Archive for February, 2010

What do Kevin Costner and the heavy metal band KISS have in common?

For starters, both Costner, who is an actor, producer, and director and now a musician, and the heavy make-up, heavy-rock band play terrible music terribly. Both demonstrated this last night on the German TV show Wetten, dass..? a reality game show extremely popular in Europe. It’s kind of a cross between Sábado Gigante and The Tonight Show, and draws ratings in German-speaking countries of 50% or more of viewers.

Both Costner and the members of KISS are, shall we say, past the green of their lives. Costner is in his mid-fifty’s, and KISS members are all on the far side of that. But they are kids compared to Sophia Loren, who was also on the show last night. Loren is supposed to be 76-years old, and is starting to look it.

Sophia didn’t sing on the show. I wish Costner, who is touring Europe with a modern country music band,  hadn’t either.  To say that Costner can’t sing would be heaping undeserved praise on him. With luck, old Kevin will get over his mid-life crisis before he brings his show stateside, potentially exposing dozens of die-hard fans to the embarrassment of it all. KISS sounded the same as always when they took the stage. Which is to say I think they were lip-syncing an old tune.

One bright spot in the show is co-host Michelle Hunziker. And before you say “just another pretty face” consider this. The admittedly easy-on-the-eyes model, actress, singer and dancer speaks Italian, French, German, English and Dutch. This came in handy when talking to Sophia, who doesn’t speak German, and Costner, who while married to a German woman, doesn’t speak much of anything.


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These ducks are using a section of the iced over harbor on the Main River in Hassfurt as a “rest stop” of sorts. A little known fact about the duck is that it is a clean bird. Given the opportunity, a duck would prefer not to use the water it swims and eats in as a bathroom. Here, ducks are using a section of the ice for just that purpose. Look closely at the photograph and you will notice several “spots” used as open-air urinals.

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This sign in the Dülbig points the way to Zell am Ebelsberg, a small village nearby. It’s about half-way between Westhiem and Zell a E, on a small road used mostly by farmers and bicyclists.

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The news isn’t always bad when it come to the dollar. Here is a chart showing a decline in the Euro, which corresponds to an increase in my real income here in Germany. This was from an article in Spiegel On Line International about the currency and debt problems in the Euro zone. May this trend continue, and may I finally begin receiving my retirement pay, if there’s any left after Washington gets done with the budget.

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Rural West Virginia

Checking the news this morning, I noticed a ” . . . powerful blizzard paralyzes mid-Atlantic states“. I knew there was a blizzard (Obama called is “Snowmageddon”) from the pictures my friend Pat sent. I read this story and learned “Shawn Punga and his wife, Kristine, of Silver Spring, Md., went to a hotel because they lost power and were concerned for their 2-year-old daughter, Ryder, who was bundled up in thick pink pajamas and slippers.” The temperature had fallen to 60 degrees in their home.

Buried further down in the story was ” . . . only two people had died — a father-and-son team who were killed trying to help someone stuck on a highway in Virginia.” No names were mentioned.

When I tried to find out more, I had to go to a local news source to find out a ” . . . father and son died when a semi-truck plowed into their Dodge Caravan after they stopped to help a driver stranded on the icy interstate.  William Edward Smith Jr., 25, of Mooresburg, Tenn., was standing outside the van when the tractor-trailer lost control on the slick roadway. His father, William Edward Smith Sr., 54, of Sylva, N.C., was still inside.

Both men died at the scene“.

This tragic accident happened on I-81 in Wythe County, Virginia. This is a long way from Silver Springs, MD and the thick pink pajamas and slippers of s 2-year-old girl. That the temperature had fallen to 60 degrees in the little girl’s home was more newsworthy than the names of a father and son who died when they stopped to help someone else is just one example of what is wrong with the world.

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No. 1443

No. 1443

Originally uploaded by kilgorebrian13

I will e-mail a picture of a Euro to the first person who correctly identifies what this is a picture of.

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