Thursday, January 21, 2016

My Best Country Essay

US News and World Report.....did a survey and rated countries and the best to live in.

Germany came in number one....Canada number two....UK number three....and the US in number four.

There are different scales on this and one could argue about why this scale works and that scale doesn't.  So I reviewed this from my prospective.  The ten reasons why I'd rate Germany at the top, and the top reasons I probably wouldn't rate them at the top.

Positive?

1.  Lets face it....the autobahn system is absolutely the best in the world.  I will admit some lousy autobahn rest-stops bathrooms do exist, and I would not eat anywhere on the autobahn.  But if you simply talk road conditions, planning, and maintenance....no one runs a better system.

2.  If you wanted the image of Disneyland as your national image....Germany does it better than anyone else.  Landscape, architecture, infrastructure, and quality.

3.  You can stop in any 25-dog town in town in Germany....at some Omma's cafe...sit down and order the schnitzel plate, and shock yourself with a four-star plate at a fair price.  Toss in a premium beer, and some desert later.....you can't do much better.

4.  Rail-wise....it's hard to beat the Bahn.  Oh, I admit....they really do screw up on some occasions....but until you've been screwed up on an Italian railway or Amtrak railway....you haven't seen nothing.  Their only weak point is that they can't design an air conditioner for passenger trains, and if the temperature ever gets above 90-degrees (Centigrade).....it's best to get off for the remainder of the day.

5.  It's hard to find a ghetto in Germany.  Maybe twenty years ago.....you'd never found a single example and today....there might be two or three dozen such examples.....but you can walk around lots of urban areas and just feel amazed at the lack of underclass neighborhoods.

6.  Crime.  Ok, it used to be non-existent.....now, it's marginally existent.  You can pick the locations and know it's a no-go area.  Otherwise, you are safe....twenty-four hours a day and need never worry about anything.

7.  Typically, when you finally called the tow service and the car is sitting in the shop....it's a 99-percent chance that you will have a real mechanic....who will absolutely determine the problem and fix the car.  Naturally, it's probably a Mercedes or Audi....with a computer onboard....telling Huns to remove this part and install a new one.  But....it's better than some New Jersey guy guessing it's this or that.

8.  Houses have color....yards have style....streets appear clean and tidy....parks are designed for recreation and purpose....and walking trails exist to keep old retired guys busy.

9.  Things work.  If the train is supposed to arrive at 3:30....it gets there typically on time.  Bridges don't fail.  Bakeries open up on time.  Germans pride themselves on this matter of things working.

10.  If you crave five-star history....nothing ranks higher than Germany.

So, we come to issues list:

1.  Big infrastructure projects are designed to fail (BER is just one example of dozens).  Stuttgart-21 will fail....miserably.

2.  Politicians and journalists hang out at parties, dinners, grand-openings, cafes, and fests.  The buddy-buddy routine has issues.  Note: Americans kinda do the same thing....but German journalists pride themselves on saying they are transparent...when they aren't.

3.  Big city urban areas are growing in crime statistics and marginal cop protection.  A decade ago....you wouldn't have uttered no-go.....now, there are such areas.

4.  Everything....absolutely everything....is touched upon taxation.

5.  This is the land that developed the best wine and beer that you can imagine.....and then built some absolutely strong DWI laws around consumption.  You'd best plan to sip at a local pub and walk back to the hotel or house.

6.  Now that everyone sees Germany as the Disneyland of the world....from their marginal place of existence....it's the place to aim for in terms of refugeeism (my word).  If you build it....they will come.

7.  Anarchists do exist in Germany, along with hooligans, Marxists, leftists, Nazis, Goths, professional hobos or tippelbruders, and fascists.  The guy at the pub....the kid next to you on the train....the teenage girl with combat boots who winks at you at the cafe....and even the dental technician who works on your teeth....they might all be of the 'other' class.  So, don't get excited about the possibility of bumping into one or two every day.

8.  All this magnificent and ancient stuff, castles, fortresses, towers, and manors?  They have upkeep, maintenance issues, and yearly costs attached.  Somebody has to pay....either through entry fees or taxation.

9.  There are 14,500-odd hours of state-run TV production per month.  For your roughly 18 Euro....mandated that you pay....you must be getting something for your money, but a growing number of people have doubts about that.

10.  German bureaucracies spend an awful lot of money on art, things that look artistic, and things which were labeled art but look like junk.  This all gets attached to some wall....mounted on some concrete pad....or put in some city park.  Even Germans complain about this and the cost involved, but it's a historical thing and they are awful proud of this tradition.

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