Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Funny Signs

It's Tuesday night, which means there's sword fighting on my hall. Perhaps it's more accurate to call it fencing...? Well, Fencing (or whatever it is that they do with the swords) is a big part of the German fraternity where I've been living for the last five months. They even have this whole big room for it just down the hall from my room. I thought it was a little strange when I first moved in, but I barely notice it anymore. Except on Tuesdays. That's when I usually find myself saying, "Who's making all that noise...and what the hell are they banging on?!?" Then after a few seconds I think, "Ooooh...Riiiiight. It's Tuesday." It used to be on Wednesday nights, but I guess they changed their schedule.

My uncle Randy gets a kick out of reading the garbage that comes out of online translation websites, so I thought I'd give the sign on the fencing room door (pictured) a shot to see came out. It gave me: "Swotting soil Entered on own danger." It's normal practice for Randy to re-translate the translation and then re-translate that, you know, just to make sure the online translator is working properly. He's sent me the results from doing this back and forth between English and German a few times and believe me, there are some pretty good reads. Maybe Larry David can make a series of books about it called, "Translations From a Nut." Anyway, I thought I'd give Randy's method a try since I don't like to mess with tradition. Here's what came out the second time: "Swotting ground Come in on own danger." Usually the translation gets worse with each iteration, but I think I may have found the exception.

I guess I got a little sidetracked, but the whole point of this post was to share some funny signs. After only a few days in Berlin (I believe I was walking down Dickhardt Street at the time) it was apparent to me that I was going to have to start a collection of photos of funny signs. The collection isn't as large as I'd hoped it would be, mostly because I've been pretty slack about following through on some of my ideas and taking pictures of all of the signs, but since I'm running out of time...Here's what I've got so far: White Trash restaurant, smoking can kill you, big hamburger street, this no dogs sign looked funnier when we had been drinking, no cars, houses, or parents playing soccer with their 5 year old allowed sign, saw this jar in the windmill, this guy is really happy about coffee in Munich, Queerbeet means journey in English but I'm pretty sure this disco might attract a different crowd back home, and the one that I really regret dropping the ball on is my "Gut" collection. When Germans advertise, they say things like, "Good. Fast. Cheap." That's about as adjectivy as they ever get and they never say that something is the best (Katrin J. told me that it may even be against the law to do so).

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