Thursday, November 26, 2009

With kisses from Germany

I'm presently in Germany, about to give yet another talk. Yesterday, I had the great idea to get a flu shot with the result that today I feel pretty shitty, like, as if I'm getting the flu. Best conditions to give a seminar. On the upside, I finally managed to get my BlackBerry desktop manager to download the photos I've been taking, so here's some quick blogging.

Yesterday, Stefan and I walked by booths selling Christmas candy and gloves and toys and that stuff. The below photo shows the sign on one of them. It reads "Negerküsse," literally "Negro's kisses." It's a sort of candy, a soft fluffy cream covered by chocolate. They are meanwhile mostly called "chocolate kisses," but occasionally, as you see here, the older word creeps up.


And here's another photo from my BlackBerry. That coffee looked better than it was:

And another image that I found worth taking. This is nearby the parking lot behind the AlbaNova University building

And finally a random shot somewhere in Stockholm during the summer:

29 comments:

Arun said...

Since "Montenegro" is the Black Mountain, these would be Black Kisses.

Hope you're feeling better!

rikard said...

That is an interesting parking arrangement. How much is the parking ticket...?

Uncle Al said...

Don't sweat the nomenclature, Bee - The US has its Grand Tetons, too. Is Christmas mercantile desperation streetwalking before US Thanksgiving?

https://www1.indymedia.org.uk/images/2005/04/308653.jpg
http://www.comicsreporter.com/images/uploads/heller_cobb4_thumb.jpg

Georg said...

Hallo Bienche,
des sinn Mohrekepp und sonst ga nix!
Georg

Giotis said...

"Negro's kisses"? I guess rednecks are everywhere and not just in the south of US. I wonder why you had to bring this to our attention though.

Bee said...

I think it's interesting how language evolves with society.

stefan said...

But that white car isn't yours, hopefully?!

Cheers ;-)
Stefan

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Well it appears as though Germany is ahead of the game as compared to Canada in having the H1N1 vaccine readily and promptly available as here it formed to be a bit of a national embarrassment for a time with it being first only rationed to those in high risk groups. However just today it was announced that it was now available for the general population. Sorry to hear that it made you feel kind of punky, yet you know what they say “whatever doesn’t kill you makes one stronger”. I’m also not surprised that you acted as a good scientist should and took your medicine without being overwhelmed by the irrational fear born of pseudo-science and misinformation that unfortunately is so prevalent these days.

As fpr the political incorrect and somewhat insensitive candy’s name I to find it interesting how such things have evolved over time. I can understand why this one should go the way of the dodo bird, yet at the same time I hope there never comes a day that society becomes so serious and self absorbed that those called Hazel would take exception to having their name associated with a nut .

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

That coffee looks like a galaxy.

Hope you're feeling better, Bee. Have a great talk.

Steven Colyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bee said...

Hi Georg:

weisst Du wasn "Gedetschter" ist? Gruessli,

B.

Bee said...

Dear Stefan,

No, the car isn't mine, but the photo was taken right next to the lot where I park my car. From where I took the photo, my car was parked right behind me. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

Well, I got the flu shot together with my mom who, as a teacher, is in a high risk group. As to the spread of fear and misinformation, sometimes it helps not reading what the newspapers say. I'm feeling somewhat better today, though my arm is still hurting. Best,

B.

Christine said...

Hi Bee

So that was already the H1N1 vaccine? Nice to live in a civilized country.

Here in Brazil the government massively *removed* Tamiflu (and similar drugs) from the drugstores in the beginning of the outbreak of the H1N1 flu, with fear that the population would use it without control, leading to virus resistance.

The result in any case was bad enough, because the drug must be used up to 48 hours from the first symptomes, and there was a lot of difficulty (burocracy, bad public health system, etc) for getting the drug in time. Brazil became the absolute leader country in deaths from H1N1 in the world during the winter season (according to some numbers, the 6th in deaths per 100.000 people). It was a regional spread, though, mostly acting on the south and southeast regions, which have a cooler climate.

I must say it was scary. Schools in August postponed the beginning of classes. Healthy pregnant women and young people dying from the virus...

Now the situation appears calm, with a hotter weather the virus does not appear to spread too much. I wonder when the vaccine will arrive in Brazil.

Did you take the regular flu shot with the H1N1 one?

All the best,
Christine

Bee said...

Hi Christine,

Sounds scary indeed! I haven't been following the news on that so I had no clue. I got the H1N1 immunization, not for the normal flu. I don't usually get a flu shot, that was indeed my first. Did you have a flu shot? Best,

B.

Georg said...

weisst Du wasn "Gedetschter" ist?

Hallo Bienche,
nää, en Gedetschte kenn ich net.
Is des en Mohrekopp, wo jemmand
druffgedappt hott?
Schorsch

Christine said...

I've never got a flu shot. To my mind, only old people or people with some kind of health problem could possibly die from flu complications (e.g., pneumonia). With the H1N1, it is different. Healthy young people and pregnant people are dying from it. It can evolve quite fast (within a week) to a very serious complication. So it is important to take the H1N1 vaccine and my family is looking forward to it. Here in Brazil, no vaccines up to now.

You can find updated information here.

Best,
Christine

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Well good for your mother to take you along. As for myself I plan to drop into a clinic tomorrow to get the shot. Here in Canada we’ve had vaccine for a little over a month yet only in a limited supply that first was targeted for high risk groups being people with chronic condition, pregnant mothers, health care workers and young children. There was a lot of negative sentiment (pseudo-science) to the vaccine at first until the reported death of a young 12 year old boy in Toronto with then to switch to many people lining up in frenzy and trying to jump the cue.

This turned out for me to be another real time micro study of current society in general which has one better understand that although we may have a more technical society this doesn’t extend to people in general being any different in their ability to evaluate and access things. One thing for certain it’s serves as a classical example of how ignorance and fear still remains to be both the rule and the ruler of many people rather then the exception.

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

Well, good luck with the flu shot, tell me how it's going. Here, in Germany, I've heard some pretty bad stories of people who got really sick afterwards. Most blame it on the use of adjuvants to enhance the immune response. Do they also add these in Canada? Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Yes they are added but there is a limited supply available that doesn’t have it that is being offered to pregnant mothers. Its main purpose is to heighten ones immune system to the attenuated (dead) virus components to speed up the process as well as being able to stretch the supply to get it out faster. I’m a numbers fellow myself and the statistics point to this additive not to being an overwhelming concern in relation to the risk/benefit assessment. That sore arm of yours is an indication that all is working as planned.

Best,

Phil

Kay zum Felde said...

Hi Bee,

hope you feel better and hope that you usually get better coffee.

Best Kay

Bee said...

Hi Kay,

Thanks for asking. Yes, I do feel better today, though my arm is still hurting. The coffee in Stockholm is generally pretty good, that particular one however was half-cold already when it was served. But it looked very nice. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi Georg,

ein Gedetschter ist ein Negerkuss aufm Brötchen. War bei uns in der Schule sehr beliebt. Süss, klebrig, und billig. Nun lass uns mal Mohrenköppe detschen. Klingt gleich wie ein Fall für Amnesty International :-p
Grüsse,

B.

Plato said...

Hi Phil,

Yes in our "cold discussion" I was relating subject matter in relation to H1N1 as well.

A political embarrassment to say the least, as one recognizes that a health care system cannot ever be overruled by those with cash, playing on a hockey team, or, visiting a clinic that cash speaks first while vaccine supplies are being manufactured.

It was definitely a good exercise on recognition of the infallibility of that system, that was and is being prepped to take over, and now, we see our neighbors to the south working toward a positive expression, while we are in capitalistic mode to move in this direction of "for profit."

Maybe not, depending on the strength of the focus in the coming media releases?

By Federal direction, it was not leadership to me to see that giving provincial jurisdiction could have amounted to a takeover, is now front and center for examination as to the criteria our civilization will move forward too, in the coming future.

When you can "now see it" and it's manifestation you realize how poorly a capitalistic healthcare system works.

I know we have our differences, so you might not feel this way?

To me this is the "root cause in society" that should see that all are treated equitably in the face of treating each individual "the same" regardless of their financial status.

Although we seen the progression of H1N1 shots according too, this is right, and Que jumping shall not ever be tolerated.

My arm hurt for about two days as well. Working it out is not such a bad thing, so I made sure it placed in my left, being right handed, while receiving the flu shot at the same time in the other arm.

Companies do see the benefit of providing "flu shots" to its workers, as a clinic toward staving off sick days and time off that could have occurred.

Best,

Tkk said...

Just got my H1N1 flu shot too. Ouch. But all's well.

"With kisses from Germany."

Well, there is the kiss? Stefan, show what a man can do.

Giotis said...

Those decadent greedy capitalists in the large pharmaceutical companies are having a party right now. We are talking about billions and billions of dollars worldwide.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Plato,

As you say there were some problems in having the vaccine ready in time and enough of it. However the part of it all that I took the most note of was the large scale mistrust of the value of immunization and with it science in general, with some attitudes only changing for some when it appeared that they may be in greater danger if the didn’t get the shot then if they did.

So from my perspective this episode served as a gauge of the state of Canadian society’s understanding in regards to science in particular and their risk assessment skills more generally, with it receiving a dismally failing grade. It has me wonder about all this demand for greater transparency, that if it ever came to be, what value in the end it would have. That is I’m thus reminded of the old parody about bringing horses to water being no assurance they will drink. I find the world being a place where we look only for enemies, with no regard that the most dangerous one may indeed be ourselves.

Best,

Phil

Thomas Larsson said...

B,, have you tried a negerboll yet? The translation is left as an exercise to the reader.

Anonymous said...

And if Zwarte Piet (my Dutch spelling is hopeless, but he's St. Nick's Christmas Assistant) brings you candies, is that what he brings you?

It is a strange problem when a word doesn't carry the connotations where it originates as it does where it is heard. The reverse can also be a problem. My friend wrote about it quite well with an example that is probably equally obscure in American as in Germany: Kaffir Limes

http://www.vanillagarlic.com/search?q=kaffir&x=0&y=0

Even if they were translated as Negro rather than Black, were Negro kisses bad also matters, I would think. When is the line drawn, and does it depend on the origin or recipient's connotations? ~~NotTires