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Rage against the Machine: Mow-My-Lawn!!!

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I mentioned the way German society is ticking, in my post on Rafael Behr and the way he criticizes”complaints” from the police (or their trade union), on Monday. Rafael Behr’s article on DIE ZEIT has got some 163 comments, which is no small number (even though middle-east related articles frequently get more).

One comment by a certain Guy of Osborne (if that’s a place in Britain or elsewhere in the English-speaking world, don’t take it personally – the guy is definitely German, and from how he writes, I can say with confidence that his family has been German for generations):

The police are no service providers? But of course they are! Just like any public officer! Do you think I’m paying for persons who harass me on behalf of an authority (for which I feel no respect either!), or who, in the best case, ignore me? Do I pay taxes so as to enable the state (I’m not referring to the rest of the populace) to subjugate me even better, or to finance his little adventure trips to Afghanistan? Maybe you are right, and I should raise money with other injured parties and hire the Hells Angels – that’s cheaper and more effective.

If I had replied to that poor guy (he’s a damaged party because police in a rather tranquil residential area didn’t save his and his neighbors’ cars as they were scratched at nighttime), I would have wished the “Hells Angels” upon him, and DIE ZEIT would have moderated my comment. But anyway – a friendly patrolman (that’s what he wrote he is), in his capacity as another commenter, took care of Guy’s woes:

“I’m paying your salary with my tax money, so you’ll need to do as I say.”

You pay your taxes, amongst others, so that your children get to school safely, without getting run over by drunk car drivers or being kidnapped by marauding horsemen. You pay so that someone will help you when you are in trouble, when you are trapped in your car, your bank account is being looted, or a crazy stalker is after you.

You pay so that someone patrols your road at half past four, come rain or **** cold, so that you can stay in your bad without being scared.

You pay for someone who’s looking after your ill sister who you can’t reach, and who, with some hundred colleagues, helicopters, and infrared cameras, searches the thickest forest when your high-maintenance mother escaped the home for the elderly.

You pay taxes so that there is always someone who will risk his own health to save yours – no matter how little he may like you.

And your fellow people pay taxes so that the police will protect them from you, if you infringe their rights and break the law.

So – don’t tell me that the police weren’t there for you, only because they won’t mow your lawn!


Iran: a Car, designed specifically for Women

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Iran’s biggest car producer, Iran Khodro, has announced plans for a new car, designed specifically for women.
“Its features will include automatic transmission, parking and navigation aids and a jack for changing tyres without getting grease on your chador“, reports the BBC.

I see some big flaws in this concept.
1. The car doesn’t make women invisible.
2. The windows can be opened, and this could blow the drivers’ headscarves away.
3. The car will come in a range of (feminine) colours. — Colours?!
4. The idea dangerously suggests that women can drive at all.
Time for the Guardian Council to step in and to put an end to this bullshit.

Written by taide

October 11, 2008 at 4:36 pm

Posted in cars, society

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Obituary: My Citroen BX

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[Related: Lovestory – The REAL Car]

Citroën BX inside

Citroën BX inside

A long amour franco-allemand has sadly ended. My true love. She is gone, gone forever. And although we were often going seperate ways – me to work, she into the repair shop -, we had a wonderful time together. She was addicted to oil and gas, though not as much as Europe is to Russian oil and gas. She was a bumpy ride. She was unpredictable. The windows in the driver’s door and front passenger door wouldn’t open, and if they did, they bogged deep into the door at once. The rope rolls were broken. Also, I never locked the back door for fear that I might never be able to unlock it again. We had turbulent rides together.

No, she wasn’t reliable. But golly, how exciting she was! And how I excited her! Some day, together with a professional mechanic as keen to experiment as I was, I endowed her with an extra circular flow of vegetable oil. As rides to work were long, it was worth the investment. After about ten kilometres, I could usually switch from gas to veggie. She didn’t go out of order any more often than before that measure.

Citroën BX outside

Citroën BX outside

She was beautiful. She didn’t have the makings of a star. Rather, she was beautiful like… well… like a beautiful country wench who isn’t even aware of her own beauty. She was sizable, but appeared to be almost slim. She had rough edges, but not too rough. Not like an Alfa Romeo. She was conservative in a dowdy way, not fascist at all.

She was pure and simple. She was so simple that at night, even the dimmed illumination of the controls and instruments wouldn’t work. I didn’t care. If she wanted a blind flight, so be it. There was no need to see the speedometer. It wasn’t accurately indicating the speed anyway, and I had developed a feeling for the right speed. Whenever the congestion behind me had become too long, it was apparently time to accelerate, until everyone was happy. After a while, I found the correct speed without a jam buildup behind me.

But our relationship has come to an end. A quarter of a year ago, she had her final screw loose. I thought it was another fascinating episode on our seemingly never-ending romantic switchback ride, but this time, she wasn’t just bitchy. She was dead. And only fifteen.

Rest in peace, my dear. Though you are gone, I’ll still often take a ride with you – in my dreams.

Written by taide

August 16, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Südbrücke – Verden’s Southern Bridge to be demolished

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Single-lane traffic, Südbrücke, Verden (Aller)The Südbrücke was built during the years of 1888 and 1889, one year after Wilhelm II. became emperor. In the final days of World War 2, German troups tried to blow it up, together with a similar bridge closer to town, to keep the British forces West of the Aller River. The old iron lady next to town gave in to the explosives, but her sister further West remained unmoved. The blast only shattered the Verden Dome’s stained-glass windows some hundred metres away. But the City and district councils are  apparently determined to accomplish the glorious work of our heroic troops, some 63 years later. Instead of this single-lane iron bridge, they will build a two-lane one.

Traffic planning has sucked here for decades, and one sometimes gets the impression that Verden, by and large spared by the Allied bombers during the war, feels compelled by an invisible hand to do the job of the American, British and Canadian airforce, plus the above-mentioned work of German troops, by itself.

What the town really needs is a ring road that would pick up the B 215 traffic. Baby-sized solutions like the one that put up with the loss of old buildings in the North West of the old city (but couldn’t cope with traffic only twenty years later), plus the one underway now, are useless.

Written by taide

July 13, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Lovestory – The REAL Car (Part One)

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There may be some confusion abroad about the concept of German cars on the one hand, and the Germans’ cars on the other.

The big German manufacturers (Mercedes, BMW, and Porsche) make cars in the upper layers of the markets, and only massive use of expensive technology can bring their consumption down to 7 to 12 litres. cars waiting for cargo, shopping centre, Saturday morning

But you can only spend your money once, and many German buyers happily do without that technology, buying cars at medium or low prices instead. Brands like Ford or Opel who face competiton from Italy, Japan, or Korea are having no easy time of that. So is Volkswagen, still struggling to make up their mind about what to offer their European and German customers: the economical 3-litre Lupo or their bombastic Phaeton.

 So far, the German manufacturers still get “help” from the European Commission. Mandatory reduction of CO2 emissions has been postponed once again, and new, not necessarily essential safety requirements such as ESP may keep competitors like the Indian Tata out of the European market.

Scumbags like me, lacking costly patriotism, certainly do hope for globalisation to take root. I don’t like tariffal or non-tariffal trade barriers that force us to buy cars with features that I haven’t asked for.

If the German car lobbyism goes on like this, they’ll find themselves at the same position as the US manufacturers who can keep their SUVs to themselves.

 If this happens, thanks to the narrow-mindedness of CEOs and the silly expectations from the workforce as to what their employers owe them in wages, the jobs will go elsewhere – and it won’t be long until the people who have lost them will claim “solidarity”. You can have mine, if you get real and let Porsche and Wiedeking in immediately. As a Lower Saxonian, I’d like to buy a Volkswagen from my home province – but you’ll have to give me a chance to do so.

 Otherwise, please go and **** yourselves. I won’t listen to your demonstrations, and sue you all once you jam the motorways in “protest” as your jobs are moving East.


Written by taide

June 15, 2008 at 8:20 am