Editor’s Pick
MAY 7, 2012 7:01AM

Plagiarism scandal swallows yet another politician

 Annette Schavan

Setting a bad example to students?
German education minister (Dr.) Annette Schavan
(Source: Wiki)


THE WAGES OF SIN is death, the Good Book tells us, and the wages of plagiarism is now increasingly disgrace/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 4, 2012 11:41AM

Did the Catholic Church castrate abuse whistleblowers?


It seems the Catholic Church has been doing a better job of
protecting the guilty than the innocent in recent decades
(Image source: Bode Museum, Berlin)

THE DEEPER WE DIG into the recent history of the Catholic Church, the more sordid is the image that presents itself to us. And like the… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 24, 2012 9:50AM

Titanic - James Cameron's subversive masterpiece

Titanic 3D 


How a Hollywood blockbuster blasted a century’s worth of reactionary pieties straight out of the water

JAMES CAMERON’S TITANIC IS back in cinemas this month, now in a 3D makeover, to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the mighty ship’s sinking on April 15, 1/Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 19, 2012 1:42PM

Germany's Pirates enter Nazi-infested waters

Die Gedanken sind frei 
"Thoughts are free," the Pirates say, echoing
the old German freedom song. But they are finding that
it's not quite as simple as that


FOR A POLITICAL PARTY claiming to embody the spirit of a new, hip generation, Germany’s Pirates just can't seem to steer out of the wake of theRead full post »

FEBRUARY 22, 2012 12:05PM

Should a president "live in sin"?

 Gauck and Schadt
Germany's new first couple,
Joachim Gauck and Daniela Schadt

IF YOU WANT TO get a feel for the profound differences between Old Europe and the New America, you need look no further than the current pseudo-controversy surrounding the private life of Germany's designated new Federal Preside… Read full post »

Joachim Gauck (born 1940)

THAT SURE DIDN'T TAKE long. The ink under Christian Wulff's resignation had barely dried before a circle of top-level Christian Democrats, Free Democrats, Social Democrats, and Greens met yesterday to nominate a new Federal President of Germany. Their choic… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 17, 2012 6:20AM

Germany's president gives up

 Christian and Bettina
Germany's former First Couple,
Christian and Bettina Wulff


MY NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR IS moving out the same week I’m moving in. There’s nothing remarkable about that, particularly when the neighbor in question happens to be the Federal President of Germany and has been absoRead full post »

FEBRUARY 3, 2012 10:29AM

Baron Guttenberg gets it in the face

 Guttenberg pie in the face
Not enough whipped cream?

Click to watch


DISGRACED GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER (Dr.) Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg, who once seemed to be on the fast track to the chancellorship,  has suffered many humiliations since losing his job and his budding career last spring over a plagiarisRead full post »

Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-98)
Click to hear recording

BACK WHEN I WAS a history grad student in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was a notion circulating among many (tenured) historians that all the real research into the recent past had already been done and now the thing t… Read full post »


THRILLER AUTHOR TOM SNEYDERS has experienced far more than most of us can ever conceive of attempting. He has been a soldier, military trainer, political prisoner, champion weightlifter, businessman, world traveler, and action-adventure writer. I caught up with him in his home outsideRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 23, 2012 7:42AM

The murder case that refuses to die: June 2, 1967


Benno Ohnesorg was shot on June 2, 1967

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER, AS Alice would say. Perhaps the most poisonous cold case of postwar German history, namely the shooting death of student Benno Ohnesorg at the hands of a Berlin plainclothes police officer during a demonstration against thRead full post »

JANUARY 10, 2012 5:53PM

The Vatican takes a shortcut

 wiki italiana

Is Wikipedia replacing the Bible as the source of all wisdom?

I DON'T NORMALLY GO to The Guardian for laughs, but I sure got a chuckle a couple of days ago when I read how the Vatican has been caught with its trousers around the ankles for some sloppy/Read full post »


Demonstrators at Bellevue Palace (Source: FAZ)

There was a whiff of Baghdad in the nippy Berlin air yesterday as some 300 surly citizens trudged over to Bellevue Palace to wave their shoes at Federal President Christian Wulff's window. How did they ever come up with such a bizarreRead full post »


AS LIFE SPANS LENGTHEN, the problems of long-distance caregiving and elder exploitation are growing too. I recently discussed these matters with life coach Sandy Weiner, who has not only a professional but also a highly personal interest in the subject. (This picks up on a previousRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 2, 2012 11:37AM

Wulff in sheep's clothing: Germany's presidential crisis

...but how does he compare with America's candidates in 2012? 


President Wulff may be moving too

MY GIRLFRIEND AND I are moving to a new flat at the end of this month and it’s located dead-center between the palace of Germany’s Federal President and one of Berlin&rsquoRead full post »

 Werner Otto

"An aggressive modesty"? Billionaire Werner Otto and third wife, Maren

IF IT LOOKS AS if most new European and American fortunes are coming out of hedge funds and Ponzi schemes these days, part of the reason could be that the genuine captains of twentieth century industry are fast

Read full post »

 Johannes Heesters 1923

Johannes Heesters on the stage in Holland (1923)

I SUSPECT THAT BEING named the world's oldest man or woman is a dubious honor, not only because the distinction is so fleeting, but because, thanks to modern medicine and hygiene, there are now more and more centenarians in the world,… Read full post »

Truce cigarette 1914

A German and British soldier share a cigarette, Christmas 1914 

ON CHRISTMAS EVE, 1914, the guns of war fell silent along many sections of the Western Front. Over one long night – and even into early January in some places – the German, French, and British soldiers spontaneouRead full post »

DECEMBER 22, 2011 10:57AM

Germany's war on Santa

 No Santa
"We believe in the Christ Child":
Original logo of pro-christkind.org


IT WOULD BE MISLEADING to speak of a German war on Santa Claus, since there is probably no figure more popular among ordinary Germans than the Weihnachtsmann, increasingly known just as Santa. You can find him eve/Read full post »

 The Great Elector 
With the Edict of Potsdam in 1685, Frederick William 
of Brandenburg introduced Berlin's tradition of tolerance


EVER SINCE FREDERICK WILLIAM, the Great Elector of Brandenburg, invited thousands of French Huguenots to settle in his territories following the revocation ofRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 20, 2011 8:27AM

Blistering barnacles! Tintin goes to Hollywood

 Adventures of Tintin
Click image for trailer

WHEN I FIRST HEARD that Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson were teaming up to produce The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I felt both excitement and foreboding. Finally my favorite adventure comic book set from childhood (and later years as well)/… Read full post »

I admire it, but I don't want it.

1. iPhones
Although it is undoubtedly the most remarkable piece of hand-held engineering ever developed, I simply have no use for the iPhone. On the few occasions when I've had to fiddle with one, I became claustrophobic trying to maneuver around its/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 16, 2011 6:53AM

Massive abuse scandal shatters Dutch Catholic Church

The free and easy veneer of Dutch society
has been hiding a hideous secret.


EVERYBODY KNOWS THE STORY of the little Dutch boy who supposedly stuck his finger in a leaky dike, thus preventing an entire region from being flooded by the North Sea. The Catholic Church of the NetherlandRead full post »

 Raining money
It's been raining cash over Berlin's Red City Hall this
week, if nowhere else. Maybe I should move?


ONE NICE THING ABOUT being a freelance simultaneous interpreter is that, if a job is cancelled at the last moment, you still get paid for all the hours you were contracted to do.Read full post »

Frank and Simone 
Frank Lange has been given just months to live.
A scene from
the harrowing film Stopped on Track
(Source: IMDb) 


THE FILM OPENS IN a doctor’s office where a married couple is just receiving some very bad news. In fact, the office is real and the doctor is real, as iRead full post »