Bezirk [1] in Berlin© – 34:  October 1, 2012 


 I came out of the grocery store this morning with my arms full of groceries that I had planned to put in my bicycle basket.  Unfortunately, some doofus on the street had a different idea on how to use my bicycle basket – as a trash can.  While I appreciate his (and it HAD to be a guy!!) reluctance to throw trash on the street, I can’t say that I’m particularly keen on his putting his trash in my bicycle basket.  First of all, there’s at least one trash bin in every block, attached to a light pole.  Second, in this case, there’s a little place right outside the grocery store for folks to enjoy snacks from the store.  It has little tables (for standing – no chairs) and, guess what?!!  A BIG trash can!  Not more than 15 feet from where my bike was parked!  And this guy was too lazy to use the trash can!  I definitely need to add him to my list of folks to slap – and I’m pretty sure he’s related to the slime-ball who stole my wallet (or, maybe it’s even the same guy)!


Here’s how it works:

  • Put on a pair of shorts
  • Get on your bike
  • Somehow allow one of the legs on your shorts to get hooked on the horn of the bicycle seat
  • Start peddling down a busy street

Apparently there’s a reason why experienced bicyclists wear those skin-tight shorts.


Remember awhile ago I had my wallet stolen?  Well, it came back to me in the mail today – from the Post Office.  Folks told me that this happens frequently when your wallet is stolen.  And, with the exception of the money, everything was in it.  The rat didn’t take my bank card or even my U-bahn farecards (although he deprived me of their use for about 2 months).  And, of course, I had to go to the trouble and expense to replace my bank card, my German visa, and my wallet.  There just ain’t no pleasing me — I guess I’m one of those folks who’d complain if you hung ‘em with a new rope.


In the US, the flavor you associate most with toothpaste and mouthwash is mint – Fresh Minty Taste.  But apparently that’s not the flavor that appeals to Germans.  Up until now, I’ve been using my tried and true Sensodyne and Listerine.  However, my dentist told me that Listerine has alcohol in it and that’s not the best thing for my ancient teeth, which are showing signs of erosion.  She recommended a particular brand of mouthwash/toothpaste just for that problem.  The taste was a surprise – kind of like biting down into what you thought was a mint patty and getting an entirely different flavor.  I recognized it but couldn’t quite place it, until I tore into a package of Gummi bears I usually have around….


Fortunately, we don’t often have days where we would suffer without A/C.  We have thick walls, good ventilation, and live almost on the ground floor so the 5 floors above us absorb most of the worst of the sun.  However, there are several months where we do need to have a window or two open, and when you open the windows – especially if you don’t have screens – you have to let in flying pests and dust in, along with the fresh air.  The flies aren’t too worrisome, and they keep William amused (albeit sometimes putting some of our possessions at risk if they come between him and the fly he’s chasing).  However, the one continuing annoyance is that I can never have a dust-free dwelling (except in the harshest weather).  We’re having company in two days; I like to have the place reasonably clean when they arrive.  I also don’t like to leave everything to the last minute – I like to pace myself so I won’t be exhausted when they get here.  Alas, I can’t offer a dust-free abode – the best I can do is to assure everyone that the dust is at least fresh—this week’s dust, rather than last week’s.  Sigh!


Temporary tattoos for your lips?  Well, my 50th high school reunion is coming up – maybe I’ll have to get me some of these!!  They’d go great with the white contact lens (perhaps with feline-like pupils) I might wear.


A couple of things just don’t make sense to me.

  • I recently had to renew my passport.  In order to do that, you have to submit an application AND your current passport.  It was processed fairly quickly and then I got an e-mail telling me to come pick it up.  You wanna guess what the e-mail said I should also bring with me to pick up my new passport?  Yep!  My OLD passport!  So, exactly how am I gonna do that?  Fortunately, I still had my OLD, OLD passport, with a photo of myself taken 20 years ago.  I also had a 2-year-old Texas driver’s license.  And the other thing – I had to submit TWO photos for my new passport.  It turns out I still had one recent photo, but I had to pay lots of Euros to get new photos so I would have two to meet the requirements.  Wanna guess what they gave me back?  Yep!  One of the two photos that I had submitted.  So now I have two spare, expensive, passport photos, for which I have little use because I’m pretty sure that I’m gonna look a lot different 10 years from now when I have to renew it again (if I live that long).
  • While I was at the US Consul to get my passport, I met an American family coming there to renew their passports.  They lived in Hamburg, but had to come all the way to Berlin to renew their passports.  There used to be a consul in Hamburg, but they closed it.  Wanna guess why?  Because the 9/11 terrorists had been based in Hamburg.  OK.  So explain to me why making life inconvenient for the Americans who live there is gonna protect US citizens from terrorists who live there, but launch attacks on American soil?  If terrorists in Hamburg are planning an attack on someplace in the US, are they going to say, “Wait a minute!! There’s no US Consulate here!  I guess we can’t launch our attack on New York City now!  We’ll just have to forget about all this terrorism stuff and go back home and tend to our live stock and crops.”  If stopping terrorism was as easy as closing a US Consulate, why haven’t they just closed them all?

But I guess it’s unreasonable to expect common sense from the US Government.


Felines have an uncanny knack for figuring out:

  • Who’s deathly allergic to cats;
  • Who truly hates cats; and
  • How to position themselves along a trajectory that has the greatest potential to make you lose your balance.

Wanna know that works?  Apparently they have a highly sophisticated positioning system that detects all the critical factors associated with homing in on these situations for the optimal effect.

[1] ‘Bezirk’ is German for ‘neighborhood.’