Geraldine Blecker - Words & More

Irony & Fake News


The COTTON BALL DIET is especially popular in Alabama and is just what its name implies. You eat cotton balls, either dry or soaked in gelatin. The idea is that cotton balls contain few calories but are very filling, so you won’t have much room for anything else. They are also high in fiber, which would be good if it was the kind of fiber  you needed. Possible Side Effects: Exceedingly tedious, dry and disgusting. Contains no vitamins or nutrients of any kind. Leads to constipation and violent vomiting. 

The CABBAGE SOUP DIET also called the “Russ­ian peas­ant diet,” the “Sacred Heart diet,” and the “TJ mir­a­cle soup diet,” con­sists of eat­ing nothing but cab­bage soup for a week. Claimed to generate a 10 pound weight loss, which is refuted by most experts. As most weight lost on this diet consists of water, the loss is temporary. Possible Side Effects: High sodium con­tent and extremely low pro­tein lead to feel­ings of weak­ness, and horrendous flatulence. (The FARTO speciailty drug store can provide relief for the latter).

The CAVEMAN DIET also known as the Paleolithic Diet, revolves around mimicking the diet of Stone Age man, (who had an average life span of 15 years). The only food allowed is what can be hunted and gathered, and consists of leaves, berries, roots, nuts and bushes. Lean meat and fish can be eaten, as long as you hunt and kill it all yourself, which is guaranteed to give you plenty of exercise. Grains, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and oils are strictly off-limits. Possible Side Effects: Serious injuries can be sustained when running away from dangerous animals or eating the  wrong bush.

The TAPEWORM DIET is almost too revolting to contemplate and involves ingesting tapeworm-infested raw or rotting  meat (preferably beef) and then letting the parasite do its thing for up to 10 weeks. Then taking antibiotics to get rid of the things. Possible Side Effects: The little buggers won't go away. 

And if none of these diets appeal to you, then I suggest  my old time-tested, weight-loss favorites POOP-IT-OUT and CHUK-IT-UP, which work best taken after a liberal dose of hot sauce. I can  specially recommend the ones featured below.

Or better still - to find out lots of dietary stuff you never knew, or already did but were trying to suppress, read THE DIET JOKE - A REPROGRAMMING GUIDE FOR PERPETUAL CONSUMERS  by Lisa Padace, published by Big Shot Press, San Diego, or order directly online from

And finally, if we are what we eat, then that explains this:

The Airline Misery Continues...

There are some hot contenders for this month’s Airline Misery Award, but it looks like American Airlines is all set to win. The airline has been accused of serious deficiencies in maintenance by two separate federal agencies. The penalty could be anything from $10 to $20 million, unless AA gets its act together. This all stems from faulty wiring in the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft which, in April 2008, forced AA to temporarily ground its entire MD-80 fleet, resulting in flight cancellations affecting more than 300,000 passengers. Equipment made by McDonnell Douglas (which merged with Boeing in 1997) is among the most antiquated still in use around the globe and has an accident rate of 14 per 1,000 aircraft.

According to an article that appeared in last May’s Journal of Business and Economics Research, researchers from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla., studied 476 accidents that occurred between 2000 and 2007, excluding those caused by weather or terrorism, and found that more accidents occurred in old planes (between 15 and 24 or more years old) operated by Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

In fact, the European Union began publishing a blacklist of flying coffins in 2006, with about 190 names - mostly from Africa. Click on the following link for a terrifying list of airlines banned from landing in Europe.
By far the worst reputation, however, is still enjoyed by old Russian aircraft, many of which appear to be stuck together with duct tape (like these Aeroflop interiors pictured below) and which have been involved in many accidents around the world.


So what puts American Airlines ahead of the game this month?  Well, those passengers who can still consider trying to actually get some sleep during a longish flight after reading this will be delighted to hear that, as of May 1st, coach passengers (“scum” class, remember) on American domestic flights of more than two hours’ duration, as well as flights to Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America, will have to cough up an extra $8 for a blanket and inflatable neck pillow - which can double up as a flotation device, so it's probably a good investment.

More airline misery!

China’s Shandong Airlines gets some special misery points this month for getting their passengers to actually get out of the aircraft, roll their socks up and help push the crate during a recent mechanical failure. These are just the first class passengers, mind. Coach class is tugging away beneath the surface. I’d like to see Lufthansa try and get away with this! 

However, this month’s Airline Misery Award, has to go to Northwest Airlines (or its new owner Delta), after the botched Xmas day suicide attack on NWA flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit, with 290 on board. The incident occurred around noon, when 23-year old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian national with suspected al-Qaida affiliations, tried to blow up the plane with a chemical incendiary device he had smuggled on board. Fortunately, he was quickly subdued by passengers and crew, who managed to extinguish the flames in time. Officials are investigating just how he had managed to get explosives on board in the first place, despite heightened global security controls since 9/11.

Wise, as always, after the event, it was reported that US authorities had known of the bomber’s terrorist connections for over a month, after his own father, concerned about his son’s extremist behavior, had alerted them in November. Nevertheless, Abdulmutallab, a former engineering student at University College, London, was allowed to board the Detroit-bound Northwest flight from Amsterdam with an explosive device strapped to his body. Alarm bells should have sounded a week earlier, when he bought a ticket in cash (for $2,831) at the KLM office in Accra, Ghana, to fly from Lagos to Detroit via Schiphol; and should have rung even more loudly when he checked in without any luggage. Buying a ticket in a third country, paying cash, and traveling without any baggage should have alerted somebody.

But the failed attack has nonetheless resulted in worldwide airport misery, as further, more stringent security measures are implemented: bomb-sniffing dogs, extensive frisking, and horrendously long lines and delays. Passengers have reported that they now have to remove everything from their handbags and pockets (including Kleenex), and have been barred from using any electronic devices, or even getting out of their seats to visit the toilet during the last hour of flight.

The US and British governments are seriously toying with the idea of installing pre-boarding, “naked” body scanners, which should make air travel even more delightful. The scanners, while allowing security personnel to spot any weapons or explosives hidden beneath clothing, also reveal breast implants, false limbs, piercings, and clear outlines of genitalia. Which should at least help them to stay awake, I suppose.


Lehman Brother victims go on the march

Posted: Sep 13, 2009 by Geraldine Blecker
In Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital, “Lehman victims” from all over the country are gathering to protest against their situation and disappointment at the banks, financial institutions and overall political stance.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009, marks the first anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, formerly the fourth largest investment bank in the US and the only major financial institution that, unlike Fanny Mae, AIG, Bear Stearns and JP Morgan - to name but a few - was not bailed out by the US government. Now occupied by Barclays, the Lehman building at New York’s 745 Seventh Avenue shows hardly any trace of last year’s turbulence. But the effects of the bankruptcy, which put more than 25,000 out of work, are still echoing around he globe.

In Germany, for example, about 40,000 security-oriented investors, among them a notable number of senior citizens were divested of their life savings. To serve their own interests and earn high commissions, many of the country’s major banks and building societies, including Citibank, Dresdner Bank, the Postbank, as well as the Frankfurt and Hamburg Sparkassen (Savings Banks), aggressively “advised” their trusting clients, many of whom had been customers for decades, to purchase the worthless Lehman paper. Which, in many cases, was pitched as a AAA security. It is unrealistic to suppose that the banks involved were not at least partially aware of the actual value of these securities at the time.

Here in Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital, “Lehman victims” from all over the country refuse to take it lying down. To mark that gloomy day, they are gathering and going on the march to protest against their situation and disappointment at the banks, financial institutions and overall political stance. Denying all responsibility or accountability to their clients, the banks and building societies continue to entrench themselves behind individual and unsatisfactory “good will” or “ex gratia” settlements, without any admission of guilt or acknowledgement of debt - forcing their clients to take legal action. As there is no such thing as a class action suit under German law, these lawsuits are being dealt with one-at-a-time by the German courts. A long and wearisome process, the banks are dragging it out for as long as they can, possibly in the hopes that some of the plaintiffs may just pop off before getting to court.

At 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 15, dressed in black, Lehman casualties from all over the country will be gathering outside the Frankfurt District Court building. From here, the demonstrators will continue along the Zeil to Konstablerwache and the Hauptwache, to assemble outside the former Lehman Brothers branch in the Rathenauplatz. On the way, they will be stopping off at the branches of the various banks and building societies involved, to give loud voice to their frustration and discontent at their business policy. At Rathanauplatz, a mobile Information centre will be set up to explain the actual situation and demands of the Lehman victims to the public and the press. The victims are demanding a complete reversal of the Lehman transaction and full restitution, to compensate for the often proved malpractice and deliberately misleading advice supplied to them by their banking institutions.The demonstration is scheduled to wind up at approx. 5:00 p.m. following a closing event and press conference.

But this is just one activity of many. In addition to the major demonstration in Frankfurt, further regional campaigns will be taking place simultaneously in Hamburg, Bremen and Berlin. And let’s not forget the rest of the world. Small investors have suffered similarly in the US, Belgium, Austria, England, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, the UAE, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, where a demonstration is likewise planned.

One year along, the recession seems under control, the stock markets are picking up and the banks are reviving with the aid of billions of dollars of government bailouts. But the memory of Lehmans and its downfall will take a long time to diminish.

The Terrors of Flight

06. July 09 , 10:22

Frankfurt (Weltexpress) - Although I usually like to take a comedy poke at the world’s airlines, there’s not much amusement value I can contribute about them right now and can only suggest that we travellers do our best to avoid the Airbus.

Two of them have gone down in less than four weeks, the most recent being the Yemenia Yemen Airways Airbus A310 (Flight Y626) en route from Sana’a in Yemen to the Comoros Islands, which crashed in the Indian Ocean on June 30, with only one survivor out of the 153 passengers and crew onboard. Without a life jacket and unable to swim, 12-year-old Bahia Bakari managed to cling to the debris, surviving for three hours in shark-infested waters before being saved from the wreckage.

Although bad weather is believed to have been the main cause of the crash, serious concerns about this particular aircraft were raised by French transport authorities following safety checks in 2007. But, as always, it takes a true disaster to get anybody’s attention. The A310 went into service 19 years ago and had accumulated 51,900 flight hours. Basically, it should not still have been in the air.

Turbulence is also purported to have been a contributory cause of the June 1 crash of Air France Flight 447 - an Airbus A330-200 - en route from Rio to Paris, which went down in the Atlantic about 930 miles off the cost of Brazil, well out of radar range.

Although it had initially been supposed that the plane had broken-up in midair due to defective airspeed sensors feeding inconsistent readings to the cockpit, which can cause autopilot shutdown or malfunction, chief accident investigator Alain Bouillard has since reported that “the plane was not destroyed while in flight. It appears to have hit the surface of the water in its flying position with a strong vertical acceleration.” Plunging 35,000 ft. within seconds, the discovery of un-inflated life jackets floating all over the crash scene in the Atlantic suggests that none of the 228 onboard even had time to fasten their seatbelts, let alone make a grab for their life jackets. The remains of 51 people have been recovered so far.

Airbus and Air France have said that there is no firm evidence linking the speed monitors and the crash, stating that the airspeed sensors were a “factor but not the cause”. They might have iced over, say experts. Nevertheless, Air France has upgraded all its sensors, known as Pitot tubes, on its A330 and A340 fleet as a precautionary measure following protests from pilots.

But the cause of the tragedy is still conjecture and likely to remain so, as the black box flight recorders will probably never be found, let alone retrieved. And without them, the cause will never be known for sure.

“There’s really no link between these two accidents,” said an Airbus spokesman. As well he might.

* * *

All rights reserved to author.

By Geraldine Blecker

Protests in the Streets of LA

 Los Angeles/Santa Monica (Weltexpress) - About 2,500 to 3,000 demonstrators gathered on the streets of LA on Thursday afternoon protesting against the recently passed ban on same-sex marriage known as Proposition 8.

The crown convened at 2.00 p.m. outside the Los Angeles California Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to protest against the Mormon support of the proposition and moved west, blocking off Santa Monica Boulevard and tying up westbound traffic.

According to Lorri L. Jean, head of LA`s Gay and Lesbian Center, the Mormon Church donated more than USD 15 million to support the ban. "It is a travesty that the Mormon Church bought this election and used a campaign of lies and deception to manipulate voters in the great state of California," he said, "No one`s religious beliefs should be used to deny fundamental rights to others. Our civil rights are inalienable."

The Salt Lake Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints published a statement setting forth its opposition to same-sex marriage. "It is important to understand that this issue for the church has always been about the sacred and divine institution of marriage - a union between a man and a woman, " going on to state that, "Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the church were and are simply wrong."

Just last May, the California Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to limit the state of marriage to unions between men and women, resulting in 18,000 same-sex marriages over the past six months: Proposition 8 now puts the legal status of these couples in jeopardy. Already three petitions have been filed with the state Supreme Court contesting the validity of Proposition 8 since it was passed on Tuesday. 

Although the demonstration was peaceful, with only four arrests for disorderly conduct, judging by the turn out, LA`s finest were obviously expecting trouble.

  • Autor: Geraldine Blecker
    Abfassungsdatum: 07.11. 2008
    Photo: © Geraldine Blecker
    Verwertung: Weltexpress
    All rights to the author
    Update: Berlin, 07.11. 2008