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Drunken Germans

First, a program note. I'll be in the U.S. visiting friends and doing the conference thing until April 12th. Posting will be spotty.

And now for something completely different. An excerpt from the 1962 documentary Mondo Cane, showing us the Reeperbahn in all its glory (h/t MG):

"More," the yearning melody that underpins these scenes and forms the red thread throughout the whole movie, sounds like a standard that's been around forever. Yet it was actually written for this sleazily* ingenious B-movie! As we Texans like to say, "Well, I'll be dipped in shit!"

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Is Nicholas Sarkozy the Antichrist?

Can there be two?:

"Welcome to the club of states who don't turn their back on the sick and the poor," Sarkozy [said in a speech at Columbia University]. From the European perspective, he said, "when we look at the American debate on reforming health care, it's difficult to believe."

"The very fact that there should have been such a violent debate simply on the fact that the poorest of Americans should not be left out in the streets without a cent to look after them ... is something astonishing to us."

Just joking about the Antichrist part. Sarkozy may be many things, but he is definitely not without "regard for the desire of women." His comments are typical of the response of European conservatives: Why was this such a big deal? You could hardly ask for a more perfect illustration of the gulf between American and European conservatism...

Is Javier Solana the Antichrist?

A reasonable question, but one that surprisingly few have the guts to ask. Once asked, though, the answer is clear: Javier Solana is terrifyingly close to becoming the Antichrist. Yes, Javier Solana. All he needs to do is (1) hack off his genitals (to eliminate his evident "regard for the desire of women"); (2) deny that Jesus is the Messiah; (3) proclaim himself greater than any god; and (4) recover from a fatal wound to the head.

Perhaps some background is in order. Above, you can admire the robust men of the Hutaree Christian militia of Michigan, a group of Christian soldiers that has recently received some unwanted attention from the ZOG (Zionist Occupation Government).

Lest you think these raids are of concern only to those writhing under Obama's steel-toed socialist jackboots, I point you to a webpage from the Hutaree website (yes, this is America -- even the Christian militias have websites) called 10 Horns of the European Super State, Mr. Europe, and 7 years of Peace in Israel. One John Reynolds, acting on a hot tip, combs through the Bible for a list of tests to indicate whether Javier Solana is the Antichrist.

He came up with 25 action items. The results are terrifying. An excerpt from this (extremely long) disquisition:

15. He will not believe in any god at all [except for himself] [Daniel 11:37]

16. He will have "no regard for the desire of women": [Dan 11:37]

· It is quite possible that exists now. Although Solana is married to a woman named Concepción Giménez, and they have two adult children, Diego and Vega, he lives alone in Brussels .

17. He will claim to be greater than any god [Daniel 11:37; 2 Thess 2:4]

18. He will claim to be God [2 Thessalonians 2:4]

19. His arrival on the world scene will be accompanied by miracles, signs and wonders[2 Thess 2:9]

· This is a possibility as well. I know many of you have seen the statues of Mary or Christ on the crucifix crying tears of blood. They just recently had a statue of Mary that was supposedly moving its arms over in Italy. The list is endless

20. He will deny that Jesus is the Messiah [I John 2:22]

21. He will be worshipped by many people [Rev. 13:8]

22. He will receive a fatal wound to the head and appear to be healed [Rev. 13:3; 17:8]

23. His name will be related to the number six hundred and sixty six— [Rev 13:17-18].

· Javier Solana seems to be surrounded by the number 666.

You hear that, Europe? Surrounded.


Jetlagged No More

Kevin Drum relays a simple cure for jetlag based on the magnum opus The Promise of Sleep, by sleep researcher Dr. William Dement:

A lot of people believe that if you, say, travel to Europe, all you have to do is force yourself to stay up all day on your first day and you'll be OK. You won't be. Here's why: twice a day your body releases stimulants that wake you up. This is (awkwardly) called "clock dependent alerting," and it happens once around 6 am and again around 7 pm or so — though this varies from person to person. So when I travel from California to Paris, even if I stay up all day and get to sleep just fine at midnight, around 4 am I'll wake up. And for the next three hours, no matter how hard I try, I can't get back to sleep. Around 6 or 7 am I can, but by then it's time to wake up. Result: I'm completely wiped out for the rest of the day.

So here's the answer: sleeping pills. Get a good quality prescription sleeping pill and take it when you go to bed even if you don't need it to fall asleep. You don't. You need it to stay asleep. I now take a sleeping pill every night for about a week (plus one on the plane over) when I travel to Europe, and it's like a damn miracle. I literally have no jet lag at all.

I can vouch for this. I am highly prone to jetlag, and am constantly flying across the Atlantic. Not a pretty combination. I sort of independently developed a similar approach to the one Drum describes, and with similar results. I plan to follow Drum's instructions to the letter next time I fly back to the U.S. (which will be in less than a week) and I'll report what happens...

The Latest in American Puritan Madness


Alabama has passed a law that will result in every strip club in the country being shut down. And forget hiring a topless waitress in an attempt to get around the bar: the law, which was passed with no votes against and only two abstentions, will make it illegal for any business to profit from the nudity of its employees.

Oops -- did I type Alabama? I meant Iceland! Sorry.

'Rescue Dawn' Thrills, Existentially

heart-stopping herzog

On a friend's recommendation, I watched Rescue Dawn last night, a 2006 movie by Werner Herzog about Dieter Dengler. Dengler was born in the Black Forest but moved to America and became an American citizen and Navy pilot. He was shot down over Laos on a secret mission in 1965, and held prisoner in a Pathet Lao camp. The film, which is based on Dengler's own account, traces his life in the camp with prisoners from Air America and his attempts to escape from the camp and from Laos.

Like so many Herzog movies, this one features an outsider stranded in the wilderness (sometimes metaphorical, this time real), hacking his way through the jungle, sweating and cursing. Bale plays Dengler with reckless intensity,* and the ensemble cast of American prisoners, including a bearded, broken Steve Zahn and Jeremy Davies doing his best Crispin Glover impression, is stellar.

All of the men in the camp were on secret missions, so they have no idea whether their fate is on anyone's radar screen back home. Some have waited for rescue for years, as chronic malnourishment took its toll and their mental composure frayed. At first greeted with suspicion, Dengler emerges as a focal point for the group of prisoners, and uses skills obtained from a metalworking apprenticeship in Germany to free the men from the shackles in which they're kept at night. Eventually, Dengler develops a plot to escape from the camp, but the others are skeptical: even if they manage to flee the camp, they will still be stuck deep behind enemy lines, barefoot, emaciated, and with no idea where they are or where to go.

The film was shot entirely on location in Thailand, and you can just imagine wildman Herzog stomping around in the mud, tearing and staining the actors' clothes and insisting that they march for hours (behind him) to acquire real sores. The jungle is an oppressive, threatening backdrop, teeming with merciless parasites and villagers thirsting to avenge themselves on the foreigners who have been bombing them for years. The only training the men have in jungle survival was a short film shown, to general amusement, on board the aircraft carrier.

Rescue Dawn is a thrilling action film, and a harrowing account of human beings pushed to the limits. Bale is masterly, showing Dengler's initial proud defiance melting into anguish, but never despair. And since this is a Herzog film, there is no flag-waving or moralizing. You become intensely involved in the characters' fates because of the humanity they show in the face of their crushing existential** predicament, not because they're on any 'team' you are expected to identify with. A gem, perhaps even a late Herzog masterpiece.

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