Wednesday, March 27, 2013

1) Collect Underwear; 2) ? 3) Make profit

One of my favorite South Park episodes is about the Underwear Gnomes.  It is also about Rob Reiner as a prototype of Mayor Bloomberg, going around trying to force people to stop smoking, and that's a funny plot, but the subplot is funnier.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Speak German (for anglophones)*

(*people who speak English, not angels on phones or people who only use their phone when they are inside a triangle.)

Speaking German is, indeed,  particularly easy if you can speak or read English, in part because if you didn't, you wouldn't have been able to understood anything I've written so far.  We could even make horrible fun of you if we wanted. Nya, nya, silly non English speaker.

So now that we've got past that, how does one speak German?  It is very easy.  There are 2 main steps:

1)  Speak English, except with a German accent.

Don't know a German accent?  Search Hulu for old episodes of "Hogan's Heroes".    Listen to David Hasselhoff  or Heino (only for educational purposes, of course.).  Watch "Wings of Desire" or "Das Boot" in the original German.  Download a German pop mp3 from the 80s, the only decade in the history of Germany during which American youth listened to German pop music (Look for names like Nena, Kraftwerk, Peter Schilling, usw.  (usw is German for etc).  )

If you mention you are looking for examples of German accents and people tell you about videos of a funny looking little man with a mustache who made speaches to large throngs of people and says "den Deutschen Voelk" a lot, DO NOT LISTEN TO WHAT THIS MAN SAYS.  First of all, he was Austrian and had a very silly Austrian accent.  Second of all, his grammar was at best questionable.  Thirdly, he was a vegan and we all know what kind of havoc the vegans cause when left to their own devices.  You don't want to go there.  Trust me.

2)  Pronounce everything.  For instance, pronounce Fahrvergnuegen "Fahr-fair-g[hard g]-new-g[hard g]-en," not Fahrferngully or something like that.

3) Put all verbs at the end of the sentence.  Or, if you are reading aloud, "All Ferbs at ze end of ze Sentence pootten!"

Now you are ready to speak German!

Would you like to learn to speak French?  It's easy.

Just don't pronounce ANYTHING.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tax Dirge, or What I Did on My Payroll Tax Vacation

Each year I put together a song mix that gives me solace and a chance for catharsis as I do my taxes.  Here is the story of this years' list.

At the end of 2012, we were informed our “payroll tax holiday” was coming to an end.  What payroll tax holiday?  I didn’t know we were on a holiday, did you?  Well, then our first paychecks of the new year came around, and it became obvious that, if we weren’t on holiday before, it sure was over now.

Still, as I pull all my receipts and forms together, planning my little trip to a village near Pinckney with all of them to get “TAXES FROM HELL!” stamped on the envelope, I fondly remember those days last year when I got paid a little bit more.  And then I remember that that means I’m paying more in taxes, so it doesn’t matter.

Regardless this year I’m presenting a tax dirge that reflects that sentiment.  Listen to these songs as you work through that ritual that all working Americans share, and if you get too depressed, just remember:  the Canadians will have to do the same damn thing in May, and their taxes are higher.