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To put things into perspective, in the part of Germany where this blogger spent his time the American military presence is the main economic factor. These dependencies have prevented necessary change and generated proxy conflicts. Unfortunately his blog does not reveal whether he listened to the advice of the daughter of the exiled DDR dissident and took the nuclear sharing with him.

Hope your blog isn't completely going away. It's been an inspiration to me to know that Europeans are paying attention and recognize the crap when they see it. :-)

I lived in Brussels for several years and coming back to Texas was like taking off shackles, for so many reasons.. the days and hours of 'permitted' and 'forbidden' grass-cutting, the color of the trash bags, the weight of the trash in them, all of the tiny rules and regulations that wreck one's enthusiasm for 'sudden impulse' work, and thus leave so many tasks simply UNDONE...

Not to mention Brussels was the first euro city to try "car-free Sundays", actually shutting down all vehicle traffic in the city for a few Sundays to see if it would 'work'...

What it did, of course, was to stop any business being done at all, even though most shops weren't open on Sundays anyway.

"religion" has its uses in Europe... they use it to make holidays from work, to add to all the other holidays from work.

at any rate, while the city had its lovely spots and the Euro life was acceptable and even enjoyable, the FREEDOM of living in America never beckoned so much as when I was so far from it.

Thanks for all the great work, and please don't stop completely!

Dave in Dallas

Maybe it's time for Mr. Schnitzel to return to the US for a reality check? Some parts made me laugh, I, too don't miss the 'Stau'; other parts just make me shake my head. Rules? I'd suggest Mr. Schnitzel to visit his local DMV office and he may be in for a surprise.

Apart from that personal ranting of mine, what I often notice in blogs similar to Mr. Schnitzel's is the lack of intercultural competence and understanding. Americans who live in Europe often seem to get annoyed that Europe is not exactly like the US and can't understand why it's not just like the US.
So they rant about limited personal freedom, the lack of customer service, etc. etc. Well, that's the way it is. Europe has an entirely different background and some things just are different, whether you like it or not. Ranting won't change them either.

The same I see when Europeans rant about the US. Somehow many come to the US and expect it to be just like Europe. Somehow they forget that it's quite some time ago that Europeans have migrated to the New World and have by now developed their own culture. And when it comes to world politics they seem to ignore the fact that the US is a hegemony and therefore can tell others what to do and what not to do. That's hardly novel behaviour either, but much rather ordinary behaviour of the world's superpower. Nothing to get your knickers twisted about.

Is it? What kind thereof? Any military hegemony is kept in check by the Taliban. Any political hegemony is kept in check by the Saudis. Any financial hegemony is kept in check by Bejing. The moral hegemony as is well-known is Europe´s job. So what kind of hegemony would that be? The pillow-into-your-face variety of all things? A surveillance hegemony? As in DMV?

Well I have been living in the states for 2.5 years now. Me, as a German, having experienced both cultures now, can say that you need a reality check. There are a trillion rules here that don't make any sense to me. One example is car insurance, every state has different rules. When you travel with your car you always need to make sure you don't take your car to a state that requiers a higher coverage. On the other hand you have states that don't requiere any coverage at all... Why can I buy alcohol in Minnesota 24 hours a day but Sunday, but in Wisconsin only till 9pm and for that on everyday... Why does every city have its own parking rules and why is there a court day for almost every ticket in Chicago? Why do I need to wear a seat belt in a car but not a helmet when driving a motor cycle? Why can I not carry an open alcohole container around when I am 21 but can smoke in public almost everywhere... the states have tons of rules too.... you just need to learn them. That's part of moving to a different culture but it seems like you were never able to accept that people have a different life style... just so you know... every country is like that.


In both Germany and the US, I've found the "humour them or they'll get violent" approach to be the most effective. In the US, as Ninchursanga Ninchursanga, the DMV in some states could well be held up as a paragon of incompetence and bureaucratic bumbling. In Germany, I would award that prize to the GEZ.

To wit, the Rhode Island DMV refused issue me a driver's license (I already had a Massachusetts license) unless I presented a social security card. I was able to get past the East German border guard with a US passport, but do you think that would fly with the RI DMV? Nosiree Bob. It absolutely had to be an SS card. So I had to hoof it all the way down to the SS office in Newport to get a temporary card, then get back in line at the DMV.

In the German corner, we have the GEZ. The GEZ is what America's Public Broadcasting System would be if it were outsourced to the Mafia. If you claim you don't own a radio or TV, the GEZ has been known to send agents to your house or apartment to personally verify your disclaimer. I know people who have experienced such house calls; fortunately, I haven't -- yet.

I've found near parity of knuckle-headed, dysfuncional behavior in both venues. I firmly suspect that every human society has its own class of fools. Moving to another country to escape international idiocy is, well, a fool's errand. Think of it as the Hotel California: you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave. So you'll just have to learn to deal with it.

Don't wash your car on Sundays?? Where in Germany was this guy. You ONLY wash your car on a Sunday, after mowing the lawn and just before the sports come on.

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