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The Danube, the Blue Danube, and Western Civilization

“Even towards the end, as we dissolved into the petty bickering and idle entertainments that come with having far too much leisure and money, many among us were still striving to make it higher, finer, brighter, better, and more beautiful.

“Even towards the end, the best of us declined to give up and pressed on. “Where to? What next?”

— How Beautiful We Were

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  • ghostsniper October 5, 2021, 3:01 PM

    The combat engineer army battalion I was assigned to bridged the Donau twice setting records both time. 1975 and 1976. M4T6 class 60 bridges. Huge pontoon floating bridges. The bridge was about 400 feet long. They drove 8 M60 tanks out onto the bridge and it sank down into the water but held fast. Then they blew out all the pontoons 50 cal sheen gunz and the bridge sank further into the water but held because of the waterproof buoyancy of the treadway bulks. (each piece of bulk weighed 600 lbs but would float when thrown in the water)

    Then they removed the tanks and we charged the bridge with 400+ pounds of C4 and blew it to dust.
    Just kidding.
    The bridge was diassembled into 4 100′ pieces, lifted by skycrane choppers to an on-land location, reassembled and we blew it in place there. The germans didn’t want the river contaminated.

    • Dirk October 6, 2021, 9:06 AM

      Ghost, you were in a Bridge platoon? For some reason thought you Demo?


      • ghostsniper October 6, 2021, 9:18 AM

        I wasn’t in a bridge unit.
        I was in Delta Co 54th Combat Engr Bn, 1st Plt, 1st Sq., Wildflecken, Germany. Airborne and Mechanized. We were the bridge installers and bridge companies supplied the bridge parts and boats.

  • PA Cat October 5, 2021, 4:43 PM

    I am surprised that YouTube has not yet disappeared this video for its gross violations of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 1) The music was composed in 1867 for the court of Emperor Franz Josef, hence it belongs to the era of colonialism. 2) The Empress Elisabeth (aka Sisi) was widely considered the most beautiful woman in Europe at that time. Can’t have less attractive folks (of any gender) made to feel bad. 3) Rieu staged this concert in front of Schönbrunn Palace, remodeled by Empress Maria Theresa in the 1740s; her daughter Marie Antoinette met the young Mozart at Schönbrunn in 1762. Can’t have gifted people who make the less talented feel inferior. 4) All of Rieu’s musicians as well as members of the audience are wearing the formal evening attire characteristic of Strauss’s era; how dare they flaunt the existence of class distinctions? Moreover, the musicians are clearly divided by their dress into cis-males and cis-females; guaranteed to give the transgender lobby a major headache. 5) There are no visible BIPOCs in the orchestra. I wonder whether Rieu could get away with staging this performance in the same way he did in 2011.

    • Vanderleun October 5, 2021, 6:41 PM

      You’re a teachin’ cat, I’ll say that.

      • PA Cat October 5, 2021, 9:11 PM

        I was inspired by Leroy Anderson’s short orchestral piece, “The Waltzing Cat,” which he wrote in 1950. Mitchell Parish then added some lyrics in 1951:

        There once was a tomcat, a wonderful tomcat, who had all the usual faults,
        But this cat was different– what made him so different was his inclination to waltz,
        Each night this feline Sir
        To his lady love would purr:


        I love to waltz (meow)
        On a night like this with stars in the skies,
        I love to waltz (meow)
        As I look into your lovely green eyes.
        I never knew what a little waltz would do,
        Till the night I danced with you,
        Lightly as a feather—we’ll pussy foot together,
        I’d love to spend (meow) all my nine lives just waltzing with you.

        Here’s Anderson himself singing “The Waltzing Cat”:

        Rieu should have added a few waltzing cats to the dancers in the palace ballroom– there must be some in a city so famous for its waltzes.

  • Skorpion October 5, 2021, 6:22 PM

    A much better version:


  • jwm October 5, 2021, 7:13 PM

    As soon as I clicked this on, the most Mysterious Skinamalink hopped up on the desk, and sat down on my arm. He wouldn’t move through the whole eight minutes or so. That was breath taking. It has been forever, and a week since I’ve been to the symphony. The footage with the dancers almost crowded out the images from 2001, A Space Odyssey. In another age and time knowing how to do basic ballroom steps was just part of growing up. I never learned. I was a fair to middling surfer back in the day, and I was deft on the mountain bike as well, but my every attempt at simple dance steps has been a dismal and embarrassing failure. Too bad. It sort of looks like fun.


  • gstaud October 6, 2021, 7:03 AM

    If I could loop time for eternity ala Martin in Robert Bloch’s, “That Hell-Bound Train,” these ten minutes or so might be right up there on the short list. You watch that, and it’s hard to argue that civilization’s wave hasn’t crested and rolled back out to sea leaving a low tide in its wake.

  • Jack Lawson October 6, 2021, 3:49 PM

    The sights and sounds of the essence of humans behaving as beautiful creatures in a spectacular environment… during a respite from our natural pastime of blowing each other’s brains out.

    Jack Lawson
    Associate Member, Sully H. deFontaine Special Forces Association Chapter 51, Las Vegas, Nevada
    Author of “The Slaver’s Wheel”, “A Failure of Civility,” “And We Hide From The Devil,” “Civil Defense Manual” and “In Defense.”

    “As we fought for the ideals of freedom and for those on the left and right of us, we judged each other only by the most important of characteristics… nerve, courage and the willingness to stand in harm’s way for others… those abstract values that transcend the color of skin or the shape of eyes. During this respite from human pettiness, whatever our race, creed or ethnicity, at that time we were one.” – An anonymous Special Operations soldier