Photo Flick Nr. 20- Corona Special

While following up on the developments involving the Corona Virus and plans to loosen up restrictions, this photo of a mural with a stunning message came to mind. And while it’s not as stylistic as the graffiti at a subway station in Hong Kong (see the post here), the wording speaks more volumes than anything. A symbolic message we should take with us.

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Follow the Proper Approach

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Photo by CDC on Pexels.com

One of the teachers in a network I’m in came up with a creative concept for people to follow as Corona lockdowns are being lifted, albeit partially, despite the fact that the Corona Virus still lingers. Although the number of new cases has decreased, it has not stopped businesses from imposing restrictions for customers for their safety and organizers from thinking three times before opening markets and hosting events. Despite loosening up the restrictions, many events have been canceled because the risks are too high. Nevertheless, if one needs a mnemonic to be aware oft he surroundings while in public, here’s a unique erkrem to keep in mind. And yes, the author approves this repost.

 

Ekrem:

Avoid touching M.E.N. to stop the spread of Covid-19

 

M- Mouth

E- Eye

N- Nose

 

Follow the W.O.M.E.N. to prevent Covid-19.

 

W- Wash your hands with soap

O- Obey directives

M- Move away from crowded places

E- Exercise regularly

N- Never ignore warning signals

 

Source: Kilic Aslan Senyurt.

 

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New Penalty Catalog in Germany: Protecting Bikes and Scooters; No Pardons for Speeders and Fishtailers; No Mercy for the Novices

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Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

FLENSBURG- If there is one adjective to describe the new Penalty Catalog (Bußgeldkatalog), in force since April 28th, it would be this: environmentally friendly. This is because the catalog provides more protection for cyclists and those who currently use the newest form of transportation, the E-scooter.  For drivers wishing to get a photo with a gatsometer, it will be more costly, especially if it includes a one month timeout for going 75 km/h in a 50 Zone in the city.  For novice drivers on probation, who are caught drinking and driving, they get more than just a speeder from a cop on duty. And those who are high on a Mickey (Finn) as a driver and endangers other road-users can face time behind bars guarded by Mickeys and possibly, lose his driver’s license.

bikes in winter

The new Penalty Catalog is based on a growing trend that law enforcement officials have seen on German highways within the last two years. Some were considered positive with the introduction of E-scooters and the expanded use of the bicycle. In 2018 alone, as many as 9.3% of German residents bike to work on a daily basis. Another 18.2% of people bike several days a week, and the trend is growing. With that trend comes the pursuit of new paths and additional lanes on many highways and streets to accommodate them. At the same time though, many motorists are frustrated with the fact that more cyclists and scooters are sharing the road, resulting in an increase in the number of accidents with the bike. Last year alone, the number of bike fatalities was the highest ever since 2010 with 158 deaths reported during the first half of the year, alone. Two thirds came from the involvement with the car.  The new laws that are in place are more structured to show how the car and the bike can share the road. At the same time, they will protect both the biker and the scooterist from getting hit by a motorist.

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Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

On the flip side, the new Penalty Catalog will help law enforcers rein in on Boston Driving on German highways. This includes but is not limited to: excessive speeding on the German Autobahn (motorway), unlawfully driving in or blocking the rescue lane (Rettungsgasse)- especially when stopping to photograph or film an accident- hogging up two lanes, doing the California roll with a yield sign although cross traffic has the right of way, punching red lights, fishtailing another car and lastly, driving while being too high on drugs and not focusing on the road.  According to the Department of Vehicle Registration in Flensburg, speeding has the highest rate of all traffic offenses. Yet DUIs and accidents are a primary concern, especially among those who are either under 21 years of age or have gotten their licenses for the first time. Therefore the new catalog will crack down on the above-mentioned offenses and force drivers to behave themselves by respecting the rules, road signs and other road users.

StVO-Novelle: neue Verkehrszeichen und ihre Bedeutung - autobild.de
Two examples of new signs to promote the bike and scooter. Photo: Autobild.de

To sum up on what the rules will look like, we will look at what to expect from cyclists and scooterists.  First and foremost, motorists are expected to follow the distance guidelines where they are to be 1.5 meters away from the cyclist upon passing them. In the countryside it’s 2 meters. This also applies for pedestrians, the elderly and the disabled. Already the rule has been in place for fishtailing. Motorists are expected to maintain a distance with the car in front of them at a distance that is half the speed they are driving.  A new No-Passing-Zone sign designed for banning cars from passing scooters and bikes will be introduced. While the rules and regulations regarding fishtailing a car has remained the same as in the previous catalog, those endangering either of the groups by ignoring the distance rule while passing can face up to 100 Euros and 1 point for violation.

toddler using scooter on road
Photo by Bagus Pangestu on Pexels.com

Because E-scooters are considered qualified road vehicles, the rules that exist for bike users apply for scooterists, yet the requirement to have a scooter registered is the same as when registering for a car. Furthermore it is not allowed to latch onto the car or ride more than two riders abreast without risking an accident.  And lastly, both cyclists and scooterists will have their own bike zone and “Bike Autobahn” where only they can rule the road and not the car driver.

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Teddy will watch you more than ever. 

Cracking down on speeding will be the centerpiece of the new policies. Fines for going up to 20 km/h over the speed limit have doubled. Instead of 30 Euros for going 66 km/h in a 50 Zone, it’s now 60.  Yet one can face at least a one month driving ban for going more than 20 km/h over the limit, in addition to higher fines and a point on the record. For more than 40 km/h, it’s 2 points and a 2-month ban. Similar guidelines are in place for trucks and vehicles with trailers.  For parking violations, those who disregard the regulations and even the biker will have to dig deeper into their wallets than ever before, for the fines are much higher. Drivers who park on bike lanes and sidewalks can face a fine of 70 Euros and a Flensburg point. For double-parking in a parking lot, it’s at least 80 Euros and a point. Brand new is a parking ban in areas reserved for E-cars, car-sharing, and handicapped parking. Violators there can face a fine of 55 Euros.

person driving and drinking
Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

To put the icing on the cake, the catalog also includes tougher penalties for impaired drivers. Already in place is the 500-1000-1500 Euro model for the number of DUI violations, plus 2 points per offense. Those who are caught driving while intoxicated and have a blood alcohol content of more than 1.1 per mil face up to 3 points and one year in prison. If he endangers others, it’s up to five years. There’s also a chance that he could lose his driving license permanently.  For drivers on probation, there’s an absolute zero tolerance for alcohol and drugs while driving. Violators can face a 250 Euro fine, be given a point and have their 2-year probationary period be extended by up to two years. This extension applies for other traffic violations.

The QEII Bridge at Dartford, east of London. It has extremely long approach ramps to get the roadway high enough to cross the River Thames while still leaving sufficient clearance for ships to pass underneath. This is the problem that a transporter bridge aims to solve. Photo by Nico Hogg [CC BY 2.0] via this flickr page

The new Penalty Catalog in Germany builds off of the present guidelines but it serves two purposes: 1. To encourage safety and better behavior of drivers on the highways, protecting themselves and other road users and 2. To encourage alternatives to the car, allowing an opportunity to use environmentally friendlier forms of transportation while paying attention to the road and others. It’s a firm but friendly approach to traveling in Germany, where one will have to think critically before and while taking to the road, for while the car is still a prized German good for the family, we’re seeing more two-wheels that are ruling Germany’s roads. And these are the ones we’re encouraging to use the road as often as we’re commuting by car.

 

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Mickey has two different meanings.  The Mickey (Finn) is an alcoholic drink consisting of alcohol, snuff-soaked water, tobasco sauce and a drug to put a person to sleep. The origin came from a guy named Mickey Finn who was infamous for lacing other people’s drinks using similar ingredients. You can find his biography here.  The other meaning of Mickey is an American slang that means the same as a cop or the official term, police officer. This is used mainly in big cities. The origin comes from the Disney character, Mickey Mouse.

 

Author’s Note: 

To learn more about the new penalty code for behavior on the road, click onto this link below. This will take you to the new catalog which will have all the details of the do’s and don’ts of traveling in Germany:

Link: https://www.bussgeldkatalog.org/  

A summary in English can be found here: https://www.bussgeldkatalog.org/german-driving-laws/

The Files will provide you with an update on the rules of biking in Germany as well as new rules for riding a scooter. Both of which will be in separate articles.

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Spoonful of Clorox by Randy Rainbow

person holding syringe
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

After having a chance to watch one parody and getting ourselves motivated into throwing Donald Trump out of office, our next parody will surely give Anne Hathaway grey hairs and Julie Andrews a heart attack. After all, they both played an important household character that we, as children, enjoyed watching growing up. This piece, performed by comedian Randy Rainbow is a response to a series of absurd comments made by President Donald Trump on experimenting with treatments that has caused an uproar among everyone and their dogs, literally.

And while sugar is not healthy when taken in excess, these products should absolutely NOT be taken at home and kept out of reach of children. And the lady in the black dress and umbrella approves of this message. Enjoy the irony and the laughs, but keep the warning labels on the jugs and needles.

 

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Randy Rainbow (known officially as Randy Stewart Rainbow) is an American actor, comedian and satirist, whose specialty is creating parodies of personalities and other events. He is credited for pieces, like “Randy Rainbow Calls Lindsay Lohan”, “Randy Rainbow Calls Dr. Laura”, “The Morning After Chelsea’s Wedding” and „Hey Gurl, It’s Christmas.“ Since the start of Donald Trump’s Presidency in 2017, Randy has created aslew of parodies that are long enough to list that a person can get writer’s cramps from even listing them. 😉 A Spoonful of Clorox, using the household cleaning products as a target of the parody, is the latest in the Trump series. He resides in New York and has been really active in the show business. He has a blog you can access here. You’ll find his satirical songs and the like on his YouTube page here.

Corona Virus: The Response, The Solution. An Interview and Speech with Bill Gates

photo of person using magnifying glass while holding a glass slide
Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

For each pandemic, there is also a silverlining. Be it the development of medicine. Be it the measures that are in place to protect people from being infected. Be it the people who are helping the infected- doctors, nurses, researchers and others in the field of medicine.  Be it the people who have done a lot of work in this field but have for the large part been ignored.

People like Bill and Melinda Gates.

Together with Paul Allen, Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975. Ten years later, Gates introduced a Windows program for personal computers. Both of which were in connection with Mr. Gates’ experience with developing software in the 1970s which would eventually define how we use personal computers today.  Gates is one of the richest people in the world.  Together with Melinda, they established the Gates Foundation, which focuses on public policy and public health. They have been known as one of the most generous philanthropists of all time.

Over the past decade, Gates has provided information and warnings about the potential of a new virus forming that will be equal to the Spanish Flu of over a century ago. From 1918 to 1921 the flu infected as many as 500 million globally and killed a tenth of that population.  The causes of the flu stemmed from World War I.  With the Corona Virus, that is being followed more closely as there are talks of the virus coming in waves, the second one being the deadlier form than the first. Yet the causes of the virus has been wide spread. Some have pointed to a mishap in one of the labs. Others (even the majority) have claimed that the environmental degradation caused by development of cities and agriculture, combined with climate change, may have triggered the first of several deadly virus that could kill off the global population en masse.  In either case, governments have not paid attention to the dangers……

until now.

To better understand the missing warning signs and how we can respond now to Co-Vid 19 and even to other viruses that will succeed Corona, I’ve presented a pair of TED Talks on this topic, as addressed by Bill Gates.  The first one talks about the virus we were not even close of being prepared. It was a TED Talk done in March 2015:

 

The second one is a 50+ minute interview on the possible responses to the current virus, including how The Gates Foundation is responding to the virus.  One needs to keep in mind that Corona is the first of many viruses that will affect global society in many ways- one even more drammatic than the other.

A separate article that follows (you can click here to read) looks at the lessons we can learn from the Corona Virus from his point of view. Please takes all of these points by heart for we are now living in the new norm, where instead of nuclear weapons and guns, the health of our state- both involving the human body (physio and psycho) as well as the environment will become our top concern, and for generations to come.

 

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Vote Him Away by Roy Zimmerman

black and white cartoon donald duck spotlight
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

While politics, especially with regards to the situation in the US, are not really appropriate in times like the Corona Virus, this Genre of the Week looks at the parody of one song and how song artist Roy Zimmermann made it into art, supporting the dire need of change American have been desparately looking for. And for the record, we feel your pain, especially to the doctors and nurses who are working around the clock and risking their lives saving others infected by CoVid 19. This song’s for you all. ❤  🙂

 

The original song that was used for this parody can be found here.

 

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German Handball Ends Season Early

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THW Kiel wins the regular season title; SG Flensburg-Handewitt second place.  20 teams expected for 20/21 Premier League season

KIEL- After ice hockey and basketball is the 1999/20 season for the professional German Handball League (DHL) officially over. All 36 teams in the premier and second leagues voted unanimously to discontinue the season instead of playing in empty stadiums (Geisterspiele) through June, the month when the season would’ve ended. The decision to end the season early is the first ever in the history of the DHL and it comes in response to the Corona epidemic and the lack of measures needed to contain the spread of the virus.  To add to the misery, all large-scale events including sports matches have been banned in Germany through 31 August.

The decision to end the season comes less than eight hours after the decision was announced to cancel the Oktoberfest in Munich by the Bavarian government and Munich’s city mayor (see here for article).

According to German public radio station NDR Info, the teams that started the 19/20 season will remain in their respective leagues for the coming season, however the top two teams will be promoted, thus having a total of 40 teams in two leagues when handball resumes play in the fall.  In the elite league, the newcomers for the upcoming season will be HSC Coburg and TuSEM Essen. The last two teams in the league, Nordhorn-Lingen and Ludwigshafen will remain in the top league for the upcoming season.  The plan is to have four teams demoted to the second league by the end of the upcoming season.

With the season being over, the zebras of THW Kiel have been crowned season champions, with second place finisher going to its archrival, SG Flensburg-Handewitt. Both teams will play in the Champions League this fall. SC Magdeburg, TSV Hanover-Burgdorf and Rhein-Neckar Lions will play in the Euro League.  Due to the Corona Virus, it is uncertain when league play will continue on both the national and international levels. There is a possibility of starting the season later than usual. League play usually starts in September.  At the same time, Geistespiele for at least part of the season may have to be introduced- a concept that is rejected due to the fact that a fair share of the revenue comes from the fans.

After the announcement to cancel the season, all eyes are now focusing on the German soccer league and its three tiers. There the debate over if and when to continue the season is fanning the flames both within the league but also with the local and national governments and health experts. This includes the continuation of the season through Geisterspiele versus cancelling the season. Already there is a sharp divide between those who favor the former and those for the latter.  And the question of the financial status among all the teams in the three leagues is the fuel for the firey debate.  With the DHL canceling the season, chances are likely that the fire will be extinguished through a concerted decision from the Bundesliga and the public officials that will satisfy the teams, fans and the cities that have the profi-teams.

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