CURIOSITY The Liberty With A Wristwatch?

Don't laugh! Some years ago it was planned ...

Liberty

Manhattan and the statue ...

Liberty

… and the arm for the watch

THE WORLD FORGOT THIS CRAZY IDEA, not even in New York more than a dozen people remember it: That the Statue of Liberty, out there in the harbor, would get an illuminated wristwatch! It was planned in 1926 when the worst politician the USA ever had (corrupt, criminal, lazy, chased out of office in 1932, disappeared to Europe), Jimmy Walker, was elected Mayor of New York. He assembled even a committee to finance and organize the watch – but it turned out to be too expensive, to difficult technically. Basically the idea was not too bad: A huge clock, visible out of Manhattan from sunset to sunrise, fastened to the torch arm of the monument, with a dial’s diameter of at least six feet, but who would wind it up? And repair it, just in case? I must say, I would have liked it, it would have brought a touch of the 20th century to the Statue of the 19th century. And by the way: 1926 was the year when wristwatches became popular, killing the pocket watches.

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ISLANDS How The Hell Sounds „Jerriais“?

I just listened to the strange language on the island of Jersey ...

Jersey

It's closer to France, but belongs to Great Britain!

I HAD NO IDEA, THIS IDIOM EVEN EXISTED. But when I landed in Jersey’s capital St. Helier and looked for a trough, I overheard two elderly chaps at the counter – and thought they spoke Esperanto or a conversation tool they had invented in their childhood. I asked them and reluctantly they told me, that it was „Jerriais“, the arch-language of the biggest of the Channel Islands. I say „reluctantly“ because they identified me as German, and during the occupation of Jersey between 1940 and 1945, the Jerseyans had used it as secret communication. They told me, that it’s a „dying language“ since only 1000 of the 100 000 inhabitants speak it, and many of them are older than 65. Unesco regards „Jerriais“ as „extremely endangered“ and there are just three teachers left. „We have some very good pop groups who perform in ‘Jerriais‘“, the chaps told me. „You should buy some of their CDs, it sounds great!“ Like a mixture of Latin, French, English and Viking-ish. They put down on a napkin three useful phrases and suggested, I should surprise the Jerseyeans by using them: Welcome „seyiz les beinv’nu“, Good Luck –  „Bouonne cache“, Excuse me „Extchuthez-me“. „And our island’s name is not Jersey“, reminded me one of them, „it’s Jeri! I didn’t succeed in what they wanted, because when I said  „Extchuthez-me“ to a lady in a grocery shop, she remarked to another lady: „Does he speak Jerriais, or what does he mean?“

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ANIMALS The Elephant Tragedy, Part 2

A succession of very sad posts, written in tears ...

Elefanten

The bad airport of Luanda (Angola) ...

Elefanten

… and this one is fighting back!

IT’S A DRAMA, HAPPENING RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES, I will follow it closely and tell you from time to time all of the actual stages of the doom of these wonderful animals. Second chapter: The poachers are the badly paid killers only, the real heavies, making the big money, are in government or backed by it! I tell you the latest news: The worst country in the moment is Angola, the personal kingdom of president Jose Eduardo dos Santos and his daughter Isabel, both belonging to the 10 richest persons in Africa. A main bulk of the poached tusks, from all over the continent, oozes out through the Quatro de Fevereiro Airport of the capital Luanda. Which means, on the other hand: The grey giants of Angola (called by John Hemingway „the new Killing Fields of the elephants“) are doomed, shot and sold by the henchmen of the Dos Santos dynasty without mercy. Other bad airports in bad countries, concerning illicit ivory trade: 1 Mombasa and 2 Nairobi in Kenya, 3 Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, 4 Johannesburg in South Africa (this location amazes me, but the elephant conservationists discovered the sad facts!), 5 Cairo in Egypt and also coming up strongly: 6 Juba in Southern Sudan. But no location outnumbers – in tusks – the Luanda airport and its direct air link to China! Find out what I have to say from now on in my Blog, giving you the inside informations on the war between a strong but helpless creature and the weak but ruthless human killers …

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ADVENTURE The Son Like The Father …?!

The strange double-meaning trip of Louis Bird across the Pacific

Rudern

Louis Bird and Erden Eruc in Honolulu ...

Rudern

… and Louis with his father Peter

WHY DOES HE WANT TO DO IT, I asked myself, when the Englishman Louis Bird announced his intention, to row across the Pacific from Monterey (California) to Honolulu (Hawaii). I hadn’t forgotten that his father Peter Bird had vanished while rowing from Vladivostok (East Sibiria) to California. Wasn’t that enough misery in the family? This thought might have come to the Junior’s head when – instead of rowing alone – he paired up with Erden Eruc, the toughest adventurer of our time (a Turk, to whom I dedicated an earlier post). And they made it, arrived in Honolulu on July 27 (2016), after 54 days and 42 minutes on the open sea. Not a very fast time, but not bad, no record, but a respectable time. And they were in good health. The deeper meaning? I’m still speculating. Has Louis Bird shooed away the menacing memory of his father’s sad end? Has he avenged, in a way, his father’s doom by conquering his killer, the Pacific? Strange people indeed risk their lives in doing things they think are necessary …

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HUMOUR You Love Pie Throwing?

There is a celebrated movie that ends all pie throwing movies ...

Tortenschlacht

The battle reaches its climax ...

Tortenschlacht

… provoked by these two

In 1927! The 19 minute long picture, called „The Battle of the Century“, was lost for 88 years, except the important sequence, but an almost undamaged reel was discovered in 2015. Well, two minutes are still missing, unfortunately. But now you can enjoy what the writer Henry Miller called: „The greatest comic film ever made!“ About five minutes of pie throwing with at least 40 people! Film historians tried to count the custard, cherry, blueberry, raspberry, coconut, banana and lemon cream pies, one knows that they had bought the day production of The Los Angeles Pie Company, which means at least 3000 pies were thrown. But experts daubt the figure – it must have been between 8000 and 10 000 pies! Stan Laurel has said: „Let’s give them so many pies that there will never be room for another pie picture in the whole history of the movies.“ They succeeded and we even know (an information for the movie location travelers), where the pie throwing was filmed; near the Taft Building, 6280 W. Hollywood Boulevard and 1680 N. Vine Street. You can watch „The Battle of the Century“ on YouTube and some other channels, and I assure you that a person which is not getting ill by laughing, is dead already …


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SEX How Did It Our Red Brothers?

My friend Jack Glover has written the ultimate book ...

Indianer

That's the original ...

Indianer

… that's a painter's phantasy ...

IT HAS A LONG TITLE, and it deserves it: „The Sex Life of the American Indian“. Didn’t we want to know, since we saw our first Western Movies, what happened inside the Teepees? Why they so eagerly „stole“ white girls (according to the scripts). Did the Apaches kiss? Was fellatio and cunnilingus known by the Kiowas, Sioux and Algonquins? The so-called „Missionary Position“? My old friend Jack Glover (whom I mentioned in another chapter of my Blog already), himself a Cheerokee, has unveiled the secrets of the Red Indians emotional background in this book. On 95 pages, produced in the year 1968 in the backshop of his Trading Post in Wichita Falls (Texas), existing in a minimal circulation only (I’m glad he gave me a copy with a fine dedication) and put together with copied typewritten pages, decently illustrated in black & white by the well known Fort Worth artist Bob Moline. With outspoken sections like „Indians Animal nature“, „Love Making and Marriage“, „Divorce and Woman Stealing“ and  „Incest and Adultry“. A book which was missing for ages, because nobody talked in the reservations, and when it appeared there were hate and protests by the Indian communities. You can’t get a single copy at Amazon or eBay, but Jack moved to Austin in the meantime, has a popular shop and a painting studio (oh, he is a great artists), and sells the few remaining originals and reprints for about US$ 20, I think. Good to know, and if you ever come to Austin, visit him, send him my sincerest regards and take a copy of „The Sex Life …“ with you. It’s fun to read. I hope Jack is still alive and well, if not, he got good sons you will continue in their father’s tradition.

 

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SECRETS This One Nobody Has Ever Seen!

The strange story of the elusive Flightless Scaly-Tailed Squirrel

Bilch

The only picture of a „living“ animal ...

Bilch

… and dead after being trapped!

YES, MAN HAS CON- QUE- RED EARTH, there are no white spots left, maybe some undiscovered caves exist and the bottom of the Seven Seas isn’t’ explored totally either. But a mammal which no living person has ever even seen alive? An animal which was never caught alive, not even by a camera? In more than 800 years of explorers, adventurers and scientists? YES, that’s the case. The Flightless Scaly-Tailed Squirrel, a tree-dweller in the rain forests of Central Africa, was only seen dead since the discovery in 1898. This pretty animal is so elusive that not a single photo exists, besides the ones of the cadavers. Scientific collections all around the world got 14 specimens only. Well, it’s no small animal, it measures app. 9 inches in length, plus a very special tail of ca. 6 inches. Because underneath it’s scaly and each scale is armed with a thorn, and therefore the tail works as fifth paw when the squirrel climbs or descends. It’s also a „Living fossil“, roaming the earth for millions of years, what only six of the 40 species of mammals achieved. The engraving, I show here, was done around 1900, after the artist studied some cadavers, and the photo of the dead squirrel was taken in 2015, after it died in a trap on the Atlantic island of Fernando Poo. An unsolved miracle: Why survive trapped animals not even the first hour in captivity? And why fail so many expeditions in search of this enigma of zoology? It’s not even endangered, the experts say, because an animal, which is a ghost, can’t be poached (jungle dwellers never find more than three squirrels per year in their traps in the whole of Africa), and if it survived such a long time on earth, the species must be blossoming. Congratulations, Flightless Scaly-Tailed Squirrel!

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ANIMALS The Elephant Tragedy, Part 1

A succession of very sad posts, written in tears ...

Elefanten

What a beauty, killed without mercy ...

IT’S A DRAMA, HAPPENING RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES, I will follow it closely and tell you from time to time all about the actual stages of the doom of these wonderful animals. First: The horrible result of a profound research, published in the summer of 2016. It took 90 scientist two years and they discovered that there are only 352 271 elephants alive in 18 countries – considerably less than the worst pessimists estimated! Only half – or less – of what the world had hoped. The meaning: The poaching of the elephants continues on an even larger scale than before, made possible by the political turmoil in many countries (i. e. civil war, corruption, fugitives, famines, uncertain borders, mushrooming of settlements). The second finding of the scientists resulted in another devastating figure: Every year about 8 % of the elephant population disappears! Killed for the tusks. Even I, when I published my book in August of 2016 about the animals of Africa (in German, the title is „Liebeserklärung an die wilden Tiere Afrikas“), was by far too optimistic, not being aware of the census, done by the scientists.

Find out what I have to say from now on in my Blog, giving you the inside informations on the war between a strong but helpless creature and the ruthless killers …

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CITIES How New York was made …

„Gangsters & Gold Diggers“ by Jerome Charyn tells it!

Charyn

That's the cover of the book

WHAT AN ENTERTAINING BOOK! I discovered it late, since Jerome Charyn wrote it in 2004 already: „Gangsters & Gold Diggers“. It’s by far the most amusing and surprising story of Broadway, and therefore of New York, written as a clever readers menu: in about 20 biographies of criminals, dancers, singers, actors, writers and politicians. Well known some, but Charyn is brave enough to demount heroes and praise heavies. By digging up amazing unknown facts, really rewriting what was believed to be reality. Did you know that New York’s mayor Jimmy Walker, the worst crook in a public office in the 1920s and 1930s, wanted to put an illuminated wristwatch on the torch arm of the Statue of Liberty? And that we would not have he world’s most important entertainment, sport and gossip industry – no Al Jolson, no Bessie Smith, no Irving Berlin, no Damon Runyon, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio or Mae West, Barbara Stanwyck or George Gershwin (to name only nine) – in the USA, if the gangsters had not sponsored them, given them a chance to appear in public and earn a living with their art? I was so sorry, when the book ended …

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FASHION A Burqa Is Not Always A Burqa …

Look at the five kinds of Islamic Couture and learn the difference

Burka

The veil is an interesting couture ...

EVERYTIME I SAW A VEILED MUSLIM WOMAN, I thought: „Hey, another one in a Burqa!“ I was mistaken by 80 %. Because muslim women are forced to wear (but some hide their beauty voluntarily) five different outfits, depending on the grade of religiosity of their husbands (well, and their own, I guess). I present them here from left to right: 1 Heedshab – Colored shawl, hair, ears, throat, neck and shoulders must be covered, but the face is visible. 2 Shimar – A colored mantilla-like veil, reaching down to the waist, the face is visible. 3 Chador – A mostly black vail, covering the whole body except the face. 4 Neeqab – A mostly black veil, covering the whole body, including the face except the eyes. 5 Burqa – A black or blue veil, covering the whole body, the eyes gape through a tight grille. – What they wear underneath is up to speculation, but erudite christians who are familiar with the tales of „Thousands and one Nights“ tend to enjoy a very wild phantasy …

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