Showing posts with label East Germany. Show all posts
Showing posts with label East Germany. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

From garbled to Gaga

One o'clock. Time for Wednesday's much-hyped national test of the Emergency Alert System.

If this had been an actual national emergency, fjoeifjwf oisjfeo wp pwidp qw of eoijr qyuqw wqlkd pt wot tjwaki JK ksdt jlsa bah fleekum.

A nuclear atta . . . O doeiujf wqi djk you gottqa OSIFD dke eommd ss woww jkdp . . . all going to die, according eo al jdsa j New York Times:

At 2 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, during the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, all television channels and radio stations in the United States were supposed to be interrupted by piercing emergency tones. Not a song by Lady Gaga.

But as tests often go, there were some failures, with viewers and listeners in many states saying they saw and heard the alerts at the scheduled time, while others did not. Some DirecTV subscribers said they heard Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” when the test was under way. Some Comcast subscribers in northern Virginia said their TV sets were switched over to QVC before the alert was shown.

The federal agencies charged with testing the alert system found that there were flaws, particularly in the system’s connections to cable and satellite distributors. In some cases, the test messages were delayed, perhaps because they were designed to trickle down from one place — the White House in this case — to thousands of stations and distributors.

In Los Angeles, some viewers said the alert, intended for 30 seconds, lasted for almost half an hour; in New York, some viewers didn’t see it at all. But many others reported that the alert arrived right on time and ended right away.

HERE IN OMAHA, otherwise known as Ground Zero with U.S. Strategic Command headquarters just south of town, the national EAS test started late and the audio was horribly garbled, like an aural Tower of Babel of static and overdubs. If this is technological progress in attack warning, perhaps it's time to resurrect Conelrad.

Conelrad, the nation's first broadcast-warning mechanism, at least passed several national tests, the first coming in 1953, shortly after its implementation. Here's a Sept. 21, 1953, Broadcasting-Telecasting account of the previous week's initial test of the warning system:

SURE, FM or TV stations couldn't stay on the air under the Conelrad system, but then again, the last sound you heard before being vaporized wouldn't be Lady Gaga, either.

That's not nothing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Simply '70s: Lady Gaga, meinen Arsch

How sad is American culture today?

Let's take a look at the score sheet: Marxist East Germany (1974) gives us Nina Hagen und Automobil. Capitalist America (2008) gives us a pale imitation, Lady Gaga und blecch.

Advantage, communism.

OF COURSE, the totalitarian state had its limits. Thus, the First Fraulein of Punk (der punken?) was not perfected until she fled the dictatorship of the proletariat for West Germany, and then spent time in pre-Thatcherite England amid the emergence of The Clash and the Sex Pistols.

Advantage, democratic socialism.

Above, we see Hagen during a 1979 TV appearance.

CALL ME when Lady Gaga has the guts to do this one.

Of course, back when I worked in Catholic radio, the sight of Nina Hagen singing a punk version of "Ave Maria" would have been cause for an epidemic of the vapors. Trust me, the good God-fearin' folk would be going all Rick Perry on the sacrilegious Kraut faster than Mother Angelica could say
“Remember to keep us between your gas and electric bill.”

This is why I'm glad the good Lord got me out of there before I lost the rest of my faith. Trust me, it was close.
(As always, your mileage may vary.)

But then you take a look at the translation of the German lyrics Hagen put to Franz Schubert's famous melody:
Ave Maria, Maria of whom I sing
We are asking you for mercy
For people who have already been waiting so long
Totally without hope
Totally without hope

See there, their unhappy lives
It hungers deep, from fear of death
Millions live here on the earth
Still yet, in greatest need

Ave Maria
Ave Maria, Saint Maria
Hear my prayers Maria
Where much suffering has already occurred
Why always does more hurt follow more hurt
Let the people have faith again
Let them understand and forgive
Then all peoples could become friends
And all the races could be brothers
Ave Maria
LIKE I SAID, let's see Gaga have the gu-guts to go onstage and belt out that one.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Your Daily '80s: So much for the Iron Curtain

". . . and the Iron Curtain is probably no more."

The date: Nov. 9. 1989.

If you're too young to remember the Cold War, you can't possibly understand what an amazing sight this was. And how giddy we were.