Trump Blames Germany for US Woes

trump

Trump: I will impose a 35% tax on BMWs made in Mexico for the American market.

Germany: BMW’s largest factory is in the USA. BMW employs 70,000 Americans. We make parts for Ford and Chrysler in Mexico, as does Bosch, etc. We just might move all jobs to Mexico, too.

Trump: There are no Chevrolets parked outside of German houses.

Germany: Make a better car.

Trump: The EU is the vehicle for Germany’s economy.

Germany: Let us drive, we have no speed limit and we just won the Formula One Championship. Again.

Trump: Merkel’s ‘Refugee Policy’ was utterly catastrophic (said 3 times).

Germany: We’ve got this. It’s called leadership, even when unpopular.

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Trump: Merkel’s policy caused Brexit.

Germany: Finally, and good riddance. They were never wholly in. What does the UK make again?

Trump: Other countries will follow suit. They will leave the EU.

Germany: We hope so. Then it’ll be better. Countries like Norway and Sweden would reconsider.

Trump: NATO is obsolete.

Germany: Thanks for the assist, forever indebted; we can stand on our own (see BMW, Audi, etc.).

Given this past Sunday, one has to wonder why so many of Trump’s attacks were on Germany, a friend, when others mean the USA harm. Is it fear of the Teutonic giants, who can work circles around their American peers? And get 30 days paid vacation? And have unions? And still turn out massive profits? AND win World Cups?

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An Ode to Oktoberfest (Free Verse)

Oktoberfest

You, Oktoberfest, are without compare,

Overpriced everything, and especially the beer.

Drunken Debauchery, in December we do detox,

Fill up on roast pork, dumplings, or a slice from an ox.

Fill up my glass, sir, ten euros is very dear.

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With girls scantily clad, call it tradition I might add,

After a liter or two, the lager ain’t half bad.

Up on the benches, the floor is not far,

Wooden floors cushion blows, they aren’t really that hard.

Teenies step aside now, and be a good lad.

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The lights go up, and the place is a mess,

If I could only find a way to get her out of that dress.

Not this time, sorry, your lederhosen are too poor,

Big security guards, not German, forcibly showing you the door.

Pour yourself into a taxi, ask thy ‘what’s my address?’

Spring Is Here. This Is not a Good Thing for Germans.

TulipThe weather the last two days was whacked. It was too warm. The Germans don’t like it that way. It needs to be average. Restaurants with outdoor seating were jammed, managers stressfully trying to unfold and set up tables that hadn’t been clean since October. Bike shops can charge as much as they’d like for a ‘Spring Check-up’, and they do, much to the chagrin of the locals. But a man’s got to ride. For those bike riders who don’t need a check-up, have you completely forgotten how to ride? There are rules to obey, both written and unwritten! It’s been so warm the last two days that I even saw some naked bodies sunbathing near the Isar River. I’ve heard of cabin fever and a strong desire to get outside, but au naturel the first week in March?  Germans need few excuses to get naked, surely. Meanwhile, I read that in my home state of Florida the Republican governor forbade any officials connected to the government to use the terms ‘global warming, climate change, or sustainability’. You read that correctly (reason #67 I choose to live in Munich). Can there be a flower more popular than a tulip this time of year? I love them too! The best tulips are grown in The Netherlands, a country which seems to have carved out a nice little business supplying the EU with these colorful blooms, when not wooing young travelers to their coffee shops. The drawback for tulips is that no amount of care will extend their vase life beyond a week. I grilled on Monday, the SECOND time this year already. I can recall the summer of 2009, when the whole year only afforded me two opportunities to grill. I missed them both. I’m going to make up for 2009 this year. I’ve been trying to make up for that summer of 2009 for the past five years, but the weather hasn’t cooperated. It’s been normal when I needed exceptional. The extended forecast is looking good, a little rain, a little sun and only a marginal chance of a white Easter. Exactly how the Germans like it. Nothing too unusual. I bet you a bratwurst and a beer we’ll have snow on Easter. snow daffodil

The Saxons Are Coming, Run for the Alps!

The Saxons are coming! Miners from the coal mines. Photo: Wikipedia

The Saxons are coming! Miners from the coal mines. Photo: Wikipedia

My German sucks. It’s not as bad as my Russian, but it’s pretty bad. You’d think that after spending the better part of a dozen years in Munich, I’d have picked up a few more phrases beyond ordering beer and food in a restaurant. Priorities. My biggest problem (excuse) in learning German is that I’ve always been paid for my English language skills. Nobody has given me any compensation for my German skills. (And if you’ve ever heard my German skills you’d say the money should have gone to them, not me.)

It’s so bad that often when I go to a bakery, the nice assistants tells me how much I owe her in English (and they always mix up numbers like 34 and 43). WTF? And then they normally ask if I’m from England. And then Scotland. They are normally shocked (and I’m pleased, believe me) when they find out I’m from the USA. Well, I’m from California but grew up in Florida, so neither is considered mainstream America. Because of this, I tell them ‘I’m almost from America,’ which confuses them and pleases me even more.

I want to improve my German: please speak to me in German. We live in Germany, for Pete’s sake. I sincerely believe that many Germans, who ALWAYS say they speak ‘a little’ English (and can understand BBC or CNN as well as I can), are simply looking for a free English lesson, which they will then use on one of their infinite number of holidays to some foreign land where English is understood more than German.

These costumes are from an indigenous Slavic minority near Dresden, the Sorbs. Never heard of them? Neither have most Germans and as for the Bavarians, they'd like to keep it that way. Photo: Wikipedia

These costumes are from an indigenous Slavic minority near Dresden, the Sorbs. Never heard of them? Neither have most Germans and as for the Bavarians, they’d like to keep it that way. Photo: Wikipedia

The statement about living in Germany isn’t exactly true. I live in Bavaria. Bavaria is a separate country-just ask any real Bavarian. And though my German sucks and my wife’s is very good, I can understand the Bavarian dialect much better than her. She’s got me by a mile when it comes to Hochdeutsch, but I’ve got her beat here in Bavaria, or even Baden-Wurttemberg. I will admit, however, that I have no fucking clue what the people are saying when we are in South Tyrol, but I hear that goes for everyone not Tyrolean.

Now, most of those shop assistants in the bakeries and butchers are real hard to understand. Like, impossible. You see, they speak a very special dialect of German, that sounds real funny to us who have lived in Bavaria so long. The biggest difference is how the Saxons say the ‘ch’ in words like ich (I) or dich (you). The Saxons butcher the ‘ch’ worse than the Berliners. They’ve managed to make the pronounced ‘ch’ less sensical than Berliner Weissbier, a beer with fruit syrup in it, yes, FRUIT SYRUP!

So, what should be one of the loveliest sentences in German, ich liebe dich (I love you), sounds like ‘ish liebe dish’ straight from a date night with Nag and Nagaina, the two cobras from Kipling’s Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.

I have adopted Bavaria (not Germany) as my new home. Or to be even more specific, Munich, that world city with heart. And in doing so, I’ve also learned that for Bavarians, the Saxons are the butt of more jokes than any other German speakers, except the Austrians. And I think I know why.

Saxony, like Bavaria, is a Freistaat, a free state, which means absolutely nothing except it makes the natives of those two states prouder and more likely to say that they can secede from the Republic of Germany anytime they so desire. Pure rubbish, surely, but I simply nod and take another swig of beer whenever I hear it from a Bavarian. (It’s more often than one might think.)

This picture sums up succinctly how the Bavarians feel about the Saxons from Dresden. Photo: Wikipedia

This picture sums up succinctly how the Bavarians feel about the Saxons from Dresden. Photo: Wikipedia

So why do Bavarians have such a prickly feeling when it comes to the Saxons? Some of it probably has to do with the Saxons’ communist roots. A bit more, possibly, has to do with the Saxons desire to boil pig knuckles rather than roasting them in the oven. Also, as I’ve said, the Saxon dialect is strange. But the biggest reason (I think, no, I hope) has to be the fact that after the Fall of the Wall, so many Saxons moved to Bavaria and stole their women. And jobs.

One of the nicer areas of Dresden. Nothing can compare to it here in Munich. Photo: Wikipedia

One of the nicer areas of Dresden. Nothing can compare to it here in Munich. Photo: Wikipedia

The Saxons keep coming. The economy around Dresden, the capital of Saxony, continues to idle while the one around Munich hums. There are many jobs to be found in Munich, so the Saxons come to take them. They may not be the highest-paid jobs but they are secure jobs, with future potential to move up the food-chain. And while the Saxons are moving up? They get a chance for a free English lesson if I patronize a bakery, butcher’s or boutique they just happen to be working at the right moment.

You’re Shitting Me!

Toiletbrushuseinstructions. ( L to R) Completely wrong. Wrong. Almost correct. Correct.

Toiletbrushuseinstructions. ( L to R) Completely wrong. Wrong. Almost correct. Correct.

During my backpack tour of Europe in 1999, I took my first dump in Germany and I thought the toilet was broken. I asked myself where was the water? There was only enough for my logs, not more. Germans’ frugalness is legendary, might’ve their thriftiness perniciously crept into their toilets too?

The next time I found myself on the morning throne I noticed there was even less water than than the previous porcelain potty. Is there a shortage of water in Germany that I am completely unaware of? Certainly there was plenty of rain. Had the Germans not figured out how to collect it and it ran off into some rapidly roiling river? As I watched my handiwork spin down the drain I wondered what it was about toilets in Germany.

The reason I was Munich at all during that first trip was to cohabitate with a dame who I’d met a few days earlier in Italy. She also didn’t have much water in her toilet bowl. And to make matters worse, the hole was on the wrong side! My steaming pile of excrement sat atop a little ledge. As the water flowed during flushing the brownies slid down of their perch as if they were riding a flume at Wet-n-Wild. Yippee!

Naturally, my mess left skid marks around the toilet. I hadn’t cared to take notice of this and it was quickly brought to my attention by the dame.

Dame: “The brush tucked behind the toilet under the tank is used to scrub the toilet when you’re finished.”

Me: “OK, sorry. Why does my poopie sit on a ledge and not drop directly into the water like it does in America?”

Dame: “It is like that so you can inspect it for consistency, color and smell.”

Me: “You’re shitting me! You Germans sure are thorough!”

Russian Humor

PutinRussians are known for their colorful language among many other things.  My father who spoke Russian, often told me smilingly of how many vulgar cuss words there were in the Russian language. There are even more combinations of these words than the mind can imagine! Art imitates life!

Russians also have specific sense of humor. Have a man dress up as a woman, that’s it, and you will see and hear unending  chuckles from the audience.

This next story captures many other aspects of Russian culture succinctly, all in one joke. Perhaps no other country except Russia could turn such a morbid story into one that becomes so incredibly funny. It is because it has all the hallmarks of a great Russian story. Death, corruption, stealing, orphans, vodka, winter, humor,…

On a dark, bleary and bone-numbing winter’s day, a would-be mass murderer/serial killer-after a bottle of vodka-decides that he wants to make a real name for himself, to be even greater than the Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs, Anatoly Onoprienko, or even Andrei Chikatilo. So he gathers a bunch of Russian ruble notes and sprays them with a deadly poison. It will kill its victims within hours of contact on their skin. He takes the money to the local orphanage with a note explaining that he would like for all of the children (more than 100) to receive some of the money as an anonymous Christmas gift. He places it on the interior of a large container’s door and as he closes the door he hears the bag of money slide down and rattle and echo in the empty metal cube. 

The next evening he prepares a great meal, and settles in to watch the evening news program to see how many children and workers at the orphanage have been killed by his diabolical plan. But, much to our psycho’s surprise the news anchor explains that the ‘director of a local orphanage is dead under strange circumstances which has been completely overshadowed by the fact that the police chief is also dead, in addition to about 20 local government deputies and the interior minister’s wife.  Another thirty single women (and two men) in the region are also dead. The police had already extracted a confession from the killer. He claims to have ties with NATO…’