Hooray for a Hometown Boy! On April 20, a small museum on Hicks Street opened to honor Doktor Dieter Viehmann, whose work in propulsion mathematics helped put men on the moon!
You may not have heard of ol’ Dieter, but his precise calculations helped his pal, Robert Goddard, launch the first liquid fueled rocket! The little one-room (plus alcove) museum has been opened by Die Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftliche Verbesserung und Vergesslichkeit der Dinge, die Geschehen Kann oder Maynot Haben, Bevor wir Geboren Wurden, so Lassen Sie uns Einfach mit Dingen, Warum Nicht? (The German American Friendship Society for Scientific Improvement and Forgetfulness of Things that May or May Not Have Happened Before We Were Even Born, so Let’s Just Get On With Things, Why Not?), and it tells you simply everything you need to know about the legendary Herr Doktor Dieter, who emigrated to Brooklyn Heights in 1921, where he set up a little basement workshop on Hicks Street. Communicating by mail and telegram with the famous Doctor Goddard, who lived in Ohio, our homeboy Herr Doktor used his knowledge of obscure math concepts like Continued Fractions and Sphere Eversion to help calculate potential parabolic velocities. Viehmann’s personal eccentricities and extreme political beliefs later stained his reputation, which is perhaps why it’s taken so long for him to be honored in his hometown; Viehmann was deported in 1938 when it was alleged he was conducting experiments in Mendelian Eugenics (his phrase) on neighborhood dogs that he kidnapped, and he further damaged his reputation by standing on the sidewalk outside the Ahavas Israel Shul in Greenpoint every Friday night for four years and cooking ham and buttermilk soup in a giant tureen while singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag” in Yiddish.
After his deportation, Viehmann used his almost obsessive knowledge of the Fourier Coefficients (a0=1af0f[x] dx, ah=2af0f[x]cos 2πhax dx, and so on) to help the Third Reich develop X-Ray Weaponry. Alas, his tic-like habit of singing the patriotic songs of Irving Berlin in Yiddish (it is likely the Herr Doktor suffered from an undiagnosed form of Tourettes Syndrome) caused his undoing, and following prolonged torture by the Reich’s most notorious interrogator, Wilhelm Tim-Tuefel, Doktor Dieter Viehmann died a horrible death in the Brandenburg an der Havel Prison camp outside Berlin. The new Viehmann Museum doesn’t gloss over this, and they include an actual page from the Doktor’s Prison Diary, in which he writes “I have cut out my own tongue with a shard from a broken mirror to stop me from singing the most disgraceful songs that caused my spiritual defenestration. Yet I cannot help humming them. Why, oh why, did I ever let my darling wife Mitzi take me to that production of This is The Army by that merciless Hebrew genius of melody?”
In happier news, the museum also features a great little ball pit for the kiddies!
And Now.,..The Three Dot Round-Up!
Mr. Remarkable highly recommends the great new show at Faux Felines, that terrific new drag club on Kent and 11th in Williamsburg! I was especially taken by a special Tribute to Lady Newscasters, starring Miss Christiane A Man Poor, Lady Diane Saw Ya, and the REAL Lara Spencer (who knew?!? She tucks very well!)…I had a simply scrumptious meal at Le Pain Quotidien on Montague Street, but I got nothin’ but quizzical looks when I asked them why their John didn’t have “traditional” French toilets…All you young ‘uns can go on and on about Game of Thrones, but just give me a little Adam 12 on the ME Channel, and I’m happier than Joey Heatherton with a Percodan prescription!…As I write this, the New York Mets are STILL playin’ above .500! I haven’t been this surprised since Christine Longet was set free. I have a bet with Mister Marty Allen (“Hello Dere!”) that if the Amazin’s finish above .500 for the season, he has to dye his famous crazy hairdo Mets’ Blue and Orange!…Hey, if you’re like me, you have very fond memories of Sid and Marty Kroft’s Banana Splits TV show – I mean, there is nuthin’, and I mean zero-zilch-nada-null-нульовий-bupkiss-rien-nix-nought- aon rud-doodley squat- គ្មានអ្វី- שום דבר –nuthin’ funnier that chimps in people’s clothing singin’ rock music, is there?!? Well, good news for all of you lovers of jaw-flappin’ simians in tuxedos! The FX Network is gonna be airing MonkeyTV, a show based around an all-chimp group called Guns’n’Lemurs, and their rise to the top! I can’t wait, and until then I’ll stand in front of the TV holding my banana!…Speakin’ of bananas, I don’t go to Broadway much these days – the prices for tickets are higher than Paul Simon’s bail, and the quality is lower than Paul Simon’s tail! – but I must say I am truly looking forward to seeing Harvey Fierstein’s new musical about Harry Belafonte, The Banana Boat Song Trilogy. It opens at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in September! Maybe by the time it opens, I’ll finally be able to take the R Train from this luverly little town to the Big Apple!…AND THAT’S WHY I LOVE LIVIN’ IN BROOKLYN!
Mr. Sommer’s opinions and grasp of reality are entirely his own.
Timothy Sommer has earned a considerable reputation as a musician, journalist, record producer, music industry executive, MTV/VH-1 VJ, and purveyor of minor cultural dada-ism. He is currently writing NOVA, OTTO? AVON, a palindromic history of the German love for Lox and Shakespeare. He also continues his efforts to get one-time New York Mets’ reliever and long-time Toronto Blue Jays team medic Ron Taylor into the Medical Wing of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.