“If I Want, I Will Take Poland In Two Weeks”

Oops. I meant Kiev, of course

Poland

On September 1, 1939, the German army under Adolf Hitler launched an invasion of Poland that triggered the start of World War II.

Today, 75 years later, Hitler is regarded as one of history’s great villains. So it’s easy to forget how slowly and reluctantly the worlds most powerful democracies mobilized to stop him. France and Britain did declare war on Germany two days after the invasion of Poland, but it would take them another eight months before they engaged in full-scale war with the Nazis. The United States wouldn’t join the war against Hitler until December 1941, a full two years after the war began.

Olympia Opponents Worried Berlin Too Poor (But Sexy) To Pay

Germans in general are famous for being against stuff that isn’t even there to be against yet. But Berliners in particular take it up a notch and like being against the very thought of the idea of the stuff that isn’t even there to be against yet.

Olympia

Take Berlin’s candidacy for the 2024 Olympic Games, for instance. The one that hasn’t even been applied for yet, I mean. A group calling itself NOlympia is absolutely against this non-candidacy business because the non-application itself would cost a whopping 50 million euros alone. Once it were to be a real application, I mean.

And that would only be the start, people. The Olympics here would be an economic catastrophe, meltdown, debacle, or cataclysm even. Like the finances in Berlin are already, for instance. Sure, Berlin may be able to afford an 850 quadrazillion euro airport that still hasn’t been built yet but 50 million for the chance to have your town host the Olympics is absolutely out of the question for anyone out there with even just a little bit of common economic sense.

Do you have any idea what the Olympics would do to the real estate prices in this city, for instance? That’s right. It would increase the value of real estate in Berlin dramatically. And what city could possibly want something like that to happen?

No, no, no. It’s better to say no first and ask questions later. We no what we are doing and there’s no time to lose. Just say no. No tengo dinero. No we can’t already!

“Der olympische Spitzensport lässt sich nicht ökologisch oder nachhaltig bewerten.”

I Thought He’d Never Leave

Berlin’s mayor Klaus Wowereit (SPD) will finally step down on 11 December, after thirteen years in power. Damn. That’s longer than the Third Reich lasted.

Klaus

And talk about chuzpe. This guy took it to a whole new level (just like he took building airports to a whole new level). He’s leaving now of his “own free will.” Before his cronies get around to tossing him out first, in other words. Even the Berlin SPD crowd has finally figured out that Berlin doesn’t “work” because of Wowereit, it works despite him.

Hey, lieber ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende. The Party Klaus is finally over.

Sein drittes Problem: die Stadt. „Arm, aber sexy“, wie der Bürgermeister sie eins beschrieb, das reicht in Wahrheit keinem Berliner mehr. Ihre Stadt, so stellten sie fest, funktioniert nicht wegen Wowereit, sondern trotz Wowereit.

We All Lose Our Heads Once In A While

But how do you lose a 5.6-foot tall one of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin? It’s not easy, but Berlin city authorities can do it.

Lenin

It was the star of Good Bye Lenin, Wolfgang Becker’s tragicomedy set around the fall of the Berlin Wall: a statue of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, suspended from a helicopter, seemingly waving goodbye to the crumbling socialist republic.

But more than two decades after it was torn down, Berlin authorities have admitted the giant monument may be lost in storage.

And You Thought US-Amerika Had Problems With Potholes

A Second World War bomb discovered under one of Germany’s busiest autobahns has blown a 65ft hole in the road after it exploded.

Pothole

Bomb disposal experts were forced to carry out a controlled explosion after being unable to defuse the 1,000lb British shell which was unearthed during construction work.

Der britische Blindgänger war neben der stark befahrenen Autobahn 3 in der Nähe des Frankfurter Flughafens bei Bauarbeiten gefunden worden. Um die Fundstelle wurde eine 1000-Meter-Sicherheitszone eingerichtet. Die Autobahn wurde voll gesperrt, es kam zu kilometerlangen Staus.

The Rise And Fall Of The German-American Volksfest

And fall and fall and fall it has. It’s been falling for at least twenty years now.

Volksfest

They ought to just finally get it over with and pull the plug for good. Like they already have on that other German-American whatever-it-used-to-be.

…At the time, West Germany and the United States were facing the first major postwar crisis in their relations. Many West Germans were protesting against the US war in Vietnam while many others, around 500,000 annually at the time, attended the annual fair, which was then held near the barracks in Berlin’s Dahlem district. They came because they liked the United States or American music — or maybe even its beer.

Wave Of Anti-Hamas Rallies Hits Cities Across Germany

Enraged at the cowardly Hamas rocket attacks that have provoked Israel’s ground offensive into the Gaza Strip, thousands of Islamists, left-wing extremists and neo-Nazis have taken to the streets all across Germany to vent their hate by chanting clever new ant-Semitic slogans.

Israel

“Jew, Jew, cowardly swine, come out and fight on your own!” was a particularly popular one at a rally in Berlin, for instance. “Hamas, Hamas, Jews in the gas!” came in a close second, however.

It is unclear what effect these slogans have had upon the Hamas terrorists firing said rockets but it doesn’t really matter all that much because their capacity to do so is being taken away from them as you read this. Right about… Now.

“Jude, Jude, feiges Schwein, komm heraus und kämpf allein.”

Anti-Chancellor To Anti-Celebrate Her Anti-60th Birthday Tomorrow

And she’s been running the show here in Germany for about 40 of those sixty years too, I think. But don’t call her Anti, I mean Aunti. Her real name is Mutti.

Merkel

I’d wish you a happy birthday now, Frau Bundeskanzlerin, but Germans like you are very superstitious about doing that before the actual birthday takes place, so I won’t. But I’ll think it now anyway.

Das Talent der Angela Merkel, heraufziehende Chancen und Risiken zu erkennen und – ganz unabhängig von ihrer Überzeugung – opportun darauf zu reagieren, ist gut dokumentiert: beim nach Fukushima plötzlich betriebenen Atomausstieg, beim Ringen um Jean-Claude Juncker, als sie gleich mehrmals die Position wechselte, oder in der NSA-Affäre, in der sie zu Gunsten guter US-Beziehungen lange schwieg und auch angesichts der jüngsten Spionage-Skandale nur symbolisch handelt, um die Deutschen zu beruhigen.

Gerade die größten Erfolge der Kanzlerin bleiben bei einer derartigen Management-Methode unbesungen. Es sind jene Katastrophen, die nicht eingetreten sind, weil vorsichtiges, iteratives Agieren sie verhindert hat. Merkels größter Verdienst ist letztlich jene lang anhaltende Phase der Langeweile, an der Intellektuelle gerade wieder so lautstark leiden.

My Pope Can Beat Up Your Pope

Germans everywhere seem to be particularly nervous today for some reason. Somebody told me  it might have something to do with soccer. And Argentina.

Nervous

I’d be nervous then, too. Each team has a pope in the corner.

My the best pope win.

For the first time ever, the two teams facing each other in the World Cup final will each have a living pope in their corner: Pope Francis’ Argentina against Pope Emeritus Benedict’s Germany.

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