Tag Archive: Munich


“Viewed by some as a nation of square-jawed robots whose language sounds like something awful in the drains, whose cars outperform all others and whose football team seldom loses, the Germans seem unassailable.” – Xenophobe’s Guide to the Germans

How does Almost DailyBrett square the ingrained stereotype of the industrious unsmiling Germans with the idea of München with its famous umlaut being a romantic venue for newlyweds?

My beautiful Fraulein Jeanne — now lovely Frau Jeanne — was more than curious, if not downright skeptical — when she first heard your author’s suggestion about beginning our August 2015 honeymoon in München or how the Yanks spell it, Munich.

Besides the romance of summertime beer gardens, wine bars, outdoor markets, jaw-dropping churches, great shopping and Medieval cobble-stone streets, München is perfectly located in the geographical center of Europe.

Why is that important? Jeanne also wanted to visit artistic Florence, Italy for a week as part of our honeymoon. Kein Problem.

Germany is indeed das Land in der Mitte (or the country in the middle of Europe), and München is a great place to have a Wunderbare time in Germany.

Consider the difference between fun-loving Bavarians in the south, and the image of goose-stepping, monocle-sporting Prussians to the north.

Bavaria with its story-book fairy-tale towns (e.g., Rothenburg ob der Tauber), its snow-capped majestic Alps, Mad King Ludwig’s castles and traditional folk in lederhosen and dirndls is very familiar to most Americans.

There was also the lure of Neuschwanstein (Disneyphiles instinctively know this castle), which was a must see for our Honeymoon. Mad King Ludwig’s most famous of his four castles belongs on anyone’s Bucket List.

The Best European Point of Entry

There are very few words in the English language more frightening than … Heathrow.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

London Heathrow airport code (LHR) ranks up there with Chicago’s O’Hare (ORD) or New York’s Kennedy (JFK) as the most desultory, frustrating and disorganized airports in the world.

When you land at Heathrow, nine times out of 10 there is no jetway. Instead, you walk down the stairs to a waiting bus to take you across the tarmac to the terminal … and then up another flight of stairs to baggage reclaim, customs and the transit hall.

Travelers to Europe have alternatives for the continent’s initial point of entry: Frankfurt (FRA) or Paris (CDG) with their own individual horror stories.

Just as important, if one pulls out a map of Europe, München lies right smack dab in the middle.

Instead of flying to jammed Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle or Frankfurt, ultra-modern Munich (MUC) offers immediate air transfer or high-speed rail connections to all points on the continent, and quick and efficient subway ties to downtown München.

One can arrive at the MUC airport and literallybe  drinking beer at the Augustiner Keller (founded by the Augustinian monks in 1328) in downtown München one hour later. Trust Almost DailyBrett: It can be much Wurst, arriving and enduring other airports.

An American traveler may be inclined to make the obvious observation that English is spoken at London’s Heathrow or Gatwick. The argument: Why not start a honeymoon or any vacation in Europe at a venue that speaks your own language, English, the world’s Lingua Franca?

Many make this choice, and who can blame them? Almost DailyBrett, an admitted Germanophile with nearly 10 visits (lost count) to München for business and holiday, urges travelers to live a little and experience different cultures and languages. Even though English and German are related Germanic languages with about 25 percent of their combined vocabularies serving as cognates, Deutsch is totally different and distinct with its own (cringe) difficult grammar rules.

Keep in mind that English is compulsory in the German schools. With few exceptions they can speak your language, but can you speak any German? Knowing a few German words and even trying to speak their language — before asking them if they speak English — is more times than naught appreciated in München and other towns in Germany.

Will you make mistakes with the language? Natürlich.

For Jeanne and yours truly our honeymoon consisted of two languages and cultures: Bavarian dialect German (e.g., Grüss Gott instead of Guten Tag for the standard greeting) and Italian in Firenze.

We learned when it was time to ask for the check at a restaurant, it was die Rechnung bitte in Germany and il Konto prego in Italy.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with honeymooning in traditional tropical venues such as Hawaii, Mexico or the Caribbean.

However, if a loving newlywed couple is seeking a non-traditional venue to celebrate a marriage and to explore the best of storybook Europe, München is a great launching (and ending) point.

Almost DailyBrett note: Jeanne and your author are heading off for our fourth trip to Europe as a couple this summer including Paris and Salzburg. And our point of entry to the continent: München!

 

“Now if this (Ketchum, Inc. client Vladimir Putin allegedly protecting ethnic Russians in Ukraine) sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 30s. All the Germans that were … the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying they’re not being treated right. I must go and protect my people and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.” – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

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“Hitler makes cameo appearances all the time within American political narratives about emerging international crises. He’s an easy and recognizable shorthand that signals danger.” – Former State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley.

During the past few days, the Washington Post, CNBC and others have questioned Ketchum Public Relations representing Russia, even though the country invaded a strategic portion (e.g., Crimea) of its neighbor, Ukraine. Ketchum states its only advancing Russia’s economic development and investment goals, not foreign policy. However, a New York Times op-ed, authored by Putin and placed by Ketchum, criticized the foreign policy of the United States in the context of Syria.

When is it time for an international public relations agency to jettison a client, even one paying $55 million so far, based upon questionable at best behavior? Or does the legal tender reign supreme? Would Ketchum theoretically accept any client, telling its “economic development and investment” story, regardless of the circumstances? Does Corporate Social Responsibility apply to agencies as well? What if an international client with a difficult story to tell came to Ketchum or any other international agency…let’s say back in 1938.

Ketchum, a division of Omnicom Group Inc., would turn down the business. Right?

The scene is a large meeting room in Germany’s Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. The time is September, 1938.

Propaganda Minster Joseph Goebbels: “Herzlichen Willkommen zu dem Vaterland und das dritte Reich, Herr Ketchum.“

Ketchum EVP: “We are delighted to have been selected from several firms competing for your RFP (Request for Proposal) to help tell Germany’s story and to facilitate understanding of what your Führer is trying to accomplish in Central Europe.”

Goebbels: “The pleasure is ours. We are particularly pleased to meet with Ketchum Public Relations. Apparently, you have a solid track record of representing nations that don’t have…how should I say it…the easiest public story to tell.”

Ketchum EVP: “It’s nice to be recognized for our track record. We are particularly good at competing in the arena of public opinion and national brand management for countries that want to insure their rightful interests are respected and understood.”

Goebbels: “As you know, earlier this year we peacefully completed an Anschluss bringing together German-speaking Austria together with das Reich. We believe this connection was only fair and just.”

Ketchum EVP: “And now, if I understand you correctly, Germany wants to do the same for the ethnic Germans that were artificially separated from the Vaterland by the Versailles Treaty and the establishment of thrown-together states, such as Czechoslovakia.”

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Goebbels: “That is exactly why you are being paid so handsomely, say $1.6 million in U.S. currency every six months, to tell the Führer’s great story. He is fully aware of our meeting today, and is pleased you are joining our team.”

Ketchum EVP: “Let me get this right. Your Führer will soon be meeting with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to discuss the Sudetenland question. How can we help? We have offices in Berlin, Munich, Prague and London. We are prepared to assist both here in Germany and elsewhere.”

Goebbels: “Don’t worry about Germany. My ministry has Alles in Ordnung when it comes to spreading our message within Germany. We could use some help in New York and London, However, you may have a conflict with our account and your Prague office.”

Ketchum EVP: “Let me reiterate that we really want your business. We have already taken the steps to register our business relationship with Germany with the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act. We have a track record of placing an op-ed for the oligarch of Russia with the New York Times. We could do the same for your Führer, advancing him as a Thought Leader when it comes to hegemony in Europe.”

Goebbels: “Sehr gut, but what about the upcoming summit in Munich between der Führer and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain? We really need help with Fleet Street in the City of London.”

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Ketchum EVP: “We have already taken the liberty to brand the Munich conference as “Peace for Our Time.” Our goal is to ensure that the appeasing and pleasing “Peace for Our Time” is on the lips of informed publics, particularly in London, New York and Washington. Those are our prime audiences.”

Goebbels: “And what about your Czech office in bothersome, Prague”?

Ketchum EVP: “Kein Problem Herr Minister. We will set up the Mother of All Chinese Walls. Our Prague office will not interfere with your plans for German media and our assistance in the U.K. and the USA. I trust that everything will go along swimmingly.”

Goebbels: “We will have indeed have ‘Peace for Our Time.’ Ha…”

Ketchum EVP: “We are happy to represent you in selling your assistance to the Sudetenland ethnic minorities to skeptical publics. Is there anything else we can do”?

Goebbels: “There is this matter of the Polish Corridor…Maybe we should discuss a retainer relationship.”

Ketchum EVP: “We really love retainers…”

http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/03/06/ukraine-crisis-ketchum-idINL1N0M22BB20140306

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101465564

http://www.presstelegram.com/general-news/20140304/hillary-clinton-compares-vladimir-putins-actions-in-ukraine-to-adolf-hitlers-in-nazi-germany

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hillary-clintons-putin-hitler-comments-draw-rebukes-as-she-wades-into-ukraine-conflict/2014/03/05/31a748d8-a486-11e3-84d4-e59b1709222c_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/03/07/who-would-lobby-for-russia-these-people/?wpisrc=nl_pmpol

http://www.odwyerpr.com/story/public/2034/2014-03-10/ketchums-dilemma-represent-or-not-represent-russia.html

http://www.ketchum.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Public_Enlightenment_and_Propaganda

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement

Declaring Victory

Compromise is so easy, when you leave all the heavy lifting to the other side.

In reality, it doesn’t work that way … and it never will.

Unilateral good nature, masochism and altruistic virtues will not do the trick.

The answer always comes down to how can both sides can “declare victory” and pass the giggle test at the same time. Each must be able to make the sale to the majority of their followers on their side of the aisle.

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Keep in mind: Your enemies will never change; your friends can run for the exits if you sell your soul.

Consider the oncoming 5 percent of national GDP “fiscal cliff.”

All the Republicans in the House of Representatives have to do is go against their ingrained philosophy, accept a tax hike for those making $400,000 or more annually (or possibly less) in exchange for no spending restraint by the federal government in the face of a record $16.4 trillion national debt. On top of that, they are expected to raise the debt limit, reportedly reached next Monday, to accommodate even more borrowing from China and more red ink (double entendre not intended).

Let’s say that House Speaker John Boehner can convince his reluctant caucus to go along with this “deal” to preclude the January 1 expiring George W. Bush tax cuts for middle-class taxpayers 1. You can count on the Washington Press Corps. and the Punditocracy on prime-time cable to declare the president and Democrats as the winners and the Republicans as the losers.

In historical terms, the Third Reich was deemed the winner at Munich in 1938 as it was given the permission to gobble up Czechoslovakia, while loser Neville Chamberlain came home with a worthless signature on a worthless piece of paper. After Mitt Romney’s defeat last November, do the Republicans want to be the Neville Chamberlain’s of December?

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Even though Howard Schulz and Starbucks are getting into the act with DC baristas scribbling “Come Together” on the cups of upscale coffee, you can hardly expect the Republicans to be moved…or to move…without some real progress from the self-proclaimed progressives.

Can Social Security be indexed to inflation in the form of the Consumer Price Index? Can the age limit for Medicare eligibility be raised from 65-years-old to 67-years-old? More than 60 percent of federal spending is directed toward to the “entitlements” even before the full-impact of Obamacare is felt.

MoveOn.org is threatening primary challengers from the left for any Democrat that votes to reform the entitlements. The Republicans are demanding entitlement spending concessions in order to declare victory. To the Democrats, these demands are seen as leverage…and they are.

The recipe for both sides and their respective media spokespersons to declare victory require raising tax rates on high-income folks, including small businesses (Democrats claim victory), while at the same Social Security is indexed and the eligibility age for Medicare is increased (Republicans claim victory). It sounds simple, but it’s not.

One thing is certain: There will be no deal until the 11th hour on the 365th day of the calendar year. Legislators are akin to bats: They only come out at night.

And if there is no deal?

The sun came up in the Golden State on June 7, 1978, the day after Proposition 13 passed with 65 percent of the vote. Reportedly, the bees were still buzzing and the birds were still chirping.

There was a next-day after the Y2K “crisis” came and was quickly forgotten after January 1, 2000. Talk about much ado about nothing.

And if the leader of the Free World and Congress cannot make amends and allow both sides to declare victory, the ball will still drop in Times Square next Tuesday and the bowl games will still be played on Tuesday.

The nation’s credit rating may plunge yet again. The country may default. The next recession will be on the horizon. These (un)pleasantries may be upon us.

Or we can get down to figuring out how both sides can claim victory.  I saw this practice work in Sacramento in the 1980s. It can work in Washington DC in the teens of the 21st Century. Let “Victory” ring.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnmcquaid/2012/12/26/starbucks-come-together-fiscal-cliff-misfire/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-will-hit-debt-limit-on-dec-31-treasury-department-says/2012/12/26/0e8e3738-4fa2-11e2-839d-d54cc6e49b63_story.html?wpisrc=al_comboPNE_b

http://www.starbucks.com/blog/lets-come-together-america

 

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