Photo Flick Nr. 60- Groundhog Day

Many of us know the legend of the groundhog and indeed Groundhog Day, which is February 2nd. In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, thousands gather on that special day to see if Phil sees his shadow or not, If so, it’s six more days of winter. If not, spring comes early. The tradition was detailed in a comedy bearing the same name, starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell. Yet the 1993 film offered a twist where Phil Connor (the weatherman played by Murray) lives the same day over and over again until me makes things right for himself and his producer colleague, who later turned into his love interest, Rita Hanson (played by McDowell).

Some hidden meanings behind it are even more interesting:

There is another groundhog that could fit the stereotype. It’s one located at Johannesstraße 62 in Flensburg in the city center. I guess one would like to know how that would work? Quite simple: look at his attire in the picture above and be creative. 😉 A groundhog comes out in his bathrobe and checks out the skies. If it’s blue and he sees his shadows, six more weeks of winter and with that, storms similar to the ones we experienced in 1978-9 (click here). If he doesn’t, spring is around the corner. How to make a celebration out of this artwork like in Pennsylvania would be one tall order but it would be quite an interesting celebration over a piece of artwork with traditional ties with real event in Pennsylvania.

The groundhog is one of dozens of paintings that a person can find in the streets of Flensburg’s city center. As mentioned in a previous Photo Flick entry on cats (click here), there are many animals that can be found on the streets- each one doing their creative thing. When visiting Flensburg next time, check them out- either by looking for them yourself or through a tour- especially through the narrow alleys and streets of the city center. You will not regret it.

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Thanks to Street Artist N.M. for allowing me to use the pic. Hope many people will see your groundhog’s shadow.

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Lost Art Nr. 4

This fourth Lost Art photo presents a true meaning when it comes to markers. 😉 This was found near the salt fields (Salzwiese) on the western side of the peninsula of Holnis, northeast of Glücksburg. Only a couple meters from that was an observation deck, where one could watch waterfowl roaming about along the Flensburg Fjord, let alone enjoy the view of the landscape. Why this bike helmet was placed at the pole is uncertain. We do know that it had a cool design logo on the sides and if taken and washed, it would make for a perfectly new, but used bike helmet.

Yet the biker who left this helmet on the pole, had left it there for a reason. Was it for decoration or for improving the signage along the trail? Was it for a selfie or for angering the wildlife naturalists at NABU? We don’t know, but it sure left a set of mixed impressions among us birdwatchers, who were scaling the area in search of Holnis’ waterfowl.

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Photo Flick Nr. 48

This Photo Flick has a photo not taken by the author but by another source, namely Glücksburg Living, whose Instagram page can be found here. This picture deserves recognition for even though the area where this picture was taken is quite beautiful- namely the Glücksburg/ Holnis area- one of the places where one can swim, jet ski, stand paddle, meditate, shoot some photos of sea gulls, eat matjes sandwiches and drink a good Flensburger beer all in one day, one graffiti sprayer tried his/her best with the English, done on one of the sheds at an unknown location. 😉 It makes a person wonder if that was “Sound-based English, Germanized English (gedeutschtes Englisch), or simply Denglish.”

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In any case, it was just too cute to ignore. And with that said, I will simply leave it and move on. 😉

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Photo Flick Nr. 34

This Photo Flick takes us to Flensburg and to the Museumsberg. We were at the museum complex a couple weeks ago, where one of the main exhibits that took place was the topic of Borders- in connection with the German-Danish border of 1920. And while the 100th anniversary series will appear in the Files later on this fall, I couldn’t help but look at the children’s art exhibits that dealt with borders- not just between Germany and Denmark, but also borders based on race, ethnicity, religion, social and economic backgrounds and even personalities. Borders don’t have to include the destruction of crossings and the like, as what happened to Germany at the end of World War II and during the Cold War period that followed and divided Germany up for 45 years, as we saw in the article on the Dömitz Railroad Bridge over the Elbe. Yet borders have include two classes of people and how they should be treated accordingly.

This painting, found at Museumsberg shows the problem of borders when one minority is degraded to second or third class in favor of the superior white race. It shows the mistreatment of a black person as he is violently submitted by police. This was done in connection with the current protests in the US, where Black Lives Matter has been at the absolute forefront, especially in light of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th. While racism has been systemic and systematic in the United States since the end of Civil War in 1865, it is only now that everything is at the forefront and the quest for equality has not been stressed as much as it is right now. The question is whether the US government will act to restore equality. That will have to wait until November 3rd, yet even if that happens, we may have another Civil War on our hands, given the sharp divisions the US has, going beyond the political and racial aspects.

This painting was one of many that were done by elementary school students of German and Danish backgrounds in Flensburg and neighboring Harrislee, as the schools came together to exhibit their paintings, most of which dealt with current events affecting Germany, Europe, the USA and the rest of the world. They included issues, such as racism, democracy, Trump and of course, the topic of borders- all done in German, English and Danish. They were an eye-opener to the tourists, especially those, like yours truly, who have worked with this topic in the classroom and in this column. It’s good that children get exposed to current events so they can understand the world and interpret the situation from their perspectives. By watching the news every day, listening to stories from their parents and other elders and even talking about critical topics, children will get an insight into the problems affecting us and can tackle them- developing them to their liking and to benefit others.

ACTIVITY: IN MY WORLD,……

One of the activities that should be taught in the classroom is to have children and students create a painting/drawing and/or write a story about how the world should look like from their perspectives. Starting with the sentence “In my world,…..” allow your children/students to create a world to their liking, to be presented in front of class. They should explain how the world should be created, what is allowed or banned and how people should treat their world.

An example of how a world should be created can be something like this:

In my world, we would have a green environment. All buildings must be operated with renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.) and have greens on roofs. There would be only e-cars and lots of forests and lakes. Only people who are environmentally conscious would live there, etc.

This can be used in not only Ethics and Social Studies, but also in foreign language class or any classes where civics is taught. By allowing the student to be created, you will be amazed to see what a world should look like from the eyes of the one who presents it and it would create an interesting conversation in the classroom and eventually at the dinner table if the child presents his/her own world. Who knows, if your school has a wide array of topics in conjunction with this, you could have a display like the one in Flensburg.

But even if not, similar activities like the activity or in this Photo Flick will enhance the child’s creativity and expose them to the environment and society that will get them to think, using the following important question: “What can I do better to help myself and others around me?

By answering that question and finding solutions that help, we will be on our way to making things happen, while at the same time, eliminate the barriers that keep us from achieving these goals.

This is something that I hope to see happen with our problems of racism and borders between two people of different backgrounds. We have seen this go on for almost two centuries and given the multitude of problems we have, this is one where we must work to eliminate as they will need us as much as we need them and their knowledge for support.

Photo Flick Nr. 33- Corona Special

Corona – Mouth Mask-Version of Hopper’s Nighthawk Scene.

Edward Hopper was a household name when he painted scenes on the streets of large cities, including restaurants and apartments. Hopper has become a household name this year for reasons that his paintings are being used as parodies to describe society during the age of Corona.

We presented a Photo Flick on April 10th with the empty restaurant scene, describing how the virus closed down all businesses and brought the world to a virtual standstill, at the expense of profit and normalcy- meeting people in public, engaging in outdoor activities or even venturing out. The scene was based on the 1942 painting Nighthawks.

This Photo Flick uses the Nighthawk backdrop but describes the restaurant scene again- this time with social distancing, mouth masks and the Smartphone. In short- communication on a totally new level.

I wonder if Hopper had been alive today how he would interpret this scene, as well as the other paintings he did that have been used as backdrop to describe what we’re dealing with today. If I was in his shoes, I would be…..

……speechless.

Photo Flick Nr. 32- Corona Special

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The 32nd Photo Flick is a photo courtesy of Brian McCully, showing a scene that would have been considered normal. It was a photo of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which took place this year from August 7 to August 16 on the streets of Sturgis, South Dakota. As many as 460,000 motorbikers and tourists visited the town and participated in rock concerts and other contests. No masks, no social distancing, but many comments by people who saw no problem sitting next to another person, elbow to elbow, drinking a good beer.

While this would have been normal, it is not, especially in times of the Corona Virus! Since the end of the motorcycle rally, as many as 260 cases have been reported from people originating from 15 states. The outbreaks have been spreading ever since with more cases to be recorded in the next weeks.

As one person quoted in this picture, “I see dead people.” Another mentioned the prospects of 25% of the attendees dropping dead by the end of this year.  As carefree as the United States has been with the handling of the Corona Virus cases, it is not a surprise that over 6 million Americans have been infected since the beginning of February and 185,000 people have succumbed to the illness, which has affected everyone of all ages, gender and race.  Another memo worth noting is that the European airspace is still closed off to Americans wishing to travel there.

While Donald Trump has been using “Law and Order” as his campaign platform to try and defeat his challenger, Joe Biden in what is considered the dirtiest Presidential Elections in American history, while ignoring his failed policies on Corona Virus and how it has laid waste to the economy, someone ought to tell him straight out this sentence:

“Explain your policies to the 185,000 people who died of the Corona Virus.”

This photo of the scene in Sturgis will forever be the poster boy of Trump’s failed policies in that aspect and the need for change.  And this is just a fraction of all of his failures in the past four years…….

 

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Photo Flick Nr. 27

John Lewis

Honoring civil rights activist and Congressman John Lewis, this photo flick says it all. Courtesy of Sean Schwab and located in Atlanta Georgia, it depicts the senator who left his mark for his moving speeches which promoted equal rights for all and not for the significant few. As issues involving discrimination among blacks has reached its boiling point after the death of George Floyd, we need more of John Lewis in order for minorities to have as many rights as whites and equality for all. John Lewis died on July 17th at the age of 80. The mural include one of many quotes by the late Representative. This was posted by Art for Amnesty and can be found on its twitter page.

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Photo Flick Nr. 22

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And this is why in order to end racism, we need to get to the root of the problem. It starts with the history and then works its way towards the systems in our country that exists and the question of how it can be changed. It continues onto the politicians and leaders who are willing to change them. And lastly, the will of the man to change it. Without understanding these elements, we will never be able to find out how racism originated, we will never be able to understand the cultural and historic backgrounds of each ethnic group and we will never be able to understand the history. While some say “History is history; it’s the future we’re worried about,” we should use this moment and learn about the past in the present- right now. Only then will we be sure about our future, living in peaceful existence and harmony.

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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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