Browsing articles tagged with " German"
Jun 19, 2012

You know you’re German when

You know you’re German when is a pretty fun and educational tumblr that showcases German curiosities. Today a submission of mine got published:


May 25, 2012

Dr. Seuss and Assimilation

A few weeks after I came from Germany to Utah colleagues in ministry at one of our monthly meetings kept referring to “The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss” and I had no clue what they were talking about. I was even too embarrassed to ask.
Asaad al-Saleh is an Assistant Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature working for the Department of Languages and Literature and the Middle East Center at the University of Utah and he also experienced his Dr. Seuss moment, actually only a couple of miles away from where I had mine:

“Everything was going fine until one of my students told me that she was going to write about Dr. Seuss. I asked her who Dr. Seuss was, and the student, as well as the rest of the class, thought I was joking. But I was serious! Neither during my childhood nor during my first year had I heard about what I later realized to be the most famous author for children. When I look back now at that incident I realize that both my students and I had a mutual cultural shock; they could not believe that I did not know Dr. Seuss. Hardly could they believe that the only person who did not know anything about a certain cultural topic (or icon) was the teacher. One can imagine how hard it was to be that teacher!
I call it Dr. Seuss’s incident, and every time I reflect on this incident I realize that it was one of the turning points in my teaching career. Dr. Seuss‟s incident showed me that a teacher can be reduced to a humble learner by the same people he teaches. Dr. Seuss‟s incident exposed the huge gaps between students and their teachers who are from a different culture. These gaps cannot be measured or filled in a methodical or organized way as long as we keep silent about them. Dr. Seuss‟s incident gave me the insight that I was new to my students‟ culture, and they were obviously new to mine. Their knowledge of my culture was mere stereotypes and images of ‘otherness.'”

In his paper “Composition Teachers from Different Cultures: Where is Pedagogy?” Al-Saleh also reflects on his name:

“Coming from diverse foreign language backgrounds, international composition teachers like myself often find themselves unintentionally given names that fit the English spelling and pronunciation, compromising their original names either partially, if they come from European languages, or completely, if they come from Eastern languages, such as my native Arabic. More often than not, I personally feel that I am “bell hooked” as I am called by a name that does not sound like my real one.”

I have never looked at it this way but I also changed my name, when moving to America. All of a sudden the A in my first name sounded differently. I am no longer called by the name I grew up with, I was baptized with. It obviously has not had a huge impact on me so far but it is worth noticing, now that I am aware of it.

How has immigration shaped America?
Are we a melting pot or a salad bowl?

Mar 1, 2012

Education Costs

A friend shared the following video on facebook:

Oh, those crazy assumptions that education is free in Germany! IT IS NOT!

The system works slightly differently: Americans take on debt to pay their individual tuition back. In Germany all taxpayers are your lender and you will pay them back through extremely high taxes:
Income Tax
Let’s do some math here:
1. The average student loan debt is $25,250
Over 30 years of professional life that amounts to $841.67 per year
2. The average federal income tax paid is $6275.18 per year.
3. Now applying the American numbers to the German logic you would pay zero student loan, saving you $841.67 per year. Also you would pay roughly double the income tax, costing you $12,550.36 per year.

In what kind of thinking is paying $500 more per month cheaper?

Okay, granted, foreign students, using the system that is paid by locals really fare better and I guess that is what makes the above clip worthwhile.

Dec 31, 2011

Dinner For One

Enjoy this gem of British humor which has become a New Year’s Eve tradition for Germans to ring in the new year:

Dec 28, 2011


All over North America churches value the German roots of their tradition and extend a special welcome to German language residents, students, travelers, tourists, and visitors. Here is a map of German ministries that I know about:

View gemeindegruss in a larger map

Any additions, corrections or tips?

Nov 13, 2011

German Umlauts

I used to like copypastcharacter for having my Umlauts handy. They have expanded their selection now that it is hard to find those few characters I need. So here is my minimalistic set:

Nov 13, 2011

German Roll Recipe

Frühstücksbrötchen are a must have item for a German breakfast table. Out here in Utah they are not readily available. That is why over time I have developed my own recipes and procedures:

Dough for 10 crispy rolls
mix and knead
2 cups of all-purpose flour (or whole grain or rye)
2 cups of bread flour
1½ cups of water
1 tbsp of yeast
2 tsp of salt
let rise for 45 minutes
form rolls
place on sprayed cookie sheet
let rise for a half hour
(add toppings like poppy seed, multi-grain or sesame)
bake at 425F until light brown

Dough for 10 sweet rolls
mix and knead
4 cups of all-purpose flour
1¼ cups of milk
¼ cup of oil
¼ cup of sugar
1 tbsp of yeast
1 tsp of salt
let rise for 45 minutes
form rolls (sometimes we add chocolate morsels at this point ;-)
place on sprayed cookie sheet
let rise for a half hour
bake at 350 F until light brown

In order to have freshly-baked rolls for breakfast use a bread machine to make the dough while you are asleep ;-)
add the liquids and the salt to the bottom of the container
cover with the flour
make a well in the center for the yeast
cover the yeast with some of the flour (and sugar if applicable)
set the bread machine’s dough program to have it ready when you get up in the morning
form rolls
let rise while oven preheats

For Saint Martin’s Day I take the sweet roll recipe and shape little people

Pizza dough
mix and knead
4 cups of all-purpose flour
1¼ cups of water
¼ cup of olive oil
1 tbsp of yeast
2 tsp of salt
let rise for 45 minutes

Jun 3, 2011

Germany’s postnuclear ambitions

Ever since our local newspaper reported Germany decides to abandon nuclear power by 2022 people keep asking me about my take on this.
Let recent history teach us a lesson here: Panicking after the Japanese earthquake Chancellor Angela Merkel closed the seven oldest of Germany’s 17 nuclear power stations pending a three-month safety review of all the reactors. How could Germany do that? – By importing more nuclear power from France and the Czech Republic.
Germany’s decision not to produce nuclear power anymore does not mean they don’t want to use it anymore. Czech reactors are more affordable anyway since they don’t have all those strict safety standards that Germany imposes on itself. About a third of Germany’s nuclear imports in 2007 came from the Czech Republic. This number is expected to double.

May 9, 2011

Annoying Germans

ProfessorBainbridge, if you think The Spiegel speaks for the Germans you must also think The New York Times speaks for the Americans. I don’t think so. Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle officially and clearly welcomed “the news that Osama bin Laden would never again be able to perpetrate such acts of terrorism.”
Concerning the infamous impact Germany had on the history of the 21st century please refer to my sermon on Yom HaShoah.
– The German people are stuck with the sin of the Holocaust for three to four generations, i.e. my grandkids will be free.
– The German constitution does not allow foreign wars because this people knows how destructive they can be on the world stage.