German Of The Day: Pest oder Cholera

That means the plague or cholera. You know, as in having to choose between the two?

Saarland

That’s what voters in Saarland get to do today: Ch00se between Merkel’s too big to fail plague or “Schulz effect” cholera. May the best pestilence win.

Germany’s election year gets under way in earnest on Sunday when voters in Saarland choose a new state assembly, the first test of the Social Democrats’ surge in polls since they chose Martin Schulz to run against Merkel in September. The chancellor’s Christian Democrat-led bloc and the SPD were even at 32 percent each in an Infratest Dimap national poll published Friday.

Twisted German Scientists Devise Fake Sun

In a desperate attempt to save Germany’s failing renewable energy revolution, a group of depraved German scientists has devised a fake sun to keep German solar power plants running at night (one of the depraved scientists can be seen below).

Sun

The “Synlight” artificial sun, soon to be placed in low geocentric orbit above the country, uses lots and lots and lots of xenon short-arc lamps that generate 4,000 times the wattage of the average light bulb and will be switched on during varying intervals between 19:00 in the evening and 04:00 in the early morning hours, hopefully allowing German solar energy plants to finally produce enough energy to operate small radios and kitchen appliances simultaneously (but too many at once). Provided it isn’t too cloudy outside, of course. Which it practically always is here. But still.

“In four hours the system uses about as much electricity as a four-person household in a year.”

Steinmeier First President Ever To Put Parliamentarians Asleep During First Half Of Swearing-In Ceremony

In a refreshing twist on the rather staid traditions of German presidential swearing-in ceremonies of the past, Germany’s new president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), broke with protocol and chose a speech that put a large number of German parliamentarians asleep a mere seven minutes into the ceremony.

Steinmeier

“Wah?” said one startled representative from Rhineland-Palatinate as a Bundestag usher gently nudged him awake. “Good point. I couldn’t agree more!”

Steinmeier is regarded by many in Berlin as possessing the qualities necessary for the office of president: He is boring, ineffective, mediocre in every way and… Boring.

“Germany needs strong leadership, especially in the current situation.”

Voice Analysis Software To The Rescue

Being that over 60 percent of the million or so migrants seeking asylum in Germany do not have any identification papers on them and are not always “open” about where they actually came from, Germany authorities are planning to use speech analysis technology to help straigten this out and thus speed up the asylum seeking process.

Migrants

Migrants from Bavaria, for instance, speak a unique dialect of German that natives of, say, Hamburg or Frankfurt find difficult to understand. Berlin migrants, on the other hand, often speak Berlinisch, a metrolect mixture not always well-received in other parts of the country. This voice analysis software will quickly identify these differences and thus enable authorities to send these folks back to the Bundesland (federal state) they came from. For further processing there, I mean.

“I don’t see how automated software can distinguish whether a person uses a certain word or pronounces it in a particular way because this is part of their own repertoire or because they were primed to do so by the interviewer or interpreter.”

 

Berlin Doesn’t Need A New Airport After All

You know, the new one that still hasn’t opened yet and perhaps never will? No. Berlin is already number one when it comes to airports. So let’s move on already, people.

Airports

1.  Berlin Schönefeld Airport (SXF) in Deutschland
2.  London Luton Airport (LTN) in Großbritannien
3.  New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in den USA
4.  New York J. F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in den USA
5.  Brüssel Charleroi Airport (CRL) in Belgien
6.  Lima International Airport (LIM) in Peru
7.  Rom Ciampino Airport (CIA) in Italien
8.  Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) in Deutschland
9.  Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG) in Frankreich
10. Paris Orly Airport (ORY) in Frankreich

Sure, this is a list of the world’s worst airports (according to a survey taken by eDreams), but still. Both of Berlin’s airports under the top ten. Nice try New York and Paris but toodaloo muddafrika…

Zwei deutsche Flughäfen unter den Top 10.

Turks Kick Off New Tourism Campaign To Lure Germans To Turkey By Calling Them Nazis

Its tourism sector taking a real battering this year for some inexplicable reason, Turkish authorities are now attempting to lure German tourists to Turkey by calling them Nazis.

Turkey

“Please come visit our beautiful country, you Nazi swine,” a representative of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday in Berlin. “You are the infidel scum of the earth worthy to be put to a horrible death by slow roasting and will enjoy to the fullest our fascinating culture, stunning beaches and helpful, friendly personnel, all at an unbeatable low price.”

At the ITB fair in Berlin, 132 Turkish companies under the auspices of the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry will have the chance to promote the campaign.

Can I Have My False Pleasantries Back?

German facial expression of the day: Staring.

Stare

Oddity 34. You know you are in Germany when you regularly find yourself being stared at for no clearly discernible reason. I don’t know if Germans necessarily like to stare but they sure do it a lot.  A nice term a friend of mine prefers using is “unfiltered curiosity” but it’s staring all the same.

But it’s a wonderful trait: Firstly, you know the person is listening intently (they really are); secondly, since it’s very difficult to look someone in the eyes and speak coherently and come up with pleasant little white lies, the false pleasantries vanish and the conversation becomes honest and true – leading toward a final deep dive into the other’s soul.

Is That All You Could Find?

501 German oddities?

Dog

I know, I know. There are way more than that. Just consider these 501 oddities to be, you know, Oddities 101 or something.

“Hermann, thank you for your blog and books, I am hooked. I recently picked up 501 German Oddities and couldn’t stop laughing. I am German, but live in Boston with my husband, who is from the area and grew up here. We cracked up so many times and just had a blast reading your book. It was actually eye opening at times to the both of us and explained some “odd” behaviors of mine to him. Super grateful for the book and can’t wait to see more blog entries. All the best, Marina.”

Limited time ebook offer or something, folks. Also available at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc.