And Gutenberg Lived Here: The Jellied Eel And Hot Dog School Of Politics

Every couple of weeks,

a group of us Gutenbergers,

mostly ex-pat,

but also local English speakers,

some of whom are VERY good at the language,

meet up with,


those from that other state capitol on the other side of the Rhine,

(which shall remain nameless

for the protection of those of the lineage of the

very tall and square Germanic purveyors

to the vacation homes

of the crowned heads of Europe-


they who don’t really wish to be recognized as

crossing the river to meet with-

again gasp-

those  small round very Asterix celtic types,

who are primarily farmers,

or work in entertainment,

like the second national tv,

the University,

0r the university clinic-

(there is no university in that “other” town,

which stresses its elegance by


in pronunciation,

on the “bath” part

of its name-


a city so royal,

that Dostoyevsky-

he who lost his shirt in the local casino

while “taking the sulphur waters” in the local spa

with the rest of the rich and famous-

had the narrator of his novel The Gambler

call it Roulettenburg.)

(Harald always finds it amusing that the state tax office is in

Dostoyevsky street)

They who know no fun.

As opposed to the good old boys of Gutenberg City,

which is known Europe-wide

for the locals’ talent to party with the best of them.

Especially at carnival time.

(ie Mardi Gras, for any Yanks reading this)

And here,

as an honorary Gutenberger,

with regard to the “Roulettenburg, we’ve got it, you ain’t”


I have to add “nyah nyah nyah.”

(You have to or they pull your green card)

So anyway,

now that all the gods of ancient history and funny squabbling

with neighbors are appeased,

back at our little “do:”

so there we were,

several tables full of left Rhine,

right Rhine,

Island in the Rhine,

Illinois, Oklahoma, North Carolina,

London, Paris, Hong Kong, and all points east, west, and

otherwise on the globe,

all looking out the huge picture window at the gorgeous

park-like atmosphere,

all munching vegetarian and salad specialties,

or not,

ie wild boar hotdogs and wild mushrooms,

depending on whether you are from Gutenberg City,

or WiesBADEN…


and trying to avoid the obvious questions-

all political,

that are usually in full vocal roar,

in this season of Dillarity-

or is it Honald-

and Brexit,

vs Fixit,

and Mommy (the German name for Angela Merkel,)

and her new forty-year old slightly aggressive to say the least,

female chancellor rival,

by the time the first beverages arrive.

Thus, there we were,

looking for an alternative,

any alternative…


on this particular night,

somehow ended up as:

hot dogs.



As in:

wild boar, chicken healthy, massively greasy and fried with onions,


or Turkish-

big over here.

And then, of course,

Do Americans eat boar?

(They must. They all hunt surely? )


I only hunt bargain minnestrone

at the local health-food store.

And then it hit me:

wouldn’t that be an alternative to the political scene?

They bore you, you stick an apple in their mouths.

At which point we had to explain the three forms of boar, bore,


and ended up trying to explain the political significance of hotdogs.


In Illinois, the worst form of hotdog,

for you and your health,

is the left-overs from a local


luncheon meat and catfood making


served with large soft sugary hotdog bun,


chili, cheese, onions, and pickle relish.

It, of course, tastes fantastic.

Especially at a ball game.

(Go Cards)

By the way,

the way they decide where you are from dialectically over here

at Gutenberg U’s linguistic department,

is the word hot dog:

hat dag, hot dog, hawt dawg, you get the picture.

(My home city says hot dauug- they asked if they could test me.)

In Chicago, add sauerkraut, Polish dogs, huge deli-pickles,

catsup, mustard, and

sometimes horseradish.

If your tongue doesn’t fall off, you haven’t done it right.

Which, of course, led to the question of how you eat all of that.


take thumb and first finger,

grab a clean end section of the bun,

flip it up gingerly,

use the solidity of the dog

to push the rest of the bun-moosh into your mouth,

slide the dog down,


As opposed to hamburgers,

which have to be grabbed with both hands,

flipped on their heads,

squished together,

and demolished before the filling falls out.

By this time, the foreigners,

especially our French computer specialist,

were somewhat aghast,

as in,

mouth ajar,

eyes about to fall out of their heads,

at which point Philippe started taking notes on his cell phone.

(And this from a nation that eats runny cheese and song


This was then followed by a session of explanations,

from the other members,

of the intricacies of the more unusual foods in their culture.

(Believe me, hot dogs are nothing in comparison to some of

what we discussed)

and the methods of tackling trying to eat them.

Including a discussion,

sorry John,

with a Londoner

about what I got fed by an Aussie girlfriend on a last visit

to the Smoke.

(Pie, mash, green sauce, and jellied eel)

And how to eat it-

This time, I took notes.

And there, in a nutshell,

in case YOU weren’t taking notes,

is the answer to the entire political, nonsensical worthless

aggro going on at the moment,

in my humble opinion:

meet with a group of people-

with the idea of getting along and sharing,

and laughing a lot-

(whining and winging,

a bit of a national trait over here,

and many other places, unfortunately,

really just doesn’t have to be, people)

And pulleez stop trying to tell others they have to be like you.

(and that you are willing to fight to the death to prove you are


Motto: a discussion is a discussion,

a dispute makes you unhappy.

Instead, promote individualism,


and eccentricity.

as long as it doesn’t injure anyone.

(and they don’t make you eat jellied eel)

(I swear I saw a head in the portion I got)

And finally,

in my humble opinion,

Friendship only really happens

when you actually meet up with someone in public,

and can “smell” one another-

or the jellied eels and hot dogs.

Go cards.

copyright 2016

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