A Fireside Chat With Angela

Things have caught fire here and there these days, you see.


We have nothing to fear but the refugees themselves. Just kidding, Leute (people). Sort of.

Repeating the mantra “Wir schaffen das,” (“We will manage,”) German Chancellor Angela Merkel is defending her strategy on handling the refugee crisis against growing criticism.

“Let’s just assume we all would declare that we will not manage it — then what?” she asked host Anne Will in a primetime, one-on-one TV interview on Wednesday night.

Unlike critics, “I actually have to work out this problem,” says the German chancellor.

Ich habe einen Plan.

PS: The word crisis originates from the Greek word krisis, which means “decisive moment.” Krisis like circle? As in turnaround? I haven’t seen one here yet.

Why Does This…


Remind me of this?

Just kidding. Sort of.

When East and West Germany reunited 25 years ago this weekend, the country was drunk on euphoria and a sense of heightened optimism. While reigning chancellor Helmut Kohl promised “flourishing landscapes”, his predecessor Willy Brandt produced the now legendary sentence: “What belongs together, will grow together”.

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today

Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play. No, wait. That was the Rolling Stones. And they were destroying Berlin’s Waldbühne.

After World War II, the Olympic grounds were within the British occupation sector of Berlin. They were released for public use beginning in 1948, and the amphitheater was used for film showings, including for the Berlinale, and beginning in 1960 for boxing matches. Use for concerts began in the 1960s, but when the Rolling Stones performed there on 15 September 1965, the theater was severely damaged. Fans stormed the stage, and after the band left after a set of only 20 to 25 minutes, fought police, who attempted to control them with rubber truncheons and fire hoses, and destroyed the seating, fire hydrants and other furnishings. 270,000 DM in damage was done, in a riot that fulfilled the dire prophecies of some Berlin newspapers about rock concerts and was the first inter-generational battle of the 1960s in Germany. A reporter from Bild wrote of the concert, “I know Hell.” The arena had to be completely renovated and was then little used until 1978.

You Shining Symbol Of Socialist Superiority, You

You’re 50 years old or something. And you’re still ugly as sin.


But I love you, you big dummy.

It took four years to build the prestigious building, and the construction costs were three times higher than initially planned – a fact which only emerged after the fall of the Wall.

German Of The Day: RIAS

That stands for Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor and means radio (or broadcasting) in the American Sector – of a place they used to call “West Berlin.”

Now Father Time has managed to take care of something that the East German jamming stations were never able to do back then in the good old bad old days: Shut this broadcasting tower down. With explosives, in this case.

Von Britz aus ging 1946 der Rundfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor (Rias) auf Sendung. Später entstand dort Europas damals leistungsstärkster Mittelwellensender, mit dem jahrelang auch die Störsender aus Ost-Berlin überwunden werden mussten. Heute gilt die Übertragung per Mittelwelle als veraltet.

German Of The Day: Schwitzkasten

That’s “sweat box” but actually means stranglehold. You know, like being stuck between a rock and a hard place?


Is the current five-year Greek drama finally going to come to an end today? Hardly, it already ended quite a while ago, the real drama having actually begun long before that, of course, generations before. The name of the drama is “Living Beyond Our Means” and now the current government wants to give Greek voters the illusion that it gets the chance to turn back the clock with one final vote, a final vote that doesn’t actually mean anything, of course, because the money is long gone and nobody is going to give you any-more-anymore. Said current government has seen to that.

It took many, many years of concerted effort – on the Greek side – to get this far, but at least now we will all have an “official” result: However Greece votes today it has already voted to escape “financial asphyxiation” by committing financial suicide.

After all, debt and guilt – “Schuld” – are the same words in German.

But Can I Keep My Torpedo?

As you may know, German authorities are really touchy when it comes to gun control. Sort of. But it doesn’t just stop there. They totally freak out and call the Bundeswehr if they find out that you have a tank in your cellar. Skeleton in the closet? OK. But a tank in the cellar? No way.

Like take a chill pill already, officer. It wasn’t even loaded.


Police searched a villa in a wealthy suburb of Kiel on Wednesday and found a Second World War tank, a torpedo and other weaponry in the cellar. On Thursday they were still working on removing the tank.

“He was chugging around in that thing during the snow catastrophe in 1978.”

Germany Celebrates 60th Year In NATO

By maybe-possibly-perhaps increasing its current expenditure of 1.2 percent of German GDP on its military. Maybe, like I said. Hard to say for sure. They don’t want to overdo it or anything, just yet. Being newbies and all, I mean. And it’s not like Germany has ever gotten all that much out of being a NATO member or anything…


“I am speaking to all the allies. But as the biggest economy, Germany weighs more heavily than others. The USA spends four percent of GDP on defense, in Europe we’re closer to one percent. “That isn’t a fair distribution of the burden.”

Little Oskar Banging His Tin Drum Again

And still refusing to grow up. This is, after all, the failed SPD chancellor candidate who then somehow managed to go even further left and join the Left Party to fail big time there, too.


He has these fits every now and then, folks. Ain’t no big deal. This time it looks like somebody opened a Facebook account for him (I bet it was his current wife, Rosa Luxemburg) and now that US-Amerika‘s latest defense minister Ashton Kutcher, I mean Carter, has come to the American sector itself he’s going hog wild in a big way (Oskar not Ashton). And speaking of which, how many freakin’ defense ministers have we had these past six or seven years anyways?

Carter having been sent to Germany by Warlord President of Naked Aggression George W. Bush himself, Oskar is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore and has lambasted this affront by calling to “fuck the US imperialism,” although it isn’t at all clear who he wants to have do this for him. And speaking of which, I meant the World President of Peace Obama HIMSELF himself, of course.

“The US war minister calls Europeans to stand up against Russian ‘aggression’ whereas the Europeans have all the more reason to stand up against US aggression.”

Attention for those of you who wear glasses: That loud drum-pounding of his can certainly be annoying and all but what you really have to watch out for are his glass-breaking screams.

Der US-Kriegsminister ruft die Europäer dazu auf, sich der russischen ‘Aggression’ entgegenzustellen. Dabei hätten die Europäer allen Grund, sich der Aggression der USA entgegenzustellen.”

Forget The Ploughshares

We’re going to turn our old Cold War military bases into wildlife preserves.


The German government has announced plans to convert 62 disused military bases just west of the Iron Curtain into nature reserves for eagles, woodpeckers, bats, and beetles (personally, I wouldn’t trust a woodpecker as far as I could throw one).

Jeepers. It’s not like Germany has a need for a military presence anymore or anything.

We are fortunate that we can now give these places back to nature,” says German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Whatever that is. Nature, I mean.


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