BLOG ON SEMI-HIATUS (Sticky Post)

3 09 2018

I have left St. Louis for job in the Rhine-Ruhr Region of Germany.

This blog is in a state of semi-hiatus, as of September 4, 2018.

I’ll write posts here every once in awhile, just to update you all on how I’m doing, and my thoughts on whatever big news breaks. Our favorite doggy will chime in every once in awhile with his own guest posts. Other than that, expect posting around here to be sparse going forward.

Reading material:

My Labor Day 2018 farewell post — My final post from St. Louis for awhile, perhaps ever.

My post from July 26, 2018, announcing my departure.

The preview of my Summer 2018 travelogue that I’ll probably never get to write in full.

My long and frequently updated post on my condition and recovery — If I experience any significant progression or regression in my recovery, I or our favorite doggy will let you know, and this post will be appendaged. As of the time of my moving, my cognitive functioning has mostly recovered in full, but my physical functioning is still far from it, I’m still in a wheelchair during waking hours more often than not, and if I can stay upright on two feet, it’s for an hour at the longest, usually less.

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Weekend Open Thread.

22 09 2018

Guest post by Puggg

They say St. Charles is a great place to live, but then there’s this.  And this.

It was all over a dispute over pocket change.  The reason he is “of Bowling Green” is because that’s where the state prison he’s doing time is located.

Parkway Schools participated in school busing from the city for a long time.  The Parkway schools are more integrated, and the gangs that form in them are now integrated too.

Part of this matter is the sharp increase in carjackings.  The sharp increase in carjackings is an unintended consequence of making cars harder to steal in the ordinary way.

Antreion and Antoine.

Now, puppies, have at it.





For The Children.

19 09 2018

Guest post by Puggg

I guess we’re supposed to snicker.

Here is the original story.





Weekend Open Thread.

15 09 2018

Guest post by Puggg

Check out the guy on the right’s t-shirt.

The complaint is that these barriers make the area look like a “war zone” and “some third world nation” like “Somalia, Afghanistan, whatever”.  Maybe that’s because it is all those things.

I remember 4 years ago exactly that black lives were supposed to matter at the corner of West Florissant and Canfield.

Now, puppies, what’s on your mind?  Have at it.





The Selfish Gene

10 09 2018

Cologne;  Chemnitz

Before I ride out, I want to put in my two cents on a story that broke on Labor Day.

It’s this business about putting the AfD under surveillance.

Personal, selfish motivation.

Let me unpack.

You may remember several weeks back that I brought you the story about the Reichsbuerger.  I told you to read the story on both sides of the page:  The American way to interpret it is that the retarded American media were trying to make them out to be the same as extreme libertarian individualist sovereign citizen types, when anyone who is longing for the Kaiserreich is the philosophical polar opposite of that mentality.  The German way to interpret it is that since the German domestic intelligence agency put out this report, the BfV, which is actually based here in Cologne next to a shopping mall, it was doing so at the behest of Horst Seehofer, who runs the Federal cabinet agency, the Interior Ministry, that oversees the BfV, and he did it as an end run implicit dog whistle “smear” of the AfD. As you can read in my comments in that blog post, the original article was later amended with weasel fears that the AfD has “infiltrated” the BfV, when all that means is that long time BfV bureaucrats who voted CDU or another party for a long time switched to AfD starting last year when they figured the AfD gave them a better deal. It’s as stupid as saying that the Republicans or Democrats have “infiltrated” the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The AfD is too new for any deliberate “infiltration” efforts in the literal classic sense of the word to have yet yielded fruit, so what representation it has in public governance agencies, both flesh-level law enforcement and white collar duties, is purely a matter of “defectors,” not “infiltrators.” Though for obvious reasons, the use of words like infiltration and defection only serves rhetorically to otherize the AfD, which may be fine with those who use them, but is not fine by me, and shouldn’t be fine by anyone with a brain.

Aside, also geographically close by is the national personnel/recruitment office for the German military (Bundesamt für das Personalmanagement der Bundeswehr or BAPersBw) — Because the German military is still to this day treaty-limited in terms of total enlistment and the scope of its engagement ability, (you know, losing two major wars, or something like that), and its total enlistment is well below its legal maximum, you can predict that that building is not and does not need to be a very big one, and you would be correct.  I could imagine BfV and BAPersBW employees bickering over which joint in the mall’s food court to do lunch.

Back to the point, it’s not an end run or an implicit dog whistle anymore.  And because the rhetoric is more naked and direct, the motivation is easier for more people to understand.  Horst’s Ass by his own admission lives in mortal fear of the AfD for personal and political reasons.  He not only leads the Interior Ministry, but is also the Bundestag leader of the Bavaria-only Christian Social Union (CSU), a party that is in permanent coalition with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), so much so that it’s not unfair to think that the CSU is nothing more than the Bavarian CDU.  And as I saw during the summer while in Munich, the CSU very recently built a brand new building for its HQ, with its big mortgage payment.  October 14 looms close and large on the calendar, the day of the elections for the Bavarian state government, der Bayerischer Landtag.  Currently, the CSU holds 101 of the 180 seats in that fine august legislative body.  But the AfD has it within very easy reach to send CSU below an absolute majority, and has a good enough chance to take so many seats from it that it won’t be able to form a government in the only state where it even exists, and there’s a fair-outside chance the AfD becomes the largest even if not majority party.

So it’s easy to understand why Horst’s Ass will pull out all the stops, including now directly ordering the quaint little domestic intel agency next to a shopping mall to treat the AfD like some sort of criminal conspiracy.  As October 14 gets closer, he is going to get more and more desperate, and his dirty tricks will get worse.  Joining him will be alle pferde des königs und alle männer des königs, not the least of which will be the two major newspapers in Munich/Bavaria, the Münchner Merkur (“Munich Mercury,” politically aligned with the CSU) and the Süddeutsche Zeitung (“South Germany Newspaper,” politically aligned with the SPD), the latter being larger and more prominent.

Coincidentally, my business itinerary for the near future has me in Munich on October 14.

“Whatever could you possibly mean by that, Blogmeister?,” in my best Frank Underwood voice.

Interpret as you will.

Now I’m out.





Steve and Steve

10 09 2018

Stockholm

While the news yesterday from a generally northeasterly direction wasn’t as good as some thought it could have been, it was still good news.

Among the many people that deserve credit for it are two guys named Steve.

That’s all I’ll say so publicly — You’ll just have to figure it out for yourself.





Willkommen Bei Meinem Ausgebürgerte Sonnenaufgang (Wish You Were Here)

10 09 2018

Cologne, Germany

Well peanut gallery, here I be.

I rode into the sunset after Labor Day.

And you might have feared that I was gone forever, or that I wouldn’t write anything around here for months on end.

But the thing you have to remember about sunsets is that after every sunset eventually comes a sunrise.

Welcome to a new day in a new life here in the Rhine-Ruhr Region (“the Region”) of Germany.

Welcome to my expat sunrise.

***

Even though this post is dateline Cologne, because it happens to be the somewhat dominant even if not totally predominant city of the Region, I may or may not actually live in Cologne. Though I do happen to be here as I write this, at lunch time on Monday, September 10.

I could live in Dortmund, or I would if I wanted to live in a big super giant open air gym. Maybe it’s Essen, the world headquarters of Aldi?  You have to deposit a quarter if you want to to have an official residence in Essen.  (Rimshot)  Perhaps Düsseldorf, which would make me a düsseldork. How ’bout Bonn, which would be très bon, as the next door neighbors would say. Chance it could be the coolest city name in the Region, Mönchengladbach.  I dare you to say Mönchengladbach twenty times in a row really quickly.  Very outside chance that it could be Aachen, which is somewhat out of the way and not officially defined as part of the Region, even though I will say now that I bought a very small piece of real estate in Aachen near a creek. I call it: Oh my Aachen bach. Yeah, I know, corny as hell, and I dare not kick it in public, especially not in or about Charlemagne’s own city, otherwise they’re liable to throw me out of the country. Either that, or ole Chuck will come back to life just to impale me. There’s Wuppertal, which makes me think about Tupperware for some reason, I thought that when I was a mere tourist in the summer. Leverkusen, if I wanted to live under the shadow of a big super giant neon aspirin tablet, indicative of Monsanto’s new owner, yet another personal and ironic segue. A big chemical conglomerate in a Kraut industrial river town bought out another big chemical conglomerate in a Kraut industrial river town, quelle surprise.  To put it another way, I moved from Monsanto to Bayer.

If it’s not one of those cities, it’s in one of the lesser known and smaller cities in the region.

But I definitely do live here in the Region.

***

Over the weekend, I had my first recreational outing.

I took a cruise of the Middle Rhine, from Cologne upstream to Wiesbaden/Mainz and back downstream, the part which goes through the gorges, and the part where the riverside castles, forts, fortifications, and ruins thereof, are visible. There’s even a castle on an island in the middle of the river at one point. We were told that, in its day, it was basically a big super giant fancy toll booth. The Upper Middle Rhine is so castle-intense that, once you see one, you don’t quite have enough time to ooh and ahh and make goo-goo eyes at it, and then here comes another.

Now you know why I bought new binoculars before the move.

You may recall that during the summer voyage, we took a direct autobahn route from Frankfurt to Bonn as we started out in our general clockwise trip around the horn, that route does not follow the Rhine. So, this, the cruise, everything south of Bonn, was new to me. I’m not huge into castles and fortresses like that, but I was oohing and aahing nonetheless. Just as I oohed and aahed at the ones I saw during the summer. And the section with the castles and fortresses was yet another subtle reminder to the answer of my own question I asked here in this space on the final full day of the voyage over the summer, that being, how it came to be that Germany is not the world’s hegemon today. All these castles and fortresses weren’t built just to be centuries-later tourist traps, you know.  The cruise hostess told us in her standard spiel that the Middle Rhine inspired Richard Wagner to write and compose Götterdämmerung, and from what I saw, the Middle Rhine has to be one of the world’s best cures for creative block.  The irony of that is that, back during the summer, we were told that, when we toured Neuschwanstein, that Ludwig II of Bavaria out of his own pocket had it designed and built as a tribute to and as a residence for Richard Wagner.

While Wiesbaden and Mainz, which I took the opportunity to have a peek and look-see around while there, as, again, we did not go to either during the summer voyage, so both were new to me, are directly across the river from each other, they are in different states, Hessen and Rheinland-Pfalz, respectively, and both are their states’ capitals. Until that point, I presumed both were just satellite cities of Frankfurt, and to an extent, there are lots of people who live in either and commute to Frankfurt for work. However, both cities also have their own independent long-standing cultural cache, to the point where they would still be what they are today even if Frankfurt didn’t exist. Wiesbaden, aside from also being a spa town (“bad” in the name), in fact, one of the oldest spa towns in Europe, also hosts the HQ of what remains of the U.S. Army’s European operations, and is the home base of the German equivalent of the FBI, (Bundeskriminalamt, or BKA), though it’s of a country that has had bad experiences with centralized nationalized law enforcement in the last century, and therefore, the BKA rarely engages in direct flesh-level law enforcement; instead, it coordinates with the state police agencies (Landespolizei) when needed and relevant. In Germany, domestic law enforcement is a state, not a local, function, (unless the locality happens to be a city that is legally bestowed state status, the only such three in the country are Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen), meaning that, where I live, if necessity arises, I will dial 110 and someone from the Nordrhein-Westfalen Polizei in one of their teal-blue cars (evenly split between Benz, BMW and VW from what I’ve seen) will show up.  Since that’s the same agency that did its best to cover up the Muslim Middle Eastern Merkel’s Boner gang rapes in Cologne on New Years Eve 2015-2016, I’m just hoping I don’t need their help that often.

***

This was the first of what will hopefully be much memorable and special work and play travel, and the start of a very worthy and hopefully professionally fruitful and impactful life journey. If I’m ever really destined to matter to this world, it’s now or never, this is a last chance that I’d never thought I’d get to do that, especially after last year. Ball’s in my court. Bottom of the ninth, sacks jammed, two out, trailing by two, and I’m up to bat.

During the fall, I’m figuring on doing the Clock Route, Aachen (because Charlemagne), and wait until I tell you after the fact where I’m going on my first long distance business trip, though I imagine it will be easy for some of you to figure it out. This coming weekend, I’m going to do the Wine Route, corresponding with the second of two weekends of Wurstmarkt in Bad Dürkheim.

Now you also know why I never wrote the voyage travelogue, and probably never will. Not only for time constraints, but because I would have been writing mostly about a country I knew was going back to in order to live and work. Which would have made me feel some kind of way.

Beyond that, in spite of the fact that I was able to provide you my first post as an expat only a week after my final post from St. Louis, you should definitely not expect any more posts here from me for quite awhile.  I have really started to hit the ground running, (or, in my case, rolling), in the new line of work.  That, and just as I’m getting settled in to my new residence and my new city, come the 19th of this month, I’ll be out on the road continuously until October 22, when I’ll finally be able to return to what now serves as home.  A home, mind you, where I happen to have another handicapped American expat as a roommate, to share the expenses, and when I say “expenses,” I mean expensive.  We’ll be roommates in the sense of hello I must be going but just make sure you’re all paid up on your half of the relevant bills.  Long and short, it may be upwards of a month before I can write anything in this space.  So, hug me now, because I’m about to disappear into the wind.

***

I’ll wrap this up by giving a shout out to the lord of the manor back at the secret rehab hideout.  You know how these things can be:  After being ecstatic and jubilant at first, the closer you get to having to carry out the thing, the harder it gets to do it.  The July 26 sort of “I’m really going to do this” was a lot different than the August 26 sort of “I’m really going to do this.”  Just when he saw the slightest tinge of doubt and second guessing in my eyes, he assured me I was doing the right thing.  And now, I’m here doing it.  Yet and still, leaving home was the hardest thing I ever faced.

Otherwise, for all of you:





Except When It Does.

5 09 2018

Guest post by Puggg

You know how they tell us to ignore black crime because it doesn’t affect us and doesn’t affect anyone but the wrong people?

That’s right!  Because it never affects anyone but the wrong people.  Except when it does.