Would Numbers Lie?

News products can be that way. On the one hand the numbers tell us today that the mood in the German economy has picked up yet again and that German companies are looking ahead to 2015 with renewed confidence.

Positive

At the same time we read how Germany’s National Office for Statistics has determined that one in every five Germans is a victim of poverty.

A contradiction? Not necessarily, I guess. That’s why everybody’s kind of happy sort of around here these days. And that’s why I, for one, believe everything I read.

Die Stimmung in der deutschen Wirtschaft hat sich im Dezember erneut verbessert: Der Ifo-Index legte zum zweiten Mal zu.

The Fall Of The Berlin Mall Of Berlin

Jeepers. That didn’t take very long.

Mall of Berlin

This is not just any mall, mind you, but the hubristically named Mall of Berlin—the largest Germany’s capital has ever seen, including not only shops but (as yet unfinished) apartments and a hotel. And guess what? While it’s only been open since the autumn, the whole project is already bombing…

It’s not that Berlin’s government and developers don’t have the guts to take on major projects to transform the city. They just really suck at them.

The Stammtisch Unchained

Everybody who is anybody who is politically correct in Germany is all hot and bothered about the marches being staged by PEGIDA or the “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West” in Dresden these days. They have to be. It’s their job or something.

PEGIDA

I say take a chill pill already and don’t take these folks so seriously, you other folks. It’s just diffuse bitching and moaning pur (pure). All this is is the biggest Stammtisch party we’ve seen yet. It’s Oddity 384 all over again (shameless ebook plug), in other words.

Oddity 384. A real German is always being “verarscht” or taken for a ride by somebody “da oben” or up there. All Germans belong to a symbolic “Stammtisch” or regular’s table, whether they actually belong to a real local regular’s table or not. This is the place where the unappreciated man on the street regularly complains about the abuse he is receiving from his employers, the rich or the ruling political caste and how they are all personally out to get him. Strangely, at least with regard to this ruling political caste, these same men on the street regularly reelect said politicians with large majorities or enable them to remain in power by not going to vote at all.

Die „Pegida“-Bewegung habe einen Nerv getroffen. Bisher sei Deutschland nicht für Populismus dieser Art anfällig gewesen.

The End Of An Aura

It’s amazing these sleeper trains have lasted as long as they have, if you stop and think about it.

Night Train

Saturday marked the end of the line for this Paris-Berlin sleeper, at any rate. Slow food might be able to make a stand here and there but it looks like slow travel is definitely out.

Deutsche Bahn, the German rail network which operates the sleeper said the service was incurring debts over €20 million a year and losing out to cheap bus connections and easyJet which offers a regular service between the two capitals. Along with the Paris-Berlin sleeper, overnight train services linking Berlin with Copenhagen and Amsterdam are also being axed.

World Pain In The Butt

Why do Germans always have to pick out these fancy-dad-gum-new-fangled German words of the year like Lichtgrenze (light border or boundary) when they’ve already got a perfectly wunderbar selection of traditional German words of the year or at least I think they ought to be for crying out loud?

Weltschmerz

Weltschmerz (world pain), for instance, has to be one of my all time favorites because, well, it’s just about as moany, whiney, lamenty and Germany as you can possibly get.

Now available in the U. S. of Amerika for a limited time only! I hope.

Disillusioned? Has your initial idealism been ground into cynicism? Dismayed by discovering how things really work? There’s a term for what you’re suffering: Weltschmerz.

Germany A New Nation Of Immigrants?

I think you may have overshot the mark here, Christian Science Monitor. But nice try.

Arson

The reality here is still another one.

Far-right arsonists are believed to have caused fires which damaged three buildings earmarked for asylum seekers near Nuremberg in southern Germany.

“Es spricht einiges dafür, dass es sich um Brandstiftung handelt.”

PS: Oddity 325. Germans really do tend to equate nationality with ethnicity.

The Dirty Dozen

No, not the movie. That’s the number (12) of German “troops” currently active in Northern Iraq training Kurdish peshmerga fighters.

Iraq

Just sending weapons all the time was starting to get a little peinlich (embarrassing) for everybody – even here in Berlin – so this bold military move needed to be undertaken to prove to the rest of the world that, well, I don’t know what this was supposed to prove.

And now get this: Word is out that Angela Merkel’s government may now even want to surge big time and send more than 100 trainers more.

But don’t worry another invasion of Poland or anything just yet: Under German law, any military deployment abroad requires parliamentary approval, but this mission may require more than a simple parliamentary vote. The Defence Ministry fears it may require a change in the Basic Law, Germany’s constitution, Bild reported quoting an unidentified ministry source.

Right. The Germans will change their constitution for this? Hey, it’s better to have a dirty dozen than no dirt at all.

The Bigger They Are…

Airbus Group NV (AIR) raised the prospect of discontinuing its A380 superjumbo as soon as 2018, the first admission that it may have misjudged the market for the double-decker after failing to find a single airline buyer this year.

A380

Bis heute hat Airbus Bestellungen für 318 Exemplare der A380 erhalten. Das ist nur gut ein Viertel des Bedarfs, den Airbus einst vorausgesagt hatte.

Günter Wallraff Foaming Around The Mouth Again

Still bitter about having lost his undercover job as a package deliverer I guess (he wasn’t used to actually having to work for a living) undercover undercover-journalist Günter “Undercover” Wallraff couldn’t help but have yet another fit about Amazon & Co. on German television last night.

Gunter Wallraff

Good timing or something. It’s strike season in Germany again (still?), as you know. Merry Christmas, Verdi!

But at least he didn’t just stop with Amazon, for once. Wallraff is also very, very angry at German consumers themselves for not purchasing their products where he wants them to (anywhere else but Amazon). Geez, he’s saying. It’s like if you just let people do whatever they want to do they’ll end up doing whatever it is they want to do. And where would that lead us to? That’s right, to where we are now.

His costumes really do rock, though. The one he was wearing last night (see above) was a little scary, though.

Wallraff kritisierte auch die Verbraucher: „Wir selber zerstören eigentlich gewachsene Struktur und wundern uns, irgendwann, dass das Leben so kalt und unpersönlich und trostlos geworden ist und Innenstädte veröden.“

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