Tuesday, March 31, 2009

For thine is the (little plastic) kingdom

We're feeling rather desperately in need of a laugh at the moment, and just on the off-chance that you might be in the same boat, I offer the following two amusements.

First, The Wife has brought my attention to an article from the Süddeutsche Zeitung about Markus Bomhard, a pastor in the neighbouring federal state of Hessen, who has incorporated Playmobil figures into biblical scenes. This has led him into some trouble with Playmobil, which is unhappy about the public uses to which their products are being turned.

Pastor Bomhard has a website where he displays his creations. I must say, having turned my hand to this sort of thing in a far more amateur way, I'm impressed.

The article's in German (like Pastor Bomhard's website), but a couple of short, quickly translated excerpts might serve as a good introduction:

It's just not easy to crucify a little Plamobil person. The arms of the finger-length plasic figures are too rigid and they can't be spread out sideways. But Protestant pastor Markus Bomhard knows how to get around this. They just have to be held long enough over a burning candle or under a hot hairdryer, he says: 'Then the plastic becomes very soft and can be re-shaped.' Afterwards, the figure is briefly left to cool and harden before it can be nailed to the cross.


'We're bothered by the complete change in the figures', says a [Playmobil] spokeswoman, 'which infringes on our copyright.' Christ on the cross is a perfect example of that, as are Adam and Eve, whom the creative pastor gave, respectively, male genitalia and glued-on breasts. 'As long as someone makes changes in private, just for themselves, we're really quite tolerant', says the Playmobil spokeswoman. But with Bomhard that 'has taken on another dimension entirely.'
Indeed it has. But not, I think, in a bad way.

In other news, I was impressed by the eloquence and social awareness of Dayana Mendoza, the current 'Miss Universe'.

As reported at 'The Lede' blog at the New York Times, Miss Mendoza recently visited Guantánamo Bay as part of a USO tour. She was very impressed, and you can read her comments here.

I think I found her conclusion to sum it up best:

I didn’t want to leave, it was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful.

Cool. By all means, Miss Mendoza, do stay. Please.

(Thanks to Kristine for the tip.)

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