Tagged German

Save the endangered Shoe Fox!

Residents in a small town in Germany are up in arms (ok, maybe I should rephrase that–they’re mad) about a local fox with a kleptomania problem. Apparently, the fox has stolen over 100 pairs of shoes from local residents, who have a tradition of leaving them outside to ‘air’ overnight. Now, the townspeople want Count Rudolf Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, who owns the land on which the fox’s burrow was finally discovered, to pursue and shoot the fox. The Count is having none of this, and a legal battle promises to ensue. Here’s the article from the LA Times:

A fox in Föhren, Germany, hasn’t quite reached Imelda Marcos’ level yet, but her collection of more than 120 shoes certainly counts as excessive for an animal that doesn’t even wear shoes.

More than a year ago, residents of the small western German town began reporting that the shoes and boots they left on their doorsteps had gone missing. The identity of the shoe thief has been a mystery until recently, when a forestry worker found a stockpile of shoes in a fox’s den in woods near Föhren.

It’s unclear just what about the shoes holds such appeal for the fox, who’s believed to be a female with pups. One theory, given added weight because many of the newly located shoes have bite marks on the shoelaces, is that she intended the shoes to serve as toys for her pups.

“We found 86 shoes in the den and a further 32 in a nearby quarry where they like to play. That includes 12 or 13 matching pairs of shoes,” Rudolf Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, the local count, told the German news source Spiegel Online. Count von Kesselstatt had the found footwear laid out in his palace and invited the townspeople to come and reclaim their lost shoes and boots.

The count noted that, even after word spread of the fox’s thieving ways, more shoes had gone missing in the days before his Spiegel interview. Though he suspects she has more shoes tucked away in her den, neither he nor the people of Föhren seem inclined to disturb her by going in to retrieve them. Taking a common-sense approach to the situation, he simply said, “People should simply make sure they take their shoes in at night.”

Föhren residents haven’t yet given the fox a name, but Spiegel kindly pitched in with a suggestion — naturally, it’s Imelda.

Source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2009/06/imelda-marcos-shoe-stealing-fox.html

Google Translate is pretty weak

A friend of mine ran some lyrics through Google Translate today, and came back with a really surprising translation that didn’t capture the original meaning very well at all. Here’s the phrase (from the punk band Die Toten Hosen) in the original German (warning, there is a bad word in here, so if you’re easily offended, you shouldn’t read it–or be on this blog at all, really):

Wir haben bis heute geglaubt,
dass ihr Arschlöcher seid, aber
das ist gar nicht wahr.

Here’s what it means (my translation):

Until today we all believed
That you were all just assholes
But that’s just simply not true

Here’s what Babelfish, the Yahoo translation engine, says:

We believed until today
that it ass holes are,
but that is not true at all.

And here’s what Google got:

We have to believe today,
that ye are bastards, but
This is not true.

Ok, first of all: ye??? What the hell is that all about? Is this 1875? Also, the tense is completely wrong. Geglaubt doesn’t mean ‘believe,’ it means ‘believed’ and is firmly past tense. The other possible meaning could be the adjective ‘believed,’ as in ‘this person is to be believed,’ but that’s not how Google is translating it. Additionally, the dirty word, Arschlöcher, is literally ‘arsch,’ or ‘ass’ combined with ‘loch’ or ‘hole.’ How Google gets ‘bastards’ out of that is beyond me–after all, it’s not like English can’t term someone both an ‘asshole’ and a ‘bastard.’ That’s a lot of mistakes for a very simple, three line phrase. Apparently, sticking with Babelfish is the right way to go, for now at least.

Hefeweizen, Weissbier, Hefeweiss, Dunkelweiss: German summer wheat beers reviewed

You’re thirsty. Very thirsty…

It’s now officially summer here in New Hampshire, and today at least promises to be pretty sunny and hot. The kind of day that makes a young man’s fancy turn to thoughts of beer. Not shitty beer, like Bud Light or Pabst (it has a special place, yes, but this isn’t it), but rather seriously tasty German wheat beer, known in these parts alternately as Hefeweizen or Weissbier.

What makes the German ‘Weissbier,’ or ‘white beer,’ unique is the use of of wheat malt alongside the traditional barley malt. For those interested in the details of the beer‘s production, this site has a nice explanation of the brewing process. Regardless of the details, it’s safe to say the addition of the wheat malt creates a light, cloudy brew whit a distinct whitish tinge, earning it its popular name. The beer is unfiltered, and its taste does require a little getting used to, especially if you’re used to the watered-down taste of a typical domestic. Once you’re past that, however, you’ll probably notice how good it tastes, and how much more flavorful it is than a typical lager.

Now, where to get a good Hefeweizen? Well, to start with, you can get the UFO Hefeweizen offering from local brewery Harpoon, which offers a basic example of what a Hefeweizen could be, if the people at Harpoon were only willing to go the full lengths to create a truly wheaty beer, rather than a beer that is merely filled with an abnormal amount of wheat clouding. BeerAdvocate.com users give it an 81, a pretty fair rating given its reasonable price and wide distribution stateside.

As good as the UFO is, you’re not going to get the real experience unless you try a German Hefeweizen, and those can be a pain to find. If you’re in the New Hampshire area, try the Smoke ‘n’ Barley in Tilton, or if you’re in the Philadelphia or Eastern Pennsylvania area, you want The Beeryard. Both of these places have the rather popular Franziskaner Hefeweizen, which is a definite step up from the UFO, much more full-bodied and tasty, and more refreshing on a hot day. If you’re not near either of these two stores, and your local beer store doesn’t carry it (or can’t, because of arcane distribution laws), you can get Franziskaner (and all the other weissbiers reviewed here) at BeerGeek.biz, as long as you live in the following states: CA, CO, DC, GA ID, IL, IA, LA, MN, MO, NE, NM, NV, NH, NC, ND, OH, OR, SC, VA, WA, WV, WI, or WY.

While you’re on there, you should pick up some Paulaner Hefe Weiss, some Julius Echter (also available at the Smoke ‘n’ Barley), some Weihenstephaner Hefe Weiss, and some Erdinger Dunkelweiss.

The Paulaner is comparable to the Franziskaner–tasty and satisfying, but still not quite the off-the-hook wheat experience that a weissbier can be. For that, you need one of the latter three–the Echter, the Weihenstephaner, and the Erdinger. The first two of these are true Hefeweizens, and both are unfiltered, leaving the beer with a creamy complexion and a delicious, almost chewy drinking experience. The Erdinger is a Dunkel (‘dark’)-Weiss, and is even darker in color and richer in taste than the other beers described. It is, however, seriously heavy, and not everyone (myself included) enjoys its taste. It’s over-the-top, though, so if you’re looking for that, you’ll find it in the Erdinger.

In Germany, a popular variation on Weissbier is Radler, which is a drink made by mixing the beer with some apple juice. This cuts down on the bitter taste and alcohol content, making it a favorite for people seeking to avoid dehydration in the summer heat.

It tastes like crap though. Don’t do it.