It’s Not Easy Being Optimist-In-Chief

When it comes to dealing with Europe, I mean. Optimism is suspekt (makes suspicious) here. There is always an angle to everything, you see.

Larry Page

For him (Larry Page), the real danger is opposing technological progress and greater efficiency. Such dangers lurk particularly in the Old World: “Especially in Europe, it appears easy to ignore the fundamental physics of a question in order to claim everything is just fine when things here cost twice as much as elsewhere. This attitude worries me greatly, because it hinders the work of entrepreneurs.”

But should not a society also have the right to say “No” to a superior technology? Certainly, agrees Mr. Page. But that’s not particularly clever. “If you make everything twice as expensive, you reduce people’s quality of life.” And do you really want to keep local entrepreneurs from making their contribution to the global economy? Naturally it’s great when citizens have the feeling they can decide. “I’m merely saying that when they make decisions contrary to a global system of capital, then they have to do that consciously and seriously. And I don’t believe anyone is doing that.”

“If I were a young entrepreneur today and I had the choice of starting my Internet firm in Germany or Silicon Valley, it wouldn’t be a hard choice. And regulation will only get worse in Europe. It will be very hard to build a company of global import there.”

Gerade die Europäer neigen in den Augen von Larry Page offenbar zu falscher Nostalgie. “In Europa scheint es leicht, die grundlegende Physik einer Frage zu ignorieren und zu behaupten, es ist schon in Ordnung, wenn Dinge hier doppelt so viel kosten wie anderswo”.

First Ten NSA Keywords Leaked

Shocking Spy Skandal Update: Although more than 400,000 NSA keywords and phrases are supposedly still to be found on the computers of the BND – Germany’s zany, madcap spy agency accused of helping that nasty NSA in its sneaky and suspicious snooping activities – very little is known about the nature of these keywords themselves. Up until now, that is.

BND

A corrupt German double agent has just released the first ten for a considerable chunk of baksheesh and an extended vacation stay at an undisclosed location in Florida. They are:

Domina
Dominatrix
Domino’s Pizza
Miley Cyrus
Apple Watch
We Watch
Everybody Watch
What is the Eurovision Song Contest?
What is Conchita Wurst?
Weather

More to follow. If national security permits.

“We are dependent on the NSA, not the other way round.”

Stress Lady’s Back

Now she’s stressed out about being in something called the “sandwich generation.”

Stress

Just eat more vegetables and get over it already, sweetheart. Sheesh. When this broad ain’t stressed out about sandwiches she’s stressed out about this, this, this or this. She’s really starting to stress me out. Know what I’m sayin’?

Rund 82 Prozent der deutschen Frauen zwischen 40 und 59 Jahren fühlen sich nach einer Studie zwischen Beruf, Familie und teilweise auch Pflege von Angehörigen immer wieder überfordert.

PS: Oddity 448. The word “Stress” is used more frequently and has a much more negative connotation in German than it does elsewhere. It is a very dirty six-letter word here. Germans strive to achieve a stable, stress-free life within predictable confines and anything that interferes with this is more stressful for them than any of us non-Germans out there can imagine. Germans will even get stressed out about stress that they don’t even have yet, thus subjecting themselves to even more stress and feelings of inadequacy (for not being under this type of stress yet), which can also be very stressful. Needless to say, this makes it very stressful for those otherwise non-stressed individuals out there who have to witness all of this.

Next Big US-Amerikan Internet Giant Soon To Threaten The German Way Of Life Again

Whatever that is. It’s called Postmates and it’s an on-demand courier service that is sure to ruin everything Germans hold to be hoch und heilig (holy) in the realm of quick and easy albeit expensive pick-up and drop-off service.

Postmates

It’s despicable and it’s nasty and it’s wait a minute… A German invented it. Well, a little German innovation never hurt anybody, right?

Postmates has set itself an ambitious goal — to be the Uber of goods, with a vast network of couriers, linked, like Uber’s drivers, via a sleek app, waiting for users to hit a button on their smartphones and send them forth to pick up anything that money can buy. Like Uber’s drivers, Postmates couriers aren’t employees but “independent contractors.” Anyone with a bike, car, truck, scooter or motorcycle can register and decide exactly when they want to work.

“In Germany, if you have an idea like mine, people think you’re deluded.”

German Of The Day: Nervensäge

That means “nerve saw” or annoying person. And heaven knows that Claudia Roth of the German Greens has spent an entire career making a name for herself in that department.

Roth

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung even once referred to her as the “Mother of All Nerve Saws.” But that was then and this is now. She has clearly mellowed out now that she just turned 60 (today). Now it’s more like she just gnaws on your nerves.

Happy Birthday, Claudia!

Selbst Etiketten wie “Mutter aller Nervensägen”, wie die “FAZ” einmal schrieb, ärgern die streitbare Politikerin nicht. Im Gegenteil: Im Bundestagswahlkampf 2013 griff sie das Thema selbstironisch auf, eine Parteikampagne für mehr weibliche Mitglieder warb mit dem Spruch: “Wer nervt mehr als Claudia?”

But What Does This Guy Know?

China and Russia are the most avid intelligence gatherers in Germany, says Hans-Georg Maassen, head of Germany’s intelligence agency.

Maassen

But like, who cares about that? That’s beside the point or something. We Germans are empört (appalled) about this Skandal (scandal) and we’re going to stay that way, damn it.

Liebe Deutsche, findet euch damit ab, dass ihr ausspioniert werdet!

German Of The Day: Behindert

That’s what Germans are. Or at least one out of eight Germans are these days: Disabled.

Behindert

Not only are they getting more and more old and gray and in the way, they also seem to be doing so less gracefully.

Funny how the number could be so high here so quickly though, don’t you think (up 7 percent since 2009)? This couldn’t be another popular scam for some, could it? I’m so ashamed. How could I even think of such a thing?

Whatever it is, it reminds me of a German oddity I have observed here in Berlin: Oddity 168. If there were only two Germans left on earth, one would try to take advantage of the other by pulling out his “Schwerbeschädigter Ausweis” or disabled person ID. I was boarding a bus in Berlin once when two passengers got into a real argument over one of the seats reserved for the disabled by waving around their IDs and yelling back and forth at each other about who was the more disabled of the two. It came dangerously close to a real brawl. That made me wonder. Would the winner of the fight have then been disqualified for no longer being the most disabled one?

Gegenüber 2009 ist die Zahl der Menschen mit Behinderung um 7 Prozent beziehungsweise 673.000 Personen gestiegen.

German Spies Spying For American Spies Shocked To Discover That American Spies Were Actually Of The Spy Variety

After years of close cooperation with the NSA, Germany’s BND has now suddenly reduced this cooperation upon finding out that the information they had been furnishing the NSA with was being used for espionage purposes.

Spies

“Who would have thought that?” asked one high-ranking German spy official with a paper bag on his head. “We all figured that that  list of 40,000 selectors (IP addresses, search terms and names) we at the BND used on behalf of the NSA had some other justification. I dunno. I personally assumed they wanted to order pizza or something. But to go and spy on other folks like that? No way. We don’t want anything to do with that kind of Scheiße.”

It still remains to be seen whether this list can be released, as that depends on what arrangements were made with the US by the then government [of Gerhard Schröder] after the dramatic events of September 11.

Our Espionage Doesn’t Stink

On the one hand, we as German spies only do nice spying and would never spy on friends much less on other other nice Germans like ourselves.

BND

But on the other hand, intelligence agencies are working to ensure the public’s safety and the German government will do everything it can to ensure that it can carry out its job.

“And this ability to carry out its duties in the face of international terrorism threats is done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies, and that includes first and foremost the NSA.”

Deutschland regt sich über eine Spionageaffäre auf. Dabei wäscht seit Jahrzehnten unter den westlichen Diensten eine Hand die andere. Wir sollten endlich realistisch mit dem Thema Sicherheit umgehen.

German Of The Day: Krawalltourismus

That means “violent demonstration tourism,” more or less. And May Day (or International Workers’ Day) is booked out completely for this every year in Berlin.

May

These international workers are off that day, you see. And it’s a bewitching event that these folks just can’t afford to miss. You know, tradition and all that?

Weder mystisch noch romantisch. Für die Berliner Polizei steht run um die Maifeiertage viel Arbeit an.

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