Saturday, February 25, 2006

Saturday Editorial

A review of my last 48 hours (with editorial remarks where appropriate:-))

1. I met a German at a pizza shop who thought I was Swiss. This means either that my German is getting better or that the Swiss speak bad German.

2. I called a Canadian an American-- oops! Minor international incident.

3. I saw The Blue Man Group—it ROCKED! Many parts of the show were geared toward a Berlin audience but when the guys started eating and puking Twinkies I am sure the audience was confused. The guys should have used fresh baked rolls from the local bakery.

4. I saw the movie Casanova—my recommendation: wait for it to come out on video (but Heath Ledger is hot.)

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Oh Carnival oh Carnival, what a crazy time of year;
The time before Lent to celebrate, with lots of fun and good cheer.

In Elzach they light torches and parade around the town;
They smack dried pig bladders on the pavement as the drinks go smoothly down.

In Freiburg (aahhh Freiburg) each Naaren wears a wooden mask;
Some dress like Indians and yell „oooohhhhh,“ in the US they would be taken to task.

Other towns have big parades and Anti-Bush floats too;
But this year people have been warned that Mohammed jokes are VERY taboo!

Today is Weiber-Fastnacht, the day when women are in charge;
The ladies give the kisses and cut ties, but everyone lives large.

Berlin has a parade on Sunday, but I have heard it will be bad;
I still plan to check it out. By US standards it might be rad:-)

Some say Carnival is like Mardi Gras, but these celebrations are uniquely German;
Where else would a whole town party and sacrifice a male gay virgin?

(Picture source: check out the website for more fun photos!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Adopt a German

Matthias and I went to a a press conference last night to kick off the “Adopt a German” competition. Puma is sponsoring a contest to find 12 “ambassadors” who will drum up excitement for the upcoming World Cup tournament. The idea is that these 12 people will keep blogs about their daily lives in their hometown to create interest in the cities where the matches will be held. In May, they will also tour major European cities speaking with people and inviting them to come to World Cup festivities. As I understood it, the “adoption” idea is that the newfound “friends and family” the ambassadors meet along their journey will be so intrigued by the German that they will want to “adopt” Germany/Germans as their own and come for a visit. Honestly I find the title somewhat confusing. This is really more “Germany adopts the world,” but admittedly that title is not as catchy. Overall though, the project is interesting both in terms of a general marketing idea and the idea that Germans are excited about Germany.

For Puma it is a smart marketing idea. I could not have told you before last night that Puma is a German firm. From the perspective of Germany’s image, I continue to be in favor of anything that encourages one to be proud of his/her country. The longer I am here the more I sense that Germans are very proud of their region and/or city but many still feel uncomfortable saying they are proud to be from Germany. When the judges were asked why they were proud to be German last night, some of them were momentarily thrown by the question. It will be interesting to see how much this campaign focuses on city-pride rather versus national-pride. I love that Germans I meet are super excited about their particular city and eager to share what they know. More than 60 years after WWII though, being excited about the whole country is good too! It is interesting to note, however, that this initiative is coming from a private firm and not the government.

Technically you do not need to be German citizen to enter the competition. I think with this blog and my new World Cup Soccer t-shirt (see posting below), I would be a strong contender;-) I wonder what the State Department would say!