Tag Archives: Germany

An Evening With Terry Gross @ MICA’s Brown Center Tonight

Well, just when we thought we had learned our lesson about buying tickets for things in advance, we completely failed to secure tickets for tonight’s appearance by Terry Gross at MICA’s Brown Center. This is pretty disgraceful, since we’ve known about this for several months now. We even put it on our calendar and everything, but didn’t bother to look into buying tickets until it was well sold out. (Maybe just as well though; $50 is not a cheap ticket for a public radio host.)

Gross is, of course, the host of NPR’s Fresh Air, a daily arts and culture interview program which is easily one of the best things on radio and one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes.

Terry Gross appears at a sold-out Brown Center tonight.

Even though we’re not going tonight, it gives us a good excuse to relate an anecdote which we found funny at the time.

We were in a smallish German city on our trip to Europe earlier this year, where we found a tiny little record shop on a corner near the edge of downtown. There were some good vinyl and posters on display in the windows, but the first few times we went by there the shop was locked up tight.

Eventually we found it open one afternoon, and although we don’t mess around with vinyl records, we thought we might find some European exclusives as a souvenir for Roommate or even some eBay gold for our own benefit. We gave a nod to the proprietor who was busy with his macbook and started browsing the stacks. Instead of playing music we were listening to some old man go on about something or other over the speakers in English for several minutes. When he finally wound up his monologue, Terry Gross’ voice came over the air.

“Oh!” We say “You’re listening to Fresh Air! I didn’t realize you had that in Germany.”

When we said this to the guy behind the counter, his face lit up as brightly as a Christmas tree. It turns out that they do not have Fresh Air in Germany, but that he was listening via iTunes. When we mentioned that we regularly listen on the radio, and live sort of near Philadelphia (people abroad do not know where Maryland is), his perfect English became very excited. We recounted some of our favorite episodes, including the infamous Gene Simmons interview which was one of the most awkward broadcasts in the history of radio.

As it turned out, this record store guy was a huge and rabid fan of Fresh Air, and was trying to work his way through the entire archives of the show. Once he found out that we’d been listening for years, there was no shortage of questions, most of which we had no answers for.

There was one earnest question he did ask though, which we could answer with certainty:

“So, in your country, Terry Gross is a big star? Like Oprah?”

Not quite…

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If you’ve never heard the Gene Simmons Fresh Air interview, we strongly encourage you to click through and listen to it. It is not available in the NPR Archives, and it’s a solid hour of Simmons insulting Gross and NPR and making a series of very inappropriate and sexist remarks while making himself out to be a primal filthy rich sex god. In our opinion, Gene Simmons is a fucking clown, and Terry Gross is one of the greatest interviewers working anywhere today.

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The Sordid Adventures of Herr Chop Ein Der Bier Garten!

If there’s one thing the Chop loves, its beer. And if there’s one thing the Chop loves more than beer, it’s beer in a garden! A garden of beer!

We saw our first proper beer garden at the tender age of five, as it was a cornerstone of the Chop’s annual Catholic School Carnival. Of course, as a wee young Chop, Coca-Cola was the order of the day, but nothing said summer better than the lights overhead and the pitchers on the tables… and fried dough.

The Chop is a great admirer of beer in gardens.

Since that time the Chop has planted himself in a beer garden whenever possible, at the Heritage Fair, the Polish Festival, Greek Festival, Ukrainian Festival, or even the Fells Point Fun Festival.

In our travels we’ve discovered authentic German beer gardens in Germany, as well as almost-authentic ones in England, South Africa, and even Japan.

So we were pleasantly surprised to receive an invite to a friend’s birthday party at Blob’s Park, which we didn’t even know was there, and which promises to satisfy our desire for beer in garden form. We’re gonna strap on our German boots, grab a cold Warsteiner, nosh some potato dumplings, and polka like there’s an old nun forcing us to.

Cause they used to do that, you know.

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Filed under A Day in the Life of the Chop

Downright Dickensian

This is the Chop’s first Pop-Up Picture Post! All of the links in this post go directly to photos of the things they are. Example: When you see teapot linked, it’ll show you a picture of a teapot. Its fun!

As you may know, the Chop recently spent some time in Germany, and we’ve been so busy since we got back there’s scarcely been time to recount what we found there.

And what we did find was sad, my friends. It was heart-wrenching stuff, straight out of Dickens or Les Miserables. If you think the recession is bad here, its so much worse in Germany.

Everywhere we went we saw Orphans. Some of them live out on the street,
while other are lucky enough to get into the orphanages or the home for wayward girls. The situation has grown so dire there that there are whole streets of orphanages, where the poor dears knock on the windows and beg for attention.

There are some hard-working orphans in Germany.

Oh its bad, Gentle Reader. These orphans are so neglected that they actually dance on tables, hang all over the place, and even jump up in your lap and call you daddy. Some of them even sing for their supper in the public houses. We thought that never happened anymore, but those who can’t sing are out on their own. These orphans are so poor, most of them barely have enough clothes to cover themselves, and lots of them are all skin and bones.

The Chop hopes that things improve soon, because History has already shown us that when things go bad in Germany, they can get out of hand.

But while the Chop is usually a generous philanthropist, we kept it (our wallet, that is) in our pants, which was especially coldhearted around Christmas time. Shame on us and our cold, black, American heart.

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Filed under World Travel

Dispatch from Germany

So the Chop is Spending New Years’ in the Fatherland, for what its worth. We will go on the record as saying “balls.” Herr Chop does not endorse New Years’. Or any drinking holiday for that matter. We view NYE, 5deMayo, St. Pats and the like as being strictly amateur night. Paying double for everything, staying out until 5 am, and fighting with the rabble who are just so determined to party is not our idea of a good time. Besides, this all runs counter to our whole philosophy, which is:

You should be out living the good life every night, and not need an excuse to enjoy yourself.

Besides, New Years’ is such an arbitrary concept. As a true son of Baltimore, we prefer to celebrate the start of our year on the opening day of baseball season. It is only then that the sun shines, the beer is cold, and hope springs eternal.

In other news, the Chop is exactly 3/8 of the way through our european exursion. We’ve had the following brilliant ideas:

1/ Roommate should make a low ball offer on the house next door. He could get rehab financing and continue to live in our house while he oversaw the renovations. in the end, He’s have a custom rehab for a hell of a low price, and get to live next door permanently.

2/ Maybe the Chop ought to go into business. If we opened business A, and ran it according to business plan B, it would probably be just what Baltimore needs.

3/ The Big Idea! We’re going to get to work on the Big Idea as soon as we get home. It will be fully documented in these pages for your reading enjoyment at that time. All we can say now is… its going to be life-changing. And epic. And the greatest thing that ever happened to us.

Stay tuned.

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Filed under A Day in the Life of the Chop