Many of us here are old.  Please arrange that when you go someone will tell us so that we can properly  mourn.  pl

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21 Responses to Request

  1. what next says:

    Jag Pop is not dead, in fact he is quite healthy and has been on a very long vacation otherwise known as retirement since last spring.

  2. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    The colonel has a good point. For example, has anyone heard from or about Confused Ponderer?

  3. Tyler says:

    Taken care of.

  4. turcopolier says:

    ex-PFC Chuck
    After investigating quite a lot I have concluded that CP was actually an American of German ancestry who chose to pretend he was in Germany and who died about the time that CP stopped posting. I found an obituary in the Midwest at the right time involving a sudden death with the right name. LeaNder looked around in Germany for an obit and found none. pl

  5. LeaNder says:

    Pat, I have no idea about confusedponderer, obviously, beyond what he posted here, but his “supposedly real name” reminded me of early more peculiar discussions I witnessed on the US post-9/11-conspiracy web. And that was a far less frequent name. “Not impossible, but a little too frequent”.
    To cut matters short, in my short times in US ‘conspiracy circles*
    a) questioned the hunting spirit of the crowd. How could they be sure he used his real name? I could use whatever name. Not least since they left traces on the web? Anyway at that point:
    b) I decided to go ‘under cover’ – ‘namewise’.
    Watching the collective study efforts not least since there could be people with my name… People could try to blame them for something they weren’t related to.
    b) asked myself what the hell made me use my real name to start with.
    From my own, always admitted nitwit perspective, meaning never open another can of worms in this case, it felt he left some grammatical traces, an American of German ancestry would not have.
    On the other hand your position does not really exclude mine. Someone leaving late to be taken care of by US family members? Or moving wherever his son, daughter was now?
    The only thing that puzzled me and still puzzles me in hindsight, was he sounded younger then me.

  6. JohnH says:

    He will be missed…

  7. Chris Chuba says:

    I just registered here …
    If the Col hates this idea, I’ll delete it but it might be a good option for some people.
    They send you an email once every 30 days and you click on the enclosed link to show that you are still active. If you do not respond within 60 days (after two reminders) they will send a notification message to an email address of your choice.
    The text that I chose for my email was …

    Subject: Deadman’s switch
    If you are getting this email I have not responded to the service offered by
    Either I have stopped using this email and forgotten about it or I have stopped.
    – Chris Chuba

    It’s kind of hard to come up with text that does not sound a bit morbid. I’m not Shakespeare. I don’t know these people. Either this is a legitimate service or they are really sick pranksters so I signed myself up and included one of my other email addresses as a recipient to see if it is well behaved.

  8. turcopolier says:

    Chris Chuba
    No problem. pl

  9. FB Ali says:

    Col Lang,
    An excellent idea. We have already had a few regulars disappear, often without a trace.
    There was, notably, Charles Degutis (who posted as Charles I). In his case, of course, we learnt of it fairly soon. Then there were Confused Ponderer (about whom there are some comments above), Alan Farrell and Basilisk (whose memories you revived recently), Sidney O Smith III, and others. One does not know if they have just stopped posting, or have gone on “to pastures new”.
    I would, however, suggest a change in the name of the category under which such posts are listed (from the present one – Obituary).
    In Memoriam? Or, perhaps, the toast that is (used to be?) drunk by the Brits at formal Mess Nights : Absent Friends.

  10. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Thanks for your research and resulting update on CP. As John H notes, he is missed.

  11. turcopolier says:

    FB Ali
    Farrell and Basilisk are alive. They just stopped posting. pl

  12. LeaNder,
    Interestingly, your reactions match mine.
    Unfortunately I cannot immediately identify the relevant exchanges of comments, but I thought his father came from East Prussia.
    On my first visit to Vienna, earlier in the year, we met up with the lady who was my mother’s au pair when I was born, and her son. She was from Münster – we talked about the bombing – and her husband was a Sudeten German, whose mother was locked up by the Nazis, and then expelled by the Soviets.
    (The conversation had very funny moments. She told me how her mother-in-law could not ‘die Zunge halten’ – and also why her husband, a scholar of early Christianity, having taught at Universität Hamburg for many years, suddenly decided he had had enough, and moved to Vienna. Hamburg was ‘too close to the North Pole.’)
    To me CP seemed to to belong to her son’s generation: the child of someone who was a refugee when young.
    He also sounded me too close to the history, and in too intelligent a way, not to have grown up in Germany, rather than the United States. Likewise, his English did not read to me like that of someone from a German-speaking family who had grown up in an English-speaking country – or indeed, someone who had moved to an English-speaking country, say, as a student.
    It was like yours – perfectly fluent, but with trivial telling signs of the non-native speaker.
    Anyhow, I miss him.
    Incidentally, I obviously stand corrected on the date of the ‘Ballade vom Weib und dem Soldaten.’
    There will be occasion to return to these issues.
    However, for the moment, for an elucidation of what I mean by ‘creepy’, there is the ‘poor-little-rich-girl’ song which Polly sings in the ‘Threepenny Opera’.
    There is what seems to me a very good version of the whole piece done in 2004 in Hamburg on ‘Youtube’. The ‘Seeräuber-Jenny’ song starts at around 26 minutes in. The ‘Kanonensong’, sung by ‘Mackie Messer’ and the police chief, ‘Tiger Brown’, follows it.
    (See .)

  13. FB Ali says:

    That is good to hear!

  14. elaine says:

    I’m sad to hear CP is no longer with us; I’ve said the proper prayers on his behalf,
    however I hope it’s ok that I let out a little giggle upon knowing he was “pretending”
    to be in Germany while really in the Midwest.
    And now I’m curious as to why he’d do that. Was it his fantasy to be in Germany, his
    ancestral homeland? Or was it fear of retaliation from some lurker on this site?

  15. Babak Makkinejad says:

    He spoke of Cologne authoritatively; he must have lived there for an extended period of time.

  16. Croesus says:

    Home is where the heart is.

  17. LeaNder says:

    Thanks, David,
    However, for the moment, for an elucidation of what I mean by ‘creepy’, there is the ‘poor-little-rich-girl’ song which Polly sings in the ‘Threepenny Opera’.
    If there hadn’t been another signifier attached to a name, I might have been less irritated.
    Look, basically I am quite open to criticism of BB’s epic theater, if that was your intent:
    Ultimately people, never mind the century they lived in, want to see a story unfold, make up their own minds and not be lectured. On the other hand, this superficial critique does not fit his plays or for that matter his characters: not least my juvenile favorite double character: Shen Te/Shui Ta. … But I’ll take a look, maybe I’ll get closer to your complaints. 😉
    After I read Kipling’s ‘Love-o’-Women’, the attempt at a Music Hall song Brecht “mutilated” or plagiarized–????–I admittedly was highly puzzled once I got to the end of the tale and found it:
    ‘Oh, do not despise the advice of the wise,
    Learn wisdom from those that are older,
    And don’t try for things that are out of your reach—
    An’ that’s what the Girl told the Soldier!
    Soldier! soldier!
    Oh, that’s what the Girl told the Soldier!’
    Brecht’s poem isn’t about women and soldiers or womanizing soldiers. Its about soldiers and their mothers. No doubt that leaves the basic male – female juxtaposition in place, but …
    What Brecht’s poem reminded me of, when I finally read it, was the eagerness of men, never mind where their respective European roots, to fight in WWI. To flee the boring civilian context of everyday life… Brecht no doubt had the benefit of hindsight.
    Nothing at all reminds me of Hitler’s armies in his poem. Is there an English translation at all?
    Finally, when you added John Gay versus Bertold Brecht’s adaption I really wondered, if you were somewhat inferring that BB was nothing than a plagiarist – from John Gay to Rudyard Kipling. Now, nothing wrong with it, it would fit into Babak’s Western thesis. Whoever East of the central line cannot be able to more then bad imitations, since s/he misses the “necessary culture”.
    On the other hand plagiarist in the theater, were every staging is an interpretation, doesn’t make much sense. The older the play, the more adaptive tools are needed, necessarily. … And as far as I know BB didn’t conceal the source. As others by the way. Or didn’t he? Was he a bit careless with 20, in his Baal? I have this vague memory but, would need to look it up. Inspired by the writings of François Villon?

  18. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Here is another definition of home:
    ‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
    They have to take you in.’

    Happy New Year to All.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  19. LeaNder says:

    Yes, Babak, for many of us from Cologne, a deeper part of our hearts is with the city. That’s why he felt close to it.
    As this “immi” (immigrant to Cologne) can certify, it was for whatever reason a love on first sight concerning both the city, its many churches, its people, their mentality and last but not least “father” Rhine. … which automatically triggers interests in the town’s history …
    He didn’t feel fake, when he claimed in March 2015, that he still lives here:
    This is a random pick. There were other matters that gave me the impression he was quite familiar with the ground I walk. … Someone would need to introduce me into how easy it is to exhibit familiarity with a location. Maybe more why? … Would it matter here?
    Didn’t he join me too, to challenge you concerning your limited narrative on Charlemagne/Carolus Magnus/Pater Europae/Karl den Großen? More precisely how you fitted him into your Western thesis? I seem to have this vague memory trail. 😉

  20. J says:

    We’re still young, it just……..our minds think we’re still 16, and want to cash checks that our bodies aren’t sure it wants to cash. Why I can still throw sacks of cattle breeder cubes, 100lb plus square bales, roll by hand 1500lb round bales, move calf feeders (still full of cubes) from point a to point b by hand, pull a calf by hand instead of using a calf puller (bad move for a back, a vet I know did that and has suffered the results for 15 years because of it), jump squat down and jump up like a spring rooster, carry a ruk sack like wasn’t there, climb the face of a cliff, repel off that cliff, jump out of a perfectly good airplane and hope your handkerchief opens, outrun a horse at 50 yards (on a $100 dollar bet my dad did it racing on foot against a horse and beat the horse, dad was a wiry character even up to his almost 100 years mark)
    Aw, cmon we’re still young, just ask our brains. Our butts will argue against it though.

  21. LeaNder,
    ‘Finally, when you added John Gay versus Bertold Brecht’s adaption I really wondered, if you were somewhat inferring that BB was nothing than a plagiarist – from John Gay to Rudyard Kipling. Now, nothing wrong with it, it would fit into Babak’s Western thesis. Whoever East of the central line cannot be able to more then bad imitations, since s/he misses the “necessary culture”.’
    You completely misread me. For one thing, ‘plagiarism’ is not at all what is at issue. Just as Kipling appropriated and transformed – as he was all too happy to acknowledge, the ‘Jungle Books’ came out of Indian traditions of story-telling in which distinctions between humans and animals are blurred – so did Brecht, with Kipling and all other writers. I do not see that as one of his weaknesses, but as a great strength.
    And actually, such borrowings and transformations commonly cut across all kinds of lines – including the ‘Makkinejad Line’.
    A great deal of English drama – literature, one might say – comes out of the dramas of ‘overreaching’ by Christopher Marlowe – another writer I might be tempted to call ‘creepy’. A recent discussion seems to the point:
    ‘To appreciate the complexities of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus (1588-89), you have to look at his source: the Faustbuch (1587). Although Marlowe encountered the legend in an English translation (known as the Faust Book) the work itself is German and very much ‘a distinctive product of post-Reformation Germany, with its anxieties about magic and religion, knowledge and salvation’.
    (See .)
    As I understand it, Marlowe’s version in turn impacted on the popular German theatre, which in turn shaped Goethe’s reworking of the tale. That led on to Gounod’s opera, out of which comes Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’. And then, of course, there is Mann’s ‘Doktor Faustus’.
    On the Kipling-Brecht linkages. What I had not realised until your responses prompted me to do some Google searches was that ‘Love-O’-Women’ – the story of the ‘gentleman ranker’ dying of syphilis, and meeting up with the girl he has seduced and forced into prostitution – drew on an earlier story, called ‘My Great and Only’.
    This deals with the music hall next to which Kipling lived on his return to London in 1889. In it, he is attempting to appropriate a style of music hall song – vividly comic, but utterly unsentimental – and imagines himself writing a ‘smash hit’ for the ‘Great and Only’, a music hall ‘star’.
    So in the complete song, of which only a version of the refrain – altered slightly but in a way that subtly changes the meaning – features in ‘Love-O’- Women’, the girl who tells the soldier not to ‘try for things that are out of your reach’ is the undercook who won’t marry him, but prefers ‘a man in the poultry line’: very sensibly, as the song intimates.
    The ballad Kipling wrote is extremely practical and down-to-earth. But then, in a passage which has its own kind of romanticism, and may reveal deep tensions within the ‘down to earth’ message of the song, and also have some bearing on Brecht’s fascination with Kipling – the story ends:
    ‘Some day a man will rise up from Bermondsey, Battersea or Bow, and he will be coarse, but clearsighted, hard but infinitely and tenderly humorous, speaking the people’s tongue, steeped in their lives and telling them in swinging, urging, dinging verse what it is that their inarticulate lips would express. He will make them songs. Such songs! And all the little poets who pretend to sing to the people will scuttle away like rabbits, for the girl (which, as you have seen, of course, is wisdom) will tell that soldier (which is Hercules bowed under his labours) all that she knows of Life and Death and Love.’
    (See .)
    It is extremely unlikely that Brecht knew the earlier story, and in the translation of ‘Love-O’-Women’ he was using, ‘girl’ is translated ‘Weib’. Probably this was done simply to preserve the rhythm, but it introduces an ambiguity which has caued problems for English translators.
    So a standard translation by John Willett of ‘Mutter Courage’ – the version sung by Robyn Archer – is called ‘Song of the girl and the soldier’, and simply reinstates the original Kipling lines. The translation by Eric Bentley, however, is called ‘Song of the woman and the soldier’, and translates the key line ‘said the wise woman to the soldier.’
    But perhaps, if one comes back to the ‘Diocletian line’, the problems may dissolve, and the ambiguity be resolved. From a website on ‘Old Norse Mythology’:
    ‘Most of the Germanic tribes, as well as the Vikings, nurtured groups of wise women, witches or priestesses who usually lived unmarried (though not necessarily in celibacy), and who could, it appears, travel alone wherever they liked without fear.’
    (See .)
    What I do not believe is that the ‘Weib’ in the Brecht rendering of Kipling is the soldier’s mother – whatever its author did to shoehorn the song into ‘Mutter Courage’. The rendering was, I think, quite faithful to the original, in that both are harking back to a very old conception of a kind of female wisdom.
    By the same token, I do not think that Brecht had in mind the summer of 1914, but rather, a certain reading of Germany’s failure in the war that followed that would in fact shape your country’s interwar politics decisively.
    But then, I am probably reading the ‘Ballade vom Weib und den Soldaten’ through the ‘Kanonensong’. According to ‘Wikipedia’, a source is a Kipling ballad entitled ‘Screw-Guns’. This ends:
    ‘Jest send in your Chief an’ surrender – it’s worse if you fights or you runs:/You may hide in the caves, they’ll be only your graves, but you can’t get away from the guns!’
    (See .)
    The conception of the uses of force in the ‘Kanonensong’ and ‘Screw-Guns’ have a superficial resemblance, but have rather different roots, and are actually markedly different.

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