#138: Birds mimic S-Bahn, news site shuts, warm NYE, diving for evidence,
We're trapped between the years!
Hey 20 Percent!
We are right in the midst of one of my two favorite German sayings: Zwischen den Jahren (between the years). It’s the exceptions that define the rules in this rule-bound nation and as evidenced by this particular Redewendung (saying). You’d think Germans would protest giving a week or so its own moniker, especially when it’s already been assigned a date, but their humor wins over, on occasion.
Zwischen den Jahren is the period between Christmas and the new year that feels unhooked from time and, though it is a transition from one state to another, is neither a waiting room nor a morgue. It’s more like a calendrical Benelux — a small, quaint space that contributes little but is a nice hang for several days between 2022 and 2023.
What’s the other fave German vernacular? Sattel die Hühner (saddle the chickens). It’s short for: Let’s go! Like: Sattel die Hühner and change your electricity provider to this issue’s sponsor, Ostrom (it’s online, in English and easy).
Have a good week!
Also, maybe toss us some Christmas cash on Patreon. Merch is on its way and our supporters will be the first to benefit!
Berlin corona stats for Tuesday, December 27
Germany’s celebrity epidemiologist Christian Drosten Monday said the pandemic is over, so maybe we need to reconsider this item in our newsletter.
New cases in one day: 1,579 (1,700 Friday)
Total deaths: 5,236 (+7 over Friday)
➡️ 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 261.9 (261.1 Friday)
➡️ 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 20.4 (20.1 Friday)
➡️ Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 5.7% (5.6% Friday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
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Diving for evidence
Police diving teams (photo above) will continue searching a canal in Neukölln until Thursday, looking for additional evidence in the ongoing trial of a high-profile 2019 heist in Dresden, according to RBB24. Six men are currently facing charges of robbery, conspiracy and arson after stealing €113 million in jewels from the Grünes Gewolbe museum in Dresden on Nov. 25, 2019. They also caused about €1 million in damages, in part by laying fires to cover their tracks. Most of the booty has since been recovered, reportedly after at least one of the perps squealed to prosecutors in hopes of getting a reduced sentence. Police won’t say what they’re looking for or what they’ve found but they’ve probably salvaged half a dozen rental scooters and a few unmentionable items from the muck beneath Treptower Straße.
A murmuration or even a chattering in your S-Bahn station
A growing murmuration (go on, look it up) of starlings stops by Alexanderplatz station during its annual migration, and many of the birds have learned to mimic the three-note warning tone of the trains’ closing doors, according to Tagesspiegel (paywall). More than 200 of the birds are seeking temporary shelter in the station, which protects them from area falcons and gives them an extra source of food and light during Berlin’s notoriously dark winter nights. Never would have thought, “Listen to starlings mimic S-Bahn”, would at some point be added to my Berlin to-do list.
New Year’s Eve will see temperatures hovering around 15 degrees Celsius in Berlin, a notch higher than the record of 14 degrees. As RBB points out, though, the expected rain and wind will likely mean suboptimal conditions for pyrotechnic warfare, aka firework fun.
Berlin Spectator closing
Berlin Spectator founder Imanuel Marcus Monday said he was closing his quirky English-language news site after about four years because it was unprofitable and because he’d accepted a job at the Jüdische Allgemeine newspaper. The Spectator was a blog masquerading as a news site that followed not only Marcus’ interests but also his jaunts throughout this country we all call home. It was wonderfully unpredictable and his site will be missed — all the best Imanuel! Him throwing in the towel follows the pausing of the Munich Post, a 20 Percent clone in that oh-so-Bavarian of Bavarian cities. Competition helps keep us on our toes and the diversity benefits readers, so sad face emoji to both of these developments.
Two years ago, on Dec. 27, 2020, the German government officially kicked off the national vaccination campaign that played a key role in ending the pandemic (corona is now expected to become something like the flu with waves of infection but no longer mass infection).
End 2022 with Laughs!
Join us this Thursday, 29.12.2022 at Crazy Stupid Berlin, an English comedy show that celebrates the crazy, stupid side of love with laughter and advice. Comedians will help you laugh through your problems with some great jokes—and maybe even solve them along the way. Tickets and laughs here.
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I always enjoy reading your posts,