This is rather peculiar. I'm not sure what it's good for, but I'm sure some avant-garde German composer has already figured it out.
The sensitive may wish to avert their eyes at 3:45. Otherwise great.
The new blog, How Many? Which Ones? The German Immigration Blog is now up and running at www.germanimmigration.eu. All immigration posts will be there from now on!
Also, this blog can also now be reached under the address www.germanjoys.eu. The old address .com is gone.
Thanks for your patience. There will be some tweaking, so please bear with me.
Late September and early October was a time to remember. Clear skies, cool temperatures. I spent most of the time on my bike, exploring some of the nicer bits of Düsseldorf. Unterbach Lake, a large artificial lake and recreation areas located in the southwest suburb of Unterbach. Schloss Benrath, and 18th-century hunting castle with extensive grounds, and the Südpark/Volksgarten complex, one of the greatest parks in the world.
Here are a few of the raw pictures without much post-processing. Enjoy!
Just a short update.
First, the address of this blog is going to change to www.germanjoys.eu soon. I lost the .com domain to some stupid vulture firm. According to Typepad, you will still be able to find entries under the long typepad domain, andrewhammel.typepad... etc.
The address of the new blog is going to be www.germanimmigration.eu.
Once again, ladies and gents,
www.germanjoys.eu (or this long address you see in your browser)
The changes should take effect by tomorrow, I am assured. I'll post again when they're online. Thanks for your patience!
Conundrum: This blog is supposed to be about Germany in general, and it's not supposed to be very political. A little political, but not very.
Yet lately, the German immigration crisis has generated so much fascinating controversy that, like a crow toying with a bright, shiny object, I can't seem to let go. The immigration posts are taking over this blog, but the subject is so momentous that I feel obliged -- nay, compelled! -- to keep posting about it.
Solution? I'm going to split off immigration posts into a brand-new blog called "How Many? Which Ones? The German Immigration Blog" (h/t Ralph for the first part of the title).
Stay tuned here for announcements and links.
A German named Joko Winterscheidt, who is famous for some reason I don't know, has changed his Facebook profile photo to quote the German Basic Law: "Article 14: Every person has a right to asylum."
Now, I don't want to be too hard on old Joko. He may be a perfectly good singer, or race-car driver, or stripper, or whatever he is. And yes, it's nice to help migrants.
But there are three things wrong with this picture.
First, a picture of you holding up a hand-lettered sign? That's so 2012.
Second, the right to asylum is found in Article 16a of the Basic Law (constitution), not Article 14. Article 14 deals in part with government seizures of property. Rather an unfortunate choice in this context, since German states are seizing property right now to house migrants.
Third, Article 16a doesn't say anyone has the right to asylum, it says: "Persons persecuted on political grounds shall have the right of asylum."
PROTIP: The entire text of the German constitution is available on the Internet free in dozens of languages on about 156,673 websites.
It's long, it's in German, it's good. TU Dresden political scientist Werner J. Patzelt on the migration crisis, the concerns of 'ordinary citizens', elites, and representative democracy. Perhaps I'll post an English summary when I have a moment. For now, here's the link for the German-powered.
England just introduced a 5p charge for plastic bags at stores, which is apparently engulfing Albion in pandemonium, madness. While clawing over the bodies amid the stinging smoke, the editors of one English tabloid came up with a brilliant, devious, cunning plan to evade Big Brother's latest overreach: Bring your own shopping bag. The article prompted this inspired tweet:
GETTING PEOPLE TO DO THIS IS LITERALLY THE WHOLE POINT OF THE CHARGE YOU LOBOTOMISED SHITLARKS pic.twitter.com/4LtEwT7Jat— Anandamide (@anandamide) October 5, 2015
Germany has suffered under the yoke of bag fees for generations now. Which means any and every self-respecting environmentally conscious German -- and that's pretty much all of them -- has become an expert in bag technology. In a German store, you are expected to whip out your own reusable bag and pack your own groceries aber schnell bitte. Any deviation from this standard of conduct will be met with disapproving glances.
You need the right bag. Everywhere I go, I carry a foldable ChicoBag which expands from the size of a pack of cigarettes to basically infinity. That's for spontaneous purchases. For more intensive shopping, you need a bag that will (1) fold up flat like IKEA furniture; (2) maintain its shape on its own when unfolded, (3) has various sized handles; and (4) has a velcro strip on the top inside so you can seal the top and make sure bulky objects don't fall out.
The very best bag for this -- and I've tried a hell of a lot of them -- is the Edeka shopping bag. This comes from the high-end Edeka line of German supermarkets, which are the cleanest, most orderly supermarkets you will ever see. They fill all 4 criteria and are big, stable, and indestructible. They even have little flanges on the inside so you can stabilize bulky objects against the side of the bag. They're fucking ingenious.
England, fear not. The survivors will crawl out of the smoking ruins of a once-great land, painstakingly knit their own reusable bags from scraps of torn, bloody fabric, and get on with their lives. Germans will soon send over shipments of recycled, reusable bags in the spirit of European solidarity, and you can put the bloody-fabric bags in the Museum of the Great 5p Bag Crisis.
Schützenvereine, literally 'Marksmen-Clubs', are a centuries-old German tradition with roots in medieval citizen-militias. Today, they gather every couple of months to hold parades in elaborate costumes, get drunk, do some charity stuff, get sozzled again, practice some shooting in case the Huns return, and then end the day drinking meter-long beers in the local pub until sprawled in front of the Kotzbecken. They choose their own 'King' and 'Queen' of the club to preside over official ceremonies.
And the part of Düsseldorf I live in, the virbantly-diverse-in-a-good-way and totally gay-friendly neighborhood of Bilk, has just chosen Germany's first gay Schützenkönig, the 'King' of the Marksmen Club. That's him on the right there, he's a local Social Democratic politician named Udo Figge. The national broadsheet FAZ (g) has picked up the story. Apparently there was some talk of arranging a proper 'Queen' for Udo, but then the other Schützen would say:
So that's him in the photo above with his husband of 13 years. Schützenvereine are fairly traditional organizations, so the King & King setup has met some resistance, but the head of the main organization says gays are welcome in 'Marskmen Clubs' and have the same rights as anyone else.
When it comes to Schützenvereine it's not about your orientation, it's all about your ability to wear ludicrous costumes, lead parades of amateur musicians, sing drinking songs, and get pants-wettingly drunk in various pubs in your part of down.