Anyone can claim that Americans are strange, and be perfectly correct, but should remember that everyone in foreign countries is strange, according to their own traditions and customs. Wherever we travel, we find the curious and startling simply because things are different, and we’re not used to that. Settled in our ways, some believe everyone does the same as we do, and are surprised, if not startled, when they discover that this is not so.
Some things, though, are much the same: there is a Day of Work in Germany – on May 1 – just the same as in other European counties, and in the United States, when people do not work. Theoretically. Naturally there are always people working, otherwise we couldn’t enjoy our day of not working. And this year, in Germany, that has been a problem.
Photo Source: Stuart Chalmers – Creative Commons
You see, May 1 falls on a Sunday. That means that those people who would normally celebrate with a free day are having to celebrate their free day on a day when they would be free from work anyway, and this has angered some. How can it be, they ask, that a holiday falls on a day when we cannot take a holiday? And so there have been objections: a small but vocal movement of dissatisfied people demanded that the May 1 holiday should be celebrated with a free day on May 2. Otherwise, they appear to be saying, it simply isn’t fair.
Now, if employers started complaining that May 1 fell on a weekday, when the workplaces would otherwise be full, and that they had to pay their workers for not being at work, everyone would claim undue pressure and the breaking of a tradition. Or, if employers decided that, since May 1 is on a Monday workers should work the Sunday… You get the idea.
In this small town May 1, with its Maypole, is being celebrated today, so that no one is hungover on May 2 and misses work through ‘illness’. Another non-work day…
- Viktoria Michaelis.
I was convinced by others that I ought to watch, much against my will, a television program recently. And I am glad, even though I have no intention of following through and purchasing such a device, that I succumbed to the temptation. Occasionally, as we all know, there are things of interest within things which are not of interest, and television is one of those Things. The bulk, as far as I am concerned, of what is projected into countless living rooms is worthless, a complete waste of time. Just, now and then, something manages to get through the mire. In this case it was a program about the hidden archives of erotica worldwide, and the fanatical collecting lust of some of those private people who search for and hoard such things.
In fact, it has been a weekend of interesting events, many of which were also very strange. In this television program I learned, for example, that a museum has a marble statue of a hermaphrodite – male below, female above – and has carefully positioned the lying figure so that the ‘below’ is facing a wall and cannot be seen. From the rear, where the bulk of passersby would view it, everything appears female, just the male part is effectively censored.
Photo Source: Ferbr1 – Public Domain
I also learned that the biggest archive of erotica, which is not open to the public, is in the Vatican. Quite aside from a picture of God’s Ass in the Sistine Chapel – which we all knew about, right? – they have a massive collection of books and art work which appears on their Index of works not suitable for the world – or their religious world. And they also have another collection which may come as something of a surprise: the world’s largest collection of marble penises.
How did they come by this? Back in the day it was considered normal for certain religious people to smash this small part of many Greek and Roman statues off, to preserve the sensibilities of those who cannot admit that the human being has sexual organs. But what should they do with all the amputated parts? For some reason it was decided to keep them, separate from their source, in the Vatican. A massive cupboard full of male bits. So, next time you hear someone talking about a bag of dicks, or similar, you know who has the biggest bag.
And finally, from this small excursion into the realms of art, the most popular question posed to the Curator by American tourists visiting the Musee d’Orsay?
Why are all the statues nude?
Hard to answer, without going into social details which would probably blow the minds of most sexually conservative North Americans.
- Viktoria Michaelis.
It’s the start of spring over here, and we have had several hours of sunshine to prove it. Everywhere the flowers are beginning to bloom, the trees are taking on the first of many shades of green and there is a fresh, revitalizing smell in the air. Except when the local farmers spread their muck, of course, but luckily it’s not one of those days today.
No, today is one of those days when I feel like finding that one person who named our weather changes Global Warming, take him by the hand, and wrench his arm out of its socket before beating him over the head with the soggy end.
Photo Source: aotaro – Creative Commons
Why couldn’t he have gone for Climate Change like any normal, sensible person? Then we wouldn’t have to listen to all the bleatings of those who claim there is no change in our climate, that everything is as it should be – and if not, well, then that’s the way God wants it – and you just need to look out the window to see the truth.
If we’d had Climate Change from the start, then no one would have to listen to the ‘told you so’ arrogance of those who see that today, April 24, during the spring celebrations here in town, it is snowing.
- Viktoria Michaelis.
I was amused, recently, to read a set of comments about those who write blog posts, add status updates to their Facebook profile, photos to their Instagram profile or Tweet to Twitter apologizing for not having been present for a while. Generally they seem to ask if anyone had missed them which, as we all know, is a waste of time as, clearly, no one has or they would have been in touch.
So it is with me, aside from the apologizing for not having been here. I can see that the same number of people have visited this site, and that the same number of spam comments have been consigned to the trash and that all is well with the world, even if I haven’t written anything. I have been, as they say, otherwise engaged. In Real Life. Doing Things. Away from the Internet.
Photo Source: Ilya Yakubovich – Creative Commons
I had to write that in such a style because, for some, it would be an overwhelming revelation: a life away from the monitor, away from the miniature screen. Unbelievable, in these days of virtual Virtual Reality, that anyone should want to concern themselves with the Real World when there is so much going on online. We are approaching the times when, as with Sandra Bullock, in a film the name of which I have forgotten, there is only sex with headphones.
I, however, have been doing things. Really! Not quite watching paint peel, or dry, but almost. Stripping down old wooden doors and then repainting them, something which not only takes a considerably amount of time, but smells abominable too! And, of course, a few other things not concerned with our new house, such as reading and writing and – good news all round – putting the final editorial touches to our next publication which I hope to have out at the end of this month.
And it is to these things I now return, otherwise nothing will ever be done!
- Viktoria Michaelis.
Perhaps you don’t want to go there, but this post from Slate – without going into the depth and breadth of the linked article in any way – raises one or two questions. The first, of course, is: Why would anyone want to touch the genitals of a robot in the first place?
Screenshot Source: Slate / Twitter
The second, and far more pertinent is: Why do robots have genitals? Or, why have humans decided to build robots with genitals which they cannot use and have no real function – either for procreation, an impossibility, or for relief – unless it is planned that they will be, bless the thought, future sex toys for the masses?
- Viktoria Michaelis.
In case you didn’t notice it, yesterday was April 1, the notorious day of Fools and Fun. Well, unless you are Anne Coulter, who believes that the pranks idea should be sent back to France, where it possibly originated, along with the guillotine and metric system, both of which are continually used in the United States and, so she seems to be saying, have no place there whatsoever. Better to kill people with a syringe (or three) full of pain-inducing chemicals and have them writhe against the bondage holding them down in those last moments.
Other people seem to have been caught out by the old and traditional pranks played by various people and, as has been happening for several years, institutions. The big one for many appears to have been the Google prank: a Send button which distributes your mail to everyone in your mailing list regardless of what you wish.
Image Source: Mike Licht – Creative Commons
For those of you who decided to make racist comments – only the police are allowed to do that on official mailing systems – or send top-secret company business through your private server – don’t you read the news? Hillary Clinton’s mail server? Wake up, people! – or comment against your boss in the company, well, you’ve no reason to complain when your job goes down the drain. It’s not Google’s fault that you got caught out, even if they did supply the means, it’s your own stupidity.
Still, that new position you’re looking for? Bound to be better than the one you had, otherwise why would you have been doing things on company time or complaining about your work conditions if it was all so good?
- Viktoria Michaelis.
There are no bounds to stupidity, especially when it comes to either supporters of presidential candidates or scammers – and, yes, in some cases I do put them pretty much on the same level. This time, however, it is yet another Internet scam or an attempt to gain access to a computer through a mail attachment.
First of all, the mail:
Notice to Appear,
You have to appear in the Court on the April 04.
You are kindly asked to prepare and bring the documents relating to the case to Court on the specified date.
Note: The case may be heard by the judge in your absence if you do not come.
The copy of Court Notice is attached to this email.
Clerk of Court.
I’ve had this one before, may have also written about it. It’s clear that it is a scam simply because court documents and Notices are not sent out by email, they usually go through the post and all the documents are printed. In fact, where it is known, the documents have to be sent through an attorney since, in many States and countries, access to the charge files, including information on evidence and so on, is limited to legal representatives.
And, of course, there are very few courts which would send out documents in a .zip file: another clear indication that this is a fraud and a danger to your computer.
In this particular case, however, the one point which really made me grab my sides and rock backward and forwards in a vain attempt to show how amazingly funny I find the stupidity of these idiots, was the stolen or faked sender address:
County Court [email@example.com]
Now, if this is the address being used by a County Court, then it’s clearly a private server and I suspect that the FBI might have another good reason to investigate it. Unless, that is, they happen to be too busy investigating Hillary Clinton for the same offense…
- Viktoria Michaelis.
The labor market is improving. How long have Americans waited to hear this piece of good news?
Well, to be honest, not all that long since there have been regular reports that employment opportunities are growing and that the job market has seen a substantial turn for the better. At least in some areas. Perhaps the job market is not quite so good for photographers these days, since their products can be used time and again with only, sometimes, a small fee being paid. The image on this Tweet, taken by Michael Mulvey, is one prime example.
Screenshot Source: USA Today / Twitter
Photo Source: Michael Mulvey
The employment market is improving, but that is not what this photograph shows. In fact, it has been used several times by USA Today and can also be found on several other news sites. It depicts a factory in Fort Worth where MOTO X smart phones are being assembled, and was used – the earliest that I can find – to illustrate an article on Google at 15. For those of you up with the way things work, Google celebrated 15 years way back on Friday, September 27, 2013.
And another thing the article, back in 2013, states: most of the workers are American. Whether that is the case now or not remains unanswered, whether the improving jobs scene in the USA covers all in the job market, regardless of where they originate, is also not mentioned. But, at the very least, there’s one photographer who knows that a quick shot of the factory floor has stood the test of time, even if he doesn’t get a check for it.
- Viktoria Michaelis.
There are times when anyone of a sane disposition, no matter how calm and collected they may wish to appear, just has the feeling that a shovel to the back of the head is as good a solution for someone else as anything sensible. There are some people who cannot think straight – but we all know that – and then there are some people who cannot think outside the box, or see anything but what their strange limited vision allows them.
Anne Coulter is one of these people. I am inclined, and I think you’ll agree with me when you check the following Tweet and my link, to consider Coulter as one of the most backward, ignorant and racist human beings spouting unsupported trash whenever the occasion arises. Inclined only. She does have her uses, mainly in showing other, more sensible people what a good, many-sided education without prejudice could bring for a person’s future and that the alternative, to be like Coulter, is something no one should wish for.
Coulter is clearly stuck in a racist environment of her own making, believing that everything which occurs must have been caused by the misdeeds of other people, especially foreigners and, more than that, foreigners of a different religion to her own claimed Christianity.
Screenshot Source: Anne Coulter / Israel News Flash / Twitter
In this case her limited vision has picked up a news story from an Israeli news medium, one which, to be honest, is hardly objective in its views. As is par for the course, she has not bothered to check her facts, simply added a comment and sent her Tweet on its way. So let us Fact Check Coulter and this Israeli news service.
Yes, a German railway service has introduced separate areas for women to travel or, as the web site concerned says, separate wagons for women or women and children. The announcement (German language) is here. The company concerned is the MRB (Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn), a small regional railway line. The trains where this service is being offered run between Leipzig and Chemnitz. The wagons are being set up next to the Quiet Zone wagons – many will know of these Amtrak train sections from the United States, where certain areas are set aside for those who wish to travel in peace and quiet (Gov. Christie can explain how they work!) – and provide both security for women traveling alone and an area where women with children can travel without disturbing other passengers.
There is one thing missing from the MRB announcement which the Israeli news service has included as a hashtag and which Coulter has, only a second sensible thought, used to promote one of her books. She comments: for same reason. This, we can assume, means that the separate areas for women and children – according to Coulter and the Israeli news team – have been introduced purely because of the fear of sex attacks by immigrants. The announcement from MRB does not say this at all.
For anyone who knows anything about Germany, and other European countries, there is the knowledge that many things get done without strikes, protest marches, lobbying and all those media-attracting actions so usual in the United States. There is much more debate when a proposition is made, more consideration and, often, a far greater willingness for people in all walks of life to work together. That is why there are also special taxis for women late at night, to ensure they get home safely. Introduced long before the present immigration crisis. That is why there are areas where women and children can withdraw for whatever reason, and which have nothing to do with sex attacks – nor are they limited to German women, or Christians, or whites.
Coulter failed to Fact Check – yet again – and used a clearly biased, unsupported assertion from an unreliable source to promote her personal racist ignorance and her book. Clearly she would be a perfect government minister in any future President Trump government: ignorant of foreign events, politics, women’s rights, and reality.
- Viktoria Michaelis.
It’s one of those several times of year when everyone begins to celebrate and make claims. Claims based on a fable written several thousand years ago, and constantly changed ever since. We hear about certain values, about the rising of the dead, about how light has been brought back into the (Christian) world. The British Prime Minister Cameron lauds Christian values, which have made the United Kingdom what it is today, and the Pope claims that death has been conquered.
Screenshot Source: Pope Francis / Twitter
I wonder how many of those celebrating, especially in the public domain, have given thought to what they say, write or whatever. If Cameron believes that the present day society he lives in is based exclusively on Christian values, and that society was shaped by them, then he has a lot of answering to do, a lot of work to change all that. A quick glance through some of the many downsides of British values, of extremism in their overseas domains, in the manner in which they, as Christians, treated other people, other nations, shows how wrong he is. Most people in the United Kingdom today, I am sure, would hate to be connected to many of those values, the ones which caused so much death and suffering in the name of Christ, Queen / King and Empire.
And Christ is risen? Isn’t this something we hear from cult leaders, waiting on top of a hill for aliens to arrive in their spaceships and bring a new light into a our lives, or, at least, into those of the believers? It is repeated every single year, and still nothing happens, no resurrection, no betterment of our lives, no blinding light or eternal life.
Perhaps, rather than making baseless claims, rather than bringing up values which are outdated and, frankly, embarrassing, politicians and religious leaders should address the problems of today in a manner suited to the society of today. No calling on a man who might have lived two thousand years ago – and was never a Christian – and no calling on values which caused the deaths of millions and enrichment of a few hundred. It’s time to come to terms with the way the world is today, and confront it and all its problems in a manner fitting our modern society, our modern way of life and our current beliefs and values.
- Viktoria Michaelis.