No Escape

I am sorry. I can not help, I have to put in my two pennies worth. The more I watch this damn war, the more I wonder. I try to use European news outlets, and verified news, simply because there is a lot of propaganda and plain disinformation around.
Putin’s war does not go according to plan. If it is correct what I read in a German news outlet (n-tv) that the Russians already lost close to 200 tanks, then this is a frightening number. I saw pictures of Russian tanks with self made, improvised constructions over the turret. This indicates that they faced Javelin anti tank rockets, pretty modern, sophisticated, and, well, useful. (The idea of this weapon is not to hit a tank frontal, but from above, preferably into the turret, where the fortification is notably weaker.)
Then I saw (and read) about difficulties of the advancing army regarding fuel, and lousy communications.
The fact that Russia agreed to some kind of negotiations implies imho that they need time to regroup, time to pump more weapons and troops into the country. It seems to me that they simply miscalculated how fast they could advance, and – what is more important – did not care in foresight.
They either really thought this would be a kind of promenade to Kiew, or it was simply very bad planning. The Ukrainian forces (I have no idea how large this force is, what they actually have) is basically a remnant of the old Red Army. So these officers know exactly what they face. They should know their enemy very well, and I do not believe that they simply sad idle since 2014, when Vlad grabbed a part of Ukraine. And it is their land. All in all they do a formidable job, and they have a good chance to, at least, stop the invasion. To throw the invaders out is another thing.
The longer this whole stupid war lasts, the worse Vlad’s inner-Russian situation. If what is left of the Russian civil society fully understands what is going on, there may be a chance. Even Vlad can not turn the whole of Russia into a graveyard, he is no Stalin – despite the fact that this is what he craves to be.

There is a right side, and a wrong side – and in few situations in history it was so clear. And those people who cheer for Vlad, be it Serbian nationalists who demonstrated today and yelled support for their hero, be it members of the German parliament (of the fascist party, who else ?, who had the nerve to say that our chancellor would “herbeireden” a new “cold war”, goodness !), or “politicians” of the “Republican” party in the US (who blab about “Biden’s weakness enabling this war”) – those right-wing, and in part openly fascist people, are scum.
And again, I already said it here, I am glad that the former “president” of the US is not at the helm, the guy who said NATO must be abandoned, the guy who kissed Putin’s arse openly, the guy whose election was helped by Russian interference, comrade Trumpsky.
We Europeans have two years to built an European force. We must do this, because the chance is very likely that in two years either the swine returns, or a younger version of the traitor sits in the White House. It is still absolutely correct what MERKEL said – the US are no reliable partner any more. We need a European army that protects our Eastern (and Northern) border. We must make clear to an aggressive Eastern neighbour that any kind of invasion is suicide.
There is no way back, there is no escape.

*

And You Thought This Could Not Happen Here

When I left in the ddm today to see my eye doctor (all is well, basically), I had not used my computer. Shortly after my return home in the late morning a neighbour called me, very excited, and said “the basted did it !” I did not understand what he was talking about, until it dawned on me that Vlad attacked Ukraine for real.
I never imagined that I would have to witness a war in Europe in my lifetime. But there it is, and all of a sudden all is different. I only hope that this will end soon, so that the number of “casualties” – dead humans ! – is as low as possible. You can not send out untrained civilians with machine pistols to fight against an army of trained soldiers with state-of-the-art weapons of any thinkable kind. This is a crime, a crime within a crime.
I did not believe that Vlad would pull it off. All of a sudden we are catapulted back in a time when a tank division was a means of politics. We are back in an age of brute force, like before WWI, a terrible step back in history. And “history” is used as weapon, like any other gun, by the chief “historian” in Moscow.
The Eastern border of Europe is now a frontier again. Russia came back with bombs and grenades. All of a sudden the full members of the European Union, Poland, Slowakia, Hungary, and Romania have a border with an aggressive neighbour. Add the Baltic States too.
All I know right now is that this must be contained, before this regional war can become a global one. On the other hand, Vlad must be stopped. This guy and his oligarchic camarilla must be held accountable – I have no idea how.
All I know is that Germany has not even one effing tank division ready, and that Europe has no military means. This must change fast, because it seems that our new Eastern neighbour understands only retaliation : Do we really have to go back to the ius talionis (2.Mose 21, 23-25), “Eye for eye” ? This can not be possible, this is not the way.
Sadly, the only one with a plan, is Vlad, in his incredible recklessness : He has earned his special place in the history books, the new czar. It must be very satisfying for him. “The West”, Europe & the US, we stand there like impotent idiots.
Now let’s brace for the wave of refugees.

Alboin Must Know

Tough times in 6th century Northern Italy. The Langobards (Ger., Eng.) conquer the country since 568, and are in the process of establishing a state of their own. Other than the Goths, who were formally invited, these barbarians come clearly as enemies. On the countryside they are welcome, their rule can not be worse than what the detested Greek exactores, taxmen, did. But the cities do not like the idea of a new ruling class. The Langobards under their king Alboin (Ger., Eng.) do not care and capture one after another, Milano in 569. Next on the list is Pavia (Ger., Eng.), but the city resists, for three years. Meanwhile the Langobards reach out Southwards, take the dukedoms of Spoleto and Benevent, strengthen their rule.
Alboin really gets angry with that little Pavia town, and swears to kill them all, each and single one, tah.
Finally he is ready to to ride his horse through the gate of St.John into the future capital of the Langobardic kingdom , when his horse brakes down. And refuses to get up – only until Alboin brakes his vows (to kill each and single Pavese), and promises to kill only those who will not capitulate, then the old nag proudly carries the king into the city.
Alboin nevertheless insists on delivery of the twelve virgins for personal entertainment he required.
Eleven virgins moan and wail, while the twelfth orders flour, honey, and crystallised fruit. She bakes a cake – the first panettone (Ger., Eng.), in the form of a colomba pasquale. Of course Alboin suspects a poison attack, and has the girl eat a piece of the cake first. Since she does not drop dead, he tries it himself, is satisfied, and sets the cake baker free.
And you see children, cake is good for you. Learn something useful, so in case the barbarians invade, you can offer a cake of peace.

Trippin’

You have not been alive when you can’t say that you once travelled on the Suebian railway (“Schwäb’sche Eisebahne”). So join me on a photographic journey from Neckarsulm to Metzingen. We start in Neckarsulm (Ger., Eng.), that dates back to a Roman foundation. Today it is mostly known for its automotive industry.

*

Neackarsulm station in all its renovated glory

*

Next we will reach Heilbronn (Ger., Eng.), a former Reichsstadt. The city is mostly indescribable, simply because (with the notable exception of the KIlianskirche (Ger., Eng.)) there is nothing worth to be described. Here usually strange people enter the train, humans wearing training gear, who have no qualms to describe intimate personal “things” in a fully seated railway carriage. Conversations may start with “Yeah, I’m out on probation now.”, phone calls may include “Only ten grams ?! Make it fifteen shithead, and we’re good. You owe me …” You get the idea.

*

Heilbronn. There is always a train outbound.

*

Next stop is Nordheim (Ger., Eng.). Obviously they like to leave assuring, positive messages on the walls.

*

Nordheim says “Be positive” !

*

Our next stop is Kirchheim (Ger., Eng.). They like their Abstandsgrün here.

*

Kirchheim am Neckar. The river must be somewhere behind the greenery.

*

Now we fly into BIetigheim-Bissingen (Ger., Eng.), where we are greeted with modern architecture.

*

Bietigheim-Bissingen has one of these modern “Turmhäuser”, tower houses.

*

Next is Ludwigsburg (Ger., Eng.). It was founded in the early 18th century, it is a planned settlement (“Planstädte” (Ger., Eng.), and shows how an 18th century ruler wished a city should look. Many barracks.

*

Ludwigsburg

*

Now we reach Stuttgart (Ger., Eng.), the Suebian capital The station is a terminus, but they are not satisfied with that, and dug a large hole, where billions of € vanish. They promised to keep the old (pretty ugly, but architecturally & historically relevant station building), but astoundingly a lot of it had to be cut down. Now some rumours of corruption go round (Ger.), a fool who thinks bad about it.

*

This is still above ground, the new station will mainly be below ground. Nobody said that it would look any better.

*

And now we leave, I just had to sit on the opposite seat to avoid unwanted bodily reactions.

*

Leaving Stuttgart

*

Wendlingen (Ger., Eng.), here we come !

*

Wendlingen

*

Oberboihingen (Ger., Eng.). Where is Unterboihingen ? Every time I pass one of these pubs along the travel route, I feel the urge to stop and walk into the establishment. Of course I never do.

*

Oberboihingen and its promising pub.

*

I can not say something about our next stop, Bempflingen (Ger., Eng.). The structure in the distance is the Schwäbische Alb, a good place.

*

Bempflingen

*

And finally we reach the end of our little journey, Metzingen (Ger., Eng.), where they produce clothes.

*

Metzingen. The cheap casino is on the other side of the track.

*

And finally one last picture, somewhere in Suebia.

*

Looks like snow.

*