over East Germany.....that was enough.

So, they hauled the two bronze horses off to Eberswalde Barracks.  For decades, they sat around and no one said much.  They wouldn't destroy the horses, but they couldn't really display them either.

As the story goes, in 1989.....as the wall was collapsing.....the horses disappeared.  No one even says that a police report was done.  Some reporters indicate that the horses were procured via cash.

This week, over in Bad Durkheim (about an hour south of Wiesbaden).....cops raided some guy's warehouse and discovered the "Hitler Horses".  What they can say is that some older guys (sixties and seventies) were putting the horses up on the market.  The lawyer says these guys are legit owners and this isn't a stolen property situation.  I might think that the lack of a police report on stolen property would clear up this matter and it might be true over it being a non-stolen property situation.

The problem now?  Well.....cops will hand the case to the Pfalz prosecutor and he'll have some time to figure out charges.  Even if you haul the old guys into some court......if there's no stolen property report.....how do you charge them?

The Hitler horses?  Well.....they will go into another storage warehouse and sit for a while.

If you ask me.....by the cops getting aggressive and finding the horses.....it's a big mess.  How do you display the horses?  Back to the chancellery?  No way....it'll lend itself to the Hitler era.  Some public display in a park?  It'd just be a magnet for the Nazis around Germany.  So, in some ways.....they are stuck now with some bronze life-sized horses of historical impact.....but simply not displayable.

So, my prediction.  The two bronze horses will quietly sit for the next three or four decades in some German warehouse, and eventually get stolen by someone else.  History tends to repeat itself, and I think these horses will be around for centuries.....continually getting stolen, continually being recovered, people charged, and the horses never being able to be displayed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Bahn Strike Breaker?

For a number of months, this Bahn strike thing with the GDL union has been a continual episode. It never quiet made sense to me.

There were three things on the table.  The GDL guys wanted some hours cut off the standard week.  The Bahn came across the table and offered some reduction.  Both sides were fairly close....even when you go back to fall of 2014 on this topic.  The GDL guys wanted a pay raise, and the Bahn met the number while in discussions early on.  So, we come to the third item....the GDL guys wanted to incorporate the support staff into their union and have them participate as the GDL union.  For some reason which never made sense.....this went nowhere.  The Bahn organization weren't going to talk expansion.

For each single strike....the expansion thing was the trigger.  Nine strikes.....all going back to no expansion.  It's odd and never made any sense to me why GDL made this such a big deal.  The news media kept quiet and the political folks kept their mouth shut.

So today, the little comes out.  This Friday.....the Bundestag will meet and are expected to pass a new law related to unions.  The law says (if passed as is).....if you have an industry which has to deal with more than one single union....then you only have to deal with the LARGEST union....NOT all of the unions.  One single contract is all that matters, and it leads only to the bigger of the unions.

If GDL had accomplished the inclusion deal.....they'd be the bigger of the unions.  They failed.

The law?  It's been going through various layers of the Bundestag for months.  The various political parties knew it.....the news media knew it.....and the GDL folks knew it.

Presently, GDL is NOT the largest union player with the Bahn folks.  If the Bahn had agreed to this deal.....bringing the support staff onto the GDL union.....GDL would be the bigger of unions dealing with the Bahn.  Presently.....there is a bigger union with other functions related to the Bahn.  Once the law passes.....GDL isn't really much of a player anymore.

Shocking?  Yeah.  The news media basically kept quiet and never uttered a word about this.  Now, everything falls into place.

GDL will wake on Monday to find some court order facing them....ordering them back to work.  The court system might delay the new law because GDL says it's unfair.....but the court will simply say they will review the law, but until they finish reviewing it.....continue on working instead of striking. One single contract with one single union.....basically changes the whole concept of strikes now in Germany.

This brings me to the odd feature of German news media.  There had to be at least a hundred journalists within the news media who knew of the law coming up and the impact on GDL.  They basically sat there and said nothing.  If the public had known of the whole game.....it would have very negative against GDL.  Somehow.....this was the game to be played out, for whatever reason.

A Small Discussion over the AfD Party

In some type of weird discussion forum yesterday with the AfD folks (our anti-Euro political party in Germany).....the head guy and three associates got to this question by reporters over evolution of the AfD.

They reach a point in admitting that there's a continual progression to AfD and yes.....it could evolve into a anti-US, anti-Islam, and various other political stances that the public would be a bit shocked over.

This chatter over evolution of AfD made some who are supporting the political party question the future and suggest the need for another new political party to be created out of thin air, within Germany.

So, here's the thing to ponder about.  Politics in Germany comes in various "packages".  It's simple like in the US where it's just Republican and Democrat.  Beyond the seven national political parties in Germany.....there are a minimum of twenty smaller and somewhat insignificant political parties.  You have a chance to find a party that fits your brand of politics.  But this dilutes the numbers of the seven major parties and creates a group of roughly fifteen percent of the public who never get any national representation.

AfD and it's founders.....one might suspect.....were looking to create a revolutionary new tactic in political party creation within Germany.  Create a party with one simple theme (anti-Euro), then evolve the party into secondary themes....which might just waltz right by most supporters without thinking over the impact.  The general public in Germany probably has around twenty-percent feeling negative about the Euro and desiring some return to the Deutsche Mark.  Half of this group might get serious enough to press on the issue and find some reason to support AfD.

The evolution of AfD toward some bigger 'anti-party'?  If they had individual with charisma, charm and dynamic speeches....it'd be a bigger threat.  Presently, they've presented a couple of folks with limited and marginal attraction.  In political forums where various topics are introduced....the AfD has done a lousy job except for the anti-Euro topic.  This is the same issue with the Pirate Party, where they take IT subjects and really drill down into the source matter.....getting five stars over any internet-related subject, but barely able to maintain a one-star conversation on anything else.

This leads the bulk of German voters back to the CDU, the CSU, SPD, Linke Party, FDP, and the Greens.  These parties are mostly careful.  To put out some hostile anti-theme....it might attract two or three percent more people, but anger two or three percent of the present membership to move over to another political party.

The AfD angle?  I have no doubt they will evolve and it'll turn into some type of gimmick party where half the membership doesn't grasp where the party is going or the central theme.  The question is....will they attract more people or have they finally hit maximum capacity?

Satirist, Comedian, and Hate Preacher?

Yeah, it's a weird combination for Dieter Nuhr.....German comedian, satirist, and hate preacher.

So, this begins last fall....as Nuhr starts a comedy routine which hits on several parts of radical Islam.  I watched some of the pieces and he does a very clever analysis of the mindset and character of people who get to the extreme side of Islam.

Naturally, this attracted attention....particularly from those who are close to the radical version of Islam.  They started to identify Nuhr as a "hate preacher".  This drew court action.  Yesterday, the German court said that Nuhr, based on comments and actions, has legally earned the term 'hate preacher'.

The Islamic individual involved?  What can be said is that he's Erhat Toka....a Turkish-born German who is an entrepreneur of sorts (none of the German news media players will say his business operations or how successful they are).  From the one interview I saw......he dresses in normal business fashion and appears to be fairly clever as well (probably as much so as Nuhr).

As for defining hate preacher?  This is a problem.....I came to search across various word definition forums, and found that it's not exactly loaded with definitions.  A preacher is one who tends to use the gospels or religious positions to chat over his position.  One might come to a conclusion that a hate preacher is a minister who uses his forum or platform to talk over hatred for something.

But combining a comedian and satirist into a hate preacher?  It's a pretty difficult position and one might question the judges involved and how they came to this decision.  Based on the number of German comedians who've taken negative positions against the Catholic Church.....they probably are also hate preachers.  In fact, I estimate the area of comedians and satirists......across the eighty million residents of Germany.....there are probably 300,000 hate preachers doing some form of anti-religion on an occasional basis (some are comedians.....some are hair stylists, political figures, car mechanics or second-league soccer players).

What I perceive is that a number of comedians and satirist will review this court decision and start to advertise themselves as 'hate preachers' in addition to their current title.  TV interview forums will end having to interview various characters with their professions listed across the screen, with 'hate preacher' keenly noted.  It'll eventually be a fairly common thing and the legal experts will end up asking themselves if they opened up a Pandora's Box.  My response would be....yes, indeed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dixie-Baden

There's a trend around Wiesbaden....a trend that I hadn't seen before.  Over the past couple of months....around the city parks where the homeless or transit folks hang out......more and more Dixi toilets are appearing.  This is by the city park where the old Rose Hotel used to operate.

It kinda stands out.  They try to put these in the corner of parks and in some way to be barely noticed.  Maybe....eventually....they will 'art-up' the Dixi toilets.  Put a Mona Lisa picture on it.....maybe add some design or windmill contraption.....and make it look dignified.

The general problem is that public toilets in most all German cities have disappeared over the past twenty years.  Other than the train station and a half-dozen of these space-age looking toilets (50-cents per use) that are spread around the city.....there's virtually no place for a regular guy or gal to do their 'business'.  So these folks start to just stand behind some tree and pee there, or crap behind some bush.  As stupid as it looks to have a Dixi toilet in a German city park.....it's the only solution because they've gotten rid of all public toilets.

Art

Somewhere along the streets of Wiesbaden.....we have a artsy style shop for those affluent people with style, taste, and extra cash.

Some guy took some time and a few car parts....making this art-type display.

I stood at a window last night.....gazing at the display.  No price tag noted, but I'd take a guess it's more than 200 Euro ($230 roughly).

I will admit.....I have no real art taste.  I could spend five bucks on some drawing by a monkey and feel it was worth the money.  I grew up in rural surroundings and just didn't get a true view of art until I was probably forty-five years old.  As for this piece?  It's hard for me to refer to it as art.

What guy will buy this?  I'm guessing some gal will have a boyfriend with some passion for cars and has a large office area.  She'll buy something like this to impress her guy and think it'll look well on his big desk.  I could see some engineer buying it and putting up on the side of his desk.....to impress the team chief or CEO.  They'll ask where he got it, and rush over to buy one for their desk.  Eventually, every guy with desk space will buy these and get around to more unique rims.  Then some day.....an idiot will buy up some tractor rim and out-do everyone.

I'll walk by the shop in two weeks and see if it got sold.