Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Other Bear in Berlin

I have no idea how long the American Forces Network radio affiliate in Berlin (West) Germany was called 'The Bear and the Best' but in all the years I lived on the cutting edge of the sword of freedom (should have told you to pack your waders!) that's what it was known as. And no, we're not wandering down (yet) another byway of my misspent youth, adulthood and dotage auf deutsch, though, based on our history together you'd be correct to assume that was the case. Besides, AFN Berlin signed off another lifetime ago, lebe voll!

Today is as good a time as any to mark the passing of another bear (lower case deliberate) in Berlin, Knut, the hard-luck polar bear this past Saturday. Knut, say the press accounts, led a short and sad life (of sorts) rejected by his mother at birth (his twin, also rejected, died). Knut was fed by hand by his trainer, Thomas Doerflien, who predeceased him in 2008.

His survival made him wildly popular (okay, not so much with PETA), inspiring tributes such as this one, whose use of the theme from Dallas utterly confounds me until it's followed by He's So Fine (note the similarity to My Sweet Lord? Zoology, current events and musicology all for the same low price, now how much would you pay? Doo-lang, doo-lang).

It's too bad Knut couldn't read because I'll bet he'd have gotten a real kick out of the order of the headlines in this report, though if the story is to be believed perhaps he'd have been more aptly named Randy. I'd always wondered about his Mona Lisa-like smile, perhaps I now have my explanation. And if that bothered you, let me share a site, courtesy of the always Pulitzer-Prize worthy wizards at People Magazine where tawdry and tasteless collide.

If the aliens arrive tomorrow, I want to hide all the Silly String, Chia Pets and everything published by what once was called Time-Life. Or they'll eat us hair and all. It's a fine line between Knut and cute and now I've crossed it. "Who would think a boy and bear could be well-accepted everywhere, it's just amazing how fair people can be."
-bill kenny

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