Thursday, March 31, 2005

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Enjoy the slinky lines and candid humour of cartoonist Dan De Carlo

During the Battle of Berlin the defending Germans dug older Panzers halfway into the ground to use them as pillboxes and save on their scarce supplies of gasoline, this Panther is an old Ausf. A and was probably salvaged from the backyard of a repairshop - note the small patch of armour plate welded onto the upper side of the turret to cover a previous penetration.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

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It was twenty years ago today...

30/3 1985 and the bands Prad Czarny, In The Off and Cynthia Hawkins played at Club Paramount in Roskilde.

I made the above poster for the concert, and also met some people I still dare to call friends to this day.

Cheers y'all!

(and remember kids: The eighties aren't dead - they just got signed to the wrong labels)
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Vincent Van Gogh was born on this day in 1853.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

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This Easter I had managed to borrow an old farm house on the charming Danish island of Samsø where I spent two days having a much needed holiday - shore galore!

The weather was pretty cold though, and my best friend quickly became the old wood stove

Yesterday I returned to Copenhagen, and celebrated Easter with the nice people at Fast Video
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

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Well, I'm taking some time off for the next few days, going out in the country to relax and relate - see you next week.

"Why should we bother about nationalizing the banks or the industries? we are nationalizing the people."
~Adolf Hitler
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

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The Sdkfz 251 armoured halftracks were originally created for carrying a platoon of infantry into battle along with the spearheading panzers.

As the war progressed, a wide range of more specialized vehicles were build using the halftrack as platform since these were cheaper to produce than tanks, and a lot of the tasks needed on the battlefield didn't require a fully tracked and heavily armoured platform.

One development was the sdkfz 251/9 "Stummel" (stump) seen here in the summer of 1944 during troop training in France (before the Normandy invasion)
The stummel mounted a short-barreled 75 mm gun and could provide some heavy fire support if the motorized infantry ran into strong enemy forces.

Babe - Nice bra.
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Monday, March 21, 2005

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Panzer - The famous German halftracked vehicles were developed from a series of tractors designed for towing artillery.
With the addition of an armoured body one of the most numerous armoured vehicles in German WWII service was born: the Sdkfz 251

The picture shows one of the many variations of the vehicle, the 251/21 drilling with a smal turret mounting three 20 mm cannons.
It was constructed as a defence against low-flying ground attack aircraft like the Russian Sturmovik, and is seen here taken over by a group of cheerfull Russians after the meeting between Russian and US troops in the town of Torgau in April 1945.

The American photographer Irwin Klaw is famours today for creating the pinup star Betty Page, but he had other interesting women working in front of the camera, like Evonne Altair
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Thursday, March 17, 2005

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No posting yesterday! for some reason it was impossible for me to access blogger all day, maybe it was just overloaded by people celebrating the nomination of David Wolfowitz for World Bank president.

Babe -"Bumpers" Muldoon, she was the outdoors type.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

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Hmmm...the latest report from Iraq says that equipment used by Saddam for producing weapons of massdestruction, was stolen from a unguarded depot in Iraq and probably taken to either Syria or Iran...

Funny how the idea of that sort of equipment falling into the hands of muslim fanatics fills me with fear and the hope somebody does something about it.

Funny how that information coincides with the recent public demands for democracy all over the middle east.

make em' dance, make em' dance...

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Monday, March 14, 2005

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Went and saw Der Untergang by Oliver Hirschbiegel last night, for me an absolute must see with my interests in WWII history .

My favourite scene in this film is actually the beginning where twenty-one year old Traudl Junge arrives in East Prussia to apply for a job as a personal secretary.
At the job interview her future employer likes the fact that she's from his beloved Munich and she gets the job after spending a few minutes in the company of this lovable, polite and charming old man - Adolf Hitler.

Then the movie jumps to april 20'th 1945- Hitler's last birthday, which he spends in his bunker in Berlin surrounded by a few faithfull employees and a collection of desperate generals, the Russian armies have entered the outskirts of Berlin and the end of the Third Reich is near.

We follow Hitler and his associates as they try to deal with the fact that all they have put their lives into creating is now in ruins and their most hated and feared enemies are only a few blocks away.
Hitler swings between insane outburts of hatred when his orders for counter attack are not followed (by armies existing only on paper), and resignation as he realises that all is lost.

As a WWII maniac it's a great pleasure to see a film with such great attention to correct detail, something often missing (not including Saving Private Ryan and a few others) and the endless row of soldiers, officers, nurses and high ranking Nazi's who either sweat it out in the bunker waiting for the dreaded Russians or endure the horrors of war in the streets (and cellars) of Berlin are recreated with state of the art realism.

In general Das Untergang is however a quite traditional historic film, the various characters represent different aspects of the event - the young boys of the Hitler Youth who are sent to fight the Russian tanks, the opportunists at the Nazi court who try to find a way out of the death trap, the German military who are caught up in a spider's web of honour, duty and the fact that the enemy is simply unstoppable, the government officials who try to keep the Nazi party from pulling the entire nation down with them- the high ranking Nazi's who will rather kill themselves and their families than live in a world without national socialism, and the civillians who are waiting for the nightmare to stop - and then what?

It's great craftmanship, but the real clou of the film is the fascinating abilities of Bruno Ganz who plays Hitler not only as the hatefull dictator but also as the broken individual who cries over his defeat and lost dreams.
It sheds some light on why people close to him could live with a man who turned out to be one of the greatest criminals in history - sometimes Hitler was just Hitler.
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Friday, March 11, 2005

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Went and saw Nordkraft with old friends (Hen-) Rik and J (-akob)

The movie is based on a Danish bestselller by Jakob Ejersbo about a group of (mainly young) people living in the city of Aalborg in the nineties.

On the whole it's a quite nice movie, the acting is really good and it portrays well the problems of finding a life worth living within the narrow margins of the petty bourgeois values of mainstream culture.
At the same time it stays very much alert to the fact that living outside of society, as a famous rock anthem went, is by no means a better way of life, or has that much more to offer.

The three main characters - Allan the ex-seaman, ex-speed dealer who returns to Aalborg with a plan to start a new life, Maria the girlfriend of a pusher who feels she could do better than spend her life in the company of bikers, potheads and two marihuana addicted dogs , and finally the multi-substance abuser and part time philosopher/genius/pain in the ass, Steso who seems like a kid who's simply too bright, too sensitive, and maybe too spoiled, to lead a normal existence.

Basically they have little in common besides three things: Aalborg, drugs and love, and as the film progresses we learn that finding a tolerable relationship with either one is a constant and difficult struggle.

Towards the end of the movie the main characters come up with a number of solutions, both voluntary and in-voluntary, which points either to a new hope or the inevitable end, and somehow the answer might be that ol' devil called love, even if it often hurts more than it heals.

As a reader of the original book some things are sorely missed in the movie, but I suppose that's the way it goes with movie adaptations.

A total of four keyboards (out of five), which goes mainly to the original story, the tight editing, and the high quality of the acting.

Babe - One of the more quaint fetisches, in my opinion, but "tan marks" does it for some people.
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Thursday, March 10, 2005

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

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It's international woman's day today so let's celebrate with some Fighting Frauleins

These two women, dressed in the uniforms of self-propelled gun crews, are not drafted into the German army but simply girlfriends or relatives of German soldiers who put on their uniforms for a photograph.
This was an often seen practice which offered some comical relief for German soldiers on leave.

The keen eye will notice that the uniform on the left is made from the more coarse material used in the later part of WWII (the wool was re-processed), the two women are also wearing the einheitsfeldmütze (field cap) introduced in 1943. This combined with the fresh leaves in the background could suggest the photo was taken in the summer of 1944.
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Monday, March 07, 2005

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Well, life must go on, and what could be better than a study of the corporeal curvature of playeboy model Madeline Castle
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Friday, March 04, 2005

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My mother was buried today from the small chapel on the hospital grounds.
Just me and my dad attended which made for a very nice and simple ceremony.
Outside it was a beautiful sunny winter's day, not a single cloud in sight,

Clear the way, coming through,

All aboard.
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Thursday, March 03, 2005

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A few years later my mum is enjoying the sunlight on the porch of the summer cottage she and my father bought in Jyllinge, by the Roskilde Fjord

The affluence of the sixties enabled many young couples like my mum and dad to get a taste of the fresh air and space of the countryside by buying a summer cottage.

It even came prefabricated!
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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

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I think it would be nice to dedicate this weeks postings to my mum.
I got a lot of old slides from my parents last summer, so here we have her on one of Denmark's many ferries sometime in the fifties (the kid is not me)

My father was a dedicated amateur photographer which explains the relatively early use of color-photography which must have been expensive at that time.

The other ferry in the background could suggest my mum is on her way to Sweden.
There was a line going between Helsingør (Denmark) and Helsingborg (Sweden)
and this was a very popular line because you could buy customs free alcohol, tobacco and sweets as long as the ferry was at sea (the trip only lasted about 30 minutes)

Many people (like my grandmother) would sit in the ferry's cafeteria and do the trip several times while drinking coffee and occationally going off to buy something, my mother's brother also worked there as a waiter.
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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

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RIP Solveig Evelyn Grahn 1935-2004

My mum died yesterday in a hospital. She had been diagnosed with cancer a week ago, and yesterday morning the doctors told us they couldn't cure her.
After that her condition worsened and she died in her sleep in the evening.
I was with her at the end and I suppose she just decided to shut down when there was no hope left for her.

Well, a picture from happier times - my mum's Confirmation (she's the girl in the white dress in the second row)

My Grandfather (man in bow tie next to my mum) had the unusual luck of winning on the football polls, so the family bought a radio (this is 1949) and gave my mum a big Confirmation party.

Bye mum, nice to see you there as the queen of the ball,

and thank you for always putting some music on.
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