funny sayings

the rain in spain falls mainly on berlin. by Mark Ziegler

A great first week out here. the show is going really well and was well received in our first preview last night. Official opening is tomorrow and then, thanks to Germany's Euro cup match on thursday, two days off! I'm taking advantage of a rainy day to put some finishing (hopefully) touches on this new website, and will then be able to enjoy the out-of-doors when the weather gets amazingly nice on wednesday. Right, weather? I took two years of German in High School. That was a little while ago, so I'm definitely out of practice (and wasn't much good to begin with). The textbooks that we used had some funny sayings in them, and I brought those with me when I came to visit friend in 2002. On a rainy day that June (not much changes in ten years), I exclaimed to my friends - hoping for recognition of my super understanding of German slang - "das ist hundewetter!" which literally means "this is dog weather". The look I got was not one of a "this guy knows his stuff" or even "nice phrase pickup", but rather the furrowed brow look that transcends language. You know the one. The "what the heck are you talking about?" look.

My question, naturally, is this: who is writing these textbooks? Some joker at McGraw-Hill that wants us to be laughed at (even more) when in a foreign country? Somebody trying to force their way into a country's vernacular from within a sleeper-cell foreign language class several thousand miles away? It's more likely that this writer is from a place here that is like many parts of the south; somewhere in Germany where the Deutscher Dr. Phil and his head-scratching anectodes would have had to originate; somewhere that "hundewetter" is not even used, but common enough to be considered for a textbook. I need to find this place. I need to learn from them. And I need to teach the rest of this country how to make their language even crazier than it already is. I mean, this: "ß" is pronounced with an "s" sound. And "Bezirksschornsteinfegermeister" is a REAL WORD. You're really laughing at me? C'mon guys. Get it together.