There’s a word for free beer in German.
“Riders of the Coconuts,” the calqued German title of the film
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
Rider is the German word for a knight.
In German, the British writers’ Romanized French soldiers hurl slightly retailored insults at Romanized British soldiers from the (Scottish) castle ramparts:
“I don’t feel like talking with you any longer. You karstified English
fresh-beer-drinker! I fart on you, pig priests! If it were up to me, you would never enter the European Community!” Ha HA!
The film’s medieval class conflict comedy is complicated by verbs conjugated in a You form that no longer exists in English:
Michael Palin: Come (all you folks) here and see the violence on which the system is based! Help! Help! I’m being subdued!
Graham Chapman: Blöder Bauer! [Stupid farmer/peasant!]
Michael Palin: Hooo, now he shows his true character, did you (all) hear that? He’s a proper exploiter. Did you (all) see how he suppressed me? Did you see it?
(RITT ah dare COCO snoose.)
Fines to brewers.
The German cartel authority and several major German brewers have confirmed that >100 million euros in fines for pricing collusion have been issued so far as a result of investigations into the “biggest beer cartel in German history” ever caught, going on for “umpteen” years according to testimony from a Veltins manager. The Belgian beer giant InBev that bought Budweiser and Becks ratted the German brewers out and will thus be the only participant not fined. Some other brewers’ fines were also reduced from the maximum possible 10% of annual gross, depending on their cooperation.
By Scandinavian and U.S. standards, even illegally inflated German beer prices were relatively low because of Germany’s low sin taxes on alcohol. (Alcohol is not considered the spark in the societal powder keg in Germany. Beer, especially, is thought to have some redeeming qualities of bringing people together socially, and possibly some of the nutritional aspects of bread.) The cartel’s agreements would have raised the price of a 20-bottle case of beer by 1 euro in 2008, Spiegel.de explained.
Investigations are still ongoing against two more corporate brewers and four regional (i.e. smaller) brewers, who have not yet been named for that reason.
(BOOSS geld gay gen BROW ah WRY en.)
9.85 euros is what a liter of slowly warming beer cost at the 2013 Oktoberfest in Bavaria (6 million visitors were expected this year). 8.50 euros is the national statutory minimum wage the S.P.D. party promised to introduce in its recent election campaign. Looking on the bright side, this labor breakthrough is what the S.P.D. is now hoping to permanently achieve by agreeing to an identity-destroying grosse Koalition with the C.D.U./C.S.U.
Minimum wages in Germany are negotiated individually by each union though not for all job types. Notoriously, German hairdressers often work so many hours that their per-hour earnings are shockingly low. So do many cleaners, cooks, florists, healthcaregivers, waitstaff and especially also meatpacking industry workers whose jobs are subcontracted by subcontractors. ZDF heute journal reported on 17 Oct 2013 that 5 million Germans earn less than the proposed minimum wage, one in four workers in the former East Germany.
In the fight to prevent a national minimum wage, employers and their economists and their other academics and conservative politicians have made predictions about the damage a minimum wage would cause. In the fight to introduce a national minimum wage, proponents have discussed how it would ease strains on a welfare state’s social services, which have had to cover for employers of the working poor. In a country that keeps good records such as Germany it will be interesting to be able to measure the results against the predictions, and to compare them to results from other countries that introduced minimum wages such as Britain (with success) and Poland (results middling but the wage may have been set too low to do much, at 2 euros/hour). If it happens, the German minimum wage will be an ongoing experiment certainly subject to future negotiation and adjustments.
“Union law” in Germany apparently means European Union law and not the rules of the conservative Christian Democratic union consisting of the national-level C.D.U. + the Bavarian state C.S.U. This distinction became clear during a television news discussion about the legality of C.S.U. head Horst Seehofer’s strange and very unsettling* campaign promise to create a toll for foreigners driving on Bavarian roads. Mr. Seehofer’s political party, which has ruled Bavaria since 1946, claimed they did a survey that found 88% of Bavarians disliked foreigners enough to support the C.S.U.’s proposed toll or “Ausländer-Maut.” C.S.U. proponents also said the country of Austria introduced a similar foreigners fee and why wasn’t that illegal but their state-level proposal is.
The Bavarian state election (for the Landestag, state parliament) was Sunday, 15 Sep 2013, one week before Germany’s Bundestag election.
During the campaign—mercifully short by U.S. standards—the C.S.U. party promised Bavarian voters it would refuse to join a German federal government coalition after the 22 Sep 2013 federal election if their federal partners said they couldn’t tax foreigners. But it’s hard to believe the C.S.U. could afford to exit that coalition. Bavaria is said to have the best schools in Germany, so it’s hard to believe Bavarian voters would believe the C.S.U. when they promised to exit that coalition, either. The threat didn’t work on Chancellor Merkel (C.D.U.), on the surface at least. During what was apparently the only formal evening debate between the two largest parties’ candidates, she said on national television that the C.S.U.’s proposed foreigner-specific state road toll was not going to happen.
But the whole point appears to have been to talk about taxing foreigners in Bavarian beer tents, because Horst Seehofer persisted in doing that even after Angela Merkel’s quiet and very public “no.” Mr. Seehofer’s challenger, Munich mayor Christian Ude (S.P.D.), called it “eine bewusste Irreführung der Bevölkerung,” a deliberate confusion or leading-into-crazy-country of the people.
* Not only do proposals like this sound like they could grow racism, but as we now know since the Snowden trove revelations there are several ways the new toll could be used to spy on foreigners.
(Oo n YO nz wrecked.)
“First, do no harm.” If you have no access to good things, then strive for the absence of bad ones. A logical short-term choice but no permanent way to live. Good things have to be too. If they’re not present eventually you’ll have to make them, somehow.
In cultures that brew bad beer or e.g. confuse sediment and microbial contamination with personality you might be able to get by for a while by drinking beer that’s as watery as possible. But that’s no way to live. You can’t not talk about religion and politics forever, especially when people are taking advantage of the vacuum to make culture war. Another example: women readers probably can’t enjoy science fiction from fun thinkers such as Robert Heinlein unless it’s a work with no female characters, just humans and aliens. But as tempting as a modern moratorium on female characters sounds, it would create more generations of… uninformed writing about women.
Fortunately, the world’s goodnesses are multiplied by good discussions. Useful ideas shared are solutions doubled and time/effort halved. As we get older the problems we haven’t solved yet seem impossible, and yet one entertaining lunch with a curious friend can save you five years of frustration.