Have you ever peed on the street? Come on, no excuse. I’m sure you did. Do I see you nodding yes? Cause if so, you are in huge trouble. At least if you live somewhere in the United States. ‘Cause obviously it’s a major crime here. You may wonder why I know that. So let’s just say a good friend of mine told me this story recently. Since it happened to him that he got apprehended by two NYPD police officers while peeing on the street. But this isn’t the most interesting part to the story. It’s more interesting that they handcuffed him right away and put him in their car – treating him like he’d killed somebody. So after a free ride in an NYC police car they took him into custody for an hour with the whole entertainment you might know from the movies. Ok, as far as I was told there were no mug-shots, but the poor guy was certainly forced to hand out all of his personal belongings such as his belt, scarf, wallet etc. After a questioning of 45 minutes, the guy was still handcuffed at the time, the officers sort of announced his plead: Guilty in first degree Public Urination.
Hold on guys, the story gets better. After they released him, without bail thank God, they let him know that his crime will come to trail. Of course it will, since it was a major assault against the United States, its President and all United Churches within this God blessed country. But let’s rather stick to the facts within this pre-trial record: On July 21st at 9:30am there will be held a trail on this hideous crime. Until then, the defendant has to check in twice a week with his probation officer to discuss changes in his peeing behavior. Since of the incident the sidewalk moistener is only allowed to pee under the supervision of a state official. During his trial in mid July a jury is going to decide whether he has to serve a lifelong sentence in Guantanmo or is put on death row in New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail which will rather be the case, since the authorities there just got rid of Mr. Strauss-Kahn and therefore can provide an open spot.
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U.S. Department of Justice, Land of the free and home of the brave
Nothing seems impossible in the Land of Opportunity. I mean, they flew to the moon once. And there was this guy named Willis who prevented the entire world of the Armageddon in the late 90s, remember? Even Ronald Mc Donald was born here. So you see, there is nothing America fears. Not the moon, not meteorites and even not a guy who seduces its children with unhealthy food.
Except – except these little white things called flakes. Mostly common during the winter when the temperature goes under 30 degrees. Yes, we are talking about snow here. And it seems that a whole Nation is afraid of this force of nature. A couple of weeks ago we had a prediction of 7 to 15 inches which equals almost 40 centimeter. What happened was that offices got closed, children stayed home rather than going to school, employees called in that they couldn’t get to the office because the public transportation shoot its service down and the streets of New York looked a little like they’ve been depicted in the drama “I am Legend.”
Since of then I’m still asking myself where this fear comes from. Is it because there is a certain lack of control. Does a Nation that’s been always in charge of everything have trouble to deal with the uncertain? Maybe. The upcoming spring will hopefully bring some redemption and the climate change will do the rest to eliminate this threat for ever. But that’ll probably take another couple of years. We’ll see.
It is one of the biggest sports events in the world with over 150 million expected viewers in 2011: The Super Bowl. A giant American tradition since 1967 when the first Super Bowl was played. Which had only 50 million viewers at the time. Meanwhile you’d need the entire population of Germany and France watching the same event to cover the current audience. But just to get this huge number a little bit more tangible: I’d estimate that more than 98 percent of those viewers don’t understand anything about the rules. Which narrows the audience down to the inhabitants of Berlin let’s say. ‘Cause most of the viewers just stick in front of the screen waiting anxiously of the guy with the white shoes. What’s his name – “Waterboy“, right. And honestly: I’m one of them. Cause the entire scenery looks more like a movie set to me. As a European I’m still not sure if this bowl thing truly is sports since they use radios to refine the games strategy while playing. Or is that because all those Americans can’t remember the purpose of the game after the first 15 minutes and someone has to tell them what to do? Just a guess.
Anyway, this soup bowl event is an interesting thing nevertheless. And that’s because it comes with these commercial breaks. And that’s when the 150 million viewers are on the same page again. Why? Clear cut: Everybody knows naturally something about consumption. And that’s why every year the rate of a 30-second spot mounts up insanely. When the Super Bowl started in 1967 the average fee to air a commercial was $42K. This year its $3 million even. But remember – you’ll reach 150 consume professionals at once. That means we are talking about a $20 cost per mille, which is almost the same amount you’d pay for an average newsletter campaign. But this only as a side kick for all of you who need to convince a client to put on a spot for the Super Bowl rather than to blow off another email blast.
I think I’ll have to change my name now since I made it official and compared the holy Super Bowl with email marketing campaigns for soup suppliers. Don’t judge me Americans, I’m a poor German lost in the futuristic surrounding of the new world. Radios, tz, tz, tz.
Yep, you are right. When you think of America you think of a country of freedom and less rules in the first place. But when you’ve been living here for a while you find out that people literally begging for rules and role models here. For instance: To feel good at the register of any store Americans need the area in front of the cashier cordoned off. And don’t break the “in line” rule – how dare you. Stay in line, shut up and freeze. I know, it sounds like the most German accuracy you’ve ever encountered. But it isn’t. It’s American live daily.
And it gets even better. I took this picture a couple of days ago in one of the City’s recreation spots close to 5th Ave. First I thought it might be a marketing joke trying to get awareness for an animal shelter or something like that. But it turned out, that it is the bitter truth. So to all of my German countryman: When you are planning ever coming to New York, please notice not to bring more than three of your sidewalk shitting quadruped. Because otherwise you have to look for a Nanny who is waiting outside of the dog run with the rest of the team members of your personal dog sledge.
There might be a chance to go for a stroll with your beloved in one of the fitting rooms at Saks or Bloomingdales. ‘Cause they allow approximately five pieces at a time as far as I remember. But I don’t know if your German shepherd can pretend to be some sort of a European fur coat. But maybe it is worth it to try. ‘Cause creativity rules! Even in the land of ruled opportunities.
There is no town in the world where you’ll hear more different dialects and accents than in New York. The entire scenario reminds me every so often of the biblical story about the tower of Babel. Because lots of people in town don’t understand each other but try nevertheless to reach higher and higher goals at the same time. And it’s working out somehow. And the truly nagging question is why?
Americans are used to botched jobs
So in my opinion it’s because especially Americans aren’t that picky about language than Germans are for instance. And, to draw a slightly bigger picture concurrently, this attitude is part of the whole American lifestyle. Matter of fact Americans aren’t used to be very precise. They have a much lower level of quality standards for what you’ll get proof of in your everyday life. What Germans would call botched jobs is for Americans still ok. Let me give you just one tiny example: The TV cable providers, at least in New York, have the problem, that their bandwidth isn’t sufficient anymore for millions and millions participants. So it’s part of your daily New Yorker TV life now, that during a TV show the pictures are going to stuck regularly. Sometimes the picture is flickering up to 20 seconds. And you know what: They don’t care. The people here know about the issue and they live with it. Nobody would call the customer service line because of this little broadcast bug. Can you imagine watching your beloved ‘sportschau’ and miss every other goal because of a bandwidth issue?
New Yorkers are more liberal than people elsewhere
But as annoying it is sometimes to deal with this quality level we are not accustomed to, it has its advantages as well. Because it means that people here are much more liberal in a sense. They don’t judge you because you don’t speak the language very proficient or you don’t know a certain business term exactly. They just go with it and try to get it done anyway. That’s at least when we are talking about New York. This assumption probably isn’t quite true for the rest of the country, especially not for more rural areas in the mid west.
In that sense just watch the video below and imagine that you have to deal with so many dialects and accents in your daily professional live. Would you be that liberal and patient as they are? Oh, and after you watched the video it should be sort of self-explanatory that you can’t be 110 percent precise when you only can catch up with 75 percent of the content that is thrown on you. Don’t you think?
Video via Alvin Harrison
It’s been a little while since my Toastmaster buddy Adam Kornfield was visiting Zurich for a quick stop over on his journey to South Africa. Matter of fact he flew over there with his friends to see the cup of course. So you might think that they got trapped by one of the widely known tourist traps in South Africa. But you’d fail on this. Because the actual tourist trap they were caught was waiting in down town Zurich. In the form of an ordinary tap water.
To catch up with the video below you have to know that it’s been a standard all over America to get free water if you order a dish somewhere in a restaurant. So escepially in very pricy environments like New Yorks it’s part of the daily grind to sip on some tap water while having dinner or lunch somewhere. And believe me, at least Europeans suffer on this chlorine flavored something and its usual ice cube decoration.
So just lean back and enjoy the video. It’s very funny and explaines the nuances you have to deal with while going abroad. Thx Adam for sharing this piece.