Tuesday, May 30, 2006

God Told Me in a Vision I Need a Holiday

From wikipedia, on Corpus Christi Day, a holiday here in Germany: The appearance of Corpus Christi as a feast in the Christian calendar was primarily due to the petitions of the thirteenth-century Augustinian nun St. Juliana of Liège. From her youth she claimed that God had been instructing her to establish a feast day for the Eucharist

So, basically, you just need to hassle the church enough, and they'll give you a new holiday. That's my kind of religion!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Mother's Day by Hallmark, Father's Day by Jägermeister

Thursday was Ascension Day, which is also Father's Day here in Germany. While Mother's Day is celebrated the same as in the USA, Father's Day isn't. Rather than give ties or power tools to their fathers, Germans get them drunk. Younger men will go drink heavily all day with their fathers, and new fathers get together with their buddies to also get blitzed. For some, this starts on Wednesday night and continues until Sunday, others limit themselves to the one day. Apparently German theology includes a belief that Jesus & God went on a multi-day bender to celebrate Jesus's return to heaven. It also explains how the first commandment ("Thou shalt have no other gods before Me") was translated by Martin Luther as "Thou shalt have no drinks before Me, unless I am late for happy hour."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Mavs Chronicles of Narnia SNL Skit parody

Since most of you are in dallas, you may have seen this already. i thought it was pretty funny. Enjoy! http://youtube.com/watch?v=BOyX_9pgdpo&search=snl .

Monday, May 22, 2006

Amsterdam -- Any Requests?

One of the great things about going somewhere for the weekend is the requests people make. Some of these can tip you off to a great food or drink (speaking of which, if any of you come from Nashville, bring me a Bella Vita from Da Vinci's Pizza), but it also has other side effects. Belgium will brook requests or sad wishes for chocolate and beer; England, tea or bizarre candies; France, wine or cheese, but only Amsterdam requires glances over the shoulder and lowered voices. After all, what are they going to ask for? A Rembrandt? Tulips? Souvenir left ears? Amstel freaking Light? Nope. People claim they go for the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House or tulips, but they really just want porn or pot. And nothing's more fun than having someone drop into a whisper for their request only to follow it up with, "Ooooh, I don't know much about that. Is it a problem if I get the wrong kind?" Invariably, the answer is no. Because whether you want to get high or horny, only the best will do.


As I may have ranted about before, belgian beer is fabulous. I say this knowing that none of my german friends are reading this, as this would be considered heretical (on a par with suggesting that the US outplayed Germany in the last World Cup). The sheer variety is unbelievable. Take all the types you've had at the Flying Saucer or other brew pub, and multiply it by the large interger of your choice. The bar pictured at left has 2500 brews available (most belgian, but not all). Of course, as your loyal scribe, it's my duty to experience as many of these as I can. After spending the weekend on a fact-drinking mission at an ultimate tournament in Arendonk (Flemish for "doesn't exist on any map or website"), I have several facts to report:

1. Hoegaarden isn't "HO-GARDEN" it's "HOO-GARDEN". And even then the bartenders have enough French in them to sniff at your pronounciation.
2. Duvel + Chimay Blue = Not the Best 1st Round Game Ever.
3. Kriek Belle-Vue is a tart 'n tasty cherry beer. Lindeman's Kriek beer is slightly sweeter than Big Red.
4. Kriek Gueze (almost rhymes with "ooze") is just really, really good. Too rich to drink much, but wow.
5. Bonus SAT prep! Budweiser is to Stella Artois as Stella Artois is to Grimbergen Blond.
6. Belgians having a different glass for each beer pretty much ruins my plan to steal a cool glass for each good beer I drink.

7. Even the best beer tastes horrible after brushing your teeth.

Friday, May 19, 2006

False Advertising Rampant in Slovenia

What a load of crap. I went into this place in Ljubljana, and not a single picture of LB in the place. Bastards.

The Burger that Won the Revolution!

It's Volks-Burger (People's Burger) week at the Citi Cafeteria, and that means that all you capitalist pigs will have to subsist on your bourgeois salads. Burgers are for the People! Viva la Revolucion!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Germans at the Gym

I assumed that Germans would wear essentially the same thing to the gym as Americans, so I was surprised when friends kept asking, “what do they wear to the gym?” My pithy response is either “Lederhosen!” or “Jackboots and a helmet with a spike on it.”

A more accurate answer for women would be, “The same thing they wore yesterday.” Since I tend to workout at the same time everyday (around 7pm), I see the “regulars” almost everyday. And the women almost always wear the exact same outfit every time I see them. Either that or they have several pairs of identical pants. I don’t know if they wash obsessively, or if they’re funky, but I’m not sure I want to know. The typical outfit is a lycra top to show some belly (nothing wrong with that) and biker shorts or equally tight workout pants. Sometimes they vary this by wearing a light jacket or a polo shirt over the ensemble. That classes it up, let me tell you.

As for the men, let’s just say Charlie Gaddy circa 2000 would fit right in. Running tights or biker shorts with nothing covering them? Why not? The boldest fashion statement is the regular who wears what appear to be hot pants to run. Imagine the John Stockton's shorts from his NBA career, but shorter, skintight and made of lycra. I'll leave you with that mental picture.

Sign No. 47 You're a Jackass:

When you meet friends at the train station, you stop directly in front of the doors to talk, then give people dirty looks when they try to get by. Take 3 steps forward, Jackass!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

5 Reasons Why Dallas is Better than Duesseldorf*

1. Cheering for the Mavs doesn't require an all-nighter or an early wakeup call.
2. Thai restaurants actually serve Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao, dammit!).
3. Good Mexican food is almost too easy to find.
4. Moving into an apartment means that your kitchen, closets, and blinds are already there.
5. Ultimate players socialize after playing.

* Other than the obvious ones of family & friends that I miss.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

My "Girly Posse"

Liz's words, not mine! This is me with a few friends last Friday on Ratinger Strasse ("street"). There are several bars and clubs on the street, but the cool people hang out outside and bring their beer with them. I guess that's really reason #6 why the 'Dorf beats Dallas -- no law against open containers!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

5 reasons Duesseldorf is better than Dallas in May

1. Mid-afternoon office birthday parties have champagne and/or beer.
2. “Heat wave” means temps in the upper 70s, not upper 90s.
3. $0.60 gets you a scoop of gelato, $0.75 at the pricy joints.
4. Sunsets at 9pm mean plenty of time to hang out & drink beer during the day.

5. 2 national holidays this month instead of 1.
Heat Wave in the Dorf

Just like Dallas had a spate of unseasonably hot weather, Duesseldorf has been having a week of late-summer temps. Nothing like a high of 77 (average hi temp in August is 71) to get those short skirts & belly shirts out of the closet. No arguments here!

Other signs of warm temps: lines 20 people deep at the $0.60 gelato stand, people actually smile, every restaurant, bar, and coffee shop has sprouted outdoor tables and the sunglasses now cover at least 50% of people’s faces. The next logical step in this trend is for fashionistas to just wear visors from motorcycle helmets.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Bush Issue

Being an American in Europe guarantees you certain things: indignance at sloooooow service at restaurants, relief at the prevalence of English speakers, and questions about the President. Now in 1999, maybe these same questions would have led to some serious flirtation, but the current controversy in Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan doesn't lend itself as well to more ... enjoyble social interaction. And once the person finds out you're from Texas, you're guaranteed at least 1 "What do you think of Bush" or "What the hell is wrong with you people" question. Even a flaming liberal like myself gets tired of constantly addressing the issue. And apparently it's not socially acceptable to reply to queries with, "Hey, at least we're not ramping up Zyklon B production" or "When is this Kristallnacht I've heard so much about?"

What I didn't expect were the jokes. I've heard several, almost all of which mock Bush's intelligence. This being the only one I hadn't heard before. One of my Slovenian friends told it to me via email:

A man enters a bar and orders a drink. The bar has a robot bartender. The robot serves him a perfectly prepared cocktail, and then asks him, "What's your IQ?"

The man replies "150" and the robot proceeds to make conversation about global warming, actors, Quantum physics and spirituality, bio-mimicry,environmental interconnectedness, string theory, nanotechnology, and sexual proclivities.

The customer is very impressed and thinks, "This is really cool." He decides to test the robot. He walks out of the bar, turns around, and comes back in for another drink. Again, the robot serves him the perfectly prepared drink and asks him, "What's your IQ?"

The man responds, "about 100." Immediately the robot starts talking, but this time, about NASCAR, super models, favorite fast foods, guns, and women's breasts.

Really impressed, the man leaves the bar and decides to give the robot one more test. He heads out and returns, the robot serves him and asks, "What's your IQ?"

The man replies, "Er, 50, I think."

And the robot says... real slowly.."So............... ya gonna vote for Bush again?"