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CRAIG  SELIG
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Fort Wayne, IN 46860 USA
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craigselig@usstamps.de
 
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Meine Beobachtungen zu den Stories from a Great Country by Andreas Krause.

Dear Andreas,

Thanks for your last note! I took a look at most of the topics you'd written on on your website. . Your observations are well-taken.

You commented on how Merry Christmas had become Happy Holidays. True enough. Lots of things have changed in the 90s in an effort not to offend anyone. The American language got re-written in many more ways than just the renaming of Christmas. Employees became associates or something similar. Computer problems became "issues," and other problems are in the process right now of being renamed "issues" as well. I guess the problem isn't as much of a problem if you don't call it a problem. I was once told that Comcast (cable TV + DSL) tech support is not allowed to use the word "problem" but must use the word "issue" in its place. This whole trend is absolutely deplorable. Used to be, you said what you meant, and you meant what you said. Th'ain't nuthin I love more'n talkin like some hillbilly-hick from the sticks when I encounter one of these politically-correct "new-speak" Americans who pervert and obfuscate the English language. Ohhhhhhh!

Re SUV's, SUV's suck. Trucks are worse. Here in Fort Wayne, I have no doubt there are people who have never physically set foot on a farm drive around these trucks. Women too. I don't understand it. I don't understand them....truck drivers, that is. Some of them have cell phones that they use when driving. I guess it helps them steer or something - into me. Me, I've got 2 BMW's, one an old 1984 318i, one-owner, which just turned 200K miles, the other a 1997 Z3 with 16K miles. These SUV's and trucks have me outgunned sizewise when I'm driving the Z3. One moron almost drove into me the other day. He was changing lanes, no turn signal, and didn't see me. A total moron, that's all there is to it. I drive very defensively here in Fort Wayne. That's why I'm still alive, and that's not meant entirely as a joke, sad to say.

Re spelling - there was a movement afoot years ago to simplify the English language. Though become tho, light became lite, night became nite, etc. I think that this was a great idea, since the spelling of many words in the English language is troublesome, to say the least. I had never heard the explanation about copy-right-able incorrectly-spelled words, tho(ugh.) (What's happened with the youth and the internet has been a further abbreviation of the language. "by the way" becomes "btw", etc) (btw the abbreviating of the English language is nothing new. Check out some phonography. Yes, Phonography. Not Pornography. Not Photography. Phonography was a sort of short-hand back in the 1800s....and there were different versions of it, I believe, which made deciphering it all the more a challenge. Even back then they were trying to shorten or the English language.)

Numbering the exits based on the miles is something they do here in Indiana, too. It's a good system. But we don't equate where we live with an exit number however. Folks in New Jersey might, but you gotta keep in mind, the rest of the country doesn't have a real high opinion of New Jersey, not that Indiana's that great either. We're famous for being the birthplace of the KKK. (Ku Klux Klan). And they occasionally do still have rallies at this courthouse or that up here, but usually more opponents come to protest the KKK having a rally than KKK members coming to spew forth their hatred of non-white, non-WASP America.

Calling "french fries" "freedom fries" came as no great surprise. The French government is not exactly liked in this country. The US government is not liked in many countries, including many times in the US itself. So what's new?

Regarding liability lawsuits, certainly things have gone too far, no question about that. But it's not ALL bad. While no specifics come to mind, there have been times when I've noticed that this or that is safer than it used to be, and concluded the reason was liability lawsuits. 30 years ago, many things were unnecessarily hazardous, oftentimes because a manufacturer wouldn't spend the money for some modest improvement that would have greatly enhanced safety. Fortunately, this is oftentimes no longer the case. Certainly the liability thing has gone too far and we all pay for it through increased prices for this and that, and that's unfortunate....as well as through the fact that certain things are simply no longer available or can be done, and that's not good either.

Lastly, I would think that there are certainly things here which grate on your nerves, and I can understand that. I lived in Freiburg, Germany for a year when I was at the Uni doing a "Junior Year in Freiburg." Despite the shortcomings of certain aspects of America, I suspect that once you get back you'll never be quite as content as you once were with Europe, having made the American experience. There may be times when you want to have one foot here and one foot there, but it doesn't work that way, I'm afraid. Myself, the sloppiness of life here sometimes leaves me shaking my head, saying, why can't things be more like they are in Germany? But there, the regimentation of life can leave me shaking my head, saying, why can't these people lighten up?

So anyway, enjoy your stay here and try to accept the fact that sometimes things here just don't make good sense.....

Sincerely,

Craig Selig.

P.S.: I'm thinking about adding your webpage to my interesting links on my website. I assume this is ok? If not, let me know!

P.P.S.: "Dear so-and-so" is the standard salutation for letters here in the States. "Dear Sirs," is the equivalent of "Sehr geehrte Herren!" So in the written form, there's no romantic meaning whatsoever. (How could one be in love with a bunch of "sirs?") But in the spoken language, "Dear so-and-so" is rarely spoken, but if it were spoken, it would almost always carry with it romantic meaning, unless of course, one was saying "Oh dear," which is a polite way of expressing unhappiness.


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