private schools in Germany

Staying with the Yahoo News theme of the last several hours, I found this to be very interesting: schools.

Among other things, this make me think about employment opportunities.



…and a daytime story

Morning is here, and I am awake and no longer drunk tired, and I can comment on my last post. In the article you find this passage:

“Asher had her boyfriend chop up the body of the 275-pound retired telephone company worker, and they dumped it behind a restaurant in Maine, prosecutors said. His remains have never been found.”

If you are me (and you should thank your lucky stars you’re not), all sorts of things go through your mind. But the chief thought is this: even with your boyfriend, getting rid of 275 pounds of bone and flesh has got to be almost impossible. Let’s say Asher could pull her weight and do half the job. That means each still had to carry 137 1/2 pounds of leftovers out behind the “restaurant in Maine”. What do you use, pillowcases?

One in each hand means 68 and 3/4 pounds of bloody mess, dripping through the cotton and making your hands slippery. Who can carry seventy pounds of gore in a pillow case in each hand? Arnold Schwarzenegger? (How do you spell Schwarzenegger, anyway?)

Then there is this line in the article:

“Asher’s lawyer, Stephanie Page, said there was nothing to prove Lord was even dead — no body, no blood, no DNA.”

Let’s get this straight: the prosecution has an elaborate explanation of the crime—the victim died of a heart attack, was left dying for five minutes, the boyfriend was involved, etc., but “no body, no blood, no DNA.” Okay, so they didn’t have that. What did they have? They must have had something.

Read the article, please (I mean, if you’ve resisted until now, go back and click the link). Here is a case in which, even if a murder didn’t take place, two people chopped up a 275 pound man like a side of beef and dumped it behind a restaurant—or didn’t—and it is presented with a clear bias against the prosecution. This might be fair—the prosecutors might have been idiots—but it might not be fair. I’m often struck dumb by what passes as “objective” journalism.

Time to go watch the Three Stooges’ Order in the Court again.


flight 93, part 3

Folks, a bit of googling has led to this: flight 93.

So I guess I’m way behind the curve on this one. This stuff is on it’s way. Next thing we’ll have the whole World Trade Center attack made into The Towering Infernos, complete with a celebrity cast.

The above link includes a sublink to a NY Times article with the following:

“Also in the works are several more traditionally structured dramas. Oliver Stone’s movie about the last two men to be rescued from the World Trade Center, starring Nicolas Cage, is beginning production in Los Angeles. “Reign O’er Me,” directed by Mike Binder, to be released in 2007, will star Adam Sandler as a man who lost his family on Sept. 11 and is still grieving. An adaptation of “102 Minutes” by Jim Dwyer, a reporter for The New York Times, and Kevin Flynn, a special projects editor and former police bureau chief at The Times – a book that recreates the moments between the first plane’s crash into the World Trade Center and the second tower’s collapse – is also tentatively scheduled for a 2007 release.”

Whew! I guess I just have to calm down, because there’s a wave of this stuff coming.

Meanwhile, I’ve spent the last hour, however, reading conspiracy theories about flight 93. They basically center around two questions: 1) what really brought the plane down; 2) how did all of those cell phones work at 40,000 feet? What’s not in doubt is Todd Beamer’s report–using an airphone, not a cell phone–of the passengers’ plan to take back the plane. Make conspiracy theories all you want: those passengers were heroes.

I just don’t think enough time has passed to make commercial use of their heroism.


flight 93, part 2

Okay, I went to the website linked in the A&E ad, and I’m really starting to get unhinged. Here’s the problem: you watch a clip or two and you want to watch the movie because it is indeed very stirring stuff. But the more compelling it is, the more successfully you are being entertained. That’s what I find so very disturbing.

Everyone in the entire world should be given a free copy of, and forced to read, Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death. It is the very nature of television that it cannot present this material without trivializing it. It must make it entertaining, and to make it entertaining is to rob it of the power to enrich our souls. It give us a thrill, but it does not make us deeper or wiser.

Neil Postman aside, it’s just in super-bad taste. I’m feeling bile in my mouth. And partly because now that I’ve seen the ad, I would like to watch the movie. But I swear upon the altar of God that I would refuse to watch it on principle. I can’t prove this, since I don’t get A&E.

Maybe I’m just overreacting.


is nothing sacred? not even flight 93?

While reading something on Yahoo News (specifically this: rice), I saw an advertisement for “Flight 93”, a drama to be broadcast tonight on A&E.

Is there nothing, I mean NOTHING sacred, nothing that can’t be made into a television drama? I’m sure it’s powerful stuff, but it seems to me in the absolute poorest taste to dramatise the events of 9/11 on television–or in radio play or a puppet show, for that matter. Hollywood just shouldn’t touch it, period.
I remember having the same thought about a TV miniseries on the Waco tragedy being broadcast while the fire was still burning.

Television tends to cheapen and trivialize everything it touches. And just thinking about this movie gives me the creeps. Actors running around a set on a soundstage pretending to be on flight 93, speaking scripted lines and making grimaces of fear and playacting about a real tragedy that is so recent we can almost still hear the echoes of the explosions–it’s just cheap, tawdry, tasteless, boorish, and wrong.


airing the room

Another thing which I learned during the weekend seminar was how useful the German habit of “airing” is.

For those who are not familiar with German habits, it is common to occasionally open a window for a couple of minutes to let in some fresh air, even in the dead of winter. A healthy and reasonable habit. But I never in my entire life in the United States ever saw or even heard of anyone doing it. No, in America you heat the air in your house until your skin becomes like parchment and your scalp itches, and you keep doing it until March or April, depending on how far north you live. Then, and only then, do you open the windows and let in a little spring air.

When my parents visit, my father thinks I’m absolutely nuts when I open the window in January. It won’t be open for more than ten seconds before he starts complaining that it’s cold and that I’m wasting money and driving up my heating bill. I try to convince him, without direct evidence but with much conviction, that by letting in fresh, moister air, the room will actually be more efficiently heated. It makes sense to me.

Back to the seminar: with ten men doing exercises which basically amounted to wrestling, the air got a bit…well…you know. There was a hygrometer in the room, and on Sunday we measured a rise in room humidity from around 20 to 62 percent.

But when break times came, we opened all the windows and let in the -10 degree (celsius) winter air, all fresh and good smelling, and flushed out the manly but not entirely pleasant fragrance of 10 wrestling men.

What a great thing! Don’t you think they should “air” the Oval Office three or four times a day? Can you imagine what wonders it might work at the Pentagon?

I think I’m going to air my room right now.