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cross cultural observations

30 June 2006
Quoth Nick the Norwegian:
I find that American women say very many things to which you're not supposed to reply.

20 June 2006, in some pub or another in Göttingen, Deutschland

did anyone tell iggy?

From the Department of Hasselhoff

As some of you no doubt know, I take perverse pleasure in finding new and strange musics when traveling in foreign lands. I came back from Central America with Salvadoran folk-punk about Oscar Romero. I took perverse pleasure in looting a friend's collection of pop and punk from New Zealand. Naturally, I was most eager to find something new and amusing from Germany. Never in a thousand years would I ever imagine I could find something so bizarre and yet so German as I did this past weekend.

A new friend of mine (a PhD candidate in Late Renaissance and Early Modern History) and I took off for Berlin to amuse ourselves for the weekend. The plan was to hit the Pergamon and whatever else struck our fancy. Saturday morning, we found ourselves at a café in the shadow of the Berliner Dom, sipping Cafe au Lait and munching on croissants. As our meal was drawing to an end, therestaurantt staff changed the music. The music they put on was something like a cross between the Crash Test Dummies and the Cowboy Junkies, gone honkey tonk. In relatively short order, we recognized that the song was a cover, but try as we might, we couldn't come up with what it was that was being covered. I eventually figured out that the cover was of a song performed by a woman. Two bars later, my friend shouted, "Oh my God! It's Toxic!"

So it was.

After "Toxic" came a cover of "Hey Ya!"

It was, frankly, to surreal to be true. It was also freakin' hilarious. Naturally, we asked the waitress what the music was. She kind of laughed at us but went and asked the bartender what he was playing and returned to tell us that it was The BossHoss.

Apparently, The BossHoss is a group from Berlin that lives to do perverse covers of American songs that weren't all that good in the first place. The result is just too damn funny. Seriously. Robert Palmer's "Unbelievable" as honkey tonk? Iggy Pop's "Eyes Without a Face." Nelly's "Hot in Here."

Yeah.

Nelly.

As German honkey tonk. Naturally, I went and bought their album. We found out on Monday that not only is The BossHoss a group from Berlin, but they're actually kinda popular the German youth.

And, of course, what's a post like this without the promise of video confirmation. Go have a look at the videos for Hey Ya! and Hot in Here.

So yeah, there ya' have it. Post modern weird German pop honkey tonk.

Isn't that special?

sage advice

26 June 2006
By way of Wonderland, I pass along to you sage advice for gaming, life, and dissertations.




The deviant/brilliant mind that came up with this wonderful bit o' humor has done a few more that are worthy of your clickety attentions.

to quote the great american movie

From left to right: Shanon Smythe, Yours Truly, Justin Travis
Rammelsburg Silver Mine in Goslar, Germany
Photo taken by J. Ross Wagner, originally posted on Tea and Theology
(The original home of tea porn.)

Quoth Mr. Smith,

"The difference between you and me is I make this look good."

Seriously. What about a bright yellow hard hat and pink pin stripes isn't sexy?

kaput

20 June 2006
Due to circumstances beyond our control (namely a fried logic board), a Sop in Wyn will be on hiatus until my laptop comes home. In other words, I have little desire to fight German keyboards while attempting to blog.

In the mean time, I'll leave you something to ponder. Namely, the 10 essential truths about food in Germany:

  1. Germans put sauce on everything.
  2. Germans love to put sauce on everything.
  3. If you refuse sauce, Germans look at you like you just suckerpunched their mother.
  4. Germans actually know how to make a good Mojito (real Cuban rum helps).
  5. Germans love ice cream (Eis).
  6. Germans put sauce on everything.
  7. Breakfast = coldcuts.
  8. Tofu is a relatively unknown quantity.
  9. Germans love saurkraut on their falaffel (two kinds of saurkraut no less; white and purple).
  10. Germans put sauce on everything.

mark your calendars

16 June 2006
Got plans for 13-15 October 2006?

Perhaps you are wondering why I would be asking about the weekend of 13-15 October. Perhaps you were planning on going to the Cotton Wad Festival at the George Q. Pudlumpkin Greater Midwest Convention Center and Rifle Club. Perhaps you were planning on finishing a jigsaw puzzle. Perhaps you were planning on making cookies or attending your local "Republicans for Voldemort" campaign rally. Maybe you had big plans for the commemoration of the lesser feast of Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereshewsky.

Well, forget it.

As of this moment, your plans are to attend the 31st International Patristics, Medieval and Renaissance Studies Conference at Villanova University.

What's that? You're a Modernist?

Bah. Come anyway and plan to wear a beret.

Why?

Because I'm going to go all Medieval. Namely, I'm going to be presenting a paper at the conference. (Hwæt!)

Yeppers. The ol' sop himself receiveded news today that the paper proposal was accepted. I get to get my comparative Victorine allegorical exegesis on. I am officially a happy monkey.

Though one could just as well say, "Avast! I be a jolly historical pirate! Arrr!" (Judy, Laura, that was all for you. Where my Biblical ninjas at, yo?)

The theme for this year's PMR is "Structure, Space and Meaning: The Walls and Portals of Premodern Worlds." A good title, I think. The only problem is that it violates the first cardinal rule of academic titles. Everything before the colon should be pretty sexy (in that academic kinda way). Well done there. However, everything after the colon should be positively mind numbing for everyone but the five people who specialize in that particular (and often peculiar) field. Case in point, the title of my paper is, "Filling the Temple of the Soul: Spatial Metaphore and Hugonian Influence in Thomas Gallus' Commentary on Isaiah 6."

See, isn't that better?

Believe it or not, this rule has been documented in a highly reputable and singularly authoritative academic source.

By the way, if you come to the conference, I promise that there will be beer simultaneous, coterminous, and coequal with the commemoration of the blessed Bishop Shereschewsky.

blasphemalicious

15 June 2006
Sound advice from our Lord and Savior.

best homework ev-ar!

I've been doing homework since kindergarden (that'd be 161 dog years of doing homework). Heck, since I started teaching Latin, I've even done my fair share of asigning homework. Suffice to say, I'm fairly well versed in that whole "go home and do stuff for class" thing. I'd like to think I've worked my way through most of the possible permutations of homework. Let me be the first to say, I was wrong.

I do believe I've been given the coolest homework assignment imaginable.

This Sunday afternoon, for class, I have to go to a beer garden.

Yeah.

I have to go drink beer for class. Seriously.

What's the catch? On Monday, I do have to talk about it in German. But I'm at the Goethe-Institut. I have to talk about everything auf Deutsch, so no big.

Now, if I could just figure out how to work the whole "go to a pub and drink for course credit" thing into my upcoming American Church History seminar, we'd be all set.

There, Shannon. I blogged. Thrrrrrpt!

a study in contrast

13 June 2006
Exhibit 1: The cat in New Jersey that kicks some serious ursine butt.

Exhibit 2: The bear in Germany that's making a royal nuisance of itself; so much so that Finnish dogs have been imported to track the beast down.

Perhaps the Bavarian authorities ought to forgo the dogs and bring in the kitty cat?

•••

In other news, it seems I will have the opportunity to see Corvus Corax while in Germany. It's going to require a trip to Kaltenberg (outside of München) and a visit to Kaltenberger Ritterturnier (Renaissance Faire). Damn the luck. Sadly, while in Paris, I will not have the opportunity to see Paris Combo as they're in the studio for 2006.

It looks like this weekend, I'm off to a nearby town that has been more or less left alone for the past couple hundred years (insofar as the various ried wars have left it undamaged). The next weekend will perhaps be Berlin, perhaps Köln. It all depends on where the Fußball is. (Id est, I shall be where the Fußball is not.) The difficulty with travel is that I don't get out of classes on Friday until 15:45, so anything that requires a lengthy train ride is going to be a bit of a pain, but things could be considerably worse.

Now, it's off to flash cards and "lunch."

less content, even less form

12 June 2006
The good news is, I'm posting. The bad news is, today's post is going to be more or less the equivalent of a clip show. (Hello Probie!)

If you got that, I'll drink a beer for you tonight. ;-)

So, without further ado:

1. Since I'm a punk and didn't bring the cable to my digital camera, if you're itching for German photographic satisfaction, check out Shannon's blog. She's posting pictures. I cannot be held responsible for any "tea porn" you might stumble upon.

2. Remember when I said the Fußball fans here were nuts? It could be worse.

3. I think I just had a nerdgasm. That is just too freakin' cool. I was so going to see the movie to begin with, but now, well... *drool*

all the small things

10 June 2006
It's the little things that make you crazy, things like having to spend four hours doing two loads of laundry or realizing that the cable that connects your camera to your laptop is on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Or perhaps things like looking down to find your iPod has fried itself and is now a lovely paperweight (after the warranty and Applecare are no longer in effect) could be considered vexing. Or perhaps unrelenting acid reflux because German cuisine, even organic, vegetarian German cuisine, simply does not agree with your gastrointestinal tract might make one a bit cranky.

But you know what?

It's all better now.

I've got a three day weekend in early July and I just booked a room in a four star hotel for three nights at a price that would make Ebenezer Scrooge green with envy.

Hey, it ain't London, but it'll do.

In other news, last night was the first game of the World Cup and Göttingen is definitely an interesting place to be. While I didn't see the game, a friend and I were walking downtown and saw lots of people seeing the game. Every café had a massive television sitting out so people could watch the game. The hard part was finding a café at which Fußball could be avoided. We wound up at a tiny café that served organic fare and were thus contented.

It turns out that the team from Mexico is staying in town for the duration of the tournament. This has made for quite the interesting atmosphere. All the fans from Mexico heartily joined in celebrating Germany's victory last night. The town square was packed with the victory celebration with both Germans and Mexicans reveling in all things Fußball. Some daring soul climbed atop the fountain in the city center to wave a massive German flag oveassembledmbeled crowd. After about 15 minutes, it was joined by an only slightly smaller Mexican flag. The crowd cycled through a series of victory shouts accompanied by drums and large, plastic horns. The police, though omnipresent, were just as gleeful.

But, really, who cares?

I'm going to Paris.

Anybody know of great hotels in Prague?

auf Deutsch

08 June 2006
I'm not dead yet!

I am, however, now officially blogging from Deutschland and the Goethe-Institut. After fighting for an hour to get round an incorrectly printed DNS address, I am connected to the internet. Now, I just need to get off my kiester and actually start taking pictures. Once I get around to that, we're going to be in business.

As expected, an eight week intensive class in reading German does not adequately prepare one for actually speaking German. Of course, neither does only reading Luther's sermons, auf Deutsch, for a full semester. When my instructor informed me that I was going to need to do some one on one work in conversation and composition, well, let's say she was a lot more surprised by that than I was.

I promise a real post later.

No really. I will.

Honest.