Friday, February 8th, 2013


This one has always puzzled me, ever since I knew a family by the name of Tooth. One at a time was no problem – Mr Tooth, Mrs Tooth, daughter Tooth … But when they all turned up together, I could never determine whether I should call them ‘the Tooths’ or ‘the Teeth’. The former seemed grammatically incorrect; the latter may have given the impression that I was not showing due respect.  I guess I should have asked.

Accounts of the early process of preserving Lenin’s body – which was initially done for a short while so that more of the hundreds of thousands of people could pay their respects – usually speak of the duplicate ‘refrigeration’ units constructed. What they fail to note is that in the bitter Moscow winter weather of early 1924, the temperature hovered around minus 40 degrees Celsius. So the purpose of those units was to keep his body warm. It would not do for Vladimir to turn into a frozen block.

It’s a bit like the function of fridges on cold nights: the idea is to keep the stuff in there warm enough to eat. I remember when I was a child, living in country Australia. On cold winter mornings, I would put my hands in the fridge for a minute or two to warm them up.

The year 1980. Communism has taken over the world. Crowds in New York City are happily celebrating May 1. London is breaking the record in scrap metal collection.  South Africans are opening up yet another monument to the leaders of the proletariat. A young man whose heart is full of love is singing a song about the girl with whom he is in love. Together they travel  round the world to experience the utopian kingdom of universal equality.
The creators of the video clip dedicate their work to the unfulfilled dream of their fathers and grandfathers: the ‘bright future’ of communism.

Lyrics (Russian translation):

Heute hab ich dir gebracht
Schöne Blumen in der Nacht
Keine Röslein legt’ ich dir ins Bett
Weiße Pracht, zarter Strauß
Kam mit Maiglöckchen ins Haus
Auf dem Kissen lagen sie so nett.

Karl-Marx-Stadt, Karl-Marx-Stadt,
Du bist die Stadt roter Blumen,
Karl-Marx-Stadt, Karl-Marx-Stadt,
Aber ich mag nur weiß.

Keine Schrillheit in der Blüte
Steigt der Duft uns ins Gemüte
Bringt uns jetzt den Frülingszauber
Als ob ein weißes Lied erklingt
Als dein erster Hochzeitsring
Als ob deine erste Liebe, glaube ich.

Karl-Marx-Stadt, Karl-Marx-Stadt,
Du bist die Stadt roter Blumen,
Karl-Marx-Stadt, Karl-Marx-Stadt,
Aber ich mag nur weiß.

(ht sk)

Yes indeed, the innocuously named American Legislative Exchange Council held a workshop last year in Salt Lake City called ‘Can Tobacco Cure Smoking?’ It was led by a dentist called Brad Rodu, who is the ‘Chair of Tobacco Harm Research’ at the University of Louisville, a chair funded by … the US Smokeless Tobacco Company. Guess what: they promote snus (chewing tobacco) as a replacement for smokes.  Some more info here and the full at one of the sponsors, the anti-climate change, pro-smoking, and flat-earthers known as the ‘Heartland Institute‘. I’m really pissed off I missed that one.