Saturday, 31. October 2020
No Berlin cinemas + 3 thoughts (on simplicities, plastics and a Puppet)

I actually wrote this on US Election Day, so I'm backdating it as the October entry. I missed out in September, and I also missed out on prepping the cinema series. It's the stay-at-home-phase that's slowing my brain down, perhaps.

So this entry will be mostly about small things. Except for the political part (meta as always, sorry).


 

(I had the chance to experience - and notice - a perfect avovado the other day. Rare and pleasant!)

A time of ap-pre-ci-at-ing simple things

Man, so much is going askew all over in this viral & extremisms phase. Being at home all the time - not my m├ętier! - has done one positive thing for me, made me notice some basics of my life. Partly quite astounding:

  1. A hot bath in the morning clears my head, in part truly physically. A thrice-weekly constant.
  2. Netflix - the only streaming service I'm trying out, since I'm a cinema & video store fan - put up RAUMPATROUILLE, the cool 60's s.f. mini-series with i.a. beauteous Eva Pflug.
  3. I can take out back-in-1-day videos practically every day!
  4. Good news - I've learnt I'm not really hermitic after all. I do need to, in the end, see other people every day, preferrably ones I do know already.
  5. I prepare food more often; being no real good at cooking, I go for recipes requiring simple actions (cf. picture). I.a. I am beginning to get into pestos - mmm!

Plastics case

I bought a good-looking "for men" shampoo the other day from a major hair products manufacturer (Schwarzkopf) that actually had a little sticker on it saying "no micro-plastics used". I was impressed, and there & then decided to buy no more shampoos that don't have that guarantee. I've felt uncomfortable with the "super trash" aspect of plastics most of my life, and do not think that smoke-filtered burning of plastic trash, like many German cities do, is a long-term solution! It's time to take a far more serious stand against non-degradable industrial products like plastics and C8, and move soon toward no longer having them produced!! The case against plastics, more than that against CO2, is that they're one of the true pollution sins of mankind - that we have the power now to correct.

There are ... strings

The Great Orange Pretender is no Ultron. Recently, mainly through the callous way Republican senators have been behaving in October, I've been wondering whether the people behind the increasingly unpretensive POTUS - the Kochs? the Tea Party? - actually "chose" him to front up a first climax of their deconstruction of things in the system they want gone, or at least stymied to some extent.

So that the strange-skinned puppet has actually been doing his intended job perfectly - to produce dissonance and distraction, year after year, turning the focus away from their actual plans & doings. And now... it feels like they're cutting losses and proceeding to drop him. So, in a way, I am sorry for the flailing "great" fool on the Hill. For a micro-second.

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Monday, 31. August 2020
Berlin cinemas + 2 thoughts (Corona benefits & a run at rehabilitation)

I wrote this mostly end of last month, so I'm backdating it to then. Too much to do for a relatively recently-become sexagenarian. (And no, that does not mean more sex was had. :-))

DELPHI LUX

The newish Delphi Lux cinema in the centre of West Berlin
The newest Yorck cinema, with several contained ones. In a nice building near Zoo Station, with many mod cons & decorations! Very "it"... A little miracle in the "home cinema" and (at the time) burgeoning streaming tsunami, brushing one cinema after another off the German map. So glad to be in a city where cinemas' existence is fought for!

Wow, Corona!

Again, as for the similar titled thought some months ago in this blog, I am aware of the terrible plight this pandemic means for many many people, especially those struck down into a hard death or half-life after heavier symptoms (which, luckily, many folk who get it, don't develop!).

But at this time of global (mental) depression, some positive things I've noticed:

  • The pandemic has apparently forever changed the airline industry. There will be fewer flights in future, not to mention fewer companies. People will probably no longer have to be packed into seats like sardines - sonething I'm looking forward to! (Source: ECONOMIST)

  • Kids in Germany, having more spare time due to school outages, have ended up running around and generally moving more than before the lockdown phase (in Germany that was mainly in April + x)! Yeah, despite more video learning/gaming... (Source: SPIEGEL) So, perhaps kids need slightly less hectic schooling in future?

  • The service industry in Germany has finally gotten going in a major way. After years of lagging behind other Western countries. Which means many more small jobs. Sounds good to the layman (= me)...

  • By not looking like it will be over before November (or even begin of next year), CoVID in the US has shown what a hollow "manager" the Great Orange Pretender really is, and has been. And what ends he is prepared to go to, to prevent what will likely happen in that month. (I.a. the looming loss of his "diplomatic" immunity before the law.) Unfortunately it has also demonstrated to the world, on what run-down traditionalist stilts the US political system is built. A reform of Congress & a more representatively set-up Senate badly need to follow in 2021, in my opinion, and the presidency hollowed out to prevent future idiocies by media-magnetic incumbents, it seems to me (& perhaps many Europeans?)...

  • On a personal note, for the first time I took part in a meetup of an s.f. society on another continent. Usually I can't be at these regular meetups, but now I just ZOOMed in! :-D

It's taken 7 years

There was a time when I was scared to write out the name in this blog. But now a U.S. federal court has begun rehabilitating Ed Snowden, one of the true heroes of the last decade, way ahead of any Wonderful super variants or MAGA "men"! What a comeuppance! And despite the antics of previous & current presidents (before this year!) to demonize him - instead of the abusive officials who Big-Brothered full steam ahead into an inhuman future!

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Saturday, 18. July 2020
Berlin cinemas + 4 thoughts (last month on some political reforms I'd like to C)

This is the June entry, a little Late (my secret middle name). I decided to unhumbly* make a few reform suggestions for countries, whose Corona handling has been in the news, recently.

KURBEL

Inzw. geschlossenes Berliner Kino DIE KURBEL in 2013
This old - and closed for some years now - cinema, was a favourite haunt of mine, built in, I guess, the Twenties or Thirties. This is what's great about Berlin - this city was one of the centres of international cinema a century ago, and you can still come upon remnants of that today. Unfortunately, people don't realise what a treasure old cinemas are, and several more downtown are threatened with closing due to the Corona phase... (One site where one may be able to help: www.startnext.com - yeah, it's in German.)

A) Reform South Africa

Let's start with the littlest case first: RSA has an exacerbated Corona crisis at the moment, despite stringent earlier precautions, IMO due to the "state capture" level gargantuan embezzling spree of the last president, Zuma, and his cronies (many of whom have by now left the country):

  • To help prevent abuse like this happening again, the special new office created by RSA's new constitution of just a quarter century's standing, the Public Protector, whose job it is to oversee government officials/institutions, in the name of the public (who can call on the P.P. directly to follow up larger infractions!) must IMO be appointed independently by non-governmental instances only - e.g. the justice system, or by popular vote, or a combination of the two. In addition, I feel, the office needs its own force of unarmed observers on general elections of all kinds, making sure that people are not influenced/harassed at polls on Election Days!

B) Reform the U.K.

I thought ol' Blabber-mouthed Boris had learnt a lesson from his own bout with Corona, but he's promising stacks again, while only putting low-funded fingers in Corona-reducing-dike breaks and at the same time driving straight for a hard Brexit. So...

  • The House of Lords needs special powers IMO to recommend far more strongly the Queen dissolve government if the prime minister is endangering the fundamental (e.g. economic) well-being of the country. If the House is too uppity in the eyes of the common man to have that kind of power, the country may generally need some kind of devil's advocate office, not derived from aristocracy or the government, to do that job. (Cf. Public Protector idea, above.)
  • In the middle term, how about finally getting a clear & powers-inhibiting constitution done, Brits? I.a. to constrain demagogic future p.m.s?
  • IMO the NHS needs to be put on a better financial footing in general to handle future crises like the current one - how about a light capital tax on stock exchange etc. transactions for expressly that purpose? (And with "capital" I mean London, and all that it contains. The tax could be sold as a humane incentive for share holders, that they can advertise; IMO this may help to keep them on the London stock exchange, as Brexit looms.)

C) Reform Germany

Yes, even my home country has some idiocies currently showing up:

  • Don't rain non-repayable gifts of money on any who apply (as was done in Berlin city state) during crises to save their assumed businesses. Set up a permanent disaster fund, and a clear set of conditions to apply for monies from that, perhaps via the stats the states' revenue system (each province's "Finanzamt") can supply; the applicant would have to allow the fund administrators to get that data once-off to make a decision whether a bonus/credit is given.
  • Start a Bundestag (i.e. parliamentary) commission to investigate the micro-dust ("Feinstaub", mainly from Diesel engines)/noise/CO2/whatever emission dips that have occurred during the Corona lock-downs, to find a way to make some of these permanent! Show some backbone IMO vs. the ever-complaining AfD & pseudo-liberal FDP folk, and you'll find a majority more strongly following you in future... (Same goes for micro-plastics, by the way! Let's go!)

D) Reform the U.S.

O, man, so much to suggest here; let's keep it really brief:

  • Take away presidential powers to turn the country into a Banana Republic - no judges appointed by him, no misappropriations of major funding, all open speeches/"edicts"/Tweeting to be okayed by 2 officers appointed by Congress & Senate!
  • Get Congress to wake up and take over on health & lobbyism reform - and actually running the country! The latter includes doing much more to expand the currently contracting middle class, as well as a major reform of the election process after the Primaries - no more Westminster winner-takes-all voting, allowing smaller parties to get representation, thereby immediately hollowing out gerrymandering.
  • Get the Senate to better represent population sizes of states; 2 senators per state is ludicrously out of date!
  • Set up a system of control of sheriffs and how they actually apply their powers, especially outside of major cities. Defund police unions to allow state control over what policemen are actually taught, how they are armed and how they then enact their duties (reviewing the latter regularly); once this catches, fund police better, so they have less motivation to become (at least financially) corrupt. Also fund social projects better, so police do not have to cover so much ground, keeping cities going.
(* IMO above means "in my opinion";
the "humble" before the last word left out for now...)

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