Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Who Killed Knut?

Who killed Knut? The Zoo is by and by releasing information; so, here is what we know: He had too much fluid in his brain. That gave him fits, and bad headaches, and this is how he died — having some sort of epileptic attack, falling into the water... He did not drown, though, the Zoo thinks he would have died even if he had stayed on his rock.

Of course, people are still suspicious: How did he get that brain damage? Did they feed him BSE-infected food? And also, isn't the Zoo just claiming this to cover up that Knut was held in too small a cage?

The Zoo, unfazed, considers turning him into a stuffed animal. Well, that is sad!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Food and Communism

Berlin cuisine has strange ways: Last autumn, a  restaurant has opened, it serves food from the bygone Communist era. The strange thing is that nobody ever liked East Berlin restaurants because they were either out of food or you had to wait for a table for hours except you had Western money.

Well, now everybody has Western money, so the Domklause has opened, near the Berlin Dome, where the Palace of the Republic used to be. It serves Kettwurst and Grilletas, which is some sort of bratwurst and burgers, and also Soljanka, a Russian soup made from leftovers (but not bad). The interior is westernized, though. And if you don't like it, you can go to Ming Dynasty at Brückenstraße, Berlin's best Chinese restaurant, also somewhat of a reminder of the bygone Communist era, but different.,,6485798,00.html

Sunday, March 27, 2011

High and Green

So, here is news: Germany will have the first head of a State government who is a member of the Green Party. Sixty-two year old Winfried Kretschmann will be leading Baden-Württemberg, Germany's wealthiest and traditional conservative, which that has been governed by the Christian Democrats for 58 years straight.

The Green Party (which is, in American terms, about two miles left of the Democrats) has gotten about 24 percent of the vote on Sunday and will team up with the Social Democrats, who have gotten 23 percent. This is a historic moment. The election result was a reaction to the nuclear catastrophe in Japan that also drove hundreds of thousands of people on the streets.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Knut Forever

What happened to Knut? According to zoo officials, his brain was sort of damaged: they found some "significant changes" after an autopsy. However, nobody knows how and why that happened. The beloved polar bear had died on Saturday in the presence of 600 to 700 visitors. He started to turn around on his rock repeatedly, fell into the water, and drowned right away.

Now Berliners, but also people all over the world are mourning. Candles, flowers, and pictures are brought to the Berlin Zoo, to remember the bear that was hand-raised as a cub four years ago by Thomas Doerflein. But quite a few people are blaming the zoo, which has put Knut into a tiny cage with three other bears who mobbed him. And frankly, with all the money they made on Knut—couldn't they have built a better habitat? So it's no wonder people still think he died of stress, loneliness and a broker heart after his keeper Doerflein had died.

Here are some Knut videos:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Knut, The Polar Bear, Has Died

Knut is dead! The famous polar bear who was born in the Berlin Zoo just four years ago, collapsed and died in the pool of his cage on Saturday shortly after 3pm. Knut, who had been abandoned by his polar bear mother at birth, has been raised by hand by Thomas Doerflein, his keeper, who had died in September 2008, also very sad, since he was only 44 years old (Knut's twin baby brother did not make it at all). Nobody knows yet of what causes Knut has passed away, but everybody in Berlin is sad and also shocked. More than 500 people witnessed when Knut's lifeless body was drifting in the water.

Knut became famous as a symbol of the fight against global warming and for the environment. He made it on the cover of Vanity Fair with Leonardo di Caprio and he attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Berlin Zoo. Lately, he had not been so lucky: His lady friend from the Munich Zoo was brought back to Munich, and the other three polar bears in Berlin had never warmed up to the abandoned cub. But they did not push him into the water — he fell. So far, the Zoo is still investigating.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Let The Good Times Roll

I had a little Mardi Gras celebration a few days early in, of all places, San Antonio, Texas. There was a parade of boats, circling the Riverwalk, there was modest throwing of beads, and I nearly fell into the San Antonio River while trying to catch some - not that I don't have a half-ton in my apartment already.

Today is also the Texas Independence Day, and some people want to leave the Union and go back to Mexico (though I‘m not sure about the latter).  Meanwhile, in Germany, times are interesting:  Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg had to step back as Secretary of Defense, due to plagiarism of his dissertation. Now there is a new guy, Thomas de Maizière, who used to be Secretary of the Interior. They still have rallies pro and contra Guttenberg, mostly on the web, though. Well, that was fast!

So, what is Guttenberg doing now? Rumor has it, he will relocate to the USA. He is said to have an offer from a consulting agency already. And he might even end up on the board of a blue chip company. And if that doesn't work out, he can still go to Hollywood.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Houston - I Have a Problem

I made it to Texas - Texas is huge! It is so huge that I'm basically spending all my time in the car, driving up and down I-45. This time, they gave me a Dodge Caravan that qualifies as an economy car (in Texas). Yesterday, I visited a Rodeo in Houston; actually THE Rodeo in Houston. I nearly lost my car because the area is so huge that I forgot where I‘ve parked it.

Also, the food is huge. At the Rodeo, they sold "a mountain of fries" for ten bucks. Ten bucks! I‘m sure they'd feed a family (in Somalia), but this also drains your resources. The Rodeo itself, I had the feeling that the horses and cattle were in the act. The horses violently kicked the Cowboys from their backs, then calmed down all by themselves and trotted back to the stable, as if they'd punched a card.


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