“It’s Funny How the Election of a Foreign Country Touches Us” or: Why the World’s Citizens Beg US Citizens to Go and Vote.

When a culture even more so than an economy or political power becomes so overwhelmingly strong, that you feel it’s a vital part of your life, you somehow feel part of it.

Being a teenager, it was insane even to think about English titled movies in cinema or about my parents ordering “Spare ribs” instead of “Gegrillte Rippchen” or simply “Grill-Kassler”. Somehow the US-ification has taken the world, at least Germany it has taken. for the good, I believe:

English became the lingua franca  of contemporary Europe. The movie industry is trying harder and yes – my kids do love MacDonald’s and I love the “back to your own soil” and slow-food movement that was largely pushed here through the Internet and thus through the US. – The US, it’s where most Internet users are sitting, where therefore a massive amount is published and a giant wave of public opinion, trend or sometimes simply hot air can be and is created.

I’m not an US citizen, but my life is largely influenced by the decision of those US citizens, who actually make use of their right and vote.

You carry a huge responsibility. Use it. Go out there. Vote.

 

 

We Proudly Check 100.000 Emails a Day.

Now: would they be the postal service, and transport 5 times more mail than last year, they’d be celebrated for sure. But they are the Federal Information Agency of Germany. And they do not transport, they check. 37 million emails a year, over 100.000 a day. Given the fact that we got roughly 80 million citizens in this country…that makes…ah…they read twice a year a mail of any given citizen?! Statistically, I mean.

The figure arose in the news this week, when the parliamentarian control organ of our baby version of the CIA gave a report. The man on the left there, Gerhard Schindler, has a degree in administrative law. He does look like a nice guy. The photographer even made the effort to set up some lights and choose a background in very serious, but not to scary tones…

Further more, the German intelligence is located in a tiny village near Munich: Pullach. It’s more funny when you know that pullern is baby-language for to pee and that Pullach is mainly famous for a beergarden located there.

But than: BND – our agency – does unlike the CIA not have a kids page. Is German intelligence to scary for kids? Or is it scary US American kids are invited to play catch me control me and spy?! (Can’t belive it? Yes, they DO have a kids page…check here…believe it or not, my (German) son introduced me to it…)

Hm…should I stop sending emails now? Or simply replace any of the 13.000 tag words checked by our agency with code-names of different…different….let’s say: flowers?!

It would lead to an entirely new understanding of our flora and people would start knowing the Latin names of all these flowers again! Yeah!
‘nough said! Off to learn Latin terms for plants. See ya!

EU Bans Sale of Death Penalty Drug to US as by Today

It almost made me cry when I read it last week. Today, the 16th of December 2011, the EU will restrict the sale to the United States of sodium thiopental – one of the main active substances needed for lethal injections. Pressured by NGOs, human rights activists and – last not least and to surprising amazement – our former Federal Minister of Health  Philipp Rösler (currently Minister of Economics and Technology) played a not to be underestimated role in that. I’m far from being a fan of Rösler’s Free Democratic Party FDP, who used to be a quite left winged liberal party in the 70ies and transformed to an economically liberal party these days. Not only is Rösler Asian and YEAH! finally proving that we Germans of course have totally overcome racism and war (yep, we got a female chancellor and we got Wolfgang Schäuble, federal Minister of Finance and paraplegic! – few racist murders in the last ten years certainly only being a hiccup of history), he, Rösler, young of age, seems also to have made in the sodium thiopental case some smart moves. Surprise.

Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote earlier this month:

Approximately 100 people are executed by American authorities every year. But in the past few months, supplies of the drug have become scarce.
The only manufacturer based in the US, Hospira, is unwilling to continue to make its product available for lethal injections, and under American law it is not allowed to simply change the injection “recipe.” To do that, a complicated approval procedure is required. So authorities — who have been postponing executions as a result of the difficulty in finding supplies — have been seeking other sources such as those in the EU.
Who does not have a subscription to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, who does not speak German or who simply missed the article can read an English translation here.
…and now back to the weatherlovely images, cute Christmas stories, fun cooking, baking and pickling and here or there the occasional travel report or train trip story…

European Union Microchip Passport? – You belong to the chosen people!

Arriving at the London airport a friendly border control person held up a huge plate. Passport-colorish with a strange sign at the bottom.

Over 18 and Micro-Chip Passport here Please!

The sign-man was yelling out. It sounded like someone announcing a movie title or theatre play. Micro chip passport. Outsch…
Over there in the micro-chip section some grey looking skinny young people out of breath rushed through the waiting area and on to a machine, that looked like the offspring of a drunk night, where a space-ship and a subway entrance had a fling. Sound-effects could be heard: trap trap trap from the running of the hurrying, a silent plastic pt or even only bt or bd from the micro-chip passports being placed, slapped, laid, inserted in to and on to this machines and an entire orchestra of sci-fi movie sounds when the glass gates opened with a large whooooosh, cracked in their hinges metallic and closed with a smooth hydraulic zsshhhh. Tap Tap Tap…off the cool people ran.

The over 18 micro chip here please man kept yelling his offers in the far.

Next to me, the bold and short father of an extended Indian* family started talking to me:

{*Yes, I often meet Indians on my travels – especially when I am missing planes, look up from my laptop wondering where all those Bavarians went and what 400 Indians want in Munich…}

Oh, look at you. You are chosen. Go on. You have it. You are lucky. You can go there.

Only strong German accent is cooler than heavy Indian speech, no?

I looked at him. I looked at what he was looking at with his curring Indian smile:
In my hands I held a perfect European-Union-Over-18-Micro-Chip Passport.
I was chosen. My eyes wandered over to the spaceship-subway offspring again.
It eats people, I thought to myself, and smiled back at the short Indian man and his family.

The line in front of me was not to bad.
The border control lady looked tired, but seemed to be perfectly human to me.

Maybe I am getting old, but oh, people, how much do I prefer you above spaceship-offsprings!