beefjerky, Germany, Light Crap

A Difference of Taste

I still like to write people letters occasionally. And generally, if you receive a letter from me, it will include a clipping from a magazine or the weekly grocery store circular. When I lived in Germany, my favorite clippings were in the weekly Angebote at Rewe or Edeka. Most of the stuff was standard and of little interest, but the pictures of meat were exactly that: meat in the raw.

Big slabs of Kalbsbraten bleeding Schweinenackenbraten, pasty Hähnchenbrustfilets, or flaccid Puteschnitzel. They had it all – and all was presented rather matter of fact. Sure, there’d be the occasional decoration propped nearby, like the slices of pepper next to that floppy chicken breast below, but most of it was blissfully unadorned.


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Light Crap

Like Chips Passing in the Night


Yes, this image is copyrighted. But it depicts the problem at hand.

“Have a happy fourth of July,” the checkout lady said as I packed up my chips and beers and other fixings for the fourth.

But I just wonder how that could happen the way things are.

I was going to write a clever blog about one of the key differences between life in the US and Germany. But I’ll just get straight to the point and then to bed.

In Germany most bottled beers come in half liters.
Which is good.
Most chips and pretzels come in small bags.
Which is not good.

In the US, most bottled beers come in tiny bottles.
Which is not good.
Most chips and pretzels come in bags you could use to suffocate an elephant seal.
Which is good.

I just thought that this was interesting.


drinking, Germany

Karneval is coming

It happens soon. The Karneval city of Cologne is gearing up for their big celebration. Revelers are steeling their guts drinking a little more than usual each day. Merchants are loading in shipments of crappy fake fur costumes. The random ‘ra-ra’ music is flooding the airwaves.

It’s time to get yourself to the store and figure out what want to be.

Last year’s celebration included this and this.


Socialized Health Care: Efficient, Delightful and Slightly Cold

Dedicated to all the asshats headed into Congress back in the USA who are trying to repeal the health care bill as a first order of business.

I laid on the cold wooden floor of my apartment alternating between hot and cold compresses trying to reduce the pain in my back. On one hand I was frustrated, sick and tired of my cranky spine. On the other hand I was excited and eager at the prospect of finally trying out German health care.

After dealing with insurance in the USA, I was curious to pay a little more in taxes for no deductibles, cheap prescriptions and top rate care. Yes, I know many have equated socialized health care to Nazism, Communism, Nihilism and any other frightening sounding -ism; but I always thought I’d rather have the government up in my health business than a profit-driven, lowest-cost motivated medical insurance company.

My back has bothered me for the past couple years. Probably from too much time hunched over a computer screen. When it first began, I used alternative treatments, including acupuncture, massage and rolfing. (A few $30 co-pays to visit the in-network doctor, in addition to monthly insurance payments, only to be prescribed painkillers I had to pay for out of pocket was not worth it.)

This picture comes up when you type 'socialized health care,' though the German system was much better than any DMV visit I've ever had.

I had avoided setting up an appointment here in Germany hoping to delay my entry into the supposed grinding bureaucracy of state health care as long as I could.

I finally acquiesced one morning while laying on the office floor with a co-worker overhead insisting we call the doctor. She spoke quickly and efficiently in German and came out with an appointment for two days later.

Well, okay, that’s not too bad. But surely I’ll be stuck in the waiting room for two years with all of the other degenerates once I get there.

I arrived at the office and was quickly invited to fill out a form, no doubt to provide the government with all sorts of enticing information they could use against me. Actually, it was just a page or so and I had to write my address and any allergies. I paid my 10 Euros and waited five minutes before I was placed in the doctor’s office.

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