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.


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.

What Time Is It ?

Usually I know, or at lest have a vague idea, where the book I find here, comes from. Did I buy it, when, was something connected with it, like a certain idea I was following back then or something else ? But the book I read right now does not ring a bell, it may have been a gift, but I would not know from whom ?
The book in question is by Frederic VESTER (1925-2003 ) (Ger., Eng.), titled Neuland des Denkens. Vom technokratischen zum kybernetischen Zeitalter. A paperback, first edition published in January 1984. The third edition from July 1985 was “durchgesehen und ergänzt”, revised & supplemented. What lies before me is the 12th edition of July 2002, but it is on the stand of 1984. I checked his footnotes and found no literature cited newer than 1982, and this in only marginal doses. I emphasise this, that the status of information is early 1980s, because I found some things that surprised me.
He mentions in the chapter about “Traffic” that the development of hybrid propulsion (“Hybridantriebe”) or electric fuel cell cars (“Elektroautos mit Brennstoffzellen”) was not pushed, or better hindered, because decisions that lead to the domination of the fuel burning engine – and what all hangs on this – were made earlier, and seem to be irreversible.
He mentions “wie überdimensionale Litfaßsäulen aussehende Pariser “Staubsaugertürme” (… ), welche die Straßenluft unten ansaugen und oben wieder gefiltert abgeben”. This would be vacuum cleaners in the form of advertising pillars in Paris – that escaped me ! I never have heard about such installations in Paris, or elsewhere.
So I asked Mr Gargle & friends, and all I could find was a project by a Dutch artist who wanted to install such towers in smog plagued cities like Mumbay in circa 2017 (?). Some years ago a French environmental company published their project of air cleaners in the form of advertising pillars that would use algæ, but I have no idea what came out of this.
I have no idea when the first hybrid cars were offered in Europe or elsewhere (around 2010 ?), or if VESTERs cleaning towers were ever built, but obviously things he mentions as given, are mentioned & sold forty years later as brand new, happened just five or six years ago.
He mentions and cites writers & thinkers, among them Nobel laureates, a tradition dating back to the 19th century, I simply do not know about. I need to look up a few persons.
And when I put this book down, and looked into another one (about Stalin’s foreign forces) just out of curiosity, I saw the following photograph :


There you have it : He is either immortal or a time traveller, or both.


Time(s) is strange.


Some days ago I read about the Huzulei, and I draw a perfect blank. I had absolutely no idea what this was or is. And I take a certain (hopefully innocent enough) pride in knowing something about the Hultschiner Ländchen (Ger., Eng.), ha !
The first thing that showed up in my head is “Binnenexotismus”. “Exotism” or “exoticism” understood as a European-centered point of view, as admiration, or fascination for or with “exotic” areas, landscapes, humans and their culture, understood to be of non-European origin, situated in far-away countries & continents. “Binnen” means as much as “within” or “domestic”, so “Binnenexotismus” is something that is “exotic”, but just around the corner. One could know about it.
But it was not just the fact that there is an area, a population, and hence a more or less independent culture within Europe, I never had heared about that vexed me, it is part of larger field I have no knowledge about – I have to reach back a bit to describe what it is all about.
I was always interested in history. I can not say when this started, maybe the stories my grandparents told about their youth, and “the olden times” in general stand at the start of this ongoing preoccupation with “what was”. For me “history” from the start was, and still is, lived human life, not an abstract operation, or ministry, of abstract “forces” ; it is life as it was, humans solving problems, getting on, more or less.
It started seriously in the last classes of gymnasium (secunda & prima), when we were happy enough to choose our subjects by ourselves. I was in one of the first years of the “reformierte Oberstufe”. I choose “History” and “Latin” as majpr subjects (“Hauptfächer”), in retrospect I should have voted for English. Sadly I never had a chance to learn even the basics of a Slavic language, Polish would have been a good choice.
The last two years were divided into semesters, and for each semester we could choose a topic, within a given frame. History of the Third Reich was a given, of course. We also choose the history of the “Deutsche Reich” from 1871 onwards, something I was not happy about, because it meant social and economic history, hence a lot of statistics, numbers, and I am terribly bad at numbers. The second topic was “War & Peace”, and we looked at the German wars in the 19th century, WWI and WWII – how did they start, how did they end etc. The last topic to choose should involve some non-European culture, it could be basically anything from Africa to South America, Russia or the US – we choose Japan, it was facinating.
At the university I heared , among other stuff, “Modern History”, and WWI was one of the themata in my oral exam, I did not do too well, but survived.
To make a long story short, I really believed that I would “know” something about WWI. This idea showed the first cracks after 1989, when the Serbian madness started, and all of a sudden the EU was at war. And not only me, but a lot of people understood that in “the East”, “the Balcans” especially, a lot of problems had survived the Cold War that had their origin in the end of WWI – think of all these borders that were drawn at the proverbial “green table”.
I finally understood that I had (and still have) a big blind spot regarding WWI, when I read an article that mentioned a decisive battle, at a place I not even could pronounce, Przemyśl (Ger., Eng.). (Good luck trying, use the wikipedia thingy. I was taught it by a Polish speaking person only recently.)
So I was very happy when I finally had the means to buy the two volume work by Polish historians Włodzimierz BORODZIEJ (Ger., Eng. Pol.) and Maciej GÓRNY (Pol.) titled Der vergessene Weltkrieg. Europas Osten 1912-1923, Darmstadt 2018, zuerst : Nasza Wojna, 2016 (The forgotten Worldwar. Europe’s East 1912-1923). This is the master narrative of that war in the East, long overdue, very useful.
The story of the Huzulei is a margin in all what happened in those years, a typical one, but excuse me I am too tired now. And no, this is not a “cliff-hanger”, I really am too tired, and there is absolutely nothing special about