“Care for the soul.” The CyprusAID combination food bank distribution and free outdoor concert on 01 Apr 2013 was mostly to bring people together and show that they are cared for, that they’re not facing these problems alone.
(ZAY len ZORG ah.)
“Watering can principle,” in which subventions are distributed evenly throughout a group without regard to individual needs or priorities, a principle some European arms exporters say they won’t follow if allowed to resume exporting weapons to Syrian rebels. They say they will only give guns to good guys. The UK and France don’t want to renew the EU’s embargo on Syrian arms shipments, which is about to expire.
(GEESE Cannes en prints EEP.)
To this foreigner, Blaupause looks like “blue break,” which might indicate a nice use of free time in a well-situated beer garden because “blue” means drinking in Germany. But the word actually means “blueprints.”
New ESM head Jeroen Dijsselbloem angered some small countries whose economies are dependent on a large banking sector or at least threatened by large bank failures when he indicated that elements found to work in what the EU does in Cyprus—reduction of a banking sector that had grown to 7x the size of the country’s economy, reregulation of the remaining banks—could be applied to other Member States that get in too much trouble.
About Cyprus: German news reports that, during the past fortnight of negotiations when large transfers from Cypriot banks were supposed to be frozen, over a billion euros were nevertheless transferred off the island by foreign banks, mostly in London. A whistleblower list has appeared containing names of parliament members, local officials and associated companies and organizations that received millions in loans between 2007 and 2012 from the country’s two largest banks (Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank, plus Hellenic Bank in only one instance so far) but did not have to pay the full loans back. The only Cypriot political parties not represented on that list were a social democratic party and an environmental party, fwiw. A second whistleblower list is expected to appear containing names of large deposit holders who managed to get their money off the island just in time.
(Bl ow! Pow! Zah.)
“Sparkling wine tax.” In 1902 Kaiser Wilhelm created a champagne tax to help finance construction of the Kiel canal.
(ZECKED shtoy ah.)
“Brunsbüttel lock rails.” The world’s busiest artificial canal is said to be the Kiel Canal from Brünsbuttel to Kiel that allows ships to bypass Denmark. The canal was first built from 1887 to 1895, though many of the key components still in use were completed later, just in time for WWI. Brunsbüttel’s hundred-year-old lock gates urgently need repair, probably rapid replacement in fact, but this is difficult due to heavy traffic on the canal, the scale of the project and the fact that the work has had to be done underwater by divers at visibility of 1–2 cm. The locks’ sliding gates (Schleusentore) are hung from steel rails (Stahlschienen) and driven by toothed gears and chains on concrete and steel grooves installed on the ocean floor. These rails and grooves urgently need to be fixed and don’t always work well anyway as ship propellors and other excrescences can knock the gates out of place. The Brunsbüttel locks were closed, drained and fixed for a week this winter, forcing ships to take the 800 km-longer route around Denmark from the North Sea to the Baltic, but much more needs to be done. The canal has two locks at either end, and a fifth lock is planned to be built in Brunsbüttel to keep the canal open during repairs.
(BROONZ en bütt ellll scheh SHLOYZ en sheen en.)
“Parliamentary pokering,” brinksmanship on the part of some politicians from countries with bartering and/or bluffing cultures.
(Parl ah ment ARR ish ess POKE ern.)
The famous Piemont cherry® found floating in highly alcoholic cherry liqueur and surrounded by good dark chocolate in German Mon Chéri bon-bons. The Piemont cherry does not come from Italy though, and it has its own entertaining chapter in the charming book Hessen verfälscht (“Hessian Fakes”).
(Pee AYE moant KIRR sha.)
“Structure built for viewing purposes.” Investigations are still ongoing into the March 2009 collapse of the Cologne city archive, though it’s pretty clear that subway tunnel work caused the tragedy. The five-year statute of limitations will expire in only one year. Engineers and the district attorney are now working together to find out how exactly what occurred, including building a fascinating “viewing structure,” 30 meters deep, into the relevant subway support walls and possibly shifting soil layers. Which is good inter alia because the massive stone walls of Cologne’s 800-year-old cathedral, one of the world’s few ships of time, which were strong enough to survive WWII bombing may be being damaged by vibrations from a new subway tunnel that went into operation in December 2012.
(Beh ZICHH tee goongs BOW verk.)
“Dozhd,” an “optimistic” independent Russian television channel. Its name means “rain” in Russian. Started as an Internet-only channel in April 2010, Dozhd became known internationally after their in-depth coverage of protests following the 2011 Duma election. German Wikipedia says their content is two-thirds live reporting and discussion, plus concerts, readings, experimental programs, documentaries, video art &c. There is an affiliated radio channel Serebrjanny Doschd (Себебрянный дождь,”Silver Rain”).
“In a way fair for investors.” Since June 2012 new rules have been in place for the investment side of German banks, which must now, according to the 4 Mar 2013 F.A.Z., “disclose fees, keep a record of what is said during investment consultations and give a copy of this record to the consulting clients. Investment advisors must be able to show documentation proving that they have been trained to have expertise in this area and that they have professional liability insurance.” Critics of the “gray capital market” say these rules are insufficient.
(On LAY grr geh RECT.)
“Egg-laying wool milk sow,” a product that can do everything.
(EYE er laig end eh VOLL milchh zow!.)
Sea of Marmara, called the Propontis in ancient times, connecting the Aegean to the Black Sea through Istanbul. Amid Istanbul’s thousands of mosques, fascinating bridges and the most imposing ancient stone defensive walls I’ve ever seen.
(Mar MAR ah mair.)
“Winged word.” A meme, popular saying. Wikipedia says the phrase comes from the poetry of Homer (ἔπεα πτερόεντα, epea pteroenta).
(Geh FLUE g ell tess VORT.)
“No books with seven seals.” Slogan for a movement being shared and discussed at the 2013 Leipzig Book Fair that publishes simplified-language versions of adult books to entertain adults with reading difficulties and help them practice reading. As someone who learned to read German as an adult by forcing my way through children’s books, stopping to look up words on every page, I really appreciate this project! It should also open new markets for publishing companies, in and outside Germany.
(K eye n BOOCHH mit ZEE ben ZEEG ell n.)
Much-loved words of Bertold Brecht in the 1930′s. He said, “What is democratic is turning the small group of people ‘in the know’ into a large group of people ‘in the know.’”
(Dane KLY nen k rice dare kenner tsoo eye nem GROSS en k rice dare kenner tsoo MOCHH en.)
“Songbird voice.” From a charming review of a new volume of the translated and commented collected works of Czech poet Vladimir Holan who, writes the reviewer, managed to maintain standards during his country’s most difficult times (1937 to 1954), adding “who cannot benefit from the luxury of having this bilingual edition and marvel at the immense opportunities for play in the succinct, richly colored, singing Czech language; you have an œuvre before you that countered the ravages of the genociders and suppressors with an almost defiant, tragi-beautiful songbird’s voice.”
(ZING foh gell SHTIM eh.)
“Monarchic church versus democratic church.” German schools have to teach religion by law, and apparently this is the kind of discussion students are having about the Catholic church there.
(Moan ARCHH ish ah kir chh ah verse ooss dame oh CROT ish ah kir chh ah.)
“S/he who goes into the conclave as a possible Pope, comes back out as a cardinal.” Old Vatican rule of thumb.
(VAIR alss meg lichh err POPST inss con CLAVA gate, come t alss car din AL vee der rrrrauss.)
“Interference transmitters,” jamming devices, have been set up around the Sixtine Chapel to prevent mobile phone communications.
“Network fee exemption.” All electricity consumers in Germany have been sharing the costs to build alternative power sources and now to build new power lines to connect alternative power sources, such as the wind parks out in the North Sea, to the power grid. All electricity consumers in Germany? Well, not quite. Businesses that consume a lot of electricity have been getting exemptions from the government, and those businesses’ unpaid share of the costs has then been redistributed among everyone else, mostly private individuals and families. On 06 Mar 2013, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court overturned the rebates to high-volume electricity-consuming businesses from the shared costs of building the new power lines, saying the Energiewirtschaftsgesetz [Energy Industry Act] does not allow this exemption.
(Nets ent GELT beh fry oong.)
“Nuclear power plant elimination.” Japanese journalists and engineers are travelling to Germany to see how nuclear power plants are being dismantled and disposed of there. This ZDF video for example shows metal holders for fuel rods that have been kept in water for years, then soaked in acid, hand-cleaned with high-pressure water, air and/or sand, and placed into temporary storage. There are no permanent storage sites in Germany for nuclear waste. The tour guide explained that some plant parts will be stored for at least fifty years before they can be taken apart.
(KERRRN croft verks beh ZITE ee goong.)
“A smart memory culture,” what every society needs to devise in order to teach new generations about the past. What history shall we share, how will we communicate it, how will we refresh it? The theme of this year’s Buber-Rosenzweig award was “Giving the future a memory” ["Der Zukunft ein Gedächtnis"]. In her interesting speech at the ceremony, Dr. Charlotte Knobloch talked about “eine kluge Erinnerungskultur.” She quoted Hessian general district attorney Fritz Bauer, whose hard work made the Auschwitz trials happen, as saying “Nothing belongs to the past. Everything is present-day and can become the future again” ["Nichts gehört der Vergangenheit an. Alles ist Gegenwart und kann wieder Zukunft werden."] and called for mehr Mut! More courage.
(Eye neh clue geh err IN err oongs cool tour.)
“Bear bitey.” A very important force behind the amazing success of the German Green party over the last three decades was Joschka Fischer, a high-school dropout and one of the world’s most amazing politicians. The director of a documentary about Joschka described his relationship with the media as “bärbeissig” but also said, “It wasn’t always easy, but it was always open.” When the Greens were governing Germany in a coalition with the SPD, and Joschka Fischer was foreign minister, I remember my surprise at how he would answer the questions journalists asked—not providing an answer to a different question entirely, as I had gotten used to since Reagan—and yet not make the situation worse. While speaking openly and well, he makes situations better.
There’s a new book by Joschka Fischer that came out in 2011 about the war in Iraq, which occurred while the Greens and SPD were in charge. Its title is taken from something he told Donald Rumsfeld: “Excuse me, I’m not convinced.”
16-second video on YouTube:
“You have to make the case. And to make the case in the democracy you must convince by yourself. Excuse me, I am not convinced. This is my problem. And I cannot go to the public and say, well, let’s go to war because there are reasons and so on, and I don’t believe in them!”
(Bear BICE ichh.)
“President Barack Obama blamed the sequestration on the intransigence of House Republicans; House Republicans blamed Obama’s desire for new tax revenues in addition to budget cuts and Senate Democrats’ failure to pass a replacement bill; House Democrats blamed House Republicans for spitefulness and Obama for underestimating House Republicans’ spitefulness; Mitt Romney blamed Obama for poor leadership; and lexicographers blamed the prevalence in the media of the noun ‘sequester’ on the complexity of the more proper ‘sequestration.’”
(SHPAW wren nochh ROZ en MAY err met ODE eh.)
Means both “monument afterward” and the more obvious “give it some thought (for once).” Scrawled in chalk on the pavement at the protests before the largest remaining piece of the Berlin Wall, sections of which are to be torn down to create accessways to new luxury apartment buildings in the former “killing zone.” Berliners were very upset at destruction of this last, art-covered piece of the Wall; they protested and the teardown was temporarily halted after removal of one section. At the protest, the handmade signs, chalk graffiti and interview comments of artists and demonstraters were excellent. Protesters also created and painted a replacement section out of Styrofoam to fill the new hole.
(Dengk moll nochh.)
“Ripoffery,” word used in an exciting Swiss voters’ referendum to limit bonuses, and not just in banks! In Switzerland. The election is Sunday, 3 Mar 2013. Proponents of the referendum want performance-based salaries and for executives’ compensation to have to be approved by shareholders, the actual owners of the companies concerned. Pro-referendum posters say things like “Compensation excesses harm pension funds + Swiss old-age and survivors insurance + the people’s economy.”
(Ob TSOCK err eye.)
The capitalism-critical essay written in 2010 by Stéphane Hessel (orig. French title: “Indignez-vous!”; in English, “Time for Outrage”) who died this week aged 96. Born in Berlin, he became a French citizen in 1939, fought the Nazis in the Résistance and was captured and imprisoned in a concentration camp, from which he escaped. After the war, he helped with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and was a diplomat and writer.
The sequel to Hessel’s 2010 essay is “Engagiert Euch!” (“Engagez-vous!”, “Get Involved!”), written in 2011 with Gilles Vanderpooten. Wikipedia says these essays helped inspire people in the Occupy movement, among many others.
(Emp ƏRT oychh.)
Language institute in Tunisia where Salafists recently tried to halt filming of a “Harlem Shake” video, actually fighting with students and waving but not wielding a Molotov cocktail. After Education Minister Abdellatif Abid (Ettakatol party, a secular center-left ally of Ennahda, Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party) threatened to expell students or fire staff involved in Harlem Shake videos this week, the Tunisian Ministry of Education’s website was hacked and a call went out via social media for a giant H.S. on Friday, March 1.
(Boor GWEE ba SHPROCHH en in stee toot.)
“Blocking minority.” If, for example, Bersani’s (center-left) coalition gains control of Italy’s House but Berlusconi’s (center-right-f’tang-f’tang-biscuit-barrel) coalition wins enough votes in the Senate, Italy will be ungovernable because Bunga-Bunga will have the ability to block legislation. Hopefully, Bersani and Monti, perhaps even with television comedian Grillo’s help, will gain enough seats to call for another election, which will be blessed with better turnout. Spiegel-Online ventured to note that the new parliament might consider passing some electoral reforms before the new election, to stabilize the Italian government and make Italian politicians seem more reliable to voters.
(SHPERRRM ee nore ee tate.)
“The new horny ones,” an abbreviation for die Neuen Geistlichen Lieder, “the new spiritual songs,” modern hymns created by and for German Catholics between the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) and the new German Catholic hymnbook being published this year. From an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
(NOY eh GYLE eez.)
“Rat catchery,” how departing Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti referred this week to billionaire media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi’s ridiculous campaign promise to pay voters’ real estate taxes out of his own pocket, hot air intended to encourage poorly-informed people to hitch their wagons not to a 21st-century democratic system but to a strong-seeming man no matter what ethics he displays.
(ROTTEN feng err EYE.)
Former rebel East-German pastor, then after reunification the head of the office maintaining and investigating the Stasi archives, now Bundespräsident, Joachim Gauck is carefully and sympathetically using his symbolic role as Germany’s president to put some good suggestions in motion. The F.A.Z. reported that Gauck said in a recent interview with the “Real Change”-type newspaper straßenfeger that he considers the President of Germany “as a type of translator between operative politics and the burghers” and that he would listen to burghers’ questions and concerns and then debate them with M.P.’s; candidly, he saw that “he can also motivate people by inviting them or giving them awards,” and he wanted to open up the presidential palace and encourage discourse. On 20 Feb 2013 the Bundespräsidential web page announced that Gauck wanted to create and drive forward public discussion via “new types of events for dialog with burghers” that will be held at the presidential palace of Bellevue, to be called the “Bellevue Forum.”
The Bellevue Forum series began Friday, 22 Feb 2013, with a touching, rousing, humble, insightful speech about Europe at Bellevue Palace before about 200 invited international guests. In the text of the speech Gauck talked about values, European Union design features that have to be corrected, the complexity of solutions to complicated problems, and practical suggestions that included creating a common European television/internet channel—like the wonderful German-French Arte, plus C-Span—to broadcast news stories from around Europe. Television highlights of the 22 Feb speech focussed on the warmth of how he reached out to people of other nationalities and faiths, how he said that to Germans more Europe does not mean a German Europe but instead a European Germany (which sounds much less lonely!), and particularly how he spoke to the UK:
Dear people of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, dear new British citizens! We would like you to stay with us! We need your experience as the oldest parliamentary democracy, we need your traditions, your pragmatism and your courage! During the Second World War, your efforts helped to save our Europe – and it is also your Europe. Let us continue to engage in discussion on how to move towards the European res publica, for we will only be able to master future challenges if we work together. More Europe cannot mean a Europe without you!
The speech concluded with a manifesto:
(Bell VÜ fore OOM.)
“Sow sty.” In German, the sow is a more intensive metaphor for the pig. Pigs are pigs, but the sow is the SOW. After a six-month investigation of the Saxony state Verfassungsschutz office (Saxon LfV), the investigating committee (of “independent experts” under a former German Attorney General) has said the place wasn’t a complete sow sty but they still have some recommendations for reform. The commission proposed creating a permanent “Verfassungsschutz commissioner” for Saxony, a position that does not yet exist in any other German states and would be similar to the state “data protection commissioners” who are already widespread. The Verfassungsschutz commissioner should have an intelligence background, investigate independently, and not be dependent on which parties control majorities in state parliaments or on legislature election periods.
The investigation was started half a year ago by the CDU governor of Saxony after some Saxon LfV files relevant to the serial-killing neonazi terror cell turned up but no one knew whence or how. Although the independent commission did not discover the origins of those files either, they did find many problems with the Saxon LfV’s filing system and also recommended “tightening things up” organizationally inside that authority, leaving power structures as they are but sending “the best people” to federal centers.
Children’s word for horse. From the hilarious rambling discussion of mislabeled horse meat in the first 2013 episode of Dittsche. “Bears can grow to be quite old… but horses aren’t getting old anymore, are they?”
Wiktionary writes that the word comes from the German words for “gee” and “haw,” with hott meaning right and hü meaning left.
“Investigation because investigation is indicated.” German Minister for Work and Social Matters Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) has announced that Amazon.de will be investigated for maltreatment of its workers in Germany. The situation reached national attention after an investigative report by ARD about worker rights abuses at the company. In response to the report and the uproar, Amazon has fired its relevant private security firm, H.E.S.S.
(On loss beh TSOH geh neh PROO foong.)
The type of the two transport planes Germany originally sent in January 2013 to support France’s intervention in northern Mali. France then asked for more military support from Germany, such as planes that could refuel French fighter jets in the air. Germany’s Green Party was among those questioning the wisdom of this; Bundestag member Katja Keul said for example that it is crucial that any military aid should transition to a political process, “because the military can never bring the solution to the problem.” However, Germany then agreed to send 40 soldiers for training purposes. On 18 Feb 2013 Spiegel-Online reported that Angela Merkel’s government was planning to ask the Bundestag to increase that to “up to 330″ soldiers, i.e. 180 for training and 150 for logistics. The 18 Feb Spiegel article also mentioned that Germany was now providing three Transall and one in-flight refueling Airbus planes to the multinational effort in Mali.
“Financial transaction tax on securities transactions.” The responsible EU commission has submitted a draft proposal for a tax of 0.1% on transactions in stocks, loans, shares in investment and money market funds and derivatives in the EU, to be collected from large investors such as banks. Financial products for small investors are not going to be subject to the FTT. Some or all of the estimated >30 billion euros resulting from the tax will be used to bail out the large institutions paying the tax if new crashes occur in future, taking taxpayers off the hook for these institutions’ miscalculation of risks. The FTT will have to be approved unanimously by all EU countries before it can go into effect in Europe as scheduled on 1 Jan 2014.
(Fee NONTS trons awk tsee OWNS shtoy er ow! f VAIR t pop EAR geh CHEF teh.)