German So Funny

When I was studying French in school, my teacher at the time warned the class about faux amis. Literally translated this means “false friends”, but what she was getting at is that there are some words that are similar in two different languages which might lead you to assume that they have the same meaning, while in fact they do not. The classic French – English example that she provided was the word magasin, which you might assume means magazine, whereas in reality it means shop. While this is a perfect example of what she meant by a faux amis, it was not a particularly humerous one.

It was not until I started learning German, however, that I found a language filled with hilarious faux amis in relation to English. I remember being puzzled over ads for apartments which kept refering to their living rooms as “gross [and] hell”, which actually means large and brightly lit. I burst into laughter at a shop window with the word “Schmuck” plastered across it, only to discover that it actually means “jewelry”. Also, make sure you don’t offer someone a present and call it a “gift”, as that actually means you are offering them poison. My favorite German – English example though is probably the way that the parking ticket machines and highway signs politely wish you a “Gute Fahrt!” as you go about your way.

That is not to say that the hilarious faux amis only go in one direction. Describing the thick mist you had to cross in the countryside will get you laughed at, as you are actually describing the thick bullshit you were slogging through. I also personally spent a whole 5 minutes repeatedly using the word “mushy” to a student in describing the consistency he needed to blend his worms down to, only to be informed by my sniggering colleague that “mushy” in German means “pussy”, and not the one of the feline variety. Credit to my student though, he did not so much as crack a smile during my entire monologue.

However, despite the numerous examples that I have already come across despite my novice grasp of German, I think that there is one German – Romanian faux amis that just might trump them all.

My boyfriend joined me a few months after I had moved to Germany. He arrived one night, exhausted from his trip, but decided to join me and my colleagues on a traditional Kneipentour, which is a sort of bar hop often done as a leaving party for students. The typical way to do this bar hop is to have one shot and one beer in each location, so of course everyone clinks glasses and cheers before drinking. The fact that there is also a German superstition that you must look people directly in the eye when you cheer with them, lest you wish risking 7 years bad sex, added an extra wrinkle of hilarity to this story.

This being Germany we were not saying “Cheers” when clinking glasses, but rather “Prost”. After three rounds of people staring into each other’s eyes and saying “Prost” over and over again, my boyfriend finally asked what that means in German.

“It means Cheers”, I said.

“Oh”, he replied. “I thought it might. In Romanian, Prost means asshole”.

That has got to be my favorite faux amis of all time, even with all of the English ones put together. Everyone roared with laughter, made a point of emphasising the word Prost throughout the evening, and made a mental note to not say it in random bars should they ever visit Romania. It could lead to… an awkward misunderstanding.

So, do you know of any other amusing faux amis? Do you think you can beat “Prost”?

This Might Work

I had myself a little pity party over the weekend. Someone vandalized my brand new scooter that I was so very proud of, after exactly one week of being in my possession, I lost my key to work, and a bunch of other minor First World Problems ganged up on me and got me stressing out. In response, let’s have a little political satire, shall we?

 

Has anyone actually thought to try it? It might actually work.

I Can Relate

I now live in a country with much shorter summers and generally colder weather than where I grew up. Because of this, when we do have the occasional unseasonably warm day, I am happy in a tentative way. Actually, this comic perfectly summarizes my reaction on these days.

16938559_1451660894853551_250227063007275571_n

 

Snark With A Purpose

I loled a little when I saw this picture pop up on my feed. It’s so my kind of humor: snarky, uncomfortable, and bringing up an excellent point in a clever way.

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 5.03.39 PM

Update: The flyer reads:

  1. If someone is drunk, don’t rape them.
  2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone.
  3. Use the Buddy System! If it is difficult for you to stop yourself raping someone, as a trusted friend to accompany you at all times.
  4. Carry a rape whistle. If you find that you are about to rape someone, blow the whistle until someone comes to stop you.
  5. Don’t forget: honesty is the best policy. When asking someone out, don’t pretend that you are interested in them as a person. Tell them straight up that you expect to be raping them later. If you don’t communicate your intentions, they my take it as a sign that you don’t plan to rape them.

Rape culture directs women to police their clothing, beverages, behavior and sexuality at all times to avoid men. It portrays men as powerless to control their violent sexual urges. Rape culture demeans everyone, and everyone should speak out against rape culture.

 

When you start reading the beginning of the flyer, it is clearly uncomfortable. It is condescending and demeaning in language and tone, and that’s with the fact that it is clearly meant to be a parody. It makes you realize how condescending and demeaning, therefore, these nonsense “rape prevention” flyers are when they’re actually meant to be serious. Snark, and going over the top, are IMO excellent tools to quickly and directly call attention to an issue that many people overlook, and I think that this flyer does that nicely.

And now, we get to the serious aspect of this image, and into the topic of rape culture and victim blaming.

[Read more…]

Now For Some Silly Inventions

Regular readers will know that I like to post videos about various different inventions, usually involving something that either reduces waste or tackles a particular environmental problem. My facebook feed seems to have cottoned on to this, and so I will now often find short videos about inventions as “suggested posts”, in addition to the ones that are posted be friends or pages I follow.

Of course, not all inventions are created equally, and so I wanted to post a couple that I feel may have missed the mark by just a tad. These are the two inventions that I have found most baffling when perusing my facebook feed.

The first one, in my opinion, falls straight into the category of #FirstWorldProblems. It popped up under the description: “Tag someone who hates water!”

 

Are we being serious right now? There are enough people in the developed world who “hate” water enough for such a cup to be invented? Clean water is pretty much the only thing in the world that you have to consume to survive, millions of people across the world still do not have access to it, and yet enough people have become so thoroughly addicted to sugar that they need to trick their brains into thinking that normal water has flavor in order to drink enough of it. People all the way from Flint to Somalia feel your plight, I’m sure.

Next up: funny colored masks to put over your nose and mouth to trick your brain into thinking that you’re breathing in flavored air.

While I find that invention to be superfluous, and perhaps a bit counterproductive in helping people kick a bad sugar addiction by normalizing “hating water”, the second invention I want to share with you is just plain silly. So silly, in fact, that I have serious doubts that such a product actually exists, and I suspect (or perhaps hope) that it is just a ploy to make the video go viral. Either way, it has popped up in my feed a good 4 times now, so let’s all have a laugh at it anyway.

 

Hey cat lovers! Have you ever really wanted to lick your cat clean?

Ehm no. No I have not. Then again, I’m not really a cat lover. I don’t hate them or anything, I just don’t have any interest in owning one. Still, I think that the moment you feel the urge to purchase a giant rubber tongue and follow your cat around the house in an attempt to lick its head, maybe you’ve gone a little over the top. Perhaps start with asking yourself who owns who in this relationship.

So, those are my two silly inventions for today! Do you guys have any other contenders for silliest invention?

Sometimes, You Just Need A Laugh

Can I lighten up the mood here for just one moment?

It has recently come to my attention that there is a comedian out there, called James Veitch, who has taken it upon himself to do what so many of us have always wanted to do and respond to scam emails, taking the conversation to hilarious places.

I have been laughing out loud at my computer for the last 10 minutes. I really needed that, and so now I’m sharing the love.

 

Interestingly, the email exchange in the video is completely different from the one that is repeated in the text below video where I found it posted, which is no less hilarious.

Need a good 10 minute chuckle? Watch the video, and/or read the post. He is not cruel to the scammers, he just wastes their time in a most ridiculous fashion.

If anything, I think the exchange in the post is even funnier than the one in the video, but that might be because I read it first and then watched the video afterwards. What about you? Which did you see/read first, and which one did you find the most funny?

Of course I had to turn this into a mini informal experiment didn’t I…

It’s An Emergency, Apparently

I remember reading a story a few years back about the old boys at the Vatican getting their skirts in a bunch over Harry Potter and Twilight. One self-proclaimed exorcist for the Vatican went to the media and ranted about the corruption of our youth. The only thing I got out of the kerfuffle was HA! The Vatican still has exorcists?!

Nooo, I was assured by my Catholic colleagues and friends. This guy is fringe, he’s silly, but the Vatican doesn’t actually still employ exorcists, like, to do exorcisms! It’s something that is dying out, he’s probably the last official “exorcist” on the payroll. And now that I’m told that this new Pope is so liberal and carefree, there wont be a single exorcist left, amirite?

Well, then I came across this story, and I laughed so hard I had to make sure it wasn’t published by the Onion.

Exorcists are in urgent demand as a result of a sharp rise in people dabbling in Satanism and the occult,  experts from the Catholic Church in Italy and the US said.

Well, at least they seem to agree on both sides of the pond! Let’s continue.

Valter Cascioli, a psychologist and scientific consultant to the International Association of Exorcists, which is endorsed by the Vatican, described as an “emergency” the lack of priests capable of fighting the forces of evil. 

“The lack of exorcists is a real emergency. There is a pastoral emergency as a result of a significant increase in the number of diabolical possessions that exorcist priests are confronting,” he told La Stampa newspaper. 

Guys, there is an International Association of Exorcists. I can’t even. I wonder if they have a website?

Dr Cascioli teaches courses in exorcism at the Pontifical University of Regina Apostolorum, a Vatican-backed university in Rome. “The number of exorcists has increased in recent years, but there are still not enough to deal with a dramatic situation that affects, above all, young people who use the internet a lot.

Well, website or not, you can take University courses in exorcism! How fun is that?

The fact of the matter is, exorcists are far from being a dying breed in the Catholic Church. The International Association of Exorcists apparently sports over 250 members in 30 countries, and not only was it approved by the Vatican, Pope Francis himself has been credited with a rise in membership and demand, and has personally praised them for combating the Devil’s works.

Remind me again how this Pope is liberal, evolved and not bogged down in the old-fashioned again? Looks like his PR man, former Fox News correspondent, is earning his paycheck nicely, as that remains his reputation thus far.

But before I wrap this up, I’d like to leave you with a few more parting words from our dear Exorcist in Chief, Valter Cascioli.

Whereas belief in Satan was common among Christians centuries ago, fewer people now believe in the concept of outright evil.

That was the Devil’s sly intention – to fool people into believing that he does not really exist, said Dr Cascioli.

“His trickery is to make us believe that he does not exist. But the point is the same – to deaden people’s faith.”

The risks of dabbling with the dark arts were often underestimated, he said.

“People whose faith is lukewarm don’t pay enough attention to demonic activity, and the temptation to engage in it.”

Well, the expression isn’t “that sly Devil” for nothing!

Seriously though, don’t believe the hype around Pope Francis. Just because his predecessor looked like, and had the reputation of a Sith Lord, that doesn’t mean that the current Pope is any less superstitious, or any less keen to promote ignorance.

It just means that he did a much better job at hiring people who know PR.

 

Ouch

This parody commercial is the whole package, in my opinion. Funny, scathing, a little uncomfortable, and yet you can’t fault it, because it’s right on the money.

 

A large portion of the privileged world just got rushed to the burn unit.